Hide My Ass (HMA) Review 2023: one of the oldest VPN on the market

HMA is a paid VPN service. However, it is one of the few providers to offer a free 7-day trial on all platforms. Beware, however, that access to the trial period requires filling in payment information, and the paid subscription starts automatically after a week without any intervention from the user.

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Hide My Ass (HMA) Review 2023 : one of the oldest VPN on the market

Known for its donkey mascot nicknamed “Jack”, VPN service HMA (formerly known as HideMyAss) has no less than 17 years’experience. Although it has a large infrastructure and comprehensive cross-platform coverage, the provider seems to be resting on its laurels a little too much. Since a major upgrade in 2020, the service has not evolved at all. HMA is still a good VPN for bypassing geo-blocked platforms, especially in the US, but it will have to do better, especially in terms of speed and security, if it wants to be able to stay in on in our comparative review of the best VPN services.

What is HMA (Hide My Ass)?

Founded in 2005 by Jack Cator, a young British man aged just 16, HMA is one of the oldest VPNs in the online security and anonymity sector. From its inception, the virtual private network has enjoyed consistent success, in part due to its free proxy, which became web extensions for the now-deleted Chrome and Firefox browsers.

His reputation, however, took a hit in 2012 following a hacking case, in which the company was suspected of cooperating with North American authorities and providing user logs of its VPN.

Battered by increasingly fierce competition, HMA has gradually fallen from grace. Bought out by AVG in 2015, and then by Czech cybersecurity giant Avast a year later, the VPN provider attempted a triumphant return to prominence in 2020 with what it considered at the time to be the biggest update in its history. Self-proclaimed praise far from being shared by its users.

Although it has a more polished user interface, the VPN is, to this day, the subject of much criticism regarding its oversimplified features, very average performance, and a privacy policy dented by the 2012 fiasco. To these criticisms, HideMyAss has tried to oppose a security audit conducted by the VerSprite firm in 2020, a real consideration of user feedback (surveys and comments), the expansion of its server park, the addition of some advanced features, the improvement of cross-platform coverage. For all that, HMA inexplicably skips major developments such as the integration of the WireGuard VPN protocol, adopted by the majority of competing VPN services.

Is HMA (Hide My Ass) free?

HMA is a paid VPN service. However, it is one of the few providers to offer a free 7-day trial on all platforms. Beware, however, that access to the trial period requires filling in payment information, and the paid subscription starts automatically after a week without any intervention from the user.

To avoid the subscription being billed after the 7-day period, you will need to remember to cancel the package from the VPN’s web interface (User Account > Cancel Subscription > Yes cancel).

What are the prices charged by HMA (Hide My Ass)

The monthly subscription price without commitment of €10.99/month for 5 simultaneous connections does not change and is among the highest on the market.

Depressive prices drop to €4.39/month for 1 year (€52.68 at once) and €2.99/month for 3 years (€107.64 at once) for 5 devices.

For 10 simultaneous connections, HMA offers special packages at €6.99/month for 1 year (€83.88 at once), €5.99/month for 2 years (€143.76 at once) and €4.99/month for 3 years (€179.64 at once).

In addition to its 7-day free trial offer, HMA implements a 30-day money-back guarantee.

It is possible to pay for your subscription with a credit card, PayPal account, or the Wire Transfer bank transfer system. The VPN still does not accept cryptocurrencies.

Caution: all HMA packages are subject to tacit renewal. To cancel your subscription, you should follow the subscription cancellation procedure detailed in the previous paragraph, before the contract renewal date.

How to download and install HMA (Hide My Ass)

After creating an account and subscribing on the official HideMyAss website, one should download the HMA client and install it on their device. When the application is first launched, the user is prompted to log into the service using their previously configured credentials to access the software’s home screen and activate VPN protection.

Since 2020, HMA has been offering more extensive cross-platform coverage. This includes apps for all major platforms (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS) and Android TV devices. HideMyAss provides tutorials in French on its website to help users configure VPN on game consoles (PlayStation, Xbox), Apple TV, and most routers (Asus, Linksys, Netgear, Tomato. ) to protect the entire home network. Good to know, the company sells routers preconfigured with its VPN.

Depending on the subscription chosen, it is finally possible to connect between 5 and 10 devices simultaneously with the VPN. For comparison, the very good Surfshark and the similar ZenMate support an unlimited number of connections, regardless of the subscribed package. A point on which HMA could, in our opinion, have made a little extra effort.

Main features of HMA (HideMyAss)

The user interface

HMA’s interface is one of the main strengths of the VPN client. Sober and rather modern, it is as pleasant to look at as to use. Once geared for novices only, it now includes some advanced features designed to appeal to a more experienced audience.

In detail, small descriptions make it easy to understand and make the various settings. A large central On/Off button allows the connection to be started automatically, and with one click, to the fastest server.

At any time during the connection, the user is able to easily view the location and IP address assigned by the VPN.

Clicking on the “More” button at the top right of the homepage, a new drop-down menu allows you to perform speed tests, view the total amount of data transferred, or quickly access certain features such as the Kill Switch.

Red card, however, for the web management console. Devoid of remote functionality, it only gives access to information about the subscription taken out, as well as download links for the various clients.

Selection of locations and server specifics

The full index of locations – sorted by continents, favourites, streaming and P2P – can be accessed behind the “Locations” heading. Again, HMA offers the option to automatically connect to the fastest server by selecting the “Lightning Connection” button at the top of the list. Small, identifiable icons clearly designate servers optimised for streaming and/or torrenting.

Once connected to one of the listed servers, the application returns to the home page and dispenses real-time information on the location of the chosen server (country and city), the substitute IP address to mask the original one and the connection time. Regrettably, there is no information about the occupancy rate of the selected server.

Technical support

HMA’s technical support is available 24/7, all year round, via an online chat in English. The caller usually responds within two to three minutes.

Like most helpdesks, the relevance of answers varies from agent to agent. For technical questions, it is best to use the ticket system accessible within the applications. Answers are provided here in French.

For all intents and purposes, HideMyAss offers numerous online tutorials. Very well done and rather fun to read, they substitute for technical support in case of basic questions regarding VPN configuration and handling.

Speed test

HMA is a good VPN, but still falls far short of the level of excellence of industry tenors such as ExpressVPN, and NordVPN. As the measurements for this review show, there are huge speed differences between destinations, where the best VPNs on the market perform more or less equally well around the world. Our tests were conducted using Speedtest on a wired and fibre internet connection.

Remember that PING measures (in milliseconds) the time taken for data packets to travel back and forth between a terminal and the Internet. The lower it is, the better the network connection. As for the download and upload rates, the higher they are, the faster the Internet connection.

The test results from the France and UK based servers are particularly disappointing with very high PING and really average connection speeds. While the speeds are fast enough for streaming or downloading torrents, they are among the lowest in our 2022 VPN selection.

HMA seems to be focusing mainly on optimising its servers in the US, which are, in turn, proving to be much more efficient and partly explain why the physical US servers work so well for streaming.

Surprisingly, more distant locations such as Australia or Japan achieve almost the same level of speed as those in France and the UK.

Although these measurements fluctuate by day and by connection type, the overall picture remains very mixed in terms of HMA’s performance. In comparison, and with equivalent services, the results presented in our review of Hide.me or our test of ZenMate prove more satisfactory and better balanced.

Security test

The jurisdiction across the Channel to which HMA reports is not reassuring in terms of privacy. Indeed, the UK has one of the most intrusive systems for monitoring individuals in the world. As a member of the 5, 9 and 14 Eyes alliances, the UK government can compel the company to hand over information about its customers at any time.

At the reading of its privacy policy, we thus learn that the VPN provider collects and keeps certain personal information to comply with its legal obligations. However, since its last update, HMA, which claims to have become a true “no logs” service, assures that it no longer keeps the original IP addresses, DNS requests, web activities, or the exact timestamps of connections. However, on closer inspection, HideMyAss openly claims to store connection dates as well as the amount of data transferred with the VPN for 35 days.

In addition to login information, HMA also keeps error reports, account data (username, address and email messages), or payment information for the duration of the subscription.

While it is always possible to do otherwise to guarantee the security and complete anonymity of its users – we are thinking here of the Mullvad registration process which does not require any identifying information from the Internet user (the account is created from a randomly generated number and does not require a first or last name or an email address) and accepts payments in cash and crypto -, we can hear the collection of certain administrative and technical information ensuring the proper functioning of the VPN service.

On the other hand, the collection, processing and storage of the timestamp and amount of data transferred is not considered essential to the stability of HideMyAss’s service and is a breach of the contract of trust between Internet users and their VPN provider, especially when said provider must comply with the laws of a country that is a member of several international surveillance and intelligence alliances.

Failing to guarantee the total protection of its users’ identification and usage information, HMA does not compromise on the security of traffic and the confidentiality of requests that pass through its VPN. Indeed, the service supports VPN protocols OpenVPN and IKEv2. All data transferred through the secure tunnel is by default encrypted using the reputedly unbreakable AES-256 algorithm.

However, there are reservations about the incompatibility of HMA’s VPN with the latest generation WireGuard protocol, which boasts much better performance than OpenVPN and IKEv2 while promising an equally high level of data security.

HMA (HideMyAss) for streaming (Netflix, Disney+, HBO)

Like competing VPN services optimised for streaming such as PureVPN or CyberGhost, HMA has the advantage of clearly showcasing its streaming-friendly servers, allowing for the unblocking of geo-restricted content from SVOD platforms. In total, there are 3 locations and 6 dedicated servers in Germany, the UK and the US.

The service works particularly well in the US where we were able to connect to the catalogues of Netflix, HBO, Disney + or Pandora, for example. Note, however, that the connection is not immediate as with some VPNs. It takes a little less than a minute to launch a video, but the connection is then very stable.

Against all odds, the VPN has managed to fool the strongest anti-VPN measures put in place around Prime Video. Only a handful of services, including ExpressVPN, manage to unblock the US catalogue of Amazon’s streaming platform.

On the other hand, as in 2020 and contrary to what HideMyAss advertises on its site, we were unable to access content from the UK platform BBC iPlayer. Although we used the VPN’s UK-based servers, the TV service states that it does not work in our geographical area. Quite a shame for a UK VPN based in the UK!

HMA (HideMyAss) for torrenting

Like torrent VPN services, HMA also has eight locations optimised for file downloading, five of which are in Europe and three in the US. Despite its average performance, the VPN comes out with honours.

Country network and HMA (HideMyAss) servers

Based in London, HideMyAss relies on a medium-sized infrastructure comprising 1,100 servers. It also remains one of the VPNs with the largest number of locations (210) and locations (290) around the world. Note that many of these are virtual locations and countries whose servers are actually in other locations. For comparison, competing VPN providers typically offer between 30 and 150 locations (physical and virtual) at most.

While it’s hard to beat on this score, HMA’s infrastructure remains relatively modest compared to those of CyberGhost or NordVPN, both of which have more than 6,000 connection points. According to the VPN provider, its main data centres consist of super-fast 20Gbps servers, while the less popular locations run on 10Gbps servers. Some of the highest-performing servers are optimised for P2P and streaming. Unfortunately, HideMyAss does not offer fixed IPs at the moment. However, it does offer a nice feature to change IP addresses at regular intervals.

HMA (HideMyAss) on iPhone or Android

Very similar to the desktop client, the mobile app enjoys a modern, simple and intuitive graphical interface. The difference between the iOS and Android versions is quite abysmal as the former has almost no functionality outside of VPN protection. It has access to different locations, including the fastest server and those optimised for P2P and streaming. Also of note is the ability to enable automatic VPN connection on Wi-Fi networks (Settings/Connection Rules) and to contact support via a ticket system.

On the Android side, the service embeds all the features available on the desktop client. In addition, it has a quick access bar at the bottom of the page that makes it very easy to navigate through the menus. The “Advanced” and “Settings” tabs bring together the functions of Split Tunneling, Kill Switch, Trusted Networks, or even IP change at regular intervals. Very clear progress, in our opinion, which we would now like to see extended to the iOS version of the VPN.

Other HMA (HideMyAss) features

In addition to the traditional kill switch and split tunneling, HMA includes a number of additional features that set it apart from the competition. One such feature is the aforementioned IP update, which allows you to change your IP address in one click while connected to a VPN.

HMA also embeds a DNS, IPv4 and IPv6 leakage protection tool, an anti-DDoS attack shield, a speed test and a module for configuring automatic connection rules according to the networks used.

Editor’s Opinion

HMA continues to blow hot and cold with a fun, polished interface, but limited functionality and a privacy policy that is still open to question. It’s hard to trust a VPN provider that has been collecting customer data for years. Users who are very concerned about their anonymity will skip it.

HMA remains, in our opinion, a very mainstream VPN that caters to beginners who don’t need advanced features. Moreover, the service still performs well when accessing geo-blocked streaming platforms in the US, and to a lesser extent Germany and the UK. Given the VPN’s very average overall performance across destinations, it’s safe to say that Avast’s VPN has its work cut out for it if it wants to catch up with the best VPNs on the market.

The answers to your questions about HMA (HideMyAss)

Is there a free version of HMA (HideMyAss)?

HMA does not offer a freemium version of its VPN but does have a 7-day trial period, both on desktop and mobile. This demo version offers full access to all the service’s features and servers. Please note that it is necessary to take out a paid subscription (choose from one of the 1 month / 1 year / 3 years packages for 5 or 10 simultaneous connections), and therefore to fill in payment information with a view to possible invoicing at the end of the one-week period.

Users who are not satisfied with the VPN must explicitly terminate the trial period before the contractual deadline at the risk of being invoiced for the entire subscription selected at registration. This can be done by going to the HMA website, logging into their account and clicking on the Cancel subscription button in the subscription management settings.

If the 7-day period is exceeded, the money-back guarantee offers everyone the opportunity to claim a refund of the full fees charged by the VPN provider for 30 days.

Does HMA (HideMyAss) keep connection logs?

Long castigated for collecting and retaining personal information that identifies users and tracks their online activity despite the activation of VPN protection, HMA now claims to be no-log. A certification that an audit commissioned in 2020 from VerSprite would confirm: the service no longer records or stores any activity logs, real IP addresses and DNS requests.

However, these statements should be taken with a grain of salt, since on reading the privacy policy, we learn that HMA continues to collect and store the dates (but not the times) of connection to the service as well as the total data transferred each time it uses the VPN. So beware, especially when you know that HMA is domiciled in the UK, an active member of the 5 Eyes alliance.

How to unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney+ with HMA (HideMyAss)?

HMA has six streaming-optimised servers in 3 countries (Germany, UK, USA). Therefore, it is theoretically possible to unblock the catalogues of SVOD platforms in these three countries.

During the tests conducted to feed this review, it appeared that the VPN service could bypass the anti-VPN measures put in place by Netflix, HBO and, more surprisingly, Amazon Prime Video without any problems. On the other hand, it was impossible to access content broadcast on BBC iPlayer despite being connected to a UK server.

How do I cancel or unsubscribe from HMA (HideMyAss)?

In contrast to some competitors who are more obscure on the issue, HMA makes it easy to cancel subscriptions. Indeed, all one has to do is log into their online customer area on the HideMyAss website, go to the user account settings, click on the “Cancel subscription” button, and then validate their unsubscription.

Outside of the trial period and the money-back guarantee period, internet users can continue to use the VPN for the entire duration of the commitment.

Beware: with HMA, subscription renewal is automatic. So remember to cancel your VPN package before the contract anniversary date to block the tacit renewal of your commitment.

How to configure HMA (HideMyAss) on iOS, Android and Android TV?

After registering with the VPN provider on the HMA website, simply download and install the iOS app from the App Store on iPhone, and the Android app from the Google Play Store on smartphones, tablets and connected TVs running Google’s OS.

When you first launch the app, log in using the email address and password you provided when you signed up. HMA is ready to use, you can initiate an automatic connection to the fastest server or manually select your virtual location from the list of available locations.

How do I configure HMA (HideMyAss) on Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo Switch?

By default, Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch are not compatible with direct installation of a VPN of any kind. It is still possible, however, to protect to apply VPN protection to one’s console in a roundabout way, either by installing the HideMyAss service on a router to which one subsequently connects one’s gaming device, or by installing HideMyAss on a PC to which one also connects one’s console.

HMA provides its users with a series of tutorials detailing the various existing procedures.

How to configure HMA (HideMyAss) on your Internet box?

Like game consoles, most internet boxes do not support direct VPN installation. Again, you will need to get a third-party HMA-compatible router to install and configure the VPN on, and then connect your internet box to it as a secondary router.