Mozilla tests VPN-like Firefox Private Network for Firefox browsers

Right now, Firefox Private Network is available only to desktop users who sign up for the program.

Credit: Magdalena Petrova/IDG

Firefox will be the second browser vendor to include a free VPN inside a browser... well, of a sort, anyway.

This week, Mozilla announced the evolution of its “Test Pilot” program, where the company will test beta features with a small group of customers. In this case, you must sign up for a Firefox account and opt in to the program.

The first beta is the Firefox Private Network, which the company is not advertising as a virtual private network, or VPN. Mozilla promises you’ll be able to toggle the Private Network on, which will provide some of the traditional features of a VPN: end-to-end encryption and hidden IP addresses, among others. However, the “VPN” affects only your Firefox browser, so any other apps you have open during that time won’t benefit from encryption. For now, it’s available only to desktop PCs.

Mozilla’s Firefox follows the Opera browser into the market. Opera began offering a free, unlimited “VPN” months ago, halted it, then brought it back this spring. Like Mozilla, the “VPN” isn’t so much a VPN but more of a browser proxy, funneling your traffic to an anonymous endpoint. Opera’s VPN, however, is free, unlimited, and lets users choose from several endpoints both in the Americas and overseas—allowing Netflix users, for example, to stream content not available in their area. At this point, Firefox does not offer multiple endpoints.

That may change. In a blog post announcing the move, Mozillla noted that “over the next several months you will see a number of variations on our testing of the Firefox Private Network.” The company also suggested the offer may not always be free. “This iterative process will give us much-needed feedback to explore technical and possible pricing options for the different online needs that the Firefox Private Network meets.”

Mozilla didn’t say if or when the Firefox Private Network would be made public as part of an official release.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?