Hide.me is a streamlined virtual private network (VPN) that offers a wealth of basic and advanced features on its robust free version. While its interface and security get our highest recommendation, some other shortcomings keep it at the bottom of our best VPN roundup — though it ranks high on our list of best free VPN services. In this Hide.me VPN review, we’ll give you our thoughts on every aspect of the VPN.
- Hide.me VPN offers all the commonplace features, including a kill switch and split tunneling tools. Beyond the essentials, it provides advanced features like “multihop” double VPN and VPN “bolt.”
- This VPN works flawlessly on all devices, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV. Besides that, it’s compatible with all web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi and Brave.
- Hide.me is fast enough for most internet activities, though it isn’t the best VPN for streaming.
We’ll start by warning you that if you’re looking for a VPN for streaming, you’re better off going somewhere else. While it gets into BBC iPlayer and Netflix, Hide.me hasn’t proven able to bypass geoblocks on other major sites. Try a VPN from our best VPN for streaming list instead.
Hide.me announced that the VPN has teamed up with Internex, a zero-knowledge cloud storage provider, to offer new Hide.me users 2TB of free Internxt cloud storage.
Hide.me is a good VPN thanks to its top-notch security and speeds that are fast enough to support anonymous browsing, streaming.
The Hide.me VPN uses well-known security and encryption protocols. Plus, tests show it to be free of DNS, IP and WebRTC leaks. It’s also based in Malaysia, which is not an intelligence-sharing country. Furthermore, an independent consultant verified Hide.me’s no-logging policy (though the audit occurred in 2015).
Yes. Hide.me’s free plan includes all of its security features. However, it limits data transfers to 10GB and restricts you to five servers and one connection at a time.
- : PayPal, Credit card, SOFORT, SEPA, direct bank transfer
- : 10
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
- : 5
- : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
- : 6
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 7
- : PayPal, Credit card, UnionPay, Alipay
- : 8
Strengths & Weaknesses
- WireGuard support
- Top-tier free plan
- Good speeds close to home
- Kill switch & split tunneling
- Helpful customer support
- Extra control for advanced users
- Poor speeds with farther servers
- Doesn’t access all streaming sites
- Servers primarily concentrated in Europe
- No unlimited-connection plans
Hide.me is one of the more feature-rich VPN providers out there, and it’s a perfect choice for users looking for a little bit more power. Every feature is available from the beginning, including the kill switch, split tunneling, “stealth guard” and torrenting servers.
Premium subscriptions get a little more power out of some features, but whether or not you choose to pay, Hide.me offers an excellent selection of tools without ever feeling cluttered.
Kill Switch, Split Tunneling and More
Hide.me’s kill switch immediately shuts down your internet connection if the VPN connection ever drops. This is a standard VPN feature meant to prevent you from accidentally sending unsecured data and leaking your IP address, which would compromise your online privacy.
Even better, Hide.me’s VPN offers a “stealth guard” for an additional layer of security. “Stealth guard” allows you to restrict certain apps or the entire internet connection to the VPN. If you limit an app — say, Google Chrome — it will never work if the VPN isn’t connected.
The feature is great for those of us who always connect to a VPN before booting up a web browser but might forget about it when using other apps, like torrenting clients. “Stealth guard” can block connections even when the Hide.me isn’t running.
Split tunneling is another flagship Hide.me feature, and it’s a feature we look for on all VPN services. It lets you run some data through the VPN while transmitting other data unprotected. We describe it in a bit more detail in our PureVPN review.
Multihop Double VPN and VPN Bolt
Beyond the essential VPN features, Hide.me offers advanced features (Hide.me labels them as “lab features” because they are still in beta): “multihop” double VPN and VPN “bolt.” The “multihop” double VPN tunnels your connection over multiple VPN locations; thus, creating a double shield for optimal digital security and privacy.
Unlike other apps such as NordVPN (see our NordVPN review), Hide.me’s “multihop” feature is flexible. It lets you pick your preferred entry and exit servers instead of giving you a list of country combinations to choose from. This way, you can choose to route your traffic to specific locations while avoiding locations that might pose a threat to your privacy.
On the other hand, “bolt” VPN is a traffic acceleration technology. It sidesteps ISP throttling to optimize your VPN connection speeds and improve VPN performance. Plus, it also tunnels your traffic when possible via the TCP network protocol instead of UDP.
In simpler terms, “bolt” should enable the VPN to perform better on Windows devices. However, in our testing, we saw very strange speed results, which you can read about in out “speed” section.
Note that the “multihop” double VPN and “bolt” VPN features are exclusively for Premium users.
Hide.me VPN & Internxt Drive Cloud Storage
In May 2021, Hide.me announced a partnership with Internxt Drive, a zero-knowledge cloud storage provider, in that new Hide.me users would get 2TB of cloud storage for free.
This sweetens the pot a bit, if you are looking for both a VPN and secure cloud storage, as this Internxt Drive 2TB plan normally costs 9.99 euros (around $12) per month, or 107.88 euros annually. In addition to that, all current Hide.me users can apparently use a 100 euro coupon code toward Internxt’s 2TB annual plan.
We have yet to review Internxt Drive, so we can’t yet say if the service can compete with our other top zero-knowledge cloud storage providers. (Stay tuned for an update on that.) However, Internxt also offers a free plan with 10GB of storage, so you can try it out before committing to this partnership.
Hide.me Features Overview
- : PayPal, Credit card, SOFORT, SEPA, direct bank transfer
- : 10
- : Free account
- : 1,900 servers across 47 countries
- : Windows, MacOS, Linux
- : Android, iOS
- : Chrome, Firefox, Vivaldi, Brave
- : No
- : No
- : 128-AES, 256-AES, ChaCha20
- : OpenVPN, SSTP, IKEv2, SoftEther, WireGuard
- : No
- : No
- : 24/7 (paid)
- : 24/7 (paid)
- : No
Hide.me is a reasonably attractive VPN from a budgetary standpoint. It’s got one of the better free services, annual pricing plans with decent savings and a 30-day money-back guarantee — pretty standard basics.
How the Free Version Works
Any discussion of Hide.me has to start with its no-cost option. Hide.me makes the bold claim that it’s the only genuinely free VPN since it doesn’t make money by selling your data or gumming up your experience with upselling.
- Five servers,
- : 10 GB
- : 1
The Hide.me free plan comes with limited features. You get a single simultaneous connection (instead of 10) and five server locations (instead of 75). Even worse, you don’t get streaming support, fixed IP address or dynamic port forwarding on the free plan.
Besides that, you can only transfer 10GB of data (download and upload) every month. However, 10GB isn’t bad; in fact, it’s tied with Windscribe, our perennial free VPN champion (see our Windscribe review to learn more). When you hit the limit, you can keep using the VPN but without being able to choose your server location — you’d have to upgrade to Premium if you want that option.
Hide.me has only one paid tier, Premium, with different payment intervals: monthly, annual and two-year plans. Upgrading to the Premium plan removes bandwidth limits, unlocks the rest of Hide.me’s servers and allows 10 devices to use the VPN at a time.
Its monthly and yearly rates are as expensive as it gets and falls in the same echelon as ExpressVPN, which you can read in our ExpressVPN review. However, since we last reviewed Hide.me, its two-year price has dropped and is now in-line with the average cost for a VPN service.
There’s a good range of payment methods: credit cards, PayPal, SEPA, SOFORT and direct bank transfers. Hide.me also accepts one of the most extensive ranges of cryptocurrencies we’ve ever seen, including bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, ripple and too many others to list (plus dogecoin, if that’s important to you).
You can get a refund for any Premium plan if you cancel within 30 days, no strings attached.
Ease of Use
Hide.me hits all the right chords when it comes to usability. The vendor has designed the app with a lot of options, but that doesn’t make it intimidating.
If you’re going with the free plan, you don’t even need to enter a payment method. We had to enter an administrator password twice, but the process still went fast, and we were immediately directed to the download page.
Hide.me Windows Client
Downloading and installing the Windows client is quick and painless. Hide.me has more happening on its main page than some other VPN providers, but this isn’t a bad thing: each option is clearly labeled and differentiated from the others. The “connect” button is big and obvious. It connects you to the fastest server by default.
By clicking “details” at the bottom left, you can see your IP address and virtual locations. The bottom-right “change” button takes you to the server selection list. If you’re on the free service, you get access to five server locations, which can be sorted by country name or ping.
If you’re on the Premium service, though, you get additional filter options: “all,” “streaming” and “multihop.” The “all” option lists all Hide.me servers and the “streaming” option gives you a list of streaming-optimized servers. Lastly, the “multihop” filter option lists all the multihop setups you have configured.
Alternatively, you can use the easy-to-use search bar to find the specific server you want.
You can click on the “bell” icon on the top left to open the message center. Here, you get periodic updates about new features or changes to Hide.me.
Finally, the gear at the top right leads to everything else. There is a lot going on in Hide.me’s settings page, but like the main UI panel, it’s easy to navigate. Every tab is dedicated to a single feature, except for “settings.”
The settings tab is where you can find the language and DNS customization settings, as well as decide whether to start Hide.me automatically when your device boots up.
Using speedtest.net, we ran speed tests on six random premium servers and compared the results with our unprotected connection. We did two tests: one with the “bolt” inactive and another with the “bolt” enabled. The results were super interesting.
Speeds With Hide.Me VPN’s Bolt Inactive
|U.S. (Los Angeles)|
Hide.me’s download speeds are a good sign if you intend to use the VPN to surf the web or stream your favorite movies and TV shows (we’ll see later how the service performs on this front). However, most of the servers delivered a significantly high latency, which means it’s not the best for avid gamers. You can check our best VPN for gaming for top-notch services.
Speeds With Bolt Enabled
|Location:||Ping (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
|U.S. (Los Angeles)||620||2.58||0.00|
With VPN “bolt,” the ping rate somehow improved (compared with the previous results), but the download and upload speeds deteriorated. However, considering Hide.me doesn’t recommend “bolt” for internet speeds slower than 10 Mbps, the speed test results were understandable.
Nevertheless, it was really strange to have no upload speed reading in several locations, when the download speed tests still worked. When we asked Hide.me about this, they acknowledged the speeds were too slow, but reminded us that the “bolt” feature is still in beta. We bet there will be improvements to this feature in the future.
Hide.me gives you a host of options to tweak its VPN protocols to improve speed performance. However, if you’d rather skip all the hassle and use a VPN with breakneck speeds, be sure to try ExpressVPN.
We tested Hide.me for DNS leaks, IP leaks and WebRTC leaks using both ipleak.net and its own internal privacy check. Neither one found any leaks. Hide.me generally offers excellent security and leak protection, whatever protocol you choose, though some are stronger than others.
The VPN lets you choose between five default VPN protocols: OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2, SSTP and SoftEther. You’re also free to have it automatically detect the best protocol for your situation. On some systems, you can even enable “fallback protocol,” which will switch to a different VPN protocol if the one you’re on fails.
IKEv2 is the app’s recommended protocol, with OpenVPN as a strong second. As you can read in our VPN protocol breakdown, Hide.me is right that IKEv2 is the fastest protocol available, though that comes at the cost of some security. On Windows, IKEv2 uses AES 128-bit encryption instead of the slower but stronger AES 256-bit encryption.
OpenVPN offers stronger encryption that’s harder to detect and block than IKEv2, though it’s a little slower. We recommend using IKEv2 on mobile only and going with the more trustworthy OpenVPN for desktop devices.
Hide.me is based in Malaysia, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction that isn’t an intelligence partner of the Five-, Nine- or 14-Eyes alliances. The country doesn’t have any local data laws that require VPN providers to store user logs, either, and this is a good thing from a privacy standpoint. You can be sure Hide.me will stick by its no-logs policy to uphold your online privacy when using the service.
That said, Malaysia isn’t overly friendly when it comes to online censorship. As you’ll read in our internet censorship guide, the country imposes some restrictions that jeopardize internet freedom and digital privacy.
The extent of Malaysian surveillance isn’t yet clearly known, but the fact that the government uses intrusive surveillance software blemishes any privacy credence the country may superficially portray.
A No-Logs Policy That Works?
Hide.me promises not to monitor its users’ data or browsing histories. Plus, it goes a step further than most VPNs by claiming its entire system is built to make it impossible to keep connection logs. The free plan doesn’t ask for any details whatsoever, while the Premium plan only asks for an email and payment method.
As you can read in our IPVanish review, a no-logging policy is not a guarantee that a VPN won’t log your browsing data and sell it to third parties. Plenty of VPN services say the right things and still get caught.
We’re not entirely convinced that Hide.me couldn’t keep logs if it wanted to do so. However, what’s more convincing is the outcome of the audit that the company voluntarily underwent at the hands of Leon Juranic, a security specialist. Juranic’s unaffiliated firm determined that Hide.me was abiding by its policy, at least as recently as 2015.
Having seen the Hide.me speed and security results, we expected the service to get us into Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and Hulu. However, we got mixed results when we put the VPN’s streaming-optimized servers through the wringer. We were able to stream Netflix U.S. with no issues and could access BBC iPlayer, but Hide.me failed when we tried to watch Amazon Prime Video.
Overall, Hide.me cuts it when it comes to streaming content on BBC iPlayer and Netflix. However, if you want an enthralling experience on these popular streaming channels, check out our best VPN for Netflix and best VPN for BBC iPlayer lists. Alternatively, if streaming videos on Amazon Prime Video is your cup of tea, you may have to look for one on our best VPN for Amazon Prime Video roundup.
Hide.me offers approximately 1,900 servers spread across over 75 locations in 47 countries. The five servers that come with Hide.me’s free service are in pretty standard locations: three in North America and two in Western Europe. Once you subscribe to the Premium plan and open up the rest of the list, things get a bit more interesting.
The spread of locations is commendable, particularly in Europe, which leads the way with servers in 27 countries. Besides that, it offers servers in 13 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, four in the Americas and three in Africa.
Overall, Hide.me’s global server network isn’t the best the market has to offer. It has a few servers in underserved areas — Morocco and Egypt are nice to see, and Cambodia is a pleasant surprise — but it’s nowhere near the blanket coverage of its leading competitors, such as HideMyAss (read our HideMyAss Review).
Customer support for Hide.me happens via live chat on its website or through email ticket submissions. Our questions were answered in a knowledgeable, friendly and prompt manner, in keeping with the high standard of customer support we’ve seen on several VPNs lately (check out our VPN Unlimited review for another example).
Hide.me lets you submit a support ticket without leaving the desktop app, though the same page has a button for an in-app FAQ that no longer seems to exist. However, you can still find extensive help on the online knowledgebase. If you prefer getting help from other users, you can join the Hide.me forum community, though it’s not exactly a lively place.
A ton of helpful articles are available, though a few too many seem to be written with expert users in mind.
We like Hide.me. The VPN is rich in features without being overstuffed, and it’s easy to use without being condescending. It’s based in a country outside the 14 Eyes network, and its no-logging policy seems to be the real deal. Plus, its free plan is a genuine gift.
However, we have to be honest about its flaws and can’t ignore that Hide.me isn’t the best for streaming. Even if the VPN could spoof a location without BBC iPlayer and Netflix catching wind, its download speeds for distant destinations are slow enough to render videos unwatchable.