Hide My Ass! Pro VPN review: A VPN with servers all over the world

Hide My Ass! Pro VPN review: A versatile VPN with servers listed all over the world

Hide My Ass! Pro is a versatile VPN service with a large number of servers all over the world, but it's a bit pricey. Read our Hide My Ass! Pro VPN review. (Also see: Best free VPN services 2015.)

Despite the word play on the American spelling of arse, and its penchant for charging in US dollars, Hide My Ass! is a UK-registered and based VPN company. It has an extensive portfolio of VPN servers, at home in Britain and spread all around the world from Australia to Uganda.

Hide My Ass! offers its own client software for Windows and OS X, and has mobile apps for iOS and Android. These allow phones and tablets to be configured by a more friendly looking interface than these platforms’ built-in VPN software. Also see: How to use a free VPN: A step-by-step guide.

It’s already recognised that your VPN provider knows who you are and may keep logs of your internet use. In the case of Hide My Ass! it has long been keeping records of its users’ real IP and connection logs.

That’s how we’re told hacker-activist Cody Kretsinger was identified and arrested in September 2011 after using Hide My Ass!’s services. Based in Arizona, USA, Kretsinger was a member of LulzSec, the hacker collective known for compromising the security of various websites, including the CIA, Sony Pictures and News International.

Kretsinger used the Hide My Ass! VPN service to assist his anonymity while working under the name ‘recursion’. His real IP address and identity was passed over to the FBI by HMA! on request. The British company stated that it was presented with a court order. Also see: How to watch US Netflix in the UK.

Hide My Ass! announced that it was complying with local UK law when it passed its customer’s personal data to a foreign power. This made a clear statement that it did not itself wish to be prosecuted for its customers’ activities in any foreign country that was able to secure a UK court order.

Prices start at $11.52 for 1 month, then $49.99 for 6 months or 12 months at $78.66, making it the most expensive VPN service we’ve tested. Even with a paid-up account, we find advertisements appearing in the main application window.

Hide My Ass! Pro VPN review: Software

Hide My Ass! publishes a list of around 700 servers in various locations in the world. In our experience we found that not all were accessible at any given time. It was not clear if this was due to the server being offline or just working at its capacity and unable to accept any new connections. Also see: Why you need a VPN.

Traffic speeds were very good, depending on the server and time, with up- and download speeds often exceeding 20 Mb/s, when tested on an 80/80 leased line.

The Hide My Ass! for Windows software uses Microsoft’s .NET framework to build the program; the OS X client meanwhile uses the open-source Mono framework, originally a Linux port of .NET. It replaces earlier Mac client software that required separate TUN/TAP kernel extensions to be installed.

The Hide My Ass! interface is easy to navigate, and enables quick virtual geo-relocation from one of its sidetabs. The Windows and OS X applications rely on Google, with the user’s computer making serial connections to Google servers as soon as it is launched. The company told us it believes it has sandboxed these connections to the data-harvesting specialist to ensure personal data is not leaked. Also see: How to watch US Netflix on an Android phone or tablet.

Hide My Ass! Pro VPN software uses OpenVPN as its default communication and encryption protocol, or you can switch this to Microsoft’s insecure PPTP from a protocol drop-down menu. The Mac application includes integration with OS X’s notifications system to show when and to where you’re connected, with flags popping out of the screen’s top-right corner.

Common to both Windows and Mac client software, the Hide My Ass! program includes a speed guide, to help identify which of its servers are currently over-subscribed or otherwise providing poor service, and which are operating more quickly. And with the help of a menu bar/taskbar shortcut, you can easily switch your gateway IP address without opening the main application windows.

Hide My Ass! Pro VPN: Specs

  • 1-month account
  • based in London, UK
  • holds logs
  • VPN protocols: L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP
  • 2 concurrent devices
  • no data allowance limit
  • client software for Windows, OS X, Android, iOS
  • platform support: Linux/OS X/Windows/iOS/Android/DD-WRT
  • manual configuration option
  • P2P policy not advised
  • 1-month account
  • based in London, UK
  • holds logs
  • VPN protocols: L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP
  • 2 concurrent devices
  • no data allowance limit
  • client software for Windows, OS X, Android, iOS
  • platform support: Linux/OS X/Windows/iOS/Android/DD-WRT
  • manual configuration option
  • P2P policy not advised

OUR VERDICT

Hide My Ass! Pro VPN is a versatile VPN services with a large number of servers listed all over the world. It has attentive technical support staff to help with setup issues, which might help justify its high price. The company is based in the UK and abides by our unique data-retention laws that deny anonymity to VPN users, and has demonstrated it’s ready to inform on its users when asked. For local network security and placing yourself virtually anywhere for shopping or entertainment purposes, Hide My Ass! Pro works as advertised, but the cost is high.