Opera latest browser is the first to include a built-in VPN service. The service is currently, free, unlimited, and has other privacy and security features to make it a cinch to use. When turned on, the browser VPN creates a secure connection to one of Opera’s five server locations around the world. The VPN lets you choose where to appear on the internet.
For now, the VPN can be enabled in settings, which will show up as a VPN button next to the address bar. Click on it and you can select from 5 different locations to spoof your IP / VPN access from. There’s the usual United States, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, and Singapore(!). Yes, you can use the Opera VPN to watch Singapore TV / Toggle from overseas. Judging by the popularity of SG!TV for overseas Singaporeans, that might not be too far off the mark.
I like that it is very easy to use. Just turn on and off the VPN with a simple click. There’s the other advantages too:
- Hide your IP address – Opera will replace your IP address with a virtual IP address, so it’s harder for sites to track your location and identify your computer. This means you can browse the web more privately.
- Unblocking of firewalls and websites – Many schools and workplaces block video-streaming sites, social networks and other services. By using a VPN you can access your favorite content, no matter where you are.
- Public Wi-Fi security – When you’re surfing the web on public Wi-Fi, intruders can easily sniff data. By using a VPN, you can improve the security of your personal information.
For very secure surfing, remember to turn on Private Browsing mode too (ctrl-shift-N).
According to Global Web Index, more than half a billion people (24% of the world’s internet population) have tried or are currently using VPN services. According to the research, the primary reasons for people to use a VPN are:
– To access better entertainment content (38%)
– To keep anonymity while browsing (30%)
– To access restricted networks and sites in my country (28%)
– To access restricted sites at work (27%)
– To communicate with friends/family abroad (24%)
– To access restricted news websites in my country (22%)
The research also highlighted that young people are leading the way when it comes to VPN usage, with almost one third of people between 16-34 having used a VPN.
Opera does track the amoount of data you transmit over the VPN network though, which could potentially change to a Paid service in future.
Unfortunately, the VPN service is blocked in China. I initially thought it would be a great workaround but the China authorities seem to be one step ahead here. You would still need to resort to other third party VPN service.