The service with the largest network on the market, HideMyAss has a great interface and decent pricing. However, as you can read in our full review, it doesn't do that great a job of actually hiding your ass as it keeps logs. Read or full HMA review for the details.
HideMyAss is a UK-based virtual private network provider with the largest number of server locations on the market. The only places it doesn’t cover are Antarctica and Easter Island, so if you have unusual needs, such as routing your browsing through the Central African Republic or the Faroe Islands, this may be the VPN for you.
It’s also a good option for streaming geoblocked content if you want to watch your favorite TV shows while travelling. Speedwise it’s adequate and is okay for occasional torrenting, but it doesn’t have enough dedicated torrenting servers to suit everybody’s needs. See our best VPNs for torrenting review for comparisons.
In security and configurability it falls short of services like Perfect Privacy (read our Perfect Privacy review), but it makes up for what it lacks in configurability with the user-friendliness of its interface and its many server locations. Note, though, that several of its servers are virtual and they may not all be listed as such.
- Gets into BBC iPlayer & Netflix
- Dedicated streaming servers
- Over 900 servers
- User-friendly client
- No bandwidth limits
- Logs information
- No split tunneling
- No choice of encryption protocols
- Doesn’t accept cryptocurrency
HMA gets into U.S. Netflix and BBC iPlayer, which puts it in an elite group of VPN providers. You can see some of the others by checking out our best VPNs for Netflix and best VPNs for iPlayer reviews. Usually, if a VPN can crack iPlayer, it can get into Netflix, too, but most only get into Netflix, if that.
HMA has a mobile-sized client that is not anchored to anything on your screen, so you can move it to keep an eye on it while doing other things on your computer. You can see a list of your favorite server locations, or a comprehensive list including 190 countries, and adjust the most important settings such as whether you want the VPN to launch at start-up.
You can also set the killswitch, which shuts down your internet connection if the VPN connection fails for any reason, ensuring that nobody will catch a glimpse of your IP address while you’re unprotected. We didn’t experience many disconnections while using it, like we did with competitors such as Shellfire (read our Shellfire review).
HMA doesn’t offer split tunneling, which is a feature that lets you choose which applications go through the VPN so you’re not slowed down by communicating with your printer via a server in Argentina. The service lets you choose which applications you use the killswitch for, though, so you don’t needlessly disconnect while doing something you don’t mind being seen doing.
Another feature of HMA is the IP shuffle, which automatically resets the IP address you seem to be connecting from to throw off anybody who might be trying to snoop on your activity. You can also set it to show the diagnostics window on start-up, though that will be unnecessary for most users since it displays advanced technical information.
In older versions of the HMA client, you could choose between encryption protocols, but not in the latest version. If you need that, you can download the older client and use protocols such as L2PT and PPTP, which may enhance your connection speeds.
For individual customers, HMA offers three payment plans, with prices in the higher range for VPN services. It’s not as pricey as ExpressVPN (read our ExpressVPN review), which has a similar range of server locations, but it will cost you quite a bit more per year than a top VPN service such as NordVPN (read our NordVPN review), which also gets into Netflix.
|Plan||1 month plan||6 month plan||12 month plan|
$ 11 99monthly
$ 47 946 months
$ 83 88yearly
|Bandwidth||Unlimited GB||Unlimited GB||Unlimited GB|
HMA has several business plans, which differ based on how many simultaneous connections you need. There are standard plans for 10, 20 or 30 simultaneous connections. The service will also create custom plans for businesses that want anything from five simultaneous connections upward for different amounts of time.
There is a free seven-day trial for first-time users, but the rules for getting your money back are difficult to understand. The deal is that if you opt for the seven-day free trial, you have to ask for your money back by day four, though you still get to use the VPN for the seven days.
Getting your money back is as simple as clicking a button on the HMA website.
The payment options are limited. It takes PayPal and major credit cards, but it doesn’t accept cash or cryptocurrency, which underlines the fact that this VPN is aimed at Netflix viewers rather than people doing more risky things on the internet. That is not to say that its security is anything near as lax as some of its competitors. See our Zenmate review for an example.
HMA has a standard download procedure once you’ve signed up: go to the download page and click on the button for your operating system. It will ask you to approve a license agreement, then install the software in your applications folder. Once installed, the shortcut icon appears on your desktop for easy access.
At that point, you must log in using the details you were given when you signed up. Once done, the client will appear on your desktop as a mobile-sized window in which you can choose a server location. It offers a handful of recommended locations, but you can see all the options in a drop-down menu.
Changing servers is easy, as you don’t have to manually disconnect and reconnect. Just click on the server you want and it does the rest. It’s also easy to find the server you want from the selection because they are divided into alphabetical groups. You can click on the “i” icon to see more detail about your connection, such which IP address you’re using.
You can organize the server options according what you’re using the VPN for, streaming or P2P torrenting. Streaming means watching content from Netflix or the BBC, while torrenting means downloading content through a network that connects you to another user’s computer. HMA has dedicated servers for both of those activities.
It’s nice that you can change the IP address you’re using on a server at the click of a button. If you’re feeling twitchy about security, you can make life difficult for anybody who might be trying to identify you by changing IP addresses every few minutes. You can do so manually or automate it by going to the preferences menu in the client.
Preferences are accessed from the burger menu at the top left of the client, and are divided into “general” and “network security” categories. The third category is “killswitch.” You can set it to only work for specific apps on your computer, which is a nice feature we haven’t found in any other VPNs.
HMA has clients for Windows 7 and later, Mac OSx 10.5 and later and an application for Linux. It also has mobile apps for iOS and Android. You can install it on your router and bypass all device-specific applications if that suits you better. It can be installed on up to five devices with a single license and there are no bandwidth limits.
Those specifications make it a much better deal for connectability than Avast SecureLine (read our Avast SecureLine review) and on par with competitors such as VyprVPN, but it doesn’t come close to the unlimited connections offered by GooseVPN (read our GooseVPN review).
HMA appears to have servers in almost every country in the world, which puts it way ahead of the competition. The company insists that only a handful of its servers are virtual and gives a list of them on its website, though we have reasons for questioning the list. You can see why in the section on security below.
Most VPN providers offer between 25 and 55 server locations. The second best on the market is ExpressVPN with around 150, but HMA has servers in off-the-beaten-path locations such as Central African Republic, Cape Verde and the Falkland Islands. While we can’t imagine why you’d need those, it’s nice to have options.
HMA also offers a feature called “freedom mode,” which automatically routes your connection through the nearest country with rigorous free speech laws. That may appeal to people using a VPN for certain kinds of political activity. Read our BolehVPN review to see a politically-inflected VPN service from another part of the world.
|Ireland||15 ms||89.15 Mbps||11.55 Mbps|
|UK||27 ms||26.28 Mbps||34.72 Mbps|
|Denmark||194 ms||28.17 Mbps||13.99 Mbps|
|USA||153 ms||29.71 Mbps||20.98 Mbps|
|Thailand||145 ms||18.12 Mbps||16.34 Mbps|
|El Salvador||279 ms||17.55 Mbps||6.05 Mbps|
|Angola||40 ms||58.90 Mbps||21.49 Mbps|
HMA has decent speeds, usually about one-quarter to one-third of the unprotected download speed and sometimes faster upload speeds than the unprotected speed. There’s little delay in establishing a connection and, while we were testing it, there was no great advantage to be gained from connecting to servers near us, which suggests that some of them are virtual.
We recorded this speed on the Angola server,, which was better than the Denmark speed on that occasion. The company confirmed that it is a virtual server.
We chose Tanzania as our first connection because we’ve never seen it offered by a VPN provider before — not even one as comprehensive as ExpressVPN — and it had no trouble connecting. To make sure we were going through that location, we did a DNS leak test and it identified our location as Tanzania right away.
An extended test showed that our IP address was visible in the Czech Republic, though, which, combined with the speed recorded, strongly suggested that the African server was also a virtual IP address. We did another test on the Angola server and found that it went through a server in the U.K.
The Czech and UK servers are owned by the internet security company Avast, so they are probably not a security threat. To make matters more confusing, though, our Google search from the Tanzania via Czech Republic server returned results in Japanese, perhaps because it’s using Tor software to thwart snoops by routing you through servers in random countries.
Unlike Avast SecureLine VPN, which boasts of its “bank-grade encryption,” HMA promises “military-grade encryption” like just about everyone else in the VPN industry. That means it offers the standard AES 256-bit encryption. You have to dig to find information on the HMA website about what encryption protocols it uses, but it’s in the knowledgebase if you look.
OpenVPN is the default option for Windows and Mac customers and, unless you choose otherwise, it operates with a UDP connection type. You can change to a TCP connection by going to the “preferences” screen on the main client and ticking the “TCP only” box.
Connection types can have implications for the stability of your connection.
OpenVPN is a popular option used by many VPN providers because it’s open source and assumed to be more responsive to emerging security threats. In older versions of the HMA client, you can choose PPTP or L2PT. PPTP has known security vulnerabilities, but it is faster. If you want that option, you can download an older version of the client.
If security is your primary concern, try Mullvad (read our Mullvad review). It allows you to pay by cash, so nobody can track your credit card. Other secure services include BolehVPN and Perfect Privacy, which, in addition to their no-logs policies, have warrant canaries to alert you if there’s any danger that the authorities are on your trail.
The HMA knowledgbase is decent, which is good because the help desk is hard to find before you’ve signed up. You will find it linked in the small print at the bottom of the landing page, but the customer service people pop up as soon as you go to that page. If you’re already a customer and need tech support, you can get to it through the desktop client.
Clicking the “help” tab on the main menu in the HMA website will bring you to a page with three headings: “getting started,” “knowledgebase” and “community.” They lead to a deeper FAQ level where you will find some answers, but we had technical questions about configuring encryption protocols that we couldn’t resolve there.
HMA’s help desk got back to us after a couple of days via email and answered our questions. It turns out that the knowledgebase is not up to speed with the latest version of the client, which may cause some confusion.
However, upon a test of the chat function we were helped much quicker, so it seems that if you need help from HMA staff, chat is the way to go.
HideMyAss is a great VPN for TV addicts because it gets in to the most in-demand streaming sites without delay. It doesn’t make you play around with different protocols to see which gets into U.S. Netflix and it has clearly marked servers for streaming. Plus, it does all the technical stuff for you behind the scenes.
If, in addition to streaming, you occasionally want to torrent, HMA is also a good bet. If torrenting is your main activity using a VPN, though, you should check out our NordVPN review for comparison. HMA security is not watertight, but is good enough for all but the most security-conscious users. Its speeds are okay for most activities, but not top-of-the-line.
Though pricey, we think HMA’s combination of features makes it worth your consideration. It just depends on whether you think having 900 servers in 190 countries and getting into iPlayer outweighs the ease of changing encryption protocols that you get with another service such as VyprVPN. Let us know what you think in the comments below.