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It’s common knowledge that Mac devices are slightly more secure than the ever-popular Windows devices. However, that doesn’t mean you can relax and neglect your digital confidentiality. Furthermore, maintaining privacy requires a different set of tools.
This is where a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for Mac comes into play. It encrypts your internet connection and makes it hidden from various snoopers on publicly accessible networks. Plus, rerouting your connection through a remote server has plenty of other benefits.
Top 5 Best Mac VPNs for 2021: shortlist
Can’t wait to secure your Mac device as soon as possible? Here’s a glance at the top five VPNs for Mac:
|#||PROVIDER||CATEGORY SCORECATEGORY SCORE|
The best VPN for Mac
Mac VPN with unlimited connections
The cheapest VPN for Mac
Streaming VPN for Mac
Mac VPN with the largest server network
How to install a VPN for Mac
Like anything else related to Mac, getting a VPN working on the device is a simple few-step process:
- Subscribe to a secure VPN. Our top recommendation is NordVPN, currently available for 72% off!
- Install the VPN on your Apple device and connect to any server
- Reap unparalleled online security!
Why do you need a VPN for Mac in 2021?
Many people are under the impression that Apple devices are more secure than machines by other manufacturers with different operating systems. The reality is that a more significant number of people use Windows devices. Thus, it makes sense for cybercriminals to create viruses and malware for the most common operating system.
However, a Mac device won’t protect you against data leaks and breaches on the web. Plus, hackers can still intercept your connection on public networks if you’re not secured with a VPN. Besides, you can use a VPN for more than just security. It’s commonly utilized to get around geographical restrictions and access content that’s blocked in your region.
Whatever your use cases are, it’s crucial to pick a service that’s compatible with your device and will guarantee privacy under all circumstances.
Best VPNs for Mac: overview
For full-fledged security and usability, a VPN needs to be equipped with certain features, such as:
- Internet kill switch
- Secure and modern tunneling protocols
- Expansive server fleet
- IP, WebRTC, and DNS leak protection
- Reasonable VPN cost
- 24/7 customer support
- Compatibility with a wide range of devices
- Ability to get around geo-restrictions
These are the essentials that need to be considered when choosing a virtual private network provider for any situation. In this article, we’ve selected the top ten VPN services that are compatible with Mac devices.
1. NordVPN – the best VPN for Mac
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
The best VPN for Mac devices is NordVPN. It has dedicated and easy-to-use apps for the platform, excellent performance, and a reasonable price.
First off, NordVPN runs a network of 5100+ servers in 60+ countries. It’s worth noting that many of those servers are utilizing RAM-only technology to keep your data private if someone seizes the servers. Plus, the proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol provides mind-blowing connectivity.
Meanwhile, you can verify geo-unblocking performance by accessing more content on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and other streaming services. Furthermore, NordVPN is equipped with SmartPlay, a feature that enables easy geo-restriction circumvention on practically any device. Supported devices include Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, and Kodi.
Industry-leading privacy is ensured with the service’s jurisdiction in Panama. Plus, NordVPN went through multiple third-party no-logs policy audits to prove that it doesn’t track customer browsing habits. Best of all, anonymity enthusiasts can minimize the amount of data shared by paying for the service with cryptocurrencies.
One NordVPN account enables you to connect six different devices simultaneously. If you need more, it’s possible to set up a router with a VPN connection. Then all network-connected devices are blessed with the benefits of a virtual private network.
Lastly, customers can get a taste of NordVPN by getting a 7-day free trial on the Google Play Store. But if you’re already convinced, pricing starts at $3.29/month and is protected with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – Mac VPN with unlimited connections
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
If you’re a die-hard Apple fan with an endless supply of the companies devices, consider Surfshark. It allows unlimited connections and provides top-notch security at an affordable price.
For starters, Surfshark is equipped with a network of 3200+ servers across 65+ countries. Additionally, it stands out in the VPN industry by having a 100% RAM-only server fleet. Plus, connections can be conducted with a wide range of different tunneling protocols, such as WireGuard and IKEv2.
Streaming fans can use Surfshark to unearth more content on HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and other platforms. Plus, the service is compatible with an exceptional selection of devices thanks to the Smart DNS feature. For example, you can use the VPN on gaming consoles, smart TVs, and other home entertainment systems.
Surfshark has altered its location and is based in the Netherlands, a member of the Nine Eyes alliance. However, the service assures us that nothing has changed, and it will continue following its no-logs policy. Additionally, privacy fans can continue paying for the service anonymously using cryptocurrencies.
An exceptional feature of this VPN service is the Surfshark One bundle. It turns the software into a full-fledged digital security tool with the addition of antivirus protection, a private search engine, and data breach monitoring.
You can test the Surfshark waters by grabbing a 7-day free trial on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. The only limitation is that it doesn’t include Surfshark One. Grab a subscription to experience the full package, which starts at $2.21/month and is insured with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
3. VyprVPN – the cheapest VPN for Mac
24/7 live chat
- LAN level kill switch
- Proprietary Chameleon protocol
- Automatic port selection
- No anonymous payments
There’s no shame in frugality after spending all of your money on Apple devices. That is why we recommend VyprVPN as the most affordable VPN for Mac.
VyprVPN runs a fleet of 700+ servers in 70+ countries. Additionally, the service retains complete control over the network, ensuring that no third parties gain unauthorized access to the hardware. Plus, users can alternate between WireGuard and the proprietary Chameleon tunneling protocols.
Despite the low price, VyprVPN is an effective tool for getting around geographical restrictions. It’s a top choice for unblocking Amazon Prime Video, Hulu + Live TV, BBC iPlayer, and many more. Furthermore, it’s compatible with plenty of home entertainment systems, such as Android TV, Amazon FireOS devices, smart TVs, and Kodi.
The provider is also an excellent privacy guardian. VyprVPN is one of the first VPN services to go through an independent no-logs policy audit. Additionally, it’s located in Switzerland, a haven of privacy and a country with no data retention laws.
One VyprVPN account enables you to secure five different devices simultaneously. If that’s not enough, you can set up a router with a VPN. Then your entire home network is secured with a VPN connection from just one device. Plus, the dedicated router app makes the setup process a piece of cake.
You can grab the cheapest Mac VPN for as little as $1.81/month. And although there’s no free trial, you’re granted a risk-free test period thanks to the 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of VyprVPN, read our VyprVPN review.
4. PrivateVPN – streaming VPN for Mac
24/7 live chat
- Strict no-logs policy
- Stealth VPN
- Port forwarding
- macOS and iOS apps have fewer features
VPNs have a lot of use cases. A common reason for getting one is to unlock geographical restrictions on various streaming services. PrivateVPN is made with this specific purpose in mind.
First off, PrivateVPN makes do with a humble network of 150+ servers across 62+ countries. Although it appears tiny compared to other providers, it’s pretty efficient thanks to the fleet being completely controlled by the VPN service. Furthermore, users can conduct VPN connections with the OpenVPN tunneling protocol.
PrivateVPN guarantees exceptional streaming performance with its specialized streaming servers. It has dedicated options for Disney Plus, HBO Max, Netflix, and countless other popular platforms. Additionally, the VPN is compatible with Android TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Kodi, and Roku.
One downside of PrivateVPN is that it’s based in Sweden, a member of the Fourteen Eyes alliance. Luckily, it adheres to a solid no-logs policy and hasn’t been caught cooperating with authorities. Moreover, you can minimize the amount of shared personal data by paying for the VPN anonymously using Bitcoin.
One PrivateVPN account allows you to connect six different devices simultaneously. If you own more than that, a VPN-configured router is a perfect solution. It protects an entire network by using up only one connection.
You can begin your journey with PrivateVPN by utilizing the 7-day free trial that’s available on the official website. After that, pricing starts at $2.00/month, and each subscription is shielded with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
5. PureVPN – Mac VPN with the largest server network
24/7 live chat
- Port forwarding
- Split tunneling
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Weak kill switch
A vast server network grants you access to an unprecedented number of different IP addresses. This is precisely where PureVPN stands out as a VPN option for Mac.
For starters, PureVPN is loaded with 6500+ servers in 70+ countries. If you’re not into sharing, you can pick a dedicated IP address from seven locations (United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Malta, Germany, Singapore). Meanwhile, your VPN connections can be facilitated with OpenVPN or IKEv2 tunneling protocols.
PureVPN is also a top choice for unlocking bonus TV shows and movies on popular streaming websites. For example, you can use the service to gain more content on BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Netflix, and numerous other platforms. Furthermore, you can utilize the VPN on Chromecast, Microsoft Surface, Raspberry Pi, and Android TV.
Anonymity is pretty solid when using PureVPN since the service is based in Hong Kong. Furthermore, the VPN went through a scheduled third-party audit in June 2019 and another surprise check-up in August 2021. If you’re still not convinced, it’s possible to pay for the service anonymously using cryptocurrencies.
A single PureVPN subscription enables you to protect a whopping ten different devices simultaneously. If even that’s not enough, it’s possible to configure a router manually with a VPN connection. Plus, the service provides a DD-WRT applet to make the configuration process more manageable.
You can go for a joyride with PureVPN by getting a 7-day trial for $0.99. Alternatively, a total commitment starts at $1.99/month and is protected by a 31-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of PureVPN, read our PureVPN review.
6. IPVanish – Mac VPN with optional bonus features
24/7 live chat, email, knowledge base
- Freee SOCKS5 proxy
- TOR compatibility
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- No anonymous payment options
Veteran VPN companies are expanding their security toolbelts and offering a wide range of different security solutions. One such service is IPVanish – it provides optional packages for secure cloud storage or antivirus protection.
IPVanish runs a network of 1500+ servers in over 75 countries. It also runs the entire fleet itself, ensuring zero interference from unwanted visitors. Furthermore, users can enable a wide array of different tunneling protocols for connectivity, including WireGuard and OpenVPN.
Unfortunately, IPVanish is lacking in the streaming department. Although it can change your Netflix region to the USA, the same isn’t true about other countries or platforms. Therefore, we suggest cinephiles opt for a different VPN for streaming.
Another problem with IPVanish is its jurisdiction in the United States, a founding member of the Five Eyes alliance. Thankfully, it follows a strict no-logs policy and isn’t prone to any IP or DNS leaks. Unfortunately, there’s no option to pay for the service anonymously.
IPVanish has a few bundle options if you’re looking for bonus features with a VPN. The first one includes 500GB of secure cloud storage that’s protected against ransomware. Meanwhile, the second option consists of a variety of safeguards against viruses and other digital threats.
All IPVanish subscription options include unlimited VPN connections. Meanwhile, long-term plans are protected with a 30-day money-back guarantee and start at $2.92/month.
For a deeper investigation of IPVanish, read our IPVanish review.
7. Ivacy VPN – secure Mac VPN with exceptional discounts
24/7 live chat
- Ten simultaneous connections
- Exceptional discounts
- Seven dedicated IP options
- No WireGuard
Ivacy VPN is a reliable service for those who are looking for exceptionally massive discounts on long-term plans.
Firstly, Ivacy VPN has 3500+ servers in 50+ countries. If you’d like to avoid shared addresses, there’s also the option to get a dedicated IP from 7 locations (United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore). Plus, you can switch between OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunneling protocols for better connectivity.
You will also find dedicated streaming servers among the fleet. For example, Ivacy VPN has options for BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and various other platforms. Additionally, you can set up the VPN with gaming consoles, browsers, Android TV, Amazon Fire Stick, and countless other devices.
Ivacy VPN is based in Singapore – far away from the gaze of the Five Eyes alliance. The service also follows a no-logging policy and provides a connection free from DNS and IP leaks. Plus, privacy fans will be glad to hear that there are plenty of anonymous payment methods.
One Ivacy VPN account enables you to secure ten unique devices simultaneously. If you own more than that, you have the option to set up a router manually with a VPN connection. Then you won’t have to worry about device connection numbers on your home network.
You can take Ivacy VPN for a spin by getting a 7-day trial for $0.99. Alternatively, long-term subscriptions start at $1.33/month and are secured with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of Ivacy VPN, read our Ivacy VPN review.
8. Atlas VPN – fast and efficient Mac VPN
Email, tickets, FAQ
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Ultra-fast with WireGuard
- Solid security features
- Poor device compatibility
Atlas VPN is another small but efficient VPN service. It offers a nice balance between performance and security at an affordable price.
In terms of coverage, Atlas VPN has 700+ servers in 27+ countries. It’s worth noting that there are no P2P traffic limitations on the server network. Additionally, customers can switch between the ultra-fast WireGuard and secure IKEv2 tunneling protocols.
All Atlas VPN servers are optimized for streaming and work with many well-known platforms, such as Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus, and more. Plus, the VPN has dedicated apps for Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android.
Unfortunately, Atlas VPN is based in the United States, a suboptimal location for privacy enthusiasts. Luckily, it adheres to an airtight zero-logs policy and keeps your browsing habits private. Plus, the application is filled with features against trackers, malicious ads, and even malware.
One Atlas VPN account enables you to connect an unlimited number of devices. Furthermore, you can try out the service utterly risk-free by utilizing the free plan, which comes with fewer server locations and a 10GB/month data cap.
You can get started with Atlas VPN by subscribing for as little as $1.39/month. Lastly, all plans are secured with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of Atlas VPN, read our Atlas VPN review.
9. ProtonVPN – secure and open-source VPN for Mac
Email, knowledge base
- Free and open-source
- Outstanding privacy
- Reliable security
- No router app
ProtonVPN is a one-of-a-kind VPN service that CERN scientists develop to ensure exceptional privacy and performance.
For starters, ProtonVPN is equipped with 1300+ servers in 61+ countries. Additionally, premium servers are optimized to facilitate connections up to 10Gbps. Plus, top-notch speeds are ensured with the modern WireGuard tunneling protocol.
The pricier subscription plans grant you access to specialized streaming servers. With them, you can access geo-restricted content on Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and other streaming platforms. Additionally, ProtonVPN is available on most devices, including Android TV and Chromebook.
Top-notch confidentiality is ensured since ProtonVPN is located in Switzerland. Furthermore, the service is open-source and has been independently audited to verify no-logs compliance. If that’s not enough, you can purchase a subscription anonymously using Bitcoin.
ProtonVPN offers a free plan that allows one VPN connection without any data caps and mild bandwidth limitations. Meanwhile, the best premium plan permits ten simultaneous connections and supports speeds up to 10Gbps. Moreover, you can easily enjoy more simultaneous connections by setting up a router with a VPN connection.
After getting to know ProtonVPN through its free plan, you can subscribe to a premium plan for $3.29/month. Plus, there’s no need to worry since subscriptions are secured with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of ProtonVPN, read our ProtonVPN review.
10. Hotspot Shield – Mac VPN with a free plan
24/7 live chat
- Free plan
- Fast connectivity
- Great for streaming
- Somewhat expensive
If you like to test services before committing, check out Hotspot Shield. It’s a fast and popular VPN service with a solid free plan.
First off, Hotspot Shield operates a network of 1800+ servers in 85+ countries. Additionally, there are no roadblocks to conducting P2P connections. Plus, customers can facilitate VPN connections with the proprietary Hydra protocol.
Unsurprisingly, the Hotspot Shield premium plan is an excellent option for streaming. It can effectively curb geo-block by YouTube TV, Netflix, Hulu, and countless other services. Moreover, the VPN works with all major platforms, Android TV, and even Amazon Fire devices.
Depending on your subscription plan, you may secure up to five or twenty-five different devices. Luckily, such considerations are meaningless once you manually set up your home router with a VPN connection. Meanwhile, the free Hotspot Shield plan comes with numerous limitations and only enables one connection per account.
You can equip Hotspot Shield starting at $7.99/month. If it turns out to be an improper fit, you can take advantage of the generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of Hotspot Shield, read our Hotspot Shield review.
The best aspect of each Mac VPN
With so many Mac VPN options available, it may be difficult to choose a service that’s right for you. That’s why we’ve condensed the top options into the most useful features that they offer.
|NordVPN||The Best VPN for Mac|
|Surfshark VPN||Mac VPN with unlimited connections|
|VyprVPN||Cheapest VPN for Mac|
|PrivateVPN||Streaming VPN for Mac|
|PureVPN||Mac VPN with the largest server network|
Best VPN for Mac: video review
If you’re not too keen on reading articles, we have you covered. Visit our YouTube channel below and watch a detailed video on the best VPN services for Mac.
What can I do with a VPN in Mac?
A VPN is responsible for redirecting your internet connection through a remote server in a different location. Although that sounds simple, a lot is happening to enable additional benefits while using a VPN, such as:
- Geographically restricted content unblocking
- Security for your online communications
- Protection against hackers on public networks
- Lowered latency while playing online games
- Better prices while shopping online
The most apparent benefit is changing your location with a VPN. Not only does this hide your true IP address and location, but it also allows you to access content that’s usually unavailable to you. This benefit applies to numerous online services, including streaming platforms such as Netflix.
Furthermore, a VPN connection grants you AES-256 encryption, ensuring that no one, not even your ISP (Internet Service Provider), can access your browsing history. This shroud of mystery also prevents data throttling and other traffic manipulation based on your activities.
When accessing public Wi-Fi, your activities are exposed to network administrators. Plus, these networks are an easy target for hackers to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks. Thankfully, you can prevent these intrusions by enabling a VPN connection.
Although Mac devices aren’t known as gaming machines, it’s still worth mentioning that a VPN is beneficial when playing video games. For starters, it can grant access to region-restricted games. Alternatively, a VPN connection can improve latency if your ISP has a habit of throttling your data while gaming.
Lastly, online storefronts are known for offering different prices around the world. That means that you can use a VPN and switch to a region that gets lower costs on certain goods and services. Just remember that your credit card could expose your true location and undermine this life hack. Instead, opt for an anonymous payment method, for example, cryptocurrencies.
How to choose a VPN for Mac?
Besides the specific features that each VPN brings, some general criteria need to be considered before picking a VPN for Mac:
- Security. Mac users are most likely looking for products known for top-notch security. Make sure that your VPN isn’t famous for data breaches or vulnerabilities. Plus, it should actively encourage the dismantling of these flaws with bug bounties and constant tech improvements.
- Privacy. A VPN can guarantee confidentiality by being located in a privacy-respecting country. Naturally, it should also follow a no-logs policy, ideally one that’s been audited by a third party.
- Speed. Unsurprisingly, a VPN slows down your internet connection. But you can minimize the severity of this decrease by choosing a service with modern and efficient tunneling protocols like WireGuard. Additionally, you can check the performance of some services on third-party VPN speed tests.
- Compatibility. Most VPN service providers make dedicated apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. But if you want greater flexibility, ensure that the VPN is compatible with a diverse range of devices.
- Servers. Both quality and quantity matter when it comes to server networks. Optimal performance can be ensured with dedicated servers, RAM-only technology, and the VPN provider’s complete ownership of the hardware.
- Price. Apple fans should know that a good quality product does not come cheap. Free VPNs typically aren’t worth the risk, while premium service should cost roughly $4/month.
- Customer support. Even the best VPN services can come across the occasional performance issue. In such cases, it’s good to have 24/7 live chat customer support for a quick and easy fix.
Should I pick a free VPN for Mac?
It’s widely accepted that top-quality products don’t come cheap. And although there’s no shortage of free VPN options, few could live up to the high-security standards of Apple users. Furthermore, free VPNs are notorious for:
- Throttling bandwidth
- Microscopic server networks
- Exaggerated security features
- Poor maintenance and security vulnerabilities
- High chances of data collection and selling
Therefore, we recommend avoiding completely free VPN services as they aren’t reliable. Instead, choose a VPN with a free trial and see if it performs adequately in areas that are important to you.
Best Mac VPN deals
While premium VPN software is needed for well-rounded digital protection, there’s no need to overpay for it. There are plenty of deals and coupon codes available online to get the best bargains when purchasing a long-term subscription plan.
- NordVPN – $3.29/month with a 72% discount
- Surfshark – $2.21/month for 83% off
- VyprVPN – $1.81/month with 86% savings
- PrivateVPN – $2.00/month for 79% off
- PureVPN – $1.99/month plus 82% off
VPN for Mac FAQ
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.
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.
- Go to the website of your chosen VPN provider.
- From there, you will be redirected to the App Store.
- Click on the Download button or the little cloud icon.
- When the download is complete, click on the Open button.
- Fill in your login credentials, and that’s it. Now choose a server to connect to and enjoy your safe browsing experience.
Why is it essential 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, 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 we cannot recommend enough is a password manager. Additionally, dedicated antivirus software 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.
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 your entire internet connection so you won’t have to worry about being exposed. Besides, some services have a split tunneling feature, allowing you to choose the apps that bypass VPN. This way, you can watch Netflix in 4K without encryption and have the rest of your online activities safe.
While Mac devices are less susceptible to conventional viruses and malware, data breaches and leaks are still a considerable threat. Furthermore, accessing geo-restricted content and keeping your online communications private are great benefits regardless of what device you’re using.
Which VPN do you use to secure your Apple devices? Share your preferences by leaving a comment!
Can I use a free VPN with Mac?
Free VPNs aren’t recommended because they don’t offer the security standards that Apple customers have grown accustomed to. You’ll be better off with a verified premium VPN.
What’s the best VPN for Mac?
The best VPN for Mac is NordVPN. It’s independently audited, based in Panama, filled with security features, known for reliability, and is affordable.
Do I need a VPN on a Mac?
A VPN is necessary regardless of what operating system you’re using. Although you’re less likely to be targeted by viruses, privacy breaches, and data leaks are still a threat to Mac users.
Ethan is a security researcher and digital privacy advocate. He spends his time unraveling various anonymity and security tools, plus contributing to open-source projects. Otherwise, he keeps a low profile by hiking or cycling around the countryside.