Browser extensions with VPN features are a perfect gateway to first-time VPN use, whether through an app or installing VPN on a router. They don’t require a long installation process, can be found for free, and are extremely easy to use. That makes them convenient for occasional or short-term use to hide your IP address and location. However, you should know that they often lack advanced features present in desktop and mobile apps. Also, to help everyone find a perfect fit, we’ll showcase a mix of paid-for and free browser extensions with a VPN. With that said, here are the best VPN browser extensions.
We already reviewed NordVPN, demonstrated how to add NordVPN to Chrome, and often include it on top of many best VPN lists. That remains unchanged because NordVPN truly has the best value for money. By this, we mean identity and location masking by hiding your real IP address, 5500+ servers in 59 countries, military-grade, AES-256-GCM encryption, and strict zero-log policy. You can also expect great VPN speeds, an ad/tracker/malware blocking feature called CyberSec, the ability to bypass VPN blocks online, and up to 6 simultaneous VPN connections. We can’t forget 24/7 customer support, affordable pricing, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN browser extension isn’t standalone but acts as a remote control for the ExpressVPN apps for Windows, Mac, or Linux that we reviewed. This adds a host of additional security features that VPN browser extensions don’t usually have. We’re talking about bypassing Netflix VPN block, access to 3000+ servers in 94 countries, 256-bit AES encryption, the ability to select a VPN protocol, extensive language support, etc. Also, it works effectively to prohibit HTML5 geolocation features from finding your real location, stops WebRTC from leaking your real IP address and DNS server, and forces HTTP to HTTPS (SSL) standard translation on all websites.
Surfshark is an industry-leading VPN provider with 3200+ servers in 65 countries. The name says it all, it’s an extension of their services, and requires a subscription to Surfshark. Additionally, the provider offers an unlimited number of concurrent VPN connections. This means you’ll be protected on any device you own. It provides the convenience of 1-click connecting and hiding your IP address and identity and bypassing geolocation restrictions. Surfshark uses 256-bit AES encryption, keeps no logs of your activity, and even has a built-in ad, malware, and tracker blocker named CleanWeb.
4. ZenMate VPN
ZenMate VPN isn’t as well-known in the desktop/mobile VPN area but dominates the browser extensions field with their free VPN service. We tested its military-grade 256bit encryption and browsing speed while writing our how to add a VPN in Chrome article. You’ll get a 7-day free trial of the ZenMate VPN Ultimate on the spot. This allows you to connect to 2000+ servers across 74+ countries, increase your VPN speed, and unblock streaming services. Without it, your choice of servers is limited and your speed reduced. Luckily, your privacy remains unchallenged thanks to a strict no-log policy.
CyberGhost’s extension for Google Chrome is independent of their VPN apps. As such, it is completely free and requires no subscription, which is dirt-cheap as mentioned in our CyberGhost VPN review. It is based on the cryptocurrency blockchain used by Ethereum, which ensures privacy while removing the possibility of censorship or third-party intrusion. CyberGhost also offers a no-log policy, high-grade encryption, ad/tracker blocker, and conceals your IP address and location. It’s also an ideal choice for mobile devices, boosting privacy when used while connected to public or private Wi-Fi networks.
6. Hola VPN
How come a VPN extension with more than 8 million active users, 223 million members, and a 5-star rating on Google Chrome Store ended up so low? Well, Hola VPN Free, responsible for that success, has no servers because it’s a community-driven P2P extension. Simply put, users get to use other people’s IP addresses, and volunteer their own in return. This is great for accessing restricted websites or the Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max streaming catalog, but not much else. It’s only when you upgrade to Hola VPN Premium that you get encryption or access to any VPN servers. If you decide you want to buy a VPN, there are better alternatives.
We’re astounded by Private Internet Access and their network of 25300+ servers across 77 countries. That means you’ll have an abundance of ways to circumvent censorship, even though we struggled to unblock services such as Hulu, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer. On the other side, it’s beginner-friendly and even allows you to sort servers by latency. The extension is secure too since it offers encryption, no data-logging policy, and checking websites against their URL whitelist. Private Internet Access also comes with WebRTC protection. This is a framework browsers use that can leak your real IP address and DNS server.
Whenever someone asks, “How to get a free VPN?” people point them to Windscribe. And for a good reason! The VPN provider offers between 10 GB and 15 GB of free data monthly, access to 4 security protocols, 256-bit encryption, and servers in 10 countries. The speed will take a hit, but you can still unblock quite a few websites and services, including HBO Max and YouTube. Additionally, all free VPN servers support P2P transfer, e.g. torrenting. Windscribe also included premium VPN features for free – no ads, R.O.B.E.R.T., a name for an ad, malware, and tracker blocker, and a kill switch.
Hotspot Shield’s browser extension uses a VPN protocol named Catapult Hydra. The provider created and optimized the protocol for maximum speed without a compromise in security. If you use the free version, you’ll be limited to servers in the United States. On the other hand, you’ll get a 500 MB daily data cap, 256-bit encryption, IP/DNS protection, a kill switch, and no browsing history collection. Additionally, you’ll see ads and can’t unblock streaming services nor download torrents safely unless you upgrade to paid Hotspot Shield Premium. At that point, you’re getting more features listed in our review of Hotspot Shield.
Most people haven’t heard of IvacyVPN, which should change. The browser extension can unblock Netflix, HBO Max, Spotify, Sky Go, and BBC iPlayer. It’s also easy to use and secure since it comes with a no-logs policy. The provider has 1000+ servers in 100+ server locations, and unlike many extensions above, you can choose a server through Smart Purpose Selection. But that’s not all – it offers WebRTC protection, a framework whose privacy risks we mentioned. IvacyVPN also comes with 256-bit high-grade encryption, 24/7 customer support, and a 30-day money-refund guarantee.