HMA VPN (formerly HideMyAss) is a VPN provider based in the UK with a long and interesting history. While it remains a relatively popular VPN today with a large user base, it did not do very well in testing for this review.
Today, HMA is owned by the cybersecurity company Avast and still has a relatively large user base. Actual testing of the VPN servers and VPN apps revealed mixed results, which prevent us from recommending this VPN.
HideMyAss VPN Pros
1. User-friendly apps with strong encryption
HMA offers user-friendly VPN apps for all major devices and operating systems. Due to the popularity of Windows, I tested out the HMA Windows VPN client for this review. The Windows client also comes with a number of customization options and features. You can configure how you want the VPN to startup on your device and how the kill switch should work to block non-VPN traffic. Unfortunately, I found problems with the kill switch.
2. Large server network
Hide My Ass claims to have “the biggest VPN network” with “1000+ VPN servers in 290+ locations covering 190+ countries.” If you look at their server map and location list, you find some very strange places. For example, HMA claims to have servers in North Korea.
3. Live chat support
Like many other VPN providers, HideMyAss provides live chat support. Their support staff appears to be located in the United Kingdom. Their support hours are 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM UK time, seven days a week. However, I tried support on a Saturday morning around 8:30 AM UK time and there was nobody available. So perhaps HMA support is hit or miss. Other VPNs that offer 24/7 live chat support include CyberGhost and NordVPN.
4. Now a “no-log VPN”
Earlier this year, HMA VPN officially transitioned to being a no logs VPN service. Before this change, HideMyAss was infamous for logging user data and providing it to authorities. Today, however, HMA claims to be a no logs VPN service. It also underwent an audit by Versprite to verify the no-logs claims. You can see other no logs VPNs here.
Cons of HMA VPN
1. No monthly subscription plans
One strange thing with HideMyAss is that they have removed any option to pay on a month-to-month basis. Instead, HMA VPN only provides you with a one or three-year subscription plan. Fortunately, all plans come with a 30 day money-back guarantee. This gives you plenty of time to test out the VPN and cancel your subscription if it doesn’t work well – similar to a free trial VPN service. They are also offering a 7 day free trial option.
2. Does not work well for streaming
One of the big problems we had when testing out HMA for this review is that it does not work well with streaming. Here are a few examples of that.
HMA VPN with BBC iPlayer
One of the most popular streaming services is BBC iPlayer in the UK. To test this, we connected to a HideMyAss server in the UK and then tried to load BBC iPlayer.
3. Troubling history of data sharing
The 25 year old HideMyAss user received a one year prison term, one year home detention, 1,000 hours of community service, and was also ordered to pay $605,663 to Sony Pictures. This isn’t the first time a VPN has shared data about one of its users. IPVanish shared data with the FBI for a criminal complaint. While nobody here advocates illegal activity, this case shows that HMA can and will share customer data with third parties. This point is less of an issue today, however, now that HMA is a no-logs VPN.
4. UK jurisdiction (bad for privacy)
Hide My Ass is a UK VPN service and must abide by all UK laws and regulations. Despite being owned by Avast, which is a cybersecurity company in the Czech Republic, HMA VPN continues to operate under UK jurisdiction. This is an important consideration.
HideMyAss HMA review conclusion
Overall, HMA VPN is a decent VPN provider, but it doesn’t compare to some of the other big names in the industry. While HMA has made progress in some areas, such as with the no-logs audit, there are still other areas to improve, such as speeds and security (leak protection).
If you need a basic VPN and you don’t mind the higher prices, bad jurisdiction, and the other drawbacks we discuss, then you can give it a try. After all, they do offer a full 30 day money-back guarantee on all plans.