If you need to be in a specific location virtually to access a given service, or to ensure your websites and services are accessible – and if media streaming isn't a priority – then HMA is the provider to choose, thanks to its huge range of endpoint countries.
- More endpoint countries than any rival
- Recently improved transparency and logging policy
- Mediocre performance
- Review Price: £39.48 per year
- Seven-day trial
- Connect up to five devices
- Supports OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec
- Clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Based in the UK but owned by Czech online security firm Avast, HMA (formerly HideMyAss!) is, of all the many VPN services reviewed, the one with the widest range of endpoint locations, covering most of the planet with servers in more than 190 countries and territories.
In early 2020, Avast came under fire for its sale of anonymised user data for marketing purposes via its Jumpshot subsidiary. However, the company has confirmed to Trusted Reviews that none of its VPN brands, including HMA, have ever logged user data for this purpose, and Jumpshot has now been shut down.
Pricing and subscriptions
HMA is among the more more expensive VPN providers around, with a five-device account coming costing £39.48/$59.99 per year, £69.36/$95.76 for two years and £86.04/$107.64 for three years.
There’s also a seven-day free trial available, limited to 10GB of throughput, but it requires payment information and automatically renews to become a one-year subscription if you don’t cancel it.
Features and usability
Since HMA is headquartered in the UK, it’s subject to Britain’s stringent data retention laws, and famously provided data that confirmed the identities of individuals involved in the LulzSec hacking case.
However, since April 2020, the company’s present privacy and logging policy makes it clear that no identifying browsing or originating IP address data is stored. Parent firm Avast has public transparency and warrant canary pages for all its services.
This new policy is far more in keeping with HMA’s promotion of its services as a means of bypassing internet censorship under oppressive regimes, which is something its huge number of endpoint locations very much lends itself to.
In keeping with this, HMA’s glossy client includes a Freedom mode that lets you “access the web via the closest free-speech country”. Other settings enable automatic connection to the VPN as soon as Windows launches, SOCKS5 proxying and a Secure IP Bond feature that allows you to specify applications that you want to allow online-only when the encrypted VPN connection is up and running.
|Reference Group Average HTTP||179.7Mbps||160.13Mbps||91.805Mbps|
|Reference HTTP without VPN||604.8Mbps||544.8Mbps||700.8Mbps|
All of my testing was carried out on a virtual desktop physically located at a data centre in London with a high-speed internet connection. This testing setup produces results under optimal connection conditions. VPN clients are tested on their default settings.
I was genuinely surprised by HMA’s rather poor performance during this group test, relative to the rest of the group and the speed of the internet connection. None of its tests results came close to the average, and the US connection speeds were slow enough to make download-intensive online tasks feel sluggish.
Should you buy HMA VPN?
HMA is completely upfront about the legal history and status of its service, which is laudable. Even more laudable is its move to greater transparency and a real no-logging policy. However, the fact that it has handed over logs in the past is an enduring red flag for privacy enthusiasts. This should also serve as a reminder that the only VPN you can entirely trust is one that you fully control yourself – but that’s not practical for everyone.
Beyond that, HMA’s biggest problem is that it’s rather costly for what it offers, unless you really need a vast number of endpoint countries. If you need to be in a specific location virtually to access a given service, or ensure your websites and services are accessible – and media streaming isn’t a priority – then HMA is the provider to choose, thanks to its massive range of endpoint countries.
But unless you specifically need an endpoint that its rivals don’t offer, Surfshark and NordVPN perform better and cost less, while ExpressVPN’s no-logging policies have been demonstrated by server seizures. For more information, check out our Best VPN ranking.