Free VPN on Opera browser for anonymous internet access
Virtual private networks are popular with privacy-conscious computer users, but the best services cost while the free ones often have hidden costs. Web browser Opera, though, has integrated a free and unlimited VPN into the developer version of its software. “Now, you don’t have to download VPN extensions or pay for VPN subscriptions to access blocked websites and to shield your browsing when on public Wi-Fi,” said the company in blog post.
VPNs route users’ internet traffic through servers in different countries, making it more difficult for governments and hackers to monitor web traffic, and allowing users to access content that might be geo-restricted to a certain country. (Letting a European user watch American Netflix, for example.) Opera quotes statistics from the Global Web Index claiming that more than half a billion people have tried or are currently using VPNs, with the service most popular among young people. To use the new service, you just need to download the developer version of Opera and activate the VPN via the preferences menu.
It’s an interesting move from Opera and an obvious bid to attract more tech-savvy users. The company has previously built ad-blocking software directly into the developer version of its browser, and offering an integrated VPN plays to the same crowd.
It’s also worth considering whether services like this could become more mainstream in the future. After all, ad-blocking software was originally fairly niche, but is now being used by a wider audience. Could VPNs go the same way? Opera is still the minnow of the browser world (with between one and five percent of the market depending on what stats you believe) but it could be about to have an outsized impact.