If you are reading this, you will probably know what a VPN is along with the benefits you can gain from using one. The question we are going to focus on here is whether VPN extensions for Chrome work well for protection or should you forget about them and just use dedicated VPN apps. So, let’s take a deeper look into extensions.
A brief insight into Virtual Private Networks
Just in case you are new to VPNs and are just considering using one we will give you a brief insight into what a Virtual Private Network is.
A VPN offers numerous benefits with the main ones being security and anonymity online. It does so by putting a virtual tunnel between the user’s device and the internet. Any data travelling from the device onto the internet is encrypted making it impossible to read if intercepted.
Along with this, the user connects to a remote server offered by the provider, which masks the users IP address, and they take on one from the server. Servers are located around the world. To do this users download apps after signing up with a provider.
Browser extension pros and cons
An alternative is to use a browser extension such as for Chrome. However, is using a browser extension as good as using a standalone VPN app?
First, we want to say that browser extensions do work to some extent to provide protection when browsing online. However, extensions do not provide protection outside of using the browser, as does a standalone VPN app.
Advantages of using a VPN browser extension
There are numerous VPN browser extensions out there for Chrome, including ones from some of the most well-known Virtual Network Providers out there that require a subscription.
There are also many free ones out there, which mean you do not have to pay a subscription each month.
Browser extensions are easy to install and use, just download the extension directly in the browser and it resides in the bar of the browser.
Disadvantages to using a VPN browser extension
Now let us look at the disadvantages of using a VPN browser extension.
One of the biggest disadvantages is that many times the extension is not an actual VPN. Many of the extensions don’t offer one of the biggest advantages of paying for a standalone VPN plan. This is military-grade encryption for data. This is what makes data unreadable in the event it is intercepted.
Another issue is that there may be malicious VPN extensions offered with the sole intention of gaining access to personal information.
With the above in mind, using an extension might not provide the protection you require. In some cases, the extension could be a risk to your data.
VPN extensions for Chrome can work in a somewhat limited way providing you choose the extension carefully.
However, it is only going to work when you are browsing the internet using Chrome browser and you want to hide your IP address. You are not going to benefit from protection outside of the browser and of course, free extensions don’t have the powerful encryption and other benefits that standalone VPN apps offer when signing up for a plan. Care needs to be taken when using extensions unless you use an extension from one of the dedicated and reliable VPN providers.