How Does a VPN Browser Extension Work?

2 min

Two of our most-downloaded apps are the VPN browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Along with our desktop clients for Windows and Apple computers, the browser extensions make up our VPN product portfolio. VPN extensions are easier to install and use and require less computing power to run when compared to standalone applications. But how does an extension work exactly?

How does a VPN browser extension execute tunneling and switch your IP address? 

Let’s find out.

Browser Extensions: What are They and How Do They Work?

As you may know, extensions, also known as plugins and addons, offer additional functions or features in your browser experience. These can be anything from an aesthetic uplift of the browser tabs to a simple tool like a timer to an advanced offering like a virtual private network. Extensions then are web-based applications that you can download and install to improve your overall web surfing experience.

There are various types of extensions out there depending upon their primary function and the browser. A time zone extension can work as a standalone app within the browser. A VPN extension, although still standalone, requires internet communication to connect to its servers.

When you install an extension in your browser, it complements the browser and works just like its other original function such as PDF viewing and tab control. In most cases, the underlying software of the extension works independently to offer its primary function or feature. Almost all extensions are written in JavaScript, CSS, or HTML.

How Does a VPN Extension Work?

Just like standalone software, a virtual private network browser extension connects to a server to offer tunneling. It basically redirects all your web browser traffic via that server, which conceals your IP address. Depending upon the VPN service, the traffic is also encrypted before it leaves your browser.

We’ll take the example of the TuxlerVPN Chrome extension to understand this better. After you install our plugin on your browser, the extension automatically routes your traffic through a random residential IP or server. All websites that you visit via the browser will now see this new residential IP instead of your original IP address.

As you can see, the extension simply blends with the Chrome interface. The underlying tunneling and IP switching happen via TuxlerVPN’s residential IP network. The same is the process for Mozilla and other browsers.

The ease and convenience of installing and using a VPN browser extension make it a standout choice for most users. However, it has a major drawback of only protecting your browser traffic. All other web communication – OS updates, third-party applications, games – still connect through your bare internet connection. It can make you vulnerable to malware attacks and interception.

Want to protect all your web traffic? Try the TuxlerVPN desktop application or our Premium offering for more strong and controlled privacy protection. 

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