Hola, a peer-to-peer proxy network, often claims it’s a VPN. While it offers quick connections, it’s only the result of a browser extension that spoofs IP addresses. In fact, streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, BBC and others will not work unless you sign up for the premium subscription. Why you’d want to do this is beyond anyone’s comprehension?
There are a host of reasons to not use the Hola service including but not limited to:
- Hola offers no type of encryption or uses a VPN protocol.
- It also has no type of advanced privacy features like the VPN kill switch.
- It has a logging policy, giving it the power to monitor everything you do on the ‘Net such as website visited.
- There have been a plethora of problems regarding user bandwidth being sold without consent.
- here is practically no customer support.
- It’s only available for use on Microsoft Windows and MacOS.
A More Comprehensive Look At Hola
Hola does not use a traditional server network to run, which means you don’t have a list of servers to pick from. You could connect to any country, so long as another person from that country has signed up for the service and isn’t use an IP address when they do.
As a Hola user, your traffic goes through others in the network, which means somebody is always going to connect from your IP address even when your device sits idle. There is a swath of IP addresses for every country, and when you choose a country to connect to, you’ll be assigned one at random. At this time, it’s not possible to choose the city you want to connect from, which is an issue for large countries such as Australia or the U.S.
There is one key benefit of not having a fixed network. It makes it much harder for sites to determine if you’re using a VPN. When you make it harder for them to detect, you make it harder on them to block you. This is why Hola offers free service – no server bills to pay.
However, the drawback is somebody could carry out an illegal activity with your IP address, and you’d never know it.
Platforms and Devices
Hola is available on any device that uses the Microsoft Windows or MacOS but is only available as a browser extension, not a desktop app. For use on any mobile device running Android or iOS, you need to sign up for its premium subscription.
Browser extensions are available for both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, but they operate similarly to the Windows app. Hola is not usable on any streaming device or gaming console unless you pay for the premium service.
Reliability and Speed
In terms of reliability and speed, it offers quick service for local connections, but that comes to no real surprise. After all, it’s a proxy extension that has no added security benefits. It does have an optional accelerator that allegedly allows for quicker, smoother streaming. Think about how good this is if you can’t even access those sites anyway.
The same holds true for torrentors. You get quick updates, but it’s pointless to use Hola as it just protects the browser traffic. Hola does not cover apps, but why would you want it to since there little to no encryption offered and it’s got an invasive logging policy.
Basically, this is what you should understand: the speed it offers comes at a price – no protection and even more danger. Do you really want to give up your privacy for the speed it provides?
Streaming and Torrenting
VPNs are used to access streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer and more, which is why you don’t need to use the free Hola version. When you do, you’ll be given an error message saying you have to sign up for its premium subscription to access the sites by way of their fast streaming servers.
Think of it as dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit and unable to get it unless they do something. The only way you can stream the sites you want is if you pay for the service.
Torrentors have no P2P support from Hola because it’s just a VPN in browsers only. Torrent clients like BitTorrent work outside the browser, which means they get no kind of protection the software “may” offer. Even if Hola supported torrenting, it might be best to avoid it due to the intrusive logging policy and the concerns for overreaching. Instead, torrenters are advised to check out VPNs with P2P activity built in.
Security and Encryption
Since Hola doesn’t work as a traditional VPN, it offers no real security features. It has no VPN protocol and no type of encryption. It’s just a peer-to-peer network that spoofs the IP address – nothing more. How does it work?
It routes web traffic you do through another person’s device, which means you appear to connect through that IP address. Simply put, a stranger is using the IP address and can do whatever they want from it. Hola itself knows the new technology can be dangerous since malicious people may take control over the WiFi, which something you don’t want to hear from a VPN provider.
Hola has also had some privacy issues, which makes one wonder why anybody is still using it to this day. For example, in 2015, Hola was found to be selling free users’ bandwidth to their paid subscribers for $20 a gigabyte under the Luminati name. This caused a huge botnet of more than nine million IP addresses. This allowed a Luminati user to take control of the network and spread a DDoS attack through the website 8chan. This resulted in a 100x spike in peak traffic.
If online privacy is important to you, you do not want to use Hola for your service. How it can label itself as a VPN is still the question, as it still does more harm than any kind of good.
If the goal is to use Hola in a country that censors websites such as China, the best thing you can do is not to use Hola. After all, no real encryption and a way to secure the VPN protocol. There are no smokescreen tools like stealth protocol. If you were to gain access from that country, your personal information is viewable by anybody.
Bear in mind that Hola watches everything you do while the service is in you. This increases the privacy risks than if you didn’t use a VPN in the first place. This is true for countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey where internet censorship is a real thing. You want a VPN that gives you some level of privacy and won’t log everything you do when online.
Hola has a logging policy that states it monitors everything you do online when connected to its VPN such as
- Browser type
- Visited web pages
- Length of time spent on them
- Times and dates accessed
While it’s commendable for their transparency, the reality is that nothing you do on Hola is private. Everything can be tied back to you since it collects the originating IP address, name, screen name and email address — this sort of defies the point of a VPN. If you want privacy, do not use Hola.
In fact, they are probably selling your data..
According to the company, it can share information about you for any reason at all such as compliances with legal entities and courts. Since Israel is not a part of the “Fourteen Eyes” intelligence-sharing agreement, it can share whatever details about its users it wants when asked to.
Hola has virtually no customer support. Its website does offer a plethora of frequently asked questions, but most people look at them as the company’s covering themselves for the previous problems it had regarding the sharing and selling of user information. There’s not much there but maybe two or three tips for how to use the service.
Hola has no live chat option, but it is a free product. You can contact them through the email address, but don’t be surprised if the email goes unanswered. In most cases, you’re going to be able to use the service without issues. However, if you do, you may as well try troubleshooting the problem yourself, as you’re unlikely to get any help at all.
How Easy Is It To Use Hola?
Hola is just a browser extension (not a desktop app), even though it’s advertised as such. This makes it easy to use and won’t take up unnecessary space on a device. When the VPN is downloaded, it’ll come with an ad-blocker and accelerator feature. You may not see much difference with the accelerator feature, but the ad blocker is worth it. You shouldn’t see any personalized ads when you’re using it.
How do you use it? Just connect to your preferred country, and that’s it. Look through the different websites and Hola will suggest the server location that’s best. Bear in mind, some of them are designed for just the Premium users, but are generally marked with a gold logo at the right-hand corner.
When you connect to Hola, you’ll see the destination country’s flag in the browser toolbar. You don’t have any advanced settings, but this should be expected. It’s a small app, so you’re not getting a lot in the way of privacy and may actually lead to bigger issues later on.
You just need to download the software from the Hola website. Hit “Next” when prompted to do so, and that’s it. You don’t have to sign-up or anything like that. Remember, it’s only a browser extension, which means you need to download into the taskbar (the bar at the bottom of the screen). From there, you click the icon, and it opens a browser tab telling you how to use it. After that, you should always see it when a tab is opened.
What You Have To Keep In Mind About Hola
Although advertised as a VPN, Hola is a browser extension that offers a peer-to-peer networking solution that will spoof IP addresses. When you download the software, you agree the device can be used as a router, allowing others to connect to your IP address. Whatever they do online, can be tied back to you. This is very dangerous and could result in serious legal consequences.
There really are only two reasons you should want to use Hola – the speed it provides and its user-friendly software. Still, these should not be reasons to use it or other programs similar to it. If your privacy is important to you, use something else entirely.