It is important to start this review by highlighting that ‘HideMyAss!’ is one of the longest running VPN providers; a title held only by a few others. ‘Hide My Ass!’ began in 2005, where they launched a free web proxy service. It quickly gained popularity on Digg and Reddit and it wasn’t long before it became the No.1 most used proxy service on the internet.
The rise in media streaming quickly highlighted the drawbacks of browser proxies, and It wasn’t long afterwards that the demand grew for a more robust VPN service that offered content unblocking and encrypted connections. In 2008 ‘Hide my Ass!’ launched their VPN service to a very positive online reception and to date Hide My Ass! has amassed over six thousand positive reviews.
The consumer VPN industry has now grown dramatically over the past five years, with ‘Hide My Ass!’ and many other similar VPN services seeing dramatic changes in their core use. VPNs are now used by a variety of users; to watch localised media (Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer etc.), circumvent governments filters, or to protect users who rely on ‘Hide My Ass!’ as a medium to voice their opinions. Fast forward to today and ‘Hide My Ass!’ is now in the top 100 Alexa most visited websites in the world.
But with so many competitors offering the same VPN product, does ‘Hide My Ass!’ still have what it takes to be the best VPN provider?
‘Hide My Ass!’ has the largest selection of countries to choose from (70+), ranging from the popular American servers, all the way to niche server locations like Jordan and Bulgaria. America and UK and are, without a doubt, the most popular servers for watching Netflix and iPlayer.
There is, however, a common misinterpretation on the importance of having a wide variety of countries; variety is the key. For example, If you’re the very security conscious type- like myself- then you may want to pick servers in Hong Kong or Panama for that extra reassurance that your internet activity is out of reach of any governmental body.
If you’re a movie streamer, then you will want to connect to servers that are located in same country as the service; ‘Hide My Ass!’ has a considerable number of servers in USA and UK to support the demand of media streaming. When connected to a ‘Hide My Ass!’ VPN, Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer, Pandora etc. are completely unblocked and you can access anything and everything. I also found that I could take advantage of an extensive country list to access all of Netflix’s regional services and watch movies and TV that may be only available to that country.
Protocol wise, you have the choice of PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN, which are all supported via their software client. OpenVPN is the most popular and secure choice, since it has the backing of most VPN providers in the industry.
If you’re using ‘Hide My Ass!’ to watch streaming content, then you will have no problems. They have hundreds of servers to tunnel media streaming. From what I saw, my VPN speed pretty much maxed out my home internet connection (20 mbit).
As you connect to countries further away from your physical location, you will find that it will directly impact your speed. This is true of any VPN provider and, quite frankly, the nature of how the internet works. The remote countries may offer better privacy conditions, but can be slower since your data has to travel further to reach it’s destination. A few seconds delay is nothing I would complain about for 256-bit encryption and if you’re browsing the internet and streaming media, then you won’t notice any major difference.
There is a solution to this and it doesn’t involve manually testing every server to find a fast connection. I used the inbuilt speed tester which performs a small download test and reports back which servers are the fastest for you. I haven’t see any other VPN provider perform this test as accurately as ‘Hide My Ass’. This is definitely a win.
They frequently add new servers, as well as adding new servers to existing locations. For example, USA has over a hundred high speed servers. Server updates are all done silently in the background, without any disruption to the user, so It is always a nice to surprise to load up the ‘Hide My Ass!’ software client and see new countries available.
Installation & Configuration:
One of ‘Hide My Ass!’ promotional taglines is ‘Easy to use, No complicated networking setup is required’. This is their motto and is evident when you use their proprietary software client. Their user interface in incredibly user friendly. What was once a technical barrier for home users, is now as simple as clicking two buttons to get a secure international connection. If I simply wanted to connect to a country then I can do that in 3 steps and then continue with my internet browsing.
To access all of the features of ‘Hide My Ass’ is as simple as a click, or a check of a box. Their software is very versatile, so it can be used either on a very basic level, to connect to a country, or set up power options for greater security- for example: ip address rotator, IP binding etc. It appeals to customers who need a 1 click straight forward VPN connection and also to the security professionals who require the extra control.
Hands down, ‘Hide My Ass!’ has the best software client. It is incredibly stable and yet they continue to release software updates once a month. While the software is there to manage everything VPN, it could also be minimised to the system tray and allow you to get on with your usual internet activities.
Their software client is available for Windows, Linux, Mac with dedicated apps for the iPhone and Android
Most providers have a wide variety of packages forcing you to accept a limited set of features and countries. However, with ‘Hide My Ass!’ there is only one VPN package and it contains everything. It’s incredibly simple, but works very well. See the table below for a comparison of VPN providers and package structure:
For ‘Hide My Ass!’ you simply choose how long you want the VPN for. The longer the subscription the larger the discount you will get, see the table below.
|Package||Price per month||Total Cost per 12 months|
|12 months||$6.55||$78.66 *BEST DEAL*|
‘Hide My Ass!’ has a very large support team of around 40+ support assistants who are all based in Serbia, although they support 10 international languages. I found my support ticket experiment usually resulted an average response time of around 30-40 minutes which isn’t bad at all. They are available via two types of contact for customer convenience: email and live chat, with live chat being the quickest way to solve a query.
‘Hide My Ass!’ offers one of the best VPN services and at a price that won’t break the bank. For $78 with a 56% discount, I can get access to the largest and fastest VPN server network for an entire year. Their US and UK servers are well supported, so I had no problems streaming Netflix, Hulu or iPlayer through ‘Hide My Ass!’ VPN. Being a TV / movie streamer, It’s good to know that the client will be automatically connected to their fastest server.
The software is well built and miles ahead of others in terms of stability and ease of use. Many times I have just wanted to connect to VPN and forget about it, and I could do that. Their encryption is 256 bit encrypted, which is the industry standard, so there is no difference in quality. You are likely to find all VPN providers offer the same encryption standard.
A very important feature for a VPN is security. Luckily, ‘Hide My Ass!’ never logs any users activity, so nobody on their side can see what you’re doing. Therefore, there is no trace of what you do within ‘Hide My Ass!’s VPN network. This is exactly what you want from a VPN!
Whether you’re a security professional, looking to hide their online traces, or a home user, wanting to stream media from blocked services, then ‘Hide My Ass!’ is a definitely not going to disappoint!Hide My Ass!,