HideMyAss VPN – In Depth Review (2013 Update)
So many things happened since we published our first review of HideMyAss VPN. I guess it’s time to update you folks on what’s been going on as of late.
First of let’s recap. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure network that provides users total privacy and anonymity while allowing them, from all over the world, to browse banned sites, bypass filters or unblock any geo-locked site or web service.
HideMyAss does exactly that and then some. With 343 VPN servers and more than 41,000 IP addresses (at the time of writing) they are the most popular VPN service among Internet users around the world.
We published our original HMA review back in April 2012, at the time when they had 236 servers total. Today, they have more than 343 servers all over the world. That’s a whooping 70% annual growth rate!
In the following HideMyAss Review we will recap why HideMyAss is a premium VPN service and what makes them – in my humble opinion – the tip of the sword of all VPN providers on the market.
Table of Contents
- HideMyAss VPN – In Depth Review (2013 Update)
- First of all – Coverage
- HMA VPN Client Software
- HideMyAss Security and Privacy
- Speed of the Service
- What Protocols HMA Uses?
- How Much Does HideMyAss Service Cost?
- Nothing is perfect
First of all – Coverage
Total number of servers and IP Addresses in various countries determine the speed and width of choice of on-line content available for your viewing. Simply put, more IP’s in more countries equals more speed and more diverse on-line content.
As we already pointed out, HideMyAss has the largest number of servers and IP’s available to its users of all VPN providers on the market: 343 VPN servers located in 53 countries with a total of 41,000 (and growing!) IP addresses.
All of HMA! Pro VPN servers are marked out on a server map below.
The complete and up-to-date list of VPN server can be found at this link:
Why is the number of servers and IP addresses so valuable?
- If you are outside UK but you want to watch BBC iPlayer, or any other British show, you need to get a VPN account that offers servers located in the UK. HideMyAss has 36 servers in UK and 4639 IP addresses to choose from. That is a huge number by the way.
- If you are located outside US and you want to get access to Hulu, Pandora or Netflix, you need a services with USA servers. HMA got you covered with 22,257 US IP addresses.
This goes for all other national TV programs and limited sites and Internet services. When it comes to fast, reliable and comprehensive on-line browsing, bigger is better.
HMA VPN Client Software
Unlike other VPN providers, HMA offers a custom and highly optimised VPN client software. Simply install the HMA Pro VPN software, enter your credentials and click the Connect button! The current version is 22.214.171.124 and you may get it here.
Absolutely no technical knowledge is required. HMA! Pro VPN software is compatible with Windows 8, Windows 7, XP and Vista. Mac OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion” is supported as well. Linux GUI version is still under heavy development (meanwhile you can use gopenvpn or a command line client). Also, DD-WRT routers are supported with a custom auto-installer script.
Continue reading to learn more about the advanced HMA Pro VPN desktop software features.
HideMyAss Security and Privacy
HMA Pro VPN encrypts your Internet traffic, giving you the tools you need to protect yourself from spies, hackers, and anybody else who wants to snoop on your on-line activity. HMA VPN can be used to securely surf the Web from a public Wi-Fi hotspot and the system has a built-in country switching, adding security to an otherwise insecure connection. HMA Secure IP Bind feature adds a lot of extra security to the VPN use.
Secure IP Bind enables you to force selected applications on your computer to only work once connected to the VPN servers. This ensures selected applications will only work behind a secure encrypted connection. If the user opens selected applications without being connected to HMA VPN, they won’t be able to access the Internet. Keep in mind that Secure IP Bind is available in Windows only.
Why are These Security Features so Important
For people living in countries that have Internet restrictions, and there are quite а few of them, big issue is how to achieve a safe connection that can not be traced or spied upon. Be aware that not only China and other Asian countries have such policies, other Western world countries sometimes monitor Internet traffic due to so called “security“ reasons.
Speed of the Service
Speed depends on several factors like server load, distance to server, speed of your Internet Service Provider… Quality streaming demands good speed. HMA has two great features that will ensure high speed streams, Speed Guide and Load Balancing.
Speed Guide helps you locate the fastest VPN servers for your connection and location. All you need to do is run a specific Speed Guide test. You can test OpenVPN and PPTP protocols together or individually, do a ping test, express test or a full test.
Load Balancing will advise you which server, among others in a particular location, has the least users connected, ensuring you connect to the least loaded server.
What Protocols HMA Uses?
Let’s look at some fun facts. HMA uses OpenVPN (both TCP and UDP), L2TP, and PPTP protocols. Major advantages in using OpenVPN protocol is its compatibility with all major operating systems, really fast speed, security provisions that function against both active and passive attacks, and ability to configure multiple servers to handle numerous connections simultaneously.
PPTP stands for point to point tunnelling protocol. The major OS and Smartphone can use PPTP with the help of their inbuilt software only. They don’t need to download any further software for that sake. The intended use of this protocol is to provide similar levels of security and remote access as typical VPN products. PPTP VPN is ideal for watching on-line videos and unblocking restricted websites.
In computer networking, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is a tunnelling protocol used to support virtual private networks.
OpenVPN is considered to be extremely secure when compared to the PPTP, and also more stable. But, as I said PPTP protocol is ideal for watching on-line videos, such as Netflix and Hulu. If you are using a mobile device running iOS (iPhone) or Android then L2TP is the best choice.
How Much Does HideMyAss Service Cost?
HMA VPN is proof you can get a respectable service and not be ripped off for it. HMA offers 3 simple payment plans:
- Monthly subscription, with a fee of $11.52 every month,
- Six-month subscription, costing $49.99 every 6 months,
- Yearly subscription, costing $78.66 every 12 months.
By getting a 1 year membership you’ll be paying the equivalent of $6.55 per month, saving 43% in costs in comparison to a monthly payment. Not a bad deal at all, bearing in mind the performance to value ratio.
Hidemyass VPN, Connection Made Easy!
It’s unbelievably easy to set up, firs step is to register at www.hidemyass.com. Simply download and install HMA software, run it, select a server from the drop down list and hit the Connect button. Your Internet connection will quickly be encrypted and your on-line identity changed.
You won’t need to install any additional software or get professional help in order to use HMA Pro VPN service.
Nothing is perfect
So far we have discussed only the benefits of HMA. But let’s be honest, nothing is perfect. I will highlight some glitches that should be fixed:
- HMA Software is great, but fairly – the interval between the Mac releases should be shorter. Also, we are still waiting the Linux GUI release. However, Windows client is being updated regularly. We would just like to see better Linux / Mac support.
- Also, I’d like to see a simpler DD-WRT router’s support. Auto-installer script works nicely for me, but custom DD-WRT menus for connection establishing are more appealing to less experienced users.
- Last but not least, HMA is a European based company, thus the support staff have European work hours. Live Chat support is not available during the night (GMT time).
To sum up, I have tried quite a few different providers and in my experience HideMyAss is unmatched when it comes to quality service and the best value for your money. One of the things that is really impressive is the confidence HideMyAss has in its product, offering a 30 day money back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with their services you can just ask for a refund. This practically makes your order risk free. Other providers offer a much shorter (3 or 7 days) trial period.
Given the number of servers and IP’s they have it’s interesting how they kept the price so low. Phrase “you can’t have the best of both worlds ” comes into mind when we usually talk about paying for a good service. With HideMyAss it seems you can get both of them, a quality service for the least amount of money.
In addition, HMA has a skilled and timely support team, the interface can be easily navigated, IP can be changed at will if needed and data transfer is unlimited. That’s a darn good incentive to become a member of the HMA family.
If you believe I have left anything unclear, feel free to post it in the comments section below. I’m eager to answer any questions you might have.
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