The Hide.me VPN has several things working for it. Chief among these is the company headquarters in Malaysia. Them being located there means that Hide.me is not subject to the jurisdiction of the Five Eyes or even the 14 Eyes agreements. For anyone who is concerned about maintaining privacy online, this is a tremendous perk.
With a home base in Malaysia, the company is not subject to many of the stringent recordkeeping laws that exist in countries like Canada and the U.S. They receive absolution from having to keep extensive archives of data regarding what their customers do online. Consequently, if law enforcement starts demanding information, Hide.me will have little or nothing to give.
Hide.me is a relatively new competitor. It was established in 2012 by a couple of professionals who have backgrounds in IT. Having worked for businesses and governments in various countries, the founders have a solid experience for an understanding of security, privacy and how to maintain both.
Knowing this makes Hide.me’s overall performance more disappointing. It should have been better. Security and encryption practices with this VPN are good, and while Hide.me’s server network is nowhere near the best around, it’s not too shabby either. However, there’s no way to overcome the too-slow data transfer rates with this service.
Security and Encryption
As any respectable VPN should, Hide.me makes the OpenVPN tunneling protocol available. There are many ways to create a tunnel between a user’s computer and the Internet. Some of these methods are better and more reliable than others. Currently, OpenVPN is considered the best available protocol.
One of the reasons for this distinction is that it uses AES 256-bit encryption that has never been compromised and which experts believe will not be hacked for a few billion years. Moreover, OpenVPN is open source software. It means that developers around the world have a hand in testing it for vulnerabilities and making it un-hackable.
In addition, Hide.me’s users may use the IKEv2 or SoftEther protocols. IKEv2 is nearly as indestructible as OpenVPN, making it a reliable choice. SoftEther isn’t available on many VPNs, so it’s a nice touch to see it here, especially since it may make it more difficult for outsiders to track a user’s web traffic.
Hide.me also allows users to select the older SSTP and PPTP tunneling protocols. In general, these are no longer considered secure, and they should be avoided.
Like many of the most highly recommended VPNs, Hide.me is equipped with a kill switch. As soon as the VPN unexpectedly becomes unavailable, it ends your browsing session. This protects you from exposure when you are online.
How Many Servers Does Hide.me Have?
Comparing Hide.me to other, higher profile VPN providers shows that their server network is lacking. They have a presence in more than 30 countries, and excess of 150 servers. That makes their system bigger than some competitors, but it’s nowhere near being able to compete with the big players that have multiple thousands of servers located in nearly every country.
Is this a problem?
If you’re located close to one of Hide.me’s servers, then it may not be. However, it’s vital to be aware that when a VPN has a limited number of servers, then an excessive number of users is being crowded into the same space. This means that bandwidth is limited, and that means slower data transfer rates.
Additionally, because Hide.me only has servers in about 30 countries, the chances are that you won’t find a server that’s close to home. The farther away your computer is from the VPN’s server, the slower your data transfer rates will be. If you travel frequently, then the problems will only multiply. Does Hide.me have server coverage in the places which you typically visit? If not, then this can mean that you either won’t be able to connect to your VPN or that the transfer rates will be so incredibly slow that it’s not worth trying.
The people behind Hide.me have made an effort to ensure geographic diversity with their servers. In North America, you’ll find six servers divided between Canada and the U.S. Mexico and Brazil get one server each. Europe and the U.K. are well covered, and there are even servers in Iceland and Morocco. In the Asian region, servers are found in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and India. Sydney, Australia has a server as well.
Can You Use BitTorrent or P2P with Hide.me?
Hide.me offers dedicated servers for using BitTorrent or for P2P activities. That means that to take advantage of torrenting, you have to be able to establish a quick connection with one of these servers.
This VPN does have a specialized proxy that is set up for P2P connections. An unencrypted SOCKS5 proxy, you need to use this with the VPN so that no one can look over your shoulder while you’re sharing files.
If you’re looking for a VPN that makes it possible to stream Netflix, then you should look elsewhere. Hide.me doesn’t offer any specialized servers for streaming Netflix, and attempting to do so while this VPN is operational doesn’t work. Netflix has made no secret of their dislike of people using VPNs to watch geo-restricted programming. They’ve gotten good at detecting who’s using a VPN, and Hide.me isn’t able to fool them.
How Fast Is Hide.me?
Most people have gotten comfortable with incredibly fast Internet load times in recent years. Having to wait even a few additional seconds for a website to load is frustrating.
Most experts agree that using a VPN is going to slow down your data transfer rate. However, VPNs that have a sterling reputation will mean a far less noticeable slowdown. Even though your web traffic is still having to be routed farther away and jump through additional hoops, these VPNs have powerful server networks that can make this happen with barely a hiccup.
Unfortunately, Hide.me does not have one of those networks. They did not perform particularly well in speed tests. Even the relatively close server in New York clocked in at a download speed of just 17.17 Mbps with the upload speed being 10.10 Mbps.
Surprisingly, the speed improved when connecting to a server in Amsterdam. The download rate of 27.60 Mbps was better, as was the upload rate of 19.92 Mbps. Nonetheless, compared to the bigger competitors in the field, Hide.me comes up short.
The results using a server in London were similar to those with the server in Amsterdam. A download rate of 28.69 Mbps and an upload rate of 20.41 Mbps aren’t likely to convince a skeptic to make the switch to Hide.me.
Connecting to a server in Hong Kong predictably slowed down the data transfer rate even more. Downloads at 11.71 Mbps and uploads at 3.19 Mbps aren’t going to win any awards for this VPN.
What Is Hide.Me’s Logging Policy?
Hide.Me is headquartered in Malaysia. As a result, they are not required by local law to keep copious records. This means that when Hide.Me claims that they do not keep logs, you can trust them. With people around the world spending their online time in a variety of ways, this level of protection is more crucial than ever before.
Most people say that what they are doing online is of no interest to anyone else. Moreover, because they are not doing anything wrong, they don’t see any particular problem with an ISP or a VPN tracking their online activity.
If those people gave it some thought, they would probably agree that it is better if no one else is looking over their shoulder when they check their bank account statement or do a little online shopping. They’d also prefer it if no one were snooping on their private social media activity. That’s why a VPN is indispensable these days.
Hide.me goes the extra mile when it comes to reassuring customers that they don’t keep logs. They have been certified by an independent security firm, which can attest that this VPN genuinely does not keep records.
How Much Does Hide.me Cost?
Customers who choose the free option are limited to three servers, connecting one device at a time and a two-gigabyte data cap.
Opting for the Plus plan costs $4.99 per month, but a data cap restriction of 75 GB and single device connectivity still are in place. For $9.99 per month, you can get the Premium plan. This plan has no data cap, and users can connect five devices at once.
Is Hide.me Recommended as a VPN?
There are worse VPN providers out there, but there are far better ones too. Slow transfer rates on Hide.me make other VPNs far more attractive.