Do you need a lite solution for hiding your IP while browsing the Internet using Chrome browser? A solution that does not interfere with other applications? And, would you like it to be free? Then, install free VPN Chrome extensions 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 browser.
Then, what is a VPN Chrome extension? Well, truth to be told, there is no such thing as VPN 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 setup 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 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 Chrome extensions
I have tested several 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
Hotpot Shield Chrome extension offers an elegant extension with a lot of extra, security and privacy-related options, like 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 Chrome browsers, but don’t install it just yet. You should firstly be aware that AnchorFree, the company that runs Hotspot Shield, was recently accused to snoop on its users and selling data to advertising company. True or not, you should use it cautiously.
Betternet Unlimited Free VPN Proxy
Betternet Chrome extension offers a basic, but nice, user interface with no extra options beside connect/disconnect and select from the two available locations: United States and United Kingdom. It works smoothly. You should have it installed on your browser.
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 find the pages that load from time to time quite annoying.
The same concerns as for Hotspot Shield: before installing the 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 an simpler 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 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 United States, Netherlands, Germany and Singapore. The extension automatically disconnects every 10 minutes and manual re-connection is needed.
Which free VPN Chrome extension should you use?
It depends on what you need.
- If you are concerned about your private data I recommend using Betternet or ibVPN.
- If you need to unblock Netflix or other online streaming channels then you may try HotspotShield or Hola. Make sure you activate the extensions only on the browser you are using for unblocking the website and you are not using the browser in the same time for accessing your PayPal account or preforming 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 Chrome extensions? Which one is your favorite? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.