Founded in 2005 as a web proxy service, Hide My Ass! (HMA) is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider based in the United Kingdom.
The provider delivers reliable VPN connections that offer excellent security for your online travels.
However, it’s true that the provider has been caught sharing information about their users with outside parties.
In this review, I’ll be taking a close look at HMA, digging to see what, if anything, the provider has done to restore its privacy reputation with its users. I’ll also give definitive answers to questions such as:
How fast are the provider’s connections?
Does it provide reliable security and privacy protections?
Does it offer reliable access to Netflix and other streaming services?
This is my comprehensive report on Hide My Ass!’s overall performance, features, security and more.
See If Hide My Ass! Is for You
While its privacy protections are lacking, HMA does provide fast connections and excellent protection for your internet connections.
1-month, 1-year and 2-year plans are available, but the 3-year plan is where you’ll save some serious dough.
HMA offers a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee for all subscription plans.
Hide My Ass! delivers excellent service in most categories and makes for a good option for users looking for reliable unblocking of popular U.S. and U.K. streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. However, if you’re concerned about outsiders getting a look at your online activities, I strongly suggest you look elsewhere for VPN service.
|Tested Speed:||61.44 Mbps average download speed (independently tested)|
|Streaming Support:||HD & 4K HDR|
|Unblocks Netflix?:||Yes – reliably for the U.S. and U.K. only|
|U.S. Streaming Services Supported:||Netflix U.S., Hulu|
|U.K. Streaming Services Supported:||Netflix U.K., BBC iPlayer|
|Supports Torrenting:||Yes, but limited to servers in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.|
|Value for the Money:||4/5|
|Money-Back Guarantee:||30 days|
- Fast, HD- and 4K-capable connections
- Unblocks Netflix in the U.S. and U.K.
- Top-notch connection protection
- Kill switch protection
- Massive global server network
- Priced higher than many other VPNs
- Logs some information about users’ VPN sessions
Hide My Ass! has the 4 major device platforms covered, with native apps available for the Windows, macOS, iOS and Android platforms.
HMA also furnishes step-by-step instructions for setting up their VPN on the Linux platform using open source software.
While the provider’s help section includes information about browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, I was unable to find links to either extension. However, I did unearth a Chrome extension from HMA that allows you to quickly check your IP address.
HMA is compatible with multiple router makes and models, and pre-configured routers are available from Flashrouters.com.
The Hide My Ass! apps offer the basic features you’d expect from a VPN, including a kill switch, the option to automatically turn on VPN protection when you connect to the internet, and the ability to exclude protection when connected to trusted networks.
In addition, the app can also be set to “shuffle” your device’s IP address, periodically changing the IP address to make it even tougher for any third party to track your location.
When connecting to a VPN server, you’ll have 3 “modes” available.
- “Instant Mode” auto-connects you to the best nearby server. This mode is recommended when you simply need to turn on encryption to protect your internet session from prying eyes.
- “Location Mode” allows the user to select a particular server location. This is your best bet for accessing geo-blocked websites and streaming services, such as BBC iPlayer or Netflix.
- “Freedom Mode” is intended for use in overly restrictive countries. Selecting this mode will auto-connect you to a server in a free-speech country in order to give you access to blocked websites and news services.
The provider’s apps are all easy to use and don’t put too big a hit on your device’s system resources. However, they do lack features and options that power users may expect.
Hide My Ass! allows up to 5 simultaneous connections to their network on the same login.
At the time of this article, HMA’s global server network is made up of 950+ servers located in 190+ countries around the globe. That is impressive global coverage – the best on the market.
HMA allows P2P file-sharing activities while connected to its servers, but only on servers specifically set aside for that purpose. Those servers are located in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
24/7 live chat support, a support ticket tracking system and a searchable help center are available from the provider’s customer support department. A user forum is also available, where users ask questions and share advice.
In addition to protecting your online activities from prying eyes, one of the most popular uses for a VPN is to open access to streaming content from other regions. Personally, I always check to make sure a VPN service can open access to Netflix and other services before laying my money down on the table.
In the early days of both the streaming and VPN industries, it was a relatively simple matter to use a VPN to open access to streaming content in other regions of the world.
However, as both types of services became more popular, streaming services became hip to the use of a VPN to get around their content geo-blockades. They’ve now become adept at blocking VPN users from accessing their favorite movies and TV shows.
Hide My Ass! does a top-notch job of unblocking streaming services, but only those services located in the United States and the United Kingdom. If your favorite Netflix movie is only available in France, you’ll need to look elsewhere for an unblocking solution.
While both the U.K. and U.S. streaming servers provide reliable access to Netflix, Amazon Prime constantly recognized my use of a VPN, therefore blocking me from its content.
Hulu happily allowed me to view my favorite shows when using the U.S.-based, VPN-optimized servers. Meanwhile, BBC iPlayer delivered access to “Ghosts” when I attempted to view an episode while connected to HMA’s U.K. streaming VPN server.
When I was able to access the streaming services, all video content began playing immediately – playing smoothly, with no delays or pixelation.
Security and Privacy
While Hide My Ass! does a top-notch job of protecting your internet connection, it does a less comprehensive job of protecting the records of your online travels.
HMA uses military-grade encryption to keep your online antics safe from prying eyes, using the OpenVPN-UDP, OpenVPN-TCP, PPTP and L2TP protocols.
They also protect your connection with a kill switch and the ability to periodically change your device’s IP address to make it tougher to track your real location.
Sadly, the privacy protection that Hide My Ass! provides is less than total, due to the fact that the provider logs certain information when their users log into their server network.
When you connect to an HMA VPN server, the information the provider logs includes the VPN server’s IP address and your real IP address (although not all of it; more on that later). In addition, HMA also logs a timestamp and the amount of data you used during your session.
Unfortunately, the provider has also shown a willingness to hand over logs to outside parties in certain situations.
While the information in itself isn’t damning, investigators with access to those logs could use it to piece together your online activities. This happened in 2011, when the FBI made HMA turn over information important to the case against one of the Sony Pictures website hackers.
It should be noted that a different company, with a different policy, now owns Hide My Ass!. The company states that now only the subset of your originating IP address is logged.
In other words, if your IP address is 126.96.36.199, it’s stored as 92.143.234.000. This means that your IP address can’t be connected directly to you, but it does help narrow it down to a particular geographical region.
However, the timestamp, VPN IP address and amount of data transferred is still logged. This information is deleted from servers after 30 days.
The fact remains that the company’s website states the provider still saves the information listed above, and saved information is always a point of vulnerability for a VPN provider.
Your payment information isn’t as anonymous as it could be, either, since no cryptocurrency payment option is available.
Before discussing the Hide My Ass! connection speed numbers, let’s take a quick look at how we at Pixel Privacy – a team of 3 users – determine a provider’s speed figures.
All speed tests are performed using a gigabit Ethernet connection located in the United States. We test using a provider’s Windows app, connecting via OpenVPN over UDP.
During the tests, we connect to 3 different VPN server locations – the United States, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. We test them for 3 days, 3 times per day, with at least 4 hours between each testing session.
HMA’s average connection speed can easily handle any of your online activities.
Measuring at 61.44 Mbps, the speeds are capable of streaming both HD and 4K video, easily keeping up in the online gaming arena and providing fast downloads for file-sharing hobbyists.
HMA’s 1-month subscription fee is a bit dear, but if you’re willing to make a long-term commitment you can score some nice savings.
A 30-day money-back guarantee is available for all subscription plans.
Hide My Ass! provides excellent global server coverage, easy-to-use apps and speedy connections.
However, many potential VPN users may be turned off by the provider’s tendency to log and share information about their online travels.
If you’re one of those users, be assured that there are attractive alternatives available.
ExpressVPN has long been a leader in the VPN industry, and many users consider it to be the best all-around VPN service available today.
The provider covers the globe with their servers. While not quite up to the global server coverage provided by Hide My Ass!, the provider has a record of offering better access to blocked content, and it allows P2P file-sharing activity on all of its servers.
ExpressVPN offers around-the-clock customer support, including 24/7 live support chat.
NordVPN is also a well-established VPN provider, having a long record of offering reliable VPN service.
The provider delivers top-notch VPN service for a low price. This makes NordVPN an attractive option for budget-minded VPN users who are looking for reliable service without breaking the bank.
While the provider’s connection speeds and global server network aren’t quite up to the standards of either HMA or ExpressVPN, both should prove sufficient for the needs of most users.