Mac users have the privilege of using excellent software owing to Apple’s high standards. In the same respect, when it comes to VPNs, nothing short of exceptional is acceptable. Although Apple has put in place strict measures when it comes to Mac’s security, they are never enough. Macs still remain vulnerable to some online threats. On account of that, it is imperative to have a good VPN installed. Getting a VPN provides additional online security to ensure your Mac is safe.
However, choosing the right VPN can be an uphill task. There are several factors you need to gauge, not to mention there are many VPN providers in the market today, each claiming to be the best.
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Why a VPN for Mac?
In the fundamental structure of the internet, privacy and security are but secondary concerns. For this reason, you need a VPN. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are services that allow you to access sites and pages that are otherwise blocked in your region.
They hide your location and mask your online identity when surfing the internet. VPNs also protect your system when your Mac is connected to public Wi-Fi, which, as often as not, is never encrypted. That said, the majority of people install VPNs for a different reason.
For the most part, people install VPNs to bypass geographical restrictions by streaming service providers. For instance, with a VPN, you can access shows and programs blocked in your location but available in, say, the US Netflix. The VPN makes it appear that you are logged in that region when, actually, you are not.
Pros and Cons of Using VPNs for Mac
Using Virtual Private Networks gives us several benefits. However, the same VPNs have drawbacks. Here are some:
- Help keep your identity and online data safe
- Enable you to get access to content in blocked sites, pages and media-service providers such as Hulu, Netflix, BBC, and Amazon Prime Video
- VPNs help you bypass government censorship
- Hide your torrenting activity to which allows you to download files anonymously
- Avoids ISP throttling
- Save you money by eliminating the price discrimination factor
- VPNs are cost-efficient
- Although VPNs help you circumvent the geographical restriction, they always don’t work for all websites
- If your router can’t act as a VPN client, you will have to set up the VPN per device which is expensive and tedious
Best VPNs for Mac
ExpressVPN – Excellent value for your money
Max devices supported: 5
Server locations: 160
No of servers: 3,000+
Cost: $8.32/month (year plan), $9.99/month (bi-annual plan), $12.95/month (monthly plan)
Having been around for over a decade now, this British Virgin Islands-based company is a big name when it comes to VPNs. During this time, it has earned an excellent reputation owing to the reliability of its services. ExpressVPN has a dedicated Mac software that is ideal if you are looking for a fast VPN with top-notch security. It has a friendly and easy to use interface with a lot of functionality, including split tunneling.
ExpressVPN has a dedicated Mac support that can be reached at any time of the day in case you face a problem. It has a one-click option for connecting to the location you want and a kill switch as well. By default, ExpressVPN uses 256-bit encryption over OpenVPN UDP. It also features DNS/IPv6 leak protection. ExpressVPN supports a maximum of 5 simultaneous connections.
For a comprehensive experience, ExpressVPN also has an iOS app and Safari browser extension. If you are not sure how to go about it, the VPN does include tutorials. Like most VPNs we’ll see in our list, ExpressVPN has a no-logs policy. The Smart Location feature connects you to the best available server. All ExpressVPN servers support P2P torrenting activity.
With unlimited bandwidth and VPN servers capable of superb speeds, Express VPN is perfect for individuals that use VPN to access restricted content. You get buffer-free streaming from service providers such as Netflix, Hulu, and Showtime as well. On the downside, it is expensive compared to other services in the market. Besides, there is no free trial, but ExpressVPN offers a 1-month money-back guarantee. Depending on your needs, you can subscribe to any of the three plans provided.
- Top-notch security and encryption
- Lightning speeds
- Unlimited bandwidth
- 24/7 customer support through the live chat option
- Smooth connection with breakneck speeds
- Has servers located in more than 90 countries
- A bit more expensive than other options
CyberGhost – Online freedom for Mac
Max devices supported: 7
Number of Servers: 6000
Server location: 90+
Cost: $2.75/month (18 month plan), $7.99/month (6 month plan), $12.99/month (1 month plan)
CyberGhost offers very swift connections and several useful and friendly features. With over 6000 servers in about 90 countries and 256-bit AES encryption, your anonymity on the internet is assured. Much like Express VPN, CyberGhost, too, doesn’t keep the user’s traffic logs. It comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee. CyberGhost includes a 1-click BestLocation feature to bypass geographical restrictions. You can unlock content from streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and Hulu. CyberGhost allows P2P torrent activity.
CyberGhost’s software is specifically designed to meet the needs of macOS users. To that end, it delivers the best experience on your Mac. It blocks ads, trackers, and malicious websites to ensure your Mac is always safe. A trigger-happy kill switch is also provided. On the downside, the VPN occasionally experiences glitches. More than once, it has been reported that some servers have a slow connection.
Although CyberGhost has made some improvements on its interface, the odd bit of clogging remains an area of concern. Clogging results in low server speeds- something that may put many off.
- Delivers one of the best experiences for Mac
- A responsive customer support team available 24/7
- Has unique features such as 1-click streaming
- Easy to navigate hence a perfect choice for beginners
- Only yearly plans are cheap
- Outside North America and Europe, CyberGhost has limited servers
NordVPN – Advanced security for your Mac
Devices supported: 6
Number of Servers: 5600+
Server location: 58+
Cost: $3.49/month (3 year plan), $6.99/month (1 year plan), $11.95 (monthly plan)
Third on our list is another big name in the VPN sphere, NordVPN. It is easy to use and comes with an array of features. If you are looking for a good value VPN with excellent performance, NordVPN is your best bet. NordVPN uses an automatic double-encryption to keep your Mac secure. On top of ‘double VPN’ encryption, it packs other security extras such as encrypted chat and web proxy extensions.
It has a zero-log policy of the user’s internet activity. NordVPN has more than 5600 servers, with a number of them being in the US, UK, and other key countries, which is a foredeal.The excellent and reliable speeds it provides make it a great choice for torrenting and connecting to streaming services such as Netflix. It supports a maximum of 6 simultaneous connections and has an automatic kill switch.
It has dedicated macOS applications (IKEv2 version in the App Store and OpenVPN version on its website) and an additional option of OpenVPN. If you are not sure it’s right for you, worry not. NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Affordable compared to other VPNs
- Ease to use to even the basic Mac users
- Unlimited bandwidth
- 24/7 customer support
- Advanced obfuscation settings allow you to access geo-restricted content in locations such as China
- The customer support is not always responsive
IP Vanish – Solution for your online Mac privacy
Devices supported: 10
Number of Servers: 1300+
IP addresses: 40000+
Server location: 75+
Cost: $4.87/month (1 year plan), $6.75/month (quarter-year plan), $7.50/month (monthly plan)
US-based VPN service, IP Vanish, comes with a well-designed application for Mac users. IP Vanish has over 1300 servers spread across 75 different locations to ensure your online activity remains secure. IP Vanish offers excellent performance that well justifies its costly plans.
It includes a kill switch and offers a choice of OpenVPN UDP/TCP, IPSec, L2TP, and IKEv2 VPN protocols. It has automatic IP switching & doesn’t keep user traffic logs as well. In addition, SOCKS5 proxy connections are also available, making it a hard to look away from VPN choice.
IP Vanish supports P2P downloading as well as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It additionally has a split-tunneling function. IP Vanish comes with a 7-day money-back guarantee. It has a customized interface for Mac users, albeit not user-friendly. The lack of an optimized torrenting profile is a big let-down, however.
- High-reputation due to its performance
- Supports up to 10 devices simultaneously
- Fast speeds
- Unlimited bandwidth
- customization options and configurations
- The apps’ user interface can be hard to navigate
- Slow customer services
Surfshark – Great features
Devices supported: Unlimited
Number of Servers: 1040+
Server location: 61+
Cost: $1.99/month (2 year plan), $5.99/month (1 year plan), $11.95/month (monthly plan)
For new Mac users looking for an affordable VPN, Surfshark is an ideal choice. It works with Netflix & BBC iPlayer and supports P2P torrenting activity. It offers great value for your money. Like the other VPNs in our list, it has a strict zero-logs policy. Surfshark has its headquarters in the British Virgin Islands. This means it lies outside the 14 eyes. On top of that, it has a multi-hop feature to guarantee a secure and private experience.
Its exceptionally competitive pricing gives it an edge over other VPNs. Through its security suite, Surfshark blocks ads, malware, and trackers giving you a great experience on the internet. On the downside, it lacks OpenVPN support. Surfshark’s unlimited simultaneous connections mean you can protect all your devices with a single account. It uses 256-but encryption and IKEv2 to safeguard your online activity. The NoBorders mode allows you to access censored content.
Surfshark additionally features DNS leak protection. An automatic kill switch is also included. You can test Surfshark via the 30-day money-back guarantee offered.
- Has a wide range of features
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Great speeds
- Responsive customer support
- Affordable prices
- Only a few servers support
- Some servers have low speeds
Although all VPNs have a core function of safeguarding your privacy, some do it better than others. On account of that, before choosing a VPN, ascertain that it meets most if not all your needs.
FAQs for best VPNs for Mac
Are VPNs legal?
VPNs are legal in most of the countries. The few exceptions include China, Iraq, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Oman, and the UAE. In these countries, VPN use is either limited or totally illegal.
Do I need a VPN to protect my Mac?
Although macOS comes with powerful built-in security features, Macs are not entirely invulnerable to security threats. For this reason, installing a VPN is pertinent. The VPN also helps bypass censorship and geo-blocks as well.
Are free VPNs safe?
Not entirely. There may be a few safe free VPNs (free versions of premium VPNs), but most are likely to cause your Mac harm or even sell out your data.
Can I share my Mac’s VPN connection?
Yes. Most VPNs support simultaneous connection ranfing from 5 devices to unlimited connections.