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Best VPN for Chrome 2022

Google Chrome isn't known for data privacy, but its flexibility makes it compatible with many virtual private network plug-ins. Here are the best we've tested.

Google Chrome isn't the most private browser, nor is it the most secure. But it's among the most flexible for customizable plug-ins and extensions. That means finding the best virtual private network for Chrome is a lot easier. Chrome's dominance as the world's most popular internet browser ensures that nearly every VPN service is compatible with Google Chrome. All the top recommendations on our main list of the best VPN services have been hands-on tested for use with Chrome, and all of them come with Chrome-specific browser plug-ins to keep more of your data away from prying eyes. 

Our CNET team tested and ranked the three top VPN providers based on browser compatibility, connection speed and any security problems that could potentially arise. Not only did all three pass each test with flying colors, but each VPN provider also offers a Chrome extension that can be installed directly in your browser, in case you want a lighter version of the VPN client in order to lose less speed.

Here you'll find our top recommendations for the best VPN for Chrome, ranked in order of their security strength, overall performance on speed tests and value for the money. You can also check out our picks for the best cheap VPN, the best mobile VPN and the fastest VPN. And here's why we strongly recommend you avoid using a free VPN and instead go with a tried-and-true paid VPN.

ExpressVPN

Despite battling major upheavals through the end of 2021, ExpressVPN earned our Editor's Choice Award for best VPN in 2022. One of the two largest providers globally, the VPN titan has been in business since 2009 and once again aggressively raised the industry bar for service transparency this year. 

In the past year, ExpressVPN increased its independent third-party audit count, published details about its TrustedServer deployment process, joined the i2Coalition to call for improved VPN industry ethics, and released an open source Lightway encryption protocol.

After a set-back in 2020, ExpressVPN is again currently in first place as the fastest VPN we've tested. While most VPNs will cause you to lose half or more of your normal internet speeds, ExpressVPN caused us to lose just 2% of speeds in our 2022 speed tests. It also unblocks Netflix and other streaming services more reliably than most other VPNs, and seamlessly surpasses geo-blocking for access to international gaming servers and torrenting sites. 

All of our top-rated VPN's have wide compatibility across platforms and operating systems, but ExpressVPN's collection of setup guides, detailed FAQs and troubleshooting articles give it a clear advantage for users. So does its 24/7 customer support, and its no-questions-asked, 30-day money back guarantee.

While you can get a better month-to-dollar bargain with ExpressVPN's two-year subscription, we don't recommend purchasing any two-year VPN subscriptions at this time due to overall market volatility. ExpressVPN's best plan offers five simultaneous connections for $100 a year (which includes three extra months, for a limited-time deal totaling 15 months of service). You can also opt for a $13 per-month plan, or pay $60 for six months. Read our ExpressVPN review.

Read our ExpressVPN review.

 

ExpressVPN
  • Competitive speeds
  • Solid security suite
  • Company is based in privacy-friendly jurisdiction
49% off with 12-mo plan (+3 free months)
Surfshark

While Surfshark's network is smaller than some, the VPN service makes it up on features and speed. Let's start off with the biggest win it offers: unlimited device support. If you want to run your entire home or office on Surfshark's VPN, you don't have to worry about how many devices you have on or connected. It also offers anti-malware, ad-blocking and tracker-blocking as part of its software.

And it's fast. With more than 3,200 servers in 65 countries, we lost less than 17% of average internet speed during our most recent speed tests. That's faster than the 27% speed loss we saw in previous tests, even if it can't quite keep up with ExpressVPN's jaw-dropping 2% speed loss.

Surfshark received generally high marks when its Chrome extension was audited for privacy by German security firm Cure 53 (PDF link of full report) -- though that audit was commissioned by Surfshark.

The VPN provider has a solid range of app support, running on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Fire TV and routers. Additional devices such as game consoles can be configured for Surfshark via DNS settings. We particularly like the feature that allows you to whitelist certain apps and websites to automatically bypass the VPN. For some business uses, this can be critically important. 

Surfshark also offers three special modes designed for those who want to get around restrictions and more carefully hide their online footsteps. Camouflage Mode masks your VPN activity so your ISP doesn't know you're using a VPN. Multihop jumps your connection through multiple countries to hide your trail. Finally, NoBorders Mode "allows [you] to successfully use Surfshark in restrictive regions." Just be careful. Doing any of these three things could be illegal in your country and could result in severe penalties. During our testing, we didn't see a single IP address or DNS leak, and had no trouble accessing Netflix. 

Unlike many of the other VPN providers, Surfshark doesn't offer a one-year plan. Its best offer right now is $2.30 a month for its two-year plan (you pay about $60 up front). A six-month plan is $6.49 a month (about $39 up front), and month-by-month plans are $13 a month. Definitely take advantage of its generous 30-day trial to decide if you like this service and Chrome VPN extension (and if you choose the two-year plan, maybe set a reminder in 23 months to see if you can talk the company into a continued discount rate).

Read our Surfshark VPN review.

 

Surfshark VPN
  • Market-leading speeds
  • Doorbuster pricing
  • Multihop VPN
$2.30/mo + 2 months free (2 year plan)
NordVPN
  • Among the fastest VPNs, with only 13% speed loss
  • Number of servers: 5,200-plus servers in 62 countries
  • Apps: Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV, Fire TV
  • Country/jurisdiction: Panama
  • $3.99 a month for a two-year plan

NordVPN is one of the most recognized brands in the VPN field. It offers a generous simultaneous connection count, with six simultaneous connections through its network, where nearly all other providers offer five or fewer. NordVPN also offers a dedicated IP option, for those looking for a different level of VPN connection, and the ability to VPN into Tor. More than half of Nord's 5,000-plus server fleet is optimized for peer-to-peer sharing, though Nord has blocked torrenting in 14 countries.

In our latest test rounds we noticed a few hiccups in Nord's killswitch when using its iOS app, which could be a concern for torrenters. However, Nord has a sideloaded iOS available on its website that it recommends to users. In our most recent speed tests, NordVPN's performance recovered from middling speed scores of 2021 and zoomed back into the ranks of the fastest VPNs we've tested, causing us to lose just 13% of base internet speeds. 

NordVPN doesn't accept PayPal payments, but you can purchase a subscription with any major credit or debit card, AmazonPay, Google Pay or ACH transfer. If you'd rather pay anonymously, you can pay with a variety of cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ethereum, tether and dogecoin. NordVPN has also partnered with a handful of retail stores like Staples, Best Buy and Walmart -- where you can even purchase your VPN with cash.

Read moreNordVPN Review 2022: Feature-Rich and Speedy, but Privacy and Transparency Issues Need Attention

Read our NordVPN review.

 

NordVPN
  • Reliable, competitive speeds
  • RAM-disk servers
  • Feature-rich software
62% off with 24-mo plan

Chrome VPN FAQs

What's the best VPN for Chrome right now?

  • ExpressVPN received a CNET Editors' Choice Award for best overall VPN. We evaluate VPNs based on their overall performance in three main categories: speed, security and price. Express isn't the cheapest, but it's among the fastest and, so far, is the most secure. (Note that we're currently re-evaluating ExpressVPN based on the news mentioned above.)
  • Surfshark, with its lower price, is a close second among our picks, thanks to its impressive performance and unlimited devices.
  • NordVPN, our third choice, is a die-hard heavy hitter. It costs more than Surfshark but less than Express, has an enormous network that's constantly getting faster and more secure and is easily the most reliable service we've tested.

What is a VPN?

A commercial virtual private network is technology that allows you to create a private connection over a less private network by creating an encrypted tunnel between your computer and the internet. You can install a VPN just like you would any other app or program on your smartphone or computer. A VPN can let you get around censorship in your country or access georestricted media content from another country -- and prevents your internet service provider from being able to intrude on your privacy by snooping on your web browsing. VPNs do this by allowing you to appear as though you're connecting from a different location or country. 

A VPN is great for anyone using public, unprotected Wi-Fi, such as what's offered in airports, bars or coffee shops. Your VPN protects your sensitive information -- from your work projects to bank account login information -- from being seen by malicious actors who trawl public Wi-Fi networks. For more beginner-focused VPN help, we've demystified some of the jargon in our guide to all the VPN terms you need to know.

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