Opera ships with free VPN client

Norwegian company Opera Software released a new version of the Developer Edition of its web browser today that ships with a free built-in VPN option.

Opera browser is the first major browser that ships with built-in VPN functionality to improve user privacy and security while connected the Internet.

When Opera Software acquired the VPN provider SurfEasy in early 2015, I stated that it would make sense for the company to integrate the VPN service into the web browser.

Nothing came out of it in 2015 though except for promoting the VPN in Opera's private browsing mode.

This changes with today's release of Opera Developer 38 which brings access to the virtual private network service free of charge to all users of the browser.

The VPN enables Opera users to better protect their Internet activities while using the browser, for instance while connected to public networks but also when using home connections.

I asked Opera about the VPN, and the company confirmed to me that it is indeed powered by SurfEasy. Opera told me that it is completely free and not limited in any way. Additionally, no user data logs are being kept by the company.

Configuring the VPN in Opera

opera browser vpn



The VPN that Opera ships with is not enabled by default. To enable it, do the following:

  1. Load opera://settings/ in the web browser's address bar.
  2. Switch to privacy & security using the sidebar menu.
  3. Scroll down until you find the VPN section.
  4. Check the "enable VPN" box.

And that's it. Opera will make use of the VPN from that moment on for all connections the browser makes. This means that your "real" IP address won't be visible anymore to websites (unless they use other means of detection if available), and that your connection is encrypted which prevents eavesdropping.

You can verify that the VPN is working by loading our IP checker using Opera and another browser you have access to. The IP addresses shown to you should be different as Opera uses the VPN while the other browser does not.

The Opera browser displays a VPN icon in the browser's address bar when the virtual private network connection feature has been enabled in the settings.

opera vpn server

You can click on the icon to display data transfer stats and switch to another virtual location. The current implementation supports servers in the United States, Canada and Germany.

Read also:  Opera Developer 45 with WhatsApp Messenger integration

There is also an option to turn the VPN on or off quickly using the interface. This can be useful if services on the Internet block you from accessing them (..Netflix..) when you are using a VPN or proxy, or when you want to a direct connection to a service.

Opera lists the following reasons for using the VPN

  • Hide your browsing activities from other users of your local network
  • Bypass firewalls and access blocked content
  • Hide your IP address from websites, and block many tracking cookies
  • Enhance privacy on public Wi-Fi, with strong encryption to the VPN server

The VPN connection is limited to the Opera browser, but it appears to work really well. I ran some tests, DNS leak, fingerprinting and speed tests, and all returned good results.

Speed tests revealed that the bandwidth you get when connected to the VPN depends on the server location of it. The German server maxed out my 50Mbit/10Mbit connection almost completely while I got 35Mbit/8Mbit on the US server.

Still, both are sufficient for HD and 4K streams, and most other activities on the Internet. (The server is blocked by Netflix however which means you cannot use it for that).

Closing Words

It is unclear right now if and when the feature will land in Opera Stable. In the most optimistic case, it will become available in Opera Beta in the next release cycle, and then in Opera Stable in the release cycle after it.

Still, it is likely that Opera will keep an eye on the service, especially on bandwidth and availability, before it moves it to Beta or Stable versions of the web browser.

Integration of the VPN service distinguishes Opera more from other popular web browsers who don't ship with such an option currently. This is especially important when compared to other Chromium-based browsers such as Google Chrome or Vivaldi, but also other non-Chromium browsers like Firefox or Internet Explorer/Microsoft Edge.

The integration is beneficial to users as it improves privacy and security while using the browser, and because it may be used to circumvent censorship and other restrictions.

Summary
Article Name
Opera ships with free VPN client
Description
Norwegian company Opera Software released a new version of the Developer Edition of its web browser today that ships with a free VPN client.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Responses to Opera ships with free VPN client

    • Paranam Kid April 21, 2016 at 10:08 am #

      Like Jaguar & LandRover are now Indian companies.

      • Marc April 21, 2016 at 10:29 am #

        My remark is about the introduction :

        "Norwegian company Opera Software"

      • Martin Brinkmann April 21, 2016 at 10:38 am #

        Marc, I was under the impression that while the board agreed to the acquisition, it has not happened yet. But it is difficult to tell as information are scarce at the moment.

      • ilev April 22, 2016 at 9:38 am #

        Chrome has also a free unlimited VPN using an extension :
        https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/unlimited-free-vpn-better/gjknjjomckknofjidppipffbpoekiipm?hl=en

      • ilev April 22, 2016 at 9:40 am #

        Jaguar & LandRover most likely have Chinese backdoor and tracking software.

    • vux777 April 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

      @Marc: According to you?! ๏̯͡๏

  1. DDOS April 21, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    Opera is sending every url to sitecheck2.opera.com

    Opera has nothing to do with users url being sent to Opera servers without their permission

    DONT USE OPERA. ITS A SPY

    • Frank April 21, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

      No doubt you have site checking enabled in the settings. A lot of modern browsers support this feature and enable it by default. Just turn it off.

      Alternatively DO NOT USE A MODERN BROWSER. ITS A SPY

      • DDOS April 21, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

        mm you are very smart! its impossible to disable in Opera

    • Frank April 21, 2016 at 9:39 pm #

      @DDOS

      You are very smart too, not knowing the difference between intelligence and knowledge. Smartest person ever.

    • wonton April 22, 2016 at 5:11 am #

      you mean they are still doing it http://forums.opera.com/discussion/1849723/how-to-disable-sitecheck2-opera-com/p1

  2. Bobo April 21, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    Don't you just love it when you download the developer versions offline installer, install and set it up, then you go and activate the VPN to try it out..aaand you find that there's no such option because the offline installer provided is not the latest one featuring the new VPN option. Thank you, Opera, very professional...

    • Paranam Kid April 21, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

      Try setting it to the German server, then go to whatismyipaddress.com. You'll see a different ip address.

    • vux777 April 21, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

      offline installers repository
      http://get.geo.opera.com/pub/

  3. Anonymous April 21, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

    Each time I've installed Opera I also got Google Chrome which I hate.

    • vux777 April 21, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

      Where did you get Opera from?

  4. anon April 21, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    You should carefully choose your VPN providers: https://www.privacytools.io/#vpn

    Most people think they're protecting themselves but they're actually making the original problem worse.

  5. Valrobex April 21, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

    I've been using Epic Privacy Browser now for more than a year which includes a VPN. It's work well so far. Epic is a chromium based browser and the chief complaint is that it's not very customizable. But it's quick and seems to be everything it claims to be.

  6. dns April 22, 2016 at 5:21 am #

    I've been using dns crypt to bypass my country's dns poisoning.
    Can this opera VPN bypass dns poisoning?

  7. ilev April 22, 2016 at 9:37 am #

    Chrome has also a free unlimited VPN using an extension :
    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/unlimited-free-vpn-better/gjknjjomckknofjidppipffbpoekiipm?hl=en

    • Paranam Kid April 22, 2016 at 11:38 am #

      Most of the user reviews are very negative.

  8. Jeff April 22, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

    Opera's VPN is just an HTTPS proxy: https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/2016/04/22/opera-browser-vpn-proxy/ It acts like a VPN for web traffic inside the Opera browser but that's not what a VPN really is. A true VPN will connect two *computers* at the OSI Layer 2 or Layer 3 level.

  9. mmm April 23, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    Martin,

    I use to think that Opera Turbo works like VPN because I could bypass our country's internet censorship by using Opera Turbo....

    What do you think, Martin.... Is it true that Opera Turbo works like VPN, isn't it?

    • Martin Brinkmann April 23, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

      While it looks the same on first glance, it is not. First, Opera Turbo compresses web traffic, and second, it is not being used when you connect to HTTPS sites.

  10. wonton April 24, 2016 at 6:49 am #

    as mentioned in the newer thread opera false marketed a plain regular proxy as a VPN https://www.ghacks.net/2016/04/23/block-opera-vpn-from-leaking-your-ip-address/

  11. Billy April 25, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    This is a great news, a browser with a built-in VPN. However, one very important thing that is missing in this puzzle is that it can only work for the browsing through Opera browser. All the other activities including mail client, cloud etc will remain open for hackers. This is the biggest reason I think people should keep using premium VPNs like Ivacy VPN.

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