While Google Chrome is a firm favorite among internet users, it’s one of the worst web browsers for the privacy-conscious. However, there are a handful of privacy-focused internet browsers that offer built-in VPN services to stop third parties from snooping on your browsing activities.
While VPN browsers are easy to set up and use, they don’t offer the same level of protection as a desktop or mobile VPN app does. If you are looking for the most effective way to stay safe online, check out our roundup of the best VPNs services.
Opera offers a built-in VPN service for its Chromium-based desktop browser (for Windows, MacOS, and Linux) and custom Android app. It has also recently released a VPN browser designed with gamers in mind called Opera GX.
The VPN comes free with the browser software and users can choose between servers in three regions worldwide: America (server in the US), Asia (Singapore), and Europe (the Netherlands).
Opera’s VPN secures traffic with 256-bit encryption and blocks WebRTC leaks. The VPN doesn’t log any data “related to your browsing activity and originating network address.”
In addition to the built-in VPN, Opera’s browser offers an ad blocker and private browsing that clears browsing history, items in cache, and cookies when you close all private windows.
Epic Browser is one of the best browsers for privacy and it comes with a built-in ‘VPN’ – technically, it’s an encrypted proxy – that gives you access to eight global server locations and protects against WebRTC leaks.
Epic Browser is available for Microsoft Windows and MacOS, and its encrypted proxy doesn’t “store usage or other data.”
The open-sourced browser defaults to “extreme privacy” mode which keeps no record of your browser history, stops DNS prefetching, and disallows third-party cookies. Epic Browser also has ad- and tracker-blocking features too.
You can organize your tabs into ‘Zones’, which allows you to connect to different server locations for each group of tabs at the same time. You could be streaming US TV shows on one tab while browsing Singapore-only content on another.
Not only does Tenta’s VPN browser include an ad blocker and first-party DNS servers, but it also refrains from collecting personally identifiable VPN logs and snooping on your browsing activities.
Tenta also provides a premium VPN service, for those who are willing to pay, which encrypts internet data device-wide, rather than just browser traffic.
What Is a VPN Browser?
A VPN browser is a web browser that includes a built-in VPN. Unlike regular VPNs, browser VPNs only encrypt internet traffic within your browser, leaving traffic from other apps unprotected.
Are VPN Browsers Free?
All of the VPN browsers we have recommended are free to download and use. Tenta does offer a premium VPN subscription, but you can use the basic browser VPN free of charge.
If you’re looking to encrypt all your internet traffic free of charge, check out our top recommendations for free VPNs here.
Does Chrome Have a VPN Browser?
No, Google Chrome doesn’t come with a built-in VPN. Neither does Mozilla Firefox or Safari.
You can use a third-party VPN browser extension or add-on with Google Chrome or any other supported browser to encrypt browser traffic.
VPN Browsers vs. VPN Browser Extensions vs. Device-Wide VPN: Which Is the Safest Option?
For the highest level of online protection and security, we recommend using a desktop or mobile VPN app – this is a device-wide VPN, meaning that it provides full encryption.
While the above VPN browser services protect browser traffic, they leave internet traffic from other apps unencrypted and exposed.
Some VPN services offer browser extensions or add-ons that can accompany the desktop app. These VPN extensions are similar in nature to the built-in browser VPNs listed above in that they encrypt browser traffic only but they can often be used alongside the main VPN app for full encryption.
When used alongside their desktop counterparts, VPN browser extensions offer protection against browser vulnerabilities such as WebRTC leaks, and you can be sure that all the rest of the internet traffic flowing through your device is encrypted too.
Our top pick for VPN browser extensions is ExpressVPN, which offers add-ons for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. These add-ons work in tandem with the desktop app for device-wide protection.
Device-wide VPNs often come with extra privacy and security features that VPN browsers leave out, such as a VPN kill switch which blocks internet traffic in the event of a sudden VPN connection drop.
How Do I Add a VPN Extension to My Browser?
Adding a VPN extension to your browser is quick and simple. Just search for the VPN on your browser’s add-ons store and download it. You might need to log into the browser extension before you connect.
If you want to follow step-by-step instructions, read our How to Install a VPN Extension guide.
Are There VPN Browsers for iPhone?
There are no VPN browsers that we recommend for iOS. You should use a device-wide VPN to protect your iPhone or iPad instead.
You can read our roundup of the best VPNs for iPhone here.