As a built-in feature in the Opera web browser, Opera VPN does not give us many features to work with.
Not a Real VPN
As stated before, Opera VPN is more of a proxy than an actual VPN. Although it has encryption through HTTPS/SSL, there is no tunneling protocol, meaning that Opera will only hide and encrypt your traffic on the browser itself instead of encrypting the entire connection. In other words, your IP will be hidden while using Opera, but if you are using a torrent application in the background, for example, that software won’t be protected by Opera VPN.
One thing that Opera VPN excels at is how easy it is to use. In order to activate it, you just need to enable it from your browser options. From there on, you will have a small icon to the left of the URL with the VPN. When you enable the VPN, the icon turns blue.
If you click on the icon, you will be able to see the amount of bandwidth used so far, as well as choose which server you want to connect to. If you’re not picky, just leave it on auto and it will find a suitable one for you. However, if you are trying to find a server in a certain location, you can quickly choose between the Americas, Europe, or Asia.
When it comes to mobile, which in this case is only an option on Android, it’s also user-friendly – you’ll just need to download the Opera with free VPN application. To activate the VPN, click on the Opera logo on the lower right, then click VPN, and enable it.
It Unblocks Websites… To a Certain Extent
Opera VPN does allow you to reach websites and services that are blocked in your country, however, there is a small detail that prevents it from working as well as we’d like it to. Since you can only choose servers in continents, and not countries, you never know which country the server you are using is in.
Let’s say for example you want to access Netflix U.S. In this case, you will need to choose the Americas. However, the Americas have many countries, meaning that you may end up with access to Netflix Canada instead of the U.S. and there is nothing you can do about it.
Moreover, we encountered a strange issue when we visited YouTube while the VPN was in the Americas. You can imagine our surprise when we opened YouTube and saw that we were connected to YouTube in the Netherlands, which is not in the selected continent. When we tried again with the Asian server, the result was Ukrainian YouTube, which, again, is not in the right continent. So, in the end, although there are many things you can successfully use it for, we can’t say that it works 100%.
Opera VPN has servers in the Americas, Asia, and Europe. There is no information about how many servers there are, or in which countries. Moreover, since you can only choose between the continents, you are not able to pick the country you want.
Nevertheless, we tested the speed for each continent. For comparison purposes, know that our original speed was 39.00MB/s for download and 57.05MB/s for upload with a ping of 3ms. With the VPN on, the results were:
Unsurprisingly, the European servers had the overall best speed since we are based in Europe. And, although download speed was not greatly affected in the Americas, the upload speed was. When it came to Asia, the numbers were not good, and additionally, we experienced a considerable slowdown while connected to the Asian server and were not able to stream HD videos without facing buffering here and there.
Opera’s browser keeps some users’ information as most browser services do. However, when it comes to its VPN service, it has a no-log policy. This means that while you have the VPN enabled, Opera won’t store any of your activity. However, there is a catch.
If you face a crash while using the Opera browser (without the VPN), it will collect information about the browser’s version, operating system, and memory data related to the crash. These crash logs are kept for six months. Whether or not Opera collects this information if a crash occurs while the VPN is running is unclear, so we cannot say for certain if this no-log policy still applies under these circumstances.
Moreover, Opera VPN does not have tunneling protocols, meaning it only protects your information that’s related to the browser itself. In other words, anything you do outside the browser will be completely exposed to third parties.
OS, Device Support
As a built-in feature in the Opera browser, Opera VPN works with Windows 7 and onwards, Mac, and Linux.
On the mobile side, there used to be a standalone Opera VPN app which was an actual VPN, however, the application has unfortunately been discontinued and is no longer available. At the moment, Opera VPN only works on Android through the Opera with free VPN application, which is basically a mobile version of the browser with the VPN feature built-in.
On both desktop and mobile, Opera VPN is very easy to set up. You just need to go through the configuration process and enable it. From there, you can pick which continent you want to have the VPN working in, and also if you want to allow the search engines access to your real region or not.
Since Opera VPN is basically a configuration within the Opera browser, you just need to install the browser to use it. As Opera is entirely free, its VPN is also free, and you don’t need to create an account or have a subscription to use it, something very rare when it comes to the VPN industry.
It’s important to take into account Opera VPN is a free service when considering its customer service. Contrary to paid VPN provides where having great and reliable support is a must, when the software is free, having less support is to be expected.
Therefore, it’s not a surprise that Opera VPN does not offer 24/7 customer support or live chat. However, there is a contact form where you can report errors, a FAQ, a forum, and Opera’s social media accounts that you can turn to when facing a problem.
While the FAQ only offers basic answers, the forum is pretty helpful and has a response to many issues. If you can’t find the answer to your problem, it takes around one day to get an answer after filling in the contact form.
Even though Opera has Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is where you want to ask your questions. They are active and, although they are not able to answer everyone, they do answer most of the queries in less than 24 hours.
Unfortunately, Opera VPN has too many downsides for us to recommend it. To be honest, it fails in almost every aspect that you’d look for in a VPN.
Although it does offer some protection, there is no way around the fact that it does not have a tunneling protocol. Right off the bat, you’d be better off with other free VPN services on the market. Moreover, because of the lack of information, it’s impossible to be 100% sure if it’s completely safe to use.
That’s why Opera VPN ends up being more of a proxy than a true VPN. However, even as a proxy, Opera VPN just does not deliver what we need. Yes, we can choose what continent we want our server to be in. However, you are not able to select the country, which basically makes it impossible to access the websites/services you want. This was especially apparent after our YouTube tests where we always ended up on European YouTube, no matter what continent we selected.
Overall, Opera VPN is not good and we advise you to go for a stand-alone VPN instead. There are a few that will give you more security than Opera VPN, are completely free to use, and offer more features.
- Completely free
- Not a true VPN
- No tunneling protocols
- Limited features
- Uncertain jurisdiction