Google Chrome is the most widely-used desktop and mobile browser in the world, but it comes with some pre-enabled settings that, if left unchanged, can send detailed information about your browsing activity directly to Google.
The only way to prevent this from happening and keep your personal information private is to use a VPN.
Our recommendations for Chrome offer a lightweight experience for heavy browser users, with simple browser extensions, WebRTC blocking, and privacy-friendly logging policies. They are also fast, user-friendly and offer some great custom apps for other devices too.
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Our top picks for Chrome all deliver a smooth, user-friendly experience on both desktop and mobile, making them accessible to experienced VPN users and beginners alike.
They offer excellent performance on both local and international connections and work with popular streaming sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. They also have a robust set of privacy extras (the best include protection against WebRTC leaks) and minimal logging policies to protect your online activity.
We test all the VPNs featured on our site on a regular basis to ensure our reviews and recommendations are as fresh as possible. Our proprietary speed test tool is running 24/7 across loads of countries worldwide, providing us with real-time info about each provider’s performance in a range of locations.
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 will simply spoof your IP address and 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 setup- you can check out our 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) is 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.
All top-tier VPN providers offer custom desktop and mobile apps, however only a handful offer decent extensions for the Chrome browser. Our top picks all boast sleek and secure Chrome extensions, that encrypt your browser traffic.
Be wary of proxy extensions that leave your personal data unencrypted – they are fine for spoofing your IP address but don’t offer much in the way of privacy.
There’s no point choosing a VPN with a super-sleek Chrome extension if bad performance is going to limit what you’re able to do online. As a general rule, the faster speeds, the better, and you should also look for low latency on local servers for a seamless browsing experience.
The nearer the VPN server to your physical location, the better the performance. A higher number of servers tends to mean less congestion and improved speeds but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Take a look at our speed test results to get the best idea, especially if you’re looking to connect to a specific country.
Do you enjoy using streaming sites such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer? Not all VPNs will work with these websites. We are continuously testing whether each VPN is working with Netflix and other popular sites, and share these results in our VPN reviews.
Most VPNs will tell you that they’re completely “zero logs” but in reality this is almost never the case. In order to deliver reliable performance across a global network, the majority of providers will need to monitor at least some connection details of their users.
The logging policy section of our reviews summarizes providers’ privacy policies and terms of service in plain English, meaning you don’t have to read through them all. Ideally you want to look for a provider that doesn’t log any personally identifying details, or even better, one that doesn’t collect any logs at all!
Most of you aren’t only going to be using a VPN with Chrome, so you need to choose a provider that offers a good range of custom apps designed for desktop and mobile. Look for a VPN with software that’s well-designed, user-friendly and powerful and you will be much more likely to use it all the time.
We share the results of our hands-on testing of each VPN app in the the Ease of Use part of its review. We spend all day testing VPN apps, so hopefully we know a thing or two.
Even the most expensive VPN plans are very affordable but you will likely have a budget in mind.
12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing a VPN with a long refund period, preferably 30 days and with no questions asked. These guarantees are much more common than traditional free trials but are essentially the same thing.