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 pretty expensive. In addition, we found this VPN to fail at providing access to Netflix meaning that it may disappoint some customers.
- Jurisdiction Malaysia
- Simultaneous connections 10
- Countries 36
- ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (average) 70.94 Mbps
Subscribers can elect to pay for a one month, yearly, or two-year subscription plan. All of those subscriptions come with the same features. No matter which way you look at it, Hide.me premium is a bit expensive. the monthly plan which costs $14.95 is one of the most expensive VPN plans in the world.
A yearly subscription costs $119.95 - which is definitely more competitive. But at the equivalent of $9.99 per month it is still massively overpriced (in fact, that is much closer to what most VPNs charge on their monthly plans).
Admittedly, ExpressVPN - which costs $99 per year - is in a similar ball-park area. However, ExpressVPN is a service that we often remind consumers is "pricey" - and Hide.me does cost $20 more - which is nuts considering it doesn't unblock some popular services like Netflix US.
On the plus side, the firm has now introduced a two-year plan that reduces the cost to just $5.41 per month. This is much closer to the average cost of a premium VPN and means that consumers can now opt to use this excellent VPN without paying through the nose. We are very happy that Hide.me has decided to add this subscription plan and strongly recommend users to take advantage of this discount if they like this VPN.
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 any US only shows.
Unfortunately, this means that the VPN doesn't unblock Netflix US. We asked Hide.me to tell us which servers actually unblock US Netflix, and we will update the review if we get more information, but, for the time being, we have been completely 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 relatively high cost of the service.
Asus WRT DD-WRT, OpenWRT pfSense Tomato, LibreELEC ("Kodi"), OpenELEC ("Kodi")
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:
Zero logs service
1400 servers in 54 locations across 36 countries worldwide
10 simultaneous connections
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)
Stealth Guard - This firewall feature allows you to choose apps that will only work if you are connected to the VPN. This ensures you never accidentally use these apps without the privacy of the VPN. For example, you could firewall your torrent client to ensure you never leak torrent traffic to your ISP.
Full IPv6 support - Excellent from a tech perspective - and one of the few VPNs to implement full IPv6 connection compatibility.
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 cost 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 in June and July of 2020 Hide.me download averages were 63.5 Mbps - with burst speeds of over 400 Mbps. These are extremely fast connection speeds that put Hide.me in range with some of the very best VPNs on the market. Thee speeds are lightning-fast and mean that the VPN is suitable for all data-intensive tasks such as streaming in HD.
While this VPN is fast, the reality is that you can get similar speeds from much cheaper VPNs. So unless you are especially enamored with this service it is possible to get similar performance at a fraction of the cost. Of course, this service has a lot of extra features and it is based in Malaysia which is good for privacy. Thus, it may be the right choice for certain people who can justify the extra cost.
ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (max/burst)
IPv6 leak detected?
IPv4 leak detected?
ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (average)
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 macOS client for IPv6 and IPv4 and found no leaks using the most recent Mac client. It is worth noting that the very latest version of the Hide.me client now has full IPv6 compatibility which means that it should no longer have any IPv6 issues whatsoever.
Next, we checked Windows. We tested the most recent Windows client. First, we tested for leaks using the office's IPv6 connection. We detected no IP leaks, no WebRTC leaks and no DNS leaks whatsoever. The screenshot below shows the Windows leak test results.
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Privacy and Security
IPv4 leak protection
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WebRTC leak protection
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. Also, 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:
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 the 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.
Money back guarantee length
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 knowledge-base that contains guides for installing the clients and fixing common problems. This is a useful resource that can help most people.
This Windows VPN 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 new Stealth Guar feature is perfect for people who use BitTorrent clients to download content regularly and ensures that you will never leak any unencrypted traffic to your ISP. We also like the addition of Split Tunneling, which will let you opt to connect some of your apps through the VPN while letting other surf the web without protection (great if you want to make use of the full speed of your internet connection at times when privacy is not essential)
The Android VPN client provides OpenVPN or IKEv2 encryption. These are strong forms of VPN encryption. As is the case on the desktop clients - speeds were fast which means that this client id great for gaming and streaming in privacy. And for unblocking content from all around the world. A Killswitch is also available.
Their Mac VPN 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 newest client.
It is worth mentioning that Hide.me has got 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 leak protection just to test it out. However, we tend to recommend upgrading to the latest client which has full IPv6 support.
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 VPN 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, either - which is a shame. 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 plan
If you are interested in the free plan, it is an excellent service that is extremely useful. Users are permitted to download 2GB 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 than can be expected 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 for the price!
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. The fact that Hide.me now permits up to 10 simultaneous connections definitely makes the service better value for money, though it is still pretty pricey.
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.
This VPN is lightning fast which means that it is suitable for doing just about anything you can think of online. However, we had problems unblocking BBC iPlayer or Netflix US - despite the VPN's claims that it does work with Netflix. This is frustrating especially considering the cost of the VPN.
All in all, we consider this VPN very expensive if you purchase a one-month or yearly contract. However, if you commit for two years the VPN process becomes much closer to average. The reality is that you can get a very similar VPN package for less, but if you want a VPN that has a lot of unusual features this may be a good option for you.