Use this VPN extension and stay safe online

sh.We think ZenMate might just be the best the VPN extension in the Chrome Web Store. The interface is simple and straightforward, just like you would expect from an extension with the word ZEN in it. Even with the free version you can change the location you appear to come from. 

Features

  • Installation is easy and fast.
  • Change the location you appear to surf from with one click.
  • Design is beautiful.
  • Based in the European Union.
  • Speed is capped in the free version.
  • No logs.

Benefits ZenMate

 There are many VPN providers out there, and not all of them inspire trust the way ZenMate does. It’s clear from their website that this isn’t a one-man operation. It’s also clear that their mission is to make it easy and safe for everyone (and their Mother) to surf online. This is commendable, even though it might just be a matter of marketing. Since they also offer clear pricing plans, and an affiliate program (which we didn’t apply for) it looks like they’ve got their act together. This wouldn’t be sustainable without offering a great product that millions of people around the world rely upon. 

Drawbacks ZenMate

 As always: once you decide to use a VPN, you hand over your data from your provider to a third party. They better protect your data with their life! How can you be sure that they do just that? This is a matter of faith, unfortunately. 

Other drawbacks are the gentle reminders to upgrade to their paid plan, while on Free. It’s usually not more than a single click, but it gets annoying.

Pricing

  • Basic: free to use. Four locations, no logs, speed cap of 2MB/s
  • Unlimited: starting from $2,05 per month (2 year contract).

 You can find more information on their pricing page.

 Alternatives to ZenMate

 If you’re looking for an alternative to ZenMate, there are many options. None of them are as versatile and powerful, but they’re still worth your attention. This is the list we’ve tried ourselves:

  •  TouchVPN (this appears to be the most widely used VPN extension, but the reference site doesn’t lead to an active site. It doesn’t inspire trust at all).
  • Hotspot Shield VPN (this is the free version of their VPN. It offers much the same functionality of ZenMate, but more cluttered).
  • ExpressVPN  (more expensive than ZenMate, but marketed aggressively, based in the BVI).

 You’ll find more options with reviews on this site: TechRadar.

 Final verdict

 When looking for an extension to shield your traffic destinations, you can’t go wrong with ZenMate. We consider the user experience, the business model transparency, and the team behind the product trustworthy. And even when you’re not interested in all the perks of the Ultimate subscription, this VPN will do the trick when download the odd torrent file now and then. Power Users better for fork over some money, but even this amount doesn’t seem unreasonable.

 

Use the Honey extension to get great deals

Honey is an extension from the Chrome Web Store, that offers easy access to discount coupons, price history, and more. You can use it to save money online. Who wouldn’t want this? 

 

Features

  • Easy installation. Works with an account, but also without.
  • After installation, you can press a button to see coupon codes on many reseller websites, like Amazon, Macy’s, Target, Walmart, and more.
  • Save money when shopping online.
  • Apply the coupon during the checkout process.
  • Offers the most coupons to users from the USA and on Amazon.

Benefits Honey extension

Who doesn’t shop online nowadays? There’s no denying that this method of buying goods has become a real gamechanger. It’s convenient, fast, and usually less costly than buying products in a regular store. With this extension, you can spot discounts easily, so you can save even more money. And if you don’t see a discount coupon, you can still save money. This is when you earn Honey Gold: credits you can cash in later, or use to buy new products.

Drawbacks Honey extension

Since this extension works in a regular Chrome or Chromium browser, you can’t use it to shop with your smartphone or tablet. Honey does support other browsers, like Safari, Firefox, and Opera. And recently, you could install an app on your iPhone to profit from Honey. An app for Android is being developed too. 

 

The biggest limitation to Honey is the fact that you can only really profit from it in the US, Canada, Australia or Great Britain. With the current success rate (over 10 million users), we expect it to roll out to other countries soon.

Pricing

Honey is a free product, and they promise it will remain free. They make their money through affiliate marketing.

Alternatives to Honey

There are several other bargain extensions available for installation that promise many of the same advantages:

Read more about possible alternatives in this article in Lifewire.

Final verdict

If you’re not afraid to make another company rich with you purchases, in return for a modest discount, Honey is the extension for you.

 

Click Whatruns and discover the secrets of your competition

whatruns
Whatruns screenshot (2019)

With the browser extension Whatruns, you can click to discover what makes a site run. Which platform do they use, serverside or clientside? Do they use a CDN? Google Analytics (hint: always!)? A necessary tool for any developer or anyone interested in knowing more about the Web.

Features

  • As always with an extension from the Chrome Web Store, the installation is a breeze.
  • Use it on any site, including Whatruns.
  • Do you blog yourself? See the themes and plugins your competitors rely on!
  • Useful for competitor analysis, sales intelligence, and website profiling.

Benefits Whatruns

The major benefits of this Chrome Extension are easy to divine: you get to pop the hood and take a peek at the machinery. Now you see just what technology your prospective new client or the company relies upon, so you can prepare yourself for that important first contact. Or the job interview. You know just where to invest your time and effort. And if you want to learn from their success: this is a quick and dirty way to stay ahead of the game.

Drawbacks

The information you get isn’t always easy to interpret, especially for someone without a background in coding. And for a real coder, there are a lot more informative ways to get to the heart of a strangers website: Devtools, for example. And also, if you really want to learn about alternatives to the products Whatruns discovers: don’t rely too much on their categories or background information. It seems arbitrary at best. You’re better of checking Alexa or the discover section of start.me.

Alternatives

There aren’t many alternatives to Whatruns, but the Chrome Web Store does mention Snovio web technology checker. With no more than 4000 installations, they can’t really compete with Whatruns, though. They clock over 175.000 installations. This inspires trust.

Final verdict

So there you have it: again an extension we propose to anyone who wants to get a quick look at the Internet that’s hidden in plain sight. Whatruns will astonish you, and help you become a better coder, if you’re so inclined. At the very least it will help you see through the CSS and visual spectacles, to get at the bottom or heart of things.

Use Speed Test by Ookla to know your bandwidth

Speed test ookla
Speed test ookla

There’s nothing more annoying while traveling or working in your favorite coffee shop, than coming across a slow internet connection. What’s causing the delay? With this extension from the Chrome Web Store, you don’t have to guess anymore: one click, and you see precisely the speed of your connection.

Features

  • Runs in a pop-up once you click it.
  • You don’t have to wait for it, after clicking, it runs in the background.
  • Use it with or without an account.
  • Information about Ping, Upload, and Download speeds.
  • Bonus: see how fast the website loads.

Benefits Speed Test Ookla

With a separate website and an entire suite of apps for all devices, this extension is more than just a speed test designed by one lone programmer. Based in Seattle Washington, acquired by Ziff Davis in 2014, it once offered a stripped-down version of a paid, premium service. Now programmed in HTML5, it’s the industry leader, as far as we’re concerned.

They’ve served over 21 billion speed tests to date, which is no small feat.

Drawbacks

The website this extension leads to, speedtest.net, is filled with obtrusive banners, which doesn’t inspire trust. Still, they might keep the service free of charge, which is a beautiful thing. In the extension itself, you’re not bothered with any of this, so we can live with it.

Alternatives

Some of the other options we’ve looked into are:

  • Speed Test by BridgeTroll (no update since 2017).
  • Easy Speed Test App by Wonderfull Ideas (you get a New Tab instead of a simple test extension; it doesn’t do anything when you click the icon).
  • Speed Test Internet by www.bandwidthtester.info (it’s mostly a bookmark to a webpage. It delivers results that seem unreliable).

You can find more alternatives, not just in the field of extensions, here: https://www.producthunt.com/alternatives/html5-speedtest-by-ookla.

Final verdict

When it comes to knowing more about the internet speeds you’re experiencing, there’s no real competitor. Ookla offers a free, reliable, and fast impression of everything you want to know. The company behind it seems legit and built for the future. You couldn’t go wrong here.

Full Page Screen Capture, click and save anything

Full Page Screen Capture
Full Page Screen Capture

We’ve been looking for this screen capture extension a long time. In the Chrome Web Store there are several different options. We have tried them all, but only this one really worked for us. Of course, you can use the Snipping tool (Windows) or the built-in utility tool (Mac), but for an entire web page, you really need this one.

Features

  • Fast and simple: one click to capture a full web page.
  • Privacy minded: not too many permissions asked.
  • You get a Pacman animation during the process.
  • Multiple formats, but not too many.
  • Many users & positive reviews.

Benefits Full Page Screen Capture

What we look for when installing a new extension, is simplicity and speed. This extension delivers both, also for large webpages with complex floating headers or iframes. When you right-click the icon you get some options, for example about the download location, the image format, and page size of the PDF. You’ll find some additional information about the permissions here too, but you can even ignore these options.

It’s a free extension that gets regularly updated by Peter Coles, a software engineer, based in NYC. Over 3.4 million users trust him with this extension, which they do for good reason. In his blog, he comes across as a sympathetic guy with a sense of humor. He’d hate to be this guy, for example. And he likes cute puppies.

Drawbacks

We haven’t experienced any bugs, even though we’ve used this extension extensively. When you download the page you’ve captured, you get a default name, including date and time of the screen capture. This is useful if you’re just interested in saving the page. If you prefer another name or structure, you have to do this manually for every page.

Alternatives

We don’t really see an alternative to this extension. The only one that seems to come close, is Fireshot, with over 25.000 installments, but for us, this extension just offers too much functionality. Who would want to make a PDF, and then annotate it in the same extension?

Another way to save webpages is through Evernote, who offers a complete Web clipper functionality too. There are also other options, like historio.us out there, but usually, you have to pay to get the full functionality.

Final verdict

There is no real alternative to this browser extension. It’s proof that one coder with a passion for helping out can make a difference. You can see this also on his website: mrcoles.com. Highly recommended!