I am sure you are well aware that using a VPN is one of the best ways to enhance online privacy and security. However, you must carefully pick the right VPN solution based on your needs.
For example, travelers need VPN for accessing geo-restricted content, remote workers need to secure the connection when connected to public Wi-Fi, and gamers want lower latency and stable connection.
Using a dedicated VPN like ExpressVPN or NordVPN works fine for most people. Although for people who want a lighter and cheaper VPN; a browser with a built-in VPN might be better. Especially if most of your online activity involves using a browser.
You won’t need to install any additional software or manage a separate app while still being able to securely browse the web. If you are interested, keep reading as I list some of the best browsers with a reliable VPN built-in.
Browser-Based VPN Pros and Cons
Before we start evaluating these special browsers, it’s good to know whether this setup is good for you or not. Just like any other VPN setup, a browser-based VPN has its advantages and disadvantages. Below I am listing them both so you can make the right decision:
Easy to set up and usually only requires enabling it in settings.
No additional software is required to run/manage.
Light on resources because they are part of the browser and only contain essential features.
Since they are not the main selling product, they usually have a reliable free version, and paid subscriptions are relatively cheaper too.
Some are limited to the browser only; this means you can freely play games and do other activities on the device without a slower connection or different IP while still using the secured browser. That’s possible on dedicated VPNs too, but you need to set up split tunneling.
Most lack advanced features like split tunneling, multi-hop, kill switch, static IP address, stealth mode, etc. They also lack some added protection features like firewall or malware protection.
They usually have limited servers compared to a dedicated VPN.
The browser company usually decides what type of encryption is used, unlike dedicated VPNs, where you can choose different encryption types.
Privacy is a bigger concern with such VPNs since browser companies usually collect data and create user profiles.
They have a higher chance of disconnection and instability as the VPN is working as part of the browser, and not having a kill switch makes things worse.
You’ll be forced to change your browser as well, at least when you need to use the VPN.
If the pros outweigh the cons for you, then check out the list of the best browsers with built-in VPN:
Opera was the first browser to introduce a VPN built-in, and they have done a great job of developing it over time. It started with a free built-in VPN, and now it has a pro version that works like a dedicated VPN and encrypts the whole device without additional software.
The free version of Opera VPN lets you select 3 places to connect, including Americas, Asia, and Europe. If the location doesn’t matter to you, you can also choose the Optimal location option. Will choose one of these locations that will offer the best connection. There is also no data limit, so you can use it for free as much as you want.
Opera mentions that they have a strict no-log policy for the free VPN, and there are over 100 servers available to ensure high-speed connection. It uses AES-256 encryption and even protects from DNS leaks in the free version.
Opera Pro VPN
The Pro version also works from the browser without any additional software, but it offers device-wide protection by encrypting the whole connection. You can encrypt up to 6 desktop or mobile devices. It has all the free version features but supports connection to over 30 locations with 3000+ servers. Two-factor authentication and live chat are added features of Pro.
Just like most other VPNs, you’ll have to take out a credit card to get the 7-day free trial. However, it’s very cheap at just $3.99/month for an annual subscription.
If you want to use the VPN for security purposes, then Brave can greatly enhance your experience. Brave is a privacy and security-focused browser with lots of features that protect you online, including a VPN.
It has a bunch of shields to protect against ads, trackers, fingerprinting, cross-site cookies, phishing, malicious scripts, and more. It also has a nice rewards system that lets you earn tokens for seeing ads in the browser which can be exchanged for gift cards, cryptocurrency or to support content creators.
Brave VPN doesn’t have a free version, but you can try it using the 7-day trial (credit card required). The subscription consists of a firewall to protect against network attacks and a VPN to encrypt your connection.
The VPN fully encrypts the connection, so your whole device is protected. You can use the VPN on up to 5 desktop and mobile devices. However, the VPN service is provided by Guardian VPN, so its quality is the same as what Guardian offers. You’ll get servers in 13 different locations, and the connection is secured with IKEv2 tunneling protocol and AES-256 encryption.
For a browser-based VPN, it is a bit on the pricy side at $9.99/month.
It works on:
Avast Secure Browser
Avast Secure Browser comes with reliable security features like an ad blocker, VPN, tracking blocker, extension guard, phishing protection, and a dedicated bank mode that lets you securely browse financial and shopping websites.
The browser looks very similar to Chrome, so if you are a Chrome user; you’ll have no trouble adjusting. The VPN can be accessed from the address bar, and you can customize its options in the Privacy and security settings.
Avast Secure Browser VPN
The Avast VPN doesn’t have a free version, but you can use the 30-day trial period to test it (a credit card is required). Like others, it also says it has a no-log policy and encrypts the connection using AES-256 encryption. You can connect up to 5 devices and access over 30 locations in the world.
Avast also boasts about its custom-built protocol that loads webpages up to 4x faster. Furthermore, its settings are much more flexible than other browsers in this list. For example, you can set parameters to automatically turn on VPN in different situations, like when you connect to public WiFi or launch private mode.
It even has a kill switch to protect you in case of VPN disconnection. You can get a yearly subscription at $4.17/month, and it goes as low as $2.92/month for a 2-year subscription.
It works on:
Yes, Epic Browser also focuses on privacy; it’s a given when we are talking about a browser with a VPN. However, this browser goes a step (or a bunch of steps) further by forcing private mode by default and blocking all tracking scripts.
Personally, I will not recommend it as your day-to-day browser since it blocks way too many things, and your browsing will surely be negatively impacted. However, it’s great if you are extremely privacy conscious and don’t want to take any security risks.
It can block possible tracking in the address bar/URL, installers and updaters, error pages, cookies, extensions, page scripts, ads, referer header data, and a bunch more. It also keeps Do not track requests enabled all the time and offers fingerprinting and crypto mining protection too.
Epic Browser VPN
The VPN from Epic Browser is a bit different from other VPNs since it’s a hybrid of a proxy and a VPN. It uses a proxy server to change your IP address and encrypts all browser traffic, similar to a VPN.
However, it doesn’t encrypt your whole connection, so its VPN capability is limited to the browser only. Any network request outside the browser will still be vulnerable.
It offers connection to up to 8 locations with multiple servers for each. Best of all, it’s completely free without any limitations. If you are concerned about privacy, Epic Browser is a sure way to gain privacy without any additional tools or customizations.
It works on:
If you are looking for a browser with VPN for your phone, then Aloha Browser might be much better than others in this list with mobile apps. It has all the important features mobile users look for, including an ad blocker, media player with VR support, media downloader, download speed booster (multi-thread), file manager, WiFi file sharing, and much more.
I also really liked its private browsing feature, where you can protect the private windows with a passcode for further protection.
Aloha Browser Free VPN
You can enable the Aloha free VPN by clicking on the shield icon at the top-left corner. Once enabled, it will automatically connect you to the fastest server, and there is no limitation on VPN use.
However, you can’t choose the VPN location yourself, and the VPN is limited to the Aloha Browser, your other phone apps will still be vulnerable.
You’ll need to get the pro version to be able to manually choose a location from over 30 locations. The pro version also enables the VPN for the whole device and the ability to automatically turn on VPN when Aloha Browser is started. Like others, it uses AES-256 encryption with DNS protection and a no-logs policy.
For just $29.99/year, it’s very cheap, too, compared to others.
It works on:
Final Thoughts 💭
As a long-time Opera user, I personally never had any problem with its VPN. It is always stable, and my internet speed only drops from 20 Mbps to 17 Mbps while connected.
Although for better privacy features, Avast and Brave are much better. Again, I won’t recommend Epic Browser for regular browsing, but it’s your best option when you need paranoid levels of privacy.
For over 9 years, Karrar has been writing about everything Windows and Google with a strict focus on improving security and finding ways to get more out of our devices.
Narendra Mohan Mittal
Narendra Mohan Mittal is a Senior Digital Branding Strategist and Content Editor with over 12 years of versatile experience. He holds an M-Tech (Gold Medalist) and B-Tech (Gold Medalist) in Computer Science & Engineering.