Below you will find the Top 8 VPNs that we recommend for Mac users. 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 and IKEv2), kill switch, and no IPv6/DNS leaks.
- Privacy. The provider should have a strict no-logs policy, allow anonymous registration and payments.
- Performance. When connected to a VPN, your speeds should be good enough for downloading and streaming.
- 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 VPN should offer enough bang-for-your-buck and a solid money-back guarantee. A free trial is a bonus too.
No time to read? Here are our best VPNs:
- Price: starts at $3.49 per month
- VPNpro rating: 9.6
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, consisting of 5500+ servers in 58 countries. All this and more is available for a fee of $3.49 per month billed every 3 years, that 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, NordVPN is also a good choice because one subscription gives 6 simultaneous connections.
The only real criticism of NordVPN for Mac is the lack of a router app.
- Impenetrable encryption
- Strong kill switch
- No leaking issues
- One of the cheapest VPNs
- Great choice of servers and locations
- Unblocks Netflix and other streaming platforms
- No router app
- Price: starts at $1.99/month;
- VPNpro rating: 9.4
Surfshark VPN is great, but it also offers some insane deals, starting from $1.99/month for a two-year plan! It offers military-grade encryption, OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, a kill switch, and multi-hop. There’s also a Camouflage Mode that unblocks internet in China and other restrictive countries.
Even though Surfshark boasts only 1000+ servers, they seem to be working efficiently, providing fast speeds over 60+ locations. Torrenting is allowed, and Netflix US is 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 out Surfshark right away, without providing payment details.
- Strong encryption
- Anonymous sign up and payments
- Great performance
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Stunningly cheap
- Weak self-help support section
- Price: starts at $6.67 per month, better deals found through affiliates
- VPNpro rating: 9.3
ExpressVPN offers bulletproof security (military-grade AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN, kill switch, DNS/IPv6 leak protection), and its massive 3000+ server list is spread out over 90+ countries. Although it’s not cheap, the speeds with this stellar macOS app are worth it.
Also, its intuitive and user-friendly VPN clients are virtually identical to those Windows and Android users enjoy. ExpressVPN iOS app and Safari extension are also top-notch.
Furthermore, it’s one of the better VPN services for bypassing geo-restrictions, such as those of Netflix, and allows torrenting on all servers.
Save for the cost, the only drawback of ExpressVPN is the lack of free trial. But at least you get a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Powerful encryption and kill switch
- No DNS or IPv6 leaks
- Industry-leading speeds
- Proven no-logging practice
- Price: starts at $2.75/month;
- VPNpro rating: 9.1
Starting at $2.75/month and offering one of the industry’s longest 45-day money-back guarantee along with a free 24-hour trial. Combine that with 7 simultaneous connections allowed along with a router app and that’s some real bang-for-your-buck.
While the CyberGhost Mac app looks really slick, it has fewer security features compared to the Windows version and doesn’t allow to choose the protocol.
CyberGhost VPN has 6200+ servers in 90+ countries – that’s more servers than any other provider right now! Naturally, such a fleet provides great speeds, torrenting included, as it doesn’t throttle P2P traffic.
When it comes to streaming, CyberGhost is more than capable of unblocking Netflix and other streaming services. It has specialized “For streaming” servers that you can use to access country-specific media libraries.
- Great encryption and security features
- Not expensive
- Large fleet of speedy servers
- Slick apps
- Not ideal for China
- Fewer customization options than some on this list
- Price: starts at $2.99 per month
- VPNpro rating: 7.6
Hotspot Shield has been around for a while, so they’ve been able to perfect their own technology, such as the Catapult Hydra tunneling protocol.
While most VPN apps for Mac are based on OpenVPN, Hotspot Shield opts to rely on Catapult Hydra, offering significant performance benefits in the process. This makes the VPN particularly good for frequent travelers and people who often deal with unstable or slow connections. Add that to a server list of 3200 servers across 80+ countries, and you’re bound to enjoy top speeds wherever you go.
Users of Apple products will also enjoy the fact that Hotspot Shield has a great iOS app, as well as the ability to use the service on 5 devices at the same time. It’s also one of the few VPNs that still provide a free version, but it has a 500 MB daily bandwidth and blocks Netflix.
- Military-grade encryption
- Kill switch
- No leaks
- Huge network with servers in 80+ countries
- Amazing speeds
- Intuitive apps for all major platforms
- No router setup
- US location
- Price: Starts at $2.71 per month;
- VPNpro rating: 8.3
VyprVPN has 700+ servers in 60+ global locations, allowing them to achieve better performance than thousands of questionable third-party servers ever could.
The security level of this VPN rivals any other. This VPN 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 choosing VyprVPN for your Mac, we advise taking the premium plan as the regular one allows only three devices at the same time and doesn’t have the Chameleon protocol, thus losing most 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, which doesn’t have anonymous payment methods.
- Great against censorship
- Good for Netflix
- Very slick
- Not great for torrenting
- Average speeds
- No anonymous payment methods
- Price: starts at $1.00 per month
- VPNpro rating: 8.4
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, and even a “stealth” protocol to bypass censorship. It also has a bunch of unique features, such as R.O.B.E.R.T., a tool to reduce tracking, ads, and malware risk. It can also block 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 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.
- Versatile and quick
- Minimal logs
- Lots of great features
- Based in Canada
- Has engaged in some unsavory activities in the past
- No live chat
- Price: starts at $10.00 per month
- VPNpro rating: 8.9
Astrill VPN has all the security features (AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, leak protection) and a wealth of tunneling protocols. Astrill VPN has only 320+ servers in 60+ countries, yet this Seychelles-based VPN service can compete with anyone in terms of speed and versatility.
This VPN has a rich list of features, such as streaming geo-blocked content (particularly Netflix), torrenting, and just general anonymity on the net.
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 user-friendly. For instance, the kill switch is not on by default and is not that easy to find – users will have to switch to StealthVPN to activate it.
- Excellent security
- Very fast
- Awesome for P2P & streaming
- Great for bypassing blocks
- Money-back guarantee with strings attached
VPN for Mac FAQ
But macOS is secure – why use a VPN?
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 the hackers, more often than not they’re looking not for the user with a particular OS but the one with the largest footprint. And while VPN is not an antivirus, 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 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.
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.
Should I use a free VPN for Mac?
It’s possible to get a secure free VPN for Mac, 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. 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, so 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.
How to set up a VPN with Tunnelblick on a Mac
Mac has its own VPN client named Tunnelblick. It works with the OpenVPN protocol, so you’ll need a configuration file (.ovpn) for each server of your provider. Probably you’ll need your account logins as well.
You can download Tunnelblick for free. After the download, open the .dmg file and click on the Tunnelblick icon. After installation, you may need to enter your Mac login.
When you have the Tunnelblick ready, follow these six simple steps:
- Launch Tunnelblick and click “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