HideMyAss Review 2017

Let us start our HideMyAss review, one of the largest VPN providers on the market today by saying that they have been providing VPN services since 2005. The company was started by Jack Cator in Norfolk, England. He originally started the service as a way for him and some friends to bypass their school’s firewall restrictions. In 2009 he introduced HMA as a subscription service and it expanded rapidly and has never looked back. In May of 2015, Privax, the parent company of HMA was acquired by online security giant AVG Technologies. Privax is based in London, England and AVG Technologies is in The Netherlands. Currently HMA has over 940 VPN servers in 350+ locations. These are spread between over 190 countries around the world. This means they can offer their subscribers a choice of over 120000 IP addresses in geographically diverse locations to help them surf the Internet more securely with greater privacy.

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Pricing and Special Offers

HMA is priced right in line with other leading VPNs that we have reviewed but, size-wise they have the largest network of any VPN provider. They market their VPN service as a single package. Like most top providers, they offer increasing discounts on their longer term plans. Due to these discounts, you can currently sign up for their VPN service for $9.99 a month, $6.66 for 6 months, or $4.99 for 12 months. This means you can save 42% off the monthly price if you subscribe for 6 months and if you sign up for 12 months you will save a whopping 57% off during current HMA promotion.

HideMyAss pricing

So, what do you get for your $4.99 per month? HMA provides the following benefits for all of their subscribers regardless of their chosen plan:

  • Free custom VPN Software for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android
  • 2 Simultaneous connections
  • Unlimited VPN bandwidth and usage
  • Worldwide virtual IPs from more than 900 servers in 190+ different countries
  • Dynamic IP addressing with a choice of over 120000 IP addresses in geographically diverse locations
  • Choice of VPN protocols: OpenVPN, IPsec, and PPTP
  • The ability to bypass censorship and geo-restrictions
  • Wi-Fi hotspot protection against hackers and identity theft
  • VoIP support to save on long distance costs
  • 30-day money back guarantee

HMA Payment MethodsHMA offers a few different ways to pay for their VPN service. They accept the following credit cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JBC, Discover/Novus, Diners, Solo, Carte Bleue and others. You can also pay using PayPal if you prefer to pay all of your online payments from one place. WebMoney is available in: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Ghana, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivore, and Egypt. Bank and wire transfers are only available for account renewals. Bitcoin is no longer supported.

Risk-Free Trial Period

HMA Pro VPN does not offer a free trial. However, they know that you would like to try out their service for yourself before you decide to buy it so they offer new subscribers a 30-day, 100% money back guarantee.

New orders are covered by the HMA money back guarantee, except for orders made via OneBip or through the Apple iTunes Store, which they are unable to refund. You are entitled to a full refund if all of the following apply:

  • It is the first order made on your account (e.g. renewals do not qualify);
  • You claim your refund within 30 days of your order date;
  • You have complied fully with the HMA TOS;
  • You send an email to info@hidemyass.com stating your VPN user name and the reason for your cancelling the service;
  • You have used less than 10GB of bandwidth (including upload and download);
  • You have not exceeded 100 sessions;
  • You have not previously claimed a refund from HMA under this policy using another account.

If you have exceeded the 10GB bandwidth limit but your original order is for more than one month, they may issue you a partial refund based on your usage. Such partial refunds are made at their sole discretion. Thirty days should be enough time for you to completely test out their VPN service and support. If for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with it and you meet the other criteria, they will refund your full purchase price. No refunds will be given after thirty days from the purchase date.

HMA Network and Server Locations

HMA has the largest network geographically with servers in over 190 countries throughout the world. It has grown in size and performance over the years as technology has advanced. They currently have 940 VPN servers in 350+ locations in 190+ countries around the world. This allows them to offer faster connections to a wider range of restricted sites around the world than many VPN providers. HMA has over 120000+ IP addresses to dynamically allocate to their subscribers across the world. They have servers on nearly every major continent including Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, Oceania, North America, and South America. The Google Map below shows the scope of the HMA VPN Pro network.

HMA Server Network

The best coverage is in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, The Netherlands, France and Germany. Here is a list of the cities in each region, sorted by country:

  • Africa – 53 servers
    • Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d`Ivoire, Republic of Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  • Asia – 70 servers
    • Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Cocos Islands, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Macau, Malaysia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Republic of Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen
  • Central America – 6 servers
    • Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama
  • Europe – 318 servers
    • United Kingdom (Virtual): Australia, Sydney; France, Paris; Germany, Frankfurt; USA, New York;
    • United Kingdom (Physical): Berkshire, Maidenhead; Hampshire, Gosport; Kent, Maidstone, Leicester, London, Manchester, Nottinghamshire, Nottingham; Scotland, Glasgow
    • Netherlands: Alblasserdam, Amsterdam, Dronten, Hague, Rotterdam, Schiedam, Spijkenisse
    • Aland Islands, Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Georgia, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Vatican
  • Oceania – 33 servers
    • American Samoa, Australia, Christmas Island, Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
  • North America – 436 servers
    • United States of America (Virtual): Australia, Sydney; Canada, Toronto; France, Paris; Germany, Frankfurt; Netherlands, Amsterdam; Republic of Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, UK, London;
    • United States of America (Physical): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California (Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose), Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida (Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando), Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri (Kansas City, St. Louis), Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey (Clifton, Newark), New Mexico, New York (Albany, Buffalo, Manhattan), North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania (Scranton, Wilkes-Barre), Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas (Austin, Round Rock), Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
    • Canada: British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec
    • Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands
  • South America – 15 servers
    • Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil (Joao Pessoa, Sao Paulo), Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela

It addition to having more server locations than any other provider, HMA is well represented in popular countries like the United States, Canada, the UK, The Netherlands, France and others. Their network defaults primarily to the OpenVPN UDP protocol but also supports L2TP/IPsec, IPsec and PPTP.

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Privacy and Security

Unlike most of the providers we review, HMA does log some traffic of their VPN users. What is more when requested by the proper authorities, they will hand over that information as they have done in the past. In September 2011, they were instrumental in catching 23 year-old college student Cody Kretsinger, purportedly to be a member of the hacking group LulzSec which hacked into Sony Pictures Entertainment. Under a UK court order, they passed on logs of the suspected LulzSec member, alias “recursion”, to the FBI. According to HMA, their TOS states that they do not condone illegal use of their VPN service. It further states that should such illegal activity be brought to their attention by mean of a UK court order they will turn over all logs they have of the users activity.

Specifically, here are a few excerpts of what VPN activity HMA logs directly from their VPN Logging Policy:

When you use our VPN service the only data we collect is as follows:

  • a time stamp when you connect and disconnect to our VPN service;
  • the amount data transmitted (upload and download) during your session;
  • the IP address used by you to connect to our VPN; and
  • the IP address of the individual VPN server used by you.

We DO NOT store details of, or monitor, the websites you connect to or any of the data sent over our network, when using our VPN service.

This VPN data is stored for between 2 and 3 months on our secure servers, after which time it is deleted, except in certain very limited circumstances (see below).

If we are notified or detect that your VPN account has been used in breach of our terms of service, e.g. for spamming, file sharing or other illicit activity, then we may store your VPN data for an extended period of time beyond the normal 3 month maximum.

If your account is identified by us following a notification that it has been used in breach of our terms of service, we reserve the right to suspend your account to prevent further abuse, however, in such circumstances we will never voluntarily hand over your personal data to a third party unless we are legally compelled to do so in accordance with English law.

HMA assigns all of its IP addresses dynamically and they are randomly attributed to their users when they connect to their VPN service. Each IP address is only assigned to one user at a time. This means they know who has what IP address and the time they have it from the logs they generate.

This pretty much spells out their logging policy. They do log and store the information for up to three months. If HMA suspects illegal activity violating their TOS, they will retain the logs longer and turn over the logs when compelled by English law.

We leave it for the user to decide if this policy is suitable for their individual VPN purposes. It should be noted that we think that if privacy, even from your trusted VPN is a real concern to you, then HMA is probably not going to be your best choice. Those who like to use P2P services may also want to check out other VPN providers.

What kind of encryption does HMA offer to users of their VPN service? They implement OpenVPN as their primary default protocol in their Windows, Mac OS X, and Android clients. TLSv1.2 is used for server authentication and control. By default, it uses 1024 bit key exchange and 1024 bit preshared key for verification that the key actually came from a HMA server.

Their PPTP protocol implementation uses MPPE protocol for encryption, with an RSA RC4 algorithm and 128-bit keys. L2TP is implemented using IPsec with a 256-bit key for encryption and uses 3DES/AES algorithms. Finally, HMA implents their OpenVPN using OpenSSL with algorithms from 3DES, AES, RC5, and Blowfish. It uses 128-bit encryption with 1024-bit keys, 256 bit encryption for control channel (e.g. password, authentication, etc). Initial authentication is made using preshared 1024-bit keys. The protocol you use determines the strength of the encryption. For most users the OpenVPN (UDP) default will be their best choice because it has the best balance of speed and security.

HMA Support

HMA is one of the few services that has a 24/7 live chat to answer any technical, sales, order, or billing questions you might have. In our dealings with the staff behind the live chat, we found them friendly, fast, and professional. The answers they provided to our questions were on point. The image below shows a couple typical online chat sessions. The first screenshot shows the response we got for a question regarding protocols and encryption.

HMA 24/7 Online Chat

Additionally, as shown in the second screenshot in the image above they provided links to their support FAQs that they thought would help us as well. Their support page has many useful answers to more common questions that users have asked as well as setup guides for other devices. For more lengthy technical problems, they provide a 365/24/7 email ticketing support system that you can instigate through chat, as well as, through their support page. Below is the support request page from the HMA website.

HMA Support Request

Once you choose a reason for your request from this page you will then be presented with a form to fill out which requires varying information dependent on the request you chose. The basic information necessary for most forms includes your email address, subject, description of the problem, and attachments, such as screenshots or files.

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Hands-On Testing of the HMA Network

HMA has custom software for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android. Additionally, they just released new beta software for both Windows and Mac OS X. You can download these custom clients from the HMA customer page by logging into their website. Once you have logged into your customer page, scroll down and then click on the “Software and Help” button. This will take you to the download page where you will then click on the “Download” button to the right of your chosen operating system. This will begin the download of the installation file to your computer for Windows and Mac OS X or transfer you to to iTunes to download the iOS app or Google Play for the Android app.

Connecting with the Windows VPN Client

HMA has a new Windows client that you can download and test as well as the current production one. You can download the HMA! Pro VPN Beta version 3 from their website in the support area. Once you get on the support page, scroll down to find the link to help you install and use the new beta client. This page contains information on the new beta client and the link to download its setup to your computer. After this file has been downloaded to your computer, you will need to right-click on it and “Install as Administrator”. After the installation finishes, (which could take a while if it has to load the Microsoft .net Framework) you should see a screen like the one shown in the image below.

HMA Log In Screen

This is the account authentication screen. Simply enter in your username and password for your HMA account. Tap on the remember me toggle so that the client will remember your credentials and you will not have to enter them every time you log in. If you have forgotten your password, then tap on forgot password to start the process to reset it. If you do not yet have an account, tap on the create an account button to go to the HMA website and subscribe. Once your credentials have been properly entered, click on the “Enter” button to start using the client.

The next screen you will see is called the dashboard. This is the main screen for the new slimmed down client. The dashboard has three different connection states: disconnected, connecting, and connected. These are shown in the image below. The image below-left shows a screenshot of it in its disconnected state. Notice the background of the dashboard is white. The main components of the dashboard are as follows

  • HMA donkey image – This is for branding and in the disconnected state it looks like it is bored and waiting.
  • The connection switch – In its disconnected state the background for the switch is light gray.
  • Connection status – This says “Disconnected” in this case.
  • Server location – This contains the name of the location of the server you have chosen or the last server that you connected to. The location shown in this example is Netherlands.
  • IP address – In the disconnected state this will show your true IP address.
  • Account – This contains information about your account.

HMA VPN Connection Process

To connect to the server location shown, simply click on the switch and the connection process will begin. This will result in a screen like that shown in the middle above. The dashboard screen status now say “Connecting…” and the only other control on the dashboard is a “Cancel” button so you can stop the connection process if you change your mind. The last screen image above shows the dashboard in its connected state. Changes to the dashboard in its connected state include the following:

  • The donkey image – The donkey is giving you a thumbs up indicating that you are good to go and carrying a mini flag of the country you are connected to, The Netherlands.
  • The connection switch – It is in its on state and its background is bright yellow.
  • IP address – The IP address shown is the virtual one assigned by the VPN server in The Netherlands.

The final thing to notice about the connected dashboard is that the background is now teal. These cues make it easy to tell when you are connected to the VPN and thus protected.

Clicking on the server location section of the dashboard will bring up the Servers screen where you can choose a new location to connect to. This is shown in the image below.

HMA Client Location SelectionServers on this screen are arranged alphabetically by country. They can be viewed either by country as shown in the image on the left or by city as shown by the middle image. The HMA network of servers is over 200 countries strong so the best way to find a server and save scrolling time is to use the responsive search feature as shown in the image on the right. Typing in “atl” for Atlanta narrows the locations and indeed USA, Georgia, Atlanta is the location we wanted. Clicking on this location will bring up a screen like the one shown below left.

HMA New Connection Atlanta GAThis screen comes up if you are already connected to a VPN server at another location to confirm that you want to change locations. Clicking on the “Connect” button will disconnect you from your current location and connect you to a VPN server at the new location, Atlanta, GA. After you are connected to the Atlanta server the dashboard will reappear showing your new location and new IP address.

One other way that you can view the server list is by means of favorites that you have saved in the server selection screen. The first time that you select Favorites, you will see a screen like the one shown on the left below. This screen informs you that you must right-click on a location to select it as a favorite.

HMA Favorite Servers Selection

Now click on the “Add your first server” button which will take you back to the Servers screen. Type “atlanta” without the quotes into the search field and right click on the Atlanta, Georgia server. This will result in an image like that shown in the middle above. Notice the location is highlighted and a yellow star is to the right of it. Click on the star to complete the favorite selection. After doing this again with Amsterdam and Toronto, clicking on the favorites view will bring up a list of your favorites that looks like the last image above. The favorites list like the other two server views is shown in alphabetical order by country.

Just like clicking on the location section of the dashboard brought up a server selection screen, clicking on the IP address region will bring up a screen that will let you change your IP address whenever you want. The image below shows this screen on the left. The screen shows a pin with your original country flag and your true IP address in the top section and a pin with the flag of the country of the VPN server that you are connected to and your current public IP address assigned by the VPN server. There is a “Change IP address” button at the bottom of the screen. Clicking on this button will temporarily disconnect you and then reconnect you with a new IP address.

HMA IP Change

Clicking on the Account area of the dashboard will bring up a screen like that shown in the middle above. This is the account screen. It shows you account information which includes username, current plan, date and number of days till your current subscription expires. There is also a “Manage account” button here that will open the website so you can log in to your customer area to mange your account. The last thing on this screen is the “Log out” button. Clicking this button will bring up a screen like the one shown on the right above. This screen is warning you that if log out, the client will no longer remember your authentication credentials and that you will have to reenter them the next time you log in.

Disconnecting from a server is just as easy as connecting to one and takes just a single click. This process is illustrated by the three screens in the image below. The first shows we are connected to a VPN server in The Netherlands. To disconnect, simply click on the switch in the middle of the dashboard. Once you do this you will see a screen like that shown in the middle below which shows that the VPN server is “Disconnecting…” The last screen shows that the dashboard has returned to its disconnected state.

HMA VPN Client DisconnectingThe HMA Pro VPN beta client is a world apart from its previous counterpart. Gone are much of the settings that allowed you to control the VPN connection. The only decision left in your hands is the location to connect to and even that has been reduced to just the country or city. If multiple locations in a city are available, the client will automatically determine the best one for you. It will still let you change your IP address. Connecting to an HMA VPN server takes just a click or two. Disconnecting takes only one. The new beta client requires no technical knowledge and is easy for anyone to use.

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Connecting with the Mac OS X Pro VPN Client

HMA has a new Mac OS X client that you can download and test as well as the current production one. You can download the HMA! Pro VPN Beta version 3 from their website in the support area. Once you get on the support page, scroll down to find the link to help you install and use the new beta client. This page contains information on the new beta software and the link to download its setup to your computer. Scroll down on this page to get to the Mac OS X beta link. After this file has been downloaded to your computer, you will need to find and open it to complete the install. After you open it you will see a screen like the one shown on the left below welcoming you to the new software. If you have previously installed the earlier version of the software, you will see a message like the one shown on the right below. If you see this message, click on the “Update” button to continue installing the HMA Mac OS X beta client.

HMA Pro VPN Beta Mac OS X Install

After the installation finishes, you should see a screen like the one shown in the image below.

HMA Pro VPN Beta Mac Login

This is the account log in screen. Simply enter in your “Username” and “Password” for your HMA account. Click on the “Remember me” toggle so that the client will remember your credentials and you will not have to enter them every time you log in. If you have forgotten your password, then tap on forgot password to start the process to reset it. If you do not yet have an account, tap on the create an account button to go to the HMA website and create one. Once your credentials have been properly entered, click on the “Enter” button to start using the client.

The next screen you will see is called the dashboard. This is the main screen for the new slimmer HMA Pro VPN client for Mac. The dashboard has three different connection states: disconnected, connecting, and connected. These are shown in the image below. The image below-left shows a screenshot of it in its disconnected state. Notice the background of the dashboard is gray. The main components of the dashboard are as follows

  • HMA donkey image – This is for branding and in the disconnected state it looks like it is bored and waiting.
  • The connection switch – In its disconnected state the background for the switch is light gray.
  • Connection status – This says “Disconnected” in this case.
  • Server location – This contains the name of the location of the server you have chosen or the last server that you connected to. The location shown in this example is USA, Georgia, Atlanta.
  • IP address – In the disconnected state this will show your true IP address.
  • Account – This contains information about your account.

HMA Pro VPN Connection

To connect to the Atlanta VPN server, simply click on the switch and the connection process will start. This will result in a screen like that shown in the middle above. The dashboard screen status now says “Connecting…” and the only other control on the dashboard is a “Cancel” button. This will you can stop the connection process if you change your mind. The last screen image above shows the dashboard in its connected state. Changes to the dashboard in its connected state include the following:

  • The donkey image – The donkey is giving you a thumbs up indicating that you are good to go and carrying the mini flag of the country you are connected to, the United States of America.
  • The connection switch – It is in its “on” state and its background is bright yellow.
  • IP address – The IP address shown is the virtual one assigned by the VPN server in Atlanta.

The final thing to notice about the connected dashboard is that the background is now teal. These cues make it easy to tell when you are connected to an HMA VPN server and thus protected.

Clicking on the server location section of the dashboard will bring up the “Servers” screen where you can choose a new location to connect to. This is shown in the image below.

HMA Pro VPN Mac Servers Screen

Servers on this screen are arranged alphabetically by country and then by city. They can be viewed either by country as shown in the image on the left above or by city as shown by the middle image. The HMA network of servers is over 200 countries strong so the best way to find a server and save scrolling time is to use the responsive search feature as shown in the image on the right above. Typing in “atl” (without the quotes) for Atlanta narrows the locations and indeed USA, Georgia, Atlanta is the location we wanted.

Now type in “lond” (without the quotes) for UK, London and click on the London location. This will bring up the new connection screen like that shown in the image below-left.

HMA Pro VPN Mac Server Change This screen comes up if you are already connected to a VPN server at another location to confirm that you want to change locations. This screen will let you choose to connect to the new London VPN server by clicking on the “Connect” button or staying connected to the Atlanta location by clicking the “Cancel” button. Click on the “Connect” button to change to the new VPN server. After you are connected to the London server the dashboard will reappear showing your new location and new IP address.

One other way that you can view the server list is by means of favorites that you have saved in the Servers screen. The first time that select Favorites, you will see a screen like the one shown on the left below. This screen informs you that you must Control-click on a location to select it as a favorite.

HMA Pro VPN Favorites

Now click on the “Add your first server” button which will take you back to the Servers screen. Type “atlanta” without the quotes into the search field and Ctrl + click on the Atlanta, Georgia server. This will result in an image like that shown in the left-middle above. Notice the location is highlighted and a yellow star is to the right of it. Click on the star which will turn it white to complete your favorite selection as shown in the right-middle image above. After doing this again with Amsterdam and London, clicking on the favorites view will bring up a list of your favorites that looks like the last image above. The favorites list like the other two server views is shown in alphabetical order by country, then city.

Just like clicking on the location section of the dashboard brought up a Server screen, clicking on the IP address region will bring up a screen that will let you change your IP address whenever you wish. The image below shows this screen on the left. The screen shows a pin with your original country flag and your true IP address in the top section and a pin with the flag of the country of the VPN server that you are connected to and your current public (virtual) IP address assigned by the VPN server in the bottom section. There is a “Change IP address” button at the bottom of the screen. Clicking on this button will temporarily disconnect you and then reconnect with a different IP address.

HMA Pro VPN Change IP and Account Logout

Clicking on the Account area of the dashboard screen will bring up a screen like that shown in the middle above. This is the account screen. It shows your account information which includes username and current plan. There is also a “Manage account” button here that will open the website so you can log in to your customer area to mange your account. The last thing on this screen is the “Log out” button. Clicking this button will bring up a screen like the one shown on the right above. This screen is warning you that if you log out, the client will no longer remember your authentication credentials and that you will have to reenter them the next time you log in.

Disconnecting from a server is just as easy as connecting to one and takes just a single click. This process is illustrated by the screens in the image below. The first shows we are connected to a VPN server in Atlanta, Georgia. To disconnect, simply click on the switch in the middle of the dashboard. Once you do this, you will see a screen which shows that the VPN server is “Disconnecting…” for a very brief period. Then the dashboard will return in its disconnected state as is shown in the last screen below.

HMA Pro VPN Disconnection

The HMA Pro VPN MAC OS X beta client is a lot slimmer than the previous client. Gone are many of the settings that allowed you to control the VPN connection. The only decision left in your hands is the location you want to connect to and even that has been reduced to just the country or city. If multiple locations in a city are available, the client will automatically choose the best one for you. It will still let you change your IP address. Connecting to an HMA VPN server takes just a click or two. Disconnecting takes only one. The new Mac OS X beta client requires no technical knowledge and is easy for anyone to use.

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Connecting with the HMA Android VPN Pro App

As we said before, you can find the link to the Hide My Ass Android software from the HMA customer page by logging into their website. Once you have logged into your customer page, scroll down and then click on the “Software and Help” button (shown inset top-left). This will take you to the download page where you will then click on the “Download” button to the right of Android 4.0+. This will take you to Google Store where you can download HideMyAss! Pro VPN for Android.

HMA Pro VPN Android Install

Once you get to the Google Store, tap on the “Install” button as shown in the first image above. You will get a message like that shown in the middle image above. The app will not install if you do not accept these terms. Tap the “Accept” button and the installation will continue. Once the installation completes, you will see a screen like the one shown on the left below. Tap on the “Open” button to launch the app.

HMA Android LoginOnce the app launches you will be presented with a login screen like the one shown above on the right. This is the HMA Pro VPN Login screen. Enter in your username and password for your HMA account. If you have forgotten your password, then tap on forgot password to start the process to reset it. If you do not yet have an account, tap on the create an account button to go to the HMA website and subscribe. Once your credentials have been properly entered, click on the “Enter” button to start using the client. This will result in a screen like the one shown on the left below. This is the dashboard screen in its disconnected state. This screen has three states: disconnected, connecting, and connected.

These connection states are shown in the image below. The image below-left shows a screenshot of it in its disconnected state. Notice the background of the dashboard is light. The main components of the dashboard are as follows

  • HMA donkey image – This is for branding and in the disconnected state it looks like it is bored and waiting.
  • The connection switch – In its disconnected state the background for the switch is light gray and it is on the left.
  • Connection status – This says “Disconnected” in this case.
  • Server location – This contains the name of the location of the server you have chosen or the last server that you connected to. The location shown in this example is USA, Georgia, Atlanta (LOC1 S8).
  • IP address – In the disconnected state this will show your true IP address.
  • Account – This contains information about your account.

HMA Pro VPN Android Dashboard States

Tapping the switch causes its background to turn yellow and the switch slides to the right as is shown in the first image above. This results in the connecting screen which is shown in the middle above. Notice the app icon in the top right is flashing different messages as the connection proceeds. The last screen above shows the completed connection. Changes on this dashboard state include the following:

  • The dashboard – The dashboard itself is no longer gray but instead teal.
  • The donkey – The donkey is giving you a thumbs up and carrying a mini flag of the country you connected to.
  • The switch – Its background is bright yellow and it is in its on position to the right.
  • The status – The status now says “Connected”.
  • The IP address – This is now the virtual IP address assigned by the Atlanta VPN server.

These are all visual keys designed to make it easy to tell (with just a glance) if your connected to the HMA network. Tapping on the server location will bring up the Servers screen where you can select another location to connect to. This screen is shown in the image below on the left. Specifically, this is the Servers screen viewed by country in alphabetical order. Selecting a country to connect to will connect you to a random server in a random location if more that one location is available in that country. Scrolling down the list, you will notice that some of the countries have a right pointing arrow to the right of them as is shown in the middle image below. This will expand these countries and let you choose individual locations and servers to connect to. Tapping on a server is all that is necessary to select and connect to it which we will show in a minute.

HMA Server Selection by Country

Although you can slide up through the list of counties to find the one you are looking for this could become cumbersome. A better way to use the Countries list to find the server you want to connect to is to use the responsive search to narrow the list and then select the location from inside it.

This is illustrated by the next set of screen images. First, type “united” without the quotes in the search as is done in the screenshot on the left below. Now tap the arrow to the right of United Kingdom. This will open up a screen similar to the second one in the image below.

HMA Search and Connect

Slide up until the see the London (LOC1 S3) location as is shown in the second screenshot above. Else, you could type “lond” without the quotes in the search to show the London locations. Tap on this location and you will see a screen like the third one above. This is the new server connection confirmation screen. If you have previously connected to another VPN server as was done earlier when you connected to the Atlanta server, you will get a screen like this. If you tap the “No” button the app will return to the servers screen. However, if you tap the “Yes” button then the app will place UK, London (LOC1 S3) in the server area of the dashboard, disconnect from the VPN server you are currently connected to, and then connect to the new server in London and return you to the dashboard as is shown above in the last screenshot.

As you can see, changing VPN locations takes only a minute and a few taps of the screen and is made easier by the responsive search feature. It should be noted that this search is for countries only and not tied to the locations within them so you cannot type London directly into the country search. Once you expand a country to its locations, then you can search for the London locations within that country.

Another way that you can search for and connect to servers is through a favorites list that you create. The first time you open the favorites server view, you will see a screen that explains how to choose a favorite location. The first screenshot in the image below illustrates this. To add a favorite to your list, simply tap on the star beside it. This will turn the outline of the star yellow as is shown in the second screen in the image below. Alabama, Mongomery (LOC1 S2) and Alaska, Anchorage (LOC1 S3) are both favorites that have previously been added to the list. Now add Arizona, Phoenix to your favorites by tapping the star beside it.

HMA Pro VPN Android FavoritesThe third screen above shows the current favorites list. Notice the Phoenix server has been added to the list in alphabetical order by country, then city, then increasing location number (LOC#), and finally increasing server number (S#). All that is necessary to remove a server from the favorites list is to tap on the “X” to the right of it. Remove the Phoenix server by tapping the “X” beside it. This will leave a list like the one shown in the last image above.

Just like tapping the server location will open the Servers screen, tapping on the IP address will bring up a screen that will let you change the virtural IP address assigned by the VPN server you are connected to. This is shown in the image below. Tapping on the IP address on the connected dashboard will display a screen like that shown in the image below. This screen shows your home country flag and true IP address on the top half and the flag of the country you are connected to and the public IP that it assigned you. There is a “Change IP address” button at the bottom the screen. Taping this button will temporarily disconnect you from the VPN server you are connected to and reconnect you with a public IP address.

HMA IP Address an AccountTapping on the account area of the dashboard screen will result in a screen like the last one shown above. This screen displays account information. This information includes your account username, your chosen billing plan, and the number of days till your subscription ends.

The last thing we want to examine on the HMA Pro VPN app dashboard is the menu which can be accessed by sliding right or tapping the menu icon (triple horizontal lines) in the upper left of the dashboard. This menu is shown in the first screenshot of the image below.

HMA About and Help MenusThe menu consist of the following items:

  • About – This contains information on the version number of the app and links to the HMA privacy policy, TOS, and refund policy.
  • Help – This contains a small list of common questions and answers about the Android app.
    • Tapping the donkey will bring up another menu with three items.
      • Getting started
      • Knowledge base
      • Previous software versions
    • It also has a link to sign in to your customer page and a link to the full support webpage.
  • Contact support – This is a support contact form that can be sent from your Android device (shown below left).
  • Account – This information includes your account username, your chosen billing plan, and the number of days till your subscription expires which we previously looked at above.
  • Settings – This contains two general startup settings. (screenshot below middle)
    • Connect to VPN on launch – Connect to the VPN network when the client is launched. Username and password must be saved for this to work. This means you cannot use log out.
    • Launch app on startup – Launch app when your Android device boots.
    • If both are set then the app will connect as soon as the device boots up.
  • Log out – This will log you out of the app and you will have to reenter your username and password when you open the app back up.

HMA Support and Settings Menus

The last screenshot above shows the mini-menu that you can access by tapping on the three horizontal dots. We have already looked at the menu items that the first three point to. The last one, “Tickets”, is to keep track of your support tickets. Now that we have looked at all of the features of the HMA Pro VPN for Android app, there is only one thing left to do and that is to look at how to disconnect from a VPN server. Disconnecting from the HMA network is easy. Tap on the switch on the connected dashboard. This will start the disconnection process and you will see a screenshot similar to the middle one below with an animated icon and the word “Disconnecting”. After the app is completely disconnected, you will see the Disconnected dashboard.

HMA Pro VPN Disconnection

As you can see, HMA has made it easy to install and use their VPN app for Android. Connection is as simple as selecting a location and tapping on the switch on the dashboard. Disconnecting from an HMA VPN server is even easier. Simply tap on the switch on the connected dashboard. No technical knowledge is necessary to use their VPN network if you use their Android app to connect to it. The app uses OpenVPN so you can be sure your Internet traffic is securely encrypted from prying eyes.

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Connecting with the HMA iOS VPN Pro App

As we said before, you can find the link to the Hide My Ass iOS software from the HMA customer page by logging into their website. Once you have logged into your customer page, scroll down and then click on the “Software and Help” button (shown inset top-left). This will take you to the download page where you will then click on the “Download” button to the right of iOS 8+. This will take you to the iTunes store where you can download HideMyAss! Pro VPN for iOS. Once you have downloaded and launched the app, you will see a screen like the one on the left in the image below. This is the login screen for the app.

Enter in your username and password to authenticate your account. If you have forgotten your password, tap on “Forgot password?” and the app will start the process for you to change it and get another. If you do not yet have an account, tap on “I don’t have an account” and the app will help you create one. Once you have properly entered your account username and password, then you will see a screen like that shown in the middle below.

HMA Login and ConnectionThis is the app dashboard screen. This screen has three different states: disconnected, connecting/disconnecting, and connected. The components of the dashboard in its disconnected state are as follows:

  • Bored donkey – The donkey appeared bored and waiting.
  • Switch – The switch background is gray and it is to the left in its off state.
  • Connection status – This says “Disconnected” and is just below the switch.
  • Server location – This shows the location of the your currently chosen VPN server.
  • IP address – This shows your true IP address in the disconnected state.
  • Help me choose – This will help you choose the best performing server for some common purposes (which we will discuss later in this section of the review) from your location.

The background of the dashboard is light gray in its disconnected state. All that is necessary to connect to the Atlanta (LOC1 S1) location is to tap the switch. When connecting the app will show an animated donkey and the word “Connecting”.

In its connected state which is shown in the last screenshot above, the background is teal, the donkey is giving a “thumbs up” sign and carrying the flag of the country you connected to, the status now says “Connected”, and the IP address shown is the public one assigned by the Atlanta VPN server.

Tapping on the server location of the dashboard will bring up the servers screen where you can choose another country or location to connect to. This screen in shown in the first image below. It is organized as follows:

  • Recommended – This is usually the server closest to your current location.
  • Recent – This is a list of your most recent connections.
  • Country – This is a list of all of the countries in the HMA network arranged in alphabetical order.

You can slide up through the list of countries to find the one you want but a better way is to use the responsive search as is shown in the middle screenshot of the image below. Type “united” without the quotes and you will see a similar screen. Tapping on the United states of America location will highlight and select it. Notice the yellow check beside it. This will connect you to a random US server. You will notice a right-facing arrow to the right of the United Kingdom and the United States of America. This means that these can be expanded to allow you to choose your location within that country as is shown in the last image below.

HMA Pro VPN iOS Server Choice

Another way that you can select to view the list of servers is by favorites. The first time you select the favorites view, you will see a screen with information on how to select a server as a favorite as is shown in the first screenshot below. To select a server as a favorite swipe left on the server name. Tap on the “Add your first server” button which will take you to the servers screen in countries view. Now swipe left on Atlanta (LOC1 S1). This will result in a screenshot like the second one in the image below. Notice the star is solid yellow with a white border around it. This means it has been selected as a favorite. Tap on the star to save the selection as a favorite. This will result in the star turning white as is shown in the third screenshot below. The last screenshot shows the favorites view after repeating this procedure with Melbourne (LOC1 S1) and The Netherlands. The favorites view provides an easy way to connect to VPN servers that you like to use on a regular basis.

HMA Pro VPN iOS Favorites

Tapping on the IP address area of the connected dashboard which is shown in the first screenshot below will bring up a screen that will let you change your public IP address assigned by the VPN server. This is illustrated in the second screenshot in the image below.

This screen shows a pin with your home country flag and true IP address in the first half of the screen. The bottom half contains a pin with the flag of the country that you are connected to and the public IP address assigned by the VPN. At the bottom of the screen is a “Change IP address” button. When you tap this button the app will disconnect your from your current VPN server and reconnect you with a new IP address.

hma-ios-changeip-purpose1

Tapping on the “Help me choose” area will bring up a screen like that shown to the right in the image above. It will help you choose the best performing server for some common purposes from your current location. The purposes that it can help you with are as follows:

  • Secure my Internet – This will connect you to the fastest server from your current location. This is shown in the first screen shot in the image below. Tapping the “Connect” button will connect you to the HMA Nashville (LOC1 S1) VPN server.
  • Choose a country – This will display an alphabetical list of countries you can connect to with recently connected ones shown first. This is shown in the second screenshot below. From here you can select a country and the app will select a server to connect you to it.
  • Paranoid mode – This will connect you to a server in an Internet friendly jurisdiction. Tapping the “Connect” button on this screen will complete your connection to Spot Bay as shown in the third screenshot below.
  • Anti-censorship – This will connect you to a server close to you but outside your own country to help you overcome any censorship in your country. The last screenshot below illustrates this. Tapping on the “Connect” button will connect you to a server in Boulfour Town.

Depending on your current location, “Help me choose” will provide different destinations for you but for the same purposes. Simply, tap the “Connect” button to connect to the VPN server and accomplish your goal.

HMA Pro VPN for iOS Purpose

Disconnecting from the HMA network is as easy as connecting. All you have to do to disconnect from the Atlanta VPN server shown in the first image below is to tap the switch. Doing so will result in a screenshot like that shown in the middle below. The last part of the HMA iOS app that we will examine is the menu which can be accessed by swiping right on the dashboard or selecting the menu icon (three horizontal bars) at the top left of it. The menu is shown in the final screenshot below.

HMA Pro VPN iOS Menu

The menu consist of the following items:

  • About – This contains information on the version number of the app and links to the HMA privacy policy, TOS, and refund policy (first screenshot below).
  • Help – This contains a small list of common questions and answers about the iOS app. (second screenshot below)
  • Contact support – This is a support contact form that can be sent from your iOS device (shown below right).
    • The app puts in your email address that you used to sign up for the account.
    • Provide a subject for your problem.
    • Describe your problem as best you can.
    • Include screenshots and diagnostics and then tap the “Send” button.

HMA About, Help and Contact

  • Account – This information includes your account username and your chosen billing plan. (first screenshot below)
  • Settings – This contains two general startup settings. (screenshot below middle)
    • VPN protocols – You can choose between three:
      • IPsec – This is the default for the iOS app. It is secure and provides the best performance for most users.
      • L2TP – This is an alternative secure protocol but could have problems with some firewalls and may require additional setup.
      • PPTP – This should be used if neither IPsec or L2TP work or if speed and not security is your goal.
    • General settings – These control how the app functions on startup.
      • Connect to VPN on launch – Connect to the VPN network when the client is launched. Username and password must be saved for this to work. This means you cannot use log out.
      • Always on VPN – Launch app when your iOS device boots.
      • If both are set then the app will connect as soon as your iPhone or iPad starts up.
  • Log out – Because this will log you out of the app and you will have to reenter your username and password when you open the app back up, the app will display a screen like that shown on the left below before logging you out.

HMA Account and Settings

The HMA Pro VPN for iOS app is very easy for anyone to use. It requires little technical knowledge. To connect or disconnect from the HMA network takes but a single tap on the switch on the dashboard. Changing servers or IP addresses can be done with just a few taps. The default IPsec protocol can encrypt all of your Internet traffic and keep you secure at you favorite Wi-Fi hotspot anywhere in the world.

HMA Speed Test

The speed test we performed on the HMA VPN network was not as fast as some of the best performing ones we have reviewed. They came in about average in terms of performance. You can see from the speed test below that their speed was adequate. Some loss in speed is expected when connecting to a VPN network because of the overhead incurred by encrypting your Internet traffic. This loss was within acceptable values for HMA.

HMA Speed Test

As you can see from the images above, the encrypted connection lowered our base ISP download speed from 66.11 Mb/s to 55.13 Mb/s. This is a drop of about 16% to a server in Atlanta, GA which is an acceptable loss. The loss in connection speed is worth the security and peace of mind offered by being able to encrypt all of your Internet traffic.

Conclusion

HMA has been in the VPN service industry since 2005. It has grown in size and performance over the years as technology has advanced. They currently have 940 VPN servers in 350+ locations in 190+ countries around the world. They have multiple fast servers in popular countries like the US, the UK, Canada, The Netherlands and others. This allows them to offer faster connections to a wider range of restricted sites around the world than many VPN providers. HMA has over 120000 IP addresses which they dynamically allocate individually to their subscribers across the world.

They are based in London in the United Kingdom. HMA logs information about their users while using their services. They keep this information for three months and sometimes longer. Therefore they are probably not the best choice for those who want to use file sharing tools to P2P. They state they will comply with any UK judicial orders and turn over any information the have about suspected subscribers.

HMA has custom software apps for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS. In addition, they have new beta clients for Windows and Mac OS X users. These apps are easy to install and allow their users to connect to VPN servers in their network with just a few clicks of the mouse or taps on the screen. Their Windows and Mac OS X clients include an application kill switch that will disconnect the selected apps from the Internet should the VPN connection drop.

All of their apps provide some of the best encryption available in the industry in AES-128. All but their iOS app defaults to OpenVPN because of its balance of speed, security, and overall reliability, but you can also choose to use the PPTP protocol with them. This might be useful for streaming media. Their iOS app recommends IPsec which is considered to be as fast, secure, and reliable as OpenVPN but also can be configured to use PPTP and L2TP as well.

HMA also provides manual tutorials to connect to their service using Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, various routers and some other devices. Their support begins with a 24/7/365 online chat service. They have an extensive FAQ database. More involved issues can be handled by their 24/7/365 email ticketing system.

What we liked most about the service:

  • They have a massive VPN network. This is great for those who travel internationally.
  • They have clients for Windows and Mac OS X
  • They have mobile apps for iOS and Android.
  • The have 24/7/365 live chat support for light technical or billing issues and email tickets to help with more complex problems.
  • They have a VPN kill switch that lets you stop selected applications when the VPN connection drops.
  • You can change your public IP address when you want.

Ideas to improve the service:

  • Stop logging user activity like session time, bandwidth usage, true IP and virtual public IP used
  • Remove limitations on their money back guarantee
  • Restore Bitcoin as a payment option

The HMA network covers most major continents. They have servers in Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, Oceania, North America, and South America. They have a relatively fast VPN network. They have a 30-day money back guarantee so you will have plenty of time to test their service and see if it is right for you. Give them a test run and see what you think. If you enjoy the speed and peace of mind offered by their VPN service, you can sign up for unlimited access from just $4.99 per month.

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