The core function of a VPN is to protect your privacy, encrypt your connection and put you at ease when you’re online. Unfortunately, Hola VPN fails to meet these requirements, both for free users and paid users. If you’ve been using this VPN, you should switch to a trustworthy Hola VPN alternative.
- Hola VPN is an unsafe free VPN with a peer-to-peer server network, which sends other users’ traffic through your internet connection. It also sells access to third-parties and does not encrypt your connection.
- There are several other VPN services you can use instead of Hola VPN. In this article, we recommend the five best Hola alternatives, including Windscribe — the best free VPN — and ExpressVPN, the best paid VPN.
- These VPNs maintain a more secure server architecture, using dedicated servers located in different countries around the world.
In a crowded VPN field, everyone craves novelty, and a new opportunity has the potential to be a better option. That’s what Hola VPN succeeded in doing — at least, according to Insider — when the Israeli company emerged as a free VPN service with no restrictions.
For many VPN users, this was a breath of fresh air, since most free VPNs place restrictions on certain features in their free plans. For example, Windscribe restricts the amount of data on its free version. The problem is that Hola’s free version comes with no restrictions because it uses a peer-to-peer server network.
Anyone familiar with P2P networks knows they’re not the safest — it’s best to use P2P networks paired with quality VPNs that provide encryption. It didn’t take long for well-meaning users to realize that Hola’s P2P server network model can actually put the user in harm’s way instead of protecting them.
Plus, it also turns out that certain advanced features — like fast speeds — are locked behind Hola VPN’s paid versions, rather than free Hola VPN. In this guide, we will explain Hola VPN’s failings and suggest five alternatives to Hola VPN with solid VPN features.
Updated this guide to include more sourcing for Hola VPN and Luminati facts, as well as data from our own WireShark testing of Hola VPN’s encryption testing.
You can use Windscribe, which is a free VPN with a more secure server network and better features than Hola.
Windscribe earns the number one spot on our best free VPN list, thanks to its generous free plan and impressive features.
Yes, Proton VPN is safe. It uses the best encryption and protocols. Plus, Proton VPN claims to be a no-log VPN and has never been caught logging or sharing user data. It’s also based in Switzerland, which has some of the best privacy laws in the world.
Hola VPN is not a completely free VPN. Like many VPNs, Hola offers paid versions that offer more advanced features. It also sells access to third-parties via its sister company, Luminati. Plus, by using a peer-to-peer system, it doesn’t need to invest in setting up and maintaining a network of dedicated servers around the world.
The Top Hola VPNs Alternatives
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- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, cash
- : 10
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- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
- : 5
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- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
- : 6
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 10
What Makes the Best Hola VPN Alternative?
Since safety is our main concern with Hola, all the VPN services we’ve recommended are the safest of the safe. We have also made sure to include free VPNs, since the main draw of Hola VPN is its free option. Here’s our list of the best Hola VPN alternatives.
- Windscribe — The fastest free VPN with excellent security
- Proton VPN — Secure, unlimited-data freemium VPN
- ExpressVPN — The best paid VPN option, but no free plan
- NordVPN — The fastest paid VPN, but no free plan
- Hide.me — A trustworthy and fast free VPN
Hola VPN’s big draw (after its $0 price tag) is that it has a large network of servers worldwide — and its large number of global IP addresses — so the VPNs we recommend as alternatives should also provide a large server spread.
We also considered certain criteria when coming up with this list, including the VPN’s security, privacy and the quality of the VPN’s server network.
Why You Need a Hola Alternative: How Hola Works
Like any VPN service, Hola masks your location and traffic by routing your connection through a server.
However, Hola doesn’t use dedicated secure servers; instead, the VPN routes data through subscriber devices, like a peer-to-peer network. When you sign up for Hola, your IP address becomes accessible to every other user.
This means that your IP address is exposed to other users, who can use your IP for illicit acts. TrendMicro issued a warning against Hola VPN, saying that its tests show Hackers can also execute programs on your device or infect your device with malware.
Additionally, Hola VPN does not encrypt your entire connection, which we were able to verify via WireShark testing (see image below). After running three tests, we verified some information failed to be encrypted while connected to a Hola VPN server.
You should also note that Hola VPN is a sister company to Luminati, a company notorious for selling networks of computers that have been hijacked by malicious software for the purpose of cybercrimes (read our Hola VPN article to learn more about this).
Luminati also sells access to Hola VPN for a price, though the company claims it screens users now beforehand. With a reputation such as this, there’s no question as to why you might be looking at Hola alternatives.
The 5 Best Hola VPN Alternatives
Now that we’ve explained the security risks of using Hola VPN — and that our top choices have none of these issues — we’ll break down what each of these VPNs has to offer in terms of server network and security.
1. Proton VPN
More details about Proton VPN:
- Pricing: Free; $4.99 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: protonvpn.com
- Affordable plans
- Secure core servers
- Excellent free version
- Free plan limits servers & speeds
Next up on our list of Hola alternatives is Proton VPN, which maintains a network of dedicated, secure servers located in 64 countries across the world. Its highest concentration of servers is in Europe and North America, but it also reaches underserved locations, such as Africa (Nigeria and South Africa) and the Middle East (Israel and the United Arab Emirates).
The free plan comes with servers in just three countries: the United States, the Netherlands and Japan. It also allows just one VPN connection and “medium” speed.
For optimal security, Proton VPN offers three protocols: OpenVPN, WireGuard and IKEv2. Note that IKEv2 is not available on Proton VPN’s Windows desktop app, and OpenVPN is the only option for Linux users.
Secure Core Servers
In addition to its standard servers, Proton VPN has a category called “secure core servers,” located in privacy-friendly countries like Switzerland, Iceland and Sweden. When these servers are enabled, the VPN first routes your traffic through a secure core server before connecting through the VPN server of your choice.
This helps protect your privacy when you’re in a high-risk jurisdiction where servers could become compromised, like Russia, India, Turkey or China. Unfortunately, Proton VPN’s secure core servers can only be accessed on the Plus and Visionary plans.
Proton VPN has cheap plans. Its monthly plan costs $9.99, but if you subscribe to its two-year plan, it works out to $4.99 per month. Aside from its free plan, Proton VPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee that enables you to test out more features and request a refund if you’re not satisfied.
You can read more about the service in our Proton VPN review.
More details about Windscribe:
- Pricing: Free; $5.75 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: windscribe.com
- Generous free plan
- Solid security
- 3-day money-back guarantee
If you’re looking for the best free alternative to Hola, Windscribe is our top recommendation. In terms of security, Windscribe offers secure protocols — including OpenVPN, WireGuard and IKEv2.
Windscribe also has a wide network, with servers in more than 60 countries. All Windscribe servers are dedicated physical servers (read our physical vs virtual server article for why that’s generally a plus).
Windscribe has most of its servers in Europe and North America. It also has servers in commonly overlooked locations, such as Africa (Kenya, Ghana and South Africa) and the Middle East (Israel). However, Windscribe gives you access to just 10 countries on the free plan.
Generous Free Version
Windscribe has one of the most generous free plans, in spite of a few restrictions. You get 2GB of data per month up front, which you can increase to 15GB per month permanently if you confirm your email address and tweet about the VPN. You also have access to 10 server locations.
Beyond these restrictions, Windscribe Free gives you access to all the other security features in its suite. Windscribe also offers unlimited simultaneous connections and unlimited bandwidth on all its plans. It’s also easy to configure on Windows, making it the best free VPN for PCs.
While Windscribe has an excellent free plan, its paid plans come with a three-day money-back guarantee, which is much shorter than the industry-standard 30 days. It would be nice to have a longer money-back guarantee, but this is understandable since Windscribe already has a free plan.
Windscribe’s paid plans are very affordable and flexible. The monthly plan costs $9, but the one-year plan gives you a better deal of $5.75 per month.
For flexibility, Windscribe offers a build-a-plan option, which lets you select your own servers for $1 each per month (with a $3 minimum). Read more about the VPN in our Windscribe review.
- : Up to 15 GB free with email confirmation and Tweet
- : 15 GB
- : Unlimited
- : Unlimited GB
- : Unlimited
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: $6.66 per month (15-months plan)
- Provider website: expressvpn.com
- Secure Lightway protocol
- Solid security
- Very fast
With a large network of dedicated secure servers spanning more than 90 countries, it’s easy to see that ExpressVPN operates a more secure server network than Hola VPN.
ExpressVPN’s server network is highly concentrated in Europe, followed by the Americas and Asia. Like most top-tier VPNs, its server network also reaches underserved locations, like South America, the Middle East and Africa.
All of ExpressVPN’s servers support OpenVPN (TCP or UDP), and many support the well-known IKEv2 and the Lightway protocol, the latter of which is ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol. All these protocols use industry standard encryption, making ExpressVPN a better option than Hola VPN.
Although ExpressVPN has maintained an unblemished reputation since it emerged, its acquisition by Kape Technologies (formerly known as Crossrider), a U.K.-based cybersecurity company, raised some security concerns. Thankfully, ExpressVPN has reiterated its commitment to undergoing external audits and penetration tests.
High Speeds and Security With Lightway Protocol
Security is ExpressVPN’s real forte, and it proves this with the Lightway protocol. Lightway was built for always-on protection, keeping your VPN connection on standby mode when you’re switching networks instead of disabling it.
Lightway uses the open-source WolfSSL cryptography library, which is recognized for its lightweight framework. It is also incredibly fast, holding its own against protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard.
ExpressVPN is expensive, but it is one of those VPNs that’s well worth the price. It offers quality features and services that you don’t find in just any regular VPN. The monthly plan costs $12.95, but the annual plan brings the cost down to $6.66 per month.
ExpressVPN offers a seven-day free trial, but it’s only available for Android and iOS users. It does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is available on any device. You can use it to test out ExpressVPN’s features and request a refund before it runs out.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.29 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: nordvpn.com
- Blazing-fast speeds
- Intuitive apps
- Large server network
- Expensive monthly plans
NordVPN is leagues above Hola VPN. The VPN provider has a large physical server network on the market, boasting nearly 60 countries. Europe has the largest share of servers, followed by North America, the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and the Middle East.
NordVPN serves only one country in Africa (South Africa), but three in the Middle East (the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Turkey). Its servers are strictly bare-metal — or physical — servers, with no virtual servers in its network (read our article on virtual and bare-metal servers to see how they affect VPN usage).
Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN is a paid VPN service, so there’s no limit on the number of servers you can access. However, it offers a seven-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee, which lets you test out the service and request a refund if you’re not satisfied.
NordVPN’s servers support OpenVPN, IKEv2 and NordLynx (NordVPN’s proprietary protocol built around WireGuard).
A Great Collection of Specialty Servers
NordVPN features specialty server types, some of which can only be used with certain protocols. Obfuscated servers provide additional encryption by making your IP address appear like regular HTTP traffic.
For example, it’s wise to use a VPN with obfuscation in a country like China, known for its Great Firewall censorship network.
The other server types in NordVPN’s network are double VPN, dedicated P2P servers and Onion Over VPN servers. Double VPN servers route your internet traffic through two servers for an added layer of encryption, while Onion over VPN servers are optimized to allow you access the Tor network securely.
Meanwhile, the dedicated P2P servers enable users to torrent securely and at high speeds, thanks to their capacity for handling large data transfers.
NordVPN’s monthly plan is very pricey at $11.99, but it offers a lot of value for the money. If you pay for two years up front, it brings the price down to $3.29 per month. You get a seven-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee when you sign up for any of NordVPN’s paid plans.
Read more about the VPN in our NordVPN review.[pricingtble id=8425]
More details about Hide.me:
- Pricing: Free; $4.16 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: hide.me
- Decent speeds
- Generous free plan
- Slower on distant servers
Hide.me is a VPN with servers in nearly 50 countries; however, the free version restricts you to just five servers, located in North America and Europe. Hide.me’s server network is made up of physical, bare-metal servers, which are highly secure, making it a better option than Hola VPN.
On the premium version, Hide.me has most of its servers in Europe, followed by Asia-Pacific. It also reaches underserved locations, especially in Africa (Egypt, South Africa and Morocco). Hide.me offers secure protocols, including WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2.
Like most VPNs, Hide.me’s servers get slower with increased distance. Based on our speed tests, you shouldn’t have trouble — at least with download speeds and latencies — when connected to Hide.me servers nearest to you. However, the download speeds are pretty weak when you’re connected to more distant servers.
Extra Layer of Security and Privacy
For a free VPN, Hide.me comes with a lot of features, one of which is multi-hop double VPN servers. This feature routes your data through two servers in different locations, fortifying your connection with additional security and privacy.
Although the multi-hop feature is quite popular with top-tier VPNs, Hide.me distinguishes itself by letting you choose your entry and exit servers instead of giving you a list of paired servers to choose from. This allows you to choose locations near you to balance speed and security.
The multi-hop double VPN is only available to premium users.
Hide.me’s monthly plan is cheaper than ExpressVPN or NordVPN, costing $9.95. Its two-year plan is the best deal, costing just $4.16 per month. Beyond the free plan, all Hide.me paid plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Read more about the VPN in our Hide.me review.
Is Hola VPN Malicious?
Without a doubt, Hola VPN is not trustworthy. It runs an unencrypted peer-to-peer server network that puts you at great risk, but under the guise of giving users a free plan with no restrictions.
If you’re looking for trustworthy VPN software, there are other better free service options, as well as other popular paid VPN services that are worth the money investment. Windscribe and Proton VPN are excellent free alternatives to Hola, while ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the best VPN services overall.
Final Thoughts: Alternative to Hola VPN
Unfortunately, Hola VPN raises many red flags. Thankfully, there are several VPNs on this list — free and paid — that make great alternatives to Hola. For similar articles, check out our HideMyAss alternative guide.
Have you used Hola VPN before? Do you have any more recommendations for Hola alternatives? What other VPN features do you need in a premium VPN or free VPN? We’d like to hear from you in the comment section below and, as always, thanks for reading.