Best VPNs for Chrome in 2021
Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. Just last year, they held a whopping 63.59% global market share. That's why great VPNs for the Chrome browser are so important
The browser supports installing additional add-ons. With VPN add-ons, not only can you hide your IP address, but you can also bypass numerous web restrictions. With that in mind, here are some of the best VPNs for Chrome.
Best VPN Chrome extensions in 2021
- NordVPN – best Chrome VPN for secure browsing and online payments
- Surfshark – best Chrome VPN extension for safety
- PureVPN - free browser extension for Chrome
- Private Internet Access – best Chrome VPN extension for the features available
Best Chrome VPN extensions – our detailed list
We looked through numerous VPNs and eliminated the ones that don't have Google Chrome extensions. Then we tested them for everyday use and checked what security features they have in place. The following list is what our total findings boil down to.
Editor's disclosure: We are aware of and concerned about the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) recently released by the US Department of Justice. It names Express VPN’s CIO Daniel Gericke among the persons who received monetary penalties and agreed to “full cooperation with the relevant Department and FBI components” due to their past misuse of covert surveillance tools, targeting US citizens, as well as journalists and political parties.
At the moment, there are no direct connections established between the misuse of such tools and ExpressVPN. However, in order to offer our readers only the most reliable and safest VPN solutions available, we are temporarily removing ExpressVPN from our lists until further privacy, data security, and ethical evaluations are completed. You can read our full story about the agreement here.
1.NordVPN – one of the safest and fastest VPNs
|Servers/countries:||5,500+ servers in 59 countries|
|Current deal:||Get NordVPN, now 72% OFF + 3 Months FREE!|
Not that long ago, NordVPN added Bypass List, which works as browser-level split tunneling. You can add specific websites to the list, and it will exclude them when you’re browsing, connecting directly. It works best with banking websites, as they sometimes return errors when you’re connecting via VPN.
In addition, the NordVPN Chrome extension also has a CyberSec toggle. This lets you filter out the websites before they’re even loaded. It automatically blocks malware and phishing sites. This feature doesn’t even require downloading and installing the NordVPN app.
Their extension is a simple, but effective tool to bypass geo-restricted website blocks and increase your overall online privacy. All your browser traffic will be encrypted with Transport Layer Security (TLS 1.2) protocol. So, whatever you’re doing online will stay with you.
- Split tunneling
- Great speeds
- Web filter
- Unblocks Netflix
- Anonymous payment options
- Blocks WebRTC
- Discounts for longer subscriptions
- No free trial
- Sign-up requires an email address
2. Surfshark – the most resilient browser companion
|Based in:||British Virgin Islands|
|Servers/countries:||3,200+ servers in 65 countries|
|Current deal:||Get Surfshark, now 81% OFF!|
This year, Surfshark will be celebrating its third birthday. Over that time, the VPN has solidified its position as one of the greatest services on the market.
Surfshark supports a vast variety of operating systems and devices, including browser add-ons and, in particular, Google Chrome. The extension itself is straightforward and minimal, so you’ll be able to connect to your server of choice quickly.
You will be able to pick from the same servers you get on their app. It’s even possible to enable the Clear Web feature, which works as a filter for malware and phishing websites. This covers all the bases if you need a lightweight solution.
Moreover, the extension was separately audited by Cure53 penetration testers. This adds an additional degree of confidence that you’re using a safe cybersecurity tool. Not to mention that it has its entertainment uses, as well. For example, it unblocks Netflix and other streaming platforms.
When you’re also factoring in a very affordable price, that’s a very hard package to resist.
- Web filters
- Independently-audited extension
- Affordable price
- Unblocks most streaming services
- RAM-only servers
- No free version
- No phone support
3. PureVPN - Includes a free browser extension for Chrome
|Based in:||Hong Kong|
|Servers/countries:||6,500+ servers in 140+ countries|
|Current deal:||PureVPN is now 74% OFF!|
If you need a simple yet useful VPN browser extension for Chrome, consider getting the one offered by PureVPN. For one, it has 30+ different countries to choose from - which is an insane number for a VPN extension.
Aside from that, the tool also has some of the functionality of the actual VPN. For example, it offers WebRTC Leak Protection, which prevents your IP address from accidentally leaking and exposing your real location.
The service also gives you really fast speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and 10 simultaneous connections.
To use the browser extension, you have to get a premium account of PureVPN (whose price starts from $3.33/month). Alternatively, you can try out a limited version for free (valid for seven days). It only includes five locations, but it’s enough to make up your mind about the quality of the service.
- WebRTC Leak Protection
- Works with Netflix
- Free version
- 30 different countries
- Not many features
4. Private Internet Access – the best pick for those who want lots of features
|Based in:||United States|
|Servers/Countries:||35,550+ servers in 70+ countries|
|Current deal:||Get PIA, now 83% OFF + 2 Month FREE!|
Private Internet Access or PIA is one of the biggest VPN service providers on the market right now. They manage 29,000 servers. Those are numbers that no other VPN service even comes close to. Of course, their crown jewel is their apps, but it can be a lifesaver if you need a lightweight option.
The Chrome add-on uses proxies that protect your web traffic with Squid HTTPS encryption. It won’t be as strong as running the full VPN, but you’re still adding a hard barrier to anyone wanting to look into your browsing activities.
Furthermore, the extension has some nice exclusive features, as well. You can block location, camera, microphone access, disable network prediction, and address and credit card autofill. There are even more technical toggles like disabling referral injections, hyperlink auditing, third-party cookies, and removing UTM (tags used for google analytics). This solves some privacy concerns that you might have if you’re using Chrome.
Not only is this plug-in a great addition to your browser, but it also makes sense to install it even if you’re already using a desktop client. If unblocking geo-restricted websites and hiding your identity online is what you’re looking for, PIA should be on your list.
- Blocks online trackers
- Affordable service
- Large server fleet
- Good reputation
- Based in a Five Eyes country
- No independent audit
How we selected and tested these VPNs
Although all browser extensions seem similar from the outset, there are quite a lot of things that you have to factor in. You’ll be relying on a third party for your browser connection, which may include some sensitive details being passed around. So, here’s what you should look for:
- Compatibility. Not all VPN providers have browser extensions. This is something that you should find out in advance to avoid disappointments down the line. If there is a plug-in for Firefox, this doesn’t automatically mean that Chrome extension is by default available.
- Features. Nowadays, you wouldn’t amaze anyone by saying that your tool routes your connection through safer passages. The users are used to getting extra bonuses that make these extensions worthwhile. This can range from malware website filters or tracking blocks – everything helps.
- Speed. Average daily Internet usage patterns usually involve videos, music, and photos, which all require significant bandwidth. You won’t get a huge mileage from the tool if it significantly slows you down.
- Countries and servers. There is a direct link between the server coverage and the stability of the service. If there’s plenty of servers to choose from, it isn’t such a big deal if some of them are disabled for scheduled maintenance. So for a user, this means not only the better variety but also – better user experience.
- Price. The average monthly VPN subscription price is around ~$5. This works as a helpful measuring unit to determine whether the service offers more than you’d expect. If the price costs twice as much but isn’t adding much in other departments, it’s probably not a good deal.
Why do I need a VPN extension for Chrome?
The main reason you’d want to use the Chrome extension is that it solves some built-in problems. Even if you’re using a safe VPN app but are combining it with a vulnerable browser, your whole setup cannot be called secure.
One part of the problem is WebRTC leaks. They occur by establishing channels between your browser and the visited server. So, it’s a technology that makes real-time exchanges possible, which is why websites like Omegle work. However, its flaw is that these exchanges sometimes bypass your encrypted VPN tunnel and use your actual IP address. This is enough to expose your identity.
More importantly, your browser is the primary method you contact the internet. Therefore, securing your browser with a VPN is a great way to hide what you're up to from your ISP, government, or cybercriminals.
How do I add a VPN extension to Chrome?
If you’ve never done it, installing an extension on your Chrome browser couldn’t be any easier. Though, if you’re using a VPN, there are some key steps that you shouldn’t forget, which may be omitted in other guides.
- Pick a VPN service provider. You can choose from our list or find another tool you like.
- Register for an account and pay for your subscription. You now have a VPN service account.
- Head to the Google Chrome web store with the browser on the device that you’ll be using.
- Click on the “Search the store” bar and type in the provider that you’ve chosen
- Find the extension and press Add to Chrome button
- You’ll have to log in to the extension with the credentials you set up while creating the VPN account.
- Once you log in and connect to your server of choice, you can enjoy a much safer browsing experience with Chrome.
Are VPN Chrome extensions safe?
What you should know beforehand is that every browser extension that you download is sandboxed. This means that as long as you give no permissions for the plug-in, you downloaded, it's sitting quietly and isolated from all other processes running in the foreground.
Google itself is curating the Chrome store, so every submission gets reviewed. These procedures eliminate a larger chunk of extensions that are straight-up malware.
However, that is not to say that the system is foolproof. Even if a program from the outset seems trustworthy, some providers lie about their privacy policies. For this reason, you shouldn’t experiment with sketchy VPN extensions, as it may backfire. And remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
How to check if a Chrome extension is safe?
Usually, your best bet is to rely on reputation. For example, all the services we recommend are respected and have a years-long track-record of being secure.
For the tech-savvy, if the extension is open-source, the best thing you could do is peek at their source code. This should give you a pretty good idea of how the under the hood components work and enabled during your usage.
Though, this will work with only a small amount of available extensions. The majority of trustworthy VPNs will be closed-source. This isn’t a dealbreaker, as you can always Google about previous data leaks, find independent audit findings. These sources can build a reasonable degree of confidence to call a particular VPN service extension safe to use.
Which is the best free VPN for Chrome?
As a rule of thumb, you should steer clear of the free VPN extensions for Chrome. Nine times out of ten, they will serve you ads or sell your browsing data to third parties. Maintaining a server fleet is a very resource-intensive task, so providing such service for free is something that is by default suspicious.
However, you can take advantage of paid providers with paid VPNs and are using free versions as a promo. On our list, Windscribe is the only one that matches the criteria. Still, it does have a 10 GB data cap. So, opting-in for free VPN clients like ProtonMail or AtlasVPN that have no such limitations might be a better option in the long run.
Is Chrome a safe browser?
For years after Chrome launched, it was a standard browser. One of its selling points was an option to sign in to your Google account and take advantage of cloud sync options. Though, it wasn’t even the main appeal that the tool had.
Fast forward to 2021, and Chrome is one of the tools in Google’s ad-placing network. The browser itself collects ridiculous amounts of data due to its connections to other Google services. So, before you do anything else, you should reconsider whether you need Chrome in the first place. You could get a much better combination privacy-wise by coupling your VPN with a browser that isn’t as invasive.
There are many cases when the Chrome browser can’t be substituted. For example, on ChromeOS, you’re pretty much stuck with it. In other cases, you might have gotten so used to it that going to another browser isn’t really an option you’re willing to go through.
Still, even in those cases, there are ways to improve the central component of your digital life, that is, your browser. A VPN extension is the least you could do for it. This option won’t fix Google’s tracking but can be a start to leave fewer breadcrumbs that could be traced back to you.
More VPN guides from CyberNews:
Best VPNs for Windows: Protect your PC in 2021
Best VPNs for Torrenting: Torrent safely in 2021
Best VPNs to play Roobet: Play Roobet from anywhere with a VPN
Best VPNs for Mac: Increase your Macbook's security and privacy
What is the best VPN extension for Chrome?
The best Chrome VPN extension is NordVPN. It provides website-level split tunneling, blocks WebRTC leaks, and has malware and phishing site filters.
Does Chrome have its own VPN extension?
No, Chrome doesn’t have its own VPN extension, but mobile users can take advantage of Google One VPN. This is a proprietary VPN made by Google.
How do I add free VPN extensions to Chrome?
Adding a VPN extension is as simple as clicking the Add to Chrome button on services that you find on the Google Chrome web store.
Can Google track me if I use a VPN?
If you’re logged in to your Google account, then, without a doubt, Google knows everything where you’re going. There are also other methods like browser fingerprinting, which means you’ll have to use some extension to avoid this.