Hide.me is famous for its free plan, and rightfully so: it's probably one of the better ones out there thanks to its decent speed and server network. When you start paying for it, however, is when the cons start mounting up as its plans are expensive, as well as other reasons you can read all about in this full review.
Hide.me is a virtual private network with features worthy of being included in our best VPN guide. With a subpar spread of servers and high price tag, though, it’s held back by some mediocre aspects. That said, if you can contend with its shortcomings, you’ll get one of the most feature-rich VPNs on the market.
In this Hide.me review, we’re going to talk about everything we liked and disliked after spending time with it. We’ll discuss features, pricing, ease of use, supported devices, server locations, speed, security and support before giving our verdict.
Hide.me would be a force to be reckoned with if it wasn’t for the high price tag. That said, with a decent free plan, slew of features and good speeds, it’s worth a download to see if the paid plan is worth it to you.
- Great for all streaming
- Highly secure
- Split tunneling
- Massive server network
- 3 simultaneous connections
- Well priced
- Highly secure
- Thousands of servers
- Six simultaneous connections
- Lack of detail on server location
- No split tunneling
- Gets into Netflix
- Updated interface
- Automatic killswitch
- Lackluster split tunneling
- No killswitch controls
- Spotty ad blocker performance
- No logs
- Generous free plan
- Easy to use
- Split tunneling
- Multiple protocol options
- Spotty Netflix access
As we’ll get into in the “ease of use” section below, Hide.me has a lot of settings, despite a streamlined approach to getting you connected. It manages to cram a ton of features into an easy-to-use package that’s appealing to technophobes and tinkerers alike.
First is split tunneling, which is a feature that Hide.me shares with PureVPN (read our PureVPN review to see why that’s one of the service’s few strong points). Split tunneling allows you to send some data through the VPN tunnel while excluding other data, which is effective for, say, running a backup at full speed while watching Netflix abroad.
Technically, you can split tunnel with almost any VPN on Windows, but Hide.me includes the functionality in the user interface. You can choose to exclude certain apps from the VPN tunnel or only allow selected apps to use it. By default, all applications will pass through the VPN.
There’s a killswitch, too, which has more functionality than most. Though not as cut and dry as the configurability of NordVPN’s killswitch (read our NordVPN review), there are a lot of settings. For example, you can whitelist certain IP addresses for the killswitch. Doing so will still allow connection to the IP addresses, even after the killswitch is triggered.
In addition to the whitelist, you can set custom scripts to run when the killswitch is engaged or disabled. You will need to provide the code, of course, but the functionality is there if you fancy yourself a programmer.
The killswitch isn’t always necessary, though. Hide.me includes a “fallback” protocol that will revert to using a different VPN protocol if yours fails. The setting is disabled by default, but you can turn it on and set what protocols to fall back on in the settings.
Hide.me Streaming Performance
On the free plan, Hide.me struggled to get into Netflix and and BBC iPlayer. Amazon Prime Video and Hulu were accessible, though. Upgrading to a paid plan was better, but access to Netflix was still spotty after multiple disconnects and reconnects. If you’re interested in streaming, it may be a better idea to read our best VPN for Netflix guide instead.
Hide.me Features Overview
Unlike most VPNs, Hide.me has multiple tiers. TorGuard has a similar setup, as you can see in our TorGuard review. Hide.me’s three tiers are in the table below, along with the monthly price if you purchase a year upfront. Plus and Premium come in one-month, six-month and one-year variants.
$ 9 95monthly
$ 39 956 months
$ 59 95yearly
$ 19 95monthly
$ 79 956 months
$ 119 95yearly
|Bandwidth||2 GB||75 GB||Unlimited GB|
On first glance, the price looks great. We like seeing a limited bandwidth option because it allows those strapped for cash to stay protected, and the monthly price for Premium is lower than most monthly rates. That said, those rates are for a year. Stepping down to a month-to-month plan will double the price.
That makes Hide.me the most expensive provider we’ve reviewed. Though we normally refer to ExpressVPN’s price as a con (read our ExpressVPN review), Hide.me’s monthly premium makes it look like a bargain bin item. Even compared to Astrill, which is egregiously overpriced, Hide.me is more expensive (read our Astrill review).
On the annual end, the price is better. We expect to pay around $100 for a year’s worth of unlimited protection, and Hide.me’s $20 premium on that isn’t the worst thing. Still, it’s more expensive than most of the competition.
Despite offering a free plan, Hide.me has a money-back guarantee. You can receive a refund during the first two weeks of service, which isn’t bad, but isn’t great, either. For example, Private Internet Access only offers a week, as you can read in our PIA review, while CyberGhost offers 45 days (read our CyberGhost review).
As far as payment methods go, Hide.me takes almost everything. In addition to credit cards, PayPal and PayNearMe, multiple cryptocurrencies are supported, including bitcoin and Ethereum.
Signing up for Hide.me is simple, unless you can’t click an obvious “download now” button on the homepage of its website. After selecting a plan, you’ll enter an email address and payment method. Hide.me doesn’t require a name or anything to be on file. A link to set your account credentials will be emailed to you.
After that, you’ll be directed to the members area, which has a setup guide that you can follow. It’s confusing, though. Once you click through, Hide.me will ask you what your operating system is. Then, you’ll be presented with a “download now” button, as well as a list of protocols. Clicking one of the protocols will bring up a guide to setting up the VPN manually.
We understand what Hide.me is getting at, but reading is hard, and we would prefer a simple installer for major operating systems from the dashboard.
Once you’ve installed, though, things start looking up. Hide.me has a streamlined interface with only a handful of buttons. If you’re only concerned with securing your connection, you can click the “enable VPN” button in the middle of the screen. Hide.me will choose the best server for your location and connect you.
You probably shouldn’t trust that it’s the best, though. For example, Hide.me recommended we connect to the Canadian data center, which, based on our speed tests, was one of the slower locations. You can select your own data center by clicking the “change” button in the bottom right corner.
By default, Hide.me shows locations in alphabetical order. The list isn’t exhaustive, though, so it’s easy to scroll through. Countries that have more than one data center, such as “U.S. West” and “U.S. East,” will show a small arrow next to the country name.
You can also sort by ping, which hints at how Hide.me is recommending servers. Sorting by ping will run a quick speed test on all locations and display the results to the right of the country name.
Despite Hide.me’s streamlined approach, there are a surprising number of settings. There’s the normal VPN fare, including protocol settings, start-up settings and the killswitch, but advanced options, too.
For example, under the “killswitch” tab, you’ll find a section to add custom scripts for when the killswitch is triggered or disabled. As Hide.me warns in the interface, though, you should only handle the feature “if you know what you are doing.”
There are a lot of settings that are best left to be discovered on your own. We do want to point out two other things in the settings area, though. You can submit a ticket through the UI, which is convenient and gives you a chance to attach the diagnostics log to your support request.
You can also install the browser extension, which is available for Chrome and Firefox. The extension doesn’t add functionality, but it’s a convenient way to configure the VPN.
Hide.me supports, at most, five devices. Free and Plus users are restricted to a single connection, while Premium users get up to five. Like other aspects of the service, that isn’t bad, but it’s not impressive, either.
The platform support is impressive, though. Hide.me has clients for every major operating system, including Windows, Android, iOS and macOS, along with browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. There are multiple setup guides as you go through the installation process.
Hide.me can be installed almost anywhere, but you’ll need hands-on time to do so.
In addition to the clients, you can install Hide.me manually on multiple versions of Linux, including Ubuntu and Fedora, Blackberry, Windows Phone, routers with AsusWRT, DD-WRT, OpenWRT or Tomato, network-attached storage from Synology and QNAP and Kodi rigs using either LibreELEC or OpenELEC.
In short, Hide.me can be installed just about anywhere.
Though other aspects of the service are good, or even great, the server selection is mediocre. Hide.me has a network of 55 data centers in 34 countries, with most locations in central Europe.
Outside of the expected locations in North America and Europe, there’s little else to see. Hide.me has one data center in South America, one in Africa and a few dotted around southern Asia. Though it isn’t as bad as, say, e-VPN (read our e-VPN review), Hide.me’s network is fairly condensed.
Hide.me has decent speeds, but, as measured in this review and our fastest VPN guide, it isn’t the speediest option. That said, it’s not terrible, either, especially compared to services such as Surfshark (read our Surfshark review).
|Location:||Ping (ms):||Download (Mbps):||Upload (Mbps):|
|Unprotected (St. Louis)||10||118.35||11.58|
When tunneling in the same country, download and upload rates are solid, and latency stays low, too. It didn’t make our best VPN for gaming guide, but the close-to-home latency shouldn’t be discounted for gaming, either.
There are strange results, most notably the reading for the Netherlands, which managed to be the fastest location for download rates. Overall, though, Hide.me runs a tight, if not impressive, ship when it comes to speed.
Hide.me has almost every protocol you could want, so you’re safe on the VPN security front. By default, you’re connecting with the OpenVPN protocol with AES 256-bit encryption, which would take roughly a billion years to crack. The handshake happens with an RSA-8192 key, which is twice the size of that used by most VPN providers.
In addition to OpenVPN, Hide.me supports L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, IKEv2 and SoftEther. We’ll talk more about that last one later. The service recommends IKEv2 as an alternative to OpenVPN. Though that protocol shouldn’t be discounted, it is more easily blocked than OpenVPN.
SoftEther is a strange addition. It’s an open source, multi-protocol VPN software, much like OpenVPN. It’s marketed as an alternative to OpenVPN, in fact. While we like the ability to change things, SoftEther has mostly been phased out of modern VPN clients. Essentially, it’s OpenVPN with extra features.
To grasp how well Hide.me’s security works, we tested DNS leaks, along with IP and WebRTC leaks. It passed on all fronts, so you don’t need to worry about your identity slipping through the cracks.
As for privacy, Hide.me has all the “no logging” claims that any other VPN does. Most of those claims have become stale as providers such as IPVanish and HideMyAss have been caught lying about not logging (read our IPVanish review and HideMyAss review to learn about that).
We’re expected to believe what VPN providers say in their privacy policies, but we don’t have to take it at face value with Hide.me. The company has been certified by Leon Juranic, founder and CEO of Defense Code Ltd., to keep no logs.
You can rest easy that Hide.me doesn’t log your information, but the fact that it went as far as to certify that with a third-party cybersecurity company speaks volumes. Your data is safe with Hide.me.
As mentioned in the “ease of use” section, Hide.me allows you to submit support requests in the client. We did so on our test account and a support rep got back to us in a little over a day. That’s not too shabby.
If you go to the support section of the website, you’ll find other tools. In addition to the excellent setup guides, Hide.me has a short FAQ section for general questions. Though not extensive, the FAQ can answer surface-level questions such as “is account sharing allowed?”
Live chat can answer those questions, too. For billing or sales questions, Hide.me offers it 24/7. You can ask technical questions if you want, but the live chat reps will just redirect you to email support.
For more in-depth answers, you can use the forums. Hide.me has forums in English and German, but the German section is much more active. Even so, there are a decent number of users on both, so it’s a nice tool to have at your disposal.
If it wasn’t for an unimpressive server network and a high price tag, Hide.me would be one of the better VPNs we’ve tested. It has solid speeds, excellent security and one of the best feature sets we’ve seen. A generous free plan doesn’t hurt, either.
Paying customers are almost forced to purchase a year’s worth of service upfront, and, even then, the value isn’t great. If you don’t have enough disposable income to cover Hide.me’s hefty premium, we recommend reading our other VPN reviews.
What do you think of Hide.me? Have you tried the free service? Let us know about your experience in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.