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HideMyAss Alternatives

HMA Alternatives

Why I use HideMyAss

If you use Virtual Private Networking (VPN) you’ve probably heard about HideMyAss (HMA), the largest VPN service provider on the market. Aside from a very competitive (low) price the main reason I use HideMyAss is to gain access to blocked websites through their vast network of servers circling the globe.

HMA makes accessing region restricted content literally everywhere both quick and easy. Quick because they maintain servers in so many places, and easy because their interface offers lots of useful features you usually don’t find with other services. Features like load balancing, secure IP bind, schedule IP changes, and speed guide (it helps me find the fastest connections and saves them as favorites) make HMA an almost perfect VPN solution for most users, most of the time. So if HideMyAss is so good, why do I bother even looking for alternatives?

When I Don’t Use HideMyAss

Some companies keep records (logs) of their users’ activities and other companies make a point of not logging any information about their users at all. It is an important distinction. These logs can capture information that you may want to keep private. If you are conducting business for your company, or accessing your online banking, privacy and security are critical factors in determining how you connect because you are transferring sensitive information across your connection. On the other hand, if you’re browsing websites at a coffee shop (HMA does help to secure a public Wi-Fi connection), or watching videos from a foreign country, it probably doesn’t matter if your activity is being logged.

Here’s the thing, HideMyAss does log their users’ activity, and can keep these logs for up to two years. Obviously, you need to have an alternative to HMA for those situations when you want to be sure your activity is not being logged. In today’s hyper-connected environment privacy is an important consideration. Here then for your consideration are some worthy alternatives to HideMyAss.

HideMyAss Alternatives

  • Private Internet Access (PIA)

    Located in the U.S., PIA, short for Private Internet Access, is probably the second most popular VPN service on the market, next to HideMyAss. Unlike HideMyAss, which keeps logs, PIA doesn’t keep any logs – a true non-logging VPN. On many Internet community websites such as reddit.com, people often recommend PIA as the alternative to HMA. Because of the recent NSA surveillance scandals many people have questioned whether they should choose a VPN provider based in the U.S. to protect their online privacy. Here is what PIA has to say.

    Where are you located?

    We are located in the US. Being in the US is optimal for VPN Privacy services since the US is one of the few countries that does not have a mandatory data retention policy. Countries in the EU are forced to log, even though some claim they do not.

    Do you keep any logs?

    We do not maintain any logs of any kind, period.

    Provider Jurisdiction Price Logging Policy
    Private Internet Access U.S. $6.95 No Logs
  • Privacy.io

    Privacy.io is an Australia-based VPN provider that doesn’t log any user data. Their subscriptions start at Euro 0.50/day. Currently their server network is limited, but plans to expand are underway.

    Where are you located?

    Australia.

    Do you keep any logs?

    We don not keep any logs and go out of our way to disconnect usernames from payments to protect our customer’s anonymity.

    Provider Jurisdiction Price Logging Policy
    Privacy.io Australia 0.50/day No Logs
  • BTGuard

    BTGuard is a Canada-based VPN provider that allows torrents and costs USD 9.95/month. Currently they only accept PayPal and Bitcoin. Unlike HMA, BTGuard doesn’t keep logs of any kind.

    Where are you located?

    The jurisdiction is Canada.

    Do you keep any logs?

    We do not keep any logs whatsoever.

    Provider Jurisdiction Price Logging Policy
    BTGuard Canada $9.95 No Logs
  • TorGuard

    Located in Panama, TorGuard doesn’t keep any logs. They offer a variety of proxy and VPN services starting at USD 4.99/month. TorGuard accepts credit cards, bitcoin, PayPal, Google Checkout, and OK Pay. In other words, you can be as anonymous as you want to be. Running an anonymous non-logging VPN has its challenges such as keeping trouble makers at bay. On spotting any abuse on their servers, TorGuard will change the firewall rules on those servers rather than blocking individual users. That way they can maintain their service while keeping their promises to their customers.

    Where are you located?

    Panama

    Do you keep any logs?

    We don’t keep any logs, not even for a second.

     

    Provider Jurisdiction Price Logging Policy
    TorGuard Panama $4.99 No Logs
  • VPN4ALL

    VPN4ALL is incorporated in the Netherlands, but to circumvent the sometimes strict EU record keeping requirements, their server network is run by Web Broadcasting Ltd., in the Seychelles. VPN4ALL uses military-strength encryption and accepts credit cards, PayPal, Payza, and some local payment methods. They provide simple-to-install software that allows you to easily access their global server network. Pricing plans start at USD 5.95/month.

    Where are you located?

    Seychelles/Netherlands

    Do you keep any logs?

    No

     

    Provider Jurisdiction Price Logging Policy
    VPN4ALL Seychelles/Netherlands $5.95 No Logs
  • PureVPN

    Hong Kong-based PureVPN doesn’t log user activity. Starting at USD 9.95/month, PureVPN offers strong encryption, world-wide connectivity, and fast speeds. PureVPN also offers “split tunneling”, a feature you don’t usually get from other VPN services. Split tunneling allows you to select what programs must use the VPN in order to connect to a network. During our testing their service performed well, which makes PureVPN a great alternative to HMA.

    Where is PureVPN located?

    Hong Kong

    Does PureVPN keep logs?

    No, we don’t keep any logs.

     

    Provider Jurisdiction Price Logging Policy
    PureVPN Hong Kong $9.95 No Logs
  • IPVanish

    IPVanish offers a first rate VPN service starting at USD 6.49/month. Similar to HMA, IPVanish keeps logs that they rotate on a frequent basis, but they do provide shared IP addresses, making it practically impossible to single out any individual user’s activity. IPVanish supports OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPsec protocols. Their website has setup instructions for most operating systems and devices.

    Where is IPVanish located?

    US

    Does IPVanish keep logs?

    While we do not monitor, record or store logs for any single customer’s VPN activity, we do record the following data:

    • Timestamp (date and server time) of the connection to us
    • Duration of the connection
    • IP address used for the connection
    • Bytes transferred
  • VyprVPN

    VyprVPN is one of the two services offered by goldenfrog.com, a Switzerland-based company. The other is DumpTruck, a secure online file storage solution. Goldenfrog operates their own server network and data centers so they (and you) don’t have to rely on third party solutions. They don’t do shallow or deep packet inspection, don’t discriminate against devices, protocols or applications, and don’t limit or throttle your Internet connection – a sweet deal starting at USD 6.67/month for one connection via PPTP. Because of the security problems with PPTP you might want to consider VyprVPN Pro for USD 8.33/month, which gives you two concurrent connections plus OpenVPN and L2TP/IPsec; both being more secure protocols than PPTP.

    Where are you located?

    The jurisdiction is Switzerland.

    Do you keep any logs?

    Whereas we do not perform deep packet inspection we do keep data for use with billing, troubleshooting, service offering evaluation, TOS issues and AUP issues.

     

    Provider Jurisdiction Price Logging Policy
    VyprVPN US $6.67/8.33 No Logs
  • ExpressVPN

    The U.S.-based ExpressVPN allows you to connect either with their own dialer software or by manually setting up a connection via OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec or SSTP. They charge USD 8.32/month for unlimited bandwidth (if billed annually) and offer a 30-day money back guarantee in case you aren’t happy with their service.

    Where are you located?

    US

    Do you keep any logs?

    In addition to the information you provide through our order-form, we may store the following pieces of data: IP address, times when connected to our service, and the total amount of data transferred per day. We store this to be able to deliver the best possible network experience to you. We keep this information secure and private.

Conclusion-Recommendations

The UN Declaration of Human Rights clearly states every human being’s right to privacy. Unfortunately we are on our own to protect this right since many governments see it as advantageous to collect massive amounts of data about their citizens and anybody else they can get their hands on. This behavior clearly exceeds what is necessary to protect their citizens and in most cases goes beyond the legal framework those governments are supposed to operate within.

But governments aren’t the only offenders. Google, Microsoft, Apple, your local Internet provider, your mobile phone company, and many others cleverly hiding out of sight desire to know as much about you as possible, usually to “enhance” your Internet experience (BS!), to keep the Internet free for everyone (more BS!), and various other phony reasons (even more BS!).

Tor and VPN services are the only two viable options that can effectively protect your privacy online. Although Tor offers better anonymity compared with VPN services, TOR is also more difficult to use. Another noticeable drawback of Tor is its speed; Tor is slow, a lot slower than most VPN services. If you’re deciding whether to choose Tor or VPN for Bit-torrenting or accessing region restricted content, your best option is VPN.

To access region restricted content your main concern is speed and VPN server locations. Make sure you connect to a server close by and that the VPN provider has IP addresses within the region you are trying to access. Check out the following service: HMA, which offers 61,000+ IP addresses in 63 countries worldwide.

Most VPN providers don’t clearly state whether they allow BitTorrent. To avoid getting your account suspended or even cancelled, you should choose providers that officially support BitTorrent. You should also consider providers with large VPN coverage and fast connection speeds. BtGuard, TorGuard, and AirVPN all officially allow Bit-torrenting.

Not all VPN providers treat your anonymity equally. Some will keep your information for years while others choose to keep no record about you of any kind. The less a VPN provider knows about you the better. Therefore, anonymous payment methods or free services requiring no registration (such as Tor) are best suited to protecting your anonymity. I recommend having a look at the following service which offer the highest degree of anonymity: Private Internet Access with Bitcoin

Finally, I should mention that doing business with any VPN provider requires that you really do trust them because a VPN provider potentially has access to everything you do online. After all you don’t want to replace one evil with another! Therefore, the most paranoid users are well advised to set up their own VPN server – a pain to do – but certainly not impossible either, depending on your level of technical know-how. Check out these pages for more details.

I hope I was able to provide you with a good overview of alternatives to HideMyAss. You might want to check out some of our in-depth reviews of the services I mentioned. Please note that some of the links are affiliate links. After all, we do need to keep the lights on ;-)
Image Credit: Ruth Hartnup

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