Hide.me Review 2019

BEST FOR: Super fast streaming and torrenting

  • Easy to use
  • Decent free service
  • Keeps no logs
  • Optional static IP
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Hide.me Overview

Joel Timothy

Last updated: 11 April 2019

Hide.me VPN was started in 2011. Considering the huge steps that the VPN has made in the industry and the huge user base it has managed to amass, Hide.me VPN deserves some recognition. The VPN is based in Malaysia, which is a good location for a VPN service which works well with the VPN’s promise of zero logs. Hide.me has built a user base of 4.5 million people in just 8 years, so let’s take a closer look at Hide.me VPN and see what makes it stand out.

Pros

What we liked

  • Easy to use
  • Keeps no logs
  • Decent free service
  • Optional static IP
  • Very fast

Cons

What can be improved

  • Quite expensive
  • A few connectivity issues

Security & Privacy

Privacy

Hide.me VPN is based in Malaysia. Though the country has some invasive privacy laws, they only apply to ISPs and not VPN service providers. This makes Malaysia a friendly base for Hide.me, and helps the VPN keep a no logs policy.

Hide.me VPN promises not to keep any user’s browsing activity and connection information.

“We strictly do not log any personal data to avoid legal liability and to ensure your online privacy. Furthermore, we do not store any log files on our VPN servers. It’s not our job to monitor or filter your data.”

Hide.me doesn’t just promise, they keep their word. They have even gone a mile further and “volunteered themselves to be audited by one of the most reputed independent security analysts, Leon Juranic from Defensecode, who certified that Hide.me does not store any user logs.”

Security

Hide.me VPN doesn’t gamble with security, and they offer one of the best VPN security in the industry. The VPN uses AES-256 ciphers for both the control and data channel. HMAC SHA84 hash authentication is used, and Perfect Forward Secrecy is implemented through the Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange (DHE). For handshake, Hide.me VPN uses ultra-strong RSA-8192 bit keys. This is solid security, and you don’t need to worry about security with the technologies used by Hide.me VPN.

As for protocols, the VPN offers quite a few:

  • SSTP
  • L2T/ IPSec
  • IKEv2
  • PPTP
  • OpenVPN
  • SoftEther
  • PPTP
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • IKRv2
  • SSTP
  • OpenVPN

Its however important to note that these protocols are distributed across various platforms, and only the windows client supports all of them. Some of the protocols require manual installation but Hide.me VPN provides detailed manuals for that. IKEv2 is the default protocol in the windows client, but you can switch to any other protocol within the app.

Pricing & Payment

Hide.me VPN offers a free plan and paid plan. With a free plan, you get the following;

  • Limited access to three server locations including, Canada, Netherlands, and Singapore
  • 2GB of data per month
  • Speeds of at least 3 Mbps
  • Automatic Wi-Fi protection
  • Kill switch
  • Multilingual interface
  • Servers for peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading
  • Apps for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android
  • Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), Internet Key Exchange version 1 (IKEv1), Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP), and Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) protocols.
1 Month

$14.95

Per month

30-day money-back guarantee

most popular
1 Year

5 simultaneous devices

Save
34%

$9.99

Per month

Billed $119.95 every year

30-day money-back guarantee

2 Years

$5.41

Per month

Billed $129.95 every 2 years

30-day money-back guarantee

*Although we make every effort to ensure all prices are accurate, we cannot guarantee thet they are always up to date

The free VPN plan only limits you to five server locations. This means that if the country that you need to access its content isn’t among the three, then you won’t be able to enjoy the streaming. Also, with the free version, you don’t get the permission to use SoftEther or OpenVPN, which are the better protocols. To get the best of Hide.me VPN, it is recommended you go for the paid subscriptions.

The Premium plan is offered at $9.99 per month if you sign up for 12 months ($119.95 for the year). You get unlimited choices of server locations, unlimited bandwidth, full protocol suite and 5 simultaneous connections. If you pay one month at a time, it costs $14.95, which is quite high.

In general, we found Hide.me VPN to be quite expensive. At $14.95 a month for the premium plan, Hide.me is more costly than any top VPN that we have reviewed. Considering the VPN has some major flaws regarding performance, you can start by testing their free service.

The good thing is that Hide.me has a 30-day money-back guarantee for its paid services. It is, however, important to note that to get this refund, you should not have used a significant amount of your transfer data. This is a tricky clause that can sometimes get users offside, and so you should be keen if you are not sure you want the VPN.

To get your money back, you need to contact support.

Payment Methods

Hide.me offers various methods of payment. You can use credit cards PayPal, Bitcoin, Sofort, CashU or GiroPay to pay for a subscription.

A highlight here is Bitcoin payment, which allows users to pay for the service anonymously. This way, your financial details won’t be revealed and associated with your account.

Credit cards
Payment Service

Performance

After installing both the Windows and Android clients, we experienced a few connection issues. We weren’t able to connect to a server in about four attempts. Nevertheless, the VPN finally connected and worked very well.

At some other point we also experienced the same again with the Windows client, and it completely stopped working. Force-stopping the app wasn’t helping, and we had to restart the computer. This is quite disappointing for a relatively expensive service.

Connection time is about 20 seconds for the Windows client. The smartphone app only takes about 6 seconds.

Speed Test

Hide.me VPN is super fast. However, this can be attributed to the fact they use IKEv2 by default. We did a few speed tests to give you an overview of how fast the VPN is.

Below is a screenshot of our ISP speed which is meant to give you the baseline.

We then connected the VPN to a server near us and below were the results.

Hide.me

You can see that this is a very good speed rate. However, it should not be the same when you connect using the OpenVPN protocol, which is the industry standard. We connected using OpenVPN and repeated the test.

Hide.me

As you can see, there was a significant drop in speed due to the increased security. This is however a huge drop compared to other VPNs that only use OpenVPN, making IKEv2 the better protocol when using Hide.me VPN.

This speed test was recently conducted on April 20, 2019.

Servers & Location

Hide.me VPN’s has greatly improved its server network within the last year. The VPN now provides only 1400+ servers in 55 locations, an increase from just 140+. One great thing about the VPN is that the network is  fully self-owned and controlled. This means that they do not involve any third party to manage their servers, something that boosts user privacy.

Most of Hide.me VPN servers are located in the UK and US, though most of the obvious server locations are also covered.  Their website however shows a server’s load at any given time, and so you can always check which servers are less congested. Most Hide.me VPN servers allow P2P, which is great news for torrent lovers. Excluded countries are the UK, the US, Australia, Czech Republic & Ukraine. Server switches are unlimited, and each of Hide.me VPN servers has 4-8 dynamic IP addresses.

Features

Hide.me VPN offers native clients for the following platforms:

  • Mac OS X
  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Windows Phone
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Amazon Fire OS
  • Chrome
  • Firefox

Hide.me VPN also supports router set-up and so you can use the VPN directly from the router. This allows you to secure all your devices with just a single connection. You can therefore use Hide.me VPN connection on your Smart TV, PlayStation, Xbox or any other set-top box.

IP & DNS Leak Protection

Hide.me VPN incorporates DNS Leak Protection in its clients. This is a very useful tool since sometimes DNS requests might fail to go through the active VPN connection. This mostly happens due to the router’s default configuration or an inbuilt behavior of Windows systems. Hide.me DNS Leak Protection takes care of this by ensuring that all DNS requests are forced to go through the secure VPN tunnel.

We tested for leaks using ipleak.net when connected to a UK server, and were glad to see that Hide.me doesn’t have any DNS or IP leaks.

Features
Smart DNS
Bypass Netflix
Onion Tow Web Address
Split Tunneling
Stealth Technology/Servers
Allow Torrenting
Automatic Kill Switch
ipv6
Open Ports

Port Forwarding

With the Premium Plan, Hide.me VPN offers Dynamic Port Forwarding. This comes in handy when using peer-to-peer technology to communicate directly with each other, without using a central server. This results in a significant increase in speeds.

5 Simultaneous Connections

With the Hide.me Plus plan, you only get 1 simultaneous connection. However, the Premium plan is quite generous and provides 5 simultaneous connections. This means that you can comfortably secure all your devices as well as keep your whole family safe.

The fact that Hide.me is compatible with routers even makes it even possible to use the Plus Plan single connection on all your devices.

Hide.me Setup & User Interface

Getting Started with Hide.me VPN

Getting Hide.me VPN up and running is quite easy. To use the free service, you can just sign up free from the Website. You can do this using the option ‘Try for Free’

To subscribe, click the ‘Sign Up’ button on the top right side.

You’ll be required to choose you preferred plan. From there, all Hide.me will need from you is your email address and your payment method. You will then be able to proceed to Checkout. If you wish to pay using Bitcoin for Anonymity, you might as well consider using an anonymous email address. Hide.me won’t stop you.

Hide.me Review

You will get a reference number and confirmation email after you have completed the process.

The second email address should contain your username and password.

Hide.me Desktop Client

On the first launch, the Windows VPN client will provide you with a walk-through to help you master usage of the VPN.

Hide.me Review

Installation takes less than a minute.

After launching the client, you’ll be presented with a simple interface that gives you a ‘one-click’ connect button.

Hide.me Review

Whenever you use the “Enable VPN” button, the VPN will choose the best server for you depending on your location.

You can also decide which server to connect to using the “Change” button on the bottom right corner.

Customization Options

The App settings allow you to determine how the app behaves at certain times.

The “Advanced” section is quite complicated and only meant for technical users. You can also choose between OpenVPN UDP and TCP from there.

Hide.me VPN also lets you activate the Kill Switch, DNS Leak protection, and even select the protocol you want to use.

IKEv2 is Hide.me’s most recommended protocol because of its fast speeds as well as sufficient security. OpenVPN is however the industry standard and the protocol that offers the best balance of speed and security. SoftEther should majorly be used where there are internet restrictions to bypass Firewalls. It is also fast and secure.

The Smartphone Client

We also tested Hide.me’s VPN Android app. The Interface resembles that of the desktop client on the homepage, with a similar theme and outlook.

However we found that the Hide.me Android app doesn’t offer any stand out features. Under “Settings,” all you can do is change the VPN location and determine when the VPN connects.

This is quite disappointing as we would have liked the flexibility of choosing a protocol and having features such as a Kill Switch and DNS Leak Protection among others to customize our connection.

We however found out that the VPN app doesn’t have any DNS Leaks.

Compatibility

While reviewing Hide.me VPN, we also tested whether Hide.me VPN works with various legal streaming sites.

Netflix

Hide.me VPN used to offer Netflix streaming, but they seem to have given up on the cat and mouse games played between Netflix and VPNs. Of all servers we tested, none of them worked with Netflix.

 

BBC iPlayer

Just like with Netflix, Hide.me VPN is also blocked by BBC iPlayer

Devices

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows Mobile
  • Windows
  • Mac

Browsers

  • Internet Explorer

Others

  • Android Boxes
  • Router Configuration

Customer support

Hide.me customer support is not the best you can find out there, despite the VPN offering 24/7 Live Chat Support, ticket system, FAQs and community help.

The live chat is not real-time, and it’s primarily meant for basic questions. To test its effectiveness, we asked a simple question. We had to wait for about 10 minutes just to get an agent respond to our query.

Hide.me Review

However, another time we were able to get a response in less than a minute, highlighting how inconsistent the support team is.

To make matters even worse, the ticket system wasn’t working. The ‘send’ button was always inactive, meaning that weren’t able to submit our query despite having a subscription.

Apart from these, you can also get answers to common questions as well as installation instruction from the Hide.me VPN FAQ and Set Up section. Their FAQs are too general, and you can’t search for a specific query.

Conclusion

Hide.me is a decent VPN service, but there are some aspects that leave us wanting more. The VPN offers superb privacy and security as well as quick speeds. The fact that it supports P2P makes it good for torrent lovers. However, its pricing is a drawback considering the number of features offered. For less you can get a premium VPN. With Hide.me, we would advise you start with the free plan till you are comfortable enough to shell out the bucks.

Written by: Joel Timothy

Joel is a tech writer and editor with a special interest in cyber security and internet freedom. He likes helping readers tackle tricky tech and internet issues, as well as maximize the boundless power of the internet.

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