Chromebooks are great for what they do. As an inexpensive and lightweight alternative to Windows laptops, they provide a streamlined experience that’s tailor-made for tasks that are light on resources, such as web browsing and streaming. The security is good, too, considering how little there is for attackers to exploit.

That said, there’s one gaping hole in their security, and that’s the network. Like any other computer, Chromebooks have a network adapter and can fall victim to network-based threats.

In this guide to the best VPN for Chromebooks, we’re going to run down the five options that will work best for your little machine. It’s difficult to find a solid VPN for Chrome OS because there are no native options. That said, if your Chromebook supports Google Play Store or if you’re willing to get your hands dirty in the settings, you can still use a VPN on your Chromebook.

Best VPN for Chromebooks 2019

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$ per month
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    • Allows torrenting
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  1. 4
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    • 5 Simultaneous connections
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    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
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  1. 5
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    • 5 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. Visit VyprVPNVyprVPN Review

Choosing the Best VPN for Chromebooks

There aren’t a ton of native VPN options for Chromebooks. Chrome OS is based on Linux, though, which means if you can set up a VPN on Linux, you should be able to set it up on your Chromebook, too (read our best VPN for Linux guide).

It’s not the same as setting up a VPN on Linux, though. Depending on the provider you choose, you’ll be using the VPN through the Android version of the app or a browser extension. If you’re concerned that won’t cover your web traffic, you can set up the VPN manually, too.

To clarify, most VPN providers only offer setup instructions for manual L2TP connections. Manual OpenVPN configuration is possible, but difficult. If you’re interested in that, make sure to read our fourth entry on this list.

We go over the ways to install a VPN in our how to setup a VPN on Chromebook guide. For this guide, though, we stuck with providers that offer some sort of app for Chromebooks, be that an extension or Android app, and a tutorial for setting up the service.

Thankfully, the top providers from our VPN reviews fit that mold. In addition to being fast, easy to use and secure, the options below support installation on Chrome OS, though the process may differ from provider to provider.

For the purposes of this guide, we put a particular focus on ease of use. Chrome OS is known for being lightweight, fast and accessible, so we want that to carry over to the VPN, too. The providers we chose don’t hog system resources or stumble during setup. Rather, they provide a fluid and fast VPN experience that fits perfectly with Chrome OS.

Best VPN for Chromebooks: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the clearest option for Chrome OS. It’s not only the fastest VPN we’ve tested, it’s also the best. You’ll use the Android application on your Chromebook, which took the crown in our best VPN for Android guide. Because of ExpressVPN’s streamlined interface, you’ll still get the full experience.

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There’s a setup guide to walk you through the process, but, in short, all you’ll need to do is open Google Play Store and install the app. That is, of course, if your version of Chrome OS supports Android apps. You can find the full list of devices that support Android installation here.

Unfortunately, if it doesn’t support Android apps, you’ll need to set up ExpressVPN manually with the L2TP VPN protocol. Given ExpressVPN’s excellent support resources, it’s no surprise that there’s a setup guide for that, too.

L2TP isn’t a great option for security, though. In fact, it’s around 20 years old and in the process of being phased out. That said, if your Chromebook doesn’t support Android apps, it’s your only option.

As with almost all VPN apps, you can’t set up ExpressVPN on Chrome OS using OpenVPN unless you’re using the Android app. There are things you can tweak to try to get it running, but the process is long, complicated and not reliable.

Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN’s Android app is excellent, but, unfortunately, it has the same issues as every other VPN on Chrome OS. That said, it’s our first pick not because it does anything special for Chromebooks — outside of offering an Android application — but because the core service works so well.

From speed to usability to security, ExpressVPN hits the mark in every area a VPN should. Though some providers excel in speed and others excel in usability, ExpressVPN does a bit of everything, and does it well, at that.

For Chrome OS, it’s the perfect VPN. The streamlined approach and no-nonsense navigation is a mirror image of the lightweight operating system. You can learn more in our ExpressVPN review or try it yourself with its 30-day money-back guarantee.


Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Fast
  • Secure

Cons:

  • Expensive
Starts from $ 666 per month
Save 49 %

NordVPN

You can install NordVPN on Chrome OS by using the Android app or the browser extension if your device doesn’t have access to the Google Play Store. Unlike most Chromebook VPNs, NordVPN gives you the full experience no matter which avenue you choose. Though not having access to Android apps is a bummer, NordVPN eases the pain with its great browser extension.

NordVPN isn’t the only provider to offer a browser extension, but it’s one of the few that provides a full experience from your address bar. In addition to the full range of servers, the app has CyberSec built in, which is a free malware and ad blocking tool that works surprisingly well.

The best case scenario is to install the Android application. Though not as streamlined as ExpressVPN, NordVPN still makes it simple to browse servers and configure settings. The app is more robust than ExpressVPN’s, too, with a surprising array of settings, despite being designed for mobile devices.

Other Reasons We Like NordVPN

Though ExpressVPN impresses with its core service, NordVPN stands out by having a lot of features. At the top of the list are its specialty servers, each of which tweak a different aspect of security.

You can use the VPN over Tor servers to approach anonymity without compromises or the torrenting servers for data-hungry peer-to-peer connections. The specialty servers set NordVPN apart, allowing you to tune your connection for the task you’re performing.

CyberSec is another impressive feature. NordVPN isn’t the only provider to include an ad blocker — read our PureVPN review for another example — but it’s the only one to do it with such high quality. It blocks ads, malicious pages and tracking with ease, which is quite a testament considering how mediocre included ad blockers usually are.

That said, NordVPN isn’t perfect. Its server network is massive, but almost to a fault. Hunting down a server can be a chore because many of the options produce slow speeds or don’t connect at all. Legwork never hurt anyone, though, and NordVPN is worth the effort. You can learn more in our NordVPN review or try it yourself with its 30-day money-back guarantee.


Pros:

  • Large server network
  • Built-in ad blocker
  • Specialty servers

Cons:

  • Inconsistent speeds
Starts from $ 349 per month
Save 71 %

CyberGhost

CyberGhost’s disappointing speed and smaller server network puts it a couple steps behind ExpressVPN and NordVPN. That said, the features are so good and the plans so inexpensive that the small trade-off in other areas is worth the price of admission.

Unfortunately, Chrome OS users have to jump through hoops to use CyberGhost. The provider has a browser extension, but it doesn’t relate to a paid plan. Rather, the browser extension offers a free proxy as a way to test the service before buying. As you can read in our VPN vs. proxy vs. Tor guide, though, free proxies are generally a bad idea.

That leaves you with the Android application, which translates well on desktop, and L2TP connections via a manual setup, which, thankfully, CyberGhost has an extensive guide for. Though browser extensions are the best substitute for Chromebooks that don’t support Android apps, CyberGhost’s clear support for Chrome OS makes manual setup simple.

CyberGhost’s update to version 7 made it an even more attractive option for Chrome OS, too. The revamped interface was built from the ground up to “unify the CyberGhost experience across all devices,” making even the limited Android app feel robust. While the Windows version has more bells and whistles, CyberGhost does a good job giving you extras to play with.

Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost

The balance of features and price is what makes CyberGhost shine. The service doesn’t have the most impressive speeds or security, but those aspects are still passable, making the features and low price stand out.

Monthly rates aren’t great — CyberGhost costs as much as ExpressVPN on that front — but the two and three-year plans offer a lot of value. You can get three years of protection for about the same price as a year with other top-shelf providers (around $100). Plans come with up to seven connections at once and a 45-day money-back guarantee, which is unheard of among VPNs.

The features are great, as well. CyberGhost includes specialty servers for streaming, which earned it a spot in our best VPN for streaming guide, and an unusual form of VPN automation known as “smart rules.” You can learn more in our CyberGhost review or take advantage of that 45-day money-back guarantee.


Pros:

  • Excellent features
  • Redesigned interface
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Mediocre speeds
Starts from $ 275 per month
Save 79 %

TorGuard

TorGuard has a browser extension and Android application, so it’s a good choice for Chromebooks as is. That said, we’re including it because of the extensive resources it supplies for manual setup. Unlike most VPNs, TorGuard has setup guides for L2TP, OpenVPN and Cisco AnyConnect.

HideMyAss also has an OpenVPN setup guide, but, as you can read in our HideMyAss review, that service is inferior to TorGuard. In short, OpenVPN connections require a security certificate on Chrome OS, which, thankfully, TorGuard provides via its setup guide.

You can also connect using the Cisco AnyConnect browser extension, which is an SSL/TLS-based VPN that’s recommended for tunneling in highly censored countries, such as China (read our best VPN services for China guide). As it does for OpenVPN, TorGuard provides a setup guide for Cisco AnyConnect.

If you’re willing to get your hands dirty, TorGuard will reward you for doing so, which is a trend that starts during setup and carries over to other aspects of the service. Though not a simple process, TorGuard helps ease the burden with excellent support resources, meaning you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Other Reasons We Like TorGuard

As mentioned, TorGuard rewards you for putting in work. It’s one of the most configurable VPNs on the market, and though that isn’t great for user-friendliness, it’s perfect for tinkerers. TorGuard also provides lesser-known features, such as Cisco AnyConnect, for those who are interested in them.

Another one of those features is the torrent IP check. Though a lot of VPNs offer a way to check your IP address, TorGuard offers a way to verify that your IP address is safe while torrenting. You can download a torrent file that doesn’t have seeders, meaning you can connect and view your IP address as though you were downloading on a true P2P connection.

Another is the ability to set scripts before connection, after connection and after disconnection. Adding your own scripts to the VPN opens the possibilities of what you can do with a service, and TorGuard is one of the few providers to allow them. You can learn more about that in our TorGuard review or try it yourself with its seven-day money-back guarantee.


Pros:

  • Rare features
  • Highly configurable
  • OpenVPN supported on Chrome OS

Cons:

  • Difficult to use
Starts from $ 500 per month

VyprVPN

VyprVPN is heavy on features and security, which makes the middle-of-the-road provider a good option but not the best. It has lackluster customer service, a small server network and mediocre speeds, but as an inexpensive option for Chromebooks, VyprVPN suffices.

It has an Android app, so if you own a Chromebook that supports that, you’re in luck. More importantly, though, it supplies a setup guide for L2TP connections, including the preshared key. It also makes the hostnames of all servers in its network publicly available, so it’s easy to find what you need.

VyprVPN’s pricing is decent, too. The standard plan comes with three connections for around $5 a month, which isn’t bad. That said, the more expensive VyprVPN Premium will get you two more connections and access to its biggest feature, the Chameleon protocol.

VyprVPN’s proprietary protocol is similar to OpenVPN. One of the faults of OpenVPN is that it doesn’t attempt to obfuscate your packets. Instead, it makes them look like normal internet traffic. Though that’s fine in most scenarios, deep packet inspection can reveal your identity. With Chameleon, that isn’t a problem.

Other Reasons We Like VyprVPN

Like most Chromebook VPNs, VyprVPN doesn’t include setup guides for OpenVPN, but if you’re fortunate enough to own a Chromebook that supports Google Play Store, you can still take advantage of many of VyprVPN’s features.

One such feature is app kill, which lets you tell VyprVPN to only use the kill switch with specific applications. If the VPN fails, the kill switch will trigger, blocking whatever you’re doing from the unsecured network. With app kill, you can choose which applications you want to protect, so your computer doesn’t turn into a paperweight while the VPN figures out what it’s doing.

Some of the more advanced features, such as route delay, verbosity and MTU, aren’t available in the Android app. Though that’s unfortunate, those features aren’t applicable to most users, anyway. Overall, VyprVPN is a solid option for Chromebooks, despite its few shortcomings. You can learn more in our VyprVPN review or try it with its 30-day money-back guarantee.


Pros:

  • App kill
  • Chameleon protocol
  • NAT firewall

Cons:

  • Small server network
  • Lackluster speed
Starts from $ 500 per month
Save 50 %

Final Thoughts

Finding a solid VPN for Chromebooks is difficult. The networking capabilities aren’t great, making it difficult to provide a full VPN experience natively. In the best case, you’ll be using the Android application to make your connection.

The providers above help ease that pain, though. ExpressVPN, for example, provides most of the desktop experience in the mobile app. If you’re okay not having an interface, TorGuard’s OpenVPN setup guide works well, too.

Which VPN are you using on your Chromebook? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.

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