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The best Chrome VPN extensions for 2021

Chrome VPN extensions come in many shapes and forms, from the best free VPNs to paid subscriptions to ones that include adblocking and other services. Installing a Chrome VPN extension is the more condensed and compressed alternative to downloading the client developed by the company. Instead of having to open up the program, turning on your VPN, making sure all the settings are correct, then opening your browser, you can have all that at the switch of a button in Chrome. The best VPNs, including the best VPN extensions for Chrome, can give you the protection, speed, and anonymity you need, all while being extremely easy to use.

There are a lot of choices on the market and it can be tough to differentiate between the good Chrome VPN extensions and the bad ones. Luckily, the Digital Trends team has gone through extensive research and testing to analyze the best VPN extensions for Chrome and which ones we recommend you download.

1. NordVPN

  • Country of Registration: Panama
  • Clients Supported: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome
  • Cost of Service: $12 per month
  • Simultaneous Connections: 6
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Unlimited data bandwidth

NordVPN is one of our favorite services out there, and by no coincidence, it’s the most popular VPN. If you’ve used the internet to a moderate capacity over the years, you will have noticed advertisements for NordVPN everywhere online and your favorite YouTubers promoting the product. That’s because this VPN is one that is effective and with great features.

There’s nothing wrong with aggressively marketing a product, especially one that aims to keep consumers and internet users safe and protected. With NordVPN’s state-of-the-art, military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, you can rest assured knowing that, as long as you’re connected to the internet via NordVPN, you are safe. To complement this security, NordVPN has some of the fastest connection speeds we’ve tested, and in some cases, we’ve noticed that connecting to this VPN actually increased speeds as it bypassed ISP speed throttling.

You can download the NordVPN Chrome VPN extension for free on the Chrome web store, but to enjoy the full array of features you will need a subscription. At the click of a button, you can secure yourself online. This Chrome extension disables WebRTC, which is a frequent culprit of data and IP leaks, blocks ads, and encrypts your connection so you are fully anonymous.

2. ExpressVPN

  • Country of Registration: British Virgin Islands
  • Clients Supported: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome
  • Cost of Service: $13 per month
  • Simultaneous Connections: 5
  • 3,000+ servers in 94 countries
  • Speed test available for download and upload speeds

ExpressVPN is another major player in the VPN industry and is perhaps NordVPN’s top competitor. Many VPNs follow the same security protocols and employ the same infrastructure to streamline operations, but ExpressVPN decided to ignore that trend and develop their own set of protocols called Lightway. Lightway allows all paying subscribers to connect to any of ExpressVPN’s global servers instantly, providing amazing browsing speeds while protecting you online. Additionally, if you ever momentarily drop your connection for any reason, Lightway will continue to protect you. Let’s say you have your VPN turned on and then the signal drops for a second. Most services will turn your connection off and you’re back to being unprotected. ExpressVPN makes sure this doesn’t happen to you.

If you’re looking for the best VPN extension for Chrome, ExpressVPN ranks highly. Subscribing to this service means that you can protect all of your devices like your iPhone, Android, Windows PC, Mac, or Linux as well as your browser. ExpressVPN continues to impress us and is a frequent feature in our list of best VPNs. With up to five simultaneous connections, you can keep your family and friends protected with one subscription — that’s value for your money.

ExpressVPN is free to download on the Chrome web store, but you will need to purchase a subscription to unlock the extension and use it to its full potential. If, for any reason, you’re unsatisfied with the service and its features, you’re free to cancel your subscription and receive a full refund under the 30-day money-back guarantee policy. If you’re in need of a Chrome VPN extension, we’re sure you’ll be happy with ExpressVPN.

3. Hotspot Shield

  • Country of Registration: U.S.
  • Clients Supported: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome
  • Cost of Service: $8 per month
  • Simultaneous Connections: 5
  • Antivirus service and password manager included in subscription
  • Installable on your router

Hotspot Shield is a great VPN for those who are looking for a more budget-friendly choice. Most of Hotspot Shield’s customers come from the mobile market, as you’ll see this service marketed aggressively on both the Apple app store and on Google Play. Not many people know that Hotspot Shield has a great and lightweight Chrome VPN extension that provides all of the advanced features the mobile app and computer client have. We do recommend downloading the other services Hotspot Shield offers, like its antivirus and password manager. They’re unfortunately not available when you download the Chrome extension, but once you subscribe to the service you have access to them whenever you want by going to the company website.

For $8 per month, subscribing to Hotspot Shield is a great use of your money due to the fact that you get high-class protection services online with full anonymity, an antivirus, password manager, and 24/7 live chat support whenever you want. If you need professional help from a team of well-trained staff, any of your queries and concerns can be dealt with as soon as possible.

According to independent auditors at Speedtest and AV-Test, Hotspot Shield is the fastest VPN in the Chrome web store. While our tests don’t quite show it’s the fastest, we can support the claim that this VPN barely fluctuates in upload and download speeds. If you have an ISP that frequently throttles your internet speeds, using Hotspot Shield can, in fact, improve your speeds. With over 67,000 positive reviews on the web store, you can feel comfortable knowing that this is a brilliant VPN and well worth your money.

4. Private Internet Access

  • Country of Registration: U.S
  • Clients Supported: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome
  • Cost of Service: $7 per month
  • Simultaneous Connections: 10
  • Open-source software
  • Ad and malware blocking services

Private Internet Access is one of the more underground services on this list, but we were impressed with how inclusive and all-encompassing its features were. Just like most of the best VPN extensions for Chrome, Private Internet Access prioritizes online protection to keep you fully anonymous online. The Chrome extension has limitations compared to the full client (as is the case with most, if not all, extensions). For example, instead of having the ability to connect to servers in 78 different countries on the full client, you can only connect to 28 countries in the Chrome extension.

If you subscribe to Private Internet Access, on top of being able to protect yourself on Chrome, you can connect up to ten of your devices simultaneously so you can feel safe across the board. At the click of a button, this Chrome VPN extension disables WebRTC so your data and information are safe from leaking and you can ensure that the security protocols adopted by Private Internet Access keep you secure behind its encryption.

Seven dollars a month for a comprehensive VPN is a steal, and we think it’s great value for your money if you care about online privacy and use VPNs often. We all know that for those who require VPNs to access the internet it can be inconvenient to fork out money every month just to be online. That’s why budget-friendly options like Private Internet Access are a blessing for customers all over the world who simply wish for affordable access to the internet.

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5. CyberGhost

  • Country of Registration: Romania
  • Clients Supported: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome
  • Cost of Service: $15 per month
  • Simultaneous Connections: 7
  • 7,100 server locations in 91 countries
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

CyberGhost is a VPN hailing from Romania that has 7,100 server locations in 91 countries — and it is always expanding and growing. The cost of a monthly subscription is quite steep at $15 per month, but we do recommend that if you’re looking for a VPN, you purchase the full service as using any free VPN may not be safe. That being said, if you just need a Chrome VPN extension to hide your IP or provide basic protection, you can use CyberGhost for free!

We recommend purchasing the full service because CyberGhost provides 256-bit AES encryption, IP spoofing, and fast browsing speeds all while upholding its no-log policy to ensure you stay anonymous. We love that you can connect up to seven different devices with one subscription, so you can make sure your family and friends are safe as well without having to purchase multiple subscriptions. Connect your iOS device, Android, Windows PC, Mac, Linux, and web browser all at the same time!

With a 45-day money-back guarantee, you can test the service for an extended period of time to decide whether you like it or not. If you don’t, simply ask to cancel and receive a refund (within the 45-day window), and that’s that! No strings attached. CyberGhost isn’t as well-established as other VPNs on this list, but in the vast ocean that is the VPN market, it’s one of the more stable and reliable ones. That just shows our high standards and the rigorous testing we go through to ensure you get the best possible products.

What do Chrome extensions do?

Chrome extensions are a neat way of maximizing the functionality and potential of your browser. They’re small pieces of software built and coded on the foundations of web technologies like HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Extensions serve many different purposes and if you take a look at the Chrome web store, the world is your oyster. You can change the appearance of your browser, download useful apps like ad blockers or Google Translate, or you can bolster internet security with VPNs.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are dangerous Chrome extensions out there. We recommend only downloading trustworthy extensions straight from the Chrome web store — and even then you could be downloading a potentially malicious app. If you download an extension from a third-party source, there’s no guarantee you’ll be safe and important information could be compromised. On top of that, there has been controversy regarding Chrome extensions taking users’ data, which is all the more reason for installing a Chrome VPN extension as soon as possible to keep yourself protected.

Does Chrome have a VPN?

Chrome doesn’t have its own built-in VPN. In fact, Chrome doesn’t come with any extra content, extensions, or apps when you download it. You’ll have to do the research on which apps you need, which are trustworthy, and then download them yourself on the Chrome web store. If you find yourself stuck on which Chrome VPN extension you should download, keep reading to find our favorite choices.

Should you use a free Chrome VPN extension?

Most, if not all, Chrome VPN extensions are free to download. Once you download one, you may have to pay for a subscription (which is worth it, in our opinion), but a few apps may have free data that is given to you monthly. There’s a lot of debate and investigation going on into whether free VPNs are safe or not, and our team has determined that while free VPNs may provide you with a little extra protection, a paid subscription does much, much more. That’s why we recommend you purchase a plan or subscription at any of the recommended VPNs below, as you get so many more benefits and you’re much more secure online when you pay for the full service.

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