Opera VPN (review) which is built inside the Opera web browser, offers users to browse online with greater privacy. It is completely free and has no bandwidth limits. However, instead of using an OpenVPN, you use a proxy to encrypt your traffic, which is a lower amount of security than a full, standalone VPN service.
So is it worth using?
Not so fast.
You often get what you buy with VPNs. Free ones sound good on the surface, but they often come to bite at the end.
So what is with them?
Continue reading this Opera VPN review to see if this free service is worth it.
Opera VPN Overview
|USABILITY:||Easy to set up and use|
|LOG FILES:||Some Logging Policy|
|LOCATIONS:||5 countries, 10 servers|
|NETFLIX:||Unblocks Netflix USA|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||No encryption; Proxy only|
Opera VPN Pros
It bears repeating, as it is the only redeeming factor of this VPN.
There are not tons that I like here. But that becomes a little more palatable once you keep repeating a fact over and over in your head.
That being said, this VPN has a really amazing feature. Works with Netflix. That is huge. So bravo, Opera.
Let’s take a look at the positives of Opera VPN.
This shouldn’t take long …
Works With Netflix
I can’t overstate how wonderful it is that Opera VPN works seamlessly with Netflix.
Why do you ask? Shouldn’t all VPNs work with Netflix?
In theory and in an ideal world, yes. And for a short time they did.
Then everything changed.
Enraged by the apparent abuse of its service by the VPN community, Netflix launched a counteroffensive, employing strong and powerful VPN blocking software to keep unauthorized users out of geo-blocked content.
Now the vast majority of VPNs encounter this screen when trying to access Netflix.
So once you find a VPN that works with Netflix, it’s cause for celebration. Opera VPN worked on all three servers we tested.
That puts it in the upper echelon of Netflix’s positive VPNs.
Easy to Setup and Use
This might be the simplest VPN setup you have ever seen.
Because it is built into the Opera browser, there is no download, setup, or login process.
To activate Opera VPN you have to go to the Opera browser menu and choose “Settings”.
Once there, go to the Privacy and Security tab. You will see a neighborhood for the VPN. Click on the box above to enable it.
Once activated, the VPN will appear next to the search bar. If it is highlighted in blue, it means you are connected.
I was ready to surf freely with a little delay. But let’s get on with our previous findings, Netflix worked flawlessly.
You can switch servers at will … a bit. If you click on the blue VPN box, a menu appears allowing you to turn the VPN on or off and choose a location.
They offer three:
- The Americas
This was the only VPN I have ever used and Netflix started right away. So this practice test was a great victory.
Mostly Harmless Logging
The purpose of a VPN is to keep your data protected and your IP address completely anonymous. which has anonymity from ALL prying eyes, even the VPN company itself.
Unfortunately, an alarming number of VPN providers keep track of your data. As a result, using them is a waste of time.
They will also record some data if the application crashes, such as your “browser, operating system, platform, and some memory data.” This data is also used to improve the merchandise and not.
Opera VPN Cons
Welp. That didn’t take long.
Time to jump into the drawbacks of this VPN. And boy are there a lot.
This is one of those “where do I begin” kinda scenarios.
For starters, they log your information. ALL of your information.
Keeping the wheel turning, I’ll point out that calling Opera VPN a VPN is not accurate. Maybe the original app was, but the browser extension certainly is not. It’s a proxy. So there are some safety concerns.
No torrenting, no protection for anything outside the browser, IP leaks, no device compatibility, no torrenting, and absolutely no customer support round out the perfect storm of VPN horror.
Technically, Opera Browser may be a Norwegian company.
But their VPN services are managed by SurfEasy, a Canadian company acquired by Opera a couple of years ago.
Canada can be a member of the 5 Eyes Surveillance Alliance, an espionage agreement between the good White North and thus the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and therefore the UK.
The alliance brings together your operational efforts, so if one country has information about you, it shares it with the four opposites.
That means that Opera VPN not only records all your activity and knowledge but must also hand it over to the Canadian government if requested.
Update 10/18/18: A representative from Opera contacted him and did not confirm that they are a Norwegian company, which is governed by strict Norwegian privacy laws. But here’s the confusing part.
As mentioned, Opera can be a Norwegian company. They acquired SurfEasy a couple of years ago. And recently, Symantec acquired SurfEasy. Despite that, SurfEasy continues to be listed as a Canadian company.
BUT, in April this year (2018), Opera PR told Android Police that “Opera VPN is an application owned by SurfEasy, which is no longer part of Opera Software.”
Confusing, right? So does it fall within Norwegian or Canadian privacy rights? It is difficult to report unless there is more transparency about who owns this product.
Not a True VPN
Calling Opera VPN a VPN is not the least bit accurate.
It is not a VPN, it is a proxy.
They both hide your IP, so what is the difference?
I’m glad you asked.
A proxy hides your IP, but it doesn’t have any encryption. Your information is not protected and identification data is not removed.
A VPN actually tunnels your system using advanced protocols that hide your information with one of the simplest encryptions known to man.
Apparently, the mobile apps were VPNs, using AES-256 encryption, which must have been great. But not.
So is Opera VPN safe? Absolutely not. Your IP is hidden, but your information is not encrypted.
This is fine if you’re just looking to watch Netflix or YouTube, but anyone who cares about true anonymity is out of luck here.
Update 10/18/18: A reached Opera representative said that they are offering encryption over HTTPS / SSL. This is usually a level of encryption equivalent to that of the other major website on the web. However, the problem is that there is no true tunneling protocol that encrypts your entire connection, only the use of the browser.
Browser-Only (Stand-Alone Product Discontinued)
Opera VPN used to have a number of mobile apps that acted as full VPNs and had their own website. They were discontinued on April 30, 2018, leaving only the browser plugin.
So your only option to use this product is through the Opera browser.
There is no support for mobile devices, nothing for routers, and no smart device support. You’ll only use it with Opera, which is available for free on Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.
This is another great weakness of Opera VPN. A VPN that only works with the fifth most popular browser in the world is useless.
Chrome Extension Leaks Detected
The security nightmare continues to deepen.
IP leaks undermine the rationale for a VPN. They discover your IP address and expose it to your ISP.
This usually happens through DNS leaks and WebRTC leaks.
A DNS leak bypasses your VPN’s encrypted tunnel connection, connecting you to an internet site along with your original on-screen IP.
WebRTC leaks happen when well-intentioned APIs undermine the security of your connection.
Whether the leak comes from DNS or WebRTC, the end results are equivalent. Your original IP is visible.
Due to the risks that breaches pose for those seeking true anonymity online, we put all of our VPNs through a series of tests to determine if they are secure.
Out of 4 tests, Opera VPN failed one of them (the Chrome Extension leak).
WebRTC leak was OK:
No IP/DNS leaks:
- IPleak.net: Passed
- browserleaks.com/webrtc: Passed
- perfect-privacy.com/dns-leaktest: Passed
- Chrome Extension Leak: Failed
Usually, we also run an epidemic scan on the installation software, checking for 66 different harmful viruses. But since Opera VPN has no installation software, we couldn’t do this.
We trade some internet speed for a secure proxy or VPN connection. That’s just the character of the beast.
But when large amounts of performance are diverted in the name of anonymity, it becomes a drag.
There are VPNs that will continue to hit fast speeds while hiding your activity. So you don’t need to accept slowness.
But Opera VPN slows down your system quite a bit.
We tested Opera’s European server and another in the United States, recording speed levels on the fly.
The results were not very good.
Our European server test was abysmal, with speeds plummeting into unacceptable territory.
EU Speed Test
- Ping: 135 ms
- Download: 7.91 Mbps
- Upload: 2.03 Mbps
America’s Speed Test fared a little better but still sank.
Americas Speed Test
- Ping: 130 ms
- Download: 14.99 Mbps
- Upload: 1.34 Mbps
Opera’s VPN connection was almost the slowest we’ve tested, ranking 74 out of 78.
Opera VPN is one of those systems that does not allow torrenting of any kind. (Although, which may actually be somewhat honest considering its lack of security.)
The primary benefit of using a VPN for torrenting is that it protects your data from malicious hacking attempts. When you torrent, you connect to other people’s computers and give them access to yours.
This is usually good and beneficial. But hackers have started torrenting to commit cybercrime, so a VPN is useful to protect you.
Opera doesn’t encrypt your information, so even though they allowed torrenting, they may not be ready to keep you safe.
It should even be noted that once you use a VPN, all your data is protected. But a browser-based proxy like Opera VPN only hides your IP for the activity that occurs on the particular browser.
In other words, if you logged into their service and tried to use an outdoor program like uTorrent, you would have no protection whatsoever.
If you’re trying to find a great VPN for torrenting, check out our list of the top ten VPNs for torrenting instead.
Three Servers, Limited Features
Your server options are extremely limited.
They only offer you three options, and even then they are extremely vague. you will connect with Europe, Asia, or America.
I’m not sure which city I’m linked to. I’m not sure which country I’m linked to. When I first saw it, I had to try a reaction because I couldn’t believe how little data there was. (Or not see, as the case may be.)
If I wanted to watch a Canadian Degrassi stream (give it a try, it’s like Canadian Saved By the Bell with real problems), I’m even hoping it will connect to a Canadian server.
They list only two functions on the products page. Reduce online tracking (do not delete) and protect your browsing activity when connected to public networks.
I must say right away that you simply shouldn’t be using unencrypted protocol and security to browse public networks.
You can also write your bank information on small index cards and toss them in the air.
There is also no automatic switch-off function. That’s something that’s included in many of today’s best VPNs that automatically log you out if your IP starts to leak.
No Customer Service Whatsoever
Opera VPN makes one thing clear upfront.
They don’t want to talk to you.
If you have questions or need help, there is a link to click on your VPN provider’s feature page.
Clicking this does not enable a chatbot or perhaps a contact form. It just takes you to a general help page of the Opera browser where you will read a little more about the VPN.
That’s it. That’s all the help you’re getting.
No-contact form. No, phone number. No chatbot.
There is an Opera user support forum, but it is for the browser as a whole with no section dedicated to their VPN service.
Opera VPN Costs, Plans, & Payment Methods
This is a free VPN. It is not a premium plan and there is no option to upgrade.
Payment options are not required. No money-back-guarantee is needed.
Do I Recommend Opera VPN?
This is a free VPN and you don’t have to get away, but it’s STILL not even worth using.
Jurisdiction issues, leaks, no automatic outage, torrenting, and customer support. this is often like my last VPN nightmare.
The only reason you should think about using this product is if you want to use a VPN to watch Netflix. But even then, you can’t select a rustic to attach to, so you have no idea what regional content you will get.
And to top it off, it’s not even a VPN.
It is a proxy that misrepresents itself.
This means there is no encryption, tunneling, protection, or device support.
There is no silver lining here. There is no “well, maybe if you want to do that, that’s fine.”
This is just a nasty VPN option.
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