With VPNs being as important as they are, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to your variety of choices. There are VPNs for phones, laptops, and even as in-browser extensions.
Browser extensions enhance your online experience by adding on something new or previously lacking directly to the websites you visit.
You can add extensions to your browser (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc) directly from the official store or the developer’s website. Extensions and add-ons range from download managers to scripts that can automate actions, make your Internet more secure, spruce up the decoration, and much more.
Having a VPN directly in your browser makes things much easier, and a lot of the top Virtual Private Network services offer their product as an add-on for your browser. Always look into what VPN suits your specific needs: this review of NordVPN is a good example as you can learn its pros and cons at a glance.
It’s especially worth it using a VPN as a browser extension if your goal is to get around geo-blocking. But first, let’s look at how it works to see how this can be either beneficial or detrimental to your overall experience.
The advantages of having an in-browser VPN
All VPNs, regardless of which device you use them on, perform the same basic functions.
A VPN obfuscates your IP address – the unique identifier used by websites, services, and your Internet Service Provider to recognize, track and locate you – and presents you as being “someone else” from somewhere else.
Hence you enter a “virtual” private network, built for you with a temporary IP address and premium features that you can pay extra for, such as double layers of protection through re-routing data and split tunnels for different functions such as torrenting and browsing.
The aforementioned point about region-specific content and blacklisted resources plays off of this feature. Since a VPN changes your virtual location, the website (or video) will open for you like it would in a country where they haven’t blocked it.
The in-browser VPN is also good for limiting the effects of the pesky integrated marketing that freaks out most people on social media. No more ads for what you searched for on a completely different site.
However, the disadvantage of the VPN being in your browser is that while it gives you this digital freedom, it might not be the best for your anonymity.
The disadvantage of a VPN browser extension
The prime feature of a VPN, for which they’re recommended by cybersecurity experts all over the world is the fact that it makes you practically anonymous with your IP address being disguised. However, since here the VPN is only in your browser, the other services connecting to the Internet (software that require connectivity such torrents, Skype, Mail, Microsoft Office, etc.) would still be doing so as “you”.
Additionally, of course, if you want to use a VPN to save yourself from being tracked or fined or having your bandwidth throttled for downloading torrents, a VPN browser extension won’t cut it.
Essentially, a browser VPN is closer to a proxy (a server that’ll act as an intermediary for when you request access to a resource). For getting around the YouTube blocks of content not being available in your country to Netflix restricting you from your favourite show, a VPN browser extension does the trick just fine.
Recommended VPN browser extension: Ad-free time
If your need is as fundamental as the right to use the Internet without being tracked for advertising purposes, this is the one for you.
Ad-free time! works via DNS re-routing, blocking ads, protecting you from malware and being snooped on, unlocks region-specific content for you, and best of all: comes on all browsers and devices.
It’s not exactly free, but at less than two bucks a month it’s cheaper than a loaf of bread.
Recommended VPN browser extension: ZenMate
ZenMate is many people’s go-to VPN for browsers, and for good reason. The extensions are free, easy to install and use, and offer a wide range of servers in different countries and regions.
One of the top choices amongst others, ZenMate’s VPN add-on is a robust solution to killing two birds with one stone: unlock the Internet for all its potential, while browsing at your secure-most.
It’s available for both Android and Windows-based browsers, giving you peace of mind and the Zen of not facing any hurdles in your browsing or online activity, no matter where you go and how far deep.
Recommended VPN browser extension: MediaHint
A viable alternative to the Ad-free time, MediaHint shines due to its ease of use and simple browser add-on compatibility.
You can use your single MediaHint subscription on multiple devices from your phones to smart TV, so all the people in your house can watch region-unlocked television securely.
While it runs at 3.95 dollars a month, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial. If measured in binge-watching time, that’s basically at least a year’s worth of content.
Recommended VPN browser extension: Windscribe
Windscribe is an absolute revelation for most people. With a free account that has a 10GB limit, you can switch it on and off easily within your browser for whenever you need to access a site that’s otherwise blocked.
Windscribe has no identifying logs, blocks malware for you as you browse, connects you automatically to the best server available for you, and can even randomly rotate your agent so as to reduce the chances of you being recognized from your data stream.
Recommended VPN browser extension: DotVPN
Another extremely intuitive and easy-to-use product, DotVPN is free to use across all your browsers.
Its key element might be its simplicity – no fancy bells and whistles and it meets all the basic criteria you’d want in making your Internet fortified against hacking, snooping and blacklisting the content you’re trying to access.
There’s also a built-in bandwidth saver, over a thousand servers you can connect to, and your standard ad-blocking: all for free. If you want simplicity and ease of use for no dents on your budget, DotVPN is the one for you.
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