VPNs, or virtual private networks, are a must to keep you safer online. Over the past few years over a dozen apps and services have sprung up to make using a VPN simpler, but many people still refuse to bother with the extra step. For those people, Opera has created a browser with the VPN built right into it.

The system is a free, no-log, easy-to-use VPN service that is available directly in the Opera desktop browser. The app releases today, and the company stated that with this launch, Opera is the first major browser to release a built-in VPN service.

“If people knew how the internet truly works, I believe they all would use a VPN,” says Krystian Kolondra, SVP of Opera browser for computers. “By making our browser VPN free and easy to use, we hope to make it an essential tool, just as the lock and key is to your house.”

When turned on, Opera’s VPN creates a secure connection to one of Opera’s five server locations around the world. The VPN lets people choose where to appear on the internet, giving
their online privacy and security a boost while making content easier to access. People can also let the Opera browser intelligently select the optimal server location based on factors such as network speed, latency, location and server capacity. When in automatic location mode, browsing through the VPN is always at maximum available speed.

The browser VPN feature – powered by Opera subsidiary, SurfEasy – utilizes a secure 256-bit AES encrypted connection to the VPN virtual locations and is a no-log service, which means neither Opera nor SurfEasy will store any information about a user’s browsing history.

“We know that people are concerned about their privacy online and that the interest for VPN is increasing,” Kolondra continues. “However, two major obstacles are blocking people from using it: VPNs are too complicated to use, and they require a monthly subscription. Opera resolves both issues by introducing its free and easy-to-use service right into the browser.”

To enable it yourself, after downloading the Opera for computers browser Go to Settings (or “Preferences” on Mac), choose “Privacy & Security” and then toggle the free VPN on. An icon labeled “VPN” will appear in the browser to the left of the address field, from which you can activate the VPN and choose your preferred location.

Not only does the VPN help keep your personal information and IP address masked, there are a few bonuses that many people like to use a VPN for. The first, and most popular reason to use a VPN, is accessing video content that is not offered in your area.

So Canadians or Australians, that use a VPN, could connect to an American server and go to Netflix and find all of our wonderful content waiting for them. Of course many companies try their hardest to prevent you from doing this, so it’s usually a game of cat and mouse between VPN servers and content providers.

You can find the official download for the Opera Desktop browser here.