Chromebooks are customer-centric devices in that they are affordable, straightforward to use, and perfect to meet the digital needs of average users. It means Chromebook users should also use VPNs for thorough device security and online privacy like other users.
Although, VPNs’ primary use case is to keep users’ online activities private and anonymous. But the huge demand for online video streams has created a new purpose for VPNs: unblocking content in streaming sites limited according to a user’s physical location. This is something that VPN services can do easily while keeping you anonymous and secure online.
In addition, Edward Snowden’s revelations attracted the public’s interest and concern to online privacy and anonymity. Consequently, people have become enthusiastic about VPNs, leading to a surge of VPN service providers in the market.
Finding a good VPN for Chromebooks is a hard job that takes a lot of time, energy, resources, and a bit of expertise.
But don’t worry. We’ve done the work for you.
We’ve looked into the best VPNs in the industry to figure out which ones better serve the needs of Chromebook users. This article lists our top five choices (and some that we don’t recommend), uncovers what to look for in a VPN for Chromebook, and how you can install one on your Chrome OS device.
Top Chromebook VPNs – The quick list
This article highlights each of the top five VPNs for Chromebooks in detail. But if you’re in a rush to know the providers, here is a quick list.
- NordVPN – It’s a fast service with solid encryption and optimal privacy and security features. It’s the best VPN out there, and it has an impressive global network.
- Surfshark – An industry disruptor that allows for unlimited connections. It may be cheap, but Surfshark does not cut corners and has every feature you want in a VPN.
- ExpressVPN – Every element in this VPN provider is fantastic, which is why it’s one of the best networks in the industry. The speeds are fast, and the privacy features are solid.
- IPVanish – A quality provider that boasts encrypted storage on top of fast VPN. Competitive speeds, a global server network, and unlimited simultaneous connections make this VPN desirable.
- VyprVPN – A good service that is well suited even for the lowest budgets. It’s a good option for every task you will ever need, from a premium VPN at the most competitive price in the market.
A quick guide to using a VPN on a Chromebook
It only takes a few minutes to set up a Chromebook VPN; you need to follow these four simple steps:
- Start by choosing a VPN service you like. NordVPN is our top choice by far, but you can pick any of the other ones. And before you ask, no, don’t use a free VPN. Ever
- Go to the Google Play Store. Search by name and download and install the available apps for the VPN service you chose.
- Launch your VPN app and log in.
- Choose a server in the network. Connect to it.
That’s it! You’re now protected by the VPN and can start using it for whichever purpose you want.
Read also: The best VPN for Chrome today
What makes a VPN best for Chromebooks
If you want a good user experience on your Chromebook with a reliable, fast, and efficient VPN, then you can’t just choose the first name you come across.
Protecting your Chromebook effectively with a VPN needs to consider several factors.
Some of the most important metrics that you have to keep in mind include:
- Speed. High speeds are necessary because almost every online activity you do will run more smoothly if your VPN’s speeds are high. Every choice in this list of top five VPNs for Chromebooks has excellent speeds.
- Server network. Extensive networks give you the ability to unlock websites anywhere in the world. Also, a vast network doesn’t have many overloaded individual servers, so the connections are usually steady and fast.
- Value for money. Everybody likes to get a good deal on any purchase. So why should you pay for a VPN that’s not giving you back your money’s value in features? Among our five picks, three are priced at the industry’s standard, and the remaining two are very cheap indeed.
- Ease of use. In fact, it’s is not just about friendly apps (indeed, you don’t want to spend a lot of time dealing with arcane settings). Your VPN provider must offer you a ChromeOS or Android app that works with your Chromebook.
- Privacy and security. Any VPN charging you for service must provide you with thorough digital security, privacy, and anonymity. The very least features you must have are military-grade encryption, an automatic kill switch, protection against DNS and IP leaks, and a strict no-logs policy from the provider.
- Streaming. A good VPN must have enough bandwidth to support your HD video streams. It also needs to have enough servers strategically placed in the critical countries from which you can unlock the best content you want.
5 best VPNs for Chromebook – The detailed list
Now that you know what it takes to find a good service provider, let’s move on to the detailed descriptions of the best VPN for your Chromebook.
These services successfully made it to this list by demonstrating superior performance during our review. (We tested every VPN using a symmetric connection with a speed of 350Mbps.)
Best privacy-friendly and top pick VPN for any task – thanks to its loads of security and performance features. It also offers lightweight VPN clients for Chromebooks.
- Good speed on all servers
- Zero-logs policy
- Decent customer support
- Some servers are slow with double encryption
Hands down, NordVPN is the best of all service providers listed here. The VPN provider hails from Panama, which is a privacy-friendly jurisdiction. Their network spans 60 countries and includes more than 5,000 servers.
NordVPN’s service includes top-notch features, state-of-the-art technology, and great value for every single penny.
When it comes to the best option for Chromebook, NordVPN is one of the few services in the market offering dedicated apps.
In addition, the wide variety of nodes in many countries makes it perfect for bypassing geo-restrictions in almost any website. Since this ability is particularly relevant in video streaming sites, we tested this VPN with every major streaming platform, and it worked every time. So whether it was HBO Max, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, you name it, NordVPN can handle them all.
NordVPN has high-speed connections supporting HD video streams. The network’s protocol is NordLynx, which runs on WireGuard – a VPN protocol that supports UDP only, and it uses no handshakes, which is why it’s one of the most coherent ones.
Likewise, it comes decorated with a wide range of valuable features. For example, its SmartPlay is a version of SmartDNS; split tunneling is available, CyberSec blocks pop-ups and malicious websites, and it also offers DoubleVPN for jazzed-up encryption. Also, its dark web monitor is very helpful in fraud prevention because it scans marketplaces on the dark web for your data. So if hackers in the dark web ever get ahold of your email address, NordVPN will let you know right away.
As mentioned earlier, NordVPN is in Panama, a country that doesn’t belong to any of the Eyes Alliances and whose laws are friendly towards individual privacy. So it is always a good thing when you’re looking for a VPN. In addition, this VPN adheres to a strict no-logs data policy, which shows that security and privacy are a top priority for the company.
What else would you like for a VPN to do for you? Hide your activity from your ISP so that it won’t throttle your bandwidth? Have a kill switch that ensures your traffic remains protected at all times? Have fast connections from the key countries that will let you unblock all the content you want from every streaming platform? NordVPN has all the bases covered for you.
Besides, it is a very affordable service as you can have an account for as little as 3.30 USD monthly if you pick the right plan. But you won’t even need to risk your money. NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it for a month before you commit.
The service might be cheap but it promises the best privacy and security. Plus, its support for unlimited simultaneous connections makes it a budget-friendly VPN for Chromebook users.
- Boasts split-tunneling
- Good at price
- Reliable customer support
- There is lag on some servers
An industry disruptor allowing unlimited connections, Surfshark is a relatively new player in the VPN world from the Netherlands. The network includes more than 3,200 servers spread in 65 countries. And it also offers a dedicated app optimized for Chromebooks.
While every feature in Surfshark is excellent, its device connection support makes it stand apart from all other services. Specifically, Surfshark allows unlimited devices to connect simultaneously into the network – most other VPNs only allow for about five connections. In other words: you can have as many Chromebooks as you’d like connected to this VPN simultaneously using a single account – and also your smartphones, tablets, or computers.
Surfshark is very good when it comes to unblocking websites as well. We tested this VPN for this purpose and found no streaming service to keep up with it; Surfshark bypassed the restrictions in every platform successfully.
The provider also offers blazing-fast speed. For example, we achieved speeds of 273 Mbps through many of the servers in the network when we connected with the WireGuard protocol (an option designed for speed). The pace allows for smooth video streams and lag-free video gaming sessions.
Surfshark supports every single feature you could expect from a top-rated VPN service. For instance, split tunneling, CleanWeb (blocking ads and malware), SmartDNS, and much more are available for a meager price when considering the industry’s average costs.
You can’t neglect it due to its incredible features and blazing-fast speed. Though it costs a little high, it’s worth the money to protect your Chromebooks.
- Runs on all type of devices
- Zero-logs policy
- Advanced security and privacy features
- More expensive than most its rivals
ExpressVPN is a big name among VPNs, offering a premium service with Chrome OS support. It’s the preferred VPN for many industry experts for excellent reasons.
This provider offers more than 3,000 servers scattered over 90 countries, so the network is extensive, and it covers many regions that few other providers do.
Speeds at ExpressVPN are lighting fast on Chromebooks. HD video streams, gaming, and every other bandwidth-intensive task we threw at it worked fine, without lags or buffering.
The unblocking capabilities in ExpressVPN are awe-inspiring too. Even the most inflexible platforms (BBC iPlayer or Netflix) posed no problem for this VPN. This feature also allows ExpressVPN users to bypass internet censorship anywhere in the world and browse the web freely.
There is a dedicated Android ExpressVPN app for Chromebooks alongside a Chrome extension. Moreover, every account is suitable for five concurrent connections to the network.
Besides, if you enjoy using your Chromebook at public WiFi hotspots, ExpressVPN keeps you protected with its military-grade encryption algorithm.
Other advantages include a zero-logging policy and an automatic kill switch to ensure that all of your traffic stops if, for some reason, you lose the secure connection to the VPN network. In addition, the servers are safe against DNS and IP leaks.
Furthermore, the “TrustedServer Technology” is also an appealing feature in ExpressVPN. It’s about the servers’ hardware in the network. Each one uses a RAM hard disk instead of a conventional one. RAM’s volatility means that every single bit of data disappears from the server whenever a session ends.
ExpressVPN also offers split tunneling, a feature that lets you decide what applications will route their traffic through the VPN and which will go regularly.
Last but not least, you can try this VPN without risking money. The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can use the network for the first thirty days and ask for your money back, no questions asked.
A quality provider that boasts encrypted storage on top of fast VPN service and unlimited simultaneous connections – a perfect VPN for Chromebook users.
- More than 40,000 anonymous IP addresses
- Affordable pricing
- Zero-logs and no IP address leaks
- Lack of VPN browser extensions
A good service that comes with encrypted storage as a bonus.
IPVanish has a network consisting of 2,000+ nodes located throughout 75 locations. It’s a good pick for Chromebook users, and it allows an unlimited number of connections in each account, like Surfshark. That is very useful if you need to enable every member of your household or family to use a VPN through a single account.
The server pool is not as impressive as other networks on the list, but it’s good enough. Nevertheless, keep in mind that the number of servers in a VPN network is not necessarily the essential thing – bandwidth and computing resources can easily compensate for a small number of nodes. In addition, the servers available will enable you to unblock video streaming platforms like YouTube or Netflix without any problems.
The IPVanish ChromeOS app includes support for L2TP and the OpenVPN protocols. In addition, it allows you to choose AES-128 or AES-256 encryption – the 128-bit version of AES encryption could seem a bit weaker on the surface, but nobody has successfully cracked it so far anyway. So, it’s as safe as the 256 bits in practical terms.
Please note one thing about the Chromebook app; you can only install it if your device supports Google Play Android apps.
Pricing in IPVanish is almost precisely at the industry’s average. It will cost you 10.99 USD monthly, but if you choose the right plan for low budgets, you can have the service as low as 3.20 USD monthly. And there is a bundle package that includes 500GB of encrypted data storage.
A decent service with an impressive network and premium privacy and security features; well-suited well suited for Chromebooks despite the low price.
- Based in privacy-friendly country
- Chameleon obfuscation
- Responsive customer agents
- No cryptocurrency payment options
A good service that is well suited even for the lowest budgets.
VyprVPN is a Swiss service with 700 servers in over 70 countries. While it’s the smallest network by server count on this list, it’s a premium VPN offering reliable servers and fast connections.
It is the only VPN provider in our top five list that offers an app specifically for Chromebooks. But you don’t need it because the Android app works fine on Chromebooks.
VyprVPN servers are speedy. Our average speeds were as high as 246Mbps, which are excellent as far as VPNs go. So if you want a VPN that will support connections good enough for gaming or HD video streams, VyprVPN will suit you perfectly.
Now, suppose that you are at a place where VPN access is restricted – it could be your school, workplace, or jurisdiction like China. Here, VyprVPN blesses you with its Chamaeleon 2.0 tunneling protocol. It’s a technology that makes your VPN traffic look like regular internet traffic. Hence, it lets your traffic bypass the standard blocks posed by the institutions without alerting them about your VPN use.
Besides, if you think that Surfshark and IPVanish are cheap, wait until you see the pricing for VyprVPN. Then, you can have the complete service for a price as low as 1.66 USD.
Other great features include malware block and 24/7 live chat customer support.
Why should I use a VPN on a Chromebook?
Using a good VPN service (paid, not free) improves your digital life and user experience, whether you’re a smartphone, laptop, or desktop user. Of course, the same applies to Chromebooks too.
Here’s why you should use your Chromebook with a VPN service.
Bypass content blocking
Chromebooks are prevalent equipment in lower academic environments. Thus, as a student, you will probably have access to or own a Chromebook. But you might not be free to browse on it since many schools have very tight policies regarding the type of websites accessible to their users. Hence, the chances are that you’ll find many valuable and exciting websites (including entertainment platforms) banned for you.
However, having a VPN active in your Chromebook will enable you to access the internet via a VPN server, thus bypassing any restrictions imposed by your school.
Also, with a VPN installed on your Chromebooks, you can enjoy entertainment activities, such as video streaming in HD, without draining your limited Chromebook resources.
Ensure online security
The most essential purpose of a VPN is to protect your online privacy, security, and anonymity.
Every credible VPN will perform two tasks for you. First, it will hide your actual IP address from the internet and announce an IP address from the network as yours. Second, it encrypts all the traffic, incoming and outgoing, from your Chromebook, rendering it unreadable for an external observer. Thus it’s safe from hackers, your school’s or work’s sysadmins, your ISP, or any other third party.
Stay protected on public WiFi hotspots
If you are the type of person who enjoys using a Chromebook in public WiFi hotspots, such as your nearest Starbucks, using a VPN is crucial. That’s because hackers love these public hotspots as every user is broadcasting their traffic into the open air with easily breakable or no encryption.
Consequently, WiFi hotspots are a security risk for every Chromebook user – unless all of their traffic is encrypted with a VPN. So, having it installed on your Chromebook has to do even with how safely you can enjoy your morning coffee.
How to set up a VPN on a Chromebook
There are three primary methods for installing or setting up a VPN in a Chromebook. In this section, we’ll describe each of them in detail.
1. Installing a VPN from Google Play into your Chromebook
- Launch the Google Play Store.
- Search the app for the VPN you chose – NordVPN is our recommended provider.
- Install the app.
- Open the application.
- Log in to the app with your VPN account.
- Choose the server you want (USA and UK servers are the best options if you have Netflix unblocking in mind).
- Check your connection by checking your IP address online. It should appear the same that your VPN server offers, instead of your real IP address.
- Start browsing.
2. Using Linux mode to sideload the app on your Chromebook
- Go to the Settings, then head over to Linux(Beta), and then to Develop Android Apps.
- Now, enable ADB debugging.
- Reboot your device.
- Confirm enabling the ADB debugging.
- Find and download the APK file you wish to install.
- Go to Files and then My Files. Now head over to Linux files and copy the APK file in this folder.
- Open a terminal window. Type in “sudo apt install adb,” press enter, and allow the installation to proceed.
- Now, write “adb connect arc,” and press Enter. Confirm the use of USB debugging.
- Your Chromebook can have an Intel/AMD core or ARM. The following command line you’ll type depends on which one. If your Chromebook boasts an arm processor type “adb install [insert your apk name here].apk.” If you’re on the Intel/AMD camp then you type this: adb -s emulator-5554 install [insert your apk name here].apk.
- The app should be there now. Find it in your application launcher and open it.
- Log in.
- Finally, choose the server you want to use and start browsing.
3. Use a browser extension to connect to your VPN
- Launch your browser and point it to your VPN’s website. Once you’re there, find the official link for its browser extension.
- Install the addon.
- Click on the browser plugin icon and log in.
- Choose the server you prefer.
VPNs we don’t recommend for Chromebook
Using a VPN on your Chromebook requires your service to provide either an Android or Chrome OS application. The problem is that not every VPN in the market offers Android apps. Even worse, some providers are of low quality, and they don’t care about user security. A few of them are known to infect Chromebooks with malware.
So, in this imperfect world, there are some services that you should always avoid, especially if you’re a Chromebook user. These include:
- TurboVPN. It’s famous, and it’s popular. However, TurboVPN is one of the VPNs that keeps logs on your data.
- CrossVPN. Several reports assert that CrossVPN’s software spreads malware.
- Hola VPN. This is one network you should avoid, like the plague. It’s not even a real VPN but a proxy. Hola VPN is known to hijack your bandwidth and offer it to its paying customers. If one of them is involved in fishy things, you’ll be the one to take the rap for it.
- Betternet. It is a well-known free VPN. But, the problem with Betternet (like most free VPN services) is that, while they won’t charge you with money, you have to give up your privacy to use their service (more on that later). Betternet stores all kinds of data on you, which is an excellent reason never to use it.
- SuperVPN. This VPN is also known for hiding malware. And it keeps logs. So, please steer clear of it.
Did you notice any common feature in each of those VPNs in our “blacklist”? Right! They’re all free VPN services! Generally, free VPNs are unsuited for Chromebooks. In addition, some paid services won’t do the trick either; here they are:
- PrivateVPN. It’s not that you can’t use it on a Chromebook precisely. But the setup process is lengthy and rather meticulous. So while PrivateVPN is a budget-friendly option, you can still get other VPNs with comparable prices and much better quality.
- Private Internet Access. Private Internet Access offers excellent and thorough installation documentation for every device except Chromebooks. If that wasn’t bad enough, it turns out that the Android app doesn’t work either. It doesn’t work, pure and simple.
- Norton Secure VPN. Norton is the most reputed and robust security company in the world. But, unfortunately, Norton Secure VPN is not compatible with your Chromebook.
Is there a free Chromebook VPN that I can use?
Yes, you can find several, but you should never use them.
The VPN industry is certainly overcrowded at present, with no shortage of free VPNs. These services won’t charge you with money for using their VPN. But you will still have to pay with something else – your usage data.
If you’ve read the descriptions provided above for each of our preferred VPN services, you probably noticed that a good VPN needs a vast network of servers scattered around the globe. That means paying for the hardware, the system administrators, electricity, renting physical space, etc. As a result, running a VPN costs money.
Subscription VPNs get that money from the monthly fees they charge you. On the other hand, free VPNs have to face those same expenses without making you pay for them. So how do they manage to make ends meet?
Well, free VPNs do generate income based on a business model other than paid subscriptions. In addition, some of them will provide you with VPN apps clogged with ads, which are annoying but not terrible – or, at least, they don’t pose a threat to your anonymity and your privacy.
Some free VPNs will give you a service (usually unreliable, slow, and with data caps), but they will keep extensive logs on your online activities. Then, they will sell the collected data to their commercial partners, which are usually businesses that know how to mine the data and monetize it.
So while these networks will hide your IP and encrypt your internet traffic, thus protecting your privacy in the short term, your privacy is at risk because somebody else will end up having all your information. And that beats the purpose of using a VPN in the first place. Furthermore, some VPNs will also install malware into your system.
So the problem with free VPNs for Chromebooks (or any other device) is that everything is wrong with them. Their connections are slow and unreliable, and the server availability is scarce. They increase your security liabilities, the data you can use is limited. So it’s not just that your privacy is at risk with these free VPNs; it’s also that the service they provide is terrible.
There are alternatives, though. Some excellent and reputable VPNs offer a free trial as well. They are better because they keep your privacy safe. But you might not enjoy all of the features in the VPN, and you will have to put up with service limitations. While this option is far from perfect, it could be good enough for the less intensive users, and it’s certainly a much better idea than turning to free VPNs.
This article explained the exciting advantages you will gain by adding a VPN to your Chromebook experience. The three main benefits are enhancing your online privacy and anonymity, maximizing access to media content from all over the world, and bypassing local restrictions.
But, of course, you enjoy more benefits such as inclusive security during gaming, torrenting, and other things. Hiding your activity from your ISP is also advantageous because it prevents your provider from throttling your bandwidth.
With the providers suggested above, you can have a premium VPN for as low a monthly fee as 2 USD, something quite accessible.
All in all, using a VPN with your Chromebook is very cheap and provides you with numerous significant advantages. So if you have the slightest possibility of using one, go for it.
Most VPNs work fine with Chromebooks but may apply some usage limitations. So, if you want to get all the great features that a quality VPN offers, you need to choose wisely – one of the five choices on the list above, preferably.
No, Chromebook VPN extensions are not a thing. They don’t exist. However, many VPNs boast extensions for the Google Chrome browser. While you can certainly use your VPN with a Chrome extension, if available, you will still be better off if you use the VPN app instead. The security and other features are better, and it’s easier to use.
Not exactly. Chromebooks indeed include VPN capabilities that let you connect to a server. But you will still need a VPN to which you can connect your Chromebook.
You need to access the Google Play Store to set up your VPN in your Chromebook. After that, you can use the Android app or the Chrome extension, depending on your VPN.
Chrome extensions are easy to install and use, and they keep your web browsing safe. But they do not protect your whole device, only your browser traffic. Consider using the Android app instead so that all of your traffic remains safe within the VPN tunnel.
The best security protocol you need for your Chromebook depends on your intended use. Some protocols prioritize high security over speeds, so using them requires the sacrifice of some of your connection speeds. In the same way, the fastest protocols, while still safe, do not prioritize security or anonymity. So, if you want to use your device for gaming or video streaming, speeds are your top priority. The best balance between security and speed is in OpenVPN, an open-source protocol. This protocol will give you the speeds you will need without sacrificing any protection in the process.
None. Free VPNs will not protect your privacy. The few ones that do won’t give a full-featured service.
Not every VPN provider offers Chromebook apps, but some of them do (as mentioned above). In most cases (but not all), even a VPN that does not have a Chromebook app will still have an Android app that will work fine on your device, but this is a hit or miss thing.