Hide.me Free VPN

A free VPN with some of the most powerful apps around

Hide.me Website
(Image: © Hide.me)

TechRadar Verdict

A powerful, feature-packed free VPN. Speeds are below average, but they should be enough for most tasks – so give it a try, see how Hide.me works for you.


  • +

    10GB data allowance

  • +

    P2P support

  • +

    Highly configurable

  • +

    Powerful mobile apps


  • -

    Below average speeds

  • -

    No WireGuard

  • -

    Apps can seem complex

  • -

    No recent security audit

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Hide.me is an experienced VPN provider with some exceptionally powerful apps and an intriguing free VPN plan.

The free product restricts your data use to 10GB a month, but that's better than some providers (TunnelBear offers just 500MB), and could keep you safe for many hours of browsing.

While paid customers get 70 locations, the free plan limits you to five: East and West Coast US, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. That lags well behind Windscribe's 14 locations, but on the other hand, it's a big step up from Hotspot Shield's US-only plan, and it's within the range we'd expect for a decent free VPN.

There's a good range of apps, with clients for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux, along with Chrome and Firefox browser extensions. You can install Hide.me on as many devices as you like, but the free plan only supports connecting one device at any one time (you'll have to disconnect Hide.me on your laptop before you use it on your iPhone, for example).

Hide.me Protocol Support

One thing you don't get with the free app is WireGuard support (Image credit: Hide.me)

There's some bad news on the features front: Hide.me's free offering drops support for the speedy WireGuard protocol. There are still more protocols available than you'll see with anyone else – IKEv2, OpenVPN, SoftEther, SSTP – but none match WireGuard for speed.

Look past the WireGuard omission, though, and Hide.me piles on the expert-level features, settings and options everywhere else. The free plan alone gives you more control over the VPN than the paid plans of some other providers.

Hide.me No Logs

Hide.me says all the right things about privacy, but we'd like to see a newer audit on its systems (Image credit: Hide.me)

Privacy and logging

Hide.me uses various tools and technologies to protect your privacy. Sign up, and it keeps your account secure with optional two-factor authentication via suitable apps (Google Authenticator, Authy). Strong encryption, private DNS and other VPN features secure your data while you're connected. And if you decide you don't need the service anymore, you don't have to leave your details behind: deleting your own account is as easy as clicking a button in Hide.me's web dashboard.

Hide.me's privacy policy clearly explains how it protects your account data, the usage details it logs and everything it doesn't. Essentially, it doesn't collect any sensitive information (browsing history, files downloaded and so on), and any information it does log appears to be harmless and just as we'd expect (recording your data usage to enforce the 10GB limit, for instance).

The website goes further, saying 'Hide.me is audited by independent security analysts certifying that our system can’t store user data.' That's true, but what it's not saying up-front is that the review dates from 2015, and there's little information on what it looked at, or precisely what it found.

We have no reason to believe Hide.me is doing anything even faintly dubious with your data, but we'd like to see that supported with a brand new audit, covering the entire service (apps, servers, infrastructure), complete with a detailed report free for anyone to download and read.

Hide.me Windows App

The Windows app is simple and straightforward to use (Image credit: Hide.me)

Windows app

Hide.me's Windows app has a straightforward look and feel which makes it easy for anyone to get started. A big 'Enable VPN' button on the opening screen ensures even total newbies know what to try first, and its other functions are organized in sensibly-named tabs (Locations, Settings).

The Location Picker helpfully displays your free locations at the top of its list, ensuring you're not (as with Atlas VPN) left to scroll every location to see what's available.

Locations and features only available in the paid plan are clearly highlighted. If you've ever used a free app where this isn't as obvious, and you keep getting irritating 'Not available in the free app' warnings with everything you click, you'll appreciate this extra touch.

Hide.me Settings

Hide.me certainly gives you a host of settings to tinker with (Image credit: Hide.me)

Hide.me's free apps stand out for their huge power and configurability, which goes far beyond what we see almost anywhere else. It doesn't just have a kill switch, a wide choice of protocols, split tunneling, auto-connect when accessing unsecured Wi-Fi and more, but each of these areas also has more settings of their own (see our full Hide.me review for more).

Don't be put off if you're not a techie type, though: you won't even know these more advanced settings exist unless you go looking for them. And at heart, the app is as easy to use as any other. Tap the button, the app connects and begins to protect you in around three or four seconds, and tap it again when you're done; simple.

Mac app

Hide.me's Mac offering looks almost identical to the Windows version, and that works just fine for us. It's easier to operate – learn one, and you'll know how to use the other – and it shows Hide.me is paying attention to the details, working to make your life as simple as possible.

The Mac feature list can't quite match its Windows cousin for power, but there's still more here than we see with most of the competition: a kill switch, automatic connection when you access untrusted Wi-Fi networks, highly configurable split tunneling, useful interface customizations, the ability to raise a support ticket from within the app, and all with support for displaying the app in no fewer than 17 languages.

These individual features can be tricky to understand and use, and newbies might occasionally be confused. But as with the Windows app, all the more complicated stuff is tucked away in the Settings box, and can be safely ignored if you don't care about any of it.

If you're more interested in the VPN basics, the app is simple enough to operate. Clicking 'Enable' gets you connected to the nearest server, the other locations are just a couple of clicks away, and in many situations you may never need to know about or explore anything else.

Hide.me Android App

Hide.me provides a well thought out Android app (Image credit: Hide.me)

Android and iOS apps

Hide.me's mobile apps fit in perfectly with the rest of the range: they have a very similar look and feel, they're easy enough to use so anyone can get connected right away, but have plenty of power available if you need it.

We immediately noticed some interesting usability touches. Many VPN apps have a fixed landscape or portrait interface, for instance, which might not always work for your device, but Hide.me's apps can use either – far more convenient.

Hide.me iOS App Store

The iOS app delivers plenty in the way of features (Image credit: Hide.me)

The iOS app stands out in particular for its lengthy feature list. Many VPN providers seem to think iOS apps need little more than a Connect button and a location list, but Hide.me adds IKEv2 and OpenVPN support; a kill switch; custom DNS settings; auto-connect when accessing untrusted networks; interface tweaks; Siri shortcut support, and more.

Put it all together and there's plenty to like here for mobile users, whatever your VPN needs or experience. Well worth a closer look.

nPerf performance benchmark

We speed test all the VPNs we review to get an idea of how well they perform (Image credit: nPerf)


Hide.me makes big claims about speeds, promising 'no throttling', and saying the plan is 'so fast, you won't believe it's free.' That sounds promising and very plausible, especially as Hide.me's paid version hit an amazing 900Mbps in recent testing.

The reality was a disappointment, though, with tests from three UK locations showing downloads averaging around 25Mbps. That's more than enough for email, browsing, or even streaming, but it's well below most of the free competition. TunnelBear, Atlas VPN, PrivadoVPN and Proton VPN's free plans all delivered 300Mbps or more in recent reviews.

What's going on? We asked that question, and Hide.me explained that the free speeds aren't guaranteed. If too many free users pile onto the servers at the same time, speeds drop. That could mean you might see better results if you're connecting at off-peak times, though; it's best to try the service, and see for yourself.

Hide.me's free plan doesn't include its streaming-optimized servers, a strong indicator that you shouldn't get your Netflix hopes up. Our tests confirmed that, with (like most free VPNs) the service failing to unblock US or Canadian Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney Plus.

There was better news on the torrent front. Hide.me lived up to its P2P promises by allowing us hassle-free downloads from its US and Canadian locations.

The free plan includes email support, too. We sent a test question and received a helpful answer in around 12 hours. That's a fair result which outperforms even some paid VPNs, and makes it likely that you'll fix most problems within a day or two.

Final verdict

Hide.me is a capable free VPN, especially for experienced users who'll make good use of its features and hugely configurable apps. Performance is well below average, but there's enough here for browsing, streaming and other tasks, and overall it's well worth a try.

Mike Williams
Lead security reviewer

Mike is a lead security reviewer at Future, where he stress-tests VPNs, antivirus and more to find out which services are sure to keep you safe, and which are best avoided. Mike began his career as a lead software developer in the engineering world, where his creations were used by big-name companies from Rolls Royce to British Nuclear Fuels and British Aerospace. The early PC viruses caught Mike's attention, and he developed an interest in analyzing malware, and learning the low-level technical details of how Windows and network security work under the hood.