How to get a better VPN extension for Chrome and Firefox

 This feature has been brought to you by ExpressVPN.

Not just another extension

Most browser extensions and plugins that call themselves “VPNs” are, frankly, not. They typically operate only within your browser and thus fail to secure any traffic outside of it. Some serve merely as a proxy to change your virtual location but offer no encryption. And many are dubiously free, which leads one to wonder how they’re monetizing your traffic. 

Enter the ExpressVPN browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. ExpressVPN already makes state-of-the-art VPN apps for just about every platform, and their browser extension is no different. In fact, the ExpressVPN browser extension is more like a handy remote control for the VPN app already on your computer. That’s how it wraps secure VPN protection around your entire device; not just your browser.

This VPN extension even has an advantage over standalone VPN apps: it can spoof your browser’s geolocation reporting. Most sites determine your location using your IP address, which you can change from your VPN app. But some websites use the HTML5 Geolocation API, which can betray your location based on data other than your IP address, such your Wi-Fi access point. It is possible to manually re-configure these settings to match your VPN location, but it takes a bit of time and effort. ExpressVPN for Chrome and Firefox does it automatically. That’s only possible with a VPN browser extension.

Here’s how to start using the extension right now:

Step 1: Download the VPN app 

To get the ExpressVPN browser extension, you’ll need:

ExpressVPN for Mac app (version 6.4 or newer)

OR

ExpressVPN Windows app (version 6.2 or newer)

If you don’t have ExpressVPN yet, you can get it from the order page, then follow the instructions to download the ExpressVPN app for your Mac or Windows computer.

This app is your bread and butter. Turning it on will not only hide your IP address from the sites you visit, but also encrypt everything traveling in and out of your computer. That includes traffic from any other internet-connected apps on your computer, like Spotify, Skype, Slack, Mail, Outlook, etc.  

Step 2: Install the VPN extension 

From your VPN app on Mac or Windows, click the menu icon at the top of the window. The link to install the extension on your browser of choice will be in the tab called “Browsers”. 

Step 3: Give it a test drive  

The ExpressVPN browser extension works just like the ExpressVPN app on your computer. Click “CHOOSE LOCATION” to select from a list of recommended locations or the full list of over 145 VPN server locations in 94 countries.

Once you’re connected to a secure VPN server, you’ll see a green dot on the ExpressVPN icon in the corner of your browser window. That means all of your internet traffic, both inside and outside your browser, is travelling through a private, encrypted tunnel

VPN browser extension tips and tricks 

The ExpressVPN browser extension is a reflection of your Mac or Windows VPN app that protects your entire computer. If you turn your VPN on or off through your app, the browser extension will reflect that status, and vice versa. (Note that quitting your browser with your VPN app still connected will not disconnect the VPN. Quitting your VPN app with the browser extension still connected, however, will disconnect your VPN.)

By default, the extension also blocks WebRTC in Chrome and Firefox. This ensures your browser will use the same network path for media as for normal web traffic, which in turn prevents your true IP address from leaking. But if you prefer, you can turn this off in the Settings menu.

For added security, you can also set your the browser extension to automatically connect to your last used VPN server location whenever you start your browser. That way you’ll never forget to protect your web browsing activity.

Learn more about the ExpressVPN extension for Chrome and Firefox