VPN service Hide.me is everything you need for online privacy and freedom. It offers a selection of expert-level tools to keep your personal and online data safe no matter what. The same features will protect you from potential hackers, snoopers, government surveillance, and ISPs. With Hide.me, you can surf all the internet content that you want, whenever you want. Let’s take a look at the VPN service and assess whether it’s worth it.
What Is Hide.me?
Hide.me is a virtual private network (VPN) service. The company is based in Malaysia, which is excluded from surveillance state alliances such as the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes. The company has a decent amount of servers, with over 1,900 servers spread out across 75 countries.
Hide.me has a relatively simple pricing plan, but it piles on features. It offers a wide variety of VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2, SoftEther, SSTP. The VPN service also features a list of advanced features. These include split tunneling, stealth guard, and advanced IP leak protection. Each of these protocols offers different strengths of encryption and speed.
Besides the industry-standard features, Hide.me also has a few unique features: multi-hop and VPN bolt. Multi-hop allows data to pass through multiple tunnels. Meanwhile, the VPN bolt feature provides alternative routes for data to get to its destination much faster. The company’s servers are also protected with a wide variety of security protocols.
The service is also multi-platform, which means that it works on almost any device. That includes phones, desktop computers, tablets, routers, consoles, smart TVs, and even routers.
Before we go deeper into Hide.me’s offerings, let’s take a closer look at VPNs and why you should consider using one.
What Is a VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a service that lets you securely access the internet. The VPN allows your data to pass through an encrypted tunnel until it reaches its intended destination. The tunnel is end-to-end encrypted, which means that no one watching over the network will be able to see your data or identify its source.
The way this works is pretty simple. A VPN will first encrypt your data, including your browsing information, location, and device information. Aside from encrypting your data, it will also mask your IP address with the IP address of the VPN server. Anyone watching the network will only see the IP address of the VPN server and not yours. The data is then sent through a VPN tunnel towards a VPN server. Once it gets to the VPN server, the data is decrypted before finally being sent to the intended destination.
Using a VPN to form a secure connection with an external server is important due to three things. First, it helps you hide your real IP address from watchers on the network. It also secures your data as everything is encrypted en route. Lastly, it allows you to use the internet more freely since you are not leaving any digital footprints.
Why Use a VPN?
Keep Data Safe from Malicious Actors
There are many advantages to using a VPN. First of all, it helps keep your data safe during transport, where it is especially vulnerable. Many malicious actors are lying in wait between your computer and the next access point, and any of them can pounce on your data. They may also be trying to snoop in specifically on your IP address. Any attack on data while on transit is called a man-in-the-middle attack, and using a VPN can prevent it. If you suspect someone may be tracking you, here are some expert tips and tricks to find out who is on your Wi-Fi.
Protect Your Privacy
VPNs also help to protect your data from larger entities like ISPs and the government. These entities often have free reign to harvest user information, and they are legally allowed to do so. ISPs track your data to comply with data regulation policies or to monitor illegal downloads. Governments track your data mostly for surveillance purposes. In any case, a VPN can make it harder for these entities to track your activities or to identify you.
Avoid Hackers on a Public Network
VPNs also serve as your first layer of protection whenever you use a public network. A public network is anywhere with an open Wi-Fi connection with multiple devices (coffee shops, libraries). Public networks are not secure since any devices can connect to them. Potential hackers will be able to see your device details, making it easier to hack you. If you have a VPN, no one will be able to see the details of your web traffic, even if they manage to track you on the network.
Hide.me Core Features
Hide.me is a feature-rich VPN option, and it has a lot to offer for people who want all bases covered. Here are some of the most notable features to expect from Hide.me:
A kill switch is a security mechanism that continually monitors your connection to the VPS server. If the kill switch detects that your data is no longer in the VPN tunnel, it will automatically shut down your access to the internet. This mechanism will protect your IP address and data from being visible in the network.
Hide.me offers a kill switch for any device you are using, and it’s enabled by default.
Wide Protocol Support
Hide.me employs a variety of VPN protocols, and you can easily switch between them. Here are the protocols and what they are, explained in brief:
- OpenVPN. This is a classic VPN protocol providing AES 256-bit military-grade encryption. It’s open-sourced and one of the more popular protocols.
- WireGuard. A newer protocol that provides strong encryption over UDP and aims to be faster than OpenVPN.
- IKEv2/IPSec. This is an older protocol, but it is still viable, especially for 3G or 4G LTE mobile devices. It may also be the fastest protocol on this list.
- SoftEtherVPN. This is a relatively new protocol that combines various protocols into one. It’s best used for bypassing firewalls.
- SSTP. Another older protocol from Microsoft, but just as fast as OpenVPN.
Split tunneling is a relatively new VPN feature that allows you to select files to prioritize VPN transfer. By default, your data is transmitted through the open web without a filter. The data usually goes out unobstructed and reaches its destination within seconds. However, if you use a VPN, everything will be encrypted and sent over to a VPN tunnel. This can slow down your internet connection, and it will take longer for your data to reach the endpoint.
Now, one way to make things run much faster is to use split tunneling. Split tunneling would allow you to send data into separate streams. One stream will pass through the VPN tunnel, while the other will be sent through the open web. This will allow you to prioritize encryption for sensitive data while allowing the rest to be sent the “normal” way, so to speak.
Naturally, tunneling isn’t quite secure as when you route all of your traffic through a VPN. But it’s a convenient feature for sending sensitive data without compromising your internet speed.
Multi-hop is another feature that is unique to Hide.me. This feature lets your data “hop” from one VPN server to another during a single delivery. The effect of the transfer is your IP address will change from that of the first VPN to the second VPN.
You can specify the location of the servers that you want your data to “hop” into. This should allow you to avoid locations where you think your data is most vulnerable. This does enhance your online privacy by making you harder to track. But bear in mind it could wreak havoc with some websites if your IP address is constantly changing.
VPN Bolt is another security feature intended for Windows devices, which are prone to slowdown due to ISP throttling and an old communication protocol called UDP.
VPN Bolt helps to improve your internet speeds and is described as a “secure traffic acceleration technology.” It offers an alternative by routing traffic through TCP protocol instead of UDP. Bolt also sidesteps ISP throttling to optimize your VPN speeds and improve network performance.
DNS Leak Protection
Hide.me also offers protection against DNS leaks. A DNS leak, in simple terms, is a data leak that happens even when you have a VPN. A DNS leak can take place due to a data request that is not covered by the VPN. The data request can be either through IP, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 channels. A leak can expose your browsing history, IP address, and more. Luckily, Hide.me employs various security measures to keep your IP, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 data safe.
Hide.me allows for torrenting activities on all its servers. For those who don’t know, torrenting is the process of downloading data from external sources. Essentially, you are taking bits and pieces of data from multiple clients, and the software will piece them together for you at the end. It’s much like a puzzle that is formed so that you can access the complete file.
Each country has a different policy regarding torrenting. In the US, it’s not illegal to use a torrent client or to download torrents for as long as the content is not copyrighted. To be safe, check the laws regarding torrenting in your country.
Hide.me allows torrenting in general, and so you can use torrent clients to download files. It offers much faster peer-to-peer (P2P) download speeds, which is crucial for data-heavy content. Its security features also make for a much safer torrenting.
Just this year, Hide.me announced a partnership with the cloud storage company, Internxt Drive. This partnership means that new Hide.me subscribers will get 2 TB of cloud storage for free. This is a massive discount since a 2 TB cloud storage plan from Internxt Drive costs 9.99 euros (around USD 12) per month. To make things even better, they offer a 100 euro coupon for Internxt’s 2 TB annual plan.
Hide.me is very focused on user privacy and implements a “zero-log” policy for their customers. This means that the company does not note your IP address, nor does it keep any information about what you do on the internet. They also do not keep any of this information on their servers.
The only information that the company retains is your email address and the total amount of data that passed through the VPN server from your end. They only collect this information for billing purposes.
But while the company has a strict zero-log policy, it’s still subject to legal authority. That means that a court can issue an order requesting them to provide data about a specific client. But since the company doesn’t keep any of this information, there is really nothing to give. It’s quite a neat trick.
It’s also important to note that they do keep a log of non-identifying connection metadata. The company must keep a log like this fin case the server breaks down, but they change the values every few hours. It includes a randomly generated username and an internally assigned IP address.
Hide.me promises not to slow your internet down, and for the most part, we believe them. Tests conducted by third parties indicate average speeds between 25 Mbps and 30 Mbps. This range is more than enough for streaming in HD or downloading multiple files. Of course, other factors can contribute to your internet slowing down (e.g., congested network, weak Wi-Fi signals, bandwidth throttling, and so on). It’s best to check your internet speed now and again to know if you’re getting what you paid for.
Hide.me also offers excellent customer support systems. They offer setup and installation guides for beginners. They also have a special section for FAQs. If you need real-time assistance, they offer live chat support. Another way you can contact them is through a ticketing system, but this might take longer. You can also join the community of Hide.me.
Pricing and Plans
As we’ve mentioned, Hide.me has a simple pricing structure. It offers one free plan and three premium plans divided into 12-month, 6-month, and monthly plans.
The free plan will get you access to three servers (Canada, Netherlands, and Singapore). It also includes most of the security features that we’ve mentioned. However, there’s a data cap of a meager 2 GB per month, and it only offers support for a single device at a time. 2 GB is not a lot; it’s just enough for a full day of web browsing or a few hours of SD video streaming.
The premium plans are priced in a way that long-term plans are more cost-effective. The longer plan you get, the less you have to pay monthly. Case in point, the monthly plan costs USD 12.95 per month while the six-month plan costs just USD 6.65 per month. Then you have the one-year at USD 5.533 per month.
When it comes to features, all three plans get the same treatment. All three will get you access to a kill switch, split tunneling, multi-hop DNS leak protection, and so on. You will also have access to any server from 29 locations. The data cap is also much higher than the free plan, at 75 GB of data transfer per month. Hide.me also offers unlimited bandwidth as a bonus, which means you can enjoy as much internet content as you want.
Hide.me offers several ways for you to pay for your plan. You can pay through credit card, PayPal, or even crypto coin (e.g., Bitcoin and Ethereum).
Also Read: Most Secure Cryptocurrency Wallets
If you are not satisfied with the product, you can get your money back. Just make sure that you inform the company within 30 days after you make the purchase. Anytime after that and you won’t be able to get your money back.
Final Thoughts on Hide.me
We also appreciate that they’ve thrown in free cloud storage for premium users. Pricing is also very reasonable and at par with industry standards. With all things considered, this service is a great way to achieve online privacy and freedom.
If you found this article relevant, you may also want to read this review of the NordVPN service.