Best VPN for Mac (Safe, Secure & Fast) Tested in January 2022

Mac computers have basic security features, but they don’t guarantee 100% online protection. A good Mac VPN provides additional security by encrypting your traffic to protect you from data leaks, malware, and cyberattacks.

But not all VPNs work properly on macOS. Some don’t have native apps for Macs, so setup can be tedious. Other VPNs I tested even slowed Mac performance so much that I had to remove the app.

With the help of my team, I tested over 300 VPNs with a MacBook Pro (running Big Sur) and picked these 10 proven VPNs that improve Mac security without slowing it down.

My top choice is NordVPN because it offers top-notch security features, super-fast speeds, and is very easy to set up on my Mac. And with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try it for free and request a refund if you’re not completely satisfied.

10 Best VPN for Mac

With our team working in over 40 countries around the world, we conducted hundreds of tests over several months to find out which VPNs offer the best speed, security, and reliability. We spent weeks surfing, downloading, streaming, and torrenting to bring you these confirmed results.

ExpressVPN for Mac

  • Number of IP addresses: 30,000
  • Number of servers: 3,000-plus
  • Number of VPN server locations: 160
  • Number of simultaneous connections: 5
  • Country/jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • 94 countries

ExpressVPN advanced features (and detailed instructions) are of great use to Apple users. For example, if your Mac is connected to the Internet via a wired connection, you can set it up as a wireless hotspot for your local device to connect via VPN without having to set up ExpressVPN yourself.

In fact, ExpressVPN also tops the overall list of best VPNs, and for many good reasons. Benefits include fast, stable VPN server connections in 94 countries and unlimited bandwidth. It’s a solid choice for anyone using a VPN for P2P traffic or to unblock content from streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and more.

As for security, it uses 256-bit encryption over OpenVPN UDP by default, and the app has a kill switch and split tunnel. 2022 could be a big year for the company as it continues to roll out its proprietary Lightway protocol, which should boost speeds even further.

The provider is a bit more expensive than most other VPNs, but it could be a good choice for those who want the best experience on a Mac. ExpressVPN doesn’t offer a free trial of the VPN, but for peace of mind, it does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros
  1. Strong no logs privacy policy and high-grade security built into apps
  2. Superfast connection speeds with no bandwidth or data restrictions for the best performance
  3. MacOS apps are easy to install and use
  4. Support services are top-notch and staff are knowledgeable
Cons
  1. Slightly more expensive
  2. Users can’t tweak many advanced settings

NordVPN for Mac

  • Number of IP addresses: 5,000
  • Number of servers: 5,200 and more
  • Number of VPN servers: 62
  • Country/Jurisdiction: 62 countries/Panama
  • 3.49 per month for a 3-year plan (70% discount)
  • NordVPN detailed overview and real-world test

NordVPN is one of the most respected brands in the VPN space. It offers a large number of simultaneous connections for Mac VPN users: six simultaneous connections through its network, while almost all other providers offer five or less. The VPN provider also offers a dedicated IP option for those seeking different levels of VPN connectivity. NordVPN offers a kill switch feature and the ability to VPN in Tor. In our tests, we didn’t notice any privacy leaks and found speeds to be reliably fast.

The company’s one-year subscription plan costs $7 per month (a one-time bill of $84). While this annual price is lower than most other competitors, the $12 per month price is on the higher end. As of September 2019, the company’s other pricing tiers have moved up a bit: the three-year plan now costs $3.49 per month (or $126 total), up from $2.99 per month and $108 per year. And the two-year plan costs $4.99 per month ($120), up from $3.99 per month and $96 per year. And yes, the 30-day refund policy is comprehensive.

While NordVPN was on this list for a long time, we moved it to the penalty box in October 2019 to re-evaluate our recommendation after reporting unauthorized access to one of its rental servers in 2018. Actions Nord took after the discovery included – eventually – multiple security audits, a bug bounty program, and increased investment in server security.

While we would have preferred Nord to disclose the issue earlier, the fact that the vulnerability was limited in nature and did not affect user-identified data is further proof that NordVPN does not keep logs of VPN user activity. As such, Nord remains the recommended provider for top Mac VPNs.

The service is available for Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, and Linux.

Pros
  1. Dedicated Mac apps work seamlessly
  2. Doesn’t compromise on security
  3. Faster than any other VPN we’ve tested
  4. Vast server network can unblock most geo-restricted content
  5. 24/7 live chat support available
Cons
  1. iOS app doesn’t work in China

SurfsharkVPN for Mac

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Passes all security tests
  • Dedicated IP, dual VPN, secure torrenting on all platforms
  • Supports all platforms, including Chrome and Firefox

Surfshark currently has around 3,200 servers in 63 countries. It offers faster and more comprehensive protection than many of its competitors. For example, there is effective, unbreakable 256-bit encryption, as well as a kill switch (in all versions) that automatically blocks ads and malware, and prevents WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks. In addition, Surfshark does not record any personally identifiable information.

Surfshark currently has around 3,200 servers in 63 countries. It offers faster and more comprehensive protection than many of its competitors. For example, there is effective, unbreakable 256-bit encryption, as well as a kill switch (in all versions) that automatically blocks ads and malware, and prevents WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks. In addition, Surfshark does not record any personally identifiable information.

The service unblocks a large number of popular foreign services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Hulu, to name a few. It’s ideal for streaming as there are no connection restrictions and you can get 24/7 customer support via live chat if you have any issues.

Surfshark also offers apps for iOS, Windows, Android, and Linux.

Pros
  1. Fast and reliable
  2. Keeps no logs
  3. Strong commitment to your security
  4. Connect any number of devices
  5. Excellent unblocking ability
Cons
  1. Small (but expanding) network
  2. Still has the occasional slow server

CyberGhostVPN for Mac

  • Supports all platforms
  • Split tunneling
  • 7 simultaneous connections
  • Server for streaming and torrenting

CyberGhost lets you choose servers not only by country, but also by how you use them. For example, you can choose a server that unlocks Netflix in the US, or a server for P2P file sharing. The Romania-based provider has recently expanded its offerings by expanding its server network and unblocking capabilities. It performed above average in our download speed tests. CyberGhost currently operates over 5,900 servers in 89 countries. It can unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer, among others.

The company does not store logs of user data and protects all Internet traffic to and from the Macbook with 256-bit encryption. Other features include malware and ad blockers, anti-tracking protection and automatic HTTPS redirection.

The apps are available for Windows, Android, Linux and iOS.

Pros
  1. No issues for macOS in our tests
  2. Streams HD video seamlessly and has good connection speeds for downloading
  3. Easy to use, select activity type and be connected to the most appropriate server – Best location feature
Cons
  1. Doesn’t work in the UAE or China
  2. Has few advanced features

Hotspot ShieldVPN for Mac

  • Amazing speed
  • The free version is a great way to try out the service
  • Amazing streaming performance

Do you need speed? Then Hotspot Shield is worth considering. When we tested connection speeds to various servers, it outperformed almost all of its competitors. We know that system slowdowns are one of the reasons some people are put off by the idea of using a VPN, but the speeds shown here – courtesy of the cleverly named Catapult Hydra protocol for Hotspot – mean you can run Hotspot in the background and know it won’t cause any delays.

But that’s not all Hotspot Shield can do. I really like how easy it is to use. Once you’ve signed up, you download the Mac client and… That’s it. Hit the inviting “on/off” button and you’re enjoying online anonymity in seconds.

Like the providers above, Hotspot has great unlocking features, and when we tried it out with Netflix, iPlayer, Disney+, etc., the results were fantastic. We’re happy to let you try Hotspot before you commit fully, either with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee or with the market-leading free version

Pros
  1. Fast speeds
  2. Free option
  3. Netflix access
  4. Torrenting access
Cons
  1. Five simultaneous connections
  2. Responsive customer support

IPVanishVPN for Mac

  • Dazzling speed
  • Private connections
  • Zero traffic logging
  • Device compatibility
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Up to 10 connections per account
  • User-friendly app for all streaming devices

If compatibility is what you want, IPVanish delivers. You can use this versatile, easy-to-use software on Mac as well as Windows, Android, and iOS. The best part? You can connect up to 10 devices to IPVanish at the same time.

IPVanish’s network currently has servers in over 55 countries, so it’s not as extensive as others, but its unlimited server switching feature ensures that you’ll never be blocked if you want to geo-spoof. You’ll be able to unblock content that is geographically blocked or censored in your region, giving you more access to the Internet than ever before. As one of the best Mac VPNs in 2022, it also shines in terms of speed and bandwidth, so you can do whatever you want online, whether it’s answering work emails or streaming TV shows and movies.

If you’re not already using a VPN, you might be concerned about its complexity. But thanks to the 24/7 customer support that IPVanish offers, you won’t have to worry about that. If you want to learn more about this VPN’s features, our IPVanish review is a good place to start.

Pros
  1. Apps work well with macOS
  2. Impressive security and privacy features
  3. Handles multiple simultaneous connections well
Cons
  1. Apps don’t work in China
  2. Doesn’t offer a cryptocurrency payment method

Private Internet AccessVPN for Mac

  • Supports all operating systems
  • Passes all of our security tests
  • Shadow socks
  • DHCP, encryption and authentication standards, DNS and other settings

With many applications, a strong killbox, and servers in 70 countries, Private Internet Access is a very attractive online VPN service. Prices are decent, too, especially considering that a single subscription covers 10 devices – so you can even share it with friends and family.

With apps for Mac VPN, Windows, Android, Linus, iOS, and browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, the service is compatible with most software. It may not come up with a huge selection of apps, but the service offers some expert features and is super simple and easy to use. When it comes to securing a VPN on iOS devices, both the iPhone VPN and iPad versions offer a truly seamless experience for Apple users, and it doesn’t skimp on features, which some competitors may make the mistake of doing.

In addition, the provider has a number of features that are ideal when security and privacy are important, including a kill switch, flash blocking, cookie cleaning, and camera and microphone protection. In addition, encryption can be fine-tuned with Private Internet Access through a seemingly endless list of protocols such as WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, DNS, and custom ports, among other options.

With everything you get and the fact that it’s super fast, this provider is good value for money.

Pros
  1. Strict logging policy
  2. Fast on Mac
  3. High app reviews
  4. Netflix Access
Cons
  1. Based in United States
  2. So-so customer support
  3. No split tunneling

VyprVPN for Mac

  • Affordable VPN option
  • Greatly avoids government obstruction in countries like China
  • Proven no-log policy

Although it has some weaknesses, such as inconsistent unblocking of Netflix, some users claim that VyprVPN works well for Netflix, but I could not get the same results in my experiments. The provider allows p2p traffic on its servers, and its security mechanisms ensure that there are no IP leaks, thus holding back torrent downloads.

It uses AES-256 for encryption and protects the user’s traffic from outside interference. It has a kill switch and chameleon technology to obfuscate traffic coming from the VPN. Its macOS app also has a NAT firewall to prevent hacker attacks by blocking incoming traffic on the device.

VyprVPN has a zero-logging policy that has been audited by an independent agency. This makes it an exception for privacy-conscious macOS users. VyprVPN offers apps for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and even routers. For lesser-known devices, you can also use manual configuration.

The price for the 2-year subscription is $2.50/month, which is quite affordable for a high-performance VPN like VyprVPN. It also allows 5 simultaneous connections and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros
  1. Non-member to Five Eyes
  2. Kill switch
  3. Torrenting
  4. Best in Mac and Android
Cons
  1. Netflix only works on some servers
  2. No multi-hop
  3. Only five simultaneous connections

TunnelBearVPN for Mac

  • Extremely user-friendly
  • Comprehensive client software
  • Transparent privacy policy

TunnelBear is aimed at a very specific group of people: those who want a VPN service, but don’t want to go through the trouble of configuring their connection or becoming an IT expert to make it more secure. And it serves this market perfectly with its very simple interface and jargon-free writing. Virtually all VPN services do this now, but TunnelBear tries to stand out from the rest.

It’s not for advanced users – there’s not much that can be changed – but with up to five simultaneous connections, servers in 20 countries and good performance on US and Canadian websites, it should be enough to satisfy casual users or technophobes.

In terms of security, users can rest easy knowing that TunnelBear is committed to annual security audits. For those looking to access content outside of their home country, TunnelBear’s only real success in streaming in Disney Plus. With its cute bear mascot, the provider could perhaps better position itself as a VPN for kids. Unfortunately, Netflix and iPlayer were not available during our test.

However, longer connections can be slower: That’s when the relatively small number of server locations becomes noticeable. There is also a free version that works well, although it is limited to a paltry 500MB per month. However, you can use it instead of the missing free trial version and just try it out before you put it into operation.

Pros
  1. Affordable
  2. Excellent privacy policies
  3. Annual independent audits
  4. Friendly approachable design
  5. Browser extensions, including stand-alone ad blocker
  6. Good speed test results
Cons
  1. Lack of geographic diversity in server locations
  2. Few advanced features

WindscribeVPN for Mac

  • Unlimited device connectivity
  • Free plan
  • Suitable for streamers

Windscribe offers unlimited device connectivity. Yes, you heard that right! There are apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, and the service also offers a browser add-on with useful features like ad blockers.

This gives you the freedom to easily add Windscribe to your device without having to think about how many devices you’re already using it on. If you want to protect data on a number of devices – in the office or in your smart home, for example – support for unlimited connectivity is a really standout feature.

In our recent testing, performance has improved – we saw decent connection speeds on most servers. As such, it should be able to handle most streaming needs, especially considering we could easily get it to unlock foreign Netflix catalogs, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, and more.

You can try it out with the free version, with a download limit of 10 GB. That’s not a huge amount, of course – though more than TunnelBear allows. You will soon be immersed in the paid version. But again, Windscribe offers users the flexibility to try it out and see for themselves why it works so well.

If you’re switching from a free service to a paid one, Windscribe offers plenty of options here as well. Buy a monthly or annual package, or set it up yourself.

Pros
  1. Instant setup on popular devices
  2. An extensive network of servers and locations
  3. Solid encryption
  4. Numerous advanced security features
  5. Works well with streaming sites
  6. Unlimited simultaneous connections
Cons
  1. Based in Canada (Five-Eyes nation)
  2. Questionable logging policy
  3. Needs to improve customer support

Privacy for MacVPN

  • Jurisdiction: This means you can’t legally be forced to hand over customer data to the government.
  • Privacy: While most VPNs claim to have a “zero logging” policy, that’s rarely the case in practice. At the very least, they should not log network traffic or IP addresses.
  • Encryption: Choose VPNs with up-to-date encryption methods like AES-256 bit.
  • Two-factor or multi-factor authentication: It’s easy for hackers to get into your account via phishing emails. However, if you add two-factor or multi-factor authentication to your VPN account, they won’t be able to log in even with your credentials. Look for VPNs that allow you to send a password to your mobile device or use fingerprints or facial recognition to log in and prevent unauthorized access.
  • Location: This is especially important if you need fast gaming speeds, for example.
  • Device Type: Does the VPN work on the device you have? For most users, the answer will be yes, but it’s still something to double-check before putting down your credit card.
  • Browser type: If you want to use a browser extension instead of an app, make sure the VPN supports your preferred browser.
  • Budget: Last but not least, keep your budget in mind. The price range for VPNs is pretty wide, but if you’re on a budget, there are options like NordVPN that only cost a few dollars per month. Also, don’t forget about the length of the term; with many VPN providers, the longer you commit, the lower the monthly fee.

How to use a VPN for MacOS

Setting up a VPN works pretty much the same as setting up any other type of app on macOS, just follow these steps.

  1. Choose the right VPN provider, we especially recommend NordVPN.
  2. Download the VPN app from the provider’s website.
  3. Double-click the downloaded file to install it. Confirm any prompts that may appear.
  4. Launch the VPN app from the Apps menu or from the Dock at the bottom.
  5. Enter your username and password to log in. Depending on your service provider, you may need to perform additional authentication during initial setup.
  6. Select a VPN server in the location where you want to access the Internet.
  7. Double-click the server or press the Connect button.
  8. Wait until the connection is established.

That’s it! Now you can torrent anonymously, unlock blocked content, secure public wifi connections and much more. You can google “What is my IP address?” to check if it works. If the VPN is on, your IP address should be different.

VPN Buyer’s Guide

VPNs are a good example of undifferentiated products,3 which means they all essentially work similarly, i.e. they hide network traffic and replace your IP address. Therefore, the choice of VPN depends on some specific features, which are described below.

Needs

Streaming: Want to stream movies and TV shows from services like Netflix, HBO Go and Hulu? Not all VPN servers allow these streaming services, so you should check beforehand.
Concurrent connections: Make sure the VPN allows enough simultaneous connections.
Shared tunnels: Do I need access to a private network when using Wi-Fi from a public network? If so, look for a VPN that shares a tunnel.

Should I use a free VPN on my Mac?

We don’t recommend using a so-called “free” VPN service for several reasons. First, they are slow or restrict downloads. Most free VPNs restrict data transfers and impose bandwidth limits that are too restrictive for anything beyond simple web surfing.

Second, free VPNs usually have poor privacy practices. For example, they may use outdated encryption or log your activity. Some even inject tracking cookies and ads into your browser and sell your browsing data to third parties.

Finally, free VPNs often contain malware that can infect your Macbook once installed. Stick to paid VPN services with good reputations and strict privacy policies.

Why Mac users should use a VPN

MacOS is generally considered a fairly secure operating system, but there are still plenty of reasons for Mac users to use a VPN. Macs may be less vulnerable to malware than PCs, but they’re just as vulnerable when it comes to online threats and barriers.

  • Governments, corporations, and hackers are watching all of your online activity.
  • Attacks that intercept, alter or redirect your Internet connection.
  • Geo-targeted content, such as videos and content that can only be viewed in certain countries.
  • Websites and apps that track your location and device address.
  • Government and corporate web censorship.

You can read more about Mac OS security on Apple’s website here, as well as our own article on whether Macs need antivirus software.

The main reason for using a VPN on a Mac is to improve privacy. mac security and privacy only covers data stored on a Macbook. Once data is transferred over the internet, it may not be secure or private. Hackers on your ISP or public Wi-Fi network may be able to spy on your online activities. This information can be used against you in many ways; for example, your ISP may limit your bandwidth as a penalty for using P2P applications, or a hacker may perform a man-in-the-middle attack to get malware onto your computer.

Apart from the obvious privacy and security benefits, VPNs are useful for accessing geographically blocked content. For example, if you want to watch a video or access an app that is only available to users in a certain country, you can simply set the VPN server’s location to that country and connect to it to unblock the content. This works even if you are blocked by the government, your ISP, or the website itself.

Some apps and websites, like Netflix and Hulu, have caught VPN users by blocking VPN users from watching foreign videos. However, some Mac VPNs have found a solution that allows their users to bypass VPN blocking and watch videos from anywhere in the world. For example, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN can unblock Netflix and Hulu from certain servers.

The problem with free Mac VPNs

GoVPN claims to be a free VPN for Mac and iOS devices. It’s not known what the app does, but it doesn’t list connecting to a VPN service. It claims to connect to a VPN, but your computer’s IP address can still be seen by any website on the Internet. Avoid it at all costs.

Fresh VPN offers a free trial period to connect to its service. Unfortunately, the free trial period is much shorter than NordVPN’s 30 days. It only lasts five minutes. Seriously. That’s how long they give someone to test and evaluate their service on a Mac. That’s not enough time for a real review and just shows the seller’s lack of confidence in their offering.

If you open the Mac App Store and search for “VPN”, you’ll get a long list of apps, including several that claim to be free. Most of these free VPNs contain “in-app purchases,” unusable connections, and even some form of obvious malware. Even some paid VPNs have ads embedded in the free or trial apps. Expect to encounter download limits, bandwidth restrictions, and queues.

Can VPN track your online presence?

The main purpose of downloading a VPN is to ensure anonymity online, but some VPNs store more data than others. While we haven’t looked at many VPNs other than Encrypt.me that store user data, many VPNs store other information about users, which can include the following.

  • The time and duration of the user’s connection to the VPN
  • The IP address of the user
  • The amount of data the user uses when connecting to the VPN
  • The user’s personal information, such as name, address, payment details, email address, etc

The vast majority of VPNs do not track users online, neither the sites they visit, nor their network traffic or activities. However, we recommend that you read the VPN’s privacy policy before signing up to make sure that your online activities are not logged. Another option? Read our VPN content, which details each VPN’s privacy policy. We’ve already read it, so you don’t have to!

Bottom Line

I recommend that Mac users looking for a reliable way to protect and enhance their online activities consider using a virtual private network.

In addition to maintaining the privacy of your online activities, a VPN can give you access to content and services that are not normally available in your area.

As a Mac user, ExpressVPN is my top choice for protecting Mac online connections, and I highly recommend it to my readers. The provider offers reliable online protection, and its global network of servers allows me to access my favorite content wherever it is.

SAFE VPN

9.5/10

4.5/5
FAST VPN

9.6/10

4.5/5
USER FRIENDLY

9.5/10

4.5/5

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