5 Best VPN Chrome Extensions in 2023 — All Fast, Some Free!
- The Best VPN Chrome Extensions – Full Analysis (Updated February 2023)
- ExpressVPN — Overall Best Chrome Extension for Streaming and Safety
- CyberGhost — A Reliable VPN Extension for Chrome with Excellent Speeds
- Private Internet Access — Unique Features for Added Privacy With Chrome
- ZenMate — Streaming-Optimized Servers to Easily Bypass Geoblocks in Chrome
- Hotspot Shield — Catapult Hydra Protocol for Smooth Streaming and Browsing
- Quick Comparison Table: VPN Chrome Extension Features
- Tips on How to Choose the Best VPN Chrome Extension
- Quick Guide: How to Set Up a VPN Chrome Extension in 3 Easy Steps
- VPN Browser Extension vs. VPN App — Which One is Better for Chrome?
- FAQs on the Best VPN Chrome Extensions
- Get the Best VPN Chrome Extension Today
Some VPN extensions for Chrome lack important security features while others are unable to get past geoblocks due to their limited server networks. Even those that do work sometimes restrict bandwidth, making them too slow. Some even expose you to adware and malware, so a wrong choice can do more harm than good.
I tested dozens of VPN extensions to find the best ones for Chrome and ranked them based on speeds, security, server network, and ability to unblock geo-restricted sites. Overall, I found that using a VPN app is the most reliable option because it protects your entire device rather than just your Chrome traffic (and with stronger encryption).
That being said, ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension is my top pick because it’s essentially a “remote control” for the app itself. It has the convenience of an extension but protects your whole device without limitations and with top encryption. You can try ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension completely risk-free since it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with it, you can get a full refund.
Short on Time? Here Are the Best VPN Chrome Extensions in February 2023
- ExpressVPN — Ultra-fast speeds for streaming, solid security to keep your data safe, and a worldwide server network to unblock sites.
- CyberGhost — A free and reliable extension to access geo-restricted content. However, it only offers servers in 4 countries.
- Private Internet Access — A built-in feature to block ads and malware, and WebRTC leak protection to hide your real IP address. However, it wasn’t the best at unblocking streaming sites.
- ZenMate — Streaming-optimized servers to give you reliable access to platforms, but the free version gave me really slow speeds.
- Hotspot Shield — Catapult Hydra protocol for fast connections, and excellent security features. However, the free version only gives you 500 MB of data per day.
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- Lightning-fast connections
- 3,000+ servers in 94+ countries
- Military-grade encryption and WebRTC leak protection
- Unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
- Compatible with: Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more
ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension uses the same servers as its app does, and its extensive network makes it easy to get past geoblocks. To put this to the test, I tried it with Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. I connected to the Washington server, and it gave me instant access to both platforms. The download speed was 55 Mbps, which is impressive because you only need 5 Mbps for HD streaming. This let me watch Dopesick on Hulu without interruptions.
The extension offers top-notch security features, too. Since it acts as a remote control for the app itself, it protects your data with the same level of security: AES 256-bit military-grade encryption, which is practically impenetrable. Plus, RAM-only servers and its verified no-logs policy ensure that no logs are being kept.
There are also several extra features that you don’t get with ExpressVPN’s app. Its Chrome extension has WebRTC leak protection to prevent websites you visit from discovering your true location. HTTPS Everywhere automatically connects you to the more secure HTTPS version of websites, too. This ensures that you’ll have an extra safe browsing session.
Unlike many other Chrome extensions, it has the capabilities of a VPN app. This means that the extension protects your whole device — not just browser traffic. You can easily access all the features of the app straight from Chrome. For example, if you want to protect browser traffic alone, you can use the split-tunneling feature. However, in order for the extension to work, you have to install the VPN client on your device first.
The only minor con I found with ExpressVPN is that it’s a bit expensive — the cheapest plan is $6.67/month. However, that wasn’t a problem for me since it usually offers generous discounts throughout the year. I managed to get it for 49% off when I signed up for 12 months. Plus, I got 3 extra months for free. Considering all the plans come with the same features, the long-term plans offer better value.
You can also try ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension risk-free since it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not impressed, you can get all your money back. To test out the refund process, I contacted support through the 24/7 live chat feature. I only had to answer a couple of questions about my user experience, and they approved my request right away. The money was back in my account after 3 days.
- Fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth
- Servers in 4 countries
- WebRTC leak protection and a strict no-logs policy
- Unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, and more
- Compatible with: Chrome, Firefox, Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more
CyberGhost’s free VPN Chrome extension has excellent speeds and unlimited bandwidth. To see how fast it really is, I tested Netherlands, US, and Romania locations and found an average download speed of 25 Mbps. This allowed me to watch YouTube videos in HD without issues. You won’t encounter any buffering while watching your favorite movies or streaming in Chrome.
With reliable servers in 4 countries, you can access geo-restricted content hassle-free. During my tests, it reliably unblocked Netflix US, Hulu, Disney+, and more. With its US server, I was able to binge-watch Lucifer on Netflix completely free from interruptions. I didn’t experience any connection drops throughout the stream.
The extension is free, easy to use, and offers good security and privacy features to keep you safe online. While testing, I found no IP leaks whatsoever, which was impressive. Moreover, CyberGhost has a strict no-logs policy, meaning none of your data will be collected or stored.
That being said, the free extension isn’t as safe as using CyberGhost’s VPN app. It doesn’t offer military-grade encryption, only secures browser traffic, and doesn’t have any customizable security features. It also only has 4 server locations. To put that into perspective, you get 91 server locations, full device protection, and plenty of world-class security features with the VPN app when you sign up for CyberGhost. Therefore, it’s better to install the VPN client for maximum protection while using Chrome.
Prices are reasonable — you can get a subscription for just $2.19/month when you sign up for 2 years. Monthly plans come at a significantly higher price than yearly plans but have all the same features. So, you get better value with a long-term plan. Plus, if you sign up for longer than 6 months, you get a 45-day money-back guarantee as opposed to a 14-day refund guarantee.
You can try the full CyberGhost app for free using its generous 45-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, you can get a refund within that period. To put this to the test, I contacted the 24/7 live chat support. After a brief conversation about my experience with the service, the support rep approved my request. The refund was issued after 4 days.
- Fast connections and unlimited bandwidth
- Servers in 45+ locations
- A built-in ad blocker and WebRTC leak protection
- Unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more
- Compatible with: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more
PIA’s Chrome extension has unique security features to bolster your privacy while browsing. It allows you to block camera, location, and microphone access on your device. You can also disable third-party cookies, website referrers, credit card autofill, UTM parameters, and more. I didn’t come across another VPN Chrome extension with so many features during my tests.
For added security, there’s also WebRTC blocking to prevent IP leaks and HTTPS Everywhere to block you from accessing the unsecured HTTP versions of sites. In addition, the MACE feature blocks ads and malware, letting you browse safely. I tested this feature by visiting ad-heavy websites, including HuffPost. It blocked most of the ads on the page, and I didn’t have to deal with annoying popups.
The browser extension offers servers in 45+ locations that reliably bypass geoblocks. I tested 14 different servers around the world and could connect to all of them in under 5 seconds. The New York server easily unblocked Netflix US, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.
Although the extension has some really cool features, I found that it’s not as safe as PIA’s VPN app. It only protects your traffic within the browser and doesn’t offer the same level of encryption as the app itself. Therefore, it’s best to use PIA’s Chrome extension in conjunction with the VPN app for full protection.
PIA offers both monthly and yearly plans, but long-term plans are more affordable. With its 36-month plan, I got my subscription for just $2.19/month. Monthly plans come with the same features but are more expensive. So, it’s better to stick to long-term plans.
In addition, you can try PIA’s Chrome extension for free as it’s backed by a generous money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you have 30 days to claim a full refund. To test this guarantee, I reached out to support via email and asked for my money back. The agent asked why I wanted to cancel but quickly approved my request once I gave my reason. I got my money back in 5 days.
- 4,800+ servers in 81+ countries, including specialty streaming servers
- Good connection speeds and unlimited bandwidth
- Built-in malware blocker and a strict no-logs policy
- Unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, and more
- Compatible with: Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more
ZenMate’s Chrome extension offers streaming-optimized servers to easily unblock streaming platforms. These come in handy when you can’t get past tough geoblocks. During my tests, I tried its specialty server for Netflix US and was able to access the site in under 10 seconds. The connection was reliable — I watched The Vampire Diaries for 3 hours and didn’t face any problems.
The paid Chrome extension comes with good privacy and security features to protect your data. It offers AES 128-bit encryption to protect you from cyber threats. The built-in tracking blocker stops third parties from tracking your online activity, and the malware blocker prevents malicious sites from being loaded on your browser. WebRTC leak protection ensures that there are no unwanted IP leaks.
ZenMate offers both free and premium Chrome extensions. The free version only has 4 server locations and doesn’t offer streaming-optimized servers. On the plus side, it still unblocked US Netflix when I tested it, but I did experience some buffering. ZenMate Pro comes with streaming servers and some extra security features like Smart Location and Stealth Connection.
However, even the premium extension doesn’t have an automatic kill switch, and you can’t choose the VPN protocol. And unlike ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension, it doesn’t protect your whole device, either. However, you can upgrade to ZenMate Ultimate to overcome these issues.
Yearly plans offer the best value for money. For ZenMate Pro (which is only a browser extension), you’ll pay from $1.99/month. A ZenMate Ultimate subscription will cost you $1.99/month when you sign up for 3 years. Either way, monthly plans are more expensive but have all the same features. Therefore, you can save up with its long-term plan.
You can also try ZenMate for free using its 30-day money-back guarantee. It’s available with all paid plans. Curious about this, I contacted support via email and asked for a refund. The rep approved my request after a quick chat. I had my money back within 6 days.
- Fast connection speeds
- Servers in 80+ countries
- Built-in ad-blocker and WebRTC leak protection
- Unblocks: Netflix and more
- Compatible with: Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more
Hotspot Shield offers its proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol to minimize latency issues, especially over long-distance connections. During my tests, I connected to its US, Canada, and UK servers. The speeds never dropped below 18 Mbps, which is impressive because you only need 5 Mbps for HD streaming. I watched 5 episodes of Schitt’s Creek on Netflix US without buffering.
It has excellent security and privacy features. The extension comes with built-in ad and tracker blockers, which disables ads and prevents snooping. I tested this while browsing BuzzFeed, and it blocked all the ads on the pages I visited. I also had faster loading times and didn’t have to worry about adware.
Hotspot Shield offers a free extension as well, but it’s quite limited. You only get 1 server location based in the US, and you’re stuck with a 500 MB daily data limit, which is only enough to stream in SD for about 30 minutes. Comparatively, the paid version offers servers in 80+ countries and doesn’t impose data limits.
However, even the upgraded browser extension is limited. There’s also no kill switch. However, you get 1,800 servers, full device protection, and important features like an automatic kill switch when you upgrade to its VPN app.
Hotspot Shield is a bit expensive — the minimum you’ll end up paying is $2.99/month. However, you can get up to 77% off your subscription when you sign up for a yearly plan. Since you get the same features with all the plans, long-term subscriptions make more sense economically.
If you’re not ready to commit, you can try Hotspot Shield risk-free using its 45-day money-back guarantee. After using the service for a couple of weeks, I contacted support via the 24/7 live chat feature and requested a refund. They asked me why I wanted to leave. After I gave my reason, the refund request was approved. The money was back in my account after 7 days.
The table below compares the features of all my recommended Chrome VPNs. Here, you can see each VPN Chrome extension’s lowest price and whether it comes with a free version, and whether or not it offers military-grade encryption and WebRTC leak protection. I’ve also included the streaming platforms each VPN extension can unblock.
Tips on How to Choose the Best VPN Chrome Extension
With so many options to choose from, finding a reliable VPN extension for Chrome can be a bit of a challenge. This is the criteria I used when ranking these VPN Chrome extensions. The following are the things you can also look out for when choosing one:
- Fast speeds. Choose a VPN extension that offers fast speeds. This way, you can stream content in high-quality without any lag. All the extensions on the list have average speeds of at least 15 Mbps (3 times the requirement for HD streaming).
- Large server network. Go with an extension that has tons of servers worldwide. This allows you to switch to a different server if you encounter slow speeds. The extensions (and their VPN apps) I’ve recommended above have plenty of servers to choose from.
- Streaming support. Pick a service that can consistently unblock streaming platforms such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more. This way, you can access more geo-restricted content from anywhere.
- Solid security and privacy. Look for a VPN Chrome extension that has strong security features. This includes military-grade encryption, WebRTC leak protection, and a strict no-logs policy. Built-in ad blockers are also helpful. This ensures a safe browsing experience.
- Unlimited bandwidth. You want a service that has unlimited bandwidth. This way, you can binge-watch your favorite shows without interruption. All the extensions on the list have unlimited bandwidth.
Quick Guide: How to Set Up a VPN Chrome Extension in 3 Easy Steps
- Get a VPN that offers a Chrome extension. I recommend ExpressVPN for Chrome because it has ultra-fast speeds, industry-leading security, and a vast server network.
- Add the extension to your browser. Go to the Chrome Web Store, and find the VPN extension. Then, click “Add to Chrome”.
- Secure your connection. Log in to your account (if necessary), connect to a server, and you’re all set!
VPN Browser Extension vs. VPN App — Which One is Better for Chrome?
If you’re just looking to spoof your location and access blocked sites, then a VPN extension can be an excellent choice. It hides your IP address and secures your online connection. However, an extension only works within the browser. This means that if you leave your browser and start using another app, your connection will be unsecured.
Moreover, most VPN extensions are quite limited. They do not offer the same level of security as a VPN app, have fewer servers, and are vulnerable to WebRTC leaks. ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension is the only one on this list that has all the same features as its full-fledged VPN app.
If you’re concerned about your online privacy and security, a VPN app is a better choice for you. A VPN app is a computer program that routes all your device’s traffic through an encrypted virtual tunnel. It extends to your entire network, meaning everything you do on the internet is protected (not just your browser).
While browser extensions usually only offer a handful of server locations, you get tons of servers with an app. This gives you more control over which server you want to connect to. Also, this makes unblocking streaming platforms easier since you can switch to a different server if the one you’re connected to doesn’t work.
Furthermore, you get advanced features that most extensions don’t offer. This includes an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, split tunneling, multiple security protocols, and the highest levels of encryption.
FAQs on the Best VPN Chrome Extensions
Are VPN extensions for Chrome more secure than incognito mode?
Yes. Incognito mode only prevents your browsing history and cookies from being stored. It doesn’t hide your IP address or encrypt your data. This means that your activity can still be tracked by your ISP, employer, or the websites you visit.
On the other hand, a reliable VPN extension hides your IP address and encrypts your data. This means that your browsing sessions are kept private since it looks like you’re browsing Chrome from another location.
Are there VPN Chrome extensions for Android and iOS?
Unfortunately, no. There are no Chrome extensions for Android and iOS. If you want to protect your Android and iOS devices, it’s better to use a VPN app anyway — then your whole device is protected (not just your browser traffic). All of the VPN Chrome extensions in this list also offer full VPN clients for Android and iOS.
Does Google Chrome have a built-in VPN?
No, Google Chrome doesn’t have a built-in VPN. It does have incognito mode, which keeps your browsing history from being stored, but it doesn’t offer the same protection as a VPN extension. A VPN extension will change your IP address and encrypt your browsing data so no third party can relate that data to you personally.
There are many third-party extensions available, and I’ve shortlisted the best VPN extensions for Chrome. They’re all easy to install and safe to use. Plus, a couple of them are even free!
What are the best free VPN Chrome extensions?
CyberGhost, Zenmate, and Hotspot Shield offer free VPN Chrome extensions, and they’re all good. They spoof your location, prevent WebRTC leaks, and offer decent security. However, they do not protect your traffic outside Chrome and are not as safe as their respective VPN clients. They also only offer a few server locations, so your speeds can slow down because of overcrowding.
A full VPN app protects your whole device, offers greater customization and advanced security features, and has plenty of servers to choose from. So, it’s better to pair a VPN extension with a VPN client for the best protection and reliability.
Will a VPN Chrome extension protect me from WebRTC leaks?
Some VPN extensions offer WebRTC leak protection, but not all of them do. Therefore, it’s important to choose a service that has this feature built-in so that you don’t accidentally expose your IP address to an external website, person, or service.
I didn’t experience any WebRTC leaks with any of the Chrome extensions in this list, so they are all safe options.
Get the Best VPN Chrome Extension Today
Using a VPN Chrome extension can increase your online security and help you access geo-blocked sites. However, many VPN extensions for Chrome don’t offer great security, while others come with slow speeds and only offer a few servers.
All the Chrome extensions shortlisted above are good options. However, ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension is the best because it offers ultra-fast speeds and protects your device with the same level of security as its VPN app. You can even try ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, you can easily get all your money back.
To summarize, the best VPN Chrome Extensions in February 2023 are…
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VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.