Looking for the best Mac VPN service but not sure which is the right choice? This guide is for you. There are a lot of great VPN providers out there and, honestly, it seems like there is a new player in the space every month. Because of this, figuring out exactly which is the best VPN for Mac can be tricky. Most VPN providers offer a wide variety of support for devices, but not everything works everywhere in exactly the same way.
For those who are unsure of what a VPN is, let's break it down real quick. A VPN (or Virtual Private Network) is something that you connect to in order to add an extra layer of security and encryption to your internet connection. It takes your data and routes it through an extra set of tunnels before it reaches the destination, which helps keep it private and secure regardless of whether you are at home or using a public connection at Starbucks or the airport.
How do you pick the best VPN for Mac?
Since the majority of VPN services work across platforms, finding the best VPN for Mac essentially boils down to finding the best VPN for you. Though the task may seem daunting, it's actually not too bad once you know what you're dealing with.
While you'll obviously want it to have a functional and easy to use app, you don't really spend too much time in the app beyond the initial setup with most offering the ability to turn on or off the VPN with one click, often from the menu bar alone. Most VPN services offer iOS apps too so you can use the service across all of your Apple gear.
Cost is another key factor. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for but that doesn't mean VPNs are super expensive. Most cost just a few bucks a month if you're willing to subscribe for the long term and free trials/money-back offers mean you don't have to spend any money to find out if the service is right for you.
We have a full list of picks further down in this guide, but our top three best VPN options right now include ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN.
1. ExpressVPN: The absolute best VPN option for most people
ExpressVPN is our top pick for any Mac user looking to get set up with a VPN. Its balance of speed, reliability, ease-of-use, and customer service make it a great option for most people.
2. NordVPN: The most well-known VPN for security
You've probably heard of NordVPN. It's been around a long time and has been one of the most popular options for a while, offering a high-quality experience for not a lot of cash.
3. Surfshark VPN: The best cheap VPN out there
With Surfshark there is no limit to how many devices you can connect at the same time which is great if you have a ton of tech. It's one of the more affordable options, so give it a shot today!
The best VPN service for Mac users (and everyone else)
Compatible with: Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, YouTube | Servers: 3,000+ | Server Locations: 160 in 94 countries | Trial Period: 30 days
- Servers in 160 locations
- 100 Mbps download speed
- Great customer support
- Support for all major platforms & browsers
- Netflix unblocking
- Generally more expensive than competitors
- Limited to five simultaneous connections
ExpressVPN tops the list of best Mac VPNs for a number of reasons, some of which include the company's excellent customer support, reliable connections, fast speeds, and that you can use it on a number of devices with ease. It may not be the most affordable pick on this list, but ExpressVPN is hands-down the best VPN for Mac that you can buy right now.
Our pals at Android Central concluded their ExpressVPN review by saying:
ExpressVPN has a lot to like. Beyond the widespread servers across the world there are the layers and layers of security and encryption backed by a clear no logging policy which combine to give you peace of mind security, anonymity and safety when online.
The pricing is competitive, support is superb and performance speeds are excellent. The only downside is that you're limited to five devices, but with the ability to install this on routers that can be worked around.
In addition to being able to use it on your Mac, you can also use ExpressVPN on your iPhone, iPad, web browsers, and so much more. Getting started takes only a few minutes and you can use it on up to five devices at once. You can use ExpressVPN to add security to your browsing sessions, spoof your location to access geo-restricted media, and more.
Like we said, it's a bit more expensive than some of the others, but right now you can get 15 months for just $99.95, which is a 49% discount. It breaks down to just $6.67 a month, which is by no means an expensive cost for something that you'll find yourself using daily.
Be sure to sign up today and if you don't absolutely love the service you can take advantage of ExpressVPN's 30-day money-back guarantee for a full refund.
Best server options of any popular VPN
Compatible with: Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux | Streaming services unblocked: Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, iPlayer, Amazon | Servers: 5,400+ | Server Locations: 80+ in 59 countries | Trial Period: 30 days
- Nearly 5,500 servers
- 2048-bit encryption
- Multiple plan options
- Mac App Store app
- Security breach in 2018
When it comes to VPN providers, NordVPN may be one of the most commonly known names in the space. Odds are you've seen the company as a sponsor on a YouTube video or an ad promoting it around the internet, and there's good reason for that. NordVPN offers top-notch security, tons of features, and brings everything together in a rather affordable package.
NordVPN has almost 5,500 servers available to use that are spread across close to 60 different countries. Unlike many others, NordVPN opts to use 2048-bit encryption to keep things as secure as possible, and that's on top of the standard features like DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and more.
In addition to being able to use NordVPN on your Mac — even having an app in the Mac App Store — you can also use it on your iPhone, iPad, in your browser of choice, and more. The company offers plans a bunch of different plans ranging from one month to three years. Be sure to check out our NordVPN pricing guide so you can ensure you get the best price when signing up.
It's worth noting that back in 2018 one of the company's servers was compromised. After investigating it, and the confirmation from Nord, it was understood that it was a single server with limited information being obtained. There's a lot at play here beyond just Nord's involvement, and our pals at TechRadar have a great breakdown, so be sure to check that out.
When signing up for NordVPN, you can opt to pay for just a single month of access, or go with a one-year or two-year plan. The cost per month drops significantly as you commit to a longer period of time, with the best pricing being on the three-year plan.
Be sure to check out our full NordVPN review now for more info.
Best budget option for Mac
Compatible with: Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Amazon | Servers: 1,700+ | Server Locations: 100+ in 63 countries | Trial Period: 30 days
- Over 1,000 servers
- 100% RAM-only servers for extra privacy
- Company based in British Virgin Islands
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Despite being one of the most affordable VPNs for Mac, Surfshark is absolutely still one of the best ones. The lowered cost of the service doesn't come with any big sacrifices or feature ommissions. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find something that Surfshark doesn't do almost just as good as most of the competition.
There are fewer servers (still over 1,000), and they are spread across 60 different countries, but Surfshark allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices to it at the same time, which is a huge benefit since you won't need to disconnect one of your gadgets to connect another one.
It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you enough time to try it out and see if it's the VPN service for you or not. Be sure to check out our Surfshark review as well. The company recently changed its pricing structure, now giving you 24 months of access for just $59.76 total, which breaks down to about 8 cents per day. After the first two years, it renews annually at this price.
4. IPVanish VPN
Cloud storage included
Compatible with: Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, YouTube, Hulu | Servers: 1,600+ | Server Locations: 75+ in 50 countries | Trial Period: 30 days
- Over 40,000 shared IP addresses
- Great customer support
- Now offers unlimited devices to be connected simultaneously
- Cloud storage option
- Some servers appear to be in different places than what's stated
- No iOS kill switch
From its great customer support to its fast connection speeds, there is a whole lot to like about IPVanish as a VPN provider. The company has worked hard to make its apps super user-friendly and beyond working on Mac, it also works on Roku, Fire TV, Android, iOS, and Windows.
IPVanish has over 1,600 servers that are in 75 different locations, giving you plenty of options when looking to stream content. It also has an impressive 40,000 shared IP addresses, which is significantly more than many of the other players in the space are offering now.
Pricing is pretty reasonable with plans starting at just $3.33 per month, as well as options with 250GB of SugarSync cloud storage from just $4.16 per month, and IPVanish offers a 30-day money-back guarantee as well. Read our IPVanish review for more info on it.
Tons of server choice
Compatible with: Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, YouTube | Servers: 24,000+ | Server Locations: 99 in 77 countries | Trial Period: 30 days
- No data limits
- Supports 10 devices at once
- Affordable pricing
PIA, or Private Internet Access as it is known formally, has a ton of server options worldwide so you have plenty of choice when it comes to getting connected. Its Mac app is also really easy to use and offers a one-click connectivity option once you've got it set up which is perfect if you're happy to use the same server location all the time and want the convenience of hitting one button to connect your VPN. It also doesn't have any sort of data cap so you can run it all day, every day if you want.
If you want to run your VPN on more than just one Mac, PIA is perfect for that as it allows up to 10 simultaneous connections which is more than many other providers.
PIA is a United States-based VPN which is not preferable when it comes to picking a PVN provider. That being said, PIA uses AES 256-bit encryption and has a very clear no traffic logging policy.
In terms of price, PIA is a good choice as you can get it for as little as $2.69 per month when you go for one of its longer-term plans. Don't be put off by the fact that you have to commit to a long-term deal, though, as there's a 30-day money-back guarantee if you find it doesn't work right for you.
Best streaming VPN for Mac
Compatible with: Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, YouTube | Servers: 6,700+ | Server Locations: 111 in 89 countries | Trial Period: 45 days
- Over 6,700 servers available
- Based in Romania & Germany
- Automatic server matching for geo-restricted content unblocking
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Connection speeds are slower than competition
Despite its fun name and cutesy logo, CyberGhost is a great VPN service that offers some top-notch features to users. The company is based out of Romania and Germany and has over 6,700 servers spread across an impressive 110 different locations. CyberGhost is focused on user experience and security, and that shows in the app. You aren't overloaded with features and buttons when you try it for the first time. Instead, it's very straightforward and easy to use for everyone.
The service can block ads, trackers, and warn you of malicious sites. It automatically defaults to the HTTPS version of every site that's available, and on the mobile side it compresses data to help you use less while on the go. More than 10 million people use CyberGhost already, which is quite impressive.
Will you be the next one? Check out this great CyberGhost review and get started today.
When it comes to ease of use, CyberGhost is definitely one of the best choices. The company has made its apps very basic on purpose, which means that whether it's your first time using a VPN or you've used them for a long time you should be able to get it all set up and running in just a few minutes.
Should I use a free VPN for Mac?
Free VPNs for Mac do exist, and some are even quite good, but they aren't always the best solution. Most have some limits or sacrifices when it comes to user experience and some straight-up defeat the purpose of using one with the data they gather.
Like basically all free things in life, especially internet services, the company dishing it out needs to recoup its costs somehow in order to stay in business.
The most common practice for free VPN services is to offer a super stripped back experience in order to tempt you into upgrading to one of its paid plans. This is probably the fairest way to do it since you get to try before you buy, but using a VPN with a data cap or limited server availability can make it really difficult for many of the most popular VPN use cases. A paid VPN is a better long-term solution for most people because of this.
Other ways free VPNs can try to claw back some profits include gathering user data and selling to third parties, or cramming their apps full of targetted ads. Since one of the main benefits of a VPN is added privacy, this is not ideal and you probably want to avoid any service that doesn't unequivocally state that they keep no logs of the data flowing through their servers.
What about the others?
There are hundreds of VPN providers out there. We do our best to check out all of the most popular options and we will continue to update this list with more providers as they pass our testing. We've rounded up all the best VPN picks, along with the best free VPNs and best cheap VPNs to help you decide. Not all of those picks have been vetted to work great on Mac, which is why you'll want to refer to the list above first before looking elsewhere.
You can also keep an eye out for VPN deals as a way to help save you some money on your next VPN purchase.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
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