Choosing the right VPN can be like picking a movie on Netflix – you spend more time trying to decide than actually using it.
And if you’re trying to decide between Surfshark and Hola, you’re probably worried about saving money while still getting a good experience.
Surfshark vs Hola – Which is best?
Surfshark is a well-rounded, budget-friendly VPN offering a full suite of features for users with all kinds of needs. Meanwhile, Hola VPN is actually a peer-to-peer network that shares your bandwidth with other users to access a wide range of content from around the world.
We tested both VPNs to figure out which one offers the fastest, most secure, and most reliable experience regardless of your location or online activities.
In this quick review, we’ll compare them side-by-side and decide which one you should trust to keep you safe and hidden online.
|Money-back guarantee length||30 days||30 days|
The first thing you’re going to think about when choosing between Surfshark and Hola is price, so that’s where we’ll start.
Surfsharkhas three subscription plans: monthly, six-month, and two-year. The length of Hola VPN’s plans are slightly different: one month, one year, and three years.
Hola VPN's one-month plan is priced at $14.99, while Surfshark's equivalent plan costs slightly less – $12.95. For the lowest price per month, Hola VPN charges $2.99 on its three-year plan, while Surfshark offers a more competitive rate of $2.21 on its two-year plan.
All of Surfshark and Hola VPN’s plans – including monthly subscriptions – come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Hola VPN stands out for offering a free VPN plan with lots of limitations, while Surfshark only offers paid plans.
While both Surfshark and Hola VPN offer competitive pricing and plans, Surfshark provides better overall value, especially if you’re looking for a long-term subscription.
However, Hola VPN's very limited free plan might be an appealing option if you want a no-cost solution.
Which has better features?
Both Surfshark and Hola VPN offer apps for the most popular devices: Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and more. However, Surfshark takes a slight lead, as it also extends support to Linux and Fire TV.
So, if you're a Linux user or have a diverse range of devices to protect, Surfshark might be the better option for you.
Hola VPN’s free plan is great if you’re on a budget, but this plan only covers one device (amongst many other limitations). Its paid plan allows up to 10 simultaneous devices
With Surfshark, you can connect unlimited devices simultaneously. This means you can quickly protect all your devices on a single plan, or share it amongst your family and friends.
Both Surfshark and Hola VPN provide split tunneling, which lets you filter certain websites through the VPN while leaving others connected to your local internet connection. This is handy if you want to access content outside your country, while also using local services like Google Maps or your online banking.
Surfshark also offers more advanced features like:
- Malware detection
- Anti-tracking tools
- Built-in ad-blocking
- A dark web monitor (in case your data is leaked or stolen and sold)
Each of these features significantly boosts your security and privacy while online.
Surfshark and Hola VPN both offer Chrome and Firefox extensions, a convenient solution for managing your VPN within your browser (one less app to open!).
So while both Hola VPN and Surfshark boast solid features, Surfshark easily takes the lead with its support for more operating systems, unlimited device connections, and advanced security features.
Are routers supported?
While Surfshark supports installation on many different routers, you can only install Hola on one type of router – the Keenetic Ultra model.
Surfshark also provides detailed walkthroughs for installing its app on your router, whereas doing so with Hola is quite difficult to figure out.
Installing a VPN on your router means you automatically protect every device within its network (including laptops, phones, game consoles, smart TVs, and IoT devices). This saves you the hassle of installing and configuring the VPN on every individual device.
However, installing a VPN on a router is much more technical than your phone or computer. So, it's good to see Surfshark going the extra mile and assisting you with comprehensive instructions for various router models.
What websites do they unblock?
Surfshark has a fantastic feature for streaming enthusiasts called Surfshark Smart DNS. Smart DNS is designed to bypass even the toughest geo-restrictions on streaming sites and grant you access to content anywhere in the world – including Netflix.
Not only does Surfshark excel at accessing Netflix, but it also supports other popular streaming services like Disney+, ESPN+, and HBO Max.
It works like a charm – throughout our review, we were able to binge-watch shows on every popular streamer.
Hola VPN doesn't offer a specialized streaming function, and its free version is unreliable for accessing streaming sites. Although it can access US Netflix on certain servers, the experience is often inconsistent, making it frustrating if you want a smooth streaming session.
Also, Hola VPN's peer-to-peer network (P2P) structure means it could get flagged for allowing torrenting more easily than Surfshark, and be blocked as a result.
Surfshark is the best budget VPN for streaming. Its dedicated Smart DNS feature and support for the most popular streaming sites make it a solid choice for entertainment lovers.
In contrast, Hola VPN falls short in this department, due to its unreliable performance and potential security risks.
Not only does Surfshark excel at streaming, but it also supports torrenting. You can confidently download and share files without worrying about privacy or slow connections.
Hola VPN doesn’t support torrenting, so don’t expect to use it for any P2P activity.
Setup & usability
For Hola VPN, the setup process is incredibly simple, with user-friendly apps and browser extensions that only take a couple of minutes to install. The interface is minimalist and straightforward, making it a breeze to use if you’re a beginner.
Surfshark is also easy to set up for beginners and expert VPN users alike. The installation process is quick and easy, with helpful prompts guiding you through the steps.
Surfshark’s interface is sleek and modern, while still maintaining an intuitive layout. The user-friendly design allows for easy access to advanced features, giving you the flexibility to customize your VPN experience.
Hola VPN is good if you value simplicity and ease of use, but Surfshark offers more features while maintaining an easy-to-use interface.
Surfshark provides specialized apps for both Android and iOS, guaranteeing a smooth and secure browsing experience on mobile.
The mobile app interface is sleek and user-friendly, allowing easy navigation even if you’re a total VPN newbie.
In addition, Surfshark's mobile apps feature strong security measures, such as an automatic kill-switch and split tunneling, which help boost your online privacy while providing a more flexible experience.
Compared to Surfshark, Hola VPN's mobile capabilities are a big letdown. Although it has apps for both Android and iOS devices, the user experience is much less user-friendly than Surfshark's.
We encountered sporadic hiccups and discrepancies throughout our review, which became very annoying.
Moreover, Hola VPN's mobile apps are missing some important security features, like an automatic kill-switch. This means you could be potentially exposed to online threats and snoopers any time there’s a disruption in your VPN connection, as your data will be unprotected.
If you value security and a smooth experience, Hola VPN's mobile offerings probably won’t satisfy your needs.
So, once again, Surfshark comes out on top. With its intuitive interface, cutting-edge security features, and dependable performance, you’ll enjoy a secure and seamless browsing experience on your mobile (and every other device).
Performance & speed
|ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (average)||41.0 Mbps||31 Mbps|
Our tests show Surfshark boasts an impressive average speed of 323.60 Mbps, which is fast enough for basically any online activity, including HD streaming.
Surfshark's connections aren’t just fast – they’re also reliable and predictable. You can connect to any of its 3,000+ global servers with confidence, knowing that you’ll enjoy consistently high-speed connections and optimal performance from anywhere in the world.
As a P2P-based VPN, Hola relies on its user base for bandwidth, which causes serious fluctuations in your connection speeds.
Our tests show Hola VPN's average speed at 186.7 Mbps – basically half of Surfshark’s speeds. We also found its connections very unpredictable, with speeds bouncing all over the place depending on when we connected to the network.
Surfshark triumphs over Hola VPN in terms of speed and reliability It consistently delivers high-speed connections and reliable connections, while Hola VPN is slow and unpredictable.
|IPv6 leak protection|
|WebRTC leak protection|
Both Surfshark and Hola VPN offer the industry-best IKEv2 protocol, which combines fast connections with airtight security. But Surfshark takes things a step further by providing the Shadowsocks protocol, which boosts its other security tools to get around VPN blocks in places like China and guarantee your data is never exposed.
Hola VPN offers L2TP protocol, but as it operates as a peer-to-peer network, rather than a proper VPN, we’re not sure if that makes a difference to its security. You could still be compromised by other people on the network.
Obfuscation is another area where Surfshark outshines Hola. With its Camouflage and NoBorders modes, Surfshark can hide the fact you’re even using a VPN, so you’re never blocked from websites that ban VPN usage. Hola lacks any obfuscation options.
Surfshark's security arsenal also includes an automatic kill-switch, which prevents data leakage in the event of a VPN connection drop. Hola VPN, on the other hand, does not offer a kill-switch, leaving you potentially exposed any time there’s even a slight drop in your connection.
Both Surfshark and Hola VPN employ 256-bit AES encryption to secure your data. This is the same standard used by governments, banks, militaries, and even spy agencies.
However, Surfshark further enhances your security and privacy by owning its DNS servers. This ownership allows Surfshark to maintain greater control over user data and minimize the risk of third-party interference.
While Hola VPN offers some basic security features, such as the IKEv2 protocol and 256-bit AES encryption, it falls short compared to Surfshark's comprehensive security offerings. The absence of obfuscation and a kill-switch, coupled with a less secure peer-to-peer network, makes Hola VPN a far less attractive option for security-conscious users.
Surfshark emerges as the clear winner in terms of security, thanks to its robust security measures, advanced protocols, and commitment to user privacy.
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands||Israel|
|Anonymous payment options?|
When choosing a VPN, privacy should be a top priority.
So, in our tests, we scrutinized the privacy policies of Hola VPN and Surfshark to determine which offers better privacy protection.
Despite being based in the Netherlands, Surfshark upholds a strict no-logs policy. The company doesn’t store any data or activity logs that can be used to identify users, guaranteeing your online activities, identity, and location remain secure and private.
Additionally, Surfshark supports anonymous payments with cryptocurrencies, further safeguarding your privacy by minimizing the traceability of your payments.
Hola VPN, which is based in Israel and part of the 14 Eyes Alliance, raises some privacy concerns due to its logging policy. Unlike Surfshark, Hola VPN keeps records of user bandwidth, which could potentially be used by authorities to identify individual users.
Furthermore, Hola VPN does not support torrenting, and its P2P network structure may expose you to certain risks. Free users, in particular, should exercise caution, as your idle bandwidth could be used by others on the network for criminal activities, potentially compromising your privacy and leaving you exposed to criminal liability.
When it comes to payment options, Hola VPN only accepts traceable methods like PayPal and Google, which easily links your transactions to your identity.
In conclusion, Surfshark outperforms Hola VPN in terms of privacy protection. With its strict no-logs policy, support for anonymous payments, and a strong commitment to user privacy, Surfshark ensures that you can browse the internet with confidence you're completely anonymous.
Hola VPN, on the other hand, actually puts you at risk if someone else on its network is engaging in criminal activity.
|Free trial||7-days (macOS and mobile apps)|
|Money-back guarantee length||30 days|
Surfshark excels at providing user-friendly apps for various devices. This ease of use is complemented by Surfshark's 24/7 customer support, which guarantees rapid assistance whenever you encounter an issue or have questions about the VPN.
The availability of round-the-clock support demonstrates Surfshark's dedication to providing a positive user experience and addressing customer concerns promptly and efficiently.
While Hola VPN also offers easy-to-use apps, its customer support falls short when compared to Surfshark.
Hola VPN's limited customer support – it doesn’t offer 24/7 live chat – results in longer wait times and delays in getting your problems fixed, which is incredibly frustrating when you need immediate assistance.
This disparity in customer support reflects a gap in the overall user experience between Hola VPN and Surfshark. So, again, Surfshark comes out on top.
Methodology: how we compare VPNs
We put Surfshark and Hola VPN through a series of rigorous tests to determine which one you should use.
While the full list of criteria and metrics we used is far too long to include in this review, here’s a quick sample:
- Security: We reviewed both VPNs' encryption standards, protocols, leak protections, and other tools to ensure they can keep your data, location, and identity hidden.
- Server network: We connected to servers belonging to both VPNs located across the globe to ensure they deliver fast, reliable, secure connections.
- Access to content: Because you’ll probably use your VPN for Netflix and other streamers, we used Surfshark and Hola VPN to access all the most popular ones.
- Ease of use: Just because VPNs are incredibly technical pieces of software doesn’t mean they should be difficult to use.
- Value: Likewise, the best VPNs offer affordable, simple subscription models with generous 30-day money-back guarantees.
You can use the same criteria to pick your VPN, whether it's Surfshark, Hola VPN, or another top provider. To get an even more detailed look, read our complete VPN review process.
Conclusion and final verdict
Surfshark emerges as the clear winner, with a mix of value for money, fast connections, excellent security, and a dedication to privacy that Hola VPN can’t match.
Unlike Hola VPN's questionable P2P network model, Surfshark boasts a more secure system that effortlessly bypasses censorship and guarantees you access to any content online. This makes it the go-to option for streaming services like Netflix.
Surfshark also offers military-grade encryption and a strict no-logs policy, so you can browse the internet without fear of data exposure or tracking. And its 24/7 customer support team is on hand to help with any issues.