HideMyAss! – yes, that’s the VPN’s full name (exclamation point and all) – was founded in 2005.
It’s owned and operated by Privax LTD, a 100+ member team with offices in London, Kiev, and Belgrade. They’re also one of the largest VPN providers, spanning over 940 servers.
Here’s a complete breakdown of everything HideMyAss! has to offer (which sounds dirty… but don’t worry).
HideMyAss! VPN Review (Summary)
|PROTOCOLS:||OpenVPN, IPSec, PPTP|
|LOG FILES:||Some Logging|
|LOCATIONS:||45+ countries, 800+ servers|
|SUPPORT:||Live Chat (24/7)|
|EASE OF USE:||Very Simple|
|PLATFORMS:||Win, Mac, Android, iOS|
HideMyAss! Quick Facts
HideMyAss! offers over 120,000 IP addresses across more than 940 VPN servers that span 350 locations in over 190 worldwide countries. That, was a mouthful. And it makes them one of the largest VPN providers across the globe.
The vast majority of those server locations are centralized in North America and Europe. They’ve got a strong showing in Africa (when compared with other VPN providers. But they’re a little light in Central and South America – relatively speaking.
Here’s how the countries stack up:
You can use HideMyAss! on Windows, Mac, osX, Linux, iOS, Android, and DD-WRT devices, with zero limits on transfers, connections, and downloads or uploads.
The downside is that you can only use their VPN client on two different devices for each account. The upside, however, is that one of those devices can be a router, which means you can connect all of your other devices to it and be good to go (they specifically recommend Flashrouters, Sabai Technology and Anonabox).
That about does it for a quick overview of what HideMyAss! has to offer. Next up, let’s turn our attention to all of the details and technical background, before touching on customer support and pricing, so you can make an educated decision.
HideMyAss! Available Protocols (All Protocols)
I could start abbreviating HideMyAss! to HMA! at this point, since you already know what we’re talking about, but now I just like saying it.
HideMyAss! defaults to the same open source options that most other reputable providers do: OpenVPN.
It’s your best bet for maximizing security while remaining anonymous while you quickly browse websites, stream content, or download files.
The OpenVPN protocol relies on the same OpenSSL library of technology that power SSL certificates that already encrypt most of your web sessions on major websites like Google or Facebook. These connections use a key that’s required to open and close secure networks between devices and servers. Devices each have their own unique authentication key, so others can’t impersonate or ‘eavesdrop’ on session activity.
That’s especially important with common ‘man in the middle’ attacks.
For example, if malware is installed on your system it can modify information that’s being sent back and forth. So let’s say you’re trying to process a simple online bank transaction. A ‘man-in-the-browser’ scheme might show you the transaction happening as normal, while other information is being processed between a hacker and your bank – all without you knowing. To make matters worse, many times these don’t show up with antivirus detection either.
HideMyAss! also offers the PPTP protocol for older devices looking for good download speeds. However, you should stay away if security is a concern, because it’s among the least stable connections available.
The L2TP/IPSec protocol, on the other hand, can help deliver stronger connections while getting around different network restrictions (albeit, at slower speeds than other choices).
256-Bit Encryption (Safe Enough)
Successful encryption is all about math at the end of the day.
There are a certain number of combinations that can be strung together to provide security. More characters of words or numbers in a password? Generally more secure (as long as they’re not as obvious as your spouse’s name).
The more potential combinations, the longer it takes to guess or figure out during a brute-force attack. These are conducted at scale, one possible variation at a time. They start with “1”, and then try “2”. Once they exhaust all single-digit options, they go to two digits. Rinse, and repeat.
The same process is applied through “dictionary attacks” using letters instead of numbers – in the same sequence. Then they run with tens of thousands of combinations until it lands on one that works.
These attacks are unfortunately extremely common. WordPress, which powers a large majority of websites on the internet, is especially susceptible to them if proactive measure hasn’t been taken. That means any two-bit amateur hacker can get access to the information needed to execute a hack. Look: here’s one example.
Many of the internet’s largest sites though aren’t susceptible to them because they use a combination of login limits (where a user might get prevented after too many failed login attempts) and the underlying OpenSSL certificates that power OpenVPN. This rock-solid technology uses AES 256 bit encryption, which is the strongest available.
Encryption keys are used at the beginning and end of a connection in order to secure the connection. Ciphers are required on either end in order to unlock the contents and see what’s inside.
256-bit encryption is used by government agencies around the world because it’s nearly brute-force proof. There are just too many possible combinations to make hacking feasible in most cases.
That way the only people who’re able to access what’s inside, are those who’re supposed to see it.
Almost all VPN services keep connection logs on some level.
Most, like HideMyAss!, use those to see when connections are made, what the duration is, and when a user disconnects from their service. That way they can make sure no one’s abusing the system or trying to manipulate their user’s information.
They might also monitor bandwidth usage (in aggregate) so they can plan and predict usage, to better improve their product and services for all of their customers.
That doesn’t mean they’re snooping or tracking those individual web sessions, though.
HideMyAss! says they won’t keep track of which websites you visit, what data gets transferred back-and-forth, or which IP addresses are in question.
There have been a few reported ‘issues’ where some of your data can, mysteriously, be used against you.
Granted, these are anecdotes from random people on the internet. And obviously, things you read on the internet might not be entirely accurate. (You don’t say?)
But it’s worth mentioning.
First, one Reddit user complained of a suspended account (and an admission that HideMyAss! will turn over information to court orders – like most VPN providers do).
The second story though comes with a connection to an infamous case involving arrested members of hacking groups LulzSec and Anonymous.
Reportedly, one of the people used HideMyAss! to conceal their identity while performing illegal activities. And due to the fact that this person was sent to jail… apparently, it didn’t conceal their identity well enough.
In response, HideMyAss! has this to say:
“Our VPN Service and VPN services in general are not designed to be used to commit illegal activity. It is very naive to think that by paying a subscription fee to a VPN service you are free to break the law without any consequences.”
Which, if we’re being honest, is a fair point.
HideMyAss! Customer Support (Live Chat)
HideMyAss! offers support through live chat, email, and a ticketing system.
In addition, we also took a quick look through their social accounts to see how receptive and efficient they were in dealing with disgruntled customers.
The results are a mixed bag, similar to the experience of others.
For example, they’ll try to reroute you to their other support channels whenever possible.
But the good news is that they’re not completely powerless. For example, they’re able to see a user’s account information and still take care of issues on their own. In this next example below, they’re able to see the support history between an individual and their company, in addition to access account information.
HMA! Plans & Pricing Options
HideMyAss! offers a single plan that includes access to each and every feature they offer.
The only difference with their three pricing tiers then is how long you’d like to commit and pay upfront (getting price breaks for longer commitments).
They’re also currently running some promotional deals that means their pricing among the lowest we’ve seen (especially for one-year commitment).
Plan 1: One month
- prepaid every month
Plan 2: Twelve months
- $59.88 prepaid every 12 months
Plan 3: Six months
- $39.96 prepaid every 6 months
There you have it!
HideMyAss! Upload/Download Speed
We also conducted a speed test so that we could see how their performance compares with the competition. Here were the results:
- Ping: 113ms
- Download: 58.98mbps
- Upload: 30.38mbps
- Ping: 41ms
- Download: 63.34mbps
- Upload: 50.12mbps
Asia Server (Hong Kong)
- Ping: 284ms
- Download: 19.25mbps
- Upload: 13.09mbps
- Ping: 45ms
- Download: 64.42mbps
- Upload: 43.30mbps
Re speed test: Always take such speed tests with a grain of salt as they simply rely on too many variables. However, since we’ve tested 20+ VPN services so far, we have an average that we can compare to other VPNs.
Want to give them a try? Go through the signup process and we’ll show you how to get their system working on your machine in the next section below.
Let’s kick off by signing into your brand-spanking new account. Go to www.HideMyAss.com and sign up.
After logging in, you will be taken to the page for Managing your Account, where you can edit your username and password, manage subscription, and download the client.
Way down at the bottom of the page, press Software & Help in order find all the VPN clients they have for download.
Once on that page, you can browse the list of available devices or operating systems for the correct VPN app. Find the right one and click Download when ready. That will kick off the installation process.
The VPN client installation will mimic the same one you’re used to with any other downloadable program or software. You’re going to install your VPN client, complete with authentication certificate, that will be used to create secure ‘tunnels’ between this device and their service.
A login screen will come up once you have installed the client. Login using the email and password that you just created a few minutes ago while creating an account.
After logging in, you will see the option Instant Mode, which allows you to connect to the server closest to you with one click — you know, instantly. Location Mode gives you the option to connect to any server around the world! And Freedom Mode connects you to the closest free-speech country at the push of a button.
HideMyAss! has the largest network of servers across any VPN provider. Seriously, this thing is massive. Over 120,000 IP addresses. Over 940 different servers available. And they have over 100 staff members to help manage everything.
HideMyAss! uses the most up-to-date, secure encryption technology. And their current pricing puts them among the cheapest plans out there (as long as you don’t mind prepaying for a year).
There’s a lot to like.
Except if you’re potentially worried about, you know, doing anything illegal. In which case there’s been some ‘issues’ in the past with them turning over information. So you might be on your own there.
- Simple and easy to use
- 45+ countries, 800+ servers
- 30 days money back guarantee
- HMA has been blocked in some of the China provinces
- Took a little time to connect to servers