Hola is a super famous VPN service. Despite the fact that it has around 222 million members currently from all over the world, you’ll find mixed reviews about Hola VPN online.
Some reviewers have rated the service as terrible while others have highly recommended it.
But how good or bad is it?
To finally put an end to the debate, I wanted to review Hola VPN myself and see what all the fuss is about.
Considering that Hola is mostly famous because of its free version, I wanted to review both the free and paid versions.
Although I hate spoilers as much as any die-hard Game of Thrones fan, I think you should know my initial impressions of Hola VPN before we dive into the detailed review.
But how does it compare to other VPNs that I’ve reviewed? Is it worth getting in 2021? Does it have what it takes to be recommended on TheVPNExperts? Read on to find out.
Key Findings from Hola VPN Review
|Servers||~1,000 servers (Hola VPN Premium )|
|Best feature||Fast speeds, Leakproof, Huge pool of residential IP addresses|
|Does Hola VPN work with Netflix?||Yes, and it also works great with, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+|
|Is Hola VPN good for Torrenting?||No, BitTorrent traffic is blocked by Hola|
|Customer Support||No live chat option, only email support and FAQs|
|Money back guarantee||30-day money-back guarantee (Legitimate)|
|Hola VPN Pricing||Expensive $2.99/mo 3-year plan with 80% discount|
|Other findings||Zero Traffic Logs (Paid version), Unlimited Bandwidth, 10 multi logins|
Let’s start our review with the speed test. Because of Hola VPN’s peer to peer network infrastructure, I didn’t think it would be fast. However, after testing multiple server locations, I was quite surprised by the results.
Hola VPN Speed Test Analysis
First I tested the speeds with the free version of Hola. I choose servers that were close and also far away from my actual location in the Netherlands to see how it would perform over short and long distances.
By the way, here’s a screenshot of my actual IP address:
Speed Test Result (Hola Free Version)
Here are the speed test results I got with my 100 Mbps internet connection:
|Countries||Distance||Download Speed||Upload Speed||Ping|
|Australia||14792.34 km||81.44 Mbps||84.34 Mbps||223 ms|
|Canada||6453.43 km||89.91 Mbps||81.45 Mbps||189 ms|
|Switzerland||627.7 km||90.15 Mbps||87.34 Mbps||323 ms|
|UK||677.04 km||89.75 Mbps||82.67 Mbps||122 ms|
|Singapore||10468.58 km||74.13 Mbps||77.56 Mbps||232 ms|
|USA||7505.72 km||76.23 Mbps||73.69 Mbps||312 ms|
If you take a look at the table above, you can tell that Hola is definitely fast. I bet you didn’t expect that — me neither.
The servers close to my actual location were super fast. Locations like the UK and Switzerland barely made an impact on my internet speeds. Long-distance servers such as Singapore, Australia, and others also performed surprisingly well during my testing.
But what does this mean in real-world testing?
To put this into perspective, I was able to stream shows on Netflix in HD quality without experiencing any buffering (Jump to the streaming section).
I also tried gaming with Hola VPN and was again super impressed with it. When playing Among Us for an hour or so, I didn’t notice my ping going over 200 ms, which is pretty decent.
Speed Test Result (Hola Paid Version)
With the paid version, the speeds were again impressive. Unlike the free version, when you opt for the paid version, you don’t contribute your device’s resources to power Hola’s P2P network. This puts less strain on your bandwidth and you’ll experience slightly better speeds.
To test out the speeds of Hola Premium, I again choose the servers that I previously tested just to compare the before and after results.
Check out the table below:
|Countries||Distance||Download Speed||Upload Speed||Ping|
|Australia||14792.34 km||85.34 Mbps||80.45 Mbps||213 ms|
|Canada||6453.43 km||91.11 Mbps||85.75 Mbps||199 ms|
|Switzerland||627.7 km||93.5 Mbps||82.56 Mbps||223 ms|
|UK||677.04 km||91.2 Mbps||86.17 Mbps||142 ms|
|Singapore||10468.58 km||83.14 Mbps||85.56 Mbps||252 ms|
|USA||7505.72 km||80.53 Mbps||81.59 Mbps||112 ms|
With the premium version, I did notice slightly improved speeds — about a 5% improvement on average. I managed to get a 93.5 Mbps downloading speed with my 100 Mbps connection.
All in all, both the free version and the paid Hola VPN offered great speeds. You can’t go wrong with either of them.
Hola VPN Passed DNS Leak tests
Despite the fact that Hola uses the idle resources of its users to power its network, it is actually leak proof. I performed multiple leak tests using the paid and free version of Hola and didn’t experience any issues.
To perform my leak test, I used a website called ipleak.net. I just connected to a random U.S server and ran the test.
Here’s a screenshot of the test result:
If you look closely at the screenshot, you can tell that my original IP address and DNS address are totally masked. Remember, I’m located in the Netherlands, not in the U.S.A.
I also ran leak tests while connected to other locations as well. Check out the table below for the results:
|Countries||IP Leak||DNS Leak|
Despite what other reviewers claim, Hola is actually leak-proof as per my testing.
Hola VPN Can Unblock Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus & BBC iPlayer
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, Hola performed great in my streaming test. Free and the paid versions both worked great.
I didn’t notice any issues whatsoever. For my streaming test, I tried unblocking Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus & BBC iPlayer. All of them worked with Hola VPN.
I first connected to a U.S server to unblock Amazon Prime. I played a show called Sound of Metal and it started streaming right away. Here’s a screenshot of it:
Then after that, I switched to a U.K server to unblock BBC iPlayer. If you don’t know, BBC iPlayer is only available in the U.K. To test if Hola can unblock BBC iPlayer, I played a show called A Perfect Plant. Without any issues, it started streaming.
Here’s a screenshot of it:
Next, I switched back to a U.S server and played a show called Monsterland on Hulu. Sure enough, it started streaming in HD quality too.
For Netflix, I searched for a show called Unverliavlable. Believe it or not, Hola worked with Netflix too. I’m talking about both the paid and the free version as well. Just check out this screenshot:
Disney+ tends to block a lot of VPN service, however, Hola surprisingly managed to fool it. I played Aladdin and it started streaming without any issues.
Just for fun, I also tested Hola with the Kodi player installed on my laptop. I connected to a U.S server, let it run in the background and it worked. The streaming quality was great and I didn’t face any issues either.
Torrenting is Not Supported – You might want to look for an alternative
Ironically, even though Hola VPN’s entire server network runs on P2P technology, it doesn’t support torrenting.
Yes, you heard me right.
It actually blocks BitTorrent traffic. To confirm this, I read a FAQ on Hola VPN’s website which states:
“The use of BitTorrent on our network is not allowed, and we are blocking BitTorrent traffic.”
The reason why Hola blocks P2P traffic could be because it lacks encryption and also keeps logs in the free version. But I still can’t understand why it doesn’t permit torrenting in the paid version.
Overall, if torrenting is important to you, go for some other VPN.
Hola VPN Offers a Great Selection of Apps
Although Hola VPN supports a wide range of devices, its apps are very basic looking. By that, I mean you don’t get any security features to play around with like you would get with CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, or some other popular VPN.
But it’s not necessarily a bad thing (If you go for the free version).
If we talk about the Windows app, you just get options to choose servers, connect or disconnect, enable the kill switch, and the no logs feature. I’m specifically talking about the paid version of Hola VPN here. With the free version, you just get a ‘browser like app’ through which you can visit any blocked website.
Its mobile apps are very basic too. On my iPhone, I can only choose a server location and use the toggle switch to connect or disconnect Hola VPN. There are no kill switch, leak protection, or protocol selection options.
Hola VPN’s browser apps are very snappy, but the ‘less feature-rich’ theme continues here too.
What I’m trying to say is, if features matter to you and you like tweaking protocols or using advanced features like split tunneling, Hola VPN might not be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you’re a very basic user with basic unblocking needs, Hola VPN is a great option.
Hola VPN Offers a No-Logging Policy (Only for the premium version)
Let me give it to you straight, Hola VPN’s logging policy is quite different from other VPN providers like IPVanish. Hola stores a lot of information about you (If you opt for the free version).
Although the paid version does offer a no logs feature, you’ll have to enable it yourself from the settings menu (not sure why it’s disabled by default). If you go for Hola Premium or Ultra, Hola will not store the following information about you:
- Activity logs.
- Browsing history.
- Traffic destination.
- Data content.
- DNS queries.
- Connection logs.
- No logs of your IP address.
- Outgoing VPN IP address.
- Connection timestamp, or session duration.
The paid version of Hola VPN is actually a logless VPN service. But, the free version is totally different.
“Free users Log Data: Log data may include the following information – browser type, web pages you visit, time spent on those pages, access times, and dates.”
Basically, you’ll get zero privacy if you go for the free version of Hola VPN.
“In extraordinary circumstances, we may also share your Personal Information and other information if and only if it’s necessary to: (1) comply with the law, regulation, subpoena or court order”.
So to sum up, the premium version of Hola VPN does offer a legit no logs policy like other major no-logs VPN providers. The free version doesn’t. What bothers me about Hola VPN is their retention policy and how they won’t bail you out in case of any legal matter.
Hola VPN offers a 30-Days Money-Back Guarantee – Tested
Hola VPN’s logging policy is pretty straight forward. You can claim a refund anytime within the 30-day period. To check if they would genuinely refund me my money, I went ahead and submitted a request for a refund through their premium support form.
Since I had only used their service for a week, I was very optimistic that I’ll get my money back. Because Hola doesn’t offer a live chat support option, I thought that my refund request would at least take a couple of days to get processed.
However, when I woke up in the morning, my refund request was approved and I got my money back in my PayPal account. All this just took a single day.
Overall, Hola VPN’s refund policy is legit. If you want to read about my refund experience with other VPN providers, check out my refund policy expose.
Lack of Basic Features
As I mentioned before, Hola VPN lacks a lot of features. Even if you go for the paid version, you will not get support for OpenVPN and Wireguard. All you get is a kill switch feature and probably a DNS leak protection option already built into the app.
What you don’t get is an ad-blocker, split tunneling feature, support for Tor, obfuscation technology and so much more.
If you value real privacy, Hola is not for you. Because, even if you get a paid version of Hola VPN, you’ll basically be paying a premium to stop contributing to their P2P network and prevent them from keeping any logs.
But if you get some other VPN service, you’ll get powerful encryption, no logs, and other top-notch features as standard.
While we’re talking about features, It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t discuss any features. So, here are two noteworthy features of Hola Premium:
Hola VPN’s paid version does come with a kill switch feature. I tested it out on the Windows app and it works great. However, it’s only an application kill switch and not an internet kill switch.
What this means is that you can only select certain apps that you’d like to stop working when the VPN connection drops. Ideally, I prefer the internet kill switch which disconnects your entire internet connection altogether.
10 Simultaneous Connections
I’m not sure if you can count this as a feature, but I’m going to count it anyway. Just like other VPNs, Hola offers 10 multi logins per subscription.
With just a single account, you can use Hola on 10 different devices at the same time. This feature is pretty standard so there’s nothing special about it. Literally, every other VPN nowadays supports 10 simultaneous connections.
Analysis of Servers
Although Hola VPN does mention that it offers around ~1,000 servers in the paid version, Hola’s server network is a bit strange. As I said before, Hola VPN runs on the P2P infrastructure. It technically doesn’t offer any servers. Instead, it uses the devices of its users to power its network. Think of it as torrenting a file from a swarm of torrent users.
This is both good and bad.
It’s good in the sense that you’ll get access to residential IP addresses from pretty much anywhere in the world. This makes Hola super effective at unblocking geo-blocked content.
But why is it bad?
When you get the free version of Hola VPN, you agree to contribute the idle resources of your device running Hola VPN to power their network. Also, you’ll be using the ideal resources of other users as well. This scenario not only puts a strain on your device but is also risky from a privacy standpoint.
Since Hola offers no encryption (in the free version), all of your network requests will pass through someone else’s device without any encryption. Your data packets can be easily intercepted by anyone and they can know exactly what you’re browsing online.
Also, if your device is used as a peer by anyone and they commit anything illegal like downloading a copyrighted movie, you can potentially get into trouble for it. Think of it like someone stealing your ID card and then committing a crime using it.
If you want access to dedicated servers, try something like ExpressVPN. But if unblocking streaming services for free is your thing, go for Hola VPN. It works great.
Hola VPN’s Apps Compatibility
Compatibility wise, Hola VPN is pretty good. Just like other top VPNs, Hola offers apps for mobile, desktop, browsers and is even compatible with routers.
Here are all the devices that Hola VPN supports:
- Microsoft Edge
- Gaming consoles
- Apple TV
- Smart TV
Although I usually cover a proper user experience section for different devices, however, since Hola VPN doesn’t offer many features or settings, I’m just going to cover a brief section instead.
If we talk about the user experience, you’ll find Hola VPN very easy to use. It’s also very easy to install. On my Windows 10 laptop, it only took less than 5 minutes to get installed.
If you go for the free version, you’ll get a browser-like app, similar to Chrome. You can either enter the URL of the website you want to unblock or browse through the section of the popular websites in your country.
If you go for the paid version, you’ll get an option to choose servers in the middle. You can access the settings menu from the top right. But as I said before, you’re not going to find a lot of options.
Its mobile apps are very easy to use too. Basic users will love Hola VPN’s mobile apps, however, advanced users may find them a bit barren. The iOS app of Hola has a 3.6-star rating, whereas the Android app has a 4.4-star rating.
As for the browser extensions, they’re fast. You can use them with Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Opera.
Hola’s browser extensions let you quickly choose servers, block popup ads, enable or disable the logs feature and also add websites to a list that you want to unblock in one go.
Lastly, let’s talk about Hola VPN’s router support. Hola is compatible with Netgear and D-Link routers. Setting up Hola on to a router is easy too.
Since Hola doesn’t offer Open VPN support, you’ll have to follow the DNS proxy setup method which is comparatively easy. It took me only 10 minutes to get it set up on my D-Link router. You can find their router setup guide here.
Does Hola VPN work in China?
No, as per my foreign colleague in China, Hola doesn’t work there. Although, Hola’s support representative stated that their browser extensions should work.
To be honest, I wasn’t surprised to hear that it failed to work in China. Obviously, to bypass the Great Firewall of China, you’ll need a VPN that offers obfuscation technology that Hola clearly lacks.
Best Alternative to Hola VPN
Hola VPN is a pretty decent VPN service. It’s not the safest or the most private VPN service in the market, however, it is certainly a great option for unblocking all sorts of geo-restricted websites. Its free version works great and so does its paid version.
With that being said, its paid version is hard to recommend, considering that it lacks a lot of features despite costing $2.99/mo.
If you want a VPN that offers more servers, doesn’t run on the P2P infrastructure, offers live chat support, and has a better overall reputation, definitely check out my CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN vs Surfshark or Surfshark vs NordVPN vs PureVPN comparisons.
Do I Recommend Hola VPN?
If you don’t care about privacy and just want a VPN that can help you unblock literally anything, then I definitely recommend Hola VPN.
I can’t recommend its paid version, however, because it lacks a lot of features that other VPN providers offer as standard.