If you want to protect your privacy, a VPN is without a doubt the best tool to use. And if you do not, you should!
The Internet is a jungle where everyone searches for their personal information. Providers want to know what you are browsing, your ISP means that it does not violate its terms and conditions, the authorities want to respect the law, and criminals want to steal it.
We have found the five best VPN Extensions for Firefox to protect yourself from each and every one of these answers and more.
By encrypting all data inside and outside your computer, a VPN helps protect you against all kinds of people and organizations that try to spy on you.
Even better, an extension integrated into Firefox makes the use of a VPN a simple and non-intrusive task.
We have searched the web for Firefox extensions that are easy to use and offer a high level of security and privacy.
Some will protect you for free, others require a subscription. Some providers offer both options.
Today, we will start talking about virtual private networks, what they are and how they work.
Then, we will review the primary uses of VPNs. Then, with all of us on the same page, we will reveal the five best VPN extensions for Firefox.
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) in a Few Words
Often called simply VPN, virtual private networks are systems that allow you to keep your activity online private. They not only hide their data but also their destination. Let’s see how they achieve that.
A VPN works by encapsulating all the data that enters and leaves your computer and sends it to a VPN server through an encrypted virtual tunnel.
The data in the tunnel is encrypted using strong encryption schemes. Anyone who intercepts your data would only see meaningless nonsense.
At the other end of that virtual tunnel, the server decrypts its data before sending it to its destination on the Internet.
Then, the server waits for the response to return and, when it does, the number before returning it through the same tunnel.
Although the data is not encrypted between the VPN server and your destination on the Internet, your privacy is still protected for several reasons.
Anyone who spies on your end of the connection will only see encrypted data going to the VPN server.
There is no way they can know what the data is or where it goes. And if someone intercepted the unencrypted traffic between the server and the destination, you would see that the traffic comes from the server instead of you not being able to track it.
The only danger is when accessing unencrypted websites (HTTP instead of HTTPS) and filling certain personal information in a form.
This could leave you exposed. That’s why it’s always best to use protocols that encrypt end-to-end data, such as HTTPS, even when using a VPN. When you do it, you get the best of both worlds.
Different Uses of Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
The main advantage of the virtual private network is the security and anonymity they provide. They were originally invented specifically for that purpose and were originally used primarily to provide remote access to corporate networks over the Internet.
But virtual private networks have some “side effects” that have recently become the main reason why many people use them.
Remove Access Restrictions
Nowadays, you can access the Internet from almost anywhere. Many office environments offer WiFi service for their employees, public places such as libraries, schools, stores, and shopping centers often offer free WiFi Internet access.
However, this access is often limited in terms of what it can do. Public places like hotels, libraries, and commercial locations want to impose some code of ethics, for example, by preventing access to download sites or pornography.
Perhaps they also want to prevent users from using high-bandwidth applications and monopolize the service. Office and school also do it for similar reasons,
There are some ways in which these kinds of restrictions apply. Often, a transparent proxy will be used that intercepts all traffic and allows or blocks it according to a set of rules.
The rules could be based on the IP address and, for example, the system could be configured to block any traffic that goes to the IP addresses of the Facebook servers.
Proxies also do traffic inspection and block or allow depending on the content of the request.
All traffic to facebook.com could thus be blocked. Blocking can also be based on the protocol, which allows easy blocking of peer-t0-peer networks, for example.
A VPN allows you to bypass all these restrictions by sending all your traffic to the IP address of the VPN server instead of a blocked IP address.
And their data will resist the inspection of packages because they are encrypted. Even if you are downloading from torrents, the actual traffic in and out of your computer will be VPN traffic.
Of course, organizations could block the IP addresses of the VPN servers or their URL. They could also block any VPN traffic. And to be totally honest, some do it.
This is especially common with public services. Most corporate and academic access does not, as there is often legitimate VPN traffic that must pass.
Today, the best VPN clients are smart enough to use some hidden techniques to fool even the best detection and blocking system.
They do this using virtual IP addresses and masking VPN traffic as another type of legitimate traffic.
Avoiding National Limitations
Some countries have significant limitations and the use of the Internet and will prevent users from accessing part of the Internet. Often large parts of it.
China is a good example of such countries. Accessing most of the western social networking sites, for example, is impossible from there.
Even common services like Google are censored. The search results you get when doing a Google search from China are different from what you would get from anywhere in the West. And China is not alone. Several totalitarian regimes have similar practices.
These national restrictions are implemented using techniques that are very similar, if not identical, to the techniques used by organizations to enforce their restrictions.
And similar blocking methods are used, similar bypass methods will be effective. The main difference is often the legal implication of the bypass.
If bypassing access restrictions in your local Starbucks can get you banned from using your Internet, bypassing government restrictions can have more serious consequences, even if you think you’re not doing anything wrong, like going to your Facebook page.
Accessing Geoblocked Content
Another important reason to use a VPN is to circumvent geographic restrictions. Actually, this is the main motivation behind why individuals use them today.
Several websites and content providers restrict their access to users located in a specific country or region.
They can do this to protect local partners or to enforce the scope of their broadcasting rights.
But no matter what they do it for, it almost always filters the traffic according to its source IP address.
For example, to access a site that requires you to be in the United States, all you need is an IP address from the United States.
And this is exactly what a VPN gives you. To the site you are trying to access, the source IP address of your request is that of the VPN server instead of yours.
Therefore, all you have to do to avoid geographic restrictions is to connect to a VPN server located in a region that can access the site or service you are trying to access.
Why use a Firefox VPN extension?
A VPN has two components, a client at its end of the tunnel and a server at the other end. The VPN clients can be of the independent type or they can be browser extensions.
Independent clients run on your computer and connect to a VPN server, and then send all traffic in and out of your computer through the VPN tunnel.
In general, you must manually fire them and establish the connection before the traffic is truly protected.
Like the independent client, the browser extension VPN client will connect to the VPN server.
But as the extension lives inside your browser, it will only encrypt the traffic that enters and leaves your browser, not the entire computer.
If you have other applications running along with your browser, your traffic will not be encrypted.
There are also what we would call hybrid VPN extensions that, when they live inside your browser, are nothing more than applications for an independent client installed on your computer.
They give you the convenience of being able to start the VPN from your browser while offering the enhanced security and privacy of independent customers.
The five best VPN extensions for Firefox
We have searched the web for the best VPN extensions for Firefox. Three of them are from some of the best commercial VPN providers.
Two require a membership, while the third is a free administration. The other two are from lesser-known providers but offer a good combination of security, privacy, and performance.
The ExpressVPN extension for Firefox is one of those front-end extensions we’re talking about.
It requires that the stand-alone ExpressVPN client is installed and provides an easy way to start and stop the VPN and choose your VPN server location.
Of course, this also means that you must subscribe to the ExpressVPN service.
However, the subscription is worth it. ExpressVPN is best known for its strong encryption protocols and the impressive speed of its servers.
It also has a global server network of more than 1,500 servers in some 94 countries. ExpressVPN uses the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit AES encryption and a perfect forward secret. It also uses 4,096-bit keys that are protected by the SHA-512 algorithm.
They only have a policy of no partial registration, but do not let that stop you. The only information they keep is which servers the users connect to and the dates on which they connect. We believe that this provides a sufficient level of privacy protection.
The browser extension installs an icon next to the search/address bar. When you click on it, a small window opens that closely resembles the independent client.
You can choose the location of your server and activate or deactivate the VPN tunnel. Also, by clicking on the menu button in the upper left of the extension window, you can enable the Start function.
This will automatically connect the VPN to the last server used when Firefox starts. There is also an option to enable blocking WebRTC for even better anonymity.
- Work with US Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu and other services
- Fast service with minimum speed loss
- AES-256 encryption at government level
- It does not keep personal data records.
- Chat support 24/7.
- Costly monthly plan.
NordVPN is another major VPN provider with an excellent reputation for privacy and performance. Like ExpressVPN, the Firefox extension of NordVPN requires you to subscribe to the service.
The browser extension simply gives you an easy way to connect and disconnect the VPN tunnel. But unlike its competitor, the NordVPN extension is autonomous and does not require that you install an independent client.
With a strict non-registration policy, OpenVPN traffic encryption using 256-bit AES encryption and 2,048-bit DH keys, the NordVPN service is among the best there is.
The service also has DNS leak protection enabled by default, a feature that several providers do not even have.
Your subscription to NordVPN allows you to use the service from six devices simultaneously, one of the highest allowed connections.
This can be useful if you want to protect multiple devices. In addition, NordVPN has some 1,191 servers spread across 61 countries.
- Very affordable plans.
- GooglePlay user rating: 4.3 / 5.0
- Protection against DNS leakage, switch off
- It does not preserve metadata of its navigation.
- Chat support 24/7.
- Very little
- Applications may be slow to connect.
CyberGhost is another VPN service with an excellent reputation. However, the extension of your browser is different from most of its competitors.
It is a true free VPN extension in the browser. It does not require that you subscribe to any service and does not require the installation of an external client application on your computer.
The independent VPN service of CyberGhost has some excellent features and is among the best VPN providers we have seen.
We can safely assume that the free service provided by this extension is equivalent to your subscription service in terms of security and privacy.
Of course, being a free service, it can not be as good as the one paid for. We all know that. But it seems that CyberGhost did not cut the corners on the security and privacy front.
Among the most obvious differences, this free service only allows you to connect to servers in the US. UU., The Netherlands, Germany, and Romania.
If you need to access services blocked geographically in these countries, it will be fine, but if you consider other countries, bad luck.
But the biggest difference in performance. Like most free services, it will significantly slow down your connection.
And if you are a subscriber of CyberGhost, do not expect to have more options in the browser extension. The only way to make the most of the excellent subscription service of CyberGhost is by using the standalone application.
With respect to the Firefox expansion, it is exceptionally oversimplified. Clicking on the extension icon opens a small window where you can select your country and activate or deactivate the VPN. It can hardly be simpler than that.
- Unlock US Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Hulu
- 3,600+ servers, 55+ countries
- Keys RSA of 2,048 bits and authentication SHA256
- Zero records
- Reliable and well-informed 24/7 live chat support.
- I can not unblock some other streaming sites.
Hi, it’s a peer-to-peer VPN service that’s free. It allows you to access blocked websites in your country, school or company.
Hello, it’s different from other VPNs in that, instead of using servers, it routes the traffic from your computer to the computers of other Hola users until it reaches its destination.
It uses the only downtime on your computer, so you will not see any impact even though part of another person’s traffic might be going through your computer.
In fact, it’s one of the free VPNs with the best performance we’ve seen. And it’s as secure and private as a server-based VPN.
The Hello extension for Firefox allows you to select from which location you want to access the Internet.
This is perfect for unlocking geographically blocked websites and services. You can also transmit media with this free extension of Hello.
Using Hello is something different from using other VPN extensions. Like others, start it by clicking on the extensions button next to the address and the search bar.
At that point select a nation among the handfuls that are offered, yet the comparability finishes there.
Then, Hola connects through colleagues to a computer in the selected country and reloads the current browser page through the VPN tunnel.
The tunnel, however, is only valid for the current site. While continuing to browse your pages, your connection will remain secure and private, but as soon as you navigate to another site, you will return to an unsecured connection.
An interesting feature is that the extension remembers your connection and the next time you return to that site, it will automatically connect you through your VPN.
Last but not least, DotVPN has WiFi security, online privacy and secure access to Facebook, Netflix, BBC, YouTube and any website anywhere.
The unlimited and free VPN service ensures your connection when you connect to public WiFi hotspots, mobile data networks, and other public places.
This free service offers many excellent features. Among them, an optimized VPN network with unlimited speed and bandwidth, strong encryption with 4096-bit keys, integrated compression to save up to 30% of your traffic and several more.
The VPN does an excellent job of unlocking restricted sites in the school, the office or a public place, but it does not help much to unblock geo-blocked sites.
Unfortunately, there is no way to choose a specific connection country with the free version.
We perform some tests and connect almost systematically to servers in Europe. This is definitely not a good service to unblock content from the United States.
Another drawback we find with the service is that it installs an application in the background that runs outside of your browser and configures it to start automatically when you start the system.
However, this is not very different from other VPN extensions that require the installation of an external and independent client.
In general, it is a very good free VPN service that, despite its limitations, works very well.
It also has a minimal impact on performance. We performed some network speed tests with and without the secure connection and the difference we measured was minimal, even noticeable.
Having a VPN client inside your browser is extremely convenient. After all, it is mainly when we navigate that we need to use a VPN.
And with some Firefox extensions that automatically start the VPN, you are protected against your own forgetfulness.
We’ve presented you with five of the best VPN extensions you can find for Firefox. Every one of them will give you better than the average dimension of protection and security. Some will even do it for free, it’s worth trying, is not it?
And speaking of trying, have you tried any of our suggested Firefox extensions? What is your favorite? What do you like most about this? We love hearing from our readers. Use the comments below to share your experience.