How to Set Up a VPN on a Chromebook in 2024

By Novak Bozovic / June 26, 2022

In terms of setting up a VPN on your Chromebook, you now have more options than ever before. With that said, you're in luck if you have a relatively new Chrome OS device, as that means you can install an Android VPN app. However, your options don't stop there.

You can also manually set up a VPN on Chrome OS, which is an excellent option if you have an older Chromebook. Then, you can add a VPN extension to Chrome, helping you safeguard what you do in that specific Web browser only. Lastly, if you're a more advanced user, you can switch to using Linux VPN apps on your Chromebook.

Therefore, truly plenty of options overall. Let's help you decide which method of setting up a Chrome OS VPN suits you the best. Keep reading to learn more!

How to Set Up a VPN on a Chromebook

These are the 4 different methods to install a Chromebook VPN:

Method #1: Use a Native Chrome OS / Android App

Many Chromebook models now support Android apps. If you have a relatively new Chrome OS device (from this list), you can install an Android VPN app from the Play Store.

If you have an older Chromebook, go to Settings > Apps > Google Play Store. If your device supports Android apps, you'll see a way to enable those apps.

As mentioned above, modern Chromebooks (made in 2019 or later) now support Android apps. So, if you have access to Google's Play Store and Android apps, here's how to set up a VPN on your Chromebook:

1. Subscribe to a VPN that has a native Android app. Our recommendation is ExpressVPN. (You can also try it risk-free for 30 days.)

2. After subscribing to ExpressVPN, open the Play Store app on your Chromebook.

Chrome OS Play Store App Icon

3. Search for "ExpressVPN" and then tap "Install."

Installing ExpressVPN on Chrome OS

4. ExpressVPN will now download and install on Chrome OS. Launch the VPN app.

5. Tap "Sign In" and provide your credentials (email and password).

Loging in to ExpressVPN on a Mobile Device

6. When asked for a connection request, tap "OK."

Connection Request on Chrome OS

7. Finalize the initial setup. Once done, you will reach ExpressVPN's home screen.

8. To connect to the nearest server, tap the circular ON/OFF switch.

Connecting to ExpressVPN Server

9. To pick a specific location, use the button below the ON/OFF switch.

Choosing Different ExpressVPN Server

10. Once your VPN session becomes active, ExpressVPN's interface will turn green.

Connected to ExpressVPN Server

11. To disconnect, tap the ON/OFF switch again. ExpressVPN's interface will turn red.

That's it - you now have full access to ExpressVPN, letting you encrypt your data and safeguard your privacy. However, remember that any VPN will protect all your incoming and outgoing data – but only if you use Chrome OS version 64 or newer.

If you use an older Chrome OS version, only the apps downloaded from the Play Store will be protected. Therefore, update your Chromebook to the latest available Chrome OS version to receive full protection.

Method #2: Set up a Chromebook VPN Manually

To go through this installation method, you need a VPN that provides a list of server addresses and other required information. Also, your chosen VPN must support L2TP/IPsec. So, here's how to manually set up a VPN on your Chromebook.

1. Subscribe to a VPN that supports manual VPN configuration. You should go for ExpressVPN.

2. Once you subscribe, return to the home page of ExpressVPN's website.

3. Tap "My Account" and enter your credentials. You'll reach your online dashboard.

Signing In to ExpressVPN Website

4. Select "Set Up Other Devices" and then pick "Manual Configuration."

L2TP Configuration ExpressVPN

5. On the right, select the "L2TP/IPsec" tab.

6. Note your username and password. Also, find a VPN location and its server address.

L2TP Credentials ExpressVPN

7. Visit your Chromebook's "Settings" app.

Settings Icon on Chrome OS

8. Then, navigate to Network > Add Connection > Add OpenVPN / L2TP.

Adding New VPN Connection to Chrome OS

9. The "Join VPN Network" screen will now appear. Enter the following information:

VPN Connection Details Chromebook

10. Tap "Connect" to initialize your VPN session and test your settings.

11. You should see a key icon next to your new VPN connection once you connect.

Icon Indicating VPN Session is Active on Chrome OS

12. To disconnect, go to Network > VPN. Select your connection and pick "Disconnect."

Disconnecting from VPN on Chromebook

13. You can also add more connections using additional VPN locations. That's it!

Method #3: Use a Chrome VPN Extension

VPN extensions for Chrome are typically proxies and not fully-featured VPNs. Therefore, we don’t recommend them for doing ultra-sensitive tasks online. However, they can greatly help with media streaming and general Internet browsing.

Another way to set up a VPN on Chromebook is to use a Chrome extension. If you pick this route, know that your chosen VPN will protect everything you do inside the Chrome browser. So, your other apps will send and receive traffic without encryption.

If you're okay with that, here's how to install a Chrome OS VPN using an extension:

1. Subscribe to a VPN that has a reliable and robust VPN extension, such as NordVPN.

2. Open the Chrome browser and visit the Chrome Web Store.

3. Search for "NordVPN" and open the extension's overview.

NordVPN Extension Chrome Web Store Listing

4. Install the VPN extension using the "Add to Chrome" button.

5. Confirm your decision by tapping on "Add Extension."

Prompt to Install NordVPN in Chrome

6. You'll now see a confirmation that NordVPN's extension is now installed.

7. To activate the extension, select its logo (in the top-right corner of Chrome).

NordVPN Extension for Chrome

8. Select "Log In" and provide your NordVPN credentials.

9. You can now connect to any server and encrypt your incoming and outgoing data.

10. Finally, optimize NordVPN's extension by going to its settings (bottom-left corner).

NordVPN Chrome Extension Settings

11. That's it! You can now have full access to NordVPN's extension for Chrome OS.

Method #4: Switch to Using a Linux VPN App

Chromebooks that were released in 2019 and later can run Linux applications. Your device needs to run Chrome OS 69 or newer. Also, you need to enable support for Linux by going to Settings > Advanced > Developers > Linux Developer Environment.

If you decide to use a Linux VPN app on your Chromebook, we recommend using a VPN that offers a native app for this operating system. Here's what you need to do:

1. Subscribe to a VPN that offers a Linux app that works on Chrome OS, such as ExpressVPN.

2. Ensure that you've enabled support for Linux on your Chromebook.

3. Use a Linux Web browser to access ExpressVPN's website. Then, select "My Account."

Signing In to ExpressVPN Website

4. Access your ExpressVPN dashboard and click "Set Up Other Devices."

5. Pick "Linux" and then select your version of Linux (Ubuntu 32-bit or 64-bit, in most cases).

Choosing a Version of ExpressVPN for Linux

6. Download ExpressVPN's installation file for Linux.

7. Open Linux's Terminal and find the folder where you’ve downloaded the installation file.

8. By default, you should use the "cd ~/Downloads/" command.

CD Downloads Command on Linux

9. Then, open the installer file using the "sudo dpkg -i [INSTALLER NAME]" command.

Installation Path ExpressVPN on Linux

10. Make sure to enter the file's name and its extension carefully.

11. Then, type in "expressvpn activate" and hit Enter.

Activate Command ExpressVPN on Linux

12. Return to your ExpressVPN dashboard, where you’ll see your unique activation code.

13. Paste it into Terminal and hit Enter to activate the VPN.

14. You’ll also be asked to share anonymous data for diagnostic purposes.

Activating ExpressVPN on Linux

15. You've installed ExpressVPN, which means you can now start using the VPN.

16. Use the "expressvpn connect" command to connect to the nearest server.

Command for Connecting to ExpressVPN on Linux

17. Use the "expressvpn list all" commands to list all ExpressVPN servers.

18. Go with "expressvpn disconnect" to disconnect and end your VPN session.

Command for Disconnecting from ExpressVPN on Linux

19. That's it! You can now interact with ExpressVPN using its native Linux app.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, setting up a VPN on your Chromebook can be done in more ways than one. So, proceed based on your level of knowledge regarding VPNs and Chrome OS. However, no matter which path you pick, you'll first need to subscribe to a quality Chrome OS VPN service.

We'll once again remind you that our #1 recommendation is ExpressVPN, which works flawlessly on Chrome OS and supports a wide range of installation methods. You can even try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days, which is why it's among the best VPNs for a Chromebook.

If you wish to extend your VPN coverage to other devices, consult our central guide on setting up a VPN - with more than 60 devices and platforms covered.


Does a Chromebook Need a VPN?

Your Chromebook needs a VPN if you want to protect your privacy, ensure no one follows you on the Web, as well as unblock new websites or apps.

For more information, check our guide that explains what's a VPN. And then, you'll want to learn more about how VPNs work.

Do Chromebooks Have a Built-In VPN?

Some Chromebook models come with built-in tools for setting up a VPN connection. You can find those by going to Network Settings > VPN > Add a VPN Connection.

However, even if you have that option, you still need a valid VPN subscription. Therefore, Chromebooks come with a tool to set up a VPN - but they don't have a built-in VPN, per se.

What's the Easiest Way to Set Up a VPN on a Chromebook?

The easiest way to install a VPN on a Chromebook is to use a native Android app (if your Chromebook runs Android apps, of course).

Using a native Android app will help you protect all your incoming and outgoing Web traffic (not just what you do in Chrome). We recommend ExpressVPN for this purpose.

What's the Best VPN Extension for a Chromebook?

If you want a reliable Chrome VPN extension for your Chromebook, we recommend using NordVPN, which is easy to use yet highly powerful in every possible aspect.

Using NordVPN's Chrome extension, you'll get access to an army of servers, the ability to block various types of data leaks, as well as unblock websites and apps. To learn more, read our NordVPN review.

NordVPN or ExpressVPN - Which One's Better for Chrome OS?

If you need a Chrome extension, you should go with NordVPN. However, if you want a fully-featured VPN, your choice should be ExpressVPN.

How Do I Set Up a Free VPN on My Chromebook?

You can set up a free VPN app on your Chromebook by installing its Android app or using a Chrome extension, depending on what your chosen VPN supports.

However, we'll add that free VPNs aren't likely to bring a satisfactory experience. They come with limited performance and bandwidth, can hardly unblock websites and Chrome OS apps, and don't have the highest possible level of encryption.

If you're on a budget, we recommend checking our guide to the best VPN deals. You can also learn more about the best cheap VPN services.

If you have any questions about setting up a VPN on your Chromebook, make sure to post your comment just below. With that said, we conclude our guide. Thank you for reading!

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