HMA Review

HMA VPN (formerly Hide My Ass) is a well-known VPN provider with a large client base. It is a super-affordable VPN service based in the UK that has been around for many years.

In the past, Hide My Ass had a somewhat lackluster reputation among privacy advocates, due to the fact that it willingly cooperated with an FBI investigation by providing access to VPN logs. However, the company has evolved since then. And it has done a great deal to clean up its act – including becoming a 100% no-logs service. 

HMA VPN has over 1,100 servers in 190 countries worldwide, which makes it a great option for anybody wanting to access geo-blocked or censored content. It is also a fast service that can unblock popular streaming services like iPlayer and Netflix US. This makes it an interesting proposition for many casual VPN users looking for a versatile service that won't break the bank.

 

Our Score
4.3 / 5
Readers' Rating
5 / 5
Pricing
$3.99/mo - $10.99/mo
Simultaneous connections
5
Server Locations
190 countries
Jurisdiction
UK, CZ
ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (average)
35.8 Mbps
Available on:
Works with:
Visit HMA

3 User Reviews

gravatar profile picture
Rashid Samoilov
on 2020-07-06 11:24:20.
Overall score: 5
I really like how this VPN changed over last few years. Stability, unblocking and speed is what I like the most, but someone who never used HMA on mobile will like simplicity and user friendliness of their apps. And donkey changing masks every time you connect is just awesome idea. I never personally bother about my privacy as such and want to unblock content Russian content while travelling, but I like their recent move with no logging policy. This way even Putin can get me! I don't understand this whole hassle about them based in the UK - they do not log anything important, so what they can give to some authorities - nothing, IMHO. Anyway, I guess majority of these location, politics concerns sound to me like a marketing fluff. I can always recommend this VPN to everybody who wants his thing done. For me it's simply the best choice.
gravatar profile picture
Ab Kuijer
on 2020-05-21 08:56:30.
Overall score: 5
I’ve been using HMA for some years, and I chose it for the name and style of communication. Recently, I tried to watch Netflix USA from another country and that didn’t work at all. After contacting the service desk (first time) they told me how to get in. Fast, and great service.
gravatar profile picture
Rysiek Kotowicz
on 2020-05-19 11:00:59.
Overall score: 5
I went from Nord and Express to HMA over a year ago when I was frustrated by the quality of customer support of others. I am happy with HMA, because they promise more and deliver. When I contacted their support first time asking about problem with unblocking Netflix, some guy walked me through all settings, explained when use VPN and when not to use and I was able to accomplish what I had to. I can strongly recommend HMA VPN to everybody because these guys know what they do. They work on new features, their software is getting better and better every time they release a new version. And it's also fun to use with all these donkey masks. Now when they stop logging it's my and friends' preferred VPN. It's number one in Poland!
Show All User Reviews

Leave a Review - Step 1

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Leave a Review - Step 2

Please tell us in more detail about this product

Speed
Customer Service
Unblocking
Country Choices
Ease of Use

Leave a Review - Step 3

Thanks for your review!

  

Price

HMA VPN has various subscription plans. All the subscription plans for HMA VPN come with the same features; only the price changes dependent on how long you are willing to commit.

The monthly plan costs $11.99, which is about average, if not a touch expensive for a single month VPN subscription.

That price reduces substantially if you commit for a year – to just $83.88 – or the equivalent of $6.99 per month. (Though admittedly, at the time of writing, the VPN provider is advertising a special offer in which the single year price has been reduced to $59.88)

A two-year subscription costs $119.76 – which is the equivalent of $4.99 per month. And, the firm has now introduced a lengthier 36 month plan, which costs just $119.76 – or the equivalent of $2.99 per month. This is an extremely competitive price point that puts HMA VPN firmly in the cheap VPN category.

HMA Pricing

HMA also recently introduced a family plan . This increases the simultaneous connections on offer to 10... more than enough for a family. 

All customers are given the opportunity to test the VPN thanks to its generous 30-day money-back guarantee. Please note, however, that users must not exceed 10Gb of download usage before they ask for a refund – or this will invalidate the money-back guarantee.

In addition, you cannot get a refund if you pay via iTunes or Google Play. So, if you want the option to change your mind, please purchase the VPN directly from HMA. Many people have previously complained about not being able to get their money back, but it is always because of this fine print – so please bear this in mind.

For those who prefer to try before they buy, HMA VPN also has a 7-day free trial that lets you test the VPN without providing any payment details at all. This is a very nice touch.

Warning: default settings enable auto-renewal of subscriptions – so if you don’t want to renew you will need to cancel your subscription in the member's area of its website before the end of your contract. Finally, payments can be made via credit or debit card, PayPal, iDEAL, bank/wire transfer, AliPay, UnionPay, SOFORT, and a ahole bunch of different payment methods. However, HMA does not accept Bitcoin or cryptocurrency payments. 

Visit HMA

Unblock Netflix?

Netflix
iPlayer
Amazon Prime

As is always the case when we review VPNs, we tested this service to see if it can unblock Netflix and other highly sought-after streaming services.

We found the VPN to worked with Netflix US when connected to the Liberty Island server (Which is optimized for streaming). It also had no problem accessing US TV stations like ABC and NBC. However, HMA does seem to be having some troubles with Hulu at the moment, so if this is a requirement definitely have a word with the live chat support to see if it has been fixed before subscribing.

We were also happy to find that the VPN could unblock BBC iPlayer when connected to the UK servers. This generally makes this a good VPN for streaming; specially because it provides excellent speeds for watching content in HD without buffering.

HMA VPN Features

Simultaneous connections 5
Server Locations 190
Routers Supported
Total servers 1100
Split Tunneling

Now that Version 5 of the HMA client is available to all subscribers, an HMA subscription comes with the following awesome features:

  • 1000+ VPN servers in 280+ locations in 190+ countries. HMA has servers in unusual places like the Falkland Islands, Papua New Guinea, Malawi, Serbia, and many more. If unblocking content in unusual places is important to you; this service is a great option.

  • Super fast 20Gbps servers (already rolled out across a quarter of its network).

  • IP refresh tool lets you get a new IP address in the same location (if the IP address you are using is suddenly blocked by a service).

  • IP shuffle feature lets you automatically change IP after a pre-defined period
  • Five simultaneous connections.

  • Supports OpenVPN, Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) VPN protocols.

  • Kill switch (Mac, Windows and Android). 

  • New smart kill-switch for Windows lets you auto-launch the VPN (with the kill switch enabled) when you launch specified programs.

  • Split tunneling. Lets you decide what data is sent down the VPN tunnel and which programmes keeps your local IP address instead. 

  • IPv4 and IPv6 leak protection
  • Speed test feature lets you check how HMA servers are performing.

  • 24/7 live chat support.

  • 30-day money-back guarantee (as long as you don’t download over 10 Gb of data during the 30-day period and buy the VPN directly from the HMA website).

  • No logs policy.

  • Free HMA proxy service with servers in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the Czech Republic. Excellent free proxy service encrypts the URLs that get stored in your history (in case you forget to use private browsing mode), turns off cookies, and removes scripts. 

Speed and Performance

At ProPrivacy.com, we test VPN speeds using a scientific server-based system. Our proprietary system tests VPNs three times a day using OpenVPN UDP protocol (for consistency across all providers). We test a UK server for local burst (maximum) speeds. And Hong Kong, US, UK, and South African servers for downloading speed averages.

In the image below, you can see how HMA's connection speeds averaged over a three-month period in the summer of 2021. 

HMA Speed test 1

During our tests, we discovered average download speeds of 35.8 Mbps and burst speed results of 597.2 Mbps. These are great speeds that compare well to some of the leading providers on the market.

Admittedly, this VPNs speeds have slowed slightly since we last checked the results in February. And, as you can see, the competitors that HMA is in range with are slightly faster. Thus, if you want a seriously fast VPN, you might look elsewhere.

On the other hand, this VPN is fast enough to perform data intensive tasks, so users would be happy with the performance levels they get, especially when considering the low price point.

However, DNS lookup times were slow when compared to leading competitors. We registered average lookup times of 7 seconds, which will have the effect of making the VPN seem sluggish when loading pages. This is a massive downside of this service, and is definitely a factor that could ruin an otherwise reasonable experience. 

IP leaks, WebRTC leaks, and DNS leaks

IPv4 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?
ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 597.2
ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (average) 35.8

We tested the VPN thoroughly for IP leaks and DNS leaks using our industry standard VPN leak testing tool. We tested the Windows and macOS clients and discovered no IPv4 leaks, IPV6 leaks, WebRTC leaks, or DNS leaks. This is excellent and means that the VPN is 100% working as it should. It is also worth noting that this means the DNS leak protection built into the clients is working as advertised.

 HMA Leak Test

Below you can see that the VPN only registered one IP address in Austria. We also only detected a single DNS resolver; also in Austria. This shows that the VPN is successfully proxying DNS requests via its own servers. These are ideal results. Also worth noting, the IPv6 test was not reachable because the client was blocking IPv6 connections. Again, this shows that the VPN is working as it should. 

HMA not leaking IPv4

Finally, we are happy to report that HMA VPN had no WebRTC leaks on either Mac or Windows. This is excellent, and means that the VPN is completely clear of any leaks. With that said, we recommend that users check the VPN on their own system using our automated test system, as it is always better to be safe rather than sorry by checking the VPN once in a while!

Visit HMA

Privacy and Security

Kill Switch
WebRTC leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
Obfuscation (stealth)

HMA was acquired in 2015 by the Czech company, Avast Software. However, it is still managed and run in the UK. Being based in the UK is enough to put some people off this VPN. The UK is a location where government intelligence is massively overreaching, and where the authorities are able to issue warrants and gag orders that force firms to hand over the data they have on their servers in secrecy. This makes the UK far from an ideal location for a privacy service to be based.

The UK's surveillance habits are only problematic if a VPN stores logs, but HMA has now completely stopped storing any logs whatsoever. While it is true that HMA did used to keep some connection logs for 30 days, this is no longer true. This is what HMA told us about its new policy:

"HMA will not log any identifiable user activity defined as follows:

  • Original IP addresses, which could be used to identify the user.
  • No DNS query data, which would let us see what sites users visited when browsing (and probably help us identify them).
  • Any online activity, which includes sites logged into, services interacted with, apps running, and streams being watched… basically anything done online."

We checked the policy and could see that these changes have now been implemented, which is great news for its subscribers. Also positive; the firm told us that its new No Logs Privacy Policy is going to be "audited by third-party cybersecurity consulting firm VerSprite, which will verify the anonymization of user behavioral data and the disconnection of this data from personal identifiable information (PII) that HMA stores for legal and billing purposes."

This is good news, and means that users of HMA can be assured that there are no logs stored on file that could potentially be used to identify them and track what they did online while connected to the service. 

Finally, it is worth noting that there have been incidents when HMA has handed over logs to the police. In 2011, HMA handed over internet records and personal details about Cody Kretsinger to the cops. Kretsinger was a LulzSec member accused of hacking Sony Pictures; he was imprisoned on hacking charges (in part proven with the help of HMA). In 2017 a judge from Galveston County, Texas was arrested for harassing his ex-girlfriend. He was an HMA user whose IP address was uncovered using connection timestamps. 

These kinds of incidents should now be squarely in this providers' past, because the VPN should have no valuable data to provide to the authorities even if it is served a warrant. 

Encryption Implementation

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
OpenVPN
Other protocols UDP, TCP
IKEv2

The HMA website claims that it implements its encryption as follows:

“OpenVPN is using OpenSSL with algorithms 3DES, AES 256, RC5, 256-bit encryption for the control channel (e.g. password, authentication, etc.).”

That is extremely vague. After some digging, however, I was able to figure out that HMA implements its encryption as follows:

  • Data channel: a AES-256-CGM with 4096-bit RSA keys for handshakes, and SHA256 for authentication. 

  • Control channel: an AES-256 cipher with RSA-2048 handshake encryption and SHA-1 hash authentication. Perfect Forward Secrecy is provided courtesy of a Diffie-Hellman key exchange.

Any subscriber using the very latest version of HMA will get these encryption standards, and will find that the encryption is robust on both channels. This means that anybody using HMA is secure against anybody attempting to hack their data. For more information on VPN encryption please read our VPN Encryption: Complete Guide

Finally, it is worth noting that HMA told us that those standards may revert back to AES 128 CBC with a SHA 1 auth for 'Legacy Users.' This is a slightly confusing statement, and we aren't clear in which circumstances that may occur. However, we would presume that anybody using an up to date machine and the latest client will connect using the standards mentioned above. 

Customer Service

Money-back Guarantee
24-hour support
Money-back guarantee length 30
Live chat

HMA VPN is a provider that is great in terms of customer support. Live chat is available on its website 24/7 and its agents are both helpful and knowledgeable. The support staff always respond immediately, and we found them to be polite. All in all, we found the service outstanding for getting fast responses about unblocking content, help with installation, or any other problems you might be having. 

Admittedly, some of our techy questions had to be elevated to a more senior member of staff. This was done by the customer support agent who told us we would receive a response via email. That email did come to our inbox with the desired information, which is great. 

In addition, the website has a community where you can ask fellow users questions about the service; a Blog where you can see useful articles about VPNs, privacy, and using VPNs to access content from around the world. And a knowledge base full of FAQs and guides that will help you to resolve the majority of setup and troubleshooting issues you are likely to experience.

We found these resources to be truly outstanding, and they act as a fantastic counterpart to the live chat support.

User Experience

Android
iOS
Windows
macOS
Linux

The Windows Client

The Windows VPN app is a fully-featured client that is easy to use. It comes with a kill switch to stop you leaking data to your ISP – should the VPN connection happen to drop out. This means you will be able to use HMA for torrenting securely. 

On the other hand, HMA specifically told us that "we do not support the use of Torrent to share copyrighted material illegally. If you use our VPN service for such activity, you will probably cause us to receive DMCA notices from the copyright holders, who monitor Torrent trackers." This is usually an unspoken sentiment shared by many providers that allow for torrenting and shouldn't worry you, but there are always other options if this has you rattled.

On a more positive note, the Windows client comes with a lot of excellent features such as auto-connect, IP shuffle for automatically gaining a new IP address in the same location (useful if an IP address becomes blocked by a specific service), and lightning connect (to connect to the fastest server available to you). Unfortunately, split tunneling is not yet available in the Windows client.

Users get a choice of OpenVPN or L2TP/IPsec encryption. And the OpenVPN encryption is implemented securely. Also good news; this VPN is fast and unblocks a lot of content from around the world. As a result, consumers looking for privacy from their ISP, unblocking capabilities, and WiFi protection – will find this VPN to be ideally suited to the task. 

On the other hand, it is worth considering whether you are happy paying for HMA – when you can pay a similar price for a VPN that offers tighter security and better logging practices. At the end of the day, this depends on your personal requirements, and if you need a server in one of the more exotic locations that HMA has – this VPN may be extremely interesting!

The Mac client

The HMA Mac client is well featured for a Mac client (which are sometimes a little bare bones). It has a kill-switch which means that you will be ok torrenting if you wish (although HMA does specify in its privacy policy that you must never use its service for illegal torrenting activities). 

It also now has the IP shuffle feature, which randomly changes your IP address at user defined intervals. This adds an extra layer of privacy and makes it harder to track HMA users. In addition, Mac users get:

  • An app Kill Switch
  • Lightning connect 
  • Speed Test
  • Auto Connect

On the whole, the Mac OS X VPN app is easy to use, and we found it to work without crashing. Having a large choice of server locations is useful, and, because this VPN is good for unblocking Netflix and iPlayer; it could be a worthy choice for people who like to stream. 

OpenVPN encryption is available, however, it is worth noting that it is not implemented as strongly as it is with many competing VPNs on the market.

The mobile apps (iOS and Android)

If you are looking for a secure VPN for Android or iOS, the HMA clients are pretty good. The VPN has DNS leak protection built into its clients, and the Android mobile VPN app has a kill switch. Unfortunately, the iOS app does not yet have the kill switch.

On Android, subscribers get OpenVPN encryption. On iOS users must settle for L2TP/IPsec. Having a large choice of servers is useful, and for those who aren't particularly paranoid about the minimal logging practices – this VPN is probably a good option (for example, it unblocks Netflix US and iPlayer). 

HMA Mobile App

If your primary reason for wanting a VPN for a mobile device is to protect your data on public WiFi – this VPN will do the job fine on either Android or iOS – and it will successfully stop hackers from being able to sniff your data.

Other devices

HMA told us that they also provide native apps for Apple TV and Android TV. We haven't tested these yet, but it is nice to see that the VPN is providing a wide range of applications. In addition, the VPN has browser extensions for both Chrome and Firefox.

For Linux users, a manual setup using a script is available with instructions on its website. And Ubuntu users can set it up with Network Manager. These options will suffice for most users, but it is worth remembering that there is no GUI client for Linux – which is a slight drawback. Finally, the VPN is also compatible with various routers.

Final thoughts

HMA is a service that is well suited to causal VPN users in need of privacy both at home and on public WiFi. The service is a good all rounder, that will give most consumers what they need. However, people looking for advanced VPN features such as anti-censorship technologies and obfuscation will probably prefer to look elsewhere.

Being based in the UK is not ideal, and while the VPN is advertised as no logs, there are reasonable concerns regarding UK legislation such as the Snoopers Charter and what that means for the VPN if it approached with a warrant and gag order. This may put the biggest privacy advocates off the service.

The good news is that on Mac, Windows, and Android, this VPN has a kill-switch. It also has DNS leak protection built into all of its clients, and it does not suffer from any leaks in our experience. However, please note that the kill switch is reactive (not system level), so if the VPN crashes you will leak data to your ISP.

With that said, the VPN did not crash during our tests, so it should perform fine and it can be used for torrenting if you wish. However, it does ask users never to indulge in illegal downloading while using its service. Thus, if you are primarily looking for a VPN for torrenting, we would probably recommend looking elsewhere.

So, why get HMA? HMA is a service that is not expensive, and if you specifically require a server in a more exotic/rare location (that isn’t covered by other VPN providers) this VPN is a good option. It is also true that this VPN can protect you on public WiFi without issues.

Assuming you aren't someone who requires extremely high levels of privacy (such as a political dissident, an activist, or a journalist), the level of service provided by HMA is likely to be more than enough. 

Speed test results were pretty good indeed, though there are faster services available at a similar price point. So, you may want to shop around if speeds are extremely important to you (and they should be).

Finally, don’t forget that this is one of the few VPNs that can unblock BBC iPlayer and Netflix US. This makes the service versatile, and will make it a good option for those looking for a VPN for entertainment purposes. 

Visit HMA

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. 

64 Comments

Fred Last
on December 14, 2019
Reply
This was the first VPN I subscribed to after seeing a banner ad. Was initially impressed but then servers became blocked and became unusable. Customer service was poor. Also my data was being leaked to state actors. Being UK based does not instill confidence.
Fred First replied to Fred Last
on May 18, 2020
Reply
Nothing like that could ever happened. Black mail? Service is extremely fast, great choice of locations, absolutely fantastic customer support who sincerely wants to help... no logging policy and user friendly apps... what else do you need?
Ed Brennan
on November 3, 2018
Reply
Superb VPN highly recommend
Jen
on June 28, 2018
Reply
Hide My Ass doesn't work, and their customer service reps refuse to acknowledge and refund me for their BS VPN service. AVOID!
med
on June 21, 2018
Reply
HMA s a scam. I have been trying to cancel the account with no success for months once. I succeed in reaching a HMA support, but the operator was from the Philippines and he could not help at all. It is nigh impossible to cancel HMA account once you have signed it. BEWARE of it
Show More Got Something to Say?

Write Your Own Comment

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

  Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

We recommend you check out one of these alternatives:

The fastest VPN we test, unblocks everything, with amazing service all round

Large brand with very good value, and a budget price

Longtime top ranked VPN, with great price and speeds

One of the largest VPNs, voted best VPN by Reddit