VPN App vs. Browser Extension

Bernard Hastings | Last Updated:

Technical Writer

Users who are concerned about their privacy online undoubtedly know that installing a VPN on their devices is the easiest and most effective way to encrypt and secure their online activities.

There is, however, another option to help protect your browsing activities and sensitive data like your IP address that doesn’t require a fully fledged VPN and that’s a Browser Proxy Extension for programs like Chrome and Firefox. If you’re unsure of the difference and don’t know when to use either of these then read on, we’ll take a look at how and when to use the Browser Extension below.

The Difference Is ?

To keep it simple, a VPN app protects all incoming and outgoing internet data transfers on your device whereas the browser proxy extension is limited only to networking within your browser.

VPN Browser Proxy Extension

If you’re using Chrome or Firefox, a proxy extension will hide your IP address and as a result, keep your browsing history and online movements entirely private. However, if you leave your browser and start using another application or program, this connection will not be encrypted or private. The extension is also designed to make sure that all online websites are encrypted whether they use HTTPS or not, so you can always be sure you’re browsing securely.

The browser extension, like a VPN, will also allow you to change the location that you’re browsing from, though this location change is limited to the browser you’re using, not your entire device.


On the other hand, a VPN app is more of an all-in-one service. It reroutes your entire device’s internet traffic through a VPN tunnel whilst encrypting it at the same time. By doing this it ensures that more than just your web browsing activities are private. Any application running on your device has its connection secured and thus keeps everything you do, on any app, entirely private.

A VPN app is recommended if you use an unsupported browser like Safari or Opera, but also any program that connects to the internet. This way you will know for a fact that your activities are encrypted and untraceable. The app, like the extension, will also allow you to change the country you’re browsing in, meaning that on all of your programs and apps you are able to access web content that is restricted to one location.

If you’re not sure which service to use, continue reading and we’ll go over the perks and reasons to choose either service below.

visit NordVPN

When to Use the Browser Proxy Extension

For those users who aren’t in the market for a full-scale VPN service, we’ll take a look over what a browser proxy extension, like the one from NordVPN, is and what it can do.

The main features you’ll find within proxy extensions are the ability to hide your IP address and the added security of forcing all websites to send secure and encrypted information only. Even if the site is HTTP rather than HTTPS. This means that when you purchase things on an HTTP site or simply use it, you can rest assured that your connection to the server through a proxy extension like NordVPN’s is secure and can’t be hacked.

If you like to stream content or access websites that aren’t available in your country, then the browser extension is a great option too. Although it isn’t system-wide, it will still give you unrestricted browsing access within your browser.

visit NordVPN

When to Use a VPN App

The best time to use a full-service VPN app, like NordVPN’s, is if you’re looking for a way to ensure secure, encrypted and untraceable browsing across all of your applications on both desktop and mobile.

As the browser extension obviously only works within the browser, you won’t be able to take advantage of any major security features in other apps like Skype or any app for that matter. This is where the full-featured NordVPN program comes in handy. It will provide your device with an entirely encrypted system-wide internet connection that can connect to servers all over the world and also use dual encryption to keep anyone from snooping on your data.

PRIVACY ALERT: Websites you visit can see your current IP Address:

  • Your IP Address:
  • Your Location: Ashburn, US
  • Your Internet Provider: Amazon.com

* Scammers, Governments, and Advertisers can use this information to track and target you.

Our recommended vpn service provider for general all-round internet security and online privacy is ExpressVPN. It offers an excellent selection of online security and internet privacy features, excellent speed, and the ability to unblock your favorite streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer).

Visit ExpresssVPN

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