Hello is a small VPN promising to offer online anonymity and access to geoblocked content.
It’s promoted as a mobile service, which was an instant red flag for me. I really prefer to be able to use a VPN across all my devices, rather than having a separate service for my smartphone. That being said, Hello’s promise of “secure and private internet access” sounded encouraging, so I dove in.
I took the VPN for a test run to measure its capabilities when it comes to streaming, speeds, security, and privacy. I also looked into its compatibility, pricing, ease of use, and customer support service.
Disappointingly, what I found is an overpriced VPN that doesn’t really deliver on its promises — and that’s not ready to compete with the best VPNs just yet.
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
Hello VPN Features — 2024 Update
Does VPN keep logs?
Number of servers
Number of devices per license
Based in country
Streaming — Decent Unblocking Capabilities
HelloVPN unblocked a handful of streaming platforms during my tests, but Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu were out of reach.
While the VPN has streaming-optimized servers, they took a long time to connect — sometimes up to 40 seconds. However, its regular VPN servers did a good job. I could watch HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, SlingTV, and HBO Max.
Since the speeds were mostly fast, I could stream in HD without buffering or interruptions.
Unblocks: Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, SlingTV, and BBC iPlayer
HelloVPN unblocked Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, SlingTV, and BBC iPlayer during my tests.
While I did have to wait for the shows to load, I didn’t experience buffering while I was watching. This is a little inconvenient, as I’m used to having everything load instantly. However, the overall experience was pleasant.
I could watch Amazon Prime Video but my connection was slow
Blocked by: Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu
I couldn’t access Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu with HelloVPN.
Hulu allowed me to load the home page, but the moment I clicked on a show, the platform gave me an error, as it identified the VPN.
I couldn’t use Hello VPN to watch Hulu either
The Netflix-optimized server couldn’t bypass the platform’s geoblocks. On top of that, it took over 40 seconds for it to load.
Disney+ didn’t allow me to stream at all, as all I could see was a black page.
Overall, HelloVPN gets the job done, but not entirely. There are much better streaming VPNs out there that don’t have any problems unblocking hundreds of websites.
Speeds — Fast Enough for HD Streaming
HelloVPN provided me with decent speeds on most servers.
In order to determine its performance I measured:
- Download speed — the amount of data received in a given timeframe. It’s measured in Mbps and impacts the quality of your streams.
- Upload speed — the amount of data you can send in a specific timeframe, measured in Mbps.
- Ping — measures the time needed to get a response from the server. It’s measured in ms and it’s an important metric in gaming.
Before I began testing, I measured my base speed. I had 39.79 Mbps download, 59.43 Mbps upload, and a ping of 4 ms.
The first server I tested was in Arizona. It resulted in a download speed of 19.02 Mbps (52% decrease), 6.23 Mbps upload (89% decrease), and ping of 174 ms. While this drop is quite large, I could still stream in HD and browse without interruptions.
For my next test, I connected to its LA location. I had 15.10 Mbps download, 4.29 Mbps upload, and a ping of 169 ms.
HelloVPN provided me with fast speeds on most of its servers
On its London server, I had similar results. Usually, a VPN shouldn’t slow you down by more than 20%. Since HelloVPN slowed me down by more than 50%, I can’t recommend it for anything more than casual streaming and browsing.
If you need a reliable service for gaming, then I suggest you take a look at these VPNs.
Server Network — Small, but Well Distributed
Hello VPN has 50 servers around the globe. Locations are in the US, Canada, Turkey, Ukraine, France, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Estonia, Greece, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.
In the apps, servers are neatly grouped in different categories based on their primary purpose. Hello VPN offers 3 categories for streaming, gaming, and regular VPN servers. I found this very useful because it was easy to choose the server I needed.
You can easily choose any server and connect
The servers also support establishing UDP and TCP protocols, which is basically a choice between getting better speed or stronger security for your connection.
However, some of the servers I tested weren’t very reliable. The speeds would drop to under 1 Mbps and some servers didn’t work at all. So, I can’t guarantee that you’ll have the best experience.
Security and Privacy — Good Features
HelloVPN uses great security features, but I couldn’t find any information about its encryption level. This is an important bit of information left out by the VPN, and it determines how secure your connection is. While some types of encryption are impenetrable, others can leave you exposed to hackers.
For protocols, it offers IKEv2, OpenConnect, OpenVPN, and T-GFW. You can easily switch the protocol within the app and choose the one that’s suitable for your needs.
The OpenVPN protocol is the most popular and industry-standard for VPNs. It’s fast, secure, and usually the best choice. IKEv2 is a little faster than OpenVPN and a great choice for mobile devices, as it allows you to establish a fast and reliable connection. OpenConnect is an SSL-based protocol and had a few major security breaches in the past, so I wouldn’t recommend using this option.
The VPN’s HQ in privacy-friendly Estonia is another plus point. That places Hello VPN outside the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance, keeping you safe from this international data sharing agreement.
I didn’t identify any IP or DNS leaks during my tests either, meaning that my connection was secure and my IP address and DNS requests weren’t being accidentally leaked.
The VPN performed well in my leak tests
HelloVPN offers a kill switch, which shuts down your internet connection in case of a connection error. This is important, as you won’t be exposed if the VPN fails. It’s not turned on by default, so you’ll need to access the settings and activate it before you start browsing.
It has a no-logs policy, so you can be sure your identity and browsing history are hidden. HelloVPN doesn’t collect your IP address and DNS queries. However, it records a randomly generated user ID. This is assigned to your device once you install the app, and the data is used to see how many users access the same servers. By doing this, HelloVPN gets an idea of how popular the servers are, so it can increase their capacity. This reduces overcrowding and improves the overall performance.
The VPN promises to reset the servers on a daily basis, which assures that no data remains stored for more than 24 hours.
Overall, HelloVPN is secure and I can recommend it for basic needs. However, if you need more advanced security features, I recommend you take a look at these VPNs.
Torrenting — Allowed
HelloVPN allows torrenting on all its servers. Its representative told me that no ports are filtered or tracked, so you should be completely anonymous during P2P transfers.
Thanks to the VPN's kill switch feature, you can rest assured that your IP address won't be exposed to other peers on the network. In the event of a VPN failure, your internet connection will be automatically terminated, preserving your anonymity.
Keep in mind that downloading copyrighted content is illegal in certain parts of the world, and you can get in trouble for it. Make sure you check every file you access so you don’t accidentally share copyrighted material.
Does Hello VPN Work in China? — Yes
HelloVPN’s representative told me that the VPN works in China. However, you won’t be able to find it in the Chinese App Store, so you’ll need to install the app before you arrive.
Simultaneous Device Connections — Up to 3
You can only connect 3 devices to Hello VPN’s servers. This is a lot less than what more established VPNs offer, but it's somehow understandable since it's not compatible with a lot of devices.
Device Compatibility — Limited
Hello is available on Android, iOS, and macOS. There’s no support for Windows or Linux. Nor are there alternative options for installing the app on other operative systems and devices. Also, there’s no info where there’ll be any additional apps soon.
This is another disappointing offering from the VPN. Although it is promoted as a mobile VPN, there are other services that you can use to cover all of your devices at once. Take a look at our list of the best VPNs for Windows or the best VPNs for Linux if you’re looking to protect devices on those platforms.
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