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Opera’s Free VPN Takes On Internet Privacy Challenge

Opera earlier this week released a new version of its browser, Opera 40, which comes with a free virtual private network service built in. The official rollout follows five months of user experimentation with a beta version.

The company evaluated beta users’ feedback and subsequently brought on additional servers, added options for global or private browsing, and created versions that would run on iOS and Android, noted company spokesperson Yvonne Gonzalez.

When the VPN is turned on, it creates a secure connection to one of Opera’s five servers around the world, letting users spoof their IP address. Options now include two new virtual locations: Singapore and the Netherlands.

“We strongly believe that if more people knew how the Internet truly works, they would use a VPN,” Gonzalez told LinuxInsider.

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Many Hurdles to Clear

Only half of the people responding to a recent Opera global survey knew what a VPN was. As for the other half — more than 70 percent of those who were familiar with VPN technology chose not to use a service, citing as reasons difficulty in using them and unwillingness to pay.

Users can enable the Opera VPN in the privacy and security subsetting, found either in the settings or preferences menu, depending on the OS the browser is running in.

The VPN can be toggled on and off after being set up, and users can select their virtual location. Alternatively, the browser can be set to select the optimal server location automatically. In automatic mode, browsing through the VPN always proceeds at the maximum available speed, according to Opera.

Users also can choose whether to have the VPN on for a global setting or only in private browsing mode.

Opera supports Windows 7 through 10, any recent Linux distribution, Mac OS 10.9 or later, iOS and Android, Gonzalez said.

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