If you’ve read my introductory article on virtual private networks (VPNs), you should already know that how they work is simple.
A VPN’s job is to create a secure connection between your device and the information you are trying to access, wherever it is. At the same time, the VPN must protect the information by encrypting it.
It’s easy to say, but difficult to implement. In fact, attention must be paid to the fundamental characteristics of a VPN such as security, anonymity, speed, and stability, which are vital for its survival.
This blog is about the best VPN extensions for chrome that you must try!
Note: We use a conversion rate of 1 USD – 0.90 EUR for all prices listed.
Why use a VPN Extension for Google Chrome?
Even after reading all the information available on VPNs and carefully observing the prices, a common question is, “What can I do to stay anonymous and safe while surfing the internet?“
That’s where VPN browser plugins and extensions come in. Here we talk about the VPN extensions for Google Chrome.
Google Chrome has long since ousted Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (Edge today) from the browser monopoly and has overtaken Firefox to become the most popular internet browser. Depending on the statistics taken into consideration, it has a market share between 59.69% and 66.93%.
With such a massive user base it is common for many developers to focus on this platform. The best VPN service providers, such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN, have developed VPN extensions for Chrome, which allow you to browse safely, securely, and anonymously.
VPN Browser Extensions are different from Chrome’s Incognito Mode
Chrome in the past introduced the incognito mode whereby users can open a tab and browse without saving the browsing history. This means that if you browse in unknown mode, Chrome deletes the browsing history and cookies accumulated during the session as soon as the window is closed.
This is actually a rudimentary and ineffective system.
Why? Because during a browsing session the information does not pass only through the browser. They move around your router, operating system and may even be registered on the sites you visit. This is especially true if you are using streaming services.
The IP address then remains open and accessible, so it can be traced.
The Limits Of VPN Extensions For Chrome
VPN extensions are very similar to VPN applications. In fact, some are so similar that they just extend the features of their core VPN applications. In most cases, they are designed to offer greater convenience and control when browsing the web.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that almost all VPN extensions simply act as a proxy. This means that they only affect the traffic that passes through the browser itself. The only two exceptions are devices with Chrome OS or extensions that take advantage of native messaging.
It is clear that such exceptions are indeed rare, so the effectiveness of any VPN browser extension must be taken into account with adequate precautions.
1# Only Traffic on Chrome is Protected
While browser extensions offer similar benefits to real VPN software, there are key differences. In fact, VPN extensions are usually simply called proxy servers.
The benefits of proxy servers are similar to those of a VPN but only apply to the browser, in this case, Chrome. The data traffic of other applications on the computer using the network will not be protected.
This also applies to the other browsers you use. For example, if you have a Chrome extension and open Microsoft Edge, your data traffic on Edge will not be protected by the Chrome extension.
A complete VPN application, on the other hand, encrypts the data traffic of the whole system: it will therefore protect browsers, applications, and even the operating system.
2# Limited Encryption
Let’s start with a general statement: nowadays, most proxy servers (not just VPN proxy servers) only use SOCKS and HTTP / HTTPS protocols.
There is no encryption when using the SOCKS and HTTP protocols. In case the VPN extension supports the HTTPS protocol, the encryption is SSL level.
This is a feature to check especially in free VPN proxy servers. However, I noticed that even in the case of paid VPN extensions, not all of them offer the HTTPS protocol.
3# Limited Support
Very limited support appears to be the norm, unless you are using a proxy server which is an add-on service from a full VPN provider, such as ExpressVPN or TorGuard. Users of free VPN extensions will have to settle for FAQs, community support, or email (if you’re lucky).
I mean, get ready to have to handle it yourself.
The Benefits Of VPN Extensions
While there may be differences, proxy servers are mainly used for:
1# Special Cases
Since functionality is limited, proxy servers tend to be lighter in terms of system resource usage. For example, if you are using a Chromebook, you may have no other choice to conserve system resources.
2# Browser Specific Risk Control
Internet browsers are one of the main targets of hacker attacks. All browsers present need protection, the only difference is how much you decide to be protected. To prevent a full VPN from consuming too many resources, you can act on your browser by protecting your data and hiding your identity with a VPN proxy extension.
3# Ad Blocking
Some VPN extensions include other services such as ad-blocking, tracking prevention, and cookie management. All services help filter the junk on the net, even if some pages may be a bit strange.
4# WebRTC Flaw Prevention
Firefox and Chrome have security vulnerabilities that could lead to the disclosure of the IP address. Definitely avoidable, of course, with a full VPN application. Lately, some VPN extension vendors have integrated WebRTC leak prevention systems.
How to Choose Best VPN Extensions for Chrome?
While VPN Chrome Extensions are just proxy servers, I believe that if they adhere to the core principles of VPNs, they should be useful. The key principles are always the same: Privacy, Security, and Speed.
If you are convinced that the selection process is not necessary and that any VPN extension would be fine, let me share something I discovered a few days ago: Hoxx VPN. As I read their documentation, I wondered how anyone could think of signing up for their service, even for free.
This VPN collects log information, blocks SMTP ports, saves personal data and device information, adopts tracking technologies, and states that users must agree to share information with government and judicial authorities.
I was shocked. And I realized how important it is to choose the right VPN. Let’s take a look at some of the best VPN extensions for Chrome.
The 3 Best VPN Extensions for Chrome [PAID]
Even if we talk about paid extensions, it is important to specify that most of the VPN browser extensions that are found online are free to install. However, some may require you to pay for a subscription to the service before you can use them (essentially making them paid extensions). Without further ado, here are the 3 best extensions we have selected.
The NordVPN extension for Chrome is a bit peculiar. Remember when we said that ExpressVPN is great for those who prefer a simple and straightforward solution? Well, the NordVPN extension is similar, but, in a way, it goes too far.
In fact, there are few customizable settings in the app. It is possible to indicate only the country for the choice of the server. So, for example, if you try to connect to a US server, the actual server you connect to is completely random. Slightly annoying.
Even though I was able to quickly connect to a US server, the connection was so poor that the speed test couldn’t even select a server for me. The connection in Malaysia was fine and I was finally able to browse quickly by connecting from Singapore.
- Simple and Convenient Interface.
- Fast server connection.
- Cannot select specific servers within a country.
- The connections of some servers are terrible.
Like the app, the ExpressVPN Chrome Extension is hassle-free and easy to use. There are customizable settings, such as location transfer and WebRTC blocking, but this extension is also suitable for those who prefer a simple and straightforward solution.
You can access the Windows app in the extension by clicking on it and making changes directly from there, nothing impressive. The speed of the extension is average, but it could be better.
While it may be annoying that the extension opens an external application to allow you to change settings, it actually makes the extension more powerful. Perfect for those looking for total privacy and security, and at the same time functional for those looking for a lightweight browser extension.
In general, I like the ExpressVPN extension because it is supported by the company’s full VPN service. It allows you to discover a new world thanks to a specialized network of over 2,000 servers. If that wasn’t enough, it has performed best in our VPN tests for now.
- Easy to use.
- HTTPS protocol everywhere.
- Decent server speeds.
- Slow server connection.
- Reduced upload speed.
Just like smartphone and Windows apps, the Surfshark extension for Chrome is pleasant enough to use. It is light and responsive to commands, connections are made quickly and easily, without having to worry about settings or anything else.
It practically works right away, and the only thing you need to do is click on the power button and choose the server to connect to. Speed tests show similar performance to the full Windows application.
Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of Chrome extensions. I think they weigh down something that already takes up a lot of memory space, but the Surfshark extension for Chrome is good. Obviously, you need an account to use it.
- It works autonomously.
- Fairly light.
- Limited functionality.
The 3 Best VPN Extensions For Chrome [FREE]
As mentioned several times, when it comes to VPN providers it is important not to be fooled by the “free” label. Companies that provide services for free must make some money.
By choosing free offers you risk having problems in terms of privacy or losing control of your data. To be able to earn money some services can turn into malware or redirects. Attention.
Personally, I think the TunnelBear VPN Extension has a fantastic registration procedure: once the extension is installed, you are simply redirected to a registration page where you enter a username and password.
The problem is that the free account only offers 500MB of encrypted bandwidth per month, which is not enough for most people. The speed of the servers is very variable, and even though the extension performed poorly with US servers, in Singapore the speed was fast!
- Simple and intuitive registration and connection.
- Some servers run very fast.
- The speed of the servers varies by country.
- 500 MB free per month is not enough even for those who just send e-mails
Pure VPN Extension
Pure VPN Extension is a full-service VPN provider, meaning it has applications for all operating systems and also offers a free PureVPN Chrome Extension. This is a pretty good extension considering it’s free.
First of all, it offers users a basic anonymity service, accessible by registering. This is a service with fair limitations for the price paid (ie nothing).
It is not possible to select the country to connect to except Romania, Australia, and Sweden. Most geo-restricted apps like Netflix US, Hulu US, and BBC iPlayer don’t work unless you activate a premium account.
Normal web browsing works fine and there is also a WebRTC protection service. With the PureVPN Chrome extension, browsing speed is fast, especially when compared to other free services.
Pros of PureVPN chrome extension
- High browsing speed.
- No bandwidth limits.
Cons of pure vpn extension
- Aside from the basic browsing speed, almost everything else requires a premium account.
These are the pros and cons of the pure vpn extension.
As a VPN extension for Chrome ZenMate is quite good. It’s fast enough and offers a lot of settings and features that are quite rare among free extensions. But all of this only lasts a week.
As ZenMate tries to attract as many customers as possible, as soon as you sign up you get the premium service. After a week of trial, you return to the free version.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s annoying. In any case, it offers stable and powerful servers that can guarantee a fast connection.
- Very fast and stable.
- Unlimited bandwidth.
- Annoying banner ads within the extension
Bottom Line: Do I Really Need A VPN Extension?
Therefore, these are the best VPN extensions for Chrome, that you have to try once.
Let’s once again emphasize the differences between VPN applications and VPN extensions for Chrome (or any other browser): VPN applications protect all network traffic on the device, while browser extensions only the traffic of the browser they are installed on.
Since many devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones have many applications installed that use network traffic, just protecting browser traffic is not enough to remain anonymous.
Here are two key concepts to consider:
- To fully protect all network traffic, you need to use a VPN application.
- Using free browser plugins or extensions means that you are actually paying for them with your privacy.
If you’re simply looking for a way to browse anonymously, then a Chrome extension is perfect. However, since you need to subscribe to the service to use the best VPN extension for chrome, I recommend installing a VPN application directly.
Thanks for reading this article.