Microsoft enters the offer of VPN providers. In cooperation with Cloudflare, Windows should get an integrated VPN that can be activated via the browser. The first users already have the function on the system. But a closer look shows it’s not a full-featured VPN.
VPNs are more popular than ever: they allow safe surfing on public WLAN networks, hide your own IP address and access streaming offers with country blocks. VPNs usually cost money, but there are always free offers.
Now Microsoft is also getting involved in VPNs – they are currently testing a feature called “Secure Network”. It can be easily activated with a toggle switch and should allow safe surfing in the internal Edge browser. The service is provided by the American provider Cloudflare. These are the basics.
No real VPN and only 1 GB of data volume
To be fair, Microsoft doesn’t peddle the term “VPN” at all. So far, the feature is called “Secure Network” and it can already be enabled in Edge for some users. On an information page, Microsoft explicitly states that this is a preview and therefore only available to certain users.
The secure network can only be used in Edge for surfing, it is already clear here that it cannot be a real VPN, as it would also protect the traffic of other system-wide programs. There’s also no country selection, meaning you can’t get an IP address from another location to watch US Netflix, for example. In addition, there is a very strict limit for the data volume. Only 1 GB is available for free per month.
The purpose of the exercise is to make browsing on Edge safer. Microsoft lists the following points:
- Encrypted connection: The internet connection is encrypted to protect users from online threats such as hackers. Traffic is also redirected through an encrypted proxy at Cloudflare when visiting HTTP pages.
- Tracking Protection: The HTTPS proxy should also protect users from being tracked, for example by eavesdropping internet providers.
- IP obfuscation: Users are given a virtual IP address over the secure network, which is intended to make targeted advertising and tracking more difficult.
- Free: 1GB of traffic is free every month when you sign in to Edge browser with a Microsoft account.
Privacy and other features
Cloudflare also has secure network information ready. It is explained that surfing safely is the priority and overcoming geoblocks is not the goal. Cloudflare logs your real IP address as well as target addresses, including ports used, timestamp, and a token passed by Edge. After 25 hours, this data must be completely deleted.
Third parties should not have access to the data and Cloudflare also states that the content should not be filtered. Microsoft states that the secure network connection is terminated when the browser is closed. If Edge is opened again, the connection must also be established manually.
The narrow 1GB limit shouldn’t be the end of the road. Either top up, offer an option to buy more, or provide users with a Microsoft 365 account with more data volume.
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Opera has had it for years
The feature is very reminiscent of what Opera has been building for years. Even with the browser alternative, Surfing VPN, as it is called, is simply enabled. Again, this is not a real VPN, just a surfing proxy.
But there are at least a handful of different locations to choose from, and Opera doesn’t set a traffic limit either.
Better VPN Alternatives
If you’re looking for a free VPN, you don’t have to wait for Microsoft. There are enough alternatives to have a taste, such as PrivadoVPN with 10 GB of free data volume per month.
If you want a full-featured VPN with no restrictions, check out our review. There we compared VPN payment services.