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Honestly, where would be as a society right now if it weren’t for the internet? Can you even imagine? If you’re a bit older like me, you can probably still remember the dark ages – before wireless internet connections, before we all had access to everything we could ever need, conveniently in our back pockets at all times. Although it was certainly a simpler time, I don’t think that any of us would never want to go back to that.

The internet has enabled an unprecedented level of ease and convenience. Anything I need to know I can figure out in a matter of seconds. All it takes is a quick Googling. If I need to buy something, I just open my Amazon app and I can have my product shipped to my front door overnight. If I want food, no problem, I just go to Grub Hub and, like magic, a hot meal arrives within an hour. It is truly a beautiful time to be alive.

That is not to say, however, that the internet, alongside all of its glory, does not come with its own inherent dangers as well. For every site and app that makes our lives infinitely easier, there are several bad actors lurking on public internet connections, waiting in the shadows to strike. They know how to view and use our personal information, from credit card numbers to addresses, personal pics, videos, and all the rest. Anything that is transmitted over a public wifi network is potentially exploitable.

But it isn’t just the occasional hacker looking to take advantage of the security flaws of public wifi connections that we have to worry about. In fact, some of the most ‘reputable’ companies out there are also mining and using your data in ways that could make you uncomfortable. Believe it or not, the very companies that provide us with our internet connections are also tracking our activity and data. That’s right, your Internet Service Provider (ISP), it turns out, could be using your data against you. Many of them, unfortunately, even sell your information to third-party corporate interests, allowing them to better target you with advertisements and the like.

The government offers no protection either. In fact, in some countries, state agencies are the ones you have to be the most concerned about. Most countries in the ‘free world’ routinely monitor civilian internet activity. Sure, they do this under the guise of keeping you ‘safe,’ but there is no denying the fact that this is a huge invasion of privacy. Something straight out of the book 1984. Big Brother, in other words, is alive and well, Orwell.

Sadly, though, that is not even the worst of it. In more repressive countries, the government goes far out of its way to censor plenty of content as well. The internet is supposed to be a free and open transaction of information. But freedom, of course, depends entirely on where you live. And since censorship is the go-to strategy of any despotic regime, you can’t expect your internet access to be fully open if you live in a country that hates free speech.

However, I do have some good news. Hope, it turns out, is not lost entirely. No matter the issue of privacy you wish to combat – hackers, ISPs, the government, etc. – a majority of your online problems can be solved by using a VPN. But in order to protect your privacy, firs you must know what makes you vulnerable.

If you find yourself connecting to public wifi networks frequently, either in a coffee shop or in hotels during travel, a VPN is definitely worth considering. Public internet connections are far from secure. Anyone with a little bit of savvy when it comes to tech can easily spy on your online activity. By downloading a VPN, though, you can protect yourself from hackers, spies, and even bypass the most oppressive governments. You just have to find the right VPN for you.

History

The founders of Hola VPN began working together on technology that would wind up being Hola’s predecessors in 1998. Ofer Vilenski and Derry Shibman founded a software development tools company together. With the profits from this company, they created Jungo in 2000 in order to develop an operating system for home gateway networks. In 2006, Cisco acquired Jungo for $107 million.

In 2007, the serious work that would become Hola started happening. The duo began looking into reinventing HTTP through a P2P overlay network. This technology was implemented in order to speed up the act of accessing proxy sites through P2P connections (not entirely unlike the basis of the infamous Tor network). And in 2012, Hola Networks Limited launched its first Virtual Private Network (VPN) – it went viral in January of 2013. Hundreds of thousands of consumers began using Hola for internet privacy, as well as achieving anonymity. Hola’s main tool for being able to provide this is its signature P2P IP masking.

Design

Although the design is not the primary concern of an effective VPN, I will say that Hola VPN has gone out of its way to provide an aesthetically pleasing and easy to use design. With a sleek and lighthearted blue and white theme, Hola looks great. It is simple to use, easy to navigate, and easy on the eyes as well. All you have to do is pull up the app, extension, or program, choose your server location of choice and activate the software’s privacy function. And that’s really all there is to it.

Although the design does not matter all too much when it comes to using a VPN, Hola is available on a broad range of devices and operating systems. It’s also nice that they put in the effort, nonetheless, to make it look nice even though you are likely to activate it and close it, hardly using the app or program itself much at all.

Content

Hola VPN, as I just briefly touched upon, is available on nearly every single device and every single operating system you can think of – even the less mainstream ones that other VPNs may not be compatible with. You can use Hola VPN as a Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Opera extension; an Android or iOS app; a Windows or Mac program; or an extension/app for X Box, Playstation, Nintendo, routers, Apple TVs, and any smart TV. Hola VPN has one of the longest lists of compatible systems of all the VPNs available.

Pricing and Plans

One thing that I love about Hola VPN (and something that makes it stand out from all the rest) is the fact that it is offered as a freemium service. The baseline VPN service for many of the sites on the internet is 100% free. However, some are blocked with the free service and will require you to upgrade to Hola Pro. There is also a Hola Business option called (Luminati), which charges per Gb.

For our purposes, though, we’ll just look at the payment structures for Hola VPN Pro. You can sign up for an 11-month contract at $11.95 per month. It gets cheaper from there, depending on how long you are willing to commit to. For a 1-year plan, you will pay $6.99/month. And for a 3-year plan, you can expect to pay as low as $2.99 a month. As far as VPN prices go, if you are willing to commit to 3 years with Hola, you could be paying less than you would for any other VPN on the market, which will provide you with what some would call the best VPN protection.

Suggestions that I have for Hola VPN

The only real suggestion that I have for Hola VPN would be to offer a month-by-month payment option. The shortest-term that Hola offers is 11 months, but that doesn’t do anything for me if I just want to try out Hola Pro for a single month and proceed from there. Other than that, though, I love how versatile and easy to use Hola VPN is – not to mention the breadth of protection and censorship subversion that it provides.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a VPN that will work as hard as possible to protect your privacy and completely obliterate online censorship, Hola VPN is one way to go. Excellently designed, easy to use, and affordable, Hola VPN is the way to go.

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Maximum privacy
Access any site, anywhere, anytime
Free option
Available on nearly every device
Affordable
Long term agreements required for subscription