When looking for the best VPN for Chrome, it’s important to know a couple of things. Don’t install the first, free extension that pops up in the Chrome Web Store. This is a sure-fire way to have your private information end up in the hands of cybercriminals.

The internet is a dangerous place and it has about as much privacy as when you relieve yourself on the side of a major highway during rush hour. Whether you’re simply emailing your gran to thank her for the Christmas socks or downloading the latest HBO special, your privacy is important.

In many ways the world wide web is the wild west web and nobody is going to look out for you, least of all the government. Barely a week goes by without a fresh news story revealing the latest infringement of our rights by governmental or corporate overreach. Now, more than ever, you should seriously consider investing in a strong, trustworthy VPN solution for your browser.

For the most part, a browser extension “VPN” is not a virtual private network at all, just a proxy that simply reroutes traffic within the browser you are using. All other traffic is not protected and your IP is not hidden, making them particularly terrible for torrenters or people that live in countries that censor the internet.

There is a huge number of Chrome extensions out there, and unfortunately, most of them are rubbish. Generally speaking, any extension with the word “free” in the title should be treated with suspicion (and there are a lot of them, as you can read in our piece on the worst free VPN providers).

In some cases, like when using public WiFi, a proxy extension may offer some additional privacy by masking your location, but you shouldn’t consider them to be secure in any way. Google even issued a warning last year about extensions that take over your internet connection.

Almost all free VPN browser extensions log your data, which means not only is it available on their servers should somebody be able to hack them, some have also been known to sell that data on. In 2011, HideMyAss were able to hand over user details to the FBI, meaning the data was clearly logged on their end. If you’re going to use a VPN extension, it needs to be from a trusted provider that is known to keep no logs.

Private Internet Access is one of the only fully integrated VPN solutions for Chrome, with a trusted no-log policy since 2010. It is one of the most privacy-focused providers out there, with support for organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and FightForTheFuture, as well as a fighter in its own right in the battle for net neutrality.

Below we look at a selection from among our best VPN providers which not only offer a fast, user-friendly Chrome extension, but also potent back-end software. They all come with strong encryption and a level of privacy that is far more than a simple proxy redirect.

The Best VPN for Chrome 2018


1

  • Payment methods PayPal, Credit card
  • Simultaneous connections 5
  • Bandwidth cap
  • Netflix U.S. only
  • Allows torrenting
  • Logging
Plan Standard
Price Plan

$ 6 95monthly

$ 35 946 months

$ 39 95yearly

Bandwidth Unlimited GB
Included Devices 5
Bitcoin

2

★★★ Best VPN 2018 ★★★

  • Payment methods PayPal, Credit card, AliPay
  • Simultaneous connections 3
  • Bandwidth cap
  • Netflix
  • Allows torrenting
  • Logging
Plan Monthly Semi-Annually Annually
Price Plan

$ 12 95monthly

$ 59 956 months

$ 99 99yearly includes 3 free months

Bandwidth Unlimited GB Unlimited GB Unlimited GB
Included Devices 3 3 3
Bitcoin

3

  • Payment methods PayPal, Credit card, AliPay
  • Simultaneous connections 6
  • Bandwidth cap
  • Netflix
  • Allows torrenting
  • Logging
Plan Monthly Annually Biannually Triannually
Price Plan

$ 11 95monthly

$ 5 75monthly

$ 69 00yearly

$ 3 29monthly

$ 79 962 years

$ 2 75monthly

$ 99 003 years

Bandwidth Unlimited GB Unlimited GB Unlimited GB Unlimited GB
Included Devices 6 6 6 6
Bitcoin

4

  • Payment methods PayPal, Credit card
  • Simultaneous connections 5
  • Bandwidth cap
  • Netflix
  • Allows torrenting
  • Logging
Plan Premium Premium Plus Premium Plus 7
Price Plan

$ 6 99monthly

$ 30 00yearly

$ 10 99monthly

$ 47 28yearly

$ 266 007 years

Bandwidth Unlimited GB Unlimited GB Unlimited GB
Included Devices 1 5 5
Bitcoin

5

  • Payment methods PayPal, Credit card
  • Simultaneous connections
  • Bandwidth cap 500MB on free plan.
  • Netflix
  • Allows torrenting
  • Logging Metadata only
Plan Little Giant Grizzly
Price Plan

Freemonthly

$ 9 99monthly

$ 59 88yearly

Bandwidth 500 GB Unlimited GB Unlimited GB
Included Devices 5 5 5
Bitcoin

What Makes a VPN the Best for Chrome?

If you simply want to get around a firewall to access a blocked website or get around the Netflix VPN ban, then you might think one of the many free browser extensions are sufficient. However, if you want a spoofed IP, real privacy and solid encryption, you’ll want something a little more powerful.

When it comes to remaining anonymous, “no logging” is the top criterion for a VPN. If your details are being logged then your security is severely compromised. While you may maintain some privacy from prying eyes and low-level hackers, you don’t have any real guarantee of anonymity.

Privacy is paramount, but a VPN is also no good if it’s so slow you can’t even buffer the latest episode of Rick and Morty. VPNs have a habit of slowing down your connection, sometimes drastically. You’ll find this lack of speed may have a distinct correlation with the VPN’s monthly cost.

Global reach is another key element that separates the VPN men from the boys. That old saying “quality over quantity” doesn’t apply in this case. When it comes to how many countries and servers a VPN can access, the greedier the better. ExpressVPN has over 1500 servers in 94 countries, making it one of the best VPNs available.

Strong encryption, DNS leak protection and WebRTC blocking are all security features that should be present in any quality VPN solution. Back in 2015, a bug in the WebRTC protocol was found to leak users real IP addresses, essentially voiding any privacy a VPN offers. Fortunately, most good VPNs block this now, but it’s worth double-checking.

Here is our pick of quality VPN providers that have well-integrated Chrome extensions.

★★★ Best VPN 2018 ★★★

Unlike most VPNs, Private Internet Access has a Chrome extension that is basically the control center for the actual VPN. You still need to sign up for a paid subscription, but it operates within Chrome and we actually prefer it over the desktop applet, as you can read in our PIA review.

Unlike most VPN extensions, PIA has multi-layer data encryption, doesn’t log any traffic and offers IP cloaking to hide your identity and location. It also is one of the fastest VPN providers out there, though you may want to adjust security settings when connecting from China.

Other Reasons We Like Private Internet Access

Besides being fast and secure, PIA is also very versatile: it works on all desktop OSes (it’s the best VPN for Linux, even). Apps for both iOS and Android are available and offer all the same features as the Chrome extension.

While it offers good speed and strong encryption, it unfortunately loses points for being based in the U.S. and severely lacking on the customer support side. Furthermore, it only offers a seven-day refund and its ad-blocking feature is somewhat limited. However, it’s affordable, secure and very simple to use.


ExpressVPN is one of the fastest and most reliable VPNs available. The Chrome extension does not stand alone and requires the full software in order to work, making it the most expensive option overall. However, it’s very secure, very fast and will likely give you the best VPN experience in Chrome, as you can read in our ExpressVPN review.

ExpressVPN offers equally fast and secure apps for Android and iOS. It’s simple interface gets you connected in one click, and even offers advice on what the best server is for your current location. The mobile apps lack the killswitch found in the desktop versions, but otherwise offer all the same features with fast speed and secure L2TP/IPSec encryption.

If you’re looking for the best VPN for Netflix, ExpressVPN is your answer: there is almost no country it can’t access. It also benefits from being located in the British Virgin Islands and as such is not subject to any data retention laws.

Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has become synonymous with internet security. It’s availability across multiple platforms, including Linux, and it’s adoption of protocols like OpenVPN make it one of the most flexible and attractive VPN solutions for almost all and any internet users. The addition of split tunneling also lets you direct traffic as you want.

ExpressVPN Review

Get an extra three months free when you order ExpressVPN now on the annual plan at $6.67 per month with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Though it’s pricey, it’s worth it.


★★★ Best VPN 2018 ★★★

NordVPN is one of the best deals among VPNs currently available. It offers an extremely powerful VPN package which is supported by a simple, lightweight Chrome proxy extension. The extension is exactly what one would look for in a decent plugin — clear, easy to use functions, supported by a strong back-end.

Unfortunately, it’s not the fastest VPN around, so if you have limited bandwidth you might notice slight delays when streaming between Europe and the U.S., for example. It’s significantly more affordable than its competition though and still offers a feature-packed VPN solution with a proven and trusted privacy policy, as you can read in our NordVPN review.

Other Reasons We Like NordVPN

NordVPN is based in Panama, which puts it in one of the more secure and reliable locations for a VPN. It also offers a “double VPN” feature, which ensures data is re-encrypted each time it leaves a server. This does come at a slight cost to speed, but gives you that extra bit of security when required (and put NordVPN firmly in the list for the best VPN for China).

NordVPN Homepage

NordVPN is currently running an incredible deal, offering three years of service for $99. If you find that too big a commitment, Nord also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.


CyberGhost is another strong VPN with a free proxy extension built on the Ethereum blockchain, which should add additional privacy while you browse. CyberGhost is pretty fast, as well, especially in Europe and is supported by 256-bit AES encryption. It has had some trouble with Netflix proxy errors in the past, but has recently been optimized and is working well.

Being based in Romania also gives CyberGhost additional privacy advantages due to that country’s strict data protection laws.

However, the Chrome extension alone does not protect you from webRTC leaks or allow change of country, so if you’re serious about protection, get the full, paid package (it’s worth it, as you can read in our CyberGhost review).

Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost

Beyond it’s impressive encryption credentials, it makes use of the open-source and highly secure OpenVPN protocol and also has a nifty built-in killswitch in case your VPN connection drops out.

Like NordVPN, CyberGhost is currently offering a three-year deal for $99 with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test the service out for yourself without any risk.


TunnelBear is pretty much the best free VPN out there: it offers a lightweight client with a good Chrome extension and strong encryption (in fact, it’s probably the only decent free service). As with other services, for full features and protection, you’ll need the full software. Its encryption is based on the OpenVPN protocol and it offers excellent speeds considering the price.

The free version only comes with 500MB bandwidth a month, so realistically you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan. It’s a good way to test it out first though, especially since it offers no money-back guarantee. One big downside is that it doesn’t do well accessing Netflix; depending on what you need it for, you’ll have to decide if you could bear that.

Other Reasons We Like Tunnelbear

It comes with some nice little additional features, not least of which is called Ghostbear, a feature intended to obscure the fact that you are using a VPN. This is becoming increasingly necessary as more and more websites incorporate VPN-monitoring software into their security.

Though it’s not the best VPN overall, you could do a lot worse than TunnelBear, as you can read in our TunnelBear review. Test it out now for free, or get the premium package at $4.16 a month.


Honorable Mention: ZenMate

ZenMate’s fast, user-friendly Chrome extension is fairly capable and includes a decent, albeit very limited, free version. For basic privacy and features it’s adequate, but for real functionality, the Premium version is recommended. The upside to using the extension is that you won’t have to deal with the awful app: read what we didn’t like about it in our ZenMate review.

Dishonorable Mentions

As we mentioned earlier, the below list shows some serious overlap with our overview of the worst VPNs out there. Whatever you do, don’t use any of the following providers under any circumstance.

Hola

Hola was reported in 2015 for committing a massive violation of trust. They were found to be using customers PCs as exit nodes, routing other Hola users traffic through the nodes and selling the bandwidth to a third-party service. It goes without saying that it is not recommended, unless you’re into that kind of thing.

Hotspot Shield

Another site guilty of a severe breach of trust, Hotspot Shield was caught last year intercepting and redirecting traffic to advertising websites. Besides the moral and ethical implications of these actions, to be able to do so required logging unencrypted connection details — an action in flagrant disregard of its own privacy policy. Read our Hotspot Shield review for the details.

HideMyAss

As mentioned previously, in 2011 HideMyAss handed over customer details to the FBI. They defended their position by pointing out that they were helping to catch a criminal, but this doesn’t change the fact that details were logged in an accessible format, making them an unsecure VPN.

PureVPN

In a case similar to HideMyAss, the FBI also obtained customer information from PureVPN which led to the arrest of a stalker. While nobody can complain about one less stalker on the streets, the fact is that details were logged and their privacy policy clearly states “no-logging.” On top of that, as you can read in our PureVPN review, it’s just plain bad.

Final Thoughts

The need for internet privacy has become a hot topic thanks to the Facebook scandal as well as PRISM shenanigans. Small software companies have jumped on the VPN bandwagon, throwing together cheap proxy apps touted as VPN solutions. The majority of these are just proxy redirects that achieve little more than hiding your location and don’t deserve a spot among our VPN reviews.

When looking to secure your browsing within Chrome, save yourself the wasted time and hassle and invest in a strong, trustworthy VPN solution, not some free plugin or extension that will sell your information to the highest bidder.

Do you have any thoughts on the matter? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for reading.



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