Firefox is among the top 5 most popular web browser online. This comes as no surprise as the browser has good security features such as its FOSS (free open source software) operation and add-ons that allow you to block ads and pop-ups.
However, for some these add-ons may not be sufficient and are searching to improve their safety online. One way to up your internet’s privacy and security is by installing a quality VPN. A good VPN not only keeps your data secure, but it also helps you gain access to thousands of geo-blocked content and prevents you from falling victim to cybercrime.
With so many choices available, how do you go about picking the right VPN service for you? Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up the top VPNs that work amazingly with your Firefox browser.
Advantages and Disadvantages of VPN browser extensions
But first, what are the benefits of getting a VPN for your Firefox? A browser extension is an integrated program that adds a layer of protection to your internet connection through your web browser. However, the VPN browser extensions come with their own pros and cons listed below.
- They are free or much cheaper than VPN apps
- Easy installation and user-friendly setup
- VPN browser extensions are merely proxy servers and most of them do not encrypt your data
- A VPN extension with encryption protocols only protects your browser traffic and not any other data.
- Many reports of free VPN extensions that have malicious intents. They were proven to sell user’s sensitive information to third parties without the user’s consent.
Factors in Choosing a VPN for Mozilla Firefox
Although Firefox VPN add-ons are mainly proxy extensions, they still need to adhere to the core principles of VPNs which are privacy, security, and speed.
With so many choices available online, it might get overwhelming to narrow down the one that’s most suitable for you. However, I’ve listed below a few important factors that you need to look into that may help you differentiate between your choices:
- Company reputation
- Performance of the product
- Type of encryption used
- How accessible and easy is it to use
Most VPN services offer a free trial option which you should make full use of. This will let you test drive your shortlisted VPN extensions without needing to commit financially. However, there are a handful of VPN providers that do not have that option. In this case, you may want to start out with a short-term subscription to make sure you’re happy with the speed and capabilities before you want to commit to a long-term contract with them.
Top VPN for Firefox
Best all-round VPN for Firefox
ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers strategically located across 160 different locations to open up access to plenty of content. Based in the British Virgin Island (BVI), ExpressVPN is located in one of the safest countries for users’ online privacy. BVI does not have any kind of data retention law, meaning the company is legally permitted to hide your online activity from the government.
The VPN service includes a Firefox extension as part of its package, but it’s not a standalone product. Users are required to install the ExpressVPN desktop app for the Firefox VPN extension to work. The VPN extension is very straightforward and user-friendly. It is very easy to select a server from the available locations to connect your browser to and obscure your IP during startup.
The VPN service provider routinely offers great performance on the software front, including but not limited to its Firefox extension. On top of its user-friendly navigation, it is jam-packed with neat features like DNS leak prevention and kill switch to keep your internet activity private.
For avid Netflix streamers, ExpressVPN will be the perfect choice as it works excellently at unblocking US Netflix content. They even have an amazing feature in their application menu to help you select and connect to the fastest connection from the 31 servers that they have in the US. Furthermore, ExpressVPN even supports other major streaming services like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Kodi, and Amazon Prime.
With an AES 256-bit military-grade encryption to protect your connection, ExpressVPN promises that privacy will never be your concern anymore as it keeps great at keeping all your online activity across your devices undercover and undetected. The VPN provider follows a strict no-log policy and even accepts Bitcoin as subscription payment to ensure all your information is completely incognito.
As mentioned earlier, the VPN service provider features a kill switch which they call “Network Lock” to help users secure their data in the unlikely event of when their VPN gets disconnected suddenly without any reason. This kill switch functions to shut off your internet connection once it notices that you’ve been disconnected from the VPN. This service is useful in protecting all your internet traffic as long as your online security is not restored.
The company manages all your DNS requests through their own private servers that do not log queries when you access any site. ExpressVPN ensures that none of your online activities can be linked back to you with their Zero-Knowledge DNS feature.
ExpressVPN has a set of price plans that are not exactly the cheapest around the block, but all the added benefits that come with the app is worth every penny. If you’re still undecided, you can even take the VPN for a test drive yourself with their 30-day full-service free trial with a money-back guarantee if you end up deciding it isn’t for you.
- Super-fast connection speeds
- Well-encrypted, kill switch-protected connections
- Accepts Bitcoin as payment
- Keeps no user logs
- 24-hour live chat support
- Firefox extension doesn’t work as standalone
- Only permits 3 simultaneous connections
Similar to ExpressVPN, SurfShark is also headquartered and operates from British Virgin Island (BVI) that has no data retention laws and is out of reach fromthe 5, 9, or 14 eyes alliances. SurfShark started from humble beginnings with 100 servers to now more than 1,000 servers across the globe in just over a year.
The VPN service provider offers a proxy extension that can be used on any device that supports Firefox. This neat little proxy extension delivers incredible speed, strong protection, and access to geo-blocked content.
SurfShark easily unblocks major streaming sites such as Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, and Amazon Fire TV Stick. But the best part about it is that the company offers unlimited device connection with a single account. This means you can enjoy lag-free streaming of US Netflix across multiple devices with its impressive speed.
SurfShark is without a doubt is one of the most secure VPN available in the industry. This provider offers an unbreakable AES 256-bit encryption to keep all your online activities safe and secure. The app even features a CleanWeb function that ensures you can access the internet with no ads, trackers, nor malware following you.
SurfShark’s app features Multihop function that lets you to establish a chain of VPNs to take IP masking to a whole new level. You have the option to connect to two servers in two different countries simultaneously and virtually appearing in both locations without experiencing a speed drop. This should confuse the hell out of external parties and to get them off your back.
They even have a Whitelister function which lets you exclude specific apps or websites from connecting via the VPN. That is great if you prefer to secure certain sensitive apps and websites while excluding others that you might use for high-speed streaming and general browsing.
Their user-friendly Firefox extension not only provides a proxy for you to hide behind, but it also contains an ad-blocking function with its CleanWeb feature. it can even block out trackers, malware, and phishing attempts on your connection.
SurfShark offers one of the most affordable VPN plans out there. In fact, the service provider offers three different package plans at amazing discounts. With their extensive 30-day money-back guarantee offer, you will be able to get a complete refund if you do end up not satisfied with its service. Pros:
- Unlimited device connection
- Multihop Feature
- Whitelister Feature
- Unbreakable military-grade encryption service
- User-friendly app
- Fewer servers than other VPN providers
Best balance of performance and affordability
CyberGhost is a Romania based VPN provider with more than 5,000 servers globally spread among 90 different countries. Romania is based far away from the reach of the Fourteen Eyes and does not share its users’ information to any other country.
Their Firefox extension is small, simple, and completely free. However, you need to remember that you don’t get a lot for nothing. The extension provided has very basic features with a selection of four server locations: Germany, Netherlands, Romania, and the U.S.
With its main aim of allowing you to gain access to geo-restricted content, CyberGhost’s Firefox extension lets you seamlessly switch between locations with super-fast connection speeds.
If you do decide to pony up for a full CyberGhost account, their desktop app offers one of the most secure VPN services in the industry. The protocols that this VPN service provider supports are L2TP, IKEv2, and OpenVPN. And as far as encryption goes, CyberGhost delivers military-grade encryption to protect all your critical information.
Other than that, the Kill Switch feature allows you to remain anonymous even when your VPN service suddenly stops working. If and when your VPN connection drops abruptly, your internet connection will stop as well. This is a win-win situation to ensure your privacy is safely secured.
One downside about CyberGhost worth mentioning is its ad-blocking feature. CyberGhost does not block advertisement pop-ups on HTTPS websites. However, the ad-blocking feature is workable on Windows, Mac, and iOS devices, which is more than sufficient for general users looking to stream content online.
Unfortunately, CyberGhost does not have a free trial and the monthly plan can be quite pricey. On the other hand, the VPN service provider does have a 45-day money-back guarantee and their longer-term plans are much most cost-friendly.
- Simple and free extension for basic usage
- Affordable subscription plans with streaming speeds
- Permits up to 7 simultaneous connections
- Great for first-time VPN users
- Free extension does not include security features
- Ad-blocking feature needs some improvement
- Limited 4 server locations in free version
Best for ad and malware-free browsing
NordVPN provides a standalone Firefox VPN extension that you can use without installing the desktop app. Their affordable subscription plans come with some major features including their CyberSec feature which is specifically designed to block out any advertisement and prevent malware. NordVPN’s lightweight and user-friendly extension is just a few clicks away to making your browsing a more streamlined and safer experience.
With over 5,600 different servers spread out across 59 different countries, NordVPN is one of the largest server networks to unblock plenty of geo-blocked content. It allows you access to Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and restricted Netflix libraries with no time wasted on buffering.
Not only does NordVPN come with an impressively large amount of P2P and torrenting servers, but they even feature unlimited usage bandwidth, which makes it one of the best reasons to love NordVPN as you will never have to suffer through throttled internet speed again.
The VPN provider is headquartered in the data retention-free jurisdiction of Panama on top of employing a strict no-logs policy. In addition to their military-grade encryption, NordVPN routes your connection through two separate VPN servers to grant you double data encryption along with other major security protocols to ensure your online activity always stays protected.
With standard VPN encryption, your internet traffic travels through a single VPN server. However, with the Double VPN feature, NordVPN routes your traffic through two hops to grant you an extra layer of protection. While it does make your data much more secure, your internet speed could probably take a hit and suffer a bit.
On top of that, NordVPN offers two different kinds of Kill Switch, one for desktops and another for mobile devices. You can choose to activate either the app kill switch or the internet kill switch to disable your entire internet connection when anything goes wrong.
NordVPN offers 4 different plans, all of which are very reasonably priced especially for so many amazing features packed with it. Aside from the 7-day trial, the VPN service provider even has a hassle-free full 30-day refund policy in case you decide that it’s not the right fit for you.
- Firefox standalone plugin
- Unblocks geo-locked content
- Fast connection speeds
- No-log policy
- Accepts Bitcoin as payment
- Speeds are sometimes volatile
- Specific server locations disabled in Firefox add-on
#5 Hotspot Shield
Best for Speed
The Hotspot Shield Firefox VPN extension only takes a couple of clicks to get you up and running. It will automatically assign you to the optimal server with the fastest connection speed. The free extension does not allow much configuration options and it offers a limited choice of four locations only, whereas their premium subscription plan lets you gain full access to their servers in over 70 different countries
In terms of performance, their upload and download speeds are proven to be slightly better than the other providers. So, you can expect an instantaneous connection to stream geo-locked media content without any need for buffering time.
On the other hand, Hotspot Shield is a brainchild of a US-based company called AnchorFree. Being part of the Five Eye Country means the company needs to abide by the country’s mandatory data retention rule and have to hand over any data upon request from the authority.
Hotspot is safe to use as they will not expose your original IP address, DNS, or WebRTC information while you’re connected to their service. However, the company’s logging policy is a little confusing. Hotspot Shield claims that they do not keep logs of your online activity, yet there are a few areas where they mention using customer data for a variety of purposes.
If you’re on the free version, you may expect to see some advertisements as the company teams up with a few third parties. Nonetheless, you need not worry about your privacy as the service provider will only hand out anonymized IP addresses and they will not sell user browsing history to the advertisers.
The paid version lets subscribers connect to five different devices at the same time with just a single account. This means users do not need to pay extra for securing their entire household with only one VPN service.
While Hotspot Shield’s subscription plans may not be the most affordable, they do come with 45-day refund policy for you to get your money back in case you do not fancy their services. You can also make a free Hotspot Shield account to test out their paid services with their 7 days free trial. But you do need to remember to cancel the trial before the time’s up, otherwise, they will automatically start charging you for their monthly service.
- Free and simple Firefox extension
- No logging
- Up to five simultaneous connections
- 45-day refund policy
- 7-day free trial
- Part of the Five Eyes country
- Questionable logging policy
- Free version comes with advertisement
#6 ZenMate VPN
Best for Novice Users
ZenMate is a straightforward VPN that is designed specifically to support non-technical users who want an easier way to protect their privacy online. The website itself has no confusing jargon or complicated feature lists that can rack up a major headache.
ZenMate operates under Germany’s jurisdiction, which happens to be part of the 14 Eyes Alliance that shares information with other countries as and when required. With this in mind, the company actually does keep some logs on users and their online activity.
The 128-bit and 256-bit military-grade encryption employed by the company ensures that all your data and privacy are securely hidden from outsiders. Other than that, the VPN service provider even delivers OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2 services as part of their tunneling and encryption protocols.
Unfortunately, ZenMate currently only offers slightly over 30 servers across 30 different countries all around the world. This is a considerably smaller number compared to other major VPN providers. On the other hand, the majority of the servers available are torrent-friendly, which you can easily find through ZenMate’s user-friendly Mozilla Firefox browser extension.
The ZenMate seamlessly unblocks US Netflix media libraries from anywhere around the world to allow you unlimited access to TV shows and movies. Although the connection speed with ZenMate may be a tad bit slower than what other competitors offer, it’s unlikely you’ll notice any difference.
ZenMate’s free Firefox extension provides a simple way to enable and disable the VPN service from within the browser interface. There’s a simple console in the extension that allows you to pick and connect to a location with a few simple clicks.
The free extension offered is super bare-bones and offer only the very basic features you’d get from a VPN. But before you do decide on subscribing to their premium packages, you get to first test them out with ZenMate’s seven-day free trial. And even after you’ve paid, you get further protection with their 30-day money-back guarantee. There’s absolutely no harm in taking this out for a spin.
- User-friendly and best for first-time users
- P2P support
- 7-day free trial
- Simple and straightforward
- Unblocks Netflix
- Fewer features
- Customer support could be better
IPVanish has a fast and reliable connection that works flawlessly. It has 1,300 servers in over 75 locations to allow this VPN to deliver an impressive global coverage. IPVanish’s performs up to five times faster for short hop connections while long-distance shows an average increase of 15% in download speeds.
Sadly, this popular VPN service is based in the US that is part of the 5-eyes country and is required to hand over your data to the US authorities. However, since the provider does not keep any usage logs plus, they feature some pretty good security systems like OpenVPN, IKEv2 Kill Switch, Private Check, and Password Generator. In any case, there haven’t been any direct evidence to say that jurisdiction will affect user privacy, so you can still count on IPVanish to secure your information.
This VPN service provider goes one step further by offering you a level of control over their OpenVPN setup. You have the ability to choose your OpenVPN port (1194 or 443) you want to connect to, or you can go for the “Scramble OpenVPN Traffic” option which significantly reduces the chances of your VPN tunnel being detected or blocked.
Their strict zero-logging policy will ensure your identity is always under wraps. They do not record any connection, traffic, or activity data accessed through their server in order to preserve your civil right to privacy.
IPVanish is even compatible with TOR that encrypts your traffic across different servers. Many use TOR along with their VPN to attain an additional layer of protection to improve their anonymity. With this, you can easily hide your original identity from online snoopers and ISPs.
IPVanish features efficient customer support with three different ways for contact:
- 24/7 live chat support
- 24/7 email support (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Help section on the website for tickets
Regardless of your method of contact, you will receive a helpful response in a timely manner. Similarly, you may get some assistance on setting up the app, FAQs, troubleshooting and billing questions through their help section.
IPVanish offers a pricing plan that is a bit on the higher side. It has 3 different pricing plans that are rather expensive despite having good discount offers. Additionally, it also does not offer a free trial, but their plans do come with a 7-day money-back guarantee.
- Good security
- No logs
- Reliable connection
- Fast connection speeds
- No free trial
- Does not accept Bitcoin
ExpressVPN is one service provider that needs no introduction, it is a favorite among privacy enthusiasts. Being one of the best VPN services available in business, it is no surprise to find that their Firefox Extension provides a similarly exceptional experience. The extension offers a simple and easy-to-use method to manage the basic features that you use most regularly.
With servers in over 90 countries, ExpressVPN delivers punchy performance along with numerous features like unblocking Netflix, reliable torrenting, tunneling protocols, more than 3,000 super-fast servers, 30 days refund, Bitcoin Payments, and an extremely powerful encryption system to keep all your online activities safe and secure.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a VPN add-on?
A VPN add on, also known as extension, is an extra, browser-based protection service that some VPN providers offer.
Add-ons are mostly simpler and lighter versions of a full VPN. However, since most of them are merely proxy extensions, they do not offer the same benefits that come with the main VPN desktop app. The main reason some people would prefer to install a VPN add-on is for a lighter way to access geo-blocked content with faster speeds compared to a full VPN.
Should I use a Firefox VPN Browser Extension or Full VPN?
While a Firefox browser extension is lightweight, it does not offer the same level of protection as a dull desktop VPN. For those whose concerns are only to access geo-blocked content, a VPN browser extension may suffice.
For those who are worried about their privacy or security, you’ll typically find that most VPN providers include Firefox add-on as part of their more comprehensive VPN package. Where possible, users should sign up for a full VPN that provides Firefox add-ons alongside mobile and desktop apps to ensure that you’re fully protected across all your devices.
What are the benefits of using VPN extensions?
Adding a VPN extension to your Firefox browser opens up a wide array of benefits to keep your connection secure. While it is not the same as installing a VPN app, these proxies have niche uses as well. Below are a few scenarios where of installing a VPN extension comes in handy:
Special Case Uses
Proxies tend to be lighter on system resource usage due to their limited functionality. This is great especially for those who are using a less powerful laptop and do not want to drain your system resources.
Specialized Risk Control
Internet browsers are one of the most vulnerable targets to get hacked by external parties – all browsers are prone to security risks. If you don’t want a full-fledged VPN application that takes up the majority of your resources, you can settle for defending your information and hiding your identity through a VPN proxy extension specifically for your browser.
Some VPN extensions come with additional features like ad blocking, tracker avoidance, and cookie management. This helps to remove the junk out from the net before it reaches you, however, it may cause some web pages to look funny.
Preventing WebRTC Leaks
Mozilla Firefox and Chrome browsers have a security vulnerability whereby your IP address could easily be leaked. Some VPN extensions now even have a built-in WebRTC leak prevention to ensure this type of incident will never happen to you.
Are browser extensions the same as VPN applications?
Browser extensions only take care of online traffic on the browser while the application takes care of any and all online connections.
VPN browser extensions are proxy service extensions that redirect your online traffic to other servers. This method comes in handy when you need to access geo-restricted content or want to access a website from a different IP address.
VPN applications work in a similar manner. They redirect the user’s traffic to one of their server locations. However, one thing VPN applications do differently is that they encrypt and redirect user’s traffic to ensure no one is able to get their hands on the encrypted traffic.
Firefox extension is more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and other malicious activities on the internet. None of your sensitive information will be safe, and you will still be open to all sorts of cybercrimes when you’re using the proxy service.
VPN applications offer full-on protection services with their military grade-encryption. But this type of heavy usage does take a toll on your internet speed. You may experience a significant drop in connection speed while using the VPN application compared to the proxy extension.
Is using VPN legal?
Yes, using a VPN is completely legal. It is in your right to protect and encrypt all your internet connection to protect your personal data. It is the same concept as using an envelope to cover your letters. Some information is better kept private to ensure you’re not vulnerable to all kinds of malicious cyber-attacks.
As a Master Degree graduate in the Internet Technology field, Stefan is highly dedicated towards improving the overall web security so internet users can browse freely without having to be afraid of technical loopholes. With over 15 years in the internet security industry, you should definitely take his advice seriously.