Is Hola VPN Safe? Much Better Hola VPN Alternatives in 2023
Hola is a VPN based in Israel, and it has more than a hundred million subscribers. Despite its popularity, Hola was prone to hacker exploits and third-party attacks. What’s more, it was proven that it logged user data and sold it to third parties.
In this article, we’ll talk about Hola’s privacy and security features. Also, we made a list of the 5 best free Hola VPN alternatives in case you’re looking for free VPNs.
As a disclaimer, we don’t recommend using free VPNs at all since they are not safe. Usually, free VPNs don’t have high-end security features. So, your IP address and browsing history might leak. Also, free VPNs log user data and sell it to advertisers, which is terrible for your privacy.
A paid VPN is a better alternative because it has strong security features that keep your data safe. Plus, top services, like NordVPN, offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, you can use it risk-free for a month and get a full refund if you’re not completely satisfied.
- NordVPN – Super-fast VPN with tons of security and privacy features.
- ProtonVPN – Fast speeds and comes with no monthly data cap.
- Windscribe – Simple to use and very intuitive.
- TunnelBear – Simple to use and very intuitive.
- Hide.Me – Best free VPN for torrenting.
Is Hola VPN Safe?
No, Hola is not safe because it’s a P2P VPN. This means you change your IP address by getting another one from another Hola user. At the same time, other users will get your IP address to browse the internet as well. So, cybercriminals can use your IP address to engage in illegal activities.
Hola VPN is a virtual private network (VPN) service that provides users with access to websites and online content that may be restricted in their geographical location. Hola VPN operates by routing a user’s internet traffic through the devices of other users who have installed the Hola VPN software, creating a peer-to-peer network that allows users to access content that might otherwise be unavailable to them.
Hola has apps available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and smart TVs. Its Android app has been taken down from the Google Play Store because it was suspected of malware.
This provider promises great features. For example, it claims to offer unlimited bandwidth, no ads, and servers in 190+ countries. Unfortunately, this is possible because you connect to all users that use Hola’s network. Because of this, your IP address is not private, so you risk being targeted by DDoS attacks.
On top of that, Hola has a history of sharing user IPs with its partners. Plus, the VPN doesn’t use encryption, so malicious actors can spy on your traffic.
In contrast, a reliable and trustworthy VPN, like NordVPN, doesn’t log and share any data. So no one can see what you’re doing online, not even the VPN. Also, it comes with tons of security and privacy features to protect your identity online.
Why You Should NOT Use Hola VPN
Our team tested Hola VPN for several weeks and put together a list of reasons why Hola VPN is not safe:
1. It Logs User Data
- IP address
- Email address
- Friends list
- Your full name and birth date
- Billing information
- Apps installed on your device
What’s more, Hola states that they log this data and keep it for as long as the provider believes is necessary. Plus, the VPN is based in Israel, which collaborates with the 14 Eyes Alliance event though it’s not a member.
2. It Uses a P2P Network
A VPN hides your real IP address and assigns you a different one. Instead, Hola uses a P2P network, so you’ll use someone’s real IP address to browse the web. This means that other users can use your real IP as well. This is very unsafe because people might use your IP to engage in illegal activities.
3. It’s Inconvenient to Use
Hola’s apps don’t let you connect to a specific city, only countries. Most top VPNs let you connect to specific locations in popular countries like the US, the UK, and Japan. Being able to connect to a certain city would help you use a server that’s closer to you to get faster speeds.
On top of that, Hola doesn’t have any convenient features like other paid VPNs. For instance, it doesn’t have a quick-connect feature. So it doesn’t automatically connect you to the fastest server for your location. Also, the servers don’t display the server load. So you don’t know if the server you connect to is overcrowded or not.
4. It Lacks Important Security Tools
Hola has military-grade encryption only for paid plans. Also, it doesn’t have leak protection, a kill switch, or an ad blocker. It lacks other useful security features — obfuscation, RAM-only servers, and perfect forward secrecy.
5. It Has Slow Speeds
We performed test speeds on both nearby and distant servers. On average, we had a 50% slowdown on nearby servers, and 70% on distant servers.
We watched HD and 4K content on YouTube and videos took around 8-10 seconds to load. We noticed buffering and quality drops, especially when we skipped through the videos.
We also used the VPN while browsing the web and social media platforms. On average, it took around 3-4 seconds for content to load while we scrolled through social media.
6. It Costs More Than Top Paid VPNs
Hola has 2 tier-based subscriptions with monthly and yearly plans. However, the pricing is way too expensive for what the VPN offers. Even its longest plan is more expensive than top competitors. In contrast, NordVPN and Surfshark, which provide significantly better value.
Also, the provider only has a 14-day money-back guarantee, while most top VPNs provide a 30-day refund. Even more annoying, you only qualify for the refund if you don’t use Hola at all during those 14 days.
What Free VPN Alternatives Can I Use Instead of Hola VPN?
Most free VPNs are pretty bad, but we managed to find the best 5 free alternatives to Hola VPN that are safe to use:
1. NordVPN – Our Top VPN Pick
While it’s not a free VPN, NordVPN comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. This way, you can test the VPN and subscribe to its plans only if you like it.
NordVPN has tons of security and privacy features to keep your data safe on the web. For example, it has full protection against WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks so your real IP doesn’t get exposed online. What’s more, it has military-grade encryption which is super strong. Also, It has a kill switch, which disconnects your device from the internet so your IP doesn’t get exposed online.
What’s more, the VPN also has advanced security features. For example, it has RAM-only servers. This means that all data is completely erased on every server reset. In addition to this, it has perfect forward secrecy. This security feature changes the encryption key for each VPN connection. That way, hackers can’t compromise past or future encryption keys to spy on your traffic.
There’s also Threat Protection. This tool blocks ads, trackers, and connections to malicious sites. In our tests, the VPN blocked all ads, even on ad-heavy sites like torrent sites. When we used Threat Protection, we had a smoother browsing experience. The sites loaded 2-3 seconds faster as well. Also, this feature scans executable files up to 20 MB for malware that you download on your device. However, it doesn’t compromise your privacy when it does that.
The VPN’s no-logs policy has been independently audited twice and proven true. On top of that, it has obfuscation. This is very handy if you’re traveling to restrictive countries that block VPNs. This feature adds an extra layer of encryption to your VPN traffic to make it look like you’re not using a VPN.
When it comes to streaming, NordVPN has lightning fast speeds on both distant and nearby servers. In our tests, we could watch 4K and HD movies without noticing lags and quality drops. We could unblock streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and Crunchyroll. Since it has 5,000+ servers in 55+ countries, you can unblock tons of content from all around the world.
Also, it has split-tunneling, so you can choose which apps use the VPN connection, and which ones your regular internet connection. This way, you can have even faster streaming speeds by only sending streaming traffic through NordVPN.
The VPN also allows torrenting on 4,500+ servers. So it’s easy to avoid overcrowded servers, which slow down your speeds. It also has SOCKS5 proxies. These servers provide faster torrenting speeds because they don’t use encryption. However, they still hide your IP address, just like a VPN does.
In addition, if you subscribe to longer plans, the VPN is very affordable. It also allows 6 simultaneous connections, so it’s perfect if you want to use the VPN on many devices.
- Thousands of lightning-fast and well-optimized servers
- Unblocks all the major streaming sites
- Fully supports Torrenting and P2P
- Strict no-logs policy and RAM-disk servers
- Ad blocker and malware protection features
- Robust security features and military-grade encryption to protect you from DDoS attacks and other online threats
- 24/7 live chat support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Only 6 simultaneous connections
- No free trial
2. Proton VPN
Proton VPN is the only free VPN in the list that comes with unlimited data, which is very convenient. The free plan gives you access to 3 VPN locations — Japan, the US, and the Netherlands. Also, you can use the VPN on 1 device.
Security-wise, Proton VPN’s free plan offers excellent features. For example, it has a kill switch, a strict audited no-logs policy, and perfect forward secrecy. What’s more, it has full leak protection, which is really great. Most other free VPNs and even some paid ones only have DNS leak protection. On top of that, all apps are open-source. So, anyone can inspect the source code for any security flaws, which is very transparent. The provider’s apps are also audited.
The provider’s free plan also offers good speeds. In our tests, we were able to browse the internet without delays, and sites loaded instantly. You also get the VPN Accelerator. This is a feature that increases your speeds on distant servers. Besides, you also have split-tunneling. So, you can boost your speeds even more by using the VPN connection only for specific sites or apps.
One drawback of using the free plan is that the VPN doesn’t offer torrenting and streaming support. So, if you want to download content or stream on Netflix, you have to get a paid plan.
The paid plans also add 1,800+ servers in 60+ countries and even faster speeds. ProtonVPN’s paid plans also offer an ad blocker, which makes your browsing much smoother. Plus, you can use the VPN on 10 simultaneous devices, which is very convenient. The pricing is affordable, and there’s a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Free version available
- Strict no log policy
- Unblocks most streaming services
- Above average speeds
- Additional privacy tools available
- Great app designs
- Small server selection
- Above average Premium plan price
Compared to other free VPNs, Windscribe allows unlimited simultaneous connections. The free plan also comes with 10 GB monthly data. However, you can get an additional 5 GBs if you engage with Windscribe on Twitter.
The VPN has good security features as well. It has military-grade encryption, full leak protection, and a strict no-logs policy. Also, it has an ad blocker that blocks trackers and malware.
In our tests, the VPN also has good speeds. When we connected to nearby servers, we could watch YouTube videos without noticing any interruptions. However, on distant servers, HD and 4K videos took around 4 seconds to load. Split-tunneling is also available, which is nice.
Windscribe also supports torrenting and streaming. For torrenting, it offers port forwarding. This feature lets you connect to more peers to get even faster download speeds. For example, a 2 GB file took us around 10 minutes to download with port forwarding enabled, and 20 minutes without it. In addition, we were able to unblock popular streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Disney+.
Windscribe’s free plan has servers in 10 countries. Also, it has very intuitive and easy-to-use apps. When you connect to the VPN client, you can check the server’s latency. That way, you can choose the fastest one to have good speeds. Also, it has Auto Pilot, which is Windscribe’s quick-connect feature.
If you upgrade to the paid plans, you get unlimited data and access to servers in 60+ countries and 100+ cities. Also, the paid plans have a 3-day money-back guarantee.
- 10 GB Free plan available
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Top security features
- Suitable for torrenting
- Good no-logs policy
- No independent audit
- Average speeds
- Sometimes does not work with stremaing
- WireGuard only on Android
TunnelBear has one of the most intuitive and friendly apps, so it’s perfect even for beginners. The apps have features and explanations that come with bear cartoons. So you don’t feel overwhelmed when using the VPN. Also, when you connect to servers, a digital bear starts digging a tunnel on a digital map to the VPN server’s location. What’s more, on mobile, the digital bear even roars when you connect to the server.
Unlike other free VPNs, TunnelBear gives access to all its servers, which are located in 45+ countries.
The VPN’s free plan also unlocks all security and privacy features for its users. For example, it has a strict no-logs policy and military-grade encryption. Plus, it has Vigilant Mode, which is TunnelBear’s kill switch. Besides, the VPN undergoes independent security audits every year. Its code, website, apps, and server infrastructure get checked regularly. Plus, the provider offers transparency reports annually. On top of that, it offers GhostBear, which is TunnelBear’s obfuscation feature.
When it comes to streaming and torrenting, the VPN has pretty fast speeds. Since you get access to servers in 45+ countries, it’s easy to find nearby servers for decent speeds. Also, you can unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. You also have the Closest Tunnel setting, which is TunnelBear’s quick-connect feature. Also, it has SplitBear, which is the VPN’s split-tunneling feature.
TunnelBear’s biggest drawback is its 500 MB monthly data cap. If you mention the VPN on social media, you can get an additional 1 GB. However, this is enough only if you browse the internet for a few hours or stream HD content for a few minutes.
If you upgrade to its paid plans, you have access to unlimited data. Also, you can install the VPN on unlimited simultaneous devices. Its plans are affordable, but there’s sadly no money-back guarantee.
hide.me is a good VPN choice for torrenting, as it comes with P2P support. Its free plan gives you access to 10 GB per month, so it’s only good for torrenting small files.
The provider has some decent security features like full leak protection and a kill switch. We performed several leak tests on both distant and nearby servers, and our IP address never leaked. Also, it has Stealth Guard, which allows specific apps to work only if the device is connected to the VPN.
The free plan gives you access to 5+ countries. So you can connect to servers in Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, and the US. Also, you can install the VPN on 1 device only, and you don’t get streaming support.
On the plus side, the free plan comes with pretty fast speeds. All sites loaded instantly in our tests, and HD videos on YouTube loaded instantly and didn’t buffer. Plus, it only took us 10 minutes to torrent a 8 GB file, which is really good. Split-tunneling is also available, so you can use it to further increase your speeds.
The paid plans give you access to unlimited data and 10 simultaneous connections. Also, you unblock 2,000+ servers in 45+ countries. Each plan is backed by a 30-day refund.
- Good speeds
- Strong encryption with OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols
- Free version available with 10GB limit
- Good for torrenting
- Lots of servers
- Complex apps
- No third party audit
- Apps might have some glitches
Criteria for Selecting the Best VPN Services
Security and Privacy
Security and privacy should be at the top of your list of priorities. You want to choose a VPN provider that uses strong encryption protocols to protect your online activities and personal information from hackers and other third parties. Look for a provider that has a no-logs policy, meaning that they do not collect or store any data related to your online activities.
Speed and Performance
A good VPN should not slow down your internet connection significantly, as this can make it difficult to browse the web or stream content smoothly. Look for a VPN provider that has a large number of servers located in many different countries to ensure that you can connect to the fastest server available.
Server Locations and Network Size
Consider the number of server locations and network size of the VPN service provider. This will give you more options for accessing content from different regions, as well as making it easier to connect to servers in countries where the VPN is not blocked.
Device Compatibility and Ease of Use
The ease of use and device compatibility of the VPN service is also important. A good VPN should be easy to set up and use on a variety of devices, including desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Check to make sure that the VPN service is compatible with your specific device before signing up.
Customer Support and Pricing
Look for a VPN service that offers responsive customer support in case you run into any issues or have questions about the service. Additionally, be sure to compare pricing plans to find a VPN service that offers the features you need at a price that fits your budget.
Best Hola VPN Alternative Services – Summing It Up
Hola is an expensive P2P VPN that lacks basic security features and has slow speeds. Plus, it shares user data with third parties by logging personal information about you. Also, it lets other users get access to your IP address. This is extremely risky because some might use it to engage in illegal activities.
With this in mind, not all free VPNs are bad. Reliable free VPN services will always limit their users in some way to make their paid plans stand out.
Our free VPN alternatives for Hola are safe and reliable. Still, they come with bandwidth and feature limitations. So we recommend you sign up with a paid VPN. This way, you won’t miss out on any security and privacy features.
NordVPN is our top pick because it has tons of features to keep your data safe. It has a kill switch, an audited no-logs policy, and military-grade encryption. Also, it has advanced security features. For instance, it has RAM-only servers, full leak protection, and perfect forward secrecy.
NordVPN’s plans are very affordable and much cheaper than Hola. Also you get access to all features regardless of the plan you subscribe to. You can also try it risk-free because it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.