Hide Me VPN Review: The Missing Malaysian

Ranks as 7th VPN out of 51

Every VPN claims it’s the best, fastest and what not, but in reality, it’s not the case.

Hide Me isn’t just advertising itself as the world’s fastest VPN but also as zero logging, 99.99% uptime service with more than 15 million users.

Is it true?

I was excited to find out. We analyzed their privacy policy, read user experiences and researched the Internet to find any unusual ques. This wasn’t it. For an even better outlook, I personally bought the service and used it for 5 days, this was enough time to test the speeds and servers.

Let’s take a look

Based in Labuan Island of Malaysia

Hide Me is the creation of eVenture Limited, a Malaysian company founded in 2012.

Malaysia’s first Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) legislation was introduced in 2010 by the parliament and came into force in 2013, which states that companies may not transfer personal information outside of Malaysia jurisdiction unless specified by the Minister (With some exceptions).

Malaysia is strictly excluded from 14 eyes alliance.

Hide Me was one of the first VPN provider to be independently audited by an auditor. The auditor Leon Juranic states the following:

You might wonder, who the heck is Leon Juranic?

Leon Juranic is the founder of Defence Code Ltd, a cybersecurity company based on Ireland. If you start researching about his profile, you end up surprised. NASA has once endorsed Mr. Juranic for reporting and testing vulnerability in their code.

This presents the audit in a much brighter angle.

Another great thing about Hide Me is that they release yearly transparency reports since 2013. The report includes the number of requests to disclose users’ personal information.

 No Logging or Data Storing

The transparency report backs up their logging policy. According to Hide Me, to all 20 542 requests occurred, they always have responded by stating the following: “Hide Me does not keep any logs and therefore will not be able to provide any further information.”

According to PDPA, Malaysian law contains data protection obligations, as an example, a requirement to notify subjects regarding the purpose for which personal data is collected and a requirement to maintain a list of any personal data disclosures to 3rd parties.

Hide Me privacy policy page contains a paragraph, which states the following:

“We do NOT keep logs” is Hide Me’s “pinky” promise during your VPN connection.

However, there are exceptions when you:

  • Browse website (hide.me, community.hide.me and public proxies) – They may collect website usage data, which includes IP address, geographical location, browser type and version, length of visit, OS, referral source, navigation, time and frequency patterns of your visits
  • Sign up – e-mail
  • Live chat or ticketing – Your name and e-mail
  • Billing –  Cleverbridge AG (Germany) and other payment processors whose use of your personal information is governed by their privacy policy.

Does Not Establish Connection Abroad in China

The most common purpose of using a VPN in China is not to hide. Hiding is something you may want to do when playing with your kids or puppies. But just like a dog has good senses, so does the Chinese government.

The “Great Firewall” and “Golden Shield Project” have banned VPNs since 2012. Over 39+ VPN websites are not accessible and more than 44+ VPNs software server connections couldn’t be establised.

Hide Me website was completely blacked out (Using China Unicom ISP):

Some services work even though their home website has been blocked. One of these is ExpressVPN, which is constantly considered as the top providers on the market.

Not taking a chance wasn’t an option. After trying to connect at least 3 times, we finally got the message – Hide Me is not for Chinese users:

The login screen just kept connecting each time and ending with a sudden stop.

Strong Encryption Standard

Hide Me is equipped with the best encryption methods available. We particularly like their wide-range of protocols like PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SoftEther, SSTP, OpenVPN, and IKEv2.

Switching between these protocols is super-useful when trying to figure out the most effective way to either unblock sites, stream or stay anonymous. Our first preference is OpenVPN.

Why?

This is because OpenVPN is the most diverse. It’s secure and doesn’t reduce the speed that much.

Another likable feature is their AES.

Advanced Standard Encryption 256-bit with 8192-bit keys is the same standard that every other government uses to protect its most sensitive data.

If it’s good for them, it’s good for you!

Here’s a comparison chart for you t understand where AES stands compared to other algorithms like RSA, etc:

Average Server Speeds

Encryption and speed go hand in hand.

Even if encryption is good, the speed is decreased by it. There’s a ton of factors that make the service either fast or slow. These include servers location, your location, server processors, the number of people using those servers, hardware age and so on.

The fact is, encryption consumes time and here’s a formula for this:

Instead of calculating the server speed, it’s more practical to give it a real test, and this is what we did. Using Hide Me 3 random locations around the globe surprised me. It was astonishing how it performed compared to other services on the market.

It wasn’t bad yet not great either.

Hide Me speed ranked as 25th out of 51 VPNs. Average is the perfect word to describe it.

But let’s see the real numbers. So how much exactly do their servers affect ping, upload, and download?

ServerPingDownloadUpload
US (Columbus, Kansas)837.50%-8.03%-27.24%
UK (London)283.33%-25.69%-9.31%
China (Hong Kong)1437.50%-49.44%-67.49%

The bright side of the results is the fact, that download speed is overall less affected. Download is the main factor influencing your streaming, torrenting and surfing experience.

 1400+ Servers in 34+ Countries

The more servers, the better I used to think.

As an example, HideMyAss has over 190+ server, meaning nearly every country on earth includes its physical server rack with a proper server room.

Just imagine the price of the maintenance…

And usually, the resources come from the customers pocket.

So, if Hide Me has 1400+ servers in 34+ countries we don’t mind. Because it’s cheaper than HMA!, and if you don’t have a special necessity for a variety of countries, it wouldn’t be that useful either. So considering Hide Me price, it’s “Okay”.

Pricing (Free and Premium)

Hide Me has two subscription options and we like both of them.

Either get a limited free edition including 2GB data transfer, 1 simultaneous connection, and 5 worldwide locations or pick premium which has the same stuff packed in it, just more.

The $5.41/month package comes with unlimited data transfer, 5 simultaneous connections, and a total of 55 worldwide locations.

There’s this one thing we always envy: buying something without a risk.

Hide Me premium comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and oh boy, it’s a pleasure.

We also haven’t seen many services offering such a low price on a monthly basis. As a comparison, HMA! monthly price is hideous $11.99… And it’s rated as low as 38th out of 51 services.

 Quick Response Time (Customer Support)

On September 3, 2018, I received an e-mail from [email protected] This was a reply to my e-mail I sent 28 minutes earlier.

Jean, the customer representative answered to each one of my 3 questions in plain and professional English. Take a look:

It’s not that common to get a reply within half an hour. In fact, the average e-mail response time is 14 hours (not including fully unresponsive services).

There’s also a quicker route. From the bottom right corner, you will find “Ask Us How It Works”. Clicking this will bring up the live support window.

The live chat support took less than a minute. Saves your nerves and time… sweet.

 Long List of Supported Devices

The first time I started using VPN 9 years ago, I quickly realized the demand in my entire set of devices.

There’s a smartphone, even smarter TV and a router that all should be protected. This was the reason I started hopping between different services. Not every VPN is technically and financially proficient to support every device out there.

Hide Me has a long list of supported devices and I absolutely love that.

It works with Windows, Mac, and Linux, including iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows smart devices. Most importantly it supports routers, which is often not the case.

Here’s a short list of some more:

  • Network Attached Storage (NAS) – Synology DSM 6.0+ and QNAP QTS 4.3+
  • Media box – Amazon Fire OS LibreELEC “Kodi” OpenELEC “Kodi”
  • Web browser extensions for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome

Usually setting up a VPN on an external device is a bit more of a hassle than running it on desktop. Yes, you may have to use their article base.

Threat Free

Using a VPN has its threats. These can be grouped into 3 categories: software implementation, permissions, and third-party trust.

Setting up Hide Me included a crucial backdoor test. According to VirusTotal, we are glad to say that Hide Me is clean. Check out the result below:

Another support pillar for their security is their leak-free tunnel. DNS leaks are occurring in more than 22 VPNs out 51. These leakages will expose your IP address and location, just like a WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) hints websites about your timezone.

How do we know it’s leak free?

We ran a series of tests while connected to Hide Me servers. Here’s the proof:

The IP address above is exactly the same IP on Hide Me’s software dashboard:

 Streaming Netflix + Torrenting Works

Above all streaming platforms, Netflix is the most popular one.

Determining suitability for Netflix is not that easy. Let me explain why. You see… there are more than 1400+ different servers / IP addresses. Even if we would have a chance to test every one of them, the amount of work and the possible IP address changes wouldn’t make sense.

So what did we do?

We picked a random server (this time Hong Kong) and gave it a shot. This is what happened:

Netflix hasn’t blocked this one.

So the answer is YES, you can use Hide Me for Netflix.

What about torrenting?

Our long-time favorite: old Charlie Chaplin movies…

It’s a YES again! Torrenting is available as well.

Conclusion

Now it might make sense to you why its rated 7th out of 51 VPNs.

Hide Me jurisdiction is great for privacy company, the service is armored with top industry features like AES 256-bit encryption, loads of protocols including OpenVPN, kill-switch and no logging policy. The company has been audited by cybersecurity company Defence Code.

There’s definitely room for improvement. Double-hop would come handy and wider server park with the same price would be rad.

Is there a perfect VPN? No. But there’s a candidate.