Best VPN for Mac in 2023

Ethan Payne
Ethan Payne | Writer
Last updated: February 6, 2023
Best VPN provider for Mac 2020
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It’s common knowledge that Mac devices are slightly more secure than their ever-popular Windows counterparts. But even if you feel a bit superior, that doesn’t mean that your online identity and personal data are safe. Or that annoying geo-blocks don’t apply to you. Luckily, that’s easily fixable with the best VPN for Mac.

A virtual private network does wonders as it encrypts your data, hides your IP address, and spoofs your location. That way, you can reliably bypass restrictions on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and various other streaming platforms. Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about data leaks and privacy breaches.

So, below, you’ll find our top Mac VPN picks that perform flawlessly on Apple computers. More so, these services are super easy to use, work on multiple devices and, of course, hide your internet traffic and keep you safe even when using public Wi-Fi.

Best VPN for Mac: shortlist

  1. The best VPN for Mac security & privacy
    9.6
  2. Mac VPN with unlimited connections
    9.3
  3. Cheap & safe VPN for Macbook
    9.2
  4. Mac VPN with a free version
    8.9
  5. MacOS VPN with great connectivity
    8.6

What makes the best Mac VPN in 2023?

Finding a reliable virtual private network is no easy feat. The best VPN for Mac should offer top-tier safety features, such as AES-256 encryption, Multi-Hop, malware blockers, and other safety benefits. That way, malicious actors will have a very hard time getting to your precious information.

macOS protected by VPN

In addition, the finest virtual private networks for Macs come with additional perks. For example, a multi-device VPN will help you protect various devices, such as iPhones and iPads. Moreover, some services offer SOCKS5 proxies for better torrenting or Smart DNS feature for easier streaming.

Talking about streaming, trusty Mac VPN apps should help you easily bypass geo-blocks. Various shows, movies, and entire entertainment platforms are only available in certain regions. Thankfully, a powerful streaming VPN will spoof your location and IP address. That way, you’ll finally get access to extensive content libraries on Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and many others.

Best VPNs for Mac: overview

The top VPN for Mac has to meet certain criteria. Having the essential VPN toolkit is one of them, and an expansive server fleet is another. The former ensures your online identity remains hidden under all circumstances, while the latter guarantees optimal performance anywhere.

Since we want to elevate privacy, the VPN provider shouldn’t log user data either. As for functionality, broad device compatibility, multiple simultaneous connections, and geo-block bypassing capabilities were also taken into account.

1. NordVPN – best-performing VPN for Mac

9.6
Top VPN provider
Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
60
Number of servers
Number of servers:
5400
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat, Email
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
1,012 Mbit/s
  • NordLynx protocol for the best speeds
  • SmartPlay to bypass geo-blocks
  • Independently-audited & secure
  • Only 6 simultaneous connections

If you’re wondering what is the fastest VPN for Mac, undoubtedly it’s NordVPN. Additionally, it offers a super easy-to-use app, amazing geo-block bypassing capabilities, phenomenal safety features, and reliable customer support. Best of all, you can get it for $3.49/month with a massive 57% discount!

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty. The vast network of 5400+ servers in 60+ countries really packs a punch performance-wise. Plus, the proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol provides mind-blowing connectivity. You’ll also get 6 simultaneous connections, or you can get more if you set up a VPN on your router.

Meanwhile, you can verify geo-unblocking capabilities by accessing more content on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and other streaming services. Furthermore, NordVPN is equipped with SmartPlay, a feature that lets you change your IP address on practically any device. And if you need to bypass strict firewalls at schools, workplaces, or highly restricted countries, you can use obfuscated servers.

For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.

2. Surfshark VPN – Macbook VPN for flawless streaming

9.3
Top VPN provider
Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
100
Number of servers
Number of servers:
3200
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat, FAQ
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
787 Mbit/s
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Smart DNS for changing location
  • Lots of features for a low price
  • Some features cost extra

For die-hard Apple fans with loads of devices, Surfshark VPN should be their top choice. This secure macOS VPN is affordable, comes with outstanding features, and does not limit simultaneous connections at all. Not to mention, you can use a humongous 82% discount and snatch Surfshark for $2.30/month.

Surfshark has 3200+ servers peppered around 100+ countries, so you’ll always have a server nearby. Plus, speeds won’t disappoint either, thanks to the WireGuard tunneling protocol and Nexus technology. Furthermore, the provider offers CleanWeb for extra safety and Camouflage mode for breaking through firewalls.

Apart from that, you can torrent on all servers trouble-free. And you’ll get your file super quickly and safely. And if you want to unlock content, Surfshark has you covered. It will give you access to BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, YouTube TV, and many other services. Plus, you can utilize the Smart DNS feature to stream on devices that don’t support VPNs natively (smart TVs, consoles).

For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.

3. PrivateVPN – all-rounder VPN service for Mac OS

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
63
Number of servers
Number of servers:
200
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
119 Mbit/s
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Stealth VPN
  • Port forwarding
  • Lacks WireGuard

Total anonymity on your Mac device is guaranteed with PrivateVPN. It has a great price-to-feature, optimal performance, and 10 simultaneous devices to boot. The most appealing thing about the service is an excellent 85% discount that lets you get Private VPN for $2.00/month only.

The provider makes do with a humble network of 200+ servers across 63+ countries. Although it appears tiny compared to other macOS, it’s pretty efficient thanks to the fact the company owns and operates everything itself. Furthermore, connectivity will never be an issue, due to the OpenVPN protocol and High Quality Network (HQN).

PrivateVPN guarantees exceptional streaming performance no matter which country you’re connecting to. Disney Plus, HBO Max, Netflix, and countless other popular platforms will finally be within your grasp. Not to mention, you can boost your P2P efforts with port forwarding and SOCKS5 proxy. And, of course, you can torrent on all servers.

For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.

4. Atlas VPN – fast & robust Mac VPN

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
37
Number of servers
Number of servers:
750
Support
Support:
Email, tickets, FAQ
  • No device limit
  • Ultra-fast with WireGuard
  • Solid security features
  • No router applet

Atlas VPN is another small but efficient Mac VPN service. It has a nice balance between performance and security while offering the best price. Not to mention, it offers a somewhat limited but secure free version. However, we’ll be looking at what the premium has to offer that costs only $2.05/month with an Atlas VPN coupon.

In terms of coverage, the provider offers a sizable network of 750+ servers in 37+ countries. It’s worth noting there are dedicated streaming servers and specialized SafeSwap ones that rotate your IP address periodically. Plus, the WireGuard tunneling protocol ensures excellent connectivity and speeds wherever you might be.

The service has no issues unlocking content on many well-known streaming platforms, such as Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus, and more. Plus, Atlas VPN has no device limit, so you can protect and stream on as many devices as you want. Security isn’t left out either – Atlas VPN includes a MultiHop+ that routes traffic through several VPN servers for maximum privacy and security.

For a deeper investigation of Atlas VPN, read our Atlas VPN review.

5. ExpressVPN – macOS VPN with extra Wi-Fi security

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
94
Number of servers
Number of servers:
3000
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat, email
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
134 Mbit/s
  • Lightway tunneling protocol
  • Can bypass geo-blocks
  • Split-tunneling
  • Quite pricey

ExpressVPN is a superb choice for Macbook users. It offers 256-bit encryption to protect your online activities and a no-logs policy to keep your privacy intact. Additionally, the apps are user-friendly, so you’ll have no problems using them. You can get this VPN for $8.32/month with a special discount coupon.

ExpressVPN covers 94+ countries with at least 3000+ servers, but the number is constantly growing. Not to mention, it offers loads of other nifty features that will make your digital life easier. For example, the proprietary Lightway tunneling protocol guarantees fast and stable speeds. And to boost your safety, Threat Manager will block malicious sites and obnoxious trackers.

In addition, ExpressVPN offers 5 simultaneous connections and an applet for routers. And if you want to stream on devices that don’t support VPNs, you can use the Media Streamer feature. As for streaming services, you’ll finally have access to extensive Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, Crunchyroll, and a plethora of other platforms.

For a deeper investigation of ExpressVPN, read our ExpressVPN review.

6. CyberGhost – Mac VPN with large server network

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
91
Number of servers
Number of servers:
9700
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
73 Mbit/s
  • Great server
  • Excellent price
  • Specialized servers
  • Mac version has less features

CyberGhost ended up on the list because it’s a reliable VPN for Mac with loads of servers globally. It has 9700+ pieces of hardware scattered around 91+ countries. More so, you can get it for $2.03/month if you use the CyberGhost discount coupon.

Apart from that, you can expect swift and stable speeds thanks to the WireGuard tunneling protocol. More so, for streaming or torrenting needs, you can use special dedicated servers that will improve your experience. Talking about entertainment, you can unlock more shows and movies on smart TVs and consoles with the Smart DNS feature.

When it comes to overall safety, CyberGhost has an independently-audited zero-logs policy to ensure your privacy. And if you want to stay more secure while browsing the web, you can turn on the ad/malware blocker. Lastly, the NoSpy servers will provide you with more advanced privacy measures.

For a deeper investigation of CyberGhost, read our CyberGhost review.

Best VPN apps for Mac: comparison

After reading that much information about the best VPNs for Mac, your head is probably spinning. If you’re having a hard time to decide which provider to choose, we created a side-by-side comparison for the top Mac VPNs:

Logging policyServersP2P-friendlySimultaneous connectionsStreaming servicesFree versionMinimal price
NordVPNIndependently audited no-logs5400+ servers in 60+ countriesYes + specialized servers6Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, etc.Yes, 7-day free trial$3.49/month
Surfshark VPNIndependently audited no-logs3200+ servers in 100+ countriesYes, all serversUnlimitedNetflix, ESPN, HBO Max, etc.Yes, 7-day free trial$2.30/month
PrivateVPNZero-logs policy200+ servers in 63+ countriesYes, all servers10Netflix, Disney+, All 4, etc.Yes, 7-day free trial$2.00/month
Atlas VPNZero-logs policy750+ servers in  37+ countriesYes, all serversUnlimitedAmazon Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, etc.Yes, unlimited$2.05/month
ExpressVPNIndependently audited no-logs3000+ servers in 94+ countriesYes, all servers5Hulu, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, etcYes, 7-day free trial$8.32/month
CyberGhostIndependently audited no-logs9700+ servers in 91+ couutriesYes + specialized servers7ESPN, Hulu, Netflix, etc.Yes, 1-day free trial$2.03/month

How we tested VPNs for Mac?

There are a lot of VPNs that claim to work perfectly with Apple devices. However, that’s often not the case. So, to make your life a tad easier, we tested each VPN according to the following methodologies:

  • Examining security features. At the very least, a reliable Mac VPN should have AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and IP & DNS leak protection. Not to mention, we took additional features like split tunneling, malware blocks, and Multi-Hop into consideration.
  • Checking their logging policies. Ideally, a VPN should be independently audited by a third party. Plus, virtual private networks should be based outside Fourteen Eyes jurisdiction.
  • Testing their speeds. Each VPN went through an extensive speed test. Services with the WireGuard and NordLynx tunneling protocols performed the best.
  • Investigating server fleets. A top-tier VPN should have plenty of servers globally to avoid overcrowding and slow speeds. Moreover, having enormous global reach also lets you unblock a broader spectrum of foreign services.
  • Analyzing prices. Even though most Apple apps and services cost a pretty penny, that’s not the case with VPNs. You can find a high-end, cheap VPN that won’t burn a hole through your pocket.
  • Evaluating customer service. Even the best Mac 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.
  • Making sure it’s compatible. We avoided any VPNs that don’t work with Macbooks. Additionally, we tested their ease of use and overall performance.
Choose the best-performing Mac VPN service

According to extensive tests and research, NordVPN is the finest VPN for Macbook. It offers the fastest speeds, amazing server fleet, and loads of other nifty features. Plus, it beats other competitors in terms of ease of use and helpful customer service.

9.6 /10
Packed with fantastic features
Excellent app for Mac & other devices
24/7 live chat option

How to set up a VPN on Mac?

So, now you know everything there is to know about the best Mac VPN software, and you’ve chosen a provider that you would like to go with. Thus, now is the time to set up the app and reap its benefits. In this example, we’ll show you how to install NordVPN on your Mac. However, the process shouldn’t vary much with other providers.

  1. Pick a reliable Mac VPN. Our frontrunner is NordVPN, currently with a massive 57% discount
  2. Choose a subscription and payment option
  3. Set up the app, launch it, and sign in
  4. Join a server of your choice. For better connectivity pick one nearby
  5. Now you’re safe, private, and able to punch through geo-blocks!

Download NordVPN for Mac

How to install a Mac VPN via Apple App Store

Another route for getting VPN software for mac is by downloading it from a reliable source – Apple App store. Here’s how you get it:

  1. Open the Apple App Store on your computer
  2. Search for the appropriate VPN application distributed by your chosen service. We highly recommend NordVPN – the best VPN for macOS
  3. Click on the Download button, and press Open after
  4. Fill in your login credentials
  5. Now choose a server and enjoy your safe browsing experience!

How to install a Mac VPN via provider’s website

  1. Subscribe to a top-grade VPN. NordVPN offers robust security features and some of the best speeds in the industry.
  2. Head to the provider’s official website and navigate to the downloads section
  3. Select your OS version and download the appropriate file
  4. Once the download is complete, install the application on your Mac by following the instructions on the screen
  5. After the installation is complete, open the app, and log into your account
  6. Connect to any server you want, and you’re done!

What can I do with a VPN for Mac?

A virtual private network for Mac is a great way to protect your data and stay confidential while surfing the web. Additionally, a VPN is responsible for redirecting your internet connection through a remote server in a different location.

Unblock Netflix shows with NordVPN

In the process, a VPN can help you out with other, more entertaining web activities:

  • Explore new streaming platforms & content libraries. By changing your location, you can get more movies and shows on Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, and many more. Plus, platforms like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, or YouTube TV will be available to you globally.
  • Torrent without major risks. We do not condone piracy, but we want you to be safe. So, to avoid data leaks, security breaches, malware, or financial losses, a Mac VPN is a perfect tool to prevent all of that. Not to mention, it can boost your download speeds if you utilize it correctly.
  • Spend less while shopping online. The prices you see on the web depend on your location, browsing history, and even gender or age. So, if you want to see better and unbiased costs, simply spoof your location! That way, you can obtain cheaper flight tickets, subscriptions, or other services.
  • Enjoy free internet globally. Whether you’re traveling to a highly restricted country or live in one, the best Mac VPN will punch through firewalls and give you entrance to loads of websites and content globally.

What are the best free VPNs 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, no-pay services are notorious for collecting users’ data and selling it to shady third parties. Moreover, free VPNs provide slower speeds, fewer servers, and ridiculous data caps. And if that’s not enough, some providers go as far as riddling your devices with malware.

Therefore, if you’re caught between a rock and a hard place, choose a freemium Mac VPN. These services survive out of premium subscribers but also offer free versions with basic features. So, if you’re looking for reliable free VPN apps for Mac, you have at least 2 options to choose from:

  1. Atlas VPN – the service offers a user-friendly app for Mac fans. Plus, you’ll get 3 free locations (LA, NY, Netherlands), 5 GB/month of data, and 2 simultaneous connections. Not to mention, you’ll be safe and anonymous online.
  2. Proton VPN – this provider provides unlimited data, phenomenal security features, and total privacy. Plus, you’ll get useful features like VPN Accelerator and Stealth protocol. And you’ll find servers in 3 countries – the US, Japan, and the Netherlands.

Do Macs have built-in VPN?

Macs do not have a built-in VPN. The closest feature to it is Private Relay – it’s a mere proxy service, only available on iOS devices. It lacks many features the top MacOS providers and even VPNs for iPhones have.

While Private Relay encrypts your connection and hides 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.

Best VPN for Macbook: video review

If you’re here, you’re either an avid reader or couldn’t be bothered to go through all of the information. If the latter statement is true, check out our Mac OS VPN video review:

VPN for Mac | BEST VPN options for macOS in 2022!
2022-05-08

Bottom line

While Mac devices are less susceptible to conventional viruses and malware, data breaches and leaks are still a considerable threat. That’s why it’s crucial to take matters into your own hands and elevate the security of your Apple computer.

VPNs are the perfect tools for enhancing the protection of macOS, or any other OS for that matter. And providers like NordVPN do it effectively, thanks to the numerous features. Furthermore, accessing geo-restricted content and keeping your online communications private are great benefits as well.

Which VPN do you use to secure your Apple devices? Share your preferences by leaving a comment!


You may also like to read:
Best free VPNs for Mac
How to change Netflix region
Best VPN for Apple TV
How to get Spotify Premium cheaper
How to change country on Apple App Store


FAQ

Do Macs need VPNs?

Yes, VPNs are essential for Macbooks. They protect you against data leaks, privacy breaches, and other online dangers. Plus, they help you bypass geographical restrictions that prevent you from getting more content.

What VPN works best with Mac?

The best VPN for Mac is NordVPN. It adheres to an independently-audited no-logs policy, is based in privacy-friendly Panama, and is packed with lots of security features. Not to mention, it’s perfect for torrenting and streaming.

How to get a Mac VPN?

You can get a VPN for Mac from a provider’s website or the Apple App Store. After that, sign up, launch the app, and choose a server. A reliable service should start working instantly.

Can I use a free VPN with Mac?

Free VPNs aren’t recommended for Macs because they don’t offer the security standards that Apple customers have grown accustomed to. You’ll be better off with a verified premium macOS VPN. Or, if you can’t spare any money, try a top-tier free trial VPN.

14 comments
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  1. simon henry

    Want to protect your Mac device? A Mac VPN is all you need to keep your device secure and anonymous. Connect FastestVPN and browse with more than 350+ servers around the world.


  2. Fiona

    It’s too bad ExpressVPN is so expensive because I had a chance to test it and it works well for streaming. Unfortunately it’s not a cheap vpn so I will probably go with Nord which has better plans. Why Nord? I read a pcmag vpn review of most of them and they see Nord as the very best.


  3. David

    I have used and trusted Windscribe for a long time now. I have not had any issues myself. As far as a VPN for mac os server goes, I have not found a better option. It also functions as a great VPN in Chrome for anyone wondering. The pricing is good and they have a free trial option as well. Yeah, they are based on Canada and yeah there is negative press out there about them, but what else is new? There are companies who make money off of people not being private so they will slander VPN providers left, right, and center to ensure no one uses them. Just think about that!


  4. Mira

    So the best vpn solution for mac is ExpressVPN? I wonder how a comparison between ExpressVPN and NordVPN would look like. I wonder why you said Nord has slower speeds considering they have the most servers world wide. Aren’t they well positioned or what is happening?


  5. Jared

    As a windows user who has been looking at moving over to mac this has opened up my eyes to how a VPN app can really ensure security. As mac devices are all very interconnected I wouldn’t want my data being leaked from any of them and especially not my pc. I think a vpn app is a must have for any pc user especially in the times we live in where we are always connected.


  6. kate

    Thank you so much for this article, I was considering buying a Macbook, but I was worrying that there are few or no VPN clients existing for it like Windows since I couldn’t find anything on reddit, thanks to you I can buy it with my eyes closes.


  7. Mariano

    This article provided the sources I needed for further action. I am in the market for a Mac and a VPN app is the extra level of security I am looking for. It is important to take extra security precautions, because apple products are not bulletproof. My aunt’s mac was hacked and there was a lot of sensitive data on her laptop.


  8. Zobe

    VyprVPN and NordVPN both work very well on Mac. Either is an excellent choice, though I personally prefer NordVPN because it is less expensive while still offering all the features I need. It’s secure, private and very fast compared to similar services. It’s a solid VPN app with a proven track record.


  9. Callum234

    I have actually used the 5 VPNs compared here in the last couple of years. I do not joke with my privacy because of the prying eyes of the government on internet usage in my country. The vpn app that doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to security is usually my top priority which is unfortunately what some VPN providers do to improve on and the reason, I stopped using them.
    Secondly, I prefer an app that has all its servers support P2P traffic so I can have better speeds than a service with a limited number of P2P-friendly servers
    I am currently using ExpressVPN for now and it meets all the above requirement.
    Also, I have some routers at the workplace and was able to set up ExpressVPN app to add a layer of security and privacy to our browsing.
    If there is a default any day, I will try to update or reply to this comment. For now, am happy with it


  10. Grey Wolf

    I wonder how good cyberghost on Mac is? I’ve heard a few good things and I am tempted to give them a try. I have a new MacBook air and I want to use a good VPN to protect what I do online. I want to have complete privacy if that’s possible and I’m probably going to try Cyberghost then Nord and then ExpressVPN. These 3 should give me a good one for my needs, no?


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne Author

      CyberGhost is pretty good, but it’s not exactly a top VPN for Mac. Out of the three you mentioned in your comment, we’d recommend going with ExpressVPN or NordVPN. The former if you’re planning to set it up on your router, and the latter if you’re more of a per-device person.


  11. WrightOn

    Oh, I’m really glad that A) you’ve got an article addressing this and B)ExpressVPN is available for Mac! I used to have it ages ago (well, my ex-girlfriend had it, and I set it all up) and I wanted to go with it because setting everything up on the routers is so easy. But I’ve got a new Mac for school (you’ve gotta have one of these for graphic design, smh, I hate Apple but it’s a necessity) and software for Mac can be so iffy.

    Thanks for the article, I’m gonna sign up for ExpressVPN now!


  12. Ruth A.

    Yea, I give it also to ExpressVPN. They have a good quality product and customer service is super effective. The vpn app is actually one of the best security software for mac although expensive but worth every penny. I will recommend it over and over again.


    1. Brian Lee

      I am using Express VPN and I have to say thay the routers are easy to set up and the vpn app works great without much hassle. It is great for new users.

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