Last update: 06.11.2018
It’s not bad for users in restricted countries… If they’re rich as hell! Read the full Hide Me VPN Review to learn more.
Beyond the Top 10, we get VPNs with wild quality differences. Some are good for a specific purpose, while others are best thrown into the bin. Hide Me (Hide.me) is, in some senses, one of the better VPNs among the less popular. It has some great selling points and a decent free version. With that said, it has plenty of downsides too. Our Hide Me VPN review will reveal more about this tool.
There are some leaking concerns that must be addressed. The company has no private DNS network, making DNS leaks more likely. Reports claim there are also issues with leaks relating to the browser’s WebRTC functionality. If so, this would not be surprising – most VPNs are susceptible to this issue.
Hide Me has few servers and even fewer locations. Understandably, the speed of the service is not the best. On the plus side, the availability of the SoftEther protocol allows the VPN to work in China and other restricted countries.
Those who are looking for a VPN to unlock Netflix – keep on looking. Hide Me VPN will not help. On the other hand, it should cover your torrenting activities very well.
Aside from the free version, there are two service packages available: Plus ($9.99 per month or $4.99 per month billed annually) and Premium ($19.95 per month or $9.99 per month billed annually). The Premium is very expensive and there are significant differences between these packages. In the end, neither looks like a good deal. Unless you have some specific purpose in mind or are using the free version, we’d urge you to look at some other VPNs. And now, without further ado, the rest of our Hide Me VPN review!
Is Hide Me VPN safe to use?
Our Hide Me VPN review will look at the tool’s security from a couple of angles.
On the technical side, Hide Me VPN offers some strong features. It has solid encryption: AES-256-CBC and AES-256-GCM for the data and control channels, an RSA-8192 Handshake, good authentication security, etc. These are unbeatable ciphers – anyone wanting to try would have to go around.
This is where some of the issues start to surface. There’s no private DNS network, increasing the risk of DNS leaks. The term refers to a phenomenon where DNS queries are resolved using your ISP’s DNS (essentially handing your browsing history to your ISP). There have also been reports of WebRTC leaks, which means the VPN can potentially reveal your real IP address through your browser.
You’ll find a network kill switch to stop all traffic if your VPN connection drops. However, this is not the most reliable kill switch we’ve seen. Less common types of interruptions may not trigger the kill switch or disable it (such as if the client crashes). This is definitely an issue to be wary of.
The selection of security protocols being offered is awesome – IKEv2, OpenVPN, SoftEther, SSTP, PPTP. It should be noted that not all of these are available on non-Windows devices. The first three protocols are all very safe and fine to use in any situation. A bit more can be said about SoftEther: this is a free and open source VPN protocol that will help you bypass blocking attempts. SoftEther uses SSL/TLS encryption and TCP port 443, which is normally reserved for HTTPS traffic. When using it, your VPN traffic is masked as HTTPS traffic and can “blend in”. Very useful for users in countries like China.
Jurisdiction is of great importance for any VPN company. In this case, the company behind the product is based in Malaysia. While not our first choice for online anonymity (the political stage in Malaysia can be unpredictable, and therefore so can the prevailing view on privacy), at the moment it seems like a good location.
Malaysia has no data retention laws, meaning the VPN isn’t legally obliged to store your data. In addition, this is a country outside of the 5 eyes and 14 eyes country group, giving a level of protection from Western intelligence agencies.
Signing up for the service is in part an anonymous process – the company only asks for your email address (which can be a throwaway email) and offers the ability to pay with cryptocurrencies. It’s always great to see VPNs practice what they preach!
Speed & Performance
Hide Me VPN has 150+ servers in 34 countries. There’s no way to sugar-coat this – the numbers are very unimpressive. With that said, the servers are well spread out, offering a little bit of coverage in most regions.
Needless to say, this number of servers simply can’t get you great speed, which is what tests for our Hide Me VPN review show. Speed is relative though – as our experience tells us, speed tests showing average speed are only useful if you’re living in an “average location”. It is therefore always a good idea to check whether a VPN gives good speeds for you in particular. Just keep in mind that the free version is unlikely to be as fast as the paid ones.
How to download and install it
Downloading and installing the program is easy like a Sunday morning. Here’s what you do:
- Go to the Hide.me website and click “Try for free”.
- Choose one of the packages – Free, Plus, or Premium.
- If you go for the Free version, you just need to register by entering your email address. The paid versions will also ask for your payment details.
- After you’ve registered and paid, you will receive an email with an invitation to create an account.
- Setting up a username and password will take you to an internal console.
- Here you can download the client (click either “Start the setup” or “Download Now” and choose your platform).
Run the installer and follow the instructions. You’ll have to click “Next” a few times and allow the installer to make changes to your device.
That’s basically the gist of it. If you encounter issues, click “Support” on their page for access to some helpful resources.
How to use Hide Me VPN
We went through the whole process of setting up and using the tool for this Hide Me VPN review, and have found the client user-friendly and easy to navigate. After the initial introductions, you will see a minimal front screen with only a few options available:
- Enable VPN (Connect)
- Change Location
The list of countries is easy to navigate because it’s small and there’s a search option. You can’t choose the specific server – just the location. The location list also shows no latency, which is kind of unfortunate.
- IP Details
Shows whether you’re connected, what your IP address and location is.
The Settings are not very extensive. Here are a few of the more interesting or meaningful choices:
- You can set up a “Fallback Protocol” (what security protocol will be used if the primary option fails).
- Set up a primary/secondary DNS Server to use.
- Change packet size (MTU size). Useful for unstable connections – smaller packets mean less packet loss.
- Choose to randomize the port for OpenVPN connections.
- Enable or disable the kill switch.
- Enable or disable DNS leak prevention.
- Choose the protocol.
As you can see, this is a lightweight tool without much room for customization. It is incomparable in that sense to most of the top VPNs on the market.
Apps & Extensions
You’ll find custom apps for all the primary platforms – Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. There are no custom Linux or router apps, but both are supported, along with a range of other device types (Windows Phone, Blackberry, Kodi, etc.).
The Hide.me Mac client is very similar in functionality to the Windows version, but the look is completely different. The most important difference, however, is probably the selection of protocols. Only on Windows do you get the full range – Mac only gives you IKEv1 and IKEv2. The latter is just as good as OpenVPN, but the lack of SoftEther should be noted by users in China. Also, you should probably disable the Fallback protocol on Mac, because IKEv1 is currently an outdated protocol.
Both mobile versions – Android and iOS – are similar in appearance to the Windows client. However, neither offers as many features than their desktop counterparts. On the plus side, this is a mobile-friendly VPN and will not annoy you nearly as much as some others.
Hide Me VPN for Netflix
Even some of the top VPNs on the market are having issues unblocking Netflix nowadays. Hide Me VPN proudly joins that sad group. Although the VPN has quite a few servers in the US (compared to its size), all of these currently seem to be blocked.
Some users may be more interested in other streaming platforms, such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, or BBC iPlayer. We can’t tell you much about these, but based on reports you won’t have a better time here either.
Honestly, that’s probably just as well – both the free and the cheaper service packages limit the amount of data you can transfer. Meanwhile, the more expensive package has a completely unreasonable price.
Hide Me VPN for Torrenting
You’ll have a much better time with torrents than with Netflix. Hide Me VPN has good encryption and doesn’t log any personally identifiable data – that takes care of the safety issue, mostly. As long as your DNS doesn’t leak and your kill switch doesn’t malfunction, you’ll be fine. Furthermore, they don’t block P2P traffic on most servers (not on all).
With that said, there’s still the price issue, which should make most people reconsider.
Is it good for users in China?
Disclaimer: this section of our Hide Me VPN review is based mainly on reports and common sense.
Anyway… yes! If you’re a Windows user, the SoftEther security protocol will make sure you get past the Great Firewall of China. This protocol masks your VPN traffic as HTTPS traffic so it can blend into the flow.
If you’re using a platform other than Windows, there are significantly better choices out there. Even without the protocol issue (China blocks OpenVPN), for more sensitive activities we recommend using other VPNs. The leaking concerns are only irrelevant if you’re doing something relatively benign.
The support resources are decent but not great. In particular, they seem lacking in the self-help section – FAQs, troubleshooting guides, etc. These do exist but they will not cover many of the issues that can arise whilst using the VPN.
With that said, Hide.me does have a live chat support option. It says this is only for Billing and sales questions but they’ll answer some of the simpler technical queries as well. In the event of something more complicated, you can open a support ticket. They will not answer immediately but that’s still better than some other VPN services offer (Private Internet Access, for example).
Again, there’s no way to make this look prettier – the pricing plans are absolutely terrible. If you’re a user that has above-average demands (not a power user, just someone who uses the net a lot), the Free and Plus plans will not satisfy your needs. Let’s take a look at them:
As you can see, both the Free and Plus versions limit the amount of data you can transfer. In addition, both only offer 1 connection at a time. The Free package has even more drawbacks (only 3 locations, limited bandwidth, etc.), removing it from the conversation when it comes to serious VPN services. It may suffice for someone who just wants to access Google in China, but not much more than that.
The Plus package is not as cheap as it seems – the prices shown on the face are the monthly cost if billed annually. Meanwhile, if billed monthly, the Plus package is $9.99 and the Premium is $19.95(!!!).
You couldn’t stumble into worse prices if you were a blind tourist in a Middle Eastern bazaar.
Bottom line of Hide Me VPN review
This one has its selling points. Mainly, it’s got decent encryption and protocol selection, it works well in China and will let you use torrents.
To conclude our Hide Me VPN review, the extortionate prices disqualify it as a serious consideration. You can find at least a dozen cheaper choices that are also significantly better.