An Easy browser VPN
- Jurisdiction: Israel
- Advanced Privacy Features: No
- Number of Servers and Countries: Over 1000 Servers in Hola Plus
- Streaming and P2P: Streaming Yes, Torrenting No
Hola VPN is a revolutionary P2P-based VPN service with both paid and free tiers. The VPN operates very differently from traditional VPNs. While some customers don’t mind the resource exchange that comes with Hola VPN, some would prefer to pay for a more secure subscription-based VPN instead. We’ll dive into everything Hola VPN has to offer in the sections below.
What Is Hola VPN?
Hola Free VPN is a VPN type that relies on users’ devices instead of expensive dedicated servers. Because of this, Hola VPN can offer their base level VPN for free. Hola VPN does this by using a “value exchange” – in exchange for using their free VPN service, Hola can use your device’s resources, such as processing power, WiFi, and cellular data when you’re not using it.
Hola (VPN) also operates with a PLUS premium model, and those that upgrade to the Hola PLUS service don’t need to worry about resource sharing on their devices. Instead, they pay to use Hola’s dedicated VPN servers.
Hola VPN Security and Privacy
The Hola Free VPN Proxy is not really a secure VPN. Its only purpose is to allow users to unblock websites. As such, it won’t encrypt your personal information as paid VPN services do. If you want a secure connection, you must upgrade to Hola VPN PLUS, their paid service tier.
Hola VPN PLUS supports the following security protocols:
- SSL (HTTPS proxy)
- DES3, AES128, AES192, and AES256 encryption
Additionally, you can set Hola VPN PLUS to “unblock website” mode if you prefer, which only changes your IP address’ location and does not fully encrypt your traffic.
Hola VPN is serious about customer security. They do not collect any customer data or pass it on to third parties. Hola VPN also employs a Chief Security Officer that performs external and internal security audits on the network.
VPN Hola’s software is not open source. However, they give attributes to all of the open source software used in Hola’s development on their website. However, you should be aware that Hola VPN was the victim of a network attack in 2015, and they have since come under fire for the inherent dangers of their P2P network.
Hola VPN is headquartered in Israel, which has privacy laws similar to those of the United States. Because of Israel’s Criminal Procedure Law, your VPN might have to share your private data in court for any of the following reasons:
- Save or protect a life
- Investigate or prevent offenses
- Contribute to the indictment of offenders
- Contribute to lawful confiscation of property
However, Hola VPN company keeps a “no logs” policy, which means that even Hola VPN does not retain your private information. Hola VPN won’t be able to share your information since the VPN doesn’t collect it.
Do keep in mind that the above security only applies to Hola VPN PLUS. Because Hola VPN free doesn’t use encryption.
Hola VPN Idle Mode
Hola VPN’s free service comes with a caveat: you must consent to Hola using your device’s resources in “idle mode.” According to Hola, they never engage their value exchange when you’re actively using your device; it only engages when your device meets the following conditions:
- The user is not operating on battery alone
- The user is not experiencing high memory use
- The user has been inactive on their device for at least one minute (i.e., the screen is locked or the device is logged out)
- The user has been idle for at least five minutes (i.e., no mouse or keyboard activity and no applications in fullscreen mode)
Hola only uses this P2P network for website unblocking, not for streaming or other demanding services. This makes them one of the free VPNs for device unblocking alone since the P2P network keeps this aspect of their system completely fee-free. If you’re looking for encryption out of a free VPN, though, you may want to look elsewhere.
Hola VPN Pricing
Hola VPN’s free tier is minimal, but its PLUS tier is much more robust in terms of features. Like most VPNs, Hola VPN has several subscription options with terms from one month to three years. While their monthly and yearly plans aren’t particularly cheap, their three-year subscription is very inexpensive, making Hola VPN PLUS one of the cheap VPNs in terms of price alone.
While Hola VPN’s free tier is tempting because of its low price, keep in mind that it doesn’t function as an actual VPN. It only unblocks geographically-blocked websites. As such, it doesn’t compare to other truly free VPN options.
Supported Hola VPN Devices and Installation
Hola PLUS VPN is available for virtually all devices. However, Hola VPN free is only available for select platforms. Many of them are extensions for web browsers on Hola VPN PC, but the free tier is also available as an app for Android. The full list of free Hola VPN extension offerings and apps includes:
- Hola VPN Chrome extension
- Hola VPN Firefox add-on
- Hola VPN Opera add-on
- Hola VPN Microsoft Edge add-on
- Hola VPN APK (for Android)
Hola’s PLUS VPN options also work on the following additional platforms:
- Mac OS
- WiFi routers
- Smart TVs
Because Hola VPN’s free tier is not available as a standalone program for Windows or Mac OS, we can’t confidently say that Hola VPN is the best VPN for Mac or the best VPN for Windows. However, since the monthly subscription price for the PLUS service is so low, it should still be considered for those who don’t mind paying a subscription fee.
Installing Hola VPN is different depending on your device. If you’re using a device that’s incompatible with a browser extension or app, the installation process is lengthy and a bit complicated. You can find detailed directions on how to do so here on Hola’s website – simply select the system or device you want to set up, and Hola will guide you through the rest.
However, if your device is compatible with a browser extension or app, installation is easy! Simply download the extension or app to your supported browser or device through your add-on store, app store, or browser extension library.
Speeds and Server Locations
Hola VPN’s speeds are about average with other similar VPNs. All VPNs will slow down your connection speeds slightly, but as long as your original internet speeds are fast, the slowdown isn’t that noticeable.
However, Hola VPN does not release a list of available countries for their VPN. This may be because, since the free tier depends on P2P devices, some countries and locations may not be available at all times.
Hola VPN and Streaming Services
Hola VPN’s most significant selling point is its ability to unblock websites and streaming services for you for free. Hola VPN works on P2P devices worldwide, and by filtering your IP address through these proxies, you can access shows and movies that wouldn’t usually be viewable in your country.
This may make Hola VPN a good option to unblock Netflix, and it’s none too shabby for other (legal) streaming services, too. Hola VPN may also be the reliable VPN for Kodi, Roku, and other media-playing platforms for the same reason.
Torrenting With Hola VPN
Hola VPN Alternatives
There are many alternatives to Hola VPN if you don’t mind paying for a subscription-based service. However, if you’re looking for a completely free VPN, you have fewer options to choose from.
As far as paid alternatives to a Hola VPN download, consider options like:
Free alternatives are a bit trickier. Most free VPNs are not entirely free but free for a limited time or on a limited basis. The only VPN with a truly free service package that we have found is ProtonVPN, which allows access to three countries on one device with the free tier. Other free alternatives besides ProtonVPN include:
All in all, Hola VPN is not a bad idea as long as you’re comfortable with the way it works. While Hola will unblock almost any website for free as long as you have a compatible device or browser, Hola’s P2P network is prone to different vulnerabilities than traditional VPN networks.
If you’re looking to download Hola VPN and run it on your device, the company provides in-depth instructions on how to do so on their website.
In the end, we think that Hola VPN’s P2P idea is interesting, and if executed correctly, it could be an excellent tool for internet users. However, not all users will be comfortable as peers for Hola’s network.