Taking a Closer Look at Some Industry-Leading VPN Providers to Help You Keep Google Chrome Safe and Secure.
In many ways, the internet has made the world an objectively better place. It’s universalized information, connected people regardless of distance, created countless jobs, built communities, and given the voiceless a voice. But it’s not all smiles and rainbows. The internet has also bred an entirely new form of criminal.
Cybercriminals are capable of accessing our personal information and using it in nefarious ways to benefit themselves. It’s not really the internet’s fault. The web is based on various forms of collected data after all, but we still need to protect ourselves when we’re online, and Chrome’s built-in security features simply aren’t enough to keep our information safe.
Don’t worry, though, friend. After weeks of research, testing out tons of VPNs, I’ve curated this list of the ten best you can pair with chrome to bring some much-needed security to your web surfing situation.
10 Best VPN for Chrome - Reviews
The longer we sit about chit-chatting, the longer your personal details are at risk, so let’s jump straight into the VPN reviews, shall we?
OUR TOP PICK
Express is the correct word for this lightning-fast VPN. Despite the depth of its features, you won’t notice any significant slowing of your browser speed, and the dedicated Chrome extension makes it incredibly easy to use.
With 3000 VPN locations situated in 94 countries, you’ll rarely if ever come across adequate VPN blocks, even when you’re abroad or accessing other countries’ websites.
Split tunneling allows you to choose which apps use the VPN, ensures an internet connection even after the kill switch is triggered (automatic disconnection in the event of VPN outage), and grants access to local and foreign sites at the same time.
Putting the cherry on top of the VPN cake, it offers insanely robust encryption, ensuring all your personal details remain just that...personal!
- Feature-Rich - Kill switch, split tunneling, high-grade encryption, and DNS leak protection keep you safe online.
- Dedicated Chrome Extension - Chrome-optimized and user-friendly.
- Device Coverage - Protects up to five devices.
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee - Not happy? No worries.
- Unlimited Data - Keep on browsin’.
- App Client Required - Must download the app before you can use the extension.
If you’re on the lookout for an incredibly detailed, free VPN to test the waters before investing in a premium option, Windscribe is the only way to go. It’s a proxy service but unlike our top pick, you don’t need to download the client in order to install the dedicated Chrome extension — hurray!
The security features it brings to the table are truly impressive for a free service, including location spoofing and numerous blocking utilities to stop trackers, WebRTC, and Malware. It even offers advanced cookie control to keep 3rd-party marketing at bay.
Windscribe relies on over 400 servers in 60 different countries, but unfortunately, for the free version, you can only use 10 countries to circumnavigate geo-blocking. You’ll also be struck with a 10GB data limit, but seeing as you’re not paying a dime, that’s to be expected.
- Feature-Rich - Advanced features you’d normally only find in a premium service.
- Dedicated Chrome Extension - No client required.
- Unlimited Device Support - Protects as many devices as you have.
- Free - No hidden costs...all completely free.
- 10GB Data Limit - Runs out quicker than you’d think.
PIA is all about providing high-level online security in an incredibly user-friendly package, making it a great option for the technophobes and first-time VPN users out there.
Via their dedicated Chrome extension, you can block 3rd-party cookies and hyperlink auditing, avoid Flash blocking and disabling, prevent WebRTC leaks, and much, much more.
You can also enjoy the peace of mind that comes with microphone and camera blocking, meaning no one can hack into your devices and spy on you. Then, of course, you can change your IP location in order to crack geo-blocked sites such as Netflix and Hulu. Although, it did struggle with iPlayer.
While PIA uses tons of servers, server locations are fairly limited, but download speeds remain almost unaffected while this VPN is running, which is a huge bonus.
- Feature-Rich - Offers comprehensive protection.
- Dedicated Chrome Extension - Optimized for Chrome.
- User-Friendly - Great for beginners.
- Price - Great value for money.
- Customer Support - Lackluster support.
- Limited Server Locations - Limits potential.
Cyber Ghost offers a premium service, but it’s their free variant that I want to shine a light on today.
With their dedicated Chrome extension heading straight to your browser, you don’t have to worry about downloading any desktop client, which makes using it a breeze, and saves your precious memory for other applications.
The free service may only utilize 8 servers in four countries, but it’s enough to help you worm your way into geo-blocked sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, giving you access to whole new libraries of content - woohoo!
Features are a little limited, but you can choose to upgrade to the reasonably priced premium version at any point to snag such luxuries as a kill switch to prevent exposure during VPN drops, Flash access, excellent customer support, and tons more servers.
- Dedicated Chrome Extension - Quick and easy to use.
- Unlimited Data - Very rare in a free VPN.
- Great for Streaming - Works surprisingly well.
- Customer Support - Paying customers only.
- No Kill Switch - If there's a drop, you’re exposed.
Hotspot Shield is a fantastic, albeit, dear VPN provider, but if you don’t fancy forking out for the premium version, you can use their free service.
Featuring a simple interface and 256-bit encryption, you can enjoy surfing the web in relative privacy, although it’s worth noting that they do log certain details such as connection times and bandwidth used.
What shocked me about this VPN is its sheer pace. Using a proprietary data compression technique, it optimizes your browser speed as it protects you — nice!
The bad news is this low latency protocol is offset by the free service’s lack of servers outside the U.S., and the high traffic can really hit the brakes on your browsing.
I appreciated the IP/DNS leak protection as well as the kill switch, as they’re pretty advanced security features for a nothing-a-month service, but the 500MB per day data limit is really only suitable for general web browsing.
- 256-Bit Encryption - Secures your details.
- Advanced Features - Kill switch and leak protection are great features.
- Data Compression - Speeds up connection.
- Dedicated Chrome Extension - Optimized for Chrome use.
- Limited Server Locations - Slows things down.
- Data Mining - Free version shares data (not browsing history) with Google to create targeted ads within the app.
- No Streaming - Can only be used for general browsing.
ProtonVPN proves that not all free VPN services are trying to use your data for personal gain. Recording absolutely zero logs on your activity, you’re offered true online privacy — finally!
You’re probably wondering how it enforces data limits without at least registering bandwidth usage and timings. Well, it doesn’t have to, because there are no data limits with ProtonVPN, nor are there any ads or any of that irritating stuff.
Hooking you up to servers in the U.S., Netherlands, and Japan, it’s capable of breaking you into Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, but unfortunately, torrenting is where the free plan ends and the premium service begins.
In terms of security, it offers you the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption, veiling your info as it pings about across the web, and it - rather impressively I might add - also comes with a kill switch protocol, keeping you safe in the event of a failed VPN connection.
- Unlimited Data - Stream away, folks!
- No Logging - Truly private VPN.
- No Ads - Only helpful user tips.
- User-Friendly - Helps you make the most of the service.
- Advanced Features - AES 256-bit encryption and kill switch keep you safe online.
- 3 Server Locations - You may get geo-blocked on the free version from time to time.
Hide.me can be used to crack the virtual lock on geo-blocked streaming sites, but you have to engage in a quick trial and error process with the servers to find a suitable IP. Free users only get access to five servers in four locations (U.S., Canada, Singapore, and the Netherlands), so it never takes long.
Where the free service doesn’t disappoint is with the security features, spanning a kill switch for drop protection, AES 256-bit encryption to keep eyes off your personal deets, and IP/DNS leak protection, ensuring you stay hidden.
The free version also permits torrenting - a rarity - but unfortunately, Hide.me enforces a 2GB data limit, which really compromises what you're capable of in that department. Still, that equates to roughly 7 hours of SD streaming, all for free, which is nothing to scoff at.
- Advanced Security Features - Keeps your surfing session hush, hush.
- Permits Torrenting - Downloading and sharing free files is okay.
- Operates Own DNS Servers - Ultimate protection for your personal details.
- Bare Minimum Logs - Just enough to enforce the data limit.
- Ad-Free - No intrusive marketing.
- 2GB Data Limit - 30 hours browsing. 7 hours streaming.
- Singular Use - Only works on one device at a time.
Tunnel Bear’s VPN is impressively fast, so fast that it’s pretty much on par with a lot of premium services; but the 500MB data limit does render that speed somewhat ineffectual. Still, it can help smooth out the average browsing session, which we should be thankful for.
It doesn’t work with some big streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, and while it does work with YouTube and HBO GO, the data limits put a stop to really enjoying them. The same is true of torrenting.
Disappointing, I know, but in terms of security, Tunnel Bear’s free service is no different from any full-fat, premium VPN, offering such features as a kill switch, full disk encryption, and malware/intrusion scans amongst many others. It’s also devilishly good at accessing websites with VPN blocks — well played, Torrent Bear!
- High Server Count - Fast connection speeds.
- Full Security - Offers complete safety.
- Hidden VPN Traffic - Gets around VPN blocked domains.
- 500GB Data Limit - Only enough for browsing.
Betternet doesn’t allow streaming, which will be a dealbreaker for some, but it does afford you 500MB of browsing data per day, which equates to around 8 hours.
For connection speed purposes, it’s best used within the U.S., as the free version only hosts servers in the States. That said, the VPN connection is very stable, so you’re unlikely to experience any drops, which is just as well seeing as it doesn’t include kill switch functionality.
What it does bring to the cyber table is a fantastic feature known as perfect forward secrecy, which involves constantly changing data encryption, making leaks and snooping virtually impossible.
So, if you want complete anonymity for online browsing, Betternet is a great choice; however, they do sell certain basic data to 3rd-party marketers.
- Perfect Forward Secrecy - Changing encryption stops data theft.
- 500MB Daily Data - Daily allotments are easier to manage.
- Dedicated Chrome Extension - Easy to navigate.
- No Streaming - Even if it offered unlimited data.
- 3rd-Party Sales - You may see targeted ads.
IP Vanish is a fantastic paid-for VPN service that provides steadfast security for online activities such as streaming, torrenting, and browsing, but it’s found the very last place on my list due to the absence of dedicated extensions. You have to control it from the IP Vanish app.
It’s a shame because on any other counts, it’s a great service. The server network is well populated and widespread, amounting to break-neck connection speeds, and you can get around geo-blocks easily for streaming outside your country.
You can even use it to trick communications companies into thinking your long-distance calls are short-distance, and significantly reduce your bills.
- Advanced Features - VoIP, hacker protection, deep packet protection...you name it.
- 40,000 + IPs Across 1600 Servers - Super fast browser speed.
- Multiple Packages Available - Choose the one that suits your needs.
- No Chrome Extension - All controlled via the IP Vanish Client.
Best VPN for Chrome Buying Guide
While I’m sure you’re aware of the benefits a great VPN can bring to your online life, such as information security and private connections, the ability to separate the VPN wheat from the chaff can be tricky.
So, to help you on your search for the perfect Google Chrome VPN, I put together this brief yet informative buyer’s/downloader’s guide on what you should be looking for in your Chrome security software.
Premium vs Free
The biggest decision you’ll have to make is whether you’re going to pay for a premium VPN service or try to find some respectable free software.
As you’ve seen from my list, free doesn’t always mean bad. In fact, there are some downright awesome free VPNs doing the rounds, but there are always benefits to paying for an advanced service.
Premium VPNs offer the tightest security possible, protecting you from malware and DNS leaks. Some advanced services will even hire independent security experts to test their extensions and prove their stability. The same can’t be said for most free VPNs.
Data Limits and Servers
Data limits are another drawback to free VPNs. Once you’re out of data, that’s the end of your private browsing session until it rolls over again.
They also tend to have reduced server count with limited server locations, which amounts to sluggish buffering, poor quality video, and all-around laggy behavior.
Some free VPNs may harvest the information you’re trusting them to hide, themselves, and sell it on to 3rd-party organizations to make a buck or two — doesn’t sound so private after all, huh?
Internet browsers are all slightly different, which means for a top, user-friendly performance, a VPN has to be tailored towards an individual browser.
As we’re on the hunt for Chrome VPNs today, it’s in your best interests to find one that offers a dedicated Google Chrome extension.
This shows the VPN has been, at least to some degree, built from the ground up to fit inside the Chrome ecosystem, offering more features, and greater security.
- Connection Location
This is a simple feature that allows you to set the location that the VPN will state you’re in when using the internet, which is precisely what you need to work around geo-blocked content on sites such as Netflix in different countries.
- Microphone and Camera Blocking
In my opinion, the idea of microphones and cameras on devices being hacked is one of the scariest and most intrusive things that can happen when you’re using the internet, which is why a secure blockade is essential in a decent VPN.
- 3rd-Party Cookie Blocking
You know those irritating targeted ads you’ll get on your Instagram and Facebook feeds? Well, the reason they know what to hit you with (sometimes) is because of 3rd party cookies. Cookies are essentially records of your internet usage that are then used by 3rd-parties, usually to direct advertisements at you based on said records.
- WebRTC Leak Prevention
Sometimes, when you’re using an average free VPN, it may initially hide your local IP address, but a WebRTC leak can consult the ICE to find and leak your IP address anyway, rendering the entire VPN useless. WebRTC leak prevention features will stop this from happening.
- Stable Credit Card Encryption
While our browsers are only trying to make online shopping as easy for us as possible, they’re really not to be trusted with our personal financial details. Anyone could be snooping, waiting for an opportunity to snatch our details, and then our hard-earned cash — scary, right?
So, if - like me - you do a lot of online shopping, choosing a VPN with airtight card encryption is absolutely essential!
- Automatic Kill Switch
This is a nifty little feature that will automatically cut your internet connection the second the VPN drops out, ensuring you’re never suddenly left in the lurch.
Best VPN for Chrome - FAQ's
Before we say our goodbyes and you move onto a much more secure online life, I thought a brief FAQ section would be a tidy way to bring things to a close.
Does a VPN impact internet speed?
Unfortunately, free or not, yes, a VPN will slow down your browsing speed. It’s adding more protocols to the network pipeline, so naturally, you’ll notice a bit of latency.
The encryption process is the biggest contributing factor to this slowdown, but other things such as limited server locations and data limits can also have a detrimental effect on server speed.
Certain free VPNs are known to severely compromise internet speed, but the good news is that a quality VPN should keep this lag to a minimum.
Do free VPN providers record your personal information?
Some poor quality free VPNs doing the rounds do in fact record some of your personal information, especially your browser history and online activity. Others will only record connection logs, not to be invasive, just as a method of policing data limits.
Does Chrome have a built-in VPN?
Chrome does offer some minor security features, but it doesn’t have anything anywhere near as effective as a dedicated, standalone VPN.
Can a VPN be traced?
Yes, some websites are aware you’re using a VPN, but that doesn’t mean you or your details can be traced. If you’re using a quality premium VPN, you should always retain at least some form of anonymity.
There you have it, folks; 10 of the very best VPNs you can use to secure your personal information and access geo-blocked sites when using Google Chrome.
Due to the depth of the features and the stacked server count and locations, ExpressVPN is the best of the bunch, but I think every VPN on the list brings something special to the table.
Now it’s just a matter of testing a few out and seeing which one suits your needs the most. Stay safe!