You might have heard of a VPN browser plugin when researching the benefits of a VPN. Although they are useful tiny gadgets that may help keep you secure when online, you should be aware of their limitations. Let’s discuss VPN browser extensions and whether or not you ought to use one.
What a VPN Does
We must examine what VPNs are and what they can perform in order to properly comprehend how a VPN browser extension functions. You typically connect to a server maintained by your internet service provider (ISP) when you connect to the internet, and from there, you may access the website you wish to visit. In this case, the website is aware of your identity and your ISP is privy to your online activities.
When utilizing a VPN, you first connect to a server operated by your VPN provider before connecting to the website you’re viewing. Rerouting your connection, often known as “spoofing,” causes you to use the VPN server’s IP address rather than your own, which is perfect if you want to stop the website from monitoring you.
The VPN also constructs a structure known as a VPN tunnel in addition to rerouting your connection. Your connection is encrypted as a result, making it hard for anyone observing, including your ISP or a surveillance system, to see what you are doing online.
Read More: Does my home require a VPN?
using a VPN
Using a VPN client, sometimes known as a “app,” is the most popular way to connect to a VPN server. A VPN client is a program that you download from your VPN provider and install on your computer or mobile device. Typically, all it takes to create a secure connection to the internet is to select a server to connect to and then press a button. (Although most modern OS systems come with built-in VPN capability, using the client provided by your VPN provider is nearly always simpler.)
Utilizing a VPN program encrypts all internet traffic to and from your device while displaying a fake IP address. The only exception to this rule is if you’re utilizing split tunneling to enable some apps to function without the VPN’s protection.
The client isn’t the only way to activate a VPN connection, though. You may, for instance, use a VPN router that instantly establishes a VPN server connection for each device connected to a specific WiFi network. Use a browser extension as a substitute for another, easier choice.
Browser Add-ons for VPN
A little application or software known as a browser extension can increase the functionality of your browser. For instance, you may purchase an extension that would cut off certain passages of text so you can store it for later or a robust password manager. Additionally, many, if not all, VPNs have browser extensions that enable you to access your VPN’s capabilities or at the very least connect to it directly from your browser. For instance, both Nord VPN and Express VPN provide them, and they’re useful little tools to have.
However, as Express VPN says, VPN browser extensions do have one significant drawback: they only secure your traffic while you are surfing, not all of it like a client. A few VPNs, such as Private Internet Access, are an exception to this rule, but generally speaking, you may expect that a VPN browser extension is only useful for the browser on which it is installed.
The exception is if you activate the browser extension while your VPN client is already running. In such instance, all of your traffic is secure since you are utilizing the extension to manage the client (Express VPN, among others, provides this feature).
This means that you are protected while browsing websites if you activate your VPN through your browser extension without a client running. However, if you’re also using a to renting program, anyone can see that you’re doing so, with all the negative effects you might anticipate.
It resembles split tunneling in some ways, but all that is running through the tunnel is your browser. Though it is a terrific technique to get around VPN speed concerns, this isn’t entirely a terrible thing. For instance, you may use your browser extension to browse anonymously while downloading a huge game from Steam without causing your download to lag.
Is Using a VPN Browser Extension Necessary?
VPN browser extensions are excellent small tools that may be quite helpful in the correct circumstances, such as when you wish to use your browser anonymously while allowing background programs to operate without interruption.
However, employing them has a slight risk because it could give you a false sense of security. You may use a VPN without worrying if all you use it for is surfing security. Always make sure your client is operating if you frequently pirate or use your VPN to run other apps.
Many of the top VPNs, including Express VPN, our top pick, have optional browser extensions.