Microsoft adds a free built-in VPN to its Edge browser

Microsoft is adding a free built-in Virtual Private Network (VPN) service to its Edge browser in an effort to improve security and privacy, a Microsoft support page revealed.

Called “Edge Secure Network,” Microsoft is currently testing the Cloudflare-powered VPN service and says it will roll it out to the public as part of a security upgrade.

When enabled, Edge Secure Network should encrypt users’ web traffic so that Internet service providers can’t collect browsing information you’d rather keep private, such as health-related searches or just plain bizarre searches.

The new feature also allows users to hide their location by allowing them to browse the web using a virtual IP address. That also means users can access content that is blocked in their country, such as Netflix or Hulu shows.

However, there is a catch to this free service. Data usage is limited to 1GB per month and users must be signed in to a Microsoft account so ironically the company can track their usage.

Microsoft adds that while Cloudflare will collect support and diagnostic information from the service, the company will permanently delete that data every 25 hours.

While the feature is still in development and not yet available for early testing, Microsoft has described how users can try a preview. That suggests it may soon be rolled out to one of the Microsoft Edge Insider channels, which users can download and join here.

Once this is the case, you can try out the preview version by opening Edge, heading to Settings and more and click Secure network.

Click “Secure Network” to enable the VPN service.
Image: Microsoft

At that point, users are prompted to sign in to or create a Microsoft account. After this, a solid shield icon will appear in the browser frame to indicate that Microsoft’s Edge Secure Network is now enabled. It is disabled after the user closes the browser.

Microsoft is one of many browsers that offer some sort of VPN service. Opera also comes with a free one, but more popular browsers like Mozilla only offer a paid VPN service, just like Google Chrome, potentially improving Edge’s value proposition.

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