Are you one of the millions of loyal Google Chrome users? Yes, Google Chrome is the most popular web browser, but you should know: it’s not invincible when it comes to security.
Chrome acts as the gateway between you and the internet—essentially exposing you to online vulnerabilities and security threats. Your browser also continuously collects information about you and shares it with every website you visit.
The best way to protect yourself while browsing with Chrome is through a VPN. VPNs mask your IP address and encrypt your activity, so you stay protected and anonymous online.
Our experts have compiled a list of the top FREE services that will keep you safe—and one that you should stay away from.
Best Free VPNs for Google Chrome
- ExpressVPN isn’t free, but it’s such a good fit for Chrome that we had to put it first. And it IS free for 30 days with its 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Hotspot Shield has a unique Catapult Hydra protocol to make your connection stronger and faster.
- Windscribe comes with a built-in malware and ad blocker, stopping all suspicious activity in its tracks.
- hide.me never throttles your connection for lightning speeds, even as a free user.
- TunnelBear boasts radical transparency and is proven to put your security first.
Why Do I Need a VPN with Chrome?
While Chrome has some security features of its own, a VPN will increase your protection. It creates a barrier between you and hackers trying to get their hands on your private data.
When you’re not using a VPN, Chrome will share your data with every website you visit. This includes your IP address, operating system, hardware, and any information it’s collected about other devices on your network. If a malicious website gains access to this data, your security could be compromised.
By using a VPN, you’ll effectively create a tunnel between your device and the websites you browse. Your IP address will be masked with one from the VPN’s global network, and no one will be able to pinpoint your location.
What’s more, a VPN won’t leave your sensitive data such as passwords, security codes, or credit card numbers vulnerable to hackers. All your online activity will be encrypted. This protects your data and keeps you secure.
Another added benefit of using a VPN with Chrome is being able to bypass geoblocks and stream all your favourite shows, anywhere, anytime. Streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, and BBC iPlayer can all be accessed, even if you live in a country where those sites are normally blocked.
Top 5 Free VPNs for Google Chrome
ExpressVPN isn’t exactly free, but it is our top recommended VPN for Google Chrome.
Why are we listing it as number one?
ExpressVPN has some of the most advanced features out there, perfect for securing Google Chrome. With its 30-day money-back guarantee, you’ll be able to use the browser extension for Chrome for free while your trial lasts.
This is perfect if you only need a VPN for a short time, or want to try out a premium VPN risk-free before committing to a paid subscription.
If you love it as much as these users do, keep it, and if not, you can easily cancel and get your money back.
ExpressVPN consistently and reliably unblocks Netflix and has a global network of over 2,000 servers in 94 countries. You’ll be able to stream content from just about anywhere in the world.
You won’t encounter any annoying buffering or pauses, as its unlimited bandwidth guarantees a lightning-speed connection.
This service also offers advanced security protocols, military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, and an automatic kill switch in the event of sudden drops in connection.
ExpressVPN can unblock:
- Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, DAZN, and BBC iPlayer.
- Yes, all servers support P2P activity.
ExpressVPN works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. It also offers an app for use with certain routers.
Hotspot Shield is one of the most reliable free VPNs out there, and its Chrome extension can easily be installed on all your devices.
Your online transactions, including your banking details, credit card information, and other sensitive data will be secured with military-grade 256-bit AES encryption.
Instead of standard VPN protocols, Hotspot Shield uses its proprietary Catapult Hydra. which compresses your data and optimizes multiple server connections, making your connection stronger and faster.
The free version of this VPN will give you a lot of protection, but a limited amount of data. Free accounts are limited to 500 MB of data per day.
See what others have to say about Hotspot Shield, and try the premium version risk-free with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Windscribe’s free version allows you to utilize all its fantastic features, with a 10 GB monthly data allowance.
On the security front, Windscribe outdoes most free VPNs by offering you “remote omnidirectional badware eliminating robotic tool”(R.O.B.E.R.T.), which blocks all malware and ads on your devices. This significantly reduces the risk of your device getting infected with a malicious virus.
This VPN also boasts a strict no-logs policy, which means it never monitors your activity or keeps your connection logs, IP timestamps, or session logs. The only information it keeps temporarily is when you last used the platform and the total amount of bandwidth you used in a 30-day period in order to enforce the free version limitations.
Its Chrome extension also easily unblocks Netflix US or UK from wherever you are in the world, allowing you to easily stream geo-restricted content.
To learn more about Windscribe, check out other users’ experiences here.
hide.me is one of the fastest free VPNs for Google Chrome. The company promises to never throttle your connection, whether you’re a free or premium user.
Most free VPNs sell your data to third parties in order to make money. With hiding .me, you can be certain this won’t happen because independent security audits confirmed it has no way of storing data, to begin with.
You’ll also enjoy 24/7 customer support and no annoying pop-up ads, something that is rare to find on free subscription plans.
Learn more about hiding .me by reading user reviews here.
TunnelBear offers native apps for both Windows and Mac. The only difference between its desktop VPN and Chrome extension is that TunnelBear for Chrome only encrypts your browser traffic.
When it comes to trust and transparency, TunnelBear has gone way beyond others by having two independent security audits conducted by Cure53, a respected cybersecurity firm. With only minor issues uncovered (and promptly taken care of), you can rest assured your privacy and security are TunnelBear’s top priority.
Its Chrome extension is also incredibly easy to use, with features such as Closest Tunnel, where you can connect to the most optimal server with a click of a button. It’s no wonder TunnelBear is a definite crowd favourite.
Why You Should Avoid Hola
You may be wondering why we haven’t included Hola in our list of the best free VPNs for Chrome.
The answer to that is simple: Hola is notoriously untrustworthy.
While it is a free service, doesn’t show ads, and doesn’t restrict your data usage, the downsides definitely outweigh the benefits.
Its unique peer-to-peer service means you’re sharing your IP address and bandwidth with other users. Not only will that slow down your connection, but it also puts you at risk of someone using your IP address to commit cybercrimes. Other people’s suspicious behaviour could be traced back to you!
Hola has been hacked on multiple occasions. These attacks left users completely open to malicious attacks or cryptocurrency theft.
The company also logs data—and lots of it. It records which sites you visit when you visit them, and how long you spend on each page. It doesn’t encrypt your data, doesn’t route your activity through secure servers, and doesn’t facilitate access to Netflix or other streaming platforms.
These serious downsides are what has convinced us to put Hola at the top of our list of VPNs to avoid at all costs. If you are looking for free—and better—alternatives to Hola, look no further.
Google Chrome may be the most popular browser, but its built-in security features are simply not enough.
By using VPN Chrome extensions, you’ll protect yourself from malicious hackers. And, you’ll be able to bypass geoblocks to stream content from all over the world at incredibly high speeds.
Still not sure which VPN is the right one for you? ExpressVPN is our first choice for Google Chrome. It may not be free, but it offers a free 30-day trial and advanced features that are perfect for Google Chrome.
Want more? Find additional deals and discounts here.