It is very common to come across websites with content that is only available to residents of a specific country. For example, Netflix, Hulu and Pandora are specifically for US residents only, and during the World Cup season, TV operators around the world will use geoblocking technology to prevent anyone outside of their home territories from viewing the match. In these situations, most people will connect to a VPN to bypass the geoblocking restriction. And particularly made for such situations, Hola is one free VPN tool that you should use.
Most VPN services have their own servers all around the world, and you will have to manually connect to a particular server in order to access content specific to a country. What makes Hola different is that it makes use of Peer 2 Peer (P2P) technology to connect and serve the content. This means that the connection improves as the number of users increases, which is often the opposite with traditional VPN services. Also, with a P2P technology, it can easily switch to any country without you having to make changes to the server configuration.
Hola exists as an extension for the major browsers. It is available for Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer. It is also available as an app for Android, iOS and Windows.
To get started, simply install Hola in your favorite browser. In Firefox, you aren’t required to restart your browser. You will see its icon in the menu bar after installation.
Now, open up a new tab and go to the blocked website. In this case, I used Hulu.com.
This is what I see before Hola is in action – a blocked message stating that I am not from the United States and not able to watch the show.
Click the Hola button and select the US flag. This will switch the connection to a US connection.
The page will refresh, and you should be able to access the blocked content now.
In some cases, Hola can detect the URL and auto-switch to the location even before you know it. That’s how easy it is to use Hola. Absolutely zero configuration.
Now that you have a powerful tool in your hand, you might be keen to find out what other interesting blocked sites you can access. All you have to do is to go to the Popular pages in Hola and it will show you the popular sites in your country. Don’t be surprised to find a number of adult sites in the list.
It’s free, so what’s the catch?
Do you remember that Hola is using P2P technology to serve the content? This means that at the same time you are using the service, your device is also acting as a peer for other users. Also, the free service only allows you to use it for four hours per day. You can, of course, opt for a premium subscription ($5 per month or $45 per year) which gives you unlimited use per day, and your device will never be used as a peer.
The freedom to bypass Internet censorship and restriction is what makes Hola great, not to mention its ease of use and coming with a price tag of zero. If you have not tried Hola, give it a try and let us know what you think of it.