The fundamental features you want in any VPN service are an easy-to-use desktop application, privacy protection, and speedy connections. The latter two are harder to determine. In the case of privacy, you have to trust that your VPN is doing what it says its doing. Speeds depend on your location, equipment, and ISP. Nevertheless, we do the best we can to make informed decisions, and when it comes to Hide.me VPN on Mac you get almost everything you need.
Note: This review is part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.
Hide.me: Security, software, servers, and speed
Hide.me by default on Mac uses OpenVPN, but you can also specify IKEv2, SoftEther, and SSTP protocols. For data encryption on OpenVPN, Hide.me uses DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384; data authentication is over HMA SHA-256, and the handshake uses RSA 8192-bit. If you opt for IKEv2, Hide.me uses AES-CBC-256 for data encryption, HMAC SHA-512 for data authentication, and ECP521 for the handshake.
Hide.me says it does not track your browsing and has a strict no-logs policy, which it says was verified by security and penetration testing firm, Defensecode. It does, however, monitor bandwidth usage, and it maintains a troubleshooting log on its servers containing a randomly assigned username and internal IP address. That data is erased every few hours. The company is officially based in Malaysia.
When you first activate Hide.me you get a very simple application. In the center of the window there’s an Enable VPN button, and above that your disconnected/connected status. Towards the bottom-left you have your current IP address, and the bottom-right is where you can change your country location.
In the settings area (click the cog in the upper-right corner of the main window), Hide.me activates an internet kill switch by default. If your VPN connection drops, the application will automatically stop all applications from accessing the internet to avoid exposing your activities to third parties. There’s also an option, again activated by default, that automatically reconnects to the VPN when the internet connection drops.
Those are understandable default options, and Hide.me also offers an option to start the application minimized. Neither are turned on by default.
Hide.me offers VPN servers in 34 countries with more than 160 total servers behind the scenes. Many of the smaller countries offer just one option, but when there are multiple options for a particular country you’ll see a drop-down arrow. Click that, and you can see all the location options for that country. The United States, for example, has 11 different regional options.
Hide.me allows P2P on many of its servers. If it’s not allowed you’ll see a red label to the right that reads “No P2P.”
In our tests, Hide.me performed fairly well, but not amazingly. The result was actually surprising because Hide.me was quite zippy on the Windows side when we reviewed the service in August 2018. At the time, Hide.me maintained nearly 49 percent of the base speed in our testing on a Windows PC. For Mac, however, Hide.me kept about 18.32 percent of the base speed over three days of testing. That’s quite low, though there were bright spots such as the German and U.S. connections.
I’d also point out that Hide.me’s servers hit higher speeds quite often, but couldn’t sustain them for the duration of the test. At one point, for example, the U.S. connection was hitting 41Mbps before dropping down to 28Mbps for the final score.
Hide.me offers two pricing plans. The Plus plan costs $60 per year and allows for a single device connection and limits you to 75GB of data transfer, while the Premium plan at $10 per month allows for five simultaneous device connections.
If the Plus plan’s annual rate is too much at once you can also pay $10 per month or $40 for six months. Obviously, the annual rate is the better value by far. Premium’s options beyond the annual fee include $80 for six months or $20 per month.
Hide.me accepts payments via credit card, PayPal, and cryptocurrencies.
Hide.me is a pretty good service. It has the right privacy promises, fair pricing, accepts a range of payment methods, and doesn’t ask for much in the way of personal information. We have seen better speeds, however. The connections are serviceable and will work well enough for common uses such as video streaming, email, and general web surfing. Anyone who needs better speeds for gaming and other uses on Mac should probably look elsewhere.
Editor’s note: Because online services are often iterative, gaining new features and performance improvements over time, this review is subject to change in order to accurately reflect the current state of the service. Any changes to text or our final review verdict will be noted at the top of this article.