Hola VPN – The VPN with a Dark Twist

Update - 2017.07.24

Virtual private servers are a fantastic way to hide your IP address and have more anonymity on the internet. Usually, VPNs cost a bit of money, usually a monthly fee. However, there are some free VPN services available that can achieve the same result with a few more limitations, such as limited data or limited locations. Despite this, there are some VPN services that offer their VPNs for free, including all the features. One such VPN is Hola.

Hola VPN – http://hola.org/ is a free VPN that provides you with all the premium features of a standard VPN without the monthly costs. They are a large provider and also have a number of other networks, including residential proxies and dedicated proxies. However, this VPN service is not exactly what it seems as there is a catch to their free service. There are a lot of dark secrets and this has resulted in many users running far away from this VPN.

HolaVPN

This article will look at Hola and explain its features, looking at the reasons as to why this service is one of the shadiest VPN services available for public and commercial use.

Features of Hola – Free VPN with Residential IP address

Hola VPN is completely free and includes all the premium features you would expect with a paid service. They allow you to have full access to their network and allow you to have unlimited data. They also allow you to connect unlimited devices to your account which lets you protect all of them without registering multiple times.

They use a browser combo with their VPN client which can unblock almost all of the website on the internet and can even access Netflix. However, don’t be fooled by all of this because you have to give up something if you want all these features.

When you sign up to Hola VPN you have to give them your residential IP address to use freely on their network with other users. This means that other Hola users will be allowed to use your server as a Tor exit node which can result in some very drastic issues regarding your privacy. The Hola network is entirely P2P based which means that your server could be used for illegal activity – which you can be penalized for.

What makes it worse is Hola is not very good at telling some users that this will happen. They have been in trouble a number of times in the past for not stating this as a disclosure. If you value your safety, stay away from this network.

What about Their Premium Service?

Hola also offers a premium service that gives you access to their network without the need of surrounding your IP address. However, there has been evidence that suggests they do not honor this and use it anyway. Don’t bother with the paid version because it is no different.

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Is Hola VPN Safe?

The straight answer is no. Hola VPN offers a lot of premium features that actually don’t work. There is no mention of the encryption on the website and there is evidence from IPv6 leaks that suggests there is none on the network. You can see for yourself if you want to share your IP with them.

In addition, they also keep all logs on their network which is ridiculous considering they are a P2P network which allows for illegal activity on their network. Well, then again, it is not technically their network because they do not own any of the servers. All the servers are residential IP addresses, which is probably why they are good at unblocking sneaker websites. This service is not exactly a VPN, it is more like a glorified proxy network.

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Their Association with Luminati – Paid Proxy Service

Luminati Proxy

Luminati refer as https://luminati.io which offer the paid proxy service touse, this probably one of the more shady aspects of the company and is the method they use to monetize the free servers that they take from their users. The IP addresses they use from their free VPN service are used to fuel their other paid services. They also do not disclose to users of the other services that the servers were taken from other users.

In particular, their main service is (interestingly enough) their residential proxy network which is the largest in the world. The cheapest package is around $500 a month. Now, think about this. They do not pay for their servers (because they don’t own them) so they are making enormous profits from other users IP addresses.

Luminati  don’t tell users that they let businesses and data harvesters that they IP and bandwidth will be used for another service. To protect their residential IPs they rotate them every few minutes but this is still not ethical. There have been reports of users waking in the morning to find their internet was shut down by their ISP.

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Alternatives to Hola

We do not like to advise our users to use free VPN service because they are vastly limited and do not have the features that premium services like ExpressVPN offer. However, some of you to do not like to pay the monthly fee or only need basic VPN features. We do not recommend you use Hola VPN for your online privacy needs because they are a deceitful company and cannot even keep you private anyway.

Tunnel Bear is one of our favorite free VPN services and it has a paid version if you fill like getting some more power. The VPN service gives you a lot of features and doesn’t ask for a penny in return. The only limit you get is for servers and data. You still get to choose from a good range of servers but you only get 500MB to use a month. However, you can perform some actions (share Tunnel Bear on Twitter, etc.) to get more data.

Free tunnelbear

They give you a 256-bit encryption and they do not keep logs on their network. If you are looking for a better alternative then we suggest Tunnel Bear because they won’t monetize your IP address or bandwidth and are a lot more reliable than Hola.

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Conclusion

Hola VPN is a terrible and unsafe VPN service that should be avoided at all costs. They will offer you a dodgy free service and then take and use your bandwidth for their own services without telling you. They have a terrible encryption (if any) and it leaks your IP address anyway, making it useless. Their network is based on P2P activity even though they keep logs on all the activity that goes on in their network. There are better alternatives to Hola including Tunnel Bear. We suggest you read our ultimate free VPN guide to learn more about alternatives.

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