$ / mo
Based in Malaysia, you would expect Hide.me VPN to be a desperate attempt at hitting the online security provider market with second-rate services, stellar prices, and horrific performance.
However, who would have thought that this was actually a relatively good VPN? Sure, the prices are a bit steep, but I firmly believe its features justify the costs.
There are two plans, a premium and a free one. For the purpose of this article, we’ll take a look at the paid service, but we’ll also mention that characteristics of the free version.
- True no-logs policy
- Kill-switch available (however, it won’t work if the app crashes)
- Very good cross-platform support
- Available for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS
- Enhanced security features
- Works with torrenting
- Very easy to use
- IP leak detected
- Netflix and BBC iPlayer are not accessible
In terms of performance and server speed, Hide.me VPN doesn’t break any records and it certainly doesn’t deliver anything truly impressive. That doesn’t mean it places itself at the other end of the spectrum.
If I were to rate it, it would probably be somewhere in the middle in this case, a mediocre one at the very least.
Even when you’re connected to a server close to your location, and even if your internet connection is fast by default, you’ll find it impossible to get speeds over 50 Mbps.
For example, on the US server in New York, from a benchmark download speed of 98.71 Mbps, the end result was 17.17 Mbps. The upload speed dropped from 53 Mbps to 10.10 Mbps.
The situation was a little better on the EU server in Amsterdam. The download speed was 27.60 Mbps, while the upload speed got to 19.92 Mbps.
The UK server in London fared even better with the download speed getting to 28.69 Mbps, and the uploading performance going to 20.41 Mbps.
In terms of DNS lookup time (the time a webpage takes to load), Hide.me had relatively good results.
All in all, while this online security provider doesn’t give you astronomical speeds, and even if you can’t use Netflix with it, it’s still good enough to satisfy your everyday needs.
It’s not the World’s Fastest VPN, as the official website says. We’re going to have to stick with “mediocre”. Depending on the quality of your ISP, you’ll have absolutely no problems in playing any type of content, including HD.
The server coverage is indeed a downside of Hide.me VPN.
They only have 55 servers spread across 34 locations all around the world, including North America, South America, Europe, and more exotic locations such as Mexico, Brazil, India, and Morocco.
While you have access to all these locations with the premium version, the free plan limits your activities to the Netherlands, Singapore, and Canada servers.
While they are widely spread around the world, allowing for a very efficient and well-thought network for its users, Hide.me VPN is still extremely far away from other VPNs whose servers numbers in the thousands.
However, for all this limited server coverage, I’m glad to say that they all support torrenting. There’s a specialized proxy that you can use for faster P2P connections, which is ideal for torrenting.
This is a SOCKS5 proxy which, although unencrypted, can be used together with the VPN encryption. It will also act as a natural kill-switch because most browser and BitTorrent clients support this proxy.
Moreover, on a premium subscription, you will also have access to dynamic port forwarding. This makes it possible for the P2P software to connect directly rather than using a centralized server environment.
In terms of technical security features, Hide.me uses the following:
- Control Channel – the AES 256-GCM cipher with the RSA-8192 handshake encryption. The perfect forward secrecy is also available by default. Thus, a DHE is also used by the looks of it
- Data channel – there’s an AES-256-CBC cipher with HMA SHA-256 hash authentication in place
These are extremely good security features that even the best VPNs on the market struggle to achieve. In fact, the 8192-bit RSA keys are extremely rare and counted among the strongest encryption keys available.
Moreover, Hide.me itself confirms that they’re indeed using this encryption:
I can positively confirm that we are using 8192 bit RSA keys. You can verify that by connecting to our OpenVPN server.
This is what a staff member responded to an inquiry made by one of the users.
The other encryption protocols they’re using are:
In particular, Hide.me is known for supporting the SoftEther VPN protocol. This is an open source VPN platform that’s also known as an SSL-VPN.
It’s based on HTTPS and uses SSL/TLS encryption routed on the TCP port 443. This makes the traffic almost indistinguishable from the typical OpenVPN-over-TCP-port-443 type of traffic.
This makes it very easy for you to counter any VPN blocks active in countries with oppressive regimes like North Korea or restrictive censorships in China and Egypt.
Keep in mind that you can only use the SoftEther protocol on Windows only.
Most importantly, Hide.me keeps absolutely no logs. After extensive research over all the privacy policies and security policies, I can safely say that they’re actually dead-honest about this.
They will not retain your data, be it in the form of your IP address, timestamps or other confidential information.
The “non-persistent” connection logs are securely erased every few hours, but these ones are the very basic maintenance procedures every other VPN collects. They are completely harmless.
The location of the mother company behind Hide.me is mainly responsible for this because Malaysia might have very prohibitive internet censorship, but VPNs remain completely unaffected apparently.
No online security provider based in Malaysia is required to keep any logs or provide the government with information on its users.
You also have access to a static IP feature. In other words, you can assign a unique IP address to each of your devices. While these are not dedicated IPs per se, they will still help you bypass the NAT firewalls that you might encounter.
Moreover, in terms of website tracking, Hide.me only uses a Google Analytics tracker. This is only done to enhance your anonymity, as the tracker would only collect a portion of the IP address.
It’s really non-invasive. Of course, using no trackers at all would have been a hell of a lot better but this is acceptable as well.
Last, but not least, Hide.me features a completely function IP and DNS Leak Protection. Once you connect to a server, the client will automatically delete the default local gateway to your internet connection.
This way, your IP becomes inaccessible.
When tests were made on ipleak.net and Perfect Privacy Leaktest Tool, there were zero leaks to be found. Hide.me is telling the truth when it says that their IP and DNS leak protection is top-notch.
Ease of Use
Hide.me VPN is available on:
- No default support for Linux. Fuck Linux?
They also offer custom apps for these platforms in case you need any customized settings or such things.
Moreover, there are plenty of guides that will help you through the installation process on all these platforms, including Linux (Ubuntu and Fedora), BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone, routers, Kodi, and more.
On Windows, the interface is very easy to understand and navigate. To connect to a server, you only have to press the button saying Enable VPN, which I assume is pretty straightforward.
In order to change servers, you need to open up the master list, scroll down to look for the location you want, and click on it. You’ll be connected in a few seconds.
The mobile app is extremely similar to its Windows cousin where you connect to the VPN at the touch of a button.
The settings are pretty basic, and it’s very simple to change the server location if you want to relocate from Trump Land to the UK, for example.
The Windows and macOS Store apps are in continuous development at the moment but they are fully functional. The Windows App supports IKEv2 and PPTP, and the macOS client supports IKEv2 with IKEv1 if the former crashes.
From personal experience, the Windows App has many bugs. When trying to change the servers from the default choice, there were a lot of crashes. This is not a problem with the macOS app though.
Neither one of them has a kill-switch per se, but should they disconnect for some reason, the internet connection will also be cut off, so there’s some form of security protection in effect nonetheless.
Let’s take a look at the main features Hide.me has:
- 24-hours support
- Live chat support
- Ticket-system support
- Money-back guarantee
- No free trial
Besides the setup guides and the many FAQ articles that you can find on the official website, the main form of customer support is the live chat.
The staff replies in a matter of minutes, making this for extremely responsive support, at least better than what I’ve seen in some time.
However, if your issue goes way beyond the technical capabilities of the customer support guys, you’ll be redirected to the tech department. That’s when the process will slow down a bit, and the waiting time increases.
Again, this customer support is way better than what many other premium VPNs can provide, and the fact that it has a 24/7 live chat makes for a very optimistic impression.
The pricing system is split between the Plus and Premium plans.
The Plus plan has the following options:
- $9.95 per month on the monthly plan
- $6.65 per month for the 6-month plan
- $4.99 per month on the 12-month plan
The Premium plan is a bit different:
- $19.95 per month on the monthly plan
- $13.32 per month for the 6-month plan
- $9.99 per month for the 12-month plan
There’s a 14-day money-back guarantee in effect, and you don’t have to worry about it being a scam. They will keep their word and give you your money back with no questions asked should you find their services insufficient.
However, you should also know that this guarantee is active as long as you don’t go over the 500MB usage limit on your bandwidth.
These prices make Hide.me one of the higher priced VPNs out there but the overall quality of its services is enough to make up for this inconvenient.
As for payment methods, here they are:
- Credit/debit cards
- Wire transfer
- Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
Moreover, Hide.me also has a third option you can opt out for. That is the free plan.
With this package, you’ll be limited to only three server locations, as I said previously (Canada, Netherlands, and Singapore), 2 GB data transfer per month as a limit, and only 1 connection.
As a Windows User, you don’t have access to the OpenVPN and SoftEther VPN protocols. However, the IKEv2 is also a very good protocol that you can use.
As for performance, you can expect worse results than what I previously described. A minimum of 3 Mbps is what the official website promises so you get the idea.
The free plan must be renewed every 14 days, and compared to the vast majority, it’s definitely better in all respects. It’s a good idea if you want to check your email or surf the web anonymously.
For anything else, you’ll have to look for other alternative or subscribe to the Plus or Premium plans because the 2 GB per month is obviously not enough if you want to stream media content in HD.
Is it worth it in the end?
All I can say is that Hide.me is worth considering if you want a quality-based VPN that will provide you with the anonymity you’re looking for.
It’s easy to use, very good in terms of security features, it has a pretty good customer service, a true no-logs policy, and it stays true to its name.
Now, to tackle the elephant in the room, the prices are a little inflated, that much is true, no matter what mind-blowing features it has. This would be the one thing they should come around to, lower the prices a bit.
After all, they only have a measly 55 servers working, and they don’t offer access to Netflix.
In the end, while Hide.me certainly has many things that it should work on to be more attractive, it’s clearly one of the quality-end online security providers that’s worth checking out.
However, you should also take a look at the top three VPNs on the market at this moment. They are:
Each of them has an unquestionable reputation that’s been earned through hard effort and impeccable services. You won’t go wrong if you choose either one of them.
Hide.meis extremely fast, simple and private: a truly standout VPNGo to Hide.me