Singing the Praises of Opera Web Browser

Opera Web Browser

The Opera web browser, even though you may have never heard of it, is one of the most popular web browsers in the world. It started in 1994 as a research project, and has since blossomed to where it is now, with over 270 million users worldwide on all types of platforms. No matter what operating system you use or prefer, Opera has been ported to it, from Linux/Unix, Windows, to Apple operating systems. It’s faster and more secure than any other web browser on the market today.

The only problem I have with it is that everybody designs their websites to make Internet Explorer and Firefox work better and ignores everything else, including Opera.

This is part of a series of articles looking into five very popular free web browsers. We’ve already explored Apple’s Safari browser, so let’s take a look at what Opera has to offer, shall we?

It’s More Portable, Faster and More Secure

When a piece of software, such as the Opera web browser, is said to be portable, it means that it can be used on more than just one operating system. The original version of Opera only worked on early versions of the Windows platform, when Windows was more of an operating environment than a true operating system. Now, it doesn’t matter what operating system you’re using, there’s a version of Opera available for it. That includes mobile operating systems, such as Android. I use it on all of my devices, my cell phone (Nokia-non-Android), my iPod Touch, and both of my laptops, one running Windows 7 Ultimate x64, the other running Ubuntu Linux. And I can trade my bookmarks back and forth. Something I can’t do with other browsers.

Opera is a much faster browser than even my Waterfox browser (the 64-bit version of Firefox). On the average, pages load in a little more than half of the time it takes them to load in Waterfox/Firefox, and a little less than half the time as when I use Internet Explorer.

I don’t use Internet Explorer, except to retrieve information through two online auto repair manuals I use with one of the websites that I answer car repair questions for. This is because the admins of those two sites have written them to work only with Explorer. But, for my everyday browsing, I use Waterfox and Opera because they’re more secure. There are no backdoors or hacks for the Opera programming interface like there are with Explorer. When I browse with Opera, my data and my history, are secure.

Opera web browser - details
The Opera web browser originated in 1994 and now has over 270 million users worldwide.

Turbo Speed Your Downloads

The Opera web browser allows you to give your downloads a “turbo boost,” thereby speeding them up. Opera Turbo is enabled by pressing the Opera Turbo button, the fourth icon from the lower left corner. This icon turns green when turbo is enabled. Turbo enables a special compression algorithm that boosts the download speed of web pages and is especially useful on Wi-Fi links with high congestion and slower DSL links. With turbo enabled, a button appears to the left of the address bar. Clicking this button will give you some statistics, such as the amount of data your browser has received and the site’s security information.

Check Pop Mail in Opera

Most Internet providers give up to five addresses for popmail accounts. POP stands for Post Office Protocol. Using Opera to check your mail gives you quite a few more options and allows you to perform more work by not having to switch between an external email client and your web browser. You’ll only have to switch between tabs. Setting up the browser to check your popmail is quite easy.

First, contact your provider, get your username and the names of their mail servers. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Click the button labeled Opera at the upper left of the browser window.
  2. Select the option labeled Mail and Chat Accounts.
  3. Select Email.
  4. Type in your name as you want it to appear, the email address given by your provider, and your organization. Click Next.
  5. Enter your login name and password. Most servers will use POP, so select this.
  6. Enter the server names your provider gave you. Mine are for incoming and for outgoing.
  7. Click the Finish button. If everything was done correctly, a message saying the account was successfully configured will be shown.

Synchronizing Bookmarks Across Multiple Devices and Platforms

Opera web browser - Synchronization optionsAs I said above, the Opera browser can run in any operating environment. Most likely you’re going to want your bookmarks to be the same on all versions you are running. This is quite easy to manage.

  1. On the bottom left of the browser window, locate the status bar. Click the second button from the left and select the option labeled “Enable Synchronization,” or choose “Synchronize Opera” and “Enable Synchronization” from the main Opera menu at the top left of the browser window.
  2. Login to your Opera account if you have one. If you don’t have one, create one.
  3. Once logged in, you will be presented with a synchronization dialog window where you will have several options of what you want to synchronize.

I’ve just scratched the tip of the Opera web browser iceberg with all the ways you can customize your browsing experience with Opera. On the Opera help page, you can find out several other ways to improve your browsing experience.