Last update: 12.03.2018
It’s not bad for users in restricted countries… If they’re rich as hell! Read our 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 a number of downsides too. Our Hide Me VPN review will reveal more about this tool.
Hide Me has relatively few servers and even fewer locations. However, our tests have shown that even with their comparatively quaint server fleet, Hide Me VPN manages to stay competitive in the Mbps race, which might be due to their exclusive reliance on physical servers. Another Hide Me plus is the availability of the SoftEther protocol that 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. Just don’t forget to stay clear of their “No-P2P” servers when torrenting.
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 plan is very expensive and there are significant differences between these packages. In the end, neither looks like a great 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, here’s the rest of our Hide Me VPN review for those who want to dig a bit deeper.
Is Hide Me VPN safe to use?
To determine if Hide Me VPN is safe to use, we’ll look at the tool’s security from a couple of angles: the VPN’s jurisdiction and its Hide Me’s security capabilities.
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.
The selection of security protocols on offer 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.
This is where some of Hide Me’s past issues start to surface. There have been reports of WebRTC leaks, which means the VPN can potentially reveal your real IP address through your browser. However, Hide Me released browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox to deal with this back in September 2018, allowing users to block potential WebRTC leaks manually. Such proactive measures are commendable, especially considering the “VPN is a trust-based industry” mantra.
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. At first glance, these numbers definitely fail to impress when compared to those of the Top 10 VPNs. With that said, Hide Me servers are well spread out, offering some coverage in most regions. And, more importantly (and perhaps more surprisingly), giving us average to above-average speeds.
First, let’s take a look at the original numbers: before connecting to Hide Me, we had a base download speed of 240 Mbps. We then connected to different Hide Me servers around the world to see the how much of a “speed tax” the VPN would put on our downloads and (less importantly) uploads.
Needless to say, VPN speed is always relative – as our experience tells us, speed tests showing average speed are only useful if you’re living in an “average location”. It’s, therefore, 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.
With that out of the way, let’s see the results of our Hide Me VPN speed tests:
New York, US
Hong Kong, China
Although these numbers are nothing to write home about (especially in Asia), Hide Me is still an above middle-of-the-pack VPN in terms of speed. As long as you don’t try to connect to a server on the other side of the world from your actual location (in our case, to Hong Kong from Europe).
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:
The Change location option takes you to a country list that is easy to navigate because it’s small and there’s a search option. The country list also shows no latency, which is kind of unfortunate. The IP Details panel shows whether you’re connected, what your IP address and location is.
Moving on, welcome to the Settings panel:
There’s plenty to tinker with here, and there are quite a few interesting and meaningful choices to make:
- 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 Split tunneling, which can make exceptions for apps that you don’t want to use the VPN with.
- If you’re using the SoftEther protocol, you can enable, disable, or customize the UDP acceleration function, which can bring the SoftEther protocol speeds closer to that of IKEv2.
- Enable, disable, and customize the kill switch feature.
- Enable or disable DNS leak prevention.
- Choose the protocol.
As you can see, Hide Me is quite an easy-to-use tool that also leaves room for customization to veteran VPN users. In that sense, it’s comparable to some of the top VPNs on the market, and in some cases even manages to provide more options than the cream of the crop VPNs.
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, gaming consoles, etc.).
The Hide.me Mac client is very similar in look to the Windows version, but the functionality is completely different. The most important difference is the lack of options compared to the Windows app:
As you can see, the disparity in terms of customization options between macOS and Windows clients is pretty staggering. If you’re using a Mac, you won’t get to see most of the options mentioned in the “How to use…” section of our Hide Me VPN review. However, if you’re not a veteran user, the lack of options should not be a problem as its security credentials are still solid.
Both Hide Me’s mobile versions – Android and iOS – are also 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.
There’s no way to sugar-coat this – Hide Me VPN does not unblock Netflix, and after a long session of extensive trial and persistent error, this is all Netflix US deemed suitable to show us:
Aside from Netflix, some users may be more interested in other streaming platforms, such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, or BBC iPlayer. Hide Me VPN was not capable of unblocking the BBC iPlayer and based on reports you won’t have a better time with Hulu and Amazon Prime either.
Honestly, that’s probably just as well – Hide Me limits the amount of data you can transfer for both the free (2 GB) and the “Plus” (75 GB) service packages. Meanwhile, the more expensive and unlimited “Premium” 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 you skip the “No P2P” servers and choose the right option, you’ll be fine:
With that said, while you can use Hide Me VPN for torrenting, there’s still the price issue, which could 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 or Mac 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 looking for a VPN to use in China, however, there are better choices out there at much better prices. It’s not to say that Hide Me VPN is a bad option, per se, but you can get a lot more bang for your buck from most of the others.
The Hide Me VPN support resources are decent but not great. In particular, they seem to lack a meaningful 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.
The only positive (?) point we could find on Hide Me’s pricing page is the number of different methods you can choose to pay these exorbitant prices with. These encompass not only the standard options such as credit cards and PayPal, but also a range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. However, paying too much anonymously still means paying too much.
Bottom line of our Hide Me VPN review
By and large, Hide Me does have its selling points. It’s got decent encryption and protocol selection, it works well in China, and it will let you use torrents. Moreover, it offers above-average speeds, and the Hide Me app is both user-friendly and customizable.
What’s not to like, you ask?
Well… all of the above might seem well and good, but there are also two caveats the size of the Grand Canyon: namely, its non-existent geo-unblocking capabilities and, most importantly, extortionate prices. These are the two glaring issues that disqualify Hide Me as a serious consideration for our top VPNs list.
To conclude our Hide Me VPN review, you can find at least a dozen cheaper choices that are also just as good or even better in almost every aspect. Thus, our recommendation is to give this VPN a miss. At least until the day when Hide Me decides to make itself at least somewhat affordable.