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Best VPN Extensions

Rebecca Duff
Rebecca DuffUpdated

Most popular web browsers, such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, come with a ton of inherent privacy issues that you wouldn’t be aware of without diving deep into the browser settings. This includes permissions such as being able to view all of the URLs you visit and any links you click on, as well as sharing your personal data with third parties such as advertising companies. Using a VPN extension will prevent this from happening. It’s slightly different to using a VPN’s desktop or mobile app as it will only encrypt your browser traffic, but this means less of a hit on your device’s performance.

Our top VPN extensions allow you to access all of your favorite sites through a secure, encrypted connection, saving you worrying about your online activity being tracked or monitored by your ISP. Our proprietary speed testing tool means we can monitor VPN performance in loads of different countries around the world, ensuring you won’t be disappointed if you choose one of our recommendations.

The 5 Best VPN Extensions
  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. Private Internet Access
  4. SaferVPN
  5. CyberGhost
Read on for our detailed analysis of each VPN.
Our pick for VPN Extension
ExpressVPN

Incredibly fast and ultra secure. Full-featured browser extensions. 24/7 live chat support.

Best price
$6.67 per month
Special deal
49% off 15-month plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
94 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
3
Pros
  1. Excellent speeds - 65Mbps global average
  2. Local speeds of up to 224Mbps
  3. Full-featured extensions for Chrome, Firefox & Safari
  4. Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  5. Built-in protection against WebRTC leaks
  6. Connect securely to 94 countries
Cons
  1. Limited to three simultaneous connections
  2. One-month plan is pretty expensive
Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is the only provider to offer full-featured VPN extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari browsers, sending it straight to the top spot. It’s also the best all-round performer, with quick, consistent performance both locally and internationally, making it perfect for streaming in HD on several devices at once. Access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer is another added bonus.

The browser extensions differ from those offered by other providers in that they provide exactly the same level of protection as ExpressVPN’s desktop and mobile apps. They also pack in a ton of advanced privacy features, including protection against WebRTC leaks, and a minimal logging policy means no data exists to personally identify you.

Customer support is some of the best we’ve seen with 24/7 live chat and more online resources than you’re ever likely to need. The limit of three simultaneous connections is a minor downside but unlikely to be a problem for most. There are cheaper options out there but $6.67 per month on the annual plan isn’t bad value for the premium service offered by ExpressVPN.


Read our full ExpressVPN review

2
NordVPN

Very fast zero-logs VPN. HD streaming & sleek extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Best price
$2.99 per month
Special deal
75% off with 3-year plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
62 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
6
Pros
  1. Great speeds - global average of 71Mbps
  2. Top speeds of 296Mbps connecting locally
  3. Proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox
  4. Consistent access to Netflix and iPlayer
  5. Connect securely to 62 countries
  6. Strict zero-logs policy
Cons
  1. Slow email and live chat responses
  2. Additional VPN protocols require manual config
Bottom Line

NordVPN is great for Chrome and Firefox users looking to stick to a budget, as long as you don’t mind missing out on a few of the premium features offered by ExpressVPN. Local performance is ridiculously good, peaking at 296Mbps, with international connections not far behind. It’s also one of our top picks for consistent access to popular streaming sites, including Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Nord didn’t quite make it to the top spot as it provides proxies rather than full VPN extensions. While these are still useful extra tools for browser users looking to mask their IP address, they don’t provide the same level of security as the desktop app. You will still benefit from Nord’s strict zero-logs policy, however, as well as a ton of advanced settings such as servers optimized for Double VPN.

NordVPN’s online resources are excellent, but customer support is let down by slow responses to email and live chat. However at just $2.99 per month on the three-year plan, minor downsides like this are very easy to ignore.


Read our full NordVPN review

3
Private Internet Access

Super fast, private VPN. Sleek proxy extensions. Easy access to streaming sites.

Best price
$2.91 per month
Special deal
58% off with 2-year plan
Money-back guarantee
7 Days
Customer Support
24/7 Email Support
No. of Server Locations
33 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
Pros
  1. Excellent global average speed of 89Mbps
  2. Local connections peak at 427Mbps
  3. Sleek proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox
  4. Currently working with Netflix and iPlayer
  5. Connect securely to 33 countries
  6. Unrestricted P2P and torrent use
Cons
  1. Small server network
  2. Based under US jurisdiction
  3. Old-fashioned, clunky desktop app
  4. Slow email responses
Bottom Line

Private Internet Access will appeal to those looking for raw speed, power and loads of configurable settings. Performance is some of the best we’ve ever seen in our tests, with peak speeds of up to 427Mbps down and 233Mbps up on local connections – and it’s pretty good internationally, too. Access to Netflix and iPlayer is a bit hit-and-miss but works in most cases.

The proxy extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are ideal for if you want to spoof your IP address and protect yourself on public WiFi networks but, similarly to those offered by NordVPN, they don’t offer the same level of protection as the desktop app. They do protect you against WebRTC leaks, though, which goes some way to making up for the lack of VPN kill switch. A strict zero-logs policy is another win for privacy.

Customer support on the website is good enough but we’d love to see a live chat feature in the future. The software is incredibly old-fashioned and could do with a makeover, but at the bargain price of just $2.91 per month on the two-year plan, we can imagine experienced users will be more than happy to put up with this.


Read our full Private Internet Access review

4
SaferVPN

Speedy, reliable VPN. Easy access to HD streaming. Useful proxy extensions.

Best price
$2.29 per month
Special deal
80% off with 3-year plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
34 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
Pros
  1. Consistent speeds - 48Mbps global average
  2. Useful proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox
  3. Easy access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  4. Low latency makes it ideal for gamers
  5. Connect securely to 34 countries
  6. Access to TOR over VPN
Cons
  1. Fairly small server network
  2. Falls under US jurisdiction
  3. Very limited customer service
  4. Torrenting only permitted on Netherlands server
Bottom Line

SaferVPN is best suited to those seeking a basic level of privacy without breaking the bank. Performance isn’t the best we’ve seen but is still above average in most popular locations, peaking at 236Mbps locally, however these speeds do drop off quite a bit on international connections. Optimized streaming servers make accessing Netflix and iPlayer a breeze.

The extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are proxies but will do the job if you’re just looking to hide your real IP address in order to access restricted content. It does lack some of the essential privacy features offered by the main app though, such as a VPN kill switch and protection against DNS leaks. A minimal logs policy goes some way to making up for SaferVPN’s jurisdiction in the privacy-unfriendly US.

Customer support was a mixed bag – responses to email and live chat were quick enough, but we often felt as though the support agents didn’t really understand what we were asking. The limited choice of server locations means you should probably avoid SaferVPN if you need to connect internationally on a regular basis, however at just $2.29 per month on the three-year plan it’s ideal for those looking to stream and browse on local connections.


Read our full SaferVPN review

5
CyberGhost

Fast zero-logs VPN. Great for streaming. Proxy extensions for Chrome & Firefox.

Best price
$2.75 per month
Special deal
77% off with 18-month plan
Money-back guarantee
45 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
60 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
7
Pros
  1. Global average download speed of 59Mbps
  2. Fantastic local downloads of up to 238Mbps
  3. Proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox
  4. Servers optimized for Netflix and iPlayer
  5. Connect securely to 60 countries
  6. Strict zero-logs policy
Cons
  1. Extensions limited to four countries
  2. No leak protection included
  3. Some restrictions on torrenting
Bottom Line

CyberGhost is a super fast zero-logs VPN that’s one of the cheapest options on the current market. Peak local download speeds of 238Mbps ensure a smooth, buffer-free streaming experience, even if international performance isn’t quite as impressive. Easy access to Netflix and other popular streaming services is made possible through servers optimized for HD video.

CyberGhost’s proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox only made it to fifth place as they restrict you to just four server locations – Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and the US. They also don’t provide protection against WebRTC leaks, unlike some of our other top picks, although they’re good enough for protecting your browser traffic while you’re using unsecure public WiFi networks.

Customer support now offers 24/7 live chat with friendly, helpful agents, as well as a whole host of useful online resources. It’s unfortunate that the browser extensions aren’t as sophisticated as those offered by most other top-tier providers, but for just $2.75 per month on the 18-month plan, it’s incredibly good value for money.


Read our full CyberGhost review

How we picked the best VPN Extensions for 2018

The VPN extensions we recommend here all offer a sleek, user-friendly experience on mobile as well as desktop, making them accessible to VPN newbies and experienced users alike. They excelled in our speed tests (both locally and internationally) and work for unblocking popular sites such as Netflix. They pack in loads of advanced privacy features, such as WebRTC leak protection, and have minimal logging policies to keep your personal information safe.

In order for us to provide you with the most up-to-date information possible, we test all of the VPNs on our site on a regular basis. We spend loads of time getting hands-on with the apps so we get a real idea of what they’re like to use, and even make sure there’s decent customer support available in case you encounter any issues.

How to use a VPN Extension

The first thing to decide before you begin using a VPN extension is whether you’re going to sign up for a paid subscription, or if you’ll be happy using a (usually heavily restricted) free solution. If you opt for the latter, they’re almost always proxies rather than full VPN extensions, meaning they’ll be fine for masking your true IP address but don’t offer the same level of encryption as a desktop or mobile app. Many of them also have really stingy data caps, which will really limit what you’re able to do online. If you’re willing to spend a few dollars a month you’ll be able to use the VPN on loads of different devices (as well as in your browser) and will never have to worry about running out of bandwidth.

Once you’ve settled on a VPN, installing it in your browser couldn’t be easier. In most cases you can download the relevant extension from your provider’s website, but if the VPN you’ve chosen is browser-only, you’ll be able to download it from the Chrome Web Store or Firefox Add-ons Store. Should you need any more help, check out our guides to installing a VPN on Chrome and Firefox browsers.

After that, using a VPN extension is pretty much the same as using it on any other platform. Simply select a location and you’ll appear to be connecting out from that country – for the best possible performance, you should choose one close to your physical location. The majority of VPNs will automatically do this for you, usually called your ‘optimal connection’.

When you’re connected to your chosen VPN server, carry on browsing the web as you usually would, safe in the knowledge that you’re not being tracked or monitored. If your VPN provider offers any extra privacy features, such as a VPN kill switch or protection against WebRTC leaks, make sure you turn these on to ensure there’s no risk of your true IP address being leaked. Just remember that any apps you open outside of your browser (Netflix, Spotify etc.) won’t be protected by the VPN connection, so if you want to encrypt this traffic you’re better off using the desktop app.

How to choose a VPN Extension: 8 Tips

  • Is it compatible with your favorite browser?

    Only a handful of providers offer decent extensions for multiple browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari, as well as custom apps for desktop and mobile. Our top recommendations all provide sleek, user-friendly extensions at least for Chrome and Firefox.

  • Is it a VPN or a proxy extension?

    Be aware of the difference between full VPN and proxy extensions proxies are designed to mask your true IP address rather than provide a high level of protection, whereas true VPN extensions will offer the same level of privacy as the desktop app.

  • Does it offer fast, consistent performance?

    You need to be sure that the VPN extension you choose isn’t going to have too much of an adverse effect on your device’s performance. Generally, the faster the speeds the better, and keep an eye out for low latency on local connections for a lag-free browsing experience.

  • Does it have servers in the locations you need?

    In order to get the best possible performance, you’ll need to choose a VPN server close to your physical location. Most of our top picks offer the same number of server locations you can access through their man apps, however there are a couple that reduce this number if you’re just using the browser extension. Take a look at our speed test results to get the best idea, especially if you’re looking to connect to a particular country.

  • Will it unblock your favorite sites?

    There’s not much point in choosing a user-friendly, speedy VPN extension if you’re not going to be able to access the websites you use on a regular basis. Not all providers will work with popular streaming sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer, so check out our VPN reviews to find out which ones do.

  • What is its logging policy?

    A lot of VPN providers falsely claim to be ‘zero logs’ but the reality is, delivering reliable performance across a global server network usually requires providers to monitor at least some basic connection statistics. The logging policy section in our reviews explains providers’ privacy policies in plain English, saving you from reading through them all. In an ideal world, you want to choose a provider that doesn’t log any personally identifying information, or even better, one that doesn’t collect any logs at all.

  • Are there user-friendly apps available for other devices?

    Chances are, you’re not just going to want to use a VPN in your browser, so look for a provider that also offers a decent range of custom apps for desktop and mobile devices. If you choose a software that’s user-friendly you’re more likely to use it on a regular basis we share the results of our hands-on testing in the Ease of Use part of each app’s review.

  • Finally, check the price and money-back guarantee

    Even top-tier VPN plans are very affordable but you probably have a budget in mind. Plans that are 12 months or longer tend to offer the best value for money and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing a VPN with a generous refund period, preferably 30 days with no questions asked. These types of guarantee are much more common than free trials but are essentially the same thing.