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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)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Hide.me has a huge range of customizable features alongside stellar connection speeds and good streaming support – all alongside one of the best free plans on the market. However, we found a couple of minor technical issues, and its powerful interface may put off those that are used to simpler, more user-friendly services.

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 is a subsidiary of eVenture Limited - a Malaysia-based company that has been in the VPN business since 2011.

Hide.me has a solid network with a good number of servers and locations - 2,000 and 75, respectively. That’s far from a low number but some providers like ExpressVPN and NordVPN do give you quite a bit more.

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

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

The company has somewhat standard pricing for the monthly VPN plan, which is priced at $9.95. Some providers are cheaper than this and by some margin, but most are a bit pricier than $9.95.

Going forward to the annual plan, the price drops to a much more affordable $4.99 per month ($59.95 billed yearly), which is somewhere in the line with most providers. 

Finally, there’s a two-year plan which offers good value at $3.84 per month (billed $99.95 every two years), plus, you get 2 extra months for free. The price is one of the most affordable in the business, although it’s not the cheapest. Surfshark and Private Internet Access for instance have plans priced at $2.50 per month and less. 

It's worth noting that Hide.me subscribers – new and old – are now entitled to 2TB of  free cloud storage with Internxt. That certainly sweetens the deal.

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?

Hide.me claims they have a ‘no logging, ever’ policy. On that note, its Privacy Policy (opens in new tab) is very detailed, and states it don’t collect session logs, browsing, or anything that can be used to identify the user. In the policy it also states that it 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

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How fast is Hide.me?

One of the most important features – for some, the most important – is a VPN's performance and speed. As such, we tested Hide.me and the results were great.

OpenVPN performance was nothing short of excellent, with median speeds of 440-450Mbps in the UK, and 550-580Mbps in the US. That’s vastly superior than many competitors, and only Mullvad’s performance came close at 480-490Mbps.

This is thanks to Hide.me's proprietary Bolt feature, that speeds up OpenVPN connections very effectively.

WireGuard performance was even better at 670-720Mbps for UK, and a staggering 900Mbps for US. Again, this is way better than most, although here there are a few more with similar performance. For instance, IPVanish reached 890Mbps, while TorGuard takes the #1 spot in the performance charts at 950Mbps. Still, though, 900Mbps is an amazing result. 

How good is Hide.me for streaming?

As usual, like most VPNs, Hide.me claims that it can help access geo-blocked websites and that it can help avoid censorship. In pervious years Hide.me hasn't
performed perfectly as a streaming VPN before, but this time it scored perfect results. With Hide.me, we accessed both US and UK Netflix in all three tests.

In addition, popular streaming services Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ were both unblocked, as well as YouTube. In other words, Hide.me unblocked and gave us access to everything we tried.

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

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How good are Hide.me's desktop apps?

The desktop apps are pretty straightforward and simple to use. The first thing you’ll see is a large Connect button that will connect you to the nearest server. Another click and you’ll get the full location list, with countries and, in some cases, individual cities. Also, your current IP address and location are always visible for you to see.

Speaking of location, in the Locations menu you’ll see a bunch of information regarding the servers, like ping, and for some locations, a drop-down menu will be available if you wish to check 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

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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?

The mobile apps are lacking when compared to their desktop counterparts, but they’re still far from basic or bad. In the iPhone VPN app, there’s a connect button, and an option to sort the server by name or ping, which is already more functionality than most. Apart from that, there’s a Favorite option, as well as a search box.

Support for IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP and WireGuard is present. In addition, there is an autoconnect option as well as the kill switch – a feature that has become a staple of pretty much every good VPN. Lastly, you can choose a custom DNS if you wish.

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

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Hide.me: Final verdict

All things considered, Hide.me is a highly configurable service with fast performance, in addition to having quite a few unusual but welcome features. Newbies or less experienced users might have some issues, as having access to all of these features might be overwhelming. If that’s the case providers like ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) or Surfshark (opens in new tab) might be a better choice.

That said, with awesome speeds, great unblocking capabilities, and excellent functionality, Hide.me is a great choice, especially for more advanced users. What’s more, there’s a free version too, so if you want to test the provider yourself, go ahead, and see how good it is for you.