Getting a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for your Mac is a great idea if you are concerned about your online privacy and security.
Though Apple makes the Mac as secure as possible, your ISP can still track your devices and browsing activities, while other actors can collect varied data from your activities.
A VPN hides your private information, masks your true location, allows you access to geo-blocked services, and prevents hackers from capturing your sensitive information.
This post lists the best VPNs for the Mac, including their best features, pricing, and important benefits.
Tips For Using VPNs on A Mac
Here are some helpful tips to enable you to make the best use of your VPN service on your Mac.
- Choose a reputable VPN provider: You want to sign up with a provider that has a good track record of strong security and privacy features.
- Use strong passwords: Make sure your VPN account passwords are strong and change them regularly for the best security.
- Use split tunneling: When available, split tunneling allows you to choose which apps pass through the VPN and which ones connect directly. This helps to improve connection speeds.
- Enable automatic startups: Setting your VPN to automatically startup at boot time helps to ensure that you are always protected.
- Enable the VPN kill switch: Enabling the kill switch feature guarantees maximum security because it disconnects your Mac from the Internet whenever there is no VPN connection, thus preventing any data leaks.
- Be wary of free VPN offers: Free VPN offers can be enticing, but they don’t always offer the same levels of security and privacy that you get from a reputable paid VPN service.
- Test your connection regularly: Run manual checks now and then to make sure that everything is as it should be.
Best VPN Services for Mac
|1.||ExpressVPN||Native Apple Silicon, 94 countries||$8.32 / month||expressvpn.com|
|2.||ProtonVPN||Native Silicon, 1,900 servers, 65 countries, 10 devices||Freemium||protonvpn.com|
|3.||SurfShark||Native Silicon, unlimited devices, kill switch.||$2.49 / month||surfshark.com|
|4.||NordVPN||Native Apple Silicon, NordLynx protocol, custom DNS||$3.29 / month||nordvpn.com|
|5.||Private Internet Access||No logs, open-source, unlimited bandwidth||$2.03 / month||privateinternetaccess.com|
|6.||Windscribe||110 cities, 63 countries, no logs, team accounts||Freemium||windscribe.com|
|7.||IPVanish||Streaming, fast Wireguard||$3.33 / month||ipvanish.com|
|8.||TorGuard||Unlimited, 3,000 servers, 50+ countries||$9.99 / month||https://torguard.net/|
Highlights: Native Apple Silicon support (M1 & M2), 94 countries, up to 5 devices
Pricing: From $8.32 per month
ExpressVPN for Mac is a top-quality service that uses ultra-fast servers in 94+ countries to create AES-256 secure tunnels for your devices. The platform does not log connection or activity data, provides split tunneling, and offers 24-hour live chat support.
You can connect with just 1 click to a safer Internet using ExpressVPN from anywhere in the world. It is available for all devices, including Android, Windows, Linux, and iOS. Plus, this Mac version works on everything, including MacBooks, iMacs, Mac Pro, and all operating systems from Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan through macOS Ventura (13).
It also comes with native Apple Silicon support for Macs running M1 and M2 processors, enabling the VPN to work seamlessly with your Mac for top performance.
ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and it either costs $12.95 with monthly payments or $8.32 with yearly payments. There is also a 6-month billing plan that works out at $9.99 per month.
Highlights: Native Apple Silicon support, 61 countries, unlimited free forever plan
ProtonVPN comes from the team that created Proton Mail, the world’s most popular encrypted email service. It offers a free forever basic plan with no ads, no tracking, and no throttling, combined with an open-source app that guarantees a high level of security.
The free plan allows only 1 device at a time, up to 3 countries to choose from, and medium connection speeds. But if you upgrade to the paid Proton VPN Plus plan for 4.99 Euros per month, you can use up to 10 devices at a go with up to 61 countries and a super-fast 10Gbps connection.
The premium plan also offers BitTorrent support, an ad blocker, streaming service support, multi-hop features, and Tor-over-VPN.
ProtonVPN uses secure VPN protocols such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard. It includes a kill switch to prevent data leaks, and the company is backed by Swiss privacy laws.
Highlights: Super fast servers, Native Apple silicon, kill switch, MultiHop
Pricing: From $2.49
Starting at $2.49 per month with a 24-month subscription, Surfshark offers blazing fast 10Gbps servers in 100+ countries and includes ad blocking, a Bypasser module that offers split tunnelling (not yet available in Mac but in development), and it is available for macOS Catalina 10.15 and later.
Surfshark does not log your activities, it offers unlimited data usage plus unlimited device connections and includes a kill switch to guarantee that your sensitive information does not leak from a connection failure.
The service also includes access to over 3,000 servers that use Surfshark Nexus Technology to combine them into a single network. And for added security, you can use MultiHop servers that connect via 2 VPN locations to boost your speed and make it harder to track you.
Highlights: Custom protocol, custom DNS, unlimited bandwidth, kill switch, Dedicated IP
Pricing: From $3.29 per month (2 yr. plan)
NordVPN is another very popular and highly rated VPN service. It uses a custom protocol called NordLynx with advanced encryption to help you stay safe on the web.
The platform has servers in 60+ countries and offers unlimited bandwidth usage, a custom DNS service to prevent DNS leaks, and an app kill switch as well.
NordVPN offers Native Apple Silicon support for M1 chips and is available for macOS 10.15 Catalina and later systems. Pricing starts from $3.29 for a 2-year standard plan.
5. Private Internet Access
Highlights: Split tunneling, open source, kill switch, automation, multi hops, dedicated IP
Pricing: From $2.03 per month (3 years)
PIA or Private Internet Access is a high-quality VPN offer based on open-source software, a proven no-logs policy of tracking or storing your data and a global server network in 84+ countries worldwide.
You can use PIA on many systems, including the Mac, iOS, Linux, Windows, Android, smart TV, etc. You also get unlimited bandwidth, a malware blocker, P2P support, and 24/7 customer service.
The PIA VPN for Mac offers swapping between 128- and 256-bit AES encryption, split tunneling usage configured per app, an advanced kill switch, multi-hop connection to other proxies, obfuscation, and DNS leak protection.
A single-month of PIA subscription costs $11.95, but you can get a yearly subscription for $39.95 per year or $3.33 per month and a 3-year subscription for $79, which breaks down to $2.03 per month.
The system runs on the open-source OpenVPN and WireGurad protocols and requires a 64-bit Mac running macOS 10.13 or higher.
Highlights: 110 cities, 63 countries, no logs
Windscribe is a versatile and robust VPN platform for Mac that is equally available for other platforms. It offers a simple freemium plan with up to 10 GB of free monthly bandwidth and unlimited usage for paying customers.
Premium users also get to unlock all the server locations. Their plans start from $9 per month, billed monthly, or $5.75 when billed yearly.
You also get ad blocking, AES-256 encryption with SHA512 auth, static IP addresses, split tunneling of your data, port forwarding, and a simple client that is easy to use.
Highlights: Wireguard protocol, streaming, no logs, kill switch
Pricing: $3.33 per month (2-year plan)
IPVanish VPN is great for those who need streaming functionality over VPN at a low price. Starting from $79.99 for a 2-year plan, which breaks down to $3.33 per month, you get streaming, zero lags, unlimited devices, and no activity logging.
The platform also offers unlimited bandwidth from 75+ locations with 2,200+ servers and 40k+ IP addresses. Plus, you can equally choose to pay $53.99 yearly, which comes down to $4.50 per month, or you can pay $11.99 monthly for the same service.
Highlights: Unlimited bandwidth & speed, 8 connections, 3,000+ servers
Pricing: From $9.99 per month
Torguard offers 3 different VPN plans starting from the Standard that costs $9.99 per month and includes unlimited speeds, unlimited bandwidth, up to 8 simultaneous devices, 3,000+ servers in 50+ countries, and a no logging policy.
Its next plan is the Pro for $12.99 per month and in addition to everything on the Standard plan, you get a dedicated IP address, up to 12 simultaneous device connections, and streaming services.
The system works with the open protocols OpenVPN, Wireguard, and IKEv2. It is available for iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, and Windows.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following are some of the most frequently asked questions about VPNs for the Mac.
A VPN creates an encrypted connection between your Mac and the Internet, and this helps you to stay safe online, protect your privacy, and improve security.
Yes, a VPN can make you appear to be in another geo-locality or country. Just make sure you chose the right VPN server or IP address to mask your connection.
Yes and no. While it is completely legal in most countries, VPN use is banned in some countries, such as North Korea, Oman, Belarus, and Turkmenistan. Furthermore, it is restricted in countries like Iran, China, Russia, Turkey, and so on.
Yes, there are many free and legit offers, such as ProtonVPN. But you should be wary of most others, as they can hardly provide the quality security and privacy features that you need or might be dangerous in other ways.
No, while a VPN enhances your privacy, it is not anti-virus software and hence, not responsible for detecting or fighting against malware.
Macs have the iCloud Private Relay for iCloud+ subscribers, which encrypts your browsing and protects your IP address, just like a VPN. But it only works through the Safari browser.
VPN tunneling lets you route some of your Internet traffic through an encrypted VPN, while the rest is routed directly to the Internet. This can help to conserve bandwidth or benefit from services tailored to your physical location, while routing other data through the VPN.
Rounding off this list of the best VPNs for the Mac, you have seen what they offer, how much they cost, and the unique benefits you can get from each offer.
It’s now up to you to choose a service based on your personal or project needs. But if you are still not sure, however, then feel free to check out ProtonVPN’s free forever offer.