SmartHide is a USA based VPN Provider established in 2005. In addition to unblocking restricted sites, SmartHide unblocks IM and VOIP applications as well. The company promises security by the 2048-bit encryption. Just in case you don’t know what 2048-bit means, it implies that the information you send over the network is encrypted in a near-to-impossible manner. It is the latest industry standard for ensuring safe exchange of information.
The server network is not very vast, but it covers some significant locations. The company has servers in five countries from three continents i.e. Europe, Asia and North America.
The sad news is SmartHide supports only PPTP, but the good news is it is very faster. Everybody knows that PPTP protocol signifies faster connection. Moreover, to the ultimate joy of heavy internet users, SmartHide puts no restriction on bandwidth use.
SmartHide assigns you dedicated/ static IP addresses. Because of this feature, this VPN provider allows simultaneous users. This is a rare feature; you would hardly come across a VPN provider who allows simultaneous use of a single user account.
SmartHide runs smoothly on Windows (7, Vista and XP) and Mac OS. You can use it with landline or a wireless connection. It supports Skype, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo! and Jabber.
SmartHide has paid great attention to coming up with the service packages. You can chose between a lot of options. The difference between packages are due to 1) server location 2) subscription duration and 3) number of simultaneous users. Other than these, the features are more or less the same. Take a look at the packages:
- SmartHide VIP subscription at $49.97 per month. Allows 10 simultaneous users
- SmartHide Two Continent subscription at $19.96 per month. Allows 2 simultaneous users
- SmartHides USA subscription at $14.98 per month. Allows single user only
- SmartHIde UK subscription at $9.97 per month. Allows single user only
Though the SmartHide VIP subscription costs a lot but it allows simultaneous use by 10 people making it ideal VPN for business use. Looking at the cost-value tradeoff, the second package turns out to be most suitable for heavy internet users. You can subscribe for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months or 12 months.
Avangate, an E-commerce service providing firm, handles the bills for SmartHide. SmartHide currently accepts payment through credit card only
Free trials are the best thing about any service provider. With SmartHide, you can avail a 7-days free trial on SmartHide UK subscription and SmartHide VIP subscription. The features are same as those provided by the paid versions. Currently the company is offering a great offer of as much as 60% off if you continue the service after trial period. This is a limited time offer, but surely one with great value.
HideSmart keeps a record of your browsing history. Your IP address serves as your only identification factor other than that no personal information is stored.
Under normal conditions, the company will not share your information with any third party, however in event of fraud or offense then information is shared as required by law. The company has a very strict stance towards misuse; you would definitely not want to indulge in any suspicious activity on this network at least.
Money Back Guarantee and Satisfaction Guarantee: Money back guarantee signal, if not assure, good quality service. SmartHide offers 30-day money back guarantee as well as a satisfaction guarantee. You won’t see this in many VPN providers.
You can seek guidance through knowledge base and troubleshooting guides. There is an option to submit online query as well. To test the response time for the online option, I submitted a general query regarding system compatibility. To my utter disappointment I didn’t receive any response in 15+ hours. SmartHide certainly requires to improve on this aspect.
I found the service very focused at specific user segments. The OS compatibility and protocol options are narrow compared to industry rivals. This area definitely requires some attention.
Personally, I have been a huge fan of visually appealing websites. With SmartHide, the information overload on every page was a significant issue. It tells you everything, but I guess summarized information would have been better.
The biggest positive in the service was the sharing of user account. From user’s point of view, this is a very convenient and economical package for secure internet connection. It is highly recommended if you have a small business (i.e. up to 10 employees).
Other noticeable plus points included the satisfaction guarantee and money back guarantee. Most of the current users of SmartHide rate it above average. The free trial policy is again a major customer attraction.