How to install Chrome extensions manually

​Not finding the extension you need on the Chrome Web Store? Despite Google's recent process change, third-party extensions can still be installed with just a few steps. Read on to learn how.

The Chrome Web Store may not always have the extension you need. In the past, you could easily install an extension from a third-party website, and everything ran smoothly as though you were installing from the official channel. Unfortunately, this created a lot of opportunities for makers of malicious extensions to take advantage of unsuspecting users.

As a result, Google decided to more thoroughly analyze extensions hosted in its Web Store and also change the process for installing third-party extensions. This new process puts the responsibility for risking data in your hands. If you're still willing to take the risk, there's an easy way to manually install extensions from third parties. Here's how:

Before heading into the steps, make sure you are using the most recent version of Chrome. Click the three-line button in the top right-hand corner and choose Help. If you need to update, Chrome will do so automatically and then ask you to relaunch the browser.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 1: Download the *.CRX (Chrome extension) file from the third-party website. A pop-up will appear along the bottom of Chrome asking you to Continue or Discard the download, click Continue. You will not be prompted to install it.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 2: Click the three-line button in the top right-hand corner and go to Tools > Extensions. Add a check to the box next to Developer mode at the top of the page.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 3: Locate the *.CRX file on your computer, then drag and drop it onto the Extensions page. A pop-up will appear showing you the permissions the extension will have, and asking you to confirm the install. Click Add to finish the installation.

Now you will be able to install extensions that are not hosted in the Chrome Web Store. However, please do so at your own risk, and make sure to read permissions for each extension very carefully. If you need to remove an extension, you can do so by clicking the trash can icon next to it on the Extensions page.


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