Opera wants you to ditch Chrome for its free, built-in VPN

opera free built in vpn operavpn1
Even though Opera has staggered behind its competitors in terms of market share since its introduction, that hasn’t stopped the web browser from implementing new, exclusive features in an effort to change that. Among these is the company’s latest decision to add a free VPN into the mix.

For those who don’t know, a VPN, or virtual private network, gives users a more private web browsing experience, keeping sites away from your IP address, giving you more security on public Wi-Fi networks, and oftentimes enabling you to bypass firewalls enacted by schools or employers.

To this end, Opera Engineering SVP Krysitian Kolandra told Digital Trends, “We implement VPN because it has gotten so popular, and not really because of how people use it.”

Effectively, this makes Opera the first major browser to include such a component. On top of being cost-free, the new service is unconfined by the data limitations that normally haunt prospective VPN users.

It’s also surprisingly easy to use. In a developer preview of the VPN-equipped browser sent to us by Opera yesterday, we were able to enable the feature on a Mac by clicking Preferences at the top, heading down to “Privacy & Security,” and selecting “Enable VPN.” The process is the same on Windows, except substituting Preferences for Settings.

With the VPN enabled, a new button will be added to Opera’s address bar, showing how much data you’ve used this month, along with a graphic presenting data usage by the day.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 6.45.51 PM

More interestingly, though, is the option to change your virtual location. Doing this lets you tell your browser that you’re in another country, which in most cases allows you to access location-restricted content. Maybe a YouTube video is blocked in your country or you want to watch a Netflix series that’s only available in Canada — well with the VPN enabled, you can trick your browser into thinking that’s where you are. It’s a nifty feature, but unfortunately, it’s also hindered by its limited options of only the United States, Germany, and Canada as of right now.

The company says it will be extending the virtual location lineup as this release exits developer exclusivity.

“We had a big realization this winter that browsers were not paying proper attention to what people really need in 2016,” Kolandra said. “Hundreds of millions of people are using VPN ad block, but still the browsers have only supported such things through, often half baked, extension solutions. So we decided to build features people really need in 2016.”

For Opera’s sake, let’s hope the addition of a VPN doesn’t keep the browser out of reach in schools and in the workplace. Bypassing securities may sound like fun for the end user, but for administrators, it could be a headache worth blocking.

You can download the developer version of Opera, complete with VPN support, here.

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Mobile

Learn how to play YouTube in the background on iOS and Android

We show you how to play YouTube in the background with apps such as Opera, Chrome, and Firefox -- along with the premium offerings like YouTube Premium -- whether you have an Android or iOS device.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Home Theater

Here’s why you’re not getting Netflix in HD or 4K, and how to fix it

Are you having trouble watching your favorite movies or TV shows on Netflix in HD or 4K? We explain why loading takes so long, why the picture quality fluctuates, and what you can do about it.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Computing

Hackers are scoring with ransomware that attacks its previous victims

Computer viruses are always evolving. In a new one, dubbed "Ryuk," hackers are targeting PCs with ransomware that scours an infected network in order to pinpoint and attack and enterprises with big money.
Computing

An update to Microsoft To-Do will help you keep up with your resolutions

If you're looking to stay productive in 2019, you might want to check out the freshly updated Microsoft To-Do app, now with additional integration with the Windows 10 Start Menu and more.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

Could the next Microsoft HoloLens be announced at MWC 2019?

After not having a presence at Mobile World Congress for three years, Microsoft is now sending out media invites for a press conference on February 24 during the annual event in Barcelona. Could a next-generation HoloLens be on the way?
Computing

Microsoft to separate Cortana from search with the next version of Windows 10

Changes are on the way for two key features in Windows 10. A separation of Windows 10 search and Cortana will allow Microsoft to more often innovate on each of the features independently.
Computing

Convert your PDFs into convenient Word documents with Adobe or a free option

PDF files are great, but few document types are as malleable as those specific to Microsoft Word. Here's how to convert a PDF file into a Word document, whether you prefer to use Adobe's software suite or a freemium alternative.
Computing

Nvidia’s next midrange card might be a GTX 1660 Ti, rumors suggest

Nvidia may be working on a non-RTX Turing graphics card called the 1660 Ti. Rumors suggest it will have around 20 percent fewer CUDA cores than the RTX 2060 and will lack ray tracing support.
Deals

From Samsung to HP, here are the best cheap Chromebook deals right now

Whether you want a compact laptop to enjoy some entertainment on the go, or you need a no-nonsense machine for school or work, we've smoked out the best cheap Chromebook deals -- from full-sized laptops to 2-in-1 convertibles -- with most…
Computing

Chromebook 13 vs. Google Pixelbook: Acer model takes on the king

Acer's Chromebook 13 is throwing tons of speed at the Chrome OS market, to go with a midrange build and traditional clamshell design. Is that enough to challenge the Google Pixelbook?