Is Hide.me good to Download Torrents anonymously? 

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A review of Hide.me for torrents and P2P

Hide.me VPN is growing in popularity among torrent users, and it’s one of the most requested reviews from our users. 

This VPN provider always had a friendly attitude towards torrenting. And, thanks to their continuous development, it’s getting a lot of interest coming from the file-sharing community.

For two weeks, I tested every aspect of this VPN that impacts torrenting, such as IP leaks, download speeds, and security features. I am sharing those test results in this review and my opinions about the software.

Does Hide.me Allow Torrenting?

Hide.me allows you to download torrents without any limitations on every server. We see it as one of the most P2P-friendly VPNs at the moment. And why is that? The company does not try to hide the fact that its VPN software can be used for file-sharing.

Lately, we are seeing many vague VPN providers regarding their stance on P2P. Even when asked, they are unclear and do not admit it. That’s because torrenting is connected to online piracy, and people forget that there are many other legal uses for the BitTorrent protocol. Long story short, some VPN companies do not want to publicly say they support torrent downloads, even though they do.

We are happy to see that Hide.me clearly states their support for BitTorrent traffic. They’re one of the few that do, and that gives them extra points.

What Makes Hide.me a Good Option for Torrenting

Hide.me has a good combination of features that will keep users on the safe side when downloading torrent files.

Hide.me specs

Servers: Around 2000 spread over 75 countries.
Servers for P2P: Every server supports torrent downloads.
Download speed: Excellent download and upload speeds.
Safety features: There is a kill switch with customization options, DNS leak prevention, and other relevant tools for file-sharing.
Protocols available: OpenVPN, IKEv2, SoftEtherVPN, WireGuards, and SSTP.
Encryption: 256-bit AES cipher.
Logging policy: User activity is not saved.
Company location: They are located in Malaysia, a friendly country regarding data retention laws and outside the reach of the “Five Eye” alliance.

I’ll get into detail about each of the specs I just mentioned later in this review.

How to Torrent Anonymously with Hide.me VPN?

Since they allow P2P traffic on every server, it’s easy to torrent with Hide.me. Follow these steps to get started:

1. Get the VPN software by choosing a subscription that suits you.

2. Download the VPN client and use the login details you received in your email.

3. Make sure the kill switch is activated.

4. Connect to your chosen server.

5. Look for your torrent file and download it as you would normally, via your BitTorrent client

Servers

There are more than 2000 servers in 75 locations, and all of them can be used for torrenting. Every user will find a server in the same continent. 

The best Hide.me servers for torrenting and P2P2

As I always recommend, the best servers to achieve maximum speed and safety for P2P are located in your region of the world, but not exactly in the same country as you are. In other words, one of your neighboring countries will be the best option, or at least the same continent.

Picking one in the same country would probably give you the best speed, but connecting to a different country is always safer. That’s because if someone tries to monitor your activity, they would have to go through two different jurisdictions.

Server Speed Tests

This is what the torrent enthusiasts were waiting for; the download speed test results. Well, here they are. Before you analyze those results, consider the following details:

  1. The test was performed in Poland.
  2. The selected server locations were Germany (very close), the Netherlands (far away), and the USA (very far away).
  3. I tested servers using the OpenVPN UDP protocol (it’s the one we recommend for torrenting).
  4. Remember that every VPN will reduce your original Internet speed (encryption consumes resources).
The speed test without a VPN connection
Test result without a VPN connection
Speed test result in Poland
Poland – Approx. 3% speed loss
Speed test result in Germany
Germany – Approx. 4% speed loss
Speed test result in the Netherlands
The Netherlands – Approx. 6% speed loss
Speed test result in the U.S.A.
The USA – Approx. 10% speed loss

The goal was to verify if the speed decreased a lot with the distance of the servers. In case you do not know, the further you are from the server you connect to, the slower the connection will be. That’s why I said it’s always advisable to choose a server in a country nearby.

The following is our analysis and opinion regarding the results we achieved during our testing with Hide.me:

1. Speed Achieved

I’ve never seen a VPN achieve such speed using the OpenVPN protocol before. Sure, I saw VPNs achieving this speed, but only when using different protocols, not OpenVPN. A speed loss of only 3% with this protocol is an excellent result. OpenVPN usually has a considerable speed impact on the Internet connection.

That is because it offers more protection than other protocols, consuming more resources. It’s impressive they got it to be this fast.

2. Speed – Server distance ratio

As we mentioned before, the more distant you are from the server, the slower your connection will be. We see it many times when we test VPNs; the speed loss becomes very visible when connecting to distant servers.

I was very impressed again. The speed loss is barely noticeable in the countries located in the same continent where the test was performed (Europe). This does not happen with the majority of VPNs.

But what’s even more impressive is the fact that I tried a server in the USA, which is very far away, in a different continent, and there was a speed loss of only 10%. We were expecting between 60% and 70%. Again, that’s what happens with most VPN software. 

Safety Features and Settings

The VPN client has many tools that can help increase your anonymity. As this is a review directed at torrenting, we will not cover every single feature. We will only discuss the ones that have an impact on your torrenting experience.

The Kill Switch

We had to start with the most important one, the kill switch. It will kill the internet connection in case of a VPN failure. That way, if the VPN malfunctions and stops protecting you, the internet connection will be shut down, for your identity not to leak. It’s an essential tool for torrenting; your download will immediately stop if the VPN crashes.

The kill switch option in the Hide.me VPN settings

Stealth Guard

You can look at the stealth guard as a kill switch on steroids. It allows you to limit your internet connection to the VPN. In other words, you will only have internet when connected to a VPN server. That’s perfect for users who sometimes forget to turn the VPN on before downloading their torrents.

The stealth guard mode

It also allows you to customize the stealth guard, meaning you can select which apps will work only with a VPN connection. For example, if you choose qBitTorrent, as I did (image above), this program will only work when your VPN is running. And all the other programs will work as they did before, with or without a VPN connection.

DNS Leak Prevention

The app protects you from DNS leakage by default, as it routes your requests through Hide.me DNS servers. It’s also possible to use a custom DNS server. You will find this option on Settings > Network. Then you will have to insert the custom DNS servers.

We recommend not changing it and going with the default. It behaved very well during our tests, but more on that later.

Encryption and Protocols

The protocols available are OpenVPN, IKEv2, SoftEtherVPN, WireGuard, and SSTP. We usually recommend OpenVPN for torrenting. We believe that it provides a good balance between speed and security.

The available protocols in the Hide.me VPN software

The encryption cipher is 256-AES, which is the strongest one available.

Split tunneling

You can choose which programs to protect with split tunneling. For example, if I turn this feature on and select qBitTorrent, as you can see in the picture below, only qBitTorrent will be protected. All the remaining online activity will use your real IP.

It’s useful when you need your real IP for a specific task but still want to hide it when using a particular program at the same time. 

Note: If you only choose your BitTorrent client, keep in mind that your IP will be visible when using your internet browser. What I mean is that you will use your real IP address to browse torrent sites.

I usually don’t use this feature; I like to protect the entire connection, but it’s good to know it’s there if needed.

Socks5 proxy

There is a socks5 proxy included in every plan if you want to configure your BitTorrent client for extra protection. The server you should use is socks.hide.me, with the port 1080. Here is the screenshot with a proper configuration. We are using qBitTorrent as an example.

The Hide.me socks5 configuration

Note: The VPN alone is perfectly capable of protecting you, but the socks5 proxy alone isn’t. In other words, you shouldn’t use a socks5 proxy without the VPN. It’s OK to use it as an addition to the VPN, but I don’t advise only using the proxy.

Safety tests

We performed daily tests for two weeks to make sure all of those security tools did their job correctly.

IP address detection

This is the IP detected by browsers and online apps when using the VPN. The reason why you see two IPs is that Hide.me is fully prepared for IPV6. 

The IP addresses detected on the security test

You can see a typical IPv4 IP address on the left, and on the right, the IPv6. It’s good to see that the app is ready for IPv6.

DNS Leaks

The Hideme DNS leak test result

We didn’t have a single DNS leak during our tests. We tested every server location, and the DNS request was always made through the Hide.me DNS servers.

Torrent address IP detection

The detected torrent IP addresses

The detected IP was never our real one when downloading a torrent file. On this test, both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses were detected. Both are coming from Hide.me.

Compatibility and Simultaneous Connections

The VPN app is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iPhone/iPad, Linux. There are also extensions for web browsers.

The number of simultaneous connections is 10, which is twice the average. This means you can protect 10 devices at the same time with one single Hide.me account.

Safety Details About the Company

Besides the security that a VPN app offers, it’s also vital to look at the company that operates it. To ensure that torrent users are safe, the company must follow best practices regarding privacy.

The company behind Hide.me

Hide.me was founded in 2012, and it’s based in Malaysia, a friendly location when it comes to data retention laws. VPN companies in this country do not have to keep logs from their users. And they don’t have to cooperate with foreign governments that request user info.

Logging policy

The company has a no-logging policy, meaning that no user activity is stored. This is one of the most important things to look for in a VPN service, whether the goal is to torrent or not.

If a government agency requests user data, then:

A) They don’t have to cooperate because of their location.

B) Even if they wanted to cooperate, they would have no information to give.

The Transparency Report

It’s reassuring to see that they have a transparency report available to everyone. It’s a document in which Hide.me discloses very interesting data, such as how many requests they have had from law enforcement and DMCA through the years. It’s worth looking at it to have an idea of how frequently VPN companies are asked to disclose user information. Here is a link to the transparency report (PDF version).

Price

The value for the 2-year plan is the most attractive, with a total price of $99.95. Right now, they are adding two extra months to that plan.

The price of the different plans

They have a money-back guarantee policy of 30 days for users who decide not to continue using the VPN.

Free Version of Hide.me

There is a free version of Hide.me available. As expected, there are a few limitations.

10 GB download limit per month

A limit like this is normal. It’s expensive to run and maintain VPN servers, and giving unlimited bandwidth wouldn’t make sense. But we take our hats off to Hide.me for providing a free version of their software. There are four servers available for free users. The locations are Canada, the USA, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Limited speed

Unfortunately, it seems the download speed of the servers in the app’s free version is much slower.

Here is a screenshot of the german server test I showed you before, on the left. On the right, there’s a screenshot of a speed test with the free server, also in Germany. 

Speed test result in Germany
Approx. 4% speed loss
Speed test result on a free server from Germany
Approx. 83% speed loss

The difference is obvious. While discussing this with Hide.me, they guaranteed me that free servers are not capped. The most likely reason is that the free servers have many users at the same time. The server becomes overloaded and the bandwidth is distributed among many users, causing slower speeds. With that being said, the speed on the free servers will vary depending on the number of people using them at a specific moment.

If you only download a couple of files per month, and you don’t mind slow download speeds, you should give it a try.

Hide.me Pros and Cons

The following are our favorite things about Hide.me and the ones we think would be an improvement.

What we liked about Hide.me

  • One of the fastest download speeds we have seen on OpenVPN.
  • There are plenty of essential features to make torrenting easier and safer, such as a kill switch and stealth mode.
  • There is a no-logging policy and a public disclosure of law enforcement requests for user info.
  • Strong encryption (256bit AES).
  • Support for IPv6.
  • 10 simultaneous connections.
  • There’s a free version with a 10 GB download limit per month.

What we think could be improved

  • Adding a few more servers for the free users would be nice. There are only a few, which makes the speed on the free servers quite slow.
  • Some regions of the globe should have more servers, for the users in such areas to have more options. I’m talking about South America, Africa, and Asia.

Conclusion

Hide.me was built with several uses in mind, and one of them is definitely BitTorrent. There are quite some features that make the life of torrenters much easier and safer.

This VPN client stands out of the crowd when it comes to download speed. As I mentioned, no other VPN achieved these speeds through OpenVPN in the history of our site (I checked the entire testing records). Even when connected to very far away servers (in a different continent), we saw very impressive speeds.

Hide.me ticks all the right boxes when talking about file-sharing. It provides a great torrenting experience, one of the best. Let’s put it like this: right after reviewing it, we placed Hide.me directly in the top 3 of our list of recommended VPNs for P2P. And that does not happen every day.