HideMyAss (HMA) is one of the oldest and most recognizable VPN providers out there, having built up a large and loyal user base since its introduction as a web proxy back in 2005.
Despite that, HMA possesses a second-rate reputation amongst the VPN industry. Ever wondered why? Then look no further than this expert HideMyAss review.
It’s certainly quirky and different, but we delved behind the marketing gimmicks to find out whether HideMyAss really does hide your ass.
By the end of this review, you’ll know all there is to know about HideMyAss VPN. This includes:
- Is HMA safe?
- How fast is HideMyAss?
- Does HideMyAss work with Netflix?
- How much does it cost?
- How many servers does HMA have?
- Does HideMyAss allow torrenting?
But that’s just for starters — by the end of our comprehensive HMA review you’ll be in the know about HideMyAss’ VPN speeds, its ownership, its logging policy, and much more.
HideMyAss! Pros & Cons
HideMyAss! Key Summary
|Top Download Speed||75Mbps|
|Logging Policy||Some User Logs|
|IP, DNS or WebRTC Leaks||No|
|Jurisdiction||UK (Five-Eyes Member)|
|Works in China||No|
|Cheapest Price||$3.99/mo over 36 Months|
Our research has found HideMyAss to not be as private as its rivals, and it doesn’t let expert users tinker with too many settings, either.
That said, it’s still one of the better VPNs around. One of its strongest attributes is its download speeds, which you can read more on below.
But first, let’s take a look at who’s behind the VPN service.
About & Logging Policy
Who is HideMyAss!?
Jack Cator, the then 16-year-old, created HideMyAss in 2005 as a web proxy to unblock websites at school.
Four years later, Privax Ltd, the UK company Jack set up to operate HMA — launched its first subscription-based VPN service.
However, despite its parent company being based in the Czech Republic, Privax Ltd is still located in the UK.
This rings immediate alarm bells. The UK is a truly terrible base for a VPN provider, with intrusive data laws now codified through the UK Investigatory Powers Act, or the ‘Snoopers Charter’ as it is popularly known.
HideMyAss is subject to all the intelligence-sharing agreements contained within the Snoopers Charter, and admits that it will supply information to law enforcement if necessary.
In one instance, a member of the hacktivist group Anonymous was successfully arrested after HMA provided the FBI access to connection logs following a UK court order.
HideMyAss does little to hide your ass, after all.
If this concerns you, we suggest you don’t bother reading any further and consider using a more private VPN provider instead.
Does HideMyAss keep logs?
Yes it does.
HideMyAss collects the following information:
- A timestamp when you connect and disconnect from the VPN
- Amount of data transmitted during your session
- The subnet of your original IP address (although the last octet is anonymized)
- IP address of your chosen VPN server
To put it bluntly, HMA is collecting more data logs than it needs to, and certainly more than we’re comfortable with.
HideMyAss maintains that this is to improve the technical efficiency of its service and to prevent illegal user activity.
However, many other VPN services manage all of this without collecting and storing this amount of information.
Speed & Reliability
Very fast speeds, close to the best
HideMyAss displayed very fast speeds in our tests, putting it up there with the top VPN services.
Latency when using HMA was also impressive, averaging at 5ms for the majority of locations — making it an ideal VPN for gamers.
We would typically suggest that a VPN displaying this level of speed would make a great choice for torrenting. However, due to HideMyAss’ intrusive logging policy, torrenters should steer well clear.
Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server.
Before using HideMyAss!:
When connected to HideMyAss!:
Download speed without HideMyAss: 99Mbps
Download speed with HideMyAss: 87Mbps
Our download speed loss when HideMyAss is running 5%
We test VPN speeds using a diligent speed testing methodology, which gives us accurate average speeds from multiple worldwide locations. Below are the average speeds you can expect to experience from these locations:
- USA: 38Mbps (download) & 40Mbps (upload)
- Germany: 80Mbps (download) & 78Mbps (upload)
- Singapore: 35Mbps (download) & 40Mbps (upload)
- Australia: 27Mbps (download) & 11Mbps (upload)
The largest server network
HideMyAss is the leading VPN for choice of server locations — it doesn’t get any better than this: over 960 VPN servers in 190 countries.
HMA covers almost every country on the planet, making it an especially good choice if you’re located away from the typical VPN server locations. HideMyAss’ server coverage in Africa is particularly impressive, for example.
HideMyAss also has a notable amount of city-level server locations, including:
- Australia (2)
- Canada (3)
- France (2)
- Germany (2)
- Russia (2)
- Spain (2)
- UK (2)
- US (65)
The benefit of city-level servers is less congestion and faster speeds, so to see such a large dispersion of them is encouraging. However, it’s a shame that HMA has stuck with the usual countries for their city-level server deployment.
Streaming & Torrenting
Consistent VPN for streaming
HideMyAss is one of the best VPNs for streaming. Our regular testing finds HMA to be one of the most consistent VPN services in bypassing location checks for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.
HideMyAss has dedicated servers exclusively for the most popular streaming services, making accessing US Netflix and BBC iPlayer as simple as possible.
These dedicated streaming severs aren’t the easiest to find, though, so we’ve identified them for you.
- Liberty Island allows you to unblock US Netflix
- Donkey Town successfully unblocks BBC iPlayer
These dedicated streaming servers are some of the most reliable we’ve tested, so you will be able to access your favorite streaming sites without any issues.
HMA’s blazing fast download speeds mean that your Netflix watching will be as painless as possible, too.
However, we do wish HideMyAss was able to unblock Disney+, as many other VPN providers can do this without any hassle.
We do not recommend HideMyAss for torrenting, again due to its sketchy logging policy.
However, torrenting is indeed allowed on all HideMyAss servers, with optimized options for the best possible performance. But torrenters should absolutely pick a no-logs VPN provider instead.
Admittedly, HMA does not retain explicitly identifiable information like browsing history or your IP address. But the connection logs that it does retain can be used in conjunction with other factors to reveal your identity.
This is what allowed the FBI to identify the Anonymous hacker as Cody Kretsinger, for instance.
Instead, torrenters should use ExpressVPN. Its strict no-logs policy ensures no information is retained, eliminating any possibility of your identity being surfaced. You can read more about this in our full ExpressVPN review.
But don’t just take our word for it — In 2017, a Turkish ExpressVPN server was seized by the local authorities and was shown to contain no identifiable information whatsoever.
Won't work in China
HideMyAss does not work consistently in China, meaning access to popular apps like Instagram and WhatsApp isn’t always possible.
It’s unreliable, which means that we can’t recommend it.
This is made worse by the fact that HMA’s website is currently blocked in China. As a result, you’re forced to use another VPN provider just to download it.
HideMyAss does provide specialized sign up URLs which seek to bypass the so-called Great Firewall, but even they proved inconsistent and unreliable.
HideMyAss is also unlikely to work in heavily censored regions like the UAE, Russia, or Iran.
If you want to know what VPNs we do recommend for anyone living or traveling to a high-censorship country, check out our rundown of the best VPNs for evading censorship.
Platforms & Devices
Works on many devices, router setup available too
HideMyAss has dedicated apps for all the most popular platforms: Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS, iOS and Android.
There are also detailed manual setup guides to install and use HideMyAss VPN on other devices too, like gaming consoles.
You can also install HMA at router level, or even buy a new router with it already set up and pre-installed. You can read our guide to learn how to set up HideMyAss VPN on router.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
HideMyAss doesn’t have any dedicated VPN apps for popular streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV Stick.
However, you can use HMA’s VPN on all devices by either setting up the VPN up on your router, or by connecting your devices to a computer running the VPN.
Encryption & Security
Not as private as other major VPN services
DNS Leak Blocking
IPV6 Leak Blocking
VPN Kill Switch
Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.
Among the most popular VPN services, HideMyAss is one of the least private and secure.
HMA has an especially concerning history of security flaws and missing features when it comes to Apple iOS and MacOS.
In 2017, several security vulnerabilities were found in the HideMyAss Mac app. These vulnerabilities allowed for malware to be installed on the root of the device if a hacker had physical access.
On top of this, HMA’s VPN kill switch does not work on Mac devices running MacOS Catalina. This has been a known bug since 8 December 2019 but has still not been fixed.
Both the iOS and Mac app are only available with the IPSec protocol, too. IPSec is an older VPN protocol which is generally less secure and more prone to vulnerabilities than OpenVPN, which remains our favorite.
Worryingly, the HMA Android and iOS apps do not have a VPN kill switch. If your VPN connection drops for any reason when on mobile, you’re at risk of exposing your data and giving up your true IP address — not good.
More pleasingly, HMA’s Windows and Android apps use our preferred OpenVPN protocol and all apps encrypt data traffic with the ‘military-grade’ AES-256 encryption.
All HideMyAss apps come with first-party DNS servers alongside built-in DNS and IPv6 leak protection — which are all must-haves for privacy.
Ease of Use
Nicely designed with a decent mobile app
How to Install & Set Up HideMyAss!
HideMyAss’ range of VPN apps and programs are sleek and simple – we love them.
Even if you have never used a VPN before you shouldn’t have any trouble with HMA.
Being able to search the server list is a big help, as is being able to bookmark locations, and the options menu is straightforward.
As for HMA’s mobile apps, they definitely do a basic job well, but unlike the desktop apps they lack some of the advanced features.
|Live chat Support||Yes|
HideMyAss’ customer support is no longer among the best.
The live chat feature is now only available from CET 9am to 11pm, rather than the gold-standard 24/7 support that we’d come to expect from a provider the size of HideMyAss.
However, when it is available, HMA’s support is extremely quick to respond and often very helpful. It’s also backed up by an extensive knowledge base.
We also found HideMyAss’ email support team to respond promptly and courteously.
The video walkthroughs are a great touch, too — we just wish that the whole support section of the website was a little easier to navigate.
Pricing & Deals
Expensive short-term plans
HideMyAss! Pricing Plan
How much does HideMyAss cost?
Quite a lot, actually. This is because HMA’s short-term plans are unreasonably priced.
You should avoid the pay monthly plan, as $11.99 a month is just too much to swallow for a middle-of-the-road VPN provider.
However, If you can afford the initial outlay, HMA’s long-term prices are reasonable.
HideMyAss’ best price comes with its three-year subscription, giving you a massive 67% saving and lowering the monthly cost to $3.99.
If this still pains you, HMA does offer a great seven-day free trial. So good, in fact, it made our list of the five best free VPN trials.
Alternatively, if you’re able to put money upfront, HideMyAss does have a no-questions asked 30-day refund guarantee, allowing you to test HMA’s credentials over a longer period.
HideMyAss accepts a good range of payment options, including:
- Major credit cards (including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Eurocard, JCB, Discover/Novus, Diners, Solo, Carte Bleue)
- Qiwi Wallet
- Alipay (支付宝)
Alternative payment methods are available depending on your location, such as iDeal in the Netherlands and Dankort in Denmark.
The Bottom Line
Do We Recommend HideMyAss!?
In summary, we cannot recommend HideMyAss due to its intrusive logging policy.
This is particularly disappointing because in a lot of ways, HideMyAss is a good VPN — it’s fast, it unlocks streaming services, and has a vast network of servers all around the world.
But without a huge overhaul of its logging policy and maybe even a jurisdiction change, we do not suggest that you sign up to HideMyAss.
Alternatives to HideMyAss!
Want a VPN you can trust not to keep any personal logs? NordVPN is the VPN for you. It's also fast, secure, and very easy to use. Read NordVPN review
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Fast and Easy
This VPN service is satisfying, The user interface is easy to use, unlocks streaming services (like Netflix), and has a vast network of servers all around the world. Although HMA! records some IP Addresses to obey the laws of the country but that does not interfere in maintaining our privacy when connected
Fast and reliable.Verified Customer
This VPN service is awesome. I really like how they have a sense of humor when they decided to name it. I once heard that VPN's are slow and sure it doesn't speed test as fast as as not using it, I've never noticed the speed difference under normal internet usage.
Didn’t work onceVerified Customer
The user interface is easy to use. But it never worked when I wanted to use it and wasted my money which was disappointing
Most sites are accessibleVerified Customer
I sign into a lot of sites when traveling that will only allow access when I am within my home country. These include lottery sites, football betting, free to air TV sites and some survey sites. About 80% I can access as if I was in my home country. However, there are a few that seem to know I am in an overseas location. I don't know how they detect that, but they do. Mostly free to air TV sites, where content is restricted like NCIS for example. It's on TV in Asian countries without subtitles, but I would obviously prefer to see episodes in English.