When it comes to your privacy, there’s no such thing as being “too prepared.” That’s why ExpressVPN compiled a list of our favorite extensions for boosting your browser’s privacy and security. The best part? They’re all FREE!
Update on November 20, 2023: ExpressVPN now offers an ad blocker as part of its apps—at no additional cost. Just toggle on the feature and turn on the VPN to block most display ads!
Take control of your browsing experience with a good ad blocker. Ad blockers prevent pesky popups and widgets from sending your data to advertisers. While the ad-blocker debate rages on, ExpressVPN believes you have the right to decide which ads to block and which ads to allow. Ad blockers let you do just that!
Our #1 choice: uBlock Origin
With dozens of free ad blockers out there, what makes uBlock Origin so special? For starters, it uses less memory than the others, so it doesn’t slow down your browsing experience.
It’s also been found to effectively block more ads than any other ad blocker. uBlock Origin even lets you create personalized lists, giving you more control over what ads to block and what ads to allow.
Here’s an example of average load times on Chrome using various ad blockers.
As you can see, uBlock Origin is the clear winner.
Runner-up: Adblock Plus
Oh, Adblock Plus, how we used to love thee.
Until recently, Adblock Plus was our go-to ad blocker. While it takes up a bit more space than uBlock Origin, it performed just as well.
Unfortunately, Adblock Plus has recently come under fire for letting certain ads pass in exchange for money. Cue the sad trombone music. What a letdown.
It goes without saying that uBlock Origin wins out in this category.
Anti-tracking extensions protect your online anonymity by preventing your browsing from being tracked.
With the right anti-tracking extension, you can keep your browsing habits away from third parties by stopping their tracking cookies dead in their tracks.
Our #1 choice: Privacy Badger
Maybe we’re a little biased, but our pick for the best anti-tracking software is the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s own Privacy Badger.
Privacy Badger keeps an eye out for suspicious third parties tracking you while you browse different websites, then jumps to your defense by blocking their tracking cookies. The little badger is a good buddy to have by your side while you surf the internet.
Ghostery works similarly to Privacy Badger but comes with a slightly better interface. There’s also an option to share your data with Ghostery to improve your experience. However, Ghostery doesn’t block any trackers by default and only lets you inspect them from the interface, where you can decide what to do with them.
After arming yourself with ad blockers and anti-tracking extensions, the coup-de-grâce in your privacy setup should be a good site-securing extension.
Secure websites use the HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) protocol. Websites secured by HTTPS encrypt your personal information like your credit card details, personal information, and other sensitive data.
But not all websites are HTTPS-enabled, so take your browsing security into your own hands with a site-securing extension. Here are our top picks!
Our #1 choice: HTTPS Everywhere
Stop wondering whether or not the website you’re browsing is safe. Use HTTPS Everywhere!
HTTPS Everywhere is the result of a collaborative effort between The Tor Project and the EFF. The plugin automatically rewrites requests to direct you to HTTPS-secured sites. So if your browsing takes you to unsecured areas of a website, HTTPS Everywhere will redirect you to the encrypted HTTPS site and keep your sensitive data from leaking.
ExpressVPN users have an even better way to enjoy the security of HTTPS Everywhere: The ExpressVPN extensions for Chrome and Firefox come with HTTPS Everywhere functionality built in! (Read about the other benefits of the ExpressVPN browser extension below.)
Runner-up: KB SSL Enforcer
KB SSL Enforcer redirects to the HTTPS version of a website whenever it is available. Because there’s no need to manually add rules this sometimes works better than HTTPS Everywhere. However, it might also force you to visit the HTTPS version of the site, even if it’s broken.
(Bonus!) Privacy extensions
Our #1 choice: ExpressVPN Browser Extension
That’s right. Shameless product plug here. But in all seriousness, when it comes to privacy extensions, there’s simply none better than the ExpressVPN browser extension, which allows you to remotely control the ExpressVPN app from your Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers. And, with your existing ExpressVPN account, you can take advantage of private, anonymous browsing.
The ExpressVPN browser extension offers seamless integration with the ExpressVPN apps for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Plus, with fan-favorite features like a built-in kill switch, DNS leak protection, WebRTC blocking, location spoofing, HTTPS Everywhere and more, you can browse more safely without having to open your VPN app separately every time you log in.
Installation takes seconds, and the interface works just like traditional ExpressVPN apps. To use the ExpressVPN browser extension you’ll need to have ExpressVPN for Mac (Version 7.1 or newer), ExpressVPN for Windows (Version 6.9 or newer), or ExpressVPN for Linux (Version 2.0 or newer).
Hope this helps you! If you have any questions about any of the mentioned software, just leave them in the form of a comment below, and ExpressVPN will get back to you.