Mac users also deserve a safe online existence! Fortunately, the market doesn’t lack for great Mac-compatible VPN services. Currently, it seems the level of VPN on Mac is similar to the level of service on Windows, and that’s a great place to be.
For those not in the know, VPN (Virtual Private Network) is one of the most important tools to have these days. It can help you get past your ISP, encrypt your data, and make it seem like you‘re located elsewhere. This makes VPN great for those who want to stream Netflix, buy cheaper plane tickets, as well as bamboozle copyright warriors and evil power structures all over the globe. This Top 5 Best VPN for Mac list can get you started on your way to take back the internet.
Before we start, you should know that all the tools on our list cost money. To put it simply, there’s very little use trying to find a free VPN for Mac (let alone a free unlimited VPN for Mac), not because you won’t find it, but because you will. The overwhelming majority of free VPN tools are flawed in serious ways and we, therefore, decided to cover them separately.
What is the Best VPN for Macbook?
It isn‘t very crowded at the top. Realistically, the Top 3 is one level of quality and the rest is a step lower. We consider ExpressVPN the best VPN software for Mac, just as we consider it the best overall. The reasons are not in short supply!
ExpressVPN is flawless in terms of security. Its users enjoy the same level of data encryption the military uses – AES-256. This is always half the picture, the other half being features, vulnerabilities, and legal factors. ExpressVPN is strong on all these fronts: is has shown imperviousness to DNS/IPv6/WebRTC leaks, it has good features (such as the kill switch and split tunneling), and is based in a VPN-friendly location (the British Virgin Islands).
Why is that last fact important? The BVI has no data retention laws, meaning ExpressVPN is not obliged to collect data on you. Furthermore, it isn‘t part of either the 5 eyes or 14 eyes intelligence-sharing framework. Both facts make ExpressVPN‘s no-logging policy a lot more believable.
ExpressVPN has a wonderful Mac VPN client, but here are some other reasons why it’s the best VPN for Mac:
- 2,000+ servers in 94 countries and some of the best connection speeds
- Great support available 24/7 via live chat
- Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime….
- A good weapon against the Great Firewall of China
- Apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and routers.
- Split tunneling
As for drawbacks, Express is very pricey. If that doesn’t sound like a problem, you can get it for $12.95 a month, $9.99 a month billed every 6 months, or $6.67 a month billed annually. The subscription allows 3 simultaneous connections and if you don’t like what ExpressVPN offers – there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN Review
TorGuard is an awesome VPN and more or less just as good as ExpressVPN, with only one caveat. The company behind this tool is based in the United States – not the most privacy-friendly location in the World. Aside from the corporate intelligence in the States, people also have to worry about government intelligence agencies, such as the NSA.
Other than that, with TorGuard you’ll be as protected as you can possibly be. It has powerful encryption to the tune of AES-256, it has no leaks to speak of, a very decent kill switch, and some nice extra features to help you sleep at night. These include one of the biggest security protocol selections, including stealth protocols to protect your right to information in restricted countries (China, Russia, Turkey, etc.).
The TorGuard Mac app is just like the Windows app, and the Windows app is righteous!
Let’s break it down:
- 3,000+ servers in 50+ countries – fast
- 24/7 live chat support + a customer service phone number
- Great for streaming (at least if you pay an additional fee for a personal US IP address)
- Works well in China
- Awesome for torrents
- Has clients for many platforms (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers, Linux, and more)
As mentioned, one of the main drawbacks is that the company is based in the US. There’s also the concern that Netflix and other streaming platforms may not work without getting that dedicated IP address. On the other hand, there aren’t many VPN services that even offer this option. You can get TorGuard for $9.99 a month, $4.99 a month billed quarterly, $4.99 a month billed every six months, $4.99 a month billed annually, or $4.15 a month billed every two years.
Read our full TorGuard Review
The Ghost is never far from the top but this time you can almost feel its breath. While CyberGhost is clearly an inferior VPN on Mac than ExpressVPN or TorGuard, there are good arguments for ranking it higher than NordVPN for the time being.
What CyberGhost offers is very similar to our top choice. It has the same awesome level of encryption (AES-256) and an internet-friendly home base in Romania. This is a country that has strongly rejected data retention laws and is also not part of the 5 or 14 eyes network. Where the security credentials differ are vulnerabilities. CyberGhost has been shown to have DNS and WebRTC leaks, however, fortunately for Mac users, the problem is relatively minor on the Mac client.
Its Mac VPN client is simple to use and CyberGhost has other nice features as well: an in-built, non-negotiable kill switch and usage profiles that will make the app simpler for less-advanced users. Mac users are more likely to have iPhones and iPads – they‘ll appreciate CyberGhost‘s simple yet functional iOS app. While this isn’t a free VPN for Mac, “Ghosties” can get a 7-day trial to help them make a decision.
If that‘s not enough:
- 1,800+ servers in 60+ countries means CyberGhost is very fast.
- 24/7 support-over-live-chat feature to deal with your woes
- Netflix and most other streaming platforms unblocked
- Works in China (but isn‘t the best tool for that region)
- Very good for torrents
- Custom clients for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
- Usage profiles optimizing performance for streaming, torrenting, etc.
CyberGhost does have some weak points in comparison to its peers: it‘s a bit less secure, it isn‘t the best for use in restricted countries (China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, etc.), and its interface could be less scattered. Those Mac users who don‘t mind these negatives will appreciate CyberGhost‘s price. You can get it for as cheap as $11.99 a month, $4.99 a month billed annually, $3.79 a month billed every two years, or $2.75 a month billed every three years.
Read our full CyberGhost Review
Normally it‘s a question of whether NordVPN is best or ExpressVPN. That would be the case here as well, but we chose to rank it lower due to its sub-par iOS app. Mac users are more likely to own iOS devices, such as the iPhone or the iPad, therefore, we consider this factor more important in this case.
Other than that, we‘re inclined to say NordVPN is just as good as ExpressVPN or TorGuard. It has the strongest security suite, covering all the usual security angles, but also offering some unique and powerful features. Your privacy can‘t get better armor than double VPN or VPN over Onion!
NordVPN is registered in privacy-friendly Panama, where the public enjoys an absence of data retention laws. This small Caribbean state is not part of the 5 eyes or 14 eyes country groups, so there is less concern about intelligence-agency-lead surveillance. Over NordVPN’s time on the market, it has kept people out of compromising positions and has never given any reason to doubt their no logging policy. A strong choice of VPN for Macbook!
Of course, security isn’t everything:
- 4,500+ servers in 62 countries makes for awesome (albeit lower than ExpressVPN) speeds.
- Foolproof support structure: extensive self-help section, 24/7 live chat, and support ticket system.
- Bypasses geo-blocking measures without breaking a sweat. Netflix, BBC iPlayer – you name it!
- One of the best for use in restricted countries (China, Russia, etc.)
- Excellent for torrenting.
- Available as custom apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
- Obfuscated servers.
- Has both an internet and an app kill switch.
- Ad-blocking/malware protection feature – CyberSec.
- Specialized servers for P2P, Anti DDoS, and other things
What about the negatives? As we have already mentioned, the NordVPN iOS app demands some work. Compared to all other manifestations of this stellar tool, the iOS version has a lot fewer features. We assume this drawback will eventually get taken care of. If you don’t care about your iOS VPN having just the basics, you can get NordVPN for $11.95 a month, $5.75 a month billed annually, or $3.29 a month billed every two years.
Read our full NordVPN Review
A VPN the size of PrivateVPN has no business being this high on the list, but tell that to PrivateVPN… Despite being rather small (only over 80 servers in 56 countries), this VPN manages to offer wonderful speeds and a decent level of security. It’s certainly one of the best VPN services for Mac.
PrivateVPN offers AES-256 encryption with a 2048-bit handshake, has no reported leaks, and includes a kill switch. There are some potential privacy issues that people may find a little concerning. PrivateVPN is based in Sweden, which is not known for its privacy-friendly attitude. Additionally, they don’t have their own network of DNS – you’ll have to set a DNS up manually. This is a little inconvenient, but more importantly it increases the possibility of a DNS leak. This isn’t currently an issue, so we won’t bang on about it.
- PrivateVPN has 80+ servers in 56 countries, but the speeds are fantastic.
- The support resources aren’t bad, but there’s no live chat option.
- Good at beating geo-blocking measures. Watch Netflix from anywhere, anytime!
- Not bad for use with torrents, but Sweden is not an ideal location for this.
- Available as a custom app for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
PrivateVPN is fairly cheap – get it for $7.12 a month, $4.50 a month billed every 3 months, or $2.73 a month billed every 19 months.
Read our full PrivateVPN Review
Also worth a shot
At number 5 we have VyprVPN. This is an unusual VPN, because there are some areas where it is probably the best or one of the best. However, to balance it out, there are certain things Golden Frog’s VPN plainly won’t do.
When it comes to security, only the very best can compete with VyprVPN. It has AES-256 encryption, no leaking issues, and very strong, customizable security features. Golden Frog is registered in Switzerland, which happens to be one of the best VPN locations in the world. Switzerland is notoriously pro-privacy, even to the point of angering its international partners. One of VyprVPN’s drawbacks is that despite these favorable circumstances the VPN collects a significant amount of data on its users. Fortunately, they are very transparent about these practices.
Some facts about VyprVPN:
- 700+ self-owned and well-optimized servers in 70+ locations. Some of the best speeds.
- Excellent support, including 24/7 live chat.
- Due to proprietary Chameleon protocol, VyprVPN is one of the best for use in restricted countries (China, Russia, etc.)
- Custom apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Routers, and more
- Smooth interface and design.
The main drawbacks of VyprVPN are Golden Frog’s lack of tolerance for P2P (you can use it, but they might cancel your subscription), inability to bypass Netflix’ geo-blocking, and far from anonymous signup procedure. If you don’t mind any of that, VyprVPN is available for $9.95 a month or $5.00 a month billed annually for the “basic” package, and $12.95 a month or $6.67 a month billed annually for the “premium” package.
Read our full VyprVPN Review
Any Mac VPN client on our list will treat you well unless your needs are truly exceptional. Are you a whistleblower about to reveal a bunch of government secrets? Then we recommend investigating further in our VPN reviews section.
It’s a brave new world out there and it will reward those brave enough to face it. Just be aware of the threats lurking where you least expect them. Cybercriminals, large and powerful data corporations, repressive governments – these entities have too much power over our lives. VPN is not the only answer, but it’s a meaningful step that you should take!
How we made this list
The Top 5 is a result of extensively using various VPN services for Mac. Worth noting:
- Although this is a “Best VPN for Mac” list, we hold the opinion that versatile VPNs are better than one-dimensional tools. Few users need all (or even most) VPN functions, but they still matter. The more you can do with a VPN, the better you’ve spent your money.
- Mac users are more likely to have iOS devices as well. Our list takes into account the quality of VPN iOS apps.
- Nothing is more important than security and trust.
- The selection is not final and will be constantly updated.