Hola VPN is a free Virtual Private Network that bills itself as the market’s first community-powered peer-to-peer VPN service. It promises to deliver ad-free access to restricted content while keeping your identity and internet activities private.
To validate this claim and evaluate what Hola VPN has to offer, we put it through a battery of tests and report our results below. We began by investigating the VPN’s privacy policies and how it manages your data and online activity. We have evaluated its unblocking capabilities and DNS leak testing to ensure its safety.
Overview: Our Key Findings
Hola VPN was founded in 2012 and immediately gained popularity in the VPN industry. From a low of 80 downloads per day in the beginning, the number quickly grew to 40,000 downloads per day by January 2013. According to the official website, Hola VPN is presently used by over 242 million people worldwide.
Hola VPN provides both free and premium VPN services; however, we will concentrate on the free Hola VPN Chrome addon. Cybersecurity experts have been sceptical of VPNs for a variety of reasons. Here is a summary of our findings:
- Hola VPN is a completely free service with no advertisements.
- Community-Powered VPN: A P2P VPN service that shares your IP address and bandwidth with other users. While the corporation takes pleasure in this concept, we’re not certain it’s a good thing.
- Torrents are not supported: Hola VPN does not permit the usage of torrent software and blocks all torrent activity on its network.
- Poor Security: The VPN lacks a kill button, IP leak prevention, and basic encryption. It also collects logs and has no additional security protections.
- The VPN Chrome Extension Is Ineffective: Google removed the Hola VPN Chrome plugin from the Web Store in September 2021, citing malware concerns.
Does the Hola VPN Chrome Extension Still Work?
One of the Chrome extensions we advise against installing is Hola VPN. On September 14, 2021, Google disabled the Hola Chrome plugin due to reports of malware. This implies that the extension has been deleted from Chrome, and new users will no longer be able to download it.
Users who have previously installed the extension on their Chrome browser will likewise be unable to utilize it. It is still listed under the “Manage Extensions” menu, but users cannot access it. Hola denies Chrome’s claims and wants to address the situation shortly.
We couldn’t discover the extension on the Firefox add-ons market, despite what Hola states on its website. It was most likely removed at the same moment Google removed the extension from the Chrome Web Store. Although the Hola VPN addon is still supported by the Microsoft Edge and Opera browsers, privacy issues make it very unwanted.
Why Should You Avoid Hola VPN?
The removal of the plugin by Google Chrome isn’t the only cause for worry. Hola VPN employs a peer-to-peer (P2P) technology that enables users to share their IP addresses and bandwidth with one another. This not only slows down your connection but also exposes your IP address to other people who may use it for unlawful online activity.
Because Hola VPN lacks a kill switch and DNS leak prevention, anybody with a basic understanding of technology may intercept your online chats. Hola has also been accused of putting its users in danger on multiple occasions. In 2018, MyEtherWallet, a popular service for creating cryptocurrency wallets, stated that customers who accessed the site over Hola VPN were vulnerable to a cybersecurity breach.
There are a number of additional issues with Hola VPN, and many experts advise against using it.
Security: Lacks Key Features for Protection
To circumvent geo-blocks, users’ web traffic is routed via other nodes (devices) while using Hola VPN. This implies that other users may use your IP address and engage in any online activity they like.
Because the Hola VPN addon lacks a kill switch, your IP address will be revealed if you abruptly lose the VPN connection. It lacks encryption and provides untrustworthy IP leak prevention. I tried it for IP leaks multiple times and got inconsistent results.
Hola VPN is headquartered in Israel, which is not a member of the Five, Nine, or 14-Eyes Alliance. However, the VPN itself gives little thought to the privacy of its customers. It explicitly confesses to gathering data on consumers who use its free VPN version. There are many reasons why we recommend that you avoid VPNs that track your actions. Hola VPN is one of the most intrusive privacy rules I’ve seen, logging info such as:
- Your true IP address, name, and email address are all required.
- Payment and billing details
- The websites you visit.
- The access time and date.
- Your device’s installed apps.
- If you register with a social network, your profile image, birthday, and friend list will be shown.
To keep the free service running, Hola VPN is likely to share this information with other parties for a price. This is one of the key reasons we recommend that our readers avoid using this service.
Streaming and Torrenting: Unreliable
We couldn’t test if the Chrome VPN plugin could unblock streaming services since it was prohibited. After a few fruitless tries, we were able to access the US Netflix collection using the Opera add-on.
Hola VPN prevents torrenting and peer-to-peer activity on the network. Even if you were able to utilize torrent software, I highly advise against it owing to the terrifying logging policy.
Is the Hola VPN Extension Fast?
Unlike other free VPN services, Hola VPN does not suffer from slow performance. We tested our internet speeds on numerous servers and saw no major loss in performance when using the Hola VPN Edge plugin. We were able to browse standard websites and stream HD material without experiencing any delays. The whole test results are available below.
Internet Speed Before Connecting to Hola VPN
- Ping: 38 ms
- Download Speed: 38.16 Mbps
- Upload Speed: 38.08 Mbps
Internet Speed After Connecting to Hola VPN
- Ping: 38 ms
- Download Speed: 38.34 Mbps
- Upload Speed: 28.28 Mbps
As you can see, the Hola VPN plugin does not seem to have a substantial impact on internet speeds.
Customer Support: Almost Non-Existent
On its website, Hola VPN has a FAQ section as well as basic customer assistance. The FAQ section contains solutions to a variety of issues; however, most of them are more like disclaimers than true assistance.
As might be anticipated with a free service, there is no live chat assistance. You must use the email address given on the website to contact the service. However, be prepared for lengthy delays before they respond.
Avoid Using Hola VPN
Hola VPN is quite fast and effective at circumventing website bans. It’s free and doesn’t have commercials, which sounds appealing, but be cautious!
It employs a peer-to-peer mechanism that shares your bandwidth with other users. The service also has one of the most invasive logging practices and keeps a variety of customer data. It has minimal security protections and provides unsteady Netflix access. Check out our free Hola VPN alternatives for Chrome if you want more protection and peace of mind.
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