The best service is the one that simply works. HideMyAss(HMA) Pro VPN is just such a service. I have been using HideMyAss Pro VPN for over a year now and hardly ever think about it, and that is exactly what I want from a VPN, or any computer program/service actually.
Setup is simple, just install the software on all of your machines and you are ready to go. When you start the program you will land in the dashboard, an easy-to-use interface to access all settings of HideMyAss. Just enter your username and password and select your preferred IP, then click on connect. Your connection is instantly encrypted and your online identity changed. Your dashboard will update and confirm the new IP address along with your virtual location.
HideMyAss provides Internet Security
I travel a lot, connecting to hundreds of wifi networks around the globe during a typical year. Can you imagine the security and privacy nightmare without VPN? I don’t know who at your friendly coffee shop is bored and just wants to try out Firesheep, and I don’t want to have to worry about shit like that, I have work to do.
It’s got PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN protocols. It’s very simple: just one click and your online identity changes. The software and service work seamlessly together, effectively conceal your online identity and allow you to select any of their 26,000 IP addresses in just about any country to surf anonymously. Using a VPN prevents identity theft and is a safeguard against hacking. HideMyAss Pro VPN, makes it easy to change between your real and other IP addresses. When you stop using the Pro VPN, everything is back to normal. You can change your IP address automatically every few minutes if you want. It works with all major browsers and all wireless networks, home networks, firewalls and router types.
HMA protects my privacy
We live a pretty location independent life, therefore doing most of our business, from writing blog posts to large financial transactions, online. It is bad enough that the US Government feels the urge to spy on its own citizens, yeah visitors too, but the creepy creature next to you in the airport really doesn’t need to know what I am doing online! HMA Pro VPN makes sure he doesn’t!
My email was hacked years ago, not fun. Concerned friends called me early in the morning alerting me to the rather inappropriate sexual content I apparently sent them. Today I must grin thinking about the BS that a**hole sent and it makes for a great story. However, back then it took a lot of effort to regain access to my accounts, not to mention changing ALL of my passwords (before LastPass that is). You might understand that I am a bit paranoid when it comes to privacy and security online.
HideMyAss provides freedom
Many hotels and airports restrict the sites they allow you to access, prohibition comes to mind, WTF? I don’t get it, why is everybody so damn concerned about keeping me safe? Besides who has the time (or interest) to read those long Terms and Conditions they make you agree to every time you want to connect.
I love watching Nikita, yeah, I admit it, and I want to do that while I am stuck in some boring hotel room no matter where I happen to be at the time. It annoys the crap out of me to see that hotels have the nerve to charge customers a small fortune to watch a movie or access the net (well, that one even HMA can’t help with)… We live in the 21st century, one feels like thrown back into those times when my internet connection made those ridiculous beeps to establish a connection…
My biggest gripe with VPNs in the past has been performance, what good is ‘safe’ when I am painfully crawling along? After a year of using HideMyAss Pro VPN I can say, that this in no longer a concern. At some airports, Charlotte comes to mind (CLT), connecting through the VPN actually improves things, who would have thought?
When connecting the software goes through a list of servers closet to you and selects the server that will offer the best connection. I like the fact that I can change those settings and select other IP locations to fit my needs at that time. HMA usually offers multiple servers at one location and will try to balance the load and advise you where to connect to get better bandwidth. Thus helping you to get the fastest connection possible. Apart from that, there are new servers that are added to their network all the time and the software keeps updating itself.
What other’s are saying
I can rave about HMA all I want, but what are other’s saying? I found plenty of reviews, most of them quite positive. Mohammad N. from Pakistan says, “Over my lengthy test of HideMyAss the VPN performed extremely well. There was one hiccup along the way where I was disconnected from HideMyAss but I reconnected with no problem and got back in business. Your Internet connection isn’t quite as fast when connected to the VPN but it still gets the job done. It really depends on the server you are connected to and how much bandwidth you are trying to push. HideMyAss recommends that you connect to the server closest to your geographic location so the information has to travel the shortest distance possible. Its really crazy when you connect to a foreign server and do a quick Google search. You will see wildly different results come up in the language of the location.” Peter W. from Canada writes, “So far so good, I had a problem setting up on day 1, and got an answer from your support people that suggested a DNS change. Clearly the support people understood the common issues rather than following a script.”
IMHO HideMyAss offers very attractive pricing; as usual, the longer period you subscribe the cheaper it gets. Monthly service is $11.52, $50.66 for 6 months and $78.66 for 1 year. I like that they offer a 30-day money back guarantee, so instead of just taking my word for it, you can try HMA PRO VPN for yourself without risk.
HideMyAss and LulzSec case
I did a thorough search to find fault with HMA and didn’t find much. Some people complained their support is hit-or-miss, however, I never encountered that problem myself. Then hackers belong to an Anonymous group named LulzSec hacked into Sony Pictures website in May, 2011 using services from HideMyAss. The attack resulted in the disclosure of more than 100 million Sony customers’ passwords and other personal information. In September 2011, HideMyAss handed over logs to the authorities and right after that one of the alleged LulzSec members was arrested. This is a bigger problem, as anonymity is one of the reason to use their service. To their defense, they received a court order to hand over logs because of suspected illegal activity, ups…. Obviously opinions diverge at this point, some people find that unacceptable other do not. Personally I don’t use a VPN for illegal activities, but to protect my privacy and to get around this outdated concept of censorship. Is it likely to assume that most (if not all) VPN providers will do something similar? yes; after all, they are running a business which is prone to abuse and logging user activity is their only defense. HMA did a great job informing their users openly about the situation, something I highly respect and while I don’t like the fact that they handed over anything, I still feel rather secure using HMA ProVPN.
After a year of using HMA Pro VPN I am very happy. I can encrypt my Internet connection making it secure, it is inexpensive, easy to use, offers fast connections with servers across many countries, works on most platforms supporting a variety of protocols and has a responsive support team. I did intermittently run into problems sending mail and accessing certain websites. This is less a problem with HideMyAss as it has to do with mail providers and webmasters being overly protective. In most cases briefly disconnecting HMA Pro VPN solves those problems. Be careful with banking websites and PayPal when you are switching countries, their fraud alert system might kick into high gear!
After a year of using HideMyAss, I love it. It is easy to setup, easy to use, reliable, fast… you get the point! If you aren’t using HideMyAss Pro VPN yet, you should definitely give it a whirl, you can’t afford to leave home without it! (But you can leave your AMEX card at home!)
Update (July 2, 2012) :
This post sparked a lot of great comments, which had to do with HideMyAss’ customer support, connection speed and some with IP logging. While I never had any problems with their support, speeds or their logging policy based on my usage of HMA, I felt it was necessary to ask them to address those issues for our readers directly. I love simple solutions, so I quickly crafted an email to support and within 2 days , Pete from HideMyAss’ support answered your questions.
I really like how they approached the issue. Instead of ignoring their customer’s concerns, they used this opportunity to openly address and solve them. That’s the way to take care of customers and the best way to win new ones! I’d like to say Thank You Pete for your help addressing our audience’s problems and concerns! -Andre
Image Credit: Carlos Adampol Galindo