HideIPVPN review: Great if you need a speedy connection via Germany

HideIPVPN is easy to use, but its performance leaves a lot to be desired.

HideIPVPN in brief:

P2P allowed: Netherlands and Germany servers only

Business location: USA and Moldova

Number of servers: 28

Number of country locations: 8

Cost: $70 (billed annually)

Picking a VPN is a tricky business since you don’t really know what you’re going to get until you buy. That’s why some services offer free trials. HideIPVPN is one such company that offers a 24-hour free trial with full access to its entire service.

After digging into HideIPVPN, what I found was an average VPN service that lacked good speeds, with the exception of Germany. It does, however, offer an interface that may appeal to some users, but that’s not quite enough to recommend it.

Features and services

HideIPVPN is a very basic service. You won’t find much in the way of extra features. It has DNS leak protection, which is turned off by default, and there’s also an “Application Killer” that tells the VPN to stop specific desktop programs if your VPN connection drops. Other  VPN services kill the PC’s entire internet connection when the VPN drops, but killing specific programs may be more useful to some.

hideipvpn 1 Ian Paul/IDG

HideIPVPN’s primary interface for choosing a connection.

To connect to the VPN, select Connection in the left rail. At the top choose the VPN Protocol, below that select the country you want, then the server, and hit Connect. There’s also a Sort by speed button to help find the best-performing server connection for a specific country.

By default, HideIPVPN starts with an SSTP connection, which is fine, but most users should opt for OpenVPN instead.

Compared to other services, HideIPVPN doesn’t offer a lot of choice for connections. There are less than 30 servers in eight countries. That’s not a lot, but if you need a VPN in the United States or Europe it’ll get the job done. HideIPVPN has only one server in Asia, which is in Singapore.

As for pricing, HideIPVPN uses a very unusual pricing scheme compared to its competitors. For a $70 annual fee you can get the usual VPN service with access to all of HideIPVPN’s servers. Otherwise, you can pay $40 per year to get access to one specific country such as the U.S., Germany, or Poland. There’s also a BitTorrent-only service where you can use eight different VPN servers for file-sharing. There’s also a Smart DNS-only service for $38.95.

HideIPVPN allows you to use its service on up to three devices simultaneously on the same account, which is lower than the norm of five. There are apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

Performance

hideipvpn 2 Ian Paul/IDG

HideIPVPN’s settings panel.

This is where HideIPVPN falls apart. The speeds just weren’t close to the other VPNs we’ve tested. Overall, HideIPVPN speeds were just 16 percent of the base speed, on average. Granted, the results were a little skewed since the German VPN connection was really fast at 45.46Mbps and the United States was close to 20Mbps, but everything else—including the U.K. connections—didn’t even crack 10Mbps.

For most people, that’s probably fine, as a solid option in Europe and a good American connection are likely desirable. But if you want a variety of country choices from your VPN then HideIPVPN is not for you.

There is one advantage in HideIPVPN’s favor for Netflix addicts. HideIPVPN doesn’t officially advertise getting around Netflix’s VPN defenses as a feature; however, I was able to watch U.S. Netflix using the service. Your experience may vary.

Privacy, anonymity, and trust

HideIPVPN has a no-logs policy like many of its competitors, but this policy is not very well spelled-out in the privacy statement on its website. The features section states very clearly, however, that it does not log your activity when connecting to the VPN. 

Where’s HideIPVPN?

HideIPVPN does not advertise its business location on its website nor is it clear who’s running the service. A little digging on LinkedIn and elsewhere turned up that HideIPVPN was co-founded by Moldova-based Adrian Crismaru. Technically, however, the company is based in the United States. It’s not clear if there’s an actual business office in the U.S., however. When I asked the company if it had a physical office and employees in the United States or if the team was elsewhere in the world, HideIPVPN said that was “personal info regarding employment that we do not disclose.”

The company also has some concerning statements in its terms of service. At the time of this review, the terms of service said, “HideIPVPN will not intentionally monitor private electronic mail messages sent or received by its clients unless required to do so by law, governmental authority, or when public safety is at stake.” This policy is deprecated and will soon be removed, the company told me, but you might want to check and see that those words are gone before signing up.

hideipvpndevices HideIPVPN

Elsewhere its terms of service also say, “HideIPVPN may disclose client information or information transmitted over its network where necessary to protect HideIPVPN and others from harm.”

I asked the company what this meant and here is what a support representative said: “We keep no logs of connections, the information that could be shared would be of general matter like if somebody was indeed our client, but we can’t disclose client’s activity as we have no information (logs) on that due to our no-logs policy.”

As for payments, HideIPVPN takes credit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin. That allows for varying degrees of anonymity and is pretty standard in the VPN world.

We used a free trial account instead of a regular paid account for our tests, but the process for managing a paid or trial account is the same. Once you’re done paying for your account, HideIPVPN emails you a set of login details for the VPN including a randomized username and password. 

You also get a second set of credentials to log in to the website using your email address and a different password. It’s a little confusing to have two sets of login details, but HideIPVPN says it’s found this setup to be more convenient for its customers, though personally I don’t see how.

Conclusion

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend HideIPVPN at this time. The price is fine, but with a shortage of servers and country locations, uncertainty about where the company is located, and ho-hum overall speeds, you can find better value for your money elsewhere.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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