Top 6 Free VPNs for Google Chrome

Last Updated by Kate Hawkins on June 12, 2020

A quick search on the Chrome Web Store gives you hundreds of results. Some of them want to scam you and steal your 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 6 best services to use with Chrome. I looked at security, reliability, and performance to ensure each of my recommended services provides premium security and reliable connections.

Try NordVPN with Chrome for free

Quick Guide: 6 Best Free VPNs for Google Chrome

  1. NordVPNThousands of global servers and premium security features but limits its service and is only free for 30 days.
  2. ProtonVPN: No data caps for free unlimited monthly use but limits speed and connections.
  3. Windscribe: 10GB free monthly data but Netflix servers are only available for premium users.
  4. Hide.me: Free 2GB data allowance per month but limited server choices.
  5. Hotspot Shield: 500MB free daily data allowance but limited speeds and only 1 US server.
  6. TunnelBear: Free 500MB per month data allowance but doesn’t support streaming.

How to Choose the Best VPN for Google Chrome

During testing, 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?
  • 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 free users?

If you want to connect to a specific country, make sure the VPN you choose has servers there. For example, none of the VPNs on this list can help you connect to China.

Top 6 Free VPNs for Google Chrome

1. NordVPN — Thousands of Premium Servers for Reliable Chrome Connections

Key Features:

  • 5,600+ servers in 59 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

I was surprised to find that the best free VPN is actually considered one of the most popular premium VPNs on the market. You can use NordVPN completely free for 30 days, which is more than enough for a short vacation, or for you to test out the VPN.

NordVPN has thousands of servers around the world that make securing your connections easy. During my tests, I could instantly connect to servers in any NordVPN location from the Chrome browser extension.

Adding the NordVPN extension to Chrome only takes a couple of seconds. You can find the extension on the Chrome Web Store or through the NordVPN website. Once downloaded, the interface is simple and easy to use. You can “Quick Connect” to the fastest server or search for an individual country. I used both connection methods to secure my Chrome browser and had no issues.

The extension offers two optional security features — CyberSec and Block WebRTC. CyberSec protects devices from viruses and malicious websites while using Chrome, and Block WebRTC masks your IP address. Using these together, along with NordVPN’s military-grade encryption, ensures your data and devices are safeguarded.

Screenshot of NordVPN's Chrome browser extension safety features.

NordVPN’s Chrome extension has optional security features for secure browsing

By testing NordVPN for yourself, you can see how fast and reliable it is compared to free VPN services. As NordVPN is a premium service, it offers subscribers a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can subscribe to a low-cost plan, test the service with Chrome for a full month and still get a full refund.

Try NordVPN for free

2. ProtonVPN — Unlimited Free Monthly Data Use With Access to Servers in 3 Countries

Key Features:

  • 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 free 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.

If streaming is a priority, you should know that I struggled to connect to Netflix using ProtonVPN’s free service. Streaming services like 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.

Screenshot of ProtonVPN's interactive server map.

ProtonVPN helps you connect to the right server easily

ProtonVPN’s free service limits speeds, P2P file sharing, and the number of devices you can connect. To try the service without limitations, free users get a 7-day premium trial at no cost. You can then upgrade or change your subscription at any time through your account dashboard.

Get ProtonVPN for free today

3. Windscribe — 10GB Free Monthly Data Allowance and Simple Chrome Extension

Key Features:

  • 10 server locations available in countries around the world
  • No bandwidth throttling for fast speeds
  • 10GB monthly data allowance
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Torrenting supported

Windscribe’s privacy policy ensures that your data stays secure while you’re browsing with Chrome. With the extension, you can choose to block ads, avoid malware, and delete cookies.

If you want to watch movies on streaming sites, you should know that Windscribe blocks some services for free users. Services like Netflix and Hulu are only available for premium users. When testing Windscribe’s free Chrome extension, I wasn’t able to bypass the Netflix proxy error. But, I could watch BBC iPlayer when connected and stream for about 10 hours before I reached the cap.

Screenshot of Windscribe's free version unblocking BBC iPlayer.

Windscribe unblocked BBC iPlayer and let me stream shows and movies

If you want to stream or torrent frequently, you may find the 10GB monthly data limit isn’t enough. To get access to all streaming services and unlimited data, you’ll need to subscribe to a paid version. Windscribe allows you to try its premium service for 3 days, but you have to contact the service within the 3 days to get a full refund.

Get Windscribe for free

4. Hide.me — 2GB Free Monthly Data and Zero Ads When Using Chrome

Screenshot of Hide Me vendor user interface on smartphone, tablet, and desktop

Key Features:

  • 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 extension, you can choose from 3 different servers or automatically connect to the fastest. It doesn’t provide encryption like the free desktop VPN, but it will mask your IP address so you can browse and stream sites and services in other countries.

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.

Screenshot of Hide.me browser extension settings.

Turn on “Enable SOCKS” in settings to encrypt your connection with the Hide.me Chrome extension

While testing, I enabled SOCKS — I was able to browse the web and access sensitive information like my bank account securely. However, the best way to ensure your data security is to test Hide.me’s premium service. You can try it for 30 days risk-free with its money-back guarantee!

Get Hide.me for free now

5. Hotspot Shield — 15GB Free Monthly Data Provides Secure Streaming and Browsing

Screenshot of Hotspot Shield vendor user interface on smartphone, tablet, and desktop

Key Features:

  • 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, choosing from one of 4 available locations — Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, or Russia. Changing locations is easy too, just open the extension and click on a different location to automatically connect.

I was impressed by the extension’s optional security features. These can be turned off and on individually so you can customize your security preferences.

Screenshot of HotSpot Shield's Chrome extension security features.

Hotspot Shield lets you customize your security options to your personal liking

These features all work together to keep your Chrome browsing confidential, free from pop-up ads, and protected from malicious websites.

While testing this service, I could watch YouTube videos with no advertisements in SD for an hour before hitting the 500MB data cap. To watch without data or quality restrictions, you can try Hotspot Shield’s premium service with its money-back guarantee. You can test the VPN for 45 days and get a full refund.

Get Hotspot Shield for free today

6. TunnelBear — 500Mb Free Monthly Data and 23 Server Locations to Connect With

Screenshot of TunnelBear vendor user interface on smartphone, tablet, and desktop
Screenshot of TunnelBear vendor user interface on smartphone, tablet, and desktop

Key Features:

  • Servers in 23 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 choose one of 23 servers to connect to.

Although it doesn’t have the additional security of some other extensions, it keeps your location anonymous and protects your data. I ran several DNS leak tests to make sure my IP address was secure and TunnelBear passed every time.

Screenshot of DNS leak test results when connected to TunnelBear.

TunnelBear’s encryption kept my IP address hidden

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 show to the end. This means TunnelBear’s free version isn’t great for streaming or downloading.

You can upgrade to the premium service for unrestricted data. If you’re not satisfied, you can contact TunnelBear’s customer support to request a refund.

Get TunnelBear for free today

How to Add a VPN Extension to Chrome

4 Steps to Add a VPN Extension to Chrome:

  1. Get a VPN with a Chrome browser extension. I recommend NordVPN as it has an easy 2-step Chrome installation process.
  2. Visit the VPN’s website and find the “Apps” section.
  3. Click “Add to Chrome.” You’ll be redirected to the Google Chrome Web Store.
    Screenshot of NordVPN Chrome browser installation.
  4. Select “Add to Chrome” and “Add Extension.”

How to Add a VPN Extension to 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:

  1. Download a trusted free VPN’s browser extension from the VPN website or in the Google Chrome Web Store.
  2. In Chrome, click the 3 dots at the top right of the browser to open the menu.
  3. Hover over “More tools” and click “Extensions” on the menu.
  4. Click “Details” on the VPN extension.
    Screenshot of Google Chrome browser extension settings.
  5. Scroll down to find the “Allow in incognito” option, then click to enable it.
    Screenshot of Google Chrome browser extension settings.

Get NordVPN for Google Chrome today

The Downside to Free VPNs

There are thousands of free VPNs available, but the majority aren’t secure enough to keep your data safe. At best, this could mean that your general location is shared with advertisers as a way to generate revenue. At worst, limited security features could mean your data isn’t properly encrypted, leaving it vulnerable hackers and spies. If a free VPN logs your data, it could be sold to the highest bidder or handed over to government authorities.

Free VPNs that you can trust, like the services I’ve recommended, are a secure way to browse the internet. However, they all have limitations. The restrictions imposed by free VPNs provided by a premium service are designed to encourage you to sign up for a paid subscription. They limit the number of servers you can connect to as well as your data allowance, and download speeds. This means you’ll experience buffering and lag during streaming, crowded servers, and slow online activity.

If you want to try a premium VPN for free, you can use a money-back guarantee. NordVPN gives new subscribers 30 days to test its service and getting your money back is easy. Customer service processed my refund in less than 3 business days.

Try NordVPN for free today

FAQs About Google Chrome Browser Extensions

🔍 Is Google Chrome’s incognito mode really anonymous?

No, incognito mode won’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).

Screenshot of incognito mode notifications.

Incognito mode won’t hide your internet activity

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.

💰 Which free VPNs for Chrome should I avoid?

With so many free VPNs available to download, 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:

Hola VPN

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

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.

❓Will a VPN slow down my browsing speed?

Whether you’re using a free VPN or a premium VPN, you are likely to experience at least a small drop in speed. 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. 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:

VPN Name and Server Location Standard ISP Speed (Mbps) Fastest Server at Peak Connection Time (Mbps) Speed Drop in Mbps
NordVPN – UK 52.15 45.49 -6.66
ProtonVPN – France 52.15 43.48 -8.67
Windscribe – UK 52.15 43.45 -8.7
Hide.me – Netherlands 52.15 29.84 -22.13
Hotspot Shield – USA 52.15 30.35 -21.8
TunnelBear – UK 52.15 41.64 -10.51

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.

Get NordVPN risk-free now

Stay Secure With a Reliable VPN for Google Chrome

Google Chrome just isn’t secure enough to keep your data safe without help. By using one of my recommended free VPNs, you can protect your data while browsing with Chrome.

But remember, most free VPNs have limitations. If you want to stream Netflix from anywhere or torrent anonymously, you’ll need full access to a premium VPN.

If you want a VPN without limitations but aren’t ready to commit to a paid plan, you can use a premium service with a money-back guarantee. NordVPN gives you 30 days to test every feature and get a full refund if you’re not completely satisfied.

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Kate Hawkins
Kate Hawkins is a tech-focused writer and web expert with a keen interest in online security and privacy. She enjoys getting stuck into new technology and researching the latest cybersecurity trends to keep readers informed and safe online.