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Best VPNs for Chrome in 2021

Best VPN for Chrome

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

  1. NordVPN – best Chrome VPN for secure browsing and online payments
  2. ExpressVPN – best Chrome VPN extension to control full VPN client
  3. Surfshark – best Chrome VPN extension for safety
  4. Private Internet Access – best Chrome VPN extension for the features available
  5. Windscribe – best Chrome VPN among the smaller extensions

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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.

1.NordVPN – one of the safest and fastest VPNs

nordvpn logo
Based in:Panama
Dedicated chrome extension:Yes
Simultaneous connections:6
Servers/Countries:5,542 servers in 59 countries

NordVPN is one of the best overall VPNs, so it’s no surprise that it’s also a great addition to your Chrome browser. Their extension blocks WebRTC communication protocols that rely on Javascript. These are dangerous because they may leak your IP address. So, even if you’re using a VPN client, it won’t hurt to install the extension alongside.

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.

Pros

  • Split tunneling
  • Great speeds
  • Web filter
  • Unblocks Netflix
  • Anonymous payment options
  • Blocks WebRTC
  • Discounts for longer subscriptions

Cons

  • No free trial
  • Sign-up requires an email address

2.ExpressVPN – an extension and remote control for your VPN

Expressvpn logo
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Dedicated chrome extension:Yes
Simultaneous connections:5
Servers/Countries:3,000 servers in 91 countries

ExpressVPN borrows the name from express shipping options, meaning it’s a very, very fast VPN. This translates well into their Chrome add-on as well.

Their version works like a remote control for the ExpressVPN desktop app. You can’t use the add-on separately. So, although it might seem like an unnecessary restriction, it was actually made that way by design to make you better protected.

The extension itself can spoof your location, blocks WebRTC connections, and includes HTTPS Everywhere. The latter was co-developed with Electronic Frontier Foundation and Tor Project to switch insecure HTTP sites to HTTPS automatically.

When using the ExpressVPN add-on, you can switch between light and dark modes, so it’ll be easy to adjust the service to your color palette. If you’re using dark mode system-wide, the add-on won’t stick out like a sore thumb.

The only downside is that all of these benefits come with a pretty steep subscription price. Long-term discounts make this hit not as severe, but it still doesn’t solve the problem. That said, the service does unblock numerous geographically restricted sites, including Netflix. So, you can get your money’s worth.

Pros

  • Includes HTTPS Everywhere
  • Blocks WebRTC
  • Dark/light mode switch
  • Great speeds
  • Accepts anonymous payments

Cons

  • Requires desktop app
  • No free version
  • Very expensive

3.Surfshark – the most resilient browser companion

Surfshark logo
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Dedicated chrome extension:Yes
Simultaneous connections:Unlimited
Servers/Countries:3,200 servers in 65 countries

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.

Pros

  • Web filters
  • Independently-audited extension
  • Affordable price
  • Unblocks most streaming services
  • RAM-only servers

Cons

  • No free version
  • No phone support

4.Private Internet Access – the best pick for those who want lots of features

Private Internet Access
Based in:United States
Dedicated chrome extension:Yes
Simultaneous connections:10
Servers/Countries:29,000 servers in 77 countries

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.

Pros

  • Blocks online trackers
  • Affordable service
  • Large server fleet
  • Good reputation

Cons

  • Based in a Five Eyes country
  • No independent audit

5.Windscribe – the edgiest browser extension

Windscribe logo
Based in:Canada
Dedicated chrome extension:Yes
Simultaneous connections:Unlimited
Servers/Countries:480 servers in 60 countries

If you’re disappointed by the lack of edginess in most VPN service provider’s presentations, Windscribe is an outlier. They’re one of the select few who actively post memes on Twitter, which should be more common if you ask me.

Still, colorful marketing aside, they provide a quality service, which also applies to their Chrome extension. It has numerous features that are not available on its desktop app. For example, there’s Ad Crusher that blocks malware and online trackers. You also get some unique features like Timezone Spoofing, which simulates your time zone as if you’re present in the country that you’re connected to.

There are other more technical features like WebRTC blocking, website-based split tunneling, blocks of social media trackers, and countermeasures against browser fingerprinting. Overall, the suite lifts the expectations that you may have for a browser extension.

The only complaint I have is that the extension didn’t allow me to control the app as if it were a remote. Having said that, this is truly the only nitpicky find that I had. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a service with an attitude and loads of useful features, Windscribe is a one-of-a-kind provider.

Pros

  • Timezone spoofing
  • Blocks online trackers
  • Works with Netflix
  • Free version
  • Customizable plans

Cons

  • Modest server fleet
  • Based in Five Eyes country

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:

  • Security and privacy. Naturally, the first thing on your list should be privacy and security. You don’t want your traffic going through unsecured channels. Getting a trustworthy VPN service provider that is equally as impressive in technical aspects and privacy policy is the way to go.
  • 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.

  1. Pick a VPN service provider. You can choose from our list or find another tool you like.
  2. Register for an account and pay for your subscription. You now have a VPN service account.
  3. Head to the Google Chrome web store with the browser on the device that you’ll be using.
  4. Click on the “Search the store” bar and type in the provider that you’ve chosen
  5. Find the extension and press Add to Chrome button
  6. You’ll have to log in to the extension with the credentials you set up while creating the VPN account.
  7. 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.

Bottom line

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

FAQ

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.

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Comments 13
  1. Erich B says:

    I just love how easy browsing is with Nordvpn chrome extension. I no longer worry about malware, phishing sites. Feeling protected

  2. hanley says:

    I have school computer and YouTube and reddit don’t work for me (restricted access). I want to unblock them so vpn extension on chrome would be amazing. Which vpn chrome extension would bypass it?

    • Justinas Mazūra says:

      Every single one on our list would work for Reddit and YouTube (well, except ExpressVPN, as it doesn’t work separately without the app).

  3. the R says:

    how is transport layer security different from https? They are both encrypting content right? Is it only available on chrome? thank you for answering!!

    • Justinas Mazūra says:

      TLS can be best described as a set of rules on how the data will be transmitted between server and client. Meanwhile, HTTPS is a protocol that defines how messages are formatted and sent. Take note that HTTPS uses SSL/TLS for one of its layers.

  4. Aleksey says:

    I’m looking to change my vpn. What would you say is the best chrome vpn for Netflix specifically? I really don’t mind any other features.

  5. yareth says:

    I would definitely agree that these are all good vpn for chrome but I must say blocking webRTC is quite an important feature. I’m surprised that only nordvpn and expressvpn include this feature.

    • Justinas Mazūra says:

      Perhaps it wasn’t very clear, but every single one of them in this list does block WebRTC.

  6. Denis says:

    I want specifically USA VPN on Chrome extension. Which of theseproviders have the best servers in USA? In need of fast connection.

    • Justinas Mazūra says:

      I can tell you that ExpressVPN wouldn’t work as you’d have to use a desktop client. So, you should pick one from the remaining four. Each of them will have fast servers in the USA.

  7. Mattheo Dasan says:

    could you recommend some of the best google chrome vpn extensions available please? Would be great:)

    • Justinas Mazūra says:

      All the picks from the list have terrific Chrome VPN extensions. Each of them should provide a comparable performance (keep in mind that for some of them to work, you’ll need a desktop client, as well).

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