If you have been searching for a free VPN, chances are that you have come across Hola VPN. This is solution that has been around since 2012, but in spite of its popularity, Hola has also been surrounded by controversy. Many people are still using Hola VPN to increase their online privacy and bypass restrictions. However, there are significant concerns regarding the reliability of this provider. If you want a better level of protection for your privacy, you may want to consider another options. We will talk more about what Hola VPN offers and will help you to find the best alternatives available.
Let’s start by talking more about Hola VPN
Hola VPN started in 2012 and it brought a lot of innovation to the industry. Based on the development of peer-to-peer downloading, the creators of Hola VPN, Ofer Vilenski and Derry Shribman, came up with a tool set to help online users to protect their privacy. Taking advantage of the extensive community of P2P users, Hola VPN is able to redirect traffic through several nodes, which in theory, delivers enhanced privacy and improved speeds. When you start using Hola, the network uses some of your bandwidth to make the most of the overall web capacity.
The way in which Hola VPN works is very different from what regular providers do since the latter direct traffic through remote servers, assigning anonymous IP addresses and it sends data to the destination websites. Hola VPN lets you enjoy anonymous browsing, although there are no routing servers. This makes it a unique type of VPN. Hola VPN also stands out thanks to the fact that its basic client is available for free for desktop users. There is also a PLUS package that lets you reduce the amount of bandwidth used by other Hola members, for a rate.
What are the concerns surrounding Hola VPN?
Hola VPN may be an innovative solution in the world of VPNs and the fact that it can be used for free is very appealing. However, it is not a perfect solution and there are many issues that should be noted, before you decide to use this VPN.
It should also be noted that Hola is based in Israel, a country that regularly cooperates with spying alliances like the Fourteen Eyes. Security is also not a strong point for Hola VPN. The providers doesn’t secure your data with high encryption such as 256-bit AES. The only “protection” that it offers is to try to hide your data in its network of users, which doesn’t really secure your information.
Tests have shown that Hola VPN leaks user IP addresses and it is not even able to bypass the geo-blocking measures of multiple online platforms. This means that it is not an effective solution to access Netflix and other streaming services that are subject to geo-restrictions. The software doesn’t include security features such kill switch, which will protect you in case the VPN connection suddenly drops. If that happens, a kill switch closes apps to avoid that your real IP address and identity get exposed.
Hola was also involved in controversy after it was found that it was using its network to run a botnet, which put users at risk of their bandwidth being used for criminal purposes. The way Hola VPN works may be innovative, but using this P2P privacy network could result on you being held responsible for the actions of others. With all that being said, you should think it twice before signing up for Hola. There are just many security concerns associated to this VPN, which is why we recommend that you consider other options.
Check our list of the best alternatives to Hola below.
Private Internet Access
Many people rely on Hola VPN simply because it is free, but free things can end up costing you more. It is better to opt for an affordable and high quality service like Private Internet Access. This provider protects your information and lets you overcome restrictions thanks to its vast network of servers distributed across more than 30 countries. PIA doesn’t keep any logs that could put your privacy at risk. It also supports all the features that you need to keep your information protected and to bypass blocks and enjoy content from around the world.
ExpressVPN is one of the most reliable services in the VPN industry. It offers access to thousands of servers in over 90 countries and its unblocking technology ensures that you get access to all the content that you want. ExpressVPN is a powerful solution to get around blocks and it also helps you to protect your privacy. It uses high standards of encryption and it doesn’t keep logs of your activities. Although ExpressVPN’s plans are more expensive than what others charge, the amazing speeds and high security make it one of the best alternatives to Hola.
We start the list with NordVPN, a highly secure VPN solution that protects your data with high levels of encryption and that is capable of getting around censorship and restrictions, to give you true online freedom. NordVPN has more than 5000 servers in its network and it lets you bypass restrictions effectively. It is a zero logs provider so your information will remain safe. NordVPN supports advanced security features such as double VPN and VPN over Tor.
Surfshark is another provider that we recommend, due to its high security and its capacity to bypass restrictions. You can connect to servers in more than 50 countries and enjoy the chance to access content without facing geo-blocks or censorship. Surfshark offers affordable prices and it doesn’t keep logs of your traffic. This provider lets you use as many connections at the same time, as you want, which means that it offers great value for money. In addition, it has been independently audited and its security has been confirmed.
We have mentioned paid services in the list, but there are also free VPNs that are worth considering. ProtonVPN is one of them as it offers strong protection for your data and it supports a great deal of features. ProtonVPN gives you unlimited data transfer/bandwidth and it is committed to help you to keep your privacy secure. There is also a premium version that boosts the functionality of this VPN.
Why should you avoid free VPNs?
While free VPNs are a practical solution and there are some good options, in general it is best to avoid free services. They are limited solutions that don’t allow you to stream or download content due to the slow speeds, data limits and the fact that they don’t work well when it comes to unblock apps. That is not all, free VPNs still need to make money somehow because keeping a network is not cheap. Many of them use ads, while others may even sell your data to third parties. Free VPNs don’t work well in places like China and they are likely to leak your data. This is why we recommend you to choose a paid service like ExpressVPN, NordVPN and the other VPNs we listed, instead.