Though the default vanilla installs of Google Chrome are more than enough for normal internet users who use it for casually browsing the web, reading news, listening to music, and watching videos online, there are many other internet users who feel that they need even more useful features integrated into their web browser. And that’s precisely why chrome extensions were introduced – allowing people to customize their browsers as per their liking and make it more useful.
In this post, I’m going to share some useful Chrome extensions for Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and other web browser based on the Chromium open-source project. But hey, before you start installing a gazillion number of useful(?) extensions on your Chrome browser, let me share a piece of advice with you – installing too many extensions can worsen your browsing experience by slowing down your computer. Remember that Chrome is a memory-hogging application.
uBlock Origin is a free and open-source yet efficient adblocker. What we mean by efficient here is that it doesn’t use much of your system memory, unlike other ad blockers which can eat up your freely available memory as you start browsing through the internet.
Though uBlock Origin may look small and might be the new kid on the block, don’t be fooled by it. It can easily enforce thousands of additional filters than other traditional adblockers like AdBlock, AdBlock Plus, AdGuard, etc.
One of the main reasons why I love uBlock Origin over other ad blockers is that it is less memory-intensive than other adblocking extensions available on the Chrome Web Store. uBlock Origin is currently used by more than ten million active users to safeguard them from malicious advertisements and to block advertisements in general.
Another useful tool is ExpressVPN’s Chrome browser extension. ExpressVPN secures your internet connection when you connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots in places like airports and cafes, which prevents hackers from gaining access to your usernames and passwords for your emails, online banking, and social media accounts. The extension also allows you to access video content that might not be available in your country or region, which makes ExpressVPN particularly useful when you’re traveling abroad.
ExpressVPN lets you connect to 148 VPN server locations in 94 countries. The extension stops websites from figuring out your IP address and location and spoofs your browser’s geolocation data so that it matches the VPN server to which you’re connected.
The best part? ExpressVPN offers 24/7 customer support, so if you’re ever uncertain which VPN location to connect to, you can just live chat with a support agent and get instant help.
As the name suggests, HTTPS Everywhere encrypts your data traffic and uses HTTPS whenever possible, that is, it tries to use the secure protocol whenever possible while you try to open any web pages, even when it doesn’t offer HTTPS service.
This is actually a part of the popular HTTPS Everywhere extension for Firefox, created by EFF and the Tor Project. It automatically switches thousands of sites from insecure “HTTP” to secure “HTTPS”. It will protect you against many forms of surveillance and account hijacking, and some forms of censorship.
HTTPS Everywhere is installed on all TOR browsers by default. The added advantage of using this extension is that it’ll make your online experience even more secure especially while online banking, online shopping, etc.
And just like ExpressVPN, this extension is also light on your system’s resources.
Privacy Badger extension blocks and protects you from ads and invisible trackers that spy on you. It ensures that companies can’t track your browser history and browsing activity without your consent.
The extension is designed to automatically protect your privacy from third-party trackers that load invisibly when you browse the web. It sends the ‘Do Not Track’ header with each request, and it evaluates the likelihood that you are still being tracked. If the algorithm deems the likelihood is too high, it automatically blocks your request from being sent to the domain. But the problem is that Privacy Badger is still in beta, and the algorithm’s determination is not conclusive that the domain is tracking you.
The extension has three states. Red means it’s blocking the tracker. Yellow means that it doesn’t send cookies or referrers to the tracker. Green means unblocked (probably because the third party does not appear to be tracking you). We can click on the Privacy Badger icon in the browser’s toolbar if we wish to override the automatic blocking settings. Or, we can browse in peace as Privacy Badger starts finding and eating up web trackers one by one. By the way, Privacy Badger is a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Unlike ‘Ghostery’ extensions (another extension similar to Privacy Badger), this extension doesn’t start blocking trackers automatically from the first run itself. It learns from your browsing patterns and recognizes which trackers are to be blocked or allowed. So, don’t be baffled when you see that it’s doing nothing initially when you browse a website just after installing it.
Bitwarden – Free Password Manager
Generally, it is not a good practice to re-use your passwords, that is, use the same password on more than one website. That’s the reason why I use a unique password for every online account I have.
Moreover, I don’t use dictionary words as my passwords as they can easily be cracked. So what do I do to create strong passwords? I use the Bitwarden Chrome extension to generate strong passwords for my online credentials. Also, it has got a secure vault where all your passwords are securely stored.
This way, I need not remember all my passwords. With Bitwarden, all you need to remember is one master password and you can carry your passwords anywhere. They support almost all major browsers available out there and have also got their apps on Google Play and iOS App Store.
Using the Mailvelope extension, you can encrypt your emails. It provides an end-to-end encryption service; secure e-mail communication based on OpenPGP Standard. Mailvelope allows you to encrypt and decrypt emails in your favorite webmail provider. It is integrated directly into the webmail user interface and is easy to use in your regular workflow.
It comes pre-configured for these webmail providers:
Hope you guys found this list of useful chrome extensions useful! 🙂 Stay tuned. More interesting posts are coming up next! 😀