Disclosure: PrivacyAffairs.com is reader supported. Learn how we make money.

Best VPN for Mac

Updated: 4 September 2021
Fact-checked by

Macs are known for their optimized software, great integration, and security-wise, they are less vulnerable than their Windows counterparts. This, however, does not make them immune to various cybersecurity risks.
They too suffer from online privacy and security injustices, bandwidth throttling, unable to access blocked content, and public Wi-Fi security risks. These problems can be solved easily by using a VPN.

A VPN increases the privacy of your online information as well as your digital security. It also enables you to access geo-blocked content, avoid digital tracking and use public WIFI more securely.

Without further ado, let us look at the best VPN that can enhance your online privacy and security on your Mac.

Top VPN Services

NordVPN

Price from:

$ 3.67 / mo

Available on:

Pros

  • Exceptional security and privacy

  • Stable, fast connections

  • Security and privacy features

  • No log policy

Available on:

Cons

  • Not much

NordVPN is best known for its powerful, secure service coupled with impossible-to-crack encryption algorithms. You also get a large server network with specialized servers, fast speeds, and infinite bandwidth.

Servers

Nord VPN has 5300 servers strategically placed in 60 countries. You can choose the state or city where the server you want to connect to is located.

There are five types of servers, each customized for specific purposes: Onion router server, secure and private file sharing server, Double VPN server, personal IP addresses servers, and internet censorship servers. The servers offer infinite speeds without bandwidth throttling.

This makes NordVPN suitable for tasks such as P2P sharing (torrenting activities), streaming from Netflix, Hulu, Disney plus services, and online gaming, whether it’s from a PC or gaming console.

Privacy and no logging

Nord VPN does not log your internet traffic, IP addresses, sites you have visited, or your connection timestamps. Their no-log policy against monitoring, recording, and logging your internet activity was audited and accredited by Price Waterhouse Coopers Auditing group.

The Panama jurisdiction of Nord VPN is away from the United States and European Union. It also doesn’t have mandatory data retention laws; hence NordVPN has no legal obligation to log your data, assuring you of your privacy.

To minimize collecting your credit and debit card information, Nord VPN accepts cryptocurrency as a form of payment. This ensures that no piece of information that could lead to you is left behind.

The double VPN and onion over VPN feature increase the layers of anonymity and security of your online traffic; your sensitive information will always be safe.

Security and protocols

Nord VPN uses an AES 256bit GCM encryption algorithm with a 4096-bit DH key. It has three VPN protocols: IKEv2/IPsec (used with the Next Generation Encryption), Open VPN, and Nord Lynx protocol.

These protocols offer the required security and fast speeds. Nord VPN’s servers are also Leakproof. When connected to Nord VPN, only the DNS servers operated by Nord VPN are used in servicing your queries.

Due to its secure nature, NordVPN can be used by journalists and political activists seeking an extra layer of protection against surveillance and internet censorship. It’s also useful in dictatorial governments, which snoop and log activities of residents and tourists.

NordVPN also supports multifactor authentication when logging in to your Nord VPN account. This access control mechanism protects you against unauthorized users or changes in your VPN account that could leak your information.

The NordVPN kill switch integrated into Macs automatically cuts off your internet connection if the connection drops. In Mac, you can select which apps are affected by the kill switch.

MacOS app

The Mac OS app is easy to use and has a straightforward interface. The server list and other VPN features and functionalities are easily accessible. The specialty servers optimized for various tasks are also accessible from the main screen page.

There’s also the Quick connect feature, CyberSec, for stopping ads, trackers, and malware, and you can easily change between various protocols.
Compatibility.

Other than Mac, NordVPN is also compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, Android tv, FiretvStick, Xbox and PlayStation gaming consoles, Nintendo switches, raspberry Pi, Chromecast, kindle fire, and routers.

You can simultaneously connect up to 6 devices using a single NordVPN subscription. When the router is configured with the VPN, all devices connected will enjoy limitless connection without hitches.

Nord VPN has a Smart DNS feature that you can activate through the dashboard. This allows unrestricted access to geo-restricted content on your smart TV.

NordVPN supports ABC Go, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, HBO Now, Netflix, and many more. However, there is no security when using Smart DNS for streaming.

Pricing plans

Currently, for a monthly plan, Nord VPN costs $11.95. For an annual plan, Nord VPN costs $4.92 per month, and for the 2–year plan, Nord VPN costs $3.30. The 2-year plan comes with three extra months of subscription for free. These rates are dependent on your location.

NordVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee even for cryptocurrency payments. You can pay through credit cards, crypto, amazon pay, google pay, and apple pay. Refunds made through apple pay are claimed from apple.

Customer support

Nord VPN has many resources on its support webpage to assist you in installation and troubleshooting. The resources are frequently asked questions (FAQs), general info, billing, and connectivity.

A live chat feature is operational 24/7, and a bot or a person can assist you. The response time of Nord VPN customer support is short and convenient.

Surfshark

Price from:

$ 2.49 / mo

Available on:

Pros

  • Budget-friendly

  • Fastest speeds and unlimited bandwidth

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections

  • Reliable unblocking

Available on:

Cons

  • A small fee for some extra features

Surfshark has a well-distributed server network with unlimited bandwidth. It has various security and privacy-focused VPN features for Mac. It allows you to torrent, stream, and work with an unlimited number of devices simultaneously without speed drops.

Servers

Surfshark has 3200 servers located across 65 countries. They support multi-hop capability, which allows you to connect multiple VPN servers in multiple countries. This boosts privacy, security, and at times your connection speed.

Each Surfshark VPN server has its private DNS to prevent ISPs from tracking your online activity through DNS request logs. Their Camouflage mode makes it impossible for third parties to detect your VPN traffic.

They have an average speed of 50 Mbps which supports fast streaming and torrent downloading. This is supported by the 1Gbps port connection, which can handle much internet traffic while maintaining high speeds.

Privacy and logging

ISPs can see your internet activity and some countries legally require them to log it. This is a huge breach of privacy that a VPN can help you avoid. Surfshark VPN has a strict no-log policy that guarantees no monitoring or logging of your internet activity.

Their country of jurisdiction: the British Virgin Islands does not have legislation requiring them to log your data. They use RAM-based servers that automatically lose all your accumulated user traffic after the almost daily regular reboots.

This means that even if it’s required by the court to provide your browsing information, it will not because they did not log it, and therefore it’s nonexistent.

Security and protocols

Surfshark uses the AES-256-bit GCM military-grade encryption to secure your connection and online activities. The US government applies the same standard in the protection of its sensitive information.

Surfshark has four end-to-end encryption protocols. These protocols offer blazing speeds and maximum security. They include IKEv2, OpenVPN, Shadowsocks, and Wire Guard. Shadowsocks is an encrypted proxy that ensures you’re connected regardless of your location or geo-restrictions through firewalls.

Surfshark VPN has a kill switch protocol that automatically disconnects from the internet if the VPN drops without your knowledge. This ensures that your traffic is always encrypted and identity guarded against hackers and snoopers. To enjoy this security feature, you have to activate it in your account settings.

The whitelist feature, also known as split-tunneling, enables you to selectively pass your internet traffic through the VPN while leaving the rest of the traffic through the usual internet. This enables you to avoid connecting and disconnecting from the internet when using different services.

You also get to use different IP addresses simultaneously while focusing your VPN speeds on the sites that need it the most.

MacOS app

Surfshark has a user-friendly layout in the Mac, which offers you easy navigation when selecting the server location. You have the freedom of selecting the protocol of your choice depending on your needs. Mac is compatible with OpenVPN, IKev2, and WireGuard.

Although light in features, the Kill switch works pretty well; there’s also the cleanweb feature that protects you against phishing attempts, trackers, ads, and malware.

Compatibility

Surfshark is also compatible with other platforms and devices. You can use it on Windows, smartphones, browsers, gaming consoles, and even routers. The VPN service allows unlimited simultaneous connections on a single Surfshark subscription without reducing speeds or performance.

Surfshark has the smart DNS feature supported in the Mac. To activate it, log in to your account and select Smart DNS, then activate. The Smart DNS offers you faster speeds, although with no security. Smart DNS is suitable for devices that do not support the dedicated VPN app.

Pricing plans

At the time of this writing, Surfshark costs $12.95 for the monthly plan, $6.49 per month for the 6-month subscription, and $2.49 per month for the 2-year subscription plan. With the infinite simultaneous connections, Surfshark gives you excellent value for your money.

Payment can be made via credit cards, PayPal, google pay, amazon pay, and cryptocurrency (bitcoin, Ethereum, and CoinGate) as forms of payment. It offers a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

This single subscription can be used across all your Mac devices or non-mac devices.

Customer support

Surfshark has around-the-clock customer support service. There’s a comprehensive guide and FAQ section if you’re stuck or experiencing issues with your connectivity. If the guide is not sufficient, you can chat with an agent from Surfshark who will walk you through troubleshooting and ultimately fix your issue.

CyberGhost

Price from:

$ 1.9 / mo

Available on:

Pros

  • Budget friendly

  • Works with Netfix

  • Can unblock restricted websites

  • Great server selection

Available on:

Cons

  • Outdated app

CyberGhost is a great VPN service for Mac. It offers high-end security, fast speeds and has a large server network of about 7100 servers. It supports many online activities, including streaming, torrenting and online gaming.

Servers

CyberGhost VPN has one of the largest server networks. It comprises 7100 servers spread across 91 countries in 114 locations. They are optimized to stream content from major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney plus seamlessly. As a plus, you can stream sports and unblock websites affiliated with sports.

Cyberghost VPN also has dedicated servers optimized for torrents. You can download content safely, anonymously, and without bandwidth restrictions.

Privacy and no-logging

Cyberghost VPN spoofs your Mac IP address which is the first step in online privacy. It has a strict no-log policy that ensures your online activity and information don’t land on unwanted parties. The VPN service does not monitor, record, log, or hand out your internet activity trail to third parties.

Its Romanian Jurisdiction upholds strong privacy laws that favor the no-log policy. Romania is also not part of the 5/9/14 eyes alliance, and therefore no legal obligation to share your data. The no-log policy keeps the government and ISP off your online personal data.

You also get to access the NoSpy servers. These servers offer ultimate security, privacy, and very fast speed. CyberGhost operates them, and they reside in Romania. The servers are kept out of the reach of mass surveillance and third-party interference. The faster speeds are due to premium hardware and a dedicated uplink.

Security and Protocols

CyberGhost relies on 256-bit advanced military-grade encryption. This encryption is uncrackable, and be rest assured that no one will snoop or eavesdrop on your VPN connection and data.

CyberGhost VPN has three end-to-end encryption protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard. The OpenVPN protocol supports both TCP and UDP ports. TCP for reliability and UDP for fast connections: optimized for your streaming experience. IKEv2 is excellent at reconnecting when there are network switches.

WireGuard combines the security of OpenVPN, IkEv2’s stability, and it offers fast connections for an excellent VPN experience. There is also a kill switch that disconnects you from the internet when the VPN connection drops, preventing the exposure of your IP address.

MacOS app

The CyberGhost VPN app for MacOS is easy to navigate and user-friendly. The configurations and tweaks are categorized and organized on the settings page. You can use them to customize your VPN experience to your needs easily.

You get access to servers, one-click connect, connection features, and Smart rules. Smart rules allow you to configure your privacy triggers. These include Wi-Fi protection rules.

Unlike the Windows app, the MacOS app is not heavily loaded with features and functionalities. This is also why it is straightforward.

Compatibility

CyberGhost VPN is preconfigured to and optimized to support streaming, torrents, and downloads on your Mac. The IKEv2 protocol is also supported in Mac.

CyberGhost VPN is also compatible with other platforms such as windows, Linux, iOS, Android, android TVs, Amazon Fire TV, and routers. Smart TVs, streaming devices, and gaming consoles can use the Smart DNS but with no security. It is recommended to connect them via a router.

You can simultaneously connect up to 7 devices with no speed-drop. CyberGhost also has web browser extensions that act as proxies for your Chrome and Firefox Mac applications.

Pricing

Cyberghost VPN will cost you $12.99$ on the monthly plan. The 6-month subscription plan will cost you $6.39 per month. The 2-year long-term subscription plan is cheaper, and it goes for $2.25 per month; you also get two free months’ worth of the subscription. There’s a money-back guarantee which depends on the subscription plan.

The monthly subscription has a 14-day guarantee, while the two-year and 6-month subscriptions have a 45-days money-back guarantee. The payment options include visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and bitcoin. Your method of payment does not affect the refund policy. Macs get a 24hr trial period.

Customer Support

CyberGhost has a 24/7 customer support system complete with an FAQ section and a live chat feature for all your technical and subscription concerns. Additionally, other issues can be tackled through email support in case the other options are not sufficient.

ExpressVPN

Price from:

$ 8.32 / mo

Available on:

Pros

  • Excellent security and privacy

  • Blazing-fast speeds

  • Bypasses geo-restrictions

  • User-friendly VPN apps

Available on:

Cons

  • Very expensive

ExpressVPN is an unrivaled VPN service for Mac. It is optimized to provide you with excellent security, lightning speeds, and its user-friendly app layout makes it a popular choice for a wide range of devices.

Servers

Express VPN has 160 server locations spread across 90 countries. The servers are spread across major cities and placed strategically to ensure you have maximum connection speeds. The ExpressVPN smart location feature automatically selects the best server to offer maximum connection speeds depending on your location.

Each server has a private DNS to ensure your connection is tunneled safely and securely without exposure to third parties. Private DNS is not prone to third-party sniffing, DNS hijacking, or blocking, and they have faster DNS resolving abilities.

Express VPN servers offer unlimited bandwidth and are not affected by ISP’s bandwidth throttling. This makes them suitable for streaming Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, HBO Now, and Netflix originals. You can also torrent content safely and securely.

Privacy and Logging

Express VPN has a strict no-logging policy. It has RAM-based servers which lose all your accumulated data after every routine reboot.

Express VPN collects minimal information such as the amount of bandwidth transferred per day and the connection date but does not collect your activity or connection logs from your Mac.

An Audit from PWC accredited the express VPN no-log policy. Its jurisdiction in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) supports digital privacy and anonymity.

There is no legal mandate for logging your internet traffic.

The BVI is also not part of mass surveillance.

Security and protocols

Express VPN applies the AES-256-bit encryption algorithm with a 4096-bit DH key to safeguard your data. The security of your VPN connection is determined by the protocol that it uses. Express VPN supports Lightway L2TP, OpenVPN, IKEv2, and PPTP.

You have the freedom to select the protocol that suits your needs best. For Mac, the best protocol is the OpenVPN, Lightway, and IKEv2. The three are also the most secure protocols, but Lightway is the best of the three in terms of speed.

ExpressVPN has a kill switch known as the network lock. This is useful when your internet connection is interrupted or dropped. The network lock automatically stops traffic exchange between your Mac and the internet.

Express VPN supports split tunneling in Mac which lets you selectively route internet traffic through the VPN tunnel while the rest of the sites or apps access the internet directly. This allows you to protect sensitive traffic without losing access to local network connections or devices. There’s also protection against leaks.

The MacOS app

Express VPN offers a simple, user-friendly app for Mac. It is similar to that of Windows and other platforms.

There’s a quick connect button; this helps you connect to the best server (Smart Location). You can tweak various settings and configure features such as split tunneling, kill switch, leak protection and even switch to various protocols.

Compatibility

Express VPN is also compatible with Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, gaming consoles, streaming devices, and routers. As for browsers, it provides extensions for chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and edge.

For smart TVs, express VPN offers smart DNS for unlocking geo-blocked TV content. Samsung and LG smart TVs are supported. For security and privacy, connect them via the VPN router. ExpressVPN offers 5 simultaneous connections.

Pricing plans

Currently, ExpressVPN’s monthly subscription costs $12.95. The 6-month subscription plan goes for $9.99 per month, and the 1-year subscription plan retails at $8.32 per month.

Payment can be made via Visa, Mastercard, American Express card, discovery card, PayPal, bitcoin, UnionPay, iDEAL, WebMoney, Yandex Money, mint, and Diners’ club card.

All subscriptions have a 30-day money-back guarantee, with the refund procedures differing depending on your payment method.

Customer support

ExpressVPN has comprehensive customer support. There is a user manual on how to install ExpressVPN and a troubleshooting guide with frequently asked questions. They incorporate device-specific tutorials for easy installation and configuration.

If the two are not satisfactory, you can contact a live agent through the live chat feature, where a bot will immediately respond and log in your query while getting a live agent to assist you further. The response time of express VPN support is quick.

How we chose the best VPN for Mac

Not all VPNs are compatible with Macs. Some have features that do not work on Macs. The following are some of the aspects to be considered when choosing a VPN provider for your Mac.

  • Server locations
  • Privacy and logging
  • Security and protocols
  • The macOS VPN app
  • Compatibility
  • Pricing Plans
  • Customer Support

Since they are many VPNs in the market, we have carefully selected the best VPNs you can use with Macs. They have been tested, and they satisfy the above requirements.

Aren’t Macs secure already?

Yes and no.

One reason people believe Macs are more secure than, say, Windows machines, is that it’s not possible to actually make some of the adjustments to the machine in OSx that you can in Windows. It’s also important to remember that Apple has a relatively low market share in the laptop and desktop world at around 12.5%, which has typically meant that fewer attacks target Apple computers.

However, this doesn’t apply to online attacks. If you’re sitting in Starbucks with your Macbook Pro connected to the free WiFi, you’re just as vulnerable as someone on a Windows laptop or Android phone. If you want to enjoy privacy and relative anonymity online (not to mention stream geo-blocked content), you still need to use a quality VPN. Any of these best VPNs for Mac will do, and the one you choose will ultimately come down to your specific requirements and what you’re happy to pay.

Wrap Up

Macs are vulnerable to online cybercrimes, just like other devices. Your activity on a Mac can be traced and used against you or sold by your ISP for marketing services which can be irritating.

It’s important to have a VPN that guarantees faster speeds, unlimited bandwidth, safety against hackers and ISPs with malicious intent, and above all, give you the privacy you deserve. Our top VPNs offer the best features with the best VPN experience.

FAQ

Is it safe to use a VPN on Mac?

Yes, it is safe to use a VPN on your Mac. A VPN increases your online privacy and ensures your connections and data are secure over the internet. A VPN will also help you bypass geo-restrictions and unblock various content.

Which VPN protocol should I choose for Mac?

OpenVPN, IKev2, L2TP/IPsec, WireGuard, NordLynx, Lightway are supported in Mac. They, however, have different capabilities. IKev2 is excellent at reconnecting when there are network switches. OpenVPN offers reliable encryption. WireGuard, NordLynx, and Lightway give you fast speeds with the best security.

How many Macs can I connect simultaneously to a VPN?

Our top VPNs have a fair number of simultaneous connections ranging from 5 to unlimited. You can connect all your Mac devices using a single subscription. You will not experience connection or speed drops.

How does the VPN money-back guarantee work, exactly?

If you’re not satisfied with the VPN service, you can raise a complaint through support, and you will be refunded the original subscription amount, excluding the taxes. However, you should raise the complaint within the money-back period, or your claim will not be valid.

Is a free VPN suitable for Mac?

Free VPNs are not suitable for protecting your online privacy or increasing your security. They have limited bandwidth, speed caps and are not reliable for unblocking content. Hence you cannot use them for torrenting, streaming, or other sensitive online tasks.

Written by: Justin Oyaro

Connect with him:

Tech and Cybersecurity Expert Justin is a cybersecurity expert with over 5 years of experience that stretches across various technological realms. He is a valued expert in cybersecurity, Cord-cutting, Cryptocurrency, Smartphones, How-tos and other related fields. Justin has written authoritative content for multiple Cybersecurity websites and blogs on matters regarding privacy and security. He also does pen test on tech products such as smartphone applications and websites. When he is not writing, Justin spends most of his time on the latest tech trends and Android Studio. Justin is also a degree holder in Information Systems Technology and Master of Computer Applications (M.C.A.), University of Adelaide.