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Best VPN Extensions for Chrome

By Simon Migliano | Updated September 16, 2019

Illustration of laptop computer with Google Chrome logo in the center

Google Chrome is by far the most popular search browser on the internet, sitting comfortably with 80% of the internet’s searches. 

It’s only natural that you might wonder: are my Chrome searches and stored details… well, safe?

The answer is no. 

Think about it: your browsing history, login and payment details, autofill personal information (email, residential address, etc.) — all of this is stored in your browser. 

And it’s all susceptible to hackers and snoopers.

You really should be using a VPN if you’re browsing with Chrome. A VPN will keep you safe online.

We’ve put together a helpful list of the best VPNs for Chrome so that you can make an informed decision about which VPN to download.

The Most Important Factors When We Review a VPN for Chrome

  1. Good and simple Chrome browser extensions
  2. Transparent, fair and privacy-focused logging policies
  3. Useful privacy features like WebRTC blocking
  4. Reliable and fast browsing speeds
  5. Works with major streaming services like Netflix

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

Read More Information on Our Top 5 Best VPN Extensions for Chrome

1. ExpressVPN

Ranked #1 out of 74 VPNs for Chrome

  1. Full-featured Chrome extension
  2. Very fast speeds
  3. Independently audited extension
  4. DNS, IPv6 and WebRTC leak protection
  5. Good amount of servers
  6. Minimal logging
  1. Fairly expensive
  • Best Price

    $6.67/mo over 15 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    94 countries, 3,000+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is the #1 all-round VPN and it shines as a VPN for Chrome. 

Why’s that? Because ExpressVPN offers a fully-featured browser extension for Google Chrome.

ExpressVPN’s browser extension sits above and beyond the rest. That’s because while many VPN services offer a browser extension that acts only as a proxy, ExpressVPN’s browser encrypts data, including all the applications and programs on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Its browser extension has even been independently audited to prove just how effective it is as a privacy tool. 

You can even change server location with ExpressVPN’s browser extension – something many VPN extensions can’t do. 

It also couldn’t be simpler to add to your browser and even easier to use. Don’t be put off by the technical-sounding nature of a browser extension.

Rest assured: your browser history and sensitive personal information is private with ExpressVPN.

More than protecting you as you browse, ExpressVPN also permits easy-access to streaming sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

For a more in-depth look, read our full ExpressVPN review.

2. NordVPN

Ranked #2 out of 74 VPNs for Chrome

  1. Useful proxy extension for Chrome
  2. Brilliant speeds
  3. Unblocks Netflix and iPlayer
  4. Connect securely to 60 countries
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. Some advanced features lacking for browser extension
  • Best Price

    $3.49/mo over 36 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    90Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 5,200+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

NordVPN also has a good browser extension for Chrome, but it doesn’t quite stretch to the comprehensiveness of ExpressVPN’s. 

With NordVPN, the Chrome extension only encrypts your your browser traffic and it won’t cover all of the other apps on your device like ExpressVPN does. 

But this is reflected in the price — NordVPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN, and if you’re looking for a good VPN for Chrome on a budget you really should consider NordVPN. You can get the full package for as little as $2.99 per month.

It’s not like NordVPNs extension is lacking in features, though. Quite the opposite: it also comes with WebRTC blocking, easily enabled through the settings menu of the extension. This is designed to prevent any potential IP leaks — a valuable inclusion.

Like with ExpressVPN, NordVPN’s browser extension could not be easier to download and use. Just go to the Google Chrome store and download the add-on to your browser.

You can choose your server from within the extension, and if you’re looking for one that unlocks streaming services then you’re spoiled for choice. NordVPN is an excellent VPN for streaming: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more. 

NordVPN is also as secure and as private as they come. This is a no-logs VPN based in a privacy-friendly part of the world — Panama. 

For a more in-depth look, read our full NordVPN review.

3. Private Internet Access

Ranked #3 out of 74 VPNs for Chrome

  1. User-friendly proxy extension for Chrome
  2. Excellent speeds
  3. Access to Netflix
  4. 33 countries on offer
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. Fairly small server network
  • Best Price

    $3.33/mo over 12 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    89Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    32 countries, 3,300+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

The reason that Private Internet Access (PIA) sit below ExpressVPN and NordVPN is because it’s Chrome extension is just a proxy. This means that it protects your IP address, but it doesn’t encrypt your data. 

But PIA has a lot going for it. 

Like NordVPN, it protects against WebRTC leaks. 

More to the point: Private Internet Access is a very fast service — without skipping on security.

This is a service with loads of privacy features and configurable settings for seasoned VPN users to sink their teeth into. 

PIA’s browser extension is also very sleek and very simple, so it doesn’t forget VPN the newcomer, either.

There’s a lot for everyone to like in PIA, but its chief draw is the guarantee of privacy. This is a trustworthy, advanced VPN — one of the best you can get. 

It even unblocks streaming services, too. 

For a more in-depth look, read our full Private Internet Access review.

4. Surfshark

Ranked #4 out of 74 VPNs for Chrome

  1. Secure Chrome proxy extension
  2. Reliable speeds locally and internationally
  3. Works to unblock Netflix and iPlayer
  4. Connect securely to 50 countries
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. Speeds don’t match up to top picks
  2. Browser extension doesn't block WebRTC
  • Best Price

    $1.99/mo over 24 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    76Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Surfshark’s Chrome extension allows you to spoof your IP address and encrypt your traffic. 

That’s great, but the slight drawback is that, like PIA, this only covers web browser traffic. 

This won’t bother many who are just looking to keep their browsing private, but as value for money goes, it’s less robust than ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

But let’s not take too much away from Surfshark: this is a VPN for Chrome with bite. 

Its chrome extension is secure, with Surfshark passing an independent audit like ExpressVPN. The report stated that Surfshark’s extensions are “not exposed to any issues, neither in the privacy nor in the more general security realms.”

But what a report doesn’t tell you is how pleasurable Surfshark’s extension is to use. It’s good-looking and very responsive, with the extension downloading quickly and proving very easy-to-use. 

If a zero-logs policy isn’t enough to impress, consider its Chrome extension add-on CleanWeb. This blocks ads, trackers and malware, getting all those annoying ads out of the way so that you can surf the web in peace. 

For a more in-depth look, read our full Surfshark review.

5. Windscribe

Ranked #5 out of 74 VPNs for Chrome

  1. Fully-featured Chrome extension
  2. Good security
  3. Security extras
  4. Access to Netflix
  5. Split Personality feature
  1. Inconsistent global speeds
  2. Not zero-logs
  3. Based in US
  • Best Price

    $4.08/mo over 12 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    63Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    58 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Wiindscribe’s Chrome extension has proven to be very popular, with 1,000,000 downloads in the Google store and counting.

This popularity is easily explained, as it does a darn good job of keeping you safe. 

Like with ExpressVPN and NordVPN, Windscribe’s extension does not just spoof your IP — it’s a full-on VPN extension. That means solid encryption.

More than that, Windscribe’s Chrome extension comes with some neat extras: ad and tracker blockers. Say goodbye to the nuisances off the web. 

Unique to Windscribe, it has a Split Personality feature. This works to randomly rotate your user agent and make it harder for your browser to determine what OS and device you’re using, thus making you harder to track.

The browser extension window isn’t as friendly as Surfshark’s, or as simple as NordVPN’s, but it does the job.

And if cosmetics isn’t your concern, you can enjoy the access to streaming services like Netflix, which Windscribe provides quite easily. 

The reason Winscribe doesn’t make if further up the list is that it’s not entirely zero-logs and it’s based in Canada, quite an aggressive nation against online freedom. For no-compromise privacy, consider the others on the list.  

For a more in-depth look, read our full Windscribe review.

Popular Questions

How Do You Set Up and Enable a VPN for Chrome?

Before you start using a VPN on Chrome, you need to decide whether or not you’re going to sign up to a paid VPN subscription or use a free alternative.

Free Chrome extensions are almost always proxies that don’t encrypt your browser traffic, but simply spoof your IP address to allow you to access blocked content. 

They’re also (in most cases) subject to very stingy data caps that won’t allow you to do much more than stream a single half-hour show on Netflix, which isn’t very useful.

If you sign up to a paid subscription you’ll get access to custom apps for other devices as well as the Chrome extension, meaning you can protect all of the internet-connected devices in your home.

Once you’ve made this decision, installing the Chrome extension onto your browser is simple and takes just minutes to set up – you can check out our VPN setup guide for Chrome here.

After that, using a VPN on Chrome is much the same as using it on any other device. 

Simply choose a location and you’ll appear to be connecting out from that location, so potential snoopers and hackers won’t be able to see where you really are. 

For the best possible performance you should choose a server as close as you can to your true physical location.

Once you’re connected to your chosen VPN server, you can continue to use your Chrome browser as normal. 

Be aware that if you’re just using the Chrome extension and no other form of VPN app you’re only masking the IP of your browser, so anything you do outside of this (apps such as Spotify or Steam) will be visible to your ISP and other third parties.

In most cases, we advise using the extension as well as the custom app offered by your chosen provider for the highest level of privacy.

What Is the Best Free VPN for Chrome?

Windscribe – #5 on our list – also has a free version of its VPN app. It happens to be our #1 recommendation for free VPNs. 

Windscribe is our top pick when it comes to a free VPN for Chrome, too.

Windscribe Free requires no payment information to download and install and it does a good job of keeping you safe. 

You might also consider the free versions of TunnelBear and Hide.me, which come with Chrome extensions. For a more detailed breakdown of these VPNs, it’s worth consulting our list of the best free VPNs.

Will a VPN for Chrome Keep My Information Private?

Chrome comes with some pre-enabled settings that, if left unchanged, can send detailed information about your browsing activity directly to Google, which is at the mercy of any and all government requests for information. 

And, as you can see in Google’s transparency report, it surrenders information to government requests the majority of times. For example: in a period of six months, governments from around the world requested information on 135,302 Google accounts. 

Using a VPN won’t keep this information from Google, and Google knows what you’re doing as long as you’re signed into your account. 

Only when signing out of your account and using a VPN is your browsing made private.

Which VPN Has the Best Chrome Browser Extension?

We say that ExpressVPN has the best browser extension for Chrome.

More than just a proxy, it’s a full-on mini-VPN. It protects and encrypts all your data and applications.

And it’s super easy to use. It’s hard to imagine a friendlier option for newcomers.

How Do I Add a VPN Extension to Chrome?

Once you decide which VPN on this list is right for you and subscribed to the service, you can add its extension to Chrome in no time at all.  

This usually consists of going to your account page on the VPN service’s website.

Take ExpressVPN (the one we think you should get). First, head to its website and select ‘Account’ in the main menu. 

You’ll be sent to your basic login screen. Type in the details you used to sign up and enter. 

From here, you will see the option to ‘Set Up on More Devices’.

'Set Up More Devices' Option on ExpressVPN Website for Browser Extension Guide

Select this option and you’ll be presented with a series of device options.

Select the ‘Google Chrome’ option and then ‘Get Extension’.

Extension for Chrome Button

This will automatically take you to the Google Play store where you can add the browser extension to your browser with a click of the button, ‘Add to Chrome’.

ExpressVPN 'Add to Chrome' Option for Browser Extension

Alternatively, perhaps more simply, you can head straight to the Google Play store via Google and add the extension to Chrome this way. 

You’ll be asked to sign in once its added to your browser via the indicator at the top and you can start using it from there. 

Is Google Chrome Incognito Mode Really Private?

No, Google Chrome incognito mode is not private. 

Incognito mode is a way to browse the web without it storing browsing data. 

That means it doesn’t remember logins or searches or store cookies. It’s useful at stopping people tracking your online activities.  

Sounds great, right? 

The problem is: it does not keep your activity private from your ISP, or the government, or any network admin you are a part of (say, an employer or university).

Google even say as much: “Your activity isn’t hidden from websites you visit, your employer or school, or your internet service provider.”

If you’ve ever taken the time to read the text when you go incognito, it reiterates the point there too.

 

Incognito Mode Screenshot-min

More than that, it’s important to remember that if you are logged into an account (Google, Amazon and so on), incognito mode will make no difference. 

How Do I Add a VPN Extension to Incognito Mode?

To actually be private and safe while browsing on Chrome, it’s best to go in incognito mode and have a VPN browser extension running simultaneously. 

The problem is: Chrome blocks extensions while in incognito mode. This is because it doesn’t know whether the extension can be trusted and aren’t tracking your information. 

However, if you have a VPN that you can trust, you can still add the extension to incognito Chrome. 

To do this, go to the Chrome menu (the three dots in the top right) > More Tools > Extensions.

In a list you’ll find the option to ‘Allow in incognito’. Click the swipe and you can now use a VPN extension while in private mode. With this, you’ll be extra safe.

Is a VPN on Chrome Safe?

The real question is: just how safe is Google Chrome without a VPN?

We say: not very. Google collects a lot of data on its users, and you store lots of personal information on your Google account. 

When it comes to deciding which VPN on Chrome is safest, it’s true that some are more secure than others. 

Some browser extensions for Chrome will simply spoof your IP address while others will go a step further and provide fully-fledged VPN extensions with encryption for your browsing and all your applications on your device.

ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Windscribe all provide this service in our list. Take a look at them when it comes to safest VPNs for Chrome.

While Private Internet Access and Surfshark still provide good protection, they are just proxies. 

But these are the better VPNs on the market—premium services. 

So, are free VPNs on Chrome safe? 

Usually not. 

We suggest you take a look at the list below to get savvy to VPNs for Chrome that you should most definitely avoid.

Which VPNs for Chrome Should I Avoid?

Much to our dismay, Hola Free VPN is a very popular VPN service for Chrome users.

It’s free and very easily added to your Chrome browser through the Chrome Web Store, but you should avoid this “VPN” at all costs.

Hola is actually an extremely insecure peer-to-peer proxy network that’s being incorrectly marketed as a VPN.

Hola doesn’t actually provide any encryption whatsoever.

Hola Free VPN also monitors everything you do online, including the websites you visit, and has been known to sell user bandwidth without consent. 

If you come across Hola, simply say adiós.

We suggest that you stay clear of free VPNs in general. Many present security risks and they just don’t cut it when it comes to issues of security and privacy — defeating the whole point of owning a VPN.

Outside of that, you’ll need to avoid VPNs that don’t come with Chrome extensions. Make sure you check which platforms and devices the VPN services apps are compatible with (we make sure to cover that in all our reviews).

How Do I Unblock a Site on Chrome?

We often take access to websites for granted, but there are plenty seeking to overcome censorship and unblock websites in places like Russia, China, Iran and more.

A VPN is designed to do this for you—to give you power over your internet choices again.

Our #1 pick for the best VPN for Chrome, ExpressVPN, is known to be a highly effective VPN for unblocking websites. 

It’s fully-featured browser extension for Chrome means you can even unblock and access Chrome without even downloading the main app. 

To do this, simply subscribe to the service, install the extension and connect to a country that does not block websites.

Then the internet will open up

Which VPN Should I Get for Chromecast?

Chromecast enables the user to stream content online. 

Like with Netflix and BBC iPlayer, content accessible on Chromecast is determined by geographical region. 

The problem is: Chromecast does not support VPN, and it’s not configurable. 

But people still want a secure experience.

Chromecast

There’s good news: you can still use a VPN with Chromecast by installing your VPN on your router.

If you want a VPN for Chromecast, we recommend ExpressVPN — our #1 VPN with the ability to set up on a router.

The ExpressVPN website even has a helpful guide for Chromecast setup

Do I Need a VPN for Chromebook?

Chromebooks are designed for fast, lightweight browsing of the internet. 

With its speed and efficiency, however, come security risks, including hacking, malware and even spying. 

With that in mind: yes you need a VPN for Chromebook. 

You can add a VPN browser extension to a Chromebook in an identical manner to your standard desktop computer. 

Google offers a guide on how to set up a VPN on Chromebook, which we think is helpful.

What is the Best Chrome VPN for Streaming?

On our list, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Private Internet Access, Surfshark, and Windscribe are all effective and reliable at bypassing geo restrictions for streaming. 

We can recommend any of these as a Chrome VPN for streaming. 

However, Windscribe a bit less so, with it failing in our tests to unblock BBC iPlayer. 

We are most impressed by ExpressVPN, though. Whether it’s Netlifx, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Sky TV or anything else, ExpressVPN has you covered. 

What Is the Best Free VPN Browser?

You probably already know this, especially if you’ve been reading up until now, but Google isn’t the most private browser around.

So people wonder: is there more private browser?

There are a handful of web browsers designed with privacy in mind – these two Google Chrome alternatives offer the highest levels of privacy.

These web browsers default to private browsing – unlike Chrome which requires you to open up an Incognito tab – and they come with features that block trackers and ads, too.

Both Tenta and Epic Browser provide VPN browser extensions to encrypt browser traffic, but be sure to use a true VPN service to protect the rest of your connections.

We call these VPN browsers. You can read more about the best VPN browsers here.

You should also consider using a privacy-friendly search engine like DuckDuckGo.com to further protect your personal data.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and internet freedom research. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio