Some time back, about 6 months ago, all Australian ISPs were forced by legislation to block user access to all torrent-related sites. To the best of my knowledge, this constituted the first instance of internet censorship in Australian ISP history. While I am by no means an advocate for piracy, I viewed this legislation as potentially the thin end of the wedge– only the beginning of perhaps many similar moves. With this in mind, I set out to find a simple yet effective method to overcome this type of authoritarian censorship. At the same time, I was interested to see how difficult, or easy, it might be to bypass my ISP’s blocking. Turns out, it was very easy indeed.
Opera Browser For Desktop
I’d already read about Opera’s built-in VPN in articles right here on DCT: Opera Browser – Speed And Privacy. All that was left to do was to download and try it out for myself. I downloaded the portable version, of course, and was pleasantly surprised, not only at how much I really like Opera, but also how well its built-in VPN works.
I was immediately impressed with Opera’s “Speed Dial” feature which allows users to easily add thumbnail shortcuts to the start page for quick and easy access to those favorite, most often visited, sites:
Then, as I used Opera more and more, I was also impressed by its speed and accuracy rendering web pages– an area where my long time favorite browser, Firefox, has been lacking of late. Enabling Opera’s VPN component is simplicity personified. Just a simple click on a “VPN” icon located at the left of the address bar provides options to turn it on or off:
With Opera’s VPN enabled I then visited IPLeak.net to check for leaks. Opera’s VPN passed both the IP leak and DNS leak tests with flying colors. Next, I attempted to visit a number of torrent-related sites, which are blocked through my other browsers with no VPN, and had absolutely no problem accessing any of them. I’ve also found that speed degradation when connecting through Opera’s VPN is minimal… no real negative impact.
Of course, this is not a system-wide VPN, however, if you are looking to overcome geo-blocking, or just want to enhance your online privacy/anonymity, I can highly recommend Opera with its built-in VPN. You can download Opera portable here.
Aloha Browser For Mobile
First off, I have to make it clear that I have not tested the Aloha mobile browser or its VPN component. However, I did check out user reviews for both the Android and iOS versions, and the majority are very favorable. Full disclosure– I first heard about this browser via the TechSupportAlert site. You can check out their review here: Aloha Browser.
It’s important to note that although the Aloha browser is free, it does support sponsored ads. As with Opera, enabling Aloha’s built-in VPN is very simple, requiring just a quick tap on the shield icon at top-left of the browser.
The description on Aloha browser’s home page also includes a zero-logging guarantee:
Both of these browsers, Opera for desktop and Aloha for mobile, include an unlimited and totally free VPN built-in. While I can highly recommend Opera based on first-hand experience, I openly admit that I have zero hands-on experience with Aloha. However, based on TechSupportAlert’s review, plus user reviews, and provided you can live with the sponsored ads, it does appear to be well-worth checking out.