Hola promises free 10x faster internet and unblocking of sites

The company Hola promises that their free browser plugin can speed up your internet connection by 10 times and that it will unblock sites that are currently unavailable to you. To achieve the higher speeds, the company claims it needs at least a billion users.

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Obviously it won’t increase the bandwidth of your connection but instead Hola uses caching techniques to serve you content from as close to you as possible. Therefore the company is building a peer to peer network that uses your computer as a node in the network.

Once the browser plugin or Windows client is installed it will take up a small part of your hard disk drive (HDD), the company claims you won’t notice and that it will free up the space if you need it. Besides the HDD space it also takes a  bit of CPU time, according to the company only if you’re away from the computer.

In return you will benefit from content that’s cached on computers of Hola users near you which should speed up your internet. And because the Hola network is made up from users all over the world, sites that are blocked in your country can be easily accessed from the Hola peer to peer network.

This means foreign users can get access to content from the BBC, Hulu, CBS, Fox and Hola can also be used to unlock content of Netflix from countries previously unavailable. Also users from countries that censor the internet have now the opportunity to get access to Facebook or other blocked sites.

While the software is free, it’s not open source. It’s unclear what their business plan is, but the founders of the company previously sold a company for $107 million to Cisco. Hola also received $18 million from investors. The company claims that the software remains free and there are more ways of making money, if enough people install Hola.

Other software like the Piratebrowser and VPN services also allow their users to visit sites that are blocked in their country. However usually these services are either paid or make use of the Tor network. The latter is an open source peer to peer network that is best know for slowing down your connection instead of speeding it up.

The software is available for Android,  Windows, Mac OS and browser plugins for Chome and Firefox.

More information and downloads can be found on the Hola website (the Windows client asks for a Facebook and Google Plus login but you can skip that and the download will start).