With free public WiFi hotspots becoming more prominent, being able to secure your information and identity becomes just as important, especially when hackers can simply connect to the same unsecured network that you’re using and start eavesdropping on your information. This might come easily to networking gurus who already know how to cover their tracks, but the general public is quite clueless about some of the steps they can take to secure their data.
Accessing the internet through a VPN service is just one of the things you can do, but most people don’t even know what it can do for them or even how to set one up. One particular VPN service that tries to make it easier for the average PC, tablet and smartphone user to take advantage of VPN is Hide My Ass Pro VPN. So what sets them apart from the competition aside from the catchy name? Read on to find out in my full review.
Accessing the internet through a non-secured network is one of the easiest ways to get your information and identity compromised. Hackers connected to the same network can easily listen in, capturing things like your usernames and passwords, which eventually allows them to access your accounts and identity. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, encrypts the information you send and receive over the network while in transit so that even if hackers are listening in, they won’t be able to make anything of it.
VPN services also allow you to browse the web anonymously. Anonymity is important because it protects your online identity from hackers and network snoops. A VPN can also function to allow you to virtually reside in another country and bypass geographical blocks and censorship laws. Ever try to access your Netflix subscription while vacationing in Asia? If you answer yes then you probably already know what I mean.
You might be confusing VPNs with Web Proxies at this point. They are very different in that a web proxy works within a browser, while a VPN encrypts everything to and from your computer and the internet, regardless of the application. That way, you can send emails via your browser, communicate via your instant messaging client, or simply share files without having to worry that anything will be intercepted on the way.
HideMyAss Pro currently gives you access to over 53,000 IP addresses through 442 VPN servers in 110 different locations distributed across a total of 61 countries. And those numbers are growing, as every month, Hide My Ass adds about 15-20 new servers. This aggressive growth helps assure high speeds regardless of where you are connecting to the VPN service from. In fact, HideMyAss has the most number of IP addresses and servers of all the VPN services I’ve tried.
Of course, speed isn’t the main reason people use VPN services. What’s more important is speed, and while HideMyAss automatically gives you a new IP address every time you connect, it also takes it one step further by allowing you to have it changed every so often while you’re connected. You can even change how long that interval is.
There’s also a feature called Secure Bind that makes sure that you can only connect to the internet through a VPN connection. If the software detects that you are no longer protected by a VPN, it will automatically disconnect you. That way, you don’t run the risk of accessing the internet unprotected without knowing.
Another thing I like about this service is that it supports multiple platforms. You can use it on a PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS and even configure it directly on your router to make sure that all your devices at home are protected. Other VPN services might be more affordable, but a lot of them stumble when it comes to the number of platforms they support. Hide My Ass Pro VPN doesn’t make that mistake.
Linux is supported, which is nice. The interface is command-based though, but you can request for an Alpha build that comes with a UI. Luckily, I’m not a Linux user so I don’t have to tolerate Alpha software.
One last thing I like is its money-back guarantee. Yeah, it’s not exactly a feature, but being a paid service, there has to be some way that interested customers can try out Hide My Ass Pro without any risk. You can cancel within 30 days, but if you exceed a 10Gb bandwidth cap, you will no longer qualify for a refund.
To be honest, there aren’t any cons I can think about when it comes to the service. However, trying to get in touch with support is limited to email, live chat and a community forum comprised of Hide My Ass users. It would have been nice to have a phone number to call, but I guess less and less services offer that nowadays.
HideMyAss VPN offers three different pricing plans: 1 month, 6 month and 1 year. The 1 month plan is priced at $11.52, which is a bit steep. The 6 month plan is more affordable on a monthly basis, being priced at $49.99 for the entire period, or $8.33 a month. I would recommend going for the 1 year plan, which is $78.66 for an entire year, or the equivalent of $6.55 a month.
If you only access the internet through one or two platforms, there are cheaper VPN services out there that focus on PCs, Macs or mobile devices. Hide My Ass isn’t the most affordable VPN service out there, but it offers the widest platform support and most easily configurable software of all the services I’ve used. Heck, the PC and Mac versions of the software allow you to connect with a single button, and the Android and iOS versions require no app at all since they already have built-in VPN settings. If you need a VPN service that doesn’t require any technical knowledge to set up, HideMyAss Pro is an easy choice.
As public WiFi hotspots become increasingly available, the possibility of having your information and identity compromised also increases. If you regularly access the internet through open networks, it is almost inevitable that someone will eavesdrop on your online activity and sniff through your information. If you don’t have some kind of way to block them, you’re identity and information is as good as compromised.
This is where Private Internet Access comes in. Aptly-named, Private Internet Access is a VPN-service that passes the information from your computer to wherever you are browsing online through an encrypted tunnel, keeping out malicious individuals who are after your data. It’s a lightweight, no-nonsense service that requires only one click to instantly protect your data while browsing. Sure, there are a number of other popular VPN services, but Private Internet Access has a few features that set it apart from the competition, which you can learn more about in this review.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and is a way for you to anonymously surf the internet and keep your information safe. It passes whatever information you send from your computer to a destination site through an encrypted tunnel so that information eavesdroppers can’t pick up your data while in transit. Take note, that a VPN can only protect your information while it’s going from point-A (your computer) to point-B (the destination website) and vice versa. That’s why it’s still important to be wary of the sites you visit since phishing sites and even legitimate websites that have been compromised will still be able to capture your information.
A VPN service also allows you to mask your location, which happens to be very convenient if the site or online service you are trying to access has location restriction. This is awesome if you have a US Netflix subscription you would like to access while vacationing in Singapore or live in Asia and want to access a YouTube video that’s been restricted for US viewers only. There are many other situations where this would come in handy, but these are the most common.
Naturally, Private Internet Access gives you all the basic functionality that you expect from a typical VPN service, but it’s the advanced features that really set it apart from the competition. My favorite feature is the VPN Kill Switch, which automatically kills your internet connection if the VPN created via Private Internet Access gets disconnected. This ensures that malicious individuals won’t suddenly have access to your information when the VPN goes down.
You can also turn on something called DNS Leak Protection, which routes all DNS requests through the VPN. This is quite possibly the best way to secure your information and keep your identity anonymous, but it can be buggy when you use it in a non-standard environment. Still, it’s a very nice feature to have when the environment supports it.
Private Internet Access also allows you to setup the VPN service on the network router itself. Just make sure that your router supports OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP and other consumer level VPN services. It’s a great way to make the most of your 3 device license limit but is only something that network administrators and networking gurus will really appreciate.
One cool thing that I noticed that isn’t necessarily feature is that using the internet while using the Private Internet Access VPN was that speeds were often considerably faster compared to when I wasn’t using it. And it was consistent, too. No matter what city I was in at the time or which free WiFi hotspot I had decided to mooch off of, speeds never dropped below what they would have been if I wasn’t connected to VPN, and they were often a lot faster.
Despite all the advanced features, Private Internet Access is surprisingly one of the most lightweight VPN services I’ve ever used. There’s no fancy control dashboard or application window; just a small icon in the system tray. You can right-click on it to bring up some options, but that’s about as heavy a UI as you’re going to get.
If there’s anything I can’t like about Private Internet Access, it’s the fact that there’s no free version or some sort of trialware that I could use to try the service out first. Being a paid VPN service, it would have been nice to know what you’re getting into and find out exactly what it can do for you. A service can be really good, but if customers shun it in favor of another one that allows them to try it first, that’s a lot of potential revenue lost, and there are a lot of free VPN services, as well as those that offer free trial periods.
Another thing I don’t like is that it’s only available for PCs and Macs. An Android app is in development and the iOS version will be close behind, but there’s no definite time frame for when they will come out. With more and more people accessing the internet through their mobile devices, this is definitely a biggie.
Private Internet Access offers three different payment plans: monthly, biannual and annual plans. The one with the lowest up-front cost is the monthly plan, which is $6.95 a month. Then there’s the biannual plan that gives you 6 months for $35.95, or the equivalent of $5.99 a month. Finally, there’s the annual plan that allows you to buy 1 year of VPN access for $39.95, or the equivalent of just $3.33 a month.
If you want to try out the service before committing to as long as a year, I’d recommend trying it out for a month for $6.95 so you can decide if it has what you want. Sure, you’re losing out on the dollar equivalent of an extra month’s worth of service on the one year option, but it’s better than wasting $39.95 for a year of service for something you don’t like. Also, if you’re going to choose a longer plan, go with the one year plan as it’s only $4 more from the 6 month plan.
It’s hard not to like Private Internet Access. It’s so successful at being able to satisfy both advanced users and complete beginners to networking. It does so many things while remaining light and streamlined. At the moment, Private Internet Access is the only VPN service I would recommend regardless of the experience level of the user.