Chrome is the most popular web browser thanks to its user-friendly setup, stability and security. Plus, it offers plenty in terms of versatility and endless customization options through installing various Chrome extensions, so you can tune it to your exact preferences.
As the default choice for many people, the issue of secure web browsing always pops up especially with browsers collecting information about users and sending them to the sites they visit. This means that details such as your IP location, hardware or devices you use, your operating system and information about other devices on your network can be seen by the sites you visit with or without your knowledge.
With a VPN Chrome extension though, you can encrypt your browser traffic and protect your personal information like passwords and security codes from criminals so they won’t use it to hack into your accounts.
It will also mask your IP location so you can bypass censorship from any location and view geo-restricted content.
Whether you use the Chrome browser or own a Chromebook, a good VPN Chrome extension can improve your online privacy and allow you to securely browse the web.
How To Pick The Best VPN Chrome Extensions
There’s an overwhelming array of potential VPN extensions for Chrome from different service providers each claiming to be the best. There are plenty of free ones available in Chrome web store, some of which are dodgy in terms of security and privacy leaving you and your devices vulnerable to cyber-attacks, while others aren’t really VPNs at all.
Ideally, you’ll want a VPN Chrome extension that will protect your privacy as you surf, bypass censorship or unblock geo-restricted content. Among the factors to consider during your selection include strong encryption, protocol support for tight security, performance levels especially for streaming purposes, and easy, user-friendly setup and use.
Other features to check for include zero-logging policy, good speed, unlimited bandwidth, plenty of server choices, protection from DNS leaks, solid IP cloaking, WebRTC blocking, user-friendliness and customer support.
ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN provider that offers a Chrome extension, though you need to install and configure its desktop app as the extension can’t operate on its own.
While that seems like a bit of a minus for ExpressVPN, you’ll notice that with all other VPNs, you’ll have to install the desktop app for features like kill switch or split tunneling to work as they’re not included with the extension.
That said, the VPN Chrome extension doesn’t let you do as much as you would with the full VPN service, but you can enable location spoofing, HTTPS Everywhere and WebRTC blocking. Advanced features like split tunneling, speed test and kill switch are restricted to its desktop app.
ExpressVPN doesn’t keep logs of your activity except the information needed to maintain your subscription, which can’t be tied back to you. It also has outstanding speeds compared to the competition, AES 256-bit encryption, and dark mode that’s easy on the eyes.
Chromebook users who can’t run Windows or ExpressVPN’s iOS app can use the browser extension to manage their device’s native VPN connections.
Customer support is available via live chat and email support, plus a helpful knowledgebase with frequently asked questions and answers.
NordVPN is another excellent provider with a standalone Chrome extension that offers CyberSec for anti-malware and ad-blocking, WebRTC blocking, and top-of-the-line encryption standards. Its speeds are inconsistent though, and it doesn’t offer split tunneling.
However, its app kill feature allows you to select the apps allowed to circumvent the kill switch so you can start a backup without canceling in the process. You also get access to the special servers such as P2P for torrenting, onion servers for connecting through Tor, and double-hop servers for added security as your connection bounces across two locations.
NordVPN has a large server network, but you need to test them out before settling on one that works for you. Its VPN Chrome extension is fairly basic and doesn’t allow you to pick a specific server to connect. Instead, it displays a list of countries to choose from, which is a huge limitation on its part.
Otherwise it doesn’t keep logs of your activity except the personal information needed for subscription purposes. Plus it works on multiple devices, and offers top-notch support via live chat and email.
Windscribe is a free VPN that offers fast speeds, unlimited simultaneous connections and doesn’t log your activity online while browsing the web.
It doesn’t have a kill switch but has a firewall that ensures zero leakage by blocking all connectivity outside the tunnel, but you can’t activate it from the extension itself. You need to download the standalone app for this.
Windscribe has poor upload speeds and latency, and it doesn’t offer split tunneling if you want to connect through the VPN and your ISP simultaneously.
Its browser extension for Chrome is one of the best available and can be used on its own, though it’s even more effective when combined with the native VPN app. This way, data goes through two servers at the same time, doubling the encryption so that cybercriminals can’t correlate traffic and trace it back to you.
Windscribe’s R.O.B.E.R.T system blocks ads and removes any trackers, cookies, notifications, social media widgets, gambling, porn, fake news, cryptominers, clickbait and other VPNs. You can also make it block WebRTC IP identification.
Customer support is available through email, an AI assistant, and help center with DIY troubleshooting articles. A dedicated subreddit is also available if you have a specific issue you need assistance with.
Generally, most VPN Chrome extensions are somewhat lacking, but these three offer excellent protection for your personal information and privacy while keeping you safe as you browse the web.