We conducted tests on the Windows client. Connections established very quickly and we had no trouble with stability either – in fact, we did not experience any speed lags, even. On the main screen, you are given a separate button to save your logs (these are important in case you run into problems), and the rest is self-explanatory. Do note however, that before you log in, you can even get to choose between doing VPN or smart DNS; this is a strong division that is apparent throughout the entirety of HideIPVPN’s catalogue.
On the settings screen, you are provided with substantial functions, like starting and minimizing the client as it starts with your computer, and even more useful auto-connect and auto-reconnect options. Furthermore, though it is not marked, there is a built-in kill switch function implemented into the client, to satisfy additional safety concerns. The Application Killer is a tool designed in a way that it blocks every single .exe file added onto its respective list. These applications will be unable to run if anything happens to your VPN connection but can be restarted automatically by the client itself. This is a rarer addition to any list of functions and we are glad to see it. You will also get notified if there are any updates available for your client software.
Overall, we found the Windows client to be suitable for its job. Its clean design that even has a stealthy edge and a sense of humor to it (think the Darth Vader icon) is an indication of a well thought out business. Visuality is an overwhelming impulse, more than ever. The subtleness of HideIPVPN’s solutions was met with a warm welcome on our side.
The company’s smart DNS service deserves some praise. Not only is it tuned to providing U.S. and UK restricted streaming content, but you can gain access via devices that are not supported in the regular VPN packages. This includes D-link and TP-link routers, Xbox and PlayStation, and Roku, among others.
A total of around 30 servers are available for HideIPVPN, with most of the IPs available in the U.S., and ample VPN server capacity in the Netherlands, Poland, France, Germany, Canada and the UK. Yes, this means that there are only 7 countries available, but they serve their purpose well. It is however a clear sign that HideIPVPN mainly goes after European and U.S. users, while users in the Asian and African continent have to connect to far more distant locations. You can connect a maximum of 3 devices simultaneously on each and every plan available, which is good considering many VPN companies like to limit the number of devices for lower end plans.
Even though it is mostly a privacy strength, we must highlight here too that HideIPVPN offers SoftEther as a security protocol. The reason for this extra mentioning is that unlike other providers, HideIPVPN supports this solution very extensively; so much so that it received its own client. It does require manual setup, however, but this should not turn you away from trying this newer protocol.
In terms of speed, HideIPVPN fares well. We cannot say that we were met with extraordinary results, but for a smaller scale VPN provider, this is content and we are looking forward to improvements.
HideIPVPN is managed by the U.S.-based company Server Management LLC. This is worth pointing out, as there are specific data retention laws in the U.S. that limit some of their activities. For example, their U.S. and UK servers do not support P2P and BitTorrent (but they come with free smart DNS). Their log policy however is more friendly, as only your connection timestamps and bandwidth used are stored, next to information to identify you by. A bit worse news is that HideIPVPN may contact you with surveys and product offers.
HideIPVPN allows connection via PPTP, SSTP, PPTP, OpenVPN and SoftEther’s SSL-VPN protocol. Encryption over L2TP, SSTP and SoftEther SSL-VPN servers is 256-bit AES. OpenVPN uses 128-bit AES. This is a disadvantage regarding safety, but a bit bigger advantage regarding speed. PPTP uses 128-bit MPPE, but as always, we would like to point out that PPTP is not recommended as it is unsafe compared to your other options.
OS, Device Support
We were most impressed with the selection of OS and device support available. Even though HideIPVPN’s own client software is available for Windows and Mac lovers only (and no, we are not referring to a certain type of hamburger here), lots of devices are compatible via manual setup. Versions of supported operating systems include Mac OS X, Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista and XP (as mentioned above, there are other options available other than the client), Ubuntu Linux and Chromebook. They are available via different security protocols, with Windows supporting all five or just four (no SSTP on XP), Mac OS with three (PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN), Linux on two (PPTP and OpenVPN) and Chromebook on one – L2TP.
Mobile devices supported include the iPad, the iPhone and iPod on L2TP and PPTP, Android smartphones and tablets on the same setups, and Windows Phone 8.1 on L2TP. DD-WRT routers are also welcome.
What makes the device selection impressive is the smart DNS service’s options. Apart from all the already listed devices, you can engage in smart DNS activity on D-link routers, TP.link routers, on Xbox, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, NowTV, NexusPlayer, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung SmartTV. Proxies are similarly well-supported: Windows 10, 8, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Internet Explorer, Safari (for Windows, too), the iPhone and iPod touch and Skype are all available in this matter.
HideIPVPN divides their VPN and smart DNS offers into separate setouts. The main reason for this is the company’s pricing model: since there are 7 locations only, they are available individually, and also based on whether they provide P2P support or not. Because of these reasons, the US and UK VPN packages, and also the Poland VPN and P2P/BitTorrent VPN (which essentially covers The Netherlands and Germany) plans start at a monthly price of $5.99 and going down as low as $4.19 if you choose the annual plan. What is interesting about these numbers is that while the US VPN and UK VPN packages provide free SmartDNS access, the P2P/BitTorrent VPN plan does not. All of them come with free Proxy support, however. There is also a plan that offers the full experience, the VPN & SmartDNS plan. It starts at a monthly $9.99 and descends into a $6.99 per month price if you are interested in a year’s worth of full HideIPVPN.
HideIPVPN not only hides your IP address, but also its own free trial offering. Camouflaged on its website you can grab hold of a free 24-hour trial without having to fill out any credit card or personal details. While it’s limited in time, it’s not limited in terms of available features and options; you get everything offered in the VPN & Smart DNS package. Next to this, HideIPVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee. This tastes good, but there is a sour pill hidden inside that muffin: refund is only a viable option if you can’t connect to their VPN servers using all VPN connections included into your package, making it unsuitable for test driving the service. Smart DNS is in one part available for a 7-day free trial. On the paid side of things, one month costs $4.95, but 12 months fare at $3.24/mo, which is an overall of $38.95.
HideIPVPN offers a substantial 50% discount for every second purchase. Judging from the pricing model the company employs, this incentivizes purchasing several smaller packages. P2P and BitTorrent is only supported in The Netherlands’ and Germany’s servers and they are available as a separate buy, for example. Still, the overall price of getting one package with smart DNS and another one without it for 50% off (or vice versa, since they cost the same) means that the VPN & SmartDNS offer remains their most advantageous one.
Payment options include MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, Bitcoins, AliPay, WebMoney, YandexMoney, Boleto Bancario and Qiwi.
HideIPVPN provides decent service through their website’s live chat support, which is open 24/7. Responses were very fast; even though we were interested in very specific pricing info, or just general knowledge, help came within a minute and the quality of this assistance was also sufficient. Support agents were moreover friendly and if needed, TeamViewer-based remote desktop help can be initiated. Apart from these two, you can also send an e-mail to the company either from an outside address or the client area of your HideIPVPN account. Submitting a ticket however can only be done via the client area.
In terms of social media presence, HideIPVPN has active Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube accounts, although the latter mainly servers the purpose of providing tutorial videos. These are of course accessible via the support section of the official website, too, along with an FAQ list.
We would like to compare HideIPVPN to a well-ornamented cake. It looks good, but the flavors just could not blend together that well yet. Do not misunderstand us: this is a good VPN service. Our impression merely was that there is a bit of extra sugar or flour missing from the mix, basic components – and not whipped cream or a hint of cinnamon. The country list could be a bit more extensive with some more Asian and African ingredients, while the pricing of all of this could use some more work. Otherwise, HideIPVPN is a strong contender in the upper midfield of VPN.
- Customer service
- Smart DNS
- Good device support
- Few locations
- A bit odd pricing