Things you should know about HMA Pro VPN

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HideMyAss, one of the greatest names in the VPN industry! (HMA) has been defending the privacy of its users for over 15 years, and since security giant, Avast owns 2016.

The business provides an extensive network of 1,000 + servers in more than 290 locations across more than 190 countries. That’s fewer servers than some of the other providers, but a lot more areas and countries (NordVPN has 5,800 + servers in 59 countries, ExpressVPN has 3,000 + servers in 160 locations and 94 countries).

P2P support exists, but only on a handful of locations, currently only eight via our Windows client (five in Europe, three in the US).

OpenVPN and IKEv2 support, AES-256-GCM data encryption, handshaking RSA-4096, and SHA-256 data authentication provide industrial-strength protection.

Oh, hideMyAss! Has its DNS service to help avoid DNS leaks, and blocks links to malicious and phishing sites as a bonus.

MyAss the Cover! The website proudly proclaims that it works on all of your computers, and may have only one point. There are not only custom applications for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux but also installation tips to help you set up the software manually on several other platforms. And that involves configuring some routers, which principle would also allow you to use the service with all of your smart devices.

Since our last review, the apps have been updated to version 5.0 and now feature a streamlined new interface, an enhanced location picker, enhanced kill switches, and split tunneling on Android. Yeah, there’s even an extension to the Chrome browser, and Android TV support too.

Note from the Editor: What follows immediately is a summary of the new updates and improvements since the last update of this document.

The service is now a no-log VPN, and the assertion should be audited early. (Until May 2020).

Plans and pricing

Go to Official HideMyAss! Pricing page and company seems very short on plans, with options of just one year and three years.

HideMyAss! Has more plans on the web than any of the competition, they ‘re just not easy to find. No, that doesn’t make much sense to us either, there’s a rundown of what’s on the blog post here.

The monthly plan costs $11.99. That’s in the range you ‘d anticipate from a top VPN, but not something appropriate for more than a one-off month of very sporadic usage. (Surfshark will give you two years of service for less than $48, or $1.99 a month).

Also, the six-month plan is more costly than we would expect at $7.99 a month. The price drops to $5.99 a year, $4.99 a year, and $3.99 a year. These are not bad prices if you’re satisfied with the service, but many other companies provide much better value. For example, you can sign up for only $3.33 a month for Private Internet Access, and that’s only on the annual plan – there’s no need to pay upfront for many years.

A family plan provides you with a year of coverage for everybody in your household, supporting up to 10 simultaneous connections for $12.99 a month. It’s nice that this option is offered, but for less money, you could purchase up to six two-year Surfshark plans.

Oh, hideMyAss! Business plans allow us to endorse more connections simultaneously. These are priced about the same as the family plan-around $13 a month for ten ties, $26 for 20, $39 for 30-and HideMyAss! If you like more, you can do custom quotes.

Whatever strategy you choose, Bitcoin is not approved but HideMyAss! It Does PayPal and Cards Service.

A 7-day free trial gives you ample time to check out the service, which is something you won’t get for most of the competition. You must hand over your payment details, and when the trial ends, you are automatically charged for the annual plan, unless you cancel (which is easy to do online).

A 30-day money-back guarantee backs you if you buy and then run into problems. This had some annoying catch a few years ago (it was only valid for customers who used less than 10 GB of data and made less than 100 connections), but they have been dissected, and if anything, the small print is more generous than most.

For, e.g., if you’ve had one VPN refund, then most would not give you another, even years later. Oh, hideMyAss! You will be issued as many as possible, as long as there are at least six months between requests for a refund.

Privacy and logging

Oh, hideMyAss! Has such a small print that the Legal section has a sidebar with no less than ten different pages, and many of them are also very long (there are more than 3,500 words in the privacy policy).

That’s not quite as bad as it seems at first. The key explanation for paper clustering is that HideMyAss! The main parts have been moved into separate posts, making them easier to find, and most are organized and well-written.

The privacy policy states that there is no recording of the source IP addresses (a possible way to identify you), DNS queries, or any information about the websites you are accessing or what you are doing online.

But there is some recording of the session. The service records the time limit of each connect and disconnect the course, a subset of the IP address you used to connect to the service (if you are logging in from 92.145.233.343, 92.145.233.0), the VPN server IP address allocated to you, and the amount of data uploaded and downloaded.

While this is more logging than you’ll find with other companies, there’s no way to reliably link any internet activity back to your account due to the absence of a full IP. Oh, hideMyAss! Deletes this data also after 30 days, further restricting any exposure.

Although it sounds promising, there is no way for prospective customers to validate these assurances of logging it say the whole story. VPN providers like TunnelBear, NordVPN and VyprVPN have allowed independent companies to inspect their logging, privacy and security systems and report the findings. That’s the only way to start reassuring users about what a VPN is doing, and we’re hoping for HideMyAss! And the rest of the industry is expected to follow suit early.

Apps

Sign up for a MyAss Hide! Trial functions like every other web service you’ve ever been using. Choose a schedule, pick a form of payment (card or PayPal), and hand over your money as usual.

A download page correctly pointed us to the right app for our Windows pc, but also gave us links to builds from Mac, Android and iOS, and some guides to use the Linux software. It isn’t as well-presented as high-end rivals like ExpressVPN – you don’t get the same amount of tutorials on manually setting up the app, and there’s no path to access the Android APK file for manual installation elsewhere – but it does cover the basics well.

Oh, hideMyAss! After our last analysis, it has fully updated its software with entirely new, simplified and seamless designs around the gamut.

The old ‘Fast’, ‘Time’ and ‘Freedom’ modes have been reduced, and the latest versions function just like most other VPN apps: it has a list of places, an On/Off button, and some useful changes in the Settings dialog.

The Picker position doesn’t push you to scroll – scroll and scroll – to find what you need. You can now view locations by continent or type (streaming or optimized P2P), enter text in a search box, or later save commonly used places as Favorites for quick access.

The Position Picker has no indications of latency or server load. However, there is a Speed Check alternative that will detect your nearest servers and measure their latencies and download speed.

A sidebar contains a few configuration options, including a setting to automatically connect to the VPN whenever you access the internet and allow two kill switches from the client. Yeah, two: If the VPN drops, a system-wide kill switch will protect you by blocking internet access, and an optional kill switch will close your selected processes (say, your browser or torrent client).

When we switched servers, we checked the kill switch by forcefully closing the Openvpn.exe process and its TCP link, and tracking IP leaks. In all instances the client blocked all leaks correctly, stopping our actual IP from entering the outside world.

The App kill switch is unique as it also immediately connects to HideMyAss as well as terminating similar apps if the VPN fall! You start those apps when you do.

It is a good idea, and it worked during the study, but it does not give adequate power. You may not want to connect to the VPN every time, for example, you open your torrent client but HideMyAss! Doesn’t care: that’s what’s going to happen once it’s on the Kill switch list app. The client will treat the option of auto-connect as a separate feature and make it configurable for each device.

An odd IP Shuffle feature, tucked away in the Preferences box, switches your IP address at a given interval (30 minutes, an hour, a day, whatever you like), making it much more difficult for anyone to track what you’re doing.

You can refine the auto-connect features, and maybe have it linked to HideMyAss! When you enter a public network, but not the networks that you trust, when, say, you are at home or work.

Tiny yet thoughtful touches include the ability to access your OpenVPN connection log, which can be very helpful in communication problem-solving.

The Android and iOS apps have an almost identical Windows client GUI, so once you’ve learned your way around one, you’ll have no trouble using the others.

However, the Android app has one additional feature in its new split tunneling support. You can determine in one or two clicks which apps can use the encrypted tunnel, and which ones are left with your standard connection.

Mobile apps also have smarter rules for auto-connecting and can connect you to the VPN automatically if you only join unsafe Wi-Fi networks, or any Wi-Fi, or both Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

The rich HideMyAss! Apps aren’t the most powerful we’ve seen, and are not the easiest to use despite the redesign. They ‘re cool though, and usually do a decent job, and we’re expecting them to proliferate as HideMyAss! The new system uncovers and solves problems.

Performance

We started our HideMyAss! Performance tests by choosing a small group of test servers: three in the United States, three in the United Kingdom, two in Europe and locations in Australia, Hong Kong and South Korea to represent the world at large.

(This required downloading of OpenVPN configuration files, so we were pleased to find that HideMyAss! offers a wide selection, carefully named and up-to-date.)
Our tests started by connecting to each server in turn, recording the connection time, running a ping check to search for latency problems and using geolocation to verify that the server was advertised at the location.

Positive news has been coming in every region. Both servers seemed to be where HideMyAss could be! They claimed to be. Connection times were good at around five seconds, even for the most distant locations (some VPNs are twice that, or more), and ping times for remote servers were longer, but no more than we anticipated, and they did not disclose any problems.

We went on to test the best-case download rates, connecting from both US and UK locations to our closest site, and testing download efficiency using Ookla’s SpeedTest and TestMy.
UK speeds on our test 75Mbps link were outstanding 69-71Mbps, just around 4-5 per cent down on our results with the VPN switched off.

We made our US checks from a superfast 600Mbps link, enabling us to see what performance level the HideMyAss has! Servers will keep up. At 75-80Mbps, speeds weren’t much higher than the UK, way down on the 140-200Mbps we saw in our last analysis.

Our tests were conducted in early April 2020, when a lot of the world was in coronavirus-prompted lockdown, with record-level VPN and internet traffic, so possible that this affected. Since there is no way for us to tell for sure, we do not count these results against the company this time as a big black mark.

And if that 75-80Mbps US performance was all you’d ever get, that’s still more than enough for most purposes, and UK fast tests showed that the most distant servers managed very available speeds (Australia reached 34Mbps, Malaysia managed 25-30Mbps, and Peru ‘s 10-12Mbps was enough to search and stream basic).

Final verdict

The data collection policies of this VPN provider could pose a privacy-conscious issue, and prices are higher than we would ideally. That said, the new apps are easy to use, US Netflix and BBC iPlayer have been unblocked, and you are getting one of the

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