24th May 2015
Today I gave HideIP a run for my money to see how the compared to some of the competition. Here’s what I found out:
- unlimited bandwidth
- user-friendly software
- 24/7 support
- super low prices
- restrictive refund policy
- limited server selection
- no mobile apps
Overall Score: 70/100
This score is much lower than the 97/100 scored by our top rated VPN – Express VPN.
This VPN wasn’t bad overall, but lost some points for a slow connection and limited operating system compatibility.
To get HideIP, sign up here: HideIP
The market for VPNs has exploded recently, thanks ironically enough in large part to government surveillance and censorship of the internet.
They’re an easy and effective way to access any content you want, regardless of your geographic location, and offer the kind of privacy a standard connection just can’t.
With a VPN, things like identity theft, hackers, content restriction, and hacking don’t stand a chance.
You can get military-grade encryption, a shiny new IP address, and complete privacy and anonymity, all in one convenient little software package.
The secret’s out though, and now there are more VPNs than ever to choose from. I’ll help you sift through the white noise, and make sense of all of those features, while we review HideIP.
By the end of this you’ll be one smart cookie, and ready to pull the trigger on the VPN that’s right for you.
Will HideIP Work on My Operating System?
If you’re like me, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of this shopping around. Make it easier on yourself by ruling out a bunch with this first question.
If a VPN’s software isn’t compatible with your operating system (on ALL of your devices), then cross it off the list.
Though you can manually configure a connection on any device that supports OpenVPN, HideIP’s software only supports Mac and Windows systems at this time.
There is no mobile app yet, and no software edition for Linux systems.
Rating: 2/5 – No mobile apps
What Kind of Features Does HideIP Have?
The features of a VPN are some of the finer selling points, and can really vary a lot from company to company.
I’ll explain what some of these mean, so you can figure out which ones you can’t live without. Then we’ll see what HideIP has to offer their customers.
Feature #1: Multiple Connections
This refers to the capacity to connect one VPN account to multiple devices at the same time.
This is important, particularly if you have more than one person in your household that could benefit from using it. Most VPNs offer a minimum of two simultaneous connections.
HideIP goes a little beyond that, including up to three connections with all of their service plans. Not bad, right?
Rating: 5/5 – Up to 3 connections
Feature #2: Money Back Guarantee
Well, I’m sure I don’t have to explain this one to you. All I can say is, just don’t sign up for a service plan assuming you can get a refund if it doesn’t work.
If it’s not in writing, there isn’t really anything holding them to it.
I wouldn’t settle for anything less than a two week money back guarantee, and one that gives you refunds for service issues too, not just technical ones.
HideIP has a lengthy refund period, though I wouldn’t exactly call it a money back guarantee. You can only claim a refund if you’re unable to connect to a server.
Since they offer a 24 hour free trial, you are expected to test the speed of their connection prior to signing up, and they assume no responsibility for it.
Rating: 3/5 – Can only claim a refund if you can’t connect
Feature #3: Number of Servers
The number of servers you can connect to is hugely important, because it can have a dramatic effect on your connection speed.
Not enough servers to go around means they’re more likely to get bogged down with too many users. As far as how many you should look for, I would settle for no less than 50 servers.
Unfortunately, HideIP only has 27 servers altogether to choose from, so your options are pretty limited.
That coupled with the fact that they only have those servers in five countries, all in Europe and North America, could make a it a bit difficult for users in other parts of the world to connect.
Rating: 2/5 – Servers only in Europe and North America
Feature #4: Referral Program
A referral program is a great way to earn free or discounted service, just by spreading the word.
Though you may not see this feature too often, it’s definitely a nice one to have, and may just put a little money back in your pocket.
Unfortunately though HideIP doesn’t have a referral program – no gold star for them.
Rating: 0/5 – No referral program
Feature #5: Data Logging
This is the practice of storing your internet activity logs. While it’s common practice for a lot of other ISPs, it’s something no VPN provider has any business doing.
The most they should ever store is a login name or similar credentials for support purposes.
HideIP doesn’t keep any records of their users’ activity, so you’re safe there. You are asked for a first and last name when you register an account with them, but nothing more than that.
Rating: 5/5 – No data logging
Feature #6: Bandwidth
This is like your data limit with your service plan.
Some VPN providers may try to put caps on it in an effort to keep their connections fast, but for the most part, this should always be unlimited (and that shouldn’t impact your connection speed).
HideIP gives their customers unlimited bandwidth with all of their service plans, so you never have to worry about watching too much Netflix or jamming to Pandora all the time.
No caps means endless streaming, and no worries.
Rating: 5/5 – No bandwidth caps
How Secure Is It?
When it comes to VPNs, security is pretty much the whole point. You’re not just protecting yourself from hackers, but government agencies that think your business is their business.
There’s a lot of technical mumbo jumbo out there where security and encryption is concerned, but there are two basic strengths: 128 and 256 bit.
While both are very strong, the latter of the two is virtually unbeatable.
In addition, it’s always nice if there are ways to adjust your security settings in the software. While strong encryption is great, it can sometimes slow down your connection.
Having the ability to switch to a less secure connection is sometimes nice, so that you can still have all the access, but a faster connection.
HideIP has a very secure connection, with their strongest security setting using the 256 bit OpenVPN protocol.
You can also choose between four different security protocols to really get the most out of your connection.
They also have a handful of customizable security settings, like an app kill list that you can add programs to to close if the connection fails.
Rating: 5/5 – Great security options
What’s the Set-Up Process Like?
Okay, so you techy geniuses out there may scoff at this, but it’s entirely probable that not everyone in the world has even heard of VPNs, let alone are they familiar configuring connections.
Set up should be as simple as download, install, and done.
This is one of those super easy to set, down/install deals – it really does all of the work for you. There are no configuration files to mess with, no computer settings to adjust.
Just download the appropriate software package from their website, run the installation wizard, and you’re good to go.
Rating: 5/5 – Software anyone can set up
Is it Easy to Use?
Once you get the VPN set up, it’s nice if you’re able to hop on and off the secure connection without too much trouble.
It’s also nice if the software design is clean and straightforward, without a whole mess of unnecessary features to pick through.
I was really impressed with HideIP’s software. It has a very simple, straightforward design that doesn’t overwhelm the user.
Connecting is as simple as selecting the country you want, then choosing a server from the drop down menu.
There are additional tabs for adjusting settings, which are equally easy to navigate. Overall, it’s just a very user-friendly design.
Rating: 5/5 – Great user-friendly software
Logging in with HideIP’s software is just a little bit different than most other VPNs.
Rather than using the credentials you’re given for the client area on their website, you have an entirely different set for the software itself.
Luckily there’s an option to remember your password, so you don’t have to store that information in your memory for very long.
If you decide you want to try your luck on another server for a faster connection, it’s nice to be able to switch pretty easily between them.
This is a pretty simple process with HideIP. All you have to do is disconnect, choose a different country and server, and reconnect.
The only thing they could have improved here would have been to show a real-time traffic display on the servers, but there are very few VPNs that do have that nice little feature.
What If I Need Help?
Customer service is the most important thing to me when choosing a VPN (aside from maybe connection speed).
Seriously, without decent customer service, you’re just going to end up frustrated and without help when you need it.
Make sure you choose a company that’s going to be there to help you when you need it.
This is definitely the most important part of great customer service. We’re all in different time zones, and technical problems definitely never pick convenient times to happen.
Round the clock support means timely responses and assistance at all hours.
HideIP has 24/7/365 support, so they’re there for you every day of the week, with service around the clock!
Rating: 5/5 – Nonstop support
The more ways you can get in touch with customer service, the easier it will be to get prompt and effective service.
Typically VPN providers offer at least e-mail support, though a live option like chat or e-mail support is best.
Though HideIP has 24/7 customer service, you can only get in touch with them via their e-mail ticket system.
Rating: 2/5 – Only e-mail support available
Customer Support Test
I put HideIP’s customer service to the test, contacting them both during peak business hours, and well outside of them, to see how their response times varied.
Here we take a closer look at how fast they contact their customers, and how helpful and professional their service is.
E-mail Support Test #1 – Sunday/3:05 p.m.
I got a response from HideIP really fast. Not even ten minutes went by, and I had a response that was professional and helpful.
E-mail Support Test #2 – Sunday/10:06 p.m.
Even with my service request that came pretty well after hours, I still got a response in just over one hour. Once again they addressed my concerns right away, and I was blown away by their speed.
Result: 1 hour 11 minutes
Rating: 5/5 – Fast support even after hours
I was really pleasantly surprised with HideIP’s customer support. It didn’t seem to matter what time of the day I contacted them; they were prompt every single time.
They definitely made up for their lack of a live support option with their fast and effective service.
Overall Support Rating: 10/10 – Some of the fastest support around!
How Fast is HideIP?
Speed is definitely a critical part of a great VPN, but it’s not something you can really gauge until you try it.
I ran two speed tests, one with HideIP’s connection, and one with my standard internet connection, to see how the two compared.
As you can see, the connection was substantially slower with HideIP.
Though I used their strongest 256 bit encryption during this test, you still shouldn’t see more than a 2 Mbps lag in the download speed.
Rating: 1/5 – A lot slower with this VPN
How Much Does HideIP Cost?
Since there are so many VPNs out there, pricing is really competitive, which is great news for you.
There are a handful of free versions and trials out there, but for the paid subscriptions, you shouldn’t really have to pay more than $15 per month.
HideIP is a really reasonably priced one, with plans starting at around $6 per month.
You can get a combination VPN and SmartDNS package for $10 if you really want to spring, and even that isn’t anything to sweat.
Rating: 5/5 – Super low prices
The X Factor
The X factor can be anything that stands out to you (good or bad) – website layout, software design, or just the overall vibe you get from a company.
Ones that offer very little information on their products and have choppy, poorly translated descriptions rub me the wrong way, but I’m a sucker for creative marketing and cool software.
While I really liked the simplicity of their software, that’s definitely the word I would use to describe their website as well – simple, and more notably, forgettable.
There just wasn’t a whole lot about this one that really stood out to me. Their marketing was pretty dry, although they did provide a good amount of information on their site.
Overall, I just kind of left it shrugging my shoulders.
Rating: 10/20 – Nothing noteworthy
Alright, so now that we’re done raking HideIP over the coals, let’s see how they did in this quick recap:
- 30 day refund policy
- up to 3 simultaneous connections
- no data logging
- unlimited bandwidth
- easy to set up
- user-friendly software
- ultra strong encryption
- multiple security protocols to choose from
- 24/7 customer support
- prompt service
- low monthly rates
- no mobile apps
- refund policy very restrictive
- very limited server selection
- no referral program
- only e-mail support available
- very slow connection
- forgettable website
Overall Score: 70/100
Overall, it seemed that HideIP struggled with the actual functionality of their service, with limited operating system compatibility, and a connection that just couldn’t keep up.
However, their support team was absolutely top notch, and their rates are some of the most competitive I’ve seen.
You’re now well-armed with all the right information to make a seriously informed decision on your own VPN purchase – and who knows, you may even decide that $6 a month HideIP plan is perfect for you.
To get HideIP, sign up here: HideIP
To see the highest rated VPN that scored a 97/100, click here: Express VPN.