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5 Best Chromebook VPN Services

As Google’s minimalist Chrome OS gains traction with the public (and its attendant Chromebook hardware becomes ever more desirable,) the need for a great Chromebook VPN service becomes ever more pressing.

The key thing about Chrome OS is that it achieves all functionality via the internet, though the Chrome browser. This is interesting from a VPN perspective. It makes browser-based VPN plugins a very easy way to gain the benefits of VPN without the fuss of installing a dedicated Chromebook VPN client. Furthermore, it avoids messing around with the OS’s built-in VPN settings. Though, the latter does provide more security.

In addition, Chromebook VPN services can also be configured more traditionally using L2TP/IPsec. Technically Chrome OS also supports OpenVPN. However, this does not play game with the most commonly used SSL certificates and keys, making it effectively useless to users of commercial VPN services (see later for a workaround.)

I will discuss Chromebook VPN considerations after the jump, but first let’s look at the best Chromebook VPN services that you can get!

Best Chromebook VPN Services Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

CyberGhost Logo
Read Review9.6/10
$5.83 / monthVisit Site

2

VPNac Logo
Read Review8.6/10
$4.80 / monthVisit Site

3

NordVPN Logo
Read Review8/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

4

Windscribe Logo
Read Review6.8/10
$7.50 / monthVisit Site

5

TunnelBear Logo
Read Review6/10
$4.16 / monthVisit Site

Winner

CyberGhost

4.8/5

Best Chromebook VPN Service

  • PROS
  • No logs at all
  • Good free service
  • 14 (monthly) or 30 (yearly) day money back guarantee
  • Based in Romania
  • Accepts Bitcoins
  • CONS
  • Multiple simultaneous connections only allowed on most expensive plan
  • Many servers are slow

Based in Romania, CyberGhost keeps no logs, allows BitTorrent downloading, and has a great Windows VPN client with lots of features, including an internet kill switch. The 30-day money back guarantee is also unarguably very generous (for yearly customers, 14-days for monthly purchases.)

My main issue with CyberGhost is that while some servers perform very well, others can be very slow, requiring some patience and trial-and-error to establish a stable connection. CyberGhost also offers a very usable free service, that, unlike many “free” VPN services, is transparently funded by its Premium offerings.

CyberGhostCyberGhost provides a guide to setting up L2TP/IPSec in Chrome OS and has a free Chrome browser extension (with servers limited to US, Netherlands, and Germany.)

Additional Features: P2P: yes, great Chromebook support.

Pick the Best Chromebook VPN Today!

Visit CyberGhost »

30-day money back guarentee

2nd place

VPN.ac

4.3/5

VPNAC_Homepage

  • PROS
  • No usage logs
  • 6 Simultaneous devices
  • Servers in 17 countries
  • Android  app
  • Chrome extension
  • CONS
  • Connection logs

Although we had some reservations about the technical side of things when we reviewed this Romanian provider some time back it, we nevertheless liked it.  On the human / privacy side of things, VPN.ac keeps no usage logs (but some connection logs,) has great customer support, and allows you to connect up to 6 (!) devices at once. Accepting anonymous Bitcoin payments is also good to see, and we are also now pleased to say that VPN.ac seems to have sorted out its technical weakness, and offers superb security and great speeds.

VPN.ac_
VPN.ac offers no explicit L2TP/IPSec support for Chrome OS, but its generic L2TP/IPSec settings should work just fine (see below.) It does have a Chrome browser extension (account required,) however, which works very well.

Additional Features: P2P: yes, supports L2TP/IPSec, based in Romania.

Visit VPN.ac »


3rd place

NordVPN

4/5

NordVPN Logo

  • PROS
  • No logs kept
  • 6 simultaneous devices
  • Servers in 47 countries
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • CONS
  • Medium speeds
  • PPTP only for Chrome OS

Based in Panama (a non-Fourteen Eyes country), NordVPN is an excellent choice for the more NSA-phobic out there. It keeps no logs at all, uses strong encryption, and accepts anonymous payment via Bitcoin. However, NordVPN is let down a little by many of its servers being somewhat slow, but with a little trial and effort it is not too hard to find a fast one. Additionally, P2P is allowed, and many users appreciate NordVPN’s “double-hop” service which routes your VPN connection through two different servers in order to make tracking more difficult.

Chromebook VPN support comes in the form of setup instructions for PPTP. Although not the most secure VPN protocol (in fact far from it), it should be sufficient for most VPN users’ needs. However, their generic instructions also helped with getting the L2TP Chromebook VPN connection going so don’t fret!

Visit NordVPN »


4th place

Windscribe

3/5

Windscribe Logo

  • PROS
  • No logs
  • Chromebook “VPN” add-on
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Limited Free service (2GB)
  • P2P: yes
  • CONS
  • Limited customer support
  • New service (less established)
  • Based in Canada

Windscribe is a very promising new contender on the VPN scene, and in addition to providing a fully featured full VPN service, it offers a Chromebook “VPN” add-on that works well in Chrome OS. Although technically this plugin is actually an encrypted proxy, the effect is very similar – even more so when using a Chromebook, as everything is done through the Chrome browser. Do note, though, that the Chrome add-on does not prevent WebRTC leaks, so this issue should be fixed manually (the Windows and Mac OSX clients solve this problem using a built-in firewall).

Windscribe Chrome

Even better, Windscribe offers a free service. While this has a 2GB, one connection, and 9 locations (but popular ones!”) limit, it works very well. The paid-for service allows unlimited connections and access to servers in over 25 countries. I found that US Netflix did not work for me, but that BBC iPlayer did.

Additional features: Double-hop, SSL tunneling.

Visit Windscribe »


5h place

TunnelBear

3.4/5

TunelBear Logo

  • PROS
  • Five simultaneous devices
  • Servers in 20 countries
  • Android & iOS apps
  • Ad-blocking (optional)
  • Chrome browser extension
  • CONS
  • Connection logs
  • P2P: no

Home of bear and honey based puns, this Canadian provider is popular mostly due to its free VPN service (500mb/month limit). However, it is not at all bad, and is ideal for the more casual user (and even more advanced users will be happy with its recently beefed-up encryption.) TunnelBear keeps no usage logs (but some connection logs,) sports decent speed performance, user-friendly clients, and a cool Android app. Unfortunately, it does not permit P2P.

TunnelBear
As with the other providers listed here, TunnelBear has a Chrome browser extension, which is simple, but worked without issue (no DNS leaks, etc.) This is just as well for Chromebook users, as with all TunnelBear VPN access is through its apps, and no L2TP/IPsec instructions are provided.

Visit TunnelBear »


Chrome OS and Chromebook VPN Considerations

What is a Chromebook?

Chromebook

A Chromebook is a computer that runs Chrome OS as its operating system. Chrome OS represents Google’s clearest vision of a future where most storage and processing is performed in the cloud, rather than locally on your computer.

In Chrome OS the Chrome browser effectively is the Operating System. Rather than install apps in the traditional way, on a Chromebook, almost all functionality is obtained through web apps. For example, instead of writing this article using a locally installed (and paid for) version of Microsoft Word, when using a Chromebook I write instead write it inside the Chrome browser using Google Docs.

Initially scoffed at, then the preserve of cheap and nasty low-end “netbook” type computers. However, there now exists an expanding range of desirable devices that go a long way towards proving Google’s cloud-based vision of the future has real legs.

Chrome browser VPN plugins

One kink to the Chromebook “do everything in the cloud” philosophy is that regular Chrome browser plugins are compatible with Chrome OS. These are small apps that run locally and add functionality to Chrome (and Chrome OS.)

Because in Chrome OS all internet activity is performed in the Chrome browser (as the browser is basically all that Chrome OS is,) this means that lightweight and easily deployed VPN plugins are a fantastic way to enjoy the benefits of VPN when using a Chromebook.

Chromebook VPN PPTP

It is possible to set up PPTP VPN connections on a Chromebook. However, as we’ve explained in this article, PPTP isn’t a very secure connection protocol.  Therefore, we’d recommend using L2TP or OpenVPN. To find out how to set these up, keep on reading.

How to set up VPN on Chromebook with L2TP

VPN browser plugins are great, but Chrome OS can also be configured to run regular L2TP/IPSec connections, as supported by most commercial VPN providers. This is very useful as it allows you to use most VPN services, even when those services do not explicitly have Chromebook VPN setup instructions.

1. Sign in to your Chromebook
2. Click the network icon at the bottom of the screen (next to your picture)
3. Select Settings

Chromebook Settings

4. Select your Internet connection -> ‘Add connection’ -> Add private network’

Chromebook Internet Settings5. Fill in the details provided by your VPN service (these do not have to be specific to Chrome OS, so you can just use the generic ones .)

Setup Chromebook VPN - L2TPClick Connect, and ta-da!

To view VPN status and to connect/disconnect, go to Settings -> Internet connection -> Private network.

Chromebook OpenVPN Setup

As we have already mentioned, although Chrome OS does support OpenVPN, it does not recognize the SSL certs used by commercial VPN companies (except, as far as I know, TorGuard.) There is, however, a workaround for this which relies on the fact that Chrome OS is based on Linux.

By using Terminal, we can bypass Chrome OS and setup OpenVPN using Linux commands.

Open Terminal by hitting CTRL+ALT+T or CTRL+ALT+RIGHTARROW

  1. At the crosh> prompt type shell
  2. You should now be logged in with restricted user privileges. To get root access type sudo su and enter the root password followed by <enter>
  3. Download the .ovpn and OpenVPN config files from your VPN provider’s website
  4. Navigate in Terminal to the folder you where you downloaded the files (e.g. type ‘CD Desktop’ if in the root directory and the files are downloaded to your desktop). For more details on Linux Terminal commands check out LinuxCommand.org).
  5. Connect to the VPN by typing openvpn downloadedovpnfile.ovpn (use downloaded .ovpn file name)
  6. Enter your VPN username and password
  7. Hopefully, you will see something like ‘Tues Jan 3 17:04:33 2016 Initialization Sequence Completed,’ which means that you are connected!
  8. Leave Terminal mode by hitting ALT+TAB. You can check that you are connected by going to IPLeak.net
  9. To disconnect, go back to Terminal mode (ALT+TAB) and hit CTRL+C.

Download Torrents on your Chromebook!

Non-Chromebook users would likely be very surprised at how well you can get by without conventional programs and apps, but sometimes these can be useful. One such area is downloading content via P2P.

Fortunately,  the JSTorrrent Chrome extension works on Intel and ARM-based Chromebooks,

The new and improved JSTorrent is a BitTorrent client for Chrome that downloads torrent files with ease. It can download torrents directly to your Downloads folder and can handle large files (multi-gigabyte files) with ease. It also runs fine on lower end ARM Chromebooks.”

Chrome OS JSTorrent PluginAnother option is to use the free web-based Seedr service (Chrome plugin available.) At the time of writing this article we have yet to try Seedr out, but it looks promising, so watch out for a review!

Playing downloaded video files

One big problem with downloading on a Chromebook is that Chrome OS has very limited support for video and audio codecs, meaning that many common video file types either don’t play as they should (e.g. no sound,) or even at all.

Unfortunately, there is no one-stop solution to this problem, although this article suggests some things you can try. In addition to this, Google Drive supports a wider range of file types than Chrome OS, so you can upload your video to Drive, and try playing it from there.

VPN on Chrome Conclusion

There is not much that Chromebooks can’t do these days. This is never more true than when it comes to VPN, where the ability to protect your entire internet connection using a simple browser plugin gives you an advantage over users of more traditional Operating Systems. Now go ahead and experience the cloud evolution for yourself!

Best VPN for Chrome OS /Chromebooks Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

CyberGhost Logo
Read Review9.6/10
$5.83 / monthVisit Site

2

VPNac Logo
Read Review8.6/10
$4.80 / monthVisit Site

3

NordVPN Logo
Read Review8/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

4

Windscribe Logo
Read Review6.8/10
$7.50 / monthVisit Site

5

TunnelBear Logo
Read Review6/10
$4.16 / monthVisit Site

Should these not help you out then Cisco VPN and Private Internet Access Chromebook VPN users have also reported good results. Although, not as good as we’ve seen for the above providers.


Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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