Hide.me VPN Review (2019): Awesome But Expensive

Hide.me has some unusual features, such as a Malaysian location, newer protocols, and a crazy level of control. At one of the most expensive prices available, is it worth buying?

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Packed with features
  • Great for torrenting
  • Malaysia jurisdiction
  • Excellent technical security
  • Newer protocols
  • No logs
  • Excellent compatibility
  • Free version

CONS

  • Extremely expensive
  • No Netflix/Hulu
  • Long connection times on Windows
  • Support not 24/7

Speed & Expectations

VPNs tend to (with some exceptions) decrease your internet speed, due to all the extra encryption and servers involved.

To measure speed, we tested the 3 main speed indicators:

  1. Download speed: The rate at which data is transferred from the server to your device. This is measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.
  2. Upload speed: The rate at which data is transferred to the server from your device. This is also measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.
  3. Ping (or latency): Tested by “pinging” the server, it’s the amount of time it takes for it to receive and process your request. This is measured in milliseconds (ms) and a lower number is better.

First we ran a baseline test using a default 100mbps internet connection in Chicago, IL.

Then we tested various Hide.me VPN servers across the globe.

We ran each test 5 times to increase reliability.

Speed results

These are the results of our baseline test:

So the average baseline score was:

  • Download: 79.6mbps
  • Upload: 15mbps
  • Ping: 9ms

Next we ran our tests on a Hide.me VPN United States server:

US averages of the 5 different speed tests were:

  • Download: 30.8mbps (61.4% slower) 
  • Upload: 12.1mbps (19.2% slower)
  • Ping: 30ms (233.3% longer)

(You would expect these to give the fastest results since we’re performing the tests in the US).

Next we tested Europe:

Europe’s averages were:

  • Download: 27.5mbps (65.4% slower)
  • Upload: 9.5mbps (36.3% slower)
  • Ping: 107ms (1088.9% longer)

Here’s Asia:

Asia’s averages were:

  • Download: 22.6mbps (71.6% slower)
  • Upload: 19.9mbps (33.1% faster)
  • Ping: 230.8ms (2464.4% longer)

And South America:

South America’s averages were:

  • Download: 56.5mbps (29.1% slower)
  • Upload: 14.2mbps (5.3% slower)
  • Ping: 166ms (1744.4% longer)

Sadly, Hide.me VPN doesn’t have any African servers to test.

We also compared these results against the average of other VPN tests. How does Hide.me VPN measure up?

First up, let’s take a look at download speeds:

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
Hide.me-61%-65%-72%-29%n/a
Goose VPN-48%-64%-71%n/an/a
Touch VPN10%9%9%n/an/a
Ra4w-54%-51%-94%n/a-57%
Freedome-38%-56%-82%n/an/a
Mullvad-50%-74%-61%-78%-37%
Betternet13%-7%-28%2%n/a
Private Tunnel-19%-66%-69%n/an/a
IVPN-23%-45%-67%n/an/a
Avira Phantom-41%-97%-98%-75%n/a
Speedify-6%-39%-73%-69%-69%
ZoogVPN-59%-74%-80%-98%-87%
NortonVPN-34%-68%-72%-29%n/a
SurfEasy-43%-61%-65%-37%n/a
Celo VPN-75%-93%-93%n/an/a
proXPN-52%-73%-74%n/an/a
X-VPN-71%-75%-99%-62%n/a
SpyOFF-66%-57%-76%-65%-63%
VPN.ht-48%-78%-68%-67%-67%
vpn.ac-52%-51%-67%-47%n/a
Tiger VPN-48%-68%-68%-55%-72%
VPN Unlimited-27%-77%-79%-64%-61%
Cyberghost-35%-59%-71%-56%-68%
Torguard-37%-58%-81%-60%-67%
ProtonVPN-35%-50%-56%-77%-54%
PureVPN-26%-68%-94%-32%-89%
Trust.Zone-14%-99%-80%-66%-82%
AVG Secure VPN-56%-87%-69%-75%-68%
Hoxx VPN-12%-96%-93%n/a-68%
VPNSecure-68%-93%-98%-61%-77%
IPVanish-36%-54%-72%-76%n/a
NordVPN-40%-99%-69%-58%-75%
ExpressVPN-71%-58%-64%-95%-67%
Avast-45%-63%-72%-66%-77%
Windscribe-44%-57%-80%-98%-73%
Average-40.3%-64.9%-72.7%-61.3%-68.9%

Download speeds were above average for South America and average for Europe and Asia, but were below average for the US.

Next, how did upload speeds compare?

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
Hide.me-19%-36%33%-5%n/a
Goose-48%-64%-71%n/an/a
Touch VPN-20%-41%-49%n/an/a
Ra4w30%-32%48%n/a-46%
Freedome41%22%57%n/an/a
Mullvad205%-15%64%-10%40%
Betternet24%16%12%55%n/a
Private Tunnel75%-15%13%n/an/a
IVPN77%-83%108%n/an/a
Avira Phantom252.9%-87%-60%-30%n/a
Speedify-36%-40%-29%-34%-25%
ZoogVPN117%24%50%3%24%
NortonVPN161%38%59%9%n/a
SurfEasy-4%-17%-50%-2%n/a
Celo VPN-35%-30%-40%n/an/a
proXPN-7%-15%-52%n/an/a
X-VPN-33%-61%-98%-77%n/a
SpyOFF-9%-18%-88%-52%-50%
VPN.ht-10%-17%-25%-23%-63%
vpn.ac-6%-18%-44%-16%n/a
Tiger VPN-3%-14%-20%-17%-42%
VPN Unlimited-13%-39%-85%-19%-56%
Cyberghost-8%-16%-92%-37%-48%
Torguard-9%-20%-35%-22%-41%
ProtonVPN-2%-15%-20%-41%-29%
PureVPN13%2.5%-54%-11%-72%
Trust.Zone-13%-45%-67%-28%-84%
AVG Secure VPN-19%-58%-75%-80%-77%
Hoxx VPN-5%-90%-24%n/a-51%
VPNSecure-9%-19%-92%-26%-56%
IPVanish-5%-19%-84%-22%n/a
NordVPN-13%-46%-26%-16%-70%
ExpressVPN-9%-24%-34%-72%-42%
Avast-13%-42%-78%-70%-77%
Windscribe-6%-17%-52%-97%-53%
Average18.3%-27.2%-28.6%-28.5%-45.9%

Upload speeds were well above average for Asia and South America, but below average for Europe and well below average for the US. Asia even had a substantial speed increase.

And finally latency:

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
Hide.me233%1089%2464%1744%n/a
Goose210%1158%2298%n/an/a
Touch VPN-6%-4%-2%n/an/a
Ra4w655%1015%2234%n/a2615%
Freedome367%1965%4559%n/an/a
Mullvad309%1040%2366%1613%2568%
Betternet19%1164%2485%1483%n/a
Private Tunnel33%1046%2150%n/an/a
IVPN36%1321%2572%n/an/a
Avira Phantom35%1147%2322%1596%n/a
Speedify506%1160%2604%1689%3051%
ZoogVPN386%1931%4176%5004%6194%
NortonVPN194%1569%2276%1426%n/a
SurfEasy-9%792%1711%1058%n/a
Celo VPN915%1161%1654%n/an/a
proXPN194%996%2194%n/an/a
X-VPN-28%397%837%560%n/a
SpyOFF213%944%4278%2533%2598%
VPN.ht273%785%1667%1282%2109%
vpn.ac60%388%968%487%n/a
Tiger VPN9%895%1786%1105%2309%
VPN Unlimited33%935%3946%1411%2535%
Cyberghost27%1085%2344%1352%2415%
Torguard7%1036%2023%1384%2502%
ProtonVPN17%810%1840%1185%2017%
PureVPN-23%708%489%1018%1823%
Trust.Zone104%1206%2438%1396%2750%
AVG Secure VPN1021%1111%2419%3560%3336%
Hoxx VPN566%1098%2470%n/a2794%
VPNSecure281%1051%2519%1530%2917%
IPVanish240%1038%4144%1424%n/a
NordVPN34%1278%2328%1560%2696%
ExpressVPN98%965%2122%1545%2461%
Avast33%1133%2465%1556%2815%
Windscribe310%1018%1904%2042%2782%
Average210.1%1040.9%2315.7%1636.3%2764.4%

Latency was just below average in all regions.

Speed (Summary)

Hide.me has average speeds overall, with no definite patterns across regions or metrics.

Performance & Features

In this section we look at the key features all VPNs have and see how Hide.me fares.

Number of servers: 1,400+

How many active servers are available to connect to across all countries, regardless of their physical location.

Support said they couldn’t tell us the total server numbers, but they clearly state they’ve got 1,400 servers on their website, so we’re gonna say at least this.

This is definitely on the high end of the scale. It’s only beaten by the likes of NordVPN with over 5,000 servers.

Number of countries: 36 (4 on free)

How many countries the total number of servers cover, regardless of how many are located in a single country.

This is fairly middle-of-the-road, and a bit low for the number of servers involved. The top VPNs have 50+ countries for more diversity, like IPVanish’s 60+.

For the free version, there’s just 4 countries available: Canada, Netherlands, Singapore, and USA.

Number of connections allowed: 5 (1 on free)

How many devices can be connected to a server (or number of servers) based on a single VPN account or subscription.

5 is the average number across VPNs. If you need more, IPVanish offers 10 and some even offer unlimited.

Torrenting allowed: Yes (most servers).

Hide.me allows torrenting on almost all servers, which is nice. The only exceptions are: Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, and the free US server (not the paid one).

Kill switch available: Yes.

Whether the VPN software can disable your connection to the network in the event you disconnect from the VPN server. This prevents your IP address from being exposed.

Hide.me have kill switches not just on Windows and Mac, but Android also. Bad luck to iPhone users.

Performance and Features (Summary)

Hide.me has a strong set of features, including 1,400+ servers, torrenting on almost servers, kill switches on 3 platforms and an average 5 connections. They come in a bit low on country numbers.

Privacy & Security

Is Hide.me VPN secure and trustworthy?

First let’s look at the technical aspects:

Protocols/Encryption: OpenVPN, IKEv2, SoftEther and SSTP protocols with AES-256 encryption

Hide.me uses the default AES-256 encryption, which is considered military-grade.

Hide.me includes the top 2 protocols, OpenVPN and IKEv2. It seems to default to IKEv2 due to its speed, though most regard OpenVPN as slightly more secure.

But it also offers a couple of interesting protocols, SoftEther and SSTP. SoftEther is a newer protocol than OpenVPN that’s open-source, more flexible, can get past firewalls, and may be faster. However, it’s currently only available on desktops.

SSTP isn’t open-source, is owned by Microsoft, but again can get past firewalls if that’s an issue for you.

DNS leaks: None found.

IP leaks: None found.

WebRTC leaks: None.

Viruses/malware: None.

Legal issues

Jurisdiction: Malaysia. This is an unusual VPN location. On the one hand, it’s completely outside 14-eyes, which means it’s out of reach of the US’s sneaky subpoena’s and NSA. However, there’s reports that Malaysia’s becoming more hardline, and has censored the internet in the past. Certainly something to keep an eye on, but it seems fine for the moment and there’s no mandatory data retention laws.

Logging policy: No logs

Hide.me has a nice logs policy, which is detailed yet clear with simple language.

They log:

  • Email address
  • Running total of monthly data used

In addition, they also log ‘connection data’ (your username and original IP address) for troubleshooting purposes, but they say they erase it every few hours. This includes your username and IP address

This is the only concerning thing about their policy, but if they erase it every few hours it should be fine. It doesn’t include browsing history either.

Their payments are processed by third-parties, another plus.

They also go into detail about things like analytics and cookies and how to opt-out.

They also make it clear that if you use their website, community forums, or contact them via email/live chat, it’s a pretty much free-for-all on your data, so be careful. All VPNs are the same, but at least Hide.me tries to warn you.

Finally, they reiterate that the only data they could hand over to a legal authority is your email address. And say if it ever becomes required by law for them to log more, they will notify you and do everything to move jurisdictions or close the service.

Overall, they really give the impression of caring about user’s privacy.

What’s more, they don’t just talk the talk: Hide.me has been certified as secure by the CEO of Defense Code. It was the first to do this kind of ‘independent audit’ of sorts back in 2015.

However, other VPNs have now followed with more public, official independent audits and it would be appreciated if Hide.me followed suit. Particularly as their CEO even wrote an article on why these are so important.

They also produce regular transparency reports, which state they’ve never handed data over to authorities since they have none.

Privacy and Security Summary

Hide.me is secure technically with no leaks, viruses, and top-notch encryption and protocols, including the newer SoftEther. They’re also based in Malaysia, which is outside 14-eyes and have a good no-logs policy.

Usability

This section looks at the following aspects:

  • Streaming/Geo-spoofing
  • Compatibility
  • Overall UI/UX

Streaming/Geo-spoofing

Geo-spoofing streaming services is a great benefit of using a VPN, but many struggle to trick Netflix and like nowadays. Let’s see how Hide.me VPN fares.

  • Netflix: Detected. Netflix didn’t work. Their knowledgebase says 2 specific US servers work, but we didn’t find this to be the case.
  • Hulu: Detected. Hulu was also blocked on all US streaming servers.
  • YouTube: Undetected. YouTube worked fine on all servers.
  • Kodi: Undetected. Kodi worked fine with Hide.me.

Compatibility

Is Hide.me VPN compatible with most devices?

We tested everything from Tor, iOS devices, Android devices, Smart TV’s, Amazon Firestick, Mac, Windows, to routers:

  • Tor browser: Supported. Tor works fine in conjunction with Hide.me.
  • iOS (iPad, iPhone): Supported. Hide.me VPN has a fully-functioning iOS app.
  • Android: Supported. Same for Android.
  • Smart TV’s: Supported. They support Android TVs.
  • Amazon Firestick: Hide.me even have a Firestick app, which is rare.
  • Windows: Supported. Hide.me has a Windows app.
  • Mac: Supported. Hide.me has a Mac app.
  • Routers: Supported. Hide.me has setup guides for a range of models including AsusWRT-Merlin, Openwrt, Tomato and DD-WRT routers. They also have a preconfigured Vilfo router, though at a pricey $339.

Overall UX/UI

Hide.me has an attractive, medium-sized bright blue interface.

It’s definitely gone for the minimalist approach, with no map and a lot of unused space. The home screen shows your current IP address and location.

You can Quick Connect simply by clicking ‘Enable VPN’, which will default to the ‘Best Location’.

We’re not sure what ‘Best’ means though, as we were connected to a server extremely far away from us.

When connected the shield icon turns green, and your new IP address and location is shown, as well as a timer.

The server list is pretty nice too.

It’s listed alphabetically by country, and uses the full country name rather than abbreviations.

You can also click the dropdowns to see more server locations in some countries.

It’s just a shame you can’t select individual servers.

Most servers are P2P, but the non-P2P ones are clearly labelled in red.

You can favorite servers by clicking the star on the left, and there’s a favorites tab where you can view these.

You can also sort servers by ping, though annoyingly you have to disconnect first.

Plus there’s a search bar for quick access.

When you select a server, there’s always a pop-up, forcing you to click twice. Again this is a slightly frustrating UX choice.

You can also select a server ‘as default’, or connect to a custom server.

Connections times were long though, sometimes so long we wondered if the server was working or not. Disconnections were fairly long too.

By default there’s no notification outside the interface, so you have to hang around and wait. Luckily, you can change this in settings.

After a short time of being minimized, the app would disappear from the taskbar and only appear in the system tray. You then have to double-click it to reopen, which I found annoying.

However, one advantage is that there’s a shortcut menu available for quick-access.

There’s a wealth of settings available, offering a high level of control.

There’s a few startup settings, although no option to auto-connect to a favorite.

You can also set up a custom DNS and change your MTU.

You can also control connections to different networks, by labelling new networks as ‘secure’ or ‘insecure’, and controlling how the VPN reacts accordingly.

There’s also split tunneling, a rarity on desktop apps. Helpfully, you can choose whether to exclude selected apps, or only allow certain apps. Most VPNs only offer the exclude option.

Instead of just a simple kill switch on/off button, Hide.me also offers a lot of control.

This includes a whitelist of IPs unaffected by the kill switch, as well as custom scripts to execute when the kill switch is on or off.

There’s also Stealth Guard, which is like a kill switch for apps. You can specify apps to kill if the connection drops, which is perfect for BitTorrent.

You can also choose your protocols, or leave it as automatic. Hide.me seems to like IKEv2.

But of course with Hide.me, there’s more.

You can select the backup protocol it tries, incase your first choice doesn’t work.

You can also set your ports and other options for the different protocols.

You can even log a support ticket in the app, which is very rare, as well as see your log.

The mobile interface (we tested Android) is similar.

However, there was less info on the main screen, and connection times were lightning fast.

The server list is the same, although it always shows ping, which is better.

Settings are also slightly reduced.

Protocols are limited to IKEv2 or OpenVPN, since the others aren’t supported on Android. There’s no further options like fallback protocols.

The kill switch is relegated to an on/off button, and there’s no Stealth Guard.

There’s still control for wifi networks and split tunneling, which is impressive and particularly useful on mobiles.

Usability (Summary)

Hide.me had no Netflix or Hulu access unfortunately. It has great compatibility though, including Android TVs, Firesticks and routers. The apps were attractive with great server lists and an amazing level of control. The Android app had super fast connection times, but the Windows app had very slow connection times.

Pricing & Refunds

Hide.me has both a free and paid version.

However, as usual the free version has data limits; 2GB a month. This is hardly anything if you want to watch videos or Netflix. For light browsing though, it’s completely feasible.

You also only get 4 countries: US, Canada, Netherlands and Singapore.

If you don’t register with your email address, the free version is just 1GB a month.

The paid version has no data limits, 36 countries and 5 connections. There’s 1 month, 1 year and 2 year plans.

However, the prices are extraordinarily expensive across the board, more than both Express and Nord. It’s a staggering $14.95 for 1 month, $9.99 for a year and still $5.41 for 2 years.

It must be the most expensive VPN I’ve come across.

Even their 2 year plan is more expensive than a lot of VPNs 1 year plans.

You can pay via card, Paypal, or crypto.

Though it says Bitcoin, you can actually pay via several cryptocurrencies.

There’s also a nice long 30-day money-back guarantee. This is pretty impressive considering you can already test the service for free.

There doesn’t seem to be any sneaky clauses to this, except you have to order direct from the website, which is standard.

Pricing (Summary)

Hide.me is expensive, probably the most expensive VPN out there. However, you can pay via crypto and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee. There’s also a free version, but it’s limited to 1GB a month and only 4 countries.

Support

Hide.me is a bit sneaky regarding support. They advertise ‘24/7 premium support’.

And they have a live chat icon in the bottom right that appears to always be online.

This lets you fill in an initial form, but if someone’s not there it then just tells you ‘someone will get back to you soon’.

They will then email you a response when someone’s finally available.

It seemed to us support was far from 24/7, since we were only able to speak to live chat once, and email took 12 hours to respond.

Oddly, support staff even seemed to admit it wasn’t 24/7, saying “support agents are located in different time zones, so someone should be available 24/7. If none of the live chat agents are available you will automatically be redirected to the ticketing system.”

Really, they shouldn’t advertise 24/7 assistance if it’s not legit, and should post clear support hours.

What about the quality?

The quality of email support was pretty good. Answers were detailed with useful links and no copy-and-paste responses.

Most of the answers were more than adequate.

However, again there were a couple of inconsistencies between support staff and the website. For example, staff said they couldn’t give us server numbers, whilst this was clearly stated on the website.

The live chat quality seemed worse. First they gave us a link that clearly didn’t answer our question, then they took about 10 minutes to come up with an answer about a basic feature of their VPN.

They clearly knew nothing themselves and had to go check.

The knowledgebase is impressive, however. It’s extensive and well-organised into categories.

They have a great range of manual setup guides for various platforms and protocols. Routers support OpenVPN or PPTP.

Each category shows a subset of the most popular articles, and ‘Apps and Devices’ can be further divided by platform.

They also have some useful troubleshooting advice, unlike a lot of VPNs.

However, it said Netflix works on 2 US servers, which is no longer true.

They also have Community Forums, though they don’t seem very active and staff members don’t seem to be responding.

Support (Summary)

Hide.me claims to have 24/7 email and live chat, but this isn’t the case. Email took 12 hours to respond but the quality was pretty high. The knowledgebase is extensive and well-organised, with great manual setup guides, general info and troubleshooting.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

What does the rest of the internet have to say about Hide.me VPN? Here’s a summary of other reviews.

Most said the server network was fair to large in size. However, a few quoted very low server numbers of 160.

Speeds varied in the extreme. One reviewer got maximum download speeds of the high 20s at most, from a 99mbp default connection. They also said uploads were slow. However, most reported above average to super fast speeds, with one quoting a download average of 64mbps.

All were extremely impressed with Hide.me’s technical security, saying it went the extra mile for things like IP protection and encryption. They were impressed with the variety of protocols on offer, particularly SoftEther which one review said could get past firewalls like China. Unsurprisingly, none found any leaks.

Like us none found any Netflix access, which they were disappointed by.

On the other hand, they were very impressed with torrenting. They pointed out features like Stealth Guard, SOCKS5 and port forwarding were perfect for torrentors.

All liked the no logs policy, saying it was clear and transparent. Many said they only log email address and total data usage One mentioned the clause about connection data, but weren’t concerned since it’s erased every few hours.

One was impressed they’ve been certified by Leon Juranic, whilst another said they should do an independent audit like TunnelBear.

None had the slightest concern about the Malaysia jurisdiction, citing it as a great VPN location.

All really liked the interface, calling it simple and straightforward, and a breeze to change servers. However, one complained there were no ping times on the server list, which must have been updated.

They were extremely impressed with the level of configuration, saying it was better than most other VPNs. However, they said it was suitable for beginner users as well. One praised the support ticket functionality within the app.

Most were disappointed with support, especially considering the price. They said the live chat team couldn’t help with technical issues, and another said they didn’t have good responses. One said they were slow, whilst another said they were able to access live chat instantly.

However, most agreed the knowledgebase was thorough and useful, with many guides and technical fixes.

In terms of price, most agreed it was very expensive. However, one said the 2 year cost was reasonable, and that it might be worth the money considering the power on offer.

For the free plan, one praised the data limit as better than most and liked that there were no ads. However, another thought 2GB was poor. Some stated the refund policy was 14 days with a sneaky 500mb clause, but that’s since changed.

What Do Other Reviewers Say (Summary)

Most rated it good to excellent. They generally liked the technical security, no logs, configurability, device compatibility, and torrenting. They didn’t like the support, lack of streaming, and expensive price.

Our Verdict

Hide.me is one powerful VPN, with an extremely high level of control. It’s also extremely secure technically, with a great no logs policy.

The downsides are there’s no real streaming, connections times were long, and support was slow and not 24/7.

The price is the most expensive I’ve come across. If you’re going to charge this much, you should deliver perfection, including excellent streaming access and 24/7 support.

However, for advanced users and torrentors, it might just be worth it.

You can always try out the free version if you’re curious.

We rate this VPN 4 out of 5 overall.


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