Are you looking to enhance your privacy and security while browsing the web with Google Chrome? A reliable VPN extension can help you access restricted content, stop third-party tracking, and keep your online activities private.
I‘ve tested and reviewed the top VPN extensions for Chrome to provide my recommendations for 2023. Whether you need a free option or are willing to pay for premium features, this guide will help you find the best VPN add-on for your needs.
Why Use a VPN Extension for Chrome?
A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a remote server run by the VPN provider. This hides your IP address so your online activities can‘t be easily traced back to you.
VPNs are commonly used to:
Access blocked or censored content: Bypass geographic restrictions on streaming sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
Enhance privacy: Prevent your internet service provider (ISP) from logging the sites you visit.
Improve security: Encrypt traffic so hackers on public WiFi can‘t see what you‘re doing.
While full VPN apps protect all traffic on your device, VPN extensions only apply to your Chrome browser. Still, a browser VPN can be useful in many situations:
On public or shared devices where you can‘t install software.
For extra protection if you already use a VPN app on your computer or phone.
If you only need your browser traffic secured and want to exclude certain apps from the VPN.
To manage your VPN connection directly within Chrome for quick access.
Next, let‘s look at the top five Chrome VPN extensions available in 2023.
NordVPN is my top choice for the best Chrome VPN extension. While simple to use, it packs excellent features to protect your browsing.
NordVPN‘s Chrome extension uses the same VPN servers as their full VPN service. With over 5,400 servers in 60 countries, it provides great speed and ability to unblock sites.
The extension encrypts your browser traffic using TLS 1.2, protects against WebRTC leaks, and includes a CyberSec feature to block malicious sites. There‘s also a whitelist so you can exclude chosen sites from the VPN tunnel.
Additional privacy perks in the NordVPN desktop app include a kill switch, strict no-logs policy, and Obfuscated Servers to bypass VPN blocks.
Ease of Use
To get started, download the NordVPN extension from the Chrome Web Store and log in with your NordVPN account credentials. Click the extension icon to connect with one click, and you‘ll see your new IP address displayed.
The minimalist interface is beginner-friendly. But power users can configure settings like CyberSec and the whitelist in the extension‘s Options tab.
NordVPN is affordably priced starting at $3.29 per month for a two-year plan. All subscriptions cover using NordVPN on up to six devices simultaneously.
The company offers a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out.
- Simple setup and intuitive interface
- Fast speeds with thousands of servers
- Extra security from WebRTC and malware blocking
- Whitelist to exclude sites from VPN
- Must also install the NordVPN desktop app
- Doesn‘t allow full VPN control from browser
Next on my list is Surfshark, which stands out for unlimited device support and budget-friendly pricing.
Like NordVPN, Surfshark‘s Chrome extension connects through their network of over 3,200 VPN servers in 65 countries. It uses industry-standard AES-256 encryption and supports OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec protocols.
The extension has a clean web feature that blocks ads, trackers and malware. You can also whitelist sites to bypass the VPN when needed. Surfshark prevents WebRTC leaks for additional privacy.
Ease of Use
Get started by installing the Surfshark extension from the Chrome Web Store and signing in. Click to connect, and you‘ll see your new virtual location.
The simplistic interface makes it easy for anyone to use. But options like clean web, whitelisting, and leak protection offer more customization for power users.
Surfshark is very affordable at only $2.49/month for their two-year plan. Plus, unlimited simultaneous device connections sets them apart from competitors.
A 30-day money-back guarantee is available for trying the service risk-free.
- User-friendly and easy to set up
- Budget-friendly pricing with unlimited devices
- Extra features like Clean Web for ad blocking
- Whitelist option to bypass VPN for certain sites
- Speeds can be slower than top competitors
- Requires installing Surfshark‘s desktop app too
3. Atlas VPN
Atlas VPN earns a spot on my list for offering a free VPN browser extension with unlimited data.
The Atlas VPN extension uses 256-bit encryption and supports WireGuard, one of the newest and most secure VPN protocols.
While the free version only allows connecting to servers in the US, paid plans unlock 1,500+ servers in 75 locations. Atlas VPN blocks WebRTC leaks, removes ads, and offers a kill switch feature.
Ease of Use
Simply add the Atlas VPN extension to Chrome and click connect. An intuitive map makes it easy to select your virtual location.
The minimalist interface keeps things straightforward for beginners. But you can tweak settings like auto-connect and the kill switch for more control.
Atlas VPN‘s free plan includes unlimited browsing data and up to 5 GB/month for torrenting. All features are unlocked aside from the limited server selection.
Paid plans start at just $1.99/month. The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on paid plans.
- Free version with full features and unlimited data
- User-friendly map interface
- Advanced security with WireGuard and kill switch
- Blocks WebRTC leaks
- Only US servers available on free plan
- Smaller server network than top competitors
ExpressVPN is a premium VPN service that offers one of the few real Chrome VPN extensions.
The ExpressVPN extension acts as a browser-based version of their full VPN app. It connects through ExpressVPN‘s network of 3,000+ high-speed servers located in 94 countries.
Like the app, the extension uses trusted protocols like OpenVPN and Lightway. It blocks WebRTC leaks, provides TrustedServer technology, and includes options to prevent location tracking.
Ease of Use
Get started by installing the extension from ExpressVPN’s website and logging into your account. Just click the icon to connect to your chosen server location.
The user-friendly interface makes it simple to find and connect to servers on a map. You can also enable added privacy options like WebRTC protection.
ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive providers at $8.32/month for a six-month plan. But the quality of service may make it worthwhile for some users.
They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans.
- Easy-to-use map interface
- Robust leak protection and privacy features
- True VPN extension rather than just a proxy
- Large server network across 94 countries
- On the more expensive side
- Requires installing ExpressVPN’s desktop app too
Finally, hide.me earns a spot for offering a free VPN browser extension with 2 GB monthly data.
hide.me‘s extension uses AES-256 encryption and supports IKEv2, WireGuard, and OpenVPN protocols. It prevents IPv6 and WebRTC leaks for added privacy.
The free plan allows connecting to servers in five countries: Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, and the US. Paid plans unlock access to 1,900+ servers in over 70 locations.
Ease of Use
After adding hide.me‘s extension to Chrome, click the icon to connect and choose your location. The intuitive interface makes it very easy to use.
hide.me‘s free VPN plan has unlimited bandwidth but caps at 2GB per month. Premium plans are affordably priced starting at $9.99/month.
A 30-day money-back guarantee is offered on all paid subscriptions.
- Simple setup and very user-friendly
- Generous 2GB free data per month
- Prevents WebRTC and IPv6 leaks
- Affordable pricing for premium version
- Limited server locations on free plan
- Smaller paid server network than competitors
Key Factors in Choosing a Chrome VPN Extension
To find the best VPN add-on for your Chrome browser, keep the following criteria in mind:
Server network – Look for extensions that connect to a large server network, which provides more options to avoid congestion and geo-restrictions.
Speed – Faster connections allow for smoother video streaming and web browsing. Top providers optimize servers for speed.
Privacy & security – Leak protection, encryption, and a no-logs policy are vital for a secure VPN extension.
Pricing – Subscription length impacts costs. Consider free or low-cost options if you only need occasional use.
Ease of use – The most user-friendly extensions have intuitive dashboards and one-click connect features.
FAQ about Chrome VPN Extensions
Does Google Chrome have a built-in VPN?
No, Google Chrome does not include an integrated VPN service. To use a VPN with Chrome, you‘ll need to install a third-party VPN extension or app.
Is Incognito mode as secure as a VPN?
Incognito or private browsing only prevents Chrome from saving your browsing history locally. It does not encrypt traffic or hide your IP address like a VPN does. So a VPN extension provides much greater online privacy.
Can I use a mobile VPN app and a Chrome extension together?
Yes, you can absolutely use both a mobile VPN app and a Chrome VPN extension together for added security. The mobile app will encrypt all device traffic while the browser extension secures your Chrome browsing only.
Does a VPN extension slow down my Chrome browsing?
A VPN may lead to slightly slower Chrome speeds, but a good provider will minimize the impact through well-optimized servers. Extensions tend to be faster than full VPN apps since they only encrypt browser traffic.
Can I get malware from a Chrome web store extension?
Enhance Your Browsing With a Chrome VPN Extension
Adding one of these top-rated VPN extensions helps protect your privacy across the web. Take your time deciding if a free or paid service best fits your needs.
While full VPN apps have advantages, a Chrome extension serves as an easy, convenient security boost. So try out a top recommendation like NordVPN or AtlasVPN to start enhancing your browser privacy today.