Aleksandar Stevanovic spent 10 years honing his craft as a freelance content writer. He has a degree in Economics, and extensive experience in software, crypto,…
Michael is a Tech Content Editor at Techopedia, who is passionate about delivering high-quality tech content online and ensuring the accuracy of our guides. With…
If you wish to secure your online data when browsing online, a browser VPN extension is a great option. It’s a quicker and less complicated alternative to a standard VPN application.
Sometimes, users might be put off by the VPN app installation process, especially if the app requires you to alter your device settings. A VPN browser add-on is a much easier and quicker way to secure your online activities when browsing the web on popular browsers like Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and others. Additionally, it also helps you access geo-restricted content.
The main difference between the VPN application and the VPN browser extension is that the latter does not encrypt traffic on any apps or games on your device. More so, the add-on may have fewer server options and additional features.
With that in mind, we have tested some of the best VPNs on the market to see which one is the best VPN for browser.
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We’ve reviewed and tested the best VPN browser extensions, looking at their encryption, VPN protocols, speed, server spread, and security features. Based on these factors, we shortlisted the 7 best VPNs for browsing on search engines.
ExpressVPN comes with a secure, easy-to-setup, and easy-to-use browser extension. A functional automatic connection will connect you to the fastest available VPN server whenever you start your browser. So you can rest assured that your online data will be safe at all times.
The VPN extension uses the same AES-256-bit encryption used on the VPN application, too. Additionally, you can expect the extension to spoof your location, prevent tracking, and protect you from malicious websites. Like a typical VPN connection, it also enables you to access geo-restricted content in the browser.
In terms of privacy, ExpressVPN has a strict zero-log policy, meaning the company does not collect and store its users’ data. This is further supported by the provider’s RAM-only servers that are wiped clean after each reboot.
There are over 3,000 servers to choose from in more than 105 countries worldwide. Additionally, you have the ability to choose between different protocols, like Lightway, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. During our speed testing, the Lightway protocol proved to be the fastest option.
To use the ExpressVPN extension, you’ll need to install the ExpressVPN app on your Linux, Windows, or macOS device and have the app running. The lowest rate for the ExpressVPN subscription starts at $6.67/month.
Read the full ExpressVPN review.
PureVPN is another excellent VPN extension, offering superb speeds and world-class security. It can also be used on up to 10 devices simultaneously. This allows you to keep every device in your household protected with the AES-256 encryption protocol and a slew of advanced VPN features.
As a browser-based VPN, PureVPN’s extension lets you unblock geo-restricted websites and browse the web anonymously by encrypting your browser traffic. It includes WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) leak protection, ensuring your real IP address is hidden at all times. Plus, it spoofs your GPS location and lets you bypass proxy to set up split tunneling for your browser.
PureVPN offers unlimited bandwidth and helps you bypass ISP (Internet Service Provider) speed throttling. More so, due to the provider’s 20 Gbps servers, you can expect fast and lag-free connection speeds.
What’s more, PureVPN has optimized servers for different types of websites. This allows you to enjoy much faster streaming on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more. PureVPN’s browser extension also protects your data when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi.
Best of all, the price for PureVPN starts as low as $1.89/month. There’s also a 31-day money-back guarantee if the provider is not what you expected.
Read the full PureVPN review.
Ivacy VPN is a great option if you’re looking for a free VPN extension for your browser. While both the desktop version of the app and the extension have paid pricing plans with additional security features, you can get the base VPN extension completely free (no credit card required).
The app relies on AES-256 strong encryption, which successfully encrypts your internet traffic and hides your real IP address. You’ll also be able to bypass proxies, so you can whitelist the websites you trust and connect to them directly.
Ivacy VPN also provides public Wi-Fi security, helps you overcome ISP speed throttling, and lets you enjoy your favorite online content without interruption. Plus, to secure the fastest connections, you’ll be able to choose a specialized server for either streaming video content, browsing, or downloading files.
Another reason to opt for Ivacy VPN for your browser is its large server fleet. With over 6,500 servers spread across 60+ countries, you’ll always have a fast nearby server to connect to.
The only questionable thing is that Ivacy VPN’s no-log policy has not undergone an independent audit. So, the validity of the statement remains unknown.
Lastly, Ivacy is very cheap, with prices starting at just $1.00/month, and a 30-day money-back guarantee is also in place.
Learn more in our Ivacy VPN review.
Uniquely, NordVPN doesn’t just spoof your IP address; it makes it seem like you’re not using a VPN at all. This is done by matching your browser timezone with one of the VPN server locations you’re connected to. Additionally, during our testing, we discovered that, due to its lightweight NordLynx protocol, NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the list.
Another useful feature of the NordVPN browser extension is split tunneling. The feature lets you choose which websites you’d like to visit without a VPN connection in place. On top of that, the NordVPN extension for browsers comes with a Threat Protection Lite feature, which blocks intrusive ads and potentially malicious websites on your browser.
While no free trial is available, the NordVPN app’s prices are fairly reasonable, with the lowest rate starting at $3.39/month. You get up to six simultaneous connections for different devices for that price. Plus, if anything, a standard 30-day money-back guarantee is also available for all its plans.
Read the full NordVPN review.
Surfshark secure browser VPN offers complete online privacy and anonymity, as well as great connection speed.
In addition to hiding your IP address and location, Surfshark offers Clean Web 2.0. This blocks all ad banners, video ads, and cookies, meaning you’ll be safe from any third-party snoopers and annoying targeted ads.
Another advantage Surfshark VPN has over competitors on the list is website breach monitoring. When you turn on the website safety warnings feature, Surfshark will alert you about any incidents and data breaches you may have experienced. The pop-up window features all the details, such as the exact date of the breach and the information hackers exposed, so you’ll know which websites to avoid.
You’ll also love Surfshark’s alternative ID feature if you value your online privacy highly. It allows you to create a brand-new online identity with a new email address and bogus personal information. Another great security enhancement.
What’s also great about Surfshark is that you can use it on unlimited devices with a single subscription. This means you can add the browser extension to every PC, laptop, tablet, and phone in your household without paying extra, all for just $2.29/month. On top of that, you can make use of its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Surfshark review.
CyberGhost offers a free browser extension that blocks ads, online trackers, and malicious websites. In addition, it also masks your IP, which lets you bypass online censorship and access your favorite content from anywhere.
The browser VPN extension doesn’t require a credit card or even a CyberGhost account. All you need to do is add it to your Google Chrome web browser or Firefox and connect it to a secure VPN server. If you go with the free version, you will get access to four VPN servers. However, a premium version will expand this choice to 11,000 servers worldwide.
Additionally, you won’t have access to features like proxy bypass (split tunneling), which will likely prompt you to utilize the paid version of the CyberGhost app rather than the browser extension.
The paid version also performed better in terms of connection speed. During our testing, CyberGhost showed very similar results to ExpressVPN, keeping around 50-55% of the original broadband connection.
Lastly, for $2.19/month, you’ll get to enjoy all the premium features the provider has to offer. That includes protecting up to seven devices simultaneously. And if the product is not up to par, there’s a generous 45-day money guarantee in place.
Learn more in our CyberGhost review.
Strong VPN provides a simple, easy-to-use Chrome extension that protects your online identity when using the browser. The private network also lets you bypass geo-restrictions and protects you from third-party spying and other online threats.
Strong VPN has a strict zero-log policy, meaning the provider does not collect and store user data. However, this has not been confirmed by an independent audit. So, the legitimacy of the claim is still unclear.
The online VPN browser extension offers the choice of six VPN protocols, including WireGuard (the most secure), OpenVPN, L2TP, SSTP, IPSec, and IKEv2. This gives you the flexibility to choose a different protocol based on your activity and lets you prioritize speed or security.
That’s pretty much the extent of what the Strong VPN browser extension offers, so you won’t have access to any advanced security or privacy features. Moreover, you’ll only have access to 14 global VPN servers, which is barely any better than what CyberGhost offers for free.
In terms of price, the VPN has a monthly and an annual plan, with the latter retailing for $3.97/month. While the price is fairly average, for even chaper ($3.39/month), you can get a more extensive NordVPN package.
Here’s a comparison table of the best VPN online browser extensions, so you can see how they measure up head-to-head:
Just like regular VPNs, VPN browser extensions have their perks and limitations. Here are a few pros and cons to consider when opting for a browser extension.
At its core, both a regular VPN app and a VPN browser add-on do the same thing – encrypt your online traffic. However, since they serve slightly different purposes, there are about to be some differences in their functionality:
Most VPN providers make it easy to set up a VPN browser extension. The process may vary depending on the VPN provider and the extension you install. However, here are a few generic steps you can follow:
Before we make any recommendations to our readers, we first-handily test each VPN service. Here are a few things (you can also read our full methodology) we considered when creating the best VPN for browser list:
If you’re not sure which of the VPN web browser extensions we’ve covered in this guide is the best choice for you, here are a few factors you should consider, which will help shape your decision:
Yes, you can use a free browser VPN, but keep in mind that free versions of VPN extensions are typically extremely limited.
Even the best browser VPN extensions with free plans only allow you to connect to a handful of VPN servers. As a result, your connection speed will be super slow. Additionally, free VPN browser extensions typically don’t have advanced security features since it’s not in the providers’ interest to offer the full service for free.
That would be fine; however, free browser VPNs might pose a serious security risk. If you download and install an unreliable free VPN, it might not only fail to protect your online activities but also actively collect your data. Eventually, your personal information might even get sold to third parties.
All in all, free VPN extensions are good for occasional use, but you’ll need a premium VPN to be fully protected online and enjoy complete anonymity.
If you want to learn more about VPNs, here’s our comprehensive list of VPN guides:
ExpressVPN is the best browser VPN extension. The provider delivers good speed, a stable connection, security, and anonymity.
Yes, browser VPN extensions offer the same level of privacy and online security as VPN apps. The main difference is that a standard VPN app will protect all your online activities on the entire device, while the browser VPN extension is active on a single chosen search engine.
A VPN extension will hide your browsing history from websites, advertisers, online snoopers, your ISP, and even your government. The history will still be visible on your device, so you’ll have to manually delete it if you’re worried about someone checking your browser history on your device.
Yes, there are dozens of free VPN extensions. We recommend IvacyVPN and CyberGhost.
Aleksandar Stevanovic spent 10 years honing his craft as a freelance content writer. He has a degree in Economics, and extensive experience in software, crypto, and cybersecurity industries. He covers a multitude of topics, writing factual and informative articles, helping individuals better understand the intricacies of the online world. Over the last two years, his research focus shifted more towards tech and software content, as evidenced by his publications on CEX.IO, Business2Community, and Techopedia. He believes in simplifying complex topics and bringing them closer to like-minded individuals. His work is as detail-oriented as it is creative, and is designed to…
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