Opera seems to be trying to make a name for itself as the most privacy-aware mainstream internet browser. The company has just launched a VPN, or virtual private network, app for iOS. What makes this VPN special, however, is the fact that it’s completely free to use as much as you want.
The launch of the new app isn’t totally out of character for Opera. Last month Opera launched an integrated and free VPN for the developer version of its desktop browser, and just last week it integrated ad-blocking into both desktop and mobile versions.
A virtual private network is designed to essentially hide the user’s IP address. Instead of accessing the internet directly, the user’s device connects to a server, which then accesses the internet on behalf of the user, masking the user’s identity. Like other VPN integrations Opera has done, the app uses the SurfEasy VPN service, which was actually recently acquired by Opera. While other VPNs may offer a trial version or require the user to sign up for a subscription, Opera says its integration of the VPN in its internet browser will be free for life.
According to Opera, the app could be especially useful “on campuses and workplaces,” where certain websites may be restricted or blocked — using a VPN allows you to bypass such blocking. You could also use the app to access content locked to certain regions, with the current virtual regions on offer being Canada, Germany, Singapore, and the U.S.
It’s interesting to see Opera, a relatively well-known internet-browser, taking such a stance on privacy. In the past, VPNs have largely been limited to lesser-known browsers like Tor. Perhaps other mainstream browsers (ahem, Chrome) will take notice of Opera’s efforts and implement more privacy-focused features too. We can always hope!
Check out the video below for more on the Opera iOS app’s new VPN feature. You can download it from the App Store here.