…Except it’s not really a VPN, but more of a proxy. More on that in a bit.
The upshot for internet users everywhere is that the Opera browser now offers a free, built-in “VPN” for anyone that chooses to use it.
This means all web traffic through the browser will be encrypted, tracking cookies will be blocked, and the user’s IP address will be hidden. This will give more privacy for Opera users from potentially prying eyes, whether they be criminals trying to sniff Wi-Fi traffic or advertisers trying to track a user’s internet habits.
In addition, use of the VPN can allow web browsers to get around geolocation-locked contents, meaning Opera users may be more easily able to watch television or movies that normally aren’t allowed to stream in their location.
VPNs in general are a good idea when you’re using a public Wi-Fi, or accessing sensitive information (like work email) that you don’t want getting into the wrong hands. Many people make using a VPN a habit at all times, no matter where they are, because of the added security it can offer.
But one major downside is that VPNs can be a bit complex to set up, often cost money, or free versions have a bandwidth cap. Opera hopes its offer of a free, non-bandwidth-limited VPN-like service will attract more privacy-minded users to its download page.
As we’ve mentioned previously, we take some issue with using the term “VPN” to describe what the Opera browser is offering. Given that the traffic being encrypted is only in the browser, and doesn’t cover the rest of your network’s traffic – including anything that might be sent or received via email client, chat, or any other web browser or app – it’s a bit of a misnomer to call what Opera’s offering a true VPN. Since it’s restricted to the browser, it’s really more of a proxy.
Nomenclature aside, you may be thinking that this sounds like a win-win for users who don’t want to be tracked by advertisers and would like a little more anonymity online. Certainly, more privacy is never a bad thing.
Just keep in mind that by using Opera’s “VPN”/proxy, all of your information and browsing habits will be tunneled through its servers, giving Opera insight into what its users are doing. (Opera currently commands a little over 1% of the desktop browser market share right now.)
23 comments on “Opera browser starts running traffic through its own “VPN””
Interesting to see what this means for corporate proxy admins? for example, no visibility of web browsing?
They just block the proxy hostnames…
Bets whether the first release fully utilises the proxy for dns?
Please dont mention Netflix unless youre sure this will get around it. Netflix have blocked the use of VPN’s with their service. Anything said otherwise without proof is misleading or trying to sell you something.
Thanks Carlos. We’ve removed the reference.
“all of your information and browsing habits will be tunneled through its servers, giving Opera insight into what its users are doing”
“someone” is always watching.
One way or another – Blondie.
Hi Mahhn. Just to specify. Opera’s browser VPN is provided by SurfEasy, an Opera subsidiary. The browser VPN is a no-log service, so no information is stored on users.
Hasn’t Opera been purchased by a co in China?
Last I heard, the Chinese investment in Opera fell through.
Be good to have something definitive. The first one fell through, then a second try was announced.
Is it a concern that Opera is owned by a chinese company?
And the ‘VPN’ or proxy is already causing problems with ‘proxy error’ messages appearing and web page not loading correctly plus Opera error messages instead of simple web pages.
Wish they wouldn’t rely upon users doing the beta testing for them, they should do that in-house before letting the software out into the wild. Microsoft have the habit of doing that amongst others.
Be good to know what a VPN is.
Here’s a short explanation in plain English… hope it helps:
[quote]This will give more privacy for Opera users from potentially prying eyes[/quote]
Until of course the cookie monsters map all Opera’s proxy IPs and block at the firewall, with timeout errors instilling user doubt in the browser. Or reroute traffic to helpful “error” pages with scary warnings and advise visitors on how to disable/opt out of the proxy.
They won’t lie still for long missing the big money they’re accustomed to seeing.
It sets up a single point of failure unless Opera is able to utilize a distributed system like Akamai. A simple DOS-attack on Opera disables every Opera browser in the world.
Last night I downloaded the new Opera, and used it for the streaming media site. It did a great job blocking overlay adds (FF with adblocker has left me lagging lately) and I had no lag. Will by my movie browser for a while. Going to check connections tonight due to the China purchase comments (netstat -an). Good so far.
I use Opera some of the time. I will try using it more.
Am I correct in that “Opera” was also recently purchased by a Chinese concern? If so, where is the “security/privacy” in this? Does anyone think that hiding in a Chinese controlled site of ANY type be it VPN, proxy or whatever will really provide privacy to anything you use it for???
Still closed/proprietary software. That alone should scream, “STAY AWAY!”
Well Opera may be trying to provide people with free like vpn with a clause, it is only available on our browser. But more people are even afraid of privacy of data captured by the Opera browser
Opera also provided its own free VPN to your phone and in this case it is a complete VPN cos every app has to go through that, not just the browser.
I love articles that take a critical view, but when you lean on snobbish tones you kind of lose my attention.
What will happen with Opera VPN now that China has made VPNs illegal? Opera is owned by a chinese company, right?