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Hide My Ass! VPN Service Review

Test Results

Discussing specific performance of this or that VPN service is tricky, because results are dependent on the server chosen and general Internet conditions at the time. We tested over a Frontier FiOS connection, which guarantees and reliably delivers 15 Mb/s down and 5 Mb/s up to our home office. Obviously, there are faster services available, including from Frontier, but this suffices for a comparison.

When we ran with no VPN enabled and let Speedtest.net select the best nearby test target, we fetched an 18ms ping, 15.40 Mb/s download and 5.57 Mb/s upload. This is right against the ceiling that Frontier clamps over our account.

SourcesTargets
Seattle, WA (6 Locations | West Coast)Portland, OR (West Coast)
London, UKHood River, OR (West Coast)
Ad Darah, Syria (Middle East)Seattle, WA (West Coast)
London, UK
Tripoli, Libya (Middle East)
Amman, Jordan (Middle East)
Miami, FL

To illustrate what a difference a slow VPN server will make, we connected to the ill-advised Portland LOC1 and tested a server in nearby Hood River, Oregon, roughly 80 miles away.

This yielded a ping of 33ms, a downlink of 8.48 Mb/s, and a 0.15 Mb/s uplink.

From there, we had HMA! VPN into the Seattle, WA LOC1 and retest the same Hood River server.

Our ping climbed to 41ms, but downloading jumped to 13.25 Mb/s and uploading to 3.67 Mb/s. Clearly, that’s not too shabby. Yes, you take a little performance hit, but for most applications, including streaming content, the results will be acceptable if you mind your server numbers before connecting.

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What if you want to VPN from overseas? We experimented with this in ways, but a couple of examples will suffice. We connected to the London LOC2 VPN server and the Ad Darah, Syria server. In both cases, we had Speedtest.net select its best, closest target and then our Hood River, OR server using OpenVPN protocol. All of this together yielded the following:

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As you can see from the charts above, when you keep your VPN server and the remote server you're accessing close to home, the impact is fairly light. Once we hop across the pond, though, throughput tumbles. Of course, there will be plenty of times when losing most of your bandwidth in exchange for privacy and protection is a fair trade. Just set your expectations accordingly.

HMA! is one of the costlier services available, but its user-friendly interface, very accessible and thorough support, and global server distribution make this one of our favorite VPN options.


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  • Handoncloud
    Good job! :D
    Reply
  • Cujothemadog
    they'll turn u in in two minutes flat
    Reply
  • carnetarian
    I stopped reading as soon as I saw p2p services are disabled. I will never use a VPN that tries to tell me how I'm allowed to use the internet.
    Reply
  • Rookie_MIB
    Currently a member of HMA, and a while back their speeds were a bit flaky, they've improved that quite a bit to the point where I can max out my connection. Only other I have issues is that they -do- log and will forward copyright accusations.

    However, judicious use of -where- you connect to avoids most of those problems (ie: don't connect to an US server if you're going to torrent US films, in fact, avoid US servers in general...)

    As for their turning in of the hackers who were using their service, while they might shrug at copyright accusations (relatively victimless crime), remember what these guys did in the Sony hack, that was a high-profile international incident which resulted in the FBI, Justice Department, and Interpol stepping up. Faced with that, and -legal- court orders, I'm sure they had little choice but to turn over the info they had on them.
    Reply
  • f-14
    Currently a member of HMA, and a while back their speeds were a bit flaky, they've improved that quite a bit to the point where I can max out my connection. Only other I have issues is that they -do- log and will forward copyright accusations.

    However, judicious use of -where- you connect to avoids most of those problems (ie: don't connect to an US server if you're going to torrent US films, in fact, avoid US servers in general...)

    As for their turning in of the hackers who were using their service, while they might shrug at copyright accusations (relatively victimless crime), remember what these guys did in the Sony hack, that was a high-profile international incident which resulted in the FBI, Justice Department, and Interpol stepping up. Faced with that, and -legal- court orders, I'm sure they had little choice but to turn over the info they had on them.

    that's not hiding your ass, that's 'giving up your ass' false advertising.
    Reply
  • Rookie_MIB
    15953239 said:
    that's not hiding your ass, that's 'giving up your ass' false advertising.

    No, because it's clear in the TOS that they DO keep track of logins and correlated to IP/DATE. They forwarded it and warned me that it was against their TOS and would terminate my account if it continued. That is also the -only- one I've ever gotten.

    These guys who did the Sony hack went way beyond a simple movie download though, they infiltrated a major company, using a service which clearly stated they did track that info, and would comply with a legal court order (not just a random threat letter from a copyright troll), and they thought they were untouchable.

    They were wrong.
    Reply
  • carnetarian
    15953239 said:
    that's not hiding your ass, that's 'giving up your ass' false advertising.

    This is right on the money. It sounds like this VPN will give you up in a heartbeat, which completely defeats the entire purpose of having a VPN. I wouldn't use this VPN if they paid me.
    Reply
  • admin$
    I used to use HMA. They will not allow you to download any torrents which was the reason i had purchased the VPN in the first place. They sent me a warning then suspended my account. They auto renewed my subscription without notifying me in January, suspended my account in February. No refund. I would not recommend this software to anyone. I have since switched to PIA... no issues at all, would definitely recommend PIA.
    Reply