At first glance, HideMyAss (HMA) appears to be a decent virtual private network (VPN). It enables anonymous browsing and comes with many features and strong security, but some major shortcomings in other areas may send users looking for a HideMyAss alternative.
- With extensive features and a laudable user interface, HideMyAss has some of the hallmarks of a top-tier VPN, but two flaws set it back: an over-reliance on virtual servers and a bad track record regarding privacy.
- All our top HideMyAss alternatives feature more physical, bare-metal servers than virtual servers. Also, they haven’t been caught possessing logs on user online activities.
- ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the best alternatives to HideMyAss. Though their server networks are technically smaller, they are more spread out and the servers themselves are of better quality.
- Surfshark, Private Internet Access and CyberGhost are great budget-friendly alternatives if you’re looking for something cheaper that still has a large network of servers.
While a large server spread means more locations to connect to, HMA goes overboard with its server spread — 1,000 servers in 290 locations means there’s an average of fewer than four servers per location. Every HMA node must be under extreme load at all times, which will have a drastic impact on speed.
Another smoking gun: HMA has servers in North Korea, where it’s all but impossible for an outside company to build a data center. Before looking at the best HideMyAss alternatives – such as ExpressVPN – let’s take a deeper look at why you might want to move away from HMA.
HideMyAss has some strong points, such as encrypted connection, great user interface and decent pricing. However, it has major weaknesses, including poor privacy and an over-reliance on virtual servers.
No, HideMyAss is not a free VPN. However, it offers a seven-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee to let users get a feel for its features.
According to Chrome stats, HMA proxy unblocker is not safe and was removed from the Chrome store due to malware or lack of maintenance.
Top Alternatives to HideMyAss
Average speedDownload Speed91 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency6 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
- : 5
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency6 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
- : 6
Average speedDownload Speed96 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency117 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay
- : Unlimited
Average speedDownload Speed93 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency11 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
Average speedDownload Speed74 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency46 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin, Amazon Pay
- : 7
Why Look for a HideMyAss Alternative?
Now, virtual servers are not inherently bad, but physical, bare-metal servers are almost always better for a VPN (learn about the difference in our virtual vs physical server guide).
Some VPN providers can be dishonest about where they route your traffic. They may offer virtual servers that appear to be in a secure country, but route your traffic through a dangerous jurisdiction.
Even worse, HMA offers the PPTP protocol for its virtual servers, which is very easy to crack. Using a weak protocol such as PPTP puts users at great risk. To understand the extent of this risk, you first have to understand the framework on which virtual servers are built.
Virtual Server Security
Virtual servers are digital replications of physical servers. They are delivered through the data center hardware. A data center can host multiple servers, and these virtual servers operate by sharing hardware resources from a physical server. This makes them more cost-effective, but less secure.
Given the low security level of virtual servers, it’s important to use secure protocols like OpenVPN, WireGuard or IKEv2.
Another problem with virtual servers is that they can be slow, particularly if the data center they are hosted on is far away from your location.
HMA Proxy Unblocker
HMA also offers a free Chrome extension called HideMyAss VPN Proxy Unblocker, which allows you to access HMA proxy servers from any location in the world. HideMyAss Proxy Unblocker is similar to the HMA VPN, in that it keeps you anonymous online by giving you a new IP address. Unlike a VPN, it doesn’t encrypt your traffic.
Unfortunately, Chrome stats deem HMA Proxy Unblocker unsafe because it was taken down from the Chrome store, which may be due to a lack of maintenance or the presence of malware.
The Kretsinger Case
To be clear, we’re in no way condoning cybercrime, but when a VPN provider whose purpose is to protect online privacy does the complete opposite, it’s hard to trust that provider. It’s worth noting that this incident was over 10 years ago. That may make it easier to overlook for some users, but not for others.
Given the potentially large number of unreliable virtual servers in HMA’s server network and its history of sharing user logs, it’s understandable why someone would look for alternatives to HideMyAss.
What Makes the Best HideMyAss Alternative?
In this article, we’ve recommended some HideMyAss alternatives that boast comparable or superior server networks while guaranteeing security and privacy. Since the raw number of servers isn’t a particularly meaningful metric, it’s not the only thing we’ve taken into consideration, but it’s more important here than it usually is.
- ExpressVPN — Best overall VPN with over 3,000 servers
- NordVPN — Affordable VPN with huge network of 5,500+ servers in over 50 countries
- Surfshark — Feature-rich VPN with over 3,200 servers and unlimited connections
- Private Internet Access — Cheap VPN with enormous server network
- CyberGhost — Cheap VPN with wide server spread with 9,000+ servers in over 80 countries
Our top choices are premium VPN services with more solid server networks than HMA. While some of them have virtual servers, these servers make up just a small segment of the server network. For example, only 38 out of the 8,000 servers on CyberGhost’s network are virtual.
All the HideMyAss alternatives in this article are reputable no-logs VPNs that have great privacy track records, unlike HMA. We’ll break down what each of these VPN services has to offer, and highlight the ways in which they outperform HMA with regard to their server network and privacy protection.
5 Best HideMyAss Alternatives
Let’s go over the five best HideMyAss alternatives, starting with our top choice, ExpressVPN.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: $99.95 (15-months plan)
- Provider website: expressvpn.com
- No-logs policy
- 3,000 servers in 94 countries
- Solid security
- High speed servers
- No ad blocker
ExpressVPN is a premium VPN service that has one of the best server distributions, with 3,000 servers spanning 160 locations in 94 countries. Unlike HMA, only 3% of ExpressVPN’s servers are virtual. This means there’s less reliance on virtual servers.
Premium-Level Streaming Performance
Although ExpressVPN doesn’t have any specialty servers for streaming, all its servers unblock streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer. Not surprisingly, it earned the top spot on our best VPN for streaming.
The only major downside with ExpressVPN is its price. At $6.66 per month (15-months plan) even on the yearly plan, it’s more expensive than other options on this list. That said, it’s a premium VPN with great functionality, so if you have the money to spend, it’s definitely worth it. You can always use the 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.59 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: nordvpn.com
- Frequently updated security
- Very fast download speeds
- User-friendly interface
- Specialty servers inaccessible on NordLynx protocol
NordVPN has a very large network of servers, with over 5,000 bare-metal servers located in 59 countries; thankfully, NordVPN has no virtual servers. Even without virtual servers, each NordVPN server has enough bandwidth to go around.
The VPN provider doesn’t fall short on the privacy front, either. As with other premium VPNs, it maintains a no-logs policy, which means it doesn’t collect any information that can be used to reveal your identity. It has also never been caught logging the network traffic of users.
NordVPN only collects your email address and payment information, which it uses for service delivery.
Get a Variety of Specialty Servers With NordVPN
NordVPN has one of the richest collections of specialty servers on the market. For starters, it offers dedicated P2P servers, which are optimized for torrenting.
NordVPN’s standout specialty servers are the double VPN servers. These servers encrypt your internet connection twice by routing it through two VPN servers. They’re useful when you want to increase security at the cost of speed. Beyond that, you get obfuscated servers, dedicated IP servers and Onion over VPN servers (read this NordVPN guide on server locations to learn more about these servers).
Another great thing about NordVPN is its price. If you go for the two-year plan, it’s just $3.59, less than half that of ExpressVPN. You can read our NordVPN review to learn more.
- Unlimited GB
- Unlimited GB
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: $2.49 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: surfshark.com
- Servers in underrepresented locations
- Accesses all major streaming services
- Split tunneling
- Not all servers support torrenting
With over 3,200 servers reaching 140 locations in 95 countries, Surfshark has a very impressive server network. It has a good spread of servers across locations, which is not the case for HMA. Surfshark features virtual servers in its network, though the majority of its servers are bare metal.
Surfshark is no different from its counterparts in the way it handles privacy, as it does not keep any logs on users. It also does not record your real IP address, the websites you visit or your VPN activity. However, it does log connection timestamps and your user ID, which it deletes 15 minutes after you disconnect.
MultiHop VPN Server Locations
Surfshark’s MultiHop servers (the same feature some VPN providers call double VPN) are specialty servers that let you route your internet traffic through two servers located in different countries. This adds an extra layer of privacy and security to your web traffic.
Surfshark is also very cheap, especially considering you get unlimited simultaneous connections. At just $2.49 per month on the 2-year plan, it’s the cheapest option so far on this list, and it also boasts a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Unlimited GB bandwidth, Unlimited devices, Secure VPN, Ad blocker, Cookie pop-up blocker.
- Unlimited GB
- Everything in Starter, plus Antivirus protection, Identity protection, Email Breach and Credit Card Alerts, Online Alias
- Unlimited GB
- Everything in One, plus Data removal
- Unlimited GB
4. Private Internet Access
More details about Private Internet Access:
- Pricing: $2.19 per month (three-year plan)
- Provider website: privateinternetaccess.com
- Large server network
- Has a no-logs policy
- Gets into Netflix
- Doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer & Hulu
PIA is an excellent alternative to HMA because of its comparatively solid server network. Its servers are spread across 84 countries, and it has a good concentration of servers in each location. PIA has a much better server spread compared to HMA, which has just 1,100 servers, but spreads itself thin across 290 locations.
This over-propagation of servers can lead to slower speeds and poorer performance, thanks to the overhead that comes from servers being assigned more connections than they can handle in each location.
One flaw with PIA, though, is that it doesn’t get into some streaming services like Hulu and BBC iPlayer. Nevertheless, this is not very different from HMA, which was unable to unblock Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Server Obfuscation With PIA Shadowsocks
PIA lets you enhance online privacy using its Shadowsocks proxy. While a proxy doesn’t encrypt your connection, it boosts your online privacy by disguising your VPN connection as regular web traffic. This makes it hard to tell that you’re using a VPN.
Private Internet Access is another budget-friendly option, with its three-year plan costing only $2.19 per month.
More details about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: $2.29 per month on the two-year plan, plus 2 months free
- Provider website: cyberghostvpn.com
- Dedicated IP addresses
- Dedicated streaming servers
- VPN automation features
- Slow download speeds
CyberGhost is another secure VPN provider with a good server spread. It has over 8,000 servers in 115 locations spread across 91 countries. With a balanced server network such as this, users have a good number of servers to choose from in each location, which is not the case for HMA. Like HMA, CyberGhost has virtual servers. However, it doesn’t over-rely on them.
CyberGhost’s download speeds are quite weak, though it had high upload speeds and minimal latency based on our U.S. speed tests. You can read our CyberGhost review to see its speed test results, but it does lag behind HMA in that regard.
Bypass Internet Censorship With CyberGhost’s NoSpy Servers
CyberGhost has several specialty servers, but the standout ones are the NoSpy servers, which are CyberGhost’s in-house servers built as an extra hedge against the prying eyes of your internet service provider and snoopy governments that could subpoena CyberGhost concerning user data. They are also one of the advanced features that make CyberGhost a great VPN for Russia and other repressive regimes.
In terms of price, CyberGhost is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market. Its two-year-plan is just $2.37 per month, and you even get an additional three months for free on top of that. There’s also a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
Does HideMyAss Keep Logs?
HideMyAss has, in fact, been caught keeping logs on user activity when it revealed the identity of a user named Cody Kretsinger, in 2011 to the FBI. Kretsinger was later tried and sentenced to a year in jail for hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment.
HideMyAss’s server network and its no-logs policy fall short. Unfortunately, these are key areas of a VPN that can’t be easily overlooked, hence the need for alternatives. Thankfully, we have you covered with the HideMyAss alternatives in this article.
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the best choices due to their great server spread and other top-notch features, though they’re also the most expensive. If you need something a bit more budget-friendly that still boasts a large network of servers, check out Surfshark, Private Internet Access or CyberGhost instead.
Which of these alternatives to HideMyAss is your best pick? Do you have any other recommendations? Let us know in the comment section below, and as always, thanks for reading.