HMA VPN Review & Test 2020 - Good Overall, But Some Drawbacks

Katie Kasunic | Technology Researcher
Updated on 23rd June 2020

HMA is a popular VPN provider with a large network of 1,000+ servers in 190+ countries.

Some of this VPN’s biggest strengths are its user-friendly interface, impressive speeds, and ability to bypass geoblocks (even Netflix’s!)

It’s newest update, HMA Version 5, includes new design features and an auto-generated diagnostics mode. Arguably the most impressive update is its Lightning-mode feature, which connects you to the fastest and closest server automatically.

HMA also offers robust security; all apps are protected by military-grade encryption. Mac, Windows, and Android users enjoy additional protection from a smart kill switch. The VPN also now maintains a no-logs policy, so you don’t have to worry about your personal information being stored or exposed.

Downsides include the fact that you can’t opt for a month-by-month subscription and the company’s concerning UK headquarters.

Streaming – Does HMA VPN Work with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Other Services?

HMA claims to be an excellent VPN for bypassing geoblocks, including Netflix’s notoriously difficult blocks. The VPN’s network even has five specialty servers optimized for streaming so you can watch your favorite content in HD without buffering delays.

I started my streaming tests by connecting to HMA’s US servers. Three of HMA’s specialty streaming servers are located in the US, which is great for accessing US streaming content. I’m pleased to report that I could stream Netflix on every server I tried—and the quality was good, too, with no lagging or buffering issues.

Next, I tried Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. HMA unlocked all these streaming services for me across multiple servers—I wasn’t blocked once. The only major platform I couldn’t reliably access was Disney+. It’s a newer service, but other VPNs like NordVPN do provide access, so I’d like to see HMA step up its game here.

HMA Network and Servers

HMA has 1,000+ servers across 290+ locations in 190+ countries.

This network includes five streaming-optimized servers based in Germany, the UK, and the US.

There are also eight P2P-optimized servers. These are located in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US.

I had no problems connecting to the servers that I tested, although speeds varied across locations.

HMA VPN Speeds

I was impressed with the results of my speed tests on HMA’s server network. Before connecting to HMA’s servers, I started with a connection speed of 111.10 Mbps download and 8.05 Mbps upload.

Speed test before connecting to HMA.

Using HMA’s Lightning Connect, which automatically connects you to the best nearby server, I connected to a local server in the UK. The server gave me 104.00 Mbps download speed and 7.79 Mbps upload speed.

Speed test on a local HMA server.

Next, I tested the speed of one of HMA’s streaming optimized US servers. Even though this server was much farther away than my physical location, my download speed only dropped to 101.99 Mbps – although my upload speed took more of a hit.

Speed test on an HMA streaming optimized server in the US.

Unfortunately, these speeds aren’t consistent across all servers. Connecting to a server on the other side of the world in Japan caused my download speed to drop to 24.69 Mbps.

A speed test on an HMA server in Japan.

It is worth noting that most of HMA’s servers provide excellent speeds. You shouldn’t have trouble finding a fast server as long as you don’t need to connect to a location that’s too far away.

However, I would have liked to have seen more consistent speeds across all server locations in the network.

Is HMA VPN Good for Torrenting?

HMA offers good support for torrenting. P2P traffic is allowed on designated high-speed optimized servers.

P2P-enabled servers are clearly listed on the HMA app. You can choose and connect with one click.

Security – Is HMA VPN Safe?

When you connect to HMA’s server network, your IP address is hidden, and your data is protected with military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. There is also a choice of secure protocols, including UDP and TCP OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP.

HMA offers strong security with little to no configuration.

An OpenVPN connection with a UDP port is the default protocol on all platforms except iOS, which uses an IPsec protocol.

It’s generally a good idea to use OpenVPN protocols whenever possible. They offer the most robust security without the vulnerabilities of older protocols.

Depending on your device, the IPsec protocol can sometimes offer better connection speeds than OpenVPN.

I would recommend avoiding PPTP in most cases. It’s an older protocol that has more security vulnerabilities.

HMA also offers a kill switch on its Mac, Windows, and Android apps. This is a great security feature that will keep your data safe even if your VPN connection suddenly drops.

Excluding iOS apps, all other HMA clients feature IP shuffling. This automatically switches you to a new IP address after a specified period of time and can help you avoid tracking and surveillance.

If you plan on using the IP shuffle feature, it’s a good idea to make sure the kill switch is turned on as well so that your data isn’t leaked while you switch between servers.

When I tested HMA, I didn’t detect any DNS leaks. I was pleased with the safety and security of this VPN overall.

Does HMA VPN Keep Logs?

HMA is based in the UK, which is one of the founding members of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. This isn’t ideal from a privacy perspective.

The UK government is known to spy on its citizens online. Any surveillance gathered by the UK can be shared with other countries in the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance as part of the intelligence-sharing agreement.

While this is concerning, HMA now maintains a no-logs policy. This means that it doesn’t store any identifiable information about you or your online activities, including your IP address, the websites you visit, or any data you send or receive. Should a government come to HMA seeking records, HMA would have to provide them—but it can’t provide anything that it doesn’t store.

The only things that HMA records are the date you connect to the VPN (but not the time) and the amount of data transferred, rounded down. HMA collects this info to monitor service capacity and deletes it after 35 days.

Does HMA VPN Have an Adblocker?

HMA does not include an adblocker in its VPN service.

Does HMA VPN Work in China?

Although HMA has worked in China in the past, it does not reliably provide service to customers in China. Many users in China may find that HMA is blocked.

HMA has stated that it will continue to look for ways to provide better access to customers in China. Currently, though, it is not able to guarantee that HMA will function in China.

Price and Value for Money

HMA offers three pricing plans, each with the same features. As is common with VPNs, HMA’s longer subscription plans offer a better value for your money.

The subscriptions are affordable and reasonable for HMA’s quality of service. However, the discounts offered on HMA’s longer plans aren’t as big as those offered by some other high-quality VPNs.

HMA also has a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try out the service risk-free. This is a great option if you can’t decide if HMA is the right choice for you.

You can pay for HMA through PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and UnionPay.

Is HMA VPN Compatible with my Device?

HMA is compatible with all major platforms. There are native apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. HMA also provides user-friendly manual installation guides for Linux and routers.

There are a few differences across devices. HMA’s Windows, macOS, and Android apps include a kill switch, IP Refresh, and IP Shuffle. None of these features are available on HMA’s iOS apps.

The Windows app also gives you the ability to choose which apps are covered by the kill switch.

The native Android app offers a useful split-tunneling feature. Split-tunneling allows you to choose which parts of your connection you want to protect with the VPN.

You can connect up to five simultaneous devices with one HMA subscription.

HMA VPN Customer Service

There are several ways to get in touch with HMA’s support team if you run into any issues.

You can submit a request ticket on the website or reach out through HMA’s 24/7 live chat support. You can also get in contact with the support team through social media.

When I tested HMA’s live chat, I received a response within two minutes. The customer support agent was prompt and helpful.

HMA provides other resources on its website, too.

There is a series of guides on topics like cybersecurity, geo-spoofing, and online privacy. These guides are funny and engaging, as well as informative.

There are also detailed installation guides, FAQs, a knowledge base, and a community forum.

User Experience

HMA’s interface has one of the most user-friendly designs that I’ve tested.

After a fast and easy installation process, you can connect to HMA’s servers with a single click using Lightning Connect. This automatically connects you to the best nearby server.

HMA connection interface
If you want to manually select your server location, you can choose from an easy-to-browse list. Connecting to any server is as simple as clicking on it.

You can also use the drop-down menu to navigate to your saved favorites or view a list of servers optimized for streaming or P2P traffic.

Lightning connect

If you do want to manually customize your experience, the settings are straightforward to navigate. Most features can be enabled with a single click.

There is a sidebar where you can toggle the kill switch and auto-connect. Under ‘Settings,’ you can enable IP Shuffle or choose to automatically connect to the VPN when on an unfamiliar WiFi network.

The automatic kill switch is disabled by default. Make sure to turn it on before connecting to a server if you want to be protected by this feature.

Conclusion

With a large network, fast speeds, robust security, 24/7 live chat support, and reliable access to popular streaming sites, it’s clear that HMA has a good service to offer.

Whether or not HMA is right for you depends on your needs.

If your main goal with a VPN is geo-spoofing to escape censorship or access geo-restricted content, like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer, HMA is a great option.

HMA’s robust security will also keep you safe while connecting to unsecured public WiFi networks.

On the other hand, if your goal is total anonymity, you may want to look elsewhere. HMA’s UK headquarters is a drawback as the government can request records. HMA may not have any to hand over, but the privacy-conscious may prefer a service where governments don’t even have the jurisdiction to ask.

If you’re looking for a powerful no-logs VPN that can smash geoblocks and is free from the reach of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance, check out NordVPN.

If you want unlimited simultaneous connections and prefer the minimal commitment that comes with a month-by-month subscription, check out Surfshark.

Features Details
Number of countries with servers 190
Number of servers 1000
Number of IP addresses 110000
Does VPN keep logs? No
Does VPN include a kill switch? Yes
Number of devices per license 5

Ease of Use

9.4

Downloading and installing HMA on your device is incredibly easy and only takes a few minutes.

First, choose your subscription plan, complete your payment, and open an account.

You will be automatically directed to the correct download link for your device.

When the quick installation is complete, you can start using the app by either providing your login credentials or entering the license key that was emailed to you.

The HMA app has a user-friendly interface. You can navigate to the app preferences to adjust your settings or get started right away with Lightning Connect.

You could easily use HMA without ever manually adjusting any settings. Just be aware that the kill switch is turned off by default. It can easily be turned on within the app’s preferences.

Pricing

8.8
36 Months Plan
$3.99 /month
24 Months Plan
$4.99 /month
12 Months Plan
$6.99 /month

HMA offers three subscription pricing plans, with longer plans offering better value for your money. Each of the plans includes the same premium features.

You can take advantage of a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee to test out the service.

HMA accepts payments through PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and UnionPay.

Reliability & Support

8.0

Although HMA is easy to install and use on all major platforms, there are several ways to get help if you run into any issues. The provider’s website has some useful resources, including detailed installation guides, FAQs, and a knowledge base.

If you still need help, you can visit the website’s community forum to post your question or browse questions submitted by other users.

You can reach out to HMA support by submitting a request ticket or contacting the team on social media. The website also features 24/7 live chat support.

Although you may have to wait for a support agent to become available, we received helpful assistance from a live chat support agent within a couple of minutes.

The Bottom Line

Fast, user-friendly VPN that is great for streaming and escaping censorship

HMA offers a sleek, powerful service with a user-friendly interface and excellent server speeds. One-click Lightning Connect makes it easy to escape government surveillance and censorship. On the other hand, privacy lovers may not like the fact that HMA is based in a 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance country.

  • World's largest network of servers
  • Often has sales with significant discounts
  • Cross-platform capabilities
  • 2 simultaneous devices
  • Great website
  • No data restrictions
  • Get started with HMA VPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days) : 30
Mobile app :
Number of devices per license : 5
VPN Plans: www.hidemyass.com

Watch the short video review and tutorial below of HMA VPN

HMA VPN User Reviews

8.1
Based on 286 reviews in 29 languages
Stay away from HMA if you want privacy - 2
lolzy -
May 16, 2020

So.. let's see They keep logs They are a USA based company Most of their IP's are blacklisted & their vpn won't even work if you live in a country that blocks everything. You have to consider other options that DOESN'T logs & got anti dpi features like nordvpn obfuscated servers, expressvpn.

Sneaky billing -- ripoff - 2
Phil

I set my account to not auto-renew a year ago. But this year it did it anyways. You have to go to your Paypal account and explicitly de-authorize billing from HMA. So HMA doesn't follow the setting in your account...it does whatever it can get away with.

Definitely not recommended - 2
Heisenberg

HMA has helped several times in the past to identify individual users for the judiciary through corresponding logs. HMA has completely failed. A VPN provider that is able to identify individual users specifically in their usage behavior is extremely bad.

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