HMA VPN Review 2022: Before You Buy, Is It Worth It?

What do we look at?

🚀Speed 8.0 / 10
📍Servers 7.0 / 10
👍User Experience 8.0 / 10
📞Support 5.0 / 10
🏷️Pricing 9.0 / 10
Disclosures:
Our Reviews

WizCase includes reviews written by our experts. They evaluate the products/services in accordance with their professional standards.

Ownership

Kape Technologies PLC, the parent company of Wizcase, owns ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, ZenMate, Private Internet Access, and Intego, which may be reviewed on this website.

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Reviews standards

The reviews published on Wizcase are written by experts that examine the products according to our strict reviewing standards. Such standards ensure that each review is based on the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, and takes into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings we publish may take into consideration the affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website.

HMA VPN Overview July 2022

After the 2011 scandal involving HMA sharing data with law enforcement, I wanted to see if the VPN could regain its users’ trust. So, I put HMA through extensive testing — and my results were mixed.

Previously known as HideMyAss, HMA provides quick speeds and a wide selection of servers, alongside military-grade encryption that keep the connection secure. It also has a kill switch and an IP Shuffle feature that hides your internet activities. I was surprised to see a verified no-logs policy audited by cybersecurity firm VerSprite, proving HMA no longer stores any traceable user data.

However, my tests revealed a flaw — HMA can’t access geo-restricted content on most major streaming platforms. While it unblocked Netflix and some Kodi add-ons, it didn’t work with Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, or other websites.

You can test HMA and all its features yourself completely risk-free, as the VPN has a 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee. Just make sure you purchase HMA directly from its website to be eligible for the offer.

Try HMA risk-free for yourself!

In a Rush? Here’s a 1-Minute Summary

HMA Unblocks Netflix and Kodi (But Can’t Access Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and More)

If you travel often and want to watch the content you pay for when it’s blocked abroad, I wouldn’t recommend using HMA. The provider failed to work with almost all the streaming platforms I tried to access during my tests. Although I could use HMA to watch Netflix and some Kodi add-ons, the results weren’t consistent for other major streaming sites. HMA couldn’t access Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, or ITV Player. My team and I disconnected from HMA throughout testing to ensure each website still worked after every proxy error, and this test confirmed that HMA alone was causing the issues.

If you’re after a VPN that can help you access your favorite streaming sites while you travel abroad, I suggest you try ExpressVPN and watch the content you pay for from anywhere. It’s my top choice for streaming, as ExpressVPN has hundreds of reliable servers worldwide and ultra-fast speeds that always let me watch my favorite shows in the highest quality. Since I travel a lot, I regularly use ExpressVPN to log in to streaming sites I pay for, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more, and I am yet to experience any issues. What’s more, you’ll get to use ExpressVPN completely risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee! So, if you find you’re not fully happy with the service, you’ll have no problems getting a refund.

Netflix: Unblocked

My fellow VPN reviewers and I had no problems using HMA to watch Netflix US, UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, and more. HMA offers only 3 streaming-optimized servers, but we found the provider unblocks Netflix even on regular connections — and there’s no visible quality difference between them. We all enjoyed smooth streams across all libraries with HD video resolution and zero buffering. This is impressive, since many VPNs struggle with Netflix libraries.

HMA helped my team and I bypass geo-restrictions and stream Netflix smoothly

Watch Netflix with HMA

Kodi: Unblocked

HMA works with multiple geo-restricted Kodi add-ons, like PBS Kids, Pluto.tv, and NHL TV, but not Popcornflix. My team members also noticed mixed results with Canada-exclusive channels, such as Food Network Canada. So you may have some issues with your favorite add-ons, but it’ll highly depend on which ones you regularly use.

Screenshot of streaming PBS Kids add-on on Kodi with an active HMA connection
My fellow reviewers accessed multiple Kodi add-ons with active HMA’s connections

Watch Kodi with HMA

Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, DAZN, ITV Hub: Blocked

Even though it claims to be the “streaming central”, we found that HMA doesn’t work with many popular websites, including Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max. Regardless of which server my teammates connected to, they were always blocked by a streaming error:

“Sorry, the video you’re trying to view isn’t available in your location.”

I also couldn’t get HMA to work with UK streaming platforms, such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub. I tried both the streaming servers in Donkey Town and regular UK connections, but none managed to bypass the restrictions. While I could browse through available content on both platforms, the websites immediately generated an error message when I tried to watch anything.

If you want to keep up with your local shows and movies while you travel in places where they’re blocked, you’ll need a VPN with advanced technology for unblocking streaming sites. ExpressVPN easily bypasses geo-blocks from all major streaming sites that HMA doesn’t work with. It also provides ultra-fast speeds needed for streaming in UltraHD. Plus, you can test out ExpressVPN for yourself risk-free for 30 days to access your favorite content with ease. The money-back guarantee means that you’ll be able to get a refund if you change your mind about your subscription.

Unblock top streaming sites with ExpressVPN

Speed8.0

Does HMA Provide High Speeds? Yes, Even on Distant Servers

Throughout testing, HMA provided me with quick speeds on local and distant servers, which is very rare to find among VPN providers. Even though servers further away were a bit slower than those closer to my location, the difference wasn’t very noticeable. My speed only dropped dramatically when connecting to servers over 9,000km away from me — but they were still fast enough to produce minimal buffering. This meant I could use any HMA server to browse the internet, stream, and torrent.

I also saw a minimal increase in ping, or latency, as I ran speed tests on servers far away from my location. Latency describes the time it takes for your device to communicate with a website or server you’re trying to reach. Though it doesn’t impact your regular browsing experience too much, latency is super important for passionate online gamers. The lower the ping, the quicker your loading time will be and the fewer interruptions you’ll have while playing online.

Try HMA yourself risk-free!

Speed Test Results

I was impressed by HMA’s fast speeds — on most server locations. On average, speeds decreased by 15% compared to my regular 73Mbps network — a decent result considering most servers I tested were far away. From my location in the UK, I tried servers in London, Belgium, Germany, France, Greece, Canada, the US, Japan, and Australia.

Screenshot of HMA server speed comparison chart
HMA’s network gave me quick speeds from nearly every location

The closest server location, in London, slowed my network by 9% and produced a very low ping, perfect for any online activity, including gaming. The other European and Canadian servers had more ping but dropped my speeds by a maximum of 20%. This is surprising, because servers in Canada are usually slower for me due to the long distance.

Screenshot of speed tests carried out on 4 different HMA servers
HMA’s network gave me quick speeds from nearly every location

Even though servers in Japan and Australia slowed my network the most (by 65-70%), they were still fast enough for HD streaming. I also found that they had very similar speeds, despite being between 9,000km and 16,000km from my location. This consistency is great if you regularly travel far from home, but still want to access local sites without long load times.

The speed test feature built into HMA is a convenient addition, as you can check how fast each server is before connecting. However, I found that its results didn’t line up with my external speed tests, and often showed the traffic being slower than it actually was. HMA’s built-in speed test feature works great if you need a quick glance at speeds, but free websites, such as Ookla or Google Speed Test, give you more accurate results.

HMA’s server location HMA’s built-in speed test result Ookla speed test result Google speed test result
UK — London 44.45Mbps 60.82Mbps 62Mbps
France — Paris 41.1Mbps 65.30Mbps 63.6Mbps
Canada — Montreal 34.4Mbps 50.32Mbps 49.4Mbps
US — New York 34.45Mbps 49.63Mbps 50.7Mbps
US — LA 27.53Mbps 45.57Mbps 44.7Mbps
Australia — Sydney 17.77Mbps 17.69Mbps 16.7Mbps

If you’re in a rush, HMA offers the Lightning Connect feature, which pinpoints the fastest server for you. It’s super convenient, and it worked quite well during my tests, but it didn’t always choose the best server. The automatically selected UK server wasn’t faster than those I manually chose in London, or even France. But while the feature doesn’t always choose the fastest connection, the difference between the automatic and manual server isn’t big enough for a regular user to notice. So, if you’re in a rush and don’t have time to test multiple locations yourself, use HMA’s Lightning Connect to find a fast server without delays.

Use HMA’s fast speeds on your device!

HMA’s Top Speeds and Low Latency Make for Perfect Gameplay Experience

As a huge gamer, I was happy to see that HMA is one of the top gaming VPNs on the market and I ran multiple tests on it to prove it. I connected to an HMA server and played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in an online lobby. My gameplay was lag-free and ran as smooth as ever, if not better than when I play without a VPN. I experienced zero interruptions and loaded into every lobby extremely fast. This made it much more enjoyable than usual and encouraged me to use HMA to play other online games, like Among Us, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Forza.

Screenshot of CS: GO gameplay with an active HMA server connection

HMA even helped me play games in HD when I travelled abroad. Normally, I have to deal with a ton of lag and I’m always the last one to join a lobby. However, connecting to an HMA server close to my hometown removed these obstacles and let me play with my friends without issues. Even my updates downloaded a lot quicker! That’s because connecting to HMA’s server let me avoid ISP throttling, which often happens when I play bandwidth-heavy games. I also noticed my latency was a lot lower than with many other VPNs, as even servers in Canada and the US gave me ping of 100ms or less. That’s low enough to play an online game without any lag, even when you travel half the world away from home.

Unlock top gaming potential with HMA!

Why Most Speed Tests are Pointless & How We Correctly Test VPN Speeds

Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you're torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.

Servers7.0

Large Server Network With Working Connections From Anywhere

HMA provided me with over 1040 city-level servers in more than 210 countries, including those in the Middle East and Africa — regions that most VPNs neglect. I found this selection much wider than what most top-tier VPNs offer. While I could only choose from a handful of servers in smaller countries, larger nations (like the UK) gave me a much wider choice of city-level servers. The high number of locations meant I didn’t have to deal with overcrowded servers (which happens when too many users connect to the same server at once). This allowed for more reliable connections with consistently high speeds.

The server network HMA offers is so large because it complements its physical servers with a wide range of virtual ones. Virtual servers reroute your traffic through countries with HMA’s physical servers and use the cloud to connect you with your desired country. HMA can offer virtual locations in countries where it’s impractical to have physical servers due to surveillance practices, VPN bans, or strict internet censorship. This way, HMA can unblock geo-restricted content unavailable with other VPNs.

You can even improve your connection speeds by using HMA’s virtual servers. That’s because HMA often has physical servers in countries closer to where you are. For example, choosing a virtual server in the US connected me to a physical server in Germany, which had a database of American IP addresses. Since that server was a lot closer to my location in the UK, my speeds were 20% faster than when I used a physical US server in New York.

However, I was annoyed that HMA didn’t always tell me which servers on its list were virtual. The countries that had a drop-down list of available city-level servers were easy to spot, as it would say which country the virtual server was taking me through. But if I wanted to connect to a country without city-level choices, I didn’t know whether the server was virtual or not until I connected. Only then could I hover over the server info and HMA’s app would show me if I was using a virtual server. This is particularly annoying, as virtual servers may compromise your privacy if your traffic travels through countries with questionable jurisdictions.

Screenshot of an active HMA server connection highlighting virtual server information
HMA lets you know if the server you’ve chosen is virtual or physical

However, learning that HMA is committed to keeping its hardware out of nations with strict surveillance laws set my mind at ease. I found that in 2019, the Russian media regulator, Roskomnadzor, requested access to user data from all VPN servers based in Russia. When I expressed my concern to HMA’s support team about the VPN’s servers there, the agent confirmed that all its servers in Russia are virtual.

Like many other VPNs, HMA rents a large portion of its servers from third-party data centers. While this practice is common even among the best VPN providers on the market, it means that third-party-owned equipment may handle your data when you connect through HMA. Though HMA states that it installs, maintains, and fully controls all of these rented servers, the arrangement may still worry you if you’re a privacy-minded user. In contrast, IPVanish owns all its hardware, so that users’ connections are never handled by third parties. During my tests, IPVanish’s server network also impressed me with high speeds and the ability to access the majority of popular streaming sites.

Is HMA Good for Torrenting? It’s Hard to Say

HMA claims to support torrenting and even provides P2P-optimized servers. I easily downloaded multiple files between 2-30GB in less than a few hours, some of them at the same time. So whether you’re after movies, games, music, or software, you’ll have no problems getting the files on your devices fast.

However, the true stance HMA holds on torrenting is a bit unclear. I found contradictory info on message boards, where users complained their accounts were suspended for using HMA to violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). I reached out to HMA directly to confirm the allegations, but the VPN representative didn’t give a concrete answer. Instead, they only confirmed P2P server locations and suggested restarting my torrent client after connecting, which wasn’t even a part of my question.

For this reason, I don’t feel comfortable recommending HMA for torrenting, even though I had no issues downloading files during my tests. After trying over a hundred VPNs, I learned that ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for torrenting. It’s ultra-tight security, no-logs policy, and fast speeds on every server make downloading files a breeze. ExpressVPN works with all torrent clients, including uTorrent, Vuze, and Transmission.

Keep in mind, though — using a VPN doesn’t give you the right to torrent copyrighted content.

Doesn’t Bypass Tough Firewalls in China

I know only a few VPNs that work in China, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that HMA can’t bypass the country’s notorious firewall. This means you won’t be able to use HMA in China to access popular sites, search engines, and apps, like Facebook, Google, or WhatsApp. However, my teammates reported that HMA works well in other countries with censored internet access, such as Russia, UAE, and Turkey.

If you need to use a VPN to maintain access to popular sites that are blocked in China, I suggest you use ExpressVPN instead. Its obfuscation technology gets past the country’s firewall, so you can use ExpressVPN to access the free web there — as long as you install ExpressVPN before arriving in China.

While using a VPN in China safeguards your connection from prying eyes, note that the protection of a VPN doesn’t give you the license to commit illegal acts. That said, there have been no reports of Chinese authorities harassing tourists or visitors for unauthorized VPN use. Instead, the government uses advanced technology to detect and block VPN connections in the country.

Security Features

Encryption — Strong Protocols That Stop Hackers From Snooping on Your Data

I was impressed that HMA uses 256-bit AES encryption, which offers extremely strong protection. If you break it down, the encryption number (“256” in HMA’s case) indicates the length of the decryption key needed to decipher your connection. So, if hackers tried to read your personal information using a brute force attack (randomly guessing numbers), they would need to make 2256 attempts to succeed. This works out to approximately 27 trillion years using top machinery — so you can use HMA knowing no cybercriminal can get through to your data.

Even without the complicated math equations, I know this encryption is the best as it’s used by military and government agencies across the world. If it’s safe enough for them, it’s definitely more than enough for browsing, streaming, and torrenting.

HMA’s Windows and Android apps also rely on the RSA-4096 handshake to add an extra layer of security. The handshake is used to establish a protected connection between your device and the server. Think about it as encrypting your session before the ciphered data is even transmitted. A hacker would need several decades to decode the handshake, during which you’d have to remain connected to the same server. So, even though 4096-bit RSA is the industry standard, it’s pretty much impossible to hack.

If that wasn’t enough, HMA ensures your Windows and Android data’s integrity is authenticated by the SHA-384 hash algorithm. This algorithm turns any message you send it into a set of hashes, so that no one can read it if they broke through the encryption and handshake. The algorithm number, 384, refers to the quantity of hashes generated by this security feature. This number can change depending on the secure hash used by a service, but the SHA-384 provides the optimum security while still being efficient. It’s also currently one of the strongest security algorithms available on the market.

Each of your browsing sessions (on every device) is protected by Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) — a process that changes encryption keys each time you connect to the VPN. PFS fully wipes your key at the end of each session, so anyone who hacks your connection will only be able to do so once. If hackers wanted to try again, they would have to start the entire process from scratch when you reconnect to a server and get a brand new encryption key.

Use HMA’s security to stay safe online

VPN Protocols — A Single, Industry-Standard Option (OpenVPN)

I was disappointed to see that HMA uses only the OpenVPN protocol (over TCP and UDP). This selection is a lot leaner than that of industry giants like ExpressVPN or CyberGhost.

One of the most popular protocols, OpenVPN is used for great security and fast speeds that make your connection run almost as smoothly as regular traffic. However, it’s getting increasingly more prone to being blocked by firewalls. It also takes quite a few steps to get OpenVPN working if you’ve got a macOS device.

Luckily, HMA provides a manual setup guide for installing OpenVPN on macOS using TunnelBlick. To start, you need to make sure your Mac has TunTap drivers installed on it already. I found the installation fairly simple, but it also comes with troubleshooting steps if you run into errors.

Installing OpenVPN on my Mac gave me an excellent browsing experience, as I had fast speeds and could easily unblock websites like Netflix. So, if you’d like to download HMA on your macOS, I’d definitely recommend following the OpenVPN setup guide to get the most of your money.

Get HMA on your devices!

A Smart Kill Switch Protects Your Data More Efficiently

On my Windows and Android devices, the Smart Kill Switch function blocked my internet connection each time I changed the server location or turned off the VPN. This process prevented DNS leaks in the brief period while I was disconnected from a VPN server.

Screenshot of HMA's Kill Switch protecting my traffic during a connection drop
I found HMA’s kill switch worked well and prevented any DNS leaks

On HMA’s Windows app, I could also configure the kill switch to prevent specific applications from sending data if the connection is lost. You can easily decide which applications should be closed if your connection drops by adding them to a list within the App Kill Switch feature. Android doesn’t have the same function, but offers split-tunneling — this allows you to select which applications can bypass your VPN connection. Sadly, HMA’s macOS and iOS apps don’t have either feature.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the kill switch to work on macOS. I tried disconnecting the VPN on the app, forcing the HMA app to quit, and changing servers, but my network stayed connected even when the VPN connection dropped. The kill switch is also unavailable on iOS devices. If you’re after a VPN that offers the kill switch and other protective features on iOS, you can get CyberGhost’s advanced security options on multiple devices.

Full Leak Protection on Every Server to Keep Your Details Safe

I connected to servers in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, and Japan, and found zero IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks. Even though HMA comes with its own IP checker feature, I used ipleak.net to run the tests and produce independent results. My testing showed that HMA hid my location every time, as the results displayed the provider’s server’s location and IP address instead of my own. This means no one would have been able to snatch my personal information as long as I was connected to HMA.

Screenshot of IP, DNS, and WebRTC test on a HMA server showing no leaks
I found no IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks during my tests on HMA’s servers

Secure your devices with HMA

Split Tunneling — Works Great on Android, But Not Other Devices

For such an established VPN, I was expecting HMA to provide the split tunnelling feature across multiple operating systems, but it’s available only on Android. That’s really disappointing as it’s a convenient feature to have, especially if you control LAN devices (like light bulbs or printers) through your WiFi, or don’t want to encrypt your whole connection. Enabling split tunnelling lets you select specific apps and websites to not use the VPN tunnel — this way you can still use them to access local content.

For full multitasking freedom, I recommend you use ExpressVPN, which has a split tunneling feature for Windows, Android, macOS, and even routers. The provider is also backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you aren’t risking anything by signing up to test it yourself!

IP Shuffle Adds an Extra Layer of Anonymity When Needed

HMA takes your anonymity one step further with its IP Shuffle, which refreshes your IP address without disconnecting you from the VPN.

There are 2 ways to use IP Shuffle — you can either press the “Refresh” button on the main screen, or set a frequency for the IP address to change automatically. Personally, I turned it on to refresh my IP address every 30 minutes, but you can set it even to once a day, or create a custom interval. This makes it a lot harder for your online activities to be tracked.

Screenshot of HMA's IP Shuffle feature highlighting the frequency you can set it to
IP Shuffle lets you change your IP address when you’re connected to a server and protect your identity

Stay anonymous with HMA

Ad-Blocker Available Only Through HMA’s Chrome Extension

HMA offers an ad blocker with its Chrome extension, which is extremely useful, especially if you visit ad-heavy websites, like torrenting platforms or YouTube. It worked perfectly when I tested it — I had zero ads to deal with while browsing on Chrome.

The ad blocker works only through the browser extension, so I couldn’t use it on my Smart TV or mobile phone, both of which I use for streaming video content. It’s not a huge con since I already have existing blocking software installed on these devices, but it would be a nice feature for HMA to add in the future.

Try HMA yourself risk-free!

Privacy Features

Company Jurisdiction Puts HMA’s Privacy Policies at Risk

HMA is owned by Avast, a widely-known cybersecurity company that developed Avast Antivirus and Avast SecureLine VPN. But even though Avast is located in the Czech Republic, HMA’s headquarters are in the UK, where the company was first launched in 2005. This places HMA under the 5-Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance’s jurisdiction. The location isn’t ideal for a VPN, as it means that any collected user data can be shared with alliance member states, including the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. I found this alarming, especially since HMA’s history has several instances of cooperation with government authorities.

In 2011, Sony was hacked by the LulzSec group, which used HMA to carry out the cyber attack. HMA turned over evidence to the relevant authorities, which resulted in the user’s arrest. This incident completely voided the trust of HMA’s user base. Another incident in 2017 led to the arrest of an ex-judge who used HMA to harass an ex-girlfriend. Though it isn’t clear if HMA actively helped in this case, investigators uncovered his IP address using VPN connection timestamps.

At the start of 2020, HMA’s parent company, Avast, got involved in another incident. It was selling user data through a subsidiary company called Jumpshot, which collected internet activity through a browser extension. Apparently, the data was anonymized to protect users, but people discovered the information could easily lead to individuals. In 2018, Mozilla and Opera heard about this potential privacy threat and removed Avast’s browser extensions from their extension libraries. Once the scandal became widely known, Avast closed down Jumpshot.

Worse, HMA’s headquarters subject it to the UK’s extensive data retention laws, which were passed with the UK Investigatory Powers Act. They allow the government to:

  • Intercept electronic communications without a warrant.
  • Force ISP, VPNs, and other companies that handle user data to design backdoors that would allow government agencies to bypass encryption.
  • Hack devices such as laptops, smartphones, and more.

HMA’s past cooperation with authorities, combined with its undesirable jurisdiction, hold me back from trusting HMA with my personal details 100%. If you’re like me and need full confidence that a VPN doesn’t meddle with your personal information, you should use ExpressVPN instead. When Turkish investigators seized ExpressVPN’s server in 2017, they didn’t find any personally identifiable information — solid proof of ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy. Plus, ExpressVPN is located in the British Virgin Islands, where the laws don’t require businesses to keep, analyze, or share user data. This assures me that my information won’t be sold or shared with third parties without my approval.

New No-Logs Policy to Bring Back Trust

After many users turned away from the service, HMA implemented a strict no-logs policy that prioritizes customers’ privacy protection. This means HMA doesn’t check or record your original IP address, browsing activity, connection timestamps, or any other data that could identify you. It’s an industry-standard level of privacy VPNs are expected to provide their customers, so I was relieved to see HMA is taking this seriously.

It’s worth mentioning that HMA still collects a small amount of data for analytical purposes. It keeps the data for 35 days before deleting it from the servers. The collected information consists of:

  • The day and general time a connection is made (morning or evening)
  • The amount of data that’s transmitted (rounded to the hundredth Mb)

Note that the collected data can’t be used to identify you or check your browsing habits. It’s the bare minimum needed to keep HMA running at its best, and it’s a common practice even by most secure VPNs. If anything, HMA collects even less information than its competitors as I’ve seen some VPNs openly storing your IP address — which could be linked to you.

HMA is also very open about the third-party trackers it uses. I found that HMA’s desktop apps use no third-party tools, but iOS and Android apps rely on 3 analytics programs: Google Firebase, Google Fabric Crashlytics, and Appsflyer. These collect various types of unidentifiable data to help find existing issues and tweak HMA’s marketing approach. Luckily, I could easily opt out of the data collection by toggling the option in Personal Privacy settings.

Screenshot of data-sharing option enabled by default on HMA's Android app
You can stop HMA from collecting your data on mobile devices

Beware of HMA’s free proxy browser extension — it logs your IP address, the websites you visit, and the files you download. Even though you can bypass geo-restrictions quickly with a proxy, it doesn’t encrypt your connection. Unlike a VPN, a proxy leaves you vulnerable to being monitored or hacked. To stay safe online, I wouldn’t recommend installing or using HMA’s proxy extension. Instead, download HMA directly onto your device and use a VPN server to secure your connection.

Get HMA today!

Independent Audits Verified No-Logs Policy

As a step to rebuilding its reputation, HMA underwent an independent audit to prove its no-logs policy. Trusted cybersecurity firm VerSprite carried out extensive privacy checks in August 2020 and confirmed the policy to be legitimate. However, the HMA website fails to discuss the report details, which I find a bit odd considering the positive findings. I contacted VerSprite directly online to ask, but the support representative has yet to reply.

Server Locations

Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Andorra
Angola
Anguilla
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Armenia
Aruba
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
See all supported locations...

User Experience8.0

Supports 5 or 10 Simultaneous Device Connections

HMA allowed me to connect up to 5 devices at the same time, but I could install HMA’s app on as many devices as I wanted. The simultaneous connection limit is a standard offering among VPNs and I find it enough for a regular user, but probably not ideal if you’re planning on sharing your account details.

Don’t worry though, HMA offers a Family Plan which lets you use the service on as many as 10 devices! It’s perfect for protecting your whole family (and more) without affecting your own speeds. I maxed all of the available connections on the Family Plan and found my traffic was still as fast as when I used HMA only on 1 device. So no matter how many people log in to your account, your personal browsing experience won’t deteriorate.

If you need more than 10 simultaneous connections, then I’d suggest you opt for IPVanish, as it doesn’t limit how many devices you can use it on. IPVanish also provided me with equally fast speeds (even when I connected 15 different devices), so I could make the most of the unlimited bandwidth provided.

Compatible With Limited Devices and Operating Systems

I found HMA’s device compatibility to be quite basic, and below the industry’s standards. HMA works on:

  • PCs: Windows (10, 8, and 7), macOS (Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, and Mojave), and Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Fedora, and more).
  • Mobile devices: iOS and Android.
  • Smart TVs: Android TV.
  • Routers: AsusWRT, Netgear, and Linksys.

Out of these, HMA has a dedicated app for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. If you’d like to get HMA on Linux, you’ll need to manually set it up on your device following HMA’s videos and guides from its online Knowledge Base.

While you can definitely find better VPN apps for Windows, I’m still happy to report that all of HMA’s apps are intuitive and user-friendly. The app is almost identical, so I didn’t struggle when swapping from my Windows PC or Mac to my iPhone or Samsung. I loved that HMA’s apps even offer useful pop-up tips about various features — these little hints can help you navigate the interface if you’ve never used it before.

Screenshots of HMA's app interface on Windows PC, Mac, Android phone, and iPhone
I easily switched between devices as HMA’s app is almost identical on compatible operating systems

When I opened VPN settings on any device, I found that HMA includes a short description of each option to let you know what each feature is responsible for. I like when VPNs do this, as it makes the settings much easier to understand, even if you’re a VPN beginner. Swapping the settings was quick, as I only had to tick or toggle anything I wanted to enable.

Screenshot of settings within HMA's app highlighting short descriptions underneath each option
I knew what each HMA feature was responsible for as the provider includes a description for each one

While the HMA apps I tested had a similar look and feel, I noticed that their feature selection varied significantly. Here’s a quick table to help you compare these apps’ functions:

Device Protocol Split tunneling Kill switch Dedicated app kill switch IP Shuffle
Windows OpenVPN UCP/TDP
macOS IKEv2 x Available, but doesn’t work x
iOS IKEv2 x x x x
Android OpenVPN UCP/TDP x

Seeing how HMA’s iOS and macOS apps lack basic security features, I can’t recommend HMA for security-conscious Apple users. The VPN still helps you access geo-restricted content and encrypt your connection with a military-grade cipher. However, you can find higher-quality VPNs for your Mac, iPhone, and iPad, that will protect your device with all the standard security essentials.

Like most other mid-range VPNs, HMA doesn’t have a native app for the Fire TV Stick, Chromecast, most Smart TVs, or gaming consoles. However, you can still protect all the devices you own with the VPN as long as you install HMA on your router. Though the installation process requires a bit of work in the router settings, the reward may be worth your effort as you’ll get blanket protection for all your devices. Again, HMA’s online Knowledge Base is a great resource if you’re attempting router installation.

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Ease of Setup & Installation — Simple Process and Straightforward Interface

To download HMA, you need to choose a subscription plan and enter your billing details. Once you’ve signed up, HMA will email the activation code to you, which you can also access through the online dashboard. You can use the code or your username and password to access the native VPN applications.

When I downloaded the client, I ran the file through VirusTotal.com to make sure that it wouldn’t infect my machine with hidden malware. I was pleased to learn that HMA’s installation file didn’t contain any malicious programs.

HMA VPN installation
HMA’s installation file is completely safe and won’t infect your device with malware

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How to Download HMA in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Select a price plan for HMA, fill in your payment and account details, then place your order. Please note the long-term subscription plans don’t include the 7-day free trial.
    Screenshot of signing up for HMA
  2. Copy your activation code and click “Download” on the top right to choose your platform.
    Screenshot of HMA's account settings highlighting which button to press to initiate a download
  3. Once installed, select “Already Purchased?” and log in with your activation code. Alternatively, you can use your username and password to start using the app.
    Screenshot of the login screen on HMA's app

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Chrome and Firefox Browser Extensions Are Free, but Intrude on Your Privacy

HMA has browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, which offer unlimited bandwidth, unblock Netflix, and are completely free to use. It comes with a limited number of servers (in the Netherlands, Germany, France, the UK, and the USA), so you may not always find a location you’re interested in.

Despite the pros, I’m not convinced the browser extensions are worth using because of how much data they collect. HMA’s browser extensions log your IP address and which sites you visit, and they don’t actually encrypt your connection. This means your ISP and hackers can see exactly what you’re doing and use it against you.

To stay safe, I recommend you protect your devices with HMA’s VPN app instead of the free proxy. While the app isn’t free, you can try it first with a 7-day free trial. Once the trial ends, you can still use HMA risk-free for further 30 days with its money-back guarantee. This gives you a lot more time to decide if the VPN is worth keeping and get a refund if you want to cancel your subscription.

Support5.0

As it’s been around for so long, I was expecting HMA to provide outstanding customer support — but I found it really underwhelming. Officially, the provider offers help through:

  • Online live chat
  • Email ticketing service
  • Knowledge Base articles, FAQs, and community forums

However, not only could I not find a live chat option anywhere on its website (even though HMA says it has the feature), I had to wait a week to receive an email reply to my inquiry. This meant I had to search through the online resources available on the Knowledge Base page, which took much longer than I would have liked. Thankfully, the online resources are very detailed and often provide step-by-step instructions to solve common issues, so it only took me 5-10 minutes to get the answers I was looking for.

Online Live Chat — Promised on the Website, But Unavailable At All Times

Even though HMA says its live chat is available in one of its FAQs, I couldn’t find the option to contact an online representative no matter when I tried. When I clicked on the “Help” button in the bottom right corner, I was only presented with FAQs related to my query and an option to contact the Support team through an online ticket.

HMA customer service
I couldn’t use HMA’s live chat as the feature is temporarily disabled

Using live chat is my favorite way of getting help as it usually lets me get detailed answers fast. Its omission in HMA’s support options meant I had to craft a long message and wait for an email response. This is extremely disappointing, because I know HMA used to have a live chat feature with agents available between 9am and 11pm Central European Time. After scrolling through the forum, I found that the live chat has been temporarily disabled due to a high influx of requests. However, there’s no set date for it to come back yet and an agent was only able to say it’ll be on “as soon as possible”.

If instant customer support is important to you, I recommend you use ExpressVPN instead. I found that its live chat is available 24/7 and offers very responsive and detailed help. It took less than 15 seconds for me to connect to the available advisor and an extra 2 minutes to get easy-to-understand answers, even to the most technical questions. Plus, ExpressVPN offers ultra-fast streaming speeds, a wide choice of servers, and unbeatable security — and it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Email Support Team Is Slow to Respond Even to the Most Basic Queries

When I failed to contact live chat support, I turned to HMA’s email ticketing service to get help, only to find it took almost a week to receive a simple answer.

About 5 minutes after submitting my request, I received an automated email saying someone would get back to me as soon as possible. From experience with other VPNs, I expected to hear back within a maximum of 48 hours — but that didn’t happen. After 5 days, I had to send a follow-up email to chase whoever was responsible for resolving my query.

I finally had a response — which disappointed and bewildered me at the same time. The HMA agent was friendly and apologized for the delay, but gave me a basic answer about VPN protocols, using the same information that already exists on the website. Then, he asked why I wanted to cancel my account, even though I never asked to cancel in my ticket. This made me think that he didn’t properly read my question and focused on the most common issue he had to deal with.

HMA’s email support team
I didn’t get the in-depth answer I was looking for from HMA’s email support team

The only good thing about HMA’s email support is that it doesn’t prioritize paying customers over free trial users. In both cases, I had the same experience when chasing customer support, so at least you’ll get the same level of assistance regardless of how much you pay for the service. To reach out, simply fill in the request form on HMA’s website and wait for a response.

Online Resources & FAQs — The Best Way to Get Detailed Help Fast

Out of all available options, Knowledge Base and FAQs are the best way to find troubleshooting help without much delay. I had no problems navigating through these as the Help page comes with a handy search bar, so I only had to type in a word or a phrase I was looking for. Alternatively, all articles are sorted into categories based on the operating system they relate to or general troubleshooting solutions, which I browsed to find setup guides and more.

Screenshot of HMA's Knowledge Base page highlighting availabel FAQ categories
I quickly found articles I was looking for as HMA sorts the FAQ topics into appropriate categories

Each article contains in-depth information on a selected topic, and some even include step-by-step guides with relevant images or videos to guide you through. This massively sped up the process as I knew exactly which buttons to press and what to look for when troubleshooting.

Even though HMA offers community forums, I found the threads weren’t very active. Many user questions were left unanswered, which made me think the page isn’t a priority for HMA’s agents, so they don’t check it that often. The questions that were answered usually said that the customer team would get in touch with the user through an email too. This deflects the point of having a forum as no one else would be able to know how to fix a similar issue. I only found a handful of threads that actually contained useful information everyone could benefit from.

If you get HMA and need some help, my recommendation would be to turn to the Knowledge Base articles first. Simply type in a term you’re struggling with, like “refunds” or “can’t connect”, and HMA will automatically generate a list of related posts that could help you.

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How We Test Customer Support and Why Should You Care

We personally test the customer support team of every VPN we review. This means asking technical question through the live chat feature (where applicable) and measuring the response time for email questions. Whether you need to connect to a specific server, change your security protocol, or configure a VPN on your router, finding a VPN with quality customer support should be important to you.

Pricing9.0

Even though it’s a bit overpriced compared to other top VPNs, you can save 75% when you subscribe to HMA as its 3-year-plan is currently available for $2.99. Plus, you’ll still be eligible for the 30-day money-back guarantee, so you won’t be locked in a long-term contract straight away.

HMA also offers a 7-day free trial, which lets you use the service without any limitations. I had to enter my payment details to get it, but the provider didn’t charge me for the whole 7 days. Once the trial is over though and you don’t cancel it beforehand, you will be automatically enrolled in a 12-month subscription, which you have to pay for in advance.

Payment Methods — Wide Variety of Options Accepted

There are 5 different payment plans when signing up to HMA: a 1, 6, 12, 24, or 36 months subscription, all paid for upfront. The pricing page automatically displays only 3 available options, so click “View more plans” underneath the list of payment types. This will show you all subscriptions, including the discounts offered on each one.

HMA has multiple payment methods to choose from:

  • Debit/Credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, UnionPay, and Hipercard.
  • Online payment platforms: PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.
  • Other: Alipay, iDEAL, WebMoney, Sofort Banking, PayNearMe, GiroPay, Poli, Nordea, Pohjola, and Konbini.

Note that there isn’t an option to pay anonymously, as HMA doesn’t accept cryptocurrency payments. If you’re worried about your identity being compromised, you should choose ExpressVPN, as it accepts multiple cryptocurrencies.

HMA ensures your debit and credit card purchases, as well as PayPal payments, won’t put you in any danger and protects your details with encrypted transactions. The provider uses 2Checkout — a secure third-party service that handles the whole process on HMA’s behalf. This means that HMA doesn’t actually have access to your payment details, so it doesn’t store any of this information on its servers. That’s a great additional layer of security that makes sure your transaction details won’t be leaked in any data breach the provider could experience.

If you’d like to subscribe to HMA using WebMoney payments, note the option is currently restricted to specific countries, including Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Nigeria, and Egypt.

7-Day Free Trial Gives You Access to Full HMA Service

HMA offers a 7-day free trial you can use to test the provider free of charge. I was shocked to see that signing up for the free trial gives you access to full HMA service, including specialty servers and unlimited bandwidth and data allowance. This is very unusual on the VPN market, and it lets you test HMA properly before you decide if you want to keep your account. The offer also doesn’t limit how you can receive help — so you can make the most of the email support, community forums, and Knowledge Base whenever you need it.

You’ll have to enter your payment details when you sign up for the free trial. This means that if you don’t cancel the trial in time, you’ll be automatically charged for the 12-month subscription plan in advance. You can end your trial with 2 simple clicks via account settings on HMA’s website.

Screenshot of HMA's account options highlighting which button to press to cancel subscription
Canceling my subscription was easy through the HMA website

Annoyingly, HMA doesn’t give you an option to choose your new subscription after your free trial expires. This means that after the 7 days are up, you’ll automatically be signed up for the annual plan, even if you’re interested in a shorter or longer subscription. The only way to bypass this is to cancel your free trial and then sign up for HMA once again, this time for a long-term plan you’re after. If you use the same email, you won’t be eligible for the 30-day money-back guarantee, so consider swapping for a throwaway one, just in case you change your mind.

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee Allows Refunds If You Change Your Mind

HMA offers a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you test HMA completely risk-free. The policy means that if you change your mind at any point during the 30 days, you can ask for a refund using an online request form. The form was quick to fill out and easy to send through the HMA website.

Screenshot of HMA's request form highlighting which fields need to be filled in order to ask for a refund
The form provided by HMA was easy to complete and directed the email to the relevant department

It took 4 days before HMA support replied and asked if I definitely wanted to cancel. After I confirmed, the representative processed my request within 30 minutes, and I received the money back from the third-party payment processor after 5 business days.

While you won’t get a partial refund with HMA, you can claim a full refund every 6 months if needed. Keep in mind that the guarantee only applies if you bought the subscription directly from the HMA website or the Google Play Store. To start the process, all you need is the transaction ID and the email you signed up with. If you purchase through the App Store and want your money back, you need to contact Apple for a refund, as it isn’t processed through HMA.

This whole process of getting a refund is much slower than the instant service you can get with top-tier VPN providers, mainly because of the poor customer service. For the most affordable premium VPN with 24/7 support, you can try CyberGhost’s features for yourself risk-free for 45 days using its money-back guarantee.

HMA VPN offers the following plans

Final Verdict

HMA is a great option if you’re looking for a wide selection of servers and top-grade security features, but I wouldn’t recommend it for streaming. During my tests, the provider failed to bypass geo-restricted content on almost every streaming platform — aside from Netflix and a few Kodi add-ons.

That said, I found that HMA offers the broadest range of server locations on a VPN network and can provide fast speeds with almost any server location. It also keeps the ping relatively low, which is perfect if you play online games as it prevents lags. The kill switch and IP Shuffle also keep your privacy secure — and HMA recently updated its no-logs policy to ensure that your personal data is never compromised.

If you want to see whether HMA is right for you, you can use its 30-day money-back guarantee to try all its features without risk. If you don’t like it, simply cancel your account and submit a ticket to request a refund. An HMA representative will get back to you asking for purchase details and, once you confirm them, they’ll approve your request without an issue.

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FAQs

Is HMA any good?

HMA is great for browsing, torrenting, and even gaming, but it underperforms at unblocking streaming sites and bypassing tough firewalls. Its fast speeds on local and distant servers mean you won’t have to deal with buffering or long loading times. HMA also offers dedicated P2P servers and keeps you safe with a Smart Kill Switch and DNS and IP leak protection.

However, HMA uses more outdated VPN protocols, which makes it unable to unblock geo-restrictions on popular streaming sites, like Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and more. During my tests, it only managed to open Netflix and some Kodi add-ons. HMA also doesn’t work against online firewalls in China. If these are important to you, I recommend ExpressVPN because it has plenty of security features, the ability to unblock major streaming platforms and bypass censorship. It also has an independently audited no-logs policy, so you know your information is kept anonymous. You can try ExpressVPN for yourself risk-free with its money-back guarantee to see how it stands up against competitors like HMA.

Can I use HMA for free?

Yes, you can get HMA for free with its 7-day trial. Be aware that the trial requires your billing information and charges you 12 months upfront after it’s over. Fortunately, you can quickly cancel it through HMA’s website in the account settings. It only takes 2 clicks to stop the automatic charges.

All paid plans offer the same features but vary in contract length. Each subscription includes a 30-day money-back guarantee, though it’s important to note that this is only available for customers who buy directly from the HMA website or the Google Play Store. This offer isn’t valid if you purchased HMA through the App Store.

Is HMA really safe?

Yes, your data is safe with HMA’s no-logs policy. Its user privacy has been independently audited by VerSprite, a cybersecurity firm that other VPN providers use too.

HMA also relocated all of its physical servers outside of Russia, so it couldn’t be forced into giving the government access to any of the data. This shows how serious HMA is about providing transparency and building trust with its users.

The only product still staining HMA’s reputation is the free VPN proxy browser extension. This extension still collects personal data, including your IP address, websites you visit, and the files you download on your device. As long as you just use the VPN instead of its proxy, you can safely browse the internet.

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Important to know

United Kingdom
2005
No
5
30 days guaranteed
windows mac linux android ios

Contact Details

info@hidemyass.com
www.HideMyAss.com

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