Created by an Israeli company, Hola provides a straightforward solution to avoid the geographical filtering implemented by some Internet services or websites. A tool theoretically prohibited for use, under penalty of a fine of 750 euros in certain countries European countries like France.
A simple solution to bypass geographical filtering!
It is available as a Chrome or Firefox extension, or as an underlay software for Android, Windows and Mac OS.
Hola is a VPN that allows you to transparently modify the country of origin of the connection recognized by websites while browsing the web. It unlocks access to content that is in principle reserved for people in some areas of the world. It can also be used to circumvent censorship when sites are inaccessible in your own country.
Using Hola App could not be any easier!
Just go to the official website, and create an account by simply entering an email address (no verification is done which is great for privacy). Once the installation is done, a browser window opens, which allows you to choose or add sites to unlock. For example, the excellent Hulu which is in principle inaccessible from Europe, and which offers many TV series in streaming:
Running in the background, and activated only on the desired sites (which limits the privacy problems caused by the use of a VPN whose use of any stored data is unknown), the Hola extension then bypasses the geographical filtering of the desired sites without having to do anything in particular
Better still, it even speeds up the viewing of content through a shared cache system between users of the extension (a kind of P2P network), except when the content provider has decided to block this caching using the HTTPS “Cache-Control: private,no-store” standard.
Free Service and application
Free, the application is financed by ads on the pages visited; but it is also possible to buy a subscription to the Premium version for 10 dollars per month.
Note, however, that the use of such an application is not legally neutral, and that it may theoretically pose a problem for its users.
For example, in France, Article R335-3 2° of the Intellectual Property Code punishes with a fourth class fine (750 euros) the fact of “using a service designed or specially adapted to infringe” the technical measures for the protection of works, to which geographical filters are assimilated.
Only acts “which do not prejudice rights holders and which are carried out for computer security purposes or scientific cryptographic research purposes” are exempt from criminal sanction. It is not the case when watching series or films in streaming.
Cons of using the service
Hola experience is far from perfect and you should definitely look for an alternative if you want to browse the web safely and with full privacy.
The company seems to be run out of Israel which is known for sharing data with major spying agencies and alliances sharing user data.
There is not a full no-log policy when looking at their privacy page which means they could be sharing and reselling your usage data to governments and spying agencies. You have been warned! Find more about VPNs and geoblocking by following this YouTube channel!