HideMyass

HideMyAss Review
HideMyAss: Is it the Right VPN For You?

HideMyAss is a VPN located in the European country of Switzerland. Underneath the umbrella of Golden Frog, the VPN is known for having a large number of servers (over 700) based in dozens of countries. Most servers will support streaming entertainment and can even unblock torrent websites and applications. There’s a lot of things that HideMyAss gets right, making them a primary contender in the category of VPNs that deserve further analysis. The information below will allow you to decide for yourself if HideMyAss is good enough for your devices. All details from how it compares to other VPNs to its logging policy will be touched on.

What to Know about VPNs

If you were to go back in a time machine about a decade ago, you would find that VPNs weren’t in the mainstream yet. There’s no main incident that made the caused the applications to grow, but several. The evolution of smartphones and social media has played a part in that, along with revolutions about data retention that has been done by nations that have a reputation for spying on web users across the world. Whatever was the case, VPNs are now recommended about security experts and will make web content what wasn’t accessible before readily available. If you live somewhere that blocks content, or even particular news articles and video channels, it would all be viewable whenever you have your VPN turned on.

Some people even keep on their VPNs for the entire time that they’re online, which is perfectly safe to do when the program comes from a trusted source. Of those that have a good reputation among consumers, HideMyAss is included in that list. There are generally two types of VPNs, those that are free, and apps that sit behind a paywall. The VPNs that must be paid for a bought through subscriptions that are debited from your account, usually every month or quarterly period. Many also have plans that can go for as long as a year, or even longer. When you’re shopping for a new VPN, you’ll hear such promises as zero-logging policies, fast server speeds, and alternative applications that become unblocked while using the service. Most of these things are true but require context to understand just how useful they are. For example, A VPN might block your favorite streaming site but could have connectivity issues that make it hard to watch a film without it buffering or lagging.

Try to stay away from free VPNs if you can. Some of them are fine, but most could open you up to even more problems, especially with logging. A free VPN typically logs much of your time spent online, and might even use the data gathered to make money through selling it to third parties that they aren’t knowledgeable about. If you do wish to try out a free VPN before moving on to one that’s paid, stick to those that are under reputable companies. If a service has a paid and free version and receives stellar reviews, then you’re probably in the right hands. But if not, try going with a paid VPN that’s low priced but features the same tools as the higher-priced companies out there. HideMyAss falls somewhere in the middle, comparable to most paid VPNs but with subscription prices that are easy to get behind.

Pricing and Affordability

HideMyAss has personal and business plans for their customers. Since most people use them on their home computers or mobile devices, the standard plans will be scrutinized. Of these, there are two called Standard and Premium. the Standard costs just $11.99 per month, which is billed every month until canceled. The Premium is a little more expensive in the beginning but has better savings potential, especially when comparing it to the plans of rival VPNs. Instead of being billed monthly, you would have to only make a payment of $83.88 after the 12-month period has expired. That breaks down to $6.99 a month for the 12.

HideMyAss is unique among other VPNs wit this, seeing as many won’t make their monthly plan the cheapest option. Remember, it’s only $11.99, making it extremely affordable to people who need VPN services but don’t want to commit to a long investment while doing so. There are more expensive plans that you can go with too, but try to stay with the shortest given until you’re comfortable with using HideMyAss or have time to compare the nuances between them.

Payment Choices

HideMyAss is lacking when it comes to payment choices. For most locations, there’s only credit, debit, and PayPal that can be used during checkout. There is no cryptocurrency support listed on the payment section of the website. However, if you’re on a smartphone you could use Apple Pay or an account that’s linked to the Google Play Store to complete payment. None of these ways are discrete, so the company would have a record of the name of card/PayPal account whenever you finish acquiring your subscription. If HideMyAss even offers Bitcoin support for payment, it would easily put them ahead of their competitors when it comes to the ways you can pay.

Free Trial and Reimbursement

HideMyAss offers potential users a free trial period of seven days, although it’s quite hard to find it from their website. Smartphones are easier to set up with this since you would only have to download the application and submit your info to get started with it. After the seven-day time limit has passed, the payment options that you gave them during checkout will draw money away from your account. Be sure that you have selected a choice that’s appropriate for them to withdraw, or remember to cancel at least several hours ahead of time. There’s also a 30-day money-back promise that you can use for a return of funds if you don’t like HideMyAss. It won’t take them too long to return it to you when paying with PalPal but might require a week or two longer if you used a card for the purchase.

All Protocols and how they Protect You

HideMyAss has four different protocols that you can try when on a subscription. Here’s a quick look at them all.

  • OpenVPN – OpenVPN is the best choice to use when you browse online with HideMyAss on a personal computer or laptop. It’s very stable and fast, housing great encryption that will protect you from multiple threats. And since its open-source, everything that’s built for the protocol isn’t based on profit, so there’s no incentive for them to exaggerate what is claimed by the platform.
  • TCP – TCP is also OpenVPN but tweaked by HideMyAss, which means that you’ll receive AES-256 encryption but also a tunnel that can send your metadata through a cipher, which further prevents potential attackers from knowing who you are when online. TCP will also stop your ISP from throttling your speed when you use the service. If you like to torrent files and need a protocol that won’t take too long to find meta attached to magnet links, this is a good option.
  • L2TP/IPsec – L2TP over IPsec is great for most smartphones and tablets. Security is its best feature but might not perform as fast as using OpenVPN.
  • PPTP – PPTP is one of the oldest protocols of the four, but also one of the fastest. There is no encryption support with PPTP but it remains a good choice for people that might be experiencing difficulty when using the other three protocols to connect over a server.

Kill Switch Features

HideMyAss has a kill switch that comes with the application. A kill switch will prevent other applications from getting on the internet if your connection goes down. If you were surfing the web in the middle of a thunderstorm and your power went down for a brief moment, the internet would turn back on, which would risk your IP address being read by the application to which you were just connected. Additionally, your ISP would be able to see the content that you were visiting, something that might be prohibited from them (torrent sites and clients). When you use the kill switch for HideMyAss, it will place a barrier over any open programs, or any that try to reconnect themselves to your ISP. This wasn’t always a feature of VPNs but became necessary when torrent sites were beginning to get blocked.

How it Works with Tor and Other Browsers

On the Golden Frog page from HideMyAss, they detail how you can access Tor with their VPN service. Some Tor users like to attach a trusted VPN over their time spent on the onion browser, which serves as a last line of defense if Tor’s relays fail to hide the user’s true ISP. You can do this with HideMyAss, but try to not let this pull you into a vague sense of security. Tor has its limitations as well, and the level of anonymity is reliant upon the individual that’s using the service. That goes for if you’re on a VPN with Tor or not. In any case, you can use HideMyAss over the Tor Network, so just log on as you would with any other programs and surf away.

Widgets included with the VPN

HideMyAss has a small browser extension that can be used for the Chrome browser or Chrome OS. However, there’s also an application provided for Chrome’s operating system, which would make the extension pointless if you’re already planning on downloading the platform to it. Since the browser is on all computer-based operating systems, you can also find it there on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The extension is entirely free but limited to web pages only. You won’t get entire protection from your computer with the service. For that, you’ll need the downloadable app itself. If you want to visit peer-to-peer file-sharing programs, don’t use the extension since the pages of the torrents will open, but won’t gain you access to the torrent file or magnet link.

Headquarters and Relationship with Host Country

HideMyAss has headquarters in Switzerland, a country that technically isn’t one of the five, nine, or fourteen eyes nations that conducts and shares signals intelligence (SIGINT). However, that doesn’t mean that the Swiss government could join the coalition in the future. For now, things appear good for Golden Frog/HideMyAss, although they must abide by the laws of the country.

Server Number and Quality

There are over 700 servers with HideMyAss. When you log on to your account with the application, it will take you to those which are used the most by you, freeing up time from the need to sift through those that you don’t use very often. Connecting to a server is quick most of the time, although you might experience some delays if your connection is a little slow. People on smartphones tend to have this problem the most with HideMyAss. If your data plan isn’t very fast, expect to wait over tend second to connect. Connecting when many applications are open could increase this time; remember to close them before you do so, especially if you’re logging into any bank accounts. This usually isn’t an issue on computers, but it’s still a good idea to open up your applications only after you’ve connected.

Testing Its Speed

You can speed test HideMyAss like you would with any other VPN. Prepare for a 40-percent reduction of speed from what’s provided by your ISP. Those with fast connections are better for this, and the speed test will likely show good results. Don’t try to rely on speed tests that you see on the internet with HideMyAss, as some of them are getting online with connections that are much faster than the average user has access to. Just run it yourself, preferably on the first day that you begin your subscription. If you don’t like the speed results, try changing your protocols if you can. Sometimes, this can drastically change how fast your VPNs speed becomes.

Streaming Netflix and Other Music/Video Websites

HideMyAss has servers that will help you access Netflix when you’re away from home. To do this, just select one and try to get on the site. If you run into a server that doesn’t unblock Netflix for some reason, you might have to clear your browser’s cache to keep from getting your account locked. Not all HideMyAss servers will work with streaming, but a majority of those that are popular by users (such as remote addresses in the EU and US) will allow access. Stick to thee, and you won’t have to flip in between servers that often. Music streaming isn’t the same and can be opened by all servers when getting on Spotify or Deezer. And Apple Music shouldn’t show any issues either, so just log on as you normally would with the service. If you’re from the UK and are using BBC iPlayer to access shows from an outside location, HideMyAss should be able to get you to your media without keeping you blocked.

File Sharing and Torrent Compatibility

HideMyAss allows users to torrent files, but care must be taken depending on the location where you’re using the service. If you reside in the United States, you’re subject to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. That means files you download from torrent sites online could put you at risk of your ISP suspending your service with them. If they find out that you’re downloading content that’s copyrighted, HideMyAss could end up canceling your account as well. This has happened in the past before, so know the laws where you live before taking the gamble with torrents or at least be mindful of the content that you’re downloading!

How it Performs with DNS Leaks

Picking up from the last section dealing with torrents, one good thing about HideMyAss that would protect you from getting into trouble with your ISP is their strong DNS leak protection. Sharing files through peer-to-peer networks is easy to do for most people, and the VPNs own DNS address will prevent outsiders from knowing that you’re taking part in such activities.

User Agreement and Logging Policy

The user agreement with HideMyAss is detailed and to the point. There’s not much to complain about except for the part that deals with torrenting. Logging is also not a problem, and the company has shown no intentions to monitor or collect information that users share with servers. Their website might gather info about the people that come on it, but the same cannot be said for the application. When you go into a server, your connection time is saved, but only for a few minutes. After that, the data is deleted and what you do while on the server stays hidden.

Customer Service and How to Contact

HideMyAss has a ticket system and on-site chat support in place for handling questions submitted to them by customers. If you aren’t subscribed to the service, you can also contact them through email. But for the people that are on a plan with the VPN, you might have to submit your details depending on the nature of your response. For problematic issues, always go for the support ticket first. If there’s anything minor that could be solved at the same time that you have a problem, then the live chat should work out for that. Customer service with HideMyAss is viewed as acceptable by most people that are had to contact them, but wait time can vary with email responses. Still, you should have a reply with at least a day or two.

Compatible Operating Systems

HideMyAss works with all major and some minor operating systems. iOS and Android smartphones/tablets will also work with the VPN. If you’re on Windows, the service is very easy to download and will not use up too great a portion of your device’s RAM. Mobile devices are about the same, but crashing could take place if you don’t update the VPN frequently. This might also occur if you run too many apps while using the service, or switch between applications too quickly. Furthermore, older versions of operating systems (and older phones) tend to work poorly with newer updates of HideMyAss, so try to upgrade your OS if you’ve had problems with other VPNs on a phone that isn’t new.

Number of Devices that can Be Used with One Account

You will only be able to get on five devices with HideMyAss at one time when subscribing to the standard plan. That’s not many, and other VPNs will sometimes allow a higher amount than this, except for ExpressVPN (which has a limit of three). The Premium edition also allows five devices to be connected. Remember, this plan goes on for one year and might not be what you’re looking for, so you’ll have to go with a router if you need more devices than what’s provided. It isn’t too hard to set up and the VPNs site has a comprehensive guide to ensure that you do it the right way.

How it Stacks Up against the Competition

Price-wise, it is hard to for other paid VPN apps to beat HideMyAss. They don’t make their cheapest option to most expensive, something that’s commonly done with other services. If you’re getting a VPN for strictly torrenting, you would probably enjoy others more and bring about fewer risks to getting kicked off your ISP.

Pros and Cons

Here are the basic pros and cons of HideMyAss to remember before deciding on your purchase.

Pros:

  • Outstanding Prices Per Month – Looking at other comparative VPNs proves that the $11.99 cost for a basic month-to-month plan with HideMyAss (with up to 5 devices) is quite a steal. You’ll get great, dependable servers that are secure but at a rate considerably lower than what you would pay with many others.
  • Solid Customer Service – HideMyAss’ customer service exceeds the expectations of many that have plans with the VPN. They can solve most problems and answer your concerns in detail, having a live support and ticketing process that’s very intuitive to use when you’re ready to send a message.
  • Has several Business Plans – If you need to set up a VPN with multiple computers for a business, HideMyAss has got you covered. There are two plans that you can choose for twelve months. These plans are much higher in cost than a normal subscription from the company, so only consider getting it if the need outweighs the price.
  • Streaming Content is Accessible – Netflix can be viewed by most servers with HideMyAss. Sure, you might see a few that could be spotty when accessing the streaming site, but a majority of them should allow you access to your Netflix account without any major setbacks. Music streaming is also great; there’s shouldn’t any concerns when playing your songs at the highest bit rate available for your music accounts.

Cons:

  • File Sharing is Risky – Although HideMyAss does allow torrenting, you could technically have your account suspended if your ISP finds out that you’re downloading copyrighted content from file-sharing applications. It’s unlikely that they’ll know what you’re doing, but there have been instances of people getting blacklisted from the VPN (and their ISP) from doing this in the past.
  • The Number of Payment Options could be Improved – You can only use PayPal, debit, or credit card to pay for a subscription with HideMyAss. They offer no anonymous payment choices, so the company will retain a record of the name that’s on the account you use to make a purchase. And while Switzerland (HideMyAss’ headquarters) doesn’t actively monitor Golden Frog’s servers, this could change at any point.

Summary/Conclusion

Should you get HideMyAss? If you’ve gone over the article and the service still looks good, try it out for yourself! There’s no real way of knowing whether you will like a VPN until you do so. HideMyAss offers a trial period for anyone curious, along with an honest money-back guarantee if it falls within the 30 days that the service was bought. When you’re on a server with the app, you’ll appreciate how fast it goes when browsing the web or handling other programs. Whenever your internet is restricted, HideMyAss will relinquish all your favorite sites immediately when the service connects you to the web.