Are you concerned about protecting your privacy and security on your Chromebook? Setting up a virtual private network (VPN) is by far one of the best ways to anonymize your web browsing activities and prevent hackers from accessing your data on public WiFi.
In this detailed guide, I‘ll show you step-by-step how to install and use a VPN on your Chromebook. With over 85 million Chrome OS devices now in use, it‘s essential that Chromebook owners learn how to utilize a VPN for defense against growing cyber threats.
Why You Should Be Using a VPN on Your Chromebook
Before we get into the how-to, let me quickly explain why Chromebook users especially should be using a VPN for daily internet access:
Hide your browsing history from your ISP – Like most other providers, your internet service provider can see every website you visit by default. A VPN prevents them from logging your browsing history and selling data to advertisers.
Stay secure on public WiFi – Free public hotspots in airports, cafes, etc. often lack encryption. A VPN will securely encrypt all network traffic, making it much harder for hackers to steal your data on open networks.
Bypass geographic restrictions – Want to access content on Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, or other streaming sites that‘s only available in certain countries? A VPN lets you bypass these geographic blocks by masking your location.
Protect sensitive transactions – When accessing your bank account or other sites containing personal info on your Chromebook, a VPN provides important encryption to prevent snooping or man-in-the-middle attacks.
Enhanced privacy when traveling – Business travelers often find themselves connecting to unfamiliar WiFi networks abroad. A VPN provides a critical layer of protection for your mobile devices when traveling overseas.
According to reputable cybersecurity firms like Kaspersky, over 14 million mobile users suffered a network attack in 2022 while on public WiFi. Don‘t let that happen to you!
The Best VPNs for Chromebooks in 2023
There are countless virtual private network providers out there, but not all are created equal when it comes to Chrome OS support. Based on factors like speed, reliability, pricing, and ease of use, I recommend the following top 4 services:
|VPN Provider||Starting Price||Pros||Cons|
|NordVPN||$3.29/month||Very fast speeds, great for streaming||Pricey for long term plans|
|ExpressVPN||$8.32/month||Excellent for unblocking geo-restricted content||Only allows 5 simultaneous connections|
|Surfshark||$2.49/month||Unlimited device connections||Smaller server network|
|ProtonVPN||$5/month||Ideal for enhanced online privacy||Speeds can be slower than rivals|
Keep reading and I‘ll show you how to install and configure any of these VPNs on your Chromebook using the simple step-by-step process outlined below.
Step 1: Install Your Preferred VPN Service
For this tutorial, I‘ll be demonstrating setup using Surfshark since it offers a nice balance of affordability, speed, and ease of use.
To begin, open the Chrome Web Store on your Chromebook and search for "Surfshark". Click Add to Chrome to install the official Surfshark browser extension. This will allow you to easily connect to the VPN right from Chrome.
Alternatively, you can opt to install Surfshark‘s Android app from the Google Play store instead if you prefer setting up the VPN at the system level rather than just within the browser. The process is essentially the same.
Step 2: Sign Up for a Surfshark Account
Once installed, you‘ll next need to visit Surfshark‘s website to sign up for a paid account. Surfshark offers a very affordable and flexible pricing model.
For example, you can get unlimited Surfshark use for only $2.49/month if signing up for their 2 year plan, and they allow an unlimited number of devices to use this one account.
Enter your email and create a secure password to finish creating your account.
Step 3: Login and Connect to a Server
Head back to the Surfshark extension in Chrome and enter the login details for the account you just created.
Next, select a server location to connect to from Surfshark‘s list of over 3,200 worldwide VPN servers in 100+ countries. For the best speeds, choose a location geographically near your Chromebook‘s actual location.
Once connected, Surfshark will encrypt and reroute all your Chromebook‘s web traffic through this new VPN server for enhanced privacy, security and anonymity.
Step 4: Confirm Your New IP Address
To validate that Surfshark is working properly, navigate to a website like iplocation.net which will show your apparent public IP address and location.
You should notice that your IP now matches the VPN server location you connected to in Surfshark rather than revealing your true IP and address.
You can also test accessing streaming sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer and will see that you can now view content libraries specific to the country of your selected VPN server.
Step 5: Disconnect When Done
To stop routing your Chromebook traffic through Surfshark‘s encrypted tunnel, simply click ‘Disconnect‘ within the Surfshark extension at any time.
This will instantly turn off the VPN protection and your web activity will revert back to your normal public IP address.
That‘s all there is to it! Connecting your Chromebook to a VPN only takes about 5 minutes once signed up with a provider. I recommend keeping your VPN active at all times when accessing public networks for rock-solid security.
Having problems getting your VPN working properly on your Chromebook? Here are some troubleshooting steps to try:
Uninstall and reinstall the VPN extension or app completely.
Try manually switching to different server locations for improved speeds.
Restart both your Chromebook and wireless router before reconnecting.
Clear your Chrome cookies/cache and test again.
Contact your VPN provider‘s 24/7 customer support for technical assistance.
Upgrade to a more reliable VPN service like ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
I hope this walkthrough gave you a good overview of how to easily set up a virtual private network on your Chromebook. Just remember to choose a top-rated provider known to work reliably with Chrome OS.
A VPN is a must for any Chromebook user looking to enhance their privacy, improve WiFi security, and access restricted content worldwide. Don‘t browse unprotected networks without one!
Let me know if you have any other questions down below and I‘ll help you get a VPN up and running on your Chromebook. Stay secure!