The Best VPN for Chrome 2023: Free Browser Extensions
Although Chrome is secure, fast and intuitive, it misses the mark when it comes to protecting online privacy. A reliable VPN can help you fix this vulnerability while retaining Chrome’s speed. Keep reading to discover the best VPN for Chrome — plus, there are free and cheap extensions if you’re on a tight budget.
Google Chrome is the go-to option for over 63 percent of internet users because it’s easy to use and is one of the fastest web browsers. However, Chrome is one of the worst web browsers when it comes to protecting your privacy. If you’re privacy-minded, you have to use the best VPN for Chrome every time you browse the web.
- ExpressVPN is the best Chrome VPN extension because it is full-featured and delivers all-round performance. With it, you can utilize all the desktop app features, including the lightning-fast servers and unlimited bandwidth to stream movies.
- Without a doubt, Windscribe is the best free Google Chrome VPN extension. Its free version is quite generous, with 10 free server locations and 10GB bandwidth. Plus, you can unlock unlimited capability when you subscribe to its premium version.
- Private Internet Access doesn’t come with a free extension for Chrome. However, its premium version is affordable and offers all the features you need to guard your privacy online when using Chrome.
One thing to note is that it’s in Google’s best interest to collect user data for advertising. Using a virtual private network (VPN) helps defeat a host of Chrome’s tracking techniques, thereby preventing Google and other third parties from profiling you. Even better, the best VPN extensions mask your IP address, enabling you to access censored and filtered content.
However, not all VPNs work on Chrome. In this article, we’ll review the top Chrome VPN extensions. Our top pick is ExpressVPN, but all of our suggestions are top-notch. Keep reading to find out the strengths and weaknesses (if any) of these VPNs before you pick the one that suits your needs.
Windscribe is the best free Google Chrome VPN extension. Though it’s free, it offers an impressive suite of privacy features that guarantee total anonymity online.
Generally, free Google Chrome extensions for VPNs aren’t safe to use. However, if you find a reliable solution, like Windscribe, you shouldn’t have any qualms using it.
Yes, most Chrome VPNs are safe to use, helping seal one of Chrome’s niggling vulnerabilities — online privacy.
Chrome — a product of Google — doesn’t have its own VPN extension. However, there’s a host of VPN extensions to choose from on the Chrome Web Store.
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What Makes the Best VPN for Chrome?
When picking our best VPN providers, we look at various VPN features like speed, security, privacy, ability to unblock streaming services and more. However, when it comes to the best Chrome VPN extensions, the criteria are a tad different; we’ll delve into features that make the extensions suitable for Chrome, in particular. Here is a sneak peek into our list:
- ExpressVPN — Full-featured Chrome VPN extension and blazing-fast servers
- NordVPN — Strong encryption protocol and “cybersec” technology
- Windscribe — Generous free extension and advanced privacy features
- Private Internet Access — Affordable, PIA MACE and autofill blocker
- Surfshark — Inexpensive on the extended plans and “clean web”
Google, Chrome’s parent company, is an advertising behemoth notorious for gathering user data. Even when using incognito mode, Google and third-party trackers can still use your DNS records, browsing history or ISP’s data to identify you. The best VPN Chrome extensions should provide privacy features to give you a hedge against Google’s attempt to build profiles on you.
Some of the privacy features to look out for include WebRTC blocking, DNS leak protection, location spoofing, ad and tracker blocking, and time zone spoofing. In addition, the VPN extension should send your internet traffic via an encrypted protocol to prevent hackers’ and snoopers’ attempts to decipher your information.
Besides that, you need a VPN extension that’s easy to use and fast. Keep in mind, Chrome itself is fast, and if you intend to use it for streaming content, the VPN extension shouldn’t be a speed bump. Moreover, the browser extension should be easy to navigate to match Chrome’s superb usability.
The Top 5 Chrome VPN Extensions: Free & Paid
Most Chrome extensions are trimmed-down versions of the main VPN client. For this reason, many don’t offer bells and whistles and instead focus on browser-specific VPN features. However, ExpressVPN plays by different rules, and we’ll tell you why it’s inarguably the best Chrome VPN extension.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: $6.66 per month (15-months plan)
- Provider websites: www.expressvpn.com
- Full-featured Chrome VPN extension
- Blazing-fast speeds
- Extensive global server coverage
- It’s pricey
- Not a standalone Chrome VPN extension
The ExpressVPN Chrome extension is a cut above the rest, and it’s easy to see why. It’s the only full-featured extension that brings all the power of the desktop app to your Chrome browser. In addition, it allows you to make the most of ExpressVPN’s blazing-fast connection speed, split tunneling, ability to unblock streaming sites, watertight digital security and privacy and more.
Beyond the standard features, the ExpressVPN Chrome extension comes with a WebRTC blocker. When enabled, the blocker prevents WebRTC protocols from uncovering your actual IP address. Moreover, the VPN extension automatically redirects you to secure HTTPS versions of the services and websites you visit. Doing so prevents you from falling victim to cyberattacks lurking in malware-laden sites.
HTML5 Geolocation Spoofing
Besides routing your browser traffic via a private DNS server, ExpressVPN supports HTML5 geolocation spoofing. It changes your geolocation data to match your virtual location. Doing so helps you get around websites that deny you access when you decline their location requests. It also enables you to unblock content without jeopardizing your anonymity and privacy online.
The ExpressVPN Chrome extension doesn’t come cheap, though, and there is no free version, either. However, the extension offers the best bang for your buck thanks to its comprehensive capability, and you can get a better deal by opting for a yearly plan. Read our ExpressVPN review to learn more about its features and 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension gets the accolade thanks to its all-round capability. One quibble, though, is that you have to install the ExpressVPN desktop app in addition to adding the extension for the browser extension to work. However, this isn’t necessarily a drawback, as it means you have all the power of the fastest VPN and the best VPN service for streaming at your fingertips.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.49 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: www.nordvpn.com
- Extensive global server coverage
- Easy to use & set up
- Advanced privacy tools like “cybersec”
- Cannot choose specific servers
Next, there’s NordVPN’s Chrome VPN extension. The extension is lightweight, as it includes only features geared toward improving your privacy and security. It uses Transport Layer Security (TLS v1.2) — an encryption protocol that protects your HTTP traffic — so no one can access or decipher your browsing history or private data.
NordVPN’s Chrome extension also comes with a robust WebRTC blocker and a simple split tunneling tool to help you manage websites that don’t need to use the proxy connection. Additionally, you’ll still be able to utilize NordVPN’s 5,400 servers to spoof your location with the Chrome extension. However, unlike in the desktop app, you cannot pick a specific server within a selected location.
The NordVPN Chrome VPN extension offers the “cybersec” tool, a reliable ad and malware blocker. The tool automatically steers you clear of any malware-laden websites to help you sidestep digital threats such as botnet control and phishing schemes. Moreover, it helps block pesky ads; thus, delivering interruption-free browsing, working or streaming experience on Chrome.
NordVPN doesn’t offer a free extension for Chrome, but it’s a pocket-friendly VPN that only sets you back $3.49 per month on the two-year plan. Read our NordVPN review to learn more.
- Unlimited GB
- Unlimited GB
NordVPN is a genuinely top-notch VPN service for Chrome that’s super easy to use. It hits the spot from a security and privacy standpoint with features like “cybersec” and a WebRTC blocker. However, its only downside is its lack of choice in servers, landing it in second place.
More details about Windscribe:
- Pricing: Free
- Provider website: www.windscribe.com
- Generous free plan
- Easy to use
- Advanced privacy options
- Limited data usage on the free plan
- Only 10 free server locations
Windscribe is hands down the best free Chrome VPN extension, and for good reason. First off, you’ll be glad to know that it packs a punch in terms of the privacy tools you need to maintain optimal privacy online. It offers a WebRTC blocker to help you stop the Chrome WebRTC protocol from leaking the information that could reveal your IP.
Windscribe comes with an “allowlist” — a version of split tunneling — letting you customize your browsing experience. You can add websites that don’t need to use the VPN connection to the “allowlist” to free up more bandwidth for other online activities. There’s even a “do not disturb” feature to help you stop websites from bugging you with unnecessary notifications.
Advanced Privacy Features
We really like Windscribe’s free VPN extension for Chrome because of its advanced privacy features. Beyond the ads and malware blocker, Windscribe comes with a social blocking feature to block social network trackers. Plus, with time zone spoofing, the extension fakes your Chrome’s time zone so that it matches your virtual location.
Windscribe is the quintessence of a free yet reliable VPN extension for Chrome. Its free account enables you to surf the digital waters on Chrome without paying a single cent. However, the free version comes with limitations, including 10GB of free data and only 10 server locations. However, if you need specific server locations, you can add them for $1 each. Read our Windscribe review to learn more about free accounts with the service.
- Up to 15 GB free with email confirmation and Tweet
- Unlimited GB
Although it’s available for free, Windscribe is no slouch when it comes to guarding your privacy online with free extensions. It covers all the basics, including blocking WebRTC leaks, social network trackers, ads and malware-infected sites. However, you’ll need to subscribe to the premium VPN to unlock unlimited bandwidth or connect to a server not included in the free plan.
4. Private Internet Access
More details about Private Internet Access:
- Pricing: $2.19 per month (three-year plan)
- Provider website: www.privateinternetaccess.com
- Comprehensive feature set
- Additional privacy tools, like PIA MACE
- Inconsistent connection speeds
The Private Internet Access (PIA for short) Chrome VPN extension comes packed with loads of key privacy and security features. The WebRTC and Adobe Flash blockers work in unison to prevent websites from revealing your public IP address. It also cloaks your IP, enabling you to blend in with the crowd so that third-party trackers can’t trace your browsing activities.
In addition, the PIA Chrome VPN extension blocks websites from accessing your browsing history, location, camera and microphone. Doing so keeps your online privacy intact as no website can fetch your personal information. Most importantly, it helps disable address and credit autofills — two functions that could leak sensitive information via sneaky form fields.
PIA’s real forte is privacy, and the PIA MACE further enhances this capability. It blocks malicious content, ads and trackers, allowing you to surf a secure and private cyber ocean. Even better, you can utilize the “allowlist” — PIA’s version of split tunneling — to manage websites that don’t need to use a VPN connection like PayPal.
Although PIA doesn’t offer a free version of its Chrome VPN extension, worry not if you’re on a tight budget. The extension provides a comprehensive suite of features at a very affordable price at $2.19 per month on the three-year plan and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee for extra peace of mind. Read our Private Internet Access review to learn more.
The PIA Chrome extension stands out thanks to its security and privacy features like the ability to block Adobe Flash. Plus, it gives you a whole lot of options to disable autofill functions and stop hyperlink auditing on Chrome. It isn’t as fast as ExpressVPN, but it still gets the job done if you want to access Netflix (though it can’t access BBC iPlayer, Hulu or Amazon Prime Video).
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: $2.49 per month (two-year plan)
- Provider website: www.surfshark.com
- Inexpensive & easy to use
- Connect to any Surfshark server location
- Advanced privacy features like “cleanweb”
- Can be buggy
Our fourth entry is Surfshark, a paid VPN service that has taken the market by storm. Even though the extension doesn’t bring all of Surfshark’s features to Chrome, it packs suitable tools to improve your privacy. It also allows you to connect to all Surfshark server locations to spoof your location and unblock restricted streaming services or content.
Beyond that, Surfshark offers a WebRTC blocker to add an extra layer of privacy. Besides preventing Chrome’s tracking capability, Surfshark stops IP leaks, removing any chance of third-party trackers discovering your precise location.
“Cleanweb” is an advanced privacy feature that blocks pesky ads, malware and trackers. It defeats potential cyberattacks, including botnet control and phishing attempts, allowing you to surf in a risk-free cyber ocean. Even better, blocking ads helps optimize page load speeds and enables you to enjoy a distraction-free experience as you work, stream or socialize online.
Although Surfshark’s monthly plan is on par with ExpressVPN in terms of cost, its two-year plan is a very budget-friendly VPN option, costing $2.49 per month on the two-year plan. Plus, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee if you need more time to make a decision. Read our Surfshark review to learn more.
Even though Surfshark’s connection speeds aren’t as fast as those of ExpressVPN, the extension allows you to access streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer with ease. Plus, you can use it on unlimited devices, routers and multiple internet browsers.
Can You Use a Free VPN Service’s Chrome Extension?
Free VPN Chrome extensions are tricky prospects, and it’s easy to understand why. A VPN extension for Chrome is supposed to guarantee watertight privacy as you browse the internet. However, the complexity of the process involved in offering digital privacy makes it almost impossible to find a service that genuinely does it for free.
Keep in mind that the VPN companies still need to make money to remain afloat. The provider’s claim to offer a free service could be a veneer of the unscrupulous, money-generating activities happening behind the facade. For example, Hotspot Shield is free, but its parent company, Aura, sells your location data to Google and advertisers.
Even though most free VPNs for Chrome, like Hotspot Shield, are not reliable, you can still find an excellent free VPN like Windscribe or TunnelBear. Windscribe ticks all the boxes for a free yet reliable Chrome VPN extension because it comes packed with proper privacy tools. Plus, the provider has a clean data privacy history, making the deal even better.
Google Chrome is fast and even made it onto our list of the most secure web browsers. However, its affiliation to Google — a company known for its undying affinity for internet user data — taints its privacy profile. The best VPNs for Chrome help you overcome this hurdle and use the web browser without breaching your online privacy.
If you need a full-featured VPN extension, we recommend getting started with ExpressVPN. The extension brings all of ExpressVPN’s capability to your web browser, and it’s super easy to use. Alternatively, you could try NordVPN or Windscribe, our best free VPN extension for Chrome.
Did we leave out your favorite Chrome VPN extension? We’d love to hear about your experience using this VPN extension in the comment section below. Thank you for reading.