Hola Lets You Watch Region-Blocked Videos From Any Country For Free

An ambitious new startup with dreams to make the internet "10x faster" has launched a service that lets anyone anywhere in the world access region-blocked content, such as Hulu, Netflix and BBC iPlayer TV. Unlike other proxy solutions, it doesn't slow down your traffic, it works in your browser and it's totally free.

Hola Unblocker has been available as a Chrome and Firefox extension since December, but it has just expanded to include websites like CBC, Fox and BBC's iPlayer TV. You simply install the extension, then go to the website with the region-blocked content you want to access. You don't have to restart your computer — you don't even have to restart your browser. There have been some reports of the extension suddenly not working on a particular site, as well as a few glitches here and there. Our tests showed that the BBC iPlayer TV worked in Chrome, but not in Firefox. Hulu worked as advertised. It's technically still in beta, but the reviews appear to be overwhelmingly positive so far.

Hola was started by two guys with "a thesis that HTTP could be re-invented". It sounds crazy, but it has apparently received $US18 million from investors to pursue its broader plans to make the internet faster using "a combination of patented technologies — caching, multiple sources, compression, P2P protocols and other technologies".

Hola has also put out a Windows and Android app that supposedly speeds up many (not all) websites, gives you faster downloads and minimises video buffering. The Android app contains an internet accelerator, although it can't unblock content just yet. The Windows app contains both the internet accelerator and the unblocker, as well as a connection manager that helps you find and connect to Wi-Fi networks.

The main difference between Hola Unblocker and other VPN/proxy services that we've found so far is its ability to unblock content without slowing everything down. Hola explains how it achieves this on its FAQ page:

Hola sends only the traffic to the blocked site through other servers. The rest of your traffic flows to the websites you are visiting without going through a proxy. If you have the Hola software installed on your computer or phone, your web browsing will actually be faster than without Hola.

So what's the catch? How can it be free? Hola answers those questions and more on its FAQ page. Here's a snippet:

How is Hola free? Hola is the only service of its type that is free because Hola's technology does not require us to have actual servers — as more people join the network, they pool their resources to help each other to make a better Internet for all, and thus we have no additional costs per user. And that cost savings is translated in to a free product. We plan to make our money from premium services we will offer in the future.

How does Hola make the Internet faster? The Internet is slowed down by server response times, Internet congestion, round trip times, and poorly written communication stacks in operating systems. Hola removes these bottlenecks by securely caching content on peers as they view it, and later serving it up to other nearby peers as they need it. Hola also compresses communication and employs a patented DNS acceleration to speed the net further. As more people install and use Hola, the faster and less congested it will be!

Will Hola slow down my computer? Hola will not use your computer (or phone) to help other Peers if you are using your computer. Hola is designed to always provide service which is at least as good as your Internet service would have been without Hola.

How is Hola Unblocker free if VPN solutions cost money? Hola is the only service of its type that is free because Hola's Better Internet technology does not require us to have actual servers. As more people join the Hola network, they pool their resources to help each other to make a better Internet for everyone, and so Hola has no additional cost per user. That cost savings is translated into a free product (free for us means no advertising either).

How does Hola affect my privacy? Hola's network receives much of the same kind of information you currently send to your ISP when you surf the web. Since Hola's communications are typically encrypted, it provides a higher level of privacy than regular HTTP browsing. Hola collects information such as web sites visited and URLs loaded in order to accelerate the Internet for other Hola users. Hola also caches encrypted copies of the content you've viewed in order to assist other Hola users that have access to the same content. For example, if you've read an article in the NewYorkTimes.com web site, and another Hola user has access to the same article, that other user Hola client may load parts of that page from your cache, if your computer is idle. You can stop the Hola acceleration by pressing 'Stop Acceleration' in the Hola menu.

You can find many more questions and answers over at Hola. [The Next Web]

What do you guys think? Have you tried it yet?


Comments

    I'll give this a go this afternoon.

      I installedhola on my android phon but when I through front page on unlocker and it has Netflix it then shows different country's I've triedUSA and Australia but then it goes through and says not available in your country what am I doing wrong

    Im trying it now - watching Mrs Browns Boys via IPlayer. Works fine as far as I can tell.

    Its effectively P2P via the Browser, so not so keen on it seeding to other users but Im just being fickle.

    Watching John Stewart on Hulu right now, no probs

      Straight into the inauguration rundown!

      So your just another Lib watching the Lib news! Doesn't JS come on after another cartoon.....

    Awesome can finally watch Last chance kitchen after Top Chef ,nothing else worked.

    Now all I need is one for the South Park Studios episode player...

    If I could stream this stuff on my TV I'd never pirate again!

    Works fantastically for Hulu, but I can't get it to work on Iplayer, or FOX.

      Try a UK VPN account for iPlayer. I use a UK Happy VPN account ( http://www.happy-vpn.com/buy-uk-vpn.php ) and it's working. For Hulu you need a US account. You can also get a UK + US account, to have both, as needed.

    noThis does indeed sound grand, but what is it going to do to people with data limits? rely it's a similar issue to Torrents - if you are connected all the time then you have no control over what's uploading?

    Is this illegal and if not why not?

      Yes - under US law accessing a website outside its T&Cs is considered a crime and is punishable by 35 years in Jail http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz#Prosecutory_rationale_and_response

        I guess it's lucky that most of the users are probably non-Americans trying to access American content then.

    Tried using this service from the US for YouTube for some of the Asian countries - China, India and others. But doesn't do anything!!! Just sits with a blank screen. See a lot of complaints on their Facebook page too. Hola seems like a broken service with no good customer support

    They received US$18million from investors to ultimately install malware. It is not secure. What a scam. Using AdBlock to stop the relentness stream of advertising on sites which don't need Hola, only masks the problem.

      It is not malware dumb ass...

    This is the message i get in denmark while using Hola

    Fejlmeddelelse
    Af rettighedsmæssige årsager kan vi ikke afspille visse udsendelser og live tv udenfor Danmark. Sidder du ved en computer med en udenlandsk ip-adresse, kan det være grunden til at du ikke kan se programmet.
    access_denied Got 403 response when test loading document. This content is geo blocked.

      Siden du skrev du fikk meldingen "in denmark", antar jeg at du er i Danmark, og siden ditt nick er Nordhavet, er du i stand til å lese norsk. Hvis du vil se danske programmer i Danmark, kan du sikkert bare slå av utvidelsen. Om du bruker Chrome, så er det her: chrome://extensions/

    Given that it seems to work in part by "caching encrypted copies of the content you've viewed" I'm taking the paranoid option and giving this a miss. I would rather not risk having other people view stuff using my credentials.

    If they've designed it properly this can't happen, but there's a LONG history of third-party caching being affected by security flaws. A VPN passes your traffic through directly without caching it for other people to see; Hola, if I understand correctly, does not do this and does sometimes cache.

    Thanks for the article Elly. I personally use the UnoTelly DNS option. It’s ideal for content streaming because unlike VPNs, there is no internet speed loss when using it.

    The DNS option is definitely faster than watching thru a VPN connection. I had tried Hola, but it doesn't unblock all the streaming sites that I like to watch, and it's a bit slow on streaming the sites that it does unblock. So I use SmartDNS by OverPlay.
    I've been using them for several years: http://overplay.net/?a_aid=OVRPLY&a_bid=3ea62643

    SmartDNS uses a technique called DNS Tunneling, it's a new way of accessing tv and video streaming websites that are usually geographically blocked to anyone trying to watch from outside the country of origin.

    So the advantage is that SmartDNS replicates many of the traditional VPN features, but without any loss of speed. It permits access to restricted websites in different countries. The best part is that you don't even need to dial into a VPN connection. The initial setup is super easy, and then you just browse as normal... but without the limits. So it's sort of like a VPN but without the VPN! :)

    SmartDNS enables virtually every streaming service you can imagine (BBC iPlayer, iTV, Hulu, Pandora, Netflix, ABC iView, SBS on Demand, etc), and the servers are as fast as your internet connection.

    Last edited 13/03/15 11:59 am

    Proxy-ON is one upcoming chrome proxy extension you should have a look. Both Free and Premium versions are quite satisfactory regarding Anonymity, Security and Speed! - http://www.freechromeproxy.com

    Hope to have helped - Cheers!

    Hola is slow and providers such as Netflix have been blocking access to those using Hola.
    As they say, you get what you pay for. And because Hola is free, well, you don't get much out of it except frustration...

    Personally, I've been using IPVanish (http://bit.ly/ipvanishvpn) to stream Netflix et al.

    Last edited 12/04/15 11:05 am

    Thanks man.

    john

      is not that some adware like DNS Unlocker - http://malwareprotectioncenter.com/2015/08/25/dns-unlocker/

    Hi guys. When I downloaded one program, many DNS unlocker adverts appeared in my computer. As I am not as confidence and knowledgeable in this field, I tried this guidance: http://www.2-spyware.com/remove-dns-unlocker-adware.html
    Really helped me to solve the problem and get rid of DNS unlocker adverts.

    Yes, Hola is not a malware. But we should be careful of free things nowadays, as adware like DNS Unlocker http://www.removevirusfix.com/guides-to-remove-ads-by-dnsunlocker-from-the-pc.html tend to display pop-up advertisements to make money while providing free service. Stay safe anyway!

    I highly recommend Allavsoft which can directly download youwatch at
    http://www.allavsoft.com/how-to/download-youwatch-videos.htm

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