5 Best VPN Chrome Extensions in 2018 (that actually work!)
Extensions can make your browser that much better. But when it’s private, secure surfing we’re talking about, there are plenty of shady addons and plugins around.
You don’t have to get burnt by a sub-par, borderline-scam VPN extension. You can easily find a reliable sidekick that will keep your surfing safe and allow you to get past geoblocks — in fact, they’re right here.
We tested the best VPN extensions for Chrome, based on several important criteria like depth, security, speed, and ease of use. In this article, you’ll find the top five picks.
Here’s a short summary — we go into more detail below:
NordVPN is more of a proxy extension — meaning it cares about browser traffic only — but it comes with an arsenal of features.
Huge server choice, amazing speeds, WebRTC leak protection, and tools for malware/adware are just some of the great value you’re getting with Nord’s Chrome extension. Read more
ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension is the closest thing to a full-fledged VPN for your browser because it works in tandem with the desktop client.
Don’t worry — split tunneling allows you to select Chrome traffic exclusively. This is also the fastest VPN on the list, complete with excellent unblocking and a wide array of handy features. Read more
PIA for Chrome is the most bang for your buck if you’re on a budget.
You get a dependable extension, equipped with all the necessary bells and whistles for secure and anonymous browsing, at an amazing price. It struggles with unblocking here and there, but it’s great privacy at a bargain. Read more
SaferVPN’s Chrome extension is perfect for beginners — its free version (500 MB bandwidth limit) is great for trying out a well-designed browser proxy.
It does little for your privacy as it doesn’t encrypt traffic, but if speed and unblocking are your priorities, SaferVPN has you covered. Read more
ZenMate is by no means the best overall VPN, but its Chrome extension is pretty capable. Plus, it’s completely free, unless you want Premium.
You’ll have to work with some limits — still, ZenMate is one of the better extensions out there. Read more
If you want an in-depth look at each of the top five VPNs, it’s coming up in a hot second!
Here’s Why You Want a Solid Chrome VPN Extension
If you’re looking at VPN extensions for Chrome, you want one (or all) of these:
- Secure, anonymous browsing
- Minimized exposure to hackers/prying eyes
- Effortless content unblocking with great speeds to match
Finding the right tool for the job is difficult enough in Chrome’s Webstore which is full of extensions.
But there’s another thing to consider:
If you want true VPN capabilities from your extension, avoid standalone apps at all costs. At best, they are simple proxies with no real added value; at worst, they come with a host of issues of their own, including questionable logging policies, connection sharing with other users, and more.
The worthwhile picks are not only extensions for Chrome, but extensions of a full-fledged VPN itself — they can act like proxies (hiding your IP address for browser traffic), or they can encrypt all data and re-route it through their servers in true VPN fashion.
In any case, they have what it takes to be your ultimate Chrome VPN extension, with a lot of features and excellent performance to show for it.
2018’s Best Chrome VPN Extensions — the Full Scoop
Best VPN proxy extension
NordVPN’s Chrome extension is lightweight and compact, but don’t let that fool you — it’s a powerhouse.
You get a ton of extras, like 2,800+ servers, CyberSec functionality that makes ads and malware a thing of the past, and a simple menu.
You can also bypass censorship and geoblocks with impressive speeds. Nord recently introduced huge upgrades to its servers, and it’s now with the fastest of the bunch. Whether it’s the Great Firewall or Netflix, you won’t have unblocking issues with this extension.
The cherry on top is the built-in WebRTC blocker. Although you can deal with WebRTC and its leaking habits via Google’s own extension, you can save yourself the trouble by using NordVPN’s interface.
NordVPN also has a 30-day money-back guarantee — you have a whole month to test this VPN out for yourself and get a refund!
Do keep in mind that NordVPN’s Chrome extension is a proxy. As such, it’s strictly related to Chrome traffic. Any outside activities, like torrenting or Skype, will need the desktop client to be launched.
Did we mention NordVPN has amazing mobile VPN apps as well? If you’re looking for better privacy on your Android or iOS device, definitely give this VPN a go — we recommend it.
Most feature-packed VPN extension
ExpressVPN is a crowd favorite on the VPN scene, and for good reason. Its Chrome extension doesn’t disappoint, with great features directed at both privacy and connection speed.
By contrast with Nord, ExpressVPN’s extension behaves like a true VPN — but it won’t work without the desktop client in the background.
If you’re thinking the entirety of your Internet traffic is going to be encrypted with this extension, don’t worry. ExpressVPN has split tunneling — what this means is you can choose which apps are under the VPN’s umbrella, and which don’t need it.
We mentioned speed — ExpressVPN is one of the fastest providers in the industry, and it will have you watching geoblocked content with zero buffering or annoying page lag. Its huge variety of servers (1,500+) includes specific locations for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other popular streaming services, so you’re covered on that front.
Add to these a sleek interface, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection — it’s no surprise that ExpressVPN is a popular choice among users.
There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee you can make use of. What’s not to like?
Best price for quality
PIA has made a name for itself as one of the most dependable VPNs you can get (they even won an award for it).
Its Chrome extension is no different — while it’s more of a proxy, its focus is on full privacy for your browser.
You won’t need PIA’s desktop client running, either. The extension is perfectly capable of running separately.
We don’t like to reduce VPNs to a mere price tag, but it’s worth pointing out that PIA is one of the most affordable providers out there. This doesn’t mean it’s strapped for features — you get over 3,200 servers, a tried-and-true zero logging policy, gateway sorting by latency, WebRTC blocking, and more, all packed into a clean, minimalistic interface.
Content unblocking isn’t the best, however — speed isn’t an issue, but sought-after services like Netflix might give you trouble. Our advice? If accessibility is on the top of your list, you might want to look somewhere else.
But if you’re in the market for a reliable, no-frills VPN that will keep your Chrome sessions safe for pocket change, you’re looking at it.
You also get a 7-day money-back guarantee — neat!
Best for beginners
If you’re looking to try how a VPN feels on Chrome without committing to a subscription, SaferVPN’s extension is a great choice.
Although there is a paid version (with many awesome features), just by signing up you get 500MB of SaferVPN for free every month!
You won’t get to binge on US Netflix or anything, but at least you’ll see if you can unblock it. And SaferVPN does a splendid job there — it’s fast, versatile, and reliable as far as content unblocking goes.
SaferVPN’s Chrome extension works akin to a proxy. However, keep in mind that it doesn’t encrypt your traffic, so your security will be less than ideal. If you want to be truly protected, stick to using SaferVPN’s desktop client.
All in all, this extension is perfect for first-timers, all with an easy-to-use menu that won’t have you scratching your head. But there are better options out there if you’re looking for a good balance between privacy and security for Chrome.
If you want to try the full SaferVPN package, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee. Test it out — you have a whole month to get refunded!
Best free alternative
If you were hoping for a free VPN extension for Chrome, here it is. ZenMate has a full-time version you don’t have to pay for — but it is limited.
Regardless, it’s a pretty decent addon for your browser. Since ZenMate’s extension works in tandem with the desktop VPN, it offers the full array of (stripped) features. However, unlike ExpressVPN, it doesn’t come with split tunneling, so you can’t limit the encrypted traffic to Chrome only.
ZenMate Premium gives you servers in 30 countries — with the free version, this number is dramatically lower. It’s still alright for basic unblocking, but don’t expect to get past Netflix.
There’s also SmartPrice — for some, it’s a nifty feature that can save you money as you shop online, but others view it as unnecessary adware. We’ll just say it’s a bit surprising for a VPN to offer such a feature, and leave it at that.
Other than that, you get a simple and intuitive menu to work with. If you end up liking ZenMate, you can always go Premium — the 14-day money-back guarantee has you covered.
Make Chrome Better with the Best VPN Extensions
While we recommend going the safe route and using dedicated VPN clients, these extensions are exceptions to the rule. Whether it’s anonymity, unblocking, or a healthy balance of both you’re looking for, you’ll find it here.
Don’t hesitate to share this article if you found it useful! We’d also like to hear from you — what extension are you using for Chrome and what do you love about it? Let us know in the comments.