Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

March 5, 2018

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Just like with every other computing platform, you can greatly improve your online privacy and security by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with your Chromebook. It’s not just boring stuff that VPNs are good for! Chromebook VPN services are great for bypassing censorship, unblock Netflix, and using a VPN torrenting can be made safer.

I was highly skeptical when I first heard about Chromebooks and Chrome OS. An entire operating system that is basically just a browser? Really? Well, it turns out the idea really does have legs. A lightweight, cloud-based operating system (OS) does everything that many people ever need. This functionality has, in fact, recently been massively expanded. It is now possible to run Android apps on your Chromebook (or at least some of them).

Best Chromebook VPN Services: Summary

10.0/10.0

NordVPN Homepage
优点:
  • Special Offer: 77% off today!
  • No logs kept
  • Six simultaneous devices
  • Servers in 47 countries
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Chrome add-on
缺点:
  • So-so support

Based in Panama (a non-Fourteen Eyes spying alliance 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. NordVPN is let down a little by many of its servers being somewhat slow, but with a little trial and effort it isn’t 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 L2TP, a Chrome add-on, and an Android app.

Try the Best VPN Service Today!

访问 NordVPN »30-day money-back guarantee

8.6/10.0

ExpressVPN Homepage
优点:
  • Special Offer: 49% off today!
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No usage logs
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Great customer service
  • OpenVPN Android app
缺点:
  • A bit pricey – but worth it!

Our reviews of ExpressVPN have always found they excel at providing a great customer experience. At the forefront of this is 24/7 live chat support, and a genuine no-quibble 30-day money-back guarantee.

ExpressVPN serves Chromebook users well. Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)/Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) setup instructions are available for Chromebook, as are Chromebook-specific instructions for its Android VPN app. Unusually, the ExpressVPN Chrome browser add-on is not a browser proxy, but an interface for the full desktop app (which must be installed). This means that the Chrome browser add-on does not work on Chromebooks.

The other desktop and mobile software from ExpressVPN is very easy to use, and is fully featured. Those wishing to evade censorship (such as users in China) will appreciate ExpressVPN’s Hong Kong-based “stealth” servers and dark web (.onion) address. Although ExpressVPN is a little pricey, the fact that it throws in a free Smart Domain Name System (DNS) service for all users makes it good value for money.

Additional features: three simultaneous connections, DNS leak and WebRTC protection, peer-to-peer (P2P) permitted.

8.0/10.0

CyberGhost Homepage
优点:
  • Special Offer: 77% off 1-year plan!
  • L2TP support plus Chrome extension
  • More than 800 servers & global coverage
  • Multiple usage on up to 5 devices
  • No Logs Policy (effectively), guaranteed security and encryption
缺点:
  • Could be faster

CyberGhost‘s software is easy-to-use while also being veryfully featured. It usesvery strong encryption, and 5 simultaneous connections is generous. Being based in Romania and keeping no meaningful logs is also a big draw. Like ExpressVPN, some minimal statistics are kept, but with no time stamp or IPs recorded, these present no threat to users' privacy.

In additin to fully supporting L2TP, Cyberghost now offers a Chrome extension.

CyberGhost’s great logging policy, decent local (burst) speeds, and fully featured software are a winning combination. And witha 7-day free premium trial plus 30-day no-quibble money back guarantee, there is zero reason not to give it a whirl.

6.0/10.0

VyprVPN Homepage
优点:
  • Very fast due to own infrastructure
  • Servers in over 70 countries
  • Dedicated L2TP Chromebook support
  • “Chameleon” stealth servers
  • No usage logs
缺点:
  • Connection (metadata) logs
  • P2P: no

VyprVPN is notable for being one of the rare VPN services to own and control its entire network infrastructure. The result is fantastically fast connection speeds around the world.

Chromebook support come is the form of a dedicated L2TP setup guide for Chrome OS.

We strongly recommend avoiding its PPTP-only basic plan (which won’t on a Chromebook anyway), but VyprVPN otherwise offers a great selection of features, such as a SmartDNS service, robust customer support, port selection, and servers in over 70 countries.

Although not necessary for the UK, VyprVPNs “Chameleon” stealth technology is great for Brits who visit places such as China or Iran. Like ExpressVPN, VyprVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

6.8/10.0

PrivateInternetAccess Homepage
优点:
  • No logs – proven in court!
  • Cheap
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • Great OpenVPN encryption (via Android app)
  • Client features kill switch and DNS leak protection
缺点:
  • No free trial or money back guarantee
  • US-based company

PIA is based in the US, so is not a provider for the more NSA-phobic out there. However, it keeps no logs, which is a claim that it has proven in court ! It is not common to have such definite proof that the VPN does what it says it does when it comes to logs, so well done PIA!

And although optional, the Android app's security can be first rate. PIA provides Chromebook/ Chrome OS setup guides using both L2TP and its Android app.

Up to 5 simultaneous connections are permitted and PIA boasts excellent connection speeds.

How We Picked the Top Chromebook VPN for 2018

Here at BestVPN.com, we’re fortunate to have some of the VPN industry’s foremost experts as staff members. Based on our detailed VPN reviews and data collected as part of our BestVPN.com Awards process, we’ve carefully considered a range of factors that go into making a great all-round Chromebook VPN service.

This includes things such as speed performance, encryption strength, privacy policy, legal jurisdiction, VPN prices, free trial VPN or money-back guarantees, support for Chrome OS, and much more.

We recognize that due to the versatility of VPN technology, what makes a great Chromebook VPN for one user may miss the mark for another. This is especially true since Chromebooks now support Android apps (including VPN apps). More on this later.

As such, these top five VPN for Chromebook picks are a consensus choice made after much careful deliberation by the BestVPN.com team.

For more information about how we review VPNs visit our  BestVPN.com’s VPN Review Process Overview.

Chromebook VPN FAQs

What Is a VPN for Chromebook?

A VPN is a way to securely connect your Chromebook to a “VPN server” run by a commercial VPN provider. Your Chromebook then connects to the internet via this VPN server.

  • Using a VPN is arguably the single most effective measure you can take to improve your online privacy and security.
  • All data passing between your computer and the VPN server is encrypted. This is sometimes referred to as an “encrypted tunnel.” The VPN hides your data from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), so that it cannot spy on what you do online.
  • VPN providers usually run servers in different locations around the world. This is great for avoiding censorship, as you can simply connect to a server located in a country where there is no such censorship.
  • When you connect to the internet via a VPN server, anyone on the internet will see the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the VPN server, not your real IP.

It probably comes as no surprise to any Chromebook owner that when it comes to Chromebooks, there are a couple of extra kinks to consider with VPNs…

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 an Android VPN app. In addition to this, you can use a VPN add-on for the Chrome browser. These are not really VPNs, but proxy connections.

True VPNs for Chromebook

L2TP/IPsec

Chrome OS ships with a built-in VPN client that supports the Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol/Internet Protocol Security (L2TP/IPsec) VPN protocol. This should allow you to manually configure your Chromebook to use any VPN service that supports L2TP/IPsec (which is most of them).

Another advantage of using the native L2TP VPN client is that all connections – both Chromebook and Android – are protected in this way. The downside is that L2TP isn’t as secure as OpenVPN. Additionally, this method doesn’t include a kill switch.

Android VPN Apps for Chromebook

Many newer Chromebooks can now run Android apps. Compatibility teething issues aside, Android VPN apps should work just fine on your Chromebook… with one big caveat: Android VPN apps will only protect other Android apps.

An Android VPN app won’t protect what you get up to using your standard Chrome browser (although it will protect an Android version of the Chrome browser that you’ve downloaded!).

You can, of course, use a Chrome browser VPN add-on and an Android VPN app together in order to provide system-wide protection.

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, however, as some have no encryption at all. These may still be useful for spoofing your location, but provide no security or privacy benefits.

Why Do I Need a Chromebook VPN?

VPNs are the Swiss Army knife of internet security and privacy tools. By installing a VPN on your Chromebook setup, you can:

Protect Yourself from Hackers When Using Public WiFi

Public WiFi hotspots are a gift to hackers. With a VPN connection to a VPN server, however, your data is encrypted. This makes it is impossible for hackers to intercept your data.

Even if you connect to an “evil-twin” hotspot, or the hotspot leaves your connection unencrypted (and therefore liable to WiFi packet sniffing by hackers), the VPN will protect you.

Similarly, using a VPN on your Chromebook will stop your Airbnb host, dorm supervisor, or boss from snooping on your browsing habits when connected to a router they control.

It should be noted that the recent KRACK attack is effective against almost all WiFi networks. However, using a VPN on your Chromebook will protect you against it.

Spoof Your Location So You Can Watch Services Such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer from Abroad

Although this is not behavior we encourage, many people use VPN connections to access streaming services that are restricted to residents of a certain country, or which offer better catalogs of titles to people in some countries than others.

Hide What You Get up to Online from Your ISP, Mobile Provider and Government

A VPN encrypts all data traveling between your Chromebook and the VPN server. This means that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can’t see it. Your ISP connects you to the VPN server, but after that it can’t see the web addresses of any website you visit.

As such, using a VPN is a great way to hide everything you do online from your ISP. And because governments usually obtain mass surveillance data directly from ISPs , using a VPN is a very effective way to prevent Big Brother looking over your shoulder.

Hide Your Real Identity (IP Address) from Websites

Websites routinely log the IP addresses of all visitors. Combined with other data, this allows them to track you as surf the web in order to deliver highly targeted adverts to you.

Bypass Censorship

VPNs are a great anti-censorship tool. If your country blocks a website, simply connect to a VPN server somewhere that doesn’t block that site. This makes VPNs an invaluable tool for those living under the yoke of state censorship. This includes those in China, Iran, and the UAE.

Torrent Safely

BestVPN.com doesn’t condone copyright piracy. Nonetheless, a VPN will protect peer-to-peer (P2P) users when downloading to their Chromebooks. Please see Best VPN for Torrenting guide for more details. It is important to note that using a free torrenting VPN can be dangerous and also very slow, however, if you are looking for a VPN free of charge take a look at our free VPNs guide.

How to Choose a VPN for Chromebook

As you can see, VPNs are a very versatile tool. When deciding which VPN  is right for you, it is therefore useful to identify what you primarily want a VPN for:

For Protecting Yourself from Hackers

Any true VPN app will protect you when using public WiFi and in situations where you don’t trust the WiFi operator. It will also protect you against KRACK attacks. Strong encryption is ideal, but even weak encryption should stump most WiFi hackers.

As already noted, though, not all Chrome browser VPN apps use encryption. If you’re worried about hackers and plan to use a Chrome browser VPN app, check with the provider that it encrypts your data.

A new feature offered by an increasing number of Android VPN apps is “WiFi protection.” This detects when you connect to a new WiFi network and offers to enable the VPN in order to protect you. Just remember that an Android VPN won’t protect your regular Chrome browsing.

For Spoofing Your Location

The first consideration, of course, is that the VPN app offers servers in the location you want to spoof! Speed is also important if you want to avoid buffering problems, so try to choose a VPN with the fastest servers.

It’s also important to check that a VPN service works with the content you want to access before you subscribe.

For Hiding Your Online Activity from Your ISP and Government

Any VPN app will hide your online activity from your ISP. If you’re worried about your government (or the NSA) pressuring your VPN provider in some way for this information, be sure to choose a good no logs provider.

Strong technical security isn’t as important for privacy as a VPN’s logging policy, but it is a factor. The L2TP/IPsec protocol isn’t as secure as OpenVPN, but it will protect all connections on Chromebook.

Chrome browser apps use HTTPS rather than a VPN protocol (if they use encryption at all). This should keep your data safe from most adversaries, but is unlikely to stop the NSA.

For Preventing Tracking by Websites

Again, any VPN will do. However, you should also use privacy browser extensions to give you more complete protection. It should be possible to use any Chrome browser add-on with a Chromebook.

For Bypassing Censorship

In most situations, any VPN will do for bypassing censorship. Just pick an international VPN service and use a VPN server located somewhere that isn’t censored.

If VPN websites and/or the VPN protocols themselves are blocked where you are, please see How to Bypass VPN Blocks – A Guide. Most of the advice in that article applies to Android apps run on a Chromebook, but if your Chromebook doesn’t support this then your anti-censorship options are much more limited.

For Torrenting

Please check out Five Best VPN for Torrenting. There are plenty of Android torrent apps available through the Play store, or you can use cloud torrent services inside your Chrome browser.

How to Set up a VPN for Chromebook

These instructions assume that you have already signed up for a VPN service.

Using L2TP/IPsec

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

4. Select Internet connection -> Add connection -> Add private network.

5. Fill in the details provided by your VPN service (these don’t have to be specific to Chrome OS, so you can just use generic ones provided for other platforms).

6. Click Connect. Ta-da!

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

Using an Android VPN App

This requires having a Chromebook that supports the Google Play store and Android apps. This usually means having Chrome OS version 53 or newer. If your Chromebook can run the Google Play store but it isn’t already installed, please follow these instructions to install it.

Then just open the Play Store and download and install a custom VPN app like any other app. You’ll almost certainly be asked to sign in using the credentials established when you signed up for the VPN service, although many Android apps offer a VPN trial so you can try out the service before you buy it.

Alternatively, you can manually set up OpenVPN using OpenVPN for Android or OpenVPN Connect. Full instructions for setting up OpenVPN for Android can be found in the Best VPN for Android guide, and instructions for how to configure the app to act as a kill switch are available here.

There are various workarounds to get Android apps onto Chromebooks that don’t (or don’t fully) officially support this feature, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

Remember that Android VPN apps will only protect other Android apps on your Chromebook, and not the Chrome browser.

Using a Chrome Browser Extension

  1. Open the Chrome Web Store. Ensure the Extensions button is selected and search for the VPN add-on you want. Alternatively, your VPN provider will likely provide you with a direct link to its Chrome extension download page.
  1. Click Add to Chrome or click on the blurb to bring up a detailed description of the extension. Then click Add to Chrome -> Add Extension.

  1. An extension icon will appear in the Chrome task bar. Just click on it to open the VPN add-on.

Remember that a Chrome extension will only protect what you get up to inside your Chrome browser. It won’t protect Android apps.

Using Your Chromebook with a VPN Router

Rather than installing a VPN on your Chromebook,  you can install it on your router (depending on which router you have). Many modern routers have a VPN client built in, which you can usually configure via the router’s admin page.

You can also flash routers with third-party firmware such as DD-WRT and Tomato, which include a VPN client. Indeed, some providers offer pre-flashed routers that have been pre-configured for their service.

For a full discussion of the pros and cons of this, please see Five Best VPN Routers. We also have a guide to setting up OpenVPN on DD-WRT routers here.

Torrent with Your Chromebook and a VPN

Proving that Chrome OS can do most things a “fully fledged” operating system can do, the JSTorrrent Chrome extension works on Intel and ARM-based Chromebooks.

Another option is to use the free, web-based Seedr service, which has a Chrome plugin. An alternative tactic is to use one of the many Android VPN apps. I personally favor Vuze Torrent Downloader for this.

As always, we encourage readers to only torrent legal content.

Playing Downloaded Video Files

Support for Android apps solves another issue that has always plagued Chromebook torrenters. Lack of support for video and audio codecs means that Chrome OS won’t play many common video file types. They either don’t play at all, or don’t play as they should (for example, they play but with no sound).

However, the good news is that Android apps such as VLC and BS Player will play pretty much any media file you throw at them.

Best VPN Protocols for Chromebook

A VPN protocol is the set of instructions used to negotiate a secure encrypted connection between two computers. Commercial VPNs commonly support a number of such protocols.

Chrome OS supports L2TP natively, whereas most Android apps use the more secure OpenVPN.

L2TP

This is usually implemented with the Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) authentication suite (L2TP/IPsec), and such is the case in Chrome OS. It is almost certainly not secure against the NSA, but for most purposes is generally regarded as being secure if openly published pre-shared keys aren’t used.

OpenVPN

This open source and now fully audited protocol is widely regarded as the most secure and versatile VPN protocol available (if well implemented). My general recommendation is to use OpenVPN whenever possible. Be wary, however, about the much-advertised use of AES-256. This is indeed a gold-standard cipher, but it is in itself fairly meaningless, as the devil is in the detail. For more information on this subject please check out VPN Encryption: The Complete Guide, which is designed to be as layman-friendly as possible.

In addition to using strong encryption, a good VPN provider should prevent Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) DNS leaks, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) leaks, and Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) leaks that may give away your real IP address even when using a VPN. The Chrome browser  supports WebRTC, so WebRTC leaks are an issue that Chromebook uses should pay particular attention to.

VPN Services on Chromebook: Conclusion

If you want privacy while you surf the internet, protection from WiFi hackers, to torrent download with privacy, or just to watch Netflix from abroad, then you need a VPN. This applies just as much on your Chromebook as any other device.

Douglas Crawford
June 22nd, 2018

I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

13 多个回复 “5 Best Chromebook VPN Services

  1. Hi Douglas

    This is a very helpful article – thank you. Unfortunately I have had bad experiences trying to install a VPN on my chromebooks from two of the five best buys you list above. I’m wary of trying any others until I work out what’s going on.

    Essentially, the appear to install correctly and they allow me to connect to overseas servers using L2TP/IPsec, even confirming “connected” on the settings screen. But when I then check my IP address, I find it has not changed at all.

    I have spent several hours online to support reps from the two suppliers who have both been very helpful. They have confirmed there is a problem and have tried to solve it, but both have finally admitted defeat, and I have had to seek a refund in both cases.

    Any idea what might be happening here? I know that connecting to VPN on chromebooks is not straightforward, which was why I looked for specific recommendations before starting. Unfortunately, that hasn’t guaranteed success. I’d be most grateful for any thoughts.

    1. Hi Ian,

      Hmm. Connecting on a Chromebook should be straightforward enough using L2TP/IPsec. I must admit that I have no idea, off hand, why you are having problems. I am very busy at the moment, but when I have a little time I will try to investigate a little further.

  2. Why is being based in Canada considered as a con here in your reviews?
    I only ask because while I was researching for good web hosts and about web hosting in general, I found that a host with data centers in Canada was a good thing and something most people sought out to find.

    Also, I Am Canadian, so.. I’m a little biased lol

    1. Hi Kharma,

      Canada is listed as a con because it is a core member of the NSA-led Five Eyes spying alliance. Bills C-11 and c-51 are also deeply concerning for privacy. As Wikipedia notes:

      “The Edward Snowden revelation that the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), without a warrant, used free airport Wi-Fi service to gather the communications of all travellers using the service and to track them after they had left the airport sparked an ongoing concern about mass surveillance in Canada. The number of Canadians affected by this surveillance is unknown apparently even to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.”

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