Best VPNs for Mac & macOS in 2023
Compared to Windows, Macs come with some basic security measures. However, that does not ensure your complete online security. A reliable Mac VPN provides additional security by encrypting your traffic to protect you from data breaches, tracking, and other online dangers. There are literally hundreds of VPNs, but not all are compatible with macOS; in fact, they are frequently merely a streamlined version of the Windows software.
Therefore, here we have narrowed down the top ones that offer prime security protocols. Furthermore, all these services have Mac clients that are easy to use.
We recommend ExpressVPN for Mac. It’s easy to set up, and it has top-tier security features for added protection without causing slowdowns. Moreover, its high-speed global network is super reliable if you want to access geoblocked content. Additionally, you can use the ExpressVPN on your Mac risk-free because it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- ExpressVPN — Safe, fast, and reliable for everything you do online, including browsing, streaming, and torrenting.
- CyberGhost — Good server coverage so you can easily get around geoblocked areas and enjoy the internet free from restrictions.
- Private Internet Access — Lots of built-in security and privacy customization options.
- NordVPN — Unique security features, including its proprietary Nordlynx protocol that gives you top speeds, but its desktop apps are clunky.
- Surfshark — Top-notch security features safeguard your data for an affordable price, but based in a 9/14 Eyes Alliance country.
And 1 more VPNs for Mac and MacBook
Best VPNs for Mac and MacBook — Complete Analysis for March 2023
1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Mac offering Premium Security and Speeds
Thanks to ExpressVPN, it has IP and DNS leak protection to provide that strong additional layer of protection and privacy for your Mac. Furthermore, this industry market leader has an automatic kill switch (called Network Lock), and military-grade 256-bit encryption to keep your Mac safe even if the VPN disconnects suddenly. You can enable the Network Lock feature under Preferences in the settings menu.
When Network Lock is activated, it will give you an alert notifying that your Mac is secure. Moreover, ExpressVPN strictly adheres to a no-logs policy that has been audited and validated. This ensures that none of the user data or information is stored or disclosed. Its operations center is in the British Virgin Islands, a nation with lax data retention regulations and outside the purview of the 5/9/14 Eyes. Thus, no law or governing body can compel ExpressVPN to keep or disclose any of your information to outside parties.
Additionally, it employs Trusted Server technology (RAM-based servers). These servers are very efficient as they erase all your data every time the servers reboot. Hence, there will be no information log or collection. Consequently, ExpressVPN would have nothing to share even if a government agency demanded that it turn over user data.
On its Mac app it provides a choice of four different security protocols: L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), and its own original Lightway protocol. ExpressVPN’s unique protocol Lightway is geared towards dependability, security, and speed. Furthermore, it is secure to use since it relies on a reputable cryptography library (wolfSSL) that has undergone thorough testing and security analysis by outside parties.
Plus, Lightway is speedier than OpenVPN as it is made to solve the network speed concerns. ExpressVPN is big on functioning as the best VPN for Mac. Using its automated selection tool will help you select the fastest protocol based on your network and activity. Also, its native Mac software is quite user-friendly and you can download and install it in a couple of minutes. With one click, you’ll be connected to any server you opt from the list.
What’s more? You may use the search box to look for a location and save your favorite servers, which appear in a list on the recent tab. The service allows connection up to 5 devices simultaneously; thus, you can pair it with other compatible devices. It can work in restrictive countries like China or the UAE, but they have strict VPN laws. Hence, use the recommended servers to access geoblocks in China.
With 3,000 servers spread over 94 locations, ExpressVPN also makes it simple to get around geoblocks on streaming websites. Thus, you can consistently watch contnet from other region’s libraries. It even functions with Apple TV; utilizing the MediaStreamer functionality, you can unblock several OTT platforms.
All of the ExpressVPNs servers have P2P support which makes it a perfect choice for torrenting. To torrent securely, you don’t need to look for a specific server. With ExpressVPN, you may torrent and stream as much as you like.
A further split tunneling capability is provided by ExpressVPN. This gives you the option to decide which websites and apps should use the VPN connection and which shouldn’t. The only downside is that it isn’t compatible with more recent versions of macOS.
Its lowest price point of $6.67/month is a little bit higher than those of other VPNs. Nonetheless, ExpressVPN frequently runs offers and promotions or cost-free service months. Getting an annual plan would be more beneficial as it has the same features as the monthly one but costs less each month. If you’re not satisfied with ExpressVPN, you can always get your money back thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.
2. CyberGhost — Simple User Interface Optimized for Streaming and Safe Torrenting
You don’t need any extensive knowledge or to be a tech wiz to use a VPN. The CyberGhost program for Mac is really simple to use. From download to connection, it takes only a couple of minutes. Furthermore, you can instantly connect to the quickest server while being protected by military-grade 256-bit encryption, with just one click. Additionally, it has IP and DNS leak prevention, and an automatic kill switch that is integrated right into the application.
CyberGhost is one of the best VPNs for Mac if you are a beginner. It groups about 9,030 servers in 91 locations based on what you want to use them for, unlike most VPNs that merely group their servers by region. Therefore, if you wish to torrent securely, you can select servers that are optimized for downloading. In addition to that, you can watch geoblocked content on your Mac using the servers that are suited for streaming.
You can also search servers based on location under "All servers"
More than 80 servers operated by CyberGhost in more than 20 nations are specifically devoted to various streaming services. Thus, you can get constant access to services like Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix US, and more. You may choose a server that won’t be too busy and is close enough to your actual location by comparing the server speed to guarantee the fastest torrenting rates.
Additionally, no user information and online activity is logged because CyberGhost follows a stringent no-logs policy. Its headquarters is in Romania which is outside the purview of the monitoring alliance. Therefore you won’t have to be concerned about anyone watching your traffic if you unintentionally download a copyrighted material when torrenting.
The Mac version of CyberGhost has certain cutting-edge security features that help you better protect your privacy. You can select between the security protocols IKEv2 and WireGuard. It offers OpenVPN as well, unfortunately you have to manually configure it. Ad, harmful websites, and online tracking blockers are also available.
CyberGhost allows simultaneous connections to up to 7 devices. Since many VPNs don’t provide a kill switch on their iOS apps, CyberGhost is different because it does. Even more so than ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer, CyberGhost can be configured on Apple TV. The streaming content of several regions is unblocked by its SmartDNS capability.
However, the VPN’s inability to get beyond China’s Firewall is a small drawback. Although it can work in middle-eastern countries though there is strong censorship, like Iran and Turkey.
In terms of plans and pricing, the long-term plan for CyberGhost costs about $2.19 per month. A monthly subscription is also available, although it costs nearly four times as much. All memberships come with the same benefits, but a long-term subscription offers the best value. You are given 45 days to try CyberGhost for free thanks to its money-back guarantee. You can ask for a refund by connecting with a customer support agent, which is available around-the-clock.
3. Private Internet Access — Safeguard your Mac with Customizable Encryption and Security Features
With Private Internet Access, customize your security measures using the features provided in the app. Furthermore, under connection settings, you can select AES-128 or AES-256 encryption. If you want maximum and best security, then go with 256-bit encryption. If you want better speed with decent protection, then 128-bit encryption is safe to use because it encrypts data more quickly.
It also features a kill switch that may be adjusted. It has an “auto” setting that will only restrict traffic if the VPN connection is lost. Alternatively, you can set it to “always,” which would restrict traffic even if you manually terminated the Connection. Therefore, based on your online activity depending on whether speed, dependability, or good security are more important to you, you can personalize PIA to best suit your requirements.
Remember that you can only change the encryption when using OpenVPN
It provides two security protocols OpenVPN and WireGuard, remote and local port settings, and custom DNS addresses. In addition to that, it provides suggestions for apps that should not use the VPN connection, among other options, to further personalize your Mac’s VPN connection. This feature is commonly known as split tunneling. The Mac client is simple to use and intuitive despite having a ton of sophisticated features and customization possibilities.
You may utilize PIA for file-sharing on your Mac devices, as all of its servers are P2P-optimized. Some servers also include port forwarding and a SOCKS5 multi-hop to further enhance performance. If you frequently torrent on your Mac and want to remain anonymous, PIA is a good option.
With local servers and servers close to your region, you can attain terrific connection speeds. But the long-distance connections also work decently with fluctuating speeds. Plus, PIA has 53 servers in the US, so it won’t be difficult to find another US server with faster speeds and access content from there.
Private Internet Access is based in the US (5/9/14 Eyes jurisdiction), but it’s safe to use because it follows a stringent no-logs policy. The policy has been repeatedly demonstrated in actual court cases. Also, PIA MACE, a feature that bans domains tagged for advertisements, trackers, and malware. Plus, it offers IP and DNS leak protection as well.
The PIA long-term plan costs just $2.19 per month. Moreover, a more costly monthly subscription is available, but it delivers the same benefits as the other ones. For this reason, We advise registering for a long term plan. You get 30 days to try the service and every aspect of PIA. If you’re not completely happy, you can get a full refund thanks to its money-back guarantee.
4. NordVPN — A Threat Protection Tool to Stop Web Tracking While Browsing on Your Mac
NordVPN offers a unique and its own NordLynx protocol, a lightning-fast replacement for WireGuard. Using this, no matter which server you connect to, you can enjoy uninterrupted streaming or browsing on your iPhone and iPad.
To safely change your IP on macOS, it offers a network of 5,524 servers spread over 60 nations. This further ensures that you can find a strong server nearby. Additionally, they are all RAM-only servers; thus, your data is completely erased after each reboot, safeguarding your privacy. Also, you receive specialized P2P file-sharing servers, Double VPN (for additional encryption), and Onion Over VPN (for Tor).
NordVPN has additional feature by the name of “Dark Web Monitor.” You can use it in conjunction with the Onion Over VPN servers. It notifies you if it discovers any sensitive information connected to your email address, passwords, or other personal data. You can immediately secure your accounts in this manner.
You can enable Threat Protection in NordVPN’s settings panel
The Mac application for NordVPN is user-friendly, and the main screen’s “Specialty Servers” section makes it simple to locate the many optimal locations. You may see the complete list of nearby server countries, underneath them. Alternatively, you can utilize the search bar to look for a particular one. Also, you can mark “favorite” your most often used servers, which are then saved in a separate tab for convenience.
The VPN’s operations center is in Panama, a nation outside of the 14 Eyes Alliance. Thus, it has no legal boundation to share any of its users’ data. In addition to that, it follows an audited no-logs policy in which it ensures that the company doesn’t store its user information. This further strengthens your data security since it doesn’t gather or store your identifiable information.
With the highest industry-standard encryption of the AES 256-bit, it works all around for your security. Apart from the NordLynx protocol, it offers OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) and IKEv2 on macOS; other fast and secure protocols. Furthermore, there is a “Threat Protection” feature that every user would appreciate. The feature ensures that a user stays safe online while browsing the web by blocking access to malicious websites and adverts.
It has a kill switch on macOS, which is a great feature when it comes to VPN standards. However, it’s a downside for the VPN as it works automatically. Thus, you can’t enable/disable, or test it yourself.
The cheapest package is the annual plan that starts at $3.49 per month. The best value for your money is provided by a long-term subscription. Payment options include credit card, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and more. Additionally, you can get a NordVPN subscription from some of the nearby retail establishments if you reside in the US, UK, Canada, or Germany. Moreover, with a 30-day money-back guarantee included with all short- and long-term plans, you can risk-free test NordVPN on your Mac device.
5. Surfshark — Ample Global Servers to Unblock the Content You Need on Your Mac Anywhere
To encrypt and send data from your torrent client over the VPN server, you can utilize Surfshark’s Bypasser tool. As a result, you won’t need to constantly remember to activate the VPN and may torrent safely. Additionally, if the VPN is set up with a particular channel or platform, it launches quickly. This feature can be helpful if you want to access your bank account while other services are protected by your VPN using your actual IP address.
The WireGuard protocol is what we advise utilizing if you want to share files as quickly as possible. Also, you can safely send data without being slowed down by it. The VPN is performance-focused, safeguards your privacy, and uses 100% RAM-only infrastructure and a strict no-logs policy. Your personal information won’t be gathered or shared because it is deleted with each server shutdown.
I had no problems connecting to Surfshark’s UK servers on my Mac while abroad
What else? Surfshark also offers an ad- and malware filter for seamless streaming, downloading, and gaming. CleanWeb is another feature of Surfshark that prevents advertisements and keeps an eye on your torrent downloads for any suspicious activity. If found, it will immediately notify you of any links that pose a risk to your data. It can be optimized for use on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.
The Bypasser feature, unfortunately, is only available on Windows and Android. However, it’ll soon be added to other operating systems soon as per Surfshark.
Surfshark is another very pocket-friendly VPN, with long-term plans starting at $2.30/month. Additionally, you can opt for a 24-month option that gives 82% off and 2 months of additional service for free.
Moreover, the VPN is covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee; thus, you can take chances of torrenting without worrying. You’ll get your 100% refund within 2 to 3 business days after the customer agent takes a small feedback at the time of cancellation.
6. IPVanish — Unlimited Connections to Protect All Your Apple Devices
With the blazing-fast speeds of IPVanish, stream in UHD or browse the web smoothly on your Mac. Therefore, stream my favorite shows in HD as you just need 5 MBPS for that.
With AES 256-bit encryption, Perfect Forward Secrecy, and a rigorous no-logs policy, its Mac app safeguards your online data. Additionally, it has IP/DNS leak protection to shield your identifiable information. Also, you have the ability to select from a number of security protocols, including IPSec, IKEv2, and WireGuard. As said before, WireGuard is safe and quick; thus, utilize it for maximum output.
All you have to do is navigate to the “Preferences” menu to change the security settings
Another amazing aspect is the “WiFi security” that IPVanish offers. Every time you are connected with an unsecured WiFi network, the VPN will activate automatically to shield from any unwarranted cyber attacks. As a result, you have an additional layer of security and don’t have to worry about turning on your VPN when you’re out and about.
An intuitive macOS app from IPVanish is available for all Mac devices. One tap can establish a connection to a server, and Siri shortcuts can also be used. Additionally, the app displays the ping and load of each server; thus, you can select manually a fast server. Furthermore, the IPVanish app also displays the number of servers that are accessible in each nation. On top of that, you get a built-in knowledge base and excellent customer assistance to find troubleshooting measures. Moreover, with IPVanish’s network span of 2,200 servers across 75 nations, you’ll be able to access your preferred streaming services in HD.
A long-term plan of IPVanish costs just $2.49 per month. Remember that the price of the plan will decrease the longer you subscribe. Hence, it’s not the most affordable choice if you simply want to sign up for one month. The VPN offers a 30-day free trial period with a money-back guarantee. You can ask for a refund if you’re not satisfied.
Tips on How to Choose the Best VPN for Mac
A quality VPN for Mac must offer a strong suite of functions, including security, fast speeds, and reliability. Based on the following criteria, you’ll know what to look for:
- Easy-to-use Mac apps — Opt for a VPN service provider with user-friendly apps. It is simple to use all of the VPNs on this list because they feature comparable iOS and Mac apps. Plus, they are compatible with other operating systems and devices. To stay up with macOS upgrades, it’s crucial to pick a VPN that updates its software frequently. You won’t be left defenceless with an obsolete VPN program this way.
- Strong security features — Military-grade encryption, kill switches, cutting-edge protocols, and leak prevention for DNS, IP, and WebRTC are some essential security measures to take into account when surfing or streaming online. Thus, check to ensure that your VPN has those features to always be able to safeguard private information.
- Fast speeds — The top VPNs should also offer a network with unlimited capacity and reliable, fast speeds. High-speed servers assist in preventing pauses and slowdowns during downloads. Furthermore, you can increase your download speeds by using features designed specifically for your OS, such as a SOCKS5 proxy and port forwarding.
- Reliable server networks — A VPN generally operates faster the more servers it has. Furthermore, you’ll be able to access more geo-restricted content the more servers that are available. The majority of the VPNs on our list have big global server networks, making them excellent for unblocking streaming websites and having more than sufficient speeds for HD streaming.
- Vast device compatibility — The majority of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS-based devices, should be compatible with a good VPN. Furthermore, the VPN should provide a native app for all such operating systems and devices. Also, it enables simultaneous usage of several devices.
- Trustworthy money-back guarantee — With a money-back assurance, you can evaluate the VPN’s speeds, security, and other features risk-freely.
- Reliable customer support — The VPN service should have reliable and professional customer assistance for you to contact if you have any queries or issues. This might be done by email assistance, a phone number, or a FAQ or help page. Additionally, a live chat feature that is available around the clock would be the greatest support option.
- Install a VPN first. Our top recommendation for Mac is ExpressVPN since it has the quickest speeds, the best security, and is extremely dependable.
- Next, activate the app. Installing the app requires downloading it from the App Store . Additionally, APK files are available directly from the websites of VPN providers.
- Connect up with a server. You may now use your device to safely stream content, browse the web, play games, and more after selecting a location from the server list and clicking Connect.
FAQs on the Best Mac VPNs
Does Safari browser have any VPN extension?
There is no VPN browser extension for Safari. Therefore, keep your entire Mac device safe, including everything you do in Safari, use the VPN’s software. Additionally, some VPNs can be managed from the Mac’s top drop-down menu bar; it’s just as practical as a Safari extension and secures your entire laptop. This is an attractive way to keep your device safe instead of only your online activity within the Safari browser.
With the release of Safari 12, Apple ceased providing support for many third-party Safari add-ons and began charging people to retain theirs in its store. Because of this, there isn’t a VPN extension for Safari to shield your device.
Can I use the same VPN as my Macbook on other iOS devices?
Yes, absolutely! Both macOS and iOS are two different operating systems. You can use the aforementioned VPN services on all of your Apple devices. They provide native apps for both macOS and iOS (including iPhone and iPad). Also, they provide at least five simultaneous device connections, allowing you to use a single subscription to download the software on all of your Apple (and non-Apple) devices. Even better, some offer instructions on how to set up a VPN to unblock streaming media on your Apple TV.
Is it fine to use a free VPN for my Mac?
Technically there is no objection in using the free VPN, but we advise completely against it. Always go with a budget-friendly premium VPN like those on this list.
The reason for this is that the majority of free VPNs have additional and hidden fees such as numerous adverts, service limits, suspect privacy policies, and even malware. Furthermore, every free VPN for Mac (or other OS) severely limits your speed, leaving you with little choice of browsing the internet only. Plus, they rarely manage to unblock well-known streaming websites and have a bandwidth cap of 1 to 5 GB per month.
Does Mac have a built-in VPN?
No, there isn’t any built-in VPN in macOS. Although IKEv2 and L2TP support is available, this can be manually enabled in the network settings. However, to receive the IKEv2/L2TP configuration files to set it up, you need a VPN subscription. It is simpler to just download a Mac VPN and use its application to encrypt your connection.
Apart from that, you have “Private Relay” by default if you have iCloud. Since this is a proxy, it is less secure than an actual VPN. You cannot access geo-restricted content, change your server location, or get around internet limitations; it only supports the Safari browser. Also, it is slower than the majority of VPNs, thus we advise using a pocket-friendly VPN subscription.
Do Mac VPNs work in China?
They do, but not all of them, though. The best Mac VPN to use in China is ExpressVPN. The app has security mechanisms to pass through the “Great Firewall of China” and was put into it. It also functions in numerous other nations with several internet restrictions (like Turkey, the UAE, and Russia).
China’s policies and VPN-blocking technologies are constantly being improved to limit what you may access online. Furthermore, you need to have a stealth mode in the service you are using to make your VPN connection appear to be regular internet traffic. Before entering China, you might also need to download the VPN in case the country has prohibited access to its website. Additionally, we do not support any sort of illicit or criminal conduct, thus before using a VPN that might be restricted in your area, we urge you to research local regulations regarding VPN use.
- CloudVPN — To catch your interest, it promises unlimited bandwidth, but it also works with outside parties to promote adverts. Additionally, it specifies in its policy that it logs users’ IP addresses, device data, and personal information in addition to storing cookies.
Get the Best VPN for Mac Today!
With so many untrustworthy services out there, it’s difficult to determine which VPNs will actually keep your Mac safe. These Mac VPNs offer strong security and privacy features that will protect your data. On top of that, they’re all user-friendly and come with extra perks like the ability to access geo-blocked streaming sites, WiFi protection, and more.
Our top recommendation for Mac is ExpressVPN. It uses powerful security protocols and privacy features to ensure no one can spy on your activity. Plus, it’s one of the fastest VPNs I’ve tested, so you can enjoy streaming, torrenting, and gaming without interruption. You can even try ExpressVPN out on your Android completely risk-free since it gives you the assurance of a 30-day money-back guarantee. If it’s not for you, you can easily claim a refund.