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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 be terrible for Mac.

Why use a VPN and how we rank them

VPN acts as a middle-man between you and your online destination, in the process hiding your identity and obscuring your activities from the ISP. But that’s not the full extent of it because a VPN also encrypts all your data so that even intercepting it would be completely useless. Do you often find yourself and your MacBook in some café, using the free wifi to send and receive sensitive data (passwords, card numbers – what have you)? If so, finding a good VPN for Mac may be a good idea.

A good VPN will also help you unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Spotify, and whatever else the greedy copyright guardians are keeping away from you. Alternatively, if you prefer P2P, a VPN will help you securely download torrents without anyone knowing.

While the criteria can be debated, here’s what we chose to rate:

  • VPN security
  • Performance
  • Entertainment (effectiveness against geo-blocking, torrenting capabilities)
  • Reliability against firewalls and censorship
  • Ease of use and customer support
  • Price

Hopefully, this list will help you download the right Mac VPN.

1. ExpressVPN

Probably the most powerful VPN overall

  • Pros: secure, fast, versatile, great choice of locations
  • Cons: expensive, no free trial
  • Price: starts at $8.32 per month, better deals found through affiliates
  • VPNpro rating: 9.6

The much-celebrated ExpressVPN is a great one-size-fits-all VPN service for Mac. It offers bulletproof security (military-grade AES-256 encryption, kill switch, DNS/IPv6 leak protection) and its massive 3,000+ server list is spread out over 90+ countries to provide consistent performance. Although it’s not cheap, crafty users can activate this stellar macOS app for $6.67 and use on 5 devices simultaneously.

ExpressVPN is a great VPN for Macbook primarily because the features of this VPN client are virtually identical as those Windows/Android users enjoy. That is to say, Mac users can take advantage of one of the best feature suites in the entire market. ExpressVPN is highly secure, but it’s also a fast VPN, whose speeds are consistent over a wide geography.

This prowess does not suffer much in countries where VPN use is restricted, such as China, Russia, Iran, etc. – just ask customer support for the right server to connect to. Furthermore, it’s one of the better VPN services for bypassing geo-restrictions, such as those of Netflix, and allows torrenting on all servers.

The ExpressVPN website is full of guides on how to download or install the VPN client, and customer support is available via live chat 24/7. Not that you’re likely to need it with how easy to use this app is.

Like all things in life, ExpressVPN a pair of drawbacks, and they’re all related to the cost. Firstly, there is no free trial. Secondly, the subscription is rather expensive, even compared to most VPN services. At least you get a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. NordVPN

The most secure and privacy-friendly VPN on the market

  • Pros: secure, very privacy-friendly, versatile, cheap, great choice of locations
  • Cons: not the fastest VPN on the list
  • Price: starts at $2.99 per month
  • VPNpro rating: 9.5

Solid as the mountain in the logo, NordVPN is currently the best or second-best VPN overall, and one of the best VPN services for Macbook. NordVPN has a wealth of strong security features (AES-256 encryption, 2 types of kill switch, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, Double VPN, Onion over VPN) and the largest network in the world, consisting of 5,200+ servers in 62 countries. All this and more is available for a measly fee of $2.99 per month billed every 3 years (the price grows as subscription length decreases).

As with our #1 choice, Mac users will appreciate that the service doesn’t suffer a downgrade from other versions of the VPN client.

NordVPN has proven to be a good choice to unblock Netflix with servers in many different countries – not only the US, as is often the case. 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. There are just a few things to note here: P2P traffic is not available on all servers, but NordVPN offers a free SOCKS5 proxy.

The Great Firewall of China is no match for the Obfuscated Servers feature of NordVPN, and neither are the censors of Russia, Iran, Turkey, or any other repressive country in the world. As a matter of fact, the brilliant security features of NordVPN make it a prime choice for people traveling to or living in these states.

Those having trouble with any aspect of the service can contact support via 24/7 live chat – just click the speech bubble on the NordVPN website. Alternatively, you’ll find lots of useful information in the FAQ and Tutorials sections.

Mac users tend to have more devices than Windows users. As such, NordVPN is also a good choice because one subscription gives 6 simultaneous connections. And it’s super cheap!

The only real criticism of NordVPN is that there are faster VPN services out there.

3. VyprVPN

Best VPN for Mac if you don’t want to use torrents

  • Pros: secure, fast, great for bypassing firewalls, and very slick
  • Cons: not great for torrenting and offers no anonymous payment methods
  • Price: starts at $5.00 per month
  • VPNpro rating: 8.3

The Switzerland-based VyprVPN (made by Golden Frog) is a technological jewel and an awesome VPN app for macOS. VyprVPN has 700+ servers in 70+ global locations and all of these servers are owned by Golden Frog. The product has AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection, as well as the proprietary Chameleon protocol to bypass firewalls. The security level of this VPN rivals any other. VyprVPN is available as a regular (from $5.00 a month, 3 simultaneous connections) or premium (from $6.67 a month, 5 simultaneous connections, Chameleon protocol, dedicated cloud VPN server) subscription.

Just as our other top choices, VyprVPN is as strong on Mac as it is elsewhere. In particular, it has a great iOS app, which many Mac users will find relevant. If you’re anything like us, you’ll love this clean and straightforward VPN client, which feels just at home on macOS.

VyprVPN scores very well on security and – as of recently – privacy as well. It’s also one of the best-performing VPNs out there – something that you’ll be able to test out on Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and many other content streaming platforms.

The Chameleon protocol makes VyprVPN a prime choice for users in countries with no online freedom and ubiquitous surveillance; or those engaging in sensitive activities. This includes political activists, journalists, hackers and other secretive types.

Where VyprVPN fails is P2P and torrenting. Simply put, Golden Frog is not a fan of dealing with copyright infringement notices. Additionally, it’s not the cheapest VPN service for Mac and doesn’t have any anonymous payment methods – unfortunate indeed.

4. Windscribe VPN

Great Mac app, strong features, and some questionable practices

  • Pros: secure, minimal, fast, great for bypassing firewalls
  • Cons: based in Canada (possible privacy issues) and has engaged in some unsavory activities in the past
  • Price: starts at $1.00 per month
  • VPNpro rating: 8.4

Windscribe is Canada-based, which is not ideal for privacy regardless of whether you’re a Mac or Windows user. However, besides that, this is a top macOS VPN service with AES-256 encryption, a kill switch (Firewall), leak protection, and even a “stealth” protocol to bypass censorship. At 500+ servers in 55+ countries, this is not the largest network, but it still delivers good performance. Windscribe has one of the most flexible pricing plans, including a limited free version and a “Build A Plan” option, which starts at $1.00 per server location per month.

Windscribe for Mac is a minimal yet powerful VPN client that carries all the features you could possibly need. It will allow you to torrent safely, stream Netflix content unhindered and unlock some 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.

The Mac application rates highly for ease of use and customer support is always available, so even new users should have no issues. You’ll even be able to enjoy the perks of Windscribe in heavily restricted countries, such as China – the “stealth” function makes its way to the Mac client as well.

There are few negatives we can point out, aside from the fact that Windscribe is based in Canada, which is not a privacy-friendly location, and the fact that its reputation has suffered a few blows in the past. For example, the free version has been accused of working as a crypto miner.

5. Astrill VPN

Very powerful VPN for macOS, but expensive not the most user-friendly

  • Pros: secure, fast, great for bypassing firewalls, and very slick
  • Cons: not great for torrenting and offers no anonymous payment methods
  • Price: starts at $8.33 per month
  • VPNpro rating: 9.3

Astrill is as powerful a VPN for Macbook as any, particularly if you’re based in Asia. It’s got all the security features (AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, leak protection) and a wealth of tunneling protocols, including as many as 4 choices on Mac. Astrill VPN has (only) 300+ servers in 65 countries, yet this Seychelles-based VPN service can compete with anyone in terms of speed and versatility.

There are just a few negatives. Firstly, it’s more expensive than even ExpressVPN. Secondly, it could certainly use a better interface. And, lastly, it could log a little less data.

The version of Astrill VPN for macOS has a rich list of features, which lends itself to streaming geo-blocked content (particularly Netflix), torrenting, and just general anonymity on the net. As a matter of fact, the incredible connection speeds with this service make it a top pick for any entertainment-related purpose.

Judging by the server locations, it’s obvious that Astrill places a lot more importance on Asia than its competitors. This is also apparent from the variety of “stealth” tunneling protocols, one of which is also available on the Astrill Macbook VPN client. Using it will allow you to use the service in countries such as China.

While downloading and installing the VPN client is not difficult, and while customer support is available 24/7, the macOS client itself is not very easy to use. Somewhat more problematic is the fact that the kill switch is not on by default and is actually not simple to find – users will have to switch to StealthVPN in order to activate it.

Astrill is also the most expensive tool on this list, which is not a great accolade.

But macOS is secure – why use a VPN?

Mac computers are less vulnerable to all kinds of cybersecurity threats. For example, you’re far less likely to get infected with malware if you own a MacBook than if you own a Windows PC. However, VPN services are not antivirus software – they protect us from a different kind of threat.

Anyone who uses the internet should be worried about their privacy, regardless of whether they’re using Windows or macOS. 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 VPN services is a great shield against these adversaries.

Furthermore, even if you don’t care about your privacy or security at all, VPN services 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.

Free VPN for Mac

Were you under the impression that it’s possible to get a secure free VPN for Mac? Well, it is possible, but only up to a point. Free VPN services are frequently not very secure or good for your privacy, and it makes sense! Nothing in this world is free and neither are free VPN services, which usually fund themselves by spying on your activities and selling the information to advertisers or using some other shady method.

Then there are paid VPN services that have a free version and these can be just fine in terms of security, but limited in terms of function. Most such tools will limit how much data you can transfer or how fast you can transfer it. Usually, people find these limitations a bit too much and they end up buying the (no longer) free VPN client. And that’s exactly the reason they exist!

With that said, there are a few services that could work for you depending on how needy you are. Probably the best safe free VPN for Mac is ProtonVPN. This tool doesn’t limit how much data you can transfer, so you could technically stretch its utility quite a long way.

You could also check our free VPN for Mac services list for more suggestions.