Hola VPN review

Hola VPN lures customers by offering a free service

Yes, it really is that bad

Hola, a peer-to-peer proxy network claims to be a VPN.

While it offers quick connections, it’s only the result of a browser extension that spoofs IP addresses. In fact, streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, BBC, and others will not work unless you sign up for the premium subscription.

Why you’d want to do this is beyond anyone’s comprehension?

There are a host of reasons to not use the Hola service including but not limited to:

  • Hola offers no type of encryption nor protocols.
  • It also has no type of advanced privacy features like the VPN kill switch.
  • It has a logging policy, giving it the power to monitor everything you do on the ‘Net such as website visited.
  • There have been a plethora of problems regarding user bandwidth being sold without consent.
  • There is practically no customer support.
  • It’s only available for use on Microsoft Windows and macOS.

Hola VPN synopsis

Ranking: 52#/52
Parent company: Hola VPN Ltd.
Jurisdiction: Israel
Locations: NO SERVERS
Overall test result: UNSAFE (Sells data)
Torrenting: FAILED (No protection)
Netflix: FAILED
Encryption/protocols: NO ENCRYPTION
Support: E-mail response ~1h
Cost: FREE
Official site: www.hola.org

A more comprehensive look at Hola

  • Features

Hola does not use a traditional server network to run, which means you don’t have a list of servers to pick from. You could connect to any country, so long as another person from that country has signed up for the service and isn’t using an IP address when they do.

As a Hola user, your traffic goes through others in the network, which means somebody is always going to connect from your IP address even when your device sits idle. There is a swath of IP addresses for every country, and when you choose a country to connect to, you’ll be assigned one at random. At this time, it’s not possible to choose the city you want to connect from.

There is one key benefit of not having a fixed network. It makes it much harder for sites to determine if you’re using a VPN. When you make it harder for them to detect, you make it harder on them to block you.

This is why Hola offers free service – no server bills to pay.

However, the drawback is somebody could carry out an illegal activity with your IP address, and you’d never know it.

Platforms and devices

Hola is available on any device that uses Microsoft Windows or macOS but only as a browser extension, not a desktop app. For use on any mobile device running Android or iOS, you need to sign up for its premium subscription.

Browser extensions are available for both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. They operate similarly as a desktop app on Windows would.

Hola is not usable on any streaming device or gaming console unless you pay for the premium service.

☒ Reliability and speed

In terms of reliability and speed, you may think it offers quick service for local connections because it’s a proxy extension that has no added security benefits.

But it’s not true.

During our annual testing, Hola speeds were the WORST:

Country Ping Upload Download
US 4425% -16.69% -57.61%
UK 1075% -33.72% -48.31%
Hong Kong 7000% -78.12% -86.75%

Basically, this is what you should know: the speed it offers is close to nothing and comes at a price – no protection and even more danger.

Streaming and torrenting

VPNs are used to access streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer, and more, which is why you don’t need to use the free Hola version. When you do, you’ll be given an error message saying you have to sign up for its premium subscription to access the sites by way of their fast streaming servers.

Think of it as dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit and unable to get it unless they do something. The only way you can stream the sites you want is if you pay for the service.

Torrentors have no P2P support from Hola because it’s just a VPN in browsers only. Torrent clients like BitTorrent work outside the browser, which means they get no kind of protection the software “may” offer.

Even if Hola supported torrenting, it might be best to avoid it due to the intrusive logging policy and the concerns for overreaching. Instead, torrenters are advised to check out VPNs with built-in P2P availability.

☒ Security and encryption

Since Hola doesn’t work as a traditional VPN, it offers no real security features. It has no VPN protocol and no type of encryption. It’s just a peer-to-peer network that spoofs the IP address – nothing more.

How does it work?

It routes web traffic you do go through another person’s device, which means you appear to connect through that IP address. Simply put, a stranger is using the IP address and can do whatever they want from it.

Hola has also had some privacy issues, which makes one wonder why anybody is still using it to this day.

For example, in 2015, Hola was found to be selling free users’ bandwidth to their paid subscribers for $20 a gigabyte under the Luminati name. This caused a huge botnet of more than nine million IP addresses. This allowed a Luminati user to take control of the network and spread a DDoS attack through the website 8chan. This resulted in a 100x spike in peak traffic.

Probably selling your data

During the Hola review, we discovered that Hola has a logging policy stating it monitors everything you do online when connected to its VPN such as:

  • Browser type
  • Visited web pages
  • Length of time spent on them
  • Times and dates accessed

While it’s commendable for their transparency, the reality is that nothing you do on Hola is private. Everything can be tied back to you since it collects the originating IP address, name, screen name, and email address — this sort of defies the point of a VPN.

No customer support

Hola has virtually no customer support.

Its website does offer a plethora of frequently asked questions, but most people look at them as the company’s covering themselves for the previous problems it had regarding the sharing and selling of user information.

Hola has no live chat option, but it is a free product. You can contact them through the email address, but don’t be surprised if the email goes unanswered.

Easy to use

Hola is just a browser extension. This makes it easy to use and won’t take up unnecessary space on a device.

When the VPN is downloaded, it’ll come with an ad-blocker and accelerator feature. You may not see much difference with the accelerator feature, but the ad blocker is worth it. You shouldn’t see any personalized ads when you’re using it.

How do you use it?

Just connect to your preferred country, and that’s it. Look through the different websites and Hola will suggest the server location that’s best. Bear in mind, some of them are designed for just the Premium users, but are generally marked with a gold logo at the right-hand corner.

You just need to download the software from the Hola website. Hit “Next” when prompted to do so, and that’s it. You don’t have to sign-up or anything like that.

When you connect to Hola, you’ll see the destination country’s flag in the browser toolbar.

Hola VPN review verdict – keep this in mind

Although advertised as a VPN, Hola is a browser extension that offers a peer-to-peer networking solution that will spoof IP addresses. When you download the software, you agree the device can be used as a router, allowing others to connect to your IP address.

Whatever they do online, can be tied back to you. This is very dangerous and could result in serious consequences…

It has no privacy features at all – no basic encryption that ensures secure web traffic. The way it’s set up, there is no VPN protocol. According to its own privacy policy, what you do online is monitored (every bit of it from pages you visit the amount of time you’re on those pages). On top of that, it’s already have been caught selling the bandwidth of its users, and it’s more than willing to work with corporations.

There really are no reasons you should want to use Hola. Better look around our VPN ranking list.

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