Mozilla has announced a new testing phase of its in-house VPN service, Firefox Private Network (FPN). US users of the Firefox desktop browser have been invited to try FPN for free for 12 months.
We first reported on the development of the Firefox Private Network in June, as part of Mozilla’s push towards greater privacy protection and further monetization. At the time, the CEO of Mozilla Chris Beard said: “You really should use VPN.”
In July we discovered and reported on a hidden page on the Mozilla website dedicated to limited testing of the service.
Now, Mozilla feels ready to roll out a new phase of the service for further public testing. In a blog post, the company said it is responding to user demands: “One of the key learnings from recent events is that there is growing demand for privacy features.”
The Firefox Private Network works as a browser extension “which provides a secure, encrypted path to the web to protect your connection and your personal information anywhere and everywhere you use your Firefox browser.”
Mozilla touts protection from public WiFi, hiding your IP address, and its ease of use as the chief benefits of the new service.
FPN triallers will be limited to 12 hours of use per month for testing.
The latest Mozilla blog post avoids mentioning a price. Previous indications from the company were placing the VPN, which will come as part of a premium browser, at $12.99 per month. Now the company seems less sure, citing “much-needed feedback to explore technical and possible pricing options.”
The FPN browser extension, powered by Cloudlfare, will not be as robust as a fully-fledged VPN service, likely working as a proxy more than a VPN, and lacking the same security features. We’ve written a piece on the differences, if you’re unsure as to why that matters.
Mozilla seems to have acknowledged these limitations because it is now also providing the option for a “Full-Device VPN” alongside the browser-level protection offered by its extension tested until now.
This Full-Device VPN is advertised as something that allows you to “Protect the connection of your whole device, including all apps.” The beta price attached to this VPN is $4.99 per month. This is available on Windows 10 and in the US only, with the promise of Android, iOS, and other devices to come.
Mozilla has previously partnered with ProtonVPN, and has encouraged its users to take greater control over their privacy. Its recent Enhanced Tracking Protection feature blocked one trillion web tracking requests. With a VPN on top of that, Mozilla is clearly attempting to fashion itself as the privacy-browser of choice.
It is expected that Mozilla’s browser extension and VPN will remain in the testing stage for a few more months. If you’re based in the US you can start testing Firefox Private Network yourself here.