Five months after it was announced, Opera’s VPN for desktops has reached the final version of the browser. Until then, the service was only available in developer versions. The promise was kept: the resource is free and unlimited, as Opera Software itself makes a point of highlighting.
VPN is not enabled by default. But enabling it is easy: open Opera’s menu, click on Settings (or Preferences ), and under Privacy and Security, check the Enable VPN option. It is not necessary to register.
For the uninitiated, a VPN spoofs your computer’s IP using a server address, making your connection appear to be maintained from somewhere else. As this connection is encrypted, the VPN protects your data from interceptions, a useful feature when you access a public Wi-Fi network, for example.
VPNs can also be used for other purposes, such as accessing services that are only available in certain countries. But security is really Opera’s main argument: “If people knew how the internet really works, I believe everyone would use a VPN”, says Krystian Kolondra, senior vice president of Opera for desktops. All connections are based on 256-bit AES encryption.
In the browser, VPN is provided by SurfEasy, a subsidiary of Opera. You can choose servers from five locations: Germany, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, and Singapore. You can make your selection by clicking the VPN icon next to the address bar, or let the browser do the work for itself — it uses criteria like speed and latency to define the location.
Opera 40, the version that incorporates the VPN function, is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux.