A VPN services should be on every Mac user list. Over the latter decade, there has been an increase in cyberattacks that affect macOS users. This means that you and your personal data on Mac devices is not protected by the make of your default software alone. We strongly recommend to look for additional methods to safeguard your security.
Check our provided Top VPN for Mac that will secure your network traffic by encrypting sent data, making it inaccessible for hackers and even your internet service provider (ISP). The best VPNs also guarantee access to geo-blocked services like Netflix and secure torrenting.
Top 5 Best Mac VPNs for 2021 shortlist:
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All-around leading VPN
Forward-thinking and affordable
Cheapest streaming VPN
Popular cheap VPN
Best VPN for Mac overviews
24/7 live chat, Email
- Top-notch security features
- Excellent for streaming due to SmartPlay feature
- NordLynx protocol for the best speeds
- No router app
NordVPN has a wealth of strong security features (AES-256 encryption, two types of kill switch, leak protection, Double VPN, Onion over VPN) and one of the largest networks in the world. It consists of 5500+ servers in 59 countries. All this and more is available for a fee of $3.71 per month billed every 2 years, all of which you can also pay with cryptocurrencies.
Moreover, it is capable as a shield against government agencies looking for copyright infringements to punish, so you can torrent to your heart’s content, especially when NordVPN offers a free SOCKS5 proxy.
Mac users tend to have more devices than Windows users. As such, when you get NordVPN, you can use it on 6 devices at the same time (it also has dedicated apps for iOS, Android, Windows devices, and more).
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark VPN
24/7 live chat, FAQ
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- BlindSearch tool that lets you perform web search queries in complete privacy
- Great for bypassing geo-blocks
- Weak self-help support section
Surfshark VPN is great, but it also offers some insane deals, starting from $2.49/month for a two-year plan! It has military-grade encryption, OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, a kill switch, and multi-hop. There’s also a Camouflage Mode that unblocks the internet in China and other restrictive countries.
Even though Surfshark boasts only 3200+ servers, they seem to be working efficiently, providing fast speeds over 60+ locations. Torrenting is allowed, and Netflix US can be unblocked, so you can put that connectivity to good use.
Another argument for using Surfshark on Mac is that its app is as secure as the Windows version – something that’s rarely the case even among premium VPNs. There’s even a 7-day free trial available on App Store, so you can try Surfshark right away, without providing payment details.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
24/7 live chat
- LAN level kill switch
- Proprietary Chameleon protocol
- Automatic port selection
- No anonymous payments
VyprVPN has 700+ of their own servers in 70+ countries, allowing them to achieve better performance than thousands of questionable third-party servers ever could.
The security level of this VPN rivals any other. It has military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection, as well as the proprietary Chameleon protocol to bypass censorship.
If you’re serious about your Mac’s safety, we advise you to get the VyprVPN premium plan as the regular one allows only three devices at the same time and doesn’t have the Chameleon protocol, thus losing some of its glamour.
VyprVPN is good for Netflix – you’ll be able to unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and many other streaming platforms.
However, it’s not the cheapest nor the fastest VPN service for Mac, and doesn’t have anonymous payment methods.
For a deeper investigation of VyprVPN, read our VyprVPN review.
24/7 live chat
- Strict no-logs policy
- Stealth VPN
- Port forwarding
- macOS and iOS apps have fewer features
PrivateVPN is a very cheap premium service that’s one of the few to offer not only a 30-day money-back guarantee but also a 7-day free trial. Combine that with 6 simultaneous connections allowed along with extensive router support and that’s some real bang-for-your-buck.
While the PrivateVPN for Mac looks the same as the Windows version, it has fewer features. Some users might miss a kill switch, Application Guard, and DNS leak protection.
This service has only 150 servers in 60+ countries but still manages to provide fast speeds. Those should be enough for streaming and torrenting.
When it comes to additional features, it’s smart to get PrivateVPN just for the streaming as it unblocks Netflix and other streaming services. This VPN has dedicated servers for accessing each content platform or its country-specific media library.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
5. Private Internet Access
Live chat, email
- Powerful kill switch
- Handshake Naming System,
- User-friendly prices
- Based in the US
Private Internet Access (PIA) offers military-grade encryption, kill switch, and leak protection. Its 24500+ server list is spread out over 70+ countries. Although very cheap, PIA is nevertheless a great VPN for Mac.
Its intuitive and user-friendly VPN client is virtually identical to that of Windows. All menus are self-explanatory and easy to navigate.
Furthermore, Private Internet Acess unblocks Netflix US and works great with Kodi. PIA also allows torrenting on all servers. For that matter, you’ll be able to use port forwarding or SOCKS5 proxy.
Save for being based in the US, the only drawback of this provider is the lack of a 24/7 live chat. Should you decide to purchase Private Internet Access, you’ll get a 7-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of Private Internet Access, read our Private Internet Access review.
24/7 live chat, email, knowledge base
- Freee SOCKS5 proxy
- TOR compatibility
- 10 simultaneous connections
- No anonymous payment options
IPVanish has been able to make themselves known for their excellent security. This provider uses military-grade encryption, offers free SOCKS5 proxy, and TOR compatibility.
After comparing, we can say that IPVanish for Mac is just as secure as the Windows version. Both clients are informative and easy-to-use, with simple but nice design. Besides, this VPN also has an app for routers, which is still not that common feature even among premium services.
IPVanish provides decent speeds and global coverage with 1500+ servers in over 75 countries. You should be able to watch Netflix US and torrent on all servers.
If you’re completely submerged in Apple’s ecosystem, you’ll enjoy the fact that when you get IPVanish for macOS, you will also get the iOS app for your iPhone or iPad, as well as the ability to use the service on 10 devices at the same time.
For a deeper investigation of IPVanish, read our IPVanish review.
7. Windscribe VPN
- Completely anonymous browsing
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Ad and malware blocking
- No live chat support
Windscribe VPN is a top macOS VPN service with AES-256 encryption, a firewall that protects from leaks and also works as a kill switch. It even offers a “stealth” protocol to bypass censorship.
Windscribe has a bunch of unique features, such as R.O.B.E.R.T., a tool to reduce ads and minimize malware risks. Once you download Windscribe, it will block all social media trackers, beacons, and browser fingerprinting.
At 480+ servers in 60+ countries, this is not the largest network, but it still delivers good performance. It will allow you to torrent safely, stream Netflix content unhindered, and unlock other geo-blocked streaming platforms. With that said, it’s not the most formidable unblocker on the market so those with subscriptions for lots of platforms may want to look elsewhere.
For a deeper investigation of Windscribe VPN, read our Windscribe VPN review.
24/7 live chat
- Port forwarding
- Split tunneling
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Weak kill switch
PureVPN has all the important security features (AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, leak protection) and a wealth of tunneling protocols. What’s more, it boasts 6500+ servers in a whopping 140+ countries, to choose from. PureVPN for Mac client connects quickly and establishes reliable connections.
If you’re looking for a solution to stream Netflix, torrent, or just looking for ways to improve your privacy online, try PureVPN. This service is more than capable of all those tasks.
While downloading and installing the VPN client is not difficult, and while customer support is available 24/7, the PureVPN macOS client itself could be more intuitive, especially when selecting Modes.
For a deeper investigation of PureVPN, read our PureVPN review.
How we choose the best Mac VPN services
There are many factors that make or break a VPN. While these criteria can be debated, here’s what we chose to rate when picking the best services:
- Security. This includes military-grade encryption, best protocols (OpenVPN, IKEv2 or Wireguard), kill switch, and no IPv6/DNS leaks. If your VPN doesn’t have any safety measures, it defeats the purpose of using the service.
- Privacy. The provider should have a strict no-logs policy, allow anonymous registration and payments.
- Performance. When connected to a VPN, your speeds shouldn’t suffer from lag spikes and significant speed drops. You want your system to be safe, but you also want the performance to be reliable.
- Entertainment. Does your VPN allow torrenting? Is it effective against geo-blocking, allowing access to Netflix and other streaming platforms?
- Ease of use and customer support. Is the Mac app user-friendly? Does your provider offer 24/7 live support?
- Price. Last but not least, the best VPN service for Mac should offer enough bang-for-your-buck and a solid money-back guarantee. A free trial is a bonus too.
Why use a VPN on macOS?
In theory, Mac computers are less vulnerable to all kinds of cybersecurity threats. Unfortunately, as security expert Eric Johanson once told cnet.com, if you compare that number of users and published vulnerabilities for Windows and macOS, you’ll see that the latter is losing the security battle on a per user basis. Now having in mind that this quote is almost a decade-old, let’s see the total numbers of malware for macOS, courtesy of av-test.org:
Suddenly Mac no longer looks so secure, does it? And as for hackers, they’re often not looking for the users with a particular OS, but ones with the largest footprint. And while VPNs are not antivirus tools, they can help minimize that footprint by increasing our privacy and security.
A large part of our privacy issues is caused by external forces, such as corporations that handle our data or government agencies that want to spy on us. The anonymization and encryption offered by the best VPN services for Mac is a great shield against these challenges.
Furthermore, even if you don’t care about your privacy or security at all, VPNs will help you entertain yourself – whether by helping you bypass geo-restrictions, securing your torrent downloads, or helping you get a Pay Per View cheaper.
What is the best free VPN for Mac?
There’s rarely a solution that is secure, fast, and free. As with other things in life, if a service is free, you should always be asking why that is. Most often it turns out that a Mac VPN that is free isn’t probably very fast or secure. It might also show you a lot of ads or just bluntly stell your usage information to third parties. There is no way to know.
We always recommend paid providers as they provide the best quality service, even if you’re paying a few bucks every month. The servers that you’re using, they still require maintenance. Besides, some of the best free VPNs are made by the providers who also have a paid option. You can find the full list on Free VPN for Mac page.
Mac has an open-source VPN client named Tunnelblick. It works with the OpenVPN protocol, so you’ll need a configuration file (.ovpn) for each of your provider’s servers. You’ll need your account logins as well.
You can download Tunnelblick for free. After the download completes, open the .dmg file and click on the Tunnelblick icon. After installation, you may need to enter your Mac login.
When you have Tunnelblick ready, follow these six simple steps:
- Launch Tunnelblick and click the “I have configuration files” button
- Double-click our downloaded .ovpn file.
- When prompted, install the configs for yourself or all users.
- After the installation, click the Tunnelblick icon at the top right corner and select “Connect.”
- If required, enter your VPN username and password.
- After the connection has been established, you should see a notification.
VPN for Mac FAQ
What is the best VPN for Mac?
The answer is going to be subjective, but based on our criteria, we find NordVPN to be the best VPN for Mac. A couple of reasons for that: they use top of the line security measures, have a wide-reaching server network, a strict no-logs policy, and their tool gives you complete and unrestricted freedom to torrent and stream content. The service they provide is also priced quite reasonably. These are the reason why we think it’s truly the best.
Do I need a VPN on a Mac?
This really depends on how dangerous and restrictive you want your online experience. VPNs provide an additional barrier of safety to keep your private data private and remove the geo-blocks that would be associated with your IP address. Some also have built-in malware protection that often includes ad blockers.
To know whether you need a Mac VPN, you should answer the following questions:
- Do you want your ISP and your government to track you?
- Do you want to risk getting fined for copyright infringement while torrenting?
- Do you want to have no access to Netflix and other streaming platforms?
- Do you want to pay more just because you’re in another country?
- Do you want to use unsafe wifi in coffee shops and airports?
- Do you want to have Netflix, YouTube, and other sites blocked at work?
If you answered “No” to at least a few of these questions, we have a final one – why not try some of the best VPN services for Mac and decide for yourself?
How do I get a VPN for Mac?
Getting a third-party VPN isn’t hard, and you don’t need to be an IT professional to do it.
1. Go to the website of your chosen VPN provider.
2. From there, you will be redirected to the App Store.
3. Click on the Download button or the little cloud icon.
4. When the download is complete, click on the Open button.
5. Fill in your login credentials, and that’s it. Now choose a server to connect to and enjoy your safe browsing experience.
Is there an Apple VPN for Mac?
There is a Mac built-in VPN. However, it lacks the features that the top VPNs for Mac have. Apple VPN for Mac offers IKEv2 and L2TP/IPSec tunneling protocols and can be turned on in Network settings.
While this will encrypt your connection and hide your IP address, you won’t be able to choose a server in another country for geo-spoofing. What’s more, Netflix and other streaming services will remain blocked. Last but not least, you won’t be getting extra security and privacy features, such as multi-hop, Tor over VPN, or Stealth VPN.
Why it's important to protect your Mac device?
Your Mac device is not secure enough. That’s why you need additional protection. There are still quite a few people who believe that macOS is much safer than Windows. In truth, the former has more vulnerabilities published if we count them on a per user basis.
What’s more, up until 2015, the number of macOS malware was marginal. However, in 2015, av-test.com counted over 32,000 examples, which is seven times more than in the previous five years. The situation gets even worse from there.
That’s why you should consider using not only a VPN but also other online security tools. One that cannot be recommended enough is a password manager. Anti-virus and anti-malware tools (the latter is integrated with some VPNs). Finally, using secure messaging apps and secure email providers will protect your online communication.
Are the best overall VPNs also the best ones for Mac?
Experts estimate that approximately 1 in every 5 desktop devices in the world runs on macOS. This level of prevalence means that software developers, including VPN services, normally don’t ignore Mac users. However, Windows and Android are generally still where most providers begin app development. As such, the quality of Mac VPN clients varies – a good service on Windows might prove to be terrible for Mac.
How does a Mac VPN work?
When you turn your Mac VPN on, it first connects to a VPN server, effectively hiding your IP address from the ISP, the government, and hackers.
What’s more, your traffic is encrypted using state of the art AES 256-bit cipher which is virtually unbreakable. This way nobody can see what kind of data you’re downloading or uploading.
To learn more about how a Mac VPN works, check out an in-depth answer in our “What is a VPN?” article.
Is it sufficient to use a VPN browser extension with Mac?
It’s not enough to use just a VPN browser extension, no matter how good it is. That’s because VPN browser extensions protect only your Safari, Chrome, or Firefox browser. Anything outside, from P2P to instant messaging, is still unencrypted.
A VPN for Mac protects all of your internet connection, so you won’t have to worry about being exposed. Besides, some services have a split tunneling feature, which allows you to choose the apps that will bypass VPN. This way, you can watch Netflix in 4K without encryption and have the rest of your online activities safe.
VPNs that Mac users should avoid
Here’s the list of worst VPN services for Mac that users should avoid:
- Hola. Its users create a P2P network, sharing their IPs and bandwidth. This VPN also collects data about you, which includes your IP address.
- VPN Gate. Trust us, you want this gate to remain closed. This VPN is also based on a P2P network where each user can see your traffic.
- Betternet VPN. This provider logs your data, using it for third-party ads. What’s more, there’s no kill switch, which is an essential component of any VPN. Better not use this one.
Bottom line: should you get a Mac VPN in 2021?
We strongly believe that you should get a top VPN for Mac. The numbers of malware will continue to grow and there will always be security vulnerabilities to patch with each new macOS version. What’s more, while the government spying on its citizens is nothing new, the methods of doing that online are well advanced.
While you could consider Mac more secure than Windows before 2015, the situation has changed drastically. The number of malware created for macOS has spiked and will continue to grow well into this decade. That’s why investing a few bucks per month into a reliable Mac VPN will bring you guaranteed benefit.