Our editors have worked long and hard on this one. We finally have a complete, and full in depth review of the HideMyAss VPN software for our readers! If you’ve ever thought about purchasing HMA VPN service, this is your best way to evaluate their offering and companion software. We will give you an inside and indepth look at every single screen in the software, plus a complete speed test of every single server!
The HMA software provides all of the core features and functionality for VPN customers like server selection, load balancing, proxy selection, speed testing, and application binding – just to name a few. To put it simply, the HMA software is probably the best when it comes to providing point and click VPN functions to the customer. This is the real bonus to using a VPN provider like HMA that has spent time customizing their OpenVPN service and software. The original OpenVPN client software is open source, and those service providers that can, will customize it for their customers. HMA has taken this to an extreme, offering features and functions in the software that just aren’t available anywhere else. Our screenshots below will show you exactly how they are able to accomplish it, and we guarantee you will be IMPRESSED.
HMA is known for their quality software and we intend to showcase and screenshot everything. If you ever thought we were just another site, this should change your opinion! But, bear with us here, there is quite a bit to document. Over 25 screenshots in all! We do love HMA, but they haven’t made the job easy on us! And, we can say this for a fact, we are the ONLY site that has attempted to document the software with this amount of detail. Well…here we go… (note: some particulars like IP addresses have been smudged on purpose)
The Dashboard is the home screen for the HMA VPN software application. It is where you supply your account information and connect/disconnect. It will show you the original IP address and new IP address once you are connected. There is also a drop down box to make quick server changes. The buttons along the bottom let you change your IP address, schedule IP address changes, and verify your current IP address using an external provider (e.g. whatismyip.com)
The Connection Log tab on the Dashboard will show you just about everything you need to know on your HMA VPN connection status. It will even display for you the encryption being used during authentication, as well as in the secure transport tunnel if you look carefully!
A Load Balance Warning will appear if you attempt to connect to a server that is loaded more than 30% of another server in the same location. This is a great way that HMA ensures you will always connect to the fastest server each and every time.
You can specify the Load Balance Settings on the Dashboard area on the Settings tab. Your options include by Location, Country or Group, and threshold values of 30%, 50%, and 60%. The default is by Location and 30%.
The Country Selection Map is probably one of the greatest visual representations our editors have seen of server selection. You can zoom in/out and pan left/right/up/down on the map – just like Google Maps (it’s probably powered by GMaps API). When you roll your mouse over one the highlighted bubbles, you can see the available servers in that area. Or, you can choose to connect to a random server from that area.
The Country Selection List is another way of looking at the same server selection information. You can filter by protocol type, and make your own random rules by selecting (Custom).
The IP Address Settings will show you the current IP address once you’re connected to HMA VPN. You can also change the IP if you need to using the provided button. HMA has a really nice feature allowing you to schedule IP address changes as well, right down to the minute and second! The drop down box lets you select which of the external providers will verify your IP address. Any of the choices should do fine.
The Secure IP Bind feature, when enabled, will establish a hard link between an identified application on your computer and the HMA VPN. When enabled, that application will only be able to communicate to the internet via your the HMA VPN. So if you suddenly get disconnected from HMA, the application will also disconnect. First it will ask if you would like to detect any web browser applications (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.)
Once you have enabled Secure IP Bind the applications will be displayed in a list. You can choose to enable/disable the feature entirely, or selectively by application.
The Speed Guide offers the opportunity to perform either a Ping Test, Express Test, or Full Test. Just make sure you aren’t already connected to the HMA VPN before testing. The point is to test your native connection to the HMA VPN servers!
The Express Test involves the downloading and uploading of a small test file to each server. Once that download and upload is complete your ping, speeds, and score will be shown, and you can filter by these values to find the fastest servers.
As you can see from above our East Coast editor was getting great speeds from the servers in his region. Here is a screenshot of an Express Test on some international servers. Keep reading for our Full Test of EVERY SINGLE SERVER!
Once you have completed any of the speed tests, you can view or export your history with the Speed Test Log.
The Proxy Settings gives you the ability to select from Direct, Auto, HTTP, or SOCKS type proxy (optional).
If you choose to utilize a proxy, you can supply the required information information easily in the provided fields.
A Success Bubble will be displayed in your System Tray reminding that you are connected to HMA. You can also right click and connect/disconnect from the tray. The HMA tray icon will be grey when disconnected, and yellow when connected.
On the off chance that you had problems, HMA VPN software includes some Diagnostics. HMA can run 11 separate tests to determine what the problem is with the VPN connection. Diagnostics are available from the Dashboard, on the Connection Log tab.
Once the test is complete, you can export the log and either view it yourself or send it off to HMA VPN support.
The Export Log is in a standard text format and saved to your computer for easy reading or sending.
On the Billing and Packages screen you can quickly view the status of your subscription, including the time remaining and available renewal options.
Now we come to the Full Test of every available HMA Server. Fortunately HMA does make it a little easier on us by having such wonderful software. However this did take some time to complete, so keep that in mind if you decide to test them all yourself. The Full Test uses a larger test file for the download and upload than the Express Test. You’re also talking about testing A LOT of servers! In the screenshots below you will see the ping, download, upload and score for each HMA server. The list has been sorted by score from best to worst. Remember, this was done by a US based East Coast editor, so keep that in mind. You’ll also want to keep reading to put these results in context, and see some analysis on the results.
Now, for the really good stuff, an analysis of the results! Our East Coast editor did us all a great service by exporting the results to excel and running some quick numbers. First off, remember, this is just his test – you really need to do your own. Second, and just as importantly, the information on his connection: Comcast Cable at 30Mbit/sec, which translates to about 3750KByte/sec. This means in the above results, anything near 3700B/s is basically maxing his connection for download. His Comcast cable connection provides about 1Mbit/sec upload, which translates to 125KByte/sec. This means in the above results, anything near 120KB/s is basically maxing his connection for upload.
Alright, onto the analysis then! In order to really gauge performance of the HMA VPN network, what we did was look at thresholds for download, upload, and ping. Based on the number of servers that met those thresholds, we can essentially determine how “fast” the network is, and how well you might be able to say, stream video from all over the globe. The methodology is simple, establish the threshold, determine how many servers meet or exceed, and divide by the total number of servers tested (120).
So what do the results tell us? Well, for starters, the HMA network is pretty damn fast! Almost 20% of the network is near maxing the download speed (above 3000KB/s). When you consider that the average high def stream from Hulu needs about 1500Kilobit/sec (that’s Kbps, not KB! see the difference here) according to their Support page here, that means you have 95% of the network providing you speeds enough to stream high definition video from Hulu. To give another example, the popular streaming set top box ROKU recommends anywhere from 2.0Mbit/sec to 3.0Mbit/sec to stream high def Major League Baseball games (see here). That means we need roughly 250KB/s on the low end and 375 KB/s on the high end to meet ROKU requirements, which could be considered a fairly good marker for speeds sufficient enough to stream high def over the web. Even if we adjust that up to say, 500KB/s you’ve still got over 85% of the network providing speeds high enough! Most people report that 3Mbps (375KB/s) will work fine for HD Netflix, so there is that marker as well. NetFlixHelps, on Twitter, once posted this guidance for streaming: “a download speed of at least 1.5Mbps, 3Mbps for DVD quality, and 5Mbps for HD quality for the duration of a film.” OK, so figure 188KB/s, 375KB/s, and 625KB/s. Go with 625KB/s for HD quality, and you’re still talking over 70% of the network providing you speeds high enough! Now do you see what we mean when we say pretty damn fast?!
On the upload side, which is expected to suffer more than download, the numbers aren’t quite as high but they are still good. You should also remember that cable connections are notoriously spotty on upload tests. Still, the results show almost half of the network is doing about half of the maximum upload. Ha! For ping results, which really, can be just as important as download when dealing with stuttering/buffering, you have about half the network giving approx a 50ms ping. For anyone that does online gaming, especially first person shooter games, you know that a 50-60 ping is pretty good. Though a 20-40 ping is better!
Overall we were really surprised at the results that came out of the HMA VPN speed test. Especially when you consider all the various countries that were reporting high download speeds: US, Canada, UK, Luxembourg, Netherlands, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Latvia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Portgual, and Lithuania all reported back download speeds greater than 5Mbps (640KB/s). That’s an amazing 19 countries! To say we were impressed is an understatement. When you consider the amount of features in the software, and the quality of the network, VPN service from HideMyAss really is top notch! We hope you enjoyed this indepth look into the HMA VPN software and the full speed test. Make sure to head on over to our full editors review and see what others have to say about HMA!