Do you need a lite solution for hiding your IP while browsing the Internet using the Chrome browser? A solution that does not interfere with other applications? And, would you like it to be free? Then, install a free VPN for Chrome extension in seconds and get your work done.
What is a VPN Chrome extension?
As you probably know, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a solution that encrypts the Internet traffic between your computer and a VPN server. Thus, your browsing data is secured, and your public IP address is hidden behind the VPN server. It is important to underline that a VPN app encrypts ALL your Internet traffic, for ALL applications, not only for your web browser.
Then, what is a VPN Chrome extension? Well, truth to be told, there is no such thing as a VPN web browser extension. For the simple reason that browsers can not set up VPN connections, only proxy connections. Proxies work similarly with VPNs, but they are less secure, and they can be configured application-based (you may set up a specific app to use a proxy and let others un-proxified).
To sum up, the extensions you may find in Google Web Store and that call themselves “VPN” are not using, in fact, VPN technology, but a proxy. Why do they use the VPN term? Probably because not many users know the differences between VPN and proxy, plus both can be used to hide your IP address. It’s only marketing 🙂
Free VPN for Chrome extensions
I have tested several Google Chrome extensions advertised as VPN, and that show up to the top of the search results. Read my findings below.
Hotspot Shield VPN Free Proxy
Hotspot Shield Chrome extension offers an elegant browser extension with a lot of extra, security and privacy-related options, like an ad blocker, tracker blocker, and cookies blocker. The default server selection is “Optimal,” but you may switch to manual and pick one of the following countries: Canada, Chile, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Russia, India, Germany, and Singapore.
The extension is very popular and used in millions of Google Chrome browsers, but don’t install it just yet. You should first be aware that AnchorFree, the company that runs Hotspot Shield, was recently accused of snooping on its users and selling data to an advertising company. True or not, you should use it cautiously.
Betternet Unlimited Free VPN Proxy
Betternet offers a basic, but friendly, user interface with no extra options besides connecting/disconnect and select from the two available server locations: the United States and the United Kingdom. It works smoothly and it can be activated with a single click. It may be a good free VPN for Chrome. However, the latest news shows that Betternet is not safe.
Hola – Unlimited Free VPN
Another very popular VPN extension (10+ million users) is Hola. It seems to be designed for unblocking certain websites (like Netflix) and not for general browsing. To be honest, I find the usage a little bit complicated and confusing. Too many messages and options. Plus, I see the pages that load from time to time quite annoying.
The same concerns as for Hotspot Shield: before installing the browser extension you should read the info regarding the rumors that Hola sold users’ bandwidth.
TouchVPN – Free Proxy to Unblock any sites
The extension combines the site unblocking with hiding the IP address in a more straightforward interface than Hola. The available locations/servers are Canada, France, United States, Chile, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Russia, India, Germany, United Kindom, Singapore.
ibVPN – Best VPN & Proxy
ibVPN Chrome extension is an alternative to the more popular free VPN for Chrome extensions listed above. ibVPN has recently launched the so-called Guest Mode that allows you to enter without signup and connect to servers located in the United States, Netherlands, Germany, and Singapore.
A nice feature (also available in the free version) is the Bypass List (Whitelist) that allows you to select sites that are not using the proxies even if the ibVPN extension is activated. Also, it offers WebRTC leak protection. The extension automatically disconnects every 10 minutes, and manual re-connection is needed.
Which free VPN extensions for Chrome should you use?
It depends on what you need.
- If you are concerned about your private data, I recommend using ibVPN.
- If you need to access blocked sites (unblock Netflix or other online streaming channels), then you may try HotspotShield or Hola. Make sure you activate the VPN extensions only on the web browser you are using for unblocking the website, and you are not using the browser at the same time for accessing your PayPal account or performing any online shopping.
- If you need to change your IP to multiple locations install HotspotShield, TouchVPN or subscribe to the premium ibVPN service (it offers 150+ locations).
What do you think?
Do you use free VPN for Chrome add-ons? Which one is your favorite? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.