“The Missing Malaysian”
Every VPN claims it’s the best, fastest, and whatnot. However, 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?
Let’s take a look.
Hide Me VPN synopsis
|Parent company:||eVenture Limited|
|Locations:||34+ countries/1400+ servers|
|Overall test result:||SAFE|
|Torrenting:||PASSED (P2P torrent allowed)|
|Netflix:||PASSED (Unblocks Netflix 2/3)|
|Encryption/protocols:||AES-256/IKEv2/IPsec/L2TP/PPTP/SSTP/SoftEther/OpenVPN UDP & TCP|
|Support:||E-mail response ~1h/Live Chat (24/7)|
☑ 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 the 14 eyes alliance.
Hide Me was one of the first VPN providers 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.
“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
☒ 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 established.
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.
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 to 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. The 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?
|US (Columbus, Kansas)||837.50%||-8.03%||-27.24%|
|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 column 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+ servers, 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 $4.99/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 68 minutes earlier.
Jean, the customer representative answered each one of my 3 questions in plain and professional English. Take a look:
It’s not that common to get a reply within 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.
☑ A 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 a desktop. Yes, you may have to use their article base.
☑ Threat free setup files
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.
Hide Me VPN Review conclusion
Now it might make sense to you why it’s rated 8th out of 52 VPNs.
Hide Me jurisdiction is great for a 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 the cybersecurity company Defence Code.
There’s definitely room for improvement. Double-hop would come in handy and a wider server park with the same price would be rad.
Is there a perfect VPN? No. But there’s a candidate.
The community would be glad to hear your thoughts on Hide Me VPN.