I have been using Hide My Ass VPN for one month now, HMA is one of the biggest VPN providers in the market when it comes to number of servers and countries available, do not allow that impressive number of servers to determine your shopping decision, my experience is that, living in Europe myself, all of the Asian and Latin American servers are unusable even for browsing the Internet, the ping rate is too lengthy and it hampers the speed making you wait a few seconds before you can load a webpage.
Some of HMA US servers identify themselves as “Anonymous Proxy” to websites and are blocked by online TV services georestricted to the US, you can be sure to find a US VPN to watch Hulu and listen to Pandora but you can’t count on all of the HMA VPN US servers to be able to do that, other servers are also blocked by Google search engine, showing a message saying that your IP could be a bot and it asks you to fill in a captcha before you can search, the only way around these problems are finding the right server with decent speed that has not been blacklisted anywhere and stick with it.
Out of the hundreds of VPN servers that HMA has, you will not be able to feasibly use the ones located far away from your home country, because of that, I didn’t find much point in choosing HMA VPN over a smaller VPN providers with less locations.
HMA VPN software client is pleasing to use, it allows you to easily choose your preferred VPN and change it with a single click, if the server is overloaded the software client will warn you and invite you to connect to a different VPN in the same group, advanced configuration lets you to change your computer IP at random set intervals and log IP history, kept inside a window tracking what VPN IPs where assigned to your computer.
The VPN client only allows for OpenVPN and the insecure PPTP protocols, used in mobile devices, I expected HMA VPN software to support a more secure PPTP replacement, called L2TP, you can still use L2TP manually but the option is not included with the software and it takes some time to configure having to read the instructions in the Wiki. I couldn’t see any support for Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) either, a little surprising for such a big company.
Sending email through SMTP in HMA VPN is blocked you will have to manually unblock it using the Wiki instructions or use webmail, you will also notice that if you enter an incorrect URL you will be redirected to an OpenDNS search page, this is because HMA VPN servers are using OpenDNS to resolve addresses. Another concerning problem was that the VPN would sometimes disconnect me and expose my real home IP, it is very important that if you care about privacy enable the “Secure IP Bind” in the VPN software and attach it to your browser to stop your IP from being leaked out when the VPN disconnects.
I liked that Mac and Linux are officially supported, there is a download from the control panel to install OpenVPN in your Linux computer, there is no bandwidth limit, prices aren’t cheap if you pay monthly but using the yearly discount makes it a reasonable priced VPN and there is a 30 day money back guarantee, if you are not happy during the first two weeks you should be able to claim a refund.