HideMyAss VPN is one of the larger VPN providers on the market. It has hundreds of servers and thousands of IP addresses available in its VPN network and was acquired by antivirus software company AVG Technologies earlier this year.
First set up by CEO Jack Cator when he was just a teenager, Cator was looking for an easy way to surf the web in school without any content blocks. HideMyAss would eventually grow into a fully-fledged tech and security company over the years with a growing customer base of privacy-minded users or people that just wanted to access geo-blocked streaming sites.
HideMyAss is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux with mobile versions for iOS and Android.
HideMyAss offers its services with the three most common protocols – L2TP, PTPP, and OpenVPN. Users are free to switch between the protocols. These protocols offer robust 256-bit encryption, except for PTPP which uses 128-bit encryption.
Servers and IP addresses:
One of the most important features to consider for any VPN is the variety of servers and IP addresses that users have to choose from.
Currently HideMyAss has 880 servers in 330 locations in 210 countries, which the company says is always growing. That amounts to about 117,000 or so IP addresses. The company even claims to have a server set up in North Korea as well as in countries like Iran and the Maldives.
More importantly, it has servers in less obscure or far flung locations globally from the US to the UK and Australia to Japan.
There is also a feature for scheduling IP address changes so that a user can ensure they don’t linger too long on the one IP when browsing their usual favourite sites. HideMyAss imposes no bandwidth restrictions on its customers.
If variety of IP choices is what you are after in a VPN service then HideMyAss offers the most diverse choice of servers to hop on.
HideMyAss’ logging policy:
Logging, where the company retains certain data about the user, is a hot issue among the VPN user community. Who has my data and why?
HideMyAss is based in the UK and logs certain information about its users. This logging policy is detailed on the company’s website. It collects data such as the IP address you connected to the VPN from; as well as the VPN IP address you have connected to; the time you connect and disconnect to the VPN; the amount of data uploaded and downloaded while connected.
This data is held for two to three months according to the company, which is held for operational reasons such as monitoring instances of fraud or abuse. HideMyAss says it does not log any data on the sites that you visit.
Whether or not this policy will ever change under the AVG acquisition is not clear. Tech companies that are based in the UK are also subject to search warrants for data from the authorities.
This logging policy may not sit well with some users, especially more hard line privacy advocates. There are other VPN providers out there that claim to be “100% logless” but HideMyAss is not one of them.
There are also providers that operate in other jurisdictions where data may not be subject to the same whims of the authorities as other regions.
HideMyAss is ideal for the casual user looking to hop geo-blocks rather than the serious security and privacy activist.
Pricing & customer support:
HideMyAss regularly changes their pricing plans by offering various sales. It offers its plans in three stages. Customer can subscribe for a month at a time, six months, or purchase a year-long subscription. In a bid to get as many customers in for the long haul as possible, the 12 month package is cheapest (currently at $4.99 per month), while the monthly plan charges $9.99 a month.
The VPN service does not offer a free trial unlike many other VPNs, which can be a deterrent. Many users prefer to try out a service without handing over any payment information. Instead, HideMyAss offers a 30-day money back guarantee. This is only ideal if you’re fairly confident in the service to begin with. For users who are feeling 50/50 about using HMA, this set-up isn’t the best one.
Another important measure for a VPN service is its customer support features. Several VPN providers offer different services such as email support, ticketing, or live chat. HideMyAss offers a quick and easily accessible live function for its paying customers.
HideMyAss’s website is quite user friendly and the sign-up process is rather quick too. The service isn’t just for the tech-savvy and may be more favorable to those getting started with VPN technology.