Opera Launches In-Browser VPN

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Opera has added an unlimited and free virtual private network to its browser.

Following last year's acquisition of the SurfEasy VPN, Opera is launching a built-in version to the early release developer edition of its browser.

Users can now access blocked websites and shield online activity without the hassle of downloading third-party extensions or paying subscription fees.

"Until now, most VPN services and proxy servers have been limited and based on a paid subscription," Krystian Kolondra, senior vice president at Opera, wrote in a blog post. "With a free, unlimited, native VPN that just works out-of-the-box and doesn't require any subscription, Opera wants to make VPNs available to everyone."

Mac users can click the Opera menu, select "Preferences," and toggle VPN on; Windows and Linux users need to navigate to the "Privacy and Security" section in "Settings" to enable the feature.

A button in the browser address field lets users see and change their location (USA, Canada, or Germany, with more to come), check whether their IP is exposed, and review data usage stats. Opera's built-in VPN can also hide your IP address (replacing it with a virtual one that's harder to track), unblock firewalls and websites, and improve security on public Wi-Fi networks.

More than half a billion people—24 percent of the world's Internet population—have tried, or are currently using, VPN services, according to Global Web Index. Most turn to a virtual private network to access restricted content, networks, and sites; stay anonymous on the Web; and communicate with friends and family abroad.

"Everyone deserves to be private online if they want to be," Kolondra said in a statement. With this tool, "desktop users get a handy way to boost their online privacy, as well as easier access to all their favorite online content no matter where they are."

The company last month introduced native ad-blocking technology—no extensions or plug-ins needed—in the developer version of its browser.

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