Is Hola safe? It is a question I get asked a lot. The answer really depends on what you wish to achieve via VPN. Do you want to browser the web anonymously? Do you wish to increase your online privacy? Or, are you simply looking for a way to bypass regional restrictions? In this help guide, I will provide you with info about free VPN services such as Hola and whether you should trust them with your online security or not.
What is VPN? Protect your Privacy
The term VPN stands for virtual private network. It has been used for quite a long time by companies and corporation to keep all their online activities safe and secure. See, when you connect to a VPN server, all your traffic is encrypted. This extra layer of privacy prevents the prying eyes of hackers from eavesdropping and potentially steal sensitive data. Due to the ever-increasing privacy concerns of everyday Internet users like you and I, VPN’s popularity has seen a dramatic rise in the last couple of years.
What is VPN? Bypass Geographic Restrictions
Ever-improving Internet speeds, on the other hands, has revolutionized the way we watch TV. Now, online streaming is steadily replacing traditional television habits. You can virtually watch anything you want online, whether that is live sports, movies, or TV shows. The only thing that is currently holding online streaming back are geographic restrictions i.e. certain content is only available in a certain region/country.
VPN allows you to get around geoblocks by hiding your IP address. Besides added privacy, the ability to unblock geo-restricted channels like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go or even bypass NHL, MLB, NFL, or NBA blackouts have pushed VPN usage even further.
Is Hola Safe?
First of all, there is nothing ever totally ‘free’ online. You always have to give up something to get something else back in return. Free streaming services, for example, expose you to never-ending ads. In the case of free VPN services, you might be giving up your personal data to third-parties without even being aware of it.
Let’s take a look at Hola for instance. Hola has always been advertised as a free VPN. The fact is that when you use Hola, you are turning your computer to an endpoint. In other words, other Hola users are able to browse the web, download torrents, and even commit cyber-crimes while using your IP address. Is Hola safe? I think not.
It even gets worse. Hola allegedly sells its users bandwidth. This allows potential buyers to effectively turn Hola users into botnets. A botnet basically is a malware-affected computer which sends spam to other computers without the knowledge of its owners.
In conclusion, instead of protecting your privacy, Hola is exposing you even more online. Not all is lost though. There are plenty of reliable, trustworthy VPN alternatives you can use.
Is Hola Safe? Secure Alternatives
What exactly makes a VPN trustworthy?
- A VPN service should allow you to choose between different VPN protocols i.e. OpenVPN, IPSec, L2TP.
- A proper VPN provider keeps no logs of its clients browsing activities.
- Make sure that the VPN service you are using has a physical address.
Is Hola? The Verdict
Never compromise your online privacy. It is that plain and simple. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you want to bypass geographic restrictions, or want to browse the web anonymously, do not use Hola. Only use reliable and trustworthy VPN providers.