In chase of free VPN products, you sometimes forget about actual functions of these technology:
privacy and security. Can a user, who is not indifferent towards online confidentiality and protection, trust VPNs that are somehow dishonest?
Several free VPN providers were mentioned in passing the data to third parties. As it was mentioned on the Internet, Hola VPN users, for example, were vulnerable to hacking. What is more, it was suspected of selling users’ bandwidth.
We decided to analyze free Hola VPN proxy, so have a look at…
What we found out about Hola free VPN:
- If it’s totally free or it has a free account.
- If you are private while you surf the net through Hola free VPN.
- What VPN protoсols are applied by Hola free VPN.
- In what way your traffic is concealed.
- If Hola free VPN works with multiple platforms.
- In what countries VPN servers of Hola are placed.
And on a final note…
We’ll define what advantages and disadvantages Hola has.
If you want to be the first who’ll get to know all the details about this VPN, keep on reading our review of Hola free VPN.
How is Hola free?
Being a peer-to-peer VPN, Hola free VPN proxy can be downloaded and applied for Windows and Mac without paying any money, consequently it is an unlimited free VPN.
What is a peer-to-peer VPN?
If you prefer such kind of VPN services, you will not only use the VPN network, but you’ll contribute as well. In what way?
Your traffic is routed through other Hola users which is different from the principle applied by common VPN proxies. Unlike passing the traffic via huge VPN servers, Hola does the same, but via real users.
They say on the website that this way of surfing the Internet via VPN is more anonymous rather than applying services of regular VPN providers.
But there is a serious question that has to be answered:
‘’ Can users of alternative peer-to-peer VPNs be compromised while being routed via real nodes?’’
What is privacy with Hola?
It may contain the following data:
- browser type;
- visited webpages;
- time spent on pages;
- dates and time of access;
- IP address;
- name and e-mail;
- information on billing and payments;
- screen name.
What protocols are applied by Hola?
As far as VPN protocols used by regular VPN providers, there is no information on Hola’s website on this point. It seems that such popular data transfer protocols as OpenVPN, for instance, aren’t applied.
As it has been mentioned, the traffic is routed through other users’ nodes, which is done for privacy and security matters of internet users (they promise it).
How does Hola encrypt your data?
We failed to find the information if free VPN Hola encrypts the information with the help of codifying methods, but having looked through their FAQ page, we found out that peer-to-peer VPN technology is aimed at privacy matters.
They provide with reasons why peer-to-peer VPNs are safer:
- On the one hand, it is thought that IP addresses of P2P VPNs are more difficult to be tracked.
- On the other hand, it is believed that nobody takes use of personal information of your gadget. It is necessary just as a router.
Still, it seems that the abovementioned facts are not susceptible of proof! It’s up to internet users if they are worth trusting or not.
There is one serious safety concern with this model of traffic routing. If one becomes a Hola peer, not only does it mean that they can use IP addresses of other peers, but also that their IP address can be used by other peers (unless they buy a subscription).
And this is a problem. It’s not hard to imagine a situation when somebody uses another peer’s IP to participate in some illicit activity. The most common example of this would be torrenting.
While in some countries copyright laws are rather lenient, in others, they can be truly draconian. Such a state of affairs leads to the emergence of the so-called “copyright troll” groups that monitor IPs from which torrents are downloaded and, more importantly, shared. Later, such groups threaten the users they discover this way with lawsuits on behalf of the rightsholder.
Usually, they do not plan on actually suing those who violate the copyright, counting on a smaller (but more reliable) settling payment instead. Still, it’s not a situation anyone would want to find themselves in.
So, what happens if some other Hola VPN user downloads and shares copyrighted material through your IP address and gets noticed by copyright trolls? The most obvious answer is that you get in trouble instead of the real perpetrator.
It should probably be possible to prove your innocence in such an occasion by referring law enforcement to Hola VPN’s representatives and letting them figure everything out. But “probably” isn’t a word you want to hear when large fines are concerned.
Keep in mind that there are also more serious criminals than those who simply don’t want to pay for electronic media. While it’s not extremely likely that one of them is going to use your IP via Hola VPN, such a chance still exists.
Another problem with Hola is that its reputation is not exactly untarnished. In 2015, it came to public attention that bandwidth of Hola VPN’s free users had been sold to third parties. One of the purposes of it was to create a botnet later used for DDoS attacks. Not only is such activity illegal, but it also puts a lot of strain on one’s CPU.
Arguably even worse, that deal was done without informing the affected users. Together with some other shady practices employed by Hola, it makes this service look not super trustworthy.
The fact of encrypting is once mentioned in their FAQ section, but again it is rather unclear how it works for any separate user.
What platforms does Hola work with?
Hola free VPN proxy can be used as extensions for such browsers as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera. As far as operating systems are concerned, Hola is unlimited free VPN for Windows and Mac.
If you are looking for a free VPN service for smartphones and iphones, you’ll have to subscribe for a paid plan of Hola.
In what countries are there Hola have VPN servers?
As there are no VPN servers of Hola free VPN, and real users’ nodes are applied for making the network private, one can choose almost any country of the world. In case there is Hola contributor from that region, you will be routed through this country’s IP address.
However, it’s worth noting that, despite its impressive list of locations, this service doesn’t seem to actually have users in some of the countries listed. According to this Hola VPN review, some of the locations (such as China) turned out to be fake.
In fact, it seems that most if not all countries that are not often seen as server locations among other VPNs are not real. It’s hard to tell why it is done but it probably has something to do with advertising. The more countries there are on the list, the better, right?
It’s a shame that this advertising has proven to be false.
In one of the comments a user asked us to mention about installation procedures. Well, as for Hola VPN extension, that’s dead easy!
- Go to their site and find ‘’Start’’ button or VPN/Hola VPN in the upper part of the homepage.
- Then it is required to undertake three steps (Don’t forget to read the reference explaining what peer-to-peer VPN is).
- Then press ‘’Install’’ and download Hola extension on your computer.
- After it is downloaded, follow the instructions for installing it on the computer.
It’s really very easy to set up. But the results are the following. Have a look at them:
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hola free VPN
+ You may not pay money for Hola VPN extension for Windows and Mac OS.
+ You won’t have troubles with installation.
– The provider collects a lot of personal information about users.
– It doesn’t encrypt the information your transfer.
– Efficient data transfer protocols are not applied (it’s peer-to-peer VPN).
– You won’t be able to torrent via Hola VPN.
– It was mentioned in a notorious story about selling users’ data.
Generally, it seems Hola is not that free VPN which is worth trusting. On the contrary, one would rather avoid it as it keeps too many logs containing personal information; encryption is not applied by the provider. Finally, taking into account its reputation, it is not the best free variant for real private networking.
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