Chromebooks, and all Chrome OS devices, have a lot going for them in terms of security. Installing malware on them is devilishly tricky, and wiping them to start over from scratch is a snap. But there’s one key area in which Chrome OS can be a headache, and that’s VPN support. If you ever wanted to secure your connection with a VPN, but struggled to make it work on your Chromebook, you’re not alone. We’ll explain why it’s a problem, as well as ways to (maybe) fix it.

Does Your Chromebook Need a VPN?

A VPN, or virtual private network, creates an encrypted tunnel between your Chromebook and a server operated by a VPN company. By passing your internet traffic through that tunnel, you ensure it cannot be spied on in transit. You need a VPN because when it’s active, anyone on the same network as you, anyone that can access that network’s router, your ISP, and sneaky intelligence agents will all be kept in the dark. This is most critical on public Wi-Fi networks, but it’s important in every context.

Once your data reaches the VPN server, it’s no longer encrypted. But because it appears to be coming from the VPN server and not your computer (or smartphone), your IP address is hidden. It’s also much harder to correlate online activities directly to you. Plus, if you’re connecting to HTTPS sites, your data will be encrypted at every step of your web browsing.

You can also use a VPN to spoof your location. Just connect to a VPN server in a far-flung locale and all of a sudden your web traffic appears to be coming from the other side of the globe. This is useful for tunneling past repressive online censorship or…

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