HolaVPN vs Hotspot Shield

Both Hola and Hotspot Shield offer free and commercial VPN services, which is why they are called “freemium” services. The free offerings from each company are handicapped in significant ways, but are available as a strategy to entice you to upgrade to paying for better service. Yet, the competitors operate in extremely different ways.

Hola is the facilitator of a peer-to-peer connection-sharing network that partially relies on servers. Hotspot Shield is a conventional VPN that relies on its own network of servers.

In this article, we will chart and explain all the similarities and distinctions between these services. We will begin with the commercial plans.

Disclosure: Both Hotspot Shield and Comparitech are owned by Pango.



  • Can be very fast
  • Works with most major streaming services
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Can connect to users anywhere
  • Has free tier

Hotspot Shield

  • Solid security features
  • Fast enough for live HD streaming
  • Works with most major streaming services
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Large network of servers

Hola vs. Hotspot Shield pricing

No valueHola VPNHotspot Shield
Subscription periodsOne month, one year, three yearsOne month, one year, three years
Highest price per month$14.99$12.99
Lowest monthly cost$2.99 per month$2.99
One year price$92.26$95.99
Money-back guarantee30 days45 days
Best deal (per month)$2.99
SAVE 80% on a 3-year plan

Hola offers two different commercial plans: “premium” and “ultra.” Hola shows four distinctions between its plans. With the ultra plan, you have access to about 50 percent more servers, your service is faster, and you can simultaneously use more devices with the service (20 vs. 10). With the premium plan, you are limited to HD video quality for streaming, while the ultra plan enables 4k streaming.

Both VPNs require three-year subscriptions to get the lowest monthly rates, which are both $2.99. However, this is an oranges to peaches comparison: you are not getting the same service for the same price. Hola’s lowest price is for its premium plan. For the same price, Hotspot Shield gives you access to about 80 percent more servers, its fastest speed, and 4k streaming capability.

Hola’s ultra service is more comparable to Hotspot Shield’s standard service. The ultra plan costs at least $7.99/month. Hotspot Shield’s prices are easy to beat, but Hola costs more than twice as much.

Hola vs. Hotspot Shield features

No valueHola VPNHotspot Shield
Simultaneous connections1 or 1010
Operating System AppsWindows 8 and later, MacOS, 10.11 and newer, iOS 8.0 and up, Android 5.0 and laterWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV
Manual install devicesSelect routersSelect routers
Split tunellingAndroid only
Free extrasBrowser extensions for Chrome, Edge, Opera, and Firefox, mobile browserBrowser extensions (Chrome, Edge, and Firefox), built-in speed tester
Best deal (per month)$2.99
SAVE 80% on a 3-year plan

Both services can be used with the most popular operating systems; Hotspot Shield also has apps for Linux and Chrome. Hotspot Shield allows a fairly standard five simultaneous connections. Hola doubles that with its premium plan. That’s a benefit if you have a large family. Hola works with a very impressive variety of devices.

Each VPN has some unique features. Hola makes its own Chromium-based browser. It only works with Hola’s service, and has not been separately reviewed by Comparitech or anyone else. The concept is intriguing. Chrome and Edge remain widely used, even though both browsers invade your privacy, allow ads, and are slow. A VPN-provided alternative has potential; as Vivaldi, Brave, and other secure free browsers have failed to capture large market shares. While those browsers do not track you, however, Hola’s browser does.

Hotspot Shield includes protection against malware. It also bundles 1Password, a commercial password manager that gets very favorable reviews, and a service that blocks spam calls. Those appealing extras are why Hotspot Shield’s prices are a little higher than average.

Both services provide exceptional compatibility with systems and devices. Both include unusual bonus features. Hotspot Shield’s are more valuable, but the choice in this category is a matter of which systems and devices you use, and which extra features you would use if you had them.

Streaming & Netflix comparison

No valueHola VPNHotspot Shield
Unblocks Netflix US
Unblocks Prime Video
Unblocks BBC iPlayer
Unblocks DAZN
Unblocks Disney+
Unblocks HBO Max
Unblocks Hulu
Unblocks Sky Go
Unblocks YouTube TV
Best deal (per month)$2.99
SAVE 80% on a 3-year plan

Hola’s peer-to-peer network ought to be a big advantage for unblocking location-blocked content. The streaming services attempt to block VPNs, which they can identify partly because of the heavy volume of traffic coming from data center servers. By using a third-party personal IP address in the country you need, you should be able to avoid blocking. In tests, however, Hola was not always reliable for accessing Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video.

Hotspot Shield is very good for streaming. Although the battle between streaming services and VPNs can make any tests a snapshot, we are more likely to trust a VPN that consistently connects to desired content than one that doesn’t. Hotspot Shield has a surprising advantage over Hola for streaming, but both are good.


VPN in China

China is known for its “Great Firewall,” which successfully blocks most VPNs. Hola is no exception; it does not work in China.

Hotspot Shield used to work in China. Service is now spotty. The VPN recommends experimenting with different devices, as that sometimes solves the problem. Hotspot Shield’s engineers are working on a solution, but expect service to continue to be intermittent in the short run.

Unblocking results for people in China and other censorial countries is also a snapshot. VPNs that have consistently worked may abruptly cease to work.

Comparitech’s Paul Bischoff completed extensive tests of VPNs in China in May. He found that even if VPNs do work there, they can be very slow. Bischoff rated Hotspot Shield as the fifth best VPN for use in China at that time.

Neither VPN has a big win in this category at press time, but Hotspot Shield has an edge because it sometimes works and it is trying to overcome the great firewall.

Setup and interface

No valueHola VPNHotspot Shield
Automatic setup wizardWindows, macOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, MacOS, Android, iOS
Main location selectionList-basedList-based
Extra settings pages
Best deal (per month)$2.99
SAVE 80% on a 3-year plan

Both VPNs have apps that are easy to download and use. The automatic setup wizards are simple and satisfactorily fast. The user interfaces are clean and user-friendly. With both VPNs, the desktop and mobile apps are similar enough that you can use both without any confusion.

HSS - App - Servers

Hola has some arcane settings options that you don’t need, but that isn’t really a drawback. Having options is a good thing.

HolaVPN app connection screenshots

Users express a high level of satisfaction and few complaints about both VPN apps. Hola’s user interface is very simple. That’s a benefit for people who prefer simplicity and a disadvantage for people who prefer more user control.

Neither Hola nor Hotspot Shield has an advantage in setup wizards or user interfaces. Beauty is in the eye of the phone holder; your tastes and preferences will determine which is better. Unfortunately, neither VPN has much helpful content on their websites. Neither has many screenshots and how-to videos seem to be non-existent. Both Hola and Hotspot Shield are significantly inferior to other VPNs in this regard. Surfshark, for example, has excellent support pages with visual aids for almost everything.

Servers and Performance

No valueHola VPNHotspot Shield
Server countries21880+
Total number of serversUnknown1,800
Avg Speed (Mbps)107 Mbps100+ Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.99
SAVE 80% on a 3-year plan

Hola lists 212 locations on its website, which are countries or semi-independent entities. Several reference sources say the world has 195 countries. The figure may vary slightly depending on how “country” is defined. For example, Hola lists Guam, a U.S. territory that is not a country, but would be a good place to have a server. The list is prefaced with the phrase, “Super powerful servers all around the globe,” so Hola does not appear to be including the personal computers of its users as part of its server network. Many of the server locations could be virtual servers. Hola does not specify.

Hotspot Shield appears to be transparent about using virtual servers, but that’s because this VPN uniquely uses the term to mean all of its servers, as none of them share your literal IP address. Elsewhere in the VPN industry, “virtual server” means a server that is in one physical location, but is using an IP address assigned to another location.

Virtual servers are not a scam because they can give you an IP address that is assigned to their alleged location. On the other hand, implying the existence of physical servers in locations where they do not exist is a disservice to people who live in relatively unpopulated areas. If you are far from any literal server location, your internet service will be slower. If you sign up for a VPN service because you think it has a nearby server, and that server is really somewhere else, you may be dissatisfied.

If Hola has members in every country, you could theoretically use an IP address assigned to any country you want. That isn’t quite the panacea it seems to be. Many places in the world, including rural areas of the United States, do not have broadband access.

The infrastructure bill passed in the U.S. this year includes $65 billion for broadband. Much of that money will be used to expand high-speed internet access to areas that currently have none.

Dominica, a beautiful island nation in the Caribbean Sea, is on Hola’s list of countries with servers. Although its population is only about 64,700, Dominica does have broadband internet service. The country’s fragile economy is dependent on agriculture and ecotourism, and both industries can be severely harmed or devastated by hurricanes, which are common. Internet service can easily be wiped out by a hurricane.

Major countries have other infrastructure problems, too. India, for example, has electricity shortages.

If Hola’s claim of servers in that many places isn’t hyperbole, the benefits of that certainly are. More data is needed to fairly compare Hola’s international server distribution with Hotspot Shield’s. Hotspot Shield is also unclear about whether or not it uses virtual servers (as others use the term) and, if so, where they are. Hotspot Shield has one list of about 50 countries and another list with twice as many countries, which might be explained by the use of virtual servers.

We can conclude that Hotspot Shield has more than three times as many servers as Hola’s premium plan, and more than twice as many servers as Hola’s ultra plan.

Both Hola and Hotspot Shield list servers in India on their websites. That may not be currently accurate, as many VPNs have been removing their servers from India due to recent government restrictions. The U.S.-based Hotspot Shield lists about 25 cities in the U.S. where it has servers. The Hola apps only let you choose countries.

Hola’s unique method of operation makes speed testing arbitrary. Almost every server and personal computer has different connection speeds. Nonetheless, we tried. As you would expect, results were mixed from the extremes of slowly loading ordinary websites to flawless video streaming.

By our measurements, Hola and Hotspot Shield produced extremely similar average results from servers in several parts of the world. The difference is that Hotspot Shield didn’t vary much from that average, while Hola varied wildly. Hotspot Shield claims to be the fastest VPN. It cites a three-year-old study on its website as proof. Since then, many VPNs have employed new protocols that enable faster connections. In our newer speed tests, Hotspot Shield was the 12th fastest VPN, which is good enough for any web-based activity.

If you want to pick a server and forget about it, Hotspot Shield is going to be more reliably fast. If you’re willing to do trial-and-error experimenting to find a fast server, Hola could be faster. Given that Hola does not allow torrenting and blocks torrenting programs, you may not realize many benefits from a faster connection.

Security comparison

No valueHola VPNHotspot Shield
VPN protocolsIKEv2/IPsecHydra, IKEv2, WireGuard
OpenVPN data encryption256-bit AES256-bit AES
OpenVPN control channel encryptionUnknownRSA-2048
Cloaking technology available? No details
App securityKill SwitchKill switch
DNS statusIssues reported with DNS leakagePrivate DNS
Best deal (per month)$2.99
SAVE 80% on a 3-year plan

Either Hola provides very little information about its security measures or it just uses a few basic tools. Hotspot Shield uses a standard baseline complement of security measures, and has recently added or upgraded some.

The kill switch in HSS’ Android app is new, but the feature is still not in its apps for Apple products. A kill switch will terminate your internet connection if you become disconnected from your VPN. It saves you from inadvertently using the internet without the shield of your VPN.

Hotspot Shield connects you to private DNS servers whenever you use the VPN. We experienced no DNS leaks in our most recent tests. By default, most devices use the DNS servers provided by their ISP, which can use your DNS traffic to monitor your browsing.

Hola’s free service provides essentially no security. The Israeli company could greatly benefit itself by either providing more security features for its commercial plans or at least letting users of its free service know all the security benefits they would get by upgrading their plan.

Premium VPNs (including some that cost no more than Hotspot Shield) offer a lot of extra security capabilities, including malware blocking, tracker blocking, ad blocking, extra layers of obfuscation, DNS leak-protection, wifi protection, and more. Hotspot Shield gives you protection against malware, and its 1Password subscription shouldn’t be overlooked as a security tool. Although the best VPNs give you overall increased security, Hotspot Shield is more than adequately secure. Hola either needs to implement better security measures or let the world know about its unpublicized benefits.


No valueHola VPNHotspot Shield
HeadquartersNetanya, HaMerkaz, IsraelRedwood City, California, United States
Connection logsYes, it keeps heavy logsSome, but no identifiable data
Activity logsBandwidthAnonymized data
User details for signupEmail addressEmail address
Anonymous payment options
Best deal (per month)$2.99
SAVE 80% on a 3-year plan

As an American company, Hotspot Shield is subject to turning over information to the U.S. and its allies. As it does not maintain logs, it has no information to share. Your anonymity is safe.

As an Israeli company, Hola has no concerns about its government requesting or demanding information, but it collects enough information about you to start its own intelligence service. You have no privacy whatsoever with Hola. The company does say it does not sell your information.

Neither of these VPNs accepts anonymous payment options (e.g. cryptocurrency). Most privacy experts argue in favor of paying by anonymous means because you can prevent your VPN from even knowing who you are. However, the security benefit of paying with a credit card is arguably more valuable: if you have a problem with the service or getting a refund, you can contest the charge with your credit card issuer.

Hotspot Shield’s privacy policies are both typical and adequate. If you want greater anonymity, some VPNs offer that. Hotspot Shield’s no-logs policy has not been independently audited.

Hola’s complete lack of privacy protections makes sense for its free plan. If you are paying $36/year or more for a VPN, you should not have to be tracked by that VPN nor have that VPN collect your personal information.


No valueHola VPNHotspot Shield
Address allocationSharedShared
Dedicated IP address
DDoS protection
NAT firewall
Best deal (per month)$2.99
SAVE 80% on a 3-year plan

With Hola’s free plan, you do not connect to any servers; you connect to other people’s internet connections. With the premium or ultra plans, you connect to servers or peers. When connected to a server, you are using its shared IP address. When connected to a peer, you are using the IP address of that person’s device. That is a benefit when you are trying to connect to a website that blocks VPNs.

With Hotspot Shield, you and all the other Hotspot Shield customers connected to the same server share that server’s IP address. The benefit is increased anonymity because websites can’t easily distinguish you from the other users of the same server.

A static IP address is only necessary if you need to receive incoming connections. Most people don’t need one.

Most modern routers have NAT firewalls that filter traffic between your devices and the internet. The firewall in your router is an important layer of protection. You can use a NAT firewall with a VPN that uses protocols that allow it. Neither Hola nor Hotspot Shield mentions having that capability.

Customer service

No valueHola VPNHotspot Shield
24/7 live chat
Ticket support
Email support
Phone support
Average email response time2-3 days3-4 hours
Searchable knowledge base
Video guides
Best deal (per month)$2.99
SAVE 80% on a 3-year plan

The only way to get help from Hola is to fill out a support form on Hola’s website. A single form is used for tech support, customer service, or requesting a refund. Instant help with a problem is not possible. That is unusually minimal support for a commercial VPN service.

Hotspot Shield provides all the standard forms of support. In our tests, we received answers to emailed questions in less than an hour in four of six tries. The average is skewed by one response that took more than nine hours. This is considerably better than average responsiveness.

Hotspot Shield only has 550 user reviews on Trustpilot, but the results are outstanding. Hotspot Shield has a weighted average rating of 4.8/5. Of the seven percent who rated service as “bad,” billing issues were the most common recent complaint.

In twice as many user reviews on Trustpilot, Hola also does very well. The 4.5/5 rating is lowered by 10 percent of users who rate service as “poor” or “bad.” User complaints cover everything.

Keep in mind that Trustpilot ratings for both of these VPNs may be artificially high because the reviews are from a mixture of people using the free and commercial services. People getting something for free are likely to have lower expectations and be more forgiving of shortcomings.

Both of these VPNs have poor, difficult-to-navigate websites, but Hotspot Shield offers much more content than Hola does. Neither website has a search box on its home page. Hotspot Shield has “support” on a menu at the top of its page, but Hola buries its support link at the bottom of the page.

Hola’s knowledge base is limited to FAQs. How-to content is limited to setup guides. The search tools on both VPNs’ websites were ineffective at producing relevant results in our tests.

Neither VPN offers video tutorials. Hotspot Shield has a blog, but the content is mostly marketing material. Both VPNs have setup guides with screenshots, which are very helpful. Hotspot Shield covers additional topics in guides as well.

You are more likely to find answers to your questions without contacting support on Hotspot Shield’s site than on Hola’s site. Finding the help you need on both sites can be challenging.

Hola vs. Hotspot Shield: free versions

Hola’s free version vs. premium/ultra versions

With Hola’s free version, you must share your bandwidth, and you are mostly limited to the peer-to-peer network. With the prepaid versions, you don’t have to share and you can also access Hola’s full server network. When you do share, it is limited amount to 100 MB per day. Hola says it only happens when your connection is idle. Hola doesn’t say what happens when you want to get online and your internet connection is already in use.

With a commercial plan, you get faster speed, more simultaneous connections (at least 10 versus one), faster customer support, and higher video streaming quality. You do not get an upgrade in security or privacy. As discussed above, the prices for Hola’s commercial plans are non-competitive.

Hola tracks you as you go from website to website. It does not have any security features to prevent others from tracking you as well. Most VPNs don’t prevent Google, Microsoft, and social media sites from tracking you if you use their products, but Hola enables anyone who knows how to do it to track you.

Sharing your internet connection with strangers poses significant risks. A person using your connection can engage in activities that are illegal in your country. You may be the person to suffer the consequences.

Let’s consider a likely scenario. Although Hola doesn’t allow torrenting, it doesn’t mention anything about preventing people from accessing digital file lockers. Suppose someone uses your connection to visit a file-sharing blog. That peer clicks on a link on the blog and goes to a file locker to download a best-selling album or Microsoft Office or something equally popular and obvious. Your ISP’s filters spy the download and the ISP takes action. It may warn you, notify the copyright holder, or notify your government. That’s a risk you take with Hola. Another popular reason for using a conventional VPN is to avoid that kind of risk.

Botnets are an additional risk with Hola’s free service. They allow hackers to gain control of your device.

Hotspot Shield’s free version vs. commercial version

The distinctions between Hotspot Shield’s two VPN products are fairly extreme, but in some ways, even the free version of Hotspot Shield is better than Hola’s premium version. It is more private and more secure.

With the free version of Hotspot Shield, you can only connect to one server. You will be sharing bandwidth with many users and are likely to perceive the results of that traffic jam. With the commercial version, you have a large choice of servers. It lets users in the U.S. connect to a choice of many cities in the U.S., as well as to other countries. The commercial version gives you access to more fast servers, and access to servers optimized for streaming or gaming. Users say the free version does not unblock any streaming services.

You get more support with the commercial version. You also get more simultaneous connections: up to five versus one. Extra features include a password manager, spam-call blocking, anti-phishing protection, internet kill switches, and split-tunneling.

One of the biggest differences is that the free version subjects you to advertising. That’s intrusive and annoying, but it pays for the free service. It is preferable to tracking your browsing history and selling the information, which is how some free VPNs are supported.

Hola vs. Hotspot Shield: Major distinctions between the free plans

Hotspot Shield is secure and private. No logs are maintained. Hola is insecure; it does not encrypt data. Hola tracks you, logs your browsing history, and even collects personal information from social media sites you visit.

Hotspot Shield serves ads; Hola is ad-free. Hola’s free version is better for accessing streaming media services.

Hotspot Shield does not let strangers share your internet connection; Hola requires it. If you choose to upgrade your service, and want to stick with the same VPN, Hotspot Shield is cheaper.

Hola vs. Hotspot Shield: The winner

If you don’t care about privacy or security, and your only interest in a VPN is unblocking streaming media services, the free version of Hola is the best value of the five plans under consideration. However, that plan limits you to low-resolution video. If privacy and security matter to you at all, all three of Hola’s plans are unacceptable. Hotspot Shield isn’t just better in that regard, it is solid. Hotspot Shield’s free plan gives you protection that Hola’s most expensive plan lacks.

Both of Hotspot Shield’s offerings are more reliable than any of Hola’s. Speeds will be more consistent. Hotspot Shield has many more servers. However, Hola’s peer network is humongous. You can find a location anywhere. No conventional VPN can compete with that. If you want to watch a sporting event that is limited to people in Ethiopia, Hola will connect you to someone in Ethiopia who will share a connection with you.

The commercial plans from both VPNs are more expensive than average, but Hola is more expensive than Hotspot Shield for a comparable level of service, and Hotspot Shield gives you extras to justify its cost. Hotspot Shield gives you a 45-day money-back guarantee; Hola gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Both VPNs are good for streaming, but Hotspot Shield apparently no longer allows streaming on its free plan. Hola does not allow torrenting; Hotspot Shield does.

Hotspot Shield has considerably improved service in the past couple of years. New ownership is making notable investments in upgrading privacy, speed, and service. The data cap seems to have been removed from Hotspot Shield’s free plan.

Meanwhile, Hola has had to battle a few controversies. As described, free sharing presents risks, and some Hola users have experienced them, even though Hola is not directly responsible. Hola’s Android app was temporarily removed from the Google Play store.

Hola’s support and customer service are very limited, but user reviews indicate a high level of satisfaction. Hotspot Shield fares even better in user reviews. Hotspot Shield’s website does not rival the best VPNs in breadth of content or ease of use, but it is considerably more comprehensive and useful than what Hola provides.

Hotspot Shield’s commercial plan is the clear winner. It is one of the better VPNs for speed, security, privacy, unblocking, and satisfying its customers.

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Comparing Hola and Hotspot Shield: our methodology

We evaluated and compared these two services in the following:

  • Server networks: Hola and Hotspot Shield operate thousands of servers in dozens of countries. Bigger server networks allow you to be able to access more content. They increase the likelihood of finding a server near your physical location, which enables faster speed. Hola relies on peer connections as well as servers, and we evaluate the value of that.
  • Speed: Using a VPN slows your internet connection. The fastest VPNs, Hotspot Shield included, make little difference. Hola presents unique challenges because no sample test can be considered representative. We conduct our speed tests on VPN servers in three continents.
  • Unblocking: People use VPNs to bypass blocked content and geographic restrictions. Websites and countries with restrictions are currently engaged in a battle with VPNs. We test all VPNs with popular streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+ to determine whether they can successfully overcome blocking attempts.
  • Security: We review encryption methodology, connection protocols, the availability of kill switches in apps, protection against data leaks, and extra features (such as malware blocking by Hotspot Shield and Hola’s own web browser).
  • Privacy: We review logging practices, data collection, government requirements in the VPN’s home country, the possibility of anonymous registration, and company history regarding privacy.
  • Ease of use: Every VPN creates apps for some or all of the major operating systems for computers and smartphones. Creating user-friendly apps, as Hola and Hotspot Shield do, takes care, time, money, and continual refinement. Those apps must be backed with good tech support and other customer service, including a helpful website, multiple methods of contact, and quick responsiveness. We test, review, and compare all those factors.
  • Value: Price is part of value, but what you get per dollar determines value. VPNs try to make oranges to oranges price comparisons difficult, but we find ways to make comparisons. We look for money-back guarantees and test their credibility. We note upselling practices and report any unsavory business practices. We also report extra features that competing VPNs do not routinely offer. Even though Hola and Hotspot Shield have free tiers, price is still a consideration because you do make sacrifices in return for the service.

If you’d like to know more about the specific tests we run on VPNs like Hola and Hotspot Shield, check our full VPN testing methodology.

Hola or Hotspot Shield FAQs

How do Hola and Hotspot Shield handle your data?

Hola collects your IP address, name, email address, screen name, password, and payment and billing information. Its privacy policy advises, “We will keep records containing client personal data,” but also says, “We do not rent or sell any Personal Information.” Hola does not take responsibility for protecting your privacy or security. The policy explains, “You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality and security of your Registration Data and for all activities that occur under your account.”

One of the reasons Hola monitors and logs your data is to prevent its users from engaging in illegal activities. Hola unequivocally states it “will report any malicious use to the authorities.”

Hotspot Shield does not log personal data, but has not been independently audited to verify that. Pango, Hotspot Shield’s parent company, collects your name, user name, address, email address, password, payment and billing information, and possibly your phone number.

Hotspot Shield collects information about your usage for analytics purposes. That includes what device, browser, and Pango apps you use, what operating system you use, and the name of your ISP. Pango uses this information for internal security, legal compliance, billing and payment purposes, and marketing.

Hotspot Shield isn’t as invasive as Hola is, primarily because it doesn’t track your or keep records of your usage, but leading VPNs such as NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN have much more reassuring privacy policies than Hola and Pango do.

What’s the story behind Hola’s connection sharing?

Peer-to-peer sharing became popular in the early days of the internet. In the late-1990s, Napster and a few other software developers created platforms for peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. Dial-up internet service was dominant in that era; few people had broadband service at home. File downloading was slow. People got their email through their ISP, and ISPs capped the size of attachments, which made sharing media files impossible. While people could use a platform like Napster for legitimate sharing of large files, those platforms were mostly used to pirate copyrighted material.

Meanwhile, file sharing also occurred on Usenet. With Usenet, people upload files to a third-party server for others to download. Torrenting also became a popular method of P2P networking; it relies on no servers. Instead, connections are made from one PC to another, or to multiple other computers at once. Even with broadband, torrenting can be very slow when downloading very large files, such as movies.

With torrenting, you give something to get something. Hola’s founders came up with the clever idea of using that model to create a pseudo-VPN. Instead of sharing files, its participants share their bandwidth.

VPNs are used for many reasons and purposes. One of the most popular is to get around location-limited streaming media content. If your internet connection to the streaming service appears to be coming from a country or region where that content is allowed, you can access it. Conventional VPNs accomplish that by having servers located in the areas where you want them.

VPNs were a solution until the major streaming services started using detection methods to block them. One of those methods is identifying a lot of traffic coming from a single IP address (generally indicating that address comes from a VPN server). Now, VPNs are implementing technologies to unblock the blockers.

Hola’s P2P network makes unblocking unnecessary. By sharing the internet connection of someone in another country, you appear to be an individual customer to streaming services. Hola is usually fast enough for streaming, too. That’s Hola’s great strength, and probably the reason why it has more than 250 million users.

Has Hola ever been hacked?

Yes, Hola’s Chrome extension was hacked in 2018. The hack targeted users of a specific cryptocurrency. Hola fixed the problem. Although most VPNs offer browser extensions, they generally aren’t necessary. Browser extensions are a security risk and can slow browsers.

Which VPN works better for India: Hola or Hotspot Shield

Many VPNs have recently removed their servers from India because the Indian government requires VPN providers to store data. In this article, Hotspot Shield implies that it has a virtual server for India that is actually located in Singapore.

Because Hola stores data anyway, the company may not have anything to gain from removing servers from India. Regardless, you should be able to connect to Hola’s free plan users in India and share their internet connection. Hola should be faster for people in India.

How long have Hola and Hotspot Shield been in business?

Hola and Hotspot Shield were both started in 2008. Hotspot Shield was originally developed by AnchorFree. It is currently owned by Pango, which is a subsidiary of Aura.

How many users do Hola and Hotspot Shield have?

Hola says it has more than 252 million users. Hotspot Shield does not report a figure, but an unreliable source says it has more than 650 million users. Hotspot Shield has more than 100 million downloads on the Google Play store.

What works better on a game console: Hola or Hotspot Shield?

Hola has apps for Xbox and PlayStation, which is an advantage. You can buy a router with Hotspot Shield software pre-installed, which will allow you to connect your gaming devices to its service. Hotspot Shield also offers specific servers for gamers.

Does Hola or Hotspot Shield use obfuscated servers?

Some VPNs provide technologies to increase your anonymity. Neither Hola nor Hotspot Shield does.

Which VPN is more secure, Hola or Hotspot Shield?

Hotspot Shield is much more secure, especially when compared with Hola’s free plan. Sharing internet connections opens up too many risks. Also, Hotspot Shield provides protection against malware.

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