Last update: 03.27.2019
“Using Opera VPN to protect your privacy is like trusting a wolf to mind the sheep” – learn what this means in our Opera VPN review
Opera and its well-known web browser have been around since 1995, but only announced its free VPN integration in 2016. As such, it’s still a toddler on the VPN market, which also means it may trip here and there.
Since Opera VPN is headquartered in Norway, a 9 Eyes country, we are a bit skeptical about its logging and data retention practices. What is more, Opera Software AS was bought by a Chinese consortium, Golden Brick Capital, in 2017, further raising doubts about its commitment to privacy.
Hopefully, we will help you find out what this software is capable of and what its limitations are.
Security and privacy are the most important characteristics of a reliable and useful VPN solution. Let’s see what Opera VPN has to offer:
- A proxy, not a VPN
- HTTPS / SSL encryption
- No kill switch
- WebRTC leak protection
Essentially this means that Opera VPN is not safe enough. If you simply want to hide your IP address and browse geo-blocked content, feel free to give it a try. Otherwise, if you take your online security and privacy seriously, you won’t find your ideal VPN software here.
Does Opera VPN keep logs?
The information we collect may include: personal data, for example, your name, email, IP-address, location; and non-personal technical data…
Of course, they try to make it sound less dangerous by adding that they assign a unique identifier to this data and “these identifiers are anonymized and cannot be linked to you as an individual person.”
Regardless, Opera VPN logs more data than is needed.
Is Opera VPN leak-proof?
Opera VPN is leak-proof although it might seem that this service has no protection at all when it comes to DNS and IP leaks.
Opera VPN uses Google’s DNS to hide your true IP address. That’s not terrible from the privacy standpoint because Google won’t see your IP, only that the query is coming from Opera VPN.
You shouldn’t experience any WebRTC vulnerabilities while using this free VPN service. Even if you do, at least there’s a way to avoid this either by completely disabling IPv6 or turning off WebRTC on your browser.
You can further read this article on how (un)safe Opera VPN is
Speed and performance
Opera VPN gives some of the best speeds if you select the Optimal location and slow connections to distant regions.
We’ve tested the VPN with Opera 58.x version. Our baseline download and upload speed averaged 250 Mbps.
Optimal location, Europe
- Download: 206 Mbps (82% of baseline)
- Upload: 60 Mbps (24% of baseline)
East coast, US
- Download: 143 Mbps (57% of baseline)
- Upload: 1 Mbps (0.4% of baseline)
- Download: 1 Mbps (0.4% of baseline)
- Upload: 0.5 Mbps (0.2% of baseline)
Most users in Europe and North America should be happy with Opera VPN’s speeds until they need to connect to another continent.
Opera VPN doesn’t state the number of servers, but we’re pretty sure it’s not a big number. Users get to choose Europe, the Americas, and Asia as three regions. Optimal location will give you the closest country – the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, or Singapore.
It’s also not known if all servers belong to Opera, but we can assume they don’t because it would be strange not to boast about it.
To sum up, Opera’s server coverage is very poor. There are no servers in South America, Africa, the Middle East, or Australia, while the entire Asian region is forced to cram into one server location.
Ease of use and multi-platform support
Opera VPN works with Opera browser only, which severely reduces its audience and its growth potential. As of now, Opera VPN can be used on:
Since it’s a free browser-based proxy that requires no login, you can use Opera VPN whenever wherever. Speaking of that, downloading, installing, and using this proxy is super easy. Of course, this means that more advanced users will find this service too basic even for a proxy.
First, you will need the Opera browser. After clicking the green Download Opera button on its official website, you can easily install it.
Opera VPN is off by default. So when your Opera browser launches, click the logo on the top left and choose Settings. In the left panel, choose Advanced->Privacy & security. Now, scroll down until you see the VPN section and simply turn it on.
Notice that you get Bypass VPN for default search engines turned on. While it’s convenient to get local search results while connected to a server in another country, we recommend disabling it if you care about your online privacy.
Once you have fired up the VPN function, a blue VPN badge appears in the address bar. If you click this VPN badge, the Opera VPN window pops up.
In the top right corner, there is a Gear icon to click, which will take you to the VPN section in the browser settings.
There’s an ON/OFF switch to toggle the VPN on and off, information about the amount of data transferred, the virtual location, and the virtual IP address.
Once you choose your virtual location, you can start browsing sort of protected right away. That’s all there is to it really. If you’re interested in learning even more than it’s needed to operate Opera VPN, head to our “How to use Opera VPN” article right away.
Opera VPN for Netflix
You can actually stream Netflix with Opera VPN. The bad thing is that you will be able to access neither the US nor the Japan library because there’s no way to select a country.
We accessed Netflix in all three regions. Europe gave us the Netherlands library, but the Americas region loaded a Swedish version of Netflix. Finally, choosing Asia led us to the Singaporean version because there are simply no other countries with Opera VPN servers in them.
To sum up, Opera VPN can be good for Netflix if you don’t need country-specific content.
There’s no UK server in Europe which means BBC iPlayer is unavailable.
If you are more serious about your protection and accessing Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, or other media streamer centers, check out our Best VPN for Netflix page instead.
P2P and torrenting
Opera VPN doesn’t allow P2P file-sharing and torrenting. If you are a BitTorrent or uTorrent user, you would want a reliable VPN software that offers the best possible security and privacy, right? So, be grateful that you can’t use this free tool for torrenting. That’s all we can say in this Opera VPN review.
However, if you want to protect your P2P experience, you may be curious to see our Best VPN for Torrenting ranking.
Online censorship in China and elsewhere
If you are in a country like China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or North Korea, you shouldn’t use Opera VPN
Opera VPN was mentioned as one of the five worst VPNs on the market, alongside Hola VPN, VPN Gate, Betternet, and SurfEasy VPN.
Since your online security and privacy should be your main concern, we cannot recommend Opera VPN for China, even though it stands higher in our VPN ranking than the aforementioned not-so-Fantastic Four.
While your IP will (hopefully) remain hidden, your traffic won’t be encrypted. Also, you will be subject to DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) and will have little chance of climbing over the Great Firewall.
All you have is the Help & support page on the official site. You can browse the relatively good knowledge base, the FAQ, the Opera forums, and the Opera blogs for help. But you can forget about getting live chat support for your Opera VPN; not that it would add too much value in this case.
You can’t do better than free, right?
Well, they could actually pay us for using it and then it might be worth it.
So, apart from being the simplest ever fake VPN or real proxy to use, it is also completely free without any annoying third-party ads or other pitfalls. This is surely a good point.
Opera is a proxy, not a VPN. It can be good for spoofing your IP or accessing geo-restricted content, i.e. streaming a show from a random Netflix library, but not for encrypting and protecting your traffic.
Yes, it’s all free without the disruption of ads or other tricks. Yes, it’s very easy to use. And, yes, there’s also way too much sensitive logging and data sharing going on in the background.
If you don’t care about your privacy and just want a free proxy service that can be really fast, then forget everything we’ve said and download it now before they put a price tag on it!
Why not learn from other VPN users?
Do you have any related questions? Have you ever tried to use Opera VPN or any other VPN apps before? Maybe you have written your own Opera VPN review? What are your impressions?
Remember, sharing is caring!
Please feel free to leave your comment below.