Chromebook OS is a lightweight, cloud-based operating system (OS) that does everything you need it to, however, Chromebooks do come with privacy concerns. In this article, we list the five best Chromebook VPN services as well as telling you how to get and how to set up a Chromebook VPN.
The best VPNs for Chromebook?
Take a look at the best Chromebook VPN services listed below. If you want more information about these VPN services, take a look at the summaries below or click through to each VPN provider’s website for more details.
- NordVPN – Large brand with very good value, and a budget price
- ExpressVPN – The fastest VPN we test, unblocks everything, with amazing service all round
- CyberGhost VPN – Longtime top ranked VPN, with great price and speeds
- PrivateInternetAccess – One of the largest VPNs, voted best VPN by Reddit
How to set up a VPN on Chromebook
Setting up a VPN for Chromebook is not difficult and the best VPNs also have their own guides. Here are the basic steps for using an Android VPN app on Chromebook:
- Open the Google Play Store
- Search for your VPN provider and download the software
- Run the software and log in using your credentials
- Open the VPN app
- Connect to a VPN server
If you want more information about how to install and set up a VPN for Chromebook you can refer to our handy guide. In it, you will find explanations for all three ways there are to use a VPN on Chromebook:
- Use the L2TP/IPsec client built into Chrome OS.
- Use a Chrome browser VPN extension. You can download browser extensions from the Chrome store.
- Use an Android app (only available on Chromebooks that support this feature).
5 best VPNs for Chromebook users
If you want more information, our in-depth list below allows you to compare our favorite VPNs to use on Chromebook:
Money-Back Guarantee:30 days
Based in NSA-free Panama, this no-logsVPN service offers strong support for Chrome OS. Most Chromebook users should just download its excellent Android app which features an eye-catching map of NordVPN’s server locations, a kill switch, and NordVPN’s “CyberSec” feature which uses a DNS blocklist to protect you from unwanted ads and malware. The app uses the OpenVPN protocol and connections can be run through special obfuscated servers, which use XOR encryption to evade VPN blocks. If you use Linux on your Chromebook then you will appreciate NordVPN’s custom Linux command-line client. This is really just a wrapper for OpenVPN, but it makes configuring NordVPN servers in Linux very easy. NordVPN also offers an excellent Chrome extension for those looking for a quick-and-dirty VPN solution on their Chromebooks. Interestingly (and for good reasons), NordVPN has discontinued support for L2TP/IPsec so manual configuration of Chrome OS’ native VPN client is not possible.
Money-Back Guarantee:30 days
A hugely respected name in the VPN industry, this no-logs service runs entirely on non-writable media to ensure no logs can persist on its servers after a reboot. It offers an OpenVPN Android app with full Chromebook setup instructions. This features a kill switch (“network protection”) and split-tunneling, so you can decide which Android apps running on your Chromebook are routed through the VPN interface (Chrome OS itself connections will always be routed through the VPN interface when the app is running). Although ExpressVPN does offer a Chrome extension, this is not a stand-alone app and requires the Windows or macOS desktop client to work. It is therefore not suitable for Chromebook users. ExpressVPN supplies L2TP/IPsec setup instructions, however, for owners of Chromebooks which do not support Android. Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN provides a custom CLI Linux script for easy OpenVPN setup in Linux, and which works flawlessly on a Linux-enabled Chromebook.
Money-Back Guarantee:Up to 45 days
This no-logs Romanian service is noted for offering a wealth of useful VPN features at a very pocket-friendly price point. Its Android app uses OpenVPN, has a built-in kill switch, and supports split-tunneling for rooting selected Android apps outside the VPN. The App Protection feature will auto-launch the VPN and connect to a chosen server when using selected apps. Ideal for your BitTorrent and Netflix apps! It also features WiFi protection, which automatically enables the VPN when you connect your Chromebook to an unknown network. Chrome OS specific L2TP/IPsec support appears to have been removed from CyberGhost’s help pages, but users of older Chromebooks can configure the native VPN client using the L2TP/IPsec settings described for other platforms. CyberGhost offers a CLI Linux app for easy OpenVPN configuration in Linux, and also a Chrome browser extension. This HTTPS proxy extension is free to everybody, but is limited to four servers in Germany, Netherlands, Romania, and the United States.
Money-Back Guarantee:30 days
Now based entirely in Switzerland, this fully audited no-logs VPN service is notable for owning and self-operating its entire server network, thus removing the need to rely on potentially untrustworthy third-party server centers. The VyprVPN Android app features a kill switch, DNS ad and malware blocking, and public WiFi protection for your Chromebook. It uses the OpenVPN protocol along with VyprVPN’s patent Chameleon encryption technology which is reported to be very effective at defeating VPN blocks in places such as China. VyprVPN provides an L2TP/IPsec setup guide for non-Android Chromebooks. It has a CLI Linux app for Ubuntu and Mint (OpenVPN, PPTP, and Chameleon), but we couldn’t get this to connect to a server from inside Chrome OS’ Debian container. VyrVPN also has generic Ubuntu OpenVPN setup instructions, however, which work fine for Chrome OS. It doesn’t offer a Chrome extension.
Money-Back Guarantee:30 days
Private Internet Access, otherwise known as PIA, is a US-based company that has the rare boast of having its no-logs claims tested in court. It’s OpenVPN Android app (pictured to the left in the screenshot above) features a kill switch, split tunneling, WiFi protection, and port forwarding. PIA also offers a proper full GUI Linux app (shown right) with a kill switch, port forwarding, and DNS, ad, and malware blocking. It uses OpenVPN by default, but also supports Wireguard, plus the Shadowsocks protocol for VPN obfuscation. Private Internet Access’ Chrome browser extension is also more fully featured than most such VPN extensions are. It allows you to bypass specified domains, blocks WebRTC to prevent leaks, and has a bunch other privacy-enhancing and anti-tracking features built-in. Brief instructions for manually configuring Chrome OS using L2TP/IPsec are available on the PIA website.
How Does a VPN for Chromebook Work?
On other platforms, you usually sign up for a VPN service, then use the VPN’s app to connect to it. The core idea behind the Chromebook, however, is that everything happens inside the browser, so no additional apps are needed (or possible). Except for the fact that it’s now possible to run Android apps on many newer Chromebooks. There are now two basic ways to run a VPN connection in Chrome OS. You can use the built-in L2TP/IPSec VPN client or app. In addition to this, you can use a VPN add-on for the Chrome browser. These are not really VPNs, but proxy connections.
Browser Add-on VPNs for Chromebook
The whole thing about Chrome OS is that it’s basically just the Chrome browser. This means that most of the Chrome browser VPN add-ons offered by an increasingly large number of VPN services will work just fine on your Chromebook. Technically speaking, these “VPN” add-ons aren’t actually VPNs. This is because they don’t protect all internet connections going into and out of your computer. They are instead proxy connections that only protect the browser.
However, since with Chrome OS the browser is the operating system they can, in effect, act as true VPN clients. That is, apart from the fact that newer versions of Chrome OS support Android apps. These run on their own separate Android subsystem, and won’t benefit from a Chrome VPN browser add-on. Most such browser add-ons securely encrypt the connection using HTTPS. It is always worth checking that this is the case with your VPN provider, as some have no encryption at all. These may still be useful for spoofing your location, but provide no security or privacy benefits. If you need more information about the, take a look at our VPN encryptionguide.