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Best VPNs for Firefox (2023)
We live in the age of surveillance capitalism. It is easy to see that statement and think of it as being scientifically crafted to contain nothing but buzzwords. But it is also not hard to see how it is true.
Let’s say that you search for something on Google. Something that you can buy. You are looking through your options when you stop at a different product. You mouse over it. You do not even click on it.
Obviously, Google knows what you searched for. That much makes sense. But they also know where you stopped scrolling. They even know that you moused over something, even if you did not click on it.
Some people are not bothered by this. Sure, Google watches them. What’s the big deal?
The big deal is that Google, and other technology mega-corporations like them, do not stop there. They will then sell your information to whoever is paying. Scammers, spammers, spies, other companies, advertisers, marketing agents, whoever is in the market, these companies will sell you information to.
Your information is more valuable than gold, oil, or any other commodity. And it is being stolen every day. So, how do you protect yourself? How does an individual work against this system of surveillance?
Table of Contents:
- The Best VPNs for Firefox
- 1. NordVPN – Best Overall VPN
- 2. ExpressVPN – Best Interface
- 3. Surfshark – Best Budget Option
- 4. CyberGhost – Best Free VPN
- 5. ZenMate – Best High Speed VPN
- 6. Hide.me – Best Anonymous Features
- 7. TunnelBear – Best Flexible Plans
- 8. AtlasVPN – Best Adblocker
- 9. ProtonVPN – Best Torrent Support
- 10. Private Internet Access – Best Development Tools
The Best VPNs for Firefox 🛡️
Some people solve this problem by stepping away from the internet entirely. We are happy to report that there are other ways to address this issue. Namely: With a VPN.
A VPN is a “Virtual Private Network”. That means it is a network that stands between you and the internet, barring the way for anything that passes through.
If a website asks your computer to send it certain information (such as information you entered into Facebook’s account creation, like age or location), a VPN can make that information unreadable by the time it leaves your computer. This also works for any programs or cookies on your computer.
Cookies are small files that help your computer load websites faster. Websites leave them on your computer so that they do not have to reload graphics or welcome messages. But files like these can carry nefarious things, including malware that tries to send your information to the internet.
VPNs can block that data from being sent.
So, now that you know what a VPN does, that leaves the question: What is the best VPN? Different VPNs have different uses. So today, we will be going over the best VPN for Firefox.
1. NordVPN – Best Overall VPN
NordVPN provides the two things that every Firefox VPN needs: Plugin support, and speed. You see, most VPNs have the same basic functionality.
They protect your computer from the internet. They keep sites from tracking your IP. They have language in their contracts saying they won’t log your internet use (that one is important, we’ll talk about that more later).
They protect your computer from the internet. They keep sites from tracking your IP. They have language in their contracts saying they won’t log your internet use (that one is important, we’ll talk about that more later).
Therefore, it is in the little things that a VPN can push itself over the top. Little things like a plugin that allows you to operate your VPN through an interface on your browser rather than with an app.
NordVPN is not just one of the best VPNs in the world, it also has one such plugin. Whatever website you are using, NordVPN will track its attempts at accessing your computer in various ways.
This covers everything from looking for personal information, banking information, shopping habits, your location, and basically anything else that can be sold. NordVPN’s plugin does two things:
- It warns you when this is happening
- It uses a program called CyberSec to help block these attacks
This means that you can navigate the internet both knowing where the risks are while still being protected from them. Too many VPNs only warn you of danger when it is too late.
The second thing that NordVPN provides you is speed. This seems like it should be a given along with the other “standard” features. And yes, in theory it should be. But in practice it is not a priority for all VPNs.
Especially for customers living in Australia, most VPNs will slow down your internet access. This is usually due to the lack of physical data centers in the Oceania region. Luckily, NordVPN avoids this.
Because NordVPN is one of the most expansive VPNs around, it is also one of the fastest for customers outside the United States. This means that there are few VPNs that can match its features and speed.
The biggest downside of NordVPN is the cost. It is priced above average, and it costs even more outside the United States. Most VPNs do, but most VPNs also lack something that causes them to be cheaper.
For some VPNs it is speed, for others is plugins, for others still it is security. NordVPN is known as the VPN that has it all, and so it is more expensive in exchange. Keep this in mind when you get it.
- One of the faster VPNs for Australian users
- Great Plugin for Firefox
- Very secure
- Definitely one of the more expensive options
2. ExpressVPN – Best Interface
ExpressVPN is a VPN that focuses on being easy to use. There was a period of times when using VPNs required a sophisticated understanding of computers, how they worked, and the internet.
In those times, VPNs were not branded programs that you set up with an installer. Instead, they were programs you got from cybersecurity forums on the internet and set up yourself.
Well, someone saw that there was money to be made in doing that job on the behalf of the customer. And now, many years later, you have VPNs like Express VPN, the Firefox VPN with the best interface.
What makes it the best interface? Two things: Readability and languages.
Readability in an interface is a complex thing to deal with. You have probably used a computer or app that tries to use the most abstract symbols it can in order to communicate its interface.
Abstract symbols save space and look nice, but they do not always communicate how an app actually works. Studies have also repeatedly found that older computer users are more hesitant to press buttons than younger computer users. This is even more true if the function of the buttons is unclear.
If a button’s use is unclear and you are hesitant to press buttons at all for fear of breaking something, then you will swiftly find an app unusable. But at the same time, an app that is busy with text is equally impossible to navigate. In that case you cannot parse any of the information it is presenting you with.
That is what makes interfaces so hard to design. Some of the functions need to be stored in abstract buttons, while others need to be concrete text that directly communicate what they do.
ExpressVPN strikes that balance. Not only that, but you can customize the interface to be more abstract once you have gotten the hang of things.
The other thing that ExpressVPN does that puts its interface ahead of the rest is provide its services in tons of different languages. There are 16 in total, meaning it can serve the native langue of any region it is usable in.
If there is any downside to ExpressVPN, it is that it does not serve all areas. It can be used in Australia just fine, but it does not spoof Southeast Asia all that well.
- Best user interface on the market
- Highly secure
- Great price for all its features
- Lacks consistency outside the US
3. Surfshark – Best Budget Option
Most VPNs are going to be about $10 a month. Sure, there will usually be a discount on the first year that knocks off about 30-60% of the price.
But when you are looking for a VPN, you are looking for a long-term solution to the problem of cybersecurity, and that problem does not go away after a year.
Once you have a VPN, you are probably not going to want to give it up after that first, cheaper year. Not unless the VPN is just too expensive after the discount wears off. What do you do then?
Well, the most intuitive answer is jump from one VPN to the next, using all of their cheap first years. But that is unsustainable for two reasons: First, you will run out of VPNs eventually. And second, you will run out of VPNs that can actually serve you even faster. That second point is especially true for Australians.
The solution? Get a VPN that is more affordable. And there is no VPN more affordable than Surfshark.
Surfshark’s base price is about one forth that of its competitors. But let’s be clear about something: It is not just a matter of the price. It is a matter of comparing the features each service offers for the price.
So, what does Surfshark have? Well, it has the standard VPN tools. It shields you from data collection, has malware detection software built into it, and can protect multiple devices of different kinds too.
But when people see a lower priced product, their real question is, “What does it lack?”
Surfshark does not have the speed that the other VPNs have, nor does it have the search protection tools. All VPNs will slow your internet connection down a little. That problem will be slightly worse with Surfshark. Most VPNs can also pull security information from websites as you search them.
Surfshark lacks that as well. It should be said that while it does not have the best speed, it does have great coverage. You are unlikely to suddenly lose your VPN’s service. It has plenty of data centers to support it, it is just that those data centers are not as fast as other, more expensive options.
And while it cannot scan websites before you click on them, it at least has strong enough virus and malware protection that it can keep you secure from the worst ones.
Altogether, this makes Surfshark a great budget option. Not only is it one of the cheapest options, but while it may be limited in features, it definitely makes an effort to optimize those features.
- Easily the best price you are going to find for a VPN
- Above average virus protection
- Covers lots of devices
- Has issues with slowdown
4. CyberGhost – Best Free VPN
Most people know these days that something that is free is often really only free with a few asterisks at the end.
Simply put, something is only cheap if it is lacking something, and free if it is dysfunctional.
The presumption is that you are offered the “free” version of a software in order to get an idea of what you are missing by not paying for things. Some software will be gated off by time, where you have to buy the full version eventually. Others will be gated off by functionality.
Functionality-gating is when you are only allowed to use certain features of the software until you pay.
Because so much free software is like this, many people see that CyberGhost is a free VPN and think, “But what is missing from it that it wants me to pay for? What basic functionality am I missing?”
The answer is that all of the basics of a VPN are there in some capacity. It is true that it is not the fastest, and its coverage is not the best. But it has security options, plugins for Firefox, and even the ability to load up on mobile devices. It is really the advanced tools that are missing.
CyberGhost’s big weakness is protection from the more advanced kinds of data collection. But these are only a problem if you are visiting particularly unscrupulous sites. CyberGhost is a good VPN for work computers due to it blocking normal data collection with perfect competence.
- Free and still healthy with features
- Good interface
- Works in Australia
- Slow in most regions
- Lacks proactive security measures
5. ZenMate – Best High Speed VPN
To understand how the speed of certain VPNs work, you have to understand data centers.
When you use the internet, you are using a device (usually a computer, sometimes a phone) that communicates with a modem.
That modem connects to a wire that runs underground and connects to a data center. Sometimes it has to run for quite a while underground before it reaches the data center.
Data centers are where all of the information being exchanged between computers meets up. If you access Google, then Google sends information to that data center to load Google’s front page. You then send information on what you would like to search, and Google carries out that operation.
Not all locations in the world have perfect access to data centers, however. Australia in particular is known for its inconsistent internet on the consumer level. The cables that connect Australia to the United States, for instance, are thousands of miles long and run along the bottom of the ocean.
With all this being said, how can ZenMate promise a high speed VPN? How is it even possible to speed up the process? A VPN will always slow your internet down because it has to stand in between the internet and your computer. The further away the VPN’s data centers, the slower it will be.
How Does ZenMate Address This?
These limitations apply to physical data centers. But the rules are a bit different when it comes to “digital data centers”. These data centers are data centers wherein your computer transmits its information to more than one data center.
Each of these data centers will be about equally far away. It takes barely any more computing power to send multiple signals as it does to send one. Therefore, your computer can easily access more than one.
Once it has a connection between more than one data center, each data center will communicate with each other as well as your computer. In sharing the burden of these computations, the multiple data centers will end up making a “digital data center”. There is one task being worked with multiple hands.
This is what ZenMate does that allows it to cover hundreds of countries with reliable VPN service. That means that ZenMate covers huge multiples of countries, more than other VPN service providers.
Its speed is one thing, but its features are nothing to sneeze at either. ZenMate has all the basics, plus IP tracking blockers and an internet kill switch. This means that if your VPN is ever disrupted, it will turn off your internet until connection to the VPN can be reestablished.
This is a feature that is usually omitted from VPNs when they offer their services to countries outside the United States. If a VPN’s connection to a country like Australia is unstable, then it risks disrupting your work to tie your internet’s functionality to that.
ZenMate does not need to worry about this since its technology makes its connection so good.
- Fastest VPN in the west (and east)
- Great features
- Easy to use
- Its Firefox plugin can feel bare bones
6. Hide.me – Best Anonymous Features
Early on, we covered some of the ways that mega corporations will track your activity and steal your information.
We talked about how they will sell that information and use it to advertise to you.
But that is not all they will do. One of the most common things for an internet service provider to do is perform “throttling”. This is where they observe your internet habits and selectively slow down your internet when you are using it the most. Why do they do this? There are a few reasons.
The most common one is that it reduces costs on the service provider’s end. They use less energy by offering you less bandwidth. If you test your internet at any given time, it will look like you are getting what you pay for. But during your peak hours, you will be getting less than what you pay for.
Internet service providers also do this to incentivize you to pay more for better internet speeds. Of course, whether or not you actually get what you pay for in those cases is up to their mercy.
In short, most internet service providers are looking to give you as little as possible.
How do You Avoid This?
Hide.me is a VPN that specifically specializes in making your internet access anonymous. This means that it does not just make it anonymous to the sites you are visiting. It also makes it anonymous to your browser and your internet service provider.
One might ask, “Why would an internet service provider allow this?”
Oftentimes, they do not allow this. But because of the nature of the technology, they have to literally be in your house watching you use it in order to catch you. For that reason, no one has ever been caught using a VPN to escape their internet service provider’s oversight.
Without the ability to track your activity, your service provider cannot identify when your peak times are and are not. This means that they do not know when to give you less bandwidth.
This also means that region restricted applications and websites will suddenly lift their restrictions for you. Hide.me allows you to “spoof” your region in case certain features are region-locked to a specific region. But should a vide be blocked in your country specifically, Hide.me can unblock it for you.
On top of all of this, Hide.me is one of the cheaper VPN options. This comes with two downsides: Its security features are not the best, and its initial discount is rather small. This means you will have to pay full price for the service rather early on.
Given that it fulfills the niche of private browsing the best of any VPN, this might not be a problem.
- Amazing privacy options
- Relatively good speeds and coverage
- Low price
- Low on features
7. TunnelBear – Best Flexible Plans
Money itself is rarely complicated, but it can cause some serious complications.
The most common one is forcing people to choose between a product they want and a product they can actually afford.
This can be frustrating, as the expensive product is obviously the one you base your purchasing decisions around. It is your standard for what is good. But economics says you cannot have it.
This is why the flexible plans that TunnelBear offers are great. They give you three different plans to choose from that are all on a different pricing scheme. The choice they offer is always a balance between up front costs versus costs that you manage over time (usually over a year).
You can either pay a lot up front and in doing so reduce the amount you pay in total. Or you can pay a little up front and manage that expense over time for a smaller initial investment. This principle extends to all their plans. The best part is that you get the same service no matter how you pay.
And while it is not the most inventive service, it is still known for being highly reliable. TunnelBear serves 49 countries with physical data centers all over the world. This allows them to deliver high speed service everywhere that they serve. You get a very similar speed in Australia as customers get in America.
This comes with the standard VPN features: Password protection and privacy guarantees, no-log internet access, avoiding throttling, bypassing censorship, and so on. The big downside is features.
TunnelBear is known for its reliability, not for its creativeness. It can cover up to five devices at once and comes with browser plugins for Firefox to ensure that you are connecting to the regions you want to connect to in order to access the content you want to access, but that is the height of its tools.
Luckily, this makes it pretty easy to use. This is the trade off that most applications have to deal with: Either they are heavy on features and hard to use, or light on features and easy to use.TunnelBear is light on features, but that makes it very intuitive. Get TunnelBear if it is your first VPN, and you need something cheap and fast. Just know it fits very few niches.
- Flexible, relatively cheap pricing
- Good speeds all over the world
- Easy to use
- Light on features
8. AtlasVPN – Best Adblocker
One of the main principles behind VPNs that separates them from antivirus and antimalware is that rather than reacting to the viruses as they appear, your VPN takes action to prevent them from appearing in the first place.
This can be somewhat unintuitive at times.
Viruses can enter your computer through a few different means. Most commonly, they get into your computer through cookies and ads from websites that are not secure or trustworthy.
This means that the websites place cookies in your computer to help with loading the website. This is a common practice on the internet. What is not as common (though it is becoming increasingly more common) is that those cookies begin to communicate with each other.
By these means seemingly innocuous bits of data can turn into applications that are actively stealing your information and tracking your behavior. By the time this happens the proverbial kitchen has already been flooded, and you have now found yourself ankle deep in pop up ads.
The thing about antivirus software is that they seek to drain the flooding kitchen by using a bucket to throw the water out the window. But the reason VPNs (and firewall software, by extension) are just as important to security is that they instead opt to turn off the flow of water before draining it.
And by “turn off the flow of water” we of course mean “turn off the virus’ ability to hurt you”. Most viruses are reliant on an internet connection in order to do real damage. A virus can hurt your computer without an internet connection, but it requires an internet connection to steal your identity.
This is what makes AtlasVPN such a great security option as far as VPNs go. Its big feature is the Firefox plugin it has, comes with an adblocker that integrates with its VPN to make your browsing secure against even the most clever of ad-based cookie viruses.
Its security features also extend to how it communicates with the rest of the internet. One of the most commonly traded forms of information is location data. Ads and websites can find your location data even if you have a VPN unless you have a VPN that uses tools specifically crafted to negate this.
Location-compromising tools work like this: First, you connect to a website. When connect to a website you connect to a data server, and that data server “points” your connection in the direction of the website. The problem is that all an ad, cookie, or virus has to do is follow these “pointers” back to you.
Some VPNs have tools that protect against this. Some cover their tracks well enough that they protect against it incidentally. But many do not protect against it at all. AtlasVPN protects against it specifically.
Tools like their ad and tracker blockers are combined with an internet kill switch to ensure that nothing can get away with disrupting the VPN. If the VPN is disabled for any reason, the internet is disabled with it. Obviously, you can turn that feature on and off at will if you want. AtlasVPN is highly customizable.
Use AtlasVPN if you are looking for a VPN with a security focus that is easy to use. It has data centers around the world that give it good speeds in every country, just be aware its features are complex.
- Highly secure
- Good speeds
- Complex to use
- Pretty pricey
9. ProtonVPN – Best Torrent Support
Supporting 62 different countries with thousands of data centers around the world, most of ProtonVPN’s features characterize it as a VPN mainly focused on security.
It has the usual kill switch, IP tracker blocker, and location spoofing features that help you keep your location a secret.
But what really sets ProtonVPN apart from the rest of the pack is its support of a particular technology: Torrents. When most people hear torrents, they either think, “What is a torrent?” or, “Those things people pirate video games with?” And while yes, they are used in piracy, they are used for more.
Torrents are one of the most efficient ways of downloading data. They are so efficient, in fact, that they are the main way that Microsoft uses to distribute updates. Through that we can tell that they are at least useful. But at the same time, most internet service providers disallow even legitimate use of them.
This was not always a problem, but security features on modern modems have made it a problem. These are not security features meant to protect you. These are security features meant to protect the internet service providers from customers getting the most value out of the modems they own.
This all has to do with how torrents work. Torrents download things by pulling data from other computers that are hosting the data. These hosts are called “seeders” while the computers taking this data are called “leachers”. The more seeders that are available, the faster the download can go.
However, data can also be shared between leachers, speeding up the process. In order for any data to be shared, the computer doing the sharing needs to have what is called a “port forward” set up. A port forward is a part of the network that offers specific data while disallowing access to the network itself.
The problem that ProtonVPN solves is that it both helps establish a port forward while using the VPN to hide that port forward from your internet service provider. Port forwards are exactly the kind of optimization that internet service providers do not want you to have.
Of course, this is a very advanced kind of tool that you should use with caution. That is the biggest drawback of ProtonVPN. It may be versatile, but it is not easy to use. Therefore, only get it if you really need the port forward for either seeding or leaching torrents.
Naturally, this also means that it is higher price than other VPNs. But that is because it fills a niche.
- Great security options
- Rare port forwarding ability
- Pricier than others
- Harder to use
10. Private Internet Access – Best Development Tools
Nine hundred and ninety-nine consumers out of a thousand want their applications to run themselves.
It is a basic fact of the tech industry that the easier things are to use, the more people will try them.
But just as there are companies who are tripping over each other to serve those nine hundred and ninety-nine people, there are other companies that are working to satisfy that one person who actively desires for an application that they can customize. That is what Private Internet Access offers.
Most of the time, customization of an app is done in a limited number of ways that the developer of the app allows the user to do. This means that you can change how the app works to a limited degree, and where the buttons of the apps are, but you cannot change it on a fundamental level.
And this makes sense. If you could change how an app functions too much, then you run the risk of crippling the functionality of your app while trying to optimize it. Anyone who works in computer science understands that this is the risk of versatility, but most customers will not get it.
What Private Internet Access does that makes it so customizable is that they allow for this “failure state” of customization. Granted, it is behind a wall of open source coding, but it is still possible.
What is Open Source Coding?
When a technology is open source, that means that the “source code” of the application is available for anyone to modify. Legally, you still have to give credit to the original creators of the code, but you can still make drastic modifications to the code. This is how Private Internet Access works.
Private Internet Access is an open source VPN. That means that its features, plugins, and tools are as customizable as they can be. If you can think of a feature it does not have, then you can add it yourself.
Of course, you need to know how to code in the application’s language in order to do this, and you always risk damaging the app in the process. But you also do not always have to do it yourself. The greatest advantage of open source applications is that people can exchange modifications.
You can go on the internet and find tons of people who are handing out free modifications to Private Internet Access. These people release their changes into the wild, where they are then critiqued and further modified by the community. The people who do this love to do this.
The result is a VPN that has a strong support community of people who are working to make sure that the VPN and its modifications work as well as they can. So, get Private Internet Access if you want a VPN you can change yourself, or if you want a community you can turn to for help.
- As customizable as it can be
- Good security options
- Reasonable speeds
- Highly complex
- Pretty expensive for its base features
Getting a VPN can be scary. Once you realize how much the internet watches you, doing something about it can feel like an act of rebellion, and not everyone is a born rebel.
But you can rest assured that no matter how ready you are to protect yourself, there are plenty of VPNs willing to help you take that next step to actually doing it.
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