If you’re using Firefox or Opera then you’re in luck! These browsers already have a VPN built-in. However, if you’re like the majority of people (62%) who use Google Chrome as your chosen software application for finding things on the web, then it’s a good idea install a Chrome VPN extension.
Why Install a VPN?
When surfing the web, your data is not secure. Therefore using a private connection to share sensitive data is important, especially if you want to make sure that cybercriminals don’t have access to your personal information.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers you protection against hackers by deploying a wide range of protocols that hide your details as they are transferred across the public internet. Additionally, a VPN can hide your location and protect your digital footprint from prying eyes.
When using a VPN you can access geo-restricted content, eg. movies that are only available in a certain location. This is done by surfing the web via your VPNs server, which then tells the app or website that you are in a different physical location. You’ll also be able to bypass government censorship by using a (VPN) server in a different location. Some VPNs allow you to choose a location, however often this feature is limited on FREE browser based VPNs.
A browser-based VPN is a great option for beginners or those who are not in the position to invest in a full-blown VPN. Browser-based VPNs are really easy to set up and provide security and protection online. In most instances, you can set up a chrome based browser extension in a matter of minutes with a one-click installation process.
Selecting the Best Chrome Based VPNs
When looking for the best Chrome Based VPNs we looked at price, customer reviews, user reviews and the number of users who have installed the extension. If, for example, an extension has been downloaded from the Chrome web store by almost 1 million users, then we’d expect that the reviews would be in the tens of thousands and as near to 5 stars as possible.
There are some reviews by experts or users, that don’t necessarily reflect the overall capabilities of the VPN. For example, many tech experts say that Hola VPN for Chrome uses peer to peer protocols when it is clearly stated that is not the case in the chrome web store. Other examples would be apps that are a bit harder to configure, resulting in user frustration.
Without further ado let’s get into our Top 7 Chrome VPN Extensions:
#1 | Hola Free VPN Proxy Unblocker
Interestingly Hola! Gets a lot of bad press by so-called tech experts. However, if you go by the number of downloads that their chrome extension has and compared to the reviews, the story is quite different. Hola’s Chrome Extension has been downloaded by 8,035,624 users and they have a massive 334,706 – 5-star reviews, which is 4.1% of users leaving 5-star feedback. With most users saying things like
Best FREE VPN I’ve ever used!
The main objection to Hola! that I’ve found is their use of peer to peer protocols. However, if you read their chrome web store overview, you’ll see that they actually use split-tunneling technology. They also say that the extension is ad-free, backed up by the following statement:
This is not a peer to peer application.
If you choose to upgrade to their Hola! Plus service, then you’ll be paying as little as $2.99 per month for their premium service. Additionally, they offer a 30-Day money back guarantee.
#2| Hotspot shield
Hotspot Shield has a fantastic FREE browser extension for Chrome, with unlimited browsing. Their Chrome app has been downloaded by nearly 3 million users (2,817,821 to be exact) which puts them second on our list of top VPNs for Chrome. The user to review ratio is also good as they have 66,331 four and a half star reviews in the chrome web store.
Hotspot Shield is unbelievably easy to install with just one click, making it a suitable option for beginners who are looking for more protection when using the internet. You can select what server location that you want to use if you upgrade to their elite package. The only downside to the free Hotspot Shield VPN is that it contains ads. However, they are easily removed by upgrading to Hotspot Shield Elite which costs around $5.99 per month.
#3 | ZenMate VPN
ZenMate is another FREE VPN that offers protection when surfing the web and using social media. ZenMate stops marketing bots from tracking your online activity and prevents adware. What’s cool about ZenMate is the fact their “Smart Locations” feature, which allows you to set your preferences as part of their premium offering.
The free service on ZenMate is pretty neat, as they offer unlimited browsing. However, some of their more advanced features are restricted to their premium package. ZenMate has over 3 million users and a decent amount of 4-5 star feedback (34,494 reviews in the chrome web store). That means that just 1% of the users who installed the browser extension left a review. Lower than Hola! And Hotspot Shield who have more reviews and a better review to user ratio, but still good.
#4 | Betternet
With Betternet you can view censored content and watch Netflix securely. You can also stream popular movies while traveling, even ones that have geo-restricted content. However, there are reports from some users that it can be a bit slow or choppy. Their free version has a limited amount of servers to choose from but you can upgrade to their paid version. They have a strict no-logs policy, which is always something that we look for in a VPN.
One thing that is great about Betternet, is the fact that they don’t use ads to subsidize their earnings. So you can enjoy ad-free surfing, even with their free version. Betternet has 25million subscribers, with just over 1,372,088 users using their Chrome extension. They have an average of 4.5 stars across 29,516 4.5 reviews. This is a pretty nice rate to user ratio (2%) which is why we’ve chosen Betternet as a trusted VPN Chrome extension.
#5 | uVPN
Another FREE and unlimited VPN for chrome is uVPN. You can set up their app with one click. No registration is necessary, and they don’t keep any user logs, nice. Their chrome extension has had 1,670,857 downloads, with a decent amount of 4.5-star reviews.
With uVPN you can access geo-restricted content. And because they allow unlimited browsing, you can stream from Youtube, Netflix or your favorite streaming platform. The only thing is that uVPN can take a bit to set up and configure, so not necessarily the best option for a VPN newbie.
#6 | DotVPN
DotVPN offers unlimited browsing and ease of use. You can easily change servers, even on their free app. When it comes to security DotVPN have it on lockdown with 4096-bit key encryption. DotVPN also integrates with Tor and claims to reduce your data usage.
DotVPN would be higher up on our list if they had more downloads and reviews. Chrome web store has had 972,040 users download DotVPN, with 9,247 4 star reviews. Which when compared to Hola (with 8 million downloads, isn’t even comparable)
The app looks great in all other respects. If you upload to their premium plan that is reasonably priced at $4.99 per month then you can use it on 5 devices and benefit from additional features. What’s more, you can give their premium option a go free of charge as they offer a month free trial.
#7 | TunnelBear VPN
Last but not least, TunnelBear has a great free chrome extension that is really simple and straight forward. Surprisingly they have just 852,898 chrome subscribers, however, they have a decent -32,728 – 5 star (well almost) reviews. With TunnelBear, you’ll get a super fuzzy and friendly interface that will allow you to access censored content and browse the web securely.
TunnelBear has an easy one-click installation so that anyone can install for free and get started straight away. The only downside to the free TunnelBear VPN is that you are restricted to 500MB of bandwidth. Upgrading to their paid solution will cost you $4.99, so not too expensive.
All in All
These are our top 7 Chrome Extensions that you can download for free and get started with today. If you’re looking for a really easy place to start, I’d go for Hotspot Shield or TunnelBear. However, if you want the most popular extension to date, then go for Hola. Interestingly other top VPNs didn’t come out very highly recommended on the chrome web store, so we left them out.