Hide.me Review

Hide.me is famous for its free plan, and rightfully so: it's probably one of the best ones out there. However, when you start paying it slides in the rankings as it has great trouble with streaming services like Netflix. Read our full Hide.me review for all the details.

By Samuel Chapman
— Last Updated: 29 May'20
2020-05-29T15:02:15+00:00
Table of ContentsRating
Features
95%
Excellent
Pricing
80%
Good
Ease of Use
90%
Excellent
Speed
75%
Good
Security
95%
Excellent
Privacy
95%
Excellent
Streaming Performance
40%
Terrible
Server Locations
80%
Good
Customer Service
85%
Very Good
User Reviews & Comments

Good
Starts from $ 541 per month
Free plan available Save 58 %

Hide.me is a streamlined VPN based in Malaysia that offers a wealth of basic and advanced features, all of which are available on its robust free version. While its interface and security get our highest recommendation, some other mistakes keep it out of our best VPN roundup, though it easily makes 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, grading it for features, price, user-friendliness, speed, security, privacy and customer support. By the end, we hope you’ll be able to tell whether it’s the right VPN for you.

We’ll start by warning you that if you’re looking for a VPN for streaming, you’re better off going somewhere else. Hide.me hasn’t proven able to bypass geoblocks on any of the major sites. Try a VPN from our best VPN for streaming list instead.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • WireGuard support
  • User-friendly
  • Top-tier free plan
  • Good speeds close to home
  • Kill switch & split tunneling
  • Helpful customer support
  • Extra control for advanced users 

Weaknesses:

  • Poor speeds with farther servers
  • Can’t access streaming services
  • Servers mostly concentrated in North America & Europe
  • No unlimited-connection plans

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Features

95% - Excellent

Hide.me is one of the more feature-rich VPNs 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.

How the Free Plan 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 truly free VPN, since it doesn’t make money by selling your data or gum up your experience with upselling. 

This part is true (see the “privacy” section below for more). The part that can be misleading is the Hide.me website’s statement that its free VPN “ensures quick page loads all the time.”

Hide.me’s VPN does come with unlimited bandwidth. However, there’s a difference between bandwidth (how much data can be transferred at one time) and data transfer (how much can be transferred total). It’s a lot like the difference between a car’s speed and the number on its odometer.

The free plan doesn’t limit bandwidth, but it does restrict data transfer to 10GB per month. After you’ve hit your monthly cap, you can continue using Hide.me for free, but you lose the ability to choose your own server until the next month.

Without upgrading, you can choose between only five servers anyway, so it’s not that much of a loss. Plus, 10GB isn’t bad; in fact, it’s tied with Windscribe, our perennial free VPN champion (see our Windscribe review to learn more).

Other Features

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. However, Hide.me takes it a step further by allowing you to use or restrict the kill switch on certain apps.

Called “stealth guard,” this feature is great for those of us who always connect to a VPN before booting up a web browser, but who might forget about it when using other apps, like torrenting clients. “Stealth guard” can block connections even when the Hide.me VPN isn’t running.

Split tunneling is another flagship Hide.me feature, and it’s a feature we look for on all VPNs. 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.

There might be times when you want to use your browser securely while running a more demanding, less risky app in the background, such as a cloud backup service. Routing traffic through a VPN slows it down, so split tunneling can help speed up apps that don’t risk your privacy. However, while some VPNs let you whitelist certain domains, Hide.me limits it to apps.

You can also download Hide.me as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox.

Hide.me Features Overview

Starts from$ 541per month

General

Payment methods
PayPal, Credit card, SEPA, SOFORT, bank transfer
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections
10
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Premium only
Free trial available
Refund period
30 days
Worldwide server amount
1,700 servers in 46 countries
Desktop OSes
Windows, MacOS, Linux
Mobile OSes
Android, iOS
Browser extensions
Chrome, Firefox
Can be installed on routers

Streaming

Can access Netflix US
Can access BBC iPlayer
Can access Hulu
Can access Amazon Prime Video

Security

Encryption types
128-AES, 256-AES
VPN protocols available
OpenVPN, SSTP, IKEv2, SoftEther, WireGuard
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included

Support

Live Chat
24/7
Email support
24/7
Phone support
User forum
Knowledgebase

Pricing

80% - Good

Hide.me is a reasonably attractive VPN from a budget standpoint. It’s got one of the better free services, annual pricing plans with decent savings and a 30-day money-back guarantee; nothing special, but all the basics are there.

Free
  • 10GB bandwidth, Five servers, One connection
Premium
  • Unlimited bandwidth, 1,700 servers, 10 connections
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 8.33/ month
$99.95 billed every year
Save 36 %
2-year plan $ 5.41/ month
$129.95 billed every 2 years
Save 58 %

Hide.me has only one paid tier, Premium, which can be bought for one month, one year or two years at a time. Upgrading to Premium removes bandwidth limits, unlocks the rest of Hide.me’s servers and allows 10 devices to use the VPN at a time.

When we last reviewed Hide.me, it was one of the most expensive month-to-month VPNs. Since then, the price has dropped significantly, and Hide.me is now about in line with the average price 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 biggest 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

90% - Excellent

So many VPNs are competing to be the most user-friendly that some of them seem afraid to put anything at all on their interfaces. Hide.me avoids falling victim to that trend: there are a lot of options, but that doesn’t make it intimidating.

Downloading and installing Hide.me is quick and painless. 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.

Hide.me has more happening on its main page than some other VPNs, 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’s set to connect you to the fastest server by default.

By clicking “details” at the bottom left, you can see exactly what IP address you’re spoofing and where it’s located.

The bottom-right button takes you to the server selection list. If you’re on the free service, all five servers you can access are gathered at the top. You can sort the list by country name or by ping, though you have to disconnect from the VPN to run a ping test. The search bar is fast and easy to use.

The message center is at the top left, hosting 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”: a catch-all tab where you can find the kill switch and language settings, as well as decide whether to start Hide.me automatically when your device boots up.

We won’t walk you through all the tabs because, for the most part, Hide.me’s solid design makes that unnecessary. We’ll just point out that you can download the browser extensions from your desktop, which is nice, and that the only advertisement is in a discreet bar at the bottom of the main window, which is awesome.

Speed

75% - Good

Using speedtest.net, we ran speed tests on all five of Hide.me’s free servers. The ping measures how long, in milliseconds (ms), it takes the servers to connect. Download and upload speeds are measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

We found fast speeds close by but sharp drops farther away, even within the same country. Based on these results, Hide.me is far better for private browsing than for gaming or streaming.

LocationPing
ms
Download
Mbps
Upload
Mbps
Unprotected1615.332.36
U.S. West Coast (protected)67
10.16
2.26
U.S. East Coast178
4.49
2.24
Canada197
3.27
2.16
Netherlands418
0.28
2.29
Germany461
0.26
2.11
Average264
3.69
2.21

Typically, a VPN will roughly double latency while cutting download speeds by 40 to 60 percent. By that standard, Hide.me’s download impact is phenomenal when tunneling close to your real IP location, though the ping still lags quite a bit. Yet just a few thousand miles away, the connection drags so much you can’t really do anything with it.

If you’re experiencing less than ideal speeds, IKEv2 and WireGuard are much faster than OpenVPN, all while providing similar levels of security. 

These are just the results of one test on one connection, though, so don’t draw too many conclusions. However, if you’re looking for a VPN that has speed you can truly rely on, hop over to our ExpressVPN review.

Security

95% - Excellent

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 security 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 also 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 encryption instead of the slower but stronger AES-256.

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.

Privacy

95% - Excellent

Hide.me promises to not monitor its users’ personal data or browsing histories. It goes a step further than most VPNs by claiming its entire system is built to make it impossible to log user data. The free plan doesn’t ask for any details whatsoever, while the paid 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 VPNs say the right things and still get caught.

We’re not convinced that Hide.me couldn’t log user data if it wanted to. 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 own policy, at least as recently as 2015.

Streaming Performance

40% - Terrible

We don’t recommend Hide.me as a streaming VPN. It can sometimes access Netflix U.S., but all the U.S.-only shows are still blocked. It also failed to get around the blocks at Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. We did reach the Disney+ website but couldn’t see any content.

Hide.me’s free plan doesn’t include a server in the UK, so BBC iPlayer is out; even if you subscribe, it’s still blocked. Hide.me excels in several areas, but streaming isn’t one of them. For a much better streaming VPN, check out our CyberGhost review instead.

Server Locations

80% - Good

Hide.me offers approximately 1,700 servers located across 46 countries. It’s a great network for North America and Europe, but it’s not as strong anywhere else.

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.

To provide fast, secure connections to as much of the world as possible, a VPN’s servers have to be widely distributed. That’s why we look for servers in locations that often aren’t covered: usually Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

On that front, Hide.me doesn’t impress. 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. See our NordVPN review to learn just how extensive a server network can be.

Customer Service

85% - Very Good

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. With just your email address, a subject from a dropdown menu and a description of your problem, you can ask any question and hear back in a bit less than a day (at least, that’s how long it took us).

The same page has a button for an in-app FAQ, which no longer seems to exist. However, you can still find extensive help on the online knowledgebase. There are a ton of helpful articles available, though a few too many seem to be written with expert users in mind. Plenty are also great for beginners, but you have to dig a little to find them.

If you prefer getting your help from other users, you can join the Hide.me forum community, though it’s not exactly a lively place. We couldn’t find a single example of anyone receiving direct help in the last two years (though there is much more happening on the German-language side). You’re better off just submitting a ticket.

The Verdict

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 of 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 we can’t ignore that Hide.me isn’t at all useful for streaming. Even if the VPN could spoof international servers without Netflix catching wind, its download speeds for distant destinations are slow enough to render videos unwatchable.

If you’re looking to disguise your IP address while you surf the internet, there are few options better than Hide.me. For streaming videos or playing games, Hide.me is not the best choice.

Hide.me FAQ

  • How Do I Use Hide.me VPN?

    First, you’ll need to download the Hide.me app from the website. If you go with the free plan, you won’t have to provide any information at all. If you’re paying for Hide.me Premium, you’ll be asked for a payment method and an email address for your account.

  • Is Hide.me VPN Safe?

    The Hide.me VPN uses well-known security and encryption protocols. Tests show it to be free of DNS, IP and WebRTC leaks, and it’s based in Malaysia, which is not an intelligence-sharing country. Furthermore, an independent consultant verified Hide.me’s no-logging policy (though the audit occured in 2015).

  • Does Hide.me VPN Work?

    Hide.me disguises your IP address without impacting your connection speed very much, as long as you connect to a VPN server close to your real location. If you use a server that is farther away, the VPN might become too slow to use.

  • Is Hide.me VPN Free?

    Yes. Hide.me’s free plan includes all of its security features. However, it limits data transfers to 10GB, and it restricts you to five servers and one connection at a time.

Hide.me Review

A good free plan, and an expensive paid one.

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.
Starts from$ 541per month
Visit Hide.me

One thought on “Hide.me”

  1. Very Helpful review, but what of the auto annual renew feature? Does it have one included in the fine print somewhere?

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Hide.me Review

A good free plan, and an expensive paid one.

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.
Starts from$ 541per month
Visit Hide.me
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