HideMyAss belongs to market leaders in terms of service quality and scope of services offered for free. There is a disadvantage, though. They base in UK and used to experience significant privacy issues.
Prices and Prospects
Similarly to the majority of VPN providers, Hide My Ass offers 3 packages (for one month, half year and full year) with identical scope of service and progressive discounts. In the past, it was among higher-priced providers presented in our complete list. Currently 1-year subscription is offered for just 4.99 USD monthly, and even the option with regular monthly payments was discounted to 9.99 USD. For those with long-lasting plans one-year package shall be recommended. Whatever option is chosen, there is a money-back guarantee for 30 days.
The offering comprises 860 servers in 190 countries and at 310 different locations. This means the selection of 117,020 IP-addresses, this quantity being continuously increased. Also they offer 3 most popular protocols: LLTP, L2TP, OpenVPN with easy switchover options (for different devices). They offer SW for all popular OSs and, which is rather unique, maintain two concurrent connections. This ensures peace of mind in the selection of devices you want to use. The last but not the least is the extensive scope of free services offered online. They are discussed below.
Private and secure environment
A great engineering advantage of the service is that it supports all basic protocols: L2TP and OpenVPN based on 256-bit encryption, and PTPP based on 128-bit encryption. The services offered for free confirm the commitment to online privacy and security.
There is a disadvantage, though. The company is UK-based and keeps partial logs. As it is evident from the LulzSec incident back in 2011, these logs are disclosed to the government upon request. This is quite reasonable considering the pressure from U.S. authorities and Sony, and this was the only known incident of this kind. It can be safely assumed comfortable for the majority of users, but, as already mentioned, not suitable for the absolute privacy seekers who should refer to other lists.
Their web-site is easy-to-use and clear (putting aside the strange-looking donkey). All features and services are nicely-packed, as well as themed articles, posts and blogs.
The team is friendly, humorous and ready-to-help (though not round-the-clock). Also, they have a smartly tuned site for FAQs and communication to help set up and use the services.
How to sign up
It is enough to have an e-mail and make a payment to sign up. After that you receive links to SW downloadable to devices.
Windows VPN client
It is just as easy and prompt to download and install the client. Launch the SW to get access to the Dashboard, make the first steps (choose server and protocol) and have status displayed on the task bar. Options available in the left-hand menu are discussed later on.
- Country Selection. This will be your base country picked on a map or from a list.
- IP Address Settings. Here your IP can be checked, regular change can be defined, or IP history can be logged.
- Secure IP Bind. Here you define a list of programs to be run only when VPN connection is used and closed down in all other cases (e.g. Torrents).
- Speed Guide. There is a check to identify the server from those selected where highest speed can be obtained.
- Proxy Settings. Here you can set HTTP/SOCKS proxy for use.
- Billing & Packages. As follows from its name, there are billing options and available packages.
The client has one drawback, though. While OpenVPN and PPTP are inbuilt, additional SW is required for L2TP.
Specification (Speed, DNS & IP Test)
An extensive text was run for several days to assess performance and stability with stable results at a level just below expectations. IP & DNS leak checks were definitely positive. All most popular OSs are supported, with a dedicated iOS application for Apple devices. Android users receive built-in accessibility and can try a Beta App.
Android application is available upon sign up, via Google+ account. This is kind of tiresome but needed to make Play Store downloads. However, this is a very simple app, and you can only use it to change location (with OpenVPN).
What is offered for free
There is the on-line web proxy service. It cannot be called sophisticated, but allows anonymous search requests and access to some pages not accessible otherwise. However, signing up to VPN account offers much more.
When you are not satisfied with their proxy, there is a proxy list kept in real time to get access to alternate services.
Anonymous e-mail address can be used for whatever time period, from one day to one year. Proxy Extension, Panic Button & IP Checker plug-ins can be used for Mozilla and Chrome browsers.
It is possible to upload and safely share files up to 400 Mb.
To sum all these up
- Money-back guarantee for 30 days
- 591 servers available in 69 countries, with constant expansion
- Unrestricted bandwidth
- Nice VPN Client
- Many things are offered for free
- Nice web-site
- VPN settings (primarily L2TP)
- Legal issues in UK (they keep logs and user details and may disclose them upon authorities’ requests)
Thus, our tests are a positive statement that HideMyAss worked hard to set this up. Their Windows client can be named among the best; it offers many nice features to enrich user experience. Mobile clients are a little less perfect, but demonstrate quick and positive development. Abstracting from security concerns and taking in account so many things that are offered for free, HideMyAss is a valuable choice.