What is the difference between a VPN and a browser VPN add-on extension?
Ever bought a VPN subscription, hopped on to the download page only to find a dozen different options that you can download? And while VPN for android TV, or Xbox are in some ways more understandable because they are device specific, how do you decide between VPN clients for the same device, for example, between a VPN chrome extension, and a VPN for windows client?
Which one is a better option to protect yourself? If you’ve been stuck on that question for a bit, this blog post will attempt to answer it by explaining the difference. Let’s start by talking a little bit about what a desktop VPN is and in what situations you would need one.
A word on Desktop VPNs
In contrast with the VPN chrome extension, a Desktop VPN is a standalone application that you can download directly on your operating system after signing up for a VPN service. The download and set-up process will need to be done before you can go on to browsing the internet anonymously, privately and safely.
One of the most obvious advantages of using a Desktop VPN is that while you’re connected to a remote server, the entirety of your communication with the internet, including your online traffic, will be safe and protected. Your data will be yours alone, and will be fully encrypted so even if a third-party does manage to pry its way in, it will be practically useless because the encrypted data will not make sense without a decryption key.
Besides that, a Desktop VPN will make sure that you are fully anonymous when you’re browsing online, and that your online activities are private, and yours alone to know. This will also make sure that companies looking for your data to boost their marketing efforts will no longer have access to it.
Another advantage is that Desktop VPNs will not affect your internet speeds a great deal. This means you can use them for streaming, gaming, downloading and uploading heavy files. You can also use them to watch your favorite shows and movies because they will not let you agonize over unnecessary buffering etc.
To make the case for Desktop VPNs even stronger, they usually come with a zero-logs policy (even though this also greatly depends on the service providers and you’ll need to double-check, most reputed companies do offer this) A zero-logs policy means that your VPN provider stores and logs absolutely none of your data and does not maintain records about your online activities and what you’re using the internet for.
Besides ensuring the highest integrity of your online privacy and security, this policy also protects your data from being harmed, accessed, or misused in case one of its servers gets hacked or your communication with the internet somehow gets intercepted by a cybercriminal. This helps you develop a deeper sense of trust for your VPN service provider as it shows that they actually care about providing you the highest level of security.
Another point to highlight here is that Desktop VPNs are often offered with paid services, and not free ones. That being said, most paid services are far safer, more reliable and surprisingly cost-effective as compared to free services that do more damage than good. For just a few dollars per month, you can ensure that your browsing is secure, anonymous and private, and that your online security is actually in the hands of a company that is reputed for its stellar service that is known to not keep records of its users’ data.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to pay for a Desktop VPN service without making sure that it is the one for you, here’s news for you: most VPN services offer free trials and some reputed companies even offer money-back guarantee.
How does a VPN browser extension work?
Now that you know what exactly a Desktop VPN does and how it works, let’s talk a little about browser extensions, like VPN chrome extension. We’re sure you already know how browser extensions work on a basic level, but if you don’t, that’s okay; they are super easy to understand.
Like they name suggests, you can just download these mini applets and add them to your browser to expand their functionality. There are several types of useful browser extensions like ad-blockers, proofreaders, password vaults and VPNs are just one of these.
Moving over to browser extensions, these work in much the same way as Desktop VPN clients, with a few key differences. Like the Desktop clients, VPN browser extensions route your internet traffic through a remote, secure server while encrypting the entirely of the communication between the internet and the server.
The key difference is that when you’re using a browser extension, for example, a VPN chrome extension, only your online activity on that particular browser will be secure. For instance, if you’re using chrome, your online activity on chrome will be protected but not any of the other browsers, including Desktop apps like Skype or games that also require the internet to function, leaving your device and data still vulnerable.
Desktop VPN vs. browser extension VPNs—our verdict
We’ve gone over the key differences regarding these two main types of VPN clients, now let’s try to compare these two and conclude which one is better to use. When comparing, it is important to make note of the fact that both provide the utmost level of online security, with the main difference being the browser extension VPNs offer a limited range.
This means that while Desktop VPNs will protect all of your online activity, a browser extension VPN will only protect your browsing and surfing on that particular browser. This makes Desktop VPNs a tad more reliable than browser extensions when it comes to security.
This is why we recommend downloading a Desktop VPN to make sure that you are safe online.