Hide.me is a zero-logs VPN based in Malaysia. Encryption is strong, and Hide.me VPN does have feature-rich apps for both Mac and Windows. However, despite being a reliable service - with a useful free subscription plan - the premium subscriptions are over-priced.
- Simultaneous connections 5
- Countries 34
- ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (average) 17.8Mbit/s
- Jurisdiction Malaysia
- Servers in 34 countries
- Killswitch (Windows and Mac only)
- Static IP (optional)
- No logs
- Apps for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS
- Netflix and BBC iPlayer blocked
- Very expensive for what you get
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Subscribers can elect to pay for a one month, six months, or a yearly subscription plan. All of those subscriptions come with the same features. No matter which way you look at it, Hide.me premium is rather expensive, I have never seen such an expensive single month plan ($19.95).
A yearly subscription costs $119.95 - which is definitely more competitive. However, it still costs more than what many premium VPNs on the market charge (PrivateVPN is £50, for example). Admittedly, ExpressVPN - which costs $99 per year - is in a similar ball-park area. However, Express is a VPN that we often remind consumers is pricey - and Hide.me does cost $20 dollars more.
Users can elect to go for a version of Hide.me VPN that is a little bit cheaper ($4.99 if purchased yearly). However, downloads are capped at 75 Gb per month and you can only connect the VPN to one device whilst on this plan. This is probably enough for most people.
Subscribers get a 14-day money back guarantee to test the service, and we have been assured that the 500 Mb data limit that used to exist has been lifted; so you should be able to test the VPN as much as you like and still get your money back.
Users can pay for a subscription using PayPal, credit or debit cards, iDeal or Wire transfer. Hide.me also accepts payment via a range of cryptocurrencies. This allows consumers to pay for the service anonymously if they wish.
Payments are handled on behalf of Hide.me by the third party firm Cleverbridge AG. This is a positive aspect of the service because it means that Hide.me does not have payment records stored anywhere near subscriber information. For those that are interested - Cleverbridge is located in Germany which is generally considered a good place for data privacy.
We tested Hide.me VPN to see if it would unblock the most popular streaming services we tested using the Windows client. We connected to the US Florida and Nevada servers. While we were able to log onto Netflix successfully while on the US servers - we could not find the show Cheers (which we know to be a US only show at the time of writing).
Unfortunately, this means that the VPN doesn't unblock Netflix US on those servers. We asked Hide.me to tell us which servers actually unblock US Netflix, we will update the review once we have more information, but, for the time being, we have been unable to access Netflix US.
We also connected to the UK London and UK Manchester servers to see if we could use BBC iPlayer.We were unable to access BBC iPlayer on either.
Sadly, this means that Hide.me is not considered a good option for unblocking streams. This is a massive drawback considering the astronomical pricing scheme.
Bare metal or virtual servers
Hide.me is a service that is feature rich across its various clients. Here is what you get with a premium subscription:
160 server locations in 34 countries worldwide.
75 GB per month of data (Plus plan) or unlimited data (Premium plan).
1 connection (Plus plan) or 5 simultaneous connections (Premium plan).
PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, OpenVPN, SoftEther and SSTP VPN protocols.
Apps for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS.
P2P permitted on some servers.
Static IP (optional).
Although this is an adequate list of features, it is worth noting that the vast majority of market-leading VPNs provide similar features for up to 50% less than this Malaysian VPN.
Speed and Performance
Connection speeds are a vital component of any VPN, as they will affect what you can do with your VPN on a day to day basis. We test Hide.me VPN using a scientific server-based speed test method. We test the UK, Hong Kong, US, and Australian servers three times a day. We check for local burst speeds (in the UK) and average download speeds across all those server locations.
Below you can see that during March and April of 2019, Hide.me download averages were 21.6 Mbps - with burst speeds of 79.8 Mbps. That is a fairly disappointing average download speed considering what you pay for the service. Compared to other premium services it is very sluggish, though it does perform in range with another (albeit much cheaper) VPN service.
Having said that, average downloads of 21.6 Mbps should be enough for most people to stream in HD. Though again, considering the cost of the service we would prefer to see speeds much closer to the 40 Mbps mark.
ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (max/burst)
ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (average)
IPv4 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?
We tested for IP leak tests by visiting ipleak.net. We checked for IPv4 and IPv6 DNS leak tests, as well as IPv4 and IPv6 WebRTC leak tests. Please read our Complete Guide to IP Leaks to understand why a VPN must never have leaks.
We tested the ac client for IPv6 and IPv4 and found no leaks using the most recent Mac client (version 2.4.3). However, we did discover IPv6 IP leaks and IPv4 DNS leaks using the slightly older 2.4.1 version. For this reason, it is absolutely essential to have the most recent version of the Mac app if you don't want to suffer IPv6 or DNS leaks.
Next, we checked Windows. We tested the recent Windows 2.2.1 client. First, we tested for leaks using the office's IPv6 connection. The good news is that on Windows, the client completely blocks IPv6 connections. We detected no IP leaks, no WebRTC leaks and no DNS leaks whatsoever. The screenshot below shows the Windows leak test results.
Privacy and Security
Hide.me is based in Malaysia. Although Malaysia imposes a lot of censorship on its citizens; this does not affect the VPN service in any way. And, because Malaysia does not enforce any mandatory data retention directives on VPNs, it a good place for a VPN to be based.
Hide.me stores no logs about what people do online using its service. In addition, bandwidth connection logs are “securely erased every few hours” and those logs are never kept alongside real IP addresses or timestamps.
Tracking bandwidth use on its servers in such a non-invasive manner is not a concern, and, for this reason, it is fair to say that Hide.me is indeed a no logs VPN.
Hide.me provides OpenVPN encryption on all platforms (though you will need a third party client on Mac, Android, and iOS - which is far from ideal). It also provides a choice of strong tunneling protocols including IKEv2 (default protocol on Mac and iOS), L2TP, and PPTP. OpenVPN encryption is our recommended protocol, and Hide.me uses an extremely strong implementation of this extremely secure protocol:
Control channel: an AES-256-GCM cipher with RSA-8192 handshake encryption. Additional authentication is not required with GCM, but HMAC SHA384 hash authentication is also specified in the encryption suite. Perfect Forward Secrecy is provided using a standard Diffie-Hellman Exchange (DHE).
Data channel: an AES-256-CBC cipher with HMA SHA-256 hash authentication.
This is extremely strong OpenVPN implementation thanks to its extraordinarily robust RSA-8192 handshake.
It is worth noting that the killswitch is only available in the Windows and Mac clients.
As far as the website goes, this VPN is pretty easy to use. Everything is laid out in an easy to navigate menu system and the VPN does provide FAQs and helpful guides on its website. Subscribing is easy, and only minimal information is required (you can use a burner email if you prefer). The clients are easily available once you sign up, and they install with minimal fuss. I also found the clients to work admirably well.
Live chat support
Although Hide.me does have 24/7 live chat, we found their agents to be slow. In addition, they often did not have good answers to the questions that we asked them.
Sales representatives do not have enough data to properly inform potential buyers, and in-depth questions must be sent in using the ticket system.
We asked a few techy questions using the ticket system and found responses to be slow. In addition, we had to press on quite a few times to get the information we wanted. We were left feeling disappointed considering the high cost of the service.
On a more positive note, hide.me does have a useful knowledgebase that contains guides for installing the clients and fixing common problems. This is a useful resource that can help most people.
This client comes with a killswitch and OpenVPN encryption. For this reason, we consider Hide.me to be a Windows-friendly service. With that in mind, many people that require a robust VPN for one Windows computer only may be happy with the cheaper one-device plan. Since we last reviewed Hide.me, it has also added a couple of new features to the client: Split Tunneling and a new Firewall feature (that stops you connecting to the internet unless you are connected via Hide.me).
We found the Windows client to perform OK. However, slow speeds did make it tough to stream HD video files.
During our tests, we discovered no leaks whatsoever when testing the Windows client. And, Hide.me has now released Chrome and Firefox extensions designed to stop WebRTC leaks. The killswitch did cut my internet even when the app crashed, this is likely due to the fact that we had the firewall feature switched on. Overall an excellent Windows client that works efficiently, but does not unblock BBC iPlayer.
The Android client provides OpenVPN or IKEv2 encryption. These are strong forms of VPN encryption. As is the case on the desktop clients - speeds were slow. This means you will struggle with streaming when the VPN is connected.
This client is easy to use and nice to look at. And, the good news is that it now implements a choice of OpenVPN, IKEv2 and SoftEther encryption (for concealing VPN use as regular HTTPS). We found connections to be stable and we enjoyed using this platform more than Windows.
A killswitch is available on this platform which means that this VPN is suitable for P2P downloading and other more sensitive tasks. No leaks were detected when using the newset client, however, anybody using 4.2.2 or before is likely to be experiencing IPv6 leaks.
The good news is that Hide.me has now released Chrome and Firefox extensions designed to stop WebRTC leaks. So if you are using an older client and don't want to disable IPv6 on your machine you can try these extensions instead. I downloaded the Firefox extension and turned on the WebRTC lek protection.
We then tested the client for leaks in an incognito window and discovered no WebRTC leaks when using the most recent client either with or without the firefox extension switched on; which is great.
The iOS client is very similar to the Android client, however, it does implement stronger IKEv2 encryption than its non-mac cousin. A killswitch is not available on this platform. To connect via OpenVPN you will need to use the third-party OpenVPN connect client.
Cross-platform support. Hide.me is now compatible with Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Amazon Fire Tablet.
Automatic WiFi protection: This detects if your device automatically connects to an unsecured WiFi network and offers to connect the VPN to protect you. It is great for protecting you from hackers when using public WiFi hotspots.
SoftEther: Hide.me supports the SoftEther VPN protocol; It allows users to disguise VPN encrypted traffic as regular HTTPS over TCP port 443. This makes it difficult for firewalls to block and allows people to evade VPN blocking in countries like China and Iran. SoftEther is supported on Windows only.
Static IPs: The ability to select a static IP is a nice feature that poker players (and some other specialist groups may want to take advantage of). However, it is worth noting that these static IPs are shared not dedicated IPs. This is good for privacy, but not as useful for evading website VPN blocks (which is why even this feature does not work with Netflix US). It is useful for bypassing NAT firewalls, and Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is fully supported.
The Free VPN plan
If you are interested in the Hide.me free plan, it is an excellent service that is extremely useful. For free, users are permitted to download 2 Gb of data per month, which is much better than the vast majority of free VPNs on the market. Users get a choice of server locations in Canada, Netherlands, Singapore, and newly added servers in the US.
Previously free users did not get access to all the VPN protocols. However, Hide.me has rectified this now and users get access to all the VPN encryption protocols.
It is worth noting that connection speeds may be a little slower on the free version than on the paid version, presumably because of server congestion. On the whole, we can recommend the free version of Hide.me, which is a generous service considering it is free.
When it comes to Windows and Mac this VPN does a pretty good job. A Killswitch is available on both desktops which means this VPN is suitable for Torrenting, and hide.me does permit P2P connections on a choice of servers.
Live chat support is 24/7 and depending on what agent you get it can be OK. However, on the whole, we found it to be disappointing.
Finally, considering the price, we found this VPN to be slightly sluggish, which means it really isn’t suitable for streaming in HD, gaming, and other data-intensive tasks. Plus, we were unable to unblock iPlayer or Netflix US - despite the VPN's claims that it does work with Netflix US. (Please check out our Netflix VPN and iPlayer VPN guides for VPNs that do work).
All in all, we must conclude that you’d be better off spending your money elsewhere and getting a VPN that does more for less. However, if you only need a VPN on one device; the Plus plan may have what you need and it won't break the bank.