HideMyAss (HMA), one of the leading VPN providers from the UK, offers web proxy and VPN services that allow people to hide their IP addresses, unblock websites, and surf anonymously online. With more than 25, 000 anonymous IP addresses – the largest number offered by any VPN service, HMA compares favorably against other VPN products.
In this article, I will show you the ins and outs that make HMA the most popular VPN service over others like ibVPN, StrongVPN and pureVPN. This is a review article about HideMyAss; If you’re looking for the official HideMyAss website, please click here.
Update (June 17, 2013):
Hidemyass VPN discount: Hidemyass is offering up to 43% discount on its HMA Pro VPN. If you have missed the Christmas special, here is another chance to save on HMA VPN.
VPN Server Locations
HideMyAss currently has 343 VPN servers in 53 countries (updated on June 17, 2013), comprising approximately 40,500+ IP addresses. There are 176 servers totaling 22257 IP addresses in the United States of America. New VPN servers and new IP addresses are added regularly. It is important for you to find out how many servers are in your country or in the nearby countries because the closer you are to a VPN server, the faster your connection speed will be. Click here to check out VPN servers located in your area .
Aside from having the largest amount of IP addresses, with HideMyAss, it is easy to gain access to localized content. One such example is using HMA to watch American TV shows and videos from abroad. Say that you’re living in Germany and you want to watch Hulu or Netflix shows from outside of the US. All you have to do is connect to any U.S. VPN server so your online identity will appear to be somewhere in the USA. Another example is using HideMyAss to watch the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Supported VPN Protocols
HideMyAss works well with most common protocols, including OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP. HMA VPN servers can be grouped together, by protocol. This gives you the ability to choose VPN servers that support specific protocols within specified countries. This feature makes selecting the best protocol for your situation quite easy. Instead of re-directing you to Wikipedia to read lengthy explanations of what each protocol does, here are my suggestions for how to implement the best protocol for your situation.
I recommend that you use OpenVPN protocol whenever possible. OpenVPN utilizes the OpenSSL libraries for encryption and authentication, providing maximum security. Also, OpenVPN can be configured to run on the same port (443) as HTTPS does, making it possible to run almost any application on it. Although it is not always true, generally speaking, you do get faster speeds with OpenVPN over PPTP or L2TP. If you will be using HideMyAss on mobile devices such as iPhones, you should use L2TP, PPTP or IPSec instead.
Is HideMyAss Fast Enough?
Speed is one of the major factors when assessing any VPN service. One question people ask frequently is “How fast is HideMyAss?”. There is really no single answer to the question. Speed depends on a number of factors – the speed of your connection to the internet, your computer equipment limits, and so on. However, the average ratings from HMA customers is 4 out of 5 on speed. That is a pretty decent score.
Here are my recommendations that will help you speed up your VPN connection.
- Use OpenVPN. In most cases, OpenVPN is not only safer but also faster in comparison to PPTP.
- Employ OpenVPN over UDP. By default, all HMA VPN connections are made through TCP protocol when OpenVPN is used. However, you can achieve faster speed if you make OpenVPN use the UDP protocol instead.
- Customize your DNS server. DNS servers like Google public DNS are usually a lot faster than the ones provided by your ISP. It is possible to significantly increase the speed of your DNS inquiries. However, I personally wouldn’t use Google’s public DNS since your DNS queries will be logged by Google. Instead, I would recommend Comodo Secure DNS. Comodo Secure DNS addresses are:
126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52
How Good Is the Support?
My overall experience dealing with HideMyAss customer support was positive. Shortly after I opened my account, I noticed that I couldn’t send emails from the “Mail” program on my Mac. I e-mailed an inquiry to the support team and within an hour I got a response with detailed instructions on how to resolve the issue. At present, they only offers three types of support: Email support, Live chat, and an online user forum.
The Live chat service operates 12 hours a day and is the quickest way to get answers to your questions, especially for sales related inquiries. However, I found the Email support is a better choice when you need technical or billing support. Emails provide trackable records you can save for future reference. HideMyAss forum is a great way to exchange knowledge and experience with other HMA users. Because it is a public forum, you should avoid posting personal information on it. For guaranteed responses you should always use Email support.