- Jurisdiction: Norway / Canada
- Advanced Privacy Features: –
- Number of Servers and Countries: 3 options: Asia, Americas, Europe
- Streaming and P2P: Limited
Opera VPN Review
Suppose you’re already familiar with the well-known Opera web browser and are looking for a free VPN service that offers unlimited bandwidth. In that case, you may be considering using the relatively new Opera built-in VPN.
It’s definitely a tempting option since the service is entirely free for unlimited data and requires no registration. But is the Opera browser VPN a real VPN, and is it worth using? In this Opera VPN review, we’ll take a close look at the true nature of the Opera free VPN, its privacy features, supported devices, and its limitations. We’ll also find out what Reddit thinks of this service and offer some standalone alternatives, so you can decide if Opera VPN is worth it for you.
What is Opera VPN?
Opera VPN is an entirely free VPN built-in to the Opera web browser. Opera has been around since 1995 and is a well-known cross-platform web browser created by Opera Norway AS. The Opera VPN service is powered by SurfEasy, a Canadian-based VPN service provider that was once owned by Opera. Online privacy is a significant concern these days, so top web browsers have begun integrating more privacy features into their products. However, it’s surprising that there are only a few web browsers who’ve incorporated a built-in VPN into their service. Opera was the first and is undoubtedly the most renowned for doing so. However, upon closer inspection, Opera VPN isn’t really a true VPN service. Opera VPN offers a VPN-like service with unlimited data at no cost, but it may be best to look elsewhere if you need a real VPN.
Opera VPN vs. VPN
Opera VPN is more of a proxy than a real VPN. True dedicated VPNs encrypt all of the data going to and coming from a device, no matter what application is being used. A real VPN will also encrypt your traffic between your device and the internet using advanced security protocols like OpenVPN, so your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can’t see what you’re doing online.
On the other hand, a proxy typically only hides your IP address to protect the traffic going through that particular browser. Opera VPN does encrypt your data using 256-bit encryption, but it’s not on par with a dedicated VPN service. Any data from other applications is unprotected, so this service is not precisely the VPN Opera claims it is. The fact that OperaVPN essentially is a proxy may not be a problem for some people, but if you’re looking for a proper VPN’s high-security standards, Opera VPN is not where you’ll find what you need.
Opera Browser Privacy Features
The Opera web browser offers a variety of privacy features aside from its free built-in VPN. Opera comes with a built-in ad blocker to reduce third-party tracking, speed up browsing, and declutter your web pages for a safer and more enjoyable browsing experience. You can turn on the ad-blocker in the settings, and it’s customizable for different web pages.
Opera is a Chromium-based browser and has many of the same security protocols, including sandboxing and private windows. All your browsing history is immediately removed once you close a window. Opera also includes a tracker blocker. Most sites track your behavior while you’re visiting them for analytics and other purposes. With the tracker blocker, simply set up “block trackers” in the settings. All the security and privacy settings, including its built-in VPN, are available in the sidebar for easy access.
What Devices Does OperaVPN Support?
Opera used to have a VPN service with an Opera VPN Android app and Opera VPN iOS app, but Opera VPN is now only supported on desktop devices. You can get OperaVPN for PC or OperaVPN for Mac as long as you have the Opera web browser first. At this time, there are no options for Opera VPN Firestick or other devices. Mobile users looking for a free VPN will have to look elsewhere. Please do your research when it comes to choosing a free VPN, as not all of them are safe. Some good options are Windscribe, ProtonVPN, or Tunnelbear. If unlimited bandwidth is more important to you than free, Surfshark and VyperVPN are unlimited and have high speeds and many server locations.
How to Enable Opera VPN
OperaVPN couldn’t be simpler to set up. To get started, all you need is the free Opera web browser. Opera VPN doesn’t require any downloads, subscriptions, or extensions. You can activate the free VPN by going to Menu, clicking on Settings, selecting Advanced in the left sidebar, and then Features. From there, you can enable the VPN. Once activated, you’ll see a VPN status as an icon on the address bar. You can toggle the VPN service on and off by clicking on the icon. The icon will be highlighted blue when you have an active connection. You can also choose your desired server location, view the stats on the data you use, and view and change your virtual IP address.
OperaVPN Servers and Locations
Opera VPN’s servers and locations are very limited, and you’re allowed to choose from only three options. The locations are vaguely labeled as Asia, Europe, and the Americas. You really have no idea what city or to exactly which country you’re actually connected. For some users, this works fine, but the limited options and ambiguity may be a pain for others.
Opera VPN for Streaming and Torrenting
If you’re trying to stream or torrent anything, here’s how Opera VPN compares:
You can’t usually expect to have the ability to unblock streaming services with a free VPN. In fact, streaming services like Netflix often not accessible even paid VPN services. So does OperaVPN work well for streaming? It depends. Many users have reported the ability to connect and watch Netflix shows overseas through Opera VPN, but that’s not always everyone’s experience. It is not a guarantee that you’ll be able to unblock streaming services with Opera VPN. If accessing and streaming shows is your primary goal, don’t worry. There are other options if you’re looking for the best VPNs for unblocking Netflix.
What about torrenting and P2P file sharing? Can you torrent using Opera VPN, and is it safe? No. Opera VPN is a built-in VPN for a browser and can’t handle or support torrenting. If you plan to torrent, check out our list of the best VPNs for torrenting.
VPN Browser Extensions for Opera
If you enjoy the Opera web browser, but you want the additional security from a real VPN, you can consider upgrading to a VPN browser extension that works with Opera. Here are a few good options to look into:
Private Internet Access Opera Extension
PIA VPN is a popular browser extension for Opera users. Private Internet Access offers a vast network of servers in 48 countries and is very fast. PIA features WebRTC leak protection and allows you to block access to your location, camera, and microphone. Traffic is encrypted using Squid HTTPS, and they have a strict no-log policy.
TunnelBear uses AES 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN and one of the few VPNs that regularly publishes independent security audits. Tunnel Bear VPN also has a strict no-log policy, is fast, and has a server network of over 20 countries.
ZenMate VPN has an extensive network in over 74 global locations and hundreds of servers. They offer a strict no-log policy and high-speed connections with unlimited bandwidth. ZenMate’s browser extension uses AES 256-bit encryption.
Opera VPN vs ZenMate VPN extension
ZenMate is a popular VPN browser extension with options for Opera, Chrome, and Firefox. So how do Opera’s built-in VPN and the ZenMate VPN browser extension compare?
Well, concerning price, both Opera VPN and the ZenMate extension are entirely free. They’re both also very simple to set up and use. The two services have a lot of similarities. However, there are a few ways that they differ. Opera VPN currently offers only three server locations, while ZenMate offers four locations for their free extension. It’s not much of a difference. However, it’s important to consider that ZenMate also offers premium standalone VPN services, which is how they support a free extension.
Another thing to note is that Opera VPN offers unlimited bandwidth, but ZenMate only allows maximum speeds of 2Mbps. For some users, this may not be a problem, but this could be a dealbreaker for others.
If you aren’t already an Opera browser user or sometimes switch between browsers, it’s also good to know that ZenMate is available for Opera, Chrome, and Firefox. Opera VPN is limited strictly to the Opera browser, so ZenMate offers a little extra flexibility. However, don’t forget that with the ZenMate extension, you’re still only protected on the browser you’re using.
Standalone VPN Alternatives to Opera VPN
If Opera VPN doesn’t look like the right option for your needs, we’ve included some standalone alternatives for you with our Opera VPN review. These VPN services aren’t proxies with VPN-like features. These standalone dedicated VPNs offer additional privacy and security, so all your data is protected — not just the traffic coming and going in your browser.
Speedify VPN is a provider that uses channel-bonding technology and combines your internet connections, so you enjoy faster speeds and a reduced chance of a dropped connection. At the same time, Speedify VPN provides a safe and secure network connection using ChaCha 256-bit encryption and standard AES 256-bit encryption. SpeedifyVPN is available for Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV Stick. Speedify features a kill switch for maximum security and Captive Portal Assist for securely and smoothly connecting to captive portal public networks. Speedify currently has over 200 servers in 38 countries and provides a few dedicated servers for torrenting and P2P file sharing. There is a free option, or you can choose from premium paid plans to fit your needs.
Hotspot Shield is a VPN service provider that uses military-grade security in the form of AES 128-bit encryption and AES 256-bit encryption. Security features include a kill switch, DNS leak blocking, Internet Protocol Version 6 leak blocking, split tunneling, and ad blocking. Hotspot Shield supports several devices and platforms, including macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire TV Stick. You are allowed to connect up to five devices at once with Hotspot Shield. HotspotShield VPN provides unlimited data and streaming and gives you free access to 1Password, Robo Shield, and Identity Guard. Hotspot Shield’s server network spans over 35 cities, 80 countries, and thousands of servers. Hotspot Shield fully supports P2P file sharing and torrenting. With Hotspot Shield, you may be able to unblock streaming services, including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+. Hotspot Shield offers a free version and two paid plans to choose from.
VPN Unlimited is a VPN provider that also offers a Malware Detection Program for increased protection. Their security features include a DNS firewall, a kill switch, and unlimited browser extensions, such as ping tests and dark mode. Devices supported by VPN Unlimited include macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android. There are browser extensions available for Opera, Google Chrome, and Firefox, and VPN Unlimited is also available for use directly on streaming services, routers, and NAS. VPN Unlimited has over 500 servers in 80 countries, and they allow you to choose a server based on your needs, such as torrenting or streaming. Speaking of streaming, VPN Unlimited has ten dedicated servers, specifically for unblocking popular streaming services and channels. They also provide five servers for torrenting and P2P file sharing. VPN Unlimited does not offer a free plan at this time, but you can choose between four different plans to suit your needs and budget.
Reddit’s Opinion of Opera VPN
Reddit users, or Redditors, are notorious for being brutally honest with their opinions, and they definitely have a few things to say with their Opera VPN reviews. The responses are a little bit mixed, but there was a common theme for the most part.
In one thread, Redditors had mostly positive things to say about OperaVPN. In many comments, Redditors clarify to others that Opera VPN isn’t a real VPN but a proxy. However, they go on to say that for a completely free service, it does its job well.
In another thread, it’s clear that Redditors aren’t sure if they can trust OperaVPN, and they’re worried about Opera VPN not working to protect their privacy. Reddit’s standard advice is to stay away from free VPN services because the money to operate has to come from somewhere. The common statement is, “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” The idea is that if you aren’t paying, then the company is getting paid by logging your information and selling it to third parties. Besides being wary of the completely free factor, additional comments were that Opera VPN is a bit slow, but nothing they couldn’t work with. If you’re interested in what Reddit thinks, check out the best VPNs according to Reddit.
Opera VPN is a super simple way to protect your data when using the Opera web browser, but that’s the only place where you’ll get protection. If you prefer using a different browser, this VPN service isn’t for you. It’s a 100% free VPN and appears to be safe for what it’s intended for, but it’s quite limited with how you can use it. You won’t be able to torrent and will likely be unable to unblock any streaming services. Its simplicity is great, but it’s lacking a few simple features that would be ideal, such as a kill switch and more options for server locations. Overall, it’s a decent VPN for those just looking into more privacy, but this may not be the ticket for those users who want more.
Opera VPN FAQ
Still got questions? We may have the answers for you below:
Opera VPN is straightforward to set up and use. If you don’t already have the Opera web browser, you’ll need to head to their website and download it before using the built-in VPN. Once you’ve downloaded the Opera web browser, launch it on your desktop. The icon looks like a red “O” for Opera. On Mac, you’ll find it in your Applications folder, and on Windows, it’ll be located in the Start menu.
Before you can begin using the built-in VPN, you’ll need to enable it on the browser. On Mac, click on “Opera” in the top left of the browser, and then select “Preferences” in the dropdown. On Windows, select “Menu,” and then click on “Settings.”
Opera’s settings page will open, and from the left panel, you’ll select “Privacy and Security” to activate and access Opera’s built-in VPN. From here, scroll down until you see the “VPN” section, and click “Enable.”
The blue VPN badge will now appear on the left side of the browser’s address bar. Once it’s enabled, you simply click the blue VPN badge to toggle on and off or choose your server location. There aren’t any fancy or complicated features to mess with. It’s really that simple.
When you browse websites on the Opera web browser while using the built-in VPN is enabled, the VPN encrypts your web traffic and routes it through a remote server so that the website you’re viewing sees only the server’s location, not yours.
Your IP address won’t be visible to others, but what may be visible is the fact that you’re using a VPN. Therefore, for any websites that block proxies or VPNs, you may not be able to gain access.
Any VPN’s goal is to hide your IP address and mask your identity to protect your data from third parties and help you access restricted content. And any good VPN aims to do these things without sacrificing speed. So is OperaVPN good at what it does?
When you activate OperaVPN, the browser automatically connects you to the server it thinks will provide you with the best performance and best user experience. You can also choose which server location you like to use if you prefer. Your choices are the Americas, Asia, or Europe.
The server location you use will play a part in how fast your connection is and if there are any lags, especially if you choose a server that’s very far away or not optimal for your location. Opera VPN offers unlimited bandwidth, so they won’t purposefully slow down your connection. However, users can sometimes get varying results.
For the most part, OperaVPN has pretty decent speeds. Any difference in speed from your pre-VPN tests should be minimal and not affect your overall experience. And hey, if you do experience any considerable slowdown and decide it doesn’t work for you, at least it was free, right?
Opera’s built-in VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect your data against hackers and third parties. AES 256-bit is the industry-standard military-grade encryption that most VPN service providers operate.