Chrome OS is an operating system that rose to popularity very quickly. Google’s Chromebooks, which debuted in 2012, are grabbing a significant share of the laptop market with their bare bones interface, portability, ease of use and low low price point.
While they are not suited for everyone, especially power users, they are a great solution for men and women on the go looking to stay productive while they are mobile.
Because they are more ideal for mobile users, they are mostly used while connected to the internet over WiFi connections. This of course creates security concerns for anyone transmitting private information or data of a secure nature over a public network.
Unfortunately, none of the major VPN providers have developed a VPN app for Chromebooks (yet). In the meantime, it is fairly easy to connect to a virtual private network with your Chromebook.
We’ll use Hide My Ass VPN service as an example, but the steps are pretty similar no matter who your preferred VPN provider is.
- Click on the network icon on your shelf.
- Click on Settings.
- Under Internet connection, select Add connection.
- Select Add private network.
- A box will popup. Fill in the following information.
- Server hostname: One of the L2TP server IPs from your service provider.
- Service name: Name it whatever you want. HMA VPN, for example.
- Provider type: Choose L2TP/IPsec + Pre-shared key.
- Pre-shared key: You will need this information from your VPN provider. For HMA, it is HideMyAss (case sensitive!)
- Username: Your VPN account username.
- Password: Your VPN account password.
- Click Connect.
That’s all there is to it. It’s that simple.
Best VPNs for Chromebooks
Every VPN is different, and each person is going to prefer different advantages when using a VPN. There are dozens of different VPN providers that you can choose from, but some of them are better than others that you can find on the Internet.
If you’re looking for one of the easiest to set up, regardless if you’re a “techie” or not, Golden Frog’s VyprVPN is a great option that just about anyone can set up regardless of your experience with computers. If you have any problems using VyprVPN, there are plenty of YouTube videos or forums that you can read that will walk you through the process and ensure that everything is set up correctly.
If you want to get the simple to use VyprVPN, you’re going to have to pay. There are plenty of free services out there, but if you want to get some of the best services, you might have to fork out a little money. VyprVPN for example is going to cost you $15 every month, but the best part about the fees is that it’s a month-to-month payment, which means that if you aren’t going to be using any public Wi-Fi that month, you don’t have to pay for the services.
One of the best all-around VPN providers is CyberGhost. Their services and advantages make it one of the cream of the crops for anything that is looking to get some security when they are out surfing the web. Just like everything else, there are some advantages and disadvantages of CyberGhost that you should be aware of when you’re looking to find the VPN that works best for you.
The first thing that you should take note of, is that they have a free package that you can use if you don’t want to spend any money for your VPN, but as you can image, paying users are going to get slightly better service than someone that doesn’t pay. If you want to use a VPN without paying a dime, this is a great option for you. They have one of the best free VPN services available.
But, if you’re willing to spend a little cash on the services, there are a couple of different packages that you can choose from, they have a varying degree of benefits to fit your needs.
The first paid tier is the Premium package, which is less than $6 if you pay for a whole year up front. This will give you access to over 600 difference serves available in 30 different countries (excellent if you travel a lot for work), and they guarantee that you’ll get internet speeds up to five times faster.
The most expensive plan that they offer is the Premiums Plus, which has all of the advantages of the Premium plan, but you are allowed to use the CyberGhost services on up to five different devices, instead of only one.
If you’re more of a casual user, and you just want some additional security for your Chromebook, then TunnelBear is probably your best option. It’s quick and simple to you, and you can set up the VPN services in a matter of minutes.
One of the nice advantages of TunnelBear is that all of the VPS services are used through their app, which means that all you have to do is download their app and set up the account. After that, you’re good to go. Everything is free to use.
Another advantage of TunnelBear is they have a clean and simple design that’s pleasing to look at. Sure, it has nothing to do with the security or speed, but it’s extremely user-friendly.
If you want to start using TunnelBear, there is one serious pitfall to the app, and that’s the limit on the amount of data that you can use for free. If you don’t want to pay anything, you’ll be restricted to 500MB of data every month. For some people, that could be plenty depending on what you plan on using your Chromebook for. You can also raise your limit to 1B for tweeting about the company.
If you want to get more data, you can pay for one of their packages, which aren’t going to drain your bank account. They have a Giant plan that is $7.99 a month or you can get the Grizzly plan for $50 a year. With their paid services, you’ll get an unlimited amount of data, and you can use their services on up to five different devices (which you can do with their free program as well).
One of the major disadvantages of TunnelBear is the number of locations that are supported and you won’t be able to do any P2P when using TunnelBear. As long as you don’t fall under one of these categories, it can be a great choice for you.
VPNs on a Chromebook
There are dozens of different reasons that you would want to use a VPN, regardless of the reason, it’s vital that you want a safe and secure service to use. If you’ve never used a VPN, getting started can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
As you can see from the steps I outlined above, it’s actually a really simple process and a protection you should seriously consider having in place whenever you are connecting to a public network.