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Hide My IP VPN Review

Rob Mardisalu

Rob Mardisalu

This VPN software looked promising at first, but after I read through their logging policy, my mind changed…

Hide My IP is a VPN service that has been around since 2006. It is registered to My Privacy Tools, Inc., which is based out of the United States. They user “Smart DNS” instead of OpenVPN.

In this Hide My IP review, we’re going to take a look at their proxy options, see if they’re using the latest protocol and encryption options like OpenVPN, and see if their network connection will keep your internet privacy safe from prying eyes.

Let’s get into it.

Hide My IP VPN review

Hide My IP VPN Overview

OVERALL RANK: 51
USABILITY: Not user-friendly
LOG FILES: Some Logging Policy
LOCATIONS: 66 countries, 117 servers
SUPPORT: Limited support hours
TORRENTING: Allowed
NETFLIX: Typically blocks Netflix USA
ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL: Smart DNS Proxy
COST: $2.91/mo
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.Hide-My-IP.com

Hide My IP Pros

You don’t stay in business for 12 years in the cyber security field without doing something right. And Hide My IP does quite a bit right.

For starters, it’s fast.

Like…really fast! We’ve only ever seen one other VPN that is faster than it.

It works with torrenting, which is greatly complemented by this application’s speed.

To top it all off, we found no leaks whatsoever. This is a quick and airtight service.

So let’s celebrate some of the good things that Hide My IP does.

1. No Leaks At All

A leak in a VPN is like a leak in a boat.

Sure, it’ll float for a while. But unbeknownst to you, data is seeping out everywhere. Soon, the boat won’t be able to keep you afloat.

A DNS leak occurs when an error prevents your internet signal from finding the VPN’s tunnel. The tunnel is what transports your activity across the globe to the platform of your choosing. Without the tunnel, you’re accessing websites with your real honest-to-goodness IP exposed before the eyes of the NSA and whoever else might be looking for it.

Normal VPN traffic vs leak

A WebRTC leak is a classic case of a good thing gone bad. WebRTC is a beneficial service that helps browsers create effective real-time communication apps. If that’s not a force for good, I don’t know what is.

But while WebRTC fights its good fight, it leaves behind an unfortunate side effect. Its APIs that fly out across the web can pull apart a VPNs signal. This strips away your anonymity, shining a bright spotlight on your internet activity and personal information.

That’s why every VPN that we review goes through an extensive leak test. We put it through the ringer, testing it six different times to make sure that no DNS or WebRTC leaks are undermining its work.

Hide My IP stood up to our tests.

no webrtc leaks

No DNS/IP leaks:

no DNS leak found

No IPv4 or IPv6 leaks found:

no ip leaks found on hide my ip VPN

As you can see, it passed with flying colors.

But we’re not done yet.

We also put our VPNs through a virus and malware test to ensure that its installation software isn’t hiding anything nasty.

We checked for 68 different viruses and it came out completely clean.

no viruses found

2. One of the Fastest VPNs We’ve Ever Seen

We’ve tested 78 different VPNs to date.

This was the second fastest one we’ve ever seen.

Thankfully, we were starting out with some pretty stellar benchmark speeds. We had a download speed of 97 Mbps and an upload of 53 Mbps.

We tested two of Hide My IP’s servers, one in the EU and the other in the US.

Check out our promising results.

EU speed test

EU Speed Test

  • Ping: 44 ms
  • Download: 81.46 Mbps (15.8% Slower Than 97 Mbps Benchmark)
  • Upload: 20.36 Mbps (61.58% Slower Than 53 Mbps Benchmark)

While the upload fell a bit more than we like to see, that download is blazing fast. The US speed test was nearly identical, with a nominal drop in download and a disappointing loss in upload.

US speed test

US Speed Test

  • Ping: 113 ms
  • Download: 81.66 (15.8% Slower Than 97 Mbps Benchmark)
  • Upload: 19.99 (62.2% Slower Than 53 Mbps Benchmark)

This was a monumental success. The dip in download was so low that most users would have never even noticed it. That’s why Hide My IP stands near the very top of our list of the fastest VPNs.

3. Their Users Are Allowed To Use This VPN App for Torrenting

Torrenting is an awesome way to download large files at fast speeds. You actually take little pieces of files from the systems of other users.

It’s genius.

It’s also dangerous.

You’re accessing the systems of other users. In turn, other users are accessing your system. Hackers love to use torrenting websites and programs to gain access to your information. And this isn’t a problem that’s getting better.

In February of 2018, hackers exploited a weakness in the popular uTorrent service that allowed them to remotely take control of other users’ computers.

torrenting and hacking

A VPN hides your information from the eyes of cybercriminals. So, one would think that the VPN world would embrace torrenting services.

Some do. But some very much do not.

Many VPNs allow full torrenting capability, but others will restrict or even outright ban the service.

Thankfully, Hide My IP allows for full torrenting, which is a nice feather in its cap.

4. Decent Server Park, Five Connections, Has Kill Switch

A VPNs bag of tricks is its server park. Each country and server within is another choice that the service is offering to you. That’s why it’s so strange to see some of these VPNs with such tiny little server parks.

Hide My IP’s server park is extremely ok. It’s not one of the best we’ve seen. (ExpressVPN has THOUSANDS of servers) But it’s also not one of the worst. (HolaVPN has no servers at all and turns your computer into a server for others to access)

Hide My IP has servers in 123 different locations around the world. That’s not bad at all and gives their users a respectable number of choices.

It’s certainly enough to put it here in the “pro” section.

server network list

They’re in six out of seven continents. (Once penguins get access to wifi I’m sure they’ll get Antarctica too!)

Moving on to some of its special features, Hide My IP allows for five simultaneous users as a part of its premium plan.

My favorite feature of Hide My IP, though, is the presence of a built-in Kill Switch. Your kill switch is your best pal through the anonymous web browsing experience. He’s constantly watching your back, and looking out for you while you do your thing.

Then, if good old kill switch senses the presence of a DNS or WebRTC leak sneaking up on you while you’re unaware, it kills your entire session before any information leaks to your ISP.

5. Supports OpenVPN Protocols

When you’re looking for a VPN, you want to find one that supports OpenVPN. That’s the single most impressive and sophisticated VPN tunneling protocol on the planet. OpenVPN consistently remains on the cutting edge because it is an open sourced program. That means it is consistently maintained by the cybersecurity community as a whole.

OpenVPN protocol missing

Most OpenVPN systems run AES-256 encryption, which has yet to be cracked by the NSA or any known supercomputer.

That’s some next level, ironclad, indestructible armor. Luckily for Hide My IP users, OpenVPN is available on some of this service’s major platforms. Anyone using Hide My IP on Mac, iOS, or Android has access to OpenVPN. Windows users have access to a custom proxy that utilizes L2TP, which stands for Layer Two Tunneling Protocol.

You also have the option of using a Smart DNS Proxy through Hide My IP. When using a Smart DNS Proxy, specific information regarding your internet signal is relocated. This differs from traditional VPN tunneling protocols which funnel the entire session through a VPN tunnel.

So why would you ever want to use a Smart DNS Proxy?

It’s faster and compatible with a multitude of devices. However, its uptick in performance can be mired by a lack of security. If you’re looking for a quick and efficient session that doesn’t need a whole lot of protection, you might want to consider using the Smart DNS Proxy service. Otherwise stick to the VPN tunneling protocols.

6. Unblocks Netflix

Netflix and VPNs once mixed together like peanut butter and jelly. However, in recent years, they’re more like oil and water.

That’s no fault of the VPN providers. It’s all on Netflix. The streaming giant has big money contracts in place with various content providers to stream specific content in specific areas. For example, the UK features the classic 90s sitcom Full House in its Netflix library. In the US, Hulu owns the rights to stream Full House, meaning American Netflix users won’t be able to catch all the delightfully wholesome hijinx of the Tanner family unless they’re on Hulu.

Users used to get around that with a VPN. All one had to do was log in, select a server in the UK, fire up Netflix, and before they knew it, they would be quoting “you got it dude” along with Michelle.

Then, Netflix figured out what was happening.

The world’s largest content streaming service fought back, rolling out one of the most advanced VPN detection systems in the world. While most VPNs are blocked from accessing Netflix content, a few resourceful systems have managed to skirt around the issue.

Hide My IP will not unblock Netflix through the traditional desktop client. You’ll have to use their Google Chrome or Firefox browser extensions. I tried several times with no success using the regular Windows VPN before installing the Chrome browser extension. I tried to access Netflix and was blocked once more.

Then, I tried something else. I turned on the Floating IP Network mode that comes with these browser extensions. You can access it by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the extension menu.

Hide My IP Browser Extension Floating IP Mode

Once I activated that mode, I connected to a server in the US and I was able to access Netflix content. I tried it again with a server in Mexico, and once again my efforts were rewarded.

So, Hide My IP can unblock Netflix, but you’ll have to take some extra steps to make it happen!

7. Impressive Device List

Users today want to watch Geo-blocked video content on multiple devices, so when I see VPNs being so narrow minded as to only allow service on a computer and mobile device, it makes my head hurt.

Thankfully, Hide My IP is not one of them.

It boasts an impressive list of devices, encompassing everything from computers, to mobile, to routers, to smart tv’s, streaming devices, and gaming consoles.

hide my ip VPN device list

First up, we have our list of computers and mobile devices. It runs on an impressive array of operating systems, even including Chromebook. Also, it’s great to see both Android and iOS represented.

hide my ip VPN routers

Finally, the cherry on top, we have a bunch of gaming consoles. You have the PlayStation 4, which is a current generation model, and the previous generation in the form of the 360, Wii, and PS3.

 

gaming consoles

Hide My IP Cons

Surely you didn’t think it was all sun showers and rainbow sprinkles.

There are some incredibly problematic issues at play here.

For starters, Hide My IP seems to think it’s alright to log your personal information. A lot of it, too.

Their US jurisdiction puts you in the crosshairs of some dicey espionage alliances that make me question how secure their service truly is.

It also didn’t work with Netflix at all, which was a bummer.

But all of that pales before my single biggest issue with this VPN.

It’s not really a VPN.

1. Cumbersome Set Up

When setting up a VPN, it should be super simple. My 80 year old grandmother should ideally be able to do it with no issues. The best VPNs in the world are super straightforward. Download the client, sign in, and connect with one button.

Easy breezy.

Unfortunately, I found the login process for Hide My IP to be cumbersome and needlessly complicated.

The initial download went by without a hitch.

Hipe My IP VPN Download Page

From the download page, click on the “Download Now” button and it will start instantly.

Download Screen for Hide My IP VPN

Once the files have downloaded, click on the installer program and the VPN will start to load up. The installation was so fast that I didn’t even have enough time to get a screenshot of its progress before it finished.

Once it launched, I saw the dashboard, and instantly my head began to hurt.

Dashboard for Hide My IP

Look at that.

There’s a lot going on here, way more than most VPNs we’ve reviewed. Usually the sign in screen is nothing more than login fields, a server selection menu, and a big button marked “Connect”

You’ll notice that on this page there is no login section. You don’t sign in with a username and password. You have to use a license key which is sent to you once you purchase your premium plan.

If you’re wondering where you’re supposed to input that information, you’re not alone. Eventually I realized that the actual login option is crammed all the way at the bottom of the dashboard in the lower right-hand corner.

Hide My IP Login

I clicked on “Enter License” and copied my License Key into the box that popped up.

Hide My IP License Key

Once that was done, it was time to log in, only there was no clear option for connecting. Usually there’s a massive button marked “CONNECT” in big bold letters. You’ll note that nowhere in this incredibly busy interface is there any kind of connect button.

Eventually I realized that the button marked “Hide My IP” was the connection button. That might confuse some because they’re using the phrase Hide My IP as an action, whereas most people would look at it and not consider that it might be important because it’s the name of the product.

Hide My IP Connect Button

Once I was finally connected, I was able to peruse their server list by clicking on the drop-down menu at the bottom marked “Select Desired Location.”

After that it was smooth sailing. The VPN client worked well and switching between servers was simple. It just took a few headaches to get there.

After that I downloaded the Hide My IP Chrome extension. This was much simpler. I found it in the Chrome Web Store, clicked the blue button marked “Add to Chrome,” and it downloaded quickly. I had to enter my license key again to access the service, but I was ready for it this time.

Hide My IP Chrome installation

 

2. Logs Personal Information

If a VPN is logging any information about your activities or your personal data then you should not be using it.

The entire point of anonymous web browsing is to browse the web anonymously. That’s invisible to everyone. Not everyone except for your VPN provider.

On their frequently asked questions page, Hide My IP was quick to state that they do not log.

logging policy

But when I dug into their privacy policy I found that while they’re not keeping logs of your web activity, they are holding onto an alarming amount of personal information.

privacy policy

That’s a lot of data. They also are saying in one of these points that they log your use or access of their products, services, websites, or network. That sounds like activity logging to me.

But what are they going to do with my information?

Hide-My-IP-personal-information

So they’re going to use it to bother me. Awesome.

Also, please note that they’re keeping information on you forever. It’s not just gone once you leave their service. If you’ve ever communicated with them, they’ve got your name and email.

Hold onto your butts, it gets so much worse.

monitoring

I found this lovely nugget on their Terms of Service page.

Essentially they’re like, “we keep no logs of your activity….except for the logs of your activity that we keep and will give to the government if they tell us to.”

I feel like every time this company tells me it’s not logging my information their website code is digitally winking at me in a conspiratorial manner.

Utterly awful.

3. US Jurisdiction (Within 5 Eyes Alliance)

You know how everyone thinks that the government of the world have shady alliances where they spy on their people and share that information with one another?

Well, that’s true.

It’s called the 5 Eyes Surveillance Alliance and it’s an agreement entered into between The United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

So, what does this mean for Hide My IP?

It means that if Uncle Sam demands your information, Hide My IP will pony it right up. They don’t have a choice. Then, the US will share that information with four foreign governments.

4. No Netflix Functionality

Hey, want to watch Netflix on your VPN?

Well, you can’t! Because Netflix hates VPNs.

A VPN used to be the best way to stream blocked Netflix content from other countries. Then, one day Netflix decided that it did not like this unregulated use of its system.

no netflix for Hide My IP VPN

Thus the Netflix black screen of doom was born.

The streaming company uses one of the most advanced VPN and Proxy blocking systems known to man, so it’s no wonder that it’s very effective.

The VPN community was outraged. How did Netflix react?

They did not care. At all.

“It’s a very small but quite vocal minority,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said during a company earnings call. “So it’s really inconsequential to us.”

Still, some VPNs have the right stuff to squeak past Netflix’s ban. Hide All IP is sadly not one of them.

We tested five of its servers and none of them worked with Netflix.

If you are looking for a service that lets your stream blocked Netflix content, check out our list of the top VPNs that work with Netflix.

5. Limited Customer Support Hours

Hide My IP has customer service. There’s a phone number, a chat feature, a ticketing form. And they man it… between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

customer support via phone

You know, during that slow time where everyone has a bunch of downtime to browse with their VPN.

That was obviously sarcasm. There’s really no point in having customer support only during a time when most of your customer base is at work and not using your product.

no live chat

This chat feature was offline, so I used it to send them a message asking about their encryption and VPN tunneling protocols, or lack thereof.

I have yet to hear back over the course of several days now.

Hide My IP Costs, Plans, and Payment Options

All new users can try Hide My IP out for a free seven day trial. You can access the trial right away by downloading the desktop app.

Cost and payment methods

Their paid standard service costs $29.95. This is one year of service, with a license code that never expires.

license info

Their premium service is a little harder to find. I wasn’t able to access it from the main page of their site, which was super odd.

Hide My IP VPN premium service

This is the version that allows you to connect up to five devices. The pricing structure on it is wacky, though.

Hide My IP VPN pricing

Usually, when you make the commitment for a whole year you have a substantial percentage of savings. Here, the monthly difference between an entire year and a month to month cancel anytime service is only four cents. So my grand total savings for a year of commitment comes out to 48 cents.

February 2019 update: Pricing has been adjusted compared to the last time I reviewed it. The Premium Monthly plan now costs $4.95 per month.

payment methods

There are a bunch of different payment options. They’re taking Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal, which is pretty standard.

I do love when VPNs allow you to use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a form of payment though. It’s like an extra anonymous cherry on top of what’s supposed to be a secure experience. So, bravo on that one, Hide My IP.

February 2019 update: They now accept two popular cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin and Litecoin.

All sales come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Based on our test, you might need that.

Do We Recommend This VPN?

No.

It started off great, and I really wanted to like it. Their speed tests, their lack of leaks, the torrenting, the kill switch, I wanted to throw a parade for this product.

Then came the cons list.

Their logging policy is scary levels of shady. One look at that was enough to shatter my trust in this company forever. What’s more, there’s the issue of the surveillance alliances. That’s not something to take lightly.

Then no Netflix, the part-time customer service, and my horrible hands-on test with them sent this product into a nosedive.

Out of the 78 VPNs that we’ve reviewed, we rank Hide My IP at number 51.

Find best VPN services here.

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