The best browsers with built-in VPN offer a great way to protect your web browsing from snoopers. Especially if you are new to VPN technology and are a little intimidated by manually setting one up.
Using a browser that has a built-in VPN eliminates this concern. So there’s no need to find and install a browser extension, because everything you need is included in the package. And you often include privacy and browsing extras too, from ad and tracker blocking to enhanced private browsing, malware blocking, and more.
Browser-based VPNs don’t offer the security, performance, or unblocking abilities of a specialist provider like ExpressVPN or NordVPN. They are usually simple proxies, providing a new IP address but not encrypting your traffic, and they only protect the browser: traffic from other applications is still exposed.
But browser VPNs are also simple, often free, with no data caps, and often no registration required. If you’re happy with the privacy basics, they deserve a closer look.
We’ve reviewed four of the best, outlining each browser’s privacy and location settings, ease of use, speeds, data limits, and cost.
The best browsers with built-in VPN of 2022 in full
The Opera browser might not make the headlines these days, but it’s still a great product, packed with features and with over 350 million users worldwide.
One of the ways Opera stands out from the crowd is with the variety of tools bundled together in its default configuration. No need to install a single extension, the app provides ad blocking, messaging, file sharing and a simple VPN launched for free, no registration required.
These tools are often more capable than you’d expect too. Messaging isn’t a weak custom app only available in Opera, for example: you get Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram and VKontakte already integrated into Opera’s sidebar.
The VPN is a little more basic. It’s a more secure proxy than a true VPN, for example. And while you can pick a location, Opera only offers three very close locations: Americas, Europe, and Asia. Pick one, and Opera picks the best location at the time, which we think was both Mexico and the United States.
Speeds were still reasonable for us, at 30Mbps or so for US to UK connections. But when you can’t select a specific country, Opera is not good for unblocking or as a streaming VPN. Their service is really more about privacy than anything else.
Nothing wrong with a little extra privacy, of course, and you can’t expect a free VPN to compete with a specialist commercial provider like ExpressVPN. The reality is that Opera’s VPN adds some welcome extra value to the app, and if you’re satisfied with the basics of VPN browsing, that might be enough.
Read our full review of Opera browser
Aloha Browser is an interesting Android and iOS browser with a free VPN and a stack of bonus privacy and media tools.
Secure File Manager? Check – Quickly download your files to custom folders and protect them with passwords or fingerprint.
Private browsing? No problems. Forget about cookies and history as ads and trackers are also blocked. Most. your browser tabs are given the same password or fingerprint protection.
Media manipulation? A built-in player streams just about anything, or you can download them as you watch. (And, of course, they can also be safely stored.)
There’s a real VPN underneath, not just a basic proxy, putting Aloha Browser ahead of the more limited proxy-based competition. And forget about annoying data caps as you can use the service as much as you want. But the free version doesn’t let you choose your location, it will just automatically choose the closest server.
As we say, however, Aloha only works on Android or iOS, making it null and void if you are after a VPN for Windows or VPN for Mac.
Upgrading to Aloha Premium offers a number of extras, including VPN country selection and the ability to secure other apps with VPN. It’s not expensive at $2.99 a month, but keep in mind that Private Internet Access is $2.03 on its three-year plan and protects desktops and mobile devices.
Epic Browser claims to be the first Chromium-based browser designed to protect your privacy. It is running permanently in ‘private browsing’ mode, with all the regular Google tracking technologies removed and custom blocking of WebRTC IP address leaks, fingerprint scripts, encryption secret code and more.
Epic has ad blocking built in and a VPN of sorts too (the site describes it as an ‘encrypted proxy’). are advantages too. You can use it without registration, there are no data limits and you have eight countries to choose from: USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, India and Singapore.
The company is more open and transparent than most. You don’t wonder who’s behind it, for example. The website About Us (opens in new tab) The page informs users about the company that develops the product, its founder, and lists some of the Internet’s big names as consultants (Slashdot founder Rob Malda, privacy advocate Douglas Rushkoff.)
There are disadvantages too. The default search engine for Yahoo! it’s not ideal for a privacy browser (you can replace it with Epic’s PrivateSearch for $2.50 a month). The project also seems a bit neglected: Epic’s blog has only seen one post since 2018.
Still, Epic performed reasonably well for us. VPN speeds were good and it unblocked some sites – we could even use it as a BBC iPlayer VPN for example.
UR Browser is a Chromium-powered app with a long list of built-in security features: anti-phishing, built-in virus scanning for downloads, http to https redirects, random user agents, and cookie, tracker, and ad blocking.
Even better, there’s a free VPN with no data caps and 16 locations to choose from (North America, Europe, India, Singapore, South Africa, Brazil, and more).
There are problems too. UR Browser sets itself as the default browser on Windows, for example, and runs when the device boots, unless you notice these installer options and disable them. We prefer apps that don’t make these system-level changes unless you specifically request them.
Although UR Browser has a built-in VPN, you cannot use it until you register. This isn’t difficult – just hand over your email and choose a password – but Epic Browser and a few others let you use their VPN without giving out any personal details.
VPN speeds were variable – we saw anything from around 2 to 35 Mbps depending on the location chosen, so this will never make our VPN list any faster – and the unblocking results were poor. This could be because UR Browser servers are not always where they are claimed; when we first connected to the US VPN, we were given an IP address from Greece.
UR Browser will not replace your standalone VPN anytime soon. But its network of 16 locations is more than you’ll get with most of the competition, and there are plenty of extras to explore.
How to choose the best browsers with built-in VPN for you
If you’re looking for the best browser with a built-in VPN, chances are you’re doing it for convenience, knowing that a browser-hosted VPN won’t come with the bells and whistles provided by specialist providers like NordVPN or ExpressVPN.
Assuming you’re satisfied with a basic level of VPN functionality, there are several options to choose from. if you’re reluctant to sign up or provide login details, Opera’s easy-to-use option can be attractive, with standard functions that include ad blocking, file sharing, and no log messages. If you’re looking for a browser-based VPN for your smartphone, Aloha’s browser is adapted for smartphone use only and comes with no data limits. I
Before you make your choice, be clear what you intend the VPN to be used for (Opera isn’t good at unblocking iPlayer Steam, for example, while Epic Browser is), and make sure you’re not expecting too much. of a feature that is unlikely to compete with standalone VPNs.
The Best Browsers With Built-in VPN: How We Tested
Recognizing that even the best browsers with built-in VPN cannot match the offer provided by standalone services, we nevertheless follow the rule about top browsers with VPN capabilities and list the advantages – and relevant disadvantages – for each listed here.
Given that convenience is likely to be a significant factor behind the desire for such a feature, we tested the ease of use of these browsers and how quickly they install and run.
We also look at overall speeds for connections in the US and UK and consider whether users can select where they want to appear from. We list where there are data caps (or none) and whether VPNs incur costs for additional features or services. We also look at whether browser-based VPNs include the capability that really sets them alongside feature-laden standalone VPN services – being able to unblock streaming sites.