The free version of Hola VPN is notorious for being unsafe to use. It operates on a community-based P2P network, meaning you share your IP with other users. Additionally, it lacks encryption and collects significant user data. If you’re considering Hola VPN Premium, the paid service, it’s essential to note that it doesn’t offer much improvement.
- Below Average Speeds: You may experience subpar speeds with both short and long-distance servers from Hola VPN. This could affect your browsing and streaming experience.
- Basic Security Features: While the paid version offers military-grade encryption, its protocols are outdated, and there is no kill switch, which is a critical security feature.
- Suspicious Server Network: Hola VPN Premium uses the same P2P network as the free version. This could expose your data and IP address to other users.
- Multiple Device Support: On the plus side, Hola VPN Premium provides an easy-to-use app for various operating systems and browsers, making it convenient for you to use on multiple devices.
- Average Customer Support: Hola VPN offers email support and a decent FAQ section, but you might be disappointed that a key feature is missing.
- Varied Pricing Plans: You can choose between Basic (free), Premium, and Ultra versions of Hola VPN, giving you some flexibility in selecting a plan that suits your needs. However, consider the potential risks and limitations associated with Hola VPN Premium.
2023 Update Features Of Hola VPN
Streaming — Has Ability to Unblock Sites (But Only in Low Quality)
When you try Hola VPN Premium, it unblocks all the platforms you attempt to access, but it could be too slow to watch content in UHD.
Upon trying several servers worldwide, you may realize you can only watch in HD. This limitation might be due to your fast internet connection. If your base connection speed were 20 Mbps or slower, you might not be able to stream at all. While Hola does unblock every streaming platform you try, you might find it unreliable for seamless UHD streaming.
Unblocks: Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer
If you’re beginning your streaming tests, you’ll find that starting with Netflix’s US library, the Hola US server will give you instant access to exclusive shows.For instance, Gimme Shelter without any issues. When you try Netflix servers in the UK, France, Australia, Japan, and Canada, you’ll easily access their libraries too.
That being said, I did experience buffering
Next, when you test a couple of US servers with Hulu, they should work fine. It might take about 20 seconds to connect, but you’ll soon be able to log in and watch shows like Love Island.
I just had to wait a while for the server to connect
HBO Max should also work, allowing you to watch shows like Raised by Wolves, although the load times might be slow.
There was a bit of buffering at the start, but the quality got better after a couple of seconds
Then, as you test Amazon Prime Video on servers in Australia, the US & and the UK, the platform might take around 15 seconds to load. Still, you’ll be able to watch shows without disconnects.
Hola VPN did get around Amazon Prime Video’s geoblocks, but the stream froze a couple of times
You’ll also unblock Disney+ and start watching The Mandalorian in less than 20 seconds. However, be prepared for some inconsistency in quality and potential lag.
Unfortunately, I experienced lag here too
Lastly, when you try BBC iPlayer, which you can only access in the UK, Hola VPN should let you watch shows like Killing Eve.
Though I had to wait for the show to load
Once again, it might take some time to load, and you might only be somewhat pleased with the streaming quality.
Speeds — Creates Big Drops in Speed on All Servers
When you try out Hola VPN Premium, you’ll notice its poor performance during speed assessments, particularly in three critical factors:
- Download speed: This factor measures how quickly you can receive data, determining the speed at which you load videos and websites, typically measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
- Upload speed: It denotes how fast you can send data, such as uploading videos, sending emails, and sharing files, also measured in Mbps.
- Ping: A sign of dormancy, this action is the time it takes for your information to head out from your gadget to the VPN’s server and back. It’s measured in milliseconds (ms) and is crucial, especially for gaming activities.
When you start by recording your base speed in Auckland, New Zealand, you likely have a download speed of 289.37 Mbps. Then, as you try the servers that are closest to you, you’ll notice a significant drop in your speeds on nearby servers, such as Auckland, Sydney, and Tokyo. This drop is often by 50% or even more, which can be quite disappointing. In the VPN world, a maximum drop of 20% is considered acceptable for short-distance connections. Hence, a 50% drop could be better.
As for the long-distance servers, they might slow down your connection by more than 75%. While slower speeds on faraway servers are expected due to the increased distance, a drop of this magnitude can be problematic. If you have a fast-base internet connection, you can withstand the hit. Still, if your internet is already slow, you could struggle to stream, game, or torrent effectively.
The drop was significant on both short-distance and long-distance servers
In summary, it’s hard to recommend Hola Premium VPN for its speed. While some drop in speed is anticipated when connecting to faraway servers, the dramatic decreases you may experience with Hola VPN could be a deal-breaker. Many other VPN options are likely to provide faster and more reliable speeds.
Is Hola VPN Fast Enough for Gaming? Depends
When you try Hola VPN, you’ll find that short-distance servers are generally fast enough for gaming, but long-distance servers might need help.
For gaming, your ping rate is crucial as it determines how responsive your connection is to commands. An acceptable ping rate for gaming is typically anything below 100 ms. With Hola VPN, the ping on faraway servers might be too high for a lag-free gaming experience.
In my gaming test, playing Call of Duty on New Zealand and Australia servers with Hola VPN resulted in an average ping rate of 38 ms, representing around a 46% increase from my non-VPN ping rate. However, this increase didn’t notably affect my gameplay. Yet, on the US and UK servers, the ping averaged a high 274 ms, making gameplay frustrating due to extended loading times, leading me to exit the game.
But this could be because my base speed was already so high
It’s vital to take note that for internet gaming, a base download speed of 50 Mbps is suggested. Considering Hola Premium’s unfortunate speed results, you’d require a base association of at least 40 Mbps to dependably game on their nearby servers.
Server Network — Has Shadiness, With No Exact Locations Disclosed
When you try Hola VPN, you’ll see it uses a community-powered peer-to-peer network. Each time you connect, you’ll use someone else’s IP address, while a stranger might use yours, especially if you’re on the free plan.
This setup implies that Hola’s free version doesn’t effectively hide your IP. Instead, each user shares their IP and bandwidth with others. This could potentially associate your IP with illicit activities performed by someone else. It’s an extremely unsafe approach and doesn’t align with the fundamental principles of a VPN. It seems more like a low-cost solution that primarily benefits the company rather than its users.
Hola suggests opting for the Premium version if you wish to avoid sharing your device’s resources. However, even with a subscription, you’ll still be using Hola’s P2P network, but you won’t contribute to it.
Hola doesn’t disclose it’s locations because you’re randomly assigned an IP address from the P2P network
Despite offering connections in 190 countries, Hola doesn’t disclose specific cities on its website or apps. There’s no dedicated server network for paid users. When you click on a country, you’ll connect to any random server within that nation.
However, Hola VPN doesn’t let you choose a specific city
Moreover, there’s no Quick Connect feature to select the best available server automatically. Connecting to a server might take around 10–15 seconds each time, which could feel relatively slow.
Security — Basic Security Features
Hola VPN’s premium offering includes fundamental security features but relies on outdated protocols. This aspect can be rather underwhelming, especially given its pricing. Several other VPN services, such as CyberGhost, provide advanced protocols for a lower cost, ensuring significantly enhanced online safety.
Encryption and Protocols
When you try Hola Premium VPN, you’ll find it employs military-grade encryption standards such as AES 128, 192, and 256-bit, along with basic protocols like IKEv2/IPSec and PPTP/L2TP. However, it might surprise you to find DES3 encryption listed on the website, an outdated encryption type known to be vulnerable to hacking.
While the IKEv2/IPSec protocol balances security and speed reasonably well, it must be updated. On the other hand, both PPTP and L2TP are even more antiquated and not recommended due to their lack of security compared to more advanced protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard. This aspect might make you hesitant to consider Hola VPN Premium for security purposes.
One notable aspect you might observe is that while you can change encryption standards on the Windows app, you won’t have the same option on macOS, which can be a bit disappointing. Typically, a VPN service should allow you to customize security features regardless of your operating system.
Before you try installing the Windows app, check for viruses. Conduct this test on VirusTotal.com to ensure it’s all clear — ensuring there’s no malware, which means downloading Hola won’t harm your device.
The VirusTotal test confirmed that the Windows app was safe to use
IP and DNS Leak Tests
When you try Hola VPN’s US servers, you’ll likely find that no DNS/IP leaks are detected. This indicates that its security features effectively prevent the accidental exposure of your data.
I connected to 5 servers for the IPLeak.net tests and they all passed
It’s important to note that Hola VPN’s macOS and iOS apps lack a kill switch, which is a standard security feature that most VPNs typically include. The absence of this feature on the macOS app might be disappointing.
Privacy — Intrusive Logging Policy
Suppose you select to enroll through a social help like Gmail or Facebook. In that case, Hola VPN generally accesses your record’s information, including your complete name, birth date, and companions list. Furthermore, the VPN records details about the apps installed on your device without specifying the nature of this information.
To exacerbate concerns, Hola retains the right to hold onto your data indefinitely. The act of collecting and storing data from all the apps installed on your device by a VPN unrelated to these apps is exceptionally intrusive and raises a significant red flag.
I don’t think it’s necessary for a VPN service to collect all of this user data
Moreover, Hola VPN is headquartered in Israel, a nation not part of the 14 Eyes Alliance but collaborates with it. This alliance comprises countries that openly gather and exchange data about their residents. Hola VPN’s location in a cooperating jurisdiction suggests that any data it collects on you could be handed over and shared with these governments.
In summary, Hola VPN presents considerable privacy concerns due to its data collection practices and its location in an insecure jurisdiction. Suppose you aim to safeguard your online privacy. In that case, numerous other VPN options take a significantly more serious approach to protecting user privacy.
Torrenting — Not Supported
When you try Hola VPN, you’ll find that it does not support torrenting and actively blocks torrenting traffic on its network, which includes the BitTorrent protocol. This means you won’t be able to use torrent clients like uTorrent or P2P software such as Popcorn Time with Hola VPN. It’s generally not advisable to engage in torrenting with a VPN that has such restrictions and potential security concerns.
It wouldn’t be safe, even if it was supported
Does Hola VPN Work in China? No
When you try Hola VPN, you’ll discover that it can’t bypass the Great Firewall of China because it lacks crucial features like DPI filtering and Stealth mode (or obfuscation). These functionalities are essential for disguising your VPN connection as a regular one, ensuring you remain protected against VPN blocks. With these features, you could be protected from being blocked in restrictive online environments like China.
You’ll need another VPN for the Great Firewall
Simultaneous Device Connections — Up to 10
When you try Hola VPN Premium, you’ll find it permits up to 10 simultaneous connections. Connect two laptops and an iPhone simultaneously and start streaming videos. You’ll likely notice no significant differences in speeds whether you’re connected to one device or three. If you aim to use the VPN across multiple devices, it shouldn’t affect performance.
Device Compatibility — Plenty of Options
When you try Hola VPN, you’ll notice that it offers native apps for most operating systems. It includes Windows, macOS, iOS, Fire TV, and LG TV. It also provides browser extensions for Edge and Opera. If you have devices that don’t support native VPN apps, like PlayStation, Xbox, Apple TV, or other smart TVs, you can use Hola VPN by installing it on a router.
Although Hola VPN has been removed from the Chrome extension and Android app by Google, claiming they contain malware, Hola denies this in its FAQ section.
In any case, considering the security chances related to the help, this is another warning. The Windows and macOS applications are comparable; however, there is a contrast in their security settings. The macOS version has one setting called “Extra Logs,” which collects data to enhance performance. It’s switched off as a matter of course, and it’s not prescribed to turn it on as it implies more information is gathered.
Interestingly, the Windows form offers an auto-interface, including an off button and high-level security settings permitting you to calibrate your encryption norms. The iOS app differs slightly from the desktop apps. It needs symbols in the right-hand corner, and you can switch between the home screen and the record tab at the base. The record tab gives account subtleties and connections to Hola VPN’s security strategy.
Notably, the iOS app displays the time spent connected to the VPN, a feature absent in the desktop apps. Browser extensions work similarly to desktop apps but allow you to select the specific website you want to unblock. In the settings tab, you can quit pop-ups in your program and for information logging. You can utilize the augmentation, assuming you download the desktop area application.
To grow Hola VPN’s utilization of gadgets that don’t uphold VPNs, similar to Apple television or gaming consoles, you can introduce it on your switch. This strategy empowers a limitless number of synchronous gadget associations and safeguards each associated gadget. For shrewd televisions and gaming consoles, there’s a choice to design Hola VPN utilizing a Savvy DNS administration called Ultra DNS Intermediary. In any case, this technique isn’t prescribed because of its absence of hearty security highlights, including military-grade encryption.
Setup & Installation — Takes Less Than a Minute
If you try to download and install Hola on your MacBook Pro, it should take you under 1 minute. Installing the browser extension should be even quicker, taking less than 30 seconds.
Setting up the VPN on your domestic router might take longer. By following the guidelines provided on Hola VPN’s website, you can have it up and running in about 20 minutes.
Installation & Apps
When you try Hola VPN’s apps and browser extensions, you’ll find they are intuitive and excellent for beginners. The design of each application is very comparable, normally including a fundamental screen with an on/off switch and a drop-down box.
The apps are all similarly easy-to-use
After you’ve chosen the server area you like, click on the change to interface. While it’s not difficult to track down a server on all the applications, the association cycle was a bit slow, normally requiring around 10-15 seconds.
All applications have three clear symbols permitting you to access your record data settings and an Assistance button with connections to Hola VPN’s site.
The browser extensions offered by Hola VPN are lightweight and user-friendly. You can easily connect to a server, access settings, and even search for a specific site to unblock.
2023 Updated Prices Of Hola VPN
At the point when you attempt Hola VPN Premium, you’ll see it offers three plans: month-to-month, yearly, and a 3-year plan. The most financially savvy choice is the 3-year plan at $2.99 each month, giving huge reserve funds over the long haul. All plans accompany a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Installment strategies incorporate Mastercard, Google Pay, PayPal, Giropay, Alipay, Sofort, and iDEAL. However, online gift cards and cryptocurrency payments are not supported.
Apart from Hola VPN Premium, there’s also Hola VPN Basic and Hola VPN Ultra. The Basic version is the free option, which restricts usage to 30 minutes every hour and allows only one simultaneous device connection. The Ultra arrangement, like Premium, offers 20 concurrent gadget associations, quicker speeds, 4K streaming quality, and admittance to city-explicit servers.
Despite these options, considering there are much better VPNs available in the same price range, it might be wiser to explore alternatives rather than choosing any of Hola VPN’s plans.
Reliability & Support
When you try Hola VPN, you’ll have access to their email support and an FAQ knowledge base. However, there’s no 24/7 live chat, meaning you won’t get immediate assistance.
Inquiries sent through the email system are typically responded to within approximately 10 hours. However, the replies might lack extensive details, often directing you to links on Hola VPN’s website for more information.
I would have like a bit more detail in the response
The FAQ section contains a wealth of information, offering troubleshooting tips, setup instructions, and billing details. While generally helpful and informative, the overall presentation might need to be more user-friendly. Additionally, most of the information there might primarily focus on the free version, with the Premium plan receiving comparatively less attention.
The Bottom Line
Final Verdict — Untrustworthy and Terrible for Privacy
When you try Hola VPN, you’ll find it to be an untrustworthy option, regardless of whether you opt for the free or the paid version. While it might effectively unblock streaming sites, its basic security features, invasive privacy practices, and inconsistent speeds make it a VPN to avoid.
There are far superior VPN options available at the same price or even lower. For your security and privacy, it recommends using a reputable VPN with a secure server network, such as ExpressVPN.
Frequently Asked Questions (Hola VPN)-
Is Hola VPN secure?
No, Hola VPN isn’t safe to use. It collects excessive personal data, posing a significant risk to your privacy. The free version uses a distributed organization, permitting your IP address to be divided between all clients. This present circumstance is profoundly risky as it implies an outsider might actually utilize your IP address for illegal exercises.
Does Hola VPN have the ability to unblock Netflix?
Yes, the paid version of Hola VPN can unblock Netflix. However, the free version does not. During streaming tests, I connected to Hola VPN’s servers in the US, France, UK, Australia, and Canada, successfully unblocking the Netflix libraries from these respective countries.
Does Hola VPN slow down speed while using?
Yes, Hola Premium can significantly slow down your connection speeds. During my speed tests, I experienced a drop of 50% or more on short-distance servers and over 75% on long-distance servers. While some speed reduction is expected due to encryption and server distance. Other VPNs generally don’t impact speeds to such an extent. If your internet speeds are already slow, Hola VPN’s impact could negatively affect your online experience.