What is VPN?
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are a godsend when it comes to keeping your computer, and data private. It’s like the second you open your browser you’re hit with an attack of ads that are little too personal for it to be coincidental.
That’s where a VPN comes in. It hides your data, essentially your online identity, and makes you a lot harder to track by these big companies. They do this by using servers in different countries, making it look like you’re a person in that country.
It’s brilliant for getting around territory issues, like with a youtube video you can’t view because you’re not in that country. Or even getting access to Netflix and other streaming sites in a different country.
There’s a lot of new things to watch depending on where you live, it’s basically a whole different world. And suddenly those ads become a lot less personal, and your wallet stays happy.
HideMyAss, (HMA) is a very honestly named VPN. It was designed and created by a UK based company, with the motto “more VPN for your money.” But is that actually true or are they trying too hard?
You can never know these days which is why we’ve had a look and done thorough research on HMA to find out the low down, giving you our personal opinions as well as the facts to help you decide whether HMA is the right VPN for you. Or whether you might be better off with a different VPN.
So we’ve told you HMA was created in the UK but the story behind how it came to be sounds like it could have come straight out of a movie.
Created by Jack Cator, he was inspired by the fact that he couldn’t access games, music, and videos from his school computers and wanted to figure out a way to bypass that. He literally wanted to hide his ass from the school. Oh and he was only 16 at the time.
HMA has come a long way since then, and is now one of the biggest VPNs out there, with over 10 million users.
Before we dig into what we think of HMA, let’s have a look at some of the features:
This means that none of your data is logged or kept, which is very handy since the whole point of a VPN is privacy.
Smart kill switch
If your VPN connection were to ever drop, this feature will automatically drop your internet connection too. The whole point of this is that it prevents leaks in your location, and data.
While some apps may need privacy, not all of them do. With this split tunnelling you’re able to manually select which apps you want the VPN to apply to and which ones don’t need it.
When you’re online, your internet identity has something called an IP address, which basically shows where you are. With the IP shuffle feature you’re able to change your IP address multiple times, which stops people from being able to track you.
Advanced leak protection
This is very important when using a VPN. Even if you have one, it’s not a guarantee that it’ll keep you safe. Some VPNs leak something called a Domain Name System.
This basically allows people to see what websites you’ve visited and essentially renders the VPN moot. HMA uses IPv4, IPv6, and other DNS leak tests to make sure that this doesn’t happen. And on the off chance it does, it’ll notify you and do it’s best to fix the problem.
Military grade encryption
Alright this is going to get technical, but all it means is that HMA is using incredibly advanced encryption to stop people from getting their mitts on your data.
That encryption is implemented using an OpenVPN protocol in Galois Counter Mode with 4096-bit RSA keys for handshakes that are authenticated with SHA256. If you didn’t understand a word of that, that’s okay. All you need to understand is that it’s very powerful encryption.
Ever get tired of having to waste time manually connecting things? Well with the HMA VPN you’re in control of setting up which networks you want to automatically connect to and which ones don’t require it, saving you a lot of time in the long run.
Fully encrypted servers
Because HMA has servers in a lot of different countries they need to make sure their security is tight. They do this by using 256 bit encryption that protects data. HMA themselves wouldn’t even be able to hack these servers.
If you’ve never heard of DDosing before, let us explain. Distributed Denial of Service attacks are when multiple requests are sent to a website to overload it’s systems. It’s actually an illegal cybercrime in the United States but that doesn’t stop people from doing it.
By using DDoS protections, HMA are not only protecting your data but they’re also protecting your connection.
P2P optimized servers
P2P basically stands for Peer to Peer, and is a form of file sharing. It’s probably one of the quickest and easiest ways to file share.
Built into the HMA VPN is a speed test that is able to check the speed of your connection and seek out the best resolution automatically.
1100+ servers in 290+ locations
One of the biggest selling points of HMA is that it has the most servers available in the most number of countries. Making it the number one VPN for the widest network coverage.
Put it this way, when it comes to the internet 1Gbps (Gigabits per second) is considered very fast. So 20 Gbps is considered the Flash of speed.
As well as the browser app HMA also has a mobile app that they debuted in 2013. This now allows users to secure the privacy of their connection on their mobile as well.
This also works in conjunction with other apps. Say there’s a video blocked in your country on Youtube, use the VPN to say you’re in another country and boom, you’re in.
This VPN will make you feel like a hacker for being able to watch a Korean dog video.
Put them all together and these fancy features make for one great VPN, on the surface.
Don’t get us wrong, it is a pretty decent VPN. In fact, it comes with the ability to unblock Netflix, BBC Iplayer, and so many other streaming sites.
It has a speed that’s so fast it would put other VPNs to shame, but there are some drawbacks too. For example not all the servers are very fast and there have been reports of some slow ones, depending on the countries the servers are in.
Speaking of countries, while HMA is great for western countries, countries like China don’t have the benefit of being able to use this VPN as it’s banned.
Interestingly, as of 2019 HMA were essentially coerced by the Russian government to join a registry of banned websites, sponsored by the soviet state.
Obviously HMA declined to be forced and pulled their entire operation out of the country.
HMA were also guilty of keeping logs at one point. This is something very frowned upon by most VPN users because a log is a record of everything you’ve done. So it’s not very secure to have one of those kept by a VPN claiming it’s all for privacy.
Luckily HMA listened to the thousands of complaints they received and in their latest update they no longer keep logs.
HMA is one of the companies that prides itself on listening to user feedback, which isn’t something a lot of companies do nowadays.
But the fact that they used to do that still brushes some users the wrong way. Particularly because HMA has been known to hand over user data to the FBI.
Our take on this, however, is that it’s written expressly in their Terms and Conditions that the VPN is not to be used for illegal purposes. So long as you’re a law abiding citizen then you’ll have nothing to worry about.
HideMyAss has some excellent features, there’s no denying that.
Incredible speed that’s great for streaming and downloading, a wide range of coverage, automatic connection, a smart kill switch, DDoS protection, an inbuilt speed check, split tunnelling, IP shuffle, military grade encryption, advanced leak protection, P2P servers, and more.
Not to mention their incredibly easy to use mobile app.
Though privacy may have been a concern in the past, particularly with logging, we would argue that it is the past. HMA has done more to improve their service and security than some other VPNs can boast.
And with a 24hr customer service hotline, it is very clear that they actually care about their customers. To end with, HMA themselves worked out that it would take just over 2 years for someone to hack into their VPN. Surely you can’t be doubting how secure this VPN is.