Mozilla is rebranding its Firefox Rocket mobile browser service as Firefox Lite and as part of the rebrand, it is teaming up with ExpressVPN to offer users an inbuilt VPN service.
Mozilla has long been seen as a pioneering browser service which, in contrast to rivals such as Google Chrome, has much more focus on user privacy and the open web.
Regular readers may recall that we reported last month on their plans to block ad-trackers in Firefox, a decision that has been lauded by users and online privacy advocates alike.
It should, therefore, come as no surprise that they have hopped into bed with one of the best VPN providers around.
ExpressVPN is currently our Editor’s Choice for the best VPN on the market and there are a number of reasons why. It offers state-of-the-art encryption and a guaranteed no user logs policy alongside some of the fastest connection speeds around.
Throw in a huge server network, a number of other special features, and a fantastic 30-day money-back guarantee, and it is little wonder ExpressVPN scored a huge 4.3 out of 5 in our recent review.
They have long offered a number of browser plug-ins alongside their great range of apps, but now users of the new Mozilla Lite will find their service built-in and can also enjoy a free 7-day trial too.
Four countries to benefit initially
Initially, this fantastic new deal will only be available to internet users in four countries in Asia; India, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. But in just those four countries, there are no fewer than 729 million internet users who can benefit.
While there is no confirmation yet if or when the offer may be extended to other countries, there are some clear reasons why these four countries have been chosen for the initial roll-out.
According to ExpressVPN, users in all four of these countries tend to suffer from poor internet connections. This can result in many of them turning to public Wi-Fi networks and so exposing themselves to significant privacy and security risks.
Another likely reason is that all four of these countries are relatively poor and most people will access the internet through their mobile phones. This user demographic is less likely to use a VPN and when they do more likely to turn to a free provider.
As we have cautioned on this site many times before, a ‘free’ VPN can be more dangerous for your online privacy than using no VPN at all.
Many users in countries like India and Indonesia are falling victim to fraudulent providers who hoover up and sell user data, often while failing to provide any meaningful security or privacy benefits at all.
Mozilla and ExpressVPN: a match made in heaven
ExpressVPN is certainly hoping that a free trial of their service will show people the quality of service they can have in exchange for a small monthly fee, and so tempt more users to sign up for a proper VPN service.
In a blog post announcing the partnership, ExpressVPN noted that they hoped to “educate users about these risks and equip them with tools to protect themselves”.
Meanwhile, the head of business development at Mozilla Charles P.C. Chen was ebullient in his comments about the importance of VPNs to Firefox users.
“We are proud to provide a more secure browsing experience together with ExpressVPN,” he said. “We see VPNs as a critical tool for internet security and privacy. ExpressVPN stood out for its pioneering work in leak proofing.”
In addition to their partnership with ExpressVPN, Mozilla has also signed an agreement with Cherry Mobile, the leading mobile and electronics brand in the Philippines.
That deal will see Firefox Lite coming pre-installed on all mobile phones purchased from Cherry Mobile meaning that users can benefit from both Firefox and ExpressVPN without having to download anything.
The deal with ExpressVPN is the first time Mozilla has officially partnered with a VPN provider to offer a built-in service. But of course, there are plenty of VPN providers which offer plugins which can be manually added to Firefox.
If you are a user of either Firefox Lite or the full Firefox browser and are interested in using a VPN other than ExpressVPN, there are plenty of options available for you too. A good place to start is our article on the Top 5 Best VPN extensions for Firefox.