Mozilla, maker of the Firefox web browser, will launch the first beta of its upcoming VPN service in the coming weeks.
The organization launched Firefox Private Network in September 2019 which added a browser proxy to the web browser. Available only for users from the United States at the time, it resembled the VPN feature of the Opera web browser and third-party VPN extensions the most.
Firefox Private Network protects user data by encrypting it and masking the IP address of the connection at the same time. Mozilla picked Cloudflare as its partner for the service; Firefox users get connected to the nearest Cloudflare data center when they activate Private Network in the web browser.
The initial solution lacked several important features: there was no option to select a different region/server to connect to, and no information about the connection among other things.
Mozilla revealed the next steps of the project in a new announcement on the official Firefox Private Network site.
A version of Private Network will still be free
As one of our beta testers, you’ll automatically be converted to a new version of Firefox Private Network. This offers all the same benefits as before, but for a limited amount of time each month.
You’ll get 12 hours of Private Network in the form of four three-hour passes. Next time you’re on public Wi-Fi, turn on Private Network to claim one of your passes. Once you validate a pass, it runs without stopping for three hours. You’ll get four new passes at the beginning of every month.
For unlimited access, you have the opportunity to join our invite-only VPN beta
We’re nearly ready to invite our beta testers to try out Firefox Private Network full-device protection. You can join the waitlist right now — before we open it up to the public. This invite-only VPN beta will protect your entire device and offers the option to switch between servers in 39 countries.
Thanks again for participating in the Firefox Private Network beta. You’re helping us build products that put people and their privacy first.
The organization plans to move to a new beta phase with two main changes:
Firefox Private Network beta testers will automatically be migrated to the new version of the solution once it becomes available. The free version of the solution limits the amount of time that users of the network have each month.
Mozilla plans to provide users with four three-hour passes per month that they may use. The passes run non-stop for three hours without option to split the time between different periods.
The upcoming VPN service takes the service to the next level. It runs on the device just like any other VPN service, e.g. NordVPN or Private Internet Access. Mozilla revealed little about it in the announcement. In fact, the only information that the organization revealed is that it will feature servers in 39 countries. The invite-only beta will launch in the coming weeks and since everything is labeled beta, subject to change.
Private Network and the upcoming VPN service are beta products at this time and therefore subject to change. Information is scarce at this point; we don't know if Mozilla will operate the VPN on its own (unlikely) or have a partner (likely), how much it will cost when it comes out, and what features it will bring along with it.
It seems likely that Mozilla will maintain both products: Private Network as an in-browser solution with a free option and the VPN as a device-wide solution for users who want to protect all Internet traffic.
I'm not a fan of the three-hour long passes of Private Network as they are not very flexible. While these may work in some cases, they lack flexibility as you cannot really use them for quickly checking emails on the airport as you'd waste a full pass that way.
Now you: what would you like to see in regards to private network and the VPN?Advertisement
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