VPN browser extension vs. application: which is right for you?

Ruth C. | February 11, 2020

VPN browser extension or VPN application - how to choose the right one? Virtual Private Network (VPN in short) is a cybersecurity tool which adds an important privacy layer to your life online. To establish a secure connection, you can pick either of them - today’s article will help decide which is more suited for you.

Black Friday price cut!


TL;DR – Getting an Atlas VPN application is an optimal option for security and convenience. It guarantees that all traffic is secure, be it from web browsers or other applications.

VPN browser extension

A VPN browser plugin is a lightweight and handy way to hide your IP address. The truth is, not every extension can encrypt your traffic. Some VPN browser extensions are simple proxy-based tools, where the encryption protocols are not utilized. However, there are extensions where proper encryption protocols are implemented, meaning that it can keep your online actions entirely private.

A VPN browser plugin is light and easy to use, but sadly, it does not allow choosing a particular server. A special algorithm will choose you the best server according to your physical location, server load, and other important parameters. The greatest advantage of the VPN browser extension is that you should not notice any decrease in your connection speeds.

The main purpose of a VPN browser extension is to secure your communications that happen on a browser level. Hence, when you leave your browser and start any other program or application on your device, the private connection ends. For example, you download a VPN browser extension for Windows, establish a secure connection, and launch the Skype app at the same time. Everything that you do on your browser is covered, whereas, your Skype (or any other program) is left unprotected.

The extensions do come with a catch - in most cases, you should be able to find a VPN browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, the most popular browsers. These are built for desktop devices only, and you may not be able to get a fully functioning Android VPN browser plugin or one for your iOS devices.

VPN application

A VPN application is designed to create an encrypted tunnel between a VPN client and a remote server. All your internet traffic is routed through the tunnel, so any flowing data becomes secure from prying eyes. Best of all, your device appears to have the IP address of the VPN server, masking your identity and location.

The key difference between an online VPN browser extension and a VPN application is that a VPN client covers all your internet traffic. Your browsers, applications and other internet-enabled programs are shielded. None of your personal information is vulnerable to hackers, either it’s a game launcher or an email app. VPN application uses strong encryption protocols (industry standards are OpenVPN or IKEv2), which are more secure than the ones that are used in extensions.

The ability to scroll through the whole list of VPN servers and choose the right one for you is also what makes VPN applications different from the VPN browser extension.

Which one to choose?

Given the information we’ve outlined, it’s clear that both connection methods have their own advantages. You should pay attention to your needs and get to know your preferences. If your preference is on geo-restricted Netflix shows, the extension will do the job just fine. Yet, if you are more concerned about your online privacy, using a VPN application is a must.

If you are wondering about the difference in regard to price, there’s none! That’s correct - you can get the best VPN for Chrome, Firefox or any browser you prefer for free! Not only that - Atlas VPN application will shield your entire device.

Without further ado, get yourself a free VPN browser & app for iOS and Android right here:

Get all benefits VPN can provide

Get all benefits VPN can provide

Experience the internet without limits — no geo-blocks, censorship, or tracking. Atlas VPN is your daily companion for a more open & secure internet!
Ruth C.

Ruth C.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Interested in cybercrime, online security, and privacy-related topics.



© 2023 Atlas VPN. All rights reserved.