hide.me VPN Review 2024: Can the Independent Challenger Take on the Big Players?

hide.me is affordable, fast, and secure. What’s not to like?
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3.6
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On hide.me's website

VPN
hide.me
  • Reasonable pricing, plus generous free tier
  • Independently reviewed no-logs policy
  • Connecting to a server takes forever

hide.me is a solid virtual private network (VPN) with good pricing, a decent server selection, and an excellent privacy policy. It’s got the features you’d expect from a premium VPN, like a kill switch and split tunneling, and their no logs policy passed an independent audit.

Unfortunately, there were some issues that stopped it from being one of the best VPNs around, such as long and glitchy server connection times and slow speeds.

Here's our full review of hide.me, including hands-on testing and an overview of all its features.

Pros
  • Decent server selection
  • Reasonable pricing, plus generous free tier
  • Independently reviewed no-logs policy
  • Responsive customer service
Cons
  • Fewer servers and server locations than many competitors
  • The best prices require a long commitment
In this article
Review at a glance
Our experience
Who is it best for?
Prices and subscriptions
Features
Test results
Compatibility
Customer support
Alternatives
FAQs
Bottom line

hide.me review at a glance

Price $2.59-$9.95/mo
Free version Yes
Max # of connected devices 10
# of servers 2,600 servers in 90 locations
VPN protocol WireGuard, IKEv2, SSTP, OpenVPN, SoftEther
No-logs policy No logs
Headquarters Labuan, Malaysia
Netflix access Yes
Learn more Get hide.me

How we test and rate VPNs

We complete standardized hands-on tests for each VPN we review so we can put their claims to the test. This includes vigorous third-party testing by comparing our internet speed while connected to different servers, checking for DNS leaks, making sure the kill switch actually works, and more. We also make sure we can comfortably access popular streaming sites, like Netflix, and still do our day-to-day work without interruption.

Once we’ve completed the testing, our editorial rating is calculated by taking into account key features you’d expect from a good product. We score each VPN in the following categories and use a weighted average to calculate the final rating out of 5 stars: price, server count, speed, security, and features.

Our experience

Testing hide.me was kind of a mixed bag. It's an impressive VPN with lots to like, including a lot of advanced options to customize your experience, an audited no logs policy, and good UI.

hide.me's home page

But once we started using the VPN, a major issue came up: it takes a good 90 seconds to connect to a server, and during this time, our computer would be nearly unusable. Our Spotify music would start glitching, our internet would turn off, and our taskbar even crashed at some point.

Now this is a huge issue for us because we were testing a lot of different servers. If you're the type of person that doesn't change your location very often, it may not bother you as much.

Looking past this glaring issue, we did like the layout of the app. They recommend servers based on nearest location, lowest ping, or ones that are optimized for streaming, and even allow you to easily set up multi-hop access.

hide.me server list

You also get some of the most advanced settings options we've seen, like custom DNS servers, ports, and even scripts for your kill switch.

hide.me kill switch advanced settings

Overall, the VPN has potential if they fix the server connection issues. The speed left a little to be desired too, but not the worst we've seen by far. If you're super techy and love the extra customization options, this may be a gem for you.

Who is hide.me best for?

  • Recommended for highly technical users who love to customize their VPN settings.

hide.me is a fantastic VPN provider for users that want high customization, strong privacy, and solid performance at an excellent price.

The service has a lot going for it: plenty of servers to choose from, good streaming support, an easy-to-use app, an independently verified no-logs policy, and a headquarters in a privacy-friendly country (Malaysia).

hide.me prices and subscriptions

hide.me offers two plans: Free and Premium. The free plan is completely free, albeit limited in features and bandwidth allowance. It’s a good option to try out the VPN, although there’s also a money-back guarantee on the Premium plan.

The Premium plan ranges from $2.59-$9.95/mo and unlocks all the features of the service. You can purchase the plan for different terms, with the only differences being price and commitment length. The longer you’re willing to commit, the cheaper the monthly price, with each term increase roughly halving the cost.

Compared to competing VPNs, the prices themselves are quite good, especially if you opt for the 27-month plan. That $2.59/mo (billed every 27 months) price puts it right in line with the most affordable options on the market, such as CyberGhost ($2.03/mo (billed every two years)) and Surfshark ($2.19/mo (billed biannually)).

As such, hide.me is a great choice if you’re looking to save money on a VPN. Just note that you will have to commit to longer-term subscriptions if you want to save the most.

Plan 1 Month 12 Months 27 Months
Best Value
Price per month $9.95/mo $3.75/mo (billed annually) $2.59/mo (billed every 27 months)
Price per year $119.40/yr $45/yr $69.95/every 27 months

hide.me offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on its paid plans, so you can try them risk-free.

hide.me free plan comparison

Features Free Premium
Number of device connections 1 10
Number of server locations 8 90
Unlimited data No  — 10GB/mo
No-logs policy
Kill switch
Split tunneling
Multi-hop
Fixed IP address
Streaming support
Dynamic port forwarding

Payment options

hide.me accepts the following payment methods:

  • Credit cards
  • PayPal
  • SEPA
  • SOFORT
  • Mobile payment systems (Apple Pay and Google Pay)
  • Cryptocurrencies (bitcoin, litecoin, dogecoin, ether, etc.)
  • Wire transfer

So, hide.me offers multiple ways for you to purchase your subscription and protect your privacy while doing it.

hide.me features

hide.me offers all the security features you’d expect from a premium VPN: a wide selection of servers and server locations, a strict no-logs policy, and tools like a kill switch, split tunneling, and multi-hop.

Server count and countries

  • 2,600 servers in 90 locations

hide.me offers a choice of 2,600 different servers in 90 locations spread across about 6 continents. Although the total is less than some competitors, we found the spread of locations and countries to be solid, especially in the U.S.

hide.me VPN server locations in the U.S.

Server count is important for a couple of reasons: First, the more servers there are, the less downtime a VPN is likely to experience. Second, more servers mean more flexibility in where you route your signal, potentially enhancing privacy. Finally, more servers can impact performance — the further away servers are from the destination, the slower the VPN connection.

No-logs policy and headquarters

  • hide.me logs policy: No logs
  • hide.me headquarters: Labuan, Malaysia

hide.me has a strict no-logs policy, which means it keeps no records of your activity on its servers, at least beyond the bare minimum that’s necessary to operate the service. Additionally, the headquarters is located in Labuan, Malaysia, a location that hide.me says was deliberately chosen for its privacy laws. As such, the company is not required by the government to store any information or to provide any information to the government.

Malaysia is also not part of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes alliances, which are groups of countries that share intelligence data with each other. This means that even if Malaysia does somehow get ahold of data, it’s under no obligation to share it with any other countries.

All this adds up to a fairly robust VPN from a privacy perspective. This bears out in the independent audit conducted by Leon Juranic of DefenseCode, Ltd. Independent audits are a fantastic way for VPNs to show that they mean what they say, so hide.me gets major bonus points for having one done.

Kill switch

hide.me offers a kill switch — a useful feature that restricts your network activity if your VPN drops its connection. This is important to prevent leaking your identity online. If the VPN loses connection and you don’t realize it, continued browsing could reveal personal information such as your IP address and location.

If you’re concerned about privacy, this feature is vital. Say you’re browsing the web and you don’t want sites or companies tracking your history. A VPN will help keep that information private, but if it drops for even a moment, all your data gets released to the internet trackers.

The hide.me kill switch can be enabled in the app’s settings with a simple toggle. Once turned on, it’ll cut your connection if the VPN drops and automatically restore it when the VPN reconnects.

hide.me VPN kill switch options

Split tunneling

hide.me does offer split tunneling, a feature that routes some of your traffic through the VPN and some through your “regular” connection. You can choose which devices or apps go through which tunnel.

This is a useful feature if you need only some of your traffic to be private because you can still get the benefits of being on your local network, such as faster speeds or access to local devices. For example, you might use the VPN to do your shopping but stream over a regular connection.

You can find hide.me's split tunneling feature in the Features section in the menu.

hide.me VPN split tunnel

Encryption

hide.me supports the AES-256 encryption protocol, which is used by banks and governments, so it is very secure. We generally consider this to be the industry standard.

The protocol helps ensure your data is as secure as possible. The encryption level may depend on which protocol you're using, but you can always verify your encryption level by hovering over the information icon when connected to a server.

hide.me VPN's server information hover

VPN protocol

As far as VPN protocols, hide.me offers all of the most common options and then some:

  • WireGuard
  • IKEv2
  • SSTP
  • OpenVPN
  • SoftEther 

Although not every VPN protocol works on all operating systems, there are offerings suitable for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.

You can choose which protocol your connection is using in the settings tab.

hide.me VPN protocol options

Multi-hop

Multi-hop is a customizable double VPN feature that enables you to select an entry and exit server. Your connection will then pass through both servers, giving you an additional layer of protection.

The company says this was developed because its connections were being blocked in certain locations. It also claims multi-hop can increase performance in some situations, such as gaming, presumably by reducing latency.

You can set up your multi-hop preferences in the server tab on the app.

hide.me-multihop-connections

SmartGuard

SmartGuard is a feature that uses DNS filtering to block ads, website trackers, and malicious sites. It functions essentially like an ad blocker in your browser but across your entire network. You can also get some level of parental control by blocking unsafe sites.

It’s also highly customizable — the controls can be accessed from the settings pane in the hide.me VPN app.

hide.me SmartGuard settings

While a nice feature to have, DNS ad blockers do have some limitations. They cast a much larger net than browser-based ad blockers, so more things are likely to filter through. Mainly they don't work on YouTube and other more complex ads.

hide.me test results

We use standard tests available online to ensure the VPNs are working as expected. In our speed, streaming, and leak tests, hide.me performed decently, though there were some issues.

Speed tests

  • Speed test results: Pass

We run basic speed tests on all the VPNs we review. Due to their nature, VPNs are going to impact speeds — typically for the worse. After all, the service is adding stops along your signal’s path to the destination. However, some VPNs impact performance more than others, and that’s what we’re looking for here.

On average, hide.me decreased our download speed by 56%. Now that may seem like a lot, but it's actually pretty on par with what we see with VPNs. 

In terms of actual performance, everything felt fine, and we feel comfortable recommending hide.me on the basis of performance. 

Tests were performed on a Windows laptop from a physical location in Canada.

hide.me speed test results

Test type No VPN Canada to Canada Canada to U.S. Canada to EU Canada to AU
Download speed 211.44 Mbps 114.89 Mbps 101.86 Mbps 76.23 Mbps 79.19 Mbps
Upload speed 54.64 Mbps 35.33 Mbps 50.71 Mbps 24.82 Mbps 27.75 Mbps
Latency (ping) 25 ms 36 ms 32 ms 93 ms 253 ms
Download speed % difference N/A -46% -52% -64% -63%
Upload speed % difference N/A -35% -7% -55% -49%
Latency % difference N/A 44% 28% 272% 912%

Test results as of 06/06/2024.

hide.me Netflix tests

  • Netflix test results: Pass

If you’re hoping to watch Netflix with hide.me, you’re in luck. We were able to get access to American and U.K. Netflix while using connected to a hide.me server with no problems.

hide.me VPN accessing U.S. Netflix

hide.me VPN accessing U.K. Netflix

Unfortunately, both Canada and Australia detected we were using a proxy and blocked us. We have this happen all the time with Australian servers so it wasn't a surprise there, but it's very rare we're blocked from Canadian Netflix.

hide.me VPN blocked from Canadian Netflix

A nice touch is hide.me provides servers that are optimized for streaming by country. Unfortunately, they still didn't help our Australia and Canada problem.

hide.me VPN servers optimized for streaming

Canada to U.S. Canada to U.K. Canada to Canada Canada to AU
Did it work with Netflix?

Test results as of 06/06/2024.

DNS and WebRTC leak tests

  • DNS leak test results: Pass
  • WebRTC leak test results: Pass

We conduct Domain Name System (DNS) and WebRTC leak tests to verify that a VPN is actually doing the thing it’s supposed to do — keep your personally identifiable information private. These tests help verify that no info is being leaked by the VPN as you browse.

hide.me passed both of the tests we performed, successfully masking our IP address, location, and internet service provider (ISP). All we were able to see was information associated with the VPN server we were connected to, which is the expected behavior. You can count on hide.me to provide both DNS and WebRTC leak protection.

hide.me WebRTC leak test results.

hide.me DNS leak test results.

Kill switch test

  • Kill switch test result: Fail

To test kill switch functionality, we open up IPleak.net and let it run while we switch servers. If our real IP shows up in between the old and new server, then the kill switch isn't working.

When doing this test with hide.me, our real IP did show up (even though it took a couple minutes to switch servers). We switched from a U.K. server to a Canadian one in British Columbia. Our real IP in New Brunswick did show up in between, as well as a Quebec one for some reason.

hide.me VPN kill switch test results

That said, we did get a notification that they had stopped our internet traffic.

hide.me VPN's connection dropped

We also do see our internet go down while trying to connect to hide.me servers, but this happens with the kill switch off too, so we believe this is more of a bug than a feature.

hide.me compatibility

hide.me offers compatibility with a wide range of devices — all the expected options are there for operating systems and mobile devices:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Wireless routers

This helps ensure that you always have a secure connection regardless of the device you happen to be using, which is really convenient in today’s multi-device world. hide.me also allows for 10 simultaneous connections, so depending on the size of your household, a good amount of your devices will be connected.

hide.me customer support

hide.me offers a variety of ways to get in touch with them if you need support. There are options for live chat, opening a support ticket, or getting community support from other users. There’s also an extensive knowledge base with tons of articles that walk you through setting up and using the VPN.

Overall, we’re happy with the level of support offered here. It’s worth noting that there is no telephone option available, which may be an issue for some.

Online guides

There are plenty of online guides available for support, including:

  • Full setup guides tailored to your system
  • FAQs
  • Video guides

Honestly, this is one of the better knowledge bases we've seen, which is improved by the inclusion of a forum to interact with the community.

Live chat

We tried the live chat option, which can be found in the bottom right corner of most pages on the website. We were connected to a representative almost immediately, and it appeared to be a real person and not a chatbot.

We asked for clarification about the level of encryption offered by hide.me, and the agent pointed us to an article we had already read.

hide.me VPN's live chat

Obviously this wasn't the most helpful interaction, but at least we were connected quickly. More simple conversations like billing issues may go better.

Tickets

You can also submit tickets to the support team via the help page or directly through the app.

Since they claim to offer 24/7 customer service, these tickets should be answered fairly reliably.

hide.me ticket

Top alternatives

If hide.me isn't ticking off all your boxes just yet, check out some of the highest rated VPNs available:

Price $3.99–$15.99/mo $2.19–$17.95/mo $2.03–$12.99/mo
Free version
Max # of connected devices 10 Unlimited 7
# of servers 6,300+ servers in 111 countries 3,200 in 100 countries Servers in 100 countries
VPN protocol NordLynx (WireGuard), OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2 Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2
Encryption AES 256-bit AES 256-bit AES 256-bit
No-logs policy No logs No logs No logs
Headquarters Panama The Netherlands Romania
Netflix access
Learn more Get NordVPN Get Surfshark Get CyberGhost

hide.me FAQs


+

Is hide.me safe?

Yes, hide.me is safe to use. The company is reputable, it’s headquartered in a neutral location that isn’t part of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes alliances, and it has a strict no-logs policy that’s been independently audited.


+

Does hide.me VPN sell data?

No, hide.me does not sell your data. The company makes money from paid subscribers, so there’s not much incentive for them to alienate potential upgraders with shady business practices. These types of things are more common in VPNs that don’t have any other way to monetize their services.

Additionally, hide.me has a strict no-logs policy. This means there wouldn’t really be anything to sell, even if the company wanted to.


+

Is hide.me VPN completely free?

Yes, the hide.me free plan is actually free. In fact, we’d say it’s among the best free VPNs due to the focus on privacy.

Of course, there are some limitations on it that are designed to encourage you to upgrade: the free plan has a 10GB data limit each month, is limited to only one device at a time, and lacks most of the more advanced features (like multi-hop). However, if you just need to do some occasional private browsing, it’ll work just fine.

Bottom line: Is hide.me good?

As a security and privacy product, hide.me seem to check all the boxes: price, privacy, performance, and features. The fact that it’s independently owned is an additional bonus — when it comes to privacy, we just feel better about a company that’s not owned by a mega-conglomerate.

That said, the amount of time it took to connect to a server was frustrating, and we didn't get the best speed results we've ever seen. We also ran into a few small hiccups with streaming, where Netflix detected our VPN use and gave us the boot.

If you're looking for an all-rounder, check out our list of the best VPNs available.

3.6
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On hide.me's website
VPN
hide.me
  • Reasonable pricing, plus generous free tier
  • Independently reviewed no-logs policy
  • Connecting to a server takes forever
Author Details
Dave Schafer is a professional writer with a decade of experience specializing in cybersecurity. His expertise spans gadgets, technology, and the internet, with a focus on topics such as routers, hardware, and VPN product comparisons.
Kalleigh Lane is a passionate digital security advocate and the Lead Editor at All About Cookies. After completing her Master of Arts in English Literature, Kalleigh has gained over 5 years of editing and writing experience in the fields of cybersecurity, tech, and finance. She has been featured in major media outlets such as The Globe and Mail and CTV News, emerging as an advocate for digital security.