hide.me VPN fast facts
Our rating: 4.0 stars out of 5
hide.me VPN is a Malaysian-based VPN service, offering a generous free version with unlimited data and affordable premium plans. It’s available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, Android and iOS, to name a few.
While hide.me can be a good choice for users on a budget, it may not be the best for users needing an extensive server network. Its server fleet only has around 2,300 servers across 85 locations, compared to other VPNs that usually provide 3,000+ servers.
Continue reading to explore hide.me VPN’s, pricing, features and performance based on our hands-on review.
hide.me VPN pricing
hide.me has monthly, three-month and 17-month premium plans. It also has a free version, which is different from a free trial; we’ll dive more into that later.
Across the board, hide.me offers very affordable pricing for its premium plans compared to other VPN providers with annual plans averaging around $4 to $5.
hide.me’s 27-month subscription priced at $2.22 per month is a great option for those on a budget. And, the additional three months free, in what would have been a two-year subscription tier, makes hide.me an even better deal compared to other VPNs.
hide.me’s monthly subscription priced at $9.95 is also well-below industry average, as other VPN providers charge around $12 for a monthly plan. All three hide.me premium tiers also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Before making a decision, I would recommend using hide.me’s free version or purchasing the six-month subscription and using the 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.
hide.me free version
hide.me offers a full version of its VPN for free (Figure A). While most free VPNs have a monthly data cap, hide.me’s free version offers unlimited data to its users and possesses the same security protocols and encryption as the premium version.
However, there are limitations. The free version runs at a slower speed compared to the premium version, and it only allows for one connection and access to eight locations compared to the 10 connections and 85 locations available with the premium plan.
The eight available server locations are Germany, France, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, United States (East), United States (West) and Singapore. Per my testing, users aren’t able to choose which free server to connect to as hide.me automatically chooses the server closest to your location. So if you plan to use the free version to unblock content in a specific location, you may have trouble doing so with the free version.
While these are sizable limitations, having unlimited data on a free version is still a huge advantage.
Let’s explore additional pros and cons of hide.me VPN.
hide.me VPN pros
- Free version with unlimited data.
- 10 simultaneous device connections.
- Very affordable pricing.
- Customizable app experience.
- Company has a clean privacy reputation.
hide.me VPN cons
- 2,300 server network is lower than average.
- Free version offers slow speeds.
- Desktop app looks dated.
Security: Is hide.me VPN safe?
hide.me comes with the requisite security protocols we want in a modern VPN. It has OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2 IPsec and even SSTP and SoftEther. hide.me also includes AES-256 encryption, a built-in kill switch and DNS leak protection.
hide me has a no-logs policy, which states that they don’t collect personal data or monitor or log browsing behavior from its users. The VPN provider also states that all its usage data is completely anonymous.
The most recent independent audit for hide.me VPN was conducted by DefenseCode Ltd. in 2015. Most VPN providers have more up-to-date audits; for example, ExpressVPN had 12 independent audits in 2022 alone.
Despite the outdated audit, hide.me provides a publicly accessible Transparency Report (2022) that covers illegal activity usage, copyright data and law enforcement requests received by the VPN. This shows that hide.me is committed to upholding transparency and trust with its users.
hide.me is based in Malaysia and isn’t obligated to store logs by local laws — a plus for privacy enthusiasts concerned about government surveillance.
Except for needing a more recent independent audit, hide.me hits all the marks needed to be considered a safe and secure VPN service to use in 2023.
Key features of hide.me VPN
hide.me comes with a split tunneling feature (Figure B) that allows you to select which apps you want connected to the protected VPN connection and which ones you want routed to your regular connection. This is useful because not all applications need a VPN’s secure connection but would benefit from a faster connection, given that VPNs usually have lower internet speeds.
In my testing, split tunneling on hide.me performed well; it was able to route my Microsoft Edge browser to my internet service provider (ISP) and connect my work browser to the VPN.
Split tunneling can be valuable for remote employees, allowing them to route work applications, such as Slack, to the secured VPN connection, and have less important applications that might need more speed — such as a music-streaming service — running on their local network.
It’s important to note that you have to restart your connection after enabling the split tunneling feature for it to work (Figure C).
The app prompted me to restart my connection when I switched over to the enable/disable VPN section. I wished this was displayed from the split tunneling menu itself.
StealthGuard is a unique feature to hide.me (Figure D). It acts as a kill switch but is configurable to certain applications.
Similarly to a kill switch, StealthGuard automatically blocks any connection that’s not protected via the VPN. However, what differentiates StealthGuard from a kill switch is the ability to select which apps you want to run through the protected VPN connection.
For example, let’s say you want your work browser to be connected only through hide.me’s VPN. Through StealthGuard, your work browser won’t connect to the internet if it’s not through hide.me’s secured connection, reducing the risk of a possible leak.
You can also set StealthGuard to “Bind Internet to VPN,” which restricts your entire internet use to only work via hide.me.
10 device connections
hide.me allows for 10 simultaneous device connections with a premium VPN plan; the industry standard ranges from 5 to 7 device connections.
Even popular options such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN only allow six and eight connections, respectively. If you plan on protecting multiple devices with a VPN, hide.me’s 10 simultaneous connections gives you that option.
Performance: How fast is hide.me VPN?
As a disclaimer, I was only able to test hide.me’s free version for this review. Therefore, my hands-on assessment of hide.me VPN’s performance is limited to that version.
Throughout my use, hide.me VPN’s free version gave slow speeds that translated into web pages taking a while to load. YouTube and other social media platforms were slow to populate text and thumbnails, and there were a few instances when sites wouldn’t open at all — likely due to the free version being restricted to lower speeds compared to hide.me VPN’s premium plan.
hide.me free’s speed results displayed an 88.76% drop in downloads and a 98.71% drop in uploads. If you’re looking for a free VPN with faster speeds, Proton VPN’s free version offers faster speeds. You can check out our Proton VPN review here.
According to user reviews, hide.me’s premium plan can provide fast speeds — albeit inconsistently.
In terms of DNS leaks, I ran hide.me multiple times through a public DNS leak tool and recorded zero leaks.
hide.me VPN servers and locations
hide.me VPN grants you access to around 2,300 servers spread across 85 locations worldwide — lower than the industry average of around 4,000 servers. If you prefer a large server suite, hide.me may not be the best choice. Providers such as CyberGhost VPN or Private Internet Access both offer larger server suites.
hide.me VPN categorizes servers into Standard or Streaming, giving users who plan to watch content easy access to servers optimized for streaming (Figure E).
hide.me also has a multihop feature that allows you to pick an entry and exit server, making it even more difficult for bad actors to get a hold of your data or location.
hide.me app experience
hide.me VPN’s Windows application has a straightforward interface (Figure F) that’s easy to understand. Design-wise, however, it does look a bit dated compared to the competition. If you want a more modern-looking VPN, ExpressVPN has one of the best interfaces.
I also commend hide.me for bringing a ton of customization options to its users (Figure G). You can customize how hide.me launches on startup or have different configurations per security protocol.
If you’re the type of user who wants flexibility in personalizing each aspect of your VPN, hide.me’s desktop app will be a good pick.
Is hide.me VPN worth it?
hide.me VPN is worth a try if you’re looking for an affordable VPN or want a full-fledged free VPN with unlimited data. It’s also a good choice if you value having a customizable desktop application.
However, if you’re looking for an extensive server network, fast speeds or a more modern-looking interface, other providers such as CyberGhost VPN, ExpressVPN and NordVPN are likely better options
Alternatives to hide.me VPN
CyberGhost VPN is one of the best VPNs when it comes to having an extensive server suite. It comes with 9,370+ servers across 100 countries. It also offers specialized servers for streaming, torrenting and gaming. In our full review, it received a rating of 4.3 stars out of 5.
For users that prioritize having a well-designed desktop application, ExpressVPN should be a top consideration. Its app interface is clean and easy on the eyes, on top of being a well-performing VPN. It has servers spread across 94 countries and received 4.4 out of 5 stars in our full review.
NordVPN has built an impressive reputation of being one of the fastest VPNs available. It has tons of security features such as an encrypted file-sharing system and built-in protection against malware and ads. It’s one of our top VPN picks and received a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars in our full review.
My review of hide.me VPN involved a detailed analysis of its features, price and real-world performance. I had hands-on experience with hide.me’s free VPN and supplemented my findings with user testimonials and reputable reviews.
I rated hide.me VPN on everything from its protocols to its pricing based on an internal algorithm to get a rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars. The scoring was based both on hide.me VPN on its own and in relation to other available VPN services.