Best VPN for Mac

VPN for Mac

Apple's range of Mac computers has taken home computing to a whole new level.

They are the device of choice for most professionals and when it comes to status symbols, there is no better computer around.

Whether you prefer a MacBook, MacBook Air, or iMac, if you are using an Apple Mac computer, the chances are you are serious about your computing and know your stuff.

So, you should be aware of how important using a VPN is with any device these days. The question is, which VPN is the best to use with your macOS device?

ExpressVPN is currently the best Mac VPN but there are some other good choices which we will explore in this article.

In this article, we will tell you which are the best Mac VPN apps this year, to help you make the right decision.

How to choose a VPN for Mac?

Choosing the best Mac VPN is not a simple task. All macOS computers are special and have features and settings which differ from all other devices. This means it is vital that you choose the right VPN client for your device.

In making this decision, there are a number of different factors you should look for. These are:

  • MacOS apps: For the best possible user experience, you need a VPN with a dedicated app for the macOS like ExpressVPN. Most top VPNs fit the bill these days, and certainly all of our recommended Mac VPNs below have a great Mac client ready to use.
  • Strong encryption: There is a myth that Mac devices are impenetrable, but the truth is that your data is only as secure as your internet connection. Strong encryption is therefore as vital for Mac fans, especially on things like public Wi-Fi, and any other device and all our picks offer state-of-the-art encryption as standard.
  • Fast connection speeds: Mac computers are usually fast, but to get the most out of your device, you will be wanting a fast internet connection speeds. Most VPNs can slow your internet down, but the best will only have a negligible impact.
  • Features: Think about what you need a Mac VPN for. Most Mac VPNs includes features like a kill switch and leak protection, but not all will. If you need a kill switch or split tunneling, make sure you are choosing a VPN that offers one.
  • Servers: With servers, we always believe that quality matters more than quantity, so we suggest you look for a VPN provider that offers not just a high number of servers, but high quality infrastructure in the right VPN server location for you.
  • Suit your requirements: Different people use VPNs for different things and some VPN providers are better at delivering one thing than another. Whether you are looking to get around state censorship, unblock Netflix, or simply ensuring your data is secure when online, be sure to choose the VPN for your specific needs.

Top 7 Mac VPNs:

While there are plenty of Virtual Private Network services that support Apple Mac systems, after some extensive testing we've decided the following seven Mac VPNs are best for a wide range of uses:

  1. ExpressVPN – Our #1 VPN for Mac
  2. NordVPN
  3. IPVanish
  4. CyberGhost VPN
  5. VyprVPN
  6. Surfshark
  7. WeVPN

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN client on multiple devices

ExpressVPN is our top recommended Mac VPN overall, but their offering for Mac owners is head and shoulders above the rest and really easy to use as well.

The dedicated ExpressVPN Mac app is the best we have come across and works with all recent versions of the macOS, including the latest updates.

We love the Mac-specific ‘connection per app' feature which allows Mac users to use split tunneling to choose which apps will connect through their service and which will not. The ability to choose additional security on top of the standard AES 256-bit encryption where it is most needed is a real bonus.

Like all users, macOS device owners can benefit from ExpressVPN's huge server network, which currently covers 148 VPN server locations in 94 different countries. You can also enjoy state-of-the-art encryption and strong privacy protections with ExpressVPN too which offer fast download speeds ideal for streaming things like Netflix.

Prices are a little higher than some other providers on this list which is why it's best to take a 1-year plan for the largest savings. With a 30-day money-back guarantee, live chat support, and the best service around, they still offer terrific value for money.

Our #1 Recommended VPN for Macs

30-day money back guarantee

2. NordVPN

NordVPN Deal

Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN offers a fantastic dedicated Mac VPN app which is beautifully designed and amazingly simple to use, even if you want to deploy some of their many additional security features like leak protection.

These features and the add ons that are available with NordVPN too are a real highlight of the service

As well as top-level encryption and water-tight privacy protections, NordVPN also offers such extras as double VPN connections, which reroutes traffic through two specialty servers for extra protection, VPN over TOR servers, which also sends your data down the TOR network, and much more.

NordVPN also has a sizeable VPN server network too with more than 5,500 VPN servers. In our most recent connection speeds tests we found them to be one of the fastest VPN services available, ideal for accessing streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer.

With extremely competitive prices, live chat support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee, NordVPN is a real contender for the crown as one of the better VPNs for Mac devices

3. IPVanish

IPVanish Deal

If you're an Apple addict, the chances are you have multiple Apple devices running off the same account. This means IPVanish might be the best Mac VPN option for you as they offer unlimited simultaneous connections with every single account.

Their overall offering is not too shabby either. Like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, IPVanish also offers a neat and well-designed Mac client which works on all recent versions and is really simple to use.

Their offering is not crowded with extra features, but if you need them, there are some crucial ones like a kill switch easily accessible in the settings menu. Their server network is also a big one, with more than 1,400 servers spread across 75+ VPN server locations.

IPVanish's download speeds are great – ideal for using streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime video. Their encryption is up there with the very best too.

There have been one or two questions about their no logs privacy policy over the past year, but IPVanish remain adamant that they retain no user data.

IPVanish offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you plenty of time to try before you buy.

4. CyberGhost VPN

Cyberghost Website

If you are new to VPNs and want a Mac VPN provider that keeps things as simple as possible, then CyberGhost VPN is a great bet.

Their Mac app is one of the most user-friendly we have encountered, with single click options that set things up depending on what you are doing online.

If you want to unblock Netflix, torrent some files, or just secure your connection, CyberGhost lets you tailor your settings with ease and maximise the efficiency of your connection.

This ease-of-use doesn't come at the expense of their all-round service either. CyberGhost has limited security features but still offers 256-bit strong encryption, a robust no logs privacy policy, a good sized network of servers, and competitive pricing too.

Speeds are decent too, ideal for streaming things like Netflix.

And with a 45-day money-back guarantee too, for beginners, plus live chat support, there is nothing to lose by giving CyberGhost a try.

5. VyprVPN

VyprVPN

Along with ExpressVPN, VyprVPN was one of the first VPNs to commission an independent audit of their service. They passed with flying colours which is no surprise as they have been around for a long time and have consistently offered a top service for many years.

This remains the case and while some will say VyprVPN could offer a few more bells and whistles, the fact remains that they do the basics very well indeed and there are some good features such as a kill switch and leak protection included.

The VyprVPN encryption and no logs guarantee is state-of-the-art and they have independent verification to prove this. They have a large number of servers, which is great for unblocking content meaning you can stream things on Netflix and other streaming services easily.

The service did used to offer a free-trial but this is no more. Instead if you want to give them a go you've got a 30-day money-back guarantee which gives you plenty of time to get your money back and to test them thoroughly.

6. Surfshark

Surfshark Website screengrab

Surfshark is a relatively young VPN, having only being launched in 2018. But it has really hit the ground running and has made serious waves in the VPN world.

It offers a wide range of powerful VPN features, such as a kill switch and leak protection, that has enabled it to climb quickly through the ranks and reach the top VPN lists much faster than many of its rivals have managed, even ExpressVPN.

What's on offer? With Surfshark, you can access a strong VPN network, with 700+ servers in 63 countries located all over the world. It has robust 256-AES encryption as standard and you can connect as many devices as you like with a single account.

For a young VPN, the connection speed you can achieve on most servers is pretty impressive too, it can unblock Netflix and other streaming sites.

There is already a good range of user-friendly apps for a wide range of devices to choose from including those running the macOS high sierra and other versions as well as iOS operating systems.

There are downsides. Surfshark's logging policy is not ideal and it does also use virtual VPN server locations. But overall, it is still a good Mac VPN option, with reasonable prices, live chat support, and that essential 30-day money-back guarantee.

7. WeVPN

WeVPN Website screengrab

WeVPN is a fast, and secure Mac VPN service with excellent apps for macOS devices as well as many other popular devices too. These apps look great and are simple to use.

It offers robust encryption and a strict no-logs policy that reads very well but hasn't yet been subjected to the independent audit that some other providers on this site have had.

WeVPN offers more than 100 servers in over 40 different VPN server location around the world. While this is not as many servers as some other providers, all of the most popular locations are covered.

Speeds are good, thanks in no small part to its use of the WireGuard protocol as standard. Prices are reasonable too and it also features a 30-day money-back guarantee.

WeVPN is a user-friendly and up-and-coming VPN that has a lot to offer Mac owners.

How we ranked these services

In recommending a Mac VPN client, our researchers have considered the overall performance that a VPN offers to its users.

But Mac users are looking for some specific features that others don't need and this is something we have also considered when pulling this list together.

Some of the key features we were looking for when considering the best VPN for Mac users include:

1. Great Mac apps

While some VPNs have standardised apps across all platforms, many will still have individual apps designed specifically for individual platforms. This can be a positive or a negative thing. Sometimes the Mac app might be inferior to its Windows or mobile alternatives.

But sometimes, the Mac client has been carefully thought through and developed to ensure a VPN performs to its optimum capacity on your macOS device. We have looked for those VPNs that offer the best available Mac apps and ExpressVPN was definitely our top pick.

2. Custom Mac features

Macs are not the same as PCs as tablets aren't to mobile devices. The macOS operating system (both High Sierra and other versions) works very differently and offers some features that just can't be accessed on other devices.

The best VPNs like ExpressVPN take advantage of these in the service they offer and we have sought out those that have built a system that is tailor-made for Macs and offers unique features like split tunneling.

3. Usability

We know that Mac VPN users have a wide variety of technical abilities and the massive popularity of Macs means that many will be new to VPNs.

That is why usability is key, both in the design of the apps and how the VPN is installed and functions. ExpressVPN and the other top VPNs keep it simple and that's what we have looked for in this guide.

4. Strong encryption

This is a myth that Mac's are more secure than PCs and that if you buy a Mac and run a version of macOS such as High Sierra, you don't need to worry so much about online security.

They are more secure but you do still need to take the normal precautions and ensuring your data is encrypted is central to this.

The best Mac VPN will offer unbreakable 256-bit AES encryption as standard and that's what we have set as a minimum benchmark in listing our recommendations.

5. No logs policy

Privacy is paramount these days but your are only as private as your internet connection. That's why a VPN is essential, as it stops your Internet Service Provider and indeed Apple from seeing what you are doing online by hiding your IP Address.

But a VPN is useless for this if it is logging your activity too, so we always look for a VPN that keeps zero user logs and ideally they will have had this independently verified, as ExpressVPN has.

What Mac VPN is best for you?

As we noted above, while ExpressVPN is our recommendation of the best all-round VPN for Mac, if you are planning to use your VPN for specific things, then another VPN provider might be better suited for you.

Online Privacy:

For example, if online privacy and securing your data is the top priority for you, then ExpressVPN is definitely the VPN to choose.

Affordability:

However, if you want a more affordable VPN that still offers a top service, then NordVPN might be a better fit for you, while VyprVPN is reasonably priced. Then there is the 45-day money-back guarantee available with CyberGhost VPN.

ExpressVPN is great but it isn't the cheapest.

Apple Mac

Simultaneous Connections:

If you want a VPN to protect all of your macOS devices and maybe those of your family too, then IPVanish is a good bet thanks to their unlimited simultaneous connections.

On the other hand, if you are a beginner and a bit nervous about using a VPN, then we would suggest CyberGhost VPN as the best choice allowing you to connect up to seven devices concurrently.

Unblocking Content:

To unblock Netflix, the BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime video, or other streaming sites, ExpressVPN is again the best choice as they work with more services than most.

There are other VPNs on the list that can unblock sites like Netflix, but ExpressVPN is consistently the best.

Do these work with my MacBook, iMac etc?

The short answer to this is, yes.

All of the VPN's we have recommended in this article offer a dedicated Mac app which you can download for free once you have signed up for their service.

These apps have been custom-designed to work with all devices that run on macOS. We have tested all of them on the latest version of macOS, and all worked absolutely fine.

So, whether you are using the latest MacBook Pro, the new Apple iMac Pro, or an older MacBook Air or an older bit of kit, you should have no problems using any of our recommended VPN services. But if you want out recommendation for the best Mac app, it would have to be ExpressVPN.

How to download and set up a Mac VPN

The hard part about getting a VPN for your macOS device is choosing the right one. Once you have made your choice, getting things downloaded and set-up is easy.

Each VPN is slightly different, so check with your provider for precise details, but they all follow roughly the same process.

Here is a step-by-step guide you can follow using ExpressVPN as an example:

  1. Sign up to ExpressVPN by clicking a link on this page and then following the clear steps on the ExpressVPN internet site.
  2. Download the ExpressVPN app, either from the ExpressVPN website or from the official Apple App store onto your macOS device.
  3. Open the ExpressVPN app and sign in using the account details you were given when you signed up.
  4. Connect to ExpressVPN either by clicking the quick connect button or choosing your preferred location from the list of servers and then clicking connect to establish a VPN connection.
  5. Use the internet as normal. You are now connected to ExpressVPN and everything you do online is secure and protected.

If you have any problems downloading and installing ExpressVPN and establishing a VPN connection with them or any other VPN, a quick chat with their customer support team should sort it out.

They will help you with Netflix streaming issues and other problems too.

ExpressVPN offers a live chat and ticket service and this should be enough to get everything up and running smoothly.

Do I really need a VPN for Mac?

Earlier in this article, we touched on the fact that there is a myth that Mac devices are safe and so security tools like a VPN are not needed.

This is absolutely not the case. Mac's are more secure than Windows PCs and many other devices, mostly because Apple is so strict about what software makes it into their app store.

But you can still download software from the internet onto a Mac too. And if you have an internet connection or are using a public Wi-Fi connection, you are still vulnerable to hackers and other threats. VPNs can help you to unblock sites like Netflix on your Mac too.

The benefits of a VPN are as vital to Mac users as those using any other devices. This is why VPNs like ExpressVPN have created dedicated Mac apps. And this is why most computer savvy Mac users use a VPN too.

What is the best free VPN for Mac?

If you are wondering why we haven't recommended any free VPNs in this guide, the simple answer is that they are almost always more trouble than they are worth.

Running a VPN costs money and if they are offering you the service for free, they must be making their money from somewhere else. Usually, this will be from selling your data, which means they are both insecure and not private.

Then there are those free VPNs that will plague your device with adverts. Some even come bundled together with malware or spyware, while too many have links to Communist China and probably send your data there.

Others will offer major service limits, such as speed or internet traffic caps which make them next to useless for the majority of people.

A premium VPN like ExpressVPN will only cost you a few dollars a month. If you cannot stretch to this and need a free option, go for ProtonVPN. Their free plan has some speed limits and only three servers, but it does at least still offer the security and privacy you need

In Summary

If you have a Mac computer, a VPN is every bit as essential as for any other device. In this article, we have identified the top 7 VPNs for Mac, with ExpressVPN coming top of the pile.

But the best VPN for you will also depend on what you plan to use it for. We have also given some examples of when different VPNs might best suit your needs too.

If you're still undecided then give our recommended provider, ExpressVPN, a try. It's easy to use and they've got a 30-day money back guarantee so if you disagree with our assessment you can get a full refund.

Try our #1 Recommended Mac VPN

Other articles you may like

Illustration © Leonardo255 | Dreamstime.com

David Spencer

Author: David Spencer

Cyber-security & Technology Reporter, David, monitors everything going on in the privacy world. Fighting for a less restricted internet as a member of the VPNCompare team for over 5 years.

Away from writing, he enjoys reading and politics. He is currently learning Mandarin too... slowly.

Comments

  1. Avatar Tony

    I’ve been using ExpressVPN on my MacBook Pro for years. Never had an issue.

Leave a Reply

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

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest privacy news, expert VPN guides & TV unblocking how-to’s sent straight to your inbox.