Hide.me is a small Malaysian VPN service provider. It’s one of the few with a decent (albeit limited) free version available for everyone. With it, you can choose from several locations while having DNS leak protection and a kill switch. You can even use the free version of Hide.me for torrenting.
This raises the question: does it make sense to become a paying user when you get the basic app for free? This is something that I’ll try to find out in this Hide.me VPN review. I’ll go through their speeds, features, security options, pricing, and customer support experience so you don’t have to. Here’s what you should know.
|Support:||knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat|
|Current deal:||Buy at 61% OFF (+2 mos. free!)|
Hide.me VPN pros & cons
- Free version
- Cutting-edge tunnelling protocols
- Unblocks most streaming services
- App-level kill switch
- 10 simultaneous connections
- SOCKS5 proxy
- Great customer support
- Privacy-friendly jurisdiction
- IPv6 support
- Kill switch could be improved
- Basic mobile apps
Speed performance: Is Hide.me VPN fast?
Our approach takes our test unit’s baseline speeds and compares them to the speeds we get after connecting to different locations with different tunneling protocols. Hide.me VPN doesn’t look too shabby in this regard. With most locations, you will be getting reliable connections. With some tunneling protocols, you can also expect high speeds, especially if you choose a nearby location.
Baseline (without VPN): 1 ms/300 Mbps download/300 Mbps upload
|Location||Ping (ms)||Download Speed (Mbps)||Upload Speed (Mbps)|
Overall, SoftEther and Wireguard will be the fastest options. Here are their averages across 10 locations:
- IKEv2: 168/46
- SoftEther: 218/163
- OpenVPN (UDP): 73/79
- OpenVPN (TCP): 50/49
On average, the download IKEv2 speed drop-off is only 44%, while uploads struggle a bit more – 84%. It’s worth noting that the upload average is significantly improved by the spike in Lithuania. If I pick a more remote location, the upload rates take massive hits.
The average SoftEther download speeds dropped off by only 27%, so it can compete in the same category as NordLynx and ExpressVPN’s Lightway (it’s worth mentioning that the encryption won’t be as strong). Meanwhile, the average upload speeds take a bigger hit, but it’s still within the comfortable margin – 45%. It’s a pleasant surprise.
OpenVPN’s faster UDP variant performs a bit below what we’re expecting from this tunneling protocol. The average download speeds drop by 75% while uploading is hit by a 73% drop. Although the scores aren’t impressive by themselves, they are quite consistent even in distant locations.
In TCP mode, the speeds get reduced even more, but consistency is still present. Both in the download and upload speed average, the drop-off is 83%. So, it’s not wildly different from UDP scores. This means that you could be using the safer TCP variant and get performance that’s comparable to UDP mode. The main takeaway is that usually, UDP is much faster.
WireGuard is the crown jewel of the Hide.me VPN tunneling protocol suite. The average download speed drops are only 40%. In contrast, the upload speeds drop only by 45%. So, it isn’t wildly different from SoftEther, which isn’t encryption-focused. This means that with WireGuard, you’re not sacrificing your security but getting incredible speeds.
Unfortunately, SSTP didn’t work, so I have no speed test scores. Still, as a whole Hide.me left a good impression. They have viable options whether you need faster or more secure tunneling protocols. The speeds are also consistent with no severe drops in further locations.
Streaming: does Hide.me VPN work with Netflix?
Watching videos online is one of the best ways to use your bandwidth. Although a great deal of content is available globally, you might run into websites that refuse to cooperate if your IP isn’t from whitelisted countries. This is where a VPN is invaluable – bypassing all such restrictions.
|Netflix||✔️ with the US library|
Netflix keeps a great deal of TV Series and movies available exclusively to US viewers. However, with Hide.me VPN, I successfully managed to access the complete library. I didn’t encounter any loading or buffering issues, and the overall experience went smoothly.
For UK citizens that are feeling homesick, there’s BBC iPlayer. Hide.me VPN works fine with the British streaming platform – no errors encountered. The same applies to YouTube, where Hide.me VPN unblocks geo-restricted videos with ease.
The real test was DAZN. It’s one of the hardest sports streaming services to unblock. During our tests, only a handful of VPNs managed to do it. Yet, Hide.me VPN also unblocked DAZN, granting full access to content that otherwise wouldn’t be available.
In short, Hide.me VPN holds a superb streak for streaming services. Plus, in your quick access list, you’ll quickly be able to find optimized servers for Disney+, RAI, and others. So, you’ll likely be able to unblock even more of them.
Does Hide.me allow torrenting?
Hide.me VPN allows torrenting and doesn’t throttle any kind of traffic. So, if you’re looking for a service for torrenting, it’s definitely an option. In our tests, the speeds were pretty good. The highest I got was ~17MB/s (136mbps). The speeds depend on numerous factors, including the number of seeders, so your performance may vary.
Features of Hide.me VPN
Stealth Guard is a unique Hide.me VPN feature that functions as a blend of the kill switch and split tunneling. You can choose apps or your entire Internet connection and select which apps will work only with VPN enabled. So, it extends beyond split tunneling, as in cases when the connection between your device and VPN server becomes disrupted, the selected apps will also be shut off.
To put this feature in perspective, imagine that you’re torrenting, and your VPN connection drops. If you added your torrenting app to Stealth Guard, not only will your Internet connection shut down, but so will the torrent client.
Unlike other VPN service providers, the SOCKS5 proxy is inseparable from the VPN connection. So, to use it, you’ll have to be connected via VPN. It does limit the potential usage scenarios, but it also does solve one of the inherent SOCKS5 proxy problems.
Typically, SOCKS5 doesn’t add any encryption – it just routes your connection through an intermediary VPN server. However, adding the requirement to use SOCKS5 enforces the security of your connection.
Plus, you’re not required to provide authentication when connecting to the server, as it’s already established during the VPN connection.
The Internet mostly runs on Internet Protocol version 4, which carries the impending certainty of IPv4 addresses going obsolete at some point. So, to prepare for the future Hide.me VPN is already compatible with IPv6. A newer and more advanced standard.
When you connect to Hide.me VPN servers, all of them have IPv4 and IPv6 compatibility. Mind you, the VPN connection itself relies on IPv4, which is additionally encrypted. However, when you’re connected to a VPN server, you have access to IPv6 addresses and potentially higher download speeds for all outgoing connections.
If you’re looking for Multi-hop or double VPN functionalities (connecting through 2 or more VPN servers instead of 1), this is the Hide.me VPNs version of it. Though, unlike most competitors, Hide.me VPN doesn’t have it included in the apps. So, set up won’t be as easy as you might be used to.
You’ll need to set up one connection by going to the app and connecting to a server. Then, depending on your device, you’ll have to add a manual connection. So, it’s a somewhat clunky solution.
Unfortunately, despite high hopes, it didn’t work for me. I tested their suggested configuration (provided in their guides), which resulted in the loss of internet connection. In my case, the only way to use the Multi-hop function with Hide.me was setting up a connection on a router, and then connecting through their app as well.
Port Forwarding can be risky business, so Hide.me VPN developers opted for the safer Universal Plug and Play rather than going with static port forwarding. It’s better because it only maps a network port when an app requests it, rather than keeping it open at all times. Plus, it won’t request a specific IP address, which could backfire if you’re using a VPN for anonymity.
You can set it up on a per-device level rather than allowing UPnP globally. This also minimizes the risks of getting burned later. It doesn’t mean that this variant is immune to common UPnP, but it does feel like Hide.me VPN is making an effort to mitigate the potential threats. Still, it does mean that seeding torrents isn’t out of the question with this service.
Contrary to what you’d think, Fixed IP here doesn’t refer to a Static IP address, which is usually sold separately and gets you your own unique IP address. Instead, a Fixed IP address is like an IP reservation on a public VPN server.
So, each time you connect to the same VPN server, you’ll get the same IP address. Though the service acknowledges that if the server is experiencing a heavier load, the IP address can also be assigned to someone else.
However, keep in mind that the feature won’t work for web hosting, as they restricted some of the ports.
Is Hide.me VPN safe?
Hide.me VPN is a safe VPN service. They’re using encryption standards that are on par with what the market leaders are using. Also, their privacy and transparency policies put the anonymity of their users above everything else.
As I’ve mentioned before, when you connect to Hide.me VPN servers, your connection is encrypted. If someone decides to start monitoring your network, all they will see will be unintelligible gibberish. Hide.me uses the AES-256-CBC cipher to make sure this is the case. Many secure VPNs use the same method for securing a connection, so this service isn’t an outlier.
When authenticating, your login, and password also get scrambled, just like your connection. For this purpose, the service uses the SHA-256 cipher. So, their servers store only the hashed versions of your credentials, which are impossible to reverse engineer.
Although this is standard encryption among VPN providers, it’s the standard for a reason. It will should keep you safe when browsing the web.
Usually, encryption isn’t something that you can modify when using a VPN service. What you can choose, however, are tunneling protocols. These may give certain advantages that may be very useful in certain cases.
WireGuard – one of the most recent and fastest rising tunnelling protocols. It uses significantly fewer lines of code, and offers great speed. So, recently it has become a mark of honor for VPN service providers to have it available.
IKEv2 – an older protocol, which is still widely used because of its wide compatibility. It also easily switches between wifi and mobile networks without interrupting your connection, making it great for phones, tablets, and other portable devices.
OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) – an open-source VPN tunneling protocol, which to this day is one of the safest and the most stable, especially in TCP mode. While UDP does sacrifice some cycles of integrity checks to make it a bit faster, it is therefore more prone to errors.
SoftEther – technically, this isn’t a tunneling protocol in itself. It can be best described as a method to punch a hole in any firewall using SSL over HTTPS for data transfers. It’s the most useful in restrictive regimes or behind strict residential gateway firewalls. Though, it’s the least strong option encryption-wise.
SSTP – made by Microsoft, this tunneling protocol is exclusive to Windows. It used to be praised for its ability to bypass firewalls but now mostly seems overshadowed by other options.
As a package, Hide.me VPN has a versatile array of options. Though it’s worth noting that during tests, I had some difficulties with SSTP, which refused to connect. It’s unclear whether the issues are more widespread or just an issue with our test unit, so take this complaint with a grain of salt.
Relying on third-party DNS servers means that they have access to your connection logs. So, if you’re using DNS addresses assigned by your Internet Service Provider, every accessed domain can be easily retrieved.
Hide.me VPN uses their proprietary DNS servers. So when you connect to their network, your DNS queries will be protected by the same level of encryption as your VPN connection. Not only does this make your online history more private, but it also helps avoid the potential spread of DNS poisoning cases. So, it solves two potential problems at the same time.
Most VPN services advertise that their kill switch will shut down your connection if your link to a VPN server is disrupted. I decided to test it by blocking access to the server’s IP and forcefully closing app processes to test how the client would react.
The first test yielded mixed results. After the IP address was blocked on a router, the ping command was still running, which means that not everything was blocked. A working kill switch would display unreachable or timeout errors, which just isn’t the case here. DNS functionality was fully disabled, which is a quick fix. Still, it doesn’t cover all possible holes that could be exploited if your connection drops.
The second test went similarly, there was also a short window between killing the process and the initiation of the kill switch. This still leaves a small window of risk, which isn’t optimal. For what it’s worth, the opportunity window was a lot smaller than in the previous test.
Both tests show that Hide.me VPNs kill switch isn’t failproof, so if you are using VPN for high-sensitivity tasks, you should take note. There may be cases when the kill switch falls short.
Hide.me VPN is based in Malaysia. Not only is it a somewhat exotic location for a VPN service provider, but it’s also out of reach for the Five Eyes alliance. Malaysia has no data retention laws, thus the VPN service providers aren’t required to store them. This allows for a truly anonymous service.
Otherwise, the service is publishing transparency reports since 2013. You could count how many DMCA and illegal activity reports they have received month-by-month. They also claim that their reply in every case was that they could not help, as they store no activity logs.
Servers and locations
Hide.me VPN has approximately 1,900 servers scattered over 47 countries. It’s a modest fleet, which still should provide pretty good coverage. Here’s the breakdown of the locations:
|Regions||Number of countries|
|The Americas||4 countries|
|Asia-Pacific / Other||16 countries|
Although there are servers in only four countries in the Americas, they have some of the most server locations in these countries. In other words, if you want to connect to the US, you’ll have no problems, but if you need a smaller country in South America, you may encounter problems.
To some degree, the same applies to other continents as well, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say the service is lacking locations.
Plans & pricing
Price-wise this one of the most accessible VPNs on the market (in a sense). The main reason is they have a free version.
As for the premium plans, here are the potential subscription options:
|1-year plan||$99.95 ($8.32/month)|
|2-year plan||$129.95 ($4.99/month)|
You’ll be charged the whole amount upon purchase. So, although opting in for a two-year plan seems the cheapest option, you’ll have to swallow the initial price bump. This may be something that will discourage new users, but it’s fairly standard on the market.
Clearly, Hide Me VPN isn’t so cheap. To put it in perspective, the Hide.me VPN yearly plan costs the same as 1 year of ExpressVPN, which is one of the most expensive VPN services on the market. You wouldn’t have to look far to find more affordable competitors.
You can pay with credit cards, PayPal, SEPA Direct Debit, and there are even cryptocurrencies. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if something rubs you the wrong way, there’s a way out.
Although Hide.me VPN comes with a premium price tag, their free version is something that makes their offer a bit more balanced. Though, it does come with restrictions.
The free version has a 10 GB monthly data cap, so the service won’t transfer any more if you reach this number. This isn’t as low as some competitors, but it’s an amount that you could easily exceed in a day or two.
Free users can only choose from 5 locations and only get one connection. This is on par with what you can expect from other freemium offers as well. The service also has no ads and no logs as the paying users fully fund it.
There are other limitations like no port forwarding, no fixed IP function, and no official support for streaming. You will also have only one simultaneous connection. Overall, it’s quite restrictive, but it should be enough to get the sense of whether you want to upgrade to the premium version. You’ll only need to provide your email address to register.
Interface and ease of use
The app looks fairly minimal at first sight, but once you get into the settings, it opens many ways to customize your VPN connection.
There are some rare but useful features, like the ability to enable automatic protocol switching. If you are experiencing connection issues, you can even select what protocols this feature is allowed to use.
It has Stealth Guard, which is kind of an app-specific killswitch, but it can function together with the system-wide killswitch at the same time. It also allows you to launch custom scripts when the kill switch kicks in. This is something that advanced users will surely appreciate.
I found it convenient that in the server selection screen you don’t need to click on the search box to start typing in the name of the location you want to connect to.
The app looks and functions similarly to the Windows app. It even has split tunneling support like the Windows app, though there is no way to launch scripts when the kill switch is engaged.
I was happy to see the inclusion of WireGuard as sometimes it’s still not available for macOS versions. Still, SoftEther was not available in this version of the app, meaning that some users from VPN-restricted countries might be disappointed.
Information regarding the Linux app is a bit all over the place. On their page, they state that they have an app for Linux, but when you click on the link, it takes you to a page explaining how to set up a manual connection. I found a blog post stating that you can download the app from their GitHub page, but the documentation on that page is scarce. So, as a user, you’re left on your own.
Eventually, I managed to install the app, but it failed to log in, so it doesn’t seem to be functioning properly. The app itself requires a web browser as you’ll have to find the hostnames there. After trying their app, I can see why they’re not actively advertising it – it would be easier to use a manual connection.
The Android version of Hide.me VPN has a minimalistic UI. One could say that it’s a bit too simple as even most prompts borrow default Android elements. The upside is that it doesn’t consume too many resources, although I’ve seen prettier solutions.
Compared to the desktop clients, there are fewer options in the settings, and if you close the app, it disconnects. There isn’t an icon in the notification bar indicating that you’re connected. This is a bit annoying, as each time, you’ll have to open the app and minimize it to check up on your connection status.
Similar to how the Android app borrows default elements, the Hide.me VPN iOS app uses the common iOS app template. It’s nothing too special to look at, but it’s fairly intuitive if you need to find something quickly. Plus, you can switch between light and dark mode.
The app even adds the WireGuard tunneling protocol, so even the mobile versions weren’t looked over. Also, the kill switch is available, which isn’t that common a sight. However, I didn’t test the iOS implementation of it.
Otherwise, Hide.me VPN’s iOS app seems to share similar flaws to those of the Android version. Both apps are quite minimal and don’t show connection information.
Hide.me VPN also has free extensions for Chrome and Firefox. They only have 3 locations to choose from, and if you enable Socks connections, you can’t choose the location at all. It also disables WebRTC and can automatically connect each time you open your browser.
This provider’s customer support starts from the knowledge base. There, you’ll find guides for various scenarios, from the most basic to advanced.
If you’d rather get in touch with a human, Hide.me VPN doesn’t disappoint. I contacted customer support to troubleshoot WireGuard issues via live chat. After asking some general questions, they directed me to create a ticket, which was answered after roughly 30 minutes of creating it. I was really surprised by their response speed.
The quality of customer support is one of the areas where Hide.me VPN truly shines.
Is Hide.me VPN any good?
Hide.me VPN is a quality VPN service with top-notch security, connection speeds, and unblocking ability. It has advanced features to bypass firewalls, unblock streaming platforms that are uncrackable to other providers, and exclusives like an app-level kill switch.
The VPN works well with a huge number of streaming sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, DAZN, and Youtube. And as the speeds are usually pretty fast, you won’t experience any buffering issues. The speeds are also good enough for torrenting.
Also, their privacy stance and customer support are also worthy of praise. In addition, Hide.me is based in Malaysia, which doesn’t belong to the 14-Eyes alliance. So, there’s much to like about this service.
On the other hand, kill switch malfunctions, SSTP connection errors, rather basic mobile apps, and steep prices can be strong arguments against it. All in all, though, it’s certainly not a bad choice.
More on VPN providers from CyberNews:
NordVPN review: find out all about the best VPN in 2021
ExpressVPN vs PIA: compare performance, pricing and which is worth using
IPVanish review: is it a go-to choice of a VPN?
Is it safe to use Hide.me VPN?
Overall, yes. Hide.me VPN doesn’t keep any activity or usage logs, so your privacy is safe. During our tests, we encountered some issues with the kill switch, which is a potential weak spot.
How much does Hide.me VPN cost?
Hide.me VPN has a free version, so the starting price is actually $0.00. However, if you opt for the premium version, the price ranges from $4.99/month to $12.95/month.
Is Hide.me VPN trustworthy?
Yes. Hide.me VPN is based in privacy-friendly Malaysia, which is outside the Five Eyes surveillance alliance. The service also frequently publishes transparency reports.