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The Best VPN Extensions for Google Chrome

Best VPN for Chrome
Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio

A VPN browser extension for Google Chrome is a quick, simple, and extremely effective tool for protecting your online browsing.

With a single click, you can encrypt all of the traffic flowing through your Chrome browser. You’ll make your IP address private, prevent your DNS requests from leaking, and keep the websites you visit hidden from your ISP.

The Chrome Web Store is full of untrustworthy and potentially dangerous extensions, though. Some of the most popular downloads are just web proxies that will leave your data vulnerable, while others are from VPN providers that will record all of your browsing activity.

Making the right choice is crucial, which is why our VPN experts are here to help.

Chrome doesn’t have a built-in VPN, which is why we’ve spent hundreds of hours purchasing, installing, and testing VPNs for Chrome.

The five best VPNs for Chrome in May 2021 are:

  1. ExpressVPN: The very best VPN extension for Chrome. Read Summary
  2. NordVPN: A great alternative Chrome VPN extension. Read Summary
  3. VPN.ac: A secure Chrome VPN. Read Summary
  4. Hotspot Shield: The best free VPN for Google Chrome. Read Summary
  5. HideMyAss: 100% free VPN browser extension for Chrome. Read Summary

With both free and paid options available, plus quick and easy installation for all apps, there’s no reason for you to leave your Chrome browser unprotected.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN extension for Chrome. It integrates seamlessly with the full desktop application to protect your entire device, not just your browser. It keeps you safe from leaks, unblocks websites you can’t normally visit, and even unblocks streaming services from other countries.

Read on to see how our top five recommendations fared in our testing. Alternatively, you can skip ahead to see a comparison of the features offered by the best VPN extensions for Chrome.

The 5 Best VPNs for Chrome in 2021 (Free & Paid)

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: The best full-system Chrome VPN extension

    VPN extension which protects your whole device, plus a complete selection of servers

    Ranked #1 out of 69 VPNs for Chrome
    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
    (1,760 user reviews)
    Visit ExpressVPN
    1. Protects not only Chrome but your entire device
    2. Has all 160 VPN locations to choose from
    3. HTML5 geospoofing is incredibly useful
    4. Unblocks US Netflix plus 18 other libraries
    5. HTTPS Everywhere secures unsafe websites for you
    6. WebRTC blocker
    1. Has to run at the same time as the full VPN program
    2. Expensive

    ExpressVPN is our highest-rated VPN overall, and its exceptional Chrome extension is a big part of the reason why.

    ExpressVPN’s Chrome add-on is unique in that it doesn’t just protect your browser – it encrypts your whole system, too. It essentially works like a remote control for the main VPN app, but with a few extra features that make it especially useful for web browsing.

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Extension Available for Free?No
    Compatible with
    1. chromeChrome
    2. firefoxFirefox
    3. edgeEdge
    4. windowsWindows
    5. macosMacOS
    6. linuxLinux
    7. chromeosChromeos
    Data CapNone
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data

    Extra features keep you secure & help unblock Netflix

    In addition to WebRTC blocking, which is commonplace among VPN extensions to stop your real IP from leaking, it also offers HTTPS Everywhere.

    This helpfully automatically redirects you to the HTTPS version of a website if you’re ever mistakenly directed to the insecure and potentially dangerous HTTP version instead.

    Even more interesting than that, though, is that ExpressVPN is the only VPN featured on this list to offer HTML5 geospoofing.

    This technology prevents your browser from using HTML5 to work out your real-world location. Failure to do so is a big reason why so many VPNs can’t bypass geoblocks from services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

    ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension has no such trouble unblocking Netflix – not just the US library but 18 others as well. Because the extension is connected directly to the desktop app you get full access to every single ExpressVPN server, with options spread out all over the world.

    Needs the full VPN app to be running while in use

    That said, that direct connection can be an inconvenience at times. If all you want to do is quickly toggle browser protection on and off while leaving the rest of your device untouched you can’t do that.

    This also means that it has a slightly greater impact on your internet speed versus a conventional extension, but not by much – ExpressVPN is one of the fastest out there.

    It’s also expensive, there’s no denying it. At $6.67 per month on its cheapest deal, ExpressVPN is one of the most costly VPNs out there.

    As a complete package we think it’s well worth it, but if you just want a secure Chrome browser extension then you might want to consider one of the other options on this page.

  2. 2. NordVPN: Best Chrome-only VPN extension

    A super quick, lightweight extension with built-in adblock

    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
    (246 user reviews)
    Visit NordVPN
    1. Every server from the desktop app available
    2. CyberSec acts as a pop-up and malicious site blocker
    3. Whitelister for choosing sites that bypass the VPN
    4. Unblocks US Netflix
    5. Extremely quick to connect & no impact on download speeds
    6. WebRTC blocker
    1. Some more encryption & security options would be nice

    NordVPN is the only other VPN on this list to give you access to every single one of its server locations through its Google Chrome browser extension. Combine that with how extremely simple and easy to use it is and you have the perfect VPN extension for anyone who wants quick protection with a single click.

    Cheapest Price$3.71/mo over 24 Months See all plans
    Extension Available for Free?No
    Compatible with
    1. chromeChrome
    2. firefoxFirefox
    3. windowsWindows
    4. macosMacOS
    5. linuxLinux
    Data CapUnlimited
    Logging PolicyNo Logs

    A simple app with a full selection of server locations

    Where the full NordVPN desktop app may be loaded with extra features and customization options, the Chrome extension strips it back to the basics. There’s two buttons on the main screen: one lets you pick a server and the other gets you connected.

    Choosing to select a server gives you a list of all 59 countries available in the full NordVPN app. You can’t choose a specific location though, so you’ll have to trust it to connect you to the fastest option possible.

    NordVPN owns and operates all of its DNS servers, for added security.

    A screenshot of the NordVPN Google Chrome browser extension

    Unblocks Netflix & protects you from dangerous websites

    We’ve found it to be extremely reliable for unblocking Netflix, not just in the US but in other popular locations too (like France and Germany).

    We were occasionally confronted with a Netflix error code while hopping between libraries, but clearing Chrome’s cache and cookies promptly fixed it.

    There are only three extra features included inside the NordVPN Chrome extension: a WebRTC blocker (which is enabled by default and should absolutely stay that way), a ‘Bypass List’ (which acts like a split tunnel for your browser, allowing you to choose which sites are ignored by the VPN), and CyberSec.

    CyberSec is by far the most interesting option of the three. Also available in the full desktop client, CyberSec blocks ads, warns you when you’re about to access an unsafe site, and protects you from ‘other threats’ (like phishing).

    You probably already use an adblock extension in Chrome, but if you don’t this is a nice addition to have.

    That’s all there is to the app. We’d like to see some more options around encryption, and a choice of city-level servers would be nice. As it is, NordVPN is the perfect lightweight Chrome VPN extension if you want to instantly encrypt your browser traffic with a single click.

    For just $3.71 per month it’s one of the best options out there.

  3. 3. VPN.ac: Best Chrome extension to unblock websites

    64 server locations and lots of advanced options to beat censorship

    VPN.ac screenshots
    (3 user reviews)
    Visit VPN.ac
    1. 64 servers across five continents
    2. Double hop servers for extra privacy
    3. ‘I am in China’ mode to beat censorship
    4. Unblocks US Netflix
    5. WebRTC blocker
    1. Won’t unblock any other Netflix libraries
    2. Uses proprietary ‘SecureProxy’ encryption

    While VPN.ac may be far less popular than the other names on this list, it has created one of the very best VPN extensions available on the Chrome Web Store.

    It’s the single best choice if you want to access censored or blocked websites, and has a whole set of servers dedicated to users in China.

    Cheapest Price$3.75 over 24 months See all plans
    Extension Available for Free?No
    Compatible with
    1. chromeChrome
    2. firefoxFirefox
    3. windowsWindows
    4. macosMacOS
    5. linuxLinux
    Data CapUnlimited
    Logging PolicyNo Logs

    Loads of servers, plus Double Hop for extra obfuscation

    VPN.ac’s extension has 64 servers spread across five continents – Africa unfortunately misses out. These servers are named and numbered, too, so you know for sure which one you’re connecting to each time you use the extension.

    15 of these are Double Hop servers, which send your browser requests to a server in one country before then passing them on again to your desired end location. This will slow your traffic down, but is an effective way to stay extra private.

    In the settings menu you’ll also find a toggle labeled “I am in China,” which reveals a new set of 25 servers specifically optimized for use in China to help beat the Great Firewall.

    They’re mostly located across East Asia to give you the best speeds possible, but there’s also several in the US as well as one each in the UK and Canada to help unblock content.

    A screenshot of the VPN.ac Google Chrome browser extension

    VPN.ac’s own bespoke protocol isn’t great for unblocking Netflix

    Unblocking content is one of the areas where VPN.ac’s Chrome extension falters, though. In our testing we could only get it to work with Netflix US – other international libraries simply redirected to the US one.

    VPN.ac also uses something called SecureProxy as an encryption standard for its browser extension.

    While the main app offers OpenVPN and a number of other established protocols, SecureProxy was developed by VPN.ac itself (the company claims it’s to reduce data overhead and maintain high speeds).

    There’s nothing wrong with SecureProxy, that we know of, but given that it was privately created by VPN.ac we really have no way of knowing for sure. A choice of protocols, or at least some more information, would be appreciated.

  4. 4. Hotspot Shield: Best free Chrome VPN extension

    The best free extension - but pay for premium if you can

    Hotspot Shield mobile screenshots
    (5 user reviews)
    Visit Hotspot Shield
    1. Both a free and paid option available
    2. Lots of extra features to reinforce privacy
    3. Free version unblocks US Netflix
    4. Super fast speeds
    5. WebRTC blocker
    1. Free version only has one server (US)
    2. Paid version only has nine servers
    3. Paid version only unblocks US & Canada Netflix

    Just like the full desktop VPN, Hotspot Shield’s Chrome extension is super fast and very easy to use.

    There’s also a free version available which gives you access to almost the entire suite of features available in the paid package, making it our favorite free VPN extension.

    Cheapest Price$2.99/mo over 36 Months See all plans
    Extension Available for Free?Yes
    Compatible with
    1. chromeChrome
    2. firefoxFirefox
    3. windowsWindows
    4. macosMacOS
    5. linuxLinux
    Data CapNone
    Logging PolicySome User Logs

    Just a US server on the free version, eight more if you pay

    If you use the free version you only get one choice of server: East Coast US. Ordinarily we’d consider that pretty restrictive, even for a free product, but considering that the paid version only offers nine servers in total it doesn’t seem so bad by comparison.

    The nine paid servers are located in:

    • Canada
    • Germany
    • France
    • India
    • Netherlands
    • Russia
    • Singapore
    • UK
    • US

    That’s a pretty poor spread, although we at least measured excellent speeds when connected to all of them.

    Not much information is given on what encryption Hotspot Shield uses inside its Chrome extension. Given how fast it is, we can only presume that it’s Hydra VPN, Hotspot Shield’s own first-party protocol.

    Unlike VPN.ac’s SecureProxy we have experience testing Hydra VPN before, and feel confident in recommending it as safe and secure.

    A screenshot of the Hotspot Shield Google Chrome browser extension

    A seriously impressive set of extra features, but disappointing for Netflix

    Hotspot Shield’s extension also has an excellent suite of extra features, including an adblocker, malware blocker, cookie blocker, and WebRTC blocker.

    ‘Sword’ is probably the most interesting one, though: rather than just block trackers it actively feeds them fake information to guarantee that advertisers and sites can’t build an accurate profile based on your browsing history.

    These features are all labeled as still in beta, but as far as we can tell they all work as intended. What’s more, they’re all available in both the free and paid versions, which is a nice touch.

    For streaming fans, the good news is that Hotspot Shield unblocks US Netflix, both for free and paying customers. The bad news is that of the other eight premium servers it can only unblock Netflix Canada.

    A subscription to Hotspot Shield, giving you access to the full VPN and extension, costs a reasonable $2.99 per month over three years.

    But if you’re just interested in encrypting your browser traffic, anonymizing yourself online, and watching US Netflix then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give Hotspot Shield’s free VPN Chrome extension a try.

  5. 5. HideMyAss: Best free Chrome extension for server choice

    Five servers available and unblocks US Netflix, all 100% free to use

    Screenshot of HideMyAss' Mobile App
    (5 user reviews)
    Visit HideMyAss
    1. Completely free to use
    2. Servers in five countries
    3. Reliably unblocks US Netflix
    4. Useful Auto Hide feature & built-in adblocker
    5. WebRTC blocker
    1. Only unblocks US Netflix
    2. Very few (useful) extra features
    3. No information available on the encryption used

    Don’t be put off by the web store listing’s constant use of the term ‘proxy’ – HideMyAss’ Chrome extension (or HMA VPN Proxy Unblocker as it’s better known) is a true browser-based VPN.
    It’s completely free, with only a quick account setup required and no payment details asked for.

    Cheapest Price$2.99/mo over 3 years See all plans
    Extension Available for Free?Yes
    Compatible with
    1. chromeChrome
    2. firefoxFirefox
    3. windowsWindows
    4. macosMacOS
    5. linuxLinux
    Data CapNone
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data

    Extremely reliable for quick Netflix US unblocking

    It’s not perfect, but as far as free Chrome VPNs go we think HideMyAss is absolutely one of the best.

    It’s probably best suited for anyone who wants a reliable way to unblock US Netflix – one click and you’re in. The US server delivers great speeds and never failed us when trying to access the streaming site.

    Unfortunately, while the remaining four servers all function properly and barely hamper your download speeds, they haven’t worked for us when trying to unblock Netflix.

    The locations on offer are France, Germany, Netherlands, and the UK, as well as the US.

    We also don’t know just what protocol is used to protect your traffic when using the extension, but HMA does clearly state that it is encrypted. As you might expect, there’s no customization or options to choose from regarding your connection.

    A screenshot of the HMA Google Chrome browser extension

    Some good extra features, but a little lacking compared to its better rivals

    The extra settings which are on offer vary in usefulness. On the one hand, we really like the Auto Hide feature which will connect to a VPN server whenever you browse to a site of your choosing, and WebRTC blocking is always appreciated.

    On the other hand, the Tab Killer, which instantly hides your browser window when you press a keyboard shortcut, is a bit less useful.

    Also, while it may not make it clear in the Chrome Web Store listing, HMA VPN Proxy Unblocker has adblock built-in and enabled by default (with no way to turn it off).

    HMA’s Chrome extension couldn’t be easier to use and is completely free – it works well and, so long as you don’t expect too much of it, won’t disappoint.

VPNs for Google Chrome Compared (Free & Paid)

How We Tested the Best VPN Extensions for Chrome

Testing a VPN Chrome extension is a very different process to testing a regular VPN. Plenty of big-name VPNs don’t even produce an extension, so going by reputation alone isn’t enough. Here are the most important factors we look out for when testing Chrome VPN extensions:

  • Is it a true VPN? There are a huge number of extensions in the Chrome Web Store that are simple proxies. Proxies may spoof your location, but they won’t securely encrypt your web traffic. All of our top five recommendations are true browser-based VPNs that will keep your browsing secure and private.
  • How many servers does it have? The best VPN extensions have the biggest server library possible – some, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, offer a selection just as large as the full desktop app.
  • Can it unblock US Netflix? Browser extensions are a quick and easy way to unblock Netflix – or at least they should be. Our top recommendations all unblock US Netflix, with some offering access to even more content libraries on different servers.
  • Does it have extra features? Getting the basics right is important, but we also look for VPN extensions that do more. WebRTC blocking is common, while ad and tracker blockers are also super useful.

All of the extensions featured on this page are produced by some of the best VPNs on the market, so you can be sure that they’re trustworthy and reliable.

What Does a Chrome VPN Extension Do?

A regular VPN installed on your desktop or laptop computer will affect every connection being made to the internet. The apps you use, games you play, and websites you visit are all tunneled through the VPN’s encryption and directed to a server of your choosing.

Chrome VPN extensions are different in that they only protect Google Chrome. This means that anything you do outside of your Chrome browser will be left exposed like normal.

When it comes to traffic in your browser, though, a VPN extension for Chrome acts just like any other VPN:

  • It encrypts your traffic
  • It hides your DNS requests
  • It helps you unblock websites and services

And in addition to that, it can also offer up all sorts of extra features to keep your Chrome browsing even more secure and private, such as:

  • WebRTC blocking
  • Ad blocking
  • Tracker blocking
  • HTML5 geospoofing

If you’re looking for a full-system VPN to protect everything you do online (not just in Chrome) then take a look at our list of the best VPNs for 2021.

Does Google Chrome Have its Own Built-In VPN?

No, Google does not have its own built-in VPN for Chrome.

That’s why we put this list together – to show you the very best options out there, as you’ll need to choose one if you want a VPN extension.

Google does have its own VPN service named Google One, however it’s part of a broader online package, is only available in the US, and can only be installed on Android handsets.

Even if Google did offer a proper VPN of its own, we’d still recommend you use a VPN from a dedicated provider with a good track record, proper infrastructure, and a provable no-logs policy.

Google is notorious for collecting and selling user data, so right now there’s no reason why you should trust it to make an independent and private VPN.

How to Install a Chrome VPN Extension

A screenshot of a VPN extension on the Google Chrome Web Store

Installing a Chrome VPN extension couldn’t be simpler. Here’s what to do:

  1. Open up your Chrome browser and go to https://chrome.google.com/webstore/
  2. Use the search bar to look for the extension you want – for example HideMyAss.
  3. On the results screen, find the extension you want and click on it. Make sure that it’s the right one – many search result pages return potentially dangerous items that are intentionally designed to look like their safe, reliable competitors.
  4. Click the button labeled Add to Chrome.

That’s all there is to it. The extension will now be available among your other extensions in the top right-hand corner of your browser window.

Some may also require you to log in to the account you hold with the VPN provider in question before they can be used.

If you want to learn more, we have a dedicated guide to setting up your VPN on Chrome.

How to Prevent WebRTC Leaks

There is only one way to reliably prevent WebRTC leaks in Google Chrome, and that is to install a Chrome VPN extension that offers WebRTC blocking as a built-in feature – all five VPNs on this page do this.

This is because Google Chrome does not allow you to manually disable WebRTC directly within it.

If you don’t want to use a VPN extension to block WebRTC, you could alternatively install a dedicated Chrome extension to do the job – we like WebRTC Leak Prevent and uBlock Origin.

For more information, plus solutions to all other manner of vulnerabilities, see our guide to fixing VPN leaks.

About the Author

  • Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

    Callum Tennent

    Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio