No matter which web browser you use, it’s essential to invest in a virtual private network (VPN) to shield your data in 2020. If you’re using a Mac, you’re likely using Safari, Apple’s signature web browser. As a result, we’re here to help you find the best VPN to protect your data privacy from prying eyes and hackers while using Safari.
Even for Mac users who have access Apple’s powerful FileVault 2 disk encryption, there is no available method of protecting the data shared in outgoing connections. Without a VPN, anything you share online – and even some of the information you aren’t aware of sharing – can be collected by anyone with a decent knowledge of hacking. Governments all over the world are similarly able to access this information without your consent.
Once it’s in their hands, they’re free to do whatever they want with it. As such, it’s integral that you encrypt your connections with a VPN to ensure your data remains your own and your privacy remains intact.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best VPN for Safari.
No time to read? Here are our best VPNs:
1. NordVPN ‣
- Location: Panama
- Pricing: starts at $3.49/month
- Servers: 5500+ in 58 countries
NordVPN is the giant in the data security market. Significantly cheaper than Express, Nord uses the same encryption methods (AES-256-bit) and is also registered in a data privacy haven (Panama) while operating a no-logs policy of personally identifiable information.
With an enormous server fleet behind it, NordVPN also offers some of the fastest connection speeds of any VPN, meaning that you don’t need to sacrifice any of the glorious loading speeds Safari offers in its default form.
NordVPN and ExpressVPN are often neck-and-neck on most VPN lists, but the advantage ExpressVPN offers here is the browser extension it offers for Safari. Alas, NordVPN does have its own advantages, namely double encryption, and easier installation process.
2. ExpressVPN ‣
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $6.67/month
- Servers: 3000+ in 90+ countries
ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive VPN services on the market today, but we believe it’s earned its asking price. Quite simply, this is one of the best ways of safeguarding your personal information in 2020.
Armed with the same encryption cipher as the US government (AES-256-bit) and operating under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN adheres to a strict no-logs policy* and is under no legal obligation to comply with any invasive data retention laws.
As well as this, ExpressVPN is one of the only services that has a browser extension for Safari. Although WebRTC protection isn’t a key concern for the browser, browser extensions can also work like a remote control for your VPN app, thereby enhancing the user experience significantly.
- Location: British Virgin Islands
- Pricing: starts at $1.99/month
- Servers: 1000+ in 60+ countries
Surfshark VPN is a relative newcomer to the VPN game, but its developers certainly know what they’re doing. With a fleet of around five hundred servers, this VPN does not have quite so wide a reach as the others mentioned here, but it still manages to be really quick due to its AES-256-CBC encryption cipher, which is much faster than the older -GCM model.
Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark is registered in the British Virgin Islands, meaning it has no data retention laws to comply with. That and its no-logs policy make this a hyper-secure VPN, and certainly one of the best for use with Safari.
4. CyberGhost ‣
- Location: Romania
- Pricing: starts at $2.75/month
- Servers: 6200+ in 90+ countries
CyberGhost may not pack the punch that NordVPN and ExpressVPN do (especially with its lack of browser extension for Safari), and it’s somewhat worrying that the company, while based in the data haven Romania, is managed by a UK company and Israeli investors.
Luckily, the company maintains a strong no-logs policy (besides the usual information kept for registration purposes) and packs AES-256-bit encryption alongside support for OpenVPN. It also provides unlimited bandwidth, an automatic kill switch, and can connect to seven devices simultaneously. That’s protection for the whole house!
Some of the more risk-averse customers may also be attracted to its generous 45-day money-back guarantee, which is more than is offered by most VPN services. Better yet, CyberGhost consults a large fleet of servers in a wide range of locations, meaning that reliably speedy connections are never more than a click away.
- Location: Seychelles
- Pricing: starts at $10.00/month
- Servers: 320+ in 60+ countries
Astrill VPN is another expensive VPN service, but its security features rank among the market’s best. Operating under the legal jurisdiction of Seychelles, Astrill has no data laws to comply to, and its security features (AES-256-bit, support for OpenVPN, StealthVPN, and IKEv2) make it surely one of the best VPN for Safari.
Compared to the VPN we’ve covered thus far, Astrill is fairly lacking in available servers. Handily, though, these servers are spread out across more countries than most VPN manage, which ensures great connection speeds from just about anywhere in the world.
Benefits of using a VPN for Safari
A VPN disguises your location by connecting you to servers anywhere in the world. Not only does this fool onlookers into thinking you’re somewhere you’re not, it also allows you to bypass geo-restrictions on any sort of content.
Thus, the added benefit of using a VPN for Safari is that it allows you to access loads of cool content you ordinarily wouldn’t be able to get. Safari also has in-built support for plenty of streaming tools which makes it an ideal browser for services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and so on.
Macs are travel-friendly devices, so the ability to mask your location is additionally useful when visiting another country, particularly one with stricter content filtering than you’re used to. Alternatively, it allows you to access content from back home, meaning you can keep up with your favorite TV shows from anywhere in the world.
With the right VPN, Safari can access practically any website anywhere in the world, even if cultural differences have led to your favorite blog being censored in your favorite holiday spot.
A few things to know about Safari
As a closed-source program with lengthy delays in between updates, Safari is far from the most secure browser. What’s unique about it, though, is that it does not support WebRTC, the project that allows you to make video communications.
WebRTC leaks are so prevalent that even the best VPN struggle to prevent them. Forgoing the project altogether is, therefore, an unwitting bonus for Safari’s security features.
Aside from this, Safari is excellent at blocking third-party websites from storing data in the cache, and it also has an in-built firewall to defend users against malicious websites. These are not things a VPN can offer, so it’s great to know that Safari has your back in these instances.
Apps or browser extensions?
Many VPN offer browser extensions as part of their package deal, but browser extensions can also be installed as standalone software. The difference here is that a browser extension (or proxy) can only encrypt your browser’s incoming and outgoing traffic, whereas a VPN keeps the entire system locked away at all times.
Sure, a VPN uses more CPU than a browser extension does, which impacts your device’s performance as well as your download speeds. However, Safari is one of the fastest browsers available today, and its lightweight (but complex) engine also makes it energy efficient.
One major advantage of browser extensions is that, as we mentioned, VPN clients often struggle to block WebRTC traffic, whereas a browser extension can disable WebRTC transmissions at will. However, as we also mentioned, this is not especially relevant for Safari seeing as it does not support the WebRTC project whatsoever.
At any rate, Safari is not one of the five most popular web browsers currently in use, so many VPN services do not provide a dedicated extension specifically for it. As such, there’s no need to scrimp on security when your entire device could use an extra bit of shielding.