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Hide.me VPN Review

Tons of extra features make Hide.me a very powerful alternative to the big hitters

Hide.me VPN review on a laptop screen
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

With a huge range of low-level customizations alongside excellent speeds and streaming support, Hide.me is a very appealing service. While it could be daunting for those newer to VPN, it's a good choice, and its free version is one of the best out there.

For

  • Excellent OpenVPN and WireGuard speeds
  • Free version is powerful
  • Unblocks Netflix, Disney+, iPlayer, Amazon Prime
  • Tons of expert-level tweaks available

Against

  • In-depth apps could be intimidating
  • Takes a little while to connect
  • Some kill switch issues
  • No independent security audit

Tom's Guide Verdict

With a huge range of low-level customizations alongside excellent speeds and streaming support, Hide.me is a very appealing service. While it could be daunting for those newer to VPN, it's a good choice, and its free version is one of the best out there.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent OpenVPN and WireGuard speeds

  • +

    Free version is powerful

  • +

    Unblocks Netflix, Disney+, iPlayer, Amazon Prime

  • +

    Tons of expert-level tweaks available

Cons

  • -

    In-depth apps could be intimidating

  • -

    Takes a little while to connect

  • -

    Some kill switch issues

  • -

    No independent security audit

Hide.me has been in the game since way back in 2011, owned by Malaysian company eVenture Ltd, and in that time it's built up a name for itself as a configurable, reliable VPN.

With 2,000 servers in a healthy 75 locations, it's got a decent spread, and while it can't compete with the likes of ExpressVPN's 3,000+ and NordVPN's 5,000+, it should offer a good range of servers to pick from.

Most interesting is Hide.me's wide range of configurable options. Ranging from plenty of protocols (including WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, SoftEther and SSTP) to more niche features like port forwarding, and protection from DNS, IP and IPv6 leaks, there's a lot here to get stuck into if you know what you're doing.

Hide.me also supports plenty of platforms including Android, iOS, Linux, routers and Smart TVs, all alongside Windows and MacOS, naturally.

A neat introduction to Hide.me's abilities is its excellent free VPN, which offers much of the premium product's features while limiting users to 10GB of data a month and a small selection of 5 servers.

In our full Hide.me review, we'll be running down exactly what the provider does right, what it could improve upon, and whether it's worth considering for you.

Hide.me on paper

Number of servers: 2,000+
Number of countries:
75
Platforms supported:
Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android, iPhone, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Routers, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Blackberry
Simultaneous connections: 10
Split tunneling:
Yes
Kill switch:
Yes
Supported protocols:
OpenVPN UDP & TCP, WireGuard, IKEv2, SoftEther, SSTP
Country of registration:
Malaysia
Support:
24/7 live chat, ticket, email, knowledgebase, community

Hide.me VPN review

(Image credit: Hide.me)

Hide.me price: how much is it, and is there a Hide.me free trial?

Hide.me's 1-month plan predictably works out the most expensive, at $12.95 per month. The provider does occasionally offer VPN deals, however, and at the time of writing there's a cheap monthly VPN offer for just $7.95.

Sign up for a year, and you'll see that price drop to $4.99 a month, for a total of $59.95 billed yearly. The 2-year plan offers even better value, at just $2.96 a month, totalling $79.95. Again, this appears to be a deal, so these prices are subject to change.

Comparatively, then, Hide.me seems fairly affordable, but isn't exactly the cheapest VPN on offer. Providers like Surfshark and Private Internet Access offer similar plans for less than $2.50 a month, and certain deals often drop that even lower.

You can pay through PayPal, credit card, Bitcoin and a number of other options, and you'll also be covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee should you not enjoy the software.

Hide.me has an ace up its sleeve, however, with its potent free plan. 

Offering all the features of the paid app, you'll be able to use Hide.me free forever. The only restrictions are a 10GB per month data limit (not huge in the grand scheme), and a limited selection of servers in the US, Canada, The Netherlands, and Germany. Some users might lament the lack of a UK location, but only paying customers can route through a British server.

Overall, if you manage to find a Hide.me deal on offer, it offers decent value, but outside of this it's decidedly mid-range in terms of cost.

How private is Hide.me, and does it keep logs?

Strong claims from Hide.me here, with a 'no logging, ever' policy. It also has a fairly comprehensive Privacy Policy, which outlines that it doesn't collect session logs, your browsing, or any other identifiable information about you. Hide.me also never stores 'VPN connection logs and timestamps that match your incoming and outgoing IP address or session duration.'

To facilitate the free version, Hide.me does keep a log of bandwidth usage, but without any other information this isn't really of any concern. You'll also have to hand over your email on sign up, but almost every VPN provider requires this.

Something nice to see is that Hide.me claims to have undergone a 'comprehensive audit', but in reality this is from 2015 and there's no report of the audit available to read. It's impressive that Hide.me was clued into the importance of audits this early, but to be relevant, we'd like to see a nice fresh one, accompanied by a proper report.

hide.me VPN review - no logging policy

(Image credit: Hide.me)

How fast is Hide.me?

Beyond privacy, speed is most people's primary concern when it comes to choosing a VPN – and thankfully Hide.me performed very well in our testing.

When using the tried-and-tested OpenVPN protocol, Hide.me delivered impressive speeds of up to 390Mbps on our 1Gbps line. In fact, the only provider that outdid Hide.me when using OpenVPN was ProtonVPN, with speeds of up to 500Mbps.

Hide.me has a feature called VPN Bolt, and in a single test we saw speeds creep well above 400Mbps. We can't say for sure this was anything to do with the Bolt feature, but either way, this is a seriously nippy service.

Switch over to WireGuard and things get even better. On the same 1Gbps line, we saw speeds of up to 780Mbps, which is right up there with the best of them. While super fast VPN services like CyberGhost and NordVPN can hit almost 900Mbps, Hide.me certainly isn't going to be slowing you down – especially if you're using a regular domestic Internet connection of around 100Mbps.

How good is Hide.me for streaming?

Hide.me certainly promises a lot when it comes to unblocking websites, but we always take these kinds of claims with a pinch of salt – and test them out ourselves.

In previous testing, Hide.me hasn't been the best as a streaming VPN, but this time round it really improved.

First up, Netflix. When tested on both US and UK servers, we were able to watch exclusive content, which is better than many rivals, especially since Netflix upped its VPN blocking game. 

Amazon Prime Video was also effectively unblocked, as well as Disney+ and YouTube – a full house then, and an excellent performance.

It's worth noting that when accessing these sites we did have some loading hangs where we were left waiting for a page to load for a up to a minute. However, this wasn't regular, and once pages loaded, we could stream in HD like normal. 

So, while that small issue makes it tricky to recommend Hide.me as the very best Netflix VPN, it's powerful and is better than much of the competition.

Hide.me review

(Image credit: Hide.me)

How good are Hide.me's desktop apps?

When first opened, Hide.me's desktop app is fairly simple and intuitive to use. There's a big button which invites you to connect to the recommended server, but a single click takes you to a server list. Plus, at all times you'll be able to see your current IP address and location. 

In the Locations menu, you'll get plenty of information about the servers including ping, and for some countries you'll be able to toggle a drop-down menu that shows individual cities. 

A streaming tab within the Locations menu delivers what you'd expect – the best servers for streaming on certain services, although they're sorted by location and not streaming service.

Multihop is another neat feature. By using this, you can route through two servers, meaning that if one is compromised, you'll still be protected by the other. In practice, this is actually more effective than, say, NordVPN's, due to the fact you'll be able to connect to any two servers, not pick from a predetermined list 

Hide.me VPN review - settings

(Image credit: Hide.me)

Open up the Settings menu and things start to get really interesting, though.

Autoconnect is present, which makes sure Hide.me activates as soon as you boot up your machine, and you can choose to connect to either your last used location, or the 'best'. You'll also get a kill switch to protect you if your connection drops. 

As an aside, in light testing, the kill switch worked very well, but when we put it under pressure by closing the OpenVPN.exe process. In every test the kill switch blocked our traffic – its main task – but reconnecting after terminating the process proved problematic, and it took us around 10 minutes to get back online.

It's worth noting that while this is annoying, the kill switch never exposed us, and the tests we undertook are very unlikely to ever occur in real life.

The range of protocols is impressive (WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, SoftEther, SSTP), and there's tons of configuration available within these, like IKEv2's stealth mode, whether you tunnel using IPv4 or IPv6, and even more.

That 'best' location we just mentioned – that's normally just dictated by the VPN, but Hide.me allows to define what's best for you, whether that's closest in terms of distance, lowest load, or lowest ping.

Split tunneling support is present, of course, which allows certain apps to use the VPN and other to ignore it. And, the kill switch is more powerful than just about any. Rather than just cutting your connection until you reconnect, you can set it to run custom scripts when the connection fails, which could be to automatically close another app, for instance. The scripts can even be run as an administrator.

All in all, there's a ton here for experts to get stuck into, but while these menus might be intimidating to newbies, even if you just connect to the recommended server and shut the app every time, there's a lot to like.

How good are Hide.me's mobile apps?

Naturally, Hide.me's iOS VPN app isn't as powerful as its desktop brethren, but it's hardly basic. You'll get a nice simple connect button, and you'll be able to sort the server list by ping or name – more than many others can claim. You'll also get a Favorites option, and a search box for easy server finding.

You'll also get support for IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP and WireGuard, an autoconnect feature which you can choose to fire up when connecting to unknown Wi-Fi or mobile data networks. There's also a kill switch, and you'll even be able to choose a custom DNS server, should you have the inclination to.

All in all, it's seriously powerful for an iOS offering, and much better than many out there.

Hide.me's Android VPN is even better, with all the aforementioned features, and is very similar in appearance – great if you use both. 

You'll also get split tunneling; the ability to allow your device to access other devices that are connected to your network. 'IKEv2 Alternative Configurator' is also included, to help connections should the regular IKEv2 protocol fail.

While all this might be overkill for the general user, that doesn't really matter. Just like the desktop versions, it's all tucked away in a Settings menu that you never have to touch, but having the possibility is something we really like. 

Hide.me VPNJ review - mobile apps

(Image credit: Hide.me)

Hide.me: Final verdict

Hide.me will undoubtedly appeal to users that appreciate low-level customization, and it delivers a huge amount of features rarely seen in any other VPN services. However, for the greenest of VPN users, although these settings might be hidden away in menus, having access to all of these complex options could seem intimidating. For those, a simpler service like ExpressVPN or Surfshark could offer a better experience.

But, while it lacks a little bit of polish compared to the most premium providers, Hide.me's streaming prowess, searing connection speeds and excellent functionality make it a real contender for expert users – and its free plan is definitely worth checking out, too.

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.