(Credit: Opera)

Opera has added a free, built-in VPN service to its mobile browser for Android users in version 51, which launched Wednesday. This means you won't need to sign in, download additional apps or pay extra for protection while browsing public Wi-Fi. Opera says this gives you even more control over your online privacy.

The built-in VPN creates a private, encrypted connection between your phone and the server with a 256-bit encryption algorithm. The encryption hides your physical location and because you don't have to log in, the VPN server doesn't retain any activity data.

SEE: A buyer's guide to virtual private networks (VPNs) in 2019

Using Opera's built-in VPN can also protect you from third parties stealing your data.

"The fact is that users are exposed when they connect to public Wi-Fi without a VPN," Opera's Peter Wallman said in a statement. "By enabling Opera's browser VPN service, users make it very difficult for third parties to steal pieces of their information and can avoid being tracked. Users no longer need to question if or how they can protect their personal information in these situations."

The new version of Opera for Android 51 is rolling out gradually. Once it's live in your area, you can enable Opera's VPN by tapping the browser settings, tapping VPN and turning on the feature according to your preference. You can also customize the region you're in.

Opera's built-in VPN arrives after its original standalone app. The Opera VPN app was originally provided by Surfeasy until it was acquired. Opera then developed its own service which first debuted on desktop browser in 2016.

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Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's Download.com. She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Louisville.com. Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.