HideMyAss has a lot of features, all of which are instantly available once you subscribed. For client software, we took a closer look at the Windows desktop client, but you can also find applications for Mac and Android and iOS mobile devices in their respective stores. Now, about the former.
You have two options for connections. There is the dashboard that will do almost everything for you; your only job is to enter your account info, the location you connect to and the encryption type. But you can also fine-tune and inform yourself a lot better about specifics. The speed guide section automatically calculates the distance between your current location and every country HideMyAss supports. You can also randomly change your IP address from every 30 seconds to longer time intervals. There is also an opportunity to bind an IP – if you get disconnected, you will reconnect with that particular address. Overall, these are decent extra features.
HideMyAss also supports proxy usage. However, only HTTP and SOCKS are available. HTTPS seems to be off the charts, and it is not specified whether or not “SOCKS” means the first version, or 4 and 5, which are more commonly used today. This is only true for the Windows client though; in theory, HTTPS and SOCKS 4-5 are available. The latter two are the prevalent type of proxy used on servers.
Speaking of which, there is a separate page reserved for the complete server list. HideMyAss also offers proxy connections to China, Palestine, even Togo, though in every case we recommend you protect it with VPN.
Anonymous E-Mail and Disposable Phone Numbers
HideMyAss extends its online privacy and security services beyond providing you with stellar VPN services and a free web proxy. As a HideMyAss donkey, you also get to use the other latest privacy solutions developed by HMA’s mother company Privax. If you are worried about your online messages being monitored, you are also free to try the anonymous e-mail service of the company. The only (though understandable) disadvantage of it is that HideMyAss records the contents of the mail you send, to protect their own privacy. For mobile devices, you can also enlist the organization to send you disposable iOS and Android numbers, so you can make calls that are next to untraceable.
This is without a doubt the greatest strength of HideMyAss. According to the company, you can connect to 190+ countries around the globe. This might be just a slight overestimation on their behalf, as today there are exactly 190 sovereign states. Furthermore, HideMyAss’ network includes territories that are not sovereign. Edinburgh of the Seven Seas for example is a British Overseas Territory. Nevertheless, if we strictly want to count sovereign states, it would be around 175, which is still the best availability seen in the VPN world by far. And the number is continuously growing, as they regularly add new servers to the list.
You can conduct your VPN via 934 servers and 354 locations, meaning that there is an overwhelming technical background to support whatever you wish to do. The USA particularly enjoys great server support.
In terms of speeds, HideMyAss is good, but not excellent. We did our probing on the most taxing OpenVPN encryption, and results turned out to be pretty much ok. Do not expect high quality VPN connections from countries that do not have strong internet in general, though.
The most distinct aspect of HideMyAss’ privacy settings to us was that you can only establish connections via PPTP or OpenVPN security protocols. For testing, we used a one month package that only differs from the others in duration. It turns out that for certain operating systems and devices, only certain encryptions are available. Thus, there are three types of protection in total: OpenVPN, L2TP and PPTP. We do not recommend using the latter – it is unsafe compared to the other two.
OS, Device Support
HideMyAss has good device support. Because of their success on the VPN market, there is now hardware on sale that is affiliated with the company. The most notable examples are routers; two Asus and Cisco models are specialized for HideMyAss, both on DD-WRT and Tomato. With other built-in upgrades, these so-called flashed routers represent a new generation of hardware, essentially built for VPN.
Apart from routers, you can also set things up on Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, along with Mac OS X, Linux CLI, iOS 5+ and Android 4.0+. Nevertheless, we generally recommend checking if your router is VPN-compatible, as if it is, it can be set up to provide VPN for a whole household or office.
HideMyAss’ pricing is very simple. With all the free extra anonymity services and other freebies thrown at you, you are still not burdened by expensive plans, but it is true that you are best off if you invest on longer durations. There is still a lot of space to move around and probe. HideMyAss doesn’t present you with a free trial, but you still have 30 days of refund time that allows you to test and use and the service without paying for it. HideMyAss also has separate packages reserved for businesses.
HideMyAss is known to regularly hold seasonal sales, and their current 2016 Summer Special is by far their best ever. Currently one month of HideMyAss costs $9.99 month to month through the Kick-Ass plan – this is quite an average price. The Half-Ass plan of half a year is 42% off, with $6.66 per month ($39.96), a very reasonable price for a service of this quality. Their best offer is the cleverly named Smart-Ass annual one, with $4.99 per month ($59.88) – this one is 57% cheaper. This temporary $4.99 per month price tag makes the one-year Smart-Ass plan all the more a true steal. With this great value for money, this is by far the best deal to be currently had on the VPN market.
Your payment options are the following: wire transfer, Visa, MasterCard, Bitcoin, cashU, Ukash, giropay, JCB, 7eleven Family Dollar, PayPal and a couple more – a good selection.
HideMyAss has excellent customer service. For newcomers, we suggest you check out the help section on the top left of the main page. There, the “Getting started” icon will take you to an extensive FAQ section. If you have a more specific enquiry, try the knowledgebase that, next to general questions, also stores user-submitted problems. Finally, if you seek direct contact, send in a ticket yourself. In terms of social media presence, you can find HideMyAss on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on YouTube. Twitter is also an option to receive general information, next to the lively HideMyAss forums where VPN aficionados gather to share tons of great HMA VPN tips. Last but not least, you can talk with someone at HideMyAss over the phone from 9 to 5 UK time, which makes that HMA’s customer service is the most complete we’ve seen with a VPN provider.
HideMyAss is one of the best today. Our only negative rumble to mention is pricing, as their 30-day money back guarantee is the only opportunity to test-drive the service free of charge. You are not that well off with a short-term plan, though the annual plan coming at $4.99 per month provides excellent value for money. Otherwise, literally all aspects of this VPN service prove their worth. Speeds are fine, location selection the best by far, and it probably takes at least a week or two to get a hold of the massive amount of free content you are presented with. We generally recommend HideMyAss to people who seek a very extensive online security solution that offers more than a stellar VPN. HideMyAss is a classic.
- Customer service
- Decent speeds
- Device and router support
- Lots of free extras
- Expensive on the short term
- No free trial