Security and privacy

Ad blocker

By blocking ads with Opera’s built-in ad blocker, you also block the source of many tracking cookies, as well as cryptocurrency mining scripts.

When ad blocking is enabled, you will see a badge in the combined address and search bar. Click on the badge for more information, including the number of blocked ads, a speed test, and a site-specific switch for unblocking ads.

To stop cryptocurrency mining, or cryptojacking, from happening on your computer, click on the NoCoin (Cryptocurrency Mining Protection) box. Read more about cryptocurrency mining and how we stop this practice here.

To learn how to turn ad blocker on or off, click here.

VPN

Normally, your browser connects directly to websites, allowing websites to identify your IP address and its approximate location. With VPN, you connect to websites via a VPN server. As a result, your apparent location changes to the location of the server.

To enable VPN:

  1. Go to Settings (Preferences on Mac).
  2. Click Advanced at the bottom of the page.
  3. Under VPN, click Enable VPN.

When you enable VPN, it starts automatically, and the blue VPN badge appears in the combined address and search bar. Click on the badge, and you will see an on/off switch, information about the amount of data transferred, the virtual location, and the the virtual IP address.

From the point-of-view of websites, your browser is now located in the region given by the virtual location. To change your virtual location, select a region from the list. If you do not choose a region, you are automatically assigned an “optimal location”. To turn off VPN, flip the switch in the badge.

Because the connection from your browser to the VPN server is encrypted, even if the local network is not, VPN enhances your privacy on the local network. You can hide your browsing activities from other users of that network.

To enhance your privacy with regard to websites, making it more difficult for them to track you, you need a combination of features. The issue is cookies. Even if you disguise your location, websites can still identify you if they have set a cookie. Notice, however, that by blocking ads you block the source of many tracking cookie. At the end of a private browsing session, when you close the browser, all cookies from that session are deleted.

VPN is a free service, and the amount of data you are allowed to transfer is unlimited.

Private window

Private browsing ensures that your internet history and activity are removed as soon as you close all private windows.

To browse privately on Mac, select File > New Private Window.

To browse privately on Windows and Linux, select O Menu New private window.

When you close all private windows, Opera will clear the following associated data:

  • Browsing history
  • Items in cache
  • Cookies

After being closed, a private tab or window cannot be recovered from the Recently Closed list in the tab menu.

While private windows do not leave any record of the websites you visit, if you deliberately save data – for example, if you save an item to your Speed Dial, save a password, or download a file – it will still be visible after the window is closed.

Clear browsing data

By default, Opera stores certain browsing data to help speed up connections, load common page elements, and improve your interaction with the sites you visit. You may wish to remove traces of your browsing habits by clearing your browsing data.

To clear browsing data:

  1. Go to Settings (Preferences on Mac).
  2. Click Advanced at the bottom of the page.
  3. Under Privacy and security, click Clear browsing data.
  4. Select a time range and the types of data you wish to clear, and click Clear data.

There are two categories for data types: basic and advanced. Basic includes browsing history, cookies and other site data, and cached images and files. Advanced includes these items plus download history, news usage data, passwords, autofill form data, content settings, hosted app data, and media licenses.

Clearing browsing history will delete any stored location information about the pages you have viewed and the times you accessed them.

Clearing download history will empty Opera’s record of the files you’ve downloaded through the browser. This will not delete the file from your local machine, only the record of when and where you downloaded it.

Deleting cookies and other site data will remove any tracked site data. Read more about managing cookies here.

Emptying your browser’s cache will delete any temporarily stored data from websites. The cache is used to briefly store page elements such as images or search queries. Cached data also helps reduce loading times when you wish to access a recently visited site. Emptying cache will clear up space on you local disk.

Clearing data from hosted apps will delete any data stored by extensions you have installed in the browser. For example, if you installed a weather extension to Speed Dial and set your location in its settings, clearing this data will reset the extension to its default and you will have to tell the extension your location again.

Note: Take care not to erase useful data inadvertently. If you are not already familiar with it, try private browsing. The data for private browsing is automatically cleared when you close all private windows.

Managing how Opera stores private data may be useful, as an alternative to clearing all private data. Read more about setting web preferences.

Security badges

Opera warns you about suspicious pages by checking the page you request against a database of known “phishing” and “malware” websites. To protect yourself when entering sensitive information, always look for the Secure connection badge lock in the security badge to the left of the combined address ands search bar.

Badges indicate details about the page you are viewing. When a badge appears in your combined address and search bar, click it to see more information, including security certificates and more.

Icon Indicates…
Accelerated connection badge Compressed connection
Ad blocker badge Ads are blocked
Camera access badge Camera access
Extension badge Extension
Warning badge Fraud or malware warning
Local file badge Local file
Location badge Location access
Microphone badge Microphone access
Opera badge Opera page
Secure connection badge Secure connection
Unsecure badge Unprotected connection
MIDI badge MIDI access
VPN on badge VPN is on

When the connection is secure, a lock is displayed in the security badge, implying that no one else can read the information that passes between you and the site. Opera uses certificates to verify the identity of the site owners. A lock means there is good encryption between you and the recipient, and the recipient’s identity has been verified.

If a website is blacklisted, you will be presented with a warning page, and you can decide whether to visit the website or to go to back safely to the previous page. Fraud and malware protection does not cause any delay in the opening of pages.

Unblock and allow insecure content

If you are browsing on an encrypted connection (https://), Opera will check to ensure that all parts of the site are encrypted. If Opera detects that any live elements of the page, for example scripts, plugins, or frames, are being served by an open connection (http://), it will block the insecure content. This means parts of the page may not display properly.

Opera advises against allowing insecure content to load into an encrypted connection. The best way to protect your sensitive information is to interact only with secure content. When Opera detects insecure content and blocks it, a warning will appear in the right side of the combined address and search bar.

If you do not care about the security of your connection with the site, you can click the warning to show an Unblock button. This button will allow the blocked content to be loaded onto the page, and the security badge will change to show an open padlock, reminding you that you’ve allowed insecure content to display on an encrypted connection.

Manage security certificates


HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) and SSL (Secure Sockets Layers) are security certificates used to verify that a website is safe to use. Most of the time, certificates are fully valid. If you see a green padlock security badge in your combined address and search bar, you can proceed safely with your browsing.

If you’d like more information about a site’s security certificate, click the security badge and select Details. Opera will summarize the certificate’s issuer, the type of certificate and whether the issuer is publicly-known and valid.

Publicly-known issuers and their certificates are validated against a number of security and identity checks. Opera will warn you if some part of a publicly-known issuer’s certificate is questionable. You may choose to proceed but Opera cannot guarantee your security.

To manage HTTPS/SSL security certificates and how Opera handles them:

  1. Go to Settings (Preferences on Mac).
  2. Click Advanced at the bottom of the page.
  3. Under Privacy and security, click Manage certificates.

Mac users will be taken to their system’s Keychain Access window. Windows and Linux users will be taken to their system’s Certificates window.

A note about local certificate issuers

Some connections can be certified by certificates from local issuers, either from apps on your machine or other non-public sources (such as a local intranet). These issuers can be used to verify secured connections in the browser. Most of these connections are valid. For example, debugging applications, third-party security scanning, and parental filters may rely on locally-issued certificates.

Connections certified by certificates from local issuers aren’t screened by the same security standards as publicly-known issuers and certificates. Such screening is too strict and may not allow connections to work as intended. Malware or viruses may use these certificates to view encrypted information or inject ads.

If you wish, you can configure Opera to warn you about public sites that use certificates from local issuers. If you continue to browse on these connections, be aware that some security measures, such as certificate pinning and Certificate Transparency, will be disabled for all such connections during your browsing session.

To review how to manage security certificates, click here.

Tell sites to not track your activity

Most sites track your behavior while you visit them. If you do not like this idea, Opera can send an additional header with every request: “DNT: 1”. This is a flag to websites that the user does not want to be tracked. Some countries have DNT legislation that will legally protect your request and most well-behaved websites will respect this additional header.

You can set Opera to tell sites you prefer to opt-out of online behavioral tracking. To set this:

  1. Go to Settings (Preferences on Mac).
  2. Click Advanced at the bottom of the page.
  3. Under Privacy and security, turn on Send a “Do Not Track” request with your browsing traffic.