In 2012, eVenture LTD. founded Hide.me in a time of need. They offer apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, but they have setup guides for other platforms as well. Additionally, they have extensions for Chrome and Firefox to protect you from WebRTC leaks while browsing. That is where you can also take advantage of their premium proxy. While their network is not as large as some, they offer more than 1900 servers split into 75 locations in 42 countries. Hide.me is loaded with features, and we’ll go over them below.
Hide.me VPN is a “freemium” service, meaning that you can upgrade your account for more access and features. They also allow for up to ten devices on the same account. For the sake of this review, we’ll use the free version of the service to see how it performs. While we’re normally apprehensive about products with a free version, there are providers that are exceptions to the rule. Let’s dive in and see how it looks.
How Much Does Hide.me Cost?
As we mentioned, the service is free but limited. The basic version provides you with 10 GB a month, but you only get access to five servers. For the premium version of the service, one month is $12.95. Of course, you get unlimited data and access to all servers. You also get access to the WireGuard protocol. Even though that is a bit steep for a single month, 12 months of the service is $99.95 or $8.32 a month. The best deal is their 2 year plan. With this option, you get 2 months free with the first 2 years for a total cost of $129.95. That works out to under $5 a month. As far as payments go, you can use Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, Bitcoin, Diner’s Club, Bank Transfer, SEPA, SOFORT, and several other cryptocurrencies. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
About eVenture LTD.
How to Use Hide.me
For uniform purposes, Hide.me VPN does what others in the community do. They make their apps nearly identical. For that reason, we’ll show you the Windows version. The image on the left shows the main console. The purple arrow shows where you change servers. The red arrow shows where you connect and the yellow arrow shows where the options are. By default, Hide.me chooses the best possible location. To connect to the Hide.me network simply click on the “Enable VPN” button.
In the image below, you can see the different settings available when you click on the gear icon. That is where you find all the features.
Hide.me Settings Explained
As we talked about earlier, Hide.me has many different features. Let’s take a look at the headings and options available.
- Settings – Under the Application subheading – The options here are Launch on system startup, Connect on application start, Start application minimized, Remember selected location, Fallback Protocol, Use colored icons, Show notifications, and Show rating notifications. Under the Network subheading, you can set the primary and secondary DNS servers, the custom MTU size, and allow sleep when the VPN is active.
- Auto Connect – With this heading, you can select the option to auto-connect on any WiFi network, any unsecured network, or even an Ethernet network.
- Split Tunnel – With this one, you can select the apps you want to use, exclude apps, or include all the apps.
- Stealth Guard – The options here are Disable Stealth Guard (will let all apps have connectivity while VPN is not active). Limit All Connections to VPN, and Limit Apps to VPN.
- Kill Switch – This option provides a kill switch, an option to limit the connection, and automatically reconnect.
- VPN Protocol – The options here are Automatic, IKEv2, OpenVPN, SoftEtherVPN, WireGuard (premium only), and SSTP.
You can see that the company offers all the top features you would expect from a leading online privacy service.
Does Hide.me Leak?
No, it does not. For this test, we used two different tools. As you can see, we got positive results with both of them. Both tests we performed showed our location as being in Montreal. While that is not surprising because of the company’s background, we are still glad to see it. Even though we are running the free version, that shows the company is very committed to privacy. The service did not leak our DNS or public IP address.
Hide.me Speed Test
Speeds are important when testing a VPN. Whether you are streaming, torrenting, or just browsing the internet, it makes a difference. For this test, we checked all five servers available in the free version. We tested their East Coast server to a speed test server in New York. Our unprotected speed was 253.70 Mbps. We then tested our connection to the same server and our VPN protected speed was 119.86 Mbps.
- Canada – Speed without VPN = 435.34 Mbps, with = 354.29 Mbps
- Germany – Speed without VPN = 390.85 Mbps, with = 174.94 Mbps
- Netherlands – Speed without VPN = 423.12 Mbps, with = 302.50 Mbps
- USA (West Coast) – Speed without VPN = 418.41 Mbps, with = 324.23 Mbps
Since we are using a free server and the OpenVPN protocol, the 54% speed loss means that Hide.me fares well. As with any service, some servers are better than others. When we tested the other free servers, you can see we got good numbers. Keep in mind that you will likely get better results using the premium version. Not only will you have more options, but you also get access to the WireGuard protocol. Experts consider IKEv2 and WireGuard to be next generation encryption. That means they are typically lighter weight and have less encryption overhead than standard protocols.
Does Hide.me Unblock Streaming Services?
One of the most popular things to do with a VPN is stream content from other regions. Of course, Netflix is the biggest and most popular streaming service in the world. That means it is a good source for testing to see how effective the VPN is. Because we were limited in the countries we could choose on the free version of the service, we tried to unblock the German version of Netflix. For an adequate test, we looked for a German exclusive show. In this case, we found one called Houseboat. As you see in the image below, it worked well and we were able to play it without any buffering.
Although the Netflix US library is not the largest one any longer, it is still one of the most popular options. Whether you are from the US and traveling or a fan of US movies and shows, accessing the Netflix US library does not have to be hard. In the past, if you were connected to a VPN or proxy, you would get a message from Netflix telling you that something was not right and you needed to disconnect from the service or proxy. The test below shows that we were able to access the Netflix US library while connected to a VPN.
Unfortunately, our luck was not quite so good with Amazon Prime. In the image below, we tested Amazon Prime in the Netherlands. As you see, it detects the VPN and asks you to disable it. The Hide.me website states you should not have issues with this one, so the customer service team should be happy to help you get any problems resolved.
Customer service is always important when dealing with VPN providers. Hide.me offers 24/7 chat support from their website, a blog, an FAQ section, and the social media options of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. If you have any issues getting set up or have any questions about the service, the support team will be glad to answer any questions. We found them to be courteous and knowledgable about their product.
Overall, we found Hide.me VPN to be a dialed-in and sharply honed privacy service. Even though we only tested the free version for this review, it performed well in many of the tests we did. One thing you will notice is a single month of service is more expensive than some providers. That said, if you decide to get the service for a longer period of time, the prices are competitive. Now, let’s look at the good points of the service and a few suggestions to help make it even better.
We were impressed by:
- Strict No-Logs policy and jurisdiction in Malaysia
- The service passed our DNS leak and IP location tests
- Ability to unblock access to Netflix in different regions
- Reasonably priced with multiple payment options, including cryptocurrency
- Tested well, speed-wise in our tests with fast connections in most cities
- 10 simultaneous devices and P2P support
- 24/7 tech support and knowledgeable staff
- Lower the price on a single month of service
- Resolve issues accessing different regions for Amazon Video
- Add more server locations and countries
- Offer dedicated IP addresses
As you can see, there are very few things we can suggest to make Hide.me VPN better. Even though there is always room for improvement, we can’t find too much to improve upon. Again, we got our results by using the free version of the VPN. Remember that they limit you to 10 GB of data on the free version, which can quickly be used up. If you run into some of the same blocking issues we did, you may be able to resolve them with the premium version. Whether you are looking for a premium service or a free VPN, Hide.me is a good option.