The number of cyber security concerns and unwanted organizations tracking your every move over the internet is increasing daily – making a VPN a must-have digital accessory.

Still not convinced that someone is keeping a close eye on you? Start by asking yourself about the promotional emails and online shopping ads that seem to know of your preferences and choices. The simple answer is that whenever you perform any activity over the internet, all your data traffic is being monitored. Promotional emails and advertisements are just the tip of the iceberg. There are other malicious agents that are recording your activity for more harmful purposes. These cyber-goons include hackers, spammers, phishers, governmental and spy agencies, malware, and other similar entities.

Fortunately, there are free VPN browser extensions that will keep you safe from such threats. However, these extensions do not provide the same features as a fully fledged VPN service does. Now the question beckons, which VPN to select from.

In this post, we have reviewed three widely used VPN browser extensions; Zenmate, Ghostery, and Hola. Make sure to thoroughly weigh the benefits and limitations of each one before you make a choice.


Hola is one the highly used free VPN browser extensions. It is compatible across certain platforms and you download Hola VPN on Chrome and Firefox web browser. Hola VPN can also be downloaded as an application on Windows and is available as an app for Android devices. We have compared Hola with PureVPN to let you know about the features you are missing out while using Hola.

Not Recommended
(65% Exclusive Discount)
Connectivity IssuesYesNo (very rarely)
EncryptionHola does not have a defined encryption supportVPN provides encryption support up to 1024-bit to keep it safe
ProtocolsNo defined protocol supportPPTP, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, SSTP and SOCKS5 etc.
Security ConcernsSells your Data to the authorities.No security concerns at all
StreamingSlow speeds and low bandwidths do not make a good case for online streamingDedicated IPs for streaming and high bandwidths ensuring a thunderous streaming process
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Positives: Hola allows you to remain anonymous over the internet as it hides your IP address. It offers servers located across various countries and helps to unblock popular geo restricted websites. These include Netflix, BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and many more.

Negatives: in our Hola VPN review, we incurred connection issue on numerous occasions. This in turn affected the streaming performance on geo restricted websites as we were not able to watch videos, TV shows and movie clips in high quality. Hola does encrypt your data but it does not clearly state the level of encryption or protocols its offers. This puts your privacy and sensitive data in high risks.


Zenmate is a free to use VPN browser extension that is compatible with Chrome, Firefox and Opera web browsers. You can also download Zenmate VPN app for iOS and Android devices. It offers all the basic features that a VPN should. We have compared Zenmate with IPVanish to highlight some of the major differences.

Not Recommended
(As low as $4.87)
Connectivity IssuesYesNo (very rarely)
EncryptionEncryption Not DefinedVPN provides encryption support up to 1024-bit to keep it safe
ProtocolsNo defined protocol supportPPTP, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, SSTP and SOCKS5 etc.
Security ConcernsNo LogsNo security concerns at all
StreamingGood speeds but has a lot of connection issues.Dedicated IPs for streaming and high bandwidths ensuring a thunderous streaming process
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Positives: Zenmate is easy to use as it has a user friendly interface. It will allow you to unblock different geo restricted websites such as Netflix, Pandora, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, ITV, and many more. It provides minimal online security and keeps your original IP address anonymous while you surf the internet on the browser.

Negatives: We found that Zenmate lags behind considerably when it comes to security. In the free version, you get a choice of servers located only in 5 countries. These include US, Romania, Germany and Hong Kong. The encryption levels provided by Zenmate includes AES 128 bit. This encryption level can be easily breached by hackers and other cyber-goons. We also incurred IP leakages while using the service; showing unreliable protection and performance.


Ever wondered what an invisible internet looks like? Ghostery is a web browser extension specially tasked to show all the hidden tools that are tracking your online activity. You can use the free Ghostery VPN extension on your Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera browsers; it is also available as an iPhone and iPap app. In Place of Ghostery we recommend ExpressVPN as it is much safer and much faster.


Positives: Ghostery will stop all the cookies, web bugs, tags, pixels, beacons, ad networks, web publishers, and other tracking tools. It displays all the trackers and enables you to select which trackers to allow and which to block. It has an easy to use interface and helps to protect your privacy.

Negatives: Ghostery helps to protect your privacy but it does not encrypt your traffic through secure protocols and high encryption levels. Your true identity is also not hidden as Ghostery does not mask your original IP address; it only stops your online data from being sent back to the tracking companies.

Safer Alternatives to Free VPN Browser Extensions

Now that you know the positive and negative aspects of each of the three VPN browser extensions, it is clear that these browser extensions will not provide the same benefits as a premium VPN would. Zenmate, Hola, and Ghostery have advantage in certain areas but cannot match a paid VPN provider.

For starters, browser extensions will only encrypt and protect your browser traffic, leaving your entire system exposed to cyber threats. The security levels that are offered by these extensions are weak and can be easily breeched. The limited server spread means that these servers are overcrowded, resulting in poor performance.

The alternative to these VPN browser extensions is a fully fledged premium VPN service. A paid VPN service will offer you greater all round security, better encryption levels and secure protocols, wide spread of servers to choose from, and high quality performance. We have given some of the alternatives above.


To wrap everything up, Zenmate, Hola and Ghostery offer great benefits but lack behind in performance and features that a paid VPN offers.

Zenmate and Hola are great for unblocking different geo restricted websites but both showed inconsistent performance. Ghostery is great for identifying various tracking tools and blocking them; however it does not encrypt your browser traffic nor does it hide your identity.

In this torrid time of cyber crimes, unwanted governmental surveillances, ISP throttling your internet speeds, and exposure to various other online threats, our recommendation is that you use a premium VPN service.

Zenmate, Hola and Ghostery will offer you short term advantages but would fail in the long run. Our list above holds some of the best VPN providers that you can select from, and enjoy unlimited internet freedom and online privacy.

Ameer Abbas

Ameer Abbas is a senior editor and a most viewed writer on Quora in Internet Privacy, Cyber Security, VPN and Torrents. He has continued work as a privacy advocate with Best VPN Provider and is working towards becoming an established privacy & security author online. Ameer takes a keen interest in technology, geo-political affairs and international cyber laws. Ameer loves outdoor sports including cricket, swimming, athletics, and football.
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One Response

  1. Joachim Vance says:

    Thanks for the review. I found much of it helpful. But not the comment about encryption strength. If you think AES 128 bit encryption can be easily breached by anyone, you don’t know anything about encryption.

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