Best VPN for Chromebooks: Keeping it Simple in 2021

The Chrome operating system doesn’t get much love in the VPN app world, and although Chromebooks have decent security, they still have vulnerabilities when connected. Luckily, our guide below will help you choose the best VPN for Chromebook.

Sandra Pattison
By Sandra Pattison (Editor)
— Last Updated: 2021-03-22T16:15:05+00:00

If you don’t need a full-fledged Windows laptop or MacBook, a Chromebook can be a great alternative. They’re simple to use, lightweight and — best of all — budget-friendly. Chromebooks run on Google’s Chrome OS, and although that includes some security, the top way to ensure you’re safe online is to install one of our best VPN for Chromebook picks.

Choosing a VPN for your Chromebook can be a little tricky, though, because there aren’t many native options for the Chrome operating system. Sure, many VPNs have a Google Chrome browser extension available, but that’ll only provide protection while you’re using the browser. Still, even if there is no dedicated Chromebook app, there are ways in which you can install a VPN.

Key Takeaways:

  • Only ExpressVPN has a dedicated Chromebook app. For other VPN services, you’ll need to use either the Android app or Chrome extension. You can also manually connect via L2TP or OpenVPN.
  • OpenVPN connections are tricky to set up, and many VPN services do not provide instructions for them.
  • Many VPN services don’t support L2TP connections any more.
  • If you use a Chrome browser extension, it will only encrypt your Chrome traffic.

We’ll go over all of that a bit later, as well as explain why you need a virtual private network for Chromebook and what to look for in a Chromebook VPN. Also, we’ll recommend five VPNs that are a good fit for Chromebooks. However, if you need a quick answer, ExpressVPN is the best choice, so go right ahead and install it now.

  • Yes, you can use a VPN on a Chromebook. However, how you install it will depend on your Chromebook model and the VPN service you choose. ExpressVPN is the only reputable VPN provider to offer a dedicated Chromebook app. With other providers, you will either need to download the Android app or set up a manual VPN connection.

  • ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Chromebooks. It has a dedicated Chromebook VPN app and is the top provider for protection, fast speeds and much more.

  • Getting a free VPN for a Chromebook is no different from installing a paid one. However, you need to be extremely careful with free VPNs. Although there are some decent providers that offer limited free plans, many free VPNs are not what they seem. They can be riddled with malware, steal your data or not protect you as promised.

  • Yes, CyberGhost works on Chromebooks. It doesn’t offer a dedicated app or support L2TP connections, but if your Chromebook model allows, you can certainly download the Android app or Chrome extension.

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What Makes the Best VPN for Chromebook?

Lots of features make up VPN services, but some of them are more important than others when choosing a good VPN.

First, there’s compatibility. As we mentioned earlier, there aren’t many VPNs that offer a native Chrome OS or Chromebook app. In fact, the only reputable one we know of is ExpressVPN. That doesn’t mean you can’t use any other VPN, though. You could download the Android app from the Google Play Store or set it up manually via an OpenVPN or L2TP connection.

That said, strong security is one of the main criteria in ensuring you choose a good VPN. An L2TP connection isn’t the best option for that; it’s a tunneling protocol, and it will not encrypt your connection. You may see L2TP paired with IPsec to provide encryption, but even then, it’s not the best option. Plus, some VPN services, such as NordVPN and CyberGhost, have stopped supporting the L2TP/IPsec protocol.

On top of strong security, the VPN should have a good privacy policy, decent speeds and an easy-to-use interface to complement the streamlined experience of the Chromebook.

  1. ExpressVPN — Dedicated Chromebook app, fast speeds, great security and privacy
  2. NordVPN — Excellent security and privacy, easy to use, Android app and Chrome extension
  3. VyprVPN — Great security and privacy, Android app and supports L2TP connections
  4. CyberGhost — Easy to use Android app and Chrome extension, inexpensive, free trial
  5. Windscribe — Free and cheap plan, easy to use Android app and Chrome extension

The VPN services we’ve selected all have an installation option that is compatible with Chromebooks. ExpressVPN has all of the available options, including a dedicated Chromebook app. On top of that, they all have decent speeds and server networks, as well as good security and privacy.

The 5 Best VPNs for Chromebook

With all of that in mind, we combed through the top VPN providers to find the five best VPNs for Chromebook. Here they are, starting with our top choice, ExpressVPN.

1. ExpressVPN

expressvpn chromebook app
ExpressVPN is the only VPN service with a dedicated Chromebook app.

More details about ExpressVPN:

Pros:

  • Dedicated Chromebook app
  • Fast
  • Strong security

Cons:

  • Expensive

ExpressVPN is our favorite VPN, so finding out it has a dedicated Chromebook app puts the cherry on top of the already-iced cake. Plus, the VPN also has an Android app, Chrome browser extension and supports L2TP connections. It has the whole package. It’s also one of the easiest VPNs to use, making it a perfect fit for Chromebooks.

On top of that, ExpressVPN has strong security and privacy, giving you the best shot at online protection. It also has servers in 94 countries, the fastest speeds around and comes with unlimited bandwidth. 

With all of that, it’s no surprise that ExpressVPN is our top VPN for streaming — even getting into Netflix without a hitch (see our guide on how to watch Netflix with ExpressVPN). Read our ExpressVPN review for more details.

However, ExpressVPN’s price tag brings all the hype to a halt. It’s expensive, especially if you opt for the monthly plan. You can bring the high price down a few notches, though, by opting for the 12-month plan. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, too.

2. NordVPN

nordvpn android app
NordVPN has an Android app and Chrome browser extension.

More details about NordVPN:

  • Pricing: $4.92 per month on the 12-month plan
  • Provider website: www.nordvpn.com

Pros:

  • Android app & Chrome browser extension
  • Top security
  • Fast

Cons:

  • Inconsistent speeds across the network
  • Doesn’t support L2TP

NordVPN is another top VPN service, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have a Chromebook app or support for L2TP. Still, you can use the Android app or Chrome browser extension. Its top security, double-hop encryption and no-logs policy are the reasons why NordVPN has secured the second spot on this list.

You will also benefit from having thousands of servers in different countries to choose from and fast speeds; although, as you can see in our NordVPN review, some server locations can be slow. There are no bandwidth limits, and it can easily get into streaming services.

NordVPN offers a more affordable price than ExpressVPN, with its 12-month plan costing almost 50 percent less. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. VyprVPN

vyprvpn android app
VyprVPN has an Android app and supports L2TP connections.

More details about VyprVPN:

  • Pricing: $2.50 per month on the 24-month plan
  • Provider website: www.vyprvpn.com

Pros:

  • User-friendly
  • Great security & privacy
  • Android app & supports L2TP

Cons:

  • No Chromebook app or Chrome browser extension
  • Slow

VyprVPN is a great VPN service that has consistently improved over time. Its security and privacy are excellent, with the company even going as far as to have its privacy policy audited (read more about that in our VyprVPN review). Plus, its security features cater to all, with newbies not getting lost in the settings, but tinkerers being able to customize it.

You can install VyprVPN using the Android app or an L2TP connection — there is no native Chromebook app or Chrome browser extension. It offers unlimited bandwidth, fair speeds and a decent number of servers in many countries to choose from, though nowhere near as many as our top two choices.

VyprVPN’s cost will depend on which plan you choose. Its monthly plan is expensive, but opting for the two-year plan makes it much more affordable. VyperVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Monthly
  • : 1 month free (2 months total)
  • : Unlimited GB
  • : 30
One year
  • : 6 months free (18 months total)
  • : Unlimited GB
  • : 30
Two years
  • : 12 months free (36 months total)
  • : Unlimited GB
  • : 30

4. CyberGhost

cyberghost android app
CyberGhost has an Android app and Chrome extension.

More details about CyberGhost:

  • Pricing: $2.25 per month on the three-year plan — plus, three months free
  • Provider website: www.cyberghostvpn.com

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • Android app & Chrome extension

Cons:

  • No Chromebook app or L2TP support
  • Can be slow

CyberGhost is another favorite at Cloudwards. However, although you can download the VPN using the Android app or Chrome extension, it doesn’t have a native Chromebook app and has stopped its support for L2TP connections.

It has a massive server network, with server options for different use cases, and it comes with unlimited data and mostly fast speeds. Plus, you get great security and privacy. Read our CyberGhost review for a better look at the service.

CyberGhost’s monthly cost is bad, but its longer plans are much more affordable. There is a free trial you can use to make sure you like it, though, and a generous money-back guarantee — 14 days on the monthly plan and 45 days on longer plans.

5. Windscribe

windscribe android app
Windscribe has an Android app and Chrome extension.

More details about Windscribe:

  • Pricing: 10GB free, $4.08 per month on the 12-month plan
  • Provider website: www.windscribe.com

Pros:

  • Android app & Chrome extension
  • Free plan & cheap build-a-plan
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • No Chromebook app or L2TP support
  • Can be slow

Windscribe offers a great service that is a top choice for those on a small budget. It has an Android app and Chrome extension, but no Chromebook app or L2TP support. Although it has great security, its privacy policy does state that some information is logged. However, it’s nothing of significance and can’t be tied back to you — we talk more about that in our Windscribe review.

It has a good number of servers in different countries, as well as dedicated streaming servers — though they’re not included on the free plan. Unlimited bandwidth is available with paid plans. Plus, Windscribe allows unlimited simultaneous devices, even on the free plan, so you can connect any other devices you have, too. 

The Windscribe free plan only comes with up to 10GB per month, so if you want access to all of its server locations and features, you’ll need a paid plan. There’s a monthly and yearly plan, with the yearly one being the cheapest. However, there’s also a build-a-plan option where you can add one server of your choice and unlimited bandwidth for just $2 per month.

Build a Plan
  • : Per “Pro” server location
  • : 10 GB
  • : Unlimited
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Honorable Mentions

There are lots of VPN options out there, and although we couldn’t fit all of them on our shortlist, some services still deserve mention.

Surfshark

Surfshark doesn’t get mentioned in many of our best VPN articles, but that doesn’t mean you should turn your nose up at it. It doesn’t have a native Chromebook app, but it does have an Android app, Chrome extension and L2TP support.

Plus, it can access all major streaming services, allows unlimited simultaneous devices and its speeds are OK. You can get Surfshark for just $1.84 per month on the 24-month plan, and there’s a 30-day refund period in case you don’t like it.

Private Internet Access

If you’re simply looking for a cheap, secure and fast VPN, then PIA has you covered. Although it doesn’t have a Chromebook app or support L2TP connections, you can still install the VPN using the Android app. It also has a Chrome extension.

PIA is simple to use and comes with great security and privacy. It also has a large server network. However, its downfalls are inconsistent speeds and poor streaming ability. PIA’s two-year plan is the best option, costing just $2.69 per month with two months free on top. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Why Use a VPN on Your Chromebook

Chromebooks are pretty cool when it comes to security, with the Chrome OS putting each application into its own sandbox. By doing so, the application can’t change anything on your system. That, and the fact that Chrome OS can’t run .EXE files, means it’s highly unlikely that a virus or malware will be installed on your Chromebook — though it’s still smart to install antivirus software

However, that alone doesn’t mean you’re insusceptible to other attacks or online dangers. Once you’re connected online, other dangers can be lurking around the virtual corner, such as hackers, phishing sites, fake apps and extensions, and so on. That’s especially true with public WiFi, as encountering anything like that can put your sensitive information at risk.

By installing a VPN, you are securing your actual internet connection and hiding your IP address, so anything nasty you meet on the other side won’t have a chance of being introduced to your Chromebook.

How to Set Up a VPN for Chromebook

There are a few ways in which you can set up a VPN for Chromebook, and we have a dedicated guide on how to set up a VPN on Chromebook to help you. The easiest and best way to install a VPN on your Chromebook and ensure you have the best protection is by installing ExpressVPN’s own Chromebook app.

  1. Sign Up for a VPN (We Recommend ExpressVPN)
  2. Install the Chromebook VPN Extension for the Service You Chose
    expressvpn apps
    Choose ExpressVPN’s Chromebook VPN app and install it.
  3. Connect to a VPN Server of Your Choice and Browse Securely

Final Thoughts

Whether you have an older model Chromebook or you’ve just treated yourself to the latest release, installing one of our best VPN for Chromebook picks is an essential step toward keeping yourself safe online.

Unfortunately, the Chrome OS doesn’t get much love as a standalone app from VPN providers, but there are still ways you can download your chosen provider.

With that in mind, though, it’s not hard to see why ExpressVPN is the top choice for Chromebooks. Its strong security, no-logs stance, fast speeds and ease of use are only complimented more by having a dedicated Chromebook app. To our knowledge, it’s the only trustworthy VPN to have a Chromebook app, and its 30-day money-back guarantee makes it all the more enticing.

Do you think ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Chromebooks? Have you found a different and better VPN service, even if it doesn’t have a dedicated Chromebook app? Are we wrong in that ExpressVPN is the only reputable VPN to have a dedicated Chromebook app? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section and, as always, thank you for reading.