Hola Review 2022: Before You Buy, Is It Worth It?

What do we look at?

🚀Speed 7.0 / 10
📍Servers 7.0 / 10
👍User Experience 7.0 / 10
📞Support 4.0 / 10
🏷️Pricing 6.0 / 10
Disclosures:
Our Reviews

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Ownership

Kape Technologies PLC, the parent company of Wizcase, owns ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, ZenMate, Private Internet Access, and Intego, which may be reviewed on this website.

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Hola Overview October 2022

Hola VPN isn’t an entirely traditional VPN as it relies on an advanced P2P structure to offer its services. I had heard a lot of suspicious things about the history of this VPN and its privacy policy, so I wanted to uncover the details for myself. To find out if this VPN could offer me the features I sought, I tested its streaming ability, speed, security, and several other integrations.

Impressively, Hola VPN performed well in streaming. It also offered decent speeds on the nearest servers and even had useful apps for multiple devices. However, I wasn’t comfortable executing most tasks with this service due to its worrisome security measures and unreliable privacy policy.

You can try out this VPN yourself by opting for either its free or premium plan. It has a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with its service. This is a great way to test its service and see if it would be worth using.

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Don’t Have Time? Here’s a 1-Minute Summary

  • Unblocks Netflix and several other streaming services. I was able to unblock Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and more with Hola VPN Find out about my streaming experience.
  • Decent speeds from nearby servers. I had the fastest speeds with servers closest to me, while distant servers were significantly slower. See my speed test results.
  • Lacking security and privacy features. The P2P server infrastructure, lack of encryption, and subpar no logs policy are all worrying signs of weak security. Learn how secure Hola VPN is.
  • Support for multiple devices. I connected 6 different devices at once and was pleasantly surprised by the stable connectivity. See supported devices.
  • Offers a free and paid service. The free version operates as a global peer-to-peer (P2P) VPN, sharing your computer’s resources with other users when it’s not in use. Here are the available pricing options.

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Hola VPN Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer (But Can’t Access Disney+)

Hola VPN impressed me with the number of streaming services it unblocks, even with its free version. While testing, I verified Hola’s ability to unblock multiple streaming platforms on both its free and paid versions. While I was able to unblock Netflix US, my colleagues in other regions including the UK, Canada, and Japan were also able to unblock regional libraries.

However, you have limited streaming time with the free version with just one allotted hour a day. But you can play around with this by closing the streaming window occasionally and restarting again after some time.

Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer: Unblocked

It surprised me that I was able to access my Netflix library and stream in perfect HD quality on the free and paid versions.

Screenshot of streaming Netflix with Hola VPN

I streamed “The Witcher” with Hola VPN easily on Netflix

However, I had to wait up to a minute before the visual quality settled to HD. Although you can unblock Netflix with Hola VPN, you are more likely to experience poorer speeds if you are using the free version.

I unlocked my HBO Max within seconds using Hola VPN. Streaming perfected to HD after about 10 seconds with very limited lag on the premium version.

Screenshot of streaming HBO Max with Hola VPN

I enjoyed the movie “Doom Patrol” on HBO Max

Similarly, I was able to access my Amazon Prime Video library from my location without hassles. It was pretty easy for me to stream content in high definition.

Screenshot of streaming Amazon Prime Video with Hola VPN

I had a good time binging on the Prime Video series “Hanna” with Hola VPN

Hulu didn’t pose any problems at all when I tried to access it with Hola VPN. I was impressed with the efficiency I experienced while streaming. Also, my colleagues in the UK reported that Hola VPN unblocked BBC iPlayer and other popular platforms in the UK like ITV and Channel 4.

Disney+: Blocked

Hola VPN performed well in my streaming tests. However, I couldn’t unblock my Disney+ library with it. I wasn’t even able to access the Disney+ homepage while using it as it seems Disney+ was able to detect I was connected to a VPN.

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Speed7.0

Reduced Speeds on Distant Servers

Hola VPN delivers adequate speeds if you opt for servers closest to your location. Although it did reduce my connection speed significantly, I was still able to perform most tasks like before. I noticed that the speeds varied constantly after each speed test, thereby marking Hola VPN as unstable when it comes to connection speeds. I would not recommend Hola VPN if you’re looking for a VPN that would be able to offer you express connections at decent speeds all the time.

Speed Test Results

Before testing out Hola VPN servers, I gauged the base speed of my ISP and it read 31.04 Mbps. When I connected to the US server — which is the closest to my location — the download speed declined by over 45% at 16.17 Mbps.

Screenshot of server speed tests on Hola VPN

My speeds significantly declined while using Hola VPN

The UK server performed poorly at a download speed level of 10.67 Mbps. My experience with the France and Belgium servers was similar.

Speeds with Hola VPN simply aren’t reliable enough to offer a quality browsing experience. Severe dips in speed often lead to unexpected lags and slowdowns, especially on the free version. If you would like a VPN with faster but more stable speeds, I would suggest ExpressVPN due to its advanced server list and ultra-fast conjunction speeds.

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Why Most Speed Tests are Pointless & How We Correctly Test VPN Speeds

Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you're torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.

Servers7.0

Server Network — A Unique P2P Server Infrastructure

Hola is known as a “VPN-like” service as it relies on a global peer-to-peer network shared between users instead of a dedicated server infrastructure. This means you have access to servers in almost every country around the world, but that also means that your device’s resources may be used by others. If you don’t want to be used as a peer, you can upgrade to the “Plus” version. You’ll also gain access to Hola VPN’s hybrid network of peers and a dedicated VPN server infrastructure for more stable connections and higher speeds.

Hola took around 10-15 seconds to connect to each of the servers I tested. While this is a longer wait than most other VPNs I’ve tested, it’s still a reasonably short time to wait. Disappointingly, its manual servers don’t show you an exact city-level location, so you can’t immediately choose the closest one to you — which will potentially further increase your wait times.

Screenshot of available servers on Hola VPN

Hola VPN has more servers in Europe and the Americas

Hola VPN’s standard server list mostly comprises countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. I couldn’t locate servers in Africa or the Middle East.

Security — Does Not Encrypt User Traffic on Free Plans

Hola VPN’s P2P infrastructure undermines security. Being largely a free service, it does not offer encryption for its users unless they subscribe to premium plans. When I installed Hola VPN, I was prompted with a message box that alerted me of the lack of encryption if I use the free service. This wasn’t fine with me at all, several VPNs offer maximum encryption even on free plans.

One of the snags associated with using Hola VPN is the possibility of having your data routed through another person’s device. Since your data might be unencrypted, other people might be able to intercept your data or access illegal sites by using the same IP address as you. This situation could get you into trouble even if you didn’t do anything illegal yourself. However, when I conducted a DNS leak test, I was pleased that Hola VPN did not expose my real IP to the open internet.

Screenshot of DNS leak tests

Hola VPN would not reveal your original IP address while using it

Hola premium might help deal with these worries as it encrypts your data using AES 256-bit encryption algorithm and other lower encryptions you can select by default. It runs its VPN client on two protocols—IKEv2/IPsec and PPTP/L2TP.

Hola VPN also has a history that might trigger suspicions. The service faced a DDoS attack in 2015 after operating as a botnet, which is a network of computers used to execute illicit activities without the knowledge of their original users. Although this played out years ago, I’m yet to detect significant security improvements since then.

Hola VPN does have an adblocker and a manual kill switch feature. It also features simple buttons to adjust encryption settings on the premium plan.

Screenshot of Hola VPN interface displaying available security features

Despite poor security features, you can use Hola VPN with a manual kill switch

I don’t think these security integrations are sophisticated enough to keep users safe as exclusively as ExpressVPN which maintains solid encryptions even on free plans and features an automatic kill switch as well as a functional adblocker.

Privacy — Retains Data

Hola VPN has its headquarters located in Israel. Although Israel isn’t a member of the 14 Eyes Alliance, it is a partner of the allegiance. The 14 Eyes is an allegiance of nations that keep surveillance over internet use in their jurisdictions for security purposes and since Hola is resident in one of the affiliated jurisdictions, I have my doubts about its privacy policy.

Hola VPN isn’t concerned about your privacy, you can only signup by connecting to an email or social media account that belongs to you. This permits Hola to access some of the details on such accounts such as your name, address, age, and even your contact lists.

A section of Hola VPN privacy statement

Hola VPN’s privacy policy reveals that it collects user data

Hola VPN is clear that it retains your data for as long as the service deems necessary. This might upset a lot of privacy-focused users, and it didn’t sit well with me either. I do not recommend Hola VPN to persons that would rather remain anonymous while using a VPN as it has a very poor privacy arrangement. I would only use Hola VPN if an independent auditory body confirms its privacy to be safe like ExpressVPN.

Try Hola VPN yourself!

Torrenting — Unsupported

Hola VPN blocks BitTorrent protocol traffic on its network, meaning you can’t download content from any torrent site or use software like Popcorn Time. This is likely for the best due to Hola’s lack of logging protections, user privacy, and encryption on its free plan. Hola VPN is also clear about not permitting the distribution of peer-to-peer files with its service as seen on the website.

Does Hola VPN Work in China? No!

Due to Hola VPN functioning as a peer-to-peer proxy service, the possibility of it breaking through the solid wall of internet censorship in China is too slim. Hola VPN customer service confirmed as well that their service can’t be used in China.

Screenshot of customer support response about Hola VPN's inefficiency in China

You can’t use Hola VPN in China

VPNs that can break this wall must have top-level encryptions and the ability to hold access without implicating the original IP addresses of users; sadly, Hola VPN is yet to offer this level of encryption. You would have to opt for a VPN like ExpressVPN that has been proven with the ability to unblock geo-restricted firewalls.

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Server Locations

Argentina
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Chile
Colombia
Croatia
Czech Republic
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
See all supported locations...

User Experience7.0

Simultaneous Device Connections — Up to 10 Devices at Once

You can connect up to 10 devices at once with Hola VPN Plus. I tried connecting a Windows desktop and laptop, a MacBook Air, an Android phone, an iPhone, and a PS4 and there was no difference in streaming, browsing stability, or speeds. None of the connections dropped during the hour I was connected.While this is a very generous number of connections for a smaller VPN, other options like IPVanish offer simultaneous connections to an unlimited number of devices so you don’t have to pick and choose which of your commonly-used devices to connect.

Device Compatibility — Special Apps and Browser Extensions

It is possible to use Hola VPN across a wide range of devices. You can install it on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, consoles like Playstation and Xbox, Apple TV, FireTV, Smart TV, LG, and routers. For some reason, Hola only offers a browser extension for Opera, which I didn’t find exceptionally useful.

Screenshot of Hola VPN interface on compatible devices

You can use Hola VPN on multiple devices

With the Opera extension, I was able to unblock most streaming sites. I also used it as a sort of hedge if I felt like connecting to a VPN only on my browsers without it affecting all other software on my device. Using Hola VPN on my Windows 8 and 10 also marks it out as a suitable VPN for all Windows devices.

Ease of Setup & Installation — Get Started in Less 5 Minutes

Hola VPN is pretty easy to install on supported devices. There are designated sections on the site to download Hola’s VPN client on your devices. I downloaded and installed Hola VPN on my Windows device without experiencing any hassle.

3 Easy Steps to Download Hola VPN on Windows

  1. Go to hola.org/download and download the right version for your device. 
  2. Open the file (named Hola-Setup.exe on Windows) and go through the installation process. Choose either a Free or Plus account. 
  3. Launch Hola, choose a country, and click it to connect! 

Support4.0

Hola VPN doesn’t have much to offer in terms of customer support. Customer support is mostly prioritized for users that have gotten a premium plan and not for free users. You can only reach customer support via ticket submission on the website. If you are a premium user, you would likely get a response within 24 hours. When I enquired about how to scale my connection speeds with the service, I was pleased to receive a response in less than 1 hour.

Screenshot of customer support response

As a premium user, Hola VPN responds quicker to you

Alongside ticket submission, Hola VPN maintains a well-equipped FAQ/knowledge base. This page is the only real option for free users that have inquiries.

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How We Test Customer Support and Why Should You Care

We personally test the customer support team of every VPN we review. This means asking technical question through the live chat feature (where applicable) and measuring the response time for email questions. Whether you need to connect to a specific server, change your security protocol, or configure a VPN on your router, finding a VPN with quality customer support should be important to you.

Pricing6.0

Hola VPN claims its service to be one of the best peer-to-peer VPNs where users contribute their quota of content for the internet community. This explains why it has an extensive free plan across all devices for private users. You can pay for a Hola VPN plan if you run an enterprise or require more advanced features.

The advanced plan lets you connect to up to 10 devices simultaneously, enjoy unlimited bandwidth, stream in high definition, and access stronger encryptions. Hola VPN runs three price plans which get better if you opt for longer periods. There is also an ultra plan for every premium package you choose which costs significantly more. The difference between the regular plans and the ultra plans is the possibility of simultaneously connecting to 20 devices and ultra-fast connections.

There are several methods to pay for a plan. I paid using my credit card but you can do so using PayPal, Google Pay, AliPay, Sofort, GiroPay, and iDeal. I was impressed when colleagues in other regions revealed that they were able to subscribe to Hola VPN using their local cards, which operated with their local currencies.

When you pay for a Hola VPN plan, you are automatically eligible for an unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee. I tested this provision and was happy to be reimbursed in full the following day.

Hola offers the following plans

Final Verdict

I had mixed feelings about Hola VPN. It solves one of the primary problems that VPNs are used for — accessing content. However, it falls very short when it comes to user privacy, security, and speed. Combined with a price that matches or even exceeds some better VPN choices, Hola VPN’s service is hard to recommend.

If you need access to Netflix or some other streaming services, Hola’s free version gets the job done. If you need a VPN to do anything more than stream, you should avoid Hola VPN. I’m personally sticking with a tried-and-tested premium VPN like ExpressVPN, as it is fantastic at unblocking content and is still super secure.

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FAQs About Hola VPN

Is Hola VPN good?

Unfortunately, no. Hola VPN is only great for accessing content using both its free and paid versions. I don’t recommend it due to its shady privacy policies and mediocre security features.

Can I use Hola VPN for free?

Yes! Hola VPN offers a free version but not without some disadvantages. Using the free version means you would have to forgo any security encryptions and might have your data or IP address intercepted by other members in the P2P network. If you prefer opting for a free plan and want to select more sophisticated VPNs then these VPN services might be what you need.

Is Hola VPN really safe?

No! Hola isn’t a VPN I would recommend for security-conscious users. Hola VPN does not offer any encryptions for free users and also has a lacking privacy policy.

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Important to know

Israel
2012
No
1
30 days guaranteed

Contact Details

help@hola.org

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