10 Best VPN Extensions for Chrome (Free & Paid)

best vpn extensions for chrome

Whenever you use the internet, your browser is always collecting and sending information about you to every single website you visit.

Some of this information includes data such as:

  • Your IP address
  • Your location
  • Your operating system
  • Your computer hardware
  • Whether any other devices are connected to the same network

While you may not care whether Google knows this information about you, what about other websites that are malicious in nature? When you browse the internet with an unprotected browser, your personal information is ripe for the picking.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though—there are plenty of brilliant extensions for Google Chrome, the world’s most popular internet browser, that you can use to protect your information when you’re online.

These extensions are all offered by leading VPN companies you may have already heard of.

As general consumer awareness surrounding privacy has grown, so has the use of VPNs. There are now several high-quality VPN services out there that you can use to cover your tracks online, hide your information, and unblock regional restrictions through streaming sites such as Netflix.

With just a few clicks on your browser, you can protect yourself from Google tracking your every move.

The 10 Best VPN Extensions for Google Chrome

These are the 10 VPN Chrome extensions that we have come across during our VPN review process and think are the best. Ease-of-use, superior features, and solid privacy protection all factored into our decision.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is by far the best all-around VPN service that delivers fast, secure, and consistently reliable service with its thousands of servers located in over 150 different countries.

With a valid ExpressVPN subscription, you can add their extension to Chrome in a matter of seconds and benefit from comprehensive protection of your Chrome-based internet activity. It’s worth noting, though, that ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension will not work unless you have their desktop app installed.

The Chrome extension itself performs very well, just as you would expect with any ExpressVPN product.

At the time of this review, ExpressVPN boasts having over 501,000 active installs.

Although they do not offer a free trial, their entire VPN product comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee with no questions asked. This means you can take ExpressVPN for a spin risk-free and get a refund if you’re not impressed—unlikely!

If you do decide to subscribe, their cheapest plan comes to $8.32 per month for a one-year subscription billed annually at $99.84.

Try ExpressVPN

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is almost exactly the same as ExpressVPN, the only difference being that NordVPN is just slightly less expensive.

Just like ExpressVPN, you need a valid subscription to NordVPN in order to use their Google Chrome extension. It can be installed as a standalone extension though—you do not need to have NordVPN installed on your desktop to use it.

Service-wise, there are thousands of servers located across a smaller selection of countries. Performance is consistently great—you don’t lose much speed up or down—and they operate a proven anti-logging policy.

At the time of writing this review, NordVPN has over 236,000 active installs.

You can try out NordVPN with a 7-day free trial. They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, but go ahead and use their free trial before making a purchase. 7 days is enough time to decide whether you want to buy a subscription or not.

Their lowest price starts at just $2.99 per month on their 3-year plan for a grand total of $107.64.

Try NordVPN

3. Windscribe

Windscribe offers the full and unrestricted version of its service on the Google Chrome store for free. There is a catch, however—you can only use 10GB worth of data per month unless you pay for a subscription.

We aren’t going to pretend that 10GB of data isn’t a lot though, it is a respectable amount of data that you can easily get a lot of use out of. That said, if you’re someone who wants to remain connected all the time and/or stream a lot of content, it won’t be enough.

So far as their service goes, Windscribe offers strong encryption and a decent number of servers while performing at a level that’s good enough for most activities.

Windscribe VPN is quite popular as a freemium VPN – the Chrome web store shows there are nearly 900,000 users.

Windscribe Pro is available from $9.00 per month or $4.08 per month when billed annually at $49.

Try Windscribe

4. TunnelBear

TunnelBear offers a free version of their premium VPN service that offers access to their Google Chrome extension.

The service itself is very good. It has all the features you would expect–it doesn’t log anything, and it doesn’t slow down your speeds.

The Chrome extension is very easy to use… it certainly passes the newbie test so far as we’re concerned! One drawback, however, is that you only get 500MB of free data per month. This may sound like a lot, but it wouldn’t take a regular internet user long to burn through, even if you abstain from streaming content.

Although there’s a cap, it seems over 843,000 users still enjoy this VPN extension on Chrome.

If you like TunnelBear after trying it out, you can buy unlimited data on a month-to-month basis for $9.99, or $59.99 when billed annually.

Try TunnelBear

5. Ivacy

It only takes a matter of minutes, if not seconds, to install Ivacy on Chrome. You don’t need to install their desktop app for it to work either.

Ivacy is renowned for providing fast and consistently reliable service with over 1,000 servers located across 100+ locations. The breadth of locations is nearly as vast as those offered by ExpressVPN or NordVPN.

When you connect via the Chrome app, you are automatically assigned to an optimum server, but you can easily switch to a different one. The app itself is nifty, fast, and simple to use.

The pricing for their premium service starts at $9.95 monthly. But if you usign up for 2 years, you get a crazy 77% discount. The price drops to a mere $2.25 per month if you get it now.

Try Ivacy

6. ibVPN

Don’t let the missing icon fool you, it’s a great VPN!

To install and use Betternet, you need to create an account. Once you’re logged in, you can manage the VPN quite easily; one click connect and even a nice server picker.

You can sign up for ibVPN for $4.95 per month. And you can even try it for free for 24 hours to get a feel for this VPN Chrome extension.

If you want to sign up for a yearly payment plan, it averages to $3.08 per month. Cheap!

Try ibVPN

7. CyberGhost

CyberGhost offers a free proxy for Google Chrome that installs very quickly and is easy to use—there’s only an on/off button and a menu you can use to switch locations.

While it’s free, fast, and easy to use, you’re very limited in server choice—at the time of writing, there are only four locations available—and the performance isn’t as good as their flagship desktop app. When connected, all your traffic is encrypted, and your information is safe.

CyberGhost says it cannot guarantee that their Chrome extension will protect against leaking when using the free version… this seems like a strange way of persuading people to subscribe to their premium service, but they are quite reputable.

Almost 100,000 users!

Try CyberGhost

8. Private Internet Access (PIA)

PIA is one of the cheapest VPNs available at a budget-friendly price of $6.95 per month on a rolling monthly basis. This comes down to a tiny $2.91 per month when you purchase a two-year subscription at $69.95.

Their pricing doesn’t mean they compromise on performance either.

We’re big fans of PIA—although they’re based in the U.S., they came out on top of two court cases where authorities failed to force them to disclose information about their users. Given that PIA has an anti-logging policy, the information they did have probably wasn’t very interesting or substantial.

Their Chrome extension is just as fast and simple to use as their flagship desktop VPN, and they use the latest standards in encryption and tunneling to protect your data.

Try PIA

9. Hide.me

For some reason, hide.me doesn’t have their Chrome extension on Google’s Chrome web store. And don’t be fooled by the one being offered by hideme.io – it’s not reliable and is not the same as the one being offered by hide.me.

The nice thing is, hide.me also has a freemium model – you can use hide.me for free. It comes with a 2GB data transfer cap.

You will definitely want to upgrade, in which case, you should remember their monthly subscription cost – $4.99.

If you pay for the most expensive subscription, it’s $9.99 per month.
Try hide.me

10. GoBestVPN Search Extension

To help you in your search for the best VPN products online, we created a simple extension that lets you search for reviews on your Chrome browser.

If you want quick access to unbiased reviews on over 100+ VPNs, simply install the tool and you’re good to go!

Get GoBestVPN Search Extension


DO NOT GET THESE FREE CHROME EXTENSIONS

DotVPN

Nearly 1 million vulnerable users.

DotVPN’s free Chrome extension is very basic and limited. It can still be used as a quick and simple solution when you need to temporarily cover yourself online. It’s by no means restricted to the point where it’s rendered useless, that’s for sure.

You do need to sign up if you want to use DotVPN for free and this means you’ll receive marketing emails with DotVPN trying to get you to sign up for their premium service.

DotVPN’s Chrome extension is slow. Don’t even try to stream anything. Also, it’s worth noting that DotVPN is based in Hong Kong and is subject to China’s questionable privacy laws.

The premium version costs too much  for a slow, non-working VPN – $4.99 monthly.

Read Our DotVPN Review

Hola

8 million+ users who are vulnerable

Hola is a popular Chrome-only VPN that’s free, easy to install, and comes with unlimited usage. The catch is that you need to connect to Hola each time you visit a site you want to be protected on.

It’s easy to use the Hola app to select and connect to a country and the service works well enough. It’s slow but you can’t really complain when you’re using something that’s completely free.

Each time you navigate to a new site, though, your connection to Hola drops. It’s important to keep this in mind as you could accidentally expose yourself.

The VPN is a P2P network, meaning you’re leaving yourself extremely vulnerable as well.

We do not recommend using the free version let alone pay for this VPN.

Read Our Hola VPN Review

Betternet VPN Review

While free VPN service Betternet claims to provide a safe and secure experience, free VPNs have a habit of collecting your data, showing lots of ads and compromising your security.

That being said, Betternet claims that it doesn’t do any of that and instead protects your privacy and secures you better than any other free VPN service out there. Can it differentiate itself from the notoriety of other free VPNs? Can it beat one of the best free VPNs like Windscribe?

Is Betternet a good choice for protecting your internet activities?

Launched in 2015, they have been growing rapidly. Being free sounds like a great price for users, but there are some catches.

Betternet makes its money using affiliate apps and videos displayed through their app. It clearly works, because Betternet is still going strong after 3 years. There’s also a premium version available that provides more locations, 24/7 support, and dedicated servers.

We’re going into detail here, so let’s get down to business in the actual review.

Betternet VPN Specs & Offers

VPN Name Betternet
Leak Test Leaks Detected
Logging Policy Some Logs
Speed Slow
Torrenting Torrenting & P2P Discouraged
Netflix No Netflix
Jurisdiction Inside Five Eyes
Servers / Countries 11 / 10
Max Connections 25
Kill Switch Does Not Have Kill Switch
Anonymous Payment Methods Not Available
Free Trial Available
Refunds Conditional Pro-Rated
Customer Support Ticket
Price Starting From $2.99

Betternet VPN Pros

Logging Policy: Betternet doesn’t log anything

Betternet does not collect, log, store or share any user’s data logs. This is perhaps the next biggest draw towards the Betternet platform in addition to its price. By going into their privacy policy, you can find much more information:

This means that they can’t share any information with the authorities, even if they receive something such as a DMCA notice.

Take this at face value.

Pricing: Pricing is surprisingly cheap when paid annually

Obviously, Betternet is free—this is the main attraction surrounding the VPN. In terms of their premium plans though, pricing is competitive:

A whole year will set you back just $36 or so; not bad at all.

It’s just a shame their service falls well short of the mark in most other areas (strap in for a rough ride, folks, it’s going to get bumpy).

Sign-Up Process: A simple painless process

Downloading and launching the Betternet app takes less than a minute and you can be online and browsing in next to no time. You don’t even have to create an account unless you want to purchase their premium plan.

It’s also very easy to use:

Just hit connect and off you go! Unfortunately, on the free plan at least, you have no choice in where you will be connecting to–Betternet does it automatically. This can mean that you end up on a server that isn’t suitable for your needs.

Betternet VPN Neutral Points

Device compatibility: Standard device compatibility

Betternet offers compatibility with the following devices:

There are Android and iOS devices available for download through the Google Play Store and App Store. There’s no support for devices such as games consoles or dedicated router support, which is disappointing given that many more people are starting to use VPNs with such systems.

So, “every platform” doesn’t really mean every platform.

Encryption and Protocols: Ambiguous, but still strong

Betternet uses OpenVPN which is now the industry standard for VPNs. It stops people from spying on your connection and prevents your ISP from throttling your connection (though given how slow Betternet is, this isn’t a concern) and lots of other things. They also use IPSec, a different VPN protocol.

It’s not really clear when Betternet uses OpenVPN over IPSec, but it’s not much of an issue given that both are pretty secure protocols.

Betternet also offers AES-256 encryption, however, their privacy policy says it uses 128-bit, so this ambiguity doesn’t help. Both are very strong encryption methods though, so you are getting some security, it’s just not immediately clear how much you are getting.

Support: It’s… okay

Betternet offers 24/7 customer support for premium members and tries to respond to non-premium members within a reasonable timescale. There’s no live chat option on the website which isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’d be nice to see it.

In general, they use a ticket system.

Twitter seems to be a good place to get Betternet’s attention as they are often active on there. They do tend to redirect questions to customer support, however.

To put it simply, there are far worse examples of customer support out there. Still, this is definitely a neutral for us; no live chat is disappointing, and free users don’t see any support.

Product Documentation: Good enough for most users

All Betternet offers in the way of product documentation is a straightforward FAQ organized per device on their support website. For anything else, consult Google or customer support.

Betternet VPN Cons

Servers & Locations: 10 locations

Although having lots of servers and locations available is great, it’s better to have quality and not simply quantity. That said, we don’t know how many servers Betternet has; as of now, they offer servers in 10 countries, but don’t specify how many servers they offer. At the very least, it is 11 by having at least 1 server per location.

With a premium membership, you can select and connect to each location yourself. If you aren’t a premium member, you’ll have to press the “Connect” button and use whatever is given to you.

This can mean that you end up connected to a server that isn’t suitable for you, and you won’t be able to do anything about it other than try and disconnect and re-connect in the hope that you are placed somewhere else. This is disappointing, really, because even the most basic VPNs offer the ability to switch between some servers.

Honestly, the lack of selection for us is a major con; and there it shall remain until Betternet improves its offering here. Think about how premium VPNs offer thousands of servers – if you want to learn more, just take a look at our NordVPN review.

Pretty Bad Speed and Overall Performance

When you use a VPN, you can’t expect the same speeds your ISP delivers when you are not connected to a VPN. All VPNs will, to some degree, slow down your download and upload speeds, but the better the VPN the less this happens.

Betternet delivers very slow speeds; however, it’s worth remembering we’re using a free service – it’s still slow, but we’re not paying anything, so we can cut them some slack. With the premium subscription, you do get access to dedicated servers and can choose what servers to connect to, but we can’t imagine that this would make a huge difference to speed and performance (since they’re the same servers, as far as we’re aware).

Unfortunately, we could only manage to get connected to one location when testing Betternet. We have an internet connection of 100Mbps on average and this was the result:

That’s not great. Sorry Betternet, free or not, your speeds suck.

Netflix: Far too slow for Netflix

Which leads us nicely onto our next point; Betternet is way too slow for streaming. One of the main reasons why somebody would use a VPN if not for private browsing is so that they can access geo-blocked content that isn’t available in their home country.

For years, you could use any old VPN to access Netflix, but they have since wised up and now it’s getting a lot harder to find VPN servers that work with Netflix.

At the moment, all of Betternet’s servers have been blocked by Netflix so there is no way for you to access it with Betternet, unfortunately.

If you want to access Netflix with a VPN, here are some that will work for sure.

Torrenting: Far too slow for torrenting

Betternet does allow torrenting, however, it is far too slow for a serious torrent lover to use.

What’s more, Betternet has openly admitted that they will comply with a warrant or court order if served with one.

That sucks if you torrent on a regular basis. Take a look at these VPNs that will let you torrent to your heart’s content!

Payment Methods: No bitcoin, no cash

Your one choice is to pay via a credit or debit card.

No PayPal. No Bitcoin. No check. No cash. All payments are processed through the Betternet app itself rather than through their website.

We don’t see why, especially in today’s digital age, that VPN providers like Betternet aren’t taking cryptocurrency payments, especially when they can deliver a huge return on investment as values fluctuate. Not to mention how much more secure it is for customers to make a payment through Bitcoin rather than by divulging their credit card or PayPal information.

IP and DNS Leak Test: Uh-oh

Even for the best VPN, a leak can be fatal. Whether it’s a DNS leak or WebRTC leak, the end result is the same—your privacy and anonymity are put at great risk and this is something that should be a deal breaker if you are looking for complete privacy. They uncover your original IP address and the game is over.

We run tests on every VPN we review to uncover leaks. Betternet failed. Even failing one leak test is bad, so two really isn’t great.

  1. browserleaks.com – failed
  2. perfect-privacy.com/check-ip – failed

Kill Switch: Zilch, zero, nothing

A kill switch is something that you should always check for when looking for a VPN service.

To put it simply, a kill switch will protect you if your connection to a VPN drops. When this happens and there is no kill switch, your IP (and your identity) is at risk of being exposed, however, a kill switch completely kills your connection to a site and stops anything from leaking.

Unfortunately, Betternet has no kill switch, not even for premium members. This is disappointing.

Betternet VPN as a Business

Betternet VPN is operated by AnchorFree, the company behind Hotspot Shield. Its CEO is listed as Eugene Malobrodsky, the EVP and co-founder of AnchorFree.

AnchorFree was built to help people with internet privacy and freedom.

In 2018, the company raised $295 million in their latest round of funding.

Jurisdiction

Both Betternet LLC and AnchorFree are registered in Redwood City, CA.

This puts Betternet VPN right in the middle of the Five, Nine and Fourteen Eyes Alliance, an international security pact between several countries that give governments the power to demand user data from companies.

Betternet VPN Conclusion

The main draw to Betternet is the fact that it’s free, and although they offer good encryption and protocols, ease of use and competitive pricing, the free version of Betternet does nothing more than protecting your IP address (and it doesn’t even do that well).

If you need a free VPN service though, there are worse examples out there than Betternet and so it’s a good solution for some people not too concerned with finding a premium experience.

Netflix doesn’t work and torrenting is, due to the slow speeds, virtually impossible. There’s no kill switch either, and this nullifies the strong encryption, and let’s not forget the leaks we detected.

They say you get what you pay for in this world, and this certainly rings true here.

You’re much better off picking any of the VPNs on our top 10 list.

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