6 Best FREE VPNs for Chrome in 2021 (100% Safe)
A quick search on the Chrome Web Store for “VPN extensions” gives you hundreds of results. Unfortunately, many of these services are scams that will leave you with slow speeds and stolen data. It’s hard to know which VPN browser extensions are safe, secure, and easy to use.
To help you choose, I tested dozens of free VPNs to find the best for Google Chrome. However, you may be frustrated by their limitations if you need a VPN with better unblocking capabilities and unrestricted bandwidth. That’s why I prefer investing in a premium service like ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN offers a global server network, as well as fast speeds and strong security that no free VPN can match. You can try ExpressVPN with Google Chrome risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you aren’t satisfied, you have up to 30 days to claim a refund.
Quick Guide: Best Free VPNs for Google Chrome in 2021
- ExpressVPN — Unlimited data for streaming, browsing, and torrenting and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Try ExpressVPN for Chrome!
- CyberGhost — Free Chrome extension has no data caps or speed limits and protects against malicious sites, but doesn’t support streaming sites or torrenting.
- Hotspot Shield — 500MB free daily data allowance, but limited speeds and only 1 US server.
- TunnelBear — Large number of server locations for a free VPN, but with a tiny monthly data allowance.
- Hide.me — Independently audited and based in Malaysia for increased user privacy, but can’t unblock popular streaming platforms.
- ProtonVPN — Unlimited data and speeds with zero-log policy, but the free version supports only 1 device at a time and restricts access to 3 servers.
The Best Free VPNs for Google Chrome (Tested September 2021)
- Over 3000+ servers in 94+ countries
- Fast browsing and streaming with no data caps
- Military-grade encryption
- 24/7 live chat and customer support available
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Although it’s not a free service, ExpressVPN offers plenty of features that most free VPN Chrome Extensions lack, such as HTML5 geospoofing for hiding your true location. Since it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try ExpressVPN out completely risk-free — if you’re not fully satisfied, you can claim a refund within 30 days of purchase.
ExpressVPN has over 3000 servers in more than 94 countries, all of which offer excellent speeds and reliable connections. While using the Chrome extension, I was able to quickly connect to a nearby server and start watching my favorite Netflix series in HD with no buffering. And thanks to ExpressVPN’s split-tunneling feature, I streamed through Google Chrome while running my other apps through my regular internet connection.
You can connect up to 5 devices to ExpressVPN at once, including Chromebooks, smartphones, and iPads. ExpressVPN also has apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, as well as extensions for other browsers like Firefox and Microsoft Edge.
I could easily use the extension on my desktop to access Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming platforms. The MediaStreamer feature even lets you take advantage of ExpressVPN’s streaming capabilities on smart TVs and other devices that don’t have native VPN apps.
ExpressVPN offers best-in-class encryption, DNS leak protection, and a Network Lock feature to safeguard your data. It also uses the 256-bit AES encryption, which is the same standard used by the NSA for protecting top-secret information. Your data is also protected thanks to ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology. All of its servers are RAM-based, so your data is never stored or collected.
After installation, simply click the large power button to connect to the fastest server using ExpressVPN’s Smart Location feature or search for an individual country. I used both connection methods to secure my Chrome browser and had no issues. Once connected, ExpressVPN keeps your browsing private with features like WebRTC blocking, location spoofing, and HTTPS Everywhere, which automatically forces websites to use the more secure HTTPS connection when possible.
You don’t have to take my word for it. ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out for yourself completely risk-free. Unlike other VPNs, ExpressVPN even has a “no questions asked” refund policy. When I tested it myself, my refund was approved in less than 1 minute over live chat — and the money returned to my account in just 4 days.
ExpressVPN works with: Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV, Mac, Windows, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Raspberry PI, Windows Phone, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, routers, and smart TVs.
ExpressVPN unblocks: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Comedy Central, BBC iPlayer, Display+, ESPN, National Geographic, NBC Sports, HBO, YouTube TV, Sling TV, and more.
September 2021 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan (you can save up to 49%) + 3 months free! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.
- 8 servers in the US, Germany, Netherlands, and Romania, on the Chrome extension
- No speed caps or data limits for fast browsing
- Military-grade encryption
- Blocks malicious content to protect your data
- Customer support available through live chat
CyberGhost’s Chrome browser extension is 100% free — there’s no sign up required at all! The one-click installation was simple and I was connected to a CyberGhost server in less than 5 minutes. From the free extension, I could connect to servers in Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, and the US. These connections were almost instant, so my browser was secure in no time at all.
While some browser extensions cap speeds, I found CyberGhost had reliably fast speeds across all available server locations. During my tests, my speeds reached an impressive 108Mbps — just 6% slower than my regular speed of 115Mbps. As I expected, distant servers had slower speeds, averaging around 50Mbps. While this effectively cut my speed in half, CyberGhost’s connection was fast enough for me to browse online with no lag or interruptions.
CyberGhost includes a malicious content blocker that detects sites and downloads containing malware or other nasty items. I found CyberGhost’s blocker not only redirected me away from malicious sites, but also blocked pop-up ads. This allowed websites to load faster for smoother online browsing.
I was impressed to find that CyberGhost’s extension secured my online traffic easily. I ran multiple leak tests to ensure my data was safe within the encrypted connection and CyberGhost passed every test — there were no data leaks at all. I even checked reports that CyberGhost doesn’t protect against WebRTC leaks and can confirm that I didn’t encounter any WebRTC leaks during my tests.
Unlike CyberGhost’s full VPN app, the browser extension doesn’t protect your entire connection — only your web browser. It also doesn’t have a kill switch, meaning your data will be at risk if the server connection is interrupted. While my connection was stable, this could be an issue for you if you’re in a location with less reliable internet connectivity.
As a totally free extension, CyberGhost for Chrome is a good choice for keeping your online activity and IP address secure while browsing. It’s easy to use and takes minutes to download and set up, but it won’t protect your whole device and doesn’t support streaming or torrenting. For these features, I recommend that you try CyberGhost for free for 45 days with its money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost works with: Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, PlayStation, Xbox, Smart TVs, Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, Amazon Fire TV, routers, and more.
CyberGhost unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Comedy Central, BBC iPlayer, Display+, ESPN, National Geographic, NBC Sports, HBO, YouTube TV, Sling TV, and more.
September 2021 Update: CyberGhost has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $2.25 per month for the 2-year plan (you can save up to 83%)! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.
- 4 servers available in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia
- Speeds capped at 2Mbps but fast enough for online browsing
- Daily limit of 500MB data
- AES-256-bit encryption
- Tech support available for free users
Hotspot Shield has an impressive browser extension that requires zero sign-up. Just download the extension from the Chrome Web Store and you can connect instantly. The free plan currently only allows access to the US server which can lead to sluggish connections due to high server traffic.
I was impressed by the extension’s optional security features like ad, cookie, and malware blockers. Hotspot Shield’s VPN extension also offers a WebRTC blocker that prevents unwanted IP address leaks, as well as a tool called Sword that helps obscure your online activity by feeding false information to online trackers. These features can be turned off and on individually so you can customize your security preferences.
Hotspot Shield’s security features all work together to keep your Chrome browsing confidential, free from pop-up ads and protected from malicious websites. You can use Hotspot Shield’s chrome extension on all devices. However, it’s pertinent to mention that the service only encrypts your browser data — your other online activities will still be exposed.
While testing Hotspot Shield, I could watch YouTube videos with no advertisements in SD for an hour before hitting the 500MB data cap. It’s also one of the fastest free VPNs on the market thanks to its proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol, which is optimized for speed and reduced latency. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to torrent or access streaming services like Netflix. I attempted to stream from my Netflix account while connected to Hotspot Shield’s browser extension and was blocked by a notification prompting me to upgrade to a premium plan in order to access it. While this is disappointing, it’s also not unreasonable for a free service to restrict this type of activity.
You should know that Hotspot Shield has a questionable privacy and logging policy. According to the terms and conditions, it tracks data related to your geographic location, MAC, and IP addresses. It also stores connection timestamps and device-specific information (device type, OS version, network information, etc.), which can be too invasive for privacy-conscious users.
I investigated this further and discovered that HotSpot Shield shares the data it collects with Google, which makes sense given that the VPN extension is supported by ad revenue. While I’m relieved that HotSpot Shield doesn’t record browsing history, the amount of data it does collect is concerning. If you’re worried about maintaining your privacy and anonymity, you may want to use a different service.
Data collection concerns aside, Hotspot Shield still offers a very capable free VPN extension. Although it doesn’t support streaming platforms like Netflix, Hotspot Shield is still a good free VPN Chrome extension for casual browsing on public WiFi networks. You can easily download Hotspot Shield and see if it meets your needs.
Hotspot Shield works with: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome, Smart TVs, Linux, and some routers.
Hotspot Shield unblocks: Comedy Central, NBC Sports, YouTube, Sling TV, and more.
- Servers in 41 countries — including the USA, UK, and Canada
- No bandwidth throttling for fast speeds
- 500MB monthly data limit
- Military-grade encryption and zero-logs policy
- Customer support through email tickets
TunnelBear’s Chrome extension is very easy to use. Just download it from the Chrome Web Store, sign in or create an account, and connect to one of the servers in 41 countries.
Although it doesn’t have the additional security of some other extensions, TunnelBear keeps your location anonymous and protects your data. The service boasts a Vigilant Mode — basically a kill switch — which blocks all unsecured traffic in case your connection gets disrupted.
I was pleased to discover that TunnelBear receives annual audits by the reputable cybersecurity firm Cure53, which have verified its no-log policy. The Center for Democracy & Technology has also confirmed TunnelBear’s claims of providing full disk encryption, intrusion protection, and malware scans, further bolstering the VPN’s trustworthiness.
I ran several DNS leak tests to make sure my IP address was secure and TunnelBear passed every time.
Though my IP address was hidden, I wasn’t able to watch Netflix US with TunnelBear. With only 500MB of data per month, it’s difficult to stream even a single episode of a Netflix show to the end. This means TunnelBear’s free version isn’t great for streaming or downloading.
While I was disappointed by its streaming limitations, security features like Vigilant Mode and military-grade encryption still make TunnelBear a great option for casual safe browsing and data protection on public WiFi networks. You can download TunnelBear for free and try it for yourself.
TunnelBear works with: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome, and Firefox.
TunnelBear unblocks: Netflix, HBO Max, YouTube, and more.
- Extension offers 3 servers in Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany
- Won’t cap bandwidth to ensure speeds are as fast as possible
- 2GB free monthly data
- Military-grade encryption
- Customer support available to free users
Hide.me is a robust free service with no ads or bandwidth throttling. Its security features guarantee your browsing activity is anonymous and protected while you’re using Google Chrome.
While connected to the Hide.me’s Chrome extension, you can choose from 3 different servers or automatically connect to the fastest. I was able to quickly connect to servers in Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands; however, the free version limited data usage to 2GB per month.
Hide.me offers AES 256-bit encryption, a VPN kill switch, and DNS leak protection. It never stores your personal information and only keeps non-persistent logs for troubleshooting purposes. It erases this data every few hours, but you can also ask for your data to be deleted instantly upon request.
To encrypt your connection using the Hide.me browser extension, you must enable SOCKS (Socket Secure). If you don’t enable SOCKS, your data will not be encrypted but your IP address will be hidden.
While testing Hide.me with SOCKS enabled, I was able to browse the web and access sensitive information like my bank account securely. The Hide.me free Chrome extension is very simple, offering a small window with a clear button to connect to the VPN. You can download Hide.me for free.
Hide.me works with: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome, and Firefox.
Hide.me unblocks: Comedy Central, Sling TV, YouTube, and more
- 3 server locations for free users — USA, France, and Japan
- Consistent speeds across all 3 server locations
- Unlimited free data allowance
- Military-grade encryption
- Zero-logs policy and no ads
ProtonVPN is one of the only free services that gives you unlimited monthly data. This means you can use Chrome anonymously and securely without having to worry about your data usage. With no caps, you can stream and browse as much as you want.
ProtonVPN features a kill switch, OpenVPN protocol, and uses the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption to keep your data safe. It comes from Proton Technologies, one of the most reputable firms in the cybersecurity space, and maintains a clear zero-log policy. Based in Switzerland, ProtonVPN benefits from some of the world’s strongest privacy laws and falls outside the sphere of the 14-eyes surveillance alliance.
If streaming is a priority, you should know that I struggled to connect to Netflix using ProtonVPN’s free service. Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are only available for premium users, but free options like YouTube or Crackle work well. While testing the service, I was able to watch a movie on Crackle and only experienced buffering during ad breaks.
ProtonVPN’s map interface makes it easy to choose the right server location. As a free user, you’re limited to 3 server options, but you can see the range of server locations available to paying members.
ProtonVPN’s free service limits speeds, P2P file sharing, and the number of devices you can connect. That said, you won’t find many free VPNs that offer unlimited bandwidth so it’s definitely still worth checking out if you don’t need a VPN with extensive streaming capabilities. You can install ProtonVPN to see for yourself, with the option to upgrade or change your subscription at any time through your account dashboard.
ProtonVPN works with: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and more.
ProtonVPN unblocks: ESPN, NBC Sports, Crackle, YouTube, and more
Warning! Avoid These Free Chrome VPNs
Most free Chrome VPN extensions are severely limited in their functionality. They impose data caps, throttle your bandwidth, have small server networks, and poor unblocking capabilities. Many free VPNs inject tracking cookies and generate revenue by running ads, which can be counterproductive for your privacy.
Therefore, it’s important to make sure you only use a VPN you can trust. Here are a couple of free VPNs you should never use with Chrome:
While this service downloads and installs to your Chrome browser effortlessly, it should be avoided at all costs. Hola VPN has zero encryption, so any information sent or received from sites is easily read and identified. It also logs a huge amount of your information during use, including the websites you visit and your personal identifying data. To make money, this service then shares your information with unknown third-parties.
Cross VPN was flagged for containing potential trojan viruses by VirusTotal, a site that analyzes files and URLs to detect malware. Cross VPN has an AV-rank of 11, meaning it tested positive for malware on 11 different antivirus programs. Downloading this free VPN to use with Chrome puts your device at risk of being infected with malicious software.
How I Tested & Ranked the Best Free Chrome VPNs
Out of all the best VPNs in 2021, I focused on these key features to choose the best VPNs to use with Google Chrome:
- Compatibility: Does the VPN have a Chrome browser extension? Is it easy to use?
- Security: Does the VPN have military-grade encryption to keep your data safe? Does it have other security features? Does it keep logs of your data?
- Leak-proof service: Does the browser extension pass DNS/IPv6 leak tests?
- Value: Can you still use the VPN effectively despite data caps, low server counts, and other restrictions?
- Reliability: Can you connect easily even if there are fewer servers to choose from? Do data caps prevent you from browsing, streaming, and downloading as much as you want?
- Customer Support: Does the VPN have customer support available for users on free plans?
While every free VPN on my list is a trusted provider that offers decent speeds and security, they’re no substitute for a premium service. With ExpressVPN, you’ll not only have access to top-tier Google Chrome security but will be able to watch Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming platforms from anywhere in the world. You can even try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days thanks to its money-back guarantee. If you change your mind, you can get a full refund.
How to Add a VPN Extension on Google Chrome
- Get a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN as it has an easy 2-step Chrome installation process. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free, as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Visit the VPN’s website and find the “Apps” section. Alternatively, you can visit the Chrome Web Store and search the VPN extension there.
- Install the VPN extension and connect! Select the desired VPN extension; click “Add to Chrome” and then “Add Extension”, and you’re all set.
To activate the VPN, tap on the Extension icon in the top right corner of the browser window and select the VPN extension. Some VPNs may require you to sign in to your account before you can activate it.
FAQs: VPNs and Google Chrome
What’s the best VPN for Chrome on PC and Mac?
With its expansive network of servers, reliable security, and impressive speeds, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Chrome on PC and Mac. It maintains a favorable logging policy and does not track your IP address or web activity. It also uses military-grade encryption and a VPN kill switch to safeguard your data.
ExpressVPN enjoys a faultless unblocking record and my tests confirmed it. I was able to access Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video with ease. And unlike some of its competitors, ExpressVPN offers a genuine extension for Chrome on PC and Mac rather than a proxy.
One thing to keep in mind is that you can’t use the Chrome extension without having the ExpressVPN desktop app installed — but since this only takes a few minutes on both PC and Mac, it’s barely an inconvenience. You can test ExpressVPN out for yourself risk-free. If you don’t feel it’s right for you, you can get a full refund within the 30-day money-back guarantee period.
Are free VPNs for Chrome safe?
All the free Chrome VPN extensions on my list are safe but even the best don’t compare to a premium service like ExpressVPN.
Most free VPNs have data and speed limits and restrict the number of servers you can connect to. This is intentional, as free plans offered by premium service providers are often designed to encourage you to sign up for a paid subscription. Additionally, free VPNs are generally less safe and can leave you exposed to trackers, malware, and hackers. Some have even been known to track and sell user data to third-party advertisers.
To avoid these limitations, your best bet is to try a premium VPN service like ExpressVPN. You can buy it with confidence thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee. If you change your mind, you have 30 to get a full refund.
Do I need a VPN if I use incognito mode?
Yes, incognito mode doesn’t encrypt your online activity or make you anonymous. When you go incognito, Chrome clearly states that your activity can still be seen by websites you visit, your ISP, and the network administrators (like your school or employer).
Incognito mode is useful if you don’t want your browsing history or log in details saved. If other people use Chrome on your device, they won’t be able to see which sites you’ve visited or log in to accounts you accessed while using incognito mode.
But in order to encrypt your data or hide your online activity from prying eyes, you need a reliable VPN even if you use incognito mode. ExpressVPN has military-grade encryption to ensure your privacy is protected while using incognito mode. You can test ExpressVPN out for yourself and if you’re not satisfied, you have up to 30 days to claim a refund.
Will a VPN slow down my browsing speed?
Whether you’re using a free or premium service, you will likely experience a small drop in speed with a VPN. This is because your traffic goes through the encryption process before connecting to the internet, which impacts your speed.
If you use a free VPN with server and bandwidth limitations, you’re likely to experience a more noticeable drop, particularly if you connect at high-traffic times. Where I live in the UK, that’s typically between 7pm and 11pm GMT.
I ran a speed test for every free VPN on my list during peak connection times in the UK. I connected to the fastest available server for each VPN and compared it to my regular ISP speed. Here are the results:
|Standard ISP Speed (Mbps)||Fastest Server at Peak Connection Time (Mbps)||Speed Drop in Mbps|
|ExpressVPN – UK||52.15||42.0||-19.46%|
|CyberGhost – UK||52.15||34.73||-33.4%|
|Hotspot Shield – USA||52.15||30.35||-41.8%|
|TunnelBear – UK||52.15||41.64||-20.15%|
|Hide.me – UK||52.15||29.84||-42.78%|
|ProtonVPN – France||52.15||43.48||16.62%|
As expected, the VPNs with servers furthest away from me had the biggest drop in speed. However, every server had speeds fast enough to stream in UltraHD or 4K quality, even at the busiest connection times.
How do I use a VPN on Google Chrome in incognito mode?
Chrome blocks extensions when you’re using incognito mode. This is because the browser can’t ensure the extension isn’t tracking your online activity. If you use a secure free VPN, you can still use the extension in incognito mode. Here’s how:
5 Steps to Add a VPN Extension to Incognito Mode:
- Download a trusted free VPN’s browser extension from the VPN website or in the Google Chrome Web Store.
- Click the 3 dots at the top right of the Chrome browser to open the menu.
- Hover over “More tools” and click “Extensions” on the menu.
- Click “Details” on the VPN extension.
- Scroll down to find the “Allow in incognito” option, then click to enable it.
What’s the difference between free Chrome proxies and extensions?
Unlike the best free Chrome VPN extensions, a proxy is merely a server you can connect to to hide your real location. While proxies offer a lightweight way for getting around geo-blocks, they don’t measure up to the security and privacy benefits a VPN provides.
Making matters worse, many free proxies claim to provide the same service as VPN extensions but engage in shady activities such as selling user data and in rare cases, even pooling the processing power of its free users to launch botnet attacks.
You’re much better off using a Chrome VPN extension from a trusted provider. ExpressVPN offers best-in-class security to keep your data safe while you browse, stream, or torrent. While it’s not a free service, you can buy ExpressVPN in confidence thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not fully satisfied with your purchase, you can get a full refund within 30 days.
Don’t Put Your Privacy at Risk — Protect Yourself With a Free Chrome VPN Extension!
Google Chrome’s security features are not strong enough to ensure security and privacy on their own. By using the free VPNs on this list, you can bypass geo-restrictions without worrying about your data and online activity.
But remember, most free VPNs have limitations. Subpar encryption may leave you vulnerable to malware attacks from cybercriminals. Data caps can restrict your ability to browse or stream your favorite content. Similarly, slow speeds will make you wait significantly longer for pages to load.
If you aren’t sure which Chrome VPN extension is right for you, I highly recommend a budget-friendly option like ExpressVPN. It offers unlimited data, lightning-fast speeds, and is 100% safe to use with Google Chrome. You can test ExpressVPN out for yourself and if you’re not satisfied, you have up to 30 days to claim a refund.