Free VPNs have a bad reputation, and quite rightly so. We have seen numerous different scandals revolving around free VPNs, the most famous of which relates to HolaVPN. Hola was involved in so many shady deals that an entire website was dedicated to keeping people away from it.
However, hide.me VPN claims to change all that with its free version. hide.me free version claims to have all the security that you can expect from a premium VPN, such as AES-256 encryption, a strict no-logging policy, and prevention of DNS/IP leaks.
The saying “If you are not paying, then you are the product” is very common in the VPN industry. However, the hide.me free version is set up in a way through which the company is still able to sustain itself while at the same time providing users with a reliable VPN to use for free.
Let’s go ahead and look at the features as well as the restrictions placed on the hide.me free version, along with the differences between the free, plus, and premium versions of the service.
hide.me VPN free version features
Let’s pick apart all the features and see whether or not the free version is worth its weight when compared to other free VPNs.
The first thing that you need to know is that the hide.me free version has pretty much all of the same features in terms of security as their paid plans, with the exception of the SOCKS proxy. You get access to everything including the ability to have an anonymous shared IP, various different protocols to connect through, and Split Tunneling.
One of the best things about the free plan is that your speed is not throttled in any way. This is true for a fairly small percentage of free VPNs, as most of them only hand out the trial versions to acquaint the users with their product. hide.me, on the other hand, lets you harness much of the full potential.
On top of that, hide.me claims they do not log user data or sell the browsing history of any of their free VPN users. The hide.me free trial is audited by independent security analysts which have made it clear that their system does not store any user data, thus making the probability of your data being sold very low.
Just like the Plus and the Premium plan, you get access to 24/7 customer support when using the free plan. There is a live chat option on hide.me’s website, which you can easily access in the bottom right corner. In case you do not want to chat with someone or have a problem that needs to be explained in depth, you can create a Support Ticket or ask the community for a solution.
Most VPNs have to treat their free versions as a marketing expense for the full product and hide.me is no different. In order to limit their expenses, and to provide users with an incentive to upgrade to a paid plan, the hide.me free version has certain limitations.
Namely, there is a 2GB data cap. On top of it, you are only allowed one connection at any one time. This means if you want to use hide.me on your phone when your PC is also connected, you will need to disconnect your PC to make way for your phone.
How to set up the hide.me free version
Now, we will take you through the process of setting up the hide.me free version. First of all, you need to head to the hide.me website and click on Sign Up Now in the top right corner.
One of the advantages of signing up is that you do not need to provide your credit card information when using the free VPN. Most other VPNs require you to provide this information as you register and give you a free trial in the form of a money back guarantee.
Once you have provided your e-mail, password, and all other information, you can download the application. hide.me has applications for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and browser extensions for both Chrome and Firefox. Choose whichever app you want to download and install it on your device.
Once the application has been installed, simply log in with your e-mail and password and choose a server that you want to connect to. It is best to pick the server closest to your location in order to have maximum stability. Then simply click Connect.
Free vs Plus vs Premium
As we have stated above, there are certain limitations to the free service due to the fact that hide.me is unable to earn any revenue from it. Let us walk you through some of the features in hide.me’s paid services that are not a part of the free plan.
hide.me has two different paid plans. The first of them is Plus, which you can get for $9.95 a month or $4.49/month a month if you pay for 12 months in advance (with 14-day money back guarantee). Plus has all of the features that are a part of the free plan along with a SOCKS proxy for extra protection.
However, the Plus version is still restricted in the sense that you can only connect one device at a time to the hide.me network. This presents a problem since almost no one uses only one device to connect to the internet anymore. If you want to have limitless features, you will need to grab the Premium plan.
This is the main hide.me service, and it allows you to have limitless access to the internet with top-notch security. The hide.me premium version maintains the security that is found in the aforementioned plans but removes the data cap so you can download as much data as you want.
On top of that, you can also connect five different devices simultaneously. This means that you will have no trouble having all of your devices protected at all times. As for the price, you can get the Premium plan for $12.95 a month or $8.32/month a month if you pay for the full 12 months (with the 14-day money back guarantee).
Should I upgrade hide.me?
It depends. In the past, a major complaint that users have had with hide.me was that the service was fairly overpriced when compared to other VPNs. That is no longer the case as the prices offered now are standard across the VPN industry.
For most people, the free version will not be enough for their daily needs. It is possible to run through 2 GB of data in a matter of hours even if you do not download anything. You should only use the free version if you feel like you need a VPN sparingly, although evidence suggests that you should use a VPN whenever you access the internet.
The Plus plan is more versatile as many casual users will have enough data to last them a month. The main drawback is the fact that you can only connect one device at a time. For those who do not download a lot of data and usually only access the internet on their phone/laptop, the Plus plan will work really well.
For everyone else, the Premium plan is best as it allows unlimited downloading, torrenting, and streaming.
hide.me offers one of the best free packages currently available on the market. The security seems solid, and it seems like a great way to test out their quality before you spring for one of their premium plans. Since the decrease in price, it is now possible to enjoy hide.me for roughly the same price as other top VPNs in the market, making it a very attractive package overall.