Need a quick way to beef up security and privacy when browsing the Internet? You’ll need to consider getting a VPN Chrome extension. We’re in a digital age where hackers and spies are lurking behind the seemingly peaceful facade of the Internet.

Chrome, with all of its user-friendly features, may not provide the necessary security needed to keep your information safe. Also, being a commercial browser, your browsing data may also be channeled to advertisers. 

Thankfully, Chrome is built to support extensions, including VPN extensions that help to protect data transmitted from the browser. 

What is a VPN Chrome Extension?

VPNs are usually offered as a downloadable standalone app. What most people are not aware of is that some VPNs also offer the service in the form of a Chrome extension. A Chrome extension is a lightweight plugin that is directly installed onto Chrome.

Browser extensions are easy ways to enhance the functionality of Chrome. Many apps offer Chrome extensions to enable a more efficient way of accomplishing tasks without launching multiple apps. 

Installing a VPN extension allows Chrome users to enjoy the same security and privacy when they are using a full VPN app. The Chrome VPN extension will mask the IP address and encrypt the communication sent and received on the browser. VPN extensions are also easy to install. 

However, you’ll need to remember that using a VPN Chrome extension only provides protection within the browser itself. If you’re using an app or services that are not from the browser, you still risk exposing your IP to the public. 

For more, read What’s My IP Address and Why Should I Protect It?

Not all VPNs offer Chrome extensions. Some that do either provide the extension as a standalone plugin while others require a subscription before the extension can be activated. 

It’s also important to realize that VPN extensions may be limited in terms of features. Some VPN extensions may not have a kill switch, server selection, or access to advanced features. They are, after all, a lighter version of a complete VPN app. 

How to Use a VPN Chrome Extension

Adding a VPN extension into Chrome is quite easy. Here’s an example of adding the NordVPN Chrome extension.

  1. Go to Chrome Web Store and search for “NordVPN for Chrome.”
vpn chrome extension
  1. Click Add To Chrome. Choose Add Extension at the pop-up dialog.
  1. NordVPN Chrome Extension is now installed on your browser.
  1. Click on the NordVPN Extension icon. You’ll need to Sign Up for an account before using the extension. 
vpn extension
  1. Sign up for a plan from NordVPN. 
nord vpn plans
  1. Log in to the NordVPN Chrome Extension with your credentials.
  1. Use the Quick Connect to establish a secure connection or choose from a list of supported countries.
  1. Your browser is now secured with a VPN Chrome extension. 

Free vs Paid

If you browse through the Chrome Webstore, you may come across VPN extensions that are free. Before you download and activate the extensions, you need to know that free VPNs are not always good. 

Most free VPNs usually operate with subpar encryption and protocol, which are known to be vulnerable. If you’re using the extensions from these free VPNs, you could still be vulnerable despite connecting to the servers.

Some free VPN extensions are also notorious for injecting malware into the user’s browsers under the pretext of providing protection. Or they could be collecting and selling your data to cover up operational expenses.

When you’re using a free VPN extension, you ought to ask hard questions like “How do free VPNs generate revenue?” or “Is my data safe?” To be safe, we recommend sticking with paid and reputable VPN providers.

You might like to find out more about this in Free VPNs Sell Your Data. Here’s How

VPN Extension vs VPN App

A Chrome VPN extension is a great way to secure your browsing session with minimal fuss. However, you’ll need to be aware that it primarily functions as a proxy, which routes the encrypted data to a VPN server before heading to the destination or web servers.

A Chrome extension does not protect data from other apps, such as Messenger, Netflix, or games. If you need full protection on your device, you’ll want to use a VPN app. A VPN app encrypts all the data that is transmitted from the device. 

If you’re only dependent on a Chrome extension, the risk of getting hacked or spied on when you’re using other apps remains. The best scenario is to have both a VPN app and the extension installed on your device.

VPN extensions usually don’t have a kill switch, which automatically disconnects the Internet when the VPN connection is dropped. The kill switch aims to prevent even the slightest chance of a security breach when activated. To get such protection, you’ll need a VPN app.

Best VPN Chrome Extensions 2020


FEATURES
ExpressVPNTunnelBearNordVPN
WebRTC Blocking OptionNo
Server Selection
High-Speed Connections
AES-256 encryption
Server counts3,000+1,000+5,300+
Number of countries94+ 61+59 
No-logs policy
24/7 Customer support
Cost (monthly)$12.95$9.99$11.95

Summary

A VPN extension is minimum protection you’ll need when surfing on a Chrome browser. You can’t be too careful on the Internet and having the VPN installed secures your browsing sessions. Install a Chrome VPN extension right now or better still, download the full VPN app to stay protected.