Having played around with many tools, websites, proxy and VPN, I was given the opportunity to try out the licensed version of Hide My IP. A simple tool, yet still effective, and secure. These are my thoughts.
If you live in North America or Europe, you may not be as affected as the millions living outside these regions when it comes to viewing YouTube channels, and streaming series and movies, even from a paid subscription account. Even more frustrating at times are the links, videos, and websites that are blocked for places outside those regions after having already viewed the first half of the material before being asked to continue to the restricted site. A quick search online reveals a never-ending list of supposed proxies, VPNs and tools supposedly to assist you with such situations as stated above. But when it comes down to it, more often than not they either don’t work, or are too slow to bother with. And we haven’t even mentioned the security.
A short time back, Netflix was restricted and not offered to South Africans. And even while the service is offered here officially, there’s still a limitation to the list of series and movies you’re allowed to watch. Then there’s the YouTube issue where certain channel content is blocked outside of the UK and the US. But the most frustrating part of all is the content rights purchased by Multichoice, which often blocks most free YouTube content from airing in South Africa, one of which was the Olympics in 2016. Being able to bypass this, however, you’re able to access content from around the globe, with the simple installation of the Hide My IP software, followed by a click of a button.
Hide My IP is a private proxy-based service, which offers a secure VPN tool for multiple platforms, be it Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android and iOS. The basic software and service costs a once-off fee of $29.95 (or via the coupon below), which includes the following features:
- Browse region-blocked websites from around the world
- Browse anonymously
- Send anonymous email
- Limit usage directly to browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and more
The Premium service, which costs $2.95 per month, with the additional benefits including:
- Select an IP from 110 different cities worldwide
- Smart DNS Proxy service
- Use on 5 devices simultaneously
More Than Just Region Freedom
As stated previously, Hide My IP works by means of a proxy and VPN. In addition to the benefit they offer in choosing the region of your IP address, the VPN also ensures a level of security even if you choose not to use the region-based IP feature. With the current privacy and security concerns raised time and again from ISPs to social media platforms, you’re not as safe as you may feel connecting to the World Wide Web. While operators and even ISPs offer some level of network security and firewalls, there’s only so much they can do, and only so much they can protect you from.
There have been a few breaches of protocol from major sites in recent times, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook and the likes. All have been open to threat at some point. Protecting yourself through your own secure connection provides with some comforts in an online world that seems care free, until it’s not. Interestingly, there has been a wave of secure-based Wi-Fi connections offered, which provide you with the option to connect to their VPN while accessing their Wi-Fi network.
With the mobile versions of the Hide My IP software, you never have to leave the comforts of your secured home line (if you’ve secured it that is). I’ll touch more on the Android client in a follow-up review.
Setting Up Your Secure VPN via Hide My IP
Setting up the software is done in three simple steps and you’re ready for secure, region-free browsing.
Step 1: Download and install the software
Step 2: Type in your licence key
Step 3: Click the “HIDE MY IP” button
For those who require more features and functionality, there are a few Settings. For the more seasoned users, there’s also an Advanced Settings menu. And for those who’ve purchased the premium service, there’s an additional Premium Service Settings.
The basic Settings Menu allows users to changes settings such as IP Rotation, whether to launch on startup, clear cookies on every IP change, and to select a US-based IP when clicking the “HIDE MY IP” button. From the Advanced Settings Menu you’re able to select the browsers you use to surf, or choose to surf using the Hide My IP feature, change header privacy settings, encrypt your connection with SSL, and build a custom list of IP addresses you wish to discard (will not be used when choosing the Hide My IP feature). The Premium Service Settings allow users to choose the city from which their IP should be chosen, with the added option to choose which applications should use the Hide My IP address. This means that you can browse normally across all other applications apart from those you specifically select. The premium service also allows you to choose the same IP you used in your previous session, which may be beneficial on some sites and applications that store such information.
You can view the full list of IP locations here.
The End Result
Whether you’re looking for a more secure connection, or need access to specific, region-blocked sites, Hide My IP is able to provide a secure, VPN-based connection of your choosing. There are times and regions that may have higher latency and pingback due to the distance between the two locations, but the service is always available good speeds. The premium service has a slightly better connection and premium speeds, but don’t let that put you off the main product. An additional R40pm (approximately) isn’t that bad a price either for the added benefits of a premium subscription. Overall, Hide My IP is a great tool to have at your disposal.