HMA Pro VPN (also known as Hide My Ass) is one of the largest VPN providers in the world. The company was started by Jack Cator in 2005. He originally launched HMA to help bypass the firewall restrictions at his school. In 2009 he introduced HMA as a subscription service and it expanded rapidly. In 2015, Privax, the parent company of HMA was acquired by AVG Technologies which has since been acquired by Avast. Privax is based in London, England and Avast is headquartered in Prague. Currently HMA has over 1000 VPN servers in 290+ locations. These are spread across 190+ countries around the world. This allows them to offer geographically diverse locations to help members surf the Internet securely and unblock geo-restrictions.
Pricing and Special Offers
HMA is priced in line with other leading VPN services. We would like to see them offer a monthly subscription but the shortest term they currently offer is 12 months. You can also sign up for a 36 month plan. Like other VPNs we cover, HMA prices their service based on the sign up term. We recommend their 36 month plan to anyone who wants the best value. It brings he price down to $3.99 a month which is a discount of 67% off.
So, what do you get with your subscription? HMA provides the following benefits for all of their members:
- Free custom VPN Software for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android
- 5 Simultaneous connections
- Unlimited VPN bandwidth and usage
- Worldwide virtual IPs from more than 1000 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 and IKEv2/IPSec
- The ability to bypass censorship and geo-restrictions
- Wi-Fi hotspot protection against hackers and identity theft
- Unblock VoIP services to save on long distance costs
- 30-day money back guarantee
HMA uses 2Checkout to process their payments. You can pay for the service with a credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover), UnionPay, or PayPal. Those who prefer to manage their online subscriptions from a central location may prefer to use PayPal. The price is the same regardless of which payment method you choose. At the time of our review HMA did not offer Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency payments.
Risk-Free Trial Period
The team at HMA is currently offering a 7-day free trial for new users. This means you have a week to test the service before being billed. You will still need to enter payment information when you sign up for the free trial. If you do not cancel during the first 7 days you will be billed for 12 months of service.
HMA also offers a 30-day risk-free money back guarantee to all new members. This means you can sign up for any term and take the first month to test the service risk free. If you cancel during the first 30 days you’re payment will be refunded. You can refer to the HMA refund policy for more details.
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 over 1000 VPN servers in 290+ 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.
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 – Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d`Ivoire, 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, Republic of Djibouti, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
- Asia Pacific – Afghanistan, American Samoa, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Palau, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, Pircairn Islands, Republic of Singapore, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tokelau, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam
- Europe – Aland Islands, Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Ukraine, Vatican
- Middle East – Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria. Turkey, Yemen
- North America – Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, 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, Turks and Caicos Islands, USA
- South America – Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Falkland Islands, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, 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.
Privacy and Security
The HMA logging policy has neem updated since that event. More specifically, HMA does not log users activity of any kind. They go on to clarify that they do not log the websitees you visit, data transfered, or your IP address when accessing the VPN. However, they do keep connection logs which includes the time you connect, disconnect, duration and bandwidth usage. They do so to prevent abuse and diagnose network issues.
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 a better choice than they were in years past. Those who like to use P2P services will notice that HMA lists P@P servers in 6 countries.
What kind of encryption does HMA offer to users of their VPN service? They implement OpenVPN as their primary default protocol in their Windows and Android clients. Their implementation uses 256-bit encryption with AES-256-GCM symetric encryption for clients and servers. Their handshake uses OpenSSL with RSA 4096 bit keys authenticated with SHA256.
HMA Pro VPN uses IKEv2/IPSec for their Mac and iOS apps. They apply 256-bit encryption standards. Using IKEv2 allows for better connection and reconnection speeds. It also allows for better tunnel stability. We’re happy to see HMA select IKEv2 for Mac and iPhone users.
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. 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 initiate through chat, as well as, through their support page. Below is the support request page from the HMA website.
Once you choose a reason for your request 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 includes your email address, subject, description of the problem, and attachments, such as screenshots or log files.
Connecting with the Windows or Mac VPN Client
HMA Pro VPN client version 5 was released in September, 2019 with a number of new features and enhancements. You can download the app from their website in the help area. Once you get on the support page, scroll down to find the link to help you install and use the new client. This page contains information on the new 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 will be presented with the login screen.
This is the account authentication screen. Simply enter in your username and password for your HMA account. The client will remember your credentials so 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 “Log In” button to start using the client.
The next screen you will see is called the dashboard. This is the main screen for the new HMA v5 client. The dashboard has three different connection states: disconnected (Off), connecting (spinning wheel), and connected (On). These are shown in the image below. The image below-left shows a screenshot of it in its disconnected state. Notice the donkey’s face is uncovered. Once connected the donkey will be wearing a mask. 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 dark blue.
- Connection status – This says “Off” in this case.
- 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 Miami.
- Original IP – In the disconnected state this will show your public IP address.
- New IP – the IP address assigned once you connect to a HMA server.
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 to the right above. The dashboard screen status shows that you are now connection to the VPN. Changes to the dashboard in its connected state include the following:
- The donkey image – The donkey is wearing a mask to denote that you are protected.
- The connection switch – It is in its “ON” state and its background is bright yellow.
- Original IP – you’re public IP address.
- New IP – virtual IP assigned by the VPN server.
Clicking on the server location section of the dashboard will bring up the locations screen where you can choose a new server to connect to. This is shown in the images below.
Servers 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 second image. The HMA network of servers is over 190 countries strong so the best way to find a server and save scrolling time is to use the responsive search feature at the top of the screen. Typing in ” mia” for Miami narrows the locations and indeed USA, Florida, Miami is the location we wanted. Clicking on this location will take you back to the main dashboard screen and connect to the server.
Connecting with the HMA iOS or Android App
As you might guess, you can download the mobile apps from the Apple or Google app stores. It is titled HMA Hotspot VPN & Proxy. The first time you enter the app you will 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 on the left below.
This 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 appears bored and waiting when you are not connected to the HMA network.
- Switch – The switch background is dark blue and it is to the left in its off state.
- Connection status – This says “Off” in the switch.
- Location – This shows the location of the your currently chosen VPN server.
- IP address – This shows your public IP address in the disconnected state.
The background of the dashboard is dark blue in its disconnected state. All that is necessary to connect to the recommended location is to tap the switch. When connecting the app will show a spinning circle. In its connected state which is shown in the last screenshot above, the background is yellow, the donkey is wearing a mask. You will also notice a new IP address listed which is the IP assigned by the HMA server.
Tapping on the location button at the bottom of the dashboard will bring up the servers screen where you can choose another country or location to connect to. This screen is shown in the first image below. It is organized as follows:
- Lightning Connect – This is usually the server closest to your current location.
- Streaming Servers – Best locations for accessing popular streaming services.
- 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 “Atl” without the quotes and you will see a similar screen. Tapping on the USA, Atlanta location will highlight and select it. The app will immediately connect to the server location.
The last part of the HMA iOS app that we will examine is the menu which can be accessed by tapping the gear icon at the top right of the dashboard screen. The menu is shown in the final screenshot below.
The menu consist of the following items:
- Account – This information includes your account username and your chosen billing plan.
- Preferences – You can sete the app to autoconnect to the VPN when using cellular or wifi and when switch between them, enable cellular, and enable trusted networks so the VPN doesn’t automatically connect to these neworks.
- Help Center – help with common issues.
- Contact support – This is a support contact form that can be sent from your iOS device.
The HMA Pro VPN app for iOS and Android 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 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.
As you can see from the images above, the encrypted connection lowered our base ISP download speed from 459.80 Mbps to 109.48 Mbps. This is a drop of about 76% to a server in Ashville, NC. The loss in connection speed is worth the security and peace of mind offered by being able to encrypt all of your Internet traffic.
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 over 1000 VPN servers in 290+ locations in 190+ countries around the world. They have multiple 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 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.
The HMA team is based in London while their parent company, Avast, is headquartered in Prague. HMA has changed their stance on logging over the years. Their current logging policy makes it clear that they do not log the activities of users. They do keep connection logs to help diagnose issues.
HMA has custom apps for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS. 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 kill switch that will disconnect you from the Internet should the VPN connection drop.
All of their apps provide some of the best encryption available in the industry in AES-256. Their Windows and Android app defaults to OpenVPN because of its balance of speed, security, and overall reliability. The Mac and iOS apps use IKEv2/IPSec which is considered to be fast, secure, and reliable. It is better for reconnecting and switch between networks.
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 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 ticketing 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:
- Reintroduce monthly accounts
- Add 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 $3.99 per month.