HideIPVPN is a solid VPN service for the five server locations it provides, with a decent client, bundled SmartDNS for most plans, and genuinely excellent user support. The provision of SoftEther servers is a nice step forward, though users looking for a significant speed advantage may be disappointed.
Pricing & Plans
HideIPVPN offer a 24-hour free trial as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee. The catch is, anything they feel customers should have noticed during the free trial will not be accepted as grounds for a refund. This includes issues with speed, accessing specific websites, or being unable to set up the VPN on a router or modem.
Five different price plans are offered for the VPN service, based on which server location users want to access. The US and UK price plans each include SmartDNS for that country, and servers in Germany and the Netherlands are bundled together under the “P2P/BitTorrent” plan. The most expensive plan includes servers in all available countries except Canada as well as SmartDNS for the US, UK and Poland. Purchasing a year of this subscription works out as $6.99 per month, which is about average for a VPN. The new French servers are available with the biggest package.
As well as access to VPN servers in six countries, HideIPVPN allows connection via PPTP, SSTP, PPTP, OpenVPN and SoftEther’s SSL-VPN protocol. Users are permitted to connect from up to three devices simultaneously, but each device must use a different VPN or proxy server. Each geographic location offers several servers, with nine IPs available in the UK and US, five in the Netherlands and three in Germany, two in Canada, and one in Poland.
*Editors Note: French servers have been added to the premium plan. Polish servers have replaced Canadian
Connections can be made via HideIPVPN’s bespoke client for Windows and Mac, via the OpenVPN client, or via the SoftEther client – though setting up servers for the latter is a more involved process – and can also be set up manually depending on your device and operating system.
Security & Privacy
Encryption over L2TP, SSTP and SoftEther SSL-VPN servers is 256-bit AES. OpenVPN uses 128-bit AES, which although not the best is more than good enough for most people and can have speed benefits. PPTP uses 128-bit MPPE, but we wouldn’t recommend security-conscious users connect over PPTP anyway.
HideIPVPN’s website looks good and is easy to navigate, with pertinent information presented up-front along with screenshots of the VPN client, and their support section and client area couldn’t be easier to access. There’s also a blog with service updates, guides to access streaming content via the HideIPVPN service, occasional features on privacy-related issues and even the odd discount for new subscribers.
HideIPVPN have a real strength in their website’s live chat support, which is open 24/7 and has always given lightning-fast response times whenever we’ve tried it – we never had to wait more than about 30 seconds for somebody to talk to us. Support agents are friendly, helpful and patient, and if necessary can provide remote desktop assistance via TeamViewer. We got a pretty thorough opportunity to try this out, with support helping us to track down and fix a DNS leak issue. Again, the person helping us was friendly, professional, and – refreshingly – clearly knew what they were doing.
In addition, there’s a ticket system in the client area which provides quick responses (well under an hour) by unflinchingly polite support agents. What was also pleasing is that all interactions you have with support via your account are automatically logged for you in the client area, allowing you to review past live chats as well as view and respond to old tickets. Users who don’t wish for their chats to be logged in this way can sign in as guests without having to provide a username or email. It’s also perhaps worth noting that any links you access while the chat dialogue is open will be visible in the log.
Getting started with HideIPVPN’s service involves clicking the “buy VPN now” link and choosing a price plan and – in theory – a billing cycle. Unfortunately, it’s not as clear as it could be that users should choose their billing cycle from the list before clicking “order”, and selecting nothing defaults to monthly payment (the most expensive option); although the following page does offer users a big red box suggesting they upgrade to annual payment, it’s still pretty easy to miss.
The Windows VPN client
HideIPVPN’s Windows client is simple and relatively easy to use, with our only gripe about the interface being that it doesn’t show up in the Window list on the task bar; given that it has a system tray icon too, however, this isn’t too much of an issue. The various options for connection are presented in a straight-forward way, and useful additional options are easy to find and understand. There’s also a neat little ‘Application Killer’ section where users can define programs to kill – such as BitTorrent clients – if the VPN connection drops. The ‘Info’ tab has a short spiel on what VPN does as well as ‘Usefull links’ (sic) to helpful parts of the HideIPVPN website.
SoftEther’s SSL-VPN protocol is not yet available through the bespoke client, and although HideIPVPN are working on an update, presently users must download a separate SoftEther client and follow manual set-up instructions on the HideIPVPN knowledge base. SoftEther is a decent client that establishes its connection quickly, but although promising better speeds while connected users may not observe any appreciable difference.
Performance (Speed, DNS and IP Test)
We found download speeds to be something of a mixed bag. One of the Dutch SoftEther servers gave a solid 26Mbps downstream, which is not bad considering our test connection only maxes out at 30Mbps. Conversely, we experienced speeds as low as 3Mbps on a couple of the UK servers. Most others gave results somewhere in between these extremes. This is OK for web browsing and we didn’t have any issues with streaming, but it’d be nice if speeds were more consistent.
Speed DNS IP Test
|Graphs show highest, lowest and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.|
Curiously, we experienced a DNS leak with HideIPVPN on our test system which hasn’t previously (or since) had any trouble with other VPN clients. We were able to fix this with help from support, and though the workaround isn’t ideal, we’re prepared to pin this one on Windows itself rather than HideIPVPN’s service – plus, the level of support provided was genuinely impressive. Otherwise, DNS and IP tests came back OK.
HideIPVPN provide bespoke clients for Windows and Mac OSX. Other platforms, such as Android and iOS, have to be content with setup guides provided on the knowledge base; although a number of common platforms are catered for (including Chromebook, DD-WRT routers and Linux), users have to be content with connecting via L2TP or PPTP. It’s also worth noting that the HideIPVPN TOS specifically disallows refunds based on problems experienced with platforms other than Windows, Mac OSX and Linux.
Editors Note: HideIPVPN have released bespoke VPN clients for iOS and Android devices.
Our Android VPN app complies with OpenVPN protocol – SSL with AES 2048 bit key certificate and 128 AES encryption. Our application allows to use multiple port with OpenVPN both UDP and TCP.
Other/ Free Services
As well as the VPN service, HideIPVPN bundle a web proxy service with all price plans. This is simple to set up using the guide on the site, should work with any browser and OS, and is a relatively quick way to effectively anonymise browsing and unlock geoblocked streaming sites without using the full-on VPN. Our only concern was just how outdated some of the setup guides were; for example, the guide for Google Chrome is over 5 years old and isn’t really much help for modern versions of the browser.
HideIPVPN also include access to their SmartDNS service with some subscription plans – you can check out our review of this on our sister site, SmartDNS.com.
- Excellent support through Live Chat, remote desktop and ticket systems
- Good variety of protocols, including SoftEther
- Simple bespoke client with useful options
- Setup guides for variety of platforms
- Bundled SmartDNS
We weren’t so sure about
- Inconsistent speeds on occasion
- Amount of personal information required for registration
Overall, HideIPVPN give the impression of being friendly and user-focused, and while the technical side of their service could use some polish – server speeds range from fab to feeble – the quality of user support can’t be faulted. The existence of a 24-hour free trial gives interested users a good chance to test the service fully for themselves, and although it comes with caveats, the 30-day money-back guarantee should reassure anyone concerned about encountering more serious issues after clicking the “Order” button.