Hola VPN has been around since 2012. Their peer-to-peer approach to VPN services is interesting and the free price tag is sure to please. But how does it stand up to the competition? And is it really completely free?
Hola VPN offers a free plan for non-commercial use as well as premium home and business plans. Their premium plans are priced similar to other VPN options on the market with significant discounts if you sign up for a year or more at a time.
Hola VPN offers apps and extensions for nearly any device you might use to get online. Options include Mac and Windows clients, Android and iOS apps, extensions for Chrome and Firefox, and even an app for smart TVs.
Using the service is simple. Just click the extension in your browser or load up the app on your phone or computer and choose a location. After a few seconds, it connects and you’re good to go.
Hola VPN ties your account to a single platform. So you’ll need an account or subscription for each type of device you plan to use.
Hola VPN is more like a proxy than a VPN. This means you can use it to access sites using another IP, but there are none of the encryption or security benefits you might find with other services.
In essence, Hola VPN allows you to bypass websites that might be censored in your region or access services that are only available in other regions -- such as BBC iPlayer. However, many reviewers noted trouble accessing Netflix.
Privacy and logging are where things really start to look questionable for Hola VPN.
If you’re using the free service, you become a part of their VPN network. This means that anyone else using the service can route their traffic through your home connection.
If you’re on a metered connection, this means that you might run out of data quickly as other people stream movies, upload media, or use P2P using your connection.
More to the point, should anything routed through your connection raise suspicions with your ISP or government, you will have a lot of explaining to do and might be held liable.
Hola VPN tries to explain that no one would abuse their network but in doing so highlight another concern, saying, “... architecture modifications allow Hola to see the origin of each request, thus if a cybercriminal were to use the Hola network, the cyber's criminal information may be passed on to the authorities.”
But this also means they can track anything you might be doing online using their service as well.
And it doesn’t help that they log nearly everything about your web activity, including your browser type, sites you visit, the time you spend on various sites, and when you visit them.
To make matters worse, Hola VPN notes that they “may also transfer or disclose personal information to our subsidiaries, affiliated companies.”
TheBestVPN sums up privacy opinions well, saying, “Logging is usually the most terrifying thing a VPN company can do. When it comes to this product though, it’s the least of my concerns.”
Most reviewers found their connections were speedy when using Hola VPN. However, a few noticed that speeds might slow down when first connecting to a region.
Some reviewers also noted issues with upload speeds. But unless you frequently upload large files, this is less of a concern than slow download speeds.
Should you run into a question, email is the only support option available. Worse still, many reviewers had trouble getting any response at all from support when sending questions about account features or what they were allowed to do using Hola VPN.
While Hola VPN might not cost anything in terms of money, you are trading access to tons of information about your browsing and opening up your network for use by others. Put simply, that seems like a bad deal to us.
The Best VPN agrees, saying, “If you’re doing anything that involves even a shred of privacy, look elsewhere. Avoid Hola VPN at all costs. It’s not secure enough for public Wi-Fi nor your data protection.”
Cloudwards takes a similar stance, saying, “If you’re worried about your privacy and are looking to set up a VPN to protect yourself, please do not sign up for Hola as you have no idea what could happen once you’re signed up: you may end up finding out that free is far more expensive than signing up for a bonafide service…”
- Minnie J. Hamilton, VPN Ranks
If you opt for the free version, it surprisingly works better than you might think. Not only did I manage to unblock Netflix US, but also BBC iPlayer and even Youku. It is also decently fast as well, which is something you don’t expect from a free VPN service. Now, sure they keep logs, but they clea...
- Dalton Rush, RushRadar
We found that the free version isn't worth it, the paid versions offer a solid service they do have some flaws. The free version should be avoided unless you're not worried about your privacy and don't mind having your data recorded or even sold, which, considering the fact that you're looking for a...
- The VPN Lab
Hola is definitely a peculiar provider since the free version effectively acts as a proxy service rather than a VPN. Since there was no encryption to slow down our connection speed, our tests all yielded impressive results. During our testing phase, we did experience a rather concerning anomaly. Nam...
- Deyan Georgiev, TechJury
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find many positives in our Hola VPN review. The unsafe P2P network, poor data retention policies, inconsistent performance in IP and DNS leak tests, weak encryption, and outdated protocols are just some of the reasons why Hola VPN fails to ensure security and intern...
- Ren Sayer, vpnMentor
Whether you choose the free or the paid version, Hola VPN is an untrustworthy VPN that you should avoid. Even though it can reliably unblock streaming sites, its basic security features, intrusive privacy practices, and unreliable speeds make it one to steer clear of.
|Starting Price (per Month)||$2.99|
|Plans and Pricing||Visit Site|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 Days|
|Payment Options||Credit Cards, PayPal, Other|
|ID Required||Valid email address|
|Server Locations (# of Countries)||41|
|Number of Servers||1500 +|
|Devices Per License||10|
|Double-Hop / Double VPN||No|
|P2P / Torrenting Allowed||No|
|Protocols||IPSec, IKEv2, L2TP, PPTP|
|No Logs / No Tracking||No|
|Dedicated IP Available||No|
|VPN Over Tor||No|
|Wi-Fi Leak Protection||No|
|Private DNS Server||No|
|DNS Leak Protection||Yes|
|IP Leak Protection||Yes|
|WebRTC Leak Protection||No|
|IPv6 Leak Protection||No|
|Operating Systems||Windows, Mac OSX, iOS, Android|
|Live Chat Support||No|
|Terms & Conditions||Official Terms & Conditions|
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