No matter what type of browser you're using, most browser providers offer some form of 'incognito' or 'private' mode if you want to remain anonymous online. There's only one problem: it's a hoax.
If you really want to stop companies and prying eyes from getting hold of your web information, you need a VPN that can encrypt your data. Fortunately, there are browsers with built-in VPNs that offer true incognito browsing - encrypting your data and history, so it's inaccessible by your internet service provider and other interested parties.
Also, many of the world's most popular VPN providers offer browser extensions that can help you shield your online activity.
Here are the best browser with VPN and VPN extension picks for your browsing safety:
- Opera (Premium Browser with Built-In VPN and Ad-Blocker)
- Globus (Basic Browser with Built-In VPN)
- ExpressVPN (Premium Extension VPN with High-End Features)
- Hotspot Shield (Free Extension VPN with Fast Download Speeds)
Opera is a leading alternative browser choice that comes packed with a range of built-in features. Opera is one of the few browsers with built-in VPN. You won't need to download an extension or separate program to access its secured browser platform.
Unfortunately, one of the primary downfalls of Opera is its encryption standard. Unlike many traditional VPNs, Opera doesn't offer military-grade (AES-256) encryption for its users. Instead, the VPN functions more like a proxy. If you're looking to create a secure encryption tunnel for your web traffic, this certainly isn't a safe option.
Access to media is limited
While there are some complaints about the lack of encryption and security at Opera, one excellent feature it offers is access to media. I used its servers to access Netflix and Hulu without any issues. Sure, you have access to only 3 different server locations, so you won't be able to use Opera to access content from every corner of the world.
But hey...at least it can bypass geographical locks!
And streaming platforms will really be the main way for you to access media, as Opera browser doesn't allow its users to access torrents using their VPN. Regardless, you don't benefit from true encryption on Opera, so it's probably best to avoid torrenting either way.
Instead of complicated downloads and installation processes, simply head to the privacy tab on Opera's settings interface.
Here you are given the opportunity to 'Enable VPN.' Opera will indicate if the VPN is connected on the left-hand side of your URL bar.
You can change the VPN's location by clicking on the VPN button within the URL bar.
What other features does Opera offer?
First, you'll be able to benefit from a built-in ad blocker that prevents ad saturation on the sites that you access. You'll also be able to fully customize your browser's interface and sync all of your bookmarks, contacts, and other browser information. Opera certainly offers some usability functions that you don't find built into any other browsers.
Probably the best thing about Opera - the browser and its VPN service are completely free of charge. You can also benefit from a bunch of free 'Add-Ons' that act in the same way as Google Chrome extensions. It's an excellent way to upgrade your browser's capabilities without paying any money.
- Completely free of charge
- VPN automatically built into the browser
- Easy to configure
- Access to overseas media providers
- Ad-blocker built into the browser
- No torrents allowed on Opera platform
- Limited to three server options
Globus is a lesser-known completely free browser with VPN. While it's one of the only browser providers that offers a built-in VPN platform, there's a reason that Globus is much less popular than Opera. There are indications that Globus doesn't offer nearly as many features as the leading VPN providers in the industry. Let's check out of this browser VPN has anything to offer its users.
Decent server list - for a free service
Globus offers its users access to 9 different server locations. While this is limited compared to paid services, it's one of the best location lists you'll find with a free subscription. Keep in mind, most of the VPN servers are located in Europe and North America. If you want a truly global VPN, you'll need to find a service that offers other regions.
Media capabilities and safety aren't perfect
I tested Globus on a ride range of online content providers. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to consistently access content on Netflix and Hulu. While some servers worked perfectly, I wouldn't suggest this provider if you want seamless access to your favorite online content.
Research into Globus' Android app suggests that the browser requests an unnecessary amount of information and permissions. This may indicate that Globus is collecting more data than it indicates in its promotional material. If you want to keep your phone's data secure, Globus shouldn't be your first choice. It's only a theory - but still worth keeping in mind.
However, the browser is very easy to use. You can access the VPN options easily via the right-hand side of your browser. In many ways, the VPN on Globus acts in the same way as an extension on Chrome.
- Free VPN service
- Built into the browser automatically
- Doesn't offer as many services as Opera
- Hard to find concrete information about privacy policies or encryption
- Rumors about data collection
Prices start at: $8.32/month
Moving on to VPN extensions for your browser - ExpressVPN is a titan in the consumer VPN industry for a reason. It's packed with premium features. If you're looking for a VPN that goes above and beyond the call of duty, this is a solid option.
While it doesn't come built into your browser, it offers way higher performance and functionality than Opera or Globus. Trust me, there's a reason this is often considered one of the best VPN extensions for Chrome.
You can find the ExpressVPN Chrome extension by heading to the Chrome Extension center on your browser.
You can also find the Firefox Add-On by heading to the Add-On center on your browser, both of these extensions are extremely easy to install and allow you to access ExpressVPN's services quickly.
Premium functionality and security
With ExpressVPN, it's hard to find the end of the list of impressive features included in this service. You'll benefit from access to over 2,000 servers in 90 different countries. This is the most extensive country offering on my list.
You'll also benefit from a VPN service that offers military-grade, AES 256-bit encryption for its users. This encryption standard efficiently protects you from prying eyes and potential hackers on public WiFi networks.
ExpressVPN also never logs any of your data or IP address information. This is an added layer of protection against government data requests and hackers.
You'll also find that ExpressVPN offers seamless access to Netflix and Hulu - two of the hardest media content providers to bypass. P2P sharing is also fully supported on ExpressVPN's servers.
But what about the price?
Unfortunately, ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive VPNs in the industry - it's certainly the most expensive on my list of top browser VPNs. While the features you get for your money are certainly worth the cost, there are many cheaper options available on the market.
If you sign up for a longer subscription, you can save money on ExpressVPN. Unfortunately, even with a long subscription, its cheapest price point is $8.32.
- Extensions on Google Chrome and Firefox
- Strong encryption standards
- Largest country list in the industry
- Solid no-logging policy
- Supports overseas media and torrents
- Much higher prices than the rest of the providers on my list
- Doesn't come automatically built into a browser
The browser extension is completely free
Hotspot Shield is a VPN provider in the United States that focuses largely on performance. Like ExpressVPN, you'll find an easy-to-download Hotspot Shield extension in the Google Chrome store. There's also an 'Add-On' available in the Firefox 'Add-On' center.
What's so great about Hotspot Shield?
It doesn't use as high of an encryption standard as ExpressVPN, and the company does log some of your data.
While its AES 128-bit encryption is strong, it's not as strong as the other providers' standards on this list. AES-256 encryption is the golden standard in the industry and I highly recommend finding a provider that offers this type of encryption.
Nevertheless, Hotspot Shield offers a rather impressive service list for a free service. Currently, you can connect to 25 VPN locations.
Hotspot Shield is one of the rare, premium VPN providers that actually offers a free service for its clients. If you plan on only using a browser VPN, you won't need to pay any money for Hotspot Shield's platform.
If you do want to use Hotspot Shield on other devices or consoles, you'll need to pay for its subscription service. Regardless, a free browser extension is a great deal!
- Extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox
- AES 128-bit encryption standards
- Access to media providers online
- Extremely fast download speeds
- Free extension for browser option
- Not as solid encryption as NordVPN and ExpressVPN
- Slow upload speeds
Which VPN Browser Extension is Best for You?
Before choosing one of these VPNs, you should assess the reason you're using a VPN and what you're looking to achieve by having one accessible in your browser. Below are the key features that distinguish each VPN provider on my list:
- Opera is best for those who want browsers with a built-in VPN and tons of additional features.
- Oculus is best for those who want a simple browser with built-in VPN.
- ExpressVPN is best for those who want a premium browser VPN provider with extensive features.
- Hotspot Shield is best for those who want a free VPN service with great performance ratings.
Do you use a different browser with VPN? Or maybe a VPN extension on your browser? If so, comment below about your experience and whether you'd recommend it!