hola free vpn

HolaVPN: What Is It And What Are The Risks Of Using It?

Publish date December 5, 2019 Views: 547 Comments: 0

What is Hola VPN?

Hola VPN, a product of Hola Networks Ltd. which is Israel-based, has amassed over 201 million users since it was first launched in 2012. The product is marketed as a peer-to-peer VPN.

Hola is a freemium application that supplies its users with a form of VPN services, using peer-to-peer networking and peer-to-peer caching. Users can access geo-blocked domains because Hola redirects their demand: the demand goes through the Internet connections and devices of users in non-blocked regions so that the blocking is avoided.

With Hola free VPN, users can help other users make the web more accessible.

Benefits of Hola VPN

To start, here are a few benefits of using Hola.

The best thing about Hola is that it is free, though there is a paid version as well. The service itself is very stable across all platforms, and it’s very easily downloaded and installed. Hola can be set up in no time and configured without much hassle.

Another benefit of Hola is its speed. The service delivers great speeds since there is no encryption that would slow it down. Since this VPN is community-based, it does not use servers but instead redirects demands to other users’ internet connections in another country. The free version has no license requirements and can be used on an unlimited number of devices. It is also available on various platforms: besides major desktop systems and mobile systems, Hola VPN also presents browser extensions, as well as for instructions for smart TVs, routers, etc.

Finally, the free version works well for unblocking geo-restricted sites.

Risks of using a Hola Free VPN

Unfortunately, the risks of Hola by far outnumber its benefits.

While free VPNs might seem like a good idea because you don’t mind ads or don’t need fancy features, be aware that all companies must make money. Some companies do it by displaying ads, while some other companies make money by selling the users’ data and compromising the users’ privacy.

In addition, with a free VPN, your bandwidth may be too limited or you may not have access to servers in just any location you need. While it’s marketed as a VPN (Virtual Private Network), there’s nothing really private about Hola. It presents itself as a VPN, but it is actually a proxy service that compromises its users’ safety with insecure practices.

Read below to find out what the cons of using Hola free VPN are:

  1. Hola users have to share their bandwidth with one another. This means that your IP address won’t be hidden or connected to a foreign server, but in fact, you will be using another user’s IP address, and someone else (a stranger) will be connected to yours.
  2. Hola doesn’t really work well with unblocking geo-restricted content on Netflix, as Netflix detects Hola with ease.
  3. As far as torrenting is concerned, you should avoid using Hola for it. Like Hola, torrenting is also a peer-to-peer service, which makes it dangerous, but effective. To be able to torrent safely, you need a good VPN with security features and solid encryption, and Hola doesn’t offer this to its users.
  4. Using this VPN is a security risk. When you use Hola, you also share your bandwidth, which means you could be complicit in cybercrimes without having any clue about it.

In fact, Hola has abused its free users previously: it shared their bandwidth with Luminati subscribers, a paid proxy service that is owned by Hola, as well. Although Hola got caught, things didn’t change much since these events, as Hola is still used for DDoS attacks and easy botnets.

What’s more, Hola provides no encryption, which also means there’s no kill switch. There also aren’t any measures against DNS, IP, or WebRTC leaks.

  1. Safety and privacy aren’t exactly Hola VPN’s top priority. Unlike most good VPN services, which keep no logs, Hola logs basically everything related to users’ connection and bandwidth. It collects IP addresses, billing info, connection timestamps, etc. Moreover, the data they log isn’t kept safely: according to their privacy policy, the information they gather can be shared with partners, third parties, and affiliates.
  2. The jurisdiction that Hola’s under is another problem. While Israel, which is where Hola is based, isn’t part of the 14 Eyes Alliance, it has cooperated with the alliance in the past. So, if the 14 Eyes Alliance asks the Israeli government to hand over user data, they will.
  3. Finally, its customer service is also lacking: all you get is an email. No live chat, no dedicated ticket system, no customer support phone-line.

Hola VPN Alternatives

As you could have figured out already, Hola isn’t exactly a great VPN option. A good VPN is supposed to be secure and make sure you keep your anonymity online, which Hola definitely doesn’t do.

There are far better alternatives, and below we’ll explain which these are and why they are the best hola VPN alternatives.

#1 ExpressVPN

Arguably the best VPN, ExpressVPN is full of great features.

With over 3,000 servers located across 94 countries, it offers great speed.

It is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is far from the 14 Eyes Alliance, meaning that your online activities will stay anonymous.

While Hola disregards security, ExpressVPN provides its users with military-grade protection (AES-256 encryption used by the US government), DNS protection and OpenVPN support.

It also has a kill switch feature, which cuts off any internet connection in case the VPN connection drops. This feature ensures the user’s location or identity isn’t revealed if the VPN connection drops.

Another thing you won’t have to worry about is your private information being exposed as ExpressVPN has a strict no-logs policy, which means they will not keep your IP address, browsing history, DNS queries, traffic destination, etc.

ExpressVPN also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning that if you change your mind, you can get your money back.

ExpressVPN also offers a special deal, get 3 months free and 49% savings with their annual subscription plan!

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here.

#2 CyberGhost

Another excellent alternative to HolaVPN is CyberGhost. With almost 6,000 servers around the world, this Romanian-based VPN has one of the biggest number of servers to choose from on the market.

In terms of security, CyberGhost offers military-grade encryption as well as the ability to watch all your favorite streaming platforms like US Netflix, Sling TV, Sky TV, Now TV, Hulu, and HBO.

Your privacy is something that is of incredible importance to CyberGhost, which is outlined in the privacy policy:

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here

#3 Surfshark

While Surfshark is new to the VPN market, it offers great security and ensures anonymity for its users.

Surfshark uses military-grade encryption techniques, as well as an OpenVPN protocol and an IKEv2 protocol, which keep users extremely safe.

A great security feature they offer is MultiHop, which makes your security tighter by letting you connect to more than one server.

They do not keep any logs which means they won’t collect your IP address, session information, browsing history, used bandwidth or other similar data. On top of that, the company is based in the British Virgin Islands, which isn’t part of the 14 Eyes Alliance and isn’t mandated to keep logs by law.

Another great thing about Surfshark is that it gives its users the option of accessing as many as 13 Netflix libraries.

Regarding the number of devices, one Surfshark license lets you have an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. This is impressive as there aren’t many other VPN providers that offer this.

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here

#4 ZenMate

This German-based VPN company has hundreds of servers worldwide and is straightforward to use making it the perfect choice for first time VPN users.

A Smart Location feature will allow you to specify any chosen location when you use a particular website. Whenever you visit that website again, it will use your selected location first. For example, you can set New York to be your location whenever you use Netflix.com.

When it comes to privacy, ZenMate ensures that none of the data it records can be used to link to your identity.

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here.

#5 ProtonVPN

Proton VPN is a great alternative to Hola, as it comes with a free plan which has unlimited bandwidth.

The company’s headquarters are in Switzerland, which is outside of US and EU jurisdiction, isn’t part of the 14 Eyes Alliance, and has strong privacy laws. Therefore, your privacy is guaranteed.

They are also one of the few VPN companies which provide transparency and let you know who is running the service.

Like the other two VPN services mentioned above, Proton VPN also uses strong military-grade encryption. According to their website ‘all your network traffic is encrypted with AES-256, key exchange is done with 4096-bit RSA, and HMAC with SHA384 is used for message authentication.’

It also has Secure Core, a great feature which is basically the same as a double VPN. This allows your internet traffic to be routed through not one, but two servers in two locations.

In addition, ProtonVPN has DNS leak prevention and a built-in kill switch.

You’ll be happy to hear that ProtonVPN also works well with Netflix, unlike Hola, so that you can keep up with your favorite shows.

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here

Conclusion

Instead of adding extra protection, Hola VPN takes it away. While it can let you access blocked content, keep in mind that it is a service with a history of misconduct that has no privacy or security features. The only good thing about it is its speed and the fact that it’s free.

Instead of using Hola, it is much better (and smarter) to use a VPN service that has servers worldwide, as well as real protection. When choosing a VPN service, make sure it has a zero-log policy and strong encryption techniques. The alternatives listed previously all offer great security and ensure their users’ privacy.

What’s more, all of the VPNs listed above have 30-day money-back guarantees, which lets you test them out before deciding to commit to a plan.

Opt for one of the VPN services we recommended and your anonymity online will be guaranteed.

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