A VPN (Virtual Private Network) can be used to protect your identity online, allowing you to browse completely anonymously safe in the knowledge that no one can spy on you. It can also be used to access blocked websites online. Here, we share our favourite VPNs for Chrome.

You can get a VPN in app form, which will be installed on your computer and channel all of your internet activity from any browser through VPN servers. However, if you just want to use a VPN in one browser for certain activities, you can do so by installing a VPN Chrome extension.

This won’t keep your data as safe as a VPN app would, as it’s not going to encrypt the entirety of your internet use if some of it happens outside of the browser. But, if that doesn’t concern you too much, a browser extension will work as a lightweight solution.

In most cases, as they’re not protecting your entire computer, Chrome VPNs are actually encrypted proxies rather than fully-fledged VPNs. This means they have many VPN-like capabilities but aren’t able to route traffic from anything outside of your browser, such as programs and applications. For more information about VPNs and how they work, visit: What is a VPN?

If you would prefer a complete VPN app, check out our round-up of the best VPN services 2018 here.

We also have articles outlining the best VPN for BBC iPlayer, the best VPN for Netflix and the best VPN for Android

Best Chrome VPN extensions 2018

NordVPN

NordVPN

The VPN we recommend most is NordVPN, so you’ll be pleased to hear that there is a NordVPN Chrome extension available too.

All you need is a NordVPN account, which is available for as little as US$2.75/£2 per month if you commit to three years ($99 upfront). Additional options include the one month plan for $11.95/£9, $5.75/£4.30 per month for the yearly plan, or $3.29/£2.50 for two years. You can sign up here.

You’ll then be able to download the Chrome extension here, sign in to your account, and choose a server to connect to from more than 4,400 across 62 countries to begin using it to protect your web traffic through the browser. It’s a simple, easy-to-use tool that we would recommend.

If you want to find out more, check out our NordVPN review.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

Another of our favourite VPNs is ExpressVPN, and it too has a Chrome extension available.

With ExpressVPN, you’ll get access to a global VPN network with more than 1,700 servers across 94 countries, and those servers are known to be brilliantly fast, too.

A Kill Switch feature means that, if the VPN disconnects for any reason, your internet will immediately disconnect too to protect your privacy.

You can sign up to ExpressVPN for $6.67/£4.83 per month if you sign up for 15 months, and there’s a six month or one month option available too.

Our ExpressVPN review offers more details.

TunnelBear VPN

TunnelBear VPN

TunnelBear offers a clean, simple Chrome extension that we enjoy using. It works in the same way as the others mentioned here - you’ll need to sign up to TunnelBear (there’s a free version but you’ll get just 500MB data, so we’d recommend the Grizzly option that costs $4.99/£3.75 per month and offers unlimited data).

There are only 22 countries available with TunnelBear, so whether it works for you might depend on what you intend to use it for, but the countries available are among the most popular so it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself unable to connect to the country you require.

Find out more in our TunnelBear review.

Windscribe

Windscribe

Windscribe offers a free Chrome extension that adds ad and tracker blockers into the mix too.

We like Windscribe’s Cruise Control feature, which will choose a server location based on the website you’re trying to access, and there are various customisable privacy features that could come in handy, too.

The free version, which you can sign up to here, gets you just 10GB per month but it’s a good way to test out the service before you decide whether you want to upgrade to the Unlimited version, which is $4.08/£2.95 per month.

The free version also offers 11 locations versus 50 in the Unlimited version, so you may find some are missing if you decide to try the Limited version first.

ZenMate

ZenMate

Our final recommendation is Zenmate, which too offers a Chrome extension with easy, one-click connect.

Zenmate has high speed servers across more than 30 countries, with unlimited use when you sign up to one of its plans.

The cheapest is £4.99/$6.65 per month if you commit to a year, but there are six month and one month options too. Plus, you’ll get a 14 day money back guarantee.

You can sign up for Zenmate and get the Chrome extension here.