MacOS is one of the most popular and secure operating systems in the world. And while it does a great job of protecting you from viruses and other malware, you have to take a few extra steps when it comes to protecting your privacy and anonymity.
In this article, I’m going to help you do just that by outlining some of the best VPN services for the Mac. If you’re still not sure what a VPN actually is, you can learn more here, but in a nutshell – a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a way of creating a secure, and relatively anonymous, “tunnel” to the internet over an existing public network.
While using a VPN is usually a great way of protecting your privacy, it’s important to remember that not all VPN services are created equal. When choosing a VPN service, make sure to do your due diligence and carefully research every provider that you’re considering.
How to choose the best VPN for Mac OS in 2017
If you already tried to find a VPN, then you’ve probably noticed the sheer amount of available providers out there. I’m not exaggerating when I say that there are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of options. Though such competition can be great for the free market, it can also be a tad overwhelming for the average consumer.
That said, most of the market leaders offer a fairly similar service, with a few differences for you to consider. These include: pricing, speed, server selection, configurability, UI, and more.
In this article I will attempt to distill these differences and share my personal experience with some of the most popular providers on the market. So if you’re looking to skip the lengthy hunt for the perfect VPN, then read on.
Over the last couple of years I’ve tested more VPN services than I can count, and I can confidently say that the 5 VPN providers listed below are currently the best available options for macOS.
VPN Countries : 60 | VPN Servers : 700 | Simultaneous Connections : 5 | Price : $6.49 p/m (≈ £5.12)
7-day money back guarantee
If you’re a regular reader of this website, then you’ve probably noticed that most (if not all) of our writers recommend IPVanish as one of their top choices. There’s good reason for that, and personally, I tend to agree.
IPVanish has been around for quite some time, and over the years they’ve managed to position themselves amongst the industry leaders. Aside from full end-to-end encryption and unmatched download speeds, IPVanish also offers one of the largest VPN networks in the world.
At the time of this article, IPVanish had a total of 700+ servers in more than 60 countries, spanning more than 40,000 unique IP’s. The awesome speeds, along with the vast server selection, makes IPVanish an easy choice for virtual globetrotters, or just anyone looking for the best VPN experience for macOS.
IPVanish macOS software.
On top of the awesome infrastructure, IPVanish also ships a great piece of software. The friendly UI allows anyone to quickly connect to the best available server, and get back to browsing. Those that want to get a bit more specific with their geolocation can pick a specific server, either from the drop down list or on a more visually appealing world map.
For those interested in checking them out – packages start at just $6.49 per month, so it’s impossible to go wrong.
Best user experience
VPN Countries : 94 | VPN Servers : 136 | Simultaneous Connections : 3 | Price : $8.32 p/m (≈ £6.65)
Great server selection
A little pricey
ExpressVPN is another great cross-platform provider that’s worth taking a look at. In my opinion, they pack one of the best designed VPN applications available for the Mac.
I’ve used ExpressVPN on and off for a little bit over a year, and in my opinion they’re a close second to IPVanish. Personally, I’ve been able to get some incredible speeds from ExpressVPN, and according to speedtest.net my download speeds were only a few Mbps slower than my “raw” connection.
When it comes to server selection, there are many options to choose from. At the time of this review, ExpressVPN had servers in 94 countries, covering 136 popular cities. Unlike IPVanish, ExpressVPN also offers a couple of more advanced user-configurable options such as protocol selection and smart IP switching.
Overall, I’d say that ExpressVPN holds its own against the other providers listed here, but it’s a little on the pricey side. Packages start at $8.32 per month but worry not – ExpressVPN offers the best money back guarantee in the industry, giving you a whopping 30 days to change your mind.
Best for free trial
VPN Countries : 70 | VPN Servers : 700+ | Simultaneous Connections : 2 – 5 | Price : $6.67 p/m (≈ £5.34)
A little slower than #1 and #2
Before discovering and switching to IPVanish, I used VyprVPN religiously on all of my internet enabled devices. Though Vypr has a number of unique selling points – including Chameleon (their in-house VPN protocol designed to defeat VPN blocking), it was actually the app’s UI that attracted my attention.
Similarly to ExpressVPN, the Vypr app presents users with a large “connect” button that will instantly hook you up with the fastest available server. And speaking of servers, there are many… According to the GoldenFrog website, the provider currently has 700+ servers in 70 countries, with an impressive 200,000 shared IPs.
Despite their vast network, I’ve found that VyprVPN falls a bit short when it comes to download speeds. That being said, they’ve recently shaken up their prices, and currently offer the lowest tier of service at a very competitive $5 per month.
It’s also worth mentioning that VyprVPN offers free 3-day trial, which should be enough for you to decide whether or not the software is right for you.
Best affordable provider
VPN Countries : 21 | VPN Servers : 35+ | Simultaneous Connections : 6 | Price : $4.80 p/m (≈ £3.86)
VPN.AC is a classic example of “looks aren’t everything.” Though the app’s UI is quite outdated, VPN.AC is actually a very solid provider.
Like the majority of the big players, VPN.AC offers three popular VPN protocols – PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and OpenVPN. Unlike everyone else, however, they make it clear that PPTP is insecure and should generally be avoided. Though an easy addition, it shows that VPN.AC cares and looks out for their users.
When it comes to their network size, VPN.AC is definitely a smaller provider. They currently offer just north of 20 server locations, so make sure that their selection is sufficient for your personal needs.
If VPN.AC’s “function over form” approach doesn’t bother you, you should definitely check them out. And for those of you still on the fence – I would recommend taking a look at our more detailed review before making your decision.
Best for tech support
VPN Countries : 23 | VPN Servers : 45 | Simultaneous Connections : 2 | Price : $5.83 p/m (≈ £4.66)
Limited server selection
StrongVPN will wrap up my selection of the best VPN providers for macOS in 2017. I wrote an in-depth review nearly a year ago, and it seems that not much has changed since.
Strong is still one of the most affordable VPN providers out there and has packages starting at just $5.83 per month. Despite their competitive pricing, Strong has a hard time standing out from the competition. I’ve used their services for a couple of months, and don’t have too much to say other than it’s a fine client.
The macOS application has a very minimal footprint, and for the most part stays out of sight. After selecting your server and hitting the hard to miss “connect” button, Strong will hide behind a tiny menubar icon, where it’ll stay until you need to make any changes to your connection.
The server selection and network speeds are about average, but when it comes to tech support and overall customer satisfaction, StrongVPN has their competitors beat. If you’re still unsure whether or not Strong will be right for you, you can take advantage of their 5-day money back guarantee while you look for alternatives.