VPN Without Download - Best Tools to Use in 2024

Easy guide to use a VPN without having to download and install it

Reading time icon 11 min. read

Readers help support VPNCentral. We may get a commission if you buy through our links. Tooltip Icon

Read our disclosure page to find out how can you help VPNCentral sustain the editorial team Read more

vpn without download

Want a fast VPN without a download? I have a few options for you to choose from: browser extensions, built-in VPN, and router VPN setups just to name a few.

VPNs that need no installation are ideal for users without admin permissions or devices that don’t support VPN apps. They’re also great if you just want to browse right away without any hassle.

In a hurry? Here are the best VPNs without download

Opera One Ideal for quick VPN access without additional software installation.-Browser with built-in VPN
– User-friendly interface
– No registration required
– High-speed servers in multiple locations
NordVPN ExtensionLightweight protection for browser privacy.– Access to numerous servers worldwide
– Effective prevention of IP leaks
– TLS encryption for data protection
-Compatible with all Chromium-based browsers (Chrome, Edge, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, Torch, Epic, SRWare)
Tor BrowserOffers anonymity and security for browsing without downloads.– Routes traffic through volunteer-run servers – Provides anonymity by changing IP address – -Available on multiple platforms
Brave BrowserPrivacy-focused browsing with built-in VPN features.– Establishes a secure network for entire device
– Offers servers in multiple locations
– Built-in ad-blocking and tracking prevention
ExpressVPN RouterProvides security for home network without the need for software downloads.– Encrypts internet traffic for all connected devices – Wide server network in numerous countries
– Offers various VPN protocols for security

Let’s take a closer look.

What are the best ways to use a VPN without downloading it?

By now you can probably tell that you have many options. But not all of them are worth your while.

As someone who’s been using all sorts of VPN tools, I’ll make this easier for you. I looked into and tested many no-download VPN options and I’ll list only the best of the best.

From my research, here are the top 5 solutions to use:

1. Opera One – best browser with a free VPN

opera one user interface

With Opera One, you get a built-in free VPN with no additional downloads or add-ons.

It is user-friendly for beginners and experienced users because you can activate it with just a few clicks.

In addition, you don’t need any registration to access its features.

The VPN has 100+ high-speed servers in 3 general locations – America, Asia, and Europe.

The enhanced online privacy it provides through encryption ensures your data remains protected from threats, whether on public WiFi or concerned about tracking.

I ran an IP leak test on it, and the result shows that it effectively provides privacy, as it claims.

Opera VPN ipleak test

Furthermore, the VPN feature in Opera Browser enables you to bypass geolocation restrictions effortlessly, granting access to content that might be regionally restricted.

For instance, I could access Netflix US when connected to Opera’s Americas servers.

However, a crucial point is that Opera VPN lacks a kill switch.

This means that during a sudden service interruption, your IP address could be exposed, potentially leaking your online activity to your ISP.

It is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Android only.

 Opera One

Opera One

Toggle on the VPN button to browse safely and restriction-free!

2. NordVPN Extension – excellent lightweight protection

NordVPN extension servers

NordVPN offers a practical solution for protecting your privacy on your browser without downloading a VPN app.

I can access over 5800 servers in 60 countries. However, just like in the NordVPN app, I cannot choose a particular city within a selected country.

In addition, it effectively prevents IP leaks by disabling the browser’s WebRTC protocol. With this, you’re sure it will effectively reroute your traffic through the selected server.

I ran a test, and as you can see, it assigned me a new IP address without leaks.

NordVPN extension IPleak test

Moreover, it does not secure your entire device’s traffic like the app but only secures HTTP traffic on your browser.

Also, setting up this extension is easy because it seamlessly works on major browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

Furthermore, some of the features on the app, like Split tunneling and Kill switch, are also available with the extension.

NordVPN extension features

In addition, it uses TLS encryption to protect your data from prying eyes when you visit unsecured HTTP websites.

And with its lightning-fast speed, it ensures you can establish a connection to VPN servers almost instantly.


Get access to tons of premium VPN servers in a simple and quick configuration!
Check price Visit website

3. Tor Browser – a powerful tool for online privacy

Tor interface

Tor Browser offers a unique approach for users seeking anonymity without cumbersome downloads.

It routes your internet traffic via three volunteer-run servers and encrypts it three times.

Whenever you restart the tool, it will connect you through a different, random node. Thus you’ll assume a new identity every time you browse the web with it.

Restart Tor browser

When I launched the app at first, the network routed me through a U.S. server. 

However, after restarting the app, my network went through a German server and a Netherlands server on the third attempt.

Ipleak test for Tor

Although it is not exactly a VPN, it could sometimes be an alternative if you want to access blocked sites or pages that aren’t indexed by Google. Many use it to browse the Dark Web.

Also, journalists, activists, and whistleblowers use Tor to communicate securely.

As you can see in the screenshots above, Tor did not leak any of my private data. That said, it’s not 100% leak-free.

The biggest security concern with Tor is the very fact that it’s run by volunteers. It’s possible that some node operators can see and potentially tamper with your unencrypted data.

In addition, your ISP and most websites will know you are using Tor, which some block.

Tor Browser is available on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux, making it versatile for users across different operating systems. 

➡️ Get Tor Browser

4. Brave Browser – privacy-focused web browser

BraveVPN interface

Brave Browser offers a unique solution for those seeking an online VPN without the need for downloads. How does it work?

It establishes a secure network for your entire device and combines VPN and firewall features to provide comprehensive online protection.

Furthermore, it offers a range of servers in 16 locations, including the US, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

With it, you can hide your identity, bypass geo-restrictions, and stream seamlessly on Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. 

On Windows, you’ll be prompted to install a vital profile on your device when setting up Brave VPN. This file contains details which is essential for the VPN to function.

However, Apple will require iOS users’ PIN codes or biometrics for added security during setup.

Brave Browser enhances online safety with built-in features like Brave Shields for ad-blocking and tracking prevention, while HTTPS Everywhere ensures secure connections. 

It also offers Brave Private Tabs with Tor for high-level anonymity, with no extra software needed.

➡️Get Brave Browser

5. ExpressVPN Router – security for your home network

ExpressVPN router interface

ExpressVPN’s router encrypts internet traffic without the need for software downloads. It boasts 3500+ servers in 94 countries.

Also, it eliminates concerns about device limits because it secures your entire network with a single connection.

This product can be used in two ways. It is available on the WiFi 6 built-in ExpressVPN router, Aircove AX1800.

Alternatively, you can set it up on a VPN-ready router like Netgear AC1900, Linksys WRT3200ACM, or Asus RT-AC5300.

This service shields your IP address without leaks. In addition, it offers robust security with the OpenVPN, Lightway, and IKEv2 protocols on Aircove. 

However, you can only use OpenVPN when you access it from other routers.

Your online activity is safe with its 256-bit encryption. The VPN also keeps no logs of what you do online.

Also, you will have access to blocked content, smooth streaming, quick downloads, and lag-free gaming. 


Use ExpressVPN on the router to shield your entire home network. No downloads are needed.
Check price Visit website

Can you connect to a VPN without downloading it?

Yes, it is possible to use a VPN without downloading or installing a dedicated software or application on your device. Alternatives include browser extensions, a browser with an in-built VPN, and VPN routers.

  • Browser Extensions: These lightweight add-ons are ideal for users without admin access. While they offer free VPNs, they only secure browser traffic, leaving other apps exposed.
  • Browsers with Built-in VPN Features: These browsers encrypt internet data and allow access to restricted content. However, they may have fewer servers and slower speeds compared to full VPN services.
  • Built-in VPN on Devices: Available on PCs, Android, macOS, and Linux, this option allows direct setup through the operating system. It offers comprehensive traffic security but requires server information and technical setup.
  • Router-level VPN Setup: This method configures the home WiFi router as a VPN gateway, securing all connected devices. It requires a VPN-ready router or compatible firmware installation, with options like OpenVPN or WireGuard for configuration.

Pros and cons of using a VPN without download

Ease of use and lower cost are probably the biggest benefits of using a VPN without downloading. But there are also some drawbacks.

Let’s get into them.

Pros and cons of using a VPN without download

No-download VPNs may appear convenient, but they have their pitfalls.

Here are a few things to consider:

Instant accessibility
VPNs without downloads help you save time with quicker connection setup without admin permission.
Feature limitations
No-download VPNs lack the extensive array of advanced features and customization options in downloadable counterparts. This could limit your ability to tailor the VPN to your specific needs.
Cross-platform compatibility
Most no-download VPNs like Tor work seamlessly across various devices and operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Security considerations
They might not offer the same encryption and security options as dedicated VPN clients, potentially leaving your data vulnerable to cyber threats.
Low learning curve
They typically have a simple user interface, making them accessible even to those with limited technical expertise.
Limited server selection: Most of them do not have many server options. For instance, OperaVPN only has 30 locations to choose from. This can impact your ability to bypass geo-restrictions.
Little or no storage space required
Since there’s no need to download and install software, most of these VPNs don’t consume storage space on your device

❌Limited coverage
Many no-download options won’t protect your entire device. VPN browsers and browser extensions will only encrypt the data sent online by their software. Everything else you do online is sent directly through your ISP’s traffic.
Privacy on public computers
No-download VPNs are handy when using public computers or shared devices where you can’t install software

Pros and cons of using a downloadable VPN

Now, let’s also consider the good and the and of using VPN apps:

Enhanced security
Downloadable VPNs typically offer robust encryption and an advanced suite of security features, ensuring your online activities remain confidential and protected from prying eyes.
Device specificity
Certain downloadable VPNs may require specific software for different devices and platforms, potentially limiting their cross-platform usability.
Advanced configuration
They provide a broader range of configuration options, catering to both novice users who seek simplicity and advanced users who desire greater control over their VPN settings.
Storage space consumption
VPN apps occupy large storage space on the device where you’ve installed them. This can reduce the number of apps you can install on that device.
Reliable performance
Downloaded VPN clients frequently deliver faster and more stable connections due to their provision of advanced protocols like Lightway. This speed performance is crucial for seamless browsing, torrenting, streaming, and other online activities.
Updates and maintenance: Downloaded VPN clients may require regular updates and maintenance, which some users could see as inconvenient.
Access to global servers
Downloadable VPNs often grant access to a vast network of servers worldwide, allowing you to select servers for optimized speed and bypassing geo-restrictions.
Split tunneling
Many downloadable VPNs offer split tunneling, which enables you to choose which apps or websites are routed through the VPN and which are not, providing greater flexibility. However, most VPNs without download only work with some apps, i.e., browser level.

However, if you want to download a VPN app, I recommend PIA – Private Internet Access.

It has the largest server network, with over 35,000 servers in 84 countries.

Furthermore, the app takes only 70 MB of the total storage space on Windows.

In addition, PIA uses military-grade AES-256 encryption to protect your identity and online activity.

Furthermore, it can also work as a no-download option: it has its browser extension and offers OpenVPN install files for routers.

 Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

Shield all of your data, bypass geo-blocks and censorship, and get lightning-fast speeds!
Check price Visit website

Wrap up

You can use a VPN without needing to download anything.

This method keeps things simple and doesn’t clutter your device. 

Whether you prefer the convenience of a browser extension or a router-level setup, you can enhance your online privacy without additional downloads.

More about the topics: router vpn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *