In the world of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), two names often come up in discussions – TunnelBear and Hola. Both VPNs have their unique features and benefits, and choosing between them can be a challenging task. This article aims to provide a comprehensive comparison of TunnelBear and Hola, analyzing their features, pros, cons, and user experiences to help you make an informed decision.
TunnelBear: An Overview
TunnelBear is a well-known Canadian VPN service that was acquired by the US cybersecurity company McAfee a few years ago. It is known for its user-friendly interface and robust security features. TunnelBear offers AES-256 bit encryption, which is considered the gold standard in VPN encryption. It also provides a feature called VigilantBear, which is essentially a clever themed name for a kill switch that protects your encryption security by stopping all internet traffic if your VPN connection drops.
One of the significant advantages of TunnelBear is its commitment to user privacy. The company has a strict no-logs policy, meaning it does not track or store your online activities. Furthermore, TunnelBear undergoes regular independent security audits, ensuring that it maintains high security and privacy standards.
However, TunnelBear has its limitations just like every other VPN service. It does not have as large a network as some other popular providers, or offer as many features and servers, but the service works, and has continually improved. The service now supports P2P torrent filesharing too through the use of their secure Peer-2-Peer dedicated servers.
Hola: An Overview
Hola is a unique VPN service based in Israel. Unlike traditional VPNs, Hola operates as a peer-to-peer network, using the idle resources of its users to route traffic. This approach allows Hola to offer its services for free or with a premium subscription, but it also raises some privacy concerns. Back in 2015, security experts rang the alarm on Hola and advised all users to cease using the P2P network immediately as they risked being used by malicious users, and then the traffic could be routed back to your own computer. This type of service is very different than your typical VPN and this should be something you are aware of when considering Hola.
Hola says it does not collect personal information and has a no-logs policy for Premium and Ultra subscribers. However, the free version of Hola does not offer the same level of privacy. The free version sacrifices encryption for speed, which could be a concern for users who prioritize privacy and security.
On the plus side, Hola is known for its excellent speed and performance. It also allows up to 10 devices simultaneously with a Premium subscription. However, Hola does not support BitTorrent use on its network and blocks all torrent usage.
TunnelBear vs Hola: A Head-to-Head Comparison
When comparing TunnelBear and Hola, several factors come into play. These include privacy and security, speed and performance, server coverage, compatibility with devices, customer support, and pricing.
Privacy and Security
In terms of privacy and security, TunnelBear has the upper hand. Its robust encryption, no-logs policy, and regular security audits make it a reliable choice for users who prioritize privacy. On the other hand, while Hola does offer privacy features for its paid subscribers, both the paid and free version resort to a peer-2-peer shared network, which could be a deal-breaker for some, if not most users.
Speed and Performance
Hola is known for its fast speeds, thanks to its unique peer-to-peer approach. However, this speed comes at the cost of privacy in the free version. TunnelBear, while not as always fast as Hola, offers consistent performance and does not compromise on security. Additionally, speed will be subjective as it depends where you are located and to what server you are connecting to. Overall, it’s much easier to gauge and configure for speed on Tunnelbear as you have more control over server selection with lots more server information such as location, speed and ping.
Both TunnelBear and Hola offer a good range of server locations. However, the exact number of servers is undisclosed for Hola as it is user based. TunnelBear has servers in 47+ countries, providing a decent selection for users without having to compromise on any front.
Compatibility with Devices
Both TunnelBear and Hola offer apps for major platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. They also offer browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. However, Hola offers more simultaneous connections with its paid plans compared to TunnelBear.
Customer support is an important aspect to consider when choosing a VPN. TunnelBear offers email support and has an extensive knowledge base on its website. Hola also provides email support and has a FAQ section on its site. However, neither VPN offers live chat support, which could be a downside for users who prefer immediate assistance.
TunnelBear also offers a free version with limited data (500MB per month). Its paid plans are reasonably priced, with the Unlimited plan starting at $3.33 per month. Hola also offers a free version, but with limitations on privacy and security. Its Premium plan starts at $2.99 per month on yearly payment, while still having limitations on privacy and security.
The Verdict: TunnelBear vs Hola
In the battle between TunnelBear and Hola, the choice ultimately depends on your priorities regarding privacy and security. If privacy and security are your top concerns, TunnelBear is a solid choice and a no contest winner against Hola. However, if you prioritize having a completely free service with no usage limits, Hola could be a suitable option.
Hola does not even allow torrent users to use P2P file sharing on their network, which is ironic since the whole service is based on P2P, but this speaks volumes on how unsecure Hola can be for a user who is sharing his internet connection with others. Tunnelbear now offers dedicated servers just for Peer-2-Peer torrent file sharing. Both options have a free version, but Tunnelbear is limited to 500MB per month, allowing you to “test out” their service really quickly before buying.
In my opinion, the security risks surrounding Hola VPN are not worth the free or premium service, and Tunnelbear would be the way to go. But if you really do not favor having a dedicated VPN service, Hola VPN’s peer-2-peer “shared VPN service” is an innovative way to pay your service through sharing your internet connection with other users.
Remember, the best VPN for you is one that aligns with your needs, whether it’s for bypassing geo-restrictions, enhancing your online privacy, or securing your data. Always do your research and consider all factors before making a decision.