HideMyAss Review of 2017
HideMyAss started in 2005, originating as a free proxy service, and has now grown to become one of the largest VPN providers around. Unfortunately, a black mark on the service is that it is based in the UK and is subject to mandatory logging and GCHQ monitoring.
HideMyAss operates under Privax LTD, a company based in the UK. Privax was purchased in 2015 in a deal worth up to $60 million by AVG Technologies, whose security software has over 200 million active users. It is worth noting that AVG has itself been recently acquired by Avast Software, meaning HMA is in line for another change in ownership. HideMyAss has got personality, but it’s also got the product to back up their…well…asses! With close to a thousand servers across more than 190 countries, you simply cannot beat those numbers, and the built-in speed testing tool gives users a real-time feel for how fast their usage actually is. These are quality signals that you can’t argue with.
- Prices starting from $4.99
- 890+ VPN servers in 190+ countries (121060+ IP addresses)
- 30 days money back guarantee
- Free Disposable Phone Numbers
- Fully compatibile on all Devices and Operating Systems
- Free Anonymous Email
- Offers L2TP, PPTP, OpenVPN and SSL protocols
- Lazy tech-support and Live Chat service
- Unpopular data logging policy
- No free trial
HideMyAss offers one all-inclusive plan, with three different tiers of pricing available: 1, 6, and 12 months. While the month-to-month price is a bit high, the annual plan is fairly cheap at just $6.56 a month.
HideMyAss pricing stays pretty close to the industry average, although it’s not quite as affordable as Private Internet Access or ibVPN.
HideMyAss allows various payment options when signing up, including all major credit cards, PayPal, and bank transfer. I was disappointed to see the absence of a Bitcoin option, but even this small detail seems to fit right in with HMA’s general lack of privacy.
HMA has a 30-day money back guarantee in place, although this isn’t available for orders made through Google Play or itunes.
The free trial does require payment information to be submitted, but HideMyAss doesn’t charge you until the trial is up. You can cancel any time during the trial, which should be enough time to see if the service is right for you.
HideMyAss Server Spread and Locations
HideMyAss has a separate tab on the home page touting ‘Servers’. Not a lot of VPN service providers can do that, but HideMyAss does it with pride. I’m talking 890+ VPN servers spread out across in 310 locations in 190+ countries. That gives HideMyAss the power to make over 121060+ IP addresses available for its VPN users.
A very large concentration of HideMyAss’s servers is positioned in the United States (Over 300). The second largest concentration of HideMyAss’s servers is located in European countries, followed by server counts in the UK region and the North American/Canadian regions. Asian, South American, Central American and African regions have at least one server in each country.
The server locator on the website is pretty nifty but I somehow feel that it would have been better if HideMyAss had presented a server-load distribution instead of a simple list boasting the server count.
HideMyAss offers OpenVPN,PPTP and L2TP on all servers – and I’m very impressed with the IP count listing as well, but all of that information is useless for me if I don’t know how much load which server is currently experience. All that jazz does not really add more than a cursory utility to my user experience.
Security & Privacy
HideMyAss users have the option to choose between four available protocols: OpenVPN-UDP, OpenVPN-TCP, PPTP, and L2TP. The OpenVPN protocol comes as the default, but can be changed according to your needs.
As mentioned already, HMA are in the UK, which might be one of the worst countries for privacy in the world (other than the obvious ones!) This Means that no matter what HMA might claim, they are subject to the same data retention policies as everyone else.
Throw in the recent LulzSec fiasco and shadowy NSA-like governmental institutions such as GCHQ into the mix and it’s easy to see why the UK is a very undesirable country for privacy.
As mentioned already, HideMyAss offers four protocols to choose from with OpenVPN-UDP set as the default. I was disappointed to learn that HMA uses 128-bit Blowfish encryption, a far cry from the industry-standard AES-256. Hash authentication is SHA1-160 with RSA-1024 handshake encryption. While these levels of encryption are acceptable, I’d like to see improvements before recommending HideMyAss.
While HMA stresses that it does not keep any usage logs, this doesn’t seem to be the case considering past events. HMA do claim to keep connection logs for “diagnostic purposes” and this is somewhat of a grey area as well. Time of connection and disconnection, duration, and bandwidth usage are all included in these logs.
Additional Services of HideMyAss
Besides ProVPN, HideMyAss provides the following services:
This is the free feature that got HideMyAss off the ground. HideMyAss still uses it as a platform to market VPN services to netizens new to the concept of IP juggling.
IP – Port Proxies:
HideMyAss offers an array of proxy servers available for public access and use. Using these proxies is a quick way to bypass access blocks at the bypass level. This is a not a new feature but HideMyAss uses it to its advantage by providing a list of the Free proxies (IP addresses) on the website, followed by the region of location, speed, connection time, proxy type and anonymity level that each proxy is capable of providing.
In order to strengthen and expand the free proxy feature, HideMyAss works with the Planetlab CoDeen project. The Planetlab CoDeen project is the Princeton University’s project and is essentially a ‘network of educational internet nodes’.
If you are comfortable with an email address that ends with ‘@hmamail.com’, then HideMyAss’s anonymous email is sure to appeal to you. The feature allows you to send emails while staying anonymous. The email account will be self-deleting and you can set the auto-delete timer according to your preference (from 24 hours to 12 months).
There are three privacy software that HideMyAss offers. These software essentially function as browser plug-ins and can be installed for free.
- The ever famous ‘HMA! Web Proxy Browser Extension’ is HideMyAss’s one-click solution for individuals looking to direct their internet browser traffic through one of HideMyAss’s free proxies with one click.
- The ‘HMA! PanicButton’ is nothing but a clever browser window tab concealer.
- The ‘HMA! IP Checker’ will tell you your IP – that’s it. There is no unique software that you won’t find on any other website.
The File Upload feature is kinda nifty. It lets you upload files and then protect them with a password that only you can share with anybody who you want to allow access to the file. To further tighten the clamp, the HideMyAss File Upload feature lets you set regions and IP address (or IP address ranges) for which file download will be allowed.
You can also set the file on timed self-destruct or set a download count after which the file will auto-delete. This is perhaps the only additional feature on HideMyAss website that has any outstanding characteristics.
This HideMyAss review boldly declares HideMyAss’s apps as extremely user friendly. In the classic yellow/green theme, the HideMyAss apps offer a wide variety of features and are really easy to navigate.
HideMyAss offers VPN clients for Windows and Mac, platforms as well as Apple & Android devices. There is not client available for the Linux platform. Users wishing to configure HideMyAss on a Linux OS can download the interface-based HideMyAss client for Linux on request.
In the smart phone category, HideMyAss smart phone apps are also available (for the iPhone and iPad) on iTunes and the HideMyAss app for android is also out.
The Android app is the latest addition to the HideMyAss software family and much like the iOS app, it comes with the full range of HideMyAss features.
Setting up HideMyAss on a router can get slightly complicated. HideMyAss website has a webpage with a list of recommended router
HideMyAss Payment Methods:
- Credit Card
- Bank & Wire Transfer
HideMyAss will provide you the option to Auto-Renew your subscription if you select either ‘Credit Card’ or ‘Paypal’ as a payment method.
Also, it merits highlighting that HideMyAss is not a big one for expansion where payment methods are associated.
Depending on which one of the four payment methods you choose to select, HideMyAss website will forward you to the gateway for that payment method.
HideMyAss does not offer any free or paid trial. You will have to derive consolation from the fact that HideMyAss offers a 30 day money back guarantee on all purchases.
While nothing can possibly make up for the absence of a free trial, the 30 day money back guarantee comes pretty close when considered in addition to the constant availability of HideMyAss’s Free Web Proxy.
Protocols and Encryption Provided by HideMyAss
HideMyAss provides users PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN protocols. Encryption levels for each protocol differ. I took the liberty of making sure that this HideMyAss review provides specifics on the encryption levels that each protocol provides.
PPTP: For encryption PPTP uses MPPE 128bit cipher with compression and MS-CHAPv2 authentication.
L2TP: L2TP is using IPSec for encryption with 256 bit key for encryption, 3DES/AES algorithm
OpenVPN-TCP: For encryption the cipher in use is CBC mode of Blowfish with encryption strength of 128bit, hash algorithm is 160bit SHA1, and the control channel is same TLSv1/SSLv3 DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA, 1024 bit RSA.
OpenVPN-UDP: Same encryption and security as OpenVPN-TCP, but working via UDP protocol. This allows better speeds and bypasses more restrictions.
HideMyAss uses a multi-pillared customer support system:
- HideMyAss Support Page (Knowledge Base)
Highlighted Features of HideMyAss
If you put aside the additional services that HideMyAss offers (more on this later) and judge HideMyAss strictly for VPN services, the only unique selling proposition that HideMyAss has is the server strength. It is perhaps the only characteristic that allows HideMyAss to stand tall and proud in the VPN industry.
Conclusion of Hidemyass Review
It has the largest number of VPN servers in the industry and is known to consistently deliver quality service. It rarely comes up with discount offers (only two actually: Summer holidays and New Year) and has a live chat support system that is online only 12 hours out of every 24. And it can do that because it is one of the best VPN services in the world right now.