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Published: Dec 19, 2023 18 min read
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With the spread of cyber threats and increasing concerns regarding data privacy, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can provide peace of mind by enhancing your online privacy and security. Google Chrome has many VPN extensions that can protect your browsing data and mask your IP address. But not all VPNs are created equal.

We evaluated the top VPN options based on speed, security, ease of use and other crucial factors to help you make an informed decision. Whether you're looking to bypass geo-restrictions, secure your connection on public Wi-Fi, or simply improve your privacy online, this guide will lead you to the best VPN for Chrome.

Our Top Picks for Best VPN for Chrome

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Best VPN for Chrome Reviews

Pros
  • Robust security features
  • High-speed connections with Lightway protocol
  • Extensive server range spread across 105 countries
Cons
  • Higher prices compared to similar competitors
  • Difficult auto-subscription cancellation process

Why we chose it: We selected ExpressVPN as the best desktop VPN Chrome extension because it offers the best combination of security features, high-speed connections and user-friendly interface.

ExpressVPN stands out for being one of the safest and fastest VPNs in the industry. Its security and privacy measures are extensive: The service uses 256-bit AES encryption with perfect forward secrecy and RAM-only servers. It also has an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection and a built-in threat manager that prevents ad trackers and blocks connections to malicious sites.

Performance-wise, ExpressVPN's Lightway protocol ensures users experience lightning-fast speeds without compromising on security. The VPN supports streaming on over 100 services, including Netflix, and allows torrenting on all servers. It also offers split-tunneling to enhance speeds by letting you choose which apps use ExpressVPN and which don't.

Though not the cheapest option, ExpressVPN offers great value for your money. Prices start at $6.67 per month for the 12-month plan, which includes an additional three months for free. All subscriptions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros
  • Extensive server network
  • Strong security measures
  • Affordable long-term plans
Cons
  • Slightly lower speeds
  • Relatively expensive monthly plan

Why we chose it: We chose CyberGhost as the best Chrome VPN mobile app because it boasts an extensive server network, implements comprehensive security measures and offers affordable plans.

CyberGhost VPN boasts an impressive server fleet, with over 6,800 servers across more than 100 countries. This means users will have a wide range of connections and geographical diversity to choose from.

In terms of security, CyberGhost maintains a strict no-logs policy. Deloitte has independently audited the VPN provider, assuring users that their data is not being logged or shared with third parties. Additionally, CyberGhost accepts payments in Bitcoin, adding an extra layer of anonymity to transactions.

One of CyberGhost's biggest advantages is its optimization for major streaming services, such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video. Connection speeds are above average, reaching up to 730 Mbps via the WireGuard protocol, and the service reliably connects to these streaming platforms. This makes it ideal for users who enjoy streaming movies or shows frequently.

Pros
  • Strong AES-256 encryption
  • 10GB/month and unlimited connections
  • Positive customer reviews
Cons
  • Complex desktop interface
  • No third-party audits

Why we chose it: We chose Windscribe as the best free VPN for Chrome because of its excellent security features, including a kill switch, coupled with a generous free plan that offers 10GB of data per month.

With servers in ten countries and unlimited simultaneous connections, Windscribe is one of the best free VPN options for Chrome users. The VPN offers top-notch security, employing AES-256 encryption — akin to what banks and government institutions use — and a firewall that functions even when you are disconnected. It also upholds a strict no-logs policy.

While the desktop application is easy to use, some advanced tools can be difficult to access. One example is split tunneling, a valuable feature that permits selective data routing through the VPN, conserving your connection speeds and data allowance. For mobile users, the Windscribe app is just as feature-rich as the desktop version and allows saved settings for future use.

Customer reviews on the Chrome Web Store for Windscribe are positive, with over 20,600 reviews and more than 2,000,000 users. However, the VPN’s lack of third-party audits is a noticeable downside. While the company claimed to have multiple third party audits planned for 2023, we were unable to find evidence that any had taken place.

Pros
  • Fast connection speeds
  • Unlocks major streaming platforms
  • Expansive server network
  • 24/7 customer support via email and live chat
Cons
  • Above average monthly prices — except for its basic plan
  • Kill switch may fail in some situations

Why we chose it: We chose Surfshark as the best Chrome VPN for streaming due to its high connection speeds and ability to reliably unblock numerous streaming platforms.

Surfshark VPN is a versatile and powerful tool for entertainment enthusiasts who are streaming on Google Chrome. It boasts impressive speeds, which creates a smooth streaming experience on platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. It’s also able to access these platforms reliably — no need to switch through several servers before successfully connecting to them.

Speaking of servers, Surfshark’s network boasts over 3,200 servers across 100 countries, including rare locations like Brunei and Bhutan. The VPN also allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. This means users can install and run the software on as many devices as needed.

Security-wise, Surfshark employs robust AES-256-GCM encryption and supports WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 protocols. A no-logs policy and a kill switch further ensure user privacy. Additionally, its GPS spoofing feature prevents apps from tracking physical locations and includes ad and malicious URL blocking for a safer browsing experience.

Pricing on long-term Surfshark plans is competitive, and the VPN’s basic plan is also quite affordable when paid monthly. However, it lacks many of the additional features that make the VPN stand out in the first place. Customer support is efficient, offering 24/7 assistance through email and live chat.

Pros
  • High-speed connections
  • Extensive server network
  • Strong encryption and IP address concealment for browser traffic
  • 24/7 customer service, including live chat support
Cons
  • No device-wide encryption, only secures traffic within the Chrome browser
  • Lacks a kill switch and support for OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols
  • Inconsistent access to streaming services like US Netflix

Why we chose it: NordVPN's Chrome extension is the best Chrome VPN for simultaneous connections due to its fast speeds and the ability to connect to over 5,000 servers in 57 countries while effectively securing browser traffic and concealing users' IP addresses.

With over two million users, NordVPN is among the most popular VPN browser add-ons and is often praised by users for its speed and security. The Chrome extension is a lightweight proxy, allowing users to change their IP address and access restricted websites. It encrypts browser activity with TLS v1.3, shielding it from ISPs, but doesn't protect traffic outside the browser.

NordVPN's Chrome extension upholds a zero-logs policy and has passed several independent audits, ensuring the privacy of its users. Additionally, it conceals IP addresses effectively without any data leaks. The extension offers a generous selection of 60 server countries, WebRTC blocking and ad-blocking features, including blocking sites known to host malware.

Unfortunately, Nord for Chrome falls short in some security measures compared to the full NordVPN application. It doesn’t support OpenVPN or WireGuard, lacks device-wide encryption and doesn’t have an automatic kill switch.

The Chrome extension includes a NordVPN subscription, which can be used simultaneously on up to six devices. It's a compelling option for those prioritizing speed and browser-only encryption but may not suffice for users seeking extensive security features.

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Other VPNs for Chrome We Considered

We evaluated VPNs for Chrome based on security, range of features, speeds, pricing and customer reviews. The following companies have competitive products but they didn’t make our list of top picks because they didn’t stand out in any of the aforementioned areas.

Private Internet Access

Pros
  • Advanced network settings for deep customization
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Split tunneling and multi-hop
Cons
  • Higher-than-average monthly pricing
  • Competitors may offer more extensive privacy protection measures

Private Internet Access (PIA) is an excellent Chrome VPN that boasts an extensive server network and excels when it comes to security. It offers advanced network configurations, unlimited simultaneous connections, split tunneling and multi-hop features.

Unfortunately, while PIA has solid security features, other companies show higher standards in terms of privacy protection, and the VPN’s pricing might deter some users.

Hotspot Shield VPN

Pros
  • Large server network spread across multiple countries and cities
  • Reliably unblocks popular streaming services
  • Live chat support available
Cons
  • Slower speeds compared to VPNs with the WireGuard protocol
  • Hydra protocol is difficult for experts to inspect
  • Higher prices compared to similar VPN services
  • Support website is lacking

Hotspot Shield boasts a large network of over 3,200 servers across more than 80 countries that is P2P-friendly and has built-in malicious and phishing site blocking. The VPN can reliably unblock popular streaming services, such as Netflix and Prime Video, and features live chat support.

On the other hand, connection speeds with Hotspot Shield are not on par with those of other popular VPNs. Moreover, its proprietary Hydra protocol is not open source, which means experts cannot verify its security.

ZenMate

Pros
  • Simple and user-friendly, ideal for non-technical users
  • Solid connection speeds
  • Offers a 7-day free trial
  • No limit on simultaneous connections
Cons
  • Short on features and configurability
  • Privacy policy is complicated and not transparent
  • Apps aren't updated frequently

ZenMate for Chrome is a simple, cost-effective VPN, especially for non-technical users. It offers solid connection speeds and is adept at unblocking streaming services like Netflix. It's a good value with a generous 7-day free trial and unlimited simultaneous connections, particularly with its three-year plan at $1.64/month.

It boasts a vast network of over 3,000 servers across 78 countries. However, ZenMate falls short in features and configurability. Its applications aren’t updated frequently, and the company's privacy policy lacks transparency. The customer support site is also subpar. These drawbacks prevent ZenMate from being a top-tier choice.

VPN for Chrome Guide

A VPN acts as a secure tunnel for your data, protecting your online activities from prying eyes while also providing the ability to bypass regional content restrictions.

This guide offers a comprehensive overview of the steps you need to take to set up and effectively use a VPN with Google Chrome. If you’ve been wondering "Do I need a VPN?," you'll find your answer here.

What is a Chrome VPN?

A Chrome VPN is a virtual private network extension that you can install on the Google Chrome browser. It encrypts your internet connection, hiding your IP address and making your online activities more secure and private.

When you use a Chrome VPN, it routes your internet traffic through a server in a different location. This allows you to bypass geographic restrictions and access content that might be unavailable in your region.

VPNs can also protect your personal information, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks, as it prevents snoopers and hackers from intercepting your data. A Chrome VPN can also help you avoid bandwidth throttling by your internet service provider, leading to faster internet speeds.

How do Chrome VPN extensions work?

Chrome VPN extensions create a secure tunnel between your computer and a server operated by the VPN service. When you enable the VPN extension in your Chrome browser, it encrypts all the data that your browser sends and receives. This encrypted data then travels through the secure tunnel to the VPN server.

At this point, the server decrypts the data and sends it to the final destination on the internet, such as a website or online service. When the data comes back, the server encrypts it again and sends it back through the tunnel to your computer. Finally, the VPN extension decrypts the data so that your browser can display it.

By doing all this, the Chrome VPN extension hides your IP address and location, protects your data from eavesdropping and allows you to access geo-restricted content. Additionally, since only the traffic going through the Chrome browser is affected, other applications on your computer will use your regular internet connection unless they are configured to use the VPN.

Chrome VPN extensions work by employing several underlying technologies and protocols:

  • Encryption: Before your data leaves your computer, the VPN extension uses encryption algorithms like AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) to ensure that nobody can easily read your data, even if they intercept it.
  • Tunneling Protocols: These are the methods by which your data is sent to the VPN server. Common tunneling protocols include OpenVPN and IKEv2. These protocols create the 'tunnel' through which your encrypted data will travel.
  • Server Network: VPN services usually have a network of servers located in different parts of the world. When you connect to a VPN server, you're essentially rerouting your internet traffic through one of these servers. This can make it appear that you're accessing the internet from a different location than you really are.
  • IP Masking: Because your data is routed through a VPN server, websites and services you access see the IP address of the VPN server, not your actual IP address. This helps maintain your privacy online.
  • Split Tunneling: Some Chrome VPN extensions offer a feature called split tunneling that allows you to choose which data is sent through the VPN and which data uses your regular internet connection. This can be useful if you want to access a geographically restricted service while still using local services at your actual location.
  • Kill Switch: If the VPN connection drops unexpectedly, some extensions have a kill switch that immediately disconnects your internet connection. This ensures that your real IP address or unencrypted data isn't exposed in case of a sudden connection drop.
  • DNS Leak Protection: When you request a webpage, a DNS query is made to find the IP address of the server hosting that page. Some VPNs ensure these queries are also routed through the VPN so your browsing habits remain private.
  • WebRTC Blocking: WebRTC is a technology that can sometimes leak your real IP address even when using a VPN. Some Chrome VPN extensions have features to block or control WebRTC to ensure your IP address stays hidden.

How to use a VPN on Chrome

Using a VPN on Chrome is a simple and effective way to enhance your online privacy and access geo-blocked content. By installing a VPN extension, you can encrypt your internet connection, mask your IP address and secure your data against potential snoopers.

How to setup a VPN on Chrome

To set up a VPN on Chrome, follow these steps:

  • Choose a VPN Service: Select one of the best VPN services, which should be reputable and have a history of customer satisfaction. Make sure the service you choose has a Chrome extension.
  • Install the VPN Extension: Go to the Chrome Web Store and search for your chosen VPN service. Click on the “Add to Chrome” button next to the VPN extension, and then confirm by clicking “Add extension” in the pop-up window.
  • Configure the VPN Extension: After installing the extension, you will see its icon in the upper-right corner of your Chrome browser. Click on it to open the extension. You might need to sign in with the account linked to the VPN service. Some extensions will let you select preferences, like whether to start the VPN automatically when Chrome opens.
  • Connect to a Server: Most VPN extensions will have a big button that says “Connect” or something similar. Click this button. Some extensions automatically connect you to the fastest server, while others let you choose a server in a specific country.

How to change VPN on Chrome

If you want to change your VPN, do the following:

  • Disconnect from the Current VPN: Click the VPN extension icon in the upper-right corner of Chrome, and then click the button to disconnect.
  • Remove the Current VPN Extension: Right-click the VPN extension icon and select “Remove from Chrome.” Confirm by clicking “Remove” in the pop-up window.
  • Install a New VPN Extension: Follow the "How to Set Up a VPN on Chrome" steps above to install and configure a new VPN extension.

How to disable VPN on Chrome

When you’re ready to disable a VPN on Chrome, take the following steps:

  • Disconnect the VPN: Click the VPN extension icon in the upper-right corner of Chrome. Click the button to disconnect.
  • Disable the Extension (Optional): If you want to keep the extension installed but ensure it doesn't run, right-click the VPN extension icon and select “Manage extensions.” Find the VPN extension in the list, and toggle the switch next to it to the off position.

VPN for Chrome FAQs

Which VPN is best for Google Chrome?

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The best VPN services for Google Chrome typically offer fast connection speeds, strong encryption, a no-logs policy and a wide network of servers. They should also have a user-friendly interface and additional security features such as a kill switch and DNS leak protection.

The choice of a VPN often depends on individual preferences and requirements, such as the need to access content from specific regions or the importance of online privacy. When you’re looking at VPNs, you can try out those with free trials or money-back guarantees to find the one that best meets your needs.

Is there a built-in VPN on Chrome?

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Google Chrome does not have a built-in VPN. You’ll need to install a separate VPN extension to get the security and benefits of a VPN when using Chrome.

How secure are Chrome VPNs?

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The security of Chrome VPNs varies based on their encryption strength, logging policies and additional features. Choose a VPN that uses robust encryption like AES-256, has a no-logs policy and includes features like a kill switch and DNS leak protection.

Be aware that Chrome VPN extensions usually only secure browser traffic; some might be proxies rather than full VPNs. Check the permissions the extension requests, and be cautious if it asks for unnecessary access to sensitive data.

How We Chose the Best VPN for Chrome

The methodology we used for choosing the best VPN for Chrome was based on the following factors:

  • Privacy and security, including strong encryption protocols
  • The size and distribution of the server network
  • Fast connection speeds and stable performance
  • Quality and ease of the user interface
  • Customer support options and response time
  • Customer satisfaction and reviews
  • Additional features such as a kill switch, tunneling and ad-blocking
  • Value for price

Summary of Money’s Best VPN for Chrome