Reviews

hide.me VPN Review

By December 9, 2019 May 2nd, 2020 No Comments
HideMe VPN Review

Hide.me promises a lot of things – like providing absolute privacy and security while using their VPN services. However, due to the mixed user reviews online, we decided to test the provider’s claims ourselves in our own hide.me VPN review.

SPOILER: we’re not impressed. Keep reading to find out why we don’t recommend hide.me as a VPN.

hide.me VPN Review Overview

2.60/5
Rated #15 VPN / 30

Devices

Unblocks

Pros

  • 1400+ servers
  • Split tunneling
  • P2P friendly

Cons

  • Terrible speeds

Pricing

Review scores

SPEED1/5
SECURITY7.0/10
FEATURES6/10
USABILITY5/5
PRICING2/5
RELIABILITY & SUPPORT1/5

Take a look at How We Rate VPN Providers!

How hide.me Compares to the Competition

Price$11.95/mth$12.95/mth$14.95/mth
Rating
Servers557230001400
Multiple ConnectionsUp to 6Up to 5Up to 5
Speed93 % 79 % 49 % 
LoggingNo logsNo logsSome logs
Support24/7 live chat24/7 live chat24/7 live chat (unreliable)
Killswitch
Refund30-day-money-back guarantee 30-day-money-back guarantee 30
Devices
Unblocks

 

Located in a Safe Jurisdiction

While there are always exceptions, we try to avoid VPNs based in a 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes jurisdiction because they’re notorious for data retention laws that disregard your right to privacy.

Hide.me is an “offshore VPN,” meaning they’re not in any of those countries. In fact, they’re based in Malaysia, which is known to have favorable privacy laws.

HideMe Offshore VPN

Strict No-Logs Policy?

We spent some time going through the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service to see if hide.me is hiding something or if they live up to their no-logs promises.

Hide.me doesn’t even want to know your name – just your email address, which they encrypt on their own servers. In fact, their servers are set up specifically so user data cannot be stored on them.

Except for how much data you’re using, that is:

HideMe Logs Policy

The data traffic being aggregated suggests it’s entirely anonymous. But hide.me also offers a free option that limits you to 2GB data transfer a month and operates under the same privacy policy.

HideMe Free Data Transfer

So how are they enforcing that 2GB cap for free users if the data traffic numbers are being aggregated?

We couldn’t get any answer from support. But look again at the quote we grabbed from the Privacy Policy: “we process the amount of traffic you have spent during your VPN session.”

So it seems there’s a little more than just diagnostic data being logged. While we don’t personally consider this type of data collection to be an issue, it does make us wonder whether there’s any other logging not being properly disclosed.

Good Encryption and the Best VPN Protocols

HideMe VPN Protocols

While some VPN providers address their encryption standards and VPN protocols separately, hide.me lumps them together.

That’s not a problem, as they work together. But the way hide.me does this makes confirming the strength of their encryption difficult. Here’s what we do know:

  • OpenVPN – up to 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
  • SoftEther – encryption standard not disclosed
  • IKEv2 – 128-bit AES for Windows, 256-bit AES for Linux
  • SSTP – encryption standard not disclosed
  • IKEv1 – up to 256-bit AES
  • PPTP – Microsoft point-to-point encryption (not recommended)
  • L2TP/IPSec – up to 128-bit AES combined with Microsoft point-to-point encryption

That’s a lot of “up to” without specifying what determines whether you get 256-bit AES, which is the preferred encryption standard.

And that makes us a little nervous, because although 128-bit AES is still very secure, it’s still only half as secure as the military-grade, industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption.

Once again, we haven’t received any response from hide.me support after asking how to make sure we always have 256-bit AES encryption while using their VPN.

However, we suspect the maximum encryption level available to users will depend on your device type and operating system.

For OpenVPN, it could also depend on whether you’re using the TCP or UDP ports (see our Beginner’s Guide to VPN Protocols for more information on this).

Kill Switch and DNS Leak Protection

There are a few other security features we always look for in a VPN. Some of them are must-haves, while others are merely nice-to-haves.

After a zero logs policy, military-grade encryption, and the best VPN protocols, the first of those must-haves is an automatic kill switch.

This feature will end your internet connection if your device stops communicating with the VPN server so your IP address isn’t leaked.

Hide.me’s homepage advertises having an automatic kill switch available for free and premium accounts alike.

HideMe Features

But their Kill Switch feature page is a little confusing, first implying it’s only available with the Windows and macOS apps, and later mentioning mobile users too.

The knowledge base article then confirms it’s available for all hide.me apps, but the feature page explains mobile users have to manually activate it themselves.

HideMe Kill Switch

We’re firm believers the kill switch should be enabled by default, with the option to disable it. Although this isn’t a huge issue, it is a bit of a disappointment.

As for DNS, hide.me uses their own zero-logs DNS servers. However, at the time of writing, we weren’t able to find an option to enable DNS leak protection in the Android app.

Split Tunneling and TOR Capability

Two nice-to-haves we always look for is whether a VPN offers split tunneling and if we can use their service with The Onion Router (TOR). Hide.me meets both of these expectations, but not as perfectly as we hoped.

Even though the provider doesn’t mention TOR at all, we make it a habit to see if we can use TOR browser while connected to a VPN server.

It drastically slows your internet connection (even without a VPN involved), but TOR does help significantly boost online anonymity and can be a lifesaver for those in countries with draconian censorship laws.

Other than the connection speed issue, no problems whatsoever using TOR over hide.me, which makes us happy.

We would prefer to see a Double VPN (or Multi-Hop, as it’s also called), which routes your connection via 2 VPN servers for a similar effect with less speed reduction, but that’s also a “nice-to-have” in our books (not a must-have).

We were also pleasantly surprised to see hide.me does offer split tunneling, which lets you decide which websites and apps are routed via the VPN server and which ones run via your ISP.

HideMe Split Tunneling

But here’s the catch: you can only get the split tunneling feature if you’re using Windows, macOS, or Android.

HideMe Split Tunneling Features

It’s not a train smash. But if you’re going to offer a feature like this, we think it only fair you offer it for all users.

Server Connections

Something we have a love-hate relationship with is finding reviews by other VPN comparison sites that have obvious errors. We’re amused by the fact they present themselves as experts, but frustrated by the effect it has on the industry.

One such example is the hide.me review by TheBestVPN. Updated in August 2019, it claims hide.me only has 160+ servers – but the provider actually has 1,400 servers in 57 locations.

HideMe Servers

Granted, this is still a relatively small network considering providers like ExpressVPN and NordVPN have 3,000+ and 5,584 servers respectively.

We do prefer seeing at least 2,000 servers on a VPN’s network, but we’re more forgiving of relatively newer providers like hide.me, which was founded in 2012.

Speed

A major reason we subscribe to the idea that bigger = better when it comes to a VPN’s server network is it helps prevent network overload.

Also known as network congestion, this is basically what happens when a server is trying to handle data quantities that are close to or exceeding its 100% capacity.

Network overload has a very adverse effect on your connection speed. And it happens a lot quicker when a VPN has a huge customer base, but a low server count.

We couldn’t find any information on how many users hide.me has (and, once again, no reply from support) to try figure out the likelihood of network overload on their servers.

It’s going to vary from one server to the next, and even from one moment to the next, so our test results might differ slightly from your experience if you decide to use hide.me.

That said, we definitely weren’t impressed with our results:

No VPN

hide.me No VPN Speed

US Server

hide.me US Server Speed

UK Server

hide.me UK Server Speed

Device Compatibility, Usability, and Connections

Hide.me has apps for most devices, but as we mentioned before, the type of features and (possibly) highest encryption level available depends on the device you’re using:

HideMe VPN Clients

You’re also limited according to your account type. Free accounts only allow for 1 device to be connected, while premium offers up to 5 simultaneous connections.

You can get away with connecting more devices by setting hide.me up on your router – so long as you have a premium account, of course.

We tested a few of the apps for usability. Installation only took about 5 minutes, which we find is pretty standard.

HideMe Installation

And they were all easy to use – one click to connect to the recommended server.

HideMe Connections

You can also easily pull out the list of server locations to manually choose one yourself.

HideMe ServerList

And both the DNS leak protection and kill switch seem to work properly.

HideMe Settings

Subscription Plans and Pricing

HideMe Subscription Plans

Along with the device you’re using, your subscription plan determines the maximum functionality you can expect from hide.me:

  • Free – needs to be manually renewed every 30 days
  • 1 Month Premium – $14.95
  • 1 Year Premium – $119.95
  • 2 Years Premium – $129.95

For a VPN that’s either missing some important features or limits their availability, we feel hide.me is overpriced.

You can get a much better VPN service for a better price by opting for one of our Best Overall VPNs.

No Netflix and No BBC iPlayer

We use Netflix as our standard for testing a VPN’s streaming capabilities because it’s the most popular choice.

Netflix also has one of the strongest proxy detection methods for identifying and blacklisting VPN IP addresses, so we feel it’s a good measuring stick.

Hide.me doesn’t actually mention Netflix specifically, other than in a knowledge base article, but they do tout themselves as being able to help you access HBO Go, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and more.

HideMe Unblocking Websites

The problem? That knowledge base article admits they’re completely blocked by BBC iPlayer, while Netflix and Hulu only work on 2 of their US servers.

Netflix Server Selection

We tested the Los Angeles and Las Vegas servers as suggested, but to no avail. Netflix immediately shut us out both times with their infamous proxy server error message.

If you’re hoping to stream media, take a look at our guides on the Best Netflix VPNs, Best BBC iPlayer VPNs, and Best Kodi VPNs instead.

Torrenting

On a wholly positive note, hide.me does support torrenting on most of their servers.

HideMe Torrenting

Torrenting – file-sharing via a peer-to-peer (P2P) network – has become increasingly popular again in response to the growing trend for streaming services to have exclusivity deals.

It’s practically impossible to keep up with all your favorite shows without breaking the bank, unless you resort to piracy.

Now, we don’t endorse piracy. But there are plenty of legal uses for torrenting, such as updating your games. So we’re glad to see hide.me is at least competent in this area.

If you decide to buy a premium subscription, you’re able to access a list of P2P-friendly servers via your Members Area. But if you’re looking for a more affordable option than hide.me, check out our guide on the Best Torrenting VPNs.

Almost Nonexistent Support

Hide.me advertises “24/7 support via Live Chat, Tickets, FAQs, Emails, & our Community.”

HIdeMe Support

We also found a Press Materials page for journalists, bloggers, and reviewers that explicitly promises 24/7 live chat.

That’s not the case, though. We tried reaching out to them using the live chat button on their website several times. This is what we got:

HideMe ContactUs

We checked our inbox regularly, but the only response we got (as of writing) is a generic:

HideMe Response

We eventually asked whether hide.me is giving preferential treatment. Finally, we got a response, though it wasn’t satisfactory:

HideMe LiveChat

We should add the caveat that we never disclose the fact we’re reviewers while dealing with a VPN provider’s support agents, precisely because we don’t want to get preferential treatment.

Instead, we tell them we’re looking to switch to a new VPN provider. This way, we’re treated the same way a normal user would be – which is what you need to know.

As of writing, we still haven’t received the promised response via email. That’s a big problem, because these weren’t difficult questions, but we couldn’t get an answer at all.

In any case, if you do need to get hold of live support, we recommend using the chat button on the Press Materials page. It seems to be the only one that works 24/7, even if you aren’t guaranteed an answer.

How to Cancel hide.me and Get Your Money Back

We don’t recommend using hide.me – namely because they’re over-priced, with unreliable support, slow speeds, and lax security in some areas.

And their complicated cancellation process (and shady refund policy) cements that judgement.

If you recently purchased a subscription and want to switch to a better VPN, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Find the payment confirmation email sent via Cleverbridge and follow the subscription cancellation link to stop recurring bills
  2. Open a Support Ticket asking to cancel your hide.me account and request a refund
  3. If you’re still eligible for the 30-day money-back guarantee, you’ll receive confirmation within 2 days and your refund will be processed within 10 business days

To qualify for a refund, it needs to be within the first 30 days of using hide.me – account renewals aren’t eligible.

You also cannot have used more than an unspecified amount of data in the time your account was active.

HideMe Refund Policy

Sound a bit dodgy to you too?

FAQs

 

How much does hide.me cost per month?

Hide.me Premium costs $14.95/month for the monthly subscription.

Does hide.me work for Netflix?

No. Please see Best Netflix VPNs for alternatives.

Is hide.me a legitimate VPN?

Yes. However, hide.me could be more transparent on a number of issues.

How good is hide.me VPN?

Short answer: not great. There are too many issues with the service for hide.me to be considered a good VPN.

Does hide.me hide my IP address?

Yes, we detected no IP or DNS leaks during our tests.

Does hide.me charge monthly?

Hide.me charges on a monthly, yearly, and two-years basis depending on your subscription plan.

Is hide.me a zero-logs VPN?

Other than diagnostics data and bandwidth usage, hide.me appears to uphold their zero-logs promises.

Can you cancel hide.me anytime?

No, but you can request cancellation within 30 days of your most recent payment.

Is hide.me safe in China?

Yes, but you’ll need to purchase a subscription before visiting China.

Mandee Rose

Mandee Rose

Mandee Rose is the editor and lead writer & researcher at TheVPNShop. A technical writer and blogger with 6+ years of experience in the cybersecurity sector. During her college years, she chased the dual-major of Cyber Security and Journalism while simultaneously offering freelance services online. As a result, Mandee was able to combine both of her passions by writing for companies like LatestHackingNews, BestVPN, Tactical Engine, Hoxhunt, AI Jobs (Medium Blog), and more. Today, she continues sharing her technical knowledge via investigative writing on topics like VPNs, programming, data breaches, artificial intelligence, and other infosec concepts.

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