What is the best home VPN
HOLA VPN test: free - but no anonymity!
- Very good use of SmartDNS to be able to stream content from abroad
- Free version available, gives many sufficient access to videos abroad
- Available in English only.
- The free version in particular stores data and it cannot be passed on to third parties
- The data protection concerns that had already been dispelled in 2015 have reappeared in the new version
- Bad reputation worldwide of the service.
- Customer service only delivers standard phrases
HOLA VPN test
The Israeli provider HOLA VPN offers its users two options: on the one hand the free version on a peer-2-peer basis and on the other hand the paid HOLA VPN with (obviously) significantly more security and performance. We took a look at the provider and summarized all the advantages and disadvantages for you in our HOLA VPN test report.
The provider is more suitable for streaming foreign content than for really anonymous surfing. In this way, formulations quickly become clear in the data protection conditions that do not exclude the transfer of data to third parties. The Israel-based provider aims to swim with the VPN wave of the market. In a direct comparison with quality VPN providers, however, the service shows clear disadvantages.
|Product name||Hola VPN|
|Recommended areas of application||SkyGo (DE)Amazon Video (DE)Netflix (DE)Bypass locksStreaming (copyright)|
Our conclusion to the HOLA VPN test report
HOLA VPN in its free version in the peer-2-peer system is very popular and is widely used. But you have to be aware that you will become part of the network and also make your resources available.
But if you want a “real VPN”, you can't avoid the paid plans, which in turn are comparatively expensive, especially since you get more functions and above all privacy from other providers for less money. Unfortunately, the provider states in its data protection guidelines that various - including personal - data can be stored and passed on as required. We absolutely do not like that and is a no-go for any user with a sense of anonymity.
Torrenting is also not allowed. There are only positives to report when it comes to streaming: Both German Netflix and Amazon Prime Video were accessible with a German HOLA VPN server in our test.
- Our conclusion
- Prices & tariffs
- Download & torrent
- Online gaming
- To travel
- Customer service
The company behind HOLA VPN
HOLA VPN was founded in 2012 by Derry Shribman and Ofer Vilensk in Israel. The provider's goal at the time was to improve the Internet with advanced router technologies - it should be faster, more open and cheaper. HOLA is at home all over the world and is also supported by a wide variety of investors. The provider is particularly known for its free service, which runs on the peer-to-peer principle. But HOLA also offers a premium version that can offer more features. More than 160 million users currently use the service.
HOLA VPN free uses peer-to-peer network
As mentioned above, HOLA VPN works with a peer-to-peer system for its free service. This means that you as a user do not connect to VPN servers, but your traffic is routed via the internet of another HOLA user. Basically according to the motto: "One for all, all for one". If you use the service, it also means that you or your Internet connection become such a "peer node" - just like the millions of other users. So you also share your resources and partly your bandwidth.
The advantage of this concept is that on the one hand it is very cheap, on the other hand authorities, governments etc. can find it so difficult to recognize that you are using a VPN. Of course, there are also disadvantages: Because the routing of data traffic via your device or your Internet connection, you could also be drawn into illegal activities. For example if malware is spread about you or someone commits copyright infringement etc. HOLA VPN free is de facto not a real VPN, but a proxy unblocker.
HOLA VPN Premium runs classically via server
You can only avoid this problem with the HOLA VPN Premium. In addition to other advantages, this also has a completely normal server offering. The service currently has approximately 1,500 servers around the world. 200 of them are ultra-fast servers. IKEv2 / IPsec and PPTP / L2TP are available to the user as protocols. It is encrypted with DES3, AES128, AES192 and AES256.
|Local legislation has an impact on customer protection||✔|
|Operation and billing separately||✔|
|No log files||✘|
|Own DNS server||✔|
|RAM disk server||✘|
|Owner of the IP addresses||✘|
HolaVPN and Luminati
The HolaVPN software is marketed as a community VPN, meaning it claims that it is designed to allow users to share their internet connections with other users in different parts of the world. The goal? That users can access websites without fear of censorship and surveillance.
In 2015 the website "8chan“Hit by a spam attack that rendered its website unusable for a few minutes. The attack, initiated by a popular spammer named "Bui," helped expose how HolaVPN is selling its users through its sister company Luminati as an exit node. Until recently, Luminati's use of HolaVPN exit nodes was vague. What is clear is that Luminati's home proxy network could attract unsavory users, threat actors who could misuse it for cybercriminal activity. To get a better understanding of how Luminati works, we wanted to get a detailed analysis of Luminati's web traffic. The research data included 100 million URLs anonymously scanned by Trend Micro software. The study found that mobile advertising and other mobile-related areas and programs accounted for more than 85 percent of the traffic in the dataset - an indication that cyber criminals could use the service for large-scale click fraud schemes. We also found a link to the former KlikVip actors and websites whose traffic was routed through Luminati.
The Consequences of Using an Insecure VPN
VPNs are helpful in keeping online activity safe. But using the wrong VPN can put a user and their computer at risk. This applies to HolaVPN users, especially in the corporate sector.
Our results show that once a user's computer is installed with the free HolaVPN, it becomes one of Luminati's exit nodes. If the user's computer is part of a company network, it can act as an exit node to allow unknown third parties access to company systems. HolaVPN could allow attackers to bypass corporate firewalls and explore a company's internal network for nefarious purposes. That being said, the HolaVPN users' bandwidths are sold through Luminati and could end up becoming part of the botnet activity enabled by the network. It could also allow cyber criminals to conduct various illegal or unauthorized activities on users' machines. These and other reasons speak for doing careful research before installing any VPN software.
In our research titled "Illuminating HolaVPN and the Dangers It Poses" we show how HolaVPN and Luminati are misused by cybercriminals for various purposes and provide an in-depth look at how insecure VPNs can endanger Internet users and corporate systems.
What does HOLA cost?
HOLA VPN is best known for its free service. But the provider also offers a premium tariff that you can buy in the form of 3 different plans - either 1 month, which is very expensive, 1 year or 3 years (which is the cheapest). With the premium tariffs, you can use up to 10 devices at the same time. There is also a 30-day money-back guarantee. Apart from the free service, HOLA VPN is not one of the cheap providers, Surfshark or VyprVPN, for example, are a lot cheaper.
Payment options: HOLA accepts all major credit cards, PayPal and GooglePay.
|Costs / tariffs|
|Free to use||✘|
|Tariff (1 month)||12.99EUR|
|Tariff (12 months)||82.68EUR (per month 6.89 EUR)|
|Tariff (36 months)||96.84EUR (per month 2.69 EUR)|
|Number of simultaneous connections per account||10|
|Test possibilities||Free plan availableRefund warranty|
HOLA VPN applications
HOLA VPN free is available as an extension for Chrome, Firefox or Opera on Windows and Mac devices and as an app for Android and iOS and Windows. With the HOLA VPN Ultra premium tariff, you can also install the service on other devices such as PlayStation, Apple TV, routers, etc. The provider explains how this works on its website (but only in English).
|Available protocols||SOCKS5OpenVPN (TCP)OpenVPN (UDP)|
|Own applications / apps||KODI AddOnChrome extensionFirefox extension|
Hola certainly didn't aim at maximum speed, so they invented this service. The results of our tests, which were repeated over several months, show a rather limited bandwidth that can even be used via the VPN server. The free version is astonishingly good, but the premium version is by no means comparable to quality providers such as OVPN or others who allow more than 10 times the speed. Hola is therefore a sufficient solution for streaming alone, but in order to exchange all data about it with the internet, it would in some cases be a noticeable reduction in the internet experience.
HOLA VPN states that it has a no-log policy, i.e. it does not save any user activity. As you can see in the provider's data protection guidelines, this is not correct: HOLA VPN states that it collects various user data - e.g. websites visited, time spent there, the browser used, etc. But personal data is also stored that can clearly identify you: IP address, name, email address, etc. The reason given is the operation of the service.
Data is passed on in certain cases
So data is saved. But what about the transfer? The HOLA VPN data protection guidelines say the following (translated from English):
"... We can pass on personal data to other trustworthy third-party providers or partners in order to provide you with the services, storage and analysis. We may also transfer or disclose personal information to our subsidiaries or affiliates.
So if you value privacy, security and anonymity a lot, HOLA is certainly not the right choice. Even if Israel is actually not bad as a location, since the state is not part of the 14-Eyes surveillance cooperation. This means that data is not legally mandatory - but the provider reserves the right to pass on data. So that doesn't help.
According to the provider, the free peer-2-peer principle of HOLA VPN is an advantage for the anonymity of the users, as third parties cannot understand that the user is using a VPN.
|Anonymous on the Internet|
|Changed virtual location||✔|
|Protection against requests for information||✘|
|Prevent general monitoring||✘|
|Prevent targeted surveillance||✘|
|No log files||✘|
Streaming is exactly the area that Hola does best. A lot, especially international TV and streaming portals, are supported and work really well with Hola.
|Streaming of TV and video content|
|Use on the home router||✘|
|Use with KODI||✔|
|Supported streaming platforms||Netflix (DE)Amazon Video (DE)DAZN (DE)Sky (DE)Eurosport (DE)Max cathedralszattoo (CH)ARD (DE)ZDF (DE)BR DE)N24 (DE)MDR (DE)rbb (DE)WDR (DE)Arte DE)3Sat (DE)Pro7 (DE)Sat1 (DE)Kabel1 (DE)Disney + (DE)MagentaTV (DE)ORF (AT)SRF (CH)Servus TV (DE, AT, CH)|
|Supported international streaming platforms||Disney + (US)Hulu (US)Amazon Prime Video (US)Netflix (US)Apple TV (US)Watch ESPN (US)Channel 4 (US)NFL Gamepass (US)MLB.tv (US)abc (US)CBS (US)FOX (US)NBC (US)Showtime (US)FLIX (US)epix (US)HBO Now (US)ITV (UK)Eurosport (UK)Sky (UK)BBC iPlayer (UK)Sky News (UK)Bloomberg (UK)BT Sport (UK)Channel 4 (UK)Sky Go (IT)YouTubestarz (US)hustlerTV (US)PenthouseTV (US)PlayboyTV (US)|
Download & torrent with HOLA VPN
Bad news for filesharers: Bittorrent is generally prohibited at HOLA VPN. Bittorrent traffic is blocked. You'd better get another provider for this area - you can find our recommendations here.
|Download and torrent|
|Torrent usage allowed||✘|
|Own torrent server||✘|
Use router with HOLA VPN
Using Hola on a router is possible, but not over classic VPN connections. But you can enter the SmartDNS of the service on the router and then use it on the connected devices. In this case, however, there is no rerouting of the data or protection against monitoring. However, foreign TV channels can also be used with it.
|Operation on the VPN client router|
|Use on routers||✘|
|Own router application||✘|
Online gaming with HOLA VPN
Online gaming is possible with HOLA. There is also a separate manual for this on the operator's official website. And the latency times are also well suited for this area of application.
|Use on game consoles||PlayStationXBox|
HOLA VPN on the go
When traveling, it is particularly important that the VPN service also works in areas with extreme internet restrictions. In order for this to work properly, masking and stable connections are necessary. HOLA cannot offer masking, but Shadowsocks, which is very suitable for bypassing the Chinese Great Firewall and other censorship, as the data traffic is almost impossible to recognize and block.
|VPN for travel and abroad|
|Use in restrictive networks (China, hotels)||✘|
|Protection in insecure WiFi networks||✔|
|Shadowsocks or SOCKS5||✔|
HOLA VPN has a detailed help page on which you can find many topics. However, everything is in English. A support team is available 24/7 for premium customers - either using the form on the website or by email. However, there is no German-language support here either.
|Customer service||e-mailFAQ website|
|Language in customer service||English|
For the estimated price of the premium service, HOLA VPN could definitely offer more functions. On the other hand, there are some interesting features available: Starting with SmartDNS for smooth streaming to the security must KillSwitch. In our overview you can see all the functions that HOLA offers.
|Automatic IP change||✘|
|No log files||✘|
|Own IP addresses||✘|
|Own torrent server||✘|
|RAM disk (k.HDD)||✘|
Created on:December 9, 2020
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