How to find the Best VPN for Chrome and Chromebooks – Guide

Desktop Chrome on PCs and Macs is better protected by VPN applications designed for these operating systems. Basically, you are installing a VPN application that runs in the background and protects all network traffic. Chrome extensions are available for most popular VPN services that allow you to turn it on and off features, and provide some additional WebRTC protections. For iOS and Android, users will also install a device-wide app. Mobile Chrome doesn’t support extensions, so your device-based app is your best defense. If you want to protect a Chromebook, the Chrome browser extension is not enough. The way most VPN providers recommend that you secure your Chromebook is by installing their Android app. Android apps now work on most modern Chromebooks, but older Chromebooks don’t have this feature. Be sure to check each vendor’s compatibility list. Once you’ve installed the Android app on your Chromebook, you’re usually protected. Finally, for Linux devices running Chrome, some vendors offer a Linux binary, but the most common method is to install VPN software on a router and then run all traffic through that router. It doesn’t help to mobile Linux users, but it’s a start. Let’s take a look at four of our favorite VPN services and see how they fare with Chrome and Chromebook.


IPVanish is a deep, highly configurable product that presents itself as a click-and-go solution. I think the company is selling very little doing this. A quick visit to their website shows a relatively generic VPN service, but that’s not the whole truth. Its user interface offers a wide range of server selection options, including some excellent performance graphics. It also has a wide range of protocols, so no matter what you’re connecting to, you can know what to expect. The company also provides an excellent list of servers with good information on current status. There are also a number of configuration options for the app itself. In terms of performance, the connection speed was insanely fast. Overall transfer performance was good. However, from a security point of view, it was not possible to hide that I was connecting via a VPN – although the transferred data was secure. Overall, a solid product with a good user experience that’s good for home connections, as long as you’re not trying to hide the fact that you’re on a VPN. The company also partners with SugarSync and provides 250GB of encrypted cloud storage with each plan.


ExpressVPN is burning up the headlines with some pretty rough news. We chose to leave ExpressVPN in this recommendation and I wouldn’t necessarily rule out ExpressVPN because of these reports, but it is up for you to assess your risk level. With 160 server locations in 94 countries, ExpressVPN has a considerable VPN network across the Internet. In the CNET service review, team writer Rae Hodge reported that ExpressVPN lost less than 2% performance with VPN enabled and using the OpenVPN protocol compared to a direct connection. Although the company does not record browsing history or traffic destinations, it does record the dates connected to the VPN service, the amount transferred and the location of the VPN server. We want to praise ExpressVPN for making this information very clear and easily accessible.


NordVPN is one of the most popular consumer VPNs out there. Last year, Nord announced that he had been raped. Unfortunately, the breach had been active for over 18 months. Although there were failures at all levels, NordVPN made substantial efforts to remedy the breach. The performance test was adequate, although the ping speeds were slow enough that I didn’t want to play a twitch video game over the VPN. To be fair, most VPNs have terrible ping speeds, so this isn’t unique to Nord. Overall, a solid choice and with a 30-day money back guarantee, it’s worth a try.


At $2 a month for a two-year plan (charged in one piece), Surfshark offers a good price for a solid offer. In CNET’s tests, no leaks were found (and as much larger names leaked connection information, this is a big win). The company appears to have a very strong security focus, offering AES-256-GCM, RSA-2048 and Perfect Forward Secrecy encryption. To prevent WebRTC leaks, Surfshark offers a special purpose browser plugin designed specifically to combat these leaks. Surfshark performed better than NordVPN and Norton Secure VPN, but lower than ExpressVPN and IPVanish. That said, Surfshark also offers a multihop option that lets you route connections through two VPN servers on Surfshark’s private network. We also like the company to offer some cheap add-ons features, including ad blocking, anti-tracking, access to an unregistered search engine, and a tool that tracks your email address against data breach lists.

I’m running a VPN app. Still need a Chrome extension?

The answer will be a little different from vendor to vendor, but generally the Chrome extension will give you in-browser control over your app. More importantly, websites using WebRTC can sometimes drill through the VPN tunnel and get your real IP address. Chrome extensions can often block this behavior.

If I have a Chrome VPN extension, do I need a full app?

Yes, because Chrome extensions only work in Chrome. If you’re doing anything else on a network that’s outside your browser, Chrome extensions won’t detect it.

How can I be protected if my older Chromebook doesn’t support Android apps?

The answer is very similar to the answer to anyone who asks how to stay protected on old equipment: sometimes you can’t. If your equipment can’t keep you safe online, don’t go online or upgrade your equipment. Sorry, but the cost of an upgrade is much less than the damage that can be caused if you are the victim of identity theft.

Final note

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