HideMyAss (HMA) VPN review: Avast does VPN

HMA, or HideMyAss, is the VPN from security giant Avast and, guess what, it's great

HideMyAss devices
(Image credit: Hide My Ass)
T3 Verdict

HMA, formerly HideMyAss, is easy to use, has an audited no-logging policy and offers worldwide coverage, albeit with less than average unlocking abilities.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Unblocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer

  • +

    Over 190 countries covered

  • +

    Great live chat support

  • +

    Independently audited no-logging policy

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No unblocking of Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video

  • -

    Not the cheapest

  • -

    Needs more configuration options

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HMA, formerly HideMyAss, is the VPN from security giant Avast which is good enough to make it onto our prestigious list of the best VPN options out there right now. Need we say more? We shall.

One minute HideMyAss VPN review

HMA VPN is one of the older options out there and that is a good thing as it means more than 15 years experience in protecting customers' privacy online. It also means the service has amassed a huge number of servers that are dotted all over the world. At 1,000 servers in more than 290 locations this is one of the better options out there for wide coverage.

What stands out for HMA is its privately audited no logging policy, which means you can be reassured that your privacy is being upheld to the highest level. The backing of lots of encryption layers, P2P support and a privately owned DNS service all add to that security online.

This isn't the cheapest option out there but it does work across a host of devices and supports geo restriction evasion. Although for the best streaming service unblocker this isn't top of the list, but more on that below.

The stats:

  • Servers: 1,000+
  • Locations: 210+ countries
  • Devices: 5 simultaneous connections
  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux
  • Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2
  • Top features: Privately audited no-logging, lots of servers, good support

HideMyAss VPN review: How much does HMA cost? Is there a free trial?

HideMyAss VPN is not cheap, but it's not too expensive either. Much like the service itself this straddles the line, offering you a reassuringly good experience that's charged at a fair price you'd expect for what you get. That means you can pick a tier that suits you and feel you're getting your money's worth.

These prices are based on offering up to 5 device connections. Pay from $5.99 a month for a 10 connection plan. 

Compared to the competition, at the more affordable end you've got Surfshark at $2.49 a month for its two-year plan. Then there's CyberGhost for $2.25 a month when you commit to three years. 

There is a free trial of HideMyAss but it's only a seven day experience. That said, it should be long enough to get a feel of whether the service is going to work for you or not. 

Be warned though, this requires you to give you payment details and you'll be charged automatically for the annual plan when the trial ends. Not to worry, though, it is easy to cancel online before then. Worst case, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can get your money back if you need.

This is a good option as one of the best cheap VPN choices and could even be one of the best free VPN choices for you if you take that seven day trial into account.

Does HideMyAss VPN work on Netflix? What other streaming services can it unblock?

This is a decent streaming service but it's not the best. Yes, you can unblock Netflix and yes indeed you're good to go with BBC iPlayer. But should you need this for Amazon Prime Video or Disney Plus then you're going to be left wanting as we struggled to get these services working.

Usefully, the Windows client offers a filter which shows the location list with just streaming servers available. Sounds great but the downside is there are just six servers which apply here. Four of those are in the US with one in London and the other in Frankfurt.

HideMyAss streaming donkey with popcorn

(Image credit: HideMyAss)

When it came to streaming on services we could get access to, like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, the streams were fast. That meant loading up the app or website as quickly as without a VPN on and it also meant getting the highest quality feed right away without any buffering to worry about.

This is where that one week free trial is useful as you can try to unblock what you need and should you find this isn't up to the task, where you need, you can try another service with a better track record. For that check out our best streaming VPN guide.

HideMyAss VPN review: What features can you expect and how do they boost security?

HMA VPN is super private with a very impressive no logging policy. That means no details are kept about you, about your machine or about your internet activity. As we mentioned, that policy is privately audited by a company specialized in this area. It has found the no logging claims to be accurate with no way of tracking you based on your HMA account.

There is some very general logging, like if the data connection was AM or PM, and a rough idea of the amount of data transferred, but that's it. And with no originating IP address logged, all that data is largely useless for locating anyone.

HMA interface on laptop screen

(Image credit: HMA)

The security is super tight when you consider this uses AES-256-GCM data encryption as well as an RSA-4096 handshake all topped off with SHA-256 data authentication. That's also backed by dual app kill switches in case your connection should drop and otherwise leave you open.

There is P2P support, for those torrent users. The downside is that server support is minimal with only a small selection of locations available. But better that than no support since five are in Europe and two are in the US.

HMA VPN review of speed and overall performance

To test the speed and performance of HMA VPN we used US locations on a 1Gbps connection.

Based in US

OpenVPN: 300-330Mbps

Testing was done by measuring the download speeds using Ookla's SpeedTest and Netflix's Fast.com. Each one is done across morning and evening times.

As you can see this service only offers OpenVPN as a protocol which is never a good sign. Yet it did mean a stable connection and actually did offer some very decent speeds at up to 330Mbps. That beats out some of the competition that use the latest same OpenVPN protocols. But compare it to the latest WireGuard and it gets blown away with speeds of 630Mbps from ExpressVPN, for example.

It's not the best or the fastest but offers decent speeds that should serve the needs of many very well.

Client set-up and available support from HMA VPN

HMA VPN offers some great support, in fact this is one of the features that really makes this stand out. From a wide range of online resources including setup guides and FAQs to forums you also have a 24/7 live chat support service.

We can't stress how helpful this live chat is. Say you want to know what's the fastest server in a certain country to get you streaming Netflix. Simply get on the chat, ask for that and you'll be directly immediately. This means you're getting the best possible speeds and security from your connection, making that service very valuable. Also great for installation guidance should you need it.

That said, getting setup is straight forward. Pick a plan online, select a payment and download the client for the platform you need to get started with. The Windows interface installs as any other app, with a clear and easy to use interface as the end result. Explore the server locations sitting front and central in an organised list format. The filter for P2P servers or streaming unblockers is really helpful here.

For the mobile apps you can download right from the app store and install easily and quickly before signing in. Expect features you don't usually see on apps like UDP/TCP connections and IP shuffle as well as auto-connections options like Wi-Fi only or phone network and Wi-Fi, for example.

HideMyAss VPN review: Our final verdict

HMA VPN is a super secure and very private VPN option. It only offers OpenVPN but that means a stable connection with some decent speeds. The pricing isn't the cheapest but the level of 24/7 live chat service and quality of app features make this worth that price. Some may miss certain streaming services remaining blocked but with easy to filter servers and P2P support this does have a lot to offer.

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Luke Edwards

Luke is a former freelance writer for T3 with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others Luke wrote about health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. In his free time, Luke used to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.