Hola Free VPN Review (Updated 2022)
Hola Free VPN is an Israeli free online privacy service that works with both Netflix and BBC iPlayer. However, due to a few minor issues, the service has received a 4.2-star rating overall.
Hola VPN is unlike your basic VPN setup, you know the one with servers and everything. It’s basically a peer-to-peer network that can help you access blocked most websites for free. The way it works is pretty simple. If you wish to use Hola VPN, you’ll have to contribute your real device’s IP.
While doing all the testing before writing this Hola VPN review, I found it weird how Hola VPN stores users’ residential IPs and uses their bandwidth to power its network. However, after playing around with it for a week, I found it to be actually quite good.
Despite offering no servers at all in the free version, Hola VPN actually managed to unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and even Youku which is a Chinese streaming website. As for speeds, Hola offered just about okayish speeds, but that is something to expect from a VPN service that offers no servers.
Overall, if you don’t mind a service that KEEPS LOG OF EVERYTHING, Hola VPN is a pretty decent option. Hola VPN also comes with paid plans, which essentially offer 256-bit encryption, real servers, OpenVPN, and remove you from the P2P network.
But in my opinion, if you’re going to pay for Hola VPN, then you might just want to go for other paid VPNs like ExpressVPN or Surfshark, which comes with actual servers, offers powerful VPN protocols, and keep zero logs as well. Anyways, after weighing all the pros and cons, I’ve given Hola VPN a 4.2-star rating. If you wish to check out other best VPNs that are free, please check out our list of best free VPN services.
My Rating Criteria
To thoroughly test the Hola VPN for its pros and cons, I used my 9 step rating criteria:
- Jurisdiction – Is Hola VPN safe?
- Security – Does Hola VPN keep logs?
- Leaks – Does Hola VPN leak IP, DNS, WebRTC?
- Servers – Is Hola VPN good for P2P torrenting?
- Speed – Is Hola VPN fast?
- Streaming – Does Hola VPN work with Netflix?
- Compatibility – Which devices can I use Hola VPN with?
- Pricing – How much is Hola VPN?
- Trustworthiness – Is Hola VPN trustworthy?
Jurisdiction – Is Hola VPN safe?
Well considering that Hola VPN is based in Israel and keeps all sorts of logs, Hola VPN is not the safest option out there. Although not a direct partner of 5 eyes, 9 eyes, or 14 eyes alliance, Israel is known to work closely with the United States in intelligence sharing. However, there has never been any proof of them complying with the authorities.
Security – Does Hola VPN keep logs?
We log data and this may include the following information – browser type, web pages you visit, time spent on those pages, access times and dates.
We may disclose Personal Information to other trusted third-party service providers or partners for the purposes of providing you with the Services, storage, and analytics.
Overall, they collect way too much information to specifically identify your online activities. However, the good thing is that they’re going to be soon offering a no-logs policy for paid users.
Hola caught selling bandwidth
Hola VPN’s Chrome extension was caught logging user data and selling it to third parties. It tracks your every move online and then the data is used by advertisers.
I believe this Hola VPN application, used by nearly 8million people, according to the Chrome Web Store, is tracking user's data on the chrome browser even when the user turns it off. I have added some proofs I got from Chrome Dev Network tools. @fs0c131y Please tell!#HolaVPN pic.twitter.com/LA94XvLWdo
— Ishan Agarwal (@ishanagarwal24) September 1, 2018
Hola was also caught selling its user’s idle bandwidth for botnets that were then used for launching DDoS attacks. Hola’s cofounder Ofer Vilenski also confirmed about selling idle bandwidth and said we “always made it clear” on our official website.
Hola, has been uncovered as exhibiting malware-like behavior after its founder, Ofer Vilenski, confirmed that company resells the idle bandwidth of anyone who has installed the service.
— babulbhatt (@babulbhatt) September 15, 2021
Encryption, Protocols & Basic Features
As for encryption and protocols, the free version of Hola VPN doesn’t offer any. Instead, it utilizes a peer-to-peer network to mask your online identity. However, encryption is something we all want from a VPN service. Consequently, the lack of encryption means there is always a safety risk with Hola VPN.
If you opt for the paid version, however, you will get a few basic security features like IKEv2/IPSEC and strong 256-bit encryption. But even after paying a premium, you will still not get a basic feature such as a built-in kill switch. This is where this VPN seriously lacks in features.
The only additional feature that Hola VPN offers is an Ad-blocker. This feature works as you would expect, however, I still feel like it lacks a lot of features for a paid service that costs $2.99/mo.
Leaks – Does Hola VPN leak IP, DNS, WebRTC?
Despite offering no encryption in the free version, it still didn’t manage to leak my IP, DNS, and WebRTC data online. This was something I did not expect. I ran it through multiple tests and Hola VPN passed without any issues.
IP Leak Test:
First, I checked for any IP leaks. As you can see from the screenshot below, only a US IP is being displayed and my original IP address is nowhere to be seen. Pretty good if you ask me.
DNS Leak Test:
Next, I checked for DNS leaks. Again, as you can see from the screenshot below, I’m only using 3 DNS servers and none of them show my original IP.
WebRTC Leak Test:
I also checked for WebRTC leak and Hola VPN passed this test too without breaking a sweat. Even after multiple tests, Hola VPN showed no WebRTC leaks.
Last but not least, I also checked if there were any viruses in its Windows client so I ran a virus test. There were no viruses found in their files.
Servers – Is Hola VPN good for P2P torrenting?
As for torrenting, Hola VPN is a decent choice. Although, the free version of Hola VPN doesn’t have its own servers. It uses the devices of its users to form a peer-to-peer network to securely route data. This can be a bit risky from a privacy standpoint. However, Hola encrypts everything so this shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re skeptical, you can always opt for the Plus version of Hulu VPN which actually offers real servers that are a lot better compared to some other VPNs.
Does Hola VPN work in China?
Surprisingly, Hola VPN does work in China. In fact, I tried streaming a video on Youku, which is a Chinese website and it worked. Even the free version allows you to connect to a Chinese location. This is something not a lot of paid VPNs even offer.
Speed – Is Hola VPN fast?
As for speeds, Hola VPN is just about okay. To test what Hola VPN can output, I performed the speed test using my base 20 Mbps Internet connection. Here’s a screenshot of my actual speeds without Hola VPN connected:
With the US location, I managed to decent speeds considering its whole infrastructure is P2P based. On average, the US location managed to output at 9.64 Mbps download speeds.
With the UK location, I got slightly better speeds. Again, the results were neither too impressive nor too bad. At max, the UK location pushed out 14.41 Mbps download speeds.
to check out more VPNs that work best in the UK check our blog on the best free VPN for UK.
With the Canadian server, I didn’t get any impressive speeds. With my 20 Mbps connection, I only managed to get around 3.46 Mbps max.
Overall, Hola VPN is good enough for above-average speeds. But, if you’re like me and want faster speeds, then you might be better off with Surfshark VPN.
Streaming – Does Hola VPN work with Netflix?
As for streaming, despite all odds, Hola VPN works with Netflix US. I tried streaming “Where the money is” and it actually worked. Everything streamed in good quality and I encountered no lags whatsoever.
Other Streaming Service that works with Hola VPN
Aside from Netflix, Hola VPN also worked with BBC iPlayer. I simply connected to a UK location, created an account on BBC iPlayer, and streamed “The Split” with no issues at all. Again, pretty impressive for a free VPN service that runs on a peer-to-peer network.
Compatibility – Which devices can I use Hola VPN with?
The service has custom apps for all the popular platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, iOS, Android, routers, game consoles, and Smart TVs. It also has browser extensions for almost all popular browsers. You can easily download Hola VPN Chrome, Hola VPN Firefox, Opera, and Microsoft Edge.
However, with the free version, you won’t be able to use Hola VPN on Xbox, Playstation, Consoles, routers, Apple TV, or Smart TVs. Both mobile and web apps are intuitive and easy to use. I also like the fact that the free version of Hola VPN takes just under one minute to download and requires no configuration.
Hola VPN Windows App
Hola VPN macOS App
The macOS app is also similarly designed. It has the same browser-like look and feels and works just as fast. It too has an option to pick locations and that’s about it.
Hola VPN Android App
As for the Android app of Hola VPN, it boasts a simple design and looks more like a proper app than a browser. It is very easy to use and pretty fast too in my opinion. As for app rating, the Android app of Hola VPN has around 4.5 stars on Google Play Store.
Hola VPN iOS App
The iOS app also boasts a simple design. It has the same look and feels like the Android app and works just as well. As for ratings, the iOS app of Hola VPN has a 1.8-star rating on the Apple App Store.
Pricing – How much is Hola VPN?
Although Hola is a free VPN unblocker, it also offers a premium version with four (4) different pricing plans. I have listed them below:
All Hola VPN plus plans support 10 simultaneous connections. In addition, all paid plans come with an unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee. As for payment modes, Hola VPN currently only excepts the following:
If you don’t find these prices to be affordable, which I do by the way, perhaps you might be interested in our VPN deals.
Trustworthiness – Is Hola VPN trustworthy?
Well, as I mentioned earlier, due to the fact that Hola VPN keeps logs and is also based in Israel, Hola VPN cannot be fully trusted with your privacy. On the contrary, however, people seem to love Hola VPN on Trustpilot. In fact, it has 87% excellent reviews and only 12% bad reviews. Overall, Hola VPN only has a 4.6/5.0 star rating.
The customer support system of the Hola VPN is quite weak. There is no live chat option on the website and you can only contact them through email.
That said, despite not having live chat support, Hola VPN has a very comprehensive FAQ section on its website. You can find guides and manuals to configure Hola VPN on any device that it support which is better than having nothing at all.
Comparison between Hola VPN and ExpressVPN
So by now, it’s clear in this review that Hola VPN is not for everyone. Due to the fact that it keeps logs, it’s hard to use this service for sensitive tasks like online banking or totally anonymous browsing. If you don’t wish to use Hola VPN, then perhaps you might like to see this quick comparison between ExpressVPN and Hola VPN.
|Price||$6.67/mo (Save 49% and get 3 extra months FREE with 12-month plan)||$1.49/mo|
|Servers||3000+ in 94 Countries||N/A|
|Compatibility||All Devices||Windows, macOS, Linux,|
Android & iOS
|Jurisdiction||The British Virgin Islands||Israel|
|Logging Policy||Zero Logs||Keeps Logs|
|Customer Support||Live Chat & Email Support||FAQs, Contact Us,|
Social Media & Email
|Trust Pilot Score||4.6||4.6|
Alternatives to Hola VPN
Although Hola VPN claims to be trusted by over 200 million users worldwide, It’s up to you to trust it with your privacy. If you don’t want to use Hola VPN, you can check out some of the alternatives listed below:
- NordVPN Review
- Surfshark Review
- TunnelBear Review
- ExpressVPN Review
- CyberGhost Review
- Proton VPN Review
- Avast VPN Review
- Opera VPN review
Do I Recommend Hola VPN?
Well yes, I do recommend Hola VPN. If you opt for the free version, it surprisingly works better than you might think. Not only did I manage to unblock Netflix US, but also BBC iPlayer and even Youku. It is also decently fast as well, which is something you don’t expect from a free VPN service.
Now, sure they keep logs, but they clearly mention it instead of misleading their userbase. I also like the fact that Hola VPN is ad-free. Overall, if Hola VPN only offered support for torrenting and encryption in the Hola VPN free version, I guess there is no better free VPN out there than Hola VPN.
As for the paid version, I would suggest getting alternatives like ExpressVPN or Surfshark, which offers actual servers, no logs, and overall better security and privacy features. All in all, after concluding this Hola VPN review, I’ve given it a 4.2-star rating. If you want to check out other alternatives, you can check out our other VPN reviews.