hide.me VPN is a relatively small Malaysia based VPN provider, which is owned by eVenture LTD, that has been around since 2012. In their time on the market it has accumulated around five million users, which is a good indicator based on their size. This information along with hide.me VPNs claims of being the fastest VPN made me curious to test it out for myself and learn more about the ins and outs of the VPN.
I was initially wary about the security of hide.me because it does not own and operate its servers, but learning more about its security features as well as its involvement with the i2Coalition, I started to have a change of opinion. The i2Coalition is an organization that aims to ensure online and digital security. It does release regular transparency reports which include law enforcement requests, any legal requests for illegal activities, and any legal requests on copyright violations. That said, hide.me has a strict no logs policy, which means there really isn’t much information on its users that the VPN can give out.
From what I was able to see, there have been several updates recently to hide.me, in both the free and the premium plans. Yes, it does have a free plan as well as a premium. Although the free plan is a nice option if you are looking for a VPN on a tight budget, it does come with many setbacks, especially if you were planning on streaming as it does not support this. That being said, the premium plan does offer a lot more including unblocked streaming services (such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, etc), WireGuard support, Multihop Double VPN, and Stealth Guard support.
Using hide.me and its user interface was pretty simple as well. You just pick your subscription, enter your details and you’re ready to enter a username and password and create your account. It’s quite easy especially for Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS users where the install wizard does all the work for you. You just need to press connect and you will be automatically connected to the best server.
If you still aren’t 100% sure if the VPN would be right for your needs, you can try hide.me yourself risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. Or, you can check out these top-performing VPNs of July 2021 instead before choosing the right provider.
hide.me VPN initially could not be used to stream, but with recent updates streaming is possible. hide.me suggests you can unblock Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Amazon Prime, Playstation Vue, and DAZN; as well as several European streaming services like RAI, BBC iPlayer, and ITV. This only applies to the premium plan though, as the free plan does not unblock any type of streaming.
Although hide.me boasts that it is able to unblock many of the top streaming platforms, this was not my experience. hide.me VPN does make streaming Netflix US in particular quite easy.
I was able to unblock Netflix easily from several different countries. The wait times were under a few seconds and I was able to watch all shows in HD without issue from all the tested servers.
I was able to successfully unblock amazon as well, but the speed was on the slower side. It took a bit longer to buffer, but HD viewing was possible.
When using hide.me VPN I was blocked from even logging into Hulu. I tried to login without the VPN and then activate the VPN once logged in and Hulu immediately detected my VPN usage. Although hide.me boasts that it unblocks Hulu, it doesn’t seem so from my experience.
HBO Max was also able to detect that I was using a VPN. Although I was initially able to access the Disney+ home page, when I tried to log in I only got a blank screen. I tested it with a server in the US, while my friend in Canada tried the same with a server there — neither of us could access Disney+ with hide.me.
Although my teammate in the UK had set his location to London, the BBC iPlayer still detected a VPN connection and showed the same error.
Testing the speed of a VPN can oftentimes be futile and difficult as speeds may vary due to multiple factors. That having been said, it seems that hide.me VPN performs well in regards to download speeds, only slightly decreasing the speed. On the other hand, it does seem to impact the upload speed quite a bit in my particular case, but for most users this isn’t a deal breaker.
hide.me has developed a new solution for lagging speeds especially for Windows users, hide.me Bolt. Windows built-in VPN clients do not perform efficiently, on top of having inferior UDP protocol support. That along with ISPs throttling of any traffic that isn’t streaming or browsing (as ISPs have no information into your VPN connection that means your speeds will be throttled by default) leads to poor VPN performance.
To get around these issues Bolt moves away from UDP protocols and towards TCP protocols instead, which is favored in Windows. And as Bolt operates over TLS 1.3 connections, it won’t be throttled by your ISP.
Below you can check out my speed test results, although I do suggest always conducting your own tests, because as I said speeds can vary because of several different factors.
The above tests were performed on a local connection by connecting to a server in physical proximity to my location, the US East Coast server. From my test it seems that the speed was reduced by around 5.7%, which falls well below the average 10-20% in speed reduction when using a VPN. I also ran a test on a server in Germany, to test out how the connection speed would fare when connecting to a server not in my proximity. The long-distance speed did not fare as well as there seemed to be a drop of about 23%.
Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you're torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.
hide.me VPN has a wide server network with around 1900 servers in 45 countries.
These servers are available to customers with paid subscriptions, and some are even optimized for US streaming services. Whereas the free version of the VPN only offers five servers with a total monthly limit of 10GB.
hide.me’s coverage is worldwide, with the best coverage in Europe and the Americas. Whereas, there is only one server location in the African continent, located in Morocco. There is also only one server in India, UAE, and Brazil. Interestingly, although hide.me is based in Malaysia, it has no servers located there.
The servers support different protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, SoftEther, and SSTP, which you can toggle between in the protocol screen of the desktop application.
hide.me VPN has a multitude of security features. Every hide.me server is protected with security features like DNS, IP, and IPv6 leak protection, kill switch, and split tunneling, ensuring your IP address and location will be hidden. Keep in mind that the kill switch is not enabled by default.
The VPN uses 256-bit encryption along with 8,192-bit RSA keys. An RSA is an asymmetric cryptography algorithm, meaning that it uses both a public and a private key. Anyone can encrypt using the public key, but only those who possess the private key are able to decode what’s been encrypted. It’s very hard to crack this encryption, which bode’s well for hide.me’s security.The 256-bit encryption is considered to be top notch security, that along with the RSA keys proves the importance it puts on their users’ security.
hide.me VPN also allows the use of custom DNS and allows the user to choose to use random ports for each connection. This can be done by going to the desktop app, clicking on settings, and going to the Network tab of the advanced settings section.
New features have also been implemented including, Multihop Double VPN, which adds an extra layer of encryption by cascading two or more VPN servers together. With hide.me VPN this feature allows the user to choose the entry and exit server rather than stick to a predefined route.
Another interesting feature which has been added is Stealth Guard. This particular feature is included in Windows and macOS apps. You can set up the VPN in a manner that allows certain apps to only be opened when using the VPN. This allows the user to be completely safe of any accidental use of particular apps. It did seem that when using this particular feature at times you may run into issues running the app once the Stealth Guard has been disabled.
The VPN supports Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). When two machines communicate, they can do so by exchanging packets of information. TCP ensures that all packets transferred are in order and not lost. hide.me VPN will facilitate this over port 443.
Due to the combination of the security protocols mentioned in the previous section as well as a no log policy, hide.me turned out to be better off in the privacy department then I had initially perceived. The initial question mark I had in regards to privacy, came as a result of hide.me VPN not owning their servers, but with their strict no-logs policy, this shouldn’t be an issue in the long run.
Although hide.me does not log your location, browsing behavior, or originating IP address, it does log the user’s email address, randomly generated username, internally assigned IP, and the amount of data used while using the VPN. This data is erased every few hours. Their logging practices were even audited by analyst Leon Juranic, and were verified to be quite safe.
On top of all of this, after testing with Exodus, which generates reports on any trackers or permissions found on an android application, the reports showed that hide.me has 0 trackers and 9 permissions. Of the permissions, only one seemed to be of a “Dangerous” or “Special” level according to Google’s protection levels. None of these permissions seem to be harmful though, and no trackers is a great sign as far as privacy goes.
That having been said,if you aren’t quite sold on hide.me’s security and privacy you might want to check out ExpressVPN, which has a well proven no-logs policy, and is based outside of the 5/9/14 eyes jurisdictions or any other countries that infringe on their citizens’ online privacy.
If you will be torrenting, a VPN is a must to avoid malware, trackers, and your information being shared, putting your security in risk. Torrenting would be possible using hide.me VPN as your IP is completely hidden, and as such you are free from any risks to your information and security.
hide.me doesn’t block or throttle any type of traffic, allowing P2P sharing through all of their servers.
hide.me also provides SOCKs proxy, which is unencrypted but the VPN itself can provide some protection. SOCKS proxy will allow for faster P2P connections. Hide.me has more information on setting up a SOCKS proxy if this is something of interest.
Only a few VPNs still work in China. hide.me VPN works in China too, but seems to be unreliable. It even mentions this in both its knowledge base article, as well as when getting more information on this from its customer support team.
All this having been said, it has made updates to its OpenVPN configuration with some new features that harden the security of the protocol. One of these features is TLS-Crypt, which in short means that the data is encrypted and authenticated twice, which makes it harder for the VPN to be blocked.
A quick tip would be to have all of your hide.me VPN apps downloaded prior to your trip to China because its website is blocked there.
hide.me has two subscription tiers as mentioned, and the free subscription allows for only one connection. Whereas, the premium subscription allows for a total of 10 simultaneous device connections.
This isn’t a very high number of connections, if you are in need of more connections you can look at other VPNs, such as IPVanish. During my tests, I connected 9 devices to a single IPVanish account and still didn’t notice any slowdowns or performance issues.
Like many other VPNs hide.me also seems to be compatible with several types of devices. It has a native VPN app for Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems as well as Android, iOS, Blackberry, and WindowsPhone.
You can also use hide.me with game consoles Nintendo, PlayStation, and XBox as well as with streaming devices such as Amazon Fire TV, AppleTV, Chromecast, and Roku. hide.me even has extensive set-up guides for your router, for models such as Asus-WRT, Mikrotik RouterOS, OpenWRT, and Tomato.
As a little side note here, hide.me has made some recent updates on it’s macOS app. The latest version, Version 4, offers more protocol options (OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard) which are available for macOS 10.15 or newer and all upcoming Apple versions are also supported. Version 4 now has an auto connect feature, a kill switch, split tunneling, full IPv6 support, and stealth guard.
Setting hide.me VPN up was super easy, with just a few clicks. All you needed was to choose your subscription, enter an email and verify it. Once you’ve done that, you set up a username and password and your account is good to go.
Within the Dashboard of your account you just need to scroll to the Setup Guide section, and click on Start the setup, which will download the installer. If you are using Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android the installer gets everything set up quite easily, whereas with other devices you will need to do a quick setup.
Once installed you will come to the login page. Here, you need to enter the username and password that you have already created and you’re ready to go. Once logged in, all you have to do is click Enable VPN.
The “Change” button allows you to change the server location to a server of your choice.
The settings icon on the top right corner opens the settings menu where you will find 9 different tabs to personalize and make necessary changes to your VPN.
The apps are also all available in 17 different languages, whereas most other VPNs come in one or two languages.
hide.me has several avenues of support, including Live Chat, Support Ticket system, Knowledge Base articles, and a Community section.
The Live Chat support is quick and helpful. I was able to get a response within seconds of requesting assistance in the Live Chat. And the information is very reliable and coherente with the information on the rest of their website.
When you want to open a support ticket, you simply click on the “Open a ticket” button and the form below pops up. Once it was filled out, I was able to get a response back within a few hours. You can also communicate/open a ticket using their support email: [email protected]
hide.me also has an extensive Knowledge Base with articles on just about every aspect of their product. You can look up just about any subject that has to do with the VPN on their search bar, or scroll through some of the most frequently asked questions.
Lastly, it has a Community section, where different users have the opportunity to communicate with others and with hide.me team members on any issues they may have or any new announcements. The community section is in English and German only.
Customer and technical support is a big component in any piece of software you are looking to get, so before making any purchases it’s always a good idea to make sure that the support you are receiving is just as good as the product itself. On this aspect hide.me seems to be top notch.
We personally test the customer support team of every VPN we review. This means asking technical question through the live chat feature (where applicable) and measuring the response time for email questions. Whether you need to connect to a specific server, change your security protocol, or configure a VPN on your router, finding a VPN with quality customer support should be important to you.
hide.me VPN has several pricing options that vary from free to on the expensive side. The best pricing for the premium subscription is the 2 year plan which comes to about $4.99 a month, which is still a bit more expensive than other comparable VPNs.
The free plan is best for occasional users and comes with a few limitations. These limitations include only 5 Server locations, a 10 GB limit on data transfers, and only one connection at a time. The 5 available server locations are found within four countries. Two servers are in the United States, one on the East Coast and one on the West coast, the other three servers are found respectively in Canada, Germany, and Netherlands. The positives of this option are that it is always free and has no ads.
Whereas the Premium plan has unlimited data traffic, up to 10 simultaneous connections, and access to all their servers. On top of this you also have access to a fixed IP address and dynamic port forwarding. This having been said, the premium plan does come at a hefty price.
If you do choose to go for the Premium plan, hide.me has several payment options. These options include Paypal, credit cards (Visa, AmericanExpress, and MasterCard), as well as BitCoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, Horizen, and ZCash. And if you are not pleased with the service, hide.me has a 30-day money-back guarantee for the full amount of your contract. This only applies on your first purchase and you can no longer get a refund once your subscription is renewed.
hide.me VPN is a quality option with reliable security and customer support. It seemed to be good not only for streaming without any buffering, but also when playing different online games as well.
Some users may be apprehensive at the pricing for the premium option, though the free subscription can be a good option if you are willing to forgo streaming. I’m also of the opinion that it offers great features that aren’t easily found in many VPNs, like P2P file sharing on all servers and advanced security features.
I do believe this would be a better option if you are looking to use a VPN mostly within Europe or the Americas, due to reliability not being up to par in some areas, like China.
The best way to determine if this VPN is right for you is to download hide.me and test it out for yourself risk-free. If you are interested in trying the Premium subscription, it does offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product which is always something to keep in mind.
The short answer to this is yes. hide.me is of pretty good quality and seems to be on par with other competitors in most areas.
Yes, you can use hide.me VPN for free, but with some limitations. If you want to know if a free VPN is for you, what it offers, and what other options there are check out our 6 Best Free VPN Services for 2021 article.
Hide.me VPN is indeed safe. With its no log policy and multiple security protocols and features, hide.me seems to be quite reliable in the safety department.
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