Opera Software has become the first major browser maker to introduce a built-in VPN client for its Web users.
The Norwegian company said that the latest version of its browser is only available via its "Developer" channel, and added that the VPN service is currently free of charge, and has no limits in traffic or usage time.
Opera users can choose between the firm's VPN servers in the US, Canada, and Germany—with the promise that the list of locations will grow longer soon.
The main advantages of having a VPN client built into the browser include improving public Wi-Fi security, hiding the IP address, and bypassing website access restrictions, Opera said.
"Right now we are releasing VPN in the Developer/alpha channel to gather feedback from users," a spokesperson for Opera Software told Ars. "Based on this feedback we will estimate on how much time we need to develop the stable version. Our usual release cycle is six weeks."
Unlike most other VPN clients available today, Opera said its version only redirects the browser traffic through the company's servers, leaving programs such as messengers, or email clients to work without an additional security layer.
The feature is currently available on desktop only, but Opera added that it had plans to offer a mobile version at a later date.
"On iOS, Opera will offer a free VPN app named 'Opera VPN.' This is however not limited to the browser, but offers VPN service for all apps on the device. We are thinking about developing a VPN for Android as well. Stay tuned," the company said.
Most VPN services that are available to Web users have fees attached, or traffic limitations in place—Opera, on the other hand, has promised that its solution will remain free for now at least. "At this point we're not planning to charge for it," the company said.