Intro Hidemyass Merlin
Hide My Ass! (HMA!) Is a UK-based company, with Its claim to fame has been its number of subscribers — it’s over 400 million, today. This provider has witnessed its share of controversy with respect to user privacy. It made updates service in the hopes of winning back the loyalty of its subscribers and redeeming itself. Hidemyass Merlin
We took it For a test run to see how much it’s improved and whether it is well worth the cost.
What Is a VPN?
It generates an encrypted tunnel to, when you activate a VPN Protect your information as it passes from the computer to a host. From there, your data releases onto the open internet. It’s a simple idea, but one with enormous consequences for your privacy and security.
For starters, it prevents anyone lurking in your local Community from observation or intercepting your activity. Though the airport or coffee shop Wi-Fi system looks safe (it might even be password-protected) it is not actually safe unless you’re using a VPN. For another thing, a VPN may prevent your Internet Service Provider (ISP) from gathering information about your online activities so that it could sell anonymized user data to the highest bidder.
A VPN also makes it difficult to correlate your Online activities with your own identity. Since your visitors is exiting in the VPN firm’s server, you seem to have its own IP address, effectively concealing your true location. It also compels even the most determined attacker to test to sort through all of the traffic from different users on the same VPN server to find what they are after. For all these reasons, and more, you want a VPN on your life.
Be aware that your traffic is only encrypted by a VPN till it exits via the VPN server. Provided the website your data should be protected all the way. Additionally, while VPNs can provide a modicum of anonymity, a tool such as the Tor system is far better at hiding your identity.
Journalists and activists have long used vPNs To bypass censorship in countries with repressive internet policies. They are also useful if you are searching to circumvent geographic restrictions on streaming content. A VPN can spoof your current place, giving you access to geographically restricted content such as BBC streaming or MLB TV. Some VPNs don’t appreciate these actions (which may be in breach of terms of service or even local laws) and content providers such as Netflix are also cracking down on users that spoof their location and the VPN services they utilize to do it.
There is a good chance Which you might not have ever laid hands on a VPN before. If that is the case, do not worry! We’ve got an entire feature on how best to set up and use a VPN. Hidemyass Merlin
There are many techniques. My Preferred method uses the OpenVPN protocol, which is famous for its speed and reliability. Additionally, it is open-source, and therefore has been picked over for potential vulnerabilities by anyone with the interest to do so.
Hide My Ass uses OpenVPN on Windows, using an older version That supports L2TP, and PPTP, also. Additionally, there are two distinct versions of the macOS app which, taken collectively, support IPSec (IKEv1 and v2), L2TP, and PPTP. Note that these older versions of the program are being phased out from the programmer. The iOS version uses just IPSec, along with the Android program uses just OpenVPN.
That’s a bit of a hodgepodge, and I am disappointed that Hide My Ass does not provide OpenVPN on all platforms. Nevertheless, some of the issue is using the platforms. Apple requires programmers to jump through extra hoops if they wish to include OpenVPN within a program, but many are beginning to move in that way. I’d like to view Hide My Ass do the same, across the board.
Your Privacy With Hide My Ass
With any safety product, you want to be sure that the Business behind it’s going to be operating on your best interests. This is especially true for VPNs, which are intended to increase privacy and security. If a VPN company is simply as nosey as your ISP, there’s not much point in using it.
What is noteworthy is that Hide My Ass Will store this data for two to three months, while VyprVPN shops it for only 30 days. Other providers hold even less information, or they eliminate it immediately. Hide My Ass says that it retains this data for this particular period of time so as to improve performance, prevent fraud, and stop bad guys from using the VPN to send spam. The organization, notably, also lists document sharing among the illicit activities it takes this information to stop, despite the firm being fine by means of BitTorrent on certain servers.
It might be possible that this advice could be used To correlate an individual’s identity to particular activity online, but it will likely be very hard. Even with this information, an observer would need to know which VPN server to watch then compare that activity against Hide My Ass’s logs, and also have the ability to parse out the target’s visitors from everyone else using the exact same server.
In the past, some VPN companies monetized consumers by Injecting ads in their web traffic. Hide My Ass says that it doesn’t do that, and goes much farther. A company representative explained to me that the firm doesn’t gain from consumer data at all.
The actual location of a VPN company also issues, as it Can inform what protections are given to clients. Hide My Ass works under the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales, also has its business headquarters in London. Notably, the UK at does have mandatory data retention legislation. That is not ideal. Other VPN providers function in countries without data retention laws, or in ones which have positive privacy protections for consumers. Hidemyass Merlin
I don’t believe it is possible to make a determination About a company’s advantages based on its own place. However, it is very important to comprehend policies and the laws at work in a business with such intimate access to some information. I encourage visitors pick a VPN service with which they can feel comfortable, and to think about this advice.
Programs and Server Places
A key differentiator between VPN providers is the number of Servers and their geographical distribution. A great deal of servers means you’re more likely to find. For its own part, Hide My Ass has a commendable servers in its disposal. That said, Personal online Access, NordVPN, and TorGuard VPN have over 3,000 servers apiece. Those are my benchmarks for robustness from the VPN server category.
Geographic distribution of those servers is quite important. Lots of locations means more to choose from for functions that are spoofing, but also ensures that no matter where you travel there will be a local server for the performance. Hide My Ass has a very impressive 286 server places across some 220 countries. It is easily.
The list of server places Provided by Hide My Ass is noteworthy since it covers regions often ignored by VPN companies. It has, as an instance, numerous server places throughout the continent of Africa–a rarity among VPN companies. Additionally, it maintains servers in China, Russia, and Turkey, which have net policies.
Some consumers May Be concerned about a company’s Usage of virtual servers. These are software-defined servers that make several servers are efficiently operated as by a single physical server. Virtual servers can also be configured to behave as though they are in 1 state when they’re in another, which is an issue if you’re worried about where your information is traveling.
I was told by A company representative this a full 225 of the 286 server places are servers. Only 61 of the host places are hardware, and 450 of Hide My Ass’s 876 servers are all virtual. That is far beyond providers. NordVPN TunnelBear, IPVanish, and TorGuard utilize physical infrastructure.
A business representative explained that majority of the Firm’s physical server infrastructure is located in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Miami, New York, Prague, Seattle, and Singapore. This doesn’t really jibe with what Hide My Ass lists on its website. I’d like to see future versions of Hide My Ass be clearer about when you’re linked to a virtual server.
Setup and interface
Obtaining Started with Hide My Ass! Is super simple and the updated apps are very user-friendly. Once you sign up for your account, you’ll be given a license key. It is possible to use your own credentials (password and username ) to log into any program. For the purpose of this review, we have tested out the Windows client and the iOS program. Hidemyass Merlin
As Soon as You’ve Logged in and Established the desktop , you will be greeted with the Success! screen. Simply click Got It! To access the app’s screen. Here you have three choices for modes: Location Mode, Instant Mode, and Freedom Mode.
In Immediate Mode, you can click on the arrow And you’re going to be linked to the fastest server for your location.
In Location mode, you can choose which You link to. Click Change Location to see your options. There is. We all will show you an alphabetized country listing. Clicking on the arrow will show you locations within this country.
Quick Access shows you a list of servers you have Recently connected to, in addition to some choices that were recommended. Streaming will provide you a selection of two servers suitable for unblocking popular streaming services such as Netflix, one at the united states and one in the UK.
Peer to Peer shows You all that permit filesharing. There’s the Favorites option; to mark a server as a popular, the center can click .
Going back To the main display, the one alternative here is Freedom Mode, which is aimed at users that want to bypass censorship. This mode will link you to a host in the closest country that is deemed to be free from censorship.
You can Get into the Settings by clicking the menu icon at the top left corner of the main screen and selecting Preferences. Here, you’ll see three tabs: General and Kill Change. From the Generalscreen, you can change your startup options, like beginning when the app starts or when you turn on your computer.
You also Possess. If you would like to hide your history, then you can uncheck the box.
Next, We’ve got the Network Security screen in which you may select settings for automatic wifi protection. It is also possible to turn on the IP shuffle feature making it harder for someone to detect your location by periodically changing your IP address. One option in this display lets you use TCP with OpenVPN. This is only recommended if UDP is blocked or throttled. TCP is more secure, but UDP is generally faster.
The Last tab is the Switch tab, so that it works for all programs, where you are able to toggle on this feature. You decide whether to apply it and can add software.
This Is a program and it both visually pleasing and easy-to-use.
Many Suppliers will have a mobile program that’s unrecognizable compared to the desktop version. But, HMA! Has streamlined its product, and also the iOS app looks almost like the Windows version.
As Soon as You’re You’ll get to the main screen, which is basically the same as the screen in the program. Here you can choose from Location Mode, Instant Mode, or Freedom Mode.
The Only real difference is that when you pick Location Mode, your options are presented in another method. You have three tabs: Countries, Cities, and Favorites, but missing are speedy Access, and the additional options found from the client, such as Streaming, Peer to Peer.
To Get into the streaming servers from the app, you’ll have to visit the Cities list and locate the Liberty Island server beneath US, New York. The UK, Donkey Town server may be located to BBC iPlayer and UK Netflix.
Moving on, The settings to the app can be retrieved by clicking on the menu icon and select Settings. There you’ve got two choices: Connection Rules and privacy.
In The Connection Rules section, it is possible to correct wifi security preferences and choose whether to auto reconnect when wifi or mobile connections are disrupted.
The privacy department only has 1 option: Share utilization data with third parties for analytics, which will be your consent to”allow app and apparatus usage information to be shared with third parties for analytics.” Bear in mind this is enabled by default so that it might be one of the things that you want to turn off.
Overall, This is a slick and intuitive program, but some users might be missing additional features like a kill switch and also the choice to change protocols.
Servers and functionality
The Hide My Ass! Network includes over 850 servers. Some of these are virtual servers, but a customer service representative was not able to tell us just how many. Hidemyass Merlin
As we Discussed previously, HMA offers several choices for choosing the right server, such as distinct modes and the ability to indicate servers as favorites. Servers that allow P2P are indicated with a P2P emblem.
We tested Servers for performance in the usa and the UK in terms of surfing, browsing, and downloading. Besides there being a noticeable lag in page load times when connected to a UK server, overall, when surfing, there were no significant issues. This isn’t uncommon for geographically distant servers (the evaluations were carried out in Toronto, Canada), but could be frustrating, particularly for users with already slow internet speeds.
We did not See any lag or buffering while streaming 1080p with any of those test servers and were able to play online games without any difficulties.
HideMyAss! and Netflix
Hide My Ass! unblocks Netflix! But do not expect to link to some Waiter and go. When we analyzed servers that are random using US Netflix using the desktop client, we had no chance whatsoever. However, if you select the Streaming choice in the dropdown within Location Mode, then you’ll see two options: a US host (USA, New York, Liberty Island) along with a UK server (UK, Donkey Town). Be aware that in the cell app, you’ll need to obtain these within the Cities listing in Location Mode.
Connecting With no difficulty server gave us access to Netflix to the US. Connecting to the UK one allowed access to BBC iPlayer in Addition to UK Netflix. Many suppliers only focus on supplying US Netflix accessibility, so it’s refreshing to see one which strives to give access to the UK library too. What’s more, BBC iPlayer is seriously cracking down on VPN use, so the capability to unblock this support is a wonderful perk.
If you are You might have to go elsewhere. HMA! Is having trouble unblocking this service at a customer care representative and this time advised us that there isn’t any estimated timeframe for when it may be functioning.
HideMyAss! in China?
Hide My Ass! Doesn’t work reliably in China. It used to, but recent HMA! Answers in service forums have indicated that the support doesn’t longer work for a few users. You can try your fortune, but you’d best look elsewhere if you want a China VPN.
HideMyAss! Speed test functionality
For any VPN That is compatible with our test methods, we run. We utilize a evaluation server to connect to VPN servers in the United Kingdom, the Usa, Australia, Hong Kong, and Germany. For every place, we download an evaluation file (50MB in size) in the US server. This can be done four times every day. The average download speed for every test is listed along with the aggregate information is displayed.
You can view From the easy graph below how HMA! Compares to the other VPN services we have been analyzing. It’s close to the front of the pack when it comes to median download speeds, while it does not have the fastest rates.
By clicking on the comprehensive tab, you can see that the spread in results isn’t as tight as a number of the additional test VPNs. This usually means in regards to speeds you might see some inconsistency.
It’s Important to be aware that these tests aren’t definitive and can only serve as an overall indication of the functionality you may see. The inherent volatility of the internet adds a variable of randomness. What is more, you see longer wait times using a slow link, and perhaps smaller or bigger discrepancies. Hidemyass Merlin
If you Want Any help while setting up or using the service, HMA! Has a couple of options for you to select from. Clicking the Help tab on the Site, you’ll find a Knowledge Base along with a Getting Started section. These each home articles related to setting up questions. So before seeking other alternatives you may want to research both there’s some crossover.
Additionally, You’ll find a Community button which leads to a forum section. This can be segregated into various topics; while some are active, some seem to be out of date. Below that, there are a number of general FAQs.
If you do not Find what you’re searching for, or you simply need a fast reply, you can click on the live chat button at the base right-hand corner of the display. The service is prompt and knowledgeable, and representatives were able to quickly solve. At one stage, a representative was not able to answer some security questions and advised he would escalate the problem. This was responded to in.
Safety and privacy
Hide My Ass! Is based in the UK, which means it’s subject to data retention legislation. The UK is also a Five Eyes (and Fourteen Eyes) country, so it is part of an alliance that allows monitoring by outside governments. Additionally, it’s home to the Snooper’s Charter which imposes regulations.
For many Data retention laws in their home country aren’t really an issue. This is because they operate using a real no-logs policy whereby no visitors or connection logs are kept by them. When they do keep connection logs, they can not be tied to an individual user.
Additionally, Hide My Ass! Logs the VPN IP address Connected into a session. Here is the IP address when you visit it, that a site operator can see and record. Since both the actual and VPN IP addresses are logged, involving the finish and VPN site logs, it might be possible to piece together each of a user’s internet activity. You may have seen news of a 2011 FBI case involving HMA! In which it handed over logs that were used to track a LulzSec hacker down. This can be a marker for privacy.
One way to Make this less of a problem and to perhaps confuse things a bit is to make the most of this IP address shuffle attribute. When enabled in the Network Security screen of the app, this transforms your IP address out to get another one. It wouldn’t cause you to squint but may add a layer of obfuscation.
Privacy Problems apart, on the security front, Hide My Ass! Fares well. It utilizes 256-bit AES encryption, which is considered military-grade. This is in conjunction with RSA keys and perfect forward secrecy. It uses exactly the OpenVPN protocol over UDP by default, however you can switch to TCP within the desktop client. PPTP, L2TP, IPSec are available, depending on what app you are using.
The desktop versions boast a built-in kill switch which can be tailored To work for programs that are specific. A kill button will kill the connection should the VPN connection drop for some reason. This feature isn’t available in the mobile programs
A live chat Customer service representative advised us that there is no DNS leak protection. However, another firm representative promised us that there is actually DNS and IPv6 leak security, but no WebRTC escape security. Indeed, when the support was analyzed by us for escapes, we did not observe any DNS leak problems other than leaks. HMA! Whereas private ones would be preferable from a privacy standpoint, Does utilize DNS servers that are public.
1 handy Feature that Hide My Ass! Offers is automatic wifi security, which can be customized in the from the Network Security section of the or the Connection Rules tab of the app that is cell configurations.
Characteristics and pricing
Hide My Ass! Offers one product with prices varying depending on the amount of term you register for. It’s definitely not one of the providers available, which could be an immediate turnoff for some users. A 12-month planwill put you back $6.99 a month, which can be higher than the normal price for a similar term. What’s more, a great deal of VPN providers that are top will offer an plan; for instance, a two- or – term with steeper discounts. Hidemyass Merlin
If You’re not prepared to sign up for a term yet, HMA! Does offer a six-month plan for $7.99 per month or you can pay on a monthly basis for $11.99 a month. These rates are a little above average when you compare to competitors.
Payment Choices include UnionPay, PayPal, and major credit cards. Regrettably bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are payment methods. There’s a money-back guarantee, so you can have your payment refunded, if you are not satisfied with the support.
So what do You get for your money? Hide My Ass! Has a network of over 850 servers in over 180 countries. Some are devoted to accessing streaming sites and specific servers allow P2P filesharing (read: torrenting). All plans have unlimited bandwidth and you can join up to five devices simultaneously. Programs are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. The VPN can be configured with some routers and Linux. Pre-configured routers are available as an alternative.
From a Security perspective, HMA! Provides perfect forward secrecy, encryption , automatic wifi security, along with the desktop programs include a kill switch. However, the logging coverage problems that plagued the ceremony from the past remain, so privacy is still a problem.
For the most part, HMA! Offers a great support. It has infinite bandwidth, fast speeds, and a decent network of servers. It’s in a position to unblock streaming services like Netflix US, Netflix UK, and BBC iPlayer. Additionally, it gives strong security intuitive apps, and customer support.
On the Surface, it seems like HMA! Would be a good option for torrenters, with no information Caps and some servers. However, the issues with the privacy Coverage are a concern for those looking to torrent, as well as any other privacy-conscious users. Indeed, this is the important turn-off for this Provider, but it is a large one. Other concerns include the inability to work Reliably in China along with the price tag. Hidemyass Merlin