Opera has become the first of the major web browsers to bake in a VPN function as standard.
Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, have long allowed you to connect to the internet in a more secure, more private fashion. They’ve also famously been used to access services with regional restrictions from outside those regions, as a VPN can mask your web address and place you elsewhere in the world (virtually speaking, of course).
However, you’ve always needed to install third party software or extensions to make use of such a VPN, and those often cost money.
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Now Opera has integrated VPN functionality directly into the latest version of its Opera browser. It’s the first major browser to do such a thing.
In retrospect, the move was more or less inevitable. Last March, Opera acquired the North American VPN company SurfEasy, and starting in September Opera users received a prompt to install the SurfEasy extension.
Now, however, Opera has gone the extra step and made the VPN technology an integral part of the browser. It incorporates 256-bit encryption, too.
Before you rush to download Opera, though, know that the VPN feature has only been added to the developer version (Opera 38) right now. However, that’s free to download by everyone with a Windows, Mac, or Linux machine, so go right ahead.
The news follows on from Opera building an ad-blocker directly into its web browser, and is another differentiating factor from the likes of Chrome and Safari.