The top ten reasons why I love Opera <3
1. Turbo <3
Opera Turbo is without a doubt my favourite feature of Opera. Turbo first appeared in Opera 10 which was released on September 1, 2009. Opera Turbo can detect when a connection is slow, and offers to compress web pages via Opera Software's "Turbo" servers, thus reducing download size. This is a huge plus for me because most of the time, my Internet connection is dial-up speed and I used pre-paid Internet which charges me for each MB I download/upload.
How it works is that when I open a web page, it goes through the "Opera Web Optimization Proxy", and images are compressed before being sent to my browser, then the page is displayed in it's original layout, but with compressed images and placeholders in place of flash elements. End result is that I get to read a web page much sooner than if I had to download the full version of the page with it's big uncompressed images and embedded flash files.
The added bonus is that it sort of acts as an ad-blocker. Although Opera does have a feature for blocking advertising, I found that there were some stubborn flash advertisements that I just couldn't hide. But by enabling Opera Turbo, those annoying flash advertisement won't load unless I let them.
Security concerns? Not to worry, encrypted traffic does not go through the compression servers, instead you access them as normal and Opera does not store user's private information. So if my were to open my bank account details in Opera with Turbo enabled (hypothetically, since my bank's website only works with Internet Explorer), username/password/privatestuff would not go through any of Opera Software's servers, it would just be between me and my bank (and the DNS servers, ISP etc of course).
2. It's Free!
Who doesn't love getting something for free? When I first used Opera, the "free" version was supported by advertising at the top of the browser. But that didn't bother me, it was free after all. Since the release of Opera 8.5 on September 20, 2005, Opera is available free of charge and without advertisements.
3. It's Fast!
Which browser is the fastest? There is no definitive answer for in the end, it depends on the person's computer. On my computer, I find Opera to be the fastest in terms of starting it up, loading pages and closing it down.
4. Less Is More
For a complete "web browser and Internet suite", Opera has a small install file size. As I mentioned earlier, I pay for my Internet based on how many MB I download/upload, so to me, every MB counts. Opera 10, a browser that can do so much right out of the box, is a 6.55 MB download, which is smaller than a certain other open source browser which requires the downloading of additional add-ons to achieve the same functionality as Opera.
5. Download Management
The frustration of downloading something using Internet Explorer, a large download nearing completion, but all of a sudden, it freezes or closes before the download is complete, is now a thing of the past since I started using Opera. Opera allows me to pause and resume downloads, as long as the server that the download is located on allows it. This feature has been a part of Opera since I first started using it in 2005 or earlier. The ability to resume downloads was only relatively recently added to Firefox 3 (released in June 2008), and to this day, Internet Explorer still doesn't have such a feature.
Another nifty feature is that Opera will start downloading as soon as you click the link to the download, which means that for small files, the download might be complete by the time you select which folder to save the download in.
6. Tabbed Browsing
Opera featured tabbed browsing since June 28, 2000. I usually have several websites open at a time, so back in the days of using old Internet Explorer, I would end up with a very cluttered task bar, and I found the option to group similar tasks together inconvenient.
7. Content Blocker
Some people can be stupid, stupid enough to fall for simple scams and offers that are just too good to be true. But I'm not one of them, so when I see an annoying animated gif beckoning me to click on it to claim a prize for being the 100 000th visitor to the website, it annoys me and I think to myself, "What an insult, how stupid does the advertiser think I am?". Those fake "Your computer has a virus, click here now to remove it!", "Lose weight without dieting or exercise! Click here to find out how!" or "Hot sexy single girls in <insertcitynamehere>!", it's like the advertisers are saying "Hey you, the stupid loser who's got one hand on the mouse and the other on your 3rd leg, click here and give us your money!", seeing such advertising makes me want to rage.
And so I block the advertisements so that I don't have to see the heartless manipulative advertisers' offensive and annoying banners. I must admit that Opera's content blocker alone isn't capable of blocking all advertisements. Some websites use various tricks to make sure that ad blocks don't stop them from insulting netizens, such as hiding an advertisement behind a transparent image, making the content blocker block the transparent image rather than the advertisement, and for some reason, Opera's content blocker is hit-and-miss when it comes to flash advertisements. But in Opera 10, thanks to Opera Turbo taking care of those flash advertisements, I can browse my favourite websites without being insulted by advertisers.
In the address bar, just type "g keyword" to Google 'keyword', or type "w keyword" to open the Wikipedia article for 'keyword'. Quick and simple, I love it. And if I'm not mistaken, it's customisable, so you can set it to use whatever search engine you want, but I am yet to play with those settings.
9. IRC Client
Browsing and chatting on IRC at the same time in just one program <3 Although this reason for loving Opera is obsolete now that I use Pidgin for my IRC needs, back in my early days of scanlating, Opera was my client of choice to connect to Kawaii Heavens' IRC channel. It was easy and convenient, I could be uploading and editing translated scripts in one tab and keeping in touch with the IRC channel in the other.
10. Web Standards Compliance
Opera was first browser to completely focus on adhering to the W3C standards. The W3C standards are developed after extensive consensus-building. When I make websites, I aim to follow those standards while creating a website to look the way I imagine it. People often complained that Opera fails at rendering websites, but the truth is that those websites were probably written to look good in Internet Explorer only, and old Internet Explorer tends to ignore standards and do it's own thing.
"It is notable in the face of criticisms of rendering accuracy, that Opera 9.0, 10.00 and 10.10 pass the Acid2 and Acid3 rendering tests by the Web Standards Project, which are designed to test compliance with the latest HTML, CSS and other web standards."