Opera Software AS has launched version 40 of its Internet browser, featuring a free, unlimited, no-log Virtual Private Network (VPN) service, making it the first major browser with a built-in VPN service.
“If more people know how the Internet truly works, they would use a VPN,” said Krystian Kolondra, senior vice president of Opera browser for computers, in a company blog. “By making our browser VPN free and easy to use, we hope it will become an essential tool for everyone.”
When turned on, the browser VPN creates a secure connection to one of Opera’s five server locations around the world, letting users choose where to appear on the Internet. This boosts online privacy and security while making content easier to access.
“Until now, VPNs have largely been used by people with a good understanding of how the Internet works. Only every second person we asked in a global survey knew what a VPN was,” Kolondra said. “Still, more than 80% of respondents in the US and Germany said they were concerned about their online privacy. More than 70% who knew what a VPN was, still didn’t use one. When asked, they said they found VPN services difficult to use and they were not willing to pay for the subscription.”
The browser’s VPN features can be enabled through the Settings (or Preferences, on Mac) option. Choose “Privacy & Security” and toggle the VPN option. Users can select the location manually or automatically. In automatic mode, it will select one based on factors such as network speed, latency, location, and server capacity.
The VPN features are powered by Opera’s subsidiary, SurfEasy. It utilizes a secure 256-bit AES encrypted connection to the VPN virtual locations and is a no-log service, which means neither Opera nor SurfEasy will store any information about a user’s browsing history.
Opera 40 secures all traffic through Opera, but not other browsers or apps. It also supports Chromecast via an extension. However, it only works for YouTube videos for the time being.