The Best VPN Browser Extensions in 2022

Ruheni Mathenge Last updated: April 12, 2022
Disclosure

VPN browser extensions are convenient tools that allow your web traffic to get the protection of a VPN. A VPN will encrypt all your data going in and out of your device and spoof its originating IP address -- thus, nobody can tell where you are. Yet, these browser extensions have pros and cons. This article advises all about them and shares the best ones to use in 2022.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have become an essential, must-have tool to go online safely –almost as crucial as your ISP. But running a VPN on your computer or device needs a little tweaking. For instance, mobile devices need an app specific to your chosen provider, whereas desktops or laptops require you to install a VPN client. VPN browser extensions obviate this requirement by quickly integrating with your browser, regardless of your device or operating system.

This article will tell you about the best VPN browser extensions out there. But, since all the providers mentioned here offer native VPNs, you can easily choose the option you like best.

How to use a VPN browser extension

If you’ve used a browser extension of any type, you’ll find that using a VPN plugin is exceedingly easy. Just follow the next few steps:

  1. Sign up with a VPN provider that offers browser plugins. Our no.1 recommended VPN with browser extensions is NordVPN. It’s not a standard feature in the VPN industry, but each option in our list has one.
  2. Install the plugin in the browser you want to use.
  3. Open the VPN plugin. Login in with your credentials.
  4. Select a server within the VPN network and connect to it.

Best VPN browser extensions in 2022 – Quick list

Maybe you are already conversant with VPN browser extensions and want the right names. Then, this is the section you need to read. However, if you need or want more details, we’ll tell you all about our preferred VPNs with browser plugins later on.

  1. NordVPN. It’s fast, secure, has an extensive server network and many additional features.
  2. ExpressVPN. The best-established name in VPN land couldn’t fail to have a browser extension.
  3. Surfshark. Low cost, high quality, this VPN is disrupting the industry.
  4. PrivateInternetAccess. If you like to do torrenting in your browser, this is the best option. It also has the largest network in the VPN business.
  5. VyprVPN. This Swiss VPN offers optimal speeds. Also, it offers the best Chrome extension VPN.

Those five vendors have two things in common: they are among the best VPNs on the internet, and they all have browser extensions. Each of those options is worth joining on its own merits. It’s a happy coincidence that they also have the best browser extensions.

What is a browser VPN?

A browser VPN is just a browser add-on that provides you with almost all the functionalities you expect from a VPN.

They are different from web proxy extensions in that they also encrypt and anonymize your web traffic like standard VPNs. But they are convenient to use since you do not have to install any additional software. Instead, you can swiftly download and install the VPN plugin to your preferred browser. Therefore, you can enable and disable it at will and protect your web traffic with your VPN’s encryption and IP masking.

However, notice that we wrote “web traffic.” The standard VPN implementation encrypts every bit of traffic going in and out of your device (FTP, torrents, games, other apps, anything). However, web browser VPN extensions only protect your web traffic; the rest will remain unencrypted and show your accurate IP address. So, if you want full VPN tunneling, you need to use your VPN app.

Best VPN with browser extensions today – Detailed list

We ran a few tests on all the VPN services we know to find the best options in the browser extension arena. Unfortunately, the task is not as straightforward as you may think because not every VPN makes browser extensions. Moreover, not every browser extension will be worth it for you. Instead, sometimes, even an excellent browser plugin would serve you with an awful VPN service. So it’s all about finding the right balance.

We found the best VPN browser extensions by considering these factors.

  • The provider makes and supports browser extensions and native VPN apps and clients.
  • Extensions are secure and stable.
  • The network speeds remain fast when you’re connected through the browser plugin, and server switching is also quick.
  • VPN can circumvent geolocation restrictions using the browser extension alone.
  • The vendor offers other excellent features.

So these are the chosen ones.

1. NordVPN

NordVPN

Its extensions for Microsoft Edge, Chrome, and Firefox protect all your browser traffic from prying eyes. Thus, you remain safe even upon visiting an unsafe website.

Visit NordVPN
servers 5,000+ plus servers in 60 countries
P2P support icon Boasts P2P-friendly servers
encryption Double encryption feature
simultaneous connections 6 simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee 30-days money-back guarantee
protection Stealth web protection capability
MultiHop mode Offers double VPN mode
Kill switch Customizable kill switch
SmartPlay feature SmartPlay technology
tor compatible Tor compatibility
Pros
  • Has fast servers
  • Allows P2P traffic
  • Boasts huge server network
Cons
  • Comparatively slow speed on Malaysia server

Whenever we’re testing VPNs to find the best option for any given task (torrenting, obfuscation, bypassing censorship, and other things), we keep finding that NordVPN is a step ahead of the rest. So it wasn’t a surprise when we saw that it’s also the best one where browser extensions are concerned.

The NordVPN browser extension allows you to choose a server in a specific place. Or, you can click on “Auto connect,” and it will select the best server in your vicinity. However, you can’t pick a specific server as you do with the desktop client. The extension will also block ads and malware, adding another layer to your web security.

An exciting feature in this extension is the option to turn WebRTC off. WebRTC is a video communications protocol that allows two browsers to connect to exchange audio and video. While this protocol may sound incredible, the problem is that it uses both browsers’ IP addresses to create the link. And this is where the problems arise because one of the most common IP leaks scenarios comes about. After all, WebRTC broadcasts the IP to the world.

The browser extension is more feature-rich than the rest in the market. One excellent feature is “CyberSec,” which keeps you away from malware-hosting websites. While it could not be pleasant for suggestive users, it’s suitable for the average web surfer.

NordVPN has the highest privacy, security, and anonymity standards. Also, it offers many additional features such as server obfuscation, multi-hop connections, onion over VPN servers, etc. Moreover, if there’s a VPN that can bypass the geolocation blocks of every video streaming platform, this is the one.

NordVPN has browser plugins for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. The plugins are light and fast.

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

On top of making your VPN use easy, ExpressVPN’s addon also offers additional security and privacy features like WebRTC blocking.

Visit ExpressVPN
servers Over 3,000 servers in 94 countries
encryption AES 256-bit encryption protocol
protection Leak protection on all browsers
P2P support icon Supports P2P (torrents) downloading
simultaneous connections Allows 5 simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee 30-day money-back guarantee
Split tunneling feature Split tunneling feature
Trusted servers nord Exclusive TrustedServer technology
Pros
  • Fast speeds across all VPN locations
  • Torrenting friendly option
  • Boasts colossal number of server locations
Cons
  • Has above average prices

NordVPN is the best VPN nowadays, but ExpressVPN was the best service for an extended period before. However, it’s still the preferred VPN for many experts and reviewers, for good reasons.

ExpressVPN‘s browser extension is a different animal altogether, as it’s not a self-contained piece of software. Instead, it’s something like a remote control for the VPN’s native app — which means that you must have the app installed previously in the device of your choice, or it will do nothing. However, there is an advantage to ExpressVPN’s approach: instead of having only your web traffic within the VPN tunnel, since the full app is online, all your traffic gets secured, and you can use the browser plugin to keep an eye on things.

The server network spans 94 countries, and you can choose any server. Alternatively, you can select “Smart Location,” The app will find the optimal server according to your physical location and network resources. In addition, ExpressVPN is every bit as good as NordVPN at unblocking geo-restricted video streaming services. So, if you want your Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, or any other, you’ll be pleased.

ExpressVPN’s app also gives WebRTC leaks special attention. But its approach is different from NordVPN’s. While NordVPN disables the protocol completely, ExpressVPN keeps it active but ensures that its traffic goes through the VPN tunnel and server so that your IP address is never revealed.

ExpresVPN’s browser extension is an open-source project, which means third parties can thoroughly test it. Indeed, this browser extension has gone through tests by external cybersecurity firms and passed them all with flying colors.

Another unique feature in ExpressVPN’s extension is that it scrambles your location, as reported by Google’s geolocation API and HTML5 browser features. This can give away your location even if your IP is masked correctly, so it’s a way of securing an open back door.

The plugin is available for Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Google Chrome browsers.

3. Surfshark

SurfsharkVPN

This provider’s VPN extension utilizes an encrypted proxy to let you enjoy digital privacy and internet freedom with one click.

Visit Surfshark
servers Over 3,200 servers in 65 countries
encryption AES 256-bit encryption
MultiHop mode MultiHop (double VPN) mode
simultaneous connections Unlimited simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee 30-days money-back guarantee
Clean web features CleanWeb (the extra protection) feature
Camouflage mode Camouflage Mode (obfuscated servers)
Pros
  • Smooth user experience
  • Excellent prices
  • Accountable global server presence
Cons
  • Limited P2P servers

Surfshark has only been around for a few years, unlike our previous two entries. Yet, it’s managed to become an industry leader in that short period.

It disrupted the market by offering a service of the highest quality for a fraction of the price you pay with other premium VPNs. Plus, its server network includes more than 60 countries. The security features are also top-notch: 256-bit AES encryption, protection against IPv6 leaks, WebRTC leaks, a kill switch, and the No Border feature (Surfshark’s version of obfuscated traffic). Finally, if all that doesn’t persuade you, this is one of the few VPNs that allow for an unlimited number of concurrent connections to the network.

Surfshark’s browser plugin includes the CleanWeb feature that blocks ads, malware, and phishing attacks. It’s automatic and so easy to use that you hardly notice it.

Surfshark’s service includes obfuscated servers as an optional feature. (Most VPNs don’t support it, but NordVPN and ExpressVPN do). This feature disguises your traffic so that external snoopers can’t detect you are using a VPN. In addition, the browser plugin uses obfuscation for web traffic by default, thus adding an extra layer of protection to your web activity.

This vendor provides browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. So Apple users will have to use the native app in iPhones and iPads.

4. Private Internet Access

PrivateInernetAccess

An intuitive and fast browser VPN. It boasts the most advanced security and privacy features any VPN service provider can offer today.

Visit PIA
servers Thousands of servers in 84 countries
simultaneous connections 10 simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee 30-days money-back guarantee
Zero-logs policy Strict no-logs policy
Kill switch Automatic kill switch feature
Split tunneling feature Split tunneling
P2P optimized servers Full P2P support
Pros
  • Has decent speeds
  • Good value for money
  • Boasts massive server farm
Cons
  • A little dubious business perspective

Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the most popular VPNs for browsing the web. Its server network is probably the largest, with servers spread across 84 countries.

PIA’s browser extension is very user-friendly, and it has everything any such tool should include. In addition, this browser extension will allow you to unblock many geo-blocked video stream platforms (Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu), and the service’s price is relatively low.

The extensions are available for Opera, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox browsers (apologies for Apple and Microsoft users). They include a kill switch, port forwarding, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leak protection.

However, you should remember that the extension only protects your HTTP traffic. So, if you want your device to be fully protected, you need to use it along with the VPN app.

PIA is not the biggest name on our list, but the browser plugin is among the best. Also, if you would like to use the BitTorrent P2P network through your browser, this one is the way to go.

5. VyprVPN

Vyprvpn

The provider’s simple browser extension allows you to quickly secure your browser activity, spoof location, and change your IP address. Works only with Google Chrome, though.

Visit VyprVPN
servers 700+ servers in 70 locations
P2P support icon Supports P2P (torrenting) traffic
encryption AES 256-bit encryption standard
simultaneous connections 30 simultaneous connections
money-back guarantee 30-days money-back guarantee
Zero-logs policy Strict zero-log policy
Pros
  • Great at bypassing geo-restrictions
  • Owns its servers
  • Highly responsive and well-trained customer agents
Cons
  • Mediocre Speeds

This Switzerland-based VPN service caters to customers’ requirements by providing a functional browser extension besides dedicated clients. That means subscribing to this service not only protects your devices but can also secure your browsing sessions on any device you use by simply downloading the respective browser plugin.

Subscribing to VyprVPN is also worth trying given the 30-day money-back guarantee. Although, you won’t need to go for a refund since the service’s features will surely impress you.

Specifically, VyprVPN has over 700 servers in its network with over 300,000 IP addresses from across the globe. Then, its prominent features include DNS protection (with VyprDNS), censorship bypass with its Chameleon technology, kill switch, 30 simultaneous connections, no-logs policy, and NAT Firewall.

The service currently supports Google Chrome only. But that’s no problem given Chrome’s tremendous compatibility with numerous devices.

The method to our madness: Here’s how we found the best VPN browser plugins

Figuring out the best VPN browser extensions is not as difficult a task as it usually is to determine the best VPN. This universe is smaller as not every VPN has a browser extension. And among those providers who do have one, the fast, safe, good ones are not that many. So this is how we decided on the best options in the market.

  • Cost-effectiveness. Having a good VPN service costs money; there’s no way around that –don’t get us started on free VPNs. However, there’s no reason to go for the most expensive option because of its price. A few great VPNs offer a fantastic service or a meager cost.
  • Ease of use. VPN extensions are redundant if you already have an app that does the job, which is why one of the main reasons to use one is its ease of use. If setting up or turning on a VPN browser extension is not much simpler than using the app, then there’s no point in having it.
  • Privacy. Unlike security and anonymity, privacy is not a matter of technology. It has everything to do with a VPN provider’s policy and terms of use –especially about keeping no logs of its user activity. We’ve reviewed the logging policies of more than a hundred VPNs so we can choose those that will do the best job of keeping your privacy safe.
  • Security. The security standard in the VPN industry is encryption with AES-256 bit. Anything less than that is sub-par. But a few services will meet that standard and give you much more. Those are the ones we picked.
  • Unblocking capability: VPNs’ initial use case was security, privacy, and anonymity. But as online entertainment went viral worldwide, a newer use case for VPNs is to unblock video services that do not offer the best content in your country. So now it’s a must-have feature we demand of any VPN we will endorse.
  • Speed. Let’s face it. The days of gopher, lynx, FTP, and text-only internet interfaces are long gone. In our current times, having a smooth internet experience is all about your speed. So, a good VPN must give it to you, even with its browser extension.
  • Server network. A good VPN network must include lots of servers in lots of countries. Otherwise, it won’t effectively bypass censorship, restrictions, and other internet limitations you find in many countries. Also, more extensive networks relieve the load from individual servers so that you can always connect quickly and have a reliable link that doesn’t have any hiccups.

Best web browser VPN options

Best Browser VPN
(Alamy)

Realizing the need for you to install separate browser extensions for VPN services, some vendors have stepped up with an innovative idea – the web browser+VPN combo. In simple words, they have developed secure browsers with built-in VPN features. Hence, they save you from the hassle of searching and installing a separate extension. If you merely need to protect your web traffic, you can download such browsers on your device.

1. Epic Browser

The Epic project develops a privacy-oriented browser starting from Chromium, the open-source project from which Google Chrome stems.

There are many reasons Epic is an excellent option regarding privacy and security. First, Epic keeps no logs at all. It collects minimal data to prevent DDoS attacks and improve its overall performance.

Epic has several plans that include premium services. But the remarkable thing about Epic is that it offers a free service that shows respect for user privacy because the company has an income from the paid packages.

The open-source nature of Epic means that the code is transparent and auditable by anybody. This is the hallmark of the best privacy software, especially in the VPN world (OpenVPN and WireGuard, two examples).

Epic is an excellent PC browser VPN substituting the mainstream browsers. And, as it keeps expanding and improving, it shows a lot of promise for the future.

2. Tenta Browser

Tenta is an Android browser that integrates the OpenVPN protocol into its browser. OpenVPN is the open-source VPN tunneling protocol that’s become the gold standard in the VPN industry. Every VPN vendor worth its salt uses OpenVPN at least as an option. So including OpenVPN makes Tenta a trustworthy VPN. 

An exciting feature in Tenta is that it brings encryption to every aspect of the browsing experience. While other browsers in this list will encrypt your traffic only, Tenta will also encrypt your bookmarks, downloaded files, and other browsing features. Thus access to your browsing data is impossible for any third party. Even yourself if you’re not using Tenta.

Above all, Tenta is free and is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android systems. So, there is no reason for you to risk your privacy now.

3. Opera

Opera is among the world’s most popular browsers with some reasonably advanced security features, although it’s not a VPN.

The Opera browser includes a lot of innovative features and good functionality. It’s free to use, places no caps on data, and includes an ad-blocker. However, this is done using an HTTPS proxy that doesn’t go through a server, so it’s not a real VPN.

Also, Opera’s commitment to user privacy has been under scrutiny for a while. The original Opera company was Norwegian, so it was subject to the Nine Eyes intelligence alliance whose member governments do not like individual user privacy. Then the company sold the browser to a corporation based in Hong Kong, in China. China is not in the 14-Eyes alliance, but you’ll be very hard-pressed to find a government set more against individual digital rights. Consequently, many privacy enthusiasts and observers question the privacy in this project.

However, Opera remains a good browser and a viable option for those users who want to feel safe at public WiFi spots but don’t need more advanced VPN features.

The truth about free VPN browser plugins

There are plenty of free VPN browser plugins on the internet. And the only reason you should know they exist is to keep as far away from them as possible.

Free VPNs may sound like a bargain at first. But keep in mind that they usually impose data caps, bandwidth limits, there are queues to connect to their servers because they’re overworked, and the links are unstable. In addition, the networks are small.

There is one other thing you need to consider about free VPNs. A law in economics says,

“Whenever you’re not paying any money for a product, you are the product.”

That is the business model in most free VPNs. Even free VPNs have expenses to pay, and they have to make money somehow. Since their income doesn’t include any subscription fees, they must have other income. And in too many cases, revenue comes from keeping very detailed logs on their user activity and selling them to advertisers and other commercial partners. Hence, using a free VPN doesn’t help with privacy at all. Instead, it gives it away, thus defeating the purpose of using a VPN at all.

So the functionality in most free VPNs is poor, and they will sell out your privacy to keep their business going. If those two things are not enough to dissuade you, there’s more. 

Many free VPNs are hubs for malware. And when they have a browser extension, everything is worse because you’re giving them access to your computer’s heart through the browser.

So the thing with free VPN networks is this: if you value your privacy, anonymity, and security, then always choose a paid service. You will find at least two decidedly budget-friendly providers within the options we’ve offered in this article. So there’s no reason at all for you to take risks with free VPNs.

VPN apps and clients vs. browser plugins and extensions

The functionality you find in most VPN extensions is not such a big deal. They’re just HTTPS proxies, hardcoded to use your VPN’s servers. So only HTTP data gets the benefits of encryption and IP masking. If you are using any other app, client, or software that also uses the internet (Spotify, Steam, BitTorrent, anything other than your browser), won’t enjoy any of your VPN’s security features –at least not through the browser plugin. DNS traffic is one of those things that will remain unprotected and that ISPs can use to keep an eye on your digital activities.

Fortunately, getting protection for every bit of traffic that goes in and out of your device or computer is easy. First, you need to download and install your VPN app (or client if you’re on a computer), launch it, and log into the network. Such software is typically available for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android – a few providers even have Linux clients. These pieces of software will ensure that all your traffic remains inside your VPN’s secure tunnel. In addition, if your provider has a kill switch, then the app will even shut down all the traffic if it detects that the safe link gets lost.

Conclusion

VPNs are quickly becoming one of the essential digital age tools. They are powerful, versatile, and helpful. So whether your priority is to keep your anonymity safe or to see more Netflix content, VPNs deliver the thing you want.

And let’s consider browsers specifically. Among all the software you use on any device, browsers are a hacker’s most common target. However, installing a VPN extension in your browser makes a hacker’s life impossible, preventing them from bothering you. And that’s why keeping your web traffic secured is so essential. There are many practical reasons for which you may find yourself unable to have your VPN’s native app online. That’s where you can enter the VPN browser extension. It allows you to keep your most vulnerable piece of software safe even when you’re not running the app.

But not all plugins are the same, of course. Choosing a good VPN plugin means selecting a good VPN service. So, we’ve invested the time and energy to figure out the best choices in the current market.

We sincerely hope that we have persuaded you about the importance of having an excellent paid VPN service at your disposal. If your digital lifestyle needs a VPN browser extension, you know who will give you the smoothest, safest experience. So go ahead, and select your favorite! Above all, stay safe!

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About the Author

Ruheni Mathenge

Ruheni Mathenge

Tech researcher and writer with a passion for cybersecurity. Alex is a strong advocate of digital freedom and online privacy. Read More

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