HMA VPN Review – Is It Really the Best Way to “Hide My Ass” Online?

by
Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert Founder, vpncheck
Updated on 25 Oct 2021
Frederik is a serial entrepreneur that jumped into entrepreneurship after earning his doctorate in physics. Founding and running an analytics company got him into the online privacy and security space he's now contributing to with vpncheck. Read full bio

Expert Contributions

Adrian Sproule
Adrian Sproule Network Engineer
Cassandra Mackin UI / UX Designer
Cassandra Mackin User Interface Designer
John Mulligan
John Mulligan Cybersecurity Researcher
Brendan Filipovski
Brendan Filipovski Business Consultant
Theodor Tonca
Theodor Tonca Pricing Expert
Gillian Carrington Lawyer
Gillian Carrington Privacy & Data Protection Lawyer
This review is based on the exclusive research, analyses, and tests our experts have conducted of HMA VPN.

HMA VPN Review – Is It Really the Best Way to “Hide My Ass” Online?

In this VPN review, we’re going to look at what HMA’s virtual private network offers its users and compare it to their ever so perfect claims, figures, and illustrations. Also known as “Hide My Ass,” HMA is one of a few VPNs with over 15 years’ history of providing protection for their users. According to their website, they are “the only top-rated VPN provider that covers the world.” 

While the HMA website also states that you can unblock “the world,” some reviews state that HMA is a bad choice to unblock streaming sites. Our team of experts at VPNcheck decided to sign up to see whether HMA is a good VPN for streaming and whether they are secure and reliable as a VPN service.

We will also walk you through what features are offered and whether these are worth the price tag so that you can make the decision before you commit… (Spoiler Alert: You would probably find better value with a real top-tier VPN service, but let’s give them points for trying).

HideMyAss Review: TL;DR

  • Multiple Devices: Unlimited installs with your membership, and the choice of using on 5 or 10 devices simultaneously, it is perfect for those with lots of devices to protect. Strong compatibility means you can defend Android, Windows, Mac, and iOS devices on the same plan.
  • Decent Price: HMA offers very reasonable pricing, especially if you pay for multiple years upfront. Prices can work out at just a few dollars per month, paid tri-annually. 
  • Hide My Ass Security: HMA uses outdated protocols albeit strong AES encryption, tunneling with AES-256. Further security features protection against IPv4, IPv6, and other DNS leaks. However, user anonymity is not 100% tight. (Our cybersecurity expert elaborates on this further below.) 
  • Intelligent “IP Shuffle”: HMA VPN lets you quickly change your IP address at the press of a button to steer clear of trackers and spies who might be watching the activity of your IP address. This is not a feature that many VPNs offer.
  • Selected Speedy Servers: We had mixed results with streaming (more on this below) but there are some high-speed servers in the network, offering up to 20 Gbps. The “Quick Connect” feature on the app will automatically connect you to a quick server unless otherwise specified. This is good news for gamers and HD streaming.

HMA Performance: Limited Streaming and Unstable Speeds

A good VPN should allow you to do everything you would normally set out to do online with the same speed and efficiency. Most of us have used VPNs that leave us cursing and refreshing to try and get top speeds. In 2021, there’s really no excuse for this.

HMA is one of the more affordable VPNs, but does it sacrifice performance in the process?

Adrian Sproule, our resident expert on VPN performance shares his opinion below.

Our Expert Review and Rating of HMA VPN’s Network Performance

Anna Kolesnichenko
Anna Kolesnichenko
Management Consultant

A number of tests were carried out to make sure that HMA did not produce any DNS leaks. Such tests were performed before connecting to the VPN and while connected to the VPN, using the Google NameBench tool and dnsleaktest.com. All results show that there are no DNS leaks. Further manual tests were also carried out using Google’s DNS servers which are inside and outside the VPN.

A number of speed tests were carried out using HMA VPN endpoints around the world and the results were extremely varied. When compared to the ISP connection speed, testing via the ‘best and fastest’ VPN endpoints around the world, the download speeds were between 0.08-10.2% of the ISP download speed, and the upload speeds were between 1.97-42.18%. The majority of the download speeds came into the lower end of the range: out of 21 tests, only four VPN endpoints reached speeds over 100Mbps.

Further speed tests were performed from the VPN endpoint in Vienna, Austria, to other locations in Europe and America with very little difference in the speed between locations, download speeds ranged between 33.42Mbps – 54.41Mbps, with uploads between 32.65Mbps – 36.66Mbps

While performing the speed tests, it was noticed that while connected to some locations around the world, a message appeared beside your selected location that indicated you might not be connecting to the internet from the desired location, but no information was provided to inform you what country your traffic was appearing on the internet. When selecting a VPN endpoint location, this is where you expect your traffic to appear on the internet (not via another unknown location). This was disappointing.

For streaming servers such as YouTube and Netflix, both websites were accessible via the VPN. Still, testing for 8K video streaming on YouTube, the performance was very poor, with buffering taking place every few seconds, which lasted 2-3 seconds each time which provided a very poor user experience. However, 4K videos were able to be viewed without buffering.

Overall, from an end user’s experience, download speeds were quite poor and streaming Ultra HD videos would not be possible, and online gaming would certainly not have been achievable. Also, having your internet traffic appearing elsewhere on the internet other than your selected location is disappointing for a paid product.

Based on my opinion as a Senior Network and Firewall Engineer, I rate HMA VPN 5 / 10.

    5
    5

    Streaming

    Accessing websites and streaming services from particularly restrictive countries or watching sports and movies on services in other countries is one of the biggest draws of a VPN. For example, if you’re not in the US, you can’t watch Hulu. There are also different “versions” of Netflix around the world.

    Most people deem a VPN that can’t stream well as not being worth the money, and rightly so. How does HMA perform when it comes to streaming video?

    Before we delve into the specific streaming services, it is worth reiterating our expert’s honest opinion that HMA isn’t really capable of 8K streaming. The buffering was extreme, suggesting that streaming games over services like Stadia would also be incredibly difficult.

    Netflix: Unblocked

    Once we were in and streaming on Netflix, there were no speed issues whatsoever, even in high definition. However, accessing Netflix in different locations caused a few issues.

    Initially, using the Mac HMA app, we set the server location to the US (while viewing from the UK). On Chrome, we then tried to log in to Netflix, expecting the American version to greet us, but Netflix still detected that the computer was viewing from the UK. A little concerning.

    Eventually, we got around the problem. Using the Chrome extension version of HMA’s “Proxy Unblocker” we were able to log in with our membership and access numerous variations of the Netflix catalog. 

    HMA VPN screen showing a masked US IP location

    Hulu: Unblocked

    With a US-based server connection, we were also able to access Hulu with no problems at all and enjoy their shows with decent streaming speeds. We were getting download speeds of about 39 Mbps. Not amazing, but totally workable.

    Amazon Prime Video: Unblocked

    We had some mixed results using Prime Video with HMA because some of the servers are likely blocked. Initially, Prime let us watch videos with no problems, but when we went back in with a different connection, Amazon seemed to have wised up. They detected that we were connecting using a “VPN or proxy service” and didn’t play the videos.

    Check out the message below.

    A screenshot of Amazon Prime’s warning message indicating it detects the user is using a VPN or proxy serviceAfter some tweaking, we found these “streaming” servers. If you want to access streaming, make sure you use one of these specific servers. This also restricts you to just a few locations. A screenshot of HMA VPN’s film and TV streaming-specific server locations - Frankfurt in Germany, Donkey Town in the UK and 4 cities in the US

    BBC iPlayer: Unblocked

    BBC iPlayer has a lot of fantastic shows, but for people outside the UK, it can be a challenge to access. Luckily, we had absolutely no issues using a VPN server in the UK, and our location was detected as the East.Streaming a show on BBC iPlayer with the user location detected as the East

    DAZN: Blocked

    Boxing and sports fans know all about DAZN, and due to complex licensing laws, the offerings are totally different in every country. Some versions of DAZN let you watch totally different sporting events compared to others. It helps to be able to switch locations.

    Unfortunately, DAZN knew that we were on a VPN server no matter what we tried, connecting through numerous servers. These guys have wised up. We got a “not available in your country” message no matter which country we tried to connect.

    Torrenting With HMA

    Torrenting with HMA is technically allowed. They have P2P-optimized servers that you can use for better performance of torrents, which include locations in New York, London, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam. Connect to one of these if you’re going to torrent.

    Of course, you get the usual messages from HMA about copyrighted material. There are mixed reports about what data and logs are kept, but HMA’s privacy FAQ seems pretty unequivocal when they say, “No activity of any kind is logged.”

    Some anecdotal reports also point to HMA not being totally tolerant of torrenting (there’s a tongue-twister).

    HMA VPN Compatibility and Servers – One of the Most Accessible VPNs

    One area where HMA really excels is their compatibility with devices. As already mentioned, you can enjoy connections with either five or ten devices at once, depending on which plan you have signed up for. 

    There are apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook, Android, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox, Playstation, and iOS/iPadOS. You can also have as many installations as you like as long as you don’t make more than five connections at once.

    The network is impressive in size and breadth, too. There are over 1080+ servers at the time of writing, based in over 290 locations in 210 different countries. That’s a lot of servers!

    Server Speeds – Still Waiting for the 20 Gbps Server Speed

    Some of HMA’s Servers can offer rapid speeds. The advertised speed of 20 Gbps on streaming servers seems impressive. However, we found the speeds to be patchy, depending on where you are connecting to. This is not unusual, and it is good to have some specific streaming servers and even specific P2P sharing servers. Yet, here we have some striking examples of HMA’s speed fluctuations.

    Networks in Madrid, Paris, Moscow, and Riyadh all exceeded 100 Mbps in their download speed. This screenshot is from the Madrid server:HMA’s server speed for Madrid showing 142 Mbps download speed and 284 Mbps upload speed

    Some of the other locations were nowhere near as quick. Some of the servers, such as Tokyo, didn’t even give 1 Mbps. This is incredibly slow. You’re going to get frustrated, as these kinds of speeds might even struggle to quickly download a simple GIF or JPEG file.

    Here’s the Berlin server, struggling to give high download speeds. This could be an issue for anyone who needs to download a lot of data. HMA’s server speed for Berlin showing 16 Mbps download speed and 94 Mbpsupload speed

    HMA Server Locations

    On first viewing, the impressive 210 countries can suck you in. Keep in mind, though, that if you want to use one of the P2P or streaming optimized servers, your choices are far more limited.

    HMA Server Locations showing access to restrictive countries, such as ChinaYou can access servers in some of the more restrictive countries, such as China and Russia.

    At the time of writing, there are just three countries with streaming servers: US, UK, and Germany. If you want to catch that show on the Australian version of Netflix you could be out of luck.

    HMA Design: Anything Else Besides the Funny Donkey?

    One thing that might well strike you quickly when you check out the HMA website is the design. It’s incredibly playful. Well, a donkey in a business suit is certainly something that is designed to make people laugh. Other design aspects are designed to build trust, including numerous shades of Blues.

    Our UX/UI design expert, Cassandra Mackin, ran the rule over all aspects of the playful look and user interface of HMA and its suite of apps.

    Our Expert Review and Rating of HMA VPN’s UI/UX Design

    Cassandra Mackin UI / UX Designer
    Cassandra Mackin
    User Interface Designer

    HMA VPN has a lot going for it, including great P2P and streaming server options and a host of accessibility features. They aren’t a household name but are easy to use and growing quickly, especially in the non-techie market.

    Everything in the HMA app seems to be a bit blurry like they created it at a lower resolution. However, the app has a lot of really convenient features, including a shortcut menu with toggles for the most commonly used settings and a favorites option for saving your most-accessed servers. It includes many simple settings, though it seems to have less of the advanced VPN options many power users will be used to.

    HMA’s illustrations feature an anamorphic donkey in a business suit, yet their primary colors are all blues, so they portray both trustworthiness and silliness at the same time. They use illustrations throughout their website and app, which makes up for their lack of animations and gives them a playful and approachable feel, tying in well with their focus on simple settings for the everyday user. They make great use of color and vivacity with their ever-changing donkey icons in the app, which both provide amusement and a quick check of your current VPN status. A mask-wearing donkey is safely connected, while a plain sunglasses-wearing donkey is disconnected.

    If you have issues with your IP address, you can refresh it with one click. This is different from other VPNs and offers a great alternative to disconnecting and reconnecting, a time-consuming option. Their Lightning Connect is also only ever two clicks away, even if you’ve changed the server. 

    My markdowns for HMA are

    1. No automatic gaming servers,
    2. Blurry, low-resolution apps,
    3. Not great for power users, 
    4. Installation and setup on Linux is not at all user-friendly, even compared to most Linux installations, and
    5. Font sizes don’t change with OS settings.

    Based on my opinion as a UX & UI Designer I rate HMA VPN's user interface and user experience 7 / 10.

      7
      7

      Devices

      Depending on the membership plan you go for, you can have either five or ten devices connected to servers at any one time and unlimited device installs. HMA has excellent compatibility, as we’ve already discussed. You can connect to your iPhone, your Xbox, or even your Wireless Router.

      Windows

      Windows users can download a native app for Windows 10, 8, and 7. This is disappointing for Vista and XP users, but surely there are only about 10 of those left in the world in 2021.

      The Windows app installation is as simple as grabbing the .exe file from HMA’s website and running it before logging in with your account credentials. You can then use the app’s Quick Connect function to instantly find a fast server if you wish.

      Mac

      Mac users will find that the application has plenty of compatibility with different operating system versions. Apple seems to release a new one every month, so that’s definitely good news.

      The supported versions listed on HMA’s website are: macOS Yosemite (10.10), macOS El Capitan (10.11), macOS Sierra (10.12), macOS High Sierra (10.13), macOS Mojave (10.14).

      Technically speaking, you can run old versions of the app if your Mac system is running an OS predating 10.10. A guide on HMA’s previous software versions explains how to do this and how to troubleshoot some common issues. For the majority of Mac fiends, the app will just install and be ready to go.

      iOS

      If you’re one of the millions of iPhone and iPad users, you can head straight to the App Store to get your HMA app. As a well-designed, well-thought-out app, this works perfectly, and its exceptional reviews back this up.

      It’s listed as HMA Hotspot VPN & Proxy, and you can simply download it before either logging in with your existing account details or even buying membership as an in-app purchase. This is straightforward, but keep in mind it is then linked to your Apple account.

      The design means you can open the app and be connected to a server in seconds, with no hassle. The UI is sleek and impressive.

      You need at least iOS 12.0 to enjoy this app. A 4.6-star average review and over 22,000 reviewers speak for themselves.

      Android

      The HMA Android app is also very well-reviewed and well-made, with a UI that takes no time at all to get used to. You can use this with any Android device with an OS of 6.0 and up. The app is regularly updated, and incredibly it has over 5 million installs on Android devices worldwide.

      Apps and Extensions

      As well as the browser extension, there are versions of HMA for a wide variety of different devices, with standalone apps for games consoles and televisions, as well as the mainstream smartphones and computers.

      Check out a list of all the devices and extensions (Chrome) below:A list of desktop and mobile OS, devices and free extensions compatible with HMA VPNs app

      This undeniably makes the HMA VPN network more popular. The wide compatibility means that you can even use the VPN while you are gaming or straight on your television without having to cast to the screen from a different device.

      Usability

      Both usability and accessibility gain huge acclaim with the HMA suite of apps. In the majority of cases, it is incredibly simple to get started, from creating your account to installing and launching the app, and even connecting to a server and using some of the more advanced servers.

      There are a couple of areas that could be improved, and we dive into the step-by-step of the installation below.

      Before this, it’s worth a quick word on accessibility features, too. Some VPNs offer very little support in the way of accessibility, but HMA has good support for Narrator and Voiceover apps. Visually impaired people won’t find this app anywhere near as frustrating as some of the others.

      Signing up for HMA is easy.

      Each version of the HMA VPN app has its own page with a download button. This can be downloaded whether you’ve signed up for a membership yet or not. The Windows version can be seen below:A screenshot of a guide on how to set up HMA VPN for Windows

      Once you’ve downloaded and installed the app following on-screen instructions, you can log in with your credentials. Use the same credentials you used to sign up for your VPN. There is also the option to use an activation code that you get when you purchase a membership.

      Here is what the log-in screen looks like on a Mac app. HMA VPN’s login screen on a Mac app providing fields for username and password

      The log in credentials will be identical whichever device you are signing up on, so make sure you have a secure and robust password for logging in on every device, from your Xbox to your iPhone.

      When you’ve logged in, you are met with the simplest of interfaces that can allow you to connect in seconds. If you don’t need to change any settings or access any of the other features of this app, and just want to quickly connect to a private network, it just takes the click of a button, conveniently placed…um…under a donkey!HMA VPN home screen with a large on-off button for Network Connection, the user’s original IP and the chosen server location among many other features

      Hitting the “Off” button will automatically connect you to the server indicated underneath the “Original IP” section.

      This will automatically use “Lightning Connect” and hook you up to a server in a matter of seconds, but there are far more options if you click on the server location. You can choose between those 1,000+ servers by doing so.

      Check out the page that lets you choose your ideal server by one of the locations around the world and also by type of server. It’s not immediately obvious on the app that you need specific servers for streaming or P2P, and this is the screen where you can navigate to the appropriate servers.A screenshot of HMA VPN’s left navigation menu indicating that clicking the Streaming tab shows the available server locations specific for streaming

      Accessing the preferences at any time is your way to get to some of the more advanced features that the VPN offers. Some users won’t ever delve into these features, but if you want to access the highest level of security and all of the functionality, you’ll need to make some tweaks to these settings. The Kill Switch and added security functions like the IP Shuffle can be switched on here.HMA VPN’s Preferences screen under Privacy settings show the Kill Switch, IP Shuffle and Location history options

      The preferences menu also lets you alter things about your connection, access HMA’s support, and view your billing settings and account.

      HMA Security: They Tried, but...

      Let’s dive a little more into the legal issues and trustworthiness of the network. This can make all the difference for those looking for absolutely watertight VPN features to remain hidden and secure.

      The HMA homepage makes some big promises: “You have the right to keep your online life as private as possible from hackers, your ISP, and even your government. Any VPN can do that, but HMA does it best.”

      The policies and features seem, at first glance, to support the commitment to privacy that HMA makes. There are indeed some really clever added features, including the IP Shuffle. Automatically changing your IP address makes it harder for your activity to be tracked across the internet.

      However, there are some flaws in the network, namely the amount of information that HMA keeps. Your anonymity is not paramount with this network. Being UK-based, the company has to remain GDPR compliant. Some users would rather use VPNs in Switzerland or further afield because they have strict privacy laws to protect customers.

      Our security expert, John Mulligan, gives an overview of whether the donkey can indeed be trusted:

      Our Expert Review and Rating of HMA VPN’s Security

      John Mulligan
      John Mulligan
      Cybersecurity Researcher

      Hidemyass is a very well-known and popular VPN service. It has been around for quite some time and is currently part of AVAST cybersecurity company. Besides the name, the website uses lots of attempts at comic jargon, but this is all to distract you from the many flaws in their offered VPN solution.

      All you need to register is an email address, but once registered, you have to give them payment information either by a credit card, PayPal, or Google/Apple pay, which will include your identity. This is required even to activate the free trial. Once registered and your subscription is activated, the client setup is smooth, and the app is loaded with lots of features and services. The traffic is encrypted and on the surface, websites are not able to source your true identity, but you are by no means anonymous. HMA keeps your usage statistics, domains, time stamps, VPN IP, and your real IP. Per their published privacy policy buried on their website, they can share your information to partners for various services, including direct marketing. They can also provide all this information, including your identity and activity, if ordered by government authority. You are not anonymous or masked if you use the service for anything deemed unscrupulous.

      Their VPN technology utilized is a few revisions behind, and my local HMA client was logging obsolete options configured. In a production environment, it is not acceptable to be using outdated protocols. On top of this, their website looks neglected. Their blog entries are old and reviews or comments they publish are not dated. I attempted multiple times to reach tech support, via live chat and email about basic technical questions and I never got a response. Reviewing their community forums, the lack of support seems to be across the board. My feeling is the company has given up trying to be up to date and is just enjoying the monthly residuals. 

      My overall feeling about the technical solution is that it is adequate, but after factoring their privacy policy, outdated technology, and lack of support my overall rating would be a 2. I’d recommend looking elsewhere; you can do better.

        2
        2

        Security Protocols

        HMA uses IKEv2/IPSEC or the OpenVPN protocol using OpenSSL with algorithms 3DES, AES 256, RC5, 256 bit encryption. Some VPN providers give you the choice between OpenVPN and other tunneling methods, but HMA takes the approach of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. 

        HMA also includes built-in protection against IPv4, IPv6, and other forms of DNS leaks, which we tested robustly and found no records of leaks. 

        In short, the protocols and security do the job they are built to, but not spectacularly. They’re running OpenVPN 2.5.1, which is not the latest version. This could leave the network vulnerable if they don’t keep it updated. On top of this, the VPN does not support multi-hop server routing, which means they don’t enjoy the benefits of that extra level of encryption.

        IP Shuffle

        In their words, this is not “a sick dance move.” Instead, the IP Shuffle is a quick and easy way to automatically shift your IP address. This means, if you’re being tracked or spied on online, the process will suddenly become much more difficult. It protects your anonymity during a browsing session or even during P2P transfers. 

        The IP Shuffle is at the top of HMA’s feature list, as not a great deal of VPN providers offer it.

        Split Tunneling

        Split tunneling lets you choose whether all of your apps get VPN protection or not. For instance, you still need to be connected to a work server or localized version of a website, but you also want to watch TV shows from Germany in another browser.

        Split tunneling makes your VPN use much more flexible and is a common feature among modern VPN providers. The bad news? This HMA feature doesn’t work on any Apple devices or Mac.

        Kill Switch

        A smart kill switch is another useful feature to make sure your privacy doesn’t get compromised while you’re using the VPN. If your VPN connection drops out for any reason, the Kill Switch automatically switches off the internet altogether. This means your location or data packets do not get leaked or exposed in the very possible event of a server disconnection.

        Nobody wants to lose internet connection, but it is a great fallback plan. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on all devices, and there’s no iOS kill switch.

        HMA Reliability: Let the Funky Donkey Help You

        We got it – the idea with the donkey in the suit is all funny and appealing. But a VPN service should also be serious and reliable. Now, the question is: Can HMA strike a balance between these two extremes? Is the Donkey of any help when you really need him?

        For an unbiased and professional opinion, we checked with Gillian Carrington, our in-house legal expert, to review HMA’s reliability:

        Our Expert Rating and Review of HMA VPN’s Data Privacy Policy

        Gillian Carrington Lawyer
        Gillian Carrington
        Privacy & Data Protection Lawyer

        HMA’s privacy policy is GDPR-compliant on the whole and offers a commendable standard of transparency.

        The GDPR is widely regarded as setting the global “gold standard” for data privacy by requiring security, privacy, specificity and accountability, and empowering data subjects to know what is happening to their data and control it. This Privacy Policy reflects the core values of the GDPR to a great extent.

        Positive aspects of the privacy policy include (i) complying with the data minimization and purpose limitation principles as far as possible by holding minimal personal data and offering detail about retention periods, (ii) communicating in a clear, intelligible, and transparent manner and providing updates via its blog, (iii) providing clear information about the GDPR legal bases for processing and (in our experience, unusually) explaining how it sees its legitimate interests, (iv) offering a good explanation of how data may be transferred out of the UK/EU and what HMA does to safeguard that data in transit, and (v) offering users a detailed explanation of their rights in respect of their data and how they may exercise them. On the e-privacy side, we consider their Cookies Policy to be very good (we would go so far as to say better than most)  as it goes into the detail of what cookies are actually used and how to disable them. HMA also commits to safeguarding users’ privacy by not logging and storing users’ behavioral data.

        On the negative side, their policy is a little messy, with information spread between the various products and offerings. We found that the information about third-party providers in the policy is not comprehensive and had to refer to the user’s guide to get a complete picture of which third-party providers are used. It is one of our recurring complaints that where legitimate interests are relied on as a basis for processing, very few providers explain how their legitimate interests are balanced against the users’ legitimate interests and HMA is no exception to this rule. The reason for data transfers outside of the UK/EU is described as “ a matter of necessity.” This is not GDPR-compliant.

        Notwithstanding these deficiencies, HMA’s is one of the better VPN privacy policies we have seen. It is transparent, specific, and accessible. It engages with the GDPR requirements without swamping the user in legalese. The Cookies Policy is e-privacy compliant.

        We rate HMA's privacy 8.5 / 10.

          8.5
          8.5

          Customer Support

          With all of those different versions of the application, and constant updates to operating systems, it’s almost inevitable that you might need some customer support at times, however good you are with VPNs. 

          You can get help in a variety of ways as an HMA customer:

          • Troubleshooting. The app has an inbuilt “troubleshoot” function which detects any issues on the server you’re connected to. 
          • HMA’s Knowledge Base – HMA’s customer support includes loads of tutorials with common FAQs and issues covered. If you’re experiencing an issue that HMA customers have encountered before, then there is every chance that you can find the answers here.
          • Forum. There’s a fairly active forum, which can be useful for asking questions about issues you are experiencing. A cool hack method to find information is to search the HMA VPN forum for your issue or error code.
          • Support form. You can navigate to this support form through the “Settings” section of your app or directly on the HMA website, explain your issue, and a staff member will usually respond within hours rather than days.HMA VPN customer support request form

          Company Overview and History – One of the Coolest VPN Origin Stories

          It’s a bit of a fairytale story. Jack Cator, the founder of the company, was just 16 when he started a proxy website to get around his school’s restrictive internet settings. This technology would become the basis of the VPN. He dropped out of college to work on it full time, and the company became a SaaS subscription-based VPN in 2009.

          This DIY approach is not necessarily the feel of the company now, which has become a subsidiary of AVG, which was then bought by Avast. These huge internet security companies have some robust systems that can be used to support HMA. However, they also keep quite a lot of information about users, so for those craving the ultimate anonymity, the bad news is that usage statistics, domains, time stamps, VPN IP, and your real IP, are all stored by the company.

          HMA Business Structure: In-Depth

          The structure of a business, especially one with so much focus on privacy, is vitally important. We reached out to Brendan Filipovski, our resident business expert, for his opinion on the structure of this VPN and how this impacts the way the company is run.

          Our Expert Review and Rating of HMA VPN’s Business Structure

          HMA VPN was started by 16-year-old Jack Cator in 2005 and transitioned to a VPN subscription service in 2009. He formed the operating company Privax (formerly Netco Solutions) in 2010. HMA and Hide My Ass are trademarks of Privax. Privax grew quickly with Jack as CEO and was sold to the British subsidiary of Czech cybersecurity company AVG Technologies in 2015 for $60m. AVG, in turn, was acquired by fellow Czech cybersecurity firm Avast in 2016 for $1.4bn. Avast has maintained Privax and HMA. The HMA brand is well-known and has a loyal following. Its latest publicly available financial reports also show that it is profitable. In August 2021, Avast and NortonLifeLock announced a merger to be finalised in 2022. Privax has gone from a relatively small private company to a subsidiary of global leaders in cybersecurity. 

          While it may no longer have the romance and independence of a small private company owned by its founder, it will benefit from the technology and scale of its holding companies. Depending on the strategies of the holding company, there is the possibility of it being absorbed in the existing VPN services of its holding companies. In terms of its business model, it is a subscription service focused on private individuals and should thus be fully aligned to the interests of private individuals.

          Based on my opinion as a business consultant, I rate HMA VPN 8 / 10 in terms of its business structure. There are no red flags, and despite recent changes, the company is in the hands of global leaders in cybersecurity.

          Pricing: Not So Creative Plans

          HMA is one of the more affordable options as VPNs go, especially if you are happy to commit for a more extended period. But let’s take it step by step.

          On the brand’s pricing page, you can see the different payment options for your membership and what these memberships entail. The screenshot below is for a five-device membership.HMA VPN’s three pricing plans for 5 devices: free trial, 12 months at £3.29/month and 36 months at £2.39/month

          You can buy either a 12-month or 36-month plan, and while the price has defaulted to the local currency (the UK, where HMA is based), clicking “Buy Now” will lead you to a checkout where you can see the localized pricing. The 36-month plan can work out as one of the cheapest methods of getting a VPN membership.A screenshot of HMA VPN’s checkout form for a 36-month plan charged at £78 or $107.64 USDThe only variable feature, based on which membership you get, is whether you can have five or ten devices logged in simultaneously. All packages boast 1080+ servers in 290+ locations worldwide, 20 Gbps connection speeds and servers for streaming & P2P connections.” 

          The personal plan pricing is as follows:

          Plan Type 1 year 36-Month Plan

             Personal

          $4.99/mo

          $59.88 billed once

          $2.99/mo

          $107.64 billed upfront

          Hidden away on the site, we actually found the option to pay monthly, too. A section of HMA VPN’s web page showing a link to view more plans for the monthly options

          This works out far more expensive, and since you also have a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you don’t rate the service, it isn’t really worth doing.

          HMA can also offer tailored plans for business and enterprise. The European pricing for a business plan, with 30 simultaneous device logins, works out at €25.92/mo, which is billed as €311 upfront for the year.

          If you have custom needs, you can contact the sales team to provide you with a custom quote.

          Our pricing expert, Theodor Tonca, has given the service a “solid 7 out of 10” when it comes to pricing. Read more of his thoughts below.

          Our Expert Review and Rating of HMA VPN’s Pricing

          Theodor Tonca
          Theodor Tonca
          Pricing Expert

          HideMyAss Is a very easy-to-use service with a sprawling network of servers and an independently-audited no-logging policy, but there are definitely cheaper services around. Is HMA worth the price?

          An HMA subscription starts at $4.99 per month for a 12-month personal plan, which of course, is billed once upfront. Personally, I always preferred a flexible monthly option instead of being corralled into a year-long (or longer) commitment and to this day have not signed up for a service that doesn’t offer one, but maybe that’s just me.

          For those with a large family or that have some friends left, there is a bit more flexibility with 12, 24, and 36-month plans offered for up to 10 connections, starting at $7.99 per month for the 12-month plan, with no option to pay monthly here either. These plans all come with unlimited installs and up to five simultaneous connections for the whole household.

          Finally, if you find yourself needing a reliable business VPN service – HMA is used by over 800 businesses around the world – then a 10, 20 or 30 simultaneous connections may be more up your alley. These, I am happy to report, DO provide a monthly billing option in addition to discounted yearly plans, and there is also a custom plan option for larger organizations, which comes with a free trial and a tailored quote according to your needs.

          All plans come equipped with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is welcome, and easy online cancellation with the tap of a button.

          Overall, HMA offers a whole plethora of features, lots of different plan types to choose from, and some flexibility when it comes to monthly/yearly pricing for business users, but not for personal or family subscribers. 

          For this reason and slightly higher pricing than available elsewhere, I would rate the service a solid 7 out of 10.

            7
            7

            HMA Pros and Cons

            Pros Cons
            Over 1080 servers located in over 210 countries around the world No Tor network support, so you can’t take advantage of the anonymity of the Tor (Onion) network 
            Excellent compatibility with your devices, and native apps for use on the Xbox and Playstation consoles, along with computers and devices including Android and iOS Limited access to foreign versions of streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon 

            • If you want to use streaming and P2P, you need to use specific servers with limited locations. 
            Specific streaming servers offering high speeds No live chat function for support
            Affordable pricing if you are willing to sign up for a 36-month plan No anonymous method to pay
            Clever IP-shuffle facility to prevent your activity being tracked or spied on Detectable proxy by some streaming services

            • We only got signed in by specifically using the HMA browser extension for Chrome.
            Data including usage statistics, domains, time stamps, VPN IP, and your real IP, are all stored by the company
            No DAZN support

            So, Who Should Use This VPN?

            We’d consider HMA to be an acceptable choice for first time VPN users. There is some value in the fact that they have servers all over the world and an amazing level of compatibility with your devices (including consoles!).

            Generally speaking, it’s easy to get okay speeds for HD streaming, but not UHD. It’s also simple to connect to specified servers for P2P. For basic needs, it does a good job, though we did find it a little tricky to connect to some services, and impossible to get access to DAZN – bad news for you sports fans.

            If you are highly security-conscious and want to take advantage of features like onion browsers over Tor, you probably need to look for a more advanced VPN. However, for a relatively easy install and basic features, HMA can definitely fit the bill.