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VPN for Chrome: Best add-ons in 2020

Last updated: August 14, 2020 By Dean Chester

The most effective way to protect privacy and circumvent website restrictions is to use a VPN with Google Chrome. VPN-Review regularly tests dozens of VPN add-ons for web browsers, compares their capabilities, speed and stability. We know which ones are the best.

In the spring of 2020, the number of Google Chrome users exceeded 64% of all Internet users. Obviously, this is the most popular web browser in the world. Hundreds of millions of people use it to work, relax, study, solve health problems and much more. But even such a technically perfect browser cannot provide the ability to hide your IP address, bypass geo-restrictions or unblock sites without additional add-ons. For these purposes, you need a VPN.

The easiest and most effective way is to use a VPN service, which provides special software (add-on) for Chrome.

We will go through 10 best VPN services with the most modern capabilities which have passed the security and stability tests. 5 of them are paid, and other 5 are free.

The five best VPNs for Chrome
  1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for most platforms, including Chrome. Its add-on protects the traffic of the entire device. Supports Netflix
  2. Surfshark: The cheapest one from the best VPNs. It’s got the CleanWeb feature.
  3. NordVPN: One of the biggest providers with a good reputation. Leakage protection. Frequent updates.
  4. PIA: Multifunctional add-on with flexible privacy settings. Doesn't support streaming.
  5. ZenMate: Simple and convenient add-on for any browser.
The five free VPNs for Chrome
  1. TunnelBear: Good speed and choice of countries. 1GB per month. Registration needed.
  2. Windscribe: Traffic limit of 10GB per month. Whitelist. Registration needed.
  3. CyberGhost VPN: Free add-on from the biggest VPN provider. Isn’t developed. Unstable.
  4. Hide.me: High speed. No registration needed, 2GB per month, 3 countries. Connection failures.
  5. DotVPN: Unlimited traffic but limited speed. Blacklist IP Addresses.

 

  • Recommendation: Many beginners try to use a free VPN first. But in most cases, using free services means very limited connection quality, speed, and choice of VPN locations. Netflix is also not available with them. Therefore, paid services with a guarantee of a refund are better suited to get to know the virtual private network (all VPNs from the first Top 5).

 


What distinguishes a VPN for Chrome?

Usually, when we talk about VPN, we assume that it is installed on the entire OS immediately for all applications. Why, then, do millions of users choose to use a secure virtual network precisely as an add-on for the Google Chrome web browser?

Here are a few pros and cons of using this add-on:

Pros:

  • Instant connectivity
  • Doesn’t complicate the work with apps where VPN is not necessary
  • Reconnections don’t slow down the computer’s work.

Cons:

  • Basically, it’s rather a proxy than a virtual private network
  • Doesn’t protect any programs except web browser
  • Not suitable for torrenting
  • Works only on Windows, Mac and Ubuntu. Cannot be used on mobile devices.

So, there are both strong pros and cons. In practice, it all depends on what the VPN is for.

VPN for Chrome can only be used for:

But many other important tasks won’t be available with it.

Here's a shortened list of features unavailable with a Chrome add-on:

  • Not used on smartphones and tablets.
  • Can’t protect the correspondence in messengers such as Telegram, Skype, WhatsApp and most others.
  • Not suitable for torrenting.
  • Does not have many useful features available in full VPN apps. These are double VPN mode, invisible use mode, Shadowsocks technology, port forwarding, DNS settings, encryption standard selection and much more.

Users who choose only browser protection usually don’t need other features. But it doesn’t mean that choosing a VPN specifically for Chrome, you need to put up with the loss of other benefits.

In this article, I’ll talk about VPN service which allows you to manage the protection of the entire computer directly from the browser. You will learn how not to deprive yourself of the ability to use a VPN on mobile gadgets, TV platforms, game consoles, routers and other devices.


How to choose the right add-on for Chrome and maintain the full power of the VPN technology?

For those who aren’t sure that they will use a secure connection only in Chrome, there are three good pieces of news at once.

  1. There is a VPN service that allows you to manage the protection of all device traffic directly from the browser. I know only of one such provider. This is ExpressVPN. As a spoiler, I’ll say that, by good coincidence, it is also the best VPN for Netflix, Mac, Android and some other platforms.
  2. A good modern service allows using one subscription with 5 and more devices (up to infinity) simultaneously. So, you can install both the add-on for the web browser on the computer and a full-fledged app on the smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.
  3. If you aren’t going to use a VPN for video content, you don’t need high speed and a choice of countries (VPN locations), there are free VPNs for Chrome, which also offer software for different platforms. In addition to these features, most of them have another important drawback - the traffic limit (0.5-10 Gb per month). The best of the free VPN services for Chrome will be discussed at the end of the article.

For a win-win VPN, you need to choose a service that works with different OSs and platforms and allows multiple simultaneous connections.

Moreover, the policy of maintaining logs, reputation, jurisdiction, the number of servers, supported countries, and much more is also important. But don’t rush to get upset - VPN-Review.com already tested dozens of times and compared all these parameters for you.

In the next chapter, you will get to know the 5 best VPN add-ons for Chrome. So you can choose the most suitable one for you.

  • Considering the steady increase of the Internet bandwidth (nowadays speeds above 100 and even 300 Mbps are common), you should pay attention to the real speed of service. VPN-Review publishes ratings of VPN services based on a dozen tested parameters where speed is one of the most significant.

Best VPN for Chrome based on the Test Results

Based on the 6-month test results conducted by VPN-Review.com specialists, ExpressVPN became the best VPN add-on for web browsers. See the next section for details.

Four more VPNs also showed excellent results, which I will also discuss in detail.

1. ExpressVPN

The first position is taken by a VPN service that provides one of the most stable and effective add-ons for web browsers. It can manage the protection of the entire computer. But even if we don’t need increased security and privacy for the entire OS, there are at least 5 more reasons to call ExpressVPN the best one:

  1. Support for streaming (the most confident of all VPNs unlocking Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney +, etc.).
  2. The ability to use torrenting safely.
  3. Wide range of countries. We can mask our location using over 3,000 servers in 94 countries.
  4. High speed. There are very few VPN services that can compare in terms of speed with ExpressVPN.
  5. Complete anonymity. The provider uses diskless servers. We know only about two more services that use the same technology.

Add-on’s features:

  • Full computer protection
  • Protection against leaking of real geo-information through the browser
  • WebRTC leaks protection
  • HTTPS Everywhere
  • Recommended locations.

In reality, there were a lot of useful features beyond this list. So, through the app, you can go to options, among which there is a choice of programs on the computer that can be used via VPN or bypassing it for your choice.

Rather useful options are HTTPS Everywhere and Spoof your location. The first protects against most methods of intercepting information, and the second one doesn’t allow the remote site to recognize our real geo-coordinates, which otherwise would give us out, despite the changed IP address.

Additional features and price:

  • Access to Netflix, Hulu and other video streaming services
  • Kill Switch (secure connectivity protection during unexpected reconnections)
  • Torrenting
  • Translated into 16 languages
  • One subscription with up to 5 devices
  • Full refund within 30 calendar days

The service allows you to subscribe for different periods with auto-renewal. From 1 month up to 1 year.

  1 month 6 months 1 year
Price (monthly) $12.95 $9.99 $6.67
Money-back guarantee + + +

The functionality of the Chrome add-on and the rest of software does not depend on the duration of the subscription.

What has the testing shown?

ExpressVPN is one of the most tested services at VPN-Review.com. Besides, I use it myself almost daily.

The provider stably and effectively holds a secure connection. There wasn’t a single case where the protection gave such a failure in which the remote site could find out the real IP address. I already wrote that the interception and analysis of computer traffic in real-time also confirm the reliability of ExpressVPN software on Windows, Mac, and Linux (Chrome on Android doesn’t support add-ons).

And separately, I want to note the compatibility of the ExpressVPN add-on with other VPN add-ons. In practice, this is of considerable importance if you use several services on one computer.

The ExpressVPN add-on

Conclusion

  • ExpressVPN allows you to do everything that, in principle, can be done using a VPN add-on, but also it can protect the traffic of all other programs and computer services.
  • Compatibility with Chrome on Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • Translated into 16 languages.
  • Has advanced features with rare options.
 
ExpressVPN Preview
Proven Reliability Combined with Maximum Confidentiality. Extra 20% discount plus free 3 months
 

Read also:


2. Surfshark

If you do not need protection for the entire computer but browser protection is enough for you, then the Surfshark add-on is a great choice. This provider is interesting in that it has a low price with very good technical specifications.

At first glance, the add-on functionality for Chrome may seem weak, but the most important value of Surfshark is hidden behind its wrapper. It’s one of the few services that confidently support the unblocking of streaming services, supports more than 60 countries, has an ad blocker and protection from tracking.

In addition, I want to note that Surfshark is one of the best VPNs for other platforms.

The reputation of the service is exceptionally positive. Despite the small age of the company (launched in 2018), judging by user reviews, Surfshark already has many satisfied customers around the world, including in China, where most other VPNs pass.

Add-on’s features:

  • Stable connection support
  • Servers in 61 countries
  • Tracking protection
  • Ad blocker
  • Translated into 9 languages

The service has a slightly lower speed than ExpressVPN, but for most tasks, it is more than enough.

Additional features and price:

  • Unlock geo-restricted content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.
  • Bypass restrictions in censored countries
  • Unlimited devices per subscription at once
  • 30 day money-back guarantee (except for a subscription via iTunes / App Store).

The service allows you to subscribe for different periods with auto-renewal. From 1 month up to 2 years.

  1 month 1 year 2 years
Price (monthly) $11.95 $5.99 $1.99
Money-back guarantee + + +

The functionality of the Chrome add-on and the other software doesn’t depend on the duration of the subscription.

What has the testing shown?

Surfshark has shown excellent results in research on security and privacy. Analyzing the work of add-on for the browser and interception of outgoing traffic confirmed 100% reliability of the software. IP address, transmitted data and names of visited sites are reliably protected.

Speed ​​measurements showed different results. There were servers with a speed of less than 30Mbps, but there were also those on which the speed reached up to 80Mbps. In general, thanks to the large selection of locations, there were no difficulties with connecting for comfortable web surfing.

The Surfshark add-on

Conclusion

  • Surfshark VPN is great for daily use on Chrome.
  • Compatible with Chrome on Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • Successfully circumvents geo-restrictions of Netflix and other video services.
  • Translated into 9 languages.
  • Has useful features.
  • Low price.
 
Surfshark Preview
Affordable Professional VPN. Start using from $1.99 per month
 

Read also:


3. NordVPN

The following add-on has got me interested with its popularity. It is also known that NordVPN in 2020 is the second-largest VPN service in the world, behind only CyberGhost VPN. Having tested it thoroughly, I became convinced of its high speed, safety, and excellent stability. As well as the first two VPNs, it is supports streaming and is excellent for unblocking sites.

However, it has a somewhat simplified functionality.

To better understand whether this add-on is right for you, learn more about its capabilities and features, which I’m going to talk about right now.

Add-on’s features:

  • Stable connection support
  • Strong data protection
  • 5800+ servers in 59 countries
  • Protection against malicious web-sites
  • WebRTC Leakage Lock

NordVPN has a very high speed in most locations. The system itself selects the most optimal server in the selected country.

Additional features and price:

  • Unblock geo-restricted content from Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and others
  • Bypass restrictions in censored countries
  • Up to 6 devices per subscription at once
  • 30 day money-back guarantee

The service allows you to subscribe for different periods with auto-renewal. From 1 month up to 3 years *.

  1 month 1 year 2 years 3 years
Price (monthly) $11.95 $6.99 $4.99 $3.49
Money-back guarantee + + + +

* Currently, an offer is available: the 3-year subscription gives you 1 month or 1 year for free (comes down to luck).

The functionality of the Chrome add-on and the other software doesn’t depend on the duration of the subscription.

What has the testing shown?

The high speed of NordVPN is the most notable advantage for Chrome. The measurements showed a peak speed of more than 150Mbps on European servers and more than 80Mbps on American ones. Other regions are also fast. You can find out more in our NordVPN review.

Security and privacy tests also showed excellent results.

I would note that NordVPN has not only high-quality software for Chrome, but also supports all other platforms, including TV and game consoles.

The NordVPN add-on

Outcome

  • NordVPN is ideal for daily use with the web browser.
  • Compatible with Chrome on Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • Suitable for watching videos in any quality.
  • Effectively protects the user's location.
 
ExpressVPN Preview
“+ 1 month or 1 year free” Take advantage of the offer
 

Read also:


4. Private Internet Access

The following two add-ons have good speed and stability, but are poorly suited to circumvent the geo-restrictions of popular video providers.

One of the leading VPN services Private Internet Access (PIA) offers the most multifunctional add-on for Chrome and Firefox from our top 5.

It not only masks the IP address and encrypts traffic, but also can protect access to the microphone, camera, hide browser geo-data, and block autocomplete of credit card and address data.

Also quite useful is its Bypass List, in which you can mark sites that don’t require a proxy connection.

Unfortunately, in contrast to the excellent features, PIA is practically useless for viewing Netflix or other streaming services.

Add-on’s features:

  • Connect to 30+ countries
  • Additional privacy protection (over 10 settings)
  • Control access to the camera and microphone
  • HTTPS Everywhere
  • Not suitable for Netflix

We can talk for a long time about the settings for this add-on, but to put it short, I managed to create an almost perfect barrier, taking into account almost all the possibilities of determining personal information. I say almost because PIA has a small selection of countries and it does not support streaming.

Additional features and price:

  • Bypass List
  • Translated into 17 languages
  • Up to 10 devices per subscription at once
  • 30 day money-back guarantee

The service allows you to subscribe for different periods with auto-renewal. From 1 month up to 1 year.

  1 month 6 months 1 year
Price (monthly) $9.95 $5.99 $2.85
Money-back guarantee + + +

The functionality of the Chrome add-on and the other software doesn’t depend on the duration of the subscription.

What has the testing shown?

PIA has made a high-quality and convenient product that allows you to achieve a stable, secure connection in just two clicks.

Despite the fact that in Chrome they used not VPN technology, but a proxy, there are all the important parameters necessary for anonymous web surfing.

The connection speed is generally high. At some locations, measurements showed 90Mbps or more.

The Private Internet Access add-on

Conclusion

  • PIA follows its tradition and creates software that has a large number of features and options.
  • Confirmed safety and stability.
  • Does not support Netflix.
Read also:

5. ZenMate

ZenMate is a simple, but very effective VPN add-on that is the fifth on our list.

It does not support streaming video services, as features it has only a choice of countries and WebRTC leakage protection. But at the same time it effectively copes with connection protection - it masks the IP address and encrypts traffic almost without slowing it down.

The main benefit of the service is the low price.

Add-on’s features:

  • WebRTC Protection
  • Connection to 70+ countries
  • Bad fit for Netflix
  • Only PayPal and credit cards accepted

We can talk for a long time about the settings for this add-on, but to put it short, I managed to create an almost perfect barrier, taking into account almost all the possibilities of determining personal information. I say almost because PIA has a small selection of countries and it does not support streaming.

Additional features and price:

  • Unlimited devices per subscription at once
  • 30 day money-back guarantee

The service allows you to subscribe for different periods with auto-renewal. From 1 month up to 1 year.

  1 month 6 months 1 year
Price (monthly) $10.99 $5.39 $2.22 +6 months for free
Money-back guarantee + + +

The functionality of the Chrome add-on and the other software doesn’t depend on the duration of the subscription.

What has the testing shown?

ZenMate belongs to Kape Technologies, which also includes the largest VPN CybegGhost VPN. Moreover, they have a common technical infrastructure. As a result, ZenMate has no problems with speed or channel overload.

Software works clearly and stably. Safety tests showed good results.

ZenMate add-on

Conclusion

  • ZenMate is a cheap, simple but very effective service.
  • Add-on for Chrome is stable and unnoticeable to the user.
  • Affordable prices.
  • Bad Netflix support
Read also:

Best Free VPN for Chrome

Based on results of repeated testing, TunnelBear is the best VPN service with a free plan.

I would note that only those services took part in the comparison, free access to which can be obtained at any time, and not only the first time after registration, as in free trial VPNs.

Warning: All free VPNs have significant drawbacks. This is a limited choice of countries, available traffic (1-10GB per month) or low speed and connection problems for Chrome.

There is no leader in the Free VPN category ProtonVPN that has a good unlimited plan. Unfortunately, it is not available for Chrome.

Given all the features of the services presented below, you have to choose between speed and the amount of included traffic. In addition, only one of them allows free access to geo-limited video content.

Further listed are five VPNs that have the least flaws or those flaws are less pronounced.


1. Free TunnelBear

TunnelBear is the best of all VPN add-ons due to a combination of three features of the free version:

  1. High speed
  2. Netflix Support (the only one on our list)
  3. Map availability for visualization of connection.

But there is a significant drawback - only 1 Gb of traffic per month is available for free.

To remove the limit, you can apply for a paid subscription. By the way, TunnelBear showed good results in testing of the paid version.

Pros and Cons of free TunnelBear

Pros Cons
  • High speed
  • Streaming Support
  • Powerful paid version
  • Does not keep logs
  • 23 countries
  • Limit of 1Gb per month

Expert Opinion

TunnelBear's Chrome add-on features are better than other VPNs’. 23 countries available is a considerable number even for fully paid services. It is safe, stable; connection failures are very rare.

At the same time, with constant use, the limit of 1GB per month is not enough even if you’re saving traffic.

Therefore, a lot depends on your goals. TunnelBear is ideal for infrequent one-time connections. In any case, this is a good VPN service, which is also suitable for paid use, in which all restrictions are removed.

TunnelBear add-on

2. Free Windscribe

The Chrome add-on from the VPN service Windscribe allows you to try professional software for free. Try within 10GB per month.

Its functionality can be compared with PIA, but at the same time it is available for free.

Honestly speaking, in addition to restricting traffic, there is a significant limitation in the choice of locations and there is no access to servers for streaming.

Free ProtonVPN: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Many useful features
  • 10GB per month
  • Whitelist
  • No credit card required
  • Does not keep logs
  • Doesn’t support Netflix
  • 11 available countries

Expert Opinion

Recently, Windscribe has significantly increased the speed of free servers. Combined with advanced add-on functionality and an impressive traffic limit, this makes it one of the best free VPN services for Chrome.

Windscribe add-on

3. Free CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN is the only VPN service form the “Major League” which has completely free Chrome software. However, its quality leaves much to be desired. Testing showed quite average results. But thanks to unlimited traffic this add-on got in our list. However, only by its quantity. Connection speed isn’t high.

The CyberGhost VPN add-on has only one location in the Netherlands, does not have additional features, and allows connection failures when sites can’t be opened.

Free CyberGhost: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Unlimited traffic
  • Renowned service
  • Whitelist
  • Does not keep logs
  • 1 country
  • Frequent connection failures
  • Software is not supported

Expert Opinion

I am very familiar with the work of all VPN services of Kape Technologies, which CyberGhost VPN belongs to. In total, the company has more than 9000 servers in 90 countries. But for all its scope, the VPN add-on creates the feeling of an abandoned product. Even the banner that is built into it shows information that is outdated by at least two years.

But with all these cons, it works. You can easily protect your connection or unlock access to sites. More complicated tasks, such as streaming or blocking tracking, the add-on doesn't support.

CyberGhost VPN add-on

4. Free hide.me

The next add-on from hide.me is slightly weaker than the first three. Recent testing revealed frequent problems with the Internet when using it. This doesn’t mean that installing this add-on, you cannot protect your connection. Of course this is not so. Otherwise, hide.me would not be on our list. The problems are usually temporary and are solved by changing the location or repeatedly reconnecting.

The functionality of the add-on is minimalistic. In fact, there is only a country choice and a connection button.

The advantage of hide.me is that you can use it without registration. But only 2GB per month is available.

Free hide.me: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • No registration
  • High speed
  • No security settings
  • 3 countries
  • 2GB per month

Expert Opinion

Hide.me is among the top five VPN services for Chrome due to the unique ability to use a VPN without registration. No need to create an account in order to protect the connection. Along with this, the provider has many disadvantages. The most basic in my opinion is connection failures when all sites become inaccessible.

The service is suitable for non-sensitive web surfing on sites without a lot of video content. Only 3 countries are available and there is no US among them.

hide.me add-on

5. Free DotVPN

A convenient solution for non-sensitive tasks. With this add-on, you can completely anonymously surf the majority of websites, but there will be some difficulties while visiting gmail and some other resources that restrict access from suspicious IP addresses.

The speed of the free version is within 2-5Mbps. This is not enough for high-quality video content, but enough for sites with a major part of text content.

The stability of the connection is average. Sometimes there are some disruptions and it becomes impossible to open sites.

Free DotVPN: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Unlimited traffic
  • Slow speed
  • 3 countries
  • Blacklisted IP Addresses

Expert Opinion

DotVPN is far from the level of VPN services of the highest category. It has a weak technical base, its earnings model is focused on luring users from a free to the paid tariff (the general scheme for those who have a “premium” tariff), except for the add-on for Chrome, the service is unlikely to be interesting on other platforms. However, it is really free with no traffic restrictions, even at low speed

DotVPN add-on


FAQ

⚙ How to set up VPN in Google Chrome?

Both paid and free VPN add-ons are installed through the Chrome Web Store. However, before you install it, you need to register on the VPN service website. Here are 5 easy steps to get started with VPN on Chrome:

  1. Choose the right VPN service. You can use the ones that we recommend - they are thoroughly tested and have positive reviews.
  2. Sign up.
  3. Follow the link to install the add-on.
  4. Enter your username and password.
  5. Connect to the location you need.

? How to use VPN on Chrome?

After installing the VPN add-on, its icon will appear in the upper right corner of the browser:

VPN add-on in Google Chrome

To use it, you need to click on it. The add-on window will open, in which all features will be available.

The most important feature is directly enabling connection protection:

Power Button in the ExpressVPN Addon

It is enough to click on this button I to protect the traffic for all pages already opened and pages that will be opened after that. Protection will be active until you disable it. Closing and opening the browser doesn’t turn off protection.

? How to choose the right VPN for Google Chrome?

The first thing you need to decide if you are going to use the VPN on other platforms or the whole OS.

If you choose the whole OS, then:

  • Choose a VPN service that supports the OS and devices you need. Focus on general services that offer software for all occasions.
  • Consider how many devices can be used per subscription at once.
  • All services from the first top 5 presented in this article are suitable for daily use.

If you only need a VPN for Chrome, then:

  • Choose a service with a larger technical base (number of servers and supported countries).
  • Consider the possibility of setting additional security in the add-on.
  • Avoid providers who require personal information to register (which there are none of on our list).

? What is the difference between a VPN add-on and a VPN app?

Almost all add-ons protect the connection not using VPN technology but a proxy. Therefore, to answer this question, you need to understand the difference between these technologies.

The table lists all the main features of VPN apps and proxy add-ons

  VPN app Proxy add-on
Speed ​​(% of maximum) 80-95% 95-99%
IP masking + +
Browser Data Protection + +
Data protection of other programs + -
Use on smartphones + -
Supported OSs All Windows, Mac, Linux

I should note that VPN technology is used for much wider tasks than anonymous Internet access. Using it, secure corporate networks are created, remote work of employees is provided, and much more. As part of VPN services, these features aren’t used, therefore, when comparing Virtual Private Network and Proxy, I mentioned only part of the functions.Therefore, apps and add-ons have much in common, but the choice between the two technologies depends on protection needs for other programs, apps and what device you use.

⚔ Free VPN add-ons: are they safe?

From my experience, I’ll say that free add-ons are created primarily to attract customers to paid integrated subscriptions. They work on the same technical basis as paid software, so it’s safe to use such an add-on in most cases.

At the same time, less attention is paid to such products during development and testing, as a result they may have vulnerabilities that intruders can use to gain access to a user's computer.

Therefore, I urge you to use software from trusted VPN providers that value their reputation. Alternatively, use paid subscriptions, which are more than available today (read about it in our article).

VPN-Review - Chief Editor
Dean Chester
Cybersecurity and online privacy expert and researcher. He's been published on OpenVPN, EC-Council Blog, DevSecOps, AT-T Business, SAP Community, etc. Dean has been testing VPNs for 8 years.

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