ExpressVPN Chrome extension: what is it and how to install on your browser

ExpressVPN Chrome browser extension
(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

One of the reasons ExpressVPN constantly comes out on top as one of the best VPN providers is because of its great variety of clients and apps, which allow you to surf more securely online across any of your devices. And it goes one step further with the ExpressVPN Chrome extension, allowing you to connect and control your VPN right within the heart of your internet browser.

But how, if at all, does it differ in its functionality to ExpressVPN's other apps and how do you install it? 

We've covered all these bases below, including what features you'll be able to benefit from, system requirements before you install, and why it's our go-to best Chrome VPN to recommend.

What is the ExpressVPN Chrome extension?

While some VPN providers offer a browser extension which functions as a somewhat diluted version of its desktop counterpart, in ExpressVPN's case it's very much an extended version of its full-fat app. 

Mostly, this is a good thing. Rather than simply functioning as a proxy, you get the added benefit of your activity being encrypted as it travels from A to B, as well as enjoying anonymous browsing and the ability to circumvent geo-restrictions.

However, you will need its desktop app installed onto your computer as well as the browser extension itself, which may be deemed a drawback for some purely from an inconvenience point of view unlike, say, Windscribe, which packs all its features and weight behind its standalone extension. ExpressVPN's extension, on the other hand, misses out on some of its desktop features like its speed testing tool and Favorites list.

In short, then, the browser extension functions as a remote control within Google Chrome, allowing you to do pretty much everything you would within either its Windows or Mac VPN app without clicking away to do so.

Chrome extension page on the ExpressVPN website

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

How to install the ExpressVPN Chrome extension

Installing the ExpressVPN Chrome extension is easy, but you'll first need to ensure whichever desktop app you have is the following version or higher:

  • Mac 7.1 version or newer
  • Windows 6.9 version or newer
  • Linux 2.0 version or newer

Once you have the right desktop client installed, follow the below step-by-step guide to install the ExpressVPN Chrome extension onto your browser.

  • Go to the ExpressVPN website (opens in new tab)
  • Click on 'My Account'
  • On the right-hand side look for 'Set up your devices' 
  • Click on Google Chrome
  • Click the green 'Get Extension' button
  • Once on the Chrome Web Store click 'Add to Chrome'
  • Voila! The extension can be found under the puzzle piece extension icon

ExpressVPN Chrome extension at first launch

ExpressVPN Chrome extension at first launch (Image credit: ExpressVPN)
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What can you do with the ExpressVPN Chrome extension?

As mentioned, the ExpressVPN Chrome extension offers more than a simple proxy experience like many of its competitors and their extensions. This means a lot of its configuring is actually done within the desktop app, whether you have the Windows VPN, Mac or Linux app installed. 

When you click the burger menu button and hit the 'Settings', you'll therefore find a nifty button that takes you straight to 'Configure Desktop App Settings', as well as a shortcut to head straight there.

Within the Chrome extension, you can set some preferences though, including the ability to connect to a server as soon as you launch your browser, ensuring your connection is always secure.

Under 'Privacy & Security', you can also toggle on and off concealing your location, as well as blocking WebRTC and ensuring you only visit secure HTTPS sites. In order to choose select a protocol, utilize features like IPv6 detection and its kill switch, you'll need to configure these settings within your desktop app.

ExpressVPN Chrome extension interface, displaying Settings and Privacy & Security menus

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)
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Other aspects worthy of note is ExpressVPN's Chrome extension is available in 17 languages and the ability to experience the extension in dark mode.

What other browsers can I get an ExpressVPN extension on?

  • Firefox (opens in new tab)
  • Edge (opens in new tab)
  • Brave
  • Vivaldi

Why should I choose ExpressVPN?

Topping our Chrome VPN best list, ExpressVPN maintains itself as TechRadar's go-to recommendation time and time again. It's also one of the best streaming VPNs, as well as the most private VPN with an excellent no logging policy and security track record.

Equipped with over 3,000 servers across 160 locations, ExpressVPN excels across all fields. With excellent clients across an array of devices including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire Stick, and the rest, it also comes packed with great features. 

With your choice of protocol for even better security - along with industry-standard encryption - ExpressVPN also boats its new Lightway protocol. When put to the test, Lightway offered impressive speed performance with peaks of 580bps.

For keen streamers, ExpressVPN triumphs as our Netflix VPN of choice, as well as being able to handle unblocking the likes of Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus when you're abroad. It's also a handy BBC iPlayer VPN for accessing the on-demand platform when you're outside of the UK.

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Alice Marshall
eCommerce Editor

Alice is eCommerce Editor at Future with a focus on streaming services, such as Disney Plus and HBO Max, and VPN. She predominantly writes buying and streaming service guides, as well as how to watch articles. Previously a Commercial Content Writer at Trusted Reviews, Alice has five years experience giving online buying advice, and over two years writing about consumer tech.