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The Best VPNs for Chrome

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

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

Using a VPN extension for Google Chrome is a simple, and effective way to protect your web browsing.

The best VPN extensions encrypt your Chrome browser’s traffic. They hide your IP address and the websites you visit from your internet service provider.

Following our tests, the five best free and paid VPNs for Chrome are:

  1. ExpressVPN: The overall best VPN for Chrome.
    Read Summary
  2. NordVPN: A cheaper alternative Google Chrome VPN.
    Read Summary
  3. VPN.ac: A great Chrome VPN extension for beating Censorship.
    Read Summary
  4. Hotspot Shield: The best free VPN for Google Chrome.
    Read Summary
  5. HideMyAss: A safe, 100% free VPN extension for Chrome.
    Read Summary

Sadly, the Chrome Web Store is full of potentially unsafe VPN extensions. Many popular Chrome VPNs are just web proxies that don’t encrypt your data, or they record all your browsing activity.

The five VPN extensions we recommend are real VPNs, not just proxies. They’re also easy to install and work with streaming platforms like Netflix.

Keep reading to learn more about our five VPN choices, or jump to our table comparing the top 15 Chrome VPN extensions.

The Top VPN Extensions for Chrome: Performance Ratings

In the table below you can see how the best Chrome VPN extensions perform in each testing category:

To know more about how we evaluate Chrome VPN extensions, read our testing methodology below.

5 Best Free & Paid VPNs for Chrome

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for Chrome

    The best and most secure VPN extension to protect your entire device.

    Ranked #1 out of 68 VPNs for Chrome
    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
     96% 
    (1,768 user reviews)
    Visit ExpressVPN

    Pros

    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. Streams US Netflix plus 18 other libraries
    5. HTTPS Everywhere secures unsafe websites for you
    6. WebRTC blocker
    Cons
    1. Has to run at the same time as the full VPN program
    2. Expensive

    Overall Chrome Extension Rating: 9.7/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Chrome VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.9
    • 9.3
    • 9.8
    • 9.9

    ExpressVPN is the best VPN extension for Chrome. It includes IP and DNS leak protection, 160 server locations, and the ability to stream 19 Netflix libraries.

    The VPN’s Chrome extension is also unique. Unlike competing Chrome VPNs, it integrates seamlessly with the full desktop application to protect your entire device, not just your browser.

    The VPN extension works like a remote control for the main VPN app, but with a few extra features that make it especially useful for web browsing.

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

    Extra features keep you secure & help watch 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 accessing 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.

    ExpressVPN's extension for Google Chrome

    ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension looks just like the desktop app.

    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

    A very fast, lightweight extension with built-in ad blocker.

    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
     94% 
    (246 user reviews)
    Visit NordVPN

    Pros

    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
    Cons
    1. More encryption & security settings needed

    Overall Chrome Extension Rating: 9.6/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Chrome VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.7
    • 9.6
    • 9
    • 9.9

    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.

    Extension Available for Free?No
    Cheapest Price$3.30/mo over 27 Months See all plans
    Data CapUnlimited
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    Compatible with
    1. chromeChrome
    2. firefoxFirefox
    3. windowsWindows
    4. macosMacOS
    5. linuxLinux

    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 60 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

    NordVPN’s Chrome extension is a lot cleaner and more simple than its main app.

    Accesses Netflix & protects you from dangerous websites

    We’ve found it to be extremely reliable for watching 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 $3.30 per month it’s one of the best options out there.

  3. 3. VPN.ac: Best to Beat Censorship

    A secure extension with advanced settings to bypass censorship.

    VPN.ac screenshots
     100% 
    (3 user reviews)
    Visit VPN.ac

    Pros

    1. 64 servers across five continents
    2. Double hop servers for extra privacy
    3. ‘I am in China’ mode to beat censorship
    4. Accesses US Netflix
    5. WebRTC blocker
    Cons
    1. Won’t access any other Netflix libraries
    2. Uses proprietary ‘SecureProxy’ encryption

    Overall Chrome Extension Rating: 9.0/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Chrome VPN testing methodology.

    • 9.3
    • 7.8
    • 9.6
    • 9.4

    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.

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

    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 access content.

    A screenshot of the VPN.ac Google Chrome browser extension

    VPN.ac’s Chrome extension has more extra features than almost any VPN we tested.

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

    Accessing 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

    The best completely free VPN extension for Chrome.

    Hotspot Shield mobile screenshots
     88% 
    (5 user reviews)
    Visit Hotspot Shield

    Pros

    1. Both a free and paid options available
    2. Lots of extra features to reinforce privacy
    3. Highly fast speeds
    4. WebRTC blocker
    Cons
    1. Free version only has one server (US)
    2. Paid version only has nine servers
    3. Paid version only works with US & CA Netflix

    Overall Chrome Extension Rating: 8.7/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Chrome VPN testing methodology.

    • 8.7
    • 9
    • 9.4
    • 6.5

    Just like the full desktop VPN, Hotspot Shield’s Chrome extension is 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 top-rated free VPN extension for Chrome.

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

    Just one US server on the free version, eight more on premium

    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.

    the Hotspot Shield Google Chrome browser extension

    Hotspot Shield is one of the only VPNs to offer both a free and paid Chrome extension.

    An 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 accesses US Netflix, both for free and paying customers. The bad news is that of the other eight premium servers it can only access 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 for Server Choice

    Five servers available that work with US Netflix, all 100% free to use.

    Screenshot of HideMyAss' Mobile App
     80% 
    (5 user reviews)
    Visit HideMyAss

    Pros

    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
    Cons
    1. Only unblocks US Netflix
    2. Very few (useful) extra features
    3. No information available on the encryption used

    Overall Chrome Extension Rating: 8.4/10

    This rating is calculated based on the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our Chrome VPN testing methodology.

    • 8.5
    • 9
    • 8.5
    • 6

    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.

    HMA VPN Proxy Unblocker is also completely free, with only a quick account setup required and no payment details asked for.

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

    Extremely reliable for quick Netflix US streaming

    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 access 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 watch 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

    HideMyAss is the perfect free solution for streamers on a budget.

    Some good extra features, but 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.

The Top 15 VPNs for Chrome Compared

To help you compare the best VPN extensions for Chrome, we’ve created a table comparing the top 15 VPN add-ons.

You can find out whether the extension is a full VPN or just a web proxy, if it’s free or paid, how many server locations are on offer, and more.

What Does a Chrome VPN Extension Do?

A regular VPN installed on your desktop or laptop computer will encrypt all of the data that device sends over the internet.

The apps you use and the websites you visit are all protected by the VPN and directed to the VPN server you’ve chosen.

A VPN extension for Google Chrome will only protect the traffic from your Chrome browser. That means that anything you do outside of the Chrome browser will be exposed and unprotected.

When it comes to traffic in your browser though, a Chrome VPN add-on acts like a normal VPN.

A VPN extension for Chrome will:

  • Encrypt your browser traffic.
  • Hide your DNS requests.
  • Hide your IP address.
  • Access restricted websites and services.

In addition, VPN browser extensions can also offer extra features to keep your browsing even more secure and private, including:

  • WebRTC leak blocking
  • Ad-blocking
  • Web 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 of 2021.

Does Google Chrome Have a Built-In VPN?

Google Chrome does not have a built-in VPN. If you want to encrypt your Chrome browsing, you’ll need to use a full-system VPN or download a VPN browser extension for Chrome specifically.

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

Even if Google did offer a proper VPN of its own, it would still be sensible to use a VPN from a trusted service provider. if you care about your online privacy, you should look out for a good track record, proper infrastructure, and a strict no-logs policy.

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

How to Install a VPN Extension on Google Chrome

A VPN extension on the Google Chrome Web Store

Here’s how to install a Chrome VPN extension:

  1. Open up your Chrome browser and go to the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Use the search bar to look for the extension you want.
  3. On the results screen, find the extension you want and select it. There are many potentially dangerous extensions 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 We Test Chrome VPN Extensions

Testing a VPN Chrome extension is a very different process to testing a regular VPN.

Plenty of big-name VPNs don’t even have 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:

For Chrome VPN extensions specifically, we check for:

  • The type of encryption used, if any, or if the add-on is simply a proxy.
  • Does the extension work with Netflix, with extra importance given to US Netflix.
  • How many server locations are there?
  • Are there any additional security features? HTML5 geospoofing, tracker blocking, WebRTC leak blocking, and other such features are all highly desirable.

Here is how we weight each of those factors when compiling our scores for Chrome VPNs, as well as everything we look for while testing:

1. VPN Encryption: 50%

Minimum Requirement: An extension which encrypts your browser traffic.
We Recommend: Encryption via a robust, provable standard, back by a strong logging policy.

This is the most important factor of all, which is why it makes up such a large percentage of the overall score.

The Chrome Web Store is full of extensions marketing themselves as ‘VPNs’, ‘proxies’, ‘unblockers’, ‘spoofers’, and everything in between.

What’s worse, many products make it deliberately unclear whether or not they actually encrypt your browser traffic. Even some extensions from reputable VPN services are guilty of this.

We make sure to look through all the fine print and technical details to verify every Chrome VPN we recommend really is a VPN.

We value disclosure of the type of encryption and the VPN protocol used (like OpenVPN), and how web data is handled.

Some VPNs have different privacy policies to their app counterparts. It’s a big plus if a Chrome VPN has a logging policy as privacy-friendly as the main software product.

2. Accessing Streaming Services: 25%

Minimum Requirement: Works to access US Netflix.
We Recommend: Works to access regional streaming services on as many servers as possible.

Any good desktop VPN will encrypt your browser traffic. A Chrome VPN extension can be a quick alternative to that, but the real reason why they’re so popular is streaming.

With just a couple of clicks within your browser, you can instantly change your virtual location and stream previously blocked or inaccessible content.

Our tests found all five of the Chrome VPNs featured are able to access Netflix US. Due to its enormous popularity, we consider this to be the most important streaming library of all.

If an extension offers locations outside of the US, we then test to see if it can access Netflix within those regions, too. Region-specific services like BBC iPlayer are also valued.

3. Security Features: 15%

Minimum Requirement: WebRTC blocking.
We Recommend: WebRTC blocking, plus additional tools like geolocation blocking.

Even if you just want to use a VPN to watch Netflix through Chrome, we believe that a WebRTC blocker is essential.

WebRTC poses a potential security risk whenever you use voice or video chat in your browser. We only recommend Chrome VPNs which provide peace of mind in the form of a WebRTC blocker.

After the above features, any additional ones are a bonus.

HTML5 geoblocking is rare, but exceptionally valuable. It prevents location leaks, where your browser gives away your real physical location even if your IP address has changed.

In our tests, only three out of 15 Chrome VPN extensions offered HTML5 geoblocking.

Ad blockers and tracker blockers are also welcome extras to keep your Chrome browsing anonymous.

4. Number of Server Locations: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Five, including one in your real country of residence.
We Recommend: As wide a selection as possible.

What constitutes an acceptable number of VPN locations depends on what you need a VPN for. For this reason, we give this area the smallest weighting.

If all you care about is spoofing your IP to remain anonymous, then you’ll only need a server in the country where you live. This keeps internet speed loss to a minimum.

If you want to use your extension for when you travel, or to unblock web content from abroad, then the ideal number of countries changes.

The more server locations your VPN extension offers, the greater your selection of web content you can potentially access.

Extensions like ExpressVPN and NordVPN give you access to their entire server list i.e. hundreds of different locations around the world.

Additional research by Luke Williams

Chrome VPN FAQs

How to Prevent WebRTC Leaks on Chrome

Google Chrome does not allow you to manually disable WebRTC directly.

To reliably prevent WebRTC leaks in Google Chrome, you’ll need to install a browser extension that offers WebRTC blocking as a built-in feature. All five VPNs we recommend for Chrome also block WebRTC.

If you don’t want to use a VPN extension to block WebRTC, you can also install a dedicated Chrome extension like “WebRTC Leak Prevent” or “uBlock Origin”.

For more information on fixing privacy and security vulnerabilities, read our full guide on how to fix 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