PSA Hola is not safe and should not be trusted, use an alternative proxy or VPN

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.

Hola VPN Premium Review 2023 — Read This Before Buying

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

  • Unblocks popular streaming sites. Hola VPN’s paid version unblocked all the platforms I tested, but I encountered other issues. Find out why streaming was still difficult.
  • Below average speeds. Both Hola VPN’s short and long-distance servers produced poor speeds. See just how slow it is.
  • Basic security features. The paid version comes with military-grade encryption, but its protocols are outdated and there’s no kill switch.
  • Collects user data. Hola VPN’s privacy policy openly admits to collecting a lot of user data. Find out why this is dangerous.
  • Suspicious server network. Hola VPN Premium uses the same P2P network as the free version. See how it works here.
  • Multiple device support. Hola VPN Premium has an easy-to-use app for most operating systems and browsers. Here’s a guide to installing it.
  • Average customer support. Hola VPN offers email support and a decent FAQ section, but I was disappointed that one key feature is missing.
  • Varied pricing plans. You can choose between Basic (free), Premium, and Ultra versions of Hola VPN. Find which plan has the features you need.

Hola VPN Features — 2023 Update


&#x1F4B8 Price 2.99 USD/month
&#x1F4C6 Money Back Guarantee 30 Days
&#x1F4DD Does VPN keep logs? No
&#x1F5A5 Number of servers 1000+
&#x1F4BB Number of devices per license 10
&#x1F6E1 Kill switch No
&#x1F5FA Based in country Israel
&#x1F6E0 Support FAQ knowledge base
&#x1F4E5 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

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

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

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 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

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 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.

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

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

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

Does Hola VPN Work in China? No

Hola VPN is unable to circumvent the Great Firewall of China due to the absence of vital features such as DPI filtering and Stealth mode (or obfuscation). These functions disguise your VPN connection as a standard one, which would otherwise leave you vulnerable to VPN blocks.

Graphic showing that Hola VPN doesn

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.

For smart TVs and gaming consoles, there’s an option to configure Hola VPN using a Smart DNS service called Ultra DNS Proxy. However, this method is not recommended because it lacks robust security features, including 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.

Configuring the VPN on my domestic router turned out to require a bit more time. Following the guidelines available on Hola VPN’s website, I managed to get it up and running in roughly 20 minutes.

Installation & Apps


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

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.

[PSA] Hola is not safe and should not be trusted, use an alternative proxy or VPN

It came to my attention recently that a lot of people are using Hola to watch Community from countries where it isn’t available. While Hola is functional, it makes your network an exit node for others to connect to.

u/SuperConductiveRabbi summarized this better than I’ll be able to a year and a half ago on r/privacy.

For the unfamiliar, Hola Unblocker is a popular Chrome extension and Windows application that allows you to easily proxy to foreign connections. This is especially useful for people who want to access content on Netflix that is available in the UK but not in the US, and vice-versa. It’s advertised as a one-click solution that you don’t have to think about, and you’ll often hear users say things like, “just install this, click this button, and you’ll be able to access more Netflix shows!”

On their site they say that by using Hola you can:

The application is closed-source and they’re very vague on their site, but what I’ve surmised is that when you install the Windows or Android application you add your connection as a node in the network, and there’s a matchmaking service where you broadcast your availability both as a client and as an endpoint. This means you can proxy your connection to other users on the Hola Unblocker network, and they can proxy through you. There’s also some kind of P2P CDN layer that caches content, which they claim speeds up your connection. Although the users operate the endpoints, the makers of Hola Unblocker occasionally serve you ads over the connection, collecting the revenue.

The core issue I want to bring up is that the full application (and maybe the extension) operates as an exit node on the public Internet: something most people are very reluctant to do when it comes to other proxy services, such as Tor. By making your connection available to anyone online you’re incurring risk, and Hola Unblocker doesn’t tell you about this. It’s entirely feasible that someone will use your connection not for Netflix, but for content that’s illegal in your country.

Hola Unblocker doesn’t make any distinction between acting as a client and a server. Like I said, they’re extremely vague on their site. Their download page also preferentially serves you the full application and makes absolutely no mention of the implications of what you’re running (nor does their FAQ):

TL;DR: Running the Hola Unblocker application turns your connection into a public exit node on a P2P network. It allows people can to use your Internet connection and potentially access illegal material.

Bottom line is Hola is not a good idea. Despite being functional, it opens your network up to a whole world of legal and data cap related trouble. But there are alternatives!

First off, understand that Hola is a P2P VPN. It sends your internet requests to another computer somewhere and accesses the websites’ data through that computer and spits it back out to you. A traditional VPN is similar in that it establishes a connection between you and a server, has the server access the content, and send it back to you, but a normal VPN creates a much more secure link between you and the server. Where Hola works in-browser, a VPN will work in-browser, in-torrent-client (shoutout to deluge ), and anything else you’re running on your computer that uses the internet. Read more about proxies and VPNs here or here .

VPNBook is a free VPN with servers in Romania, Germany, the US, and Canada. It’s not the fastest out there and it keeps some logs about when you connect to it, but it should be fully functional for watching Community. To use it, assuming you’re on Windows, open your Network and Sharing Center, click Set up a new connection or network > Connect to a workplace > Use my Internet connection (VPN) > under Internet address, enter the server from VPNBook that you want (currently the US servers are and > on Windows 7 you’ll immediately see the prompt for a Username and Password, on 8 you’ll have to click your network icon in the task bar and connect to the new VPN for it to prompt you for a Username and Password. On VPNbook’s website, click on PTPP to see the username and password. The password changes periodically, but the username will always be vpnbook. Currently the password is bachu7Es. Then finish creating the connection and viola; access the internet from the US for free without letting weirdos from all over the world download illegal content through your network.

For free, there is also JustFreeVPN or . Though I have little experience with them, I have no doubt that they’re safer than Hola.

PrivateInternetAccess is a paid VPN that’s extremely good. If you want a VPN for torrenting and high speed web browsing, I highly recommend PIA. It’s only $7/month or $40/year, and you can pay in gift cards. It’s what I use, and it’s quite reliable. They make installation easy, after you buy it you just download a client, log in, and connect to one of their dozens of servers. It’s faster and more secure than VPNBook, so Community would buffer less/more quickly with PIA, and torrents will be a lot faster.

There are hundreds of other VPNs, but those are IMO the best for free and paid services that you can trust.

Additional sources: Hola is bad 1 , 2 , exit nodes can get you arrested