As the world’s most popular browser (and by a large margin, too), Chrome offers plenty in terms of versatility. Its user-friendly setup, stability and security are some of the reasons why many of us opt to use Google’s browser for navigating the worldwide web.
Add in the endless number of customisation options to be had by using various extensions and you can really turn Chrome into a personal browser tuned to your exact preferences. Of course, among this bewildering array of potential add-ons for Chrome are extensions from VPN providers, but how do you pick out the best one?
- Check out the best VPN
The best Chrome VPN in 2019
Best all-round VPN for Chrome
Number of servers: 2000 | Server locations: 148 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 3
ExpressVPN routinely delivers on the software front, and its Chrome extension is no exception. It’s easy-to-use and has some neat features which are worth noting like DNS leak prevention and a kill switch.
However, one thing to bear in mind here is that you cannot use the ExpressVPN browser extension without having the appropriate ExpressVPN desktop app installed.
ExpressVPN doesn’t offer a free trial, sadly. There are three available subscriptions which come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. It’s a bit more expensive than the average provider, with the yearly plan giving you the best value for money. The packages available are:
- [$12.95 a month] 1-month
- [$9.99 a month] 6-months - $59.95
- [$6.67 a month] 12-months (plus 3 free months) - $99.95
Best for ad and malware-free browsing
Number of servers: 5242 | Server locations: 62 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6
NordVPN doesn’t offer a free Chrome extension, so you’ll need to set up an account with the provider. Some of the major benefits here include the firm’s CyberSec feature which is designed to block adverts and prevent you accessing malware-laden sites, making your browsing a more streamlined and safer experience. The extension is also lightweight and user-friendly with just a simple couple of clicks needed to get things going.
The service offers a three-day free trial but it’s hidden on the website (find it here). There are four available plans which come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. With the exception of the monthly subscription, the plans are reasonably affordable with the limited three-year plan being particularly good value. The packages available are:
- [$11.95 a month] 1-month
- [$6.99 a month] 1-year - $83.88
- [$3.99 a month] 2-years - $95.75
- $2.99 a month] 3-years - $107.55
3. Hotspot Shield
Number of servers: 2500 | Server locations: 25 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
After downloading the Hotspot Shield extension from the Chrome store, it only takes a couple of clicks before you’re up and running. You’re automatically assigned to the optimal server with the fastest connection speed. There’s not much here in terms of configuration options, but the extension is free – albeit with a limited choice of four locations (although on the plus side, you aren’t bombarded by ads).
Performance-wise, with this provider, our upload and download speeds proved to be a tad higher than what we’d normally see, with only a slight increase in latency. Hotspot Shield uses 256-bit encryption and frequently updates its browser add-on.
As mentioned, there is a location-limited free version, and a 7-day trial which you can use to thoroughly test the service for full access to all virtual locations and additional options.
Do note, though, that you'll have to go for the annual billing if you want affordable pricing since the monthly plan is quite expensive. Three plans are available, and the 2-year plan provides the most bang for your buck. The packages available are:
- [$12.99 a month] 1-month
- [$5.99 a month] 1-year - $71.88
- [$2.99 a month] 2-year - $71.76
- Download Hotspot Shield for Chrome here
Best balance of performance and price
Number of servers: 3075 | Server locations: 59 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 7
Cyberghost offers a free Chrome extension (proxy to be more specific) which you can set up in no time. The extension is quite simple with only an on/off button and the menu to choose the locations. There are four locations available: US, Romania, Netherlands, and Germany.
The performance is good, although depending on where you're connecting from, there might be some fluctuations. The extension encrypts your online browsing data with 256-bit AES encryption, but bear in mind that this free extension won't protect you from webRTC leaks.
If you want full protection, you'll have to choose one out of four plans available. With monthly subscription being expensive, your best bet would be one of the yearly plans. That being said, the limited 3-year plan offers the best value. The packages available are:
- [$12.99 a month] 1-month
- [$5.25 a month] 1-year - $63
- [$4.13 a month] 2-years - $99
- [$2.75 a month] 3-years - $99
- Download Cyberghost for Chrome here
Best free VPN
Number of servers: ~1,000 | Server locations: 20 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
This Canadian provider is very user-friendly with some great performance, although longer distances can take a hit. The service is very simple to use and to use the extension, all you need is an email address.
TunnelBear offers a free plan with a limitation of 500MB per month, which isn’t that much but it’s still better than nothing. That being said, you can get an extra 1GB if you tweet about TunnelBear, and there is an exclusive TechRadar deal (available here) that will get you an additional 5GB of data.
If you want more protection, the service also has a blocker add-on (blocks various tracking) for Chrome which works great with the VPN extension. There is good news on the privacy front, as the provider doesn’t record any information (apart from your email address) nor does it log any of your activities.
If you want to try out the paid service, you have a choice of only two plans. As usual, the yearly plan offers the best value and the packages available are:
- We’ve rounded up the best free VPN
How to choose the best Chrome VPN
For a Chrome VPN extension, you’ll doubtless be looking to protect your privacy while surfing, and to bypass censorship or unblock geo-restricted content. And as always, you’ll want strong encryption and protocol support for tight security.
Performance levels are also important, especially if you’re keen on using Chrome to access streaming services. And for obvious reasons, the browser extension should be easy to setup and use.