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Back in 2005, a college student named Jack Cator wanted a way to get around his school’s firewalls. So he created a VPN that we now know as HideMyAss (or “HMA,” for short). HMA was acquired in 2015 by AVG — a monolith in the security community which itself was acquired by Avast in 2016. So what do you get when you mix a silly name with a serious team of security professionals? And more importantly, does that mix form the right VPN to fill your needs?
To determine whether HMA is a good option, we need to talk about why you should have a VPN in the first place. It’s getting harder and harder to keep your internet connection both private and secure. In the past hour, how many banners have you had to click with reminders about cookies that were tracking your internet usage?
As cord cutters, we also care about the best streaming experience. Streaming services often limit certain content to only some geographic regions. If you don’t live in one of those regions, your only option for accessing that content is to use a VPN to change your apparent browsing location. Content providers are good at blocking those attempts though, so it might not work with some VPNs.
Let’s get back to HMA. All of their plans give you unlimited bandwidth to use across up to 5 devices running simultaneously. Different VPN providers offer different levels of customizability. Some, such as CyberGhost, give you several options for VPN protocols and ways to modify how each of those protocols works. HMA, on the other hand, offers only minimal options. On most platforms, their app will only have a single VPN protocol available: either OpenVPN or IKeV2.
HMA does include a few additional functionalities for extra security and privacy. There is a “kill switch” option to shut down your internet connection if the VPN connection is interrupted. There are also options to manually change the IP or have it automatically change at a user-selected interval.
HMA does not have apps available for Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Smart TVs, or video game consoles (PS4, Xbox One, etc.). You can still protect these devices behind the HMA VPN by installing the HMA app on your router, but that won’t provide you the same level of device-specific control.
HMA does have apps for several other devices. You can find the full list below. For desktop and laptop users, there are also free browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, as detailed later in this article.
A monthly HMA plan costs $11.99 per month. If you pay for 6 months in advance, it will cost $53.94 ($8.99 per month). An annual plan goes for $52.69 per year ($4.39 per month). You can also pay in advance for 24 months at $119.76 ($4.99 per month). Finally, there is a 36-month plan that costs $100.44 ($2.79 per month).
The above prices are valid for the first subscription period. The purchase page states that subscription renewal occurs at the “undiscounted price then in effect,” so be careful: While a year of HMA costs just $52.69, HMA actually considers that to be a discounted rate, and will charge you $143.88 per year when it renews. If you plan to keep auto-renewal on, be sure to check the “undiscounted” rates in the fine print on HMA’s website.
HMA also has business and family accounts, which may be useful if you have multiple users or need more than five simultaneous connections.
HMA offers a student discount of 75% off their 36-month plan. This is the only discount that they have active right now, but be sure to check back later as we will keep you updated on all future deals and discounts.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial right on the HMA website. Note that the free trial is a separate option from the other plans, so you need to click specifically on the free trial option from the pricing page. If you don’t cancel before the trial ends, you will be charged for an annual plan at a rate that may differ from the rate on the pricing page — it’s $83.88 per year ($6.99 per month) at the time of this writing.
The Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are completely free and don’t require an account, so you can also use those to try out a limited version of the HMA VPN service. These will only cover traffic in your browser, and they limit you to only five server locations.
HMA also has a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of their plans, so if you cancel within that period you will be able to get a refund.
There are no contracts with HMA. Do keep in mind, however, that their discounted plans generally have you pay in advance for some extended period of time. Unless you cancel within the 30-day guarantee period, you are unlikely to get that money back.
HMA has a support page with detailed cancellation instructions. If you purchased your subscription through the HMA website, you can turn off auto-renewal directly from your account page by clicking “Cancel subscription” and confirming in the prompt window. If you want to cancel your subscription immediately and inquire about a refund, you will need to file a support ticket with HMA.
If you purchased your HMA subscription through iTunes, the Apple app store, or the Google play store, you will have to cancel through that same service and you should check the cancellation instructions page for specific requirements to request your refund in those cases.
Do you still have questions about HMA? Are you surprised that their loveable mascot wasn’t mentioned once in this article? Our hands-on HMA review investigates everything that makes them unique, including the adorable costumes that give the TunnelBear VPN mascot a run for his money.
If HMA isn’t the VPN you’ve been trying to find, there are plenty of other VPNs to see in our list of the 2021’s best VPNs. You can find even more by typing “VPN” into the search bar at the top of the page.