Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are very common among security-conscious computer users, but many free VPNs often carry hidden costs for its users. Fairly popular web browser Opera has integrated a free and unlimited VPN into the developer version of its software. Opera stated in a blog post, "Now, you don’t have to download VPN extensions or pay for VPN subscriptions to access blocked websites and to shield your browsing when on public Wi-Fi.”
VPNs route a users’ internet data through servers in various countries, making it more difficult, although not impossible for governments and hackers to monitor web traffic, and allows users to access content that might be restricted on a certain network. Opera quotes that more than half a billion people have tried or are currently using VPNs. To use Opera’s built in VPA users need to download the developer version of Opera and activate the VPN in the preferences menu. Adding a VPN could potentially attract more tech-savvy users to the browser. In the past Opera has implemented ad-blocking software into its developer software, and adding the VPN plays to the same crowd.
As users of this technology look toward the future, these features could become more mainstream. For example, ad-blocking software was once very uncommon and is now more widely user. Opera is still the minnow in the the sea of web browsers, but their implementation of VPNs could put VPN use on the mainstream.