HideMyAss Review

The UK-based VPN company HideMyAss offers a wide array of Internet privacy tools that are designed to protect you in a variety of ways. HideMyAss Proxy is a free online web proxy service that will give you basic anonymity for web searches and getting around geo-restricted websites. Hide My Phone by HideMyAss can be used on either iOS or Android and gives you a private, disposable phone number to use for anonymous voicemails, SMS, and phone calls.

The company also offers an anonymous HideMyAss email service that provides you with a free, single use email address that cannot be traced back to your real email account.

Of course, HideMyAss’s real value lies in their flagship service, VPNs for personal and business use. HideMyAss Pro VPN is supported on Linux/OS X/Windows/iOS/Android/DD-WRT platforms. It is available as a client software download for Windows, OS X, Android, and iOS. One of the great things about this service is that you can connect it to your router, Smart TV, or gaming console. With simultaneous connections available, you won’t have to pick and choose where you want to be protected.

HideMyAss Pro VPN is available in 1 month, 6 month, and 1 year subscription lengths. As with most other VPN service providers, the longer you subscribe, the more money you save per month. At the time of this review, the prices are: $9.99 for the one month “Kick-Ass” plan, $6.66 per month for the 6 month “Half-Ass” plan, and $4.99 per month  for the year-long “Smart-Ass” plan. While these prices are a bit higher than others in the industry, HideMyAss often has seasonal sales that have been known to provide hefty discounts.

pro

Pros:

  • Funny names
  • Disposable phone numbers for iOS & Android
  • Can be installed on game consoles and smart tvs
  • Free anonymous email service
  • Web browser plugins for VPN, proxy and browser tab hider
  • 24/7 Support: Live chat, Phone, and ticket system
  • Largest # of VPN servers in the biz
    • 930+ VPN servers
    • 340 cities
    • 190 countries
    • total of 120000 IP addresses

con

Cons:

  • Blocked in China
  • Only 128 bit encryption
  • No support for IPv6
  • Dynamic IP addresses makes it hard for PayPal and credit merchants to use VPN
  • Logs and stores usernames, email addresses and IP addresses
  • Has disclosed user information

Bottom Line:

In our review of HideMyAss it’s clear that they offer a great service for their price. With an industry leading amount of servers and 24/7 support available through live chat, phone, and email, it is no question that they care for their users. Yet, they have had some serious issues with keeping their users’ Internet activity private in recent years. If you are looking for a service that does not keep logs and promises to protect the anonymity of their users at any cost, then HideMyAss might not be for you.

Your online behavior should stay private. If you’re looking to, ahem, “hide your ass” from online criminals, targeted advertising, and “the man”, then you should consider a virtual private network service (VPN for short). These services are designed to give you peace of mind while you conduct your affairs in cyberspace. By creating an encrypted tunnel between you and the outside world, a VPN keeps your Internet activity shielded from prying eyes and data thieves, rendering you anonymous. In our increasingly digital world, the need for this type of tool is becoming commonplace. Long gone are the days when VPNs were only utilized by business people working remotely and online downloaders looking to shield their use of torrent sites from copyright lawyers. Nowadays, just about everyone can benefit from the use of a VPN to ensure that they can live their lives without being watched or taken advantage of.

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Getting Started:

I downloaded the Windows client, and completed it without a hitch. The software from HideMyAss downloaded very quickly and was practically an automatic install, and the client is well-organized and easy to use. All options for server selection, IP address settings, proxy settings, and account preferences are clearly labeled in a menu on the left-hand side of the user interface. With an industry-leading number of servers and IP addresses available, there is a lot to customize. HideMyAss currently provides access to 890 VPN servers in 190 countries worldwide with over 120,000 unique IP addresses available for use.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they offer many different VPN protocols to suit their users’ varied needs. In addition to a standard and somewhat outdated and standard PPTP connection, they also offer a 128bit OpenVPN connection and an L2TP/IPSec connection for increased security and speed. My traffic speed tests produced positive results. Depending on my server choice, my upload and download speeds often passed a respectable 20 Mb/s.

Overall, the HideMyAss Pro VPN client is very straightforward and user friendly. I had no trouble using it, and was comforted by the 24/7 availability of their support staff to fall back on if I had run into issues. HideMyAss currently offers support via web chat, phone call, or through their dedicated support email address, making them one of the most accessible VPN providers on the market today.

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Logging and Privacy Concerns:

Although they are an undeniable market leader in the VPN world and offer their users many great free bells and whistles, HideMyAss has found themselves in at least one troubling situation where they failed to protect a user’s privacy in recent years.

In fall of 2011, a young US hacktivist named Cody Kretsinger was identified and arrested after using HideMyAss’s VPN services to keep his Internet activity anonymous. Kretsinger was a member of a group called LulzSec, which was responsible for hacking into and compromising the security of big names such as Sony Pictures and News International.

After HideMyAss was implicated in the case against Kretsinger, they announced that they would hand over Kretsinger’s Internet usage logs and personally identifiable details to the FBI. They stated that they would comply fully with UK law and any foreign power that was able to gain a UK court order to avoid being prosecuted along with their customer. While it is admirable that HideMyAss has always been upfront about their legal decision and should not be faulted for it, it is troubling that they are registered within a country that requires them to keep logs of their customers’ activities and can so easily demand the invasion of an individual’s privacy. If you have any qualms with the way that the UK government defines personal privacy, you might want to reconsider a subscription with HideMyAss and choose a provider that operates under different jurisdiction.

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