Opera GX is a browser designed for gamers. With cybersecurity and online privacy being pressing issues currently, it’s natural to wonder whether Opera GX is safe.
You may even have heard rumors or read something in a forum about privacy issues when using Opera (and Opera GX is an enhanced version of the regular Opera browser). Today, I will clear up the misconceptions and tell you the truth about the Opera GX browser.
I’ll also give you some general and safety-related tips for using Opera GX.
For example, it allows you to limit the bandwidth the browser can use or put limits on its CPU and RAM consumption. That makes Opera GX great if you want to ensure a smooth gaming experience without lagging or freezing.
Opera GX also incorporates Discord and Twitch, two popular live-streaming and social media platforms popular with gamers. You can connect your Discord and Twitch accounts and open those platforms from the sidebar.
While those are features that the standard Opera browser does not have, Opera GX isn’t missing the awesome features Opera users are accustomed to either. For example, it has a built-in VPN, and it allows you to block all cookies and trackers.
Since Opera GX is basically an upgraded version of the regular Opera browser, with some extra tools, the same privacy issues that apply when using Opera also exist when using Opera GX.
There are quite a few privacy concerns that you should be aware of. While they aren’t terribly significant, and Opera is generally safe to use, the risk-averse gamer may be wise to avoid Opera GX in favor of a more secure browser.
First, it’s critical to distinguish between security/safety concerns and privacy concerns. The two are not really mutually interchangeable, despite some people mistaking one for the other.
Safety refers to general online security – in other words, you want to make sure you are safe from hacking attempts, malware, viruses, and the like. Browser privacy is another issue – it involves the company that makes the browser selling your information to advertisers.
In terms of security, Opera GX is pretty safe. Like the regular Opera browser, it is based on Chromium, so it is as safe as most Chromium browsers.
Don’t confuse Chromium with Chrome. Chrome is a specific browser that, like Opera, is based on Chromium, an open-source browser project by Google.
Chrome takes most of its code from Chromium. Opera also uses Chromium’s code, unlike browsers like Firefox.
Chromium is a massive project, and there are tons of developers working on it all the time. While Opera is a closed-source browser that is only based on Chromium, it has its own security team that works on detecting security issues and fixing bugs.
The biggest security threat you’ll face when using Opera GX won’t come from the browser itself, but rather from your browsing habits. In other words, if you’re not careful, you may accidentally download malware or click on a phishing link.
Let’s move on to the privacy issues you may face when using Opera.
While the code of Opera GX doesn’t contain any major security flaws, Opera, as a company, isn’t the best option for those who value their privacy a lot.
However, when you drill down and explore the concerns a bit further, you’ll notice that the rumors center around two aspects.
The first has to do with the weak built-in VPN. The main issue with the VPN is that it doesn’t have a tunneling protocol or encryption other than HTTPS.
Furthermore, the VPN only works when using the browser. Some users may mistakenly believe that it filters all network traffic, but it doesn’t – in other words, when using another browser or an app like Netflix, the VPN won’t work.
Finally, the VPN has a somewhat limited number of regions to choose from, making it inferior to premium and even many free VPNs.
However, you can sidestep that issue by using a third-party VPN.
Although its VPN may give some people a false sense of security, nothing says you have to rely solely on Opera’s VPN.
In 2016, Opera was sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million. Many people are hesitant about using software owned by Chinese companies due to privacy concerns.
For example, Chrome, which is the browser with the highest market share worldwide, has some pretty sketchy data collection policies. While Chrome is safe, like Opera GX, it collects a lot of information, from location data to user identifiers to product interaction data, according to Wired.
With that in mind, you can see that while Opera and Opera GX are not the best in terms of privacy (there are many private and secure alternatives), it isn’t the worst.
Opera is actually headquartered in Norway, despite now being owned by a Chinese company.
Furthermore, Opera has pretty standard privacy controls. For example, if you are worried about trackers, Opera allows you to automatically block them.
Similarly, you can block ads, clear your cookie and browsing history, and more.
Finally, there is one more scandal you may come across on the web: Opera’s predatory lending practices.
Hindenburg Research has accused the company of using several Android apps to offer predatory loans to lenders in countries such as Nigeria and Kenya. The apps had misleading information and super-high APR rates.
While the apps promised APR rates of up to 33%, they were, in reality, as high as 438%. Furthermore, if a buyer was late by just one day, the APR rates could climb to 876%.
Opera was also claiming that loans were available for up to one year, but the actual lengths were often as short as 7-15 days.
Not only were the apps predatory, but they went against the Google Play Store policies.
What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re an Opera GX user, it won’t have any direct impact on you – Opera is a pretty big company with many divisions, and the browser is completely separate from those apps.
At the same, it is somewhat of a reflection of the way Opera, as a whole, does business. If it’s willing to be misleading and use bait and switch to force people to pay more money after taking out predatory loans, Opera may not be completely honest about its data collection policies either.
In conclusion, while many people have concerns about privacy when using Opera GX, it’s probably not that much worse than Chrome and other browsers not optimized for privacy.
While Opera GX is relatively safe to use, there are some steps you should take to ensure your privacy and safety online.
Opera GX has a built-in VPN, which you can toggle on or off at will. The good part about the Opera GX VPN is that it doesn’t require any registration since it comes with the browser – you won’t have to provide Opera with your name or email address.
On the other hand, Opera GX’s VPN is relatively limited, and I only recommend using it as a last resort. Using a third-party VPN will protect you even when you are not using Opera GX, and you will get access to a wider range of servers to choose from and better security encryption.
I recommend ExpressVPN, but NordVPN is pretty good too. While both of them are premium VPNs, there are some pretty awesome free VPNs too.
ProtonVPN has a limited free version that allows you to select from several free servers, although they tend to be a bit slower than the servers available to premium users.
Opera GX has a built-in ad blocker that will help you browse the web quicker and without getting bombarded with ads. There is also a tracker blocker, which will block trackers that run in the background of certain sites and collect your IP address and other information.
When you first set up Opera GX, you will be able to quickly turn the ad blocker and tracker blocker on, but you can always toggle them on or off later in the privacy settings.
You may also want to consider installing a third-party adblocker.
AdGuard is an excellent, free ad blocker that provides an Opera extension. It allows you to create your own filters.
While AdGuard is designed to protect you from ads, it may also protect you from malware, by extension. For example, some popups or ads may download malware or adware to your phone when clicked on; AdGuard will ensure you don’t see those popups in the first place.
In the privacy settings of your Opera GX browser and in the GX Cleaner tab, you will see the option to clear cookies and other browsing data from Opera GX. Instead of manually clearing cookies, though, you can enable Opera GX to automatically clear cookies and other site data each time you close the browser.
Regardless of how safe Opera GX is, you are at risk when using unsecured public WiFi networks. If you need to enter passwords or other sensitive details while connected to a public network, especially if the page isn’t secure either, consider switching to a mobile hotspot.
Most smartphones can generate a mobile hotspot that allows you to use your mobile data as a WiFi network. It may cost you some more money, depending on your data plan, but it’s worth it.
Finally, if you’re worried about cybersecurity, install an antivirus or antimalware program (the two are generally synonymous for all practical purposes). Some good antivirus programs include Kaspersky, Avast, McAfee, and Malwarebytes.
Some of them have free versions, although they may not include active protection and automatic scanning. That’s okay – just set an alarm or reminder to run a manual scan at least once a week.
Many antivirus programs allow you to run both quick scans and “deep scans.” Quick scans can usually detect most viruses, but deep scans can sometimes detect malware hidden deeper in your system.
Let’s review some general tips for using Opera GX. As I mentioned, Opera GX has some unique features that Opera doesn’t – let’s explore them.
One thing that makes Opera GX a superb gaming browser is that it allows you to limit your CPU, RAM, and bandwidth consumption. They are three separate things:
- The CPU, or central processing unit, is your computer’s main processing unit.
- RAM stands for random-access memory and refers to short-term memory storage.
- Network bandwidth is how much of your bandwidth a specific application, such as a browser, is using.
Sometimes, you might want to play a game while doing something with your browser at the same time. For example, perhaps you’re downloading a large file or movie in your browser but also playing a game in another application.
Or, perhaps you’re playing music on Spotify or on YouTube or streaming from Twitch in your browser while playing your favorite video game.
In either case, if the browser uses up too much of the available RAM, puts too much stress on the CPU, or uses up too much of your available network bandwidth, your gaming performance may be negatively affected.
Opera GX allows you to set a limit for how much of each of the three the browser can use. That doesn’t mean you can no longer multitask.
Instead, if you are downloading a file, for example, it might download more slowly, so your gaming experience can continue unaffected.
The network limiter is particularly useful for those with slow internet connections; similarly, the RAM limiter is helpful if you have limited RAM, such as if you have a low-end PC.
Opera GX has a game corner that allows you to see upcoming game releases, get free games, and see gaming news. The GX Corner is also available on Opera for mobile.
Opera GX has the same productivity features as the standard Opera browser, which allows you to set up separate workspaces. Users can create up to five workspaces and group tabs together based on category or topic.
Twitch and Discord are two social media platforms that gamers love.
Discord is a video, voice, and chat platform for gamers and others. You can set up different communities (called servers) or create your own server and invite your friends to join.
Group calls and text chats are possible on Discord, and there are a ton of public and private gaming communities.
Twitch is a livestreaming site where gamers and influencers broadcast live to followers. You can watch your favorite gamers play in real time and interact with others in the chat section.
Both platforms allow you to connect with new people and make online friends.
When using Opera GX, you can connect your Twitch and Discord accounts to chat on Discord or watch livestreams on Twitch right from your browser.
On the left side of the browser, you’ll be able to open up or close Twitch or Discord.
Twitch and Discord are not the only social media platforms supported by Opera GX, though. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and Instagram are also included in the browser, allowing you to chat with your friends from one single application while playing games.
If you are in a Telegram gaming group, Opera GX will definitely come in handy.
You can also play music from the Opera GX browser by connecting to Deezer, Spotify, or YouTube music.
Yes. Opera GX is relatively safe; while some people have privacy concerns when using Opera GX, the truth is that most major browsers collect your data on some level.
You’ll need a browser like Tor or Brave (which is open source) if privacy is your main concern. However, you will then miss out on all the awesome features Opera GX has made for gamers, such as the Twitch/Discord integration and CPU/RAM/bandwidth limiter.
Benjamin Levin is a digital marketing professional with 4+ years of experience with inbound and outbound marketing. He helps small businesses reach their content creation, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising goals. His hobbies include reading and traveling.