The Best VPN Chrome Extensions: How Do They Compare To External VPNs?
Google Chrome receives more security updates and privacy improvements than most of us have hot dinners but that doesn’t necessarily make it a safe browser.
In May, Google Chrome introduced the new Enhanced Safe Browsing mode which, while designed to improve privacy, would also share information “culled from your personal Gmail and Drive accounts”. While the company claims its Safe Browsing algorithm will anonymize data automatically, “sharing yet more detail with Google — especially something as private as what websites you’re visiting — should give you serious pause”.
Although Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers, it struggles to keep up with the likes of Mozilla Firefox in terms of privacy and security. Last year, The Washington Post technology columnist, Geoffrey A. Fowler reported that, over a single week, he “discovered 11,189 requests for tracker “cookies” that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer but were automatically blocked by Firefox”.
Things may have improved since then, but there’s still plenty of reasons to seek out the best VPN extension for Chrome.
The beauty of a VPN is that it masks all your online activity, thereby preventing your browser from collecting information about you and sharing it with others. It hides your IP address, encrypts your traffic, deletes your digital footprint, blocks adverts and malware, and lets you bypass geographical restrictions and stream content from virtually anywhere in the world.
Every time you enter your login credentials to an online banking site or streaming site without a VPN to protect you, you risk sharing that information with a plethora of advertisers, marketers, law enforcement agencies, and cybercriminals. A reliable VPN for Chrome encrypts all your traffic so it can’t be stolen, tracked, or intercepted.
Maybe you’re now eager to rush off and improve your online security by installing the best VPN for Chrome so don’t have time to finish reading this article. In that case, have a look at this summary of the best Chrome VPNs:
- ExpressVPN – best and fastest VPN for Chrome with numerous servers and cutting-edge security
- NordVPN – a proxy extension with the latest encryption, ad-blocking and security features
- CyberGhost – a free proxy extension that offers military-grade encryption and a strict no-logging policy
- Surfshark – a lightweight extension offering fast speeds and comprehensive protection for an unlimited number of devices
- TunnelBear – user-friendly with excellent security but variable connection speeds
Why Use One of the Best VPNs for Chrome
The best Chrome VPN does a lot more than the best VPN extension for Chrome, protecting every app that connects to the internet, from your telecommunications services to your music and movie streaming apps. Similarly, if you’re only using a browser VPN extension, internet traffic from your operating system, including DNS traffic, is unencrypted and unprotected. That means that, even with the best VPN extension for Chrome, you won’t be able to prevent your ISP from tracking your web history.
On the plus side, the best VPN extension for Chrome will protect all your online activity and the data generated while using the web browser. Not only that, but it will also enable you to connect to servers in different countries so, if you’re in the UK, for instance, you could connect to a server in India and watch Indian Premier League cricket; or connect to a US server and catch the latest episode of the new Netflix series, The Fall.
One of the best things about a VPN extension is that it goes with you wherever you use that particular browser. In other words, it will protect you when working on your laptop, communicating from your phone, or playing games on your X-box. You won’t even have to install any additional apps – just a small module that will enhance your privacy and, in most cases, protect your original IP address from exposure by preventing WebRTC leaks.
Not only can the best Chrome VPN give you access to a whole world of content that would otherwise be restricted, but it also protects you against potential cyberattacks, including Man-in-the-Middle interceptions and malware infections.
The Best VPN Extensions for Chrome in 2020
#1 ExpressVPN – Best All-Around VPN for Chrome
Dedicated Chrome Extension: Yes (VPN)
WebRTC Leak Protection | AES 256 Encryption | P2P Enabled Servers | Kill Switch | DNS Leak Protection | IP Leak Protection | TrustedServer Technology | OpenVPN | PPTP
With its dedicated Chrome VPN rather than a proxy service, ExpressVPN leads the way. It’s not only the best VPN extension for Chrome, but it’s also the best VPN overall, in terms of both security and speed. ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension gives users the benefit of the following features:
- Extensive server network encompassing 3,000 servers in 94 countries
- Reliable, high-speed connections
- Strict no-logging policy so none of your data will be kept
- Outstanding 24/7 customer support
- Strict no-logs policy
Read more about ExpressVPN here.
#2 NordVPN – Most Secure Chrome Extension
Dedicated Chrome Extension: No
CyberSec | Double VPN | Tor Over VPN | Obfuscated Servers | Kill Switch | DNS Leak Protection | Onion Over VPN
Though NordVPN does not offer a free VPN extension for Chrome, you will be able to subscribe to the service itself to use as a VPN while surfing on your Chrome browser. One notable feature of NordVPN is CyberSEc, which specifically blocks ads and stops you from entering sites with malware.
- Global distribution of over 5,000 servers in 59 countries
- Based in Panama where no logs are required
- CyberSec adblocker prevents access to malicious sites
- 24/7 customer support
Read our full review for more information.
#3 CyberGhost – Most User-Friendly VPN Chrome Extension
Dedicated Chrome Extension: Yes (Proxy)
WebRTC Leak Protection | Kill Switch | No Data Logging | SHA256 Authentication Algorithm
CyberGhost is one of the most user-friendly VPNs around and its VPN Chrome extension is no exception. As it’s free, however, it does come with some limitations, including the fact that users of the Chrome extension can connect to only eight of its 6,312 servers. If you sign up for a subscription, however, you’ll get the benefits of its full service and a fully functioning VPN Chrome extension to boot, which includes:
- Automatic protection on public Wi-Fi networks
- Blocks trackers and malicious content
- Bypasses geographical restrictions
- Regular transparency reports
- No limits on data usage
Read our comprehensive review for more information.
#4 Surfshark – Fast, Affordable and Unlimited C0nnections
Dedicated Chrome Extension: Yes (Proxy)
CleanWeb | Private DNS | Multi-Hop | No Data Logging | Kill Switch
Surfshark VPN offers a free Chrome browser extension (which is a proxy) that uses an HTTPS protocol to keep you safe while surfing the web. Surfshark also offers protection for an unlimited number of devices, making it ideal for smart homes and techies alike.
- Over 1,700 servers in 63 countries
- Blocks malware, trackers and phishing attempts
- Situated in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Isles
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Affordable subscriptions and competitive pricing plans
Know more about Surfshark in our in-depth review.
#5 TunnelBear – A Simple VPN Solution For Chrome Browser
Dedicated Chrome Extension: Yes (VPN)
AES 256-bit Encryption | OpenVPN | IPSec | No Data Logging | Kill Switch
Like CyberGhost, TunnelBear has created a VPN extension for Chrome that is lightweight and free. As with CyberGhost, if you sign up for one of TunnelBear’s paid plans, you’ll get one of the best VPN extensions for Chrome as well as all-round protection on all your connected apps. It also boasts:
- Servers in 20 different countries
- 500MB free data
- The ability to bypass geographical restrictions on most streaming sites
Read our detailed review to know more about TunnelBear.
How To Choose The Best VPN for Chrome
One of the best things about Chrome is how easy it is to use. That being said, it’s important that the best VPN for Chrome should match that simplicity and usability.
The best VPN for Chrome should provide its users with a simple, one-click connection process as well as an intuitive, user-friendly interface.
Any VPN that slows down your internet connection is going to be irritating, especially if you want to stream movies or download audio files, so a VPN that offers high-speed yet reliable connections will be your first choice.
If you’re on the lookout for the best Chrome VPN, chances are, you’re concerned about your online privacy, so a VPN that operates under a strict no-logging policy and prioritizes its users’ privacy is crucial.
For many of us, online security is most valued when we’re streaming, so a VPN that can access blocked content and over-ride geographical restrictions is also a must.
Also, it’s important to make sure that the VPN enlists a variety of security protocols, which make for a faster and more secure connection and make the VPN compatible with a wider range of devices.
Don’t want to take any chances with your security? Opt for the best VPN for Chrome – ExpressVPN, and get the best of both worlds with its secure, high-speed connections.
What about a Free Chrome VPN Extension?
When you start hunting for the best Chrome VPN, you’ll no doubt stumble across an array of tempting free VPNs and VPN extensions for Chrome. With grand claims of no-logging policies and high-speed connections, free VPNs sound too good to be true which, to be fair, most of them are.
While some free VPNs will limit your bandwidth, others will inundate you with advertising. Still, others go a step further in encroaching on your digital privacy by collecting and selling your data to third parties. Still, others fail to do exactly what it was they said they would do – protect you against malware and other cyber threats.
A couple of months ago, Security Boulevard ran an article highlighting how Betternet and PrivateVPN (supposedly the “world’s most-trusted VPN provider”) contained vulnerabilities that would “allow hackers to intercept its communications and force the apps to download a fake update”.
Although these problems have since been resolved, they are indicative of the type of threats you expose yourself to if you opt for a free VPN rather than the best Chrome VPN.
Other free VPNs, like HolaVPN for instance, use a P2P system that effectively turns your device into a VPN endpoint through which other Hola users may exit and take on his or her IP address.
Even now, some free VPNs have some highly dubious logging policies, including Hola VPN which includes “browser type, web pages you visit, time spent on those pages, access times and dates” amongst its possible log data.
Conclusion: Choose the Best Chrome VPN
Google Chrome is a stable and secure web browser that benefits from regular updates and patches. It nevertheless leaves users exposed to online trackers, malware, malicious websites, and potential cybercrime. Neither Chrome’s Safe Browsing option nor its Incognito windows do as much to protect your privacy as the best VPN extension for Chrome.
Even better than that is the best VPN for Chrome, ExpressVPN, which will not only give you complete anonymity and erase your digital footprint as fast as it appears but will also give you access to restricted content and the freedom to travel the world virtually and vicariously.
Although free VPNs and Chrome extensions offering additional online security are tempting, few can compete with the likes of ExpressVPN, with some even compromising their users’ security. Those free offerings that are above board still struggle to replicate the speed and security of the best Chrome VPNs.
With reputable cybersecurity companies, like CyberGhost, TunnelBear, and, more recently, ZenMate VPN, offering free VPN extensions for Chrome, it’s not necessary to pay through the nose for your online anonymity. If you want to protect all your traffic and apps, however, a fully-fledged VPN, like ExpressVPN, is the most sensible choice.