Features like speed, reliability and ease of use are key.
Using a Chrome VPN can help you protect sensitive browser data and bypass geo-blocked streaming sites. They help a lot whether you surf the web or want to improve your online security.
However, the best VPN browser extensions vary quite a bit in how they work and what they can do for you. Some control a full desktop VPN, while others are just proxies that don’t actually encrypt your data.
So how do you choose the right VPN for your needs? We’ll explain what features you should look for, why you might need a VPN in Chrome, and what these browser extensions can do.
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What should I look for in my VPN?
The features you need in a browser-based VPN are simple but essential. For starters, speed is key. Your VPN will likely slow down your connection a little (this isn’t noticeable if you are using a fast VPN), but if the VPN connection noticeably restricts your internet connection, this is a serious problem.
Also important is the number and variety of server locations. Does a VPN provider have thousands of servers or just a few hundred? Ideally, you will be able to connect to servers not only in the US and Europe, but also in regions such as Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America. It’s also worth checking the connection speed of the remote servers as they can sometimes be too slow to be of any practical use.
Another thing to consider when choosing a VPN is reliability. Will your VPN automatically drop your internet connection if the VPN drops to protect you? Some cheap VPNs have been known to leak IP addresses, which primarily negates the purpose of the VPN.
Finally, make sure your extension is easy to use. Many VPNs automatically connect to the fastest server available when you open your browser. It should also be quick and easy to change your server location or disable the VPN if needed.
Who needs a Chrome VPN?
Having a VPN inside Chrome can be a huge help. First, it makes it easy to access key settings, such as location in the desktop app, right from the browser. Also, if you mainly use Chrome to surf the web, you can watch out for the fact that the extension only protects Chrome and not all applications on your computer.
They can also be useful if you are using a computer for which you do not have administrator rights, such as a work computer. You can install the extension inside Chrome without installing system-wide software. Extensions are usually also lighter weight than full-fledged desktop applications.
What does Chrome VPN do?
There are two types of VPNs for Chrome: paid extensions and free proxies.
Paid VPN extensions usually come bundled with desktop VPN software. They not only mask the location and IP address of your computer, but they also encrypt all outgoing data from your computer. If you log into online accounts, this encryption is required to protect your passwords and data.
Free proxies created by VPN providers can mask your computer’s location, but they won’t encrypt your browser traffic. Proxies are best if you want to unblock geo-blocked content without paying for a full VPN. They can be very useful, but if you use them often, you will surely find their limits.
Apple users need a Mac VPN, and PC users need a Windows VPN, or proxy servers will do a better job for a specific purposes.