VPNs are an excellent way to shield your online activity and access servers from other countries. But downloading a VPN can be a pain if you have to open its interface every time you want to use it.
Fortunately, some VPN providers offer browser extensions that make the process of connecting to your VPN much, much easier. So, if you're a Chrome user, you're in luck.
But with a rather overwhelming number of options available, which are the best VPNs for Chrome? I've researched and tested various extensions - these are the best VPN options for Chrome users:
- ExpressVPN (Servers in over 90 countries)
- NordVPN (Amazing security features)
- PureVPN (Chrome extension highly rated by users)
- Hotspot Shield (Great overall performance)
From $8.32 /month
ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive VPNs on the market - but this is for a reason. This British Virgin Island-based VPN provider is known for having amazing performance and plenty of built-in features.
Its normal VPN interface is extremely popular - but ExpressVPN now also offers a Google Chrome extension that provides for easier access to its service. You can download the extension directly through the Google plug-in store.
ExpressVPN is part of a growing number of VPNs that are opting for some of the strongest encryption protocols in the industry. You can now access AES 256-bit encryption from ExpressVPN, which is the same encryption standard previously used by the US Military.
Research suggests this is one of the strong encryption standards in the industry. Current information indicates it is un-hackable without prior knowledge of the secure keys. It's the perfect level of encryption if you want to keep your data secure online.
ExpressVPN also offers a strict no-log policy, which means they won't keep track of your internet traffic, IP addresses, or data. This is a must-have feature if you want to remain anonymous online.
Plenty of speed under the hood
If you also want a VPN that will provide you with top-level performance, ExpressVPN is one of your best options. It has plenty of download speed retention, which means you won't lose much speed once you're connected to its servers.
While speed varies depending on its servers, I found most of them retained more download speed than a considerable amount of the VPN market. For example, my normal internet speed of around 75 Mbps was around 61 Mbps after I connected to some ExpressVPN's top servers.
This is around 80% download speed retention - you'll hardly notice the difference when you connect to ExpressVPN!
Log in from anywhere on Earth
The last in a long list of excellent features from ExpressVPN is the country list - this VPN provider has server locations in every corner of the world. You can access the internet from over 90 countries!
I haven't been able to find another country list this extensive within the top performing VPNs I've tested.
- Easy to install the extension
- Access to countries across the globe
- Excellent internet speeds
- Top Encryption
- More expensive than competitors
From $2.99 /month
NordVPN is a true titan in the VPN industry - it's hard to research VPNs without finding consistent praise for this Panama-based VPN provider. It's packed to the brim with features and performance - I wasn't disappointed when I tried the VPN myself.
You can download the NordVPN Chrome extension via the plug-in store. While this VPN is best known for its traditional VPN interface, its Chrome extension is easy to use as well. You can navigate through different countries with ease - it's simple to access any VPN server you want.
Fast worldwide servers
One of the best things about NordVPN is the number of servers it offers its users. You won't have to worry about being stuck on a server that underperforms - simply choose a new server if you need faster speed.
There are over 5,000 servers available on NordVPN's platform. This is one of the largest server lists in the nation. You can also choose from over 60 different countries!
And the best part is - the performance is going to be great in all of them.
NordVPN is a great Chrome extension if you're looking for a media-friendly option - it provides lightning fast internet speeds with access to top media providers.
It's hard to find a VPN provider that can bypass the geographical restrictions on Netflix and Hulu, but NordVPN doesn't have any issues tricking their firewalls. I tested multiple servers on Netflix and Hulu - and didn't experience any problems gaining access.
Also, its great download speed retention rate means you won't have any problems streaming HD content. My internet download speed went from 80Mbps to 71.2Mbps - over 90% of my speed was retained using its servers.
If you can already stream HD content using your typical internet connection, you won't have any problems using worldwide NordVPN servers!
Safety is priority at NordVPN
If you're using a VPN, you're probably looking to keep your online data secure. Connecting to a VPN on public WiFi can create a secure tunnel that protects your web traffic from prying eyes or hackers - but only if your VPN provider offers strong encryption!
NordVPN uses the same world-class AES 256-bit encryption standard as ExpressVPN. You won't have to worry about hackers breaking through your encrypted tunnel.
Also, NordVPN is another one of the only VPN providers that offers a true no-log policy. They don't retain any of your data or information when you're using its servers.
- Excellent Chrome extension
- Over 5,000 servers in over 60 countries
- Strong encryption
- Cheapest VPN on the market
- No-log policy
- Excellent reputation in the VPN industry
- $2.99 price only if you pay for three years upfront
From $3.45 /month
PureVPN is another well-known VPN provider that has a popular Chrome extension. This Hong Kong-based VPN provider is well outside of the prying eyes of Western governments.
PureVPN's Chrome extension boasts over 130,000 current users, making it one of the most popular Chrome extensions on the market. It also has excellent feedback from customers - it's one of the best-rated extensions in the Google Plug-In store.
Servers around the world
This is another VPN provider that offers its customers access to tons of servers around the world. With PureVPN, you'll find over 2,000 servers in over 80 countries - one of the most impressive server lists I've seen.
If you need access to overseas servers, this is always a solid option.
Customize your encryption
If you want a VPN provider that allows you to customize your encryption for performance and security, PureVPN is one of your best options.
You can choose a variety of different encryption settings: from no encryption at all, all the way to AES 256-bit encryption.
This means that you can properly secure your data with military-grade encryption, or increase performance by choosing to go without encrypting your data.
Not as secure as you may think
While PureVPN does offer its clients a great Chrome extension and tons of server options, there are suggestions that this VPN isn't as secure as people may think.
Recent developments suggest that PureVPN cooperated with US authorities to track down an internet stalker.
And while we do not condone any sort of illegal behavior - this right here that PureVPN has the means to log your data, and are not afraid to share it. So if you want to keep your online data secure, it's probably best to work with a different VPN provider.
- Highly rated chrome extension
- Strong encryption
- Huge server list
- Affordable price points
- Safety rumors are concerning
- Not as fast as other VPNs on this list
Hotspot Shield may not be as well known as the other VPN providers on this list, but it actually has one of the most popular extensions on Chrome.
With just under three million current users, Hotspot Shield is one of the most widely used VPN Chrome extensions on the market. It also happens to have an excellent customer feedback rating on the Google Plug-In Store!
Performance Over Everything
The one primary advantage of Hotspot Shield is its performance. While its upload speeds are some of the slowest in the industry, its download speeds are lightning fast. I had heard that Hotspot Shield was the fastest VPN on the market, but I wanted to do some testing of my own.
To my surprise, the rumors were true! My normal download speed of 80Mbps only reduced to 62.7Mbps once I connected to Hotspot Shield. This is the only VPN I've ever used that retained nearly 80% of my download speed.
If download speed is your priority, this is definitely the best VPN for you!
Some security concerns are present
The one major downside of using Hotspot Shield is its security concerns. While Hotspot Shield claims to protect your online data from outside intruders, it appears the company doesn't retain the no-log policy it advertises.
There is currently action against Hotspot Shield for its misleading advertising:
If you want to stay as anonymous online as possible, I don't think this is the best VPN option for you. Hotspot Shield is primarily a VPN for people who care about download speeds! And right here, they are pretty good.
- One of the most popular VPN extensions
- Access to overseas countries
- Fastest download speed on the market
- Affordable prices
- Security concerns
- Very slow upload speed
Which Chrome VPN Extension You Should Use?
There are plenty of excellent Chrome extension VPNs that provide top performance and protection online, but choosing the right one for you comes down to your personal reasons for use and your primary concerns.
Below are general summaries of the strengths of each VPN on my list:
- ExpressVPN is best for those who want an excellent VPN with a large country list and strong encryption
- NordVPN is best for those who want an industry-leading VPN with excellent encryption, performance, and price points
- PureVPN is best for those who want a highly rated Chrome extension with a long country list
- Hotspot Shield is best for those who want a VPN extension with incredible download speed
Free VPN for Chrome: Should You Use One?
While you may see a lot of Chrome extensions for free VPN on the add-on store, they're not worth using. Really, you can follow the basic rule of thumb: if you're not paying for anything, it means that you're the product. And it's your searching history, data, and behavior which led to them offering the services for free.
The only viable free VPN option is a free trial or a massively limited free option of a premium VPN. In there, the intent of the company is clear - to advertise its services to you, so you'd become a paying customer.
But overall, I highly recommend you choose a premium VPN service if you value safety and performance.
And the ones you see on this list are exactly like that. So browse cautiously - and make smart choices.