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The best VPN Chrome extensions

Make your Chrome web browsing more secure and more versatile by pairing it with a trustworthy VPN extension.

Best Chrome VPN overall
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
From
US$12.95
/mo
Simultaneous connections
5
Features
One-click connect, geoblock bypass, privacy
Installation requirements
ExpressVPN app and Google Chrome
Best cheap Chrome VPN
PureVPN
PureVPN
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
From
US$12.95
/mo
Simultaneous connections
10
Features
Easy location options, geoblock bypassing
Installation requirements
Google Chrome
Best free Chrome VPN
Cyberghost
CyberGhost
4 out of 5 stars
4
From
free (premium AU$18.79/mo)
Simultaneous connections
7 (premium)
Features
One-click connect, free version
Installation requirements
Google Chrome
Best streaming Chrome VPN
Windscribe
Windscribe
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
From
free (premium US$9/mo)
Simultaneous connections
Unlimited (premium; 10GB free)
Features
One-click connect, free version
Installation requirements
Google Chrome
Best versatile Chrome VPN
Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
From
AU$19.99
/mo
Simultaneous connections
5 (25 via Family Plan)
Features
One-click connect, anti-malware, ad blocker
Installation requirements
Google Chrome
Nathan Lawrence
Mar 02, 2023
Icon Time To Read4 min read

Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. It makes sense, then, that there are dozens of Chrome virtual private network (VPN) extensions to wade through. While most Chrome VPN extensions are proxies rather than full-blown VPNs, they’re still popular picks with everyday web browsers. Basically, proxies hide your IP address while VPNs hide your IP address and encrypt your device’s internet data.

That’s why we recommend using one of the best VPNs instead of a browser extension. Still, for those after a VPN Chrome extension, prices range from free—with limited server options or speed and data limits—to premium priced products that can cost around $15 to $20 for a monthly subscription.

We’ll dive into the specifics of each Chrome VPN extension below. Before that, here’s a quick look at how the Chrome VPN extensions compare.

Compare the best Chrome VPN extensions
Best Chrome VPNs
VPN
Price
See full features
Type
Users
Reviews
Best Chrome VPN overall
ExpressVPNExpressVPN
From US$12.95/mthProxy extension1,000,000+4.6/5 (2,400+ reviews)
Best cheap Chrome VPN
PureVPNPureVPN
From US$12.95/mthProxy extension300,000+4.4/5 (3,200+ reviews)
Best free Chrome VPN
CyberghostCyberGhost
From free (or AU$18.79/mth)Proxy extension800,000+4.1/5 (700+ reviews)
Best streaming Chrome VPN
WindscribeWindscribe
From free (or US$9/mthProxy extension2,000,000+4.7/5 (20,300+ reviews)
Best versatile Chrome VPN
Hotspot ShieldHotspot Shield
From AU$19.99/mthProxy extension2,000,000+4.4/5 (68,000+ reviews)

ExpressVPN

Best Chrome VPN extension overall

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
The closest you get to a full-fledged VPN experience as a Google Chrome extension.
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Installation requirements
ExpressVPN app
Total users
1,000,000+
User reviews
4.6/5 (2,400+ reviews)
Starts at
US$12.95
/mth
pro
Pros
pro Lots of features
pro Easy to use
pro Great speeds
con
Cons
con Needs ExpressVPN software installed
con Five simultaneous connections
con Comparatively pricey

ExpressVPN is one of our favourite all-round VPNs, second only to NordVPN. As a Chrome VPN proxy, ExpressVPN is a great contender. It’s a feature rich Chrome browser extension that’s very easy to use, even if you need to have ExpressVPN software installed to use it. The interface is very familiar to anyone who’s used the ExpressVPN app, and it does a great job of working in the background to boost security and sidestep geoblocks, without overly slowing down browsing. While it's not the cheapest VPN around and five simultaneous connections per account isn’t ideal, ExpressVPN has great support and a website stuffed with learning resources for those looking to get more out of their overall VPN experience.

Alternatively, consider the Chrome extensions for NordVPN, Hotspot Shield and Proton VPN (or any of the options below).

PureVPN

Best cheap Chrome VPN extension

PureVPN
PureVPN
A much-improved VPN experience in recent times bleeds over into a budget-friendly Google Chrome extension.
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Installation requirements
Google Chrome
Total users
300,000+
User reviews
4.4/5 (3,200+ reviews)
Starts at
US$12.95
/mth
pro
Pros
pro 10 simultaneous connections
pro Plenty of locations
pro One-click streaming
con
Cons
con Ugly interface
con Multi-click connection
con Light on features

In fairness, there are cheaper VPNs out there with Chrome extensions. But PureVPN has had a recent redemption story that we can fully get behind. It went from having intrusive Windows software that interfered with everyday browsing and software to becoming a speedy background protector. As a Chrome VPN proxy, PureVPN is a bit on the unattractive side and it’s not as intuitive at getting you to the fastest, nearest server as other extensions. Still, PureVPN is competitively priced and does more than just mask your IP address. We particularly like the option to click on popular streaming websites, which automatically connects to an appropriate server and opens the streaming service in a new browser.

For cheaper VPN alternatives with a Chrome VPN extension, consider Mullvad VPN, PrivadoVPN or VPN Unlimited.


CyberGhost

Best free Chrome VPN extension

Cyberghost
CyberGhost
If you want to save money, start with the free version of CyberGhost before moving on to the worthy premium version.
4 out of 5 stars
4
Installation requirements
Google Chrome
Total users
800,000+
User reviews
4.1/5 (700+ reviews)
Starts at
free (or AU$18.79/mth)
pro
Pros
pro Solid free version
pro Easy to use
pro Multiple location options
con
Cons
con No protection from webRTC leaks
con Not particularly fast
con Can clash with other extensions

If you go searching for free Google Chrome VPN extensions, you’ll likely quickly come across Hola VPN. We don’t recommend that one for several reasons detailed in our in-depth Hola VPN review, but we do recommend starting with CyberGhost. As a full-fledged VPN, CyberGhost ranks as one of our top-pick VPN services. As a Google Chrome VPN extension, CyberGhost is a great place to start if you want to see what VPN proxies are all about without having to pay a cent. Click the big connect button or choose from United States, Romania, Netherlands or Germany. Neither are particularly fast from Australia, but they are fast enough for browsing and even some (slow-to-buffer) streaming.

Alternatively, consider free VPN trials from Hotspot Shield, TunnelBear, Windscribe VPN or PrivadoVPN.


Windscribe

Best Chrome VPN extension for streaming

Windscribe
Windscribe
Windscribe is a breeze to use and is great for bypassing geoblocks, which makes it a great pick for those who love streaming.
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Installation requirements
Google Chrome
Total users
2,000,000+
User reviews
4.7/5 (20,300+ reviews)
Starts at
free (or US$9/mth)
pro
Pros
pro Great for global streaming
pro Unlimited simultaneous connections
pro Decent free version
con
Cons
con Sometimes has patchy connectivity
con Not a whole lot of servers
con Inconsistent international speeds

Whenever we test a VPN in Australia, we check how well it handles Australian, US and UK streaming services. Windscribe is the best streaming VPN of more than a dozen services we tested. That’s great news for existing subscribers, but for anyone curious about what Windscribe has to offer, there’s a free version so you can try before you buy. There aren’t a whole lot of servers and there are occasionally inconsistent international speeds, but Windscribe is otherwise a great way to protect your IP address and stream content from Australian and global services. The Windscribe Google Chrome extension also has some neat optional features for blocking ads, trackers and malware.

For a reliable streaming alternative, consider the Google Chrome extensions for ExpressVPN, NordVPN and ProtonVPN.


Hotspot Shield

Best versatile Chrome VPN extension

Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield
A speedy VPN proxy Chrome extension that offers expandable accounts, reliably fast speeds and a solid free version.
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Installation requirements
Google Chrome
Total users
2,000,000+
User reviews
4.4/5 (68,000+ reviews)
Starts at
AU$19.99
/mth
pro
Pros
pro Solid free version
pro Fast and reliable
pro Scale up to 25 simultaneous connections
con
Cons
con Comparatively expensive
con Slow international upload speeds
con Five simultaneous connections (default)

Hotspot Shield is a great all-rounder VPN. It’s easy to use, fast in Australia and works well with most streaming services. There’s also a great free version, which can be used to test the service or Hotspot Shield Chrome extension. If you do pony up for a comparatively pricey subscription fee, you can remove the 500MB-per-day restriction. Plus, Hotspot Shield can be used on five devices simultaneously. Admittedly, that’s not the biggest number, but Hotspot Shield also offers a family plan for up to 25 simultaneous connections. In terms of the Hotspot Shield Chrome extension, there’s a great range of toggle-on options, including ad, tracker and malware blocking (among others).

For other VPN versatility options, consider Surfshark VPN, IPVanish and Windscribe.


What to look for in a Chrome VPN extension

If you already have an ongoing VPN subscription, we strongly recommend starting there. Most VPNs will offer a Google Chrome extension because it’s the most popular web browser. That said, if you pay for a VPN, we strongly advise using the full service instead of a Chrome extension.

Why? Because VPNs hide your IP address and encrypt your data, while browser extensions tend to be proxies that hide your IP address but don’t necessarily encrypt your data. If your main concern is convenience, VPNs can typically be configured to auto-connect on start-up (also true of browser extensions).

For those without a VPN subscription, start with a free service to see what it’s like. Options include Hotspot Shield, TunnelBear, Private Internet Access and Atlas VPN. Hola VPN is a popular alternative but we recommend looking at the aforementioned alternatives first as its free version uses device resources. A Chrome VPN extension should be easy to use and not interfere with typical web browsing. Note that free versions may have slower connections to faraway servers, which may impact browsing speeds.

How we choose the best VPN extensions for Chrome

Our analysis for the best Google Chrome VPN extensions starts with our ongoing list of VPN reviews. At the time of writing, that list was 17 services. While there are dozens of VPN Chrome extensions to scroll through, we prefer ones attached to renowned brands.

We appraised our list of top-scoring VPNs and used it to create a categorised short list. The next step was to visit the Chrome Web Store to see how the respective extensions scored with users. We paid close attention to ones that had the most downloads and the highest score, then ruled out certain options based on this, including Surfshark and NordVPN.

The next step was to put each extension through its paces. We checked how easy it was to connect, which servers were available, the simplicity and viability of streaming, and what extra options were tucked away.

Chrome VPN extensions FAQs

Yes and no. While many VPN providers offer Google Chrome extensions for their products, they’re not full-fledged VPNs. They act as proxies that will mask your IP address and may have other VPN-like features, but they don’t encrypt your data like a VPN does.

There’s some variance based on what you’re after, but we think ExpressVPN offers the best all-round VPN extension for Chrome. Alternatively, consider CyberGhost, Windscribe or Hotspot Shield if you want to start with a free alternative.

Yes, there are several free VPN extensions, including the popular Hola VPN. We do, however, recommend checking out alternatives from Hotspot Shield, Windscribe and TunnelBear.

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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