Opera, a lesser-known browser company, has just released Opera VPN, a totally free VPN (virtual Private Network) app for iOS , including iPads and iPhones. This means you can now browse the internet safely and securely, even in your local Starbucks where the hackers may be lurking, ready to steal any information you type in or access.
VPN’s have been around for years and have been used by businesses whose employees need to access sensitive data from home or on the road. The providers of these services usually operate on a subscription model, requiring a monthly fee. But now Opera, in an attempt to become a bigger player in the browser world, is making the technology available for free!
This review by Digital Trends includes a short video about Opera VPN.
“A virtual private network is designed to essentially hide the user’s IP address. Instead of accessing the internet directly, the user’s device connects to a server, which then accesses the internet on behalf of the user, masking the user’s identity.”
This also means that you can access sites and services that some places such as senior centers or schools may block, such as Facebook and other social media sites. The Opera VPN app also has a feature to block ads, but there are better ways to do that, and I don’t enable this feature. (I’ll explain my preferences for blocking ads in an upcoming blog entry.)
I’ve been using this app for awhile now on both my iPad and iPhone, and it is simple to set up, enable, and disable. In general it doesn’t cause much of a performance hit, but even then, when I need that privacy on an open network it’s worth it!