Opera’s VPN that is built inside Opera’s web-browser, offers it users to surf the web with enhanced privacy. It’s completely free and does not have any bandwidth limits. However, instead of using an OpenVPN, it uses proxy to encrypt your traffic which is less secure than a full, standalone VPN service.
So is it worth using?
Not so fast.
You often get what you pay for with VPNs. Free ones sound good on the surface but often come back to bite you in the end.
So which is it with them?
Keep reading this Opera VPN review to find out if this free provider is worth the cost.
Opera VPN General Information
|ENCRYPTION||HTTPS / SSL|
|TUNNELING PROTOCOL||None / Proxy|
|LOG FILES/JURISDICTION||Harmless Logging|
|SUPPORT||No Human Support|
Opera VPN Pros +
It bears repeating as it’s the only redeeming factor about this VPN.
There’s not a lot to love here. But that becomes slightly more acceptable when you keep repeating one fact over and over again through your head.
That being said, this VPN does have one truly awesome feature. It works with Netflix. That’s huge. So bravo there, Opera.
Let’s dive into the positives of Opera VPN.
This shouldn’t take too long…
1. Works With Netflix
I can’t overstate how awesome it is that Opera VPN works flawlessly with Netflix.
Why, you ask? Shouldn’t all VPNs work with Netflix?
In theory and a perfect world, yes. And for a while, they did.
Then everything changed.
Angered by the VPN community’s seeming abuse of their service, Netflix launched a counter-offensive, employing strict and powerful VPN blocking software to keep unauthorized users out of geo-blocked content.
Now, the overwhelming majority of VPNs encounter this screen when attempting to access Netflix.
So, when you find a VPN that works with Netflix, it’s cause for celebration. Opera VPN worked on all three servers that we tested.
That puts it in the upper echelon of Netflix positive VPNs. In fact, we’ve only encountered eight VPNs out of the 74 that we’ve reviewed that work with Netflix on all tested servers.
2. Easy to Setup and Use
This might be the easiest VPN setup I’ve ever seen.
Because it comes built into the Opera browser, there is no download, setup or login process.
To activate, Opera VPN you have to go into the Opera browser menu and select “Settings.”
Once there, head over to the Privacy and Security tab. You’ll see a section for the VPN. Click the above box to enable it.
After it’s activated, the VPN will appear next to your search bar. If it’s highlighted in blue, it means you’re connected.
I was able to browse freely with a little bit of a lag. But in keeping with our earlier findings, Netflix worked perfectly.
You can switch servers at will… kinda. If you click on the blue VPN box, it gives you a drop-down menu letting you turn the VPN on or off and select a location.
They offer three:
- The Americas
More on that later.
This was the simplest VPN I’ve ever used, and Netflix booted right up. So this hands-on test was a huge win.
2. Mostly Harmless Logging
The purpose of a VPN is to keep your data protected and your IP address fully anonymous. That includes anonymity from ALL prying eyes, even including the VPN company themselves.
Unfortunately, an alarming number of VPN companies log your information. Which makes using them a complete waste of time.
They will also log some data if the app crashes, like your “browser, operating system, platform, and some memory data.” This data, too, is used to improve the product and not
Opera VPN Cons
Welp. That didn’t take long.
Time to jump into the drawbacks of this VPN. And boy are there a lot.
This is one of those “where do I begin” kinda scenarios.
For starters, they log your information. ALL of your information.
Keeping the wheel turning, I’ll point out that calling Opera VPN a VPN is not accurate. Maybe the original app was, but the browser extension certainly is not. It’s a proxy. So there are some safety concerns.
No torrenting, no protection for anything outside the browser, IP leaks, no device compatibility, no torrenting, and absolutely no customer support round out the perfect storm of VPN horror.
1. Unclear Jurisdiction
Technically, the Opera Browser is a Norwegian company.
But their VPN services are managed by SurfEasy, a Canadian company acquired by Opera a few years ago.
Canada is a member of the 5 Eyes Surveillance Alliance, an espionage agreement between the Great White North and the United States, Australia, New Zealand and The United Kingdom.
The alliance pools their information gathering efforts, so if one country has information on you, they share it with the other four.
That means not only is Opera VPN logging all of your activity and information, but they are required to hand it over to the Canadian government if asked.
10/18/18 Update: A rep from Opera reached out to confirm that they’re a Norwegian company, governed by Norway’s strict privacy laws. But here’s the confusing part.
As mentioned, Opera is a Norwegian company. They acquired SurfEasy a few years back. And recently, SurfEasy was acquired by Symantec. Despite that, SurfEasy is still listed as a Canadian company.
BUT, in April of this year (2018), Opera PR reportedly told Android Police that, “Opera VPN is an app owned by SurfEasy, which is no longer part of Opera Software.”
Confusing, right? So does it fall under Norwegian or Canadian privacy rights? It’s hard to tell unless there’s more transparency around who actually owns this product.
2. Not a True VPN
Calling Opera VPN a VPN is not accurate at all.
It’s not a VPN, it’s a proxy.
They both hide your IP, so what’s the difference?
Glad you asked.
A proxy hides your IP, but it has no encryption whatsoever. Your information is not secured and identifying data is not stripped away.
A VPN actually tunnels your system using advanced protocols that hide your information with some of the best encryption known to man.
Apparently, the mobile apps were VPNs, using AES-256 encryption, which must’ve been great. But no longer.
So, is Opera VPN safe? Absolutely not. Your IP is hidden, but your information carries no encryption.
This is fine if you’re looking to just watch Netflix or YouTube, but anyone who cares about true anonymity is out of luck here.
10/18/18 Update: An Opera rep reached out to say that they do offer encryption through HTTPS/SSL. This is the same level of encryption as any other major website on the internet. The issue, however, is that there’s no true tunneling protocol that encryptions your entire connection — just your use on the browser.
3. Browser-Only (Stand-Alone Product Discontinued)
Opera VPN used to have a series of mobile apps which acted as full VPNs and had its own website. Those were discontinued on April 30, 2018, leaving only the browser add-on.
So your only option for using this product is through the Opera browser.
There is no support for mobile, nothing for routers, and no smart device compatibility. You can only use it with Opera, which is available for free on Windows, MacOS, and Linux operating systems.
This is another huge weakness of Opera VPN. A VPN that only works with the world’s fifth most-popular web browser is kinda useless.
No, thank you.
4. Chrome Extension Leaks Detected
The security nightmare continues to deepen.
IP leaks undermine a VPN’s reason for existence. They uncover your IP address, exposing you to your ISP.
This typically happens through DNS leaks and WebRTC leaks.
A DNS leak bypasses the encrypted tunnel connection of your VPN, connecting you to a website with your original IP out on display.
WebRTC leaks occur when well-intentioned APIs undermine the security of your connection.
Whether the leak is coming from DNS or WebRTC, still the ending results are the same. Your original IP is visible.
Because of the dangers that leaks present to those seeking true online anonymity, we put all of our VPNs through a series of tests to see if they’re secure.
Out of four tests, Opera VPN failed one of them (the Chrome Extension leak).
WebRTC leak was OK:
No IP/DNS leaks:
- IPleak.net: Passed
- browserleaks.com/webrtc: Passed
- perfect-privacy.com/dns-leaktest: Passed
- Chrome Extension Leak: Failed
Usually, we run a virus scan on installation software as well, checking for 66 different harmful viruses. But seeing as how Opera VPN has no installation software, we could not do that.
5. Slow Speeds
We trade off some internet speed for a secure proxy or VPN connection. That’s just the nature of the beast.
But when huge chunks of performance are siphoned off in the name of anonymity, it becomes a problem.
There are VPNs out there that can still achieve fast speeds while hiding your activity. So you don’t have to settle for slowness.
But Opera VPN slows your system down by quite a bit.
We tested Opera’s European server and another in America, recording the speed levels as we went.
The results were not great.
Our European server test was abysmal, with speeds plummeting down into unacceptable territory.
EU Speed Test
- Ping: 135 ms
- Download: 7.91 Mbps
- Upload: 2.03 Mbps
The Americas Speed Test fared slightly better but still tanked.
Americas Speed Test
- Ping: 130 ms
- Download: 14.99 Mbps
- Upload: 1.34 Mbps
Opera’s VPN connection was almost the slowest we’ve tested, ranking 70 out of 74.
6. No Torrenting
Opera VPN is one of those systems that doesn’t allow torrenting of any kind. (Although, that might actually be a good thing considering their lack of security.)
The main reason to use a VPN for torrenting purposes is to protect your information from malicious hacking attempts. When you torrent, you connect to the systems of other users and allow them access to yours.
Normally, this is fine and beneficial. But hackers have started using torrenting to commit cybercrime, so a VPN comes in handy by shielding you.
Opera doesn’t encrypt your information so, even if they did allow torrenting, they would not be able to keep you safe.
It should also be noted that when you use a VPN, all of your data is protected. But a browser-based proxy like Opera VPN only hides your IP for activity that occurs on the actual browser.
In other words, if you connected to their service and tried to use an outside program like uTorrent, you’d have no protection whatsoever.
If you’re looking for a great torrenting VPN, check out our list of the 10 best VPNs for torrenting, instead.
7. Three Servers, Limited Features
Your server options are extremely limited.
They only give you three choices, and even then they’re extremely vague. You can connect to Europe, Asia, or the Americas.
I have no idea what city I’m connected to. I have no idea what country I’m even connected to. It had to do a double take when I first saw it because I could not believe the lack of information I was seeing. (Or not seeing, as it were)
If I want to watch a Canadian feed of Degrassi (try it, it’s like Canadian Saved By the Bell with real problems) I have to just hope against hope that I’m connecting to a Canadian Server.
They list only two features on the product page. Reducing online tracking (not eliminating), and shielding your browsing activity when connected to public networks.
I’m going to say right now that you should absolutely not be using a protocol and encryption-free security system to browse on public networks.
You might as well just write your banking information on little index cards and throw them into the air.
There is also no kill switch feature. That’s something included in many of today’s best VPNs which ends your session automatically if your IP starts to leak.
8. No Customer Service Whatsoever
Opera VPN makes one thing clear from the get-go.
They do not want to speak with you.
If you have questions or need help, there is a link to click on their VPN provider features page.
Clicking on this does not enable a chatbot or even a contact form. It just takes you to a general Opera browser help page where you can read a bit more about the VPN.
That’s it. That’s all the help you’re getting.
No contact form. No phone number. No chatbot.
There is an Opera user support forum, but it is for the browser as a whole with no section dedicated to their VPN service.
Opera VPN Costs, Plans, & Payment Methods
This is a free VPN. It has no premium plan and no option to upgrade.
No payment options required. No money-back guarantee needed.
Do I Recommend Opera VPN?
This is a free VPN and you don’t need to buy it, but it’s STILL not even worth using.
Jurisdiction issues, leaks, no kill switch, no torrenting, and no customer support. This is like my ultimate VPN nightmare.
The only reason you should even consider using this product is if you want to use a VPN to watch Netflix. But even then, you can’t select a country to connect to, so you have no idea which regional content you’ll get.
And to top it all off, it’s not even a VPN.
It’s a proxy misrepresenting itself.
Which means there is no encryption, no tunneling, no protection, and no device support.
There is no silver lining here. There is no “well maybe if you wanna do this, it’s ok.”
This is just a bad VPN option.
Out of the 74 VPNs we’ve reviewed, we rank Opera VPN at number 73.
If you want to see the opposite end of the spectrum, check out our ExpressVPN review.
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1 user reviews for Opera VPN
Didn't tell us it was shutting down
Used Opera VPN on my Android phone for over a year on the recommendation of a friend. I am on a very low budget, so do not have a data plan and only used Opera occasionally when on wifi. It worked OK for most of that time; sometimes it would take several tries to connect. Wondered why I couldn't connect at all the last few times I tried it. Now I find that they discontinued service months ago. They never sent any notice. So I was considering other (this time paid) VPN services and decided to try SurfEasy. Come to find out that Opera was managed by SurfEasy. So forget it, SurfEasy. I am not going to pay you for service when you didn't have the decency to tell your users that Opera Android VPN was shutting down.