Best VPNs for Chrome 2020

Our experts tested out dozens of VPNs to find which ones worked best on Chrome

By
&
Aliza VigdermanGabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Sep 9, 2020

Between work, social media, and online rabbit holes, most of our waking hours are spent on the Internet. Whenever we’re online, our favorite browser is Chrome because of its intuitive interface and compatibility with most applications. Given that so much of our time is spent on Chrome, it’s crucial that we’re protected and secure when going about our business online. We’ve put together our round-up of the best VPNs for Chrome. First, we’ll give you a super quick rundown before getting down into the nitty-gritty.

Our Top Picks

ExpressVPN

Editor's Rating
9.5
/10
An expansive global network combined with top-notch security without sacrificing speed makes ExpressVPN one of our favorites.

CyberGhost

Editor's Rating
9.1
/10
A cost-effective option that covers all our key bases like a fast secure connection, access to Netflix, and great customer service, we felt safe as we surfed the web to our heart’s content while connected to CyberGhost.

The Best VPNs for Chrome

Comparing Chrome VPNs

VPNExpressVPNCyberGhostIPVanishNordVPNSurfshark
Rating9.49.299.59.1
Minimum Monthly Cost$6.67$2.75$6.49$3.49$1.99
Contract Length1 to 12 months1 to 18 months1 to 12 months1 to 36 months1 to 24 months
Split TunnelingYesNoYesNoYes
NetflixYesYesYesYesYes
TorrentingYesYesYesYesYes
IP AddressesDynamicStatic, sharedDynamicDedicated, staticDynamic or static
Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes MemberNoNoYesNoNo
ReviewExpressVPN ReviewCyberGhost ReviewIPVanish ReviewNordVPN ReviewSurfshark VPN Review

A Detailed List of the Best Chrome VPNs

  • 1. ExpressVPN - Best Rotating IPs

    Editor's Rating
    9.5
    /10

    ExpressVPN is one of our favorites, and with good reason. Between its expansive global reach, top-notch encryption, and headquarters in the British Virgin Islands, they’re tough to beat. And when it comes to browsing on Chrome, we felt safe and secure with ExpressVPN without sacrificing our Internet speeds.

    What we like
    • Over 2,000 servers in 148 countries
    • Ability to torrent
    • Split tunneling
    • Outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes territories
    What we don’t like
    • No customer support available via phone
    • On the pricier side
    • Can only connect five devices at the same time
    • Slower on Macs

    Wide Reaching Global Access

    With more than 2,000 servers in 148 locations, ExpressVPN truly has a global presence. This is meaningful for us in a few ways. First, the closer we are to a server, the faster and more stable our Internet connection will be, and we hate worrying about speeds slowing us down whether it’s in our work or even our mindless Instagram scrolling. The second reason is that when we connect to a server in a different country, we experience the Internet as if we were physically in that location. This gives us access to tons of cool websites and shows that we wouldn’t see in the U.S. otherwise, and for readers in other countries, can be a way to get around censorship.1

    ExpressVPN App
    ExpressVPN App

    Strict Logging Policy

    ExpressVPN keeps track of some information, specifically, which app and version we used, what server we connected to, how much data we transferred, our email addresses, and payment information. They do not track things like our web traffic or activity, which is the primary reason why we use VPNs.

    Insider Tip: There’s no such thing as “zero-logging.” Though many VPNs make this claim, they all log at least some information like your email or payment information in order to uphold your account.

    Rotating IP Addresses

    Each time we logged on to ExpressVPN, we were assigned a different IP address. The fact that our IP address was always changing made it much harder for hackers, or anyone else trying to surveil us, to find us. This really comes in handy when using Chrome, since we spend so much of our online time exploring the Internet through this browser.

  • 2. CyberGhost - Best for Netflix

    Editor's Rating
    9.1
    /10

    CyberGhost is an affordable VPN solution that doesn’t sacrifice quality. It offers a wide range of servers in over 90 countries, and their headquarters in Romania meant that we never had to worry about our data going anywhere we wouldn’t want it to, like the government.

    What we like
    • Cost-effective
    • Non-member to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes
    • High Chrome extension ratings from thousands of users
    • Servers across the globe
    What we don’t like
    • No split tunneling
    • Static IP addresses
    • Logging policy
    • Slower on Windows

    Strong Encryption

    CyberGhost employs AES-256 encryption, which is the highest encryption standard available on the market. For context, the NSA recommends this type of encryption,2 and while we’re the VPN pros, we’re willing to take their word on the nuts and bolts of cybersecurity.

    CyberGhost Kill Switch
    CyberGhost Kill Switch

    Headquartered in Romania

    We always keep an eye out for where a VPN is headquartered because it has major implications on where our data can end up. Luckily, Romania is outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes jurisdiction, meaning that a VPN company can’t be forced to surrender our information to the government.

    Access to Netflix

    As much as we love traveling, spending time in the great outdoors, and working out, we love sitting on the couch and streaming our favorite shows even more. With CyberGhost, we could veg out with some snacks and totally not have to worry about our privacy. Since CyberGhost has servers in 90 countries, we also accessed shows and movies in other places, which was an entirely different cultural experience without ever having to leave Brooklyn.

    Heads Up: Netflix is always changing its security to try to dodge VPNs, so while CyberGhost is able to access their content currently, that might not always be the case.

  • 3. IPVanish - Best Split Tunneling

    Editor's Rating
    9.0
    /10

    IPVanish’s lightning-fast speeds combined with their air-tight encryption had us going down all the Internet rabbit holes on Chrome without being slowed down or having to worry about our security. Add on the fact that we connected ten of our devices to IPVanish at the same time and the VPN is pretty tough to beat in our books.

    What we like
    • Can connect 10 devices at once
    • Can torrent
    • Split tunneling
    • Fast speeds
    What we don’t like
    • Based in the U.S.
    • Slower on Windows
    • Has a questionable customer history of sharing customer logs in the past
    • Sometimes gets blocked by Netflix

    Split Tunneling

    Split tunneling is a handy feature that allowed us to use both a private and public server at the same time. Additionally, we could pick which activities we were comfortable with on that public network, and which activities we would prefer to make private. We made good use of this feature when we were working out of the coffee shop on the corner and needed to access sensitive information in our company’s shared network. At the same time, we used the public network to research new VPNs to test on a Chrome browser.

    IPVanish App
    IPVanish App

    Can Connect 10 Devices at Once

    We admit it: we spend a lot of time on screens. Between our phones, our tablets, our computers, and our TVs, it seems like we’re always looking at a tiny rectangle of some sort. That’s why it’s so important that all of our web activity is protected on all of our devices. With IPVanish’s generous ten device limit, we connected all of our electronics and never had to keep track of what was connected and what wasn’t.

    Torrenting Permitted

    Torrenting is when we download or upload files directly from our friends or coworkers. It’s also referred to as peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing, and it makes things super easy to share in a group. We shared important files directly with our colleagues and could also easily disperse the killer playlists we crafted for long drives among our friend group using IPVanish.

  • 4. NordVPN - Best Encryption

    Editor's Rating
    9.4
    /10

    NordVPN offered AES-256 encryption, the highest standard of security available, all while logging the bare minimum information to let us use the service. Their rave app reviews were the first thing that caught our eye, and after trying the service out for ourselves, we have to agree!

    What we like
    • Minimal logging policy
    • Strong encryption
    • Great app ratings
    • Can access Netflix
    What we don’t like
    • No split tunneling
    • Kill switch doesn’t always work on iOS
    • Static IP addresses
    • No customer support available via phone

    Double The Encryption

    NordVPN makes use of a double VPN, meaning that our web traffic was encrypted twice through two servers. This is especially useful for those who work in fields where they deal with sensitive information, like politics, journalism, or activism.

    Strict Logging Policy

    NordVPN took note of our email and payment information, which we were okay with. On the other hand, we were relieved to learn that they don’t keep tabs on how long we used their servers for, what websites we visited while using Chrome, or what we downloaded, which is the stuff we really care about. Phew.

    NordVPN Speed Test Brussles
    NordVPN Speed Test Brussles

    Kill Switch

    Kill switches are the ultimate back-up plan. In the unlikely event that our NordVPN connection fails while we’re doing something important, like downloading a huge file, our activity would be exposed, and that’s exactly what we don’t want. If we found ourselves in that situation, NordVPN’s kill switch would have come to the rescue, totally shutting down our web traffic, so that we don’t risk our activity being exposed, even for a split second.

  • 5. Surfshark - Best for Torrenting

    Editor's Rating
    9.2
    /10

    Surfshark is one of our favorites for torrenting. Once we settled in with our favorite show (The Office binge, anyone?), we set up the service on our Chromecast with no trouble at all.

    What we like
    • Unlimited devices per subscription
    • Low-cost
    • Access to Netflix
    • Split tunneling
    What we don’t like
    • Static IP addresses
    • Less than 2,000 servers
    • No support available via phone
    • Kill switch is manual on Windows

    Split tunneling

    Surfshark’s split tunneling feature, which they call Whitelister, let us connect to both public and private networks simultaneously. We saved bandwidth and picked what was protected and what was okay to leave out in the open.

    Surfshark Connected to VPN
    Surfshark Connected to VPN

    Cost-Effective

    After taking advantage of a 30-day free trial, we had a wide range of subscription options to choose from. We got all the same features regardless of what option we went with, but the lengths of the contracts were different. For a shorter commitment, we could pay month-to-month for $11.95, or, if we wanted a longer-term engagement, we could sign on for two years at just $1.99 per month.

    Outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes Jurisdiction

    Surfshark is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands and will never be forced to hand over their customer data. Even though the British Virgin Islands are technically a territory of the United Kingdom, they have their own laws and aren’t Five Eyes members. The country also has no data retention laws, and surveillance isn’t legal, even coming from the government. For us, that was the cherry on top for Surfshark.

How We Test VPNs: Methodology

We take many steps to make sure that the VPNs that we’re recommending to our readers really are the best. We’ve designed a thorough framework that we apply to all of the VPNs that we test out, and we want to let you know exactly what goes into that testing process. It’s a combination of looking at features like encryption standards, IP addresses, the amount of data logged, customer service, and other factors to confirm that the service does all that a VPN should do. We then put each product through our own speed and security tests to make sure that the tradeoff between safety and Internet speed is worth it and that nothing slips through the cracks, data-wise. Below, we take you step-by-step through our process and explain everything along the way.

Speed

Most often, we test our VPNs from our Brooklyn office, where we have a private Optimum network. However, on some occasions, we test VPNs when we travel to the Philippines and sometimes even Poland.

NordVPN Speed Test South Africa
NordVPN Speed Test South Africa

Our Internet speed without a VPN serves as our control, and we only connect one device at a time. We know our readers have all sorts of preferences when it comes to what devices they use, and we want to make sure that we’ve got everyone covered. That’s why we test on both a Macbook Air or Pro and a Windows Vivobook or an Acer Aspire 5. We use the website SpeedTest.net.4 to test download speed, upload speed, and ping (latency). First, we perform tests with the VPN, and then, without. Download and upload speed are measured in megabits per second, while latency is measured in milliseconds. Once we take these two measures, we identify the difference in terms of a percentage to account for any discrepancies between the greatly varied natural speeds of Macs and Windows computers.

Things like distance from the server, operating system, and device type all have an impact on speed, but it’s ideal that VPNs have no more than a 40 percent difference in any of our categories (ping, download speed, or upload speed).

Security

Security is one of the biggest reasons for using a VPN in the first place, so it’s non-negotiable that we feel safe when using the Internet with a VPN product. We would never want something like our domain names (website names) and their IP addresses available to anyone, especially not the government. We also need to confirm that users’ IP addresses aren’t being leaked due to WebRTC, which allows browsers to communicate directly with each other and is the default on browsers like Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. Since we tend to stick to Chrome, this was a big point of concern for us.

ExpressVPN DNS Leak Test
ExpressVPN DNS Leak Test

We test for DNS leaks by using DNSLeakTest.com. By comparing our computer’s IP address with the IP addresses that the website shows, we can tell if there was a DNS link while using the VPN or not. Then, we test for WebRTC leaks by leveraging a tool available on ExpressVPN’s website. We use a similar tactic where we look at the local and Public IPv4 IP addresses to see if there were any WebRTC leaks.

There’s nothing worse than actually reading the fine print, which is why we take special care to go through companies’ privacy policies in detail. It’s important that we have a thorough understanding of each VPN companies’ data-logging policy. We also put a large emphasis on where a company is located, because it’s what determines if they are members of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes. Those are international surveillance alliances that have the potential to legally force companies to surrender customer data to the federal government.

While it’s ideal for a company to not be located in a country impacted by such agreements, we also prefer they log minimal user account information. We find things like names, email addresses, and payment information to be acceptable to log, but we don’t see why VPNs would log additional data, like when customers use their VPNs, how long they used them for, how much data they’ve transferred, what servers they’ve used, what websites they’ve visited and more.

We get even more in the weeds in our full reviews, where we conduct a full analysis of a VPN’s encryption methods and Internet protocols to make sure they meet the industry standards. We prefer VPNs with AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN, which are some of the highest standards of security on the market.

How a company handles IP addresses is also important to note because it impacts our likelihood of being tracked. It’s best if a company offers dynamic addresses that change each time we log on, making it even harder to track what we are doing online. Static IP addresses stay the same every time we connect, which made us easier to track.

Lastly, we check that each VPN has a kill switch. This function shuts down Internet browsers in the unlikely event that a VPN fails. If a kill switch isn’t in place, our activity could become exposed, which kind of defeats the purpose of having one in the first place.

ExpressVPN WebRTC Leak Test
ExpressVPN WebRTC Leak Test

Torrenting and Netflix

Another perk of VPNs is using one to watch movies and shows. We actually go on each streaming service, like Netflix, to try to watch something on Chrome. We also cast shows onto our smart TV through our Chromecast, to get a thorough, first-hand understanding of what we can and can’t access. However, Netflix makes updates to block VPNs consistently, so we can’t guarantee that our readers can access Netflix with any particular VPN, even if we Netflixed and chilled to our hearts’ content.

Split Tunneling and Encryption

Another key feature, split tunneling lets us use both the VPN and a public network at the same time. The lower bandwidth can create faster speeds. In terms of encryption, we prefer double or multi-hop VPNs, because this means that data is encrypted multiple times through multiple servers.

NordVPN Android Split Tunnel
NordVPN Android Split Tunnel

Subscriptions

At the end of the day, we know that as amazing as a VPN is, cost matters, too. That’s why we try to give the pricing to you as simple and straightforward as possible. Most companies offer a couple of options that tend to vary by the length of the contract, though sometimes there are more complicated trade-offs to be made. Some VPNs are very cost-effective, with monthly fees as low as a dollar with a longer-term subscription. The higher end of the price spectrum will put users at around $15 per month.

We spend more time looking at VPNs than the average person, so when we see a good deal, we’ll be sure to let you know. We also prefer when a company offers several options in their pricing structure, like the ability to pay month-to-month or pay less monthly for a longer-term contract. We look for the option to give a VPN a test run through a free trial or money-back guarantee period. Finally, we specify what actually comes in a subscription in terms of how many servers the company offers, how many devices can be connected at once, and if there are any limitations on data usage.

IPVanish Customer Support
IPVanish Customer Support

Customer Support

After a reader makes their decision, we want to make sure that they stay in good hands if any issues arise down the road, so customer service is an important lens that we look at VPNs through. Typically, a company will offer a 24/7 live chat option, email support, and compilations of past user questions, public and searchable. Every now and again, a company will also offer support via phone, which tells us that they’re willing to go the extra mile for their users.

FAQs About Chrome VPNs

  • Do I need a VPN for Chrome?

    Yes, you need a VPN for Chrome. Whenever you are using the Internet, your activity is at risk of being monitored. Since most of our Internet activity is spent surfing the web, it’s imperative that you have a VPN for Chrome, or whatever your preferred browser is.

  • Will a VPN track me?

    Generally no, you cannot be tracked if you use a VPN. In fact, the point of a VPN is to hide web traffic. That said, some VPN companies do log things like your IP address, what device you use, and more information, potentially, so it’s important to look at each VPN’s privacy policy because what is tracked differs from company to company.

  • How do I get a VPN on Chrome?

    To get your VPN on Chrome, first, you must subscribe to a VPN service. Once you pick a provider, you can search for the VPN in the Google Chrome Web Store and download the appropriate plugin. An icon should then appear in the upper right-hand corner of your Chrome window.

  • Do VPNs cost money?

    Yes, most of the time you will have to pay for a VPN. Some companies do offer free options, but those will likely come with a lot of limitations that make getting a VPN not always worth it, in our opinion. That being said, there are plenty of affordable VPN options on the market, and most companies will offer some type of free-trial or money-back guarantee to give you the chance to take the VPN for a test run.

  • How do I get a VPN?

    You can get a VPN by purchasing one online through the VPN’s website. You can also get a VPN through your device’s app store. Be sure that once you subscribe to a VPN service, you log in through all your devices, since you can typically use the same subscription across your laptops, mobile phones, and tablets in most cases.

Citations
  1. Vice. (2020). Social Media is Still Banned in Kashmir, But VPNs Come to the Rescue.
    vice.com/en_in/article/n7je7g/social-media-is-still-banned-in-kashmir-but-vpns-come-to-the-rescue

  2. NSA. (2018). Information Assurance Capabilities.
    nsa.gov/Portals/70/documents/resources/everyone/csfc/capability-packages/dar-cp.pdf