Should You Use a VPN Browser Extension or a VPN App?
Updated on July 13, 2021: From now on, traffic filtering, malware protection, and suspicious DNS activity blocking are available as a part of the separate DNS Firewall app.
Internet security is the new black nowadays. People all over the world are raising their concerns about their privacy in the web and are curious how to protect themselves. VPN software is the most convenient way to achieve that. Luckily, there has been no lack of them lately. Unfortunately, with the supply so abundant, a lot of users feel confused about the differences between specific VPNs. And the most common question we’ve been receiving from our customers is, “Whether to use a VPN app or a VPN browser extension?”
The answer to this is, like always, “It depends”. Both VPN apps and extensions have certain strengths and weaknesses, and users should choose either one depending on their preferences. In this piece, you will find all the information you need to make your choice consciously.
VPN browser extension pros and cons
A browser extension is a program that integrates with your web browser and enables additional features on it. VPN extensions pros include:
- They are free or cheaper than VPN apps.
- They are easy to install and use.
These are the two reasons that usually attract users. Unfortunately, people are often unaware of the plethora of latent cons of VPN browser extensions:
- Most importantly, they are oftentimes NOT a VPN at all! Researches show that the majority of the so-called “VPN” browser extensions lack one of the two major traits of a VPN – they don’t encrypt your data. Which means they are effectively mere proxy servers.
- When a VPN extension genuinely utilizes encryption protocols, it can still only protect your browser traffic. It doesn’t encrypt any other data, such as your messengers’ traffic, your apps’ credentials, etc.
- There have been numerous reports of malicious VPN extensions that provide their services for free only to cash in on user’s sensitive information. They were proven to sell such personal data to third parties without user’s consent.
VPN app pros and cons
A VPN app is basically any program you install to your device that creates a virtual private network. It must meet two criteria: a) transfer all your data through a remote server, and b) encrypt all of your outgoing traffic. VPN apps’ pros include:
- The highest levels of internet security and privacy possible. With your IP masked and traffic encrypted, there will be no way to track your activity online or to restrict you from accessing your favorite websites.
- VPN apps usually allow flexible configuration, meaning they are compatible with lots of platforms, rather than with specific web browsers. Besides, they often include useful additional features like personal servers and IP’s.
- Paid VPN apps mean a generally better user experience with higher speeds, better reliability, and sophisticated customer support.
Nothing comes without flaws, and VPN apps are no exception. Their cons are:
- The price. Effectively running a network of servers in numerous countries takes a lot of effort and expenses. Because of that, genuine VPN service providers always charge some sort of fees, be it a one-time payment or a paid subscription. On the other hand, most of them offer a free trial, so you can always make sure if you need their services before paying.
- In certain cases, a VPN app may take some time and knowledge to set up on some devices. Fortunately, more and more VPN companies acknowledge this problem and have customer service specialists ready to assist their users.
To sum up
As you can see, both VPN apps and VPN extensions have their place in our lives. Which one should you choose? Answer the following question to help you make up your mind:
Do you need VPN for browsing ONLY?
In this case, get a reliable VPN plugin. It’s an ideal option to hide your IP for simple tasks like visiting websites that are blocked in your country. It is also a great solution if you don’t want to bother yourself with installing a desktop VPN app.
– No, that’s not enough
Are you concerned about your privacy and security on the internet, and want to safeguard ALL the internet traffic on your devices from possible online threats? Then it’s certainly a good idea to pay a couple bucks for a VPN app. After all, it’s a worthwhile investment in our age of constantly evolving cyber crime.
If you would like to try a first-class VPN app, take a look at KeepSolid VPN Unlimited, which includes all the aforementioned benefits. Still not sure what to choose? Good news for you! VPN Unlimited has both: VPN extension and VPN app for all major platforms. Download them now, and enjoy a 7-day free trial to check all its handy features! (no credit card required)
Also, check out our unique lifetime VPN plan.