Opera VPN Review
Opera is the first of popular web browsers, which has embedded a VPN in its functionality. The browser was developed by the Norwegian company Opera Software AS (since 2016, the owner is Golden Brick Capital Management Limited, Hong Kong).
I hasten to add that this is not a real Virtual Private Network, but a proxy embedded in the browser. Therefore, it is possible to hide IP for websites opened in Opera only. Besides, there are no additional functions inherent in full-fledged VPN applications.
I have to disappoint iOS users (iPhone and iPod owners): Opera browser does not have a VPN function for Apple mobile gadgets.
Furthermore, I will tell you about the features of using Opera VPN, show what it is good for by using examples, and highlight some serious drawbacks that it has.
Here is the list of all chapters for quick navigation:
- How to get Opera VPN for free?
- How to use Opera VPN?
- Opera VPN features
- Privacy and security features
- Servers and platforms of Opera VPN
- Opera VPN and Netflix
- Conclusion: pros and cons
- Information about the owner of Opera
- Top 3 alternatives
At the time when many VPN providers the so-called free plans with limited bandwidth, speed or servers, Opera provides its users with the facility to be protected online and unblock restricted services free of charge. No limits!
The app installer might be found on many sources.
However, it doesn’t mean it secure to download them.
In order for you not to face troubles while the setup process and not to infect your device with a virus, it’s indicated to use the official Opera site only.
Click ‘Download now’ and run the setup process.
Open Settings to enable Opera VPN in the browser
After it, you are to open the Settings and enable VPN (see the screenshot above).
If it is still unclear for you how to make Opera VPN run, follow the steps:
- open Settings;
- open “Go to browser settings”:
- go to Advanced;
- choose Privacy & Security;
- enable VPN:
I wish to point out that the “Bypass VPN for default search engines” setting is responsible for enabling/disabling VPN for the default search engine, which is configured for the browser.
If you use Google as the default search engine, enabling this setting will cause unencrypted routing for all requests to Google, and your IP address will remain visible for others.
Why do you need it? Search engines often partially or completely limit the activity of those users who use proxies. Either you will have to confirm that you are not a robot every time you type a request or you will not be able to use a search option at all in some cases.
Therefore, I recommend activating this setting when complete privacy is not necessary.
This completes the installation and configuration of Opera VPN.
After installing and activating the VPN setting, the appropriate enabled indicator will appear in front of the address bar:
This indicator not only shows a status of the VPN but also allows you to see the visualized consumption of VPN traffic and configure a location:
You can choose one of the three regions:
or use the region that provides a fast speed connection (or an optimal distance to where your location is).
I checked these locations and determined which countries Opera VPN offers in these regions, having put them in the following table:
|Region||Country||ISP (Internet Provider)|
|Optimal||Netherlands in my case||Opera Mini Proxy|
|Europe||Netherlands||Opera Mini Proxy|
|Americas||United States||Opera Mini Proxy|
|Asia||Singapore||Opera Mini Proxy|
Perhaps in your case, there will be other countries, but most likely, they are unchanged.
So, knowing which countries are available to you and how to change regions, you can use Opera VPN with these three regions only.
For what purposes you can and can not use Opera VPN, you will learn in the next section.
Let me remind you that all the tasks that Opera VPN can solve relate only to those sites that are open in this browser. Therefore, traffic from other applications goes without IP hiding and encryption.
- Netflix for mobile applications
- VoIP (voice) instant messengers and more.
What features does Opera VPN have (for the websites that are opened in the browser)?
- IP hiding;
- bypass blocking (including censorship);
- video streaming.
Is Opera so good with the VPN enabled? I tested all its features and I`ll tell you more about each of these points.
Perhaps IP hiding is the most important feature of any VPN. At the same time, I remind you that Opera VPN is not a real VPN, but a browser with a proxy. Therefore, it is important to check how well it emulates a VPN.
When I tested the locations provided, I ensured that an IP address change for sure, and any site you visit identifies your new virtual location.
However, when using a VPN, there are some cases where your real IP can be detected (IP address leaks). I tested Opera VPN for three possible leaks. These are IPv6, WebRTC and DNS leaks.
The ipleak.net service for Asia (Singapore) location did not find any IP leaks:
|Type of IP Leak||Conclusion|
Although an IP address is well hidden, the fact that you hide it will be visible. The point is that Opera VPN uses fixed IP addresses and all those addresses actually have the same owner - Opera Software AS.
Opera Software AS is the owner of IP addresses of all locations.
Therefore, they are likely to be listed in the blacklist of websites and firewalls that restrict access to those who use a proxy.
Looking ahead, those restrictions do not concern Netflix. But this is a special chapter.
What sites could be unblocked using Opera VPN?
Due to the fact that Opera reliably hides your IP address when using the VPN, you can unblock almost any website. The following cases are exceptions:
- sites that block proxies;
- If you are in the countries that have added the Opera Servers IPs to the blacklist;
- If you need a location that differs from the three offered.
As an example, Opera VPN does not work in China. Moreover, Opera’s mobile apps have not been available there since April 30, 2018.
Opera VPN for streaming
Despite the fact that Opera VPN does not work with websites that block proxies, you can unlock video content for all three available regions, and, importantly, for the US.
Read more about unlocking Netflix in the chapter “Opera VPN and Netflix”.
And now it’s time to tip off Opera VPN strong and weak sides in terms of security and privacy.
What’s an Opera VPN logging policy?
A zero-logging policy of a VPN provider attracts internet users because of the facility to be really safe online.
As for Opera VPN, it declares that “Opera browser for computers implements a no-log VPN service”.
It neither connects nor stores any sensitive data on the people who make use of this browser.
Thanks to it, we can safely assume that advertisers and ISP would not disturb us with the ads in the first case and notices in the second case.
What encryption is applied by Opera VPN?
It doesn’t cipher user traffic. And there is no way to do it.
Although it is stated that Opera VPN uses HTTPS/SSL encryption, your traffic is still unprotected.
Anticipating your question, I’ll explain why.
The thing is that Opera VPN is not the real Virtual Private Network. In reality, it’s some kind of a proxy server.
It’s received wisdom that proxy servers are used only to go round the restrictions when trying to access one or another website. But unfortunately, it doesn’t make user traffic safe.
What protocols are used?
As far as Opera VPN is not a VPN service in the usual sense, it doesn’t offer any protocols.
Any additional features?
It has already been mentioned that Opera differs a lot from free VPN providers we got used to. Using it, you won’t make use of such functions as automatic Kill Switch or Split Tunneling, for example.
All the advanced features inherent in the best VPNs are not available for Opera VPN.
In fact, besides the ability to disable the VPN for a search engine, Opera VPN does not have other additional functions.
The number and diversity of a VPN server park and compatibility with various platforms and operating systems are the key points for some internet surfers when choosing a VPN provider.
The next section of this Opera VPN review will help to study up on these points.
Compatibility with different operating systems Platforms supported by the service
It is clear that the free VPN under consideration can be used on any device that works with the Opera browser. Thus, you might enable it on:
- Android gadgets;
- Linux gadgets;
- macOS gadgets;
- Windows gadgets.
An iOS version does not have a VPN feature.
Note! Of course, Opera VPN cannot be installed on Chrome or Firefox browsers.
How many servers does Opera VPN provide?
Unlike other free VPN providers (like VPN Gate or ProtonVPN, for example), Opera does not afford an opportunity to switch between VPN servers.
What’s more, we haven’t found any information about VPN servers offered by Opera (wherever its ancestor Opera VPN app offered servers in Germany, the US, Singapore, and other countries).
A lovely surprise for me was the opportunity to unblock Netflix for the US and NL.
In addition to these countries, Singapore is also available as a location, but it is not popular among users.
I tested the US region and got low and medium quality unlocked videos (due to low connection speed through Opera VPN):
If watching high-quality video is essential for you, then read our review on VPNs for Netflix.
Despite my concerns, Netflix did not block the proxy either for the US or for NL. However, based on my experience of testing VPNs for streaming, I do not think it is for long. But in any case, you don’t need to pay for it, so you have nothing to lose using Opera VPN.
It depends on your needs whether to use Opera VPN or not. If you are concerned about your online security and privacy and want your traffic to be close to 100% secure, it is better to show preference to another provider.
But in the event you are interested in being less restricted when surfing the Internet and stream Netflix from any corner of the world, OperaVPN might help you.
To sum up, let’s have a look at its pluses and minuses.
Pros of Opera VPN:
- unblocks Netflix;
- compatible with all popular platforms (except iOS);
- easy to use;
- no logs.
Cons of Opera VPN:
- no opportunity to choose a server;
- works as a proxy;
- low speed (download - no more than 20 Mbit /s at a normal rate of ~ 60-70 Mbit/s, upload - no more than 3 Mbit/s at a normal rate of ~ 30-50 Mbit/s);
- no strong data ciphering;
- no advanced features.
Still, we recommend you to buy a VPN rather than use totally free VPNs.
In 2016, the browser and Opera brand were sold to a group of Chinese investors led by Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. and Qihoo 360 by Opera Software SA for $ 600 million.
Information about the company:
Golden Brick Capital Management Limited
33F, Far East Finance Center
16 Harcourt Road
website Opera VPN: www.opera.com
website Golden Brick Capital Management Limited: http://www.goldenbrickcapital.com/
If the weak points of Opera VPN make to search for the alternatives to it, you may have a look at the following:
NordVPN is the best VPN available for free for up to 30 days (with a refund) and up to 7 days in a free trial period for mobile devices.
ProtonVPN is a good VPN provider with a minimally limited free plan and many additional features.
HolaVPN is an Opera VPN-like provider that also provides a Chromium-based browser with built-in proxies that has more locations, but not all its resources will be available for you for free.
Keep on reading us and be ready for new free VPN reviews!