Our videos have over 5 million views on Youtube! Visit our channel now »
Disclosure:
Professional Reviews

vpnMentor contains reviews that are written by our community reviewers, and are based on the reviewers' independent and professional examination of the products/services.

• Ownership

vpnMentor is owned by Kape Technologies PLC, which owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, ZenMate, Private Internet Access, and Intego, which may be reviewed on this website.

• Affiliate Commissions

vpnMentor contains reviews that were written by our experts and follow the strict reviewing standards, including ethical standards, that we have adopted. Such standards require that each review will be based on an independent, honest and professional examination of the reviewer. That being said, we may earn a commission when a user completes an action using our links, which will however not affect the review but might affect the rankings. The latter are determined on the basis of customer satisfaction of previous sales and compensation received.

• Reviews Guidelines

The reviews published on vpnMentor are written by experts that examine the products according to our strict reviewing standards. Such standards ensure that each review is based on the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, and takes into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings we publish may take into consideration the affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website.

Hola VPN Review & Test (2022) - Free, but not worth the risks!

Author Image Ren Sayer'
Ren Sayer | Updated on 4th August 2022 Senior Writer
Warning! Hola VPN’s “Free Unlimited VPN” is NOT a real VPN. Hola’s peer-to-peer model may be popular, but you put yourself at risk if you use it because all your personal data is exposed and your IP address can be used by other people. Since we don’t consider Hola’s free service an actual VPN, we’ve reviewed Hola’s paid Premium VPN service. However, we always recommend a reputable, trustworthy VPN like ExpressVPN instead because it puts your online safety and privacy first — whereas we don’t believe Hola VPN does.

Hola VPN has a free version that’s known for being unsafe to use. It’s a community-based P2P network instead of a secure server network, which means you share your IP with other users. It also lacks encryption and collects plenty of user data. I wondered if the same could be said for Hola VPN Premium, the paid service.

After much testing, it’s safe to say that Hola VPN Premium isn’t much better. Paying for the VPN gets you slightly better encryption and unblocking abilities. However, its privacy policy raises alarm bells and it’s pretty expensive (a yearly subscription costs more than some of the best VPNs around, like ExpressVPN). Read on to find out why I think Hola VPN Premium is just as dangerous as its free version.

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

Hola VPN Features — Updated in August 2022

5.5
💸 Price 2.99 USD/month
📆 Money Back Guarantee 30 Days
📝 Does VPN keep logs? No
🖥 Number of servers 1000+
💻 Number of devices per license 10
🛡 Kill switch No
🗺 Based in country Israel
🛠 Support FAQ knowledge base
📥 Supports torrenting Yes

Streaming — Can Unblock Sites (But Only in Low Quality)

Hola VPN Premium unblocked all the platforms I tested — but was too slow to watch in UHD.

I tested several servers worldwide, and could only watch in HD. Moreover, that’s only because I have fast internet to begin with. If my base connection was 20 Mbps or slower, I wouldn’t have been able to stream at all. So, while Hola did unblock every streaming platform I tested, I can’t call it reliable.

Unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer

I began my streaming tests with Netflix’s US library, as it’s the most popular. Hola’s US server gave me instant access to watch exclusive shows like Gimme Shelter without any issues. I tested Netflix servers in the UK, France, Australia, Japan, and Canada, and managed to access their libraries easily too.

Graphic showing Hola VPN with Netflix

That being said, I did experience buffering

Next, I tested a couple of US servers with Hulu which worked fine. It took about 20 seconds to connect, but I soon logged in and watched Love Island.

Screenshot of Hulu player streaming Love Island with Hola VPN

I just had to wait a while for the server to connect

HBO Max worked too — I watched Raised by Wolves, but the load times were a little slow.

Graphic showing Hola VPN with HBO Max

There was a bit of buffering at the start, but the quality got better after a couple of seconds

Then I tested Amazon Prime Video on servers in the US, UK, and Australia. The platform took around 15 seconds to load, but I managed to watch shows without disconnects.

Graphic showing Hola VPN with AVP

Hola VPN did get around Amazon Prime Video’s geoblocks, but the stream froze a couple of times

I also unblocked Disney+ and began watching The Mandalorian in less than 20 seconds. Unfortunately, the quality was very inconsistent with a lot of lag.

Screenshot of Disney+ player streaming The Mandalorian with HolaVPN

Unfortunately, I experienced lag here too

The last site I tested was BBC iPlayer, which can only be accessed in the UK. Hola VPN let me watch Killing Eve. Once again, it took some time to load.

Graphic showing Hola VPN with BBC iPlayer

Though I had to wait for the show to load

While Hola VPN did unblock all the platforms I tested, I wasn't pleased with the quality. Take a look at these streaming VPNs that will offer superfast speeds and great unblocking capabilities.

Speeds — Big Drops in Speed on All Servers

Unsurprisingly, Hola VPN Premium performed poorly during my speed tests.

Here are the 3 factors I looked at:

  • Download speed — How quickly you can receive data, measured in megabits per second (Mbps). This determines how fast you can load videos and websites.
  • Upload speed — How fast you can send data, e.g. uploading videos, sending emails, and sharing files. Also measured in Mbps.
  • Ping — An indicator of latency that measures the time it takes for your data to travel from your device to the VPN’s server and back. It’s measured in ms and very important for gaming.

I started by recording my base speed in Auckland, New Zealand (I had a download speed of 289.37 Mbps). Then I tested the servers that were closest to me.

My speeds on nearby servers (Auckland, Sydney, and Tokyo) dropped by around 50% or more. This is unacceptable for a VPN — a drop of maximum 20% is acceptable for short-distance connections, so 50% is terrible.

The long-distance servers slowed my connection by more than 75%. Slower speeds on faraway servers are expected since your data has to travel a further distance, but a drop this big is too much. My base connection was fast enough to take the hit, but if you have slow internet connections you probably wouldn’t be able to stream, game, or torrent.

A screenshot of my speed test results on Hola VPN's short- and long-distance servers

The drop was significant on both short-distance and long-distance servers

Overall, I can't recommend Hola Premium VPN for its speeds. While I expect to see a slight drop when connected to faraway servers, I experienced dramatic decreases with it. There are plenty of other VPNs that will give you faster and more reliable speeds.

Are Hola VPN’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Depends

Short-distance servers were fast enough for gaming, but the long-distance servers struggled.

Your ping rate is the most important factor for gaming since it measures how responsive your connection is to commands. An acceptable ping rate for gaming is anything below 100 ms. When I tested Hola VPN, the ping on faraway servers is just too high for lag-free play.

I tested the VPN by playing Call of Duty on its New Zealand and Australia servers, which gave me an average ping rate of 38 ms. This was around a 46% increase from my non-VPN ping rate, but it didn’t affect my gameplay. On the US and UK servers, ping averaged 274 ms, which was way too high. After a few minutes, I had to exit the game because it was taking forever to load.

Graphic showing Hola VPN with Call of Duty

But this could be because my base speed was already so high

Keep in mind that a minimum download speed of 50 Mbps is recommended for online gaming. Considering its poor speed results, you’d need a base connection of at least 40 Mbps to be able to game on Hola Premium’s local servers. Take a look at these gaming VPNs that will give you fast speeds and low ping rates so you can play your favorite multiplayer games without lag.

Server Network — Shady, With No Exact Locations Disclosed

Hola VPN uses a community-powered peer-to-peer network. Every time you connect, you’re using someone else’s IP while a stranger uses yours (if you use the free plan).

That means Hola’s free version isn’t hiding your IP at all, but each user shares their IP and bandwidth with the others. Someone could be using your IP to do something illegal and that activity will be associated with you. This is extremely unsafe — it’s also not how a VPN works. It looks more like a cheap alternative that will only benefit the company, not its users.

Hola’s website says that you can opt for the Premium version if you don’t want to share your device’s resources with someone else. However, you’ll still use Hola’s P2P network, even if you subscribe. The only difference is that you don’t contribute to it.

Screenshot of Hola Premium VPN's privacy policy

Hola doesn’t disclose it’s locations because you’re randomly assigned an IP address from the P2P network

There are 190 countries available, but the cities aren’t disclosed either on the website or its apps. That’s because it doesn’t have a dedicated server network for paid users.

Graphic showing Hola VPN server list

However, Hola VPN doesn’t let you choose a specific city

If you click on a country, you connect to any random server from that nation. There’s no Quick Connect feature to automatically choose the best server available. Plus, connecting to a server took me around 10–15 seconds each time, which is pretty slow.

Security — Basic Security Features

Hola VPN’s paid version has some basic security features, but uses outdated protocols. This is a little disappointing, especially considering its price tag. For even less money, other VPNs (like CyberGhost) offer top-of-the-line protocols that give you much better online safety.

Encryption and Protocols

Hola Premium VPN uses military-grade encryption standards (AES 128, 192, and 256-bit) and basic protocols like IKEv2/IPSec and PPTP/L2TP. I was a little surprised to also find DES3 encryption listed on the website. This type of encryption is obsolete and easy to hack.

The IKEv2/IPSec protocol provides a good balance of security and speeds, even though it’s slightly outdated. Both PPTP and L2TP are even more outdated and shouldn’t be used. Since they aren’t as secure as more advanced protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard, I can’t recommend Hola VPN Premium for security.

You can change encryption standards on the Windows app but not on macOS, which was slightly disappointing. It’s common for a VPN to let you customize your security features, regardless of your operating system.

Virus Test

Before installing the Windows app, I wanted to check whether it has any viruses. I conducted this test on VirusTotal.com and it was all clear — there was no malware, which means downloading Hola won’t harm your device.

A screenshot of a VirusTotal test showing that Hola VPN's Windows installer doesn't contain malware

The VirusTotal test confirmed that the Windows app was safe to use

IP and DNS Leak Tests

When I tested Hola VPN’s US servers, no DNS/IP leaks were detected. This means its security features prevented the accidental exposure of my data.

Graphic showing Hola VPN DNS/IP leak test

I connected to 5 servers for the IPLeak.net tests and they all passed

Also, Hola VPN’s macOS and iOS apps don’t have a kill switch, which cuts off your internet connection if your VPN disconnects suddenly. This is a standard security feature that most VPNs have, so the lack of it on the macOS app was disappointing.

I can't recommend Hola Premium VPN at all, so I suggest you try one of these VPNs with impressive security features instead.

Privacy — Intrusive Logging Policy

Hola VPN openly admits to collecting user data and recording logs — even on its paid version. This, combined with its shady practices with its free app, should be enough reason to avoid Hola VPN altogether. Its privacy policy clearly states that it collects certain types of personal information, including IP addresses, billing information, and email addresses.

If you register through a social service like Gmail or Facebook, then the VPN has access to all your data on that account, such as your full name, birth date, friends list, etc. It also collects details of the apps that are installed on your device (and doesn’t specify what those details are).

Worse, Hola claims to hold onto your data for as long as it deems necessary. It’s odd and extremely intrusive for a VPN to collect and store data from all the apps that are installed on your device. Those apps have nothing to do with Hola VPN, so this is a big red flag.

A screenshot of Hola VPN's privacy policy detailing the information that it collects from its users

I don’t think it’s necessary for a VPN service to collect all of this user data

The VPN is also based in Israel, which isn’t a member of the 14 Eyes Alliance, but collaborates with it. This Alliance is a select group of countries that openly collect and share data about their residents. Since Hola VPN is located in a partnered jurisdiction of the Alliance, any data it collects on you could be handed over and shared to any one of these governments.

Therefore, it’s clear that Hola VPN is a terrible VPN for privacy because it collects information about you and is based in an unsafe jurisdiction. If you intend to use a VPN to protect yourself online, there are plenty of other VPN options that take your privacy way more seriously.

Torrenting — Not Supported

Hola VPN does not support torrenting and blocks torrenting traffic on its network, including the BitTorrent protocol. This means you can’t use torrent clients like uTorrent or P2P software like Popcorn Time. I wouldn’t torrent with such an unsafe VPN anyway.

Graphic showing Hola VPN's torrenting policy

It wouldn’t be safe, even if it was supported

Does Hola VPN Work in China? No

Hola VPN can’t bypass the Great Firewall of China, it lacks crucial features like DPI filtering and Stealth mode (or obfuscation). These make your VPN connection look like a regular one, so you can be caught out by VPN blocks.

There are plenty of better VPNs that work in China, so, I recommend you check them out instead.

Graphic showing that Hola VPN doesn't;t work in China

You’ll need another VPN for the Great Firewall

Simultaneous Device Connections — Up to 10

Hola VPN Premium allows up to 10 simultaneous connections. I connected 2 laptops and an iPhone at the same time and started streaming videos. There weren’t any noticeable differences in speeds when I was connected to 1 device in comparison to being connected to 3. If you want to use the VPN on multiple devices, it won’t affect performance.

Device Compatibility — Plenty of Options

Hola VPN has native apps for most operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Fire TV, and LG TV — and browser extensions for Edge and Opera. You can also use Hola VPN on devices that don’t support native VPN apps, like PlayStation, Xbox, Apple TV, and other smart TVs if you install it on a router.

Google has removed the Chrome extension and Android app, claiming they contain malware. As expected, Hola denies this in its FAQ section. Nevertheless, considering the security risks involved with the service, I’d call this another red flag.

While the Windows and macOS apps look similar, they differ in their security settings. The macOS version only has one setting called “Extra Logs”, which lets developers collect data to help improve performance. It’s turned off by default, and I don’t recommend turning it on because it means more data is collected.

In contrast, the Windows version has an auto-connect feature, a kill switch, and advanced security settings. The auto-connect feature automatically connects you to a server in a location of your choice upon startup, while the kill switch cuts off your internet connection if your VPN suddenly disconnects. Under the advanced security settings, you can fine-tune your encryption standards.

The iOS app looks slightly different than the desktop apps as there aren’t any icons in the right-hand corner. Instead, you can switch between the home screen and the account tab down at the bottom. There aren’t any settings either, as the account tab only provides account details and links to Hola VPN’s privacy policy. The iOS app also shows the time you’ve spent connected to the VPN, while the desktop apps don’t.

The browser extensions work the same way as the desktop apps, except they let you choose the website you want to unblock. In the settings tab, you can opt out of pop ups in your browser, and you can do the same for data logging. Additionally, you can only use the extension if you download the desktop app.

You can install Hola on your router to use it with devices that don’t support VPNs (like Apple TV and gaming consoles). This method provides an unlimited number of simultaneous device connections and protects every device connected to it.

Another option for smart TVs and gaming consoles is to install Hola VPN as a Smart DNS service called Ultra DNS Proxy. However, I don’t recommend this option since it lacks security features like military-grade encryption.

Setup & Installation — Takes Less Than a Minute

Downloading and installing Hola on my MacBook Pro took me a little under 1 minute. The browser extension took less than 30 seconds.

Installing the VPN on my home router was more time-consuming. I followed the guides on Hola VPN’s website and it took me about 20 minutes to get it up and running.

Installation & Apps

5.3

Hola VPN’s apps and browser extensions are intuitive and great for beginners. The layout of each app is very similar, as the main screen just contains an on/off switch and a drop-down box.

Graphic showing all of Hola VPN's apps

The apps are all similarly easy-to-use

After you choose the server location you want, you click on the switch to connect. On all apps, I found it easy to find a server but connecting was a bit slow (around 10–15 seconds).

All apps feature 3 simple icons that show you your account information, settings, and a Help button with links to Hola VPN’s website.

Hola VPN’s browser extensions are lightweight and intuitive too. You can easily connect to a server or find the settings, plus you can search for a specific site to unblock.

Pricing

1.3
3 Year
$ 2.99 / month per month
1 Year
$ 7.69 / month per month
1 Month
$ 14.99 / month per month

Hola VPN Premium has 3 plans to choose from: monthly, yearly, and 3-year. The most cost-effective option is the 3-year plan at $2.99/month, which saves you the most money in the long run. All of the plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

You can pay with credit card, Google Pay, PayPal, Giropay, Alipay, Sofort, and iDEAL. Unfortunately, online gift cards and cryptocurrency payments aren’t supported.

In addition to Hola VPN Premium, there is Hola VPN Basic and Hola VPN Ultra. The Basic version is the free one, which only lets you use it for 30 minutes every hour and only allows 1 simultaneous device connection. Ultra is like Premium, except you get 20 simultaneous device connections, faster speeds, 4K streaming quality, and city-specific servers.

However, since there are much better VPNs in the same price bracket, I wouldn’t recommend any of Hola VPN’s plans.

Reliability & Support

3.3

Hola VPN offers email support and an FAQ knowledge base. There’s no 24/7 live chat, so you can’t get immediate help.

I tested the email system by asking a few questions about its service. The reply came in just under 10 hours, and was satisfactory. The rep answered my query, but without much detail. Most of the time, they referred me to links on Hola VPN’s website.

Graphic showing Hola VPN customer support

I would have like a bit more detail in the response

The FAQ section contains plenty of information, like troubleshooting tips, setup instructions, and billing. I generally found it helpful and informative, although the overall presentation wasn’t the best. Also, most of the info there was about the free version while the Premium plan seemed a bit neglected.

Compare Hola VPN With The Top Alternative VPNs

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict — Untrustworthy and Terrible for Privacy

Whether you choose the free or the paid version, Hola VPN is an untrustworthy VPN that you should avoid. Even though it can reliably unblock streaming sites, its basic security features, intrusive privacy practices, and unreliable speeds make it one to steer clear of.

There are much better VPNs at the same price or less. For the sake of your security, I’d recommend using a trusted VPN with a secure server network, like ExpressVPN.

  • Unblocks a wide range of popular streaming sites
  • Military-grade encryption
  • 1,000 servers in 190 countries
  • Easy-to-use apps and browser extensions
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

FAQs on Hola VPN

Is Hola VPN safe?

No, Hola VPN isn’t safe to use. It collects a lot of personal data that it shouldn’t, making it a great risk to your privacy. What’s worse, the free version has a peer-to-peer network, which basically means sharing your IP address with everybody using the service. That’s very unsafe since a stranger could use your IP to do something illegal.

Can Hola VPN unblock Netflix?

Yes, the paid version of Hola VPN unblocks Netflix. However, the free version doesn’t. During my streaming tests, I connected to Hola VPN’s servers in the US, UK, France, Australia, and Canada, which easily unblocked the Netflix libraries from those countries.

Will Hola VPN slow my speeds down?

Yes. During my speed tests, Hola Premium slowed my connection by 50% or more. Even on short-distance servers, my speeds dropped by half, while on long-distance servers, the drop was more than 75%. While it’s normal for encryption and server distance to slow speeds a little, other VPNs don’t affect my speeds nearly as much. If your baseline internet speeds are slow, then the drop will negatively impact your online experience.

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Number of devices per license: 10
VPN Plans: hola.org

Hola VPN User Reviews (User reviews are not verified)

5.0
Based on 46 reviews in 10 languages

Write a Review on Hola VPN

Please rate VPN.

Anonymous
Anonymous
Jun 18, 2022
2/10
Bot Net

These guys got banned from the chrome store and play store because they are running a botnet from your desktop. I highly suggest you remove this and never use it. I got an avast message saying the same.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2/10
Don't bother- waste of time

40 minutes watching - 90 minutes screen time. constant pauses (every 30 sec, if not shorter). I used the free version as only needed to watch for just over an hour in one session. Very frustrating and time-wasting. Even with all apps turned off it has not improved.

Cesar Javier Barbosa
Cesar Javier Barbosa
6/10
HBO GO

ExpressVPN didn't work for HBO GO. Hola VPN seems to work somehow. My recommendation, use ExpressVPN for Netflix Youtube, and others. For HBO GO, use Hola VPN (preferably premium) since it has time limit and speed. I don't understand why ExpressVPN didn't work for HBO GO, but Hola VPN seems to work.

    Was this review helpful?
    Sorry about that!
    (Minimum 10 characters.)
    Top 3 Alternatives
    Vendor Logo of ExpressVPN
    Best for PC&Mac
    Save 49%!
    Visit ExpressVPN
    Vendor Logo of CyberGhost VPN
    Best for Mobile
    Save 83%!
    Visit CyberGhost VPN
    Vendor Logo of IPVanish VPN
    Best for Linux
    Save 78%!
    Visit IPVanish VPN