- Decent speeds
- 190+ countries
- Device and router support
- Customer service
- Lots of free extras
- Expensive on the short term
- No free trial
First of all, please do not feel intimidated: the perhaps vulgar name of the UK-based company is intended to be a pun. HMA VPN has a mascot in the form of a donkey, and thus this little wordplay is nothing to worry about. You should rather pay attention to the fact that HMA VPN is easily one of the best VPN companies today; they offer much more than a standard package. You are also welcome to try out the free web proxy, an anonymous e-mail service and an IP:Port premium service, which is essentially a more elaborate proxy product. On top of this, you also have VPN browser extensions for Chrome and Mozilla to use. HMA VPN does all this while still maintaining decent speeds and healthy prices. These are coupled with the fact that HMA VPN remains one of few providers who still enable access to Netflix. But the most impressive thing about this organization is the number of locations provided – it is unprecedented today.
HMA VPN 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.
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 HMA VPN 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.
HMA VPN also supports proxy usage. For protocols you can count on HTTP, HTTPS and SOCKS4/5 while you can choose from what seems a never-ending list of locations. Speaking of which, there is a separate page reserved for the complete server list. HMA VPN also offers proxy connections to China, Palestine, even Togo, though in every case we recommend you protect it with VPN.
Anonymous E-Mail and Referrer
HMA VPN extends its online privacy and security services beyond providing you with stellar VPN services and a free web proxy. As a HMA 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 HMA records the contents of the mail you send, to protect their own privacy. Furthermore, you can also use the anonymous referrer tool to create links that can't be traced back to you and assure that third parties can only trace back to the HMA VPN website.
This is without a doubt the greatest strength of HMA VPN. According to the company, you can connect to 190+ countries around the globe. including curious territories such as Edinburgh of the Seven Seas or Vatican City for example. Regardless, HMA’s network still provides the best location 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 more than 940 servers and 340 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 HMA’s 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
HMA VPN 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 DD-WRT and Tomato routers. With other built-in upgrades, these so-called flashed routers represent a new generation of hardware, essentially built for VPN, which will take your protection further.
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. Last but not least, you can use HMA VPN on two devices at the same time under the same account, only connected to different servers.
HMA VPN 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. HMA 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. HMA VPN also has separate packages reserved for businesses.
HMA VPN is known to regularly hold seasonal sales but their non-sale price is also not that expensive, considering the value and quality of service. Currently one individual month of HMA VPN costs $11.52. The 6-month plan is 28% off, with $8.33 per month ($49.99 prepaid), a very reasonable price for a service of this quality. Their best offer is the annual one, costing $6.55 per month, or $78.66 paid every 12 months – 43% cheaper than single monthly payments.
Your payment options include the usual credit cards, wire transfer, Bitcoin and more.
HMA 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 knowledge base 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 HMA VPN on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on YouTube. Twitter is also an option to receive general information, next to the lively HMA VPN forums where VPN aficionados gather to share tons of great HMA VPN tips. Last but not least, you can talk with someone at HMA over the phone from 9 to 5 UK time, which makes HMA’s customer service one of the most complete.
HMA VPN is one of the best VPNs 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. Although the one-month plan is still a healthy offer if you don’t want a long-term commitment, it can become rather pricey after a couple months. For that reason, it is the annual plan that will save you the most, coming at $6.55 per month. Literally all aspects of this VPN service prove their worth. Speeds are fine, the VPN network is one of the greatest in the world and it will take you a while to get a hold of the massive amount of free content you are presented with. To end with, HMA VPN is a classic we generally recommend to people who seek a very extensive online security solution that offers more than a stellar VPN.
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