Opera’s integrated web browser VPN provides users with the opportunity to browse the internet with heightened privacy. It comes at no cost and imposes no bandwidth restrictions. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that instead of utilizing an OpenVPN, Opera’s VPN relies on a proxy to encrypt your data, which may not offer the same level of security as a comprehensive, standalone VPN service.
Considering these factors, is it advisable to opt for this solution?
Hold on a moment.
When it comes to VPNs, the old adage “you get what you pay for” often holds true. Free VPNs may seem appealing initially, but they often have hidden drawbacks that can cause issues down the line.
So, what’s the deal with them?
Continue reading this Opera VPN review to determine if this complimentary service is truly worth the investment.
Table of Contents
Overview of Opera VPN Review
|USABILITY:||Easy to setup 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
Let’s emphasize this point because it’s the sole saving grace of this VPN.
There isn’t much to appreciate here. However, if you repeatedly remind yourself of one fact, it becomes marginally more tolerable.
Nevertheless, this VPN does boast a genuinely impressive feature: compatibility with Netflix. That’s a significant advantage, Opera, and you deserve credit for that.
Now, let’s explore the positive aspects of Opera VPN.
This will not take up too much of your time…
1. Works With Netflix
The seamless compatibility of Opera VPN with Netflix is absolutely remarkable.
Now, you might wonder, shouldn’t all VPNs work effortlessly with Netflix?
In an ideal world, that would be the case. And for a period of time, it was.
But then, everything took a drastic turn.
Driven by the frustration caused by the VPN community’s perceived misuse of their service, Netflix retaliated with a formidable defense strategy. They implemented robust VPN-blocking software to prevent unauthorized access to geo-blocked content.
Consequently, the vast majority of VPNs now encounter this disheartening screen when attempting to stream Netflix.
Therefore, when you come across a VPN that successfully bypasses Netflix’s restrictions, it’s a moment of triumph. In our testing, Opera VPN managed to work flawlessly on all three servers we assessed.
This achievement places it among the elite VPNs that offer consistent access to Netflix. In fact, out of the 78 VPNs we have reviewed, only eight have demonstrated this level of Netflix compatibility across all tested servers.
2. Easy to Setup and Use
This could arguably be the most straightforward VPN setup I’ve encountered.
Given that it is integrated into the Opera browser, there’s no need to download, set up, or go through a login process.
To activate Opera VPN, simply access the Opera browser menu and choose “Settings”.
Now, let’s navigate to the Privacy and Security tab. Look for the VPN section and simply click on the box above to activate it.
Once activated, the VPN icon will appear beside your search bar. If it’s highlighted in blue, you’re successfully connected.
With a slight delay, I could browse the web without any restrictions. However, as expected based on our previous observations, Netflix performed flawlessly.
You have the freedom to switch servers to your liking…well, to some extent. By clicking on the blue VPN box, a drop-down menu appears, allowing you to toggle the VPN on or off and choose a desired location.
They provide three options:
- The Americas
But hold on, we’ll delve deeper into that topic later.
I must admit, this was the most user-friendly VPN I’ve ever experienced, and Netflix started streaming immediately. This hands-on test can undeniably be marked as a significant triumph.
2. Mostly Harmless Logging
The primary purpose of a VPN is to ensure the utmost protection for your data and maintain complete anonymity of your IP address. This anonymity should extend to all entities, including the VPN provider itself.
Regrettably, a disconcerting number of VPN companies engage in logging user information, rendering their services essentially futile.
Additionally, if the app encounters a crash, Opera does log certain data, including information about your browser, operating system, platform, and specific memory data. It’s important to note that this data is solely intended to enhance the product and not for any other purposes.
Opera VPN Cons
Well, that didn’t take much time at all.
Let’s delve into the numerous drawbacks of this VPN. And trust me, there are plenty.
This is one of those situations where it’s challenging to decide where to even begin.
To kick things off, let’s address the fact that they log every single piece of your information. Yes, you heard that right—ALL of it.
Furthermore, labeling Opera VPN as a true VPN wouldn’t be accurate. Perhaps the original app had the functionality, but the browser extension falls short. It operates more like a proxy, which raises valid safety concerns.
That’s not all, though. Say goodbye to torrenting, as it’s a no-go with this VPN. Additionally, it provides no protection for anything beyond the browser, which is a significant limitation. IP leaks, lack of device compatibility, and the absence of customer support altogether create the perfect storm of VPN horror.
1. Unclear Jurisdiction
From a technical standpoint, the Opera Browser is associated with a Norwegian company. However, the management of their VPN services is handled by SurfEasy, a Canadian company that Opera acquired a few years ago.
It’s important to note that Canada is a member of the 5 Eyes Surveillance Alliance, an intelligence-sharing agreement among Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Under this alliance, these countries collaborate on gathering information, which means if one country has data on you, it can be shared with the other four.
As a result, Opera VPN not only keeps a record of all your activities and information but is also legally obliged to furnish it to the Canadian government when requested.
However, an update on October 18, 2018, revealed that a representative from Opera reached out to confirm that they are a Norwegian company governed by Norway’s stringent privacy laws. Yet, there is some confusion surrounding the matter.
As previously mentioned, Opera is a Norwegian company that acquired SurfEasy, which was later acquired by Symantec. Despite this, SurfEasy is still listed as a Canadian company.
In April of that year (2018), Opera PR reportedly informed Android Police that “Opera VPN is an app owned by SurfEasy, which is no longer part of Opera Software.”
Needless to say, the ownership and jurisdiction of this product seem unclear and confusing. Without further transparency regarding who actually owns it, it’s difficult to ascertain whether it falls under Norwegian or Canadian privacy regulations.
2. Not a True VPN
Let’s set the record straight: referring to Opera VPN as a true VPN is far from accurate.
In reality, it functions as a proxy, not a VPN.
Now, you might be wondering, what’s the distinction between the two? After all, both aim to conceal your IP address.
I’m glad you asked.
Here’s the key difference: while a proxy does hide your IP, it lacks encryption entirely. This means your information remains vulnerable and any identifying data is not stripped away. In other words, your online activities are far from being adequately secured.
Let’s clarify the distinction here. A genuine VPN creates a secure tunnel through advanced protocols, employing some of the most robust encryption methods available to safeguard your information.
Initially, it appears that the mobile apps provided by Opera were indeed true VPNs, utilizing AES-256 encryption, which is highly commendable. However, it seems that is no longer the case.
So, is Opera VPN a safe option? Absolutely not. While it does hide your IP address, your data lacks the essential encryption layer.
This might be acceptable if your primary objective is to stream Netflix or watch YouTube videos. However, for those who prioritize genuine anonymity and security, this VPN falls short.
An update on October 18, 2018: An Opera representative reached out to clarify that they do offer encryption through HTTPS/SSL. This level of encryption is equivalent to what you would find on any major website on the internet. However, the issue remains that there is no comprehensive tunneling protocol in place to encrypt your entire connection, but rather only the data transmitted within the browser.
3. Browser-Only (Stand-Alone Product Discontinued)
Opera VPN previously offered a range of mobile apps that functioned as complete VPNs, complete with their own dedicated website. However, these mobile apps were discontinued on April 30, 2018, leaving only the browser add-on as the remaining option for users.
If you’re considering using this product, keep in mind that your sole choice is to utilize it exclusively through the Opera browser.
Here’s another significant drawback of Opera VPN: it lacks support for mobile devices, routers, and smart devices. You’re limited to using it solely with the Opera browser, which is free to download and available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux operating systems.
Let’s be honest, a VPN that exclusively functions with the world’s fifth most-popular web browser is essentially rendered useless.
In light of these limitations, it’s safe to say that Opera VPN falls short of meeting the mark. So, no, thank you.
4. Chrome Extension Leaks Detected
The ongoing security nightmare takes a deeper dive into alarming territory.
IP leaks represent a direct threat to the very purpose of a VPN’s existence. They expose your true IP address, leaving you vulnerable to your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
These leaks typically manifest in the form of DNS leaks and WebRTC leaks.
A DNS leak occurs when the encrypted tunnel connection provided by your VPN is bypassed, connecting you to a website while displaying your original IP address for all to see.
On the other hand, WebRTC leaks transpire when well-intentioned APIs unintentionally compromise the security of your connection.
Regardless of whether the leak stems from DNS or WebRTC, the end result remains the same: your actual IP address becomes visible.
Given the inherent dangers that leaks pose to those seeking genuine online anonymity, we subject all VPNs to a series of rigorous tests to evaluate their security.
In the case of Opera VPN, it unfortunately failed one of the tests (specifically, the Chrome Extension leak).
However, it is worth noting that the WebRTC leak test produced satisfactory results.
No IP/DNS leaks:
- IPleak.net: Passed
- browserleaks.com/webrtc: Passed
- perfect-privacy.com/dns-leaktest: Passed
- Chrome Extension Leak: Failed
Typically, as part of our evaluation process, we conduct a comprehensive virus scan on installation software, meticulously checking for the presence of 66 different harmful viruses. However, in the case of Opera VPN, since it doesn’t involve any installation software, we were unable to perform this particular assessment.
5. Slow Speeds
In the world of secure proxy or VPN connections, there’s often a trade-off between internet speed and maintaining anonymity. It’s just the way things work.
However, when a significant portion of performance is sacrificed in the pursuit of anonymity, it becomes a cause for concern.
Fortunately, there are VPNs available that manage to strike a balance, offering both fast speeds and effective concealment of your online activity. So there’s no need to settle for sluggishness.
Unfortunately, Opera VPN falls short in this regard, significantly slowing down your system.
To put it to the test, we conducted speed measurements on Opera’s European server as well as one in America, diligently recording the results along the way.
And let me tell you, the outcomes were far from satisfactory.
In fact, the performance of our European server test was downright abysmal, with speeds plummeting into territory that can only be described as completely unacceptable.
EU Speed Test
- Ping: 135 ms
- Download: 7.91 Mbps
- Upload: 2.03 Mbps
While the Americas Speed Test exhibited a marginally improved performance, it still experienced a significant drop in speed.
Americas Speed Test
- Ping: 130 ms
- Download: 14.99 Mbps
- Upload: 1.34 Mbps
Opera’s VPN connection ranked among the slowest we’ve ever tested, securing the 74th position out of a total of 78 VPNs evaluated.
6. No Torrenting
Opera VPN falls into the category of systems that strictly prohibit any form of torrenting. However, in this case, it might actually be a blessing in disguise considering their lack of robust security measures.
One of the primary reasons for using a VPN while torrenting is to safeguard your personal information from malicious hacking attempts. When engaging in torrenting activities, you establish connections with other users’ systems, thereby granting them access to yours.
Ordinarily, this practice can be beneficial. However, hackers have started exploiting torrenting as a means to carry out cybercrimes. This is where a VPN proves invaluable by providing a shield of protection.
In the case of Opera VPN, since it does not encrypt your information, even if they were to allow torrenting, they wouldn’t be able to ensure your safety.
It’s also important to note that when you utilize a VPN, all of your data is shielded. However, a browser-based proxy like Opera VPN solely conceals your IP for activities taking place within the browser itself.
In other words, if you were to connect to Opera’s service and attempt to use an external program like uTorrent, you’d be left without any protection whatsoever.
If you’re seeking a reliable VPN for torrenting purposes, I recommend referring to our curated list of the top 10 VPNs specifically designed for torrenting instead.
7. Three Servers, Limited Features
Prepare yourself for disappointment when it comes to server options with Opera VPN.
You’re granted a measly three choices, and even those are shrouded in ambiguity. Europe, Asia, and the Americas are the extent of your selection. But here’s the kicker – you’re left in the dark regarding the specific city or even country you’re connected to. It’s like staring at a blank canvas, utterly devoid of any helpful information. I had to do a double take myself upon encountering this astonishing lack of clarity (or should I say, lack of anything at all).
So, if your heart desires to stream a Canadian feed of the iconic show Degrassi (give it a go, it’s like the Canadian version of Saved By the Bell with real problems), you’ll need to rely solely on blind hope that you happen to be connected to a Canadian server.
Prepare for disappointment when examining the limited features listed on Opera VPN’s product page. They boast of only two features: a reduction in online tracking (note the emphasis on reduction, not elimination) and the ability to shield your browsing activity while connected to public networks.
Now, let me be unequivocally clear: using a security system devoid of proper protocols and encryption on public networks is a recipe for disaster. It’s akin to scribbling your banking information on flimsy index cards and tossing them into the wind, hoping for the best.
Adding insult to injury, Opera VPN lacks a crucial feature found in many top-tier VPNs: a kill switch. This invaluable feature automatically terminates your session if your IP address happens to leak, providing an extra layer of protection. Unfortunately, you won’t find such a safety net here.
Don’t settle for subpar security when there are far better options available. Protect yourself with a VPN that offers comprehensive features and robust encryption.
8. No Customer Service Whatsoever
Right off the bat, Opera VPN sends a crystal-clear message: communication with them is not a priority.
Should you find yourself in need of assistance or with burning questions, their stance remains firm: click on a link that redirects you to their VPN provider features page.
It’s disheartening to encounter such a lackluster approach to customer support. When you’re entrusting your online security and privacy to a service, it’s only natural to expect a responsive and helpful support system.
Unfortunately, Opera VPN falls short in this crucial aspect. If you value prompt and reliable customer assistance, you may want to explore alternative VPN providers that prioritize user support.
Don’t get your hopes up when clicking on that link. There’s no chatbot waiting to assist you, nor a convenient contact form to fill out. Instead, you’ll be redirected to a generic Opera browser help page, where you can find some additional information about the VPN.
It’s disappointing to see such a lack of direct support options. When you’re seeking assistance or have specific inquiries about the VPN service, being directed to a general help page can be frustrating. It leaves you without a dedicated avenue to address your concerns or receive personalized guidance.
If accessible and efficient customer support is high on your priority list, you might want to consider alternative VPN providers that offer more responsive and interactive support channels.
And that’s where the support journey ends. Don’t expect any further assistance beyond what you’ve already discovered.
No contact form, no phone number, and certainly no chatbot to lend a helping hand. It’s quite disappointing, to say the least.
To add to the frustration, while there is an Opera user support forum, it encompasses the browser as a whole and lacks a dedicated section specifically catering to their VPN service. This lack of focus on VPN-related queries further highlights the inadequacy of their support options.
It’s hard to fathom how a service of this nature can leave its users with such limited avenues for seeking help and guidance. When you encounter issues or have pressing questions, being met with a dead-end in terms of support options is undoubtedly frustrating and unsatisfactory.
If accessible and reliable customer support is crucial to your VPN experience, I recommend exploring alternative providers that prioritize assisting their users and provide comprehensive support resources.
Opera VPN Costs, Plans, & Payment Methods
In the world of VPNs, Opera’s offering is strictly free without any premium plans or upgrade options.
No need to worry about payment options or money-back guarantees with Opera VPN—it’s completely free of charge.
Do I Recommend Opera VPN?
Despite being a free VPN, Opera VPN falls short in numerous aspects, making it highly unsuitable for use.
From jurisdiction concerns and leaks to the absence of essential features like a kill switch and torrenting support, coupled with inadequate customer support, it embodies the epitome of a VPN nightmare.
Even its sole potential benefit, accessing Netflix, is hindered by the inability to choose a specific country for content.
Furthermore, Opera VPN is not even a true VPN, but rather a misrepresented proxy lacking encryption, tunneling, protection, and device compatibility.
There are no redeeming qualities or specific use cases that justify its use. In our extensive review of 78 VPNs, Opera VPN ranks a disappointing 76th.
The Opera VPN review provides a comprehensive overview of its features, pricing, and more. While there are several pros to consider, such as its compatibility with Netflix and user-friendly setup, there are also significant cons to be aware of. The unclear jurisdiction and the fact that it is not a true VPN raise concerns about privacy and security.
Additionally, the discontinuation of the stand-alone product and the Chrome extension leaks further diminish its appeal. Slow speeds, limited server options, no torrenting, and the absence of customer service also contribute to its drawbacks. Considering all these factors, it is difficult to recommend Opera VPN as a reliable and robust VPN solution.
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