VPN browser extensions provide a quick and convenient way to secure your internet traffic. However, not all of the options are worth your time. Some are too slow for browsing and streaming while others lack security and privacy protection. Fortunately, there are some high-quality VPN Chrome extensions to be found. Better still, we’ve found those that are available for free. Read on to find out more about the best free VPN Chrome extensions.
First, let’s quickly touch on what a VPN is and what it does. Short for “Virtual Private Network”, a VPN encrypts your internet traffic, securing you from hackers and snoopers. It also changes your IP address so you can spoof your location and potentially bypass geo-blocking. However, it should be noted that while VPN apps protect everything from your browser traffic to your apps, VPN browser extensions only protect your web browser.
Below, we review each of the best free VPN Chrome extensions but first, here’s a quick rundown of each in case you need to make a quick decision:
- CyberGhost: The best free VPN Chrome extension. No signup necessary. Unthrottled servers in multiple countries. Secure with encryption and a strict no-logs policy.
- Hotspot Shield: Best value VPN. Free plan for Chrome, desktop, and mobile. Won’t throttle your connection. Uses high-end encryption and doesn’t keep identifying logs.
- Windscribe: Free Chrome extension with up to 10 GB a month if you sign up. Servers in 10 locations (more available with paid plans). Includes an ad blocker.
- TunnelBear: Hundreds of servers in 40+ countries. Keeps you safe online with high-end encryption. Audited to prove it operates a strict no-logs policy.
- Hide.me: Unlimited bandwidth with 99.9% uptime. 10GB of data monthly and servers in 75 locations. Strong security and even offers 24/7 live chat support.
NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN also offer Chrome extensions. While they are not free, they all include 30-day money-back guarantees so you can try them risk-free.
You may be wondering how we came up with our list of the best free VPN Chrome extensions. In order to be selected, all of them had to meet the following requirements:
- Free of charge (not a trial period)
- Secure, encrypted servers
- Respectable speeds for browsing
- Live chat and email support
- Easy to use for beginners
- 1 Best free VPN Chrome extensions
- 2 How to use a free VPN Chrome extension
- 3 Finding the best free VPN Chrome extensions: our methodology
- 4 Best free VPN Chrome extensions: FAQs
- 5 Why are paid VPNs better than free browser extensions?
- 6 What are the risks of using free VPNs?
Best free VPN Chrome extensions
Here’s our list of the best free VPN Chrome extensions:
CyberGhost is one of our top-rated VPNs and the good news is that it actually offers a free Chrome extension. Notably, this VPN offers strong privacy protection which means you don’t even need to sign up for an account in order to be able to use the free VPN Chrome extension. In total, you’ll have access to eight servers in 4 countries although if you choose to subscribe to CyberGhost’s paid plan, you’ll have the choice of over 7,000 servers in 90 countries.
Browsing with CyberGhost’s Chrome extension is consistent thanks to the fact that it offers unlimited bandwidth. Furthermore, there’s a high level of security because it routes your browser traffic through a 256-bit AES encrypted tunnel. Add to this CyberGhost’s strict no-logs policy and you’ll be able to browse anonymously with your identity intact.
If you sign up for CyberGhost’s paid VPN service, you’ll have full access to its apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV (as well as its Chrome and Firefox browser extensions). Manual setup is required to use it with wireless routers.
- No signup necessary
- Servers in multiple countries
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Strict no-logs policy
BEST FREE VPN CHROME EXTENSION:CyberGhost is our top choice. No signup necessary. Servers in multiple countries and absolutely no bandwidth throttling. Security includes a strict no-logs policy and encryption. You can even try a CyberGhost paid plan risk-free thanks to its 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Hotspot Shield is one of very few VPNs we recommend that offers a free plan. While limited to 500MB per day, this is available for not only Chrome but Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS (although you can only use the free plan on one device at a time). With the speeds and unlimited bandwidth offered, you should be able to browse with ease although you’ll want to upgrade to Hotspot Shield’s Premium (paid) plans if you want lag and buffer-free streaming.
Even if you’re only using Hotspot Shield’s free Chrome extension, you’ll still be able to benefit from its comprehensive security offering which includes 256-bit AES encryption. Notably, this VPN doesn’t keep identifying logs of users, allowing for online anonymity. Another benefit is that you’ll have access to multiple VPN protocols including Hotspot Shield’s proprietary Hydra protocol.
You can use Hotspot Shield’s free plan on Chrome, Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Premium plans also include apps for Amazon Fire TV and Android TV while wifi routers can be set up with manual configuration.
- Free plan for Chrome as well as desktop and mobile
- No bandwidth throttling
- Security includes encryption
- Multiple VPN protocols
- Live chat support only available with a paid subscription
BEST VALUE VPN:Hotspot Shield has a free plan that includes 500MB of data per day. Absolutely no bandwidth throttling and uses encryption to secure browser traffic. Doesn’t keep identifying logs of its users. Premium plans include a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Hotspot Shield review.
Windscribe is a VPN service that offers a free plan which, aside from Chrome, you can use on a variety of operating systems including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. However, there are some limitations to be aware of. First, you’ll have access to just 10 server locations (although this is still more than many other free VPN extensions). Second, you’ll be limited to 10GB per month and you’ll need to sign up to get this. Otherwise, the limit is just 2GB a month.
If you’re seeking online security, know that Windscribe’s free Chrome extension secures browser traffic with 256-bit AES encryption. Furthermore, it doesn’t keep any logs by which you can be identified as a user. One way in which it stands out from most other free VPN Chrome extensions is that it includes an ad-blocker so you can avoid ads, trackers, and malware.
Windscribe offers a browser extension not only for Chrome but for Firefox. Apps can be downloaded for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. It also provides manual setup instructions in case you’d like to use it with Linux or your home router.
- 10 different server locations
- No identifying logs of users
- Includes an ad blocker
- 10GB of data per month
AD BLOCKER INCLUDED:Windscribe has a free Chrome extension with 10 server locations. 10GB of data per month if you sign up for a free account. Security includes encryption and even an ad and malware blocker.
Read our full Windscribe review.
TunnelBear is well known for its free plan which includes a Chrome extension. With this free plan, you’ll have 500 MB of data each month. While not enough for streaming, you may find it goes some way if you’re only doing very basic browsing (no streaming!). It’s worth knowing that you can get 1GB of free data by Tweeting about TunnelBear (make sure your account is set to public — the bonus should be applied within an hour).
One advantage of TunnelBear over some of the other VPNs listed is that the free version includes access to all servers (of which there are hundreds across over 40 countries). Not only does TunnelBear have a no-logs policy, it even submits itself to an independent annual audit to prove it. Of course, regardless of whether you use its free or paid plan, you can expect data to be secured with 256-bit AES encryption.
You can use TunnelBear’s free plan on Chrome as well as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Firefox. TunnelBear does not yet offer Linux support while there’s only limited support for routers.
- Servers in dozens of countries
- Independently audited no-logs policy
- Uses high-end encryption
SERVERS WORLDWIDE:TunnelBear lets you connect to servers in dozens of countries with its free extension for Chrome. Operates a no-logs policy (and has been independently audited to verify this). Secure with encryption.
Read our full TunnelBear review.
Hide.me offers unlimited bandwidth even if you’re using its free VPN Chrome extension. In fact, it promises 99.9% uptime so you can browse without encountering annoying interruptions. You’ll have 10GB of data usage each month and even have a choice of five server locations (you’ll need a paid subscription if you want to access all 75+ server locations).
One way in which Hide.me is unique is that, regardless of whether you are a free or paid user, you’ll have access to its 24/7 live chat and email support service. Security-wise, Hide.me ticks all the boxes with its use of 256-bit AES encryption and because it operates a no-logs policy. However, it’s important to remember that only browser traffic is secured when using a Chrome extension. To secure apps, you’ll need to use a VPN app.
- 10GB of data each month
- Promises 99.9% uptime
- Includes 24/7 support
- Only five server locations
24/7 SUPPORT:Hide.me won’t throttle your connection and offers 10GB of data monthly with its free Chrome extension. Servers in 75+ locations. Includes access to 24/7 support and safeguard data with encryption and no-logs policy.
Read our full Hide.me review.
How to use a free VPN Chrome extension
Browser extensions make it quick and easy to secure your browsing experience and bypass restrictions, be they due to copyright or censorship. To make things even simpler, we’ve included some step-by-step instructions to get you started.
Here’s how you can use a free VPN browser extension for Chrome:
- Go to the VPN provider in question. We recommend CyberGhost. Depending on which VPN you choose you may need to sign up for a free account.
- You should now be able to download and install the Chrome browser extension on your browsing device (you’ll be directed to the Chrome web store to do this).
- Open the VPN Chrome browser extension and connect to a server in your preferred location. You’ll be assigned a new, temporary IP address in the process.
- You’re all set! Your browser traffic should now be encrypted and you may also be able to unblock some geo-restricted websites and services.
Finding the best free VPN Chrome extensions: our methodology
There isn’t a wealth of choice when it comes to free VPN extensions for Chrome. Unfortunately, some prove too limiting be it due to slow speeds or poor security. We’ll now go into a little more detail regarding our methodology and how it helped us find the best free VPN Chrome extensions.
- Free of charge: It was particularly important that we found VPN Chrome extensions that are genuinely free as opposed to simply being trial periods. With all of the options listed, you won’t have to pay a single cent unless you decide to upgrade to a paid plan.
- Servers in multiple countries: While not always possible, we looked for free Chrome extensions that give you some choice as to which location you connect to. This allows you to potentially connect to a server closer to your physical location for faster browsing speeds.
- Speed: Speaking of speed, few free VPN Chrome extensions are suitable for streaming due to heavy user load and data limits. However, we found those that will give you the best chance because they all offer unlimited bandwidth.
- Security: Regardless of whether you’re using a free or paid plan, you should be able to browse securely and enjoy online anonymity. All of the VPNs we’ve listed in this post use 256-bit AES encryption to secure your browser traffic and keep you safe.
- Privacy: Much like security, privacy is your right which is why it’s important to use a no-logs VPN service. Some free VPNs log and sell your browsing data but that isn’t the case here. We should know — we’ve looked at over 140 VPN logging policies to find the best.
- Ease of use: A Chrome browser extension should make things easier, not more complicated. Where possible, we searched for free VPN providers that don’t require signup. In some cases, 24/7 support is available should you have any questions.
In order to find out whether a VPN service offers the above, we test it out for ourselves. Tests are carried out in areas including speed and security, all as part of our VPN testing methodology.
Best free VPN Chrome extensions: FAQs
Why are paid VPNs better than free browser extensions?
Free browser extensions are ideal if you’re only looking for a little extra security while browsing the web. Data limits are almost universal which makes them highly unsuitable for streaming and torrenting. Furthermore, many offer limited server networks which can make it difficult to access region-locked websites and services from other countries. This is where the best VPNs for Chrome come in!
While a free browser extension may only offer a handful of servers, a paid subscription will provide you with access to thousands of servers across dozens of countries. Better still, you’ll be able to enjoy unlimited bandwidth, allowing you to stream and torrent as much as you like. Note also that while free browser extensions should encrypt your browser traffic, they tend to be lacking on other security features and rarely include access to 24/7 support.
What are the risks of using free VPNs?
First off, it’s worth noting that while all of the VPNs listed in this post offer free VPN Chrome extensions, they’re not exclusively free VPNs. All offer paid subscription plans but still encrypt your data and operate strict no-logs policies regardless of whether you’re on a free or paid plan.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of free VPN services on the market that seem just too good to be true. Some of these free VPNs make money by logging your browsing data and selling it to third parties. A 2016 CSIRO study found that of over 200 VPNs analysed, some 38% contained some form of malware. As such, it’s best to stick with the best free VPN Chrome extensions if you want to stay safe online for free.