OperaVPN Pro is Opera’s new premium VPN service. While the popular browser still offers a free VPN, you can now purchase an improved VPN app with full encryption and more servers. It claims to provide fast speeds and great unblocking abilities, but can it really compete with the top VPNs that have been around for years?
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
Opera VPN Features — Updated in January 2023
Money Back Guarantee
Does VPN keep logs?
Number of servers
Number of devices per license
Based in country
Streaming — Good for Streaming on US Platforms7.0
OperaVPN Pro was excellent for unblocking the major US services, but I had issues accessing platforms in other countries. However, it worked great at accessing several entire Netflix libraries. In addition to paid platforms, I could also access YouTube on several servers.
While I was streaming, the picture quality was perfect. I was happy I didn’t have to deal with load times or buffering. But OperaVPN Pro will drop your speeds by a lot. If you don’t start with a base download speed of at least 50 Mbps, you probably won’t be able to stream uninterrupted.
Unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and DAZN
I could access Netflix libraries in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Japan, and France.
I could not sign in to my Netflix account with the free VPN
Next, I tested out Hulu. It has tough geoblocks, so I was impressed that OperaVPN Pro could easily unblock it. After waiting for Hulu’s ads, I was able to stream without any more annoying interruptions. And I was able to access Hulu with the free “Americas” server.
The movie played back in HD without any dips in quality
I had to reload Disney+ once, but then it worked great.
OperaVPN Pro encrypts your entire device, so I could stream Disney+ on my Edge browser
I always have the hardest time unblocking Amazon Prime Video. But OperaVPN Pro let me access it on my first try. Just like with the other services, the streaming experience was perfect.
I recommend watching the Amazon Prime Video US library since it usually has the largest selection
The last streaming platform I was able to unblock was HBO Max. I’ve had to switch browsers or reload the page several times to get it working with other VPNs. So I was glad that OperaVPN Pro let me access it without any issues on the first try. It won’t work with the free servers though; they wouldn’t even let me sign in.
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Blocked By: BBC iPlayer and ITV
Most VPNs I test can access BBC iPlayer. But OperaVPN Pro couldn’t unblock it, and it’s probably because of its virtual locations. When I did leak tests on the UK server, I got an IP address in the United Kingdom. But the tests detected some DNS servers in Oklahoma, US, which BBC iPlayer must have detected too.
I tested it with 4 different browsers, but it never worked
I was also blocked by ITV. You need a UK server to access it, so this didn’t surprise me. It’s too bad that OperaVPN Pro has trouble with platforms outside the US because it gave me solid streaming quality.
However, if you don’t have a high base speed, you will have issues while streaming because OperaVPN Pro’s fastest servers dropped my speeds in half. If you’re looking for a VPN that can unblock platforms worldwide with buffer-free playback, check out this list of the best VPNs for streaming.
Speeds — Big Speed Losses at Any Distance5.0
OperaVPN Pro lowered my speeds significantly even on nearby servers. One good thing is the long distance download speeds don’t drop a ton compared to the closer servers. But I always lost at least 44%, which is much more than the top VPNs. The free servers gave me similar results.
These are the 3 factors I measured in my tests:
- Download speeds. This tells you how quickly you can receive information. It’s important for torrenting, loading web pages, etc. This is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
- Upload speeds. This lets you know how quickly you can send information. You need good rates to post on social media, upload videos to YouTube, etc. This is also measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
- Ping. This tells you how long it takes for a server to respond to your inputs. It’s crucial for online gaming where you need instant reactions to your button presses. This is measured in milliseconds (ms).
I started by recording my base speed for a comparison. Most VPNs let you switch between different protocols, which can optimize your speeds. Unfortunately, OperaVPN Pro doesn’t have this feature on Windows. So I had to do all my tests with the IKEv2 protocol (the only one available for Windows).
My upload speeds were always dropped by at least 76%
My first test was with the Optimal Location feature. This gives you the closest server. It gave me a server a little over 2,000 KM away. With the top VPNs, I might only lose 10-15% off my download speeds at that distance. But OperaVPN Pro dropped my download rates 3x more. You can see a detailed table of my results below:
||2,169 KM away
||169.08 Mbps (44% decrease)
||70.93 Mbps (76% decrease)
||3,140 KM away
||116.27 Mbps (61% decrease)
||20.18 Mbps (93% decrease)
||7,905 KM away
||98.92 Mbps (63% decrease)
||24.98 Mbps (92% decrease)
||8,220 KM away
||86.40 Mbps (71% decrease)
||12.02 Mbps (96% decrease)
||10,537 KM away
||117.13 Mbps (61% decrease
||23.90 Mbps (92% decrease)
|United Arab Emirates (Dubai)
||13,201 KM away
||137.81 Mbps (52% decrease)
||15.74 Mbps (95% decrease)
||13,238 KM away
||154.99 Mbps (48% decrease)
||19.48 Mbps (93% decrease)
||13,621 KM away
||129.40 Mbps (57% decrease)
||12.60 Mbps (96% decrease)
The Belgium server dropped my speeds the most even though it wasn’t the farthest away. I’m guessing this is because it was crowded. I wish OperaVPN Pro would let you know the server load, so I could verify this. Overall, I can’t recommend it if you need a high-speed VPN (although the ping results were okay). If you’re looking for a VPN that will hardly reduce your speeds, you can find a superfast VPN in this list.
Are OperaVPN Pro’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes on Nearby Servers8.0
OperaVPN Pro worked well for online gaming despite its speed issues because its ping rates hold up well. You want your ping somewhere below 85 ms for gaming, but 50 ms is optimal. Anything above 85 ms, and it takes too long for your character to respond. Once this happens, it becomes impossible to succeed or progress in the game. I started out by testing the optimal location (US for me) on Steam.
The game loaded just as quickly as it does without a VPN
I was impressed that it worked so well with a fast-paced game. Even on the France server (8,905 KM away from me), I could still enjoy the game. There was only one brief moment of lag. However, I have good base speeds. If yours aren’t high, your results may vary at long-distances.
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Server Network — Decent Number of Servers in Limited Locations6.0
OperaVPN Pro gives you 3,000 servers in 30 countries, but you can’t pick city-level servers. This means you have much less control over which locations you get. For example, most top VPNs will give you several cities in the US to choose from (sometimes 10+). You can see the other countries it offers in the table below:
||United Arab Emirates
All of OperaVPN Pro’s servers are virtual locations. This means the servers aren’t physically located in the country listed. Virtual locations don’t necessarily affect your security, but they could reduce your speeds if the server is farther away than you think it is. One thing I do like about its server list is the intuitive layout.
I appreciate that the servers are listed in alphabetical order
It also rents all of its infrastructure. Most of the top VPNs only rent a portion of their servers and some own everything. I feel more secure with services that own and operate their own servers. So along with giving you limited locations, OperaVPN Pro gives you less peace of mind. You can get a VPN with tons of city-level locations and physical servers in this list.
Security — Missing Several Important Features3.0
OperaVPN Pro is less secure than the top VPNs. Most importantly, it doesn’t give you consistent encryption levels. A support rep told me that the encryption level varies between 128 and 256 bits. Plus, OperaVPN Pro doesn’t publicly disclose its encryption levels, which is strange to me. The top VPNs use military-grade (AES 256-bit encryption) at all times, so this is disappointing.
It also doesn’t come with a kill switch. This is a crucial feature that blocks your internet connection if the VPN ever disconnects. All OperaVPN Pro has is a reconnect feature. This attempts to encrypt your connection again if the VPN disconnects. However, your information is vulnerable during this time, so you’re not completely safe with OperaVPN Pro.
It’s missing several other features most of its competitors offer. There’s no split tunneling, double VPN, obfuscation, or perfect forward secrecy. The Opera browser itself will also save a lot of your information. So I recommend using an incognito window and thoroughly exploring its privacy features to disable anything you don’t want it to store.
I was usually given DNS addresses in multiple countries, which can make it tough to unblock some services
Luckily, it passed all my leak tests on ipleak, including WebRTC detection. So it’ll keep you safe as long as it stays connected. This is nice, but it’s the minimum a VPN should do. It also gives you a limited choice of protocols (IKEv2 for desktop, while Android gets OpenVPN too). So OperaVPN Pro has a long way to go before it’s as secure as the best VPNs available today. To find a VPN with top-level encryption and a kill switch, read this list of the safest VPNs around.
OperaVPN Pro isn’t privacy-friendly because it's headquartered in Norway. This country is a part of the 14 Eyes Alliance, an agreement between governments to share their citizens’ private information. So no matter what its policies state, Opera could be forced to change them by any of these countries.
OperaVPN Pro hasn't undergone any third-party audits like many of its competitors have
When you connect to a VPN, you hand over your private information. So you shouldn’t use a VPN you can’t trust with your data. To get a VPN that’s responsible with your data, read this list of the best no-log VPNs.
Torrenting — Doesn’t Work with P2P Networks0.0
I wasn’t able to download any torrents while connected to OperaVPN Pro. I contacted support to see if it’s optimized for P2P, and I didn’t get a clear answer.
Even if it worked, its weak security features would make it a poor choice for torrenting
Plus, its privacy issues make it a VPN I wouldn’t use for P2P. Torrenting is legal in most countries, but it’s never legal to download copyrighted material. If you download the wrong file by mistake, you could get into trouble. My team and I don’t condone any illegal activities. If you want to torrent safely with fast speeds, check out this list of the best VPNs for P2P.
Does OperaVPN Pro Work in China? No
An OperaVPN Pro customer support team member confirmed that you can’t use it in China.
If you want to use a VPN in China, it's best to download it before entering the country
The Chinese government has banned several VPNs, but it usually only goes after the technology. I haven’t heard of them getting tourists into trouble for using them. My team and I don’t condone any illegal activities, so I recommend reading up on the laws in the country you’re in before deciding to use a VPN. If you decide to bypass the The Great Firewall, you can try one of the VPNs in this list that work in China.
Simultaneous Device Connections — 6
You can use OperaVPN Pro with a fair amount of devices, but many services offer more. I had no problem connecting it to 2 laptops and my Android phone. It performed exactly the same while streaming with multiple devices at once, so it works as advertised. Overall, it’s enough devices for most people, but it would be nice if it let you connect more for a fee.
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