HideMyAss is a decent VPN provider and has the largest server spread on the market. Recently, it changed its name to HMA, making us wonder if it has anything new up its sleeves. In this HideMyAss review, we examined everything from features, pricing, speeds and streaming ability to customer service.
- HMA, formerly known as HideMyAss, is a middle-of-the-pack VPN that offers basic functionality.
- The VPN has average download and upload speeds, but it cannot unblock the major streaming services.
- HMA’s willingness to share user information is troubling, especially since it’s owned by Avast, a company with a history of selling user data.
In our last HMA review, we were concerned about the VPN’s inconsistent speeds and affiliation with Avast, a company that has a dodgy privacy history. Read on to discover if anything has changed and whether this middling VPN now comes anywhere close to the best VPNs on the market.
HideMyAss Video Review
09/19/2022 Facts checked
The review has been updated to include information about HMA’s rebranding.
Updated the article to reflect ExpressVPN’s expansion of server presence from 94 to 105 countries.
Updated information on HMA’s money-back guarantee.
HMA VPN isn’t particularly good for gaming because of its poor latencies.
HMA VPN doesn’t offer a free version. You’ll have to subscribe to one of the three paid plans to enjoy the service. However, you can try it for free for seven days.
HMA has dedicated servers for torrenting, which work effectively. However, the VPN warns against downloading copyright-protected films, series or music.
Alternatives for HideMyAss
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, cash
- : 10
Average speedDownload Speed92 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency5 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency6 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
- : 6
Average speedDownload Speed81 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency39 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin, Amazon Pay
- : 7
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 8
HideMyAss Review: Strengths & Weaknesses
- Large server spread
- Easy-to-use UI
- Seven-day free trial
- Shady logging & track record
- Live chat not functioning
- Android only split tunneling
When it comes to VPN features, HMA offers slim pickings. Disappointingly, it lacks several useful features, including double VPN servers, dedicated IP addresses and obfuscation. For a VPN with all those features, check out our Surfshark review.
That said, HMA VPN has a kill switch, which shuts off your internet connection if your VPN connection drops. That way, your IP address or online activity is never exposed, even if your VPN disconnects unexpectedly.
There’s also an app kill switch, which blocks specific apps from accessing the internet when the VPN isn’t on. See our NordVPN review for a VPN with a similar feature.
IP Shuffle is HMA’s IP randomizer, which changes your IP address at predetermined intervals. You can set the interval to anywhere from a minute to daily. This feature makes it hard for anyone to keep tabs on your online activity, and it might make it harder for geo-restricted websites to deny you access.
That said, be sure to turn on the kill switch when using the IP Shuffle feature. If not, your IP address could be exposed momentarily when a shuffle occurs. Note that HMA VPN’s kill switch is turned off by default, so you’ll have to remember to turn it on while using the IP Shuffle.
HideMyAss Features Overview
|Payment methods||PayPal, Credit card|
|Supports split tunneling|
|Free trial available|
|Worldwide server amount||1040 servers in 210 countries|
|Desktop OSes||Windows, MacOS, Linux|
|Mobile OSes||Android, iOS|
|Can be installed on routers|
|Can access Netflix US|
|Can access BBC iPlayer|
|Can access Hulu|
|Can access Amazon Prime Video|
|VPN protocols available||OpenVPN, PPTP, IKEv2|
|Enabled at device startup|
|Passed DNS leak test|
|Malware/ad blocker included|
HMA’s plans are grouped based on the number of possible simultaneous connections. If you want five simultaneous connections, you can choose from four plans.
The monthly option will set you back $11.99 each month, while you’ll need to pay $8.99 per month on the six-month plan and $4.99 per month on the 12 and 24-month plans. Finally, there’s a 36-month plan, which costs $2.99 per month.
There’s also a seven-day free trial if you want to test the VPN.
If you opt for ten simultaneous connections, the VPN offers three plans: a 12-month plan at $7.99 per month, a 24-month plan at $6.99 per month and a 36-month plan at $5.99 per month.
Keep in mind that HMA’s pricing may be different from the above values depending on your location. The pricing page is also very confusing, with the 1-month plan hidden on a separate page that you can reach by clicking “view more plans” under the list of accepted payment methods.
Overall, HMA offers competitive pricing, but it’s not as cheap as most of the VPN providers on our best cheap VPNs list.
Does HMA Have a Money-Back Guarantee?
In line with standard practice in the VPN space, HMA VPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means you can request a full refund within 30 days of your purchase. However, it is not honored.
Our recent experience with HMA saw us contact customer support numerous times to request a refund, but we didn’t get a reply, let alone a refund. If HMA ticks all of the boxes for you and you’re fine with a paid subscription, then this won’t be an issue.
If you’re not sure, though, it’s best to use the seven-day free trial first. Just be sure to cancel before the seven days are up if you don’t want to continue, as you’ll be automatically moved to a paid plan and likely won’t be able to get a refund.
HMA offers various payment options, as well. Your payment gateway might differ based on your location, but you can pay worldwide through credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard and Discover. You can also pay through PayPal.
- 7-day free trial option
- Unlimited GB
1-month plan, 6-months plan, 1-year plan, 2-year plan
- Unlimited GB
Ease of Use
HMA’s website is attractive, sleek and organized well. You should have no problems finding useful information, whether you want to check its price or download the VPN.
HMA has clients for Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux and routers. Thankfully, downloading and installing HMA is a breeze across the board. For this review, we examined HMA on Windows and Android.
HMA VPN Desktop App
Let’s start with the aesthetics. HMA VPN uses a blue and white color scheme, which seems to be a favorite among VPNs. This color combination makes it easy on the eye.
The VPN’s layout is pretty standard, as well. On the homepage, you’ll find a large power button to turn the VPN on or off. Underneath that button is a shortcut to the VPN’s server locations. Above the power button, you’ll find a tab named “more,” which contains a shortcut to the kill switch, a speed test button and a summary of data downloaded and uploaded.
The “settings” button at the left-hand corner of the app houses all the tabs you need to use or customize various VPN features, including the kill switch, IP Shuffle, auto-connect, protocols and customer support. Worthy of note is the troubleshooting button (under the “help and support” section), which allows HMA to run tests and detect problems with your connection.
HMA VPN Mobile App
Like most VPN mobile apps, HMA’s Android app is a trimmed-down version of its Windows app. For example, you won’t get access to the troubleshooting feature that automatically detects problems with your connection and fixes them. There’s also no option to activate or tweak your kill switch.
Every VPN will reduce your speeds to an extent. However, the best VPNs have a marginal impact that ensures no lags or buffering, whether you’re casually browsing or playing a fast-paced game.
How We Ran Our HMA Speed Test
We ran our VPN test from Accra, Ghana, with an unprotected download speed of 18.5 Mbps, upload speed of 35.5 Mbps and latency of 205 ms.
Those values served as a benchmark to help us measure drops in speed when connected to a VPN server. Next, we tested HMA’s VPN server speeds in select countries across various continents to get a bird’s eye view of HMA’s performance.
Our results are in the table below. Note that your speeds might differ based on your internet connection and location. For example, the servers in Gambia were the closest to us in the test, so we would expect better performance there. That said, the values here serve as useful indicators.
HMA VPN Speed Test Results
The download speeds in the U.S. took quite a hit, although the upload speeds were much better. The U.K. servers gave us our best results, even though they’re farther away from our testing location than the servers in Gambia. This likely means more popular locations, like the U.S. and U.K., are kitted with better hardware. Cheaping out on server hardware might be what allows HMA to cover so many countries.
Of course, we could also chalk this up to HMA’s use of virtual servers. We’ll talk more about those in the “server locations” section. For now, all you need to know is that emulating such a widespread network on a relatively small server count might also account for the lackluster speeds.
As expected, the speeds in Australia and Singapore took quite a hit, because they were far from our testing location.
Overall, HMA is not the fastest VPN we’ve tested, but it posted good enough speeds for us to classify it as “usable.” The good thing is you can always test your VPN server speeds using the built-in speed test function.
For the best security, you need a VPN with robust encryption. HMA comes with AES-256 encryption, which is the gold standard for VPNs and is virtually unbreakable. Learn more about this encryption protocol in our piece on AES encryption.
Unfortunately, HMA doesn’t have the increasingly popular perfect forward secrecy (PFS). This feature regularly changes your encryption keys, so cybercriminals can’t decrypt all your data, even with access to the VPN’s servers.
Read our ExpressVPN review for an example of a VPN that comes with PFS.
HMA VPN Protocols Explained
A VPN protocol governs how your VPN connects to the internet, and it’s the second piece in a VPN’s security puzzle, alongside encryption. HMA VPN offers a variety of protocol options, which you can use depending on your needs. The default on HMA is the OpenVPN protocol (TCP and UDP), and rightly so because it’s the security standard among VPN protocols.
However, OpenVPN is reserved for Windows and Android devices. If you want to use the VPN on iOS and macOS, you’ll have to use the IKEv2/IPSec protocol. IKEv2/IPSec is better for mobile devices because it’s quick to reconnect.
There’s also the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). We don’t recommend using it since it’s dated and susceptible to brute-force attacks, as you can see in our article on VPN protocols.
Unfortunately, there’s no WireGuard protocol, which is a modern, lightweight and fast VPN protocol. Read our Mullvad review to learn about a VPN that offers it.
When it comes to the VPN service, HMA does much better. It doesn’t log your originating IP, DNS queries or browsing history. True, the VPN collects information like the day of connection and the amount of data transmitted, but that’s standard fare for running a VPN service, as you can read in our CyberGhost review.
Who Owns HMA: Avast & Its Sordid History
HMA was acquired in 2016 by the Avast Group, a Czech cybersecurity company known for Avast Pro antivirus. A year before, HMA was owned by AVG Technologies, which became a subsidiary of the Avast Group once the firm bought it.
Through its data harvesting arm, Jumpshot, Avast sold the data it collected to big companies, including Google, Yelp and Microsoft. Although Avast has since shut down Jumpshot, the cloud of not sticking to its word still hangs over the company’s head.
HMA claims that its dedicated streaming servers can unblock all major streaming platforms. We put this to the test, starting with Netflix. Unfortunately, HMA drew a blank when we attempted to unblock Netflix libraries in various locations, including the U.K. and U.S.
We didn’t have any luck with BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video either. Sometimes VPNs unblock these streaming services after multiple tries, but HMA VPN never did. Consequently, we can’t recommend HMA VPN if you’re interested in using a VPN to get past geoblocks. Instead, check out our guides on the best VPNs for Netflix, the best VPNs for Amazon Prime Video and best VPNs for BBC iPlayer.
HMA VPN has over 1,040 servers spread across more than 210 countries, with 290 server locations. In terms of server spread, this is the most impressive number of countries covered we’ve seen in our years of reviewing VPNs. For context, ExpressVPN, the best HideMyAss alternative, has servers in 105 countries.
Normally, we wouldn’t even mention a raw server count, since the number of servers doesn’t say much. For example, a service could run on 10,000 slow servers and still perform worse than a service with 3,000 fast servers. We bring it up here because HMA’s 1,040 servers being spread so thin across the 290 locations means you’ll see a ton of throttling due to server overloads.
That said, many of HMA’s VPN servers are not physically in the locations they’re emulating because the service uses virtual servers to augment its physical ones. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Read our piece on virtual vs physical servers to understand the value virtual servers bring.
It’s good to see that HMA is transparent about its virtual server locations on its website. On the app, the VPN indicates the actual locations of the virtual servers. For example, under servers in the U.S., there’s a server listed “via Germany, Frankfurt.” Surfshark keeps it simple: its virtual servers are marked with a “v” icon.
The good news about virtual servers is that, in the example of the U.S. server emulated via Frankfurt, if you’re located in Germany, you’ll get much faster speeds connecting to that U.S. server compared to a physical one. The downside is if you’re in the U.S., your speeds on that server will be much worse.
Server Location Breakdown
It’s great to see that HMA’s server list covers a lot of ground, including often-neglected locations. We’ve broken down the server spread in the table below.
As you can see, most of HMA’s servers are in North America, especially the United States. Europe is well stocked, too, with multiple server locations in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. Considering many VPNs overlook continents like Africa and South America, it’s impressive that HMA has many servers in those places.
HMA VPN has a knowledgebase full of questions and answers. It’s categorized based on operating systems, making it easy to find the information you’re looking for without much digging. The entries include helpful images and screenshots. However, we’d like to see the VPN add videos.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can reach out to a customer support agent through a ticket system. HMA requires you to fill several fields before sending over your request, which can be frustrating.
Alternatively, you can scroll through HMA’s forum. It’s not super active, but you can still find useful information there. You can post your questions as well, but don’t expect a rapid response.
Live Chat Support
Unfortunately, despite the articles on its website that mention a live chat, it seems to no longer be available. We tried to access HMA’s live chat service, but the VPN only gave us links to knowledgebase articles and an option to leave a message.
HideMyAss VPN Review: The Verdict
To wrap up this HMA VPN review, the VPN can be a useful choice if you’re looking for one with basic functionality. It has a nice look and feel, but it can’t match the best VPNs in several categories, including features, speeds and streaming.
Do you agree with our HMA VPN review? Have you used this VPN or any other VPN services? Would you consider purchasing HMA? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. As always, thanks for reading.