The best Chrome VPN extension in 2024

A Chrome VPN extension on an Android phone
(Image credit: Rafapress/Shutterstock)

The best Chrome VPN extensions could be your perfect privacy solution if you're looking for a quick and easy way to switch your IP address, spoof your location, and check out sites that are unavailable where you are. 

These extensions, while useful, tend to lack the full range of features offered by the best VPNs of {year], but that doesn't mean they're not worth considering. You'll need to be a savvy shopper when you're on the hunt for a service, however. Luckily, me and the Tom's Guide team spend 3,000 hours every year putting VPNs to the test, sorting the reliable picks from the dodgy deals. My main priority is privacy, but my top services are also speedy, easy to use, and have the core features you need to shore up your online security.

ExpressVPN is currently sitting pretty at the #1 spot in my rankings, but Windscribe and Private Internet Access are awesome alternatives (and more budget-friendly). For all the details, keep reading, and I'll walk you through the very best Chrome VPN apps of 2024.

The 3 best VPNs at a glance

1. ExpressVPN: the best overall choice

1. ExpressVPN: the best overall choice
ExpressVPN makes using a VPN a piece of cake – whether you're working with the Chrome app or the desktop app. It'll handle all of the complex configurations for you during setup, and the one-click connect lets you spend more time browsing the web and less time fiddling with settings and server menus.

ExpressVPN is a pretty expensive pick, however, so the best way to get a feel for the service (and see whether you're a fan of its features) is to make good use of the 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. Windscribe: the best free serviceWindscribe proves that reliable free VPNs do exist

2. Windscribe: the best free service
If you don't want to pay a premium price for a premium provider, Windscribe proves that reliable free VPNs do exist. You don't need to install a bulky desktop client, which comes in handy if you're looking for a solution you can use at work or school, and you'll have your pick of servers in 10 locations.

You do have the option to upgrade to a paid plan, however, and reap some extra benefits. More servers in more places, specialized streaming servers, and unlimited data.

3. Private Internet Access: the best cheap VPN

3. Private Internet Access: the best cheap VPN
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a veteran of the cybersecurity scene and one of the most secure VPNs you'll come across. You'll have all the tools you need to block ads, keep snoopers at bay, and hop across servers scattered around the globe.

I particularly like how inexpensive PIA is, especially compared to ExpressVPN, and the fact that all plans are covered by a no-logs policy and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The best Chrome VPN extensions in 2024

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ExpressVPN: the best Chrome VPN app

ExpressVPN's chrome vpn extension

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

Best all-round Chrome VPN and beyond

Dedicated Chrome extension: Yes | Chrome Web Store rating: 4.7/5 | Server locations: 140 in 110+ countries | Maximum devices supported: 6

Feature-rich Chrome extension
Excellent 24/7 customer support
Wide international server coverage
Reliable and fast
App required for extension

In our ExpressVPN review, we rated the BVI-based provider as our #1 pick overall, so it makes sense that you get an absolutely stellar Chrome VPN extension too. And yes, it's a full VPN extension, not just a proxy like some others offer.

What's you get is essentially the desktop app readily available in your browser. While that means you'll have to have the client installed, if you do, you'll have a lot of power at your fingertips. 

Unlike many Chrome VPN extensions, activating ExpressVPN in-browser will give you full protection – not just your browser traffic, but your whole device. It's also really convenient that you don't have to launch the desktop app to use the browser extension. It's right there in Chrome, ready to go.

You'll get WebRTC blocking, location spoofing and HTTPS Everywhere (even when the extension's not turned on) to help keep you and your browsing private, alongside swift connection speeds, other apps for all your devices, and a cracking support system to help if anything goes wrong. Plus, the Chrome VPN blocks HTML5 geolocation from revealing your location – something the desktop app doesn't do automatically.

Find your way onto a streaming service site through Chrome while abroad and Express will have you covered, as it unblocks Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and more – impressive when you consider these streaming services are constantly trying to actively block VPNs. 

If you want to give the best Chrome VPN a test run, ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, but we think you'll find it'll meet – if not surpass – your expectations of what a browser-based VPN can offer.

Windscribe: the best free VPN

Windscribe's Chrome VPN extension

(Image credit: Future)

2. Windscribe

Powerful and free Chrome proxy extension

Dedicated Chrome extension: Yes | Chrome Web Store rating: 4.7/5 | Server locations: 69 countries | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

Unlimited simultaneous connections
Free 10GB monthly option
Clear privacy policy
Works without desktop client
Slightly cramped interface

Windscribe is a great choice if you're looking for a no-fee VPN, but what really stands out is its excellent Chrome VPN extension. While the service is a proxy, you don't need to install the 'real' VPN client on your PC to get it working. That's really useful for work laptops and other devices you might not want or be able to install software on, and addresses one of the main issues of the ExpressVPN extension – although you do miss out of full-device encryption.

Beyond that, the extension offers an impressive suite of features. There are tons blocking features, covering ads, social media and other trackers, WebRTC, website notifications and malware. You'll also get time zone and user agent spoofing, plus advanced cookie controls which can be set to delete any and all when you leave a page.

Like a fully-fledged VPN, the Windscribe Free extension can also virtually relocate you and get you access to geo-restricted sites, and by offering servers in 10 countries (over 60 if you decide to pay for a premium plan) you should have a decent selection to choose from, including Netflix-compatible 'Windflix' servers.

As an absolutely free service, there are a couple of drawbacks – chiefly that 10GB data limit – but for such a well-featured extension, that's something we can excuse. If it turns out you do need more than that, premium plans also have unlimited data.

While it can't compete in true power to ExpressVPN's extension that controls the desktop client, it's an entirely different beast. This standalone Chrome VPN extension is one of the best of its kind, and for free, it's certainly worth checking out.

Private Internet Access: the best cheap VPN

Private Internet Access Chrome VPN extension

3. Private Internet Access

Chrome VPN with tons features

Dedicated chrome extension: Yes | Chrome Web Store rating: 3.5/5 | Server locations: 20,000 in 84 countries | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

Feature-rich Chrome extension
Great privacy tools
Simple to use
No live chat support
Lower Store score than others

Private Internet Access – or PIA – is an affordable option that offers a huge amount of features in its Chrome VPN extension for the price. It also does this while remaining very easy to use, making this an ideal option for VPN newbies.

There are some great security features you get with its browser VPN extension including a third-party cookies blocker, Flash blocking or disabling, WebRTC leak protection, hyperlink auditing, credit card auto-filling and more. 

Of course, PIA will also take care of the big stuff like blocking your location from websites as well as camera or microphone access, and download speeds remain above average with the VPN running. Also, in our testing we reported that PIA can access Netflix and Hulu – although it has struggled as an iPlayer VPN in the past. However, streaming is unlikely to work through just the Chrome VPN proxy at all.

While PIA doesn't offer the polish of ExpressVPN and support is somewhat lacking, it's a genuinely useful Chrome VPN extension available at a great price, and it's an option well worth exploring.

Sign up now on the Private Internet Access website.

Other quality VPNs I've tested

CyberGhost chrome vpn extension

4. CyberGhost

Great free Chrome VPN

Dedicated chrome extension: Yes | Chrome Web Store rating: 4.2/5 | Server locations: 11,700 in 100 countries | Maximum devices supported: 7

Good selection of free servers
Unlimited free data 
Unblocks streaming media
No kill switch or customer support

CyberGhost is known as one of the top VPNs on the market, and another string to its bow is the free Chrome VPN extension on offer. While not as powerful as the paid VPN, the browser extension can work without installing a desktop client, meaning it's super simple to use.

With 8 servers in 4 countries, there's a decent selection compared to some other free services.

If you want the full package, for a very reasonable price you can upgrade to a huge 7,000 VPN servers in 90 countries, plus you'll get access to CyberGhost's excellent desktop app with its streaming and torrenting streaming system. You'll also get a kill switch, customer support and great connection speeds.

While it's not as great as ExpressVPN, for a free Chrome VPN CyberGhost's offering is powerful and eminently usable. And if you upgrade, things only get better.

Sign up now on CyberGhost's website 

Hotspot Shield Chrome VPN extension

5. Hotspot Shield

Decent speeds and a decent free option

Dedicated chrome extension: Yes | Chrome Web Store rating: 4.2/5 | Server locations : 1,800 in 80 countries | Maximum devices supported: 5

Nippy connections
Free trial option
Not cheap
Configuration limited

Hotspot Shield is a great Chrome VPN extension option if you want something that's simple to use, runs fast and is free. Yup, the free version works with very few strings, although it is basic with only four location choices – plus, it's not such a fast VPN as the premium version.

The reason Hotspot Shield is so simple is that when you fire it up with a single click, it automatically picks the fastest server based on your location – you'll be connected immediately.

For security you have a 256-bit encryption looking after you across the 1,800 servers spread over 80 countries. However, fans of true privacy will be disappointed in Hotspot's logging policy. While the provider claims not to store anything that can identify you, details like bandwidth used and connections times are.

If you're looking for a quick, simple Chrome VPN, though, Hotspot Shield is a good choice – and with a 45-day money-back guarantee, it's definitely worth giving a go if you just want basic privacy when you're out and about with your laptop.

Sign up now on the Hotspot Shield website.

Tested by

These are the experts who have tested, reviewed, and ranked the best Chrome VPN apps in this guide:

Headshot of Tom's Guide VPN Editor Mo Harber-Lamond
Mo Harber-Lamond

I've been in charge of Tom's Guide's VPN articles since 2020, and in that time I've helped test and review over 100 VPN providers for both Tom's Guide and TechRadar. I strongly believe that privacy, price, and ease of use all go hand in hand to make the very best VPN. 

I've covered cybersecurity and tech in TechRadar, T3, and What Hi-Fi?, and you'll also find my work in titles from Watkins Publishing, and even the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Does Chrome have a VPN?

While Chrome is very well-featured, it doesn't offer a built-in VPN. However, that's not a problem as there are a huge number of browser VPNs to pick from – not least the top five above.

Thankfully, Chrome is also the perfect environment for a browser VPN to work in – it's stable, simple, easy to use and incredibly customisable, so there are some great Chrome VPNs that will work just as reliably as their standalone counterparts.

Is there a free Chrome VPN extension?

A free Chrome extension is a tempting prospect – browsing anonymity and data security for nothing sounds great. However, in practice these free services aren't as great as they seem.

The first thing to consider is where the free service is making its money. It's likely that you'll be seeing ads, or, more sinisterly, it could be skimming your data and selling it for profit. If that's happening, you're better off using no VPN at all.

There are some good free Chrome VPNs out there – like Windscribe at number 2 on this list – but on the whole you'll never be able to get a truly good all-round VPN experience unless you pay.

However, that doesn't have to break the bank. Surfshark, for example, offers a totally secure and fully-featured VPN service for less than $2.50 a month. While its Chrome VPN isn't powerful enough to feature on this list, it works well as a lightweight proxy extension – and at a price you'd barely notice, we think it's worth the investment.

What should the best Chrome VPN extension do?

A good Chrome VPN extension is one that's not only simple to install and use but also, ideally, offers some in-depth features too. While there are basic proxy versions which simply turn on and off within Chrome – and that's useful – we prefer more feature-rich options. 

The option to pick the location you want to connect from is a really basic but helpful feature – perfect if you're looking to watch geo-restricted content in a tab and need a certain location selected. 

Security features are also really helpful with blocking your location from websites, and blocking camera or microphone access are basic necessities. Extras we like to keep an eye out for are third-party cookie blocking, Flash blocking or disabling, WebRTC leak protection, hyperlink auditing and credit card auto-filling. Being able to use Netflix VPN unblocking is also useful.

Whichever option you go for, a VPN Chrome extension is only ever as good as the VPN behind – it so going for a fully fledged and feature-rich standalone VPN is always a good idea. 


We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:

1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).

2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.

We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.