It’s been quite a year of milestones for Opera. In March, Opera made headlines when it let users block ads natively. Now, Opera is making another huge impact by offering a free VPN (virtual private network) that’s integrated into the browser.
In a recent blog post, the company announced that Opera is the first big browser to incorporate an unlimited and free VPN. This means that users won’t have to shell out extra money for VPN subscriptions or download any VPN extensions.
The company’s rationale is that the tools offered in the spectrum of today’s popular browsers were actually invented many years ago, and innovation in the industry has been focused more on mobile instead of desktop. Opera’s decision is about helping to bring some of that innovation back to desktop with this unprecedented release.
The company believes it’s offering something that’s better than ordinary VPNs. One thing’s sure: it’s very easy to activate Opera’s VPN; Mac users need to only click on the Opera menu, choose Preferences, and then toggle the VPN option on; Windows and Linux users have only to navigate to the Privacy and Security section within Settings and then enable the VPN.
Once the in-browser VPN’s enabled, a button will show up in the address bar. That’s where users can change and pick their specific locations, see if their IP address is being exposed, and look over stats related to their use of data.
Downloads of Opera’s VPN release have already beaten the number of downloads for their earlier ad-blocking release by six times. The company has had to double its server capacity to accommodate this upswing in traffic and downloads. Unsurprisingly, the country with the biggest number of downloads was the US. Russia, the UK, Germany, France and Poland rounded out the top six.
Shortly after Opera’s move to include a built-in VPN in its desktop browser, it expanded its VPN services by also covering mobile phone users on iOS. This expansion represents Opera’s dedication to making browsing as private and secure as possible for as many people as possible.
In another breaking announcement on its blog, the company unveiled its free VPN app for iOS, which takes the anonymity of desktop browsing and puts it in the hands of mobile users everywhere.
Opera VPN allows you to alter your virtual location by connecting you to one of five different regions, from which you’ll be assigned a new Internet address: Germany, Canada, Singapore, The U.S., The Netherlands.
In a bid to make this new mobile app as accessible as possible, Opera is making it available in various languages: French, English, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Indonesian, and German.
Of course, one of the most popular reasons for VPN use is getting around restricted access. To that end, Opera VPN lets users work around restricted web access, with a prominent example being on IT department-managed networks like the ones you find in schools or at the workplace.
An additional privacy perk can be found in encryption. Opera VPN allows users to encrypt any local Internet traffic—essential when using public networks such as schools or cafés.
The entire arrangement is brought to life by Opera’s ownership of SurfEasy, which it bought last year.
While privacy and security on one’s mobile browser are certainly just as important as desktop privacy and security, Opera VPN isn’t alone in offering a VPN for mobile browsing. There are already a few, different VPN services on iOS. However, where Opera has the distinct advantage is in being offered for free, whereas many other iOS VPN services require payment.
You can download Opera VPN directly from the App Store.