Opera VPN review
Alternative choices for you
Opera VPN is a VPN service that works with the fifth most popular browser in the world, and Opera has always maintained a small but loyal fan base. This is in large part due to his pioneering of cutting-edge technologies that are already useful, such as Opera Turbo (compression technology designed to speed up web browsing) and built-in ad blocking.
Given Opera’s acquisition of Canadian VPN service SurfEasy last year, it’s no surprise that Opera decided to integrate VPN technology into its main browser. According to Steve Kelly, Vice President of Marketing at Opera, the reason for the move is to improve users’ privacy and security.
“Everyone deserves to surf the internet privately if they so desire. Today, it is very difficult to maintain privacy when using the web, and many people face barriers on the Internet, such as blocked content. By launching a built-in, free, and unlimited VPN in the browser, we make it easy for people to improve their privacy and access the content they want.“
Pricing and Features
You can use the VPN bundled with Opera for 100% free, and there are no data limits. This in itself makes the service one of the most generous free VPNs out there. Whether Opera will continue to provide this level of service is of course anyone’s guess.
Five VPN server locations are available – Canada, United States, Germany, Netherlands, and Singapore VPN servers. This is more limited than most commercial VPN services, but hey…it’s free! It also covers a good selection of popular VPN server locations, although the UK is clearly missing out.
This means that you will not be able to use Opera to watch iPlayer. Unfortunately, those who wanted to access the US version of Netflix were also not so lucky… When I tried, Netflix successfully detected that I was running a “proxy” and refused to play. However, this VPN is able to unblock restricted Youtube videos in your region.
Security and privacy
Opera Software ASA is a Norwegian company with offices in Poland, Sweden and China. As of November 2016, it was primarily owned by a Chinese consortium based in Hong Kong and headed by billionaire businessman Zhou Yahui. It’s not entirely clear where that leaves a “VPN,” and in what jurisdiction it operates under.
Opera Software ASA has sold its Consumer Browsers division to the Chinese Federation, but this does not appear to include the “VPN” infrastructure which, as far as we can tell, is still in the hands of Opera Software ASA. But Yahui Chu has served as Chairman and CEO of the company since June 2016…
Although Norway received a rating of 100 out of 100 in Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2021 report, it is a member of the US-led Nine Eyes spy coalition and conducts extensive domestic surveillance. All ISPs and carriers are required to store records of metadata and web browsing history for a period of six months, although it is not clear if this applies to VPN services.
China is keen to restrict its citizens’ access to the open internet, and pursues domestic opposition policy by monitoring online forums and social media platforms. Despite many doubts, there is no evidence that it has any interest in listening to the internet traffic of international internet users.
Hong Kong has traditionally enjoyed free and very open internet, although tensions with the Chinese government, which is keen to exert greater control over the former British territory, raise suspicions that it may come under increased surveillance from the mainland.
To further confuse matters, the Non-EU Privacy Statement refers to “Opera Unite Pte. Ltd. (“Opera”), a member of the Opera Group” which is headquartered in Singapore….
“When you use our built-in VPN service, we do not log any information regarding your browsing activity and original network address.”
OperaVPN is a proxy, not a VPN service. Connections are secured using HTTPS, the encryption system that protects sensitive websites, making OperaVPN an HTTPS proxy. Since it is based on Chromium, Opera browser supports TLS 1.3. This is the latest version of the protocol, and it is reasonable to assume that the VPN also uses TLS 1.3.
There is little support for the VPN feature, although it is so easy to use that you hardly need it. If for any reason you get stuck, you can ask questions on the Opera forums.
How to set up OperaVPN
Download and install Opera VPN.
Once the software is installed, you have to enable the VPN feature by going to Menu -> Privacy and Security -> VPN -> Enable VPN. Note that I had an older version of Opera installed, and I need to uninstall it and reinstall the latest version for this option to be available.
Using a VPN then is just a matter of clicking the “VPN” sign to the left of the search bar/URL, choosing a server location, and clicking “Play”
It’s worth noting that the VPN feature looks very similar to the SurfEasy browser extension (although that wouldn’t come as a surprise). Unlike this extension, however, the VPN bundled for free with Opera does not have a data limit of 500MB.
Opera has removed Android VPN and iOS VPN apps from its stores. Unlike the desktop feature built into the browser, these were real VPN apps. But this is an academy because it is no longer available.
If you are an Android user and are looking for something similar to Opera, check out our VPN Browsers article for a list of alternatives.
Alternatively, if you are an iOS user, you may want to check out our list of free VPNs for iOS. These services are a bit different from VPN browsers like Opera VPN, however, they route all traffic from your iOS device through an encrypted tunnel that is more secure.
Performance (speed tests, DNS leaks, and WebRTC)
Speed tests were conducted on a UK broadband 50Mbps/3Mbps connection using TestMy.net.
These results are pretty good, especially when you consider that the service is free! Color me dazzled!
WebRTC leak protection is now built in. that is great!
DNS resolution is performed using Google DNS servers located in the same country as the VPN server you are connecting to. So when you connect to USA VPN server, DNS resolution is also done using US DNS servers. This is good for geospoofing.
From a privacy perspective, as far as Google is concerned, your DNS requests will appear to be coming from Opera (instead of your real IP address).
Free is everyone’s favorite, and in many ways Opera’s free “VPN” offers a great service (although it’s really a browser proxy, not a VPN). Unlike most free VPN services, it is unlimited (no data limits) and fast. For those who simply want to bypass censorship, geolocation, or protect their browsing while using public WiFi hotspots, Opera may come to the right place.
that it NotHowever, it is a good choice for anyone who uses a VPN to protect their privacy, wants to use a VPN for Netflix, or wants to use a VPN for torrenting activities.