HideMyAss, or HMA for brief, is a VPN carrier that was once established again in 2005 in the United Kingdom. In 2015 it was once purchased through AVG, which was once then itself purchased through Avast, firms higher identified for antivirus instrument.
It’s indubitably one of the crucial best-known VPNs however till Might 2020 it was once one to keep away from as a result of, in contrast to just about all its competitors it logged data equivalent to your IP deal with. And being primarily based in the United Kingdom – one of the crucial worst jurisdictions for privateness – intended there was once each and every explanation why to make a choice one in all HMA’s competition.
However the carrier now runs a no-logs coverage which has been audited through VerSprite. That sounds excellent, however as you’ll see afterward, it’s no longer all it’s cracked as much as be.
Probably the most highlights remains to be the great server protection: 190 international locations and greater than 290 places, together with slightly a couple of African international locations that you just don’t generally in finding with different VPN products and services. Somewhat a couple of of those (over 200) are digital places, however those are marked as ‘by the use of [location]’ within the app.
Digital places may also be helpful if you wish to seem to be in that nation however the true sever location is on the subject of you as you’ll get sooner speeds.
Speaking of speeds, HMA additionally claims 20Gbps connections (for a few of its servers) and has an IP shuffle characteristic which helps you to make a selection how continuously your digital deal with is modified to forestall website online trackers conserving tabs on you and likewise that will help you get entry to blocked web sites.
Apps & Options
HMA gives apps for Home windows, macOS, iOS and Android. There’s nonetheless no Amazon Fireplace TV app, and word that even supposing it claims to make stronger Apple TV, Xbox and PlayStation, those are provided that you’ll arrange a VPN for your router, this means that your whole gadgets have to hook up with the web by the use of the VPN.
There are internet browser extensions, however those are the loose proxy carrier to be had for Chrome and Firefox – you don’t must subscribe to HMA to make use of them, they usually don’t encrypt visitors like a VPN.
Not too long ago, the apps have had an overhaul and are actually more uncomplicated to make use of. The interface is extensively very similar to different VPN products and services: you’ll pick out a location your self or use the Lightning Attach characteristic to routinely pick out the quickest server.
It’s nice so that you could seek the checklist, which is split through continent, however there’s no details about ping or server load proven subsequent to each and every one.
At the left-hand facet – for the Home windows and macOS apps – you’ll click on on a continent in addition to an inventory of Fresh, P2P and streaming servers.
All apps come with explanations of extra complex options such because the kill transfer and cut up tunnelling. A few of the ones options are handiest to be had on sure gadgets although. Break up tunnelling is handiest on Android for some explanation why, and there’s no kill transfer on iOS.
Within the Home windows app you do have the extra choice of an ‘App kill transfer’ which does the similar activity as the primary kill transfer however handiest cuts the web connection to the apps you specify. It additionally forces the VPN to attach while you release the ones apps, which stops you forgetting, however it might be great if that was once a separate tick field, simply for those who didn’t need that behaviour.
Annoyingly, clicking the ADD APPLICATION button opens a Record Explorer-type discussion field set to C:WindowsSystem32, a folder wherein you’re no longer going to seek out the apps you need to make a choice. It’s a disgrace there’s no checklist of put in apps right here: as a substitute it’s important to know to browse to one of the crucial two Program Recordsdata folders and navigate your strategy to the right kind executable document for the app(s) you need.
Even through its personal admission, HMA has had a coarse journey over the last 5 or 6 years having been got two times, first through AVG, then through Avast, which purchased AVG.
It has additionally come below hearth for delivering data to government which has ended in no less than one person being convicted and jailed. This is without doubt one of the issues of the usage of a VPN primarily based in the United Kingdom – one the ‘5 Eyes’ international locations which stocks data and the place government can, and can, call for that companies give up buyer knowledge.
For this reason the very past due no-logs coverage is any such large deal. It’s additionally why HMA commissioned VerSprite to audit its apps and repair to ensure the coverage was once if truth be told being carried out.
Normally, that’s excellent information, however the document itself isn’t public so that you’ll simply must take HMA’s phrase that it handed with flying colors.
Dig into the privateness coverage in additional intensity, although, and also you’ll see that “no logs” doesn’t if truth be told imply no logs. The corporate doesn’t log your IP deal with or DNS requests (the internet sites you consult with) nevertheless it does document connection logs, if handiest as AM or PM, consultation length and the tough quantity of knowledge you obtain, rounded right down to the closest 100 or 1000MB. It says connection logs are deleted after 35 days.
Many ‘0 logs’ VPNs do document some anonymised knowledge to care for and give a boost to the carrier, and HMA says that is the aim for this logging, however in HMA’s case, that is individually identifiable data – no longer nameless.
We examined HMA in Home windows and on Android and iOS. It handed our IP and DNS leak checks with out factor, which is precisely what you’d hope for taking into account HMA runs its personal DNS carrier as neatly.
There’s no longer but any make stronger for WireGuard, however in spite of everything, with our place of job being close because of lockdown I couldn’t run any outright velocity checks even the usage of OpenVPN on a ‘gradual’ home broadband connection operating at 70Mbps.
After all I may nonetheless check to peer how a lot HMA slowed that connection down, particularly the usage of servers some distance away, such because the west coast of america.
Curiously sufficient, there’s a integrated velocity check instrument, however I discovered this under-reports the efficiency on be offering. As an example, my nearest location – London – was once appearing as 43Mbps, however checking out the usage of Ookla’s Velocity Check, it if truth be told ran at my connection’s complete 70Mbps (and 18Mbps up).
Speeds did tail off the additional I went, however in spite of the <20Mbps reported for Sydney within the app, Velocity Check confirmed the relationship was once if truth be told 56Mbps, which may be very decent given the space from the United Kingdom.
Servers are tagged for being optimised for streaming and P2P, however this extends handiest to a handful in the USA and Europe.
In truth, HMA isn’t a sensible choice for streaming: in spite of the claims, I couldn’t get entry to Amazon High Video when attached to any of the USA streaming servers – it detected I used to be the usage of a VPN – and neither would iPlayer paintings at the amusingly named Donkey The city server in the United Kingdom (and I even requested a colleague to check from out of doors the United Kingdom simply in case checking out from in the United Kingdom was once the problem).
Beef up is to be had by the use of are living chat 24/7 and was once fast to respond to and be offering recommendation on the way to use HMA on an Amazon Fireplace TV in spite of the loss of a devoted app, in addition to confirming that cut up tunnelling is certainly handiest to be had on Android.
Pricing & plans
Click on on Worth Plans from the website online’s most sensible menu and also you’ll see handiest two choices: 1 month (for £5.59, discounted from the standard £7.99) and a 12-month plan which brings the fee right down to £3.29 per 30 days and, as it’s a UK corporate, this comprises VAT.
Sure competitors handiest upload VAT on the remaining 2d, so the fee which tempted you to enroll isn’t as little as you first concept.
You’ll be able to use an HMA subscription on 5 gadgets on the identical time, however can set up the app on as many gadgets as you favor.
There are different plans to be had for those who scroll down and click on the ‘See extra plans’ hyperlink, however the 12-month one was once the most cost effective on the time of writing: the 24-month choice was once costlier at £3.39 per 30 days.
Surprisingly, there’s a seven-day loose trial, however you’ll have to go into cost main points and cancel within the app (which is modest) ahead of the top of the trial otherwise you’ll be billed for a complete yr.
This will likely help you check out the carrier and in finding out if it unblocks the products and services you need to observe, and likewise see if it’s fast sufficient for you.
After paying for a subscription, you’re nonetheless coated through a 30-day a refund ensure. There’s no strategy to pay anonymously: the choices on the checkout are restricted to PayPal and Visa/Mastercard.
You’ll be able to signal as much as HMA right here.
Since remaining having a look at HMA it has advanced the carrier in slightly a couple of tactics, together with cut up tunneling and a no-logs coverage. However each include caveats: the previous is handiest on Android, and the latter doesn’t slightly imply what it says.
The apps had been remodeled and are actually as slick as the contest, nevertheless it’s disgrace there’s no WireGuard make stronger, or an app for Amazon streaming gadgets.
A lot of this is able to be forgivable if the carrier have been inexpensive, however with its deficient good fortune price of unblocking streaming products and services it’s it’s tricky to counsel the carrier until you in particular need servers in one of the crucial extra atypical places that HMA gives.
NordVPN and Surfshark are two excellent choices, which additionally do a significantly better activity of unblocking streaming products and services.
Comparable articles for additional studying
HMA VPN: Specifications
- 1-month account
- primarily based in London, UK
- holds logs
- VPN protocols: L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP
- 5 concurrent gadgets
- no knowledge allowance restrict
- consumer instrument for Home windows, OS X, Android, iOS
- platform make stronger: Linux/OS X/Home windows/iOS/Android/DD-WRT
- guide configuration choice
- P2P coverage no longer recommended