Hola (Free) VPN Review

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. Read on to find out why I think Hola VPN Premium is just as dangerous as its free version.

Fast Internet Speeds

Even the best VPNs in the world will sap some speed off your overall performance. That’s the trade-off you make for anonymous web browsing.

But when it comes to fastest VPNs, you’d never know it.

A truly effective VPN siphons off a negligible amount of speed, slowing you down, but not to a noticeable degree.

We tested two of Hola VPN’s connections.

Normally we test each VPN server network, but as a community-based VPN, Hola does not use servers. Instead, they redirect requests to the internet connections of other users in a selected country.

So, we tested two connections, one out of the EU and one from the US.

Our EU test fared well, with speeds hardly missing a beat.

EU Speed Test

  • Ping: 37 ms
  • Download: 84.61 Mbps (12.7% Slower Than 97 Mbps Benchmark)
  • Upload: 38.83 Mbps (38.7% Slower Than 53 Mbps Benchmark)

Our US test performed well on downloads but sharply plummeted below acceptable speed levels on the upload.

US Speed Test

  • Ping: 183 ms
  • Download: 32.47 Mbps (60% Slower Than 97 Mbps Benchmark)
  • Upload 7.97 Mbps (85% Slower Than 53 Mbps Benchmark)

Out of the 78 VPNs we’ve reviewed, we rank Hola VPN at number 19 in terms of speed.


It’s always difficult to get a useful measure of VPN performance, but Hola takes this to a whole new level. There’s no fixed network of servers to assess, the route your traffic takes will change every time – and your hardware, browser type and setup could influence the results in unexpected ways. Hola works so differently that synthetic benchmarks may not give you meaningful information about the service, anyway.

For this review, we replaced our regular benchmarks with a more straightforward task: streaming 4K video from YouTube and other sites. Playback ran smoothly at all times, without any buffering, quality or other issues. Routing your traffic through other users’ devices will bring some degree of performance penalty, but from what we can see, it doesn’t make a noticeable difference to normal browsing or streaming sites.

Privacy & Logging Policy

Hola VPN is not software that safeguards your privacy. In fact, we rarely see logging policies as intrusive as Hola’s.

Here’s what Hola VPN stores when you use its service:

  • The websites you visit
  • Time spent on those websites
  • Your true IP address
  • Connection timestamps
  • Your browser type
  • Your name, email address, screen name, payment and billing information

If subscribe to Hola VPN through a social network account, Hola has access to even more information including: your home address, birth date, profile picture, friend list, personal bio, and any publicly available information on your account.

Hola tries to reassure its users that it doesn’t “rent or sell any personal information,” but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t share it with third parties:

“We may disclose Personal Information to other trusted third party service providers or partners for the purposes of providing you with the Services, storage and analytics. We may also transfer or disclose Personal Information to our subsidiaries, affiliated companies.”

What’s even worse, Hola will retain all this information for “as long as necessary.”

In short, Hola’s privacy and logging policy is unsatisfactory. This is not a service you want to entrust all your personal data with.

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