This review starts with a look at the a brief look at hide.me beginnings. Hide.me was formed in 2012 by an international group of security experts who established their careers building secure infrastructures for governments and corporations. This knowledge helped them create the secure, privacy-centric, easy to use VPN service that is hide.me. They operate under the jurisdiction of Malaysia which has no mandatory data retention laws. This allows them to maintain their no-log policy. This guarantees their members anonymity while surfing the web.
Pricing and Special Offers
Thank you to the hide.me team for offering our visitors a discount on their popular VPN service. By clicking on the image below you will save 61% off their 2 year plan + 2 months free. The discount is recurring so you can enjoy the savings for the life of your account. The plans range from $4.99 a month for 2 years to $12.95 a month for unlimited VPN access. I think you’ll be quite pleased with the service. With the discount hide.me is quite a value.
A review of hide.me pricing shows that they offer their VPN service in three different plans. These are summarized below.
- Plus Pricing Plan
- All locations
- Higher priority unlimited bandwidth
- Usage limits 75 GB data transfer a month
- Full protocol support
- 1 VPN connection
- Premium Pricing Plan
- All locations
- Highest priority unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited data transfer
- Full protocol support
- 5 simultaneous VPN connections
- Dynamic port forwarding, Socks Proxy access, Fixed IP address
As you can see, the free VPN service is very limited and would only be good for just anonymous surfing as you would quickly reach the 2 GB data limit just trying to stream a single HD movie. All prices shown in the above figure are for the 12 month term plans and include their very generous 35% off discount. The Plus plan is $3.32 a month but is limited to 75 GB a month and only allows 1 connection. This plan might be a good choice for you if you only need a VPN part time. Finally, although a bit pricier at $6.49 a month the Premium plan features are more in line with the other VPN services that I have reviewed.
Hide.me supports a wide range of payment options. These include PayPal, BitCoins, major credit cards, and wire transfers. Using PayPal will allow you to choose where you want to manage your subscription from. Bitcoin is a payment option which provides more anonymity to those who want it. They also accept major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, JCB, and American Express.
This review also found that in keeping with their privacy-centric policy, only an email is required for many payment types. Even during the payment process, your privacy is protected. All payments are handled by external payment providers, and hide.me does not log any personal information during the payment process. They assign you a unique ID which is then deleted. This means your payment can’t be tracked to a specific account and there is no way to later connect your payment info to your VPN usage. Thus, you will always be anonymous with hide.me, even if you pay by credit card.
Risk Free Trial Period
Hide.me understands that you need to evaluate the performance of their service so they have a free plan that will let you test it. Although this plan will let you see the quality of their service and determine if it could suit your current needs it does have some limitations as I previously stated. However the free account should let you try out their Windows client and Android app to see what you think of them. They also have a 14-day money-back guarantee. This review also notes that like the free account, the guarantee comes with what I think is a major limitation, you cannot have transferred more that 500 MB of data. In their own words:
If you are not completely satisfied with our VPN services, and you notify us in writing via email within the first 14 days of your contract that you wish to cancel, you will be given a 100% refund of the contract amount in case the bandwidth usage in not more than 500MB.
hide.me Network and Server Locations
When it comes to size hide.me may not appear to have as large a network as some of their competitors but looks can be deceiving. They only use dedicated bare metal servers with 1 Gbit uplinks. This gives them a leg up on providers who use virtual servers. This review also found that they have servers in strategic locations throughout the world. Members have access to multiple servers in popular countries like the United States, the Netherlands, and Australia.
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If you subscribe to the premium VPN plan, hide.me offers unlimited data. That means you can use as much data as you want and connect to any server location. This is a real bonus and allows those who travel to watch streaming content from home or other countries.
Hide.me has servers in the following countries:
- Americas – United States, Canada, Mexico
- Europe – United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxemberg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey.
- Rest of the World – Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore
Privacy and Security
Depending on your purpose for using a VPN service the logging and usage policy can be very important. A review of the hide.me website makes it clear exactly what users should expect from them. This information is pulled directly from their terms of service page:
To maximize your privacy we collect the minimum information required, and that is your email address. We do not request or store your name, IP address, physical addresses, phone number or any other personal information. Payments are processed by Paymentwall Inc. and Cleverbridge AG and we are not saving any details about the payments in our system. The subscriptions are renewed or updated by Cleverbridge AG with a dedicated user id for each user account.
What happens if you receive a legal notice such as a DMCA for copyright material that I have downloaded?
Since our customers are anonymous when using our service, such notices are directed to hide.me and our legal department will issue an appropriate response. Since we store no connection logs, we couldn’t associate a request with a customer identity even if legally compelled to do so.
When it comes to security hide.me has you covered. As with any VPN, the level of encryption offered is important. They offer support for IKEv2, PPTP, L2TP, IPsec, OpenVPN, Softether and SSTP with up to AES-256 encryption. Supporting the latest protocols like IKEv2 assures their members the fastest possible connection.
If you have read any of my other reviews then you know I am like VPN providers with easy to use client software. Hide.me has easy to install and use custom software. It has a clean, simple, easy to use interface. They have a client for Windows, along with a mobile app for Android. Hide.me is also compatible with other operating systems and devices. Additionally, they have step-by-step guides to walk you through configuring them.
Connecting with the Windows VPN Client
First, let us review the hide.me Windows client. The left-hand figure below shows the connection screen for their client. This screen allows you to choose your server from a drop-down list box, connect or disconnect, and shows your online status. It also shows your current plan and how much bandwidth you have used if you do not have a Premium account. It will also let you upgrade your current account.
The figure on the right above is the settings screen. It allows you to select the VPN connection encryption type. In the case of the free client you are limited to just SSTP, PPTP, and IKEv2. It also has some general settings to tell the client your start-up preferences. If you start the VPN with administrative privileges, then you can set the DNS leak controls. Also, you can see and set the primary and secondary DNS servers if necessary. Finally, you can check to see if you have the latest update for the client.
Connect from Android App
Now, let us review hide.me’s free Android app. You can download it from Google Play. The mobile app requires Android 4.0 or above. The app runs on all Android devices.
First enter your Username and Password to login. Then you can tap to enable the VPN protection if you want the app to automatically choose a server for you. If you select this, the app will automatically select the one it thinks will be fastest for you based on location and server load. Else, you can choose a server yourself from the available locations and tap to enable protection. The app also shows your current account type and bandwidth usage for the month. Finally, it will check to see that you have the latest version of the app installed.
hide.me Speed Test
I tested hide.me using the IKEv2 protocol using the Windows client. This provides the fastest speeds for the protocols that the free VPN had access to. SSTP, PPTP, and IKEv2 were the only protocols supported in their Windows client using the free VPN.
As you can see there was about a 15% difference in speed between the connection directly to my ISP and the connection to a hide.me server about 1300 miles away. Encryption adds overhead so you can expect some decrease in performance. Performance is always a trade-off for privacy when considering a VPN service. However, with a speed of almost 43 Mbps I could easily stream services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO GO and watch HD movies or live events.
hide.me Review: Conclusion
Although hide.me has only been in the VPN arena for just a few years, they have continued to grow their network because of their commitment to your privacy. They have expanded server locations in strategic locations to better improve their overall VPN performance. They have also developed custom software to simplify VPN installation and usage for their subscribers. I expect them to continue this trend in the future and expect their service to become even better. Both their Windows client and Android app have simple, easy to use, graphical interfaces with straight forward installations to help simplify VPN for their customers. If you’re looking for a reliable VPN service with a true commitment to your privacy then hide.me could be a good choice.
What I liked most about the service:
- Easy to install and use Windows client
- Mobile app for Android
- Support for IKEv2, PPTP, L2TP, IPsec, OpenVPN, Softether and SSTP with up to AES-256 encryption.
- No-log policy
- Simultaneous connection for 5 devices with Premium Plan
- Deep term discount on annual sign ups
Ideas to improve the service:
- Increase the guarantee scope – unrealistic data limit
- Price is a little more than competitors.
I enjoyed using the hide.me service and recommend you try it for yourself. Test their desktop client software and Android mobile app and don’t forget you can save 61% off with our discount. I think you’ll enjoy how easy their software makes it to connect and switch between VPN servers. They are still continuing to grow and add new server locations.