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 what makes HMA the most popular VPN service compared to others like ibVPN, StrongVPN, and pureVPN. This is a review of HideMyAss, click here if you’re looking for the official HideMyAss website.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Server Locations
- 2 VPN Protocols
- 3 Is HideMyAss Fast?
- 4 How Good Is the Support?
- 5 HMA! Pro VPN – Where the Magic Happens
- 6 Is HideMyAss Easy to Use?
- 7 Works on Any Device
- 8 Nothing Is Perfect
- 9 Try HideMyAss Risk-free
HideMyAss currently maintains 620 VPN servers in 75 countries (updated on August 31, 2014) comprising approximately 77,340+ IP addresses. There are 312 servers providing 43,680 IP addresses in the U.S. New VPN servers and new IP addresses are added regularly. It is important to know how many servers are in your country because the closer you are to a server, the faster your connection will be. Click here to check out VPN servers in your geographic region.
You can use HideMyAss to securely unlock region restricted content from around the world. Say that you live in Germany and you want to watch US content like Netflix or Hulu. All you have to do is connect to a U.S. VPN server. This virtually locates you in the U.S. so you can freely access any blocked content.
HideMyAss servers support all major VPN protocols. VPN protocols are rules that control how data is exchanged between computers in a VPN network. The most common VPN protocols are L2TP, PPTP and OpenVPN. OpenVPN is considered the most secure because it utilizes the robust industry-standard cryptography library OpenSSL for encryption and authentication.
When connecting to a HideMyAss server choose one from the list that supports OpenVPN. To connect to an OpenVPN server from your mobile device download and install the “OpenVPN connect” mobile App.To connect to the OpenVPN server on Mac, download “Tunnelblick“; on Windows, download the official OpenVPN client or the HMA Pro VPN software.
Is HideMyAss Fast?
People often ask, how fast is HideMyAss? The simple answer is it’s fast enough for downloading, streaming videos, and playing online games. HMA customers give an average rating of 4 out of 5 on speed, which is a very acceptable score.
Your connection speed depends on several factors: which protocol you use, which data transport method you select, and your choice of DNS server. To speed up your VPN connection, follow my recommendations below.
- Whenever you can, always use OpenVPN protocol. This is because in most cases OpenVPN is not only more secure but also faster than other VPN protocols. Click here to download the configuration files you can use to connect to HideMyAss OpenVPN servers.
- There are two ways for you to connect to an OpenVPN server, through its TCP port or its UDP port. Using the UDP port uses less resources and is faster.
- Use public DNS servers that support anycast routing because they can reduce your DNS response time and make your web pages load faster. Google’s public DNS is the most used public DNS. However, I personally don’t recommend it because your DNS queries could be logged by Google. Instead, I recommend Comodo Secure DNS. The IP addresses of Comodo Secure DNS are:
126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52
How Good Is the Support?
It is fair to say HideMyAss offers timely support. Shortly after I purchased their VPN service I couldn’t send emails through the “Mail” program. An hour after I contacted their support team by email, I received a reply with step-by-step instructions to fix the issue. My overall experience with their customer support was positive.
You can get help from HideMyAss by sending them Emails, search for answers to your questions on their forum, or use their “Live chat” service. Their “Live chat” service operates 12 hours a day and is the quickest way to get a response, especially for sales related inquiries. However, for technical or billing related questions, Email is the fastest way to get your problems solved. Email also provides you with trackable records for future reference. HideMyAss forum is where HideMyAss users share their knowledge and their experiences, and help other members. You can often find useful tips, easy-to-follow tutorials and answers to your questions on their forum. I recommend you first visit the HideMyAss forum when you need help.Visit HideMyAss.com
HMA! Pro VPN – Where the Magic Happens
HideMyAss HMA! Pro VPN client is the most advanced VPN software I’ve ever used. This software is loaded with nifty features such as: Speed Guide, Schedule IP Address Change, secure IP bind, Easier Server Selection, Load Balancing, and more. Here is a quick walk-through of each feature and how it works.
HideMyAss offers lots of VPN servers, but how do you make sure that you’re using the fastest ones? Use the Speed Guide feature, which makes finding the fastest VPN servers for your connection easy. It tests the download and upload speeds and response times of VPN servers, and shows you a list of the fastest servers available.
Every time you connect to a different network, switch to a new ISP, or move to a new area, you should run Speed Guide to test your new connection. If you want to always connect to the fastest VPN servers, you should run Speed Guide periodically. When using Speed Guide select “Full Test” for better accuracy. The following video shows how to use Speed Guide.
Schedule IP Address Change
Periodically changing your IP address will greatly boost your anonymity. You can easily achieve this using the “Schedule IP Address Change” feature of HMA! Pro VPN. This feature changes your IP address to a new random IP address at a set interval, for example every 45 minutes. However, during the IP change you will be momentarily disconnected from the VPN server, which can expose your real IP address. To avoid this, use the “Secure IP Bind” feature.
Secure IP Bind
If you leave your BitTorrent client running through the night and your VPN service disconnects, your real IP address will be visible. Secure IP Bind prevents this from happening by forbidding an application from connecting to the Internet when your VPN is inactive. Any application running under the Secure IP Bind rules can only connect through your VPN service, which protects your real IP address from accidental exposure, ensuring your anonymity. It is important to be aware that the Secure IP Bind feature currently works only on Windows. If you’re a Mac user, you’ll need to configure your firewall to achieve the same result.
Easier Server Selection
HideMyAss groups its VPN servers by their protocol types, geographic locations, and download/upload speeds so it’s easy for you to find a server that meets your requirements. To connect to the fastest VPN server, select one from the “10 closest VPN servers based on geographic distance” list recommended in the HMA! client. When HideMyAss adds new VPN servers they will automatically be added to the list in the HMA! client to keep you up to date. You can add your preferred VPN servers to a ‘favorites’ list and then configure the HMA! client to connect only to the servers saved in your favorites list.
When you connect to a VPN server you share its resources with all other connected users, so, when a server is very busy (heavily loaded) your connection speed decreases dramatically. To guarantee the best possible connection speed use the Load Balancing feature of HMA! Pro. Load Balancing automatically switches your connection to a less busy server based on your selected settings, which keeps you connected to the fastest server in a given region.
Is HideMyAss Easy to Use?
Using the HideMyAss VPN service is as simple as 1, 2, 3. First, establish your own VPN account. Second, download and install the client software for your device. Third, launch the client software, enter the user name and password you selected when you opened your account, and click “Connect”. You are now connected and can surf the net anonymously. No special knowledge or complicated networking configuration is required. It’s that simple. However, in case of difficulty, or if you have questions, HideMyAss provides easy to follow instructions on their website to help you learn about, set up, and use any aspect of their service.
Works on Any Device
HideMyAss VPN is compatible with every kind of device, from computers and smart phones to tablets, game consoles, routers, and even TV boxes (e.g. Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV). Also, you can use your subscription on up to two devices concurrently.
All you have to do is download and install the software for your device, and it’s ready to use. Computer users can grab the HMA! Pro client we mentioned above. To use the service on your tablet or smart phone choose the mobile app. To use HideMyAss VPN on your TV box – whose VPN functionality has probably been disabled – you will have to set it up on your router. In our experience the router that works best with HideMyAss VPN is the ASUS RT-AC68U, which has built-in VPN functionality. No matter what devices you want to use HideMyAss VPN on, you will find step-by-step installation and usage guides on the HideMyAss website.
Nothing Is Perfect
So far we’ve discussed what makes HideMyAss a great VPN server. However, like any product, HideMyAss isn’t perfect. Though we found the support (by email, live chat or user forums) helpful and reasonably efficient, adding live telephone support would make life a lot easier, and result in faster turnover of inquiries. One thing you need to be aware of is HideMyAss’s logging policies. HideMyAss does keep specific information about their customers. This has made some VPN users question how anonymous their service is. We asked HMA, what exactly do you log? They said:
“We only log the time you connect and disconnect from our service. We do not monitor any traffic or activity such as what websites you visit or who you talk to”.
Try HideMyAss Risk-free
HideMyAss offers a 30 day money back guarantee so you can test their full service for free, whereas other VPN providers typically offer 7 to 10 day limited trials. As the Web’s most popular VPN service, HideMyAss doesn’t frequently offer discounts, however a search for “HMA discount” found this deal ($6.55/month), which is a little more than 40% off their standard price ($11.52/month). Now there’s an offer worth looking at. To take advantage of this offer, click here.
If you are in the market for an affordable, reliable personal VPN with timely support, you should definitely consider HideMyAss. HideMyAss VPN is easy to install and use. The speed is excellent. You can certainly find a VPN service that costs less than HideMyAss, but it is difficult to find a VPN provider that offers better value than HideMyAss.Go HideMyAss
Image Credit: Ethan Kan