Hidester VPN appeared on the scene only two years ago. While it does have potential, we’ll have to wait for it to blossom.
This two-year-old newbie is built on the fundamental principle that “online privacy is a right.” This Hong Kong-based VPN offers decent security features for everyday needs and a respectable network of 45 servers in 40+ locations. Hidester allows P2P on all servers and is an affordable choice for non-power users. However, once you consider what you get in return, you may feel it’s overpriced.
Security & Privacy: Is Hidester VPN safe to use?
Registered in Hong Kong, outside the 14 Eyes but close to China.
Since Hidester is located in Hong Kong, you don’t need to worry about mandatory data retention laws or the 5-9-14 Eyes surveillance group. Your privacy should be protected as long as you don’t do anything too illegal. With that said, there has already been a case where a Hong Kong based VPN provider (PureVPN) cooperated with the FBI.
Based on its legal documentation, we couldn’t call Hidester a strict no logs policy provider. It collects and stores information, such as:
- the country you’re connecting from
- the dates of connection
- chosen server locations
- the total amount of data transferred
While this above information may not be enough to identify you personally, we prefer to see less logging. We can’t agree with the “zero logs” claim on the Hidester website.
Despite some logging, Hidester does not log identifiable data.
Hidester does not collect and log traffic data, browsing activity, original IP, assigned IP, and DNS requests. This certainly gives you a decent level of privacy, meaning Hidester should be fine for most uses.
Hidester VPN has industry standard military-grade encryption (AES-256-CBC). This VPN offers 3 tunneling protocols: OpenVPN, CamoWeb, and CamoVPN. OpenVPN is the most commonly found choice nowadays – it provides an optimal combination of speed and security.
The CamoWeb option is indeed a web proxy. You must keep in mind that this isn’t as private as using a VPN tunnel. In all fairness, Hidester warns you about this and the possible IP leaks.
The CamoVPN protocol is basically a Double VPN that adds an extra layer of security. This protocol is best for torrenting, bypassing censorship-heavy firewalls, and accessing geo-blocked content.
Hidester VPN also offers a kill switch, which makes it just secure enough for general needs.
What can you expect from 45 servers spread across 40+ countries? In short, we experienced terrible speeds using the OpenVPN and CamoVPN protocols.
Before connecting to Hidester, we had these results:
Then, we connected to the usual locations and ran speed tests using all three protocols to see the difference:
New Jersey, US – OpenVPN
New Jersey, US – CamoWeb
New Jersey, US – CamoVPN
London, UK – OpenVPN
With the CamoWeb proxy, we had 61 Mbps download and 7 Mbps upload speeds. Using the CamoVPN protocol, our speeds were 13 Mbps for download and 7 Mbps for upload.
Singapore, Singapore – OpenVPN
Regardless of the server, we failed to connect to the speed test using CamoWeb. The CamoVPN tests came back with 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload for this location.
In general, our Hidester VPN review speed tests indicated low speeds for all the server locations we checked.
If you’re looking for the fastest VPN in 2020, you need to look elsewhere.
How to download and install it
If you click the Get Hidester VPN button on the website, you’ll end up on the pricing page straightaway, where you can purchase a subscription. Once you’ve created your account, it’s time to download the VPN app. Remember that you can use Hidester VPN with 5 devices simultaneously.
You can also go directly to the Download menu and press the Download button to get the installer. Of course, you won’t be able to use it unless you create an account first.
We felt a bit overwhelmed by the installation process. It all started out well: you click Next after launching the installer, and you expect the installation to begin. Well, here are the screens you have to click through first:
Still not finished, hang in there!
No, not yet. One more click to go.
Yep, now you’re done.
How to use Hidester VPN
After launching Hidester VPN, you need to log in first.
By default, you’ll see the home screen in Quick mode.
Yes, there’s also an Advanced mode.
As you can see, you can choose from the 3 VPN protocols: OpenVPN, CamoWeb, or CamoVPN. When you choose the CamoWeb proxy service, you’ll see a warning message unless you click Never Show Again.
You can’t connect to all locations with all 3 protocols. In certain instances, the server doesn’t support OpenVPN.
You may also experience issues with CamoWeb not working at all despite seemingly being connected.
If you stick with the Quick mode and you’re fine with the offered best location, you can just hit the huge Power button to connect.
If you want to change your server location, either click the location drop-down menu or the Change Location link below. This link is a bit redundant, but hey, remember the installation steps?
Once on the Server list screen, you can change your Display settings to reveal speed, ping, connection, and score details on the right.
But that’s not all. Hidester VPN is fully equipped with surprises like the server sorting feature in the bottom right corner. By default, the servers are ordered according to Name. The other options to choose from are Speed and Recent.
Yet another option is to use the search field in the bottom left corner to find a server location faster.
If you want, you can mark your favorite servers and connect directly from the Favorites tab.
Hidester VPN settings
Hidester VPN provides you with a bunch of settings to play around with. You can open the main menu by clicking the Cogwheel or Settings icon in the upper left corner of the app.
Now, select Settings.
This is the General settings tab, where you can configure the usual parameters and more. In fact, there’s a cool Night theme that we liked and preferred:
The next tab is the VPN settings tab.
You can choose from several DNS servers if you wish to do so.
Then, on the CamoWeb settings tab, if you know what you’re doing, you may tweak the Smart Mode and other settings.
The Security tab has but one setting to toggle unless you want to accidentally leak sensitive information. Yes, it is the kill switch.
Finally, you can set up a LAN proxy.
The Settings menu offers a lot of customization options, which is nice to see, especially from a young VPN such as Hidester.
Hidester VPN for Netflix
We couldn’t use Hidester VPN for Netflix.
We went through all the US servers using all 3 protocols but came up empty-handed. Nope, we couldn’t bypass Netflix restrictions. In fact, we tried all major Netflix regions and failed every time.
On a more positive note, Hidester VPN was good for streaming Comedy Central and even BBC iPlayer. So, it’s possible that you’ll be able to access other streaming centers too. Just keep in mind that the speeds are generally low.
If streaming is your main interest, find our best VPN for Netflix picks here.
Hidester VPN for Torrenting
Hidester VPN allows P2P and torrenting on almost half of its servers and is a decent VPN in terms of security. The servers you can use for torrenting are marked with a yellow two-headed arrow.
Hidester could be too slow for seamless torrenting.
With that said, the speeds on the Hidester network are lackluster to say the least – there are many choices that are better.
Find our best VPN for torrenting choices here.
Hidester VPN in China
Using a VPN beyond the Great Firewall of China could cost you dearly. Therefore, you must be extra careful about your VPN choice in China. The CamoVPN protocol was developed to be used in censoring countries. As such, Hidester VPN should at least work.
Live chat support
The customer support options offered by Hidester include the following:
- Self-help – Guides and Tutorials
- Support tickets
Hidester VPN has no live chat support. We strongly believe that an excellent 24/7/365 live chat support is vital for a decent VPN service nowadays. So this is certainly an area for Hidester to improve in the future.
The subscription options are:
- 1-month plan for multiple devices (up to 5): $8/month
- 6-month plan for multiple devices (up to 5): $36 ($6/month)
- 12-month plan for multiple devices (up to 5): $60 ($5/month)
The annual plan comes with a 7-day money-back guarantee, which you can use as a faux-free trial option. For the other two plans, you can claim a refund within 3 days of your purchase.
These prices may seem fine in isolation, but within a wider context they are rather awful. You can get far better tools for less.
Hidester VPN is only two years old and it has some good features for a young service. However, the speeds are awful, the service is not particularly versatile (e.g. no Netflix), and the prices should direct you in the direction of other VPNs.
If you want reliable, anonymous, fast, and versatile, check out alternatives to Hidester VPN.