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Best VPN Extensions

Rebecca Duff
By Rebecca DuffUpdated

Even the most popular web browsers, like 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.

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 it’s a useful extra for heavy browser users.

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.

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

Fantastic all-round VPN with full-featured browser extensions.

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. Full-featured extensions for Chrome, Firefox & Safari
  2. Excellent speeds - 64Mbps global average
  3. Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  4. Protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks
  5. Connect securely to 94 countries
  6. Minimal logging
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 extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari browsers, sending it straight to the top spot.

The browser extensions differ from those offered by other providers in that they work alongside the desktop apps to encrypt traffic across all your device’s applications, offering full protection.

They also pack in a ton of advanced privacy features, including a VPN kill switch and protection against WebRTC leaks. A minimal logging policy means no data exists to personally identify you.


Read our full ExpressVPN review

2
NordVPN

Super speedy zero-logs VPN with handy proxy extensions for Chrome & Firefox.

Best price
$2.99 per month
Special deal
75% off 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. Proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox
  2. Great speeds - global average of 67Mbps
  3. Consistent access to Netflix and iPlayer
  4. Connect securely to 62 countries
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
Cons
  1. Browser extensions are (encrypted) proxies
  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.

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 heavy browser users looking to mask their IP address, they only encrypt browser traffic.

You will still benefit from Nord’s strict zero-logs policy, however, as well as a ton of advanced settings on the rest of the custom apps, such as servers optimized for Double VPN.


Read our full NordVPN review

3
Surfshark

New zero-logs VPN with secure Chrome & Firefox extensions.

Best price
$1.99 per month
Special deal
83% off 2-year plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 Live chat support
No. of Server Locations
50 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
Unlimited
Pros
  1. Secure proxy extensions for Chrome & Firefox
  2. Reliable speeds on local and more distant connections
  3. Easy access to Netflix and iPlayer
  4. Connect securely to 50 countries
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
Cons
  1. Browser extensions are (encrypted) proxies
  2. Performance isn’t as fast as our top picks
Bottom Line

Surfshark is a new VPN on the market and it has impressed us with its range of sleek custom apps. Secure Chrome and Firefox proxy extensions are an added bonus.

The extensions offer Integrated WebRTC blocking and a ‘CleanWeb’ tool which aims to block ads, trackers, and malware. A strict zero-logs policy is a huge privacy plus.

Cybersecurity firm Cure53 recently conducted a security audit of the extensions and Surfshark passed with flying colors.


Read our full Surfshark review

4
Private Internet Access

Incredibly fast VPN with proxy extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Best price
$2.91 per month
Special deal
58% off 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. Sleek proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox
  2. Excellent global average speed of 84Mbps
  3. Access to Netflix
  4. Server network covers 33 countries
  5. Zero-logs policy
Cons
  1. Browser extensions are (encrypted) proxies
  2. Fairly small server network
Bottom Line

Private Internet Access will appeal to those looking for raw speed, power and loads of configurable settings – with the added bonus of Chrome and Firefox proxy extensions.

The extensions are ideal 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, and a strict zero-logs policy is another win for privacy.

You can’t connect to as many locations as our other top picks, though, with just 33 countries in total.


Read our full Private Internet Access review

5
KeepSolid VPN Unlimited

Beginner-friendly VPN with proxy extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Best price
$1.39 per month
Special deal
94% off with 3-year plan
Money-back guarantee
7 Days
Customer Support
24/7 Email support
No. of Server Locations
54 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
Pros
  1. Proxy extensions for Firefox, Chrome, and Opera
  2. Peak local download speeds of up to 57Mbps
  3. Easy access to Netflix and iPlayer
  4. Connect securely to 54 countries
Cons
  1. Browser extensions are (encrypted) proxies
  2. Based in the privacy-unfriendly US
Bottom Line

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited is aimed at VPN newbies, and it comes with streamlined browser extensions for both Firefox and Chrome.

The extensions include WebRTC leak blocking, but like the other proxies on this list, they only encrypt browser traffic.

More privacy-conscious users may be put off by its US jurisdiction, though, and the fact that it also temporarily collects your IP address.


Read our full KeepSolid VPN Unlimited review

How We Picked the Best VPN Extensions for 2019

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.

If you’d rather get yourself the total protection granted by a full VPN without the financial commitment, you can find our top recommendations in our roundup of the Best Free VPNs of 2019.

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 that mask your true IP address but encrypt traffic. 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 then check out our guides: How to Install a VPN on Chrome and How to Install a VPN on Firefox.

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).

Just remember that any apps you open outside of your browser (Netflix, Spotify etc.) won’t be protected by the browser extension, 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.

  • Does it encrypt your browser traffic?

    Aside from ExpressVPN, our top picks are proxy extensions that only encrypt your browser traffic, meaning that the rest of your device’s apps (e.g. Spotify) are left unprotected.

    Beware though – some proxy extensions don’t even do that, instead, they just spoof your IP address, leaving your browser traffic unencrypted.

    To find out the difference between VPNs and proxies, check out our helpful guide.

  • 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.