Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Advertisement

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are becoming increasingly popular. They have hundreds of uses, from companies or organizations that want to provide functionality to their work-from-home employees, to regular internet users who want to circumnavigate geo-blocking restrictions How Do You Bypass Geo-Blocking Tactics? [We Ask You] How Do You Bypass Geo-Blocking Tactics? [We Ask You] Many of us know how to deal with egregious geo-blocking tactics, employing our own counter measures against them. It's about time we all shared what we have learned. Read More .

Recently, Opera decided to offer a free VPN within the browser for all its users. If you’re a Chrome user, you probably want something similar you can use within your favorite browser.

There are lots of paid VPN options available The Best VPN Services The Best VPN Services We've compiled a list of what we consider to be the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) service providers, grouped by premium, free, and torrent-friendly. Read More , but there are also some really good free ones, especially for Google Chrome users.

Here are six of the best Chrome VPNs for you to check out.

Note: If you are using these VPNs with the hope of accessing Netflix or BBC iPlayer Which VPNs Still Work With Netflix? Which VPNs Still Work With Netflix? Netflix is trying to stop people accessing its service through VPNs, but a handful of VPNs are managing to stay one step ahead of the streaming giant. Read on to find out which ones... Read More , be aware these services and many others are now trying to block access for VPN-based IP addresses.

Free vs. Premium

With all VPNs, you get what you pay for. Yes, free VPNs are good, but they’re not comparable to a premium VPN service in terms of quality, speed, or security.

For example, lots of free VPN services only offer the PPTP protocol. The PPTP protocol is not as robust as other VPN protocols such as L2TP/IPSEC, OpenVPN, SSTP, or SSH — most of which are offered by the leading paid services.

You also need to consider browsing speed. VPN servers are very expensive to run and manage. If you’re on a free service, it’s probably already overloaded with other users. In contrast, premium providers reinvest a lot of their income on servers and bandwidth.

There are also intangibles to think about. Can you expect reliable support from a free provider? Is the uptime close to 100 percent?

Lastly, ask yourself this: why is it free? In the best case scenario, is it’s riddled with ads. At worst, the provider is stealing your connection and using your bandwidth for other users. Hola users will be familiar with the practice Hola is Basically a Botnet, Congress Redirected to Nude Photos, & More... [Tech News Digest] Hola is Basically a Botnet, Congress Redirected to Nude Photos, & More... [Tech News Digest] Also: Google offers unlimited photo storage, how you can pretend to be a destructive cat, and YouTube celebrates its 10th anniversary. Read More .

Bottom line: A free VPN is better than no VPN. But if you have the money and value your security, invest in a top paid subscription.

One of the best premium VPNs is ExpressVPN. It offers OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP protocols, includes unlimited speed and bandwidth, provides servers in 94 countries, and allows for up to three simultaneous connections.

1. DotVPN

DotVPN has been around since 2014 and is now starting to gain serious traction. It has more than 500,000 users according to the Chrome Web Store, and has an average review score of 4 stars (from almost 5,000 reviews).

Some of its best features include:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 12 virtual locations (Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom)
  • Unlimited switches between locations

dotvpn

The developers are also keen to underline the security benefits; it uses 4096-bit key encryption – that’s two times greater than modern banking standards 5 Vital Security Tips For Smarter Smartphone Banking 5 Vital Security Tips For Smarter Smartphone Banking As smartphones have become more capable, many people have begun to use them as a banking tool, and logging in to a bank account on-the-go is much easier and quicker via mobile data than any... Read More .

2. ZenMate VPN

ZenMate VPN brands itself as a “cyber security solution”. They have a worldwide network of highly secure proxy servers which encrypt your information and protect you from malicious websites.

The ZenMate VPN service can be broken down into three parts – Internet privacy, Wi-Fi security How to Check Your Wi-Fi Network for Suspicious Devices How to Check Your Wi-Fi Network for Suspicious Devices Are you worried that strangers or hackers might be on your Wi-Fi network? Here's how you can check and how to do something about it. Read More , and unrestricted Internet access.

With regards to privacy, this will prevent trackers from banner ads, website analytics, and social media following you around the web. From a Wi-Fi perspective it will add an extra line of defense when you’re on unsecured public networks, and from an unrestricted Internet standpoint it will help you overcome geo-blocking.

zenmate

ZenMate VPN also offers a premium service which improves the speed, adds extra locations, and offers 24/7 support. It’s available from $7.99 per month.

3. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is one of the new kids on the block.

Before we discuss its features, it is important to note that the service is operated by Anchor Free. Anchor is widely considered to be one of the most reliable companies in the industry; it’s more than 10 years old, has seen in excess of 400 million downloads across its different apps, and currently has 20 million active users in 190 countries.

hotspotshield

In terms of the service, it’s both free and unlimited and has versions available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, OS X, and Windows.

Like ZenMate, there is also a premium version of Hotspot Shield. It starts at $2.08 per month, depending on your subscription length.

4. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN is another provider that makes privacy and security its main selling points, rather than geo-blocking. According to its website, the service is responsible for blocking nearly 150 million adverts, 210,000 malicious websites, and 260 million tracking attempts.

CyberGhost VPN list nine key features of its service:

  • Ease of Use: One click on/off button
  • Protection from hackers, cyber scams, bank-account thefts, and phishing e-mail fraud
  • Anonymous browsing
  • Ad-free browsing
  • An ISO-certified supplier which releases an annual “Transparency Report”
  • Worldwide geo-unblocking
  • Protection against malicious sites
  • Data compress for mobile hotspots
  • And finally, forced HTTPS connections where available

The premium version is $3.79 per month.

cyberghost

5. Browsec VPN

Browsec VPN claims to be “an advanced analog of ZenMate, Stealthy, Hola, and frigate”.

Its main benefits are letting its users access any sites from anywhere, enhancing user privacy online, and protecting user data from sniffers and trackers.

It makes a big push on the geo-blocking, but rather than focus on opening up content from different countries’ stores on Netflix or BBC, Browsec VPN instead mention services like Spotify, Pandora, and SoundCloud – some of which are completely blocked in certain regions.

Browsec VPN also advertises its service as a way to access sites that are blocked on office or school computers, such as Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube.

browsec

6. TunnelBear VPN

Of all the services we’ve discussed in this list, TunnelBear has the best reviews – an unprecedented 5 stars from almost 10,500 individual ratings at the time of writing. Rather than being a true VPN, this service is actually an encrypted proxy.

Readers who’ve been working with VPNs for a long time will be well-aware of the brand name; TunnelBear VPN has been around for many years and has made very successful desktop-based products for both Windows and Mac.

tunnelbear

There is one key difference between this Chrome extension and the desktop offerings, and it’s an important one to understand — TunnelBear for Chrome only encrypts your browser traffic, whereas TunnelBear VPN for desktop encrypts 100 percent of your data.

TunnelBear boasts some of the fastest speeds of all the VPNs on this list and has servers available in 20 countries worldwide.

Which Extensions Do You Use?

VPNs have lots of benefits for end users. It can be something simple like improving your privacy, but it could also be allowing you to navigate to sites such as The Pirate Bay which certain browsers have intentionally deemed to be malicious.

Of course, you also need to be alert as to how these services operate. Despite their best claims, if something is free, it often means you are the product. You need to look no further than the debacle surrounding Hola last year Hola is Basically a Botnet, Congress Redirected to Nude Photos, & More... [Tech News Digest] Hola is Basically a Botnet, Congress Redirected to Nude Photos, & More... [Tech News Digest] Also: Google offers unlimited photo storage, how you can pretend to be a destructive cat, and YouTube celebrates its 10th anniversary. Read More for a case in point. The reality is that if you want 100 percent peace of mind, you should invest in a paid service.

Now it’s over to you. Which VPNs on this list have you tried? Have we missed out your favorite? Perhaps you’ve endured some bad Chrome VPN experiences that you want to share with your fellow readers? As ever, you can leave us your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Lynn
    June 19, 2017 at 7:18 am

    I'm shocked that you guys suggest Hotspot Shield. I'd used them back when they were very new, and ran into some malware from them. And I'm someone who's known about 5x checking to be sure no hidden bloatware is attached to the install program. They caused me so much pain that I'd never try them again.

  2. Jim
    December 29, 2016 at 4:25 am

    How many multi logins & servers does dotvpn have ? I am using PureVPN & it has 550+ servers with 5 multi logins.

  3. Athif Khan
    August 23, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Gonna Try Dot VPN since you have ranked it number one

  4. Anonymous
    May 25, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    The thor browser is equivalent to a VPN program?

    • Lynn
      June 19, 2017 at 7:22 am

      Tor* and it's probably better than a free vpn. I've been using PIA premium vpn for years. They're about 7 bucks, and the only one I've seen that tricks google search. My rule of thumb is if you can trick the IP search on Google's search engine, it'll be secure anywhere. Some VPNs, even paid ones, lie to sites like WhatsMyIP, yet Google pegs them easily.

      • Peter Buyze
        June 19, 2017 at 8:10 am

        I checked Opera's built-in VPN & checked it against Google Search. GS was not able to "peg" my real IP, so kudus to Opera for that.

  5. Gowri Sankar
    May 24, 2016 at 5:11 am

    Where is Betternet?

  6. Tim
    May 23, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Any insights around the tracking policy of the 6 products listed above?

  7. Anonymous
    May 22, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I Am Testing The Extensions With These ID Codes:

    CNHBKKEDMELFMALGJPKNGIAOIFPDFCNL

    DGFLKLLHDALGLBKEOGDOIHCIGIEKMJGK

    DKNFPCDPBKJIJLDEGONLLFNNFHABJPDE

    FDCGDNKIDJAADAFNICHFPABHFOMCEBME

    GJKNJJOMCKKNOFJIDPPIPFFBPOEKIIPM

    NLBEJMCCBHKNCGOKJCMGHPFLOAAJCFFJ

    OMGHFJLPGGMJJAAGOCLMMOBGDODCJBOH

    Cheers.

  8. Anonymous
    May 21, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Hotspot Shield the new kid on the block? You must be joking, unless your definition of new includes many years.

    • Lynn
      June 19, 2017 at 7:27 am

      I thought it was just me. I remember them at least 2012, and that's when I was new to it. They were toted as established, but I ran into malware problems even after double checking my install session.

      • Peter Buyze
        June 19, 2017 at 7:59 am

        You are right, Hotspot Shield is garbage. The other one mentioned here, DotVPN, is garbage too for a different reasons. It supposedly gives a number of virtual locations, but they don't all work. What's more, if yo find one that works, then go to whatismyip.com, you'll find your real IP displayed.

        I use Opera now and its built-in VPN (or proxy as some call it) does really provide you with another IP, and the different virtual locations do work. I don't know if it rings home, but I'll take that into the bargain for the free version.

  9. Anonymous
    May 21, 2016 at 4:05 am

    It seems like after Opera every browser has started to make itself compatible especially for top free VPNs but we should not forget that these platforms also keep logs that's why I prefer to use Ivacy is zero logs policy for every user So, I think it is the better choice for us.

  10. Jeff
    May 20, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    You could be paying and still be the product.