Hide.me VPN, hands on: Privacy-first, with good free-tier features Review

For lots of folks performing from household, VPN connections are a source of irritation mainly because except they have been set up with split tunnelling to separate website traffic that requires to be on the corporate network from standard website browsing, there’s rarely sufficient bandwidth to go close to. But specific customers are applying VPNs to keep their IP tackle non-public or get an IP tackle that will make them look like they are connecting from a diverse region to entry area-locked content material. Hide.me majors on the privacy facet — together with protecting your privacy from the VPN support by itself, which can see a lot of info about what VPN customers do on the web.

The business is based mostly in Malaysia, a region that is not section of the various intergovernmental internet info-sharing networks. Malaysia has no facts retention rules to undermine Hide.me’s plan of not holding logs of your VPN activity (connection logs, periods, browsing behaviour, which web sites you go to or the timestamps of which IP tackle was assigned to you and when), whilst neither does the US. Hide.me features an audit from a VPN stability analyst to back again up the promise not to keep logs. You can pay back for the top quality support applying cryptocurrency, if you imagine it provides you additional anonymity.


Hide.me has a awesome crystal clear interface for its variety of choices.

Graphic: Mary Branscombe/ZDNet

There are Hide.me shoppers for Windows, Mac, Linux and an unusually vast variety of smartphones together with BlackBerry (the Windows Cellular phone model is nevertheless detailed but just isn’t available on the Shop), moreover Amazon Hearth OS equipment. You can also set it up directly on your router if you want all your connections guarded, but that is almost certainly going to be also slow to be sensible for most customers. There are also extensions for Chrome and Firefox that alter your IP tackle but do not encrypt website traffic.


Hide.me supports the critical protocols, but not legacy protocols that could go away you significantly less secure, moreover the strange SoftEtherVPN.

Graphic: Mary Branscombe/ZDNet  

The Hide.me consumer supports OpenVPN, the newer IKEv2 and (added this year) WireGuard protocols, the more mature SSTP protocol and SoftEtherVPN — a newer protocol that is not pretty popular and so may well be significantly less probably to be detected and blocked. Support for the more mature L2TP/IPSEC and PPTP protocols was in previous shoppers for connecting to legacy methods, but they are significantly less secure and have now been dropped from the Hide.me consumer. The default environment will routinely decide on the greatest supported protocol for a connection, but you can relegate protocols you would choose not to use to the fallback checklist skilled customers can also tweak some superior settings for IKEv2, OpenVPN and SoftEtherVPN.

Hide.me has servers in a vast variety of destinations, but would not have as lots of as some VPN solutions (1,seven-hundred at present, in contrast to larger solutions with three,000+ servers). Having said that, that is significantly less important if it has servers in the right spot for you, and they are focused somewhat than virtual servers so you can be self-confident they are in the region they declare to be in.

As with any VPN, the velocity and latency you get are probably to be even worse than your ordinary internet connection, and also extra variable. Analyzed on a business VDSL connection that generally receives sixty+Mbps obtain and 12Mbps add with latency in between fifteen and 30 milliseconds, the advised greatest connection gave us an IP tackle in Amsterdam. More than quite a few diverse connections at diverse moments of working day (mainly because congestion will have an effects), the latency to Amsterdam stayed in between 20 and 40ms but the obtain bandwidth various in between 10Mbps and 60Mbps (that is, from significantly slower to pretty significantly the exact), whilst the add velocity rarely rose above 2Mbps. US VPN connections had been significantly slower: transatlantic latency of a hundred and fifty-160ms is to be expected, but bandwidth was generally 3Mbps or lower, with add speeds from .five to 2.4Mbps, based on the metropolis we picked.

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As VPN speeds go, this is a bit above average, but Hide.me just isn’t the fastest option: the free of charge Windscribe VPN managed US obtain and add speeds of 4Mbps (and in some cases bigger) and the fastest VPN solutions like ExpressVPN, Surfshark or NordVPN handily conquer that.

Right until now, Hide.me has not been in a position to bypass Netflix’s geoblocking (Netflix blocks VPNs pretty aggressively), but the support is just launching US streaming guidance that it says will protect Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Primary, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, HBO Now and very similar solutions. This implies that when you can vacation again, you may have a superior opportunity of getting in a position to take pleasure in your subscriptions.

SEE: VPN: Buying a provider and troubleshooting strategies (free of charge PDF) (TechRepublic)

If you’re applying P2P solutions to share or obtain substantial files, applying a SOCKS proxy will typically give you superior throughput if you pay back for the support, Hide.me has SOCKS integration in the VPN consumer, which is extra convenient than loading up a separate instrument.

Like lots of VPN instruments, Hide.me has a environment to perform as a firewall, disabling your connectivity except the VPN is functioning — that is handy so you do not briefly connect with out the VPN if your connection drops and arrives back again up, disclosing your genuine IP tackle. But you get extra control over that than with lots of other VPN instruments: if you turn on autoconnect, you can decide on what occurs on diverse network connections and whether or not they routinely use the VPN when they connect. You can also set personalized scripts to operate (as the latest person or as admin) when the connection drops or when the VPN reconnects.


A beneficial interface for environment up split tunnelling allows you both decide on the applications you do want to use the VPN connection with or exclude the types that do not perform on a VPN.

Graphic: Mary Branscombe / ZDNet

Break up tunnelling is popular for nicely-configured corporate VPNs, but rarer for customer VPNs. Below it allows you decide on which programs use the VPN, both by blocking programs where you do not want a diverse IP tackle, or applications that will not likely perform on a VPN, or by choosing specific applications that you do want to use over a VPN connection. This permits you to exclude solutions like Windows Update that could quickly chew as a result of your monthly bandwidth allowance. If there are applications that you do not want to use at all if you’re not related by VPN, Stealth Guard is a a bit foolish name for a valuable option: assign an app to this manner and it will not likely use any connection except the VPN, so if you have not turned Hide.me on, the app will not likely connect.

Handily, the technique tray icon for the Windows consumer has extra choices than normal: you can decide on the server to connect to, together with types you’ve got marked as favourites, or turn Stealth Guard on and off from right here. We also like the convenient way you can generate a guidance ticket, together with diagnostic logs, from within the consumer.

SEE: Linux’s WireGuard VPN is right here and prepared to protect you

Hide.me does a pretty fantastic task of protecting your IP tackle, together with from your possess carelessness. It is quick to forget about to turn on your VPN each time, and law enforcement organizations have tracked down a wide variety of suspects mainly because they forgot to do that in advance of connecting to a delicate support. The extra superior choices are clearly stated even for beginner customers, so you do not have to be an skilled to set up split tunnelling.

But those strange choices get somewhat lost in the enthusiastic marketing of pretty popular VPN characteristics like changing your IP tackle and applying AES-265. And whilst the selling price has dropped a short while ago, €12,ninety nine/$twelve.95 a month (or €4,ninety nine/$four.ninety nine to €8,33/$8.32 if you dedicate to a single- or two-year strategies) is on the steep aspect in contrast to other VPNs with very similar characteristics, which can be half the selling price if you pay back yearly. You do get unlimited bandwidth, but you’re nevertheless restricted to 10 simultaneous connections with the top quality tier, when VPNs like Surfshark and Windscribe permit unlimited equipment on their paid strategies. Other VPN solutions like Windscribe also permit you to pay back with cryptocurrency and promise not to observe use or keep long term logs.

The free of charge tier allows you entry five Hide.me-specific server destinations in the US, Canada, Netherlands and Singapore, on a single unit at a time with 10GB of facts a month (and no SOCKS or OpenVPN guidance) as very long as you signal up with an e-mail tackle. If not, you get the exact 500MB a month that TunnelBear provides. If you’re striving out the High quality strategy, be mindful that it really is a recurring membership somewhat than a a single-off trial, so you will keep acquiring billed except you terminate it (whilst the support promises a 30-working day dollars back again warranty).

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