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5 Best VPNs for El Capitan

Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper

October 27, 2017

El Capitan is the last version of the Mac OS X operating system. The operating system for Macs that came after El Capitan, Sierra, doesn’t have the OS X designation. Instead, Apple calls it macOS. Apple first released El Capitan on 30 September 2015. It released the last version, 10.11.6, on 15 May 2017.

Mac users often claim that this operating system is much more secure than Windows. However, a quick check of the security vulnerabilities that Apple discovered in the Mac OS X system shows that users shouldn’t be complacent. The list of security problems should have been fixed in El Capitan, which is also known as Mac OS X 10.11. Despite that, undiscovered vulnerabilities probably still exist. Furthermore, common internet security weaknesses apply to Mac users just as much as to users of other operating systems.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can provide all of the extra security that you need for your Mac. This software prevents snoopers and hackers getting hold of your data while it’s in transit. It can also protect you from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks directed at your computer and stop tracking and spy software from getting onto your device.

Quick Links to Our 5 Best VPNs for El Capitan

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. Buffered
  3. IPVanish
  4. NordVPN
  5. SaferVPN

Whenever you connect to the internet, you risk hacker invasion or virus infection. Spyware is prevalent on the internet. Companies use it to track the movements of those who visit their sites. Staying private on the internet is increasingly difficult for El Capitan users.

You can’t really rely on the built-in security features of the El Capitan operating system any more. You should add on your own protection when you connect to the internet. You’re particularly vulnerable when you connect to WiFi hotspots, so look for solutions to help protect you when you’re out in public. At home, your games apps can be targets for attack. As such, getting strong protection for all of the apps on your Mac should be a priority.

This review examines the five best VPNs for El Capitan. These services will protect your Mac or MacBook at home and out in public.

Best VPNs for El Capitan: Summary

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
ExpressVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Deal: Save 49% Today!
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Automatic WiFi protection
  • Kill switch
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Fast network speeds
CONS:
  • Quite expensive

You can install ExpressVPN as an app on El Capitan computers. It's also available as a browser extension. You don't have to choose which to install because they're both included in your subscription fee. The browser extension is available for Chrome and Firefox, as well as for the Safari browser that's bundled in with El Capitan. You can install the software on your home WiFi router to protect all of the devices in your home at once. However, if you plan on taking your MacBook out with you, you should install the ExpressVPN app on that as well. You're allowed three simultaneous connections with the ExpressVPN service; an install on the router counts as one. The app is also available for iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems, so you can install it on your phone as well.

The ExpressVPN network is lightning fast and the service is brilliant at getting into overseas video servers, such as those of Netflix. ExpressVPN's servers have plenty of spare capacity, which enables it to absorb DDoS attacks. Security features include automatic WiFi protection and a kill switch.

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2. Best VPN for El Capitan: Buffered

Buffered Homepage
PROS:
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Automatic WiFi protection
  • Allowance of five simultaneous connections
  • Good for P2P downloading
  • Good speeds
CONS:
  • No specific WiFi protection function

Buffered is a cheaper option for those who don't need all of the server locations that ExpressVPN offers. This company has servers in 41 countries. This is a great choice for gamers and those who like to download files through peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. The company is based in Gibraltar and keeps no logs, so your identity will be safe from copyright lawyers.

The app is very easy to use. You can install the software on routers to protect your whole household. This service gives you an allowance of five simultaneous connections, so you can install it on your MacBook as well as your router, and still have lots of spare connection for other devices. There are apps for Windows, Android, and iOS, as well as Mac OS X. This VPN integrates its kill switch into a firewall. While there is no specific option for WiFi protection, if you leave the VPN on all the time it will protect you from fake WiFi hotspots.

3. Best VPN for El Capitan: IPVanish

IPVanish Homepage
PROS:
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in 60 countries
  • Kill switch
  • Automatic WiFi protection
  • Fast speeds
CONS:
  • Customer support is slow

IPVanish has a network that is optimized for VPN services, so it is lightning fast. This is an important feature if you like to watch streaming video over the internet or play games online. The network has plenty of spare capacity to absorb DDoS attacks.

Security features include a kill switch to prevent your apps from connecting to the internet without the VPN being active. Note that the automatic WiFi protection is difficult to find in the settings because it's labeled as an option to "block all LAN traffic."

4. Best VPN for El Capitan: NordVPN

NordVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in 61 countries
  • Allowance of six simultaneous connections
  • Automatic WiFi protection
  • Kill switch
CONS:
  • Customer support can be slow

NordVPN allows you six simultaneous connections, so it's a great option to protect a family. You can even share an account with a friend. The NordVPN website has a large library of installation instructions to help you get the VPN software working on a wide range of router types.

The app has a kill switch and offers automatic WiFi protection. The main screen of the interface shows a map of the world with a marker for each country with VPN servers. You just double-click on a marker to connect to the selected server.

5. Best VPN for El Capitan: SaferVPN

SaferVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • One-day free trial
  • Servers in 33 countries
  • Automatic WiFi protection
  • Browser extension for Chrome
CONS:
  • Intercontinental connections aren't so fast

SaferVPN has an app for the El Capitan operating system. It can also be used as a browser extension for Chrome. If you have other gadgets that you want to protect, you can install the app on Windows, iOS, and Android devices. Take advantage of the SaferVPN one-day free trial to check out the service before you buy. Once you sign up, you still have a 30-day money-back period if you're not totally satisfied.

This VPN has a great customer support team, which can be contacted via live chat around the clock. Security features include automatic WiFi protection and a kill switch.

Game Weaknesses

Apple reports that it has now fixed a major Game Center weakness in El Capitan. This vulnerability existed for years on Macs with no solution. It shows how careful you need to be about protecting your identity when playing games. In the case of this weakness, malicious apps were able to discover the user’s email address from the operating system.

Protecting your identity on gaming platforms is important. This sector of online activity attracts the highest number of DDoS attacks on the internet. In a DDoS attack, connection requests overwhelm your computer or router to the point that it can no longer function properly. This cuts you off from the internet.

This is a particular problem for gamers, as a few minutes of blocked connection can mean losing the game. If you play online for money, that sudden outage can lose you a bundle. Hackers now offer a DDoS-for-hire service. It enables any player to launch an attack on a leading opponent at a key moment in the game. The only piece of information that the attacker needs is your IP address. They can derive this through email and chat systems.

VPN Game Center Protection

When you use a VPN, your IP address is replaced by one that the VPN server allocates to you. Thus, if anyone lures you onto an insecure chat system to discover your address, they’ll walk away with the address of the VPN server.

VPN servers have enough spare capacity to absorb all of the fake connection requests in DDoS attacks and still pass through genuine messages. This means your attacker will just be wasting their money – you can still win the game if you install a VPN.

A VPN gives you an added layer of privacy because no one can discover your real IP address while you use it.

WiFi Hotspot Weaknesses

If you take your MacBook out to a café to work, you’re just as vulnerable to data theft as Windows laptop users who connect to public internet access points. The advent of WiFi hotspots has created an access point for hackers.

When you go to a café that has free WiFi, you first look at the list of available networks. There will be a lot of other WiFi-enabled devices in that list. They’re the phones and laptops of the other customers. However, you need to look for a network that sounds something like the name of the place you’re in. When you connect to the network, you probably need a password. Many places have a message board up with the WiFi password on it, or you could ask a member of staff.

Once you’re in, you can safely check your bank account, log into PayPal, pick up your email, or even update your eBay account with your new home address. Unfortunately, you may have just given all of that information away to an identity thief.

Fake WiFi Hotspots

Remember all of those other WiFi devices that your MacBook saw? Anyone can change the name that appears as an identifier for a device. Instead of a laptop being visible as “Asus193949594,” the owner can make its name “Parrot Café Free WiFi.” This is how hackers fool people into giving away all of their personal information.

You need to enter a password to connect. However, the hacker can set the password for his/her WiFi to be the same one that the café uses. The hacker doesn’t have to pay for internet access – he just runs all of the connections coming in from other customers over the WiFi router that the café has provided. That official WiFi hotspot is still operational. Some customers will select the right one and avoid the hacker. Others will click on the fake hotspot and be trapped. Both hotspots have credible names and both seem to be operated by the establishment. This lottery means that the hacker won’t get the information of everyone who connects. However, he/she will fool enough people to make it worthwhile.

Encryption protects your WiFi connection. However, the hacker provides the encryption key and so can decrypt and read everything you send over the network. Webpages that require log-ins and financial websites operate their own connection security. This should block out a snooper. However, the hacker just has to trap those pages when they arrive at his computer and send your computer his own versions instead. Then, when you type your username and password into a webpage, the hacker gets it. The hacker can reap all of your log-in credentials for all of the sites you visit while connected to his fake hotspot.

VPN WiFi Protection

If you’re going out, turn your VPN on before you put your MacBook into standby mode. You can set the VPN software to be on all the time. You can also use a feature called a kill switch, which will block internet access until the VPN server is engaged.

The VPNs in our list all have automatic WiFi protection. This means the VPN app keeps track of the WiFi networks that you connect to all the time, such as you home WiFi. When it detects an unknown network, it blocks any connection attempts and gives you a warning message. The VPN software manages the connection process so that no communication can take place over that WiFi network until the VPN is operational.

When the VPN is turned on, the client program on your computer encrypts all of the messages that go out of your computer. It only accepts incoming messages that come from its VPN server. This methodology defeats WiFi hackers because even though the owner of the fake WiFi hotspot controls the encryption for the WiFi connection, he can’t decrypt the second layer of encryption that the coordinating VPN programs implement.

As all of your traffic is routed through the VPN server, the client program on your computer won’t let in any fake websites that the hacker sends because these won’t be encrypted properly. Thus the encryption that the VPN puts on your communications keeps the contents of your connections hidden. It also acts as an authentication mechanism.

Conclusion

Despite Apple’s efforts to make El Capitan extra secure, your activities on the internet extend the vulnerabilities of your computer beyond the control of the operating system. The internet is full of opportunities for hackers. You really need to protect your Mac and your identity when you connect.

Adding a VPN to your connections gives you security and privacy. The encryption that VPNs implement is far more comprehensive than other security systems because VPNs encrypt all of the admin data that forms a connection, as well as the contents of your messages.

Once you start using a VPN regularly, it will become part of your everyday life. However, if you’re new to this technology, you may find it daunting. You may worry that you could be installing a fake VPN put out there by hackers to get access to your computer – these do exist. That’s why it’s a good idea to follow the recommendations of expert sites, such as BestVPN.com. The services on this list of the five best VPNs for El Capitan are all bona fide and top quality.

Each of these services offers a money-back guarantee, so that you can test them out. You can try any of these services and, if you don’t like it, just ask for your money back. We’ve tried each of these VPNs, posing as average customers, and asked for a refund from each. All give you your money back without any quibbles if you ask for it. These are some of the best VPNs around, and they’re ready and willing to prove their value.

IMAGE CREDITS: haveseen/Shutterstock.com

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