Surfshark vs Hola VPN

Selecting the best VPN can be a tough task, especially with so many providers to choose between. Our Surfshark vs. Hola VPN comparison covers all of the most popular decision factors needed to select the ideal VPN for you.

Surfshark and Hola VPN are both viable options for hiding your online activities from the likes of ISPs, and they protect your connection when hooking up to unsecured wifi hotspots. But the reason for choosing a VPN runs much deeper than that, which is where we come in.

To begin with, we’ve provided a summarized list of highlights to help you understand what each provider has going for them. Beyond that, you’ll find a side-by-side comparison detailing everything from pricing structures to speed and unblocking capabilities. If you’re ready, let’s dig right in.

Highlights

Surfshark

  • Affordable VPN solution
  • No limit on devices
  • Unblocks Netflix and more
  • Large network of servers

Hola VPN

  • Easy to use
  • Large user base
  • Free options are available
  • Split tunneling included

Surfshark vs Hola VPN pricing

 SurfsharkHola VPN
Subscription periodsOne monthOne month
Six monthsOne year
Two yearsThree Years
Special offer83% off three year plans80% off three year plans
Highest price per month$12.95$14.99
Lowest price per month$2.21$2.99
One-year price$59.76N/A
Money-back guarantee30 days30 days

First up in our comparison, Surfshark has terms ranging from one month, six months, and two years. Hola VPN offers plans consisting of one month, one year and three-year terms. Although it’s not a dealbreaker, Hola VPN’s monthly plan is $14.99 versus Surfshark’s $12.95 monthly fee. We’d expect to see a monthly plan option available for VPNs instead of diving into half-yearly or annual plans so that you’re not tied into lengthy contracts before you’ve even tried the service.

Although the monthly pricing is heavier than you’d pay with longer terms, both providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to sign up for a month, try the service, and request a full refund at the end of the guarantee period if you’re not completely satisfied.

Again, comparing Hola VPN’s lowest price per month at $2.99 up against Surfshark’s $2.21 isn’t vastly different, but the significance comes from their annual discounts. Hola VPN doesn’t offer a two-year plan like Surfshark, but it discounts its three-year plan by 80%, billed at $107.55 upfront. Surfshark provides a slightly more significant discount of $83%, almost half of Hola VPN’s top pricing. You could, in theory, purchase Surfshark for four years for a similar price to Hola VPN’s three-year offering.

BEST DEAL FOR SURFSHARK:Save 83% when you choose Surfshark’s 2-year deal.

BEST DEAL FOR HOLA VPN:Get 80% off Hola VPN’s 3-year plan.

Surfshark vs Hola VPN features

 SurfsharkHola VPN
Simultaneous connectionsNo limit1 or 10
Operating system appsWindows, Linux, MacOS, Android, iOS, Amazon Firestick/ Fire TVWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, games consoles
Manual install devicesSelect routersSelect routers
Split tunnelingYesYes
Free extrasMalware-scanning, ad-blocking, and anti-tracking features. Browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox).Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, mobile browser

While some users prefer a basic feature set with their VPN service, some prefer a more comprehensive package that includes advanced privacy settings and features. Both Surfshark and Hola VPN let you use apps on most major platforms like Android and iOS, Windows and Mac, along with support for various game consoles. Surfshark slightly slips ahead with support for Linux-based systems, but both providers allow you to set up the VPN on a supported router.

Hola VPN’s free plan gives you access to its VPN on a single device simultaneously, while its premium plan lets you use its app on ten devices at once. Surfshark steams ahead in this part of its features, giving you an unlimited number of simultaneous device connections, allowing you to protect every device in your household, plus your friends and family’s devices (if you wanted to) using the same account. You could even halve the cost of the Surfshark subscription fee to spread the cost by sharing an account.

Both Hola VPN and Surfshark offer split tunneling. This could come in useful when you need to access websites like eBay (which are temperamental with a VPN connection) using your direct connection, while apps like uTorrent have the protection of a VPN.

Surfshark pushes further ahead with features due to its included extras like malware detection, anti-tracking tools, and an adblocker, which further enhance your online privacy. Both Hola VPN and Surfshark include browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, which are beneficial when you only need to protect your browsing activities and don’t need a VPN to secure all of your device activities.

Streaming and Unblocking

 SurfsharkHola VPN
NetflixOver a dozen libraries including Netflix US, UK, France, India, Japan, NetherlandsSometimes
Hulu
YesNo
Sky Go
YesNo
Amazon Prime VideoYesNo
BBC iPlayerYesNo
CBSYesNo
NBCYesNo
ITVYesNo
Channel 4YesNo

Since the global pandemic in 2020, streaming has never been more popular. Considering the number of streaming platforms around today, it’s pretty unlikely anyone will run out of content to watch, with new TV shows and movies being added every day. However, that doesn’t stop us from wanting to watch our favorite content from home when we travel abroad.

Prime Video, Netflix, and Disney Plus are some providers that place geo-restrictions on their platforms. Hola VPN can access US Netflix on some of its servers, but it’s inconsistent at best. In other words, it might work on one occasion and then fail the next time you try it. The story for all of the other platforms we tested is slightly different. The VPN simply never works (not even now and then).

In other news, Surfshark came out on top and let us enjoy every streaming platform we tested! It lets us enjoy Netflix from over a dozen regions, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, and more in a breeze, with no errors and no annoying buffering.

Do these VPNs work in China?

Accessing streaming sites is a challenge in itself, but choosing a VPN that works in China is an entirely different ball game. China, the UAE, and other regions are pretty heavy with their censorship on internet users, preventing access to media outlets, streaming platforms, and even apps like Snapchat and Instagram.

The Great Firewall of China is highly advanced in detecting VPN usage, making it difficult for most VPNs to bypass the detection software used in China. Hola VPN fails miserably in this area as it doesn’t function in China, making it a poor choice if you need to use it within the country.

Thanks to Surfshark’s double obfuscation techniques, called Noborders Mode and Camouflage Mode, it can get around the detection of China’s Great Firewall so long as you install it on a device outside of China before you go there. So out of the two, only Surfshark works in China.

Setup and Interface

 SurfsharkHola VPN
Automatic setup wizardWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, iOS, Android
Main location selectionList-basedList-based
Extra settings page
YesYes
Mobile-friendlyYesYes

We’ve already touched upon the supported devices that each VPN offers apps for, but an automatic setup wizard falls within the configuration category. By automatic, we mean an easy-to-use installation package that doesn’t require manual intervention – you just set up and go. Both Hola VPN and Surfshark offer auto-setup wizards, although Surfshark provides a simple setup solution that caters to Linux users.

Both VPN providers’ apps offer a user-friendly list-based server selection option, allowing you to scroll through several server locations (countries) to connect to a region of your choice with a single tap or click. The apps look great for both VPN on mobile and desktop, and they both have dedicated settings pages that allow you to tweak the app to your preferences. Surfshark also goes further with customization, allowing you to change the look and feel of the app with skins.

Servers and Performance

 SurfsharkHola VPN
Server countries65Unknown
Total number of servers3,200+1000+

Hola VPN made it pretty challenging to find the exact server locations it covered, but it does advertise that its network is in the region of 1,000 servers in total. Hola VPN operates as a virtual peer-to-peer proxy network which means you are essentially connecting through other Hola VPN users, which presents substantial security and privacy risk. In other words, you are using someone else’s IP address, and other users are sharing yours. At peak times of high server load, it’s not uncommon for your connection to be impacted.

Users paying for Hola’s VPN’s premium service still use the peer-to-peer servers, but you won’t contribute idle resources and other devices will not connect through your device.

Unlike the security flaws we’ve seen with Hola VPN, Surfshark operates a more traditional network model with over 3200 server locations in around 60 countries across the globe. Not only is this connection more secure, but it means you’ll rarely have trouble connecting to a server near your physical location.

Speed

 SurfsharkHola VPN
Average speed (Mbps)323.60187

A big part of our VPN comparison includes a speed test that maxes out the connection speeds of each provider we test. We use a direct connection capable of speeds up to 5BGps and then connect to each provider using their nearest VPN server to see how they perform.

For context, we connected to Hola VPN using their automatic connection option to find our nearest server (theoretically the fastest), servers in the UK, and Hong Kong which produced global average speeds of 188 MBps. We performed the same tests using Surfshark which is among the fastest VPNs, connecting to our nearest server in the US, Hong Kong, and the UK which gave a much more impressive average speed of 324 MBps, almost double that of Hola VPN.

Security

 SurfsharkHola VPN
VPN protocols
OpenVPN, IKEv2, Shadowsocks, WireGuardIKEv2/IPsec, PPTP/L2TP

OpenVPN data encryption
AES-256AES-256
OpenVPN control channel encryption
RSA-2048Unknown
Cloaking technology
NoBorders obfuscationNone
App security
Kill switchNone
DNS status
Private DNSIssues reported with DNS leakage

Surfshark and Hola VPN share some similarities in the VPN protocols available, with both offering IKEv2 which is a faster and more secure option than OpenVPN. Surfshark provides the Shadowsocks protocol, which works in unison with its double obfuscation features to offer a more seamless connection experience in countries like China. Hola VPN also offers L2TP, but considering the free version is essentially a peer-to-peer network instead of a VPN, it’s questionable how much of a difference the available VPN protocols make to the network’s security. Regardless of the Hola VPN’s protocol offerings, none of them quite match the speed and robust protection of the WireGuard protocol provided by Surfshark.

We’ve already touched upon the cloaking technology provided by Surfshark with Camouflage and NoBorders Modes, but it’s also worth noting Hola VPN doesn’t offer any obfuscation whatsoever. Obfuscation scrambles the packets of data sent to the destination server, making it harder to decipher the type of traffic attempting to access a website, so it looks like regular internet activity. This results in the connection being granted using a man-in-the-middle tactic managed by your ISP. Obfuscation is useful when you are attempting to access websites when software is used to detect VPN usage, blocking the connection as a result.

An internet kill switch is included with Surfshark, which prevents data leakage when you need to keep your privacy protected from prying eyes. The kill switch monitors your connection, and if your connection to the VPN server drops, your internet is disconnected until the VPN is re-established. Hola VPN doesn’t offer a kill switch.

Both providers use 256-bit encryption, the same grade of almost uncrackable cryptography used by the military. Surfshark further enhances the security and privacy of its users as it owns its DNS servers. Hola VPN, however, has

Configuration

 SurfsharkHola VPN
Address allocationSharedShared
Dedicated/static IP address possibleNoNo

Hola VPN and Surfshark both used shared IP address allocation, although Hola’s addresses are allocated based on the peer you connect through. Dynamic IP addresses change each time you log on to your device to access the internet. Shared dynamic IP addresses make it harder for the activities of each user to be tracked as they are shared among potentially thousands of users and change regularly.

Neither provider offers the option to purchase a dedicated IP address (static IP) which stays the same regardless of how many times you disconnect from the web and isn’t shared with other users.

Privacy

 SurfsharkHola VPN
HeadquartersAmsterdam, The NetherlandsNetanya, Israel
Connection logsSome, for diagnostic purposesYes, it keeps heavy logs
Activity logsCollects advertising IDs on mobileBandwidth
Allows TorrentingYesNo
User details for signupEmail addressEmail address
Anonymous payment optionsBitcoin, Ethereum, RippleNone

Hola VPN operates its HQ out of Israel, which forms part of the 14 Eyes Alliance, meaning local authorities could approach them for logs, and they’d be obliged to hand them over, which could land its users in some deep water. Surfshark is based in the Netherlands and is a Nine Eyes Alliance member, so they’d be subject to the same rules as Hola VPN if officials approached them.

So what’s the difference? Surfshark keeps very minimal logs that cannot be used to identify its users, whereas Hola VPN keeps records of bandwidth that could help authorities find people that are up to no good.

Hola VPN doesn’t offer torrenting support, which is good considering its network is a peer-to-peer model in itself. You’d be exposing yourself to some pretty significant risks (which is why we’d recommend a VPN instead of a VPN proxy). Free users should be especially cautious of Hola VPN’s usage of idle resources. Consider this; an Hola VPN user shares your resources and proceeds to download something illegal, putting your connection in the spotlight if an investigation were to take place.

Unlike Hola VPN, which only offers traceable payments methods like PayPal and Google, Surfshark lets you pay for its service anonymously using Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple payment methods.

Customer Service

 SurfsharkHola VPN
Live chatYes (ZenDesk)No
Ticket supportYesYes
Email supportYesYes
Phone supportNoNo
Searchable knowledge baseYesYes
Video guidesNoNo

If you have a query that can wait for a response, Hola VPN will do the trick. It has a searchable knowledge base that answers most frequently asked questions, and there’s an email address for those who want to contact support via their inbox, along with a ticketing system. The ticketing system asks you a series of questions about the issue, what website you’re attempting to access, where you’re connecting from, etc., which is pretty user-friendly. For burning questions, though, the ticketing and email support are somewhat limited, with ticket responses taking an average of 3+ hours to get an answer.

Surfshark excels beyond Hola VPN thanks to its live chat support, which is on-hand 24/7 to give you an answer to urgent queries day or night. Surfshark might not offer searchable video guides, but its knowledge base is extensive and answers most queries. Ticketing support is also pretty rapid, with questions like “Does Surfshark protect against WebRTC leaks?” being answered in a mere 21 minutes.

The Winner: Surfshark

Surfshark

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Surfshark.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Surfshark takes the top spot in our comparison thanks to its blistering-fast speeds that far outpace those produced by Hola VPN, and most importantly, it protects your online privacy and online activities from prying eyes. The same cannot be said for Hola VPN’s network model of using a stranger’s device for IP address allocation and using yours in return for some serious security implications.

Surfshark works well for streaming services like Netflix in China, making it an excellent choice for avoiding heavy censorship. Hola VPN doesn’t work in China whatsoever. Surfshark’s servers are triple the total servers available with Hola VPN, and it’s also capable of streaming the big platforms like Netflix without any issues.

Finally, Surfshark has an excellent selection of privacy-enhancing features like an internet kill switch, an adblocker, and malware detection.

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Methodology: How we compare VPNs

We carried out several tests before selecting the best VPN in our Surfshark vs. Hola VPN comparison. Check out some of the focus areas we researched:

  • Security: Your online privacy is vital when using a VPN. We look at encryption, protocols, and whether the provider uses an internet kill switch during our tests.
  • Servers: We research the number of servers available and geographical locations of the VPNs we compare and whether they have servers optimized for streaming, torrenting, etc.
  • Usability: We test apps across every platform to ensure they are suitable for entry-level users and cater to advanced users requiring different settings.
  • Value: Subscription terms, pricing, discounts, and the money-back guarantees of the VPNs we test are evaluated to ensure our users get a great deal.

Check out our VPN testing methodology guide to see a comprehensive list of everything we perform during our research and testing phase.

See also: