For the past few weeks, I've been testing Hideman - a VPN solution with a feature set I've been seeking for a very long time. I've been using both Android and Windows apps to test the service, and let me tell you - it is everything I was hoping it would be and then some.
Hideman is available for the following operating systems:
But let's start from the beginning.
What is Hideman?
Hideman is a VPN (Virtual Private Network) provider with servers located in a whopping 22 countries and counting (while I was testing, I requested a location in Spain, and it was added within a few days).
Once you establish a VPN connection with a remote server, all traffic from your device passes through a secure tunnel and sees the outside world as if it were located on the same network with the remote server.
So if you're connecting to a VPN server in the UK, you're going to get a UK IP, and sites around the web are going to think you're actually located in the UK. This will allow you to bypass Internet censorship or check out location-specific services, such as TV-streaming sites. Heck, even P2P traffic is allowed, though not in all countries (for a detailed breakdown, see here).
Additionally, anyone snooping on your local network won't be able to see anything you're doing - the connection is encrypted (using a 256-bit encryption algorithm) and secure. You can read more about VPN here if you're after the low-level details.
Free To Try?
Hideman is available completely free to try for up to 5 hours a week.
There are some limitations, which you can read about here - for example, you only get 5 countries instead of the full 22 (though, strangely, on Android you now get 8, and this number was even higher two weeks ago - I guess they tweak this number all the time), your bandwidth is capped at 512kbps, and you can only download 2GB a month.
Free accounts also get their transfer logs saved for 14 days to assist law enforcement with claims of hacking, carding, child pornography, etc.
Paid accounts, on the other hand, don't have any such restrictions, and the company says it does not log any activity of its paying users.
One more thing worth noting - you can use the same account on not 1, not 2, but 3 devices at the same time. Splendid.
When it comes to Android, it seems to be billed differently from other operating systems - the rate is much cheaper. For example, 1 month costs only $2.90 on Android, while the same month costs $9 on Windows.
Note: I was assured that if you purchased access to Hideman for desktop operating systems, which is billed at a higher rate, Android access would be included for free. The converse is, obviously, not true.
Hideman's Best Feature
Here's the best part about Hideman - and this is an absolute killer for me, as I spent hours of my life hunting down free proxy servers in specific countries whenever I needed to check out something like an availability of a Nexus 4 in a foreign Play Store - you can pick which of the 22 currently supported countries your traffic is routed through.
All servers are included for paid accounts - just pick the one you want, press Connect, and voila - a few seconds later, you're suddenly in Australia. Or France. Or Japan.
Hideman for Windows in action
Here is the current list which, as I mentioned, consists of 22 countries and growing:
- Canada (currently 2 servers)
- Czech Republic
- Germany (currently 2 servers)
- Hong Kong SAR China
- Netherlands (currently 3 servers)
- Russia (currently 2 servers)
- United Kingdom (currently 3 servers)
- United States (currently 6 servers)
Left: current selection for free accounts; middle/right: paid accounts get all servers
As I mentioned earlier, the primary usage scenario for me was accessing Play Stores in foreign countries to verify availability of various products, like the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. I've been testing for about two weeks, and not once in that time period have I experienced a dead VPN server. Not a single dropped connection.
Literally, I pick the country I want, press Connect, and I'm done.
The speeds were night and day compared to free proxy servers too. As mentioned in the FAQ, paid accounts don't get artificially throttled in any way. Here's a speed test to a location in UK (from my San Francisco location with Comcast cable):
And here's Canada:
How about Australia?
Not terribly fast on that last one, but considering my connection is routed halfway around the world and still lets me easily surf sites, it's not bad at all.
Update: I'm also adding a speed test for the U.S. VPN location to show what U.S. <-> U.S. routing is like on Hideman:
For reference, my non-VPN speed test looks like this (I blame my router - the hardwired connection actually gets 36/6.5):
One caveat I do want to point out here is that some GeoIP databases have different opinions about exact locations of certain IP ranges, so I did find that a few servers were misidentified as residing in other countries. For example, while on a Spanish server, google.com thought I was in France, and while on a French one, it thought I was in Germany. Other databases sometimes identified such countries correctly and sometimes sided with Google. I reported these to the developers, and they promised to file corrections with the appropriate data providers. I am not holding my breath here though - it'd probably be faster for them to change IPs than wait for GeoIP databases to propagate, which may never even happen.
All in all, I'm extremely satisfied with this newfound superpower to teleport to almost two dozen countries all over the globe.
Once I installed Hideman and started using it, I quickly realized that it was exactly what I was looking for in the last few years. I contacted the developer with some feedback, and they ended up hooking me up with an account good for a few years to review the application without any restrictions. Had they not done that, I would have still said the exact same things I did in this review and purchased the service myself.
In other words, the review wasn't tainted with a promise of a freebie - something I want to be perfectly clear and upfront about. If you don't believe me, just try the free version for yourself without paying a dime.
If you're looking for the Android app, hit the widget below.
For Windows, MacOS, and iOS, head here.
Linux users can grab OpenVPN configs in the Manuals tab after logging in.