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The Best VPN Chrome Extensions: How Do They Compare To External VPNs? 

Last updated on October 24, 2019
Whatever you want to do, whether it’s online shopping or gaming, banking or simply browsing, if there’s not an app to help you, there’s a browser extension. As with any other piece of software, a browser extension can enhance your digital experience, integrating your browser with other services and offering additional capabilities.

As the tidal wave of cybercrime continues, many people are opting for extra online protection and those unwilling to invest in a VPN app can enjoy a secure and anonymous browsing experience by installing a VPN Chrome extension.

These add-ons or plug-ins will encrypt your browser traffic and hide your original IP address behind that of a secure server. What it won’t do is protect your VoIP, messaging, or email communications. Nevertheless, as the first step towards solid cybersecurity, it’s highly recommended, especially with these reputable VPNs offering top-quality cybersecurity solutions for your Chrome browser.

Best VPN Google Chrome Extensions

#1 ExpressVPN

Whatever anyone else can do, it seems ExpressVPN can always do it better, and its VPN Chrome extension is no exception to that rule. Not only does it have both a kill switch and DNS leak protection, but it is also entirely open source. This is important, as VPN Google Chrome extensions require a range of permissions to operate effectively. These can be both daunting for the user and can be exploited by less trustworthy VPNs.

By making its browser extension source code available to the public, ExpressVPN is effectively inviting you to take a look at its internal workings and verify the responsible use of the permissions required for it to perform its privacy functions.

While many VPN providers don’t charge for their browser extensions, with ExpressVPN you need a subscription before you can download the best web browser for software protection. It’s worth it, though, to get the unbeatable speeds and cutting-edge encryption that ExpressVPN prides itself on.

Not only is ExpressVPN’s software powerful and responsive, but it’s also got one of the best reputations in the cybersecurity industry. Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN doesn’t have to comply with restrictive data retention laws and its no-logging policy has been proven in court. What’s more, ExpressVPN utilizes zero-knowledge technology on all its servers so not even its own technicians can access your encrypted data.

ExpressVPN is a superior cybersecurity tool even though it lacks some of the additional features offered by its most competitive rivals. If you’re not prepared to settle for anything but the best, sign up with ExpressVPN today. If you’re a naturally curious person, however, you can examine the nuts and bolts of this VPN service in our full review here.

#2 NordVPN

The fact that NordVPN rarely appears in our best VPN categories is a testament to the fierce competition. This powerful VPN was one of the first to embrace AES 256-bit encryption and has been a leading light in the cybersecurity industry for the past decade or so.

Based in Panama, NordVPN enjoys the same freedom from mandatory data retention laws as ExpressVPN and operates under a similarly strict no-logging policy. Its privacy policy is also airtight, and its VPN Chrome extension also includes its CyberSec security feature which prevents users from accessing sites suspected of harboring malware.

In terms of the server network, NordVPN is second only to the gargantuan CyberGhost. With over 5,000 servers dotted around the world, NordVPN can provide reliable online protection wherever you are in the world. In addition to its standard servers, NordVPN has obfuscated servers which are specifically designed bypass network firewalls, like the Great Firewall of China, and operate seamlessly in heavily censored environments.

As with ExpressVPN, NordVPN’s VPN Chrome extension requires a subscription but, with impressive deals on its multi-year subscriptions, that doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, you can get all the benefits of NordVPN’s external service as well as its browser extension for just $3.49 per month, provided you’re prepared for a long-term relationship of at least three years.

The combination of a NordVPN app and its browser extension gives users both lightweight protection when browsing and server-specific connection options for unblocking content. While NordVPN may not manage the speeds of ExpressVPN, it’s still one of the best VPNs around, so why not sign up with NordVPN today and experience its advanced security features? Alternatively, you can check out the pros and cons in our full review here.

#3 CyberGhost VPN

At last! In our number three slot, we have a first free VPN browser extension and its an impressive one to boot. CyberGhost is in the same boat as both ExpressVPN and CyberGhost, being one of the grandfathers (or mothers!) of the cybersecurity scene.

Established in 2011, CyberGhost started as a free VPN service but gradually evolved into one of the most powerful VPNs in the industry. CyberGhost has expanded its server network over the years and has now overtaken NordVPN, with nearly 6,000 servers in 90 different countries. Unfortunately, CyberGhost VPN Google Chrome extension doesn’t give users access to its entire network, limiting them to just eight servers in four locations.

While the available servers may be limited, bandwidth isn’t so you can stream anonymous or even torrent safely with CyberGhost VPN’s Chrome extension. Unlike ExpressVPN, CyberGhost doesn’t include a kill switch nor any live chat support for users of its extension, but it does offer WebRTC leak protection and the ability to hide your IP address.

CyberGhost is another reliable no-logging VPN situated in a jurisdiction where no data retention regulations inhibit its commitment to user privacy. CyberGhost is famous for its user-friendly apps, intuitive user interface and its Chrome extension is similarly straightforward.

If you want a friendly ghost to help you stay anonymous online, why not download CyberGhost’s free Chrome extension today? Alternatively, you could try out its VPN apps for free by taking advantage of its generous 45-day money-back guarantee. IF you’d prefer to get to know your ghost a little better before committing to a relationship, however, you can get a better idea of its unique features by reading our full review.

Apps vs. Extensions: The Pros and Cons

While VPN browser extensions can’t do everything a VPN app can do, it nevertheless offers a simple, lightweight form of cybersecurity. Even the very best Chrome VPN extensions behave more like proxy services than VPNs, but they still have their advantages.

Unlike VPN apps, VPN Chrome extensions are often free and fast. Although some will blather on about how easy they are to install and utilize, anyone that’s had the pleasure of working with ExpressVPN, NordVPN or CyberGhost VPN will appreciate that the apps aren’t exactly rocket science either.

The problem with VPN browser extensions is that not all of them encrypt your traffic and even those that do can only protect your web browser. To get more comprehensive protection that extends to your email service and VoIP as well, you need a fully functional VPN app.

While most VPN providers have a variety of customer support options, from live chat to online ticket systems, few extend this service to its VPN Chrome extension users. Inevitably those, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, which require a subscription anyway, will provide the same level of customer support, whereas those, like CyberGhost, only allow their paid users to access its 24/7 live chat support.

As with free VPNs, VPN Chrome extensions have their limitations although the speed they offer often surpasses those provided by fully-fledged VPN apps. Nevertheless, if you want to remain truly private and secure in cyberspace, only the best VPN apps will do.

Bottom Line For VPN Chrome Extensions

While the best Chrome VPN Extensions have their advantages, for comprehensive online protection, a full VPN app is the only way to go. ExpressVPN offers some of the best cybersecurity tools around and it’s the best Chrome VPN Extension currently on offer. Unfortunately, ExpressVPN only allows those with a standard subscription to utilize its browser extensions, whereas other leading VPNs, like CyberGhost VPN, offer them completely free of charge.

The best Chrome VPNs meet many of the same requirements as the best VPN apps, namely DNS leak protection, IP masking, content unblocking capabilities, and AES 256-bit encryption. Services like ExpressVPN and NordVPN don’t keep any logs either, ensuring that all your browsing activity remains completely private and anonymous.

VPN apps have the advantage of securing all your traffic and not just the data traveling through your browser. In other words, it safeguards your VoIP data as effectively as it does your browser data. If you’re considering investing in the best Chrome VPN extension which, in our opinion is ExpressVPN’s, you may as well go the whole hog and download the appropriate app as well. After all, there’s no point in paying full price for half the service which, in effect, is pretty much all a VPN browser extension provides.

If you’re hesitantly taking the first step on your cybersecurity journey then, by all means, embrace VPN extensions. On the other hand, if you’re serious about your online privacy, a VPN app offers more comprehensive protection.

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