Not a fan of surfing the web using free WiFi? We get it, and so apparently does Opera, bundling in a service to help keep you save on those free networks.
There are ways to surf the web, and then there are ways to surf the web. If you’re using a wireless network you’re not necessarily familiar with, one of the ways to surf the web is to just blindly trust that network, though another is to give yourself some protection.
Internet security software is one way you can accomplish this, and is generally advised on every computer — Mac or PC — but there are other ways to protect yourself on unknown networks, and one of them is to disguise yourself.
Disguising your digital signature online can be accomplished by connecting to a VPN, also known as a “virtual private network”, a service that much like wearing a mask will hide aspects of your presence by rerouting you through a smaller network.
Also useful for tricking webpages into thinking you’re coming from a different location, a VPN is generally seen as a way to prevent users of a wireless network from seeing your computer, as it forces them to jump through hoops just to track you. That same technology can be used to negate tracking cookies from websites, and while you can end up in a different country, you can also keep it local and stay near where you are.
However, VPNs often come with a price, and while these services are often found on a subscription basis, not everyone will feel compelled to pay.
If you’re finding yourself in this boat, you may want to try the Opera browser lately, which has been updated with a free VPN in a recent build.
You will need to download and install the Opera browser to make use of this feature, at least for the free Opera VPN, though it’s your choice on whether you want to use the VPN at all, as Opera can be run without it.