We are announcing some changes related to a very popular feature found only in the Opera browser: VPN. Our VPN service will be migrating to our own data centers and will receive a new way of providing you better, relevant search results when enabled. We have also reorganized our About page and have included a quick way to reset browser settings. Finally, we have a new mechanism for backing up and restoring preferences.
Faster and better browser VPN
In September 2016, we introduced the free, built-in, no-log browser VPN service. Opera remains the only major browser providing such a unique service. Now, we are introducing our first major upgrade to the browser VPN service.
Moving to Opera data centers
Previously, the VPN service was hosted and operated by SurfEasy LLC. This company has recently been acquired by Symantec, and we have investigated the best options for hosting the service and concluded the browser VPN service will be moved to our own data centers. Opera’s current server infrastructure, one of the highest capacity super-computer clusters in the world, is already hosting services such as the compressing engine for Opera Mini. The colocation of the browser VPN service to our data centers is expected to give increased performance, scalability and balancing capabilities, while keeping it a free and no-log service.
From countries to regions
As we move the service to the Opera data centers, we are also changing from listing locations based on countries to regions. For the updated browser VPN, we will provide these options: Optimal location (default), the Americas, Europe and Asia. Locations will be rolled out gradually starting with Europe today and the Americas and Asia coming soon.
Better search quality
As the usage of the free browser VPN service keeps growing, we have also noticed people complaining about the quality of search results when having the VPN service enabled. When massive traffic goes through certain IP ranges, search engines tend to classify it to a certain area. As a result, you might get all your search results in Ukrainian or Dutch, for example, and languages can again change unexpectedly.
Until now, this has been a problem for most VPN services. Since search quality is such an integral part of the browsing experience, we have decided to resolve it through the “local search” feature.
By default, the Opera browser will now bypass the browser VPN when you use your native search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yandex. These connections will still be secure over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), but your local IP will be made visible to the search engines. When you click on links to navigate away from the search engines, the browser VPN service will automatically be re-enabled. We believe it’s a smart balance between absolute privacy and user comfort.
People can also browse with the “local search” feature turned off by simply using a private browsing window. Then, the browser VPN connection will be enforced for any website, including your search engines.
Neat and tidied opera:about page
The About page is one of the internal pages that we often go to as it serves useful information on hand and also allows you to upgrade your browser easily. The page got a closer look and will be better organized now.
Each of the sections gets a heading for better readability. Additional links for legal information have been added, as well.
Reset Browser Settings
In today’s developer update you will find the option to quickly reset the browser to its factory settings. Clicking the “Reset browser settings…” button will revert any custom search engines to the default, remove pinned tabs, disable extensions and will clear temporary data such as cookies. However, your bookmarks, history and saved passwords will remain in place.
You can reset your browser settings in Settings (Preferences on macOS) > Browser, then find the “Reset browser settings…” button.
Previously, users had to delete and re-install Opera to reset all browser settings after saving their preferences in a separate place.
We now have a mechanism for backing up and restoring working profile preferences to help avoid the unintentional alterations of these settings. Whenever profile settings have been read successfully, we create a backup of the files involved. When the files exist but can not be parsed, we use the backed up files instead. This means that Opera should still be usable after external applications or users that like the manual editing of JSON files, have possibly made incorrect changes to Opera’s settings files.
Changelog is available here.
Chromium was updated to version 64.0.3269.3.
- You might have problems with connection to Chromecast. We’re working on the solution.
- If you have chromium-ffmpeg-codecs-extra installed on your Linux machine, web sites with embedded video might crash their tab. Run Opera with the command-line option `–ffmpeg-preload-mode=disabled` to work around the issue.
- VR got overhacked and it’s temporarily unavailable. We are sorry for this. It will return in no time 😉
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