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5 Best VPNs for Mac OS X – Which VPN Software is Best for Macbooks and iMacs in 2018?

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

January 18, 2018

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) for Mac OS X or macOS is arguably the single most useful Mac app you can have on your computer.

With a VPN client for Mac, you can bypass geographic restrictions in order to access blocked content such as BBC iPlayer or US Netflix. It’s also a great way to bypass state censorship and propaganda in order to access international news services. Below we analyze the advantages and disadvantages of specific VPN clients for Mac.

What’s most important to you?

Tell us what matters to you and we’ll recommend the VPN that fits you best.

Privacy: I want to make sure my internet activity is hidden from my Internet Service Provider (ISP, government or...)

Unlocking content: I want to access content from other countries or services that is not available in my country

Next

What’s most important to you?

Tell us what matters to you and we’ll recommend the VPN that fits you best.

Ease of use

Great Customer Service

Speed of connection

See the Best VPN for you

The Perfect Fit

Highlights

  • Super fast : ExpressVPN has always been at the top of the game in terms of raw speed!
  • Super secure: 256-bit AES OpenVPN encryption ensures no-one can access your data
  • Unlimited downloading
  • 30-day no quibble money-back guarantee: just give it a try
  • 24/7 Customer support: world class!
« Start again

The Perfect Fit

Highlights

  • Great for Privacy : No logs at all so nothing to trace what you do online
  • Based in Panama: so no government spying or link to the NSA
  • 6 simultaneous connections Good for the whole family!
  • Servers in 61+ countries
  • 30-day money back guarantee – so you have nothing to lose!
« Start again

What is the Best VPN for Mac?

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
ExpressVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Super Fast for Streaming
  • Works brilliantly on Mac
  • No usage logs
  • Servers in 100+ countries
  • Excellent 24/7 live chat support
CONS:
  • A bit pricey - but worth it!

ExpressVPN is an awesome Mac OS X VPN that has everything you need. It is lightning fast and has servers in 94 countries, which gives you the ability to unblock just about anything. Privacy is guaranteed thanks to military grade encryption. In addition, the privacy policy is outstanding.

The VPN software for Mac OS X is very easy to use. In addition, you can install it on three simultaneous connections - which means you can put it on all your devices, no matter what platform they run on. ExpressVPN will keep your data secure both at home and on public WiFi. What's more, the VPN is fully featured with a kill switch, stealth mode, and Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection.

Customer care is provided via 24/7 live chat and the VPN has a no quibbles, 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can test the service. Unblock anything securely with this unbelievable VPN.

Try the Best VPN for Macs

Visit ExpressVPN »30-day money-back guarantee
NordVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Fantastic Mac compatibility
  • Zero logs
  • Outstanding security features
  • Servers in over 60 countries
  • Excellent customer support
CONS:
  • Can get a bit slow if you use double encryption mode

NordVPN is an excellent and highly secure VPN with lots of top-end security features. As such, it's a great choice for people who need all those extra features from their VPN. These include: DNS leak protection, a kill switch, VPN into Tor, stealth mode, and double hop.

Servers are lightning fast and are located in over 60 countries, so perfect for unblocking content from all over the world. As with ExpressVPN, peer-to-peer (P2P) is permitted. NordVPN is extremely easy to use and a reliable vpn, which is why it's such an amazing Mac VPN for the price. Finally, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. CyberGhost

CyberGhost Homepage
PROS:
  • 77% off 3-year plans!
  • Excellent Mac OS software
  • Zero logs
  • Kill switch
  • Servers in 27 countries
  • Great customer support
CONS:
  • Live chat in UK working hours only

CyberGhost has a custom client for Mac that is really easy to use and extremely reliable. It is secure, thanks to strong OpenVPN encryption and has a lovely zero logs policy. In addition, it has lightning fast servers in 27 countries: perfect for unblocking content from all over the world. The VPN has all the important features, though it doesn’t have a stealth mode. Customer care is good and is provided via live chat (UK business hours only). Finally, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

IPVanish Homepage
PROS:
  • No logs at all
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • Smart DNS included
  • Accepts bitcoin
  • P2P allowed
CONS:
  • Based in the US
  • So-so support

Although based in the US (so not for the more NSA-phobic out there), this high-profile VPN company has good privacy credentials. It keeps no logs (at all), accepts payment in bitcoin, and permits torrenting. IPVanish also throws in a free Smart DNS service for all customers.

Much like its Windows client, IPVanish's Mac OS VPN app is a little basic. However, it's easy to use and works well, making it a great VPN for Mac OSX.

Additional features include apps for Android and iOS, and servers in 61 countries.

PrivateVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Servers in over 50 countries
  • Strong OpenVPN encryption
  • Zero logs
  • 24/7 customer support
CONS:
  • No kill switch for macOS (yet)

PrivateVPN is a well-established VPN service based in Sweden. It is a secure service with a custom client that can be used on up to six devices simultaneously. It is a zero logs VPN service that has 80+ servers in 52 countries around the world.

Encryption is strong and the availability of HTTP Proxy, SOCKS5, and port forwarding is also a huge benefit. The Mac client is simple but works well. There is no kill switch as yet, but I am told it is on the developers to-do list.

Best VPN for Mac: Side-by-Side Comparison



How We Picked the Top Mac VPN for 2018

Here at BestVPN.com, we’re fortunate to have some of the VPN industry’s foremost experts as staff members. Based on our detailed VPN reviews and data collected as part of our BestVPN.com Awards process, we’ve carefully considered a range of factors that go into making a great all-round Mac VPN service.

This includes things such as speed performance, encryption strength, privacy policy, legal jurisdiction, price, free trial or money-back guarantee, support for Macs, and much more.

We recognize that due to the versatility of VPN technology, what makes a great Mac VPN for one user may miss the mark for another. As such, these top five VPN for Mac picks are a consensus choice made after much careful deliberation by the BestVPN.com staff.


VPN for Mac Guide 2018

Are you looking for more information about using a VPN for Mac? Check out the guide below for all the information you need. Just click the links relevant to you in the table of contents below to jump straight to the answer!


What Is a VPN for Mac?

A VPN is a way to connect your Mac securely to a “VPN server” run by a commercial VPN provider. Your Mac then connects to the internet via this VPN server.

  • Using a VPN is arguably the single most effective measure you can take to improve your online privacy and security.
  • The VPN encrypts all data passing between your Mac and the VPN server. This is sometimes referred to as an “encrypted tunnel.” The VPN hides your data from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), so that it can’t spy on what you do online.
  • VPN providers usually run servers in different locations around the world. This is great for avoiding censorship, as you can simply connect to a server located in a country where there is no censorship.
  • When you connect to the internet via a VPN server, anyone on the internet will see the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the VPN server, not your real IP.

Most VPN services offer custom Mac VPN clients, and all VPNs can be manually configured for macOS and OS X.

If you would like to know more about what VPNs are or how they work, check out our beginner’s guide to VPNs for more indepth information.

Why Do I Need a VPN for Mac?

VPNs are like a Swiss Army knife: they should part of every serious Mac user’s toolkit.

Use a Mac VPN App for Privacy

A VPN encrypts all data traveling between your MacBook or iMac and the VPN server. This means that your ISP can’t see it. Your ISP connects you to the VPN server, but after that it can’t see the web address of any site you visit.

This means that no-one – not your ISP or even the NSA – can see what you get up to on the internet. Although you still need an ISP to connect your Mac to the VPN server, it can’t see any data that passes between your Mac and the VPN server. It also can’t see which websites you visit beyond the initial connection to the VPN server.

Meanwhile, websites you visit will see the IP address of the VPN server, not your real IP. The VPN therefore acts as an IP blocker, helping to keep your identity safe when you surf the web.

Use a Mac VPN to Unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer & More

If you connect to a VPN server in another country, as far as websites are concerned you appear to be in that country. This is a great way to access restricted websites that ban overseas visitors or which have regional restrictions on the content available.

This means you can unblock not only the ever-popular US Netflix and BBC iPlayer, but US cable TV channels such as FOX, ESPN, and CNN (on the geo-restricted service Sling TV, for example).

If you would like to know more about unblocking Netflix on other devices, check out our best five VPNS for Netflix.

Sports fans are also in for a treat when using a mac VPN. A VPN allows you to unblock live sporting events from around the world, such as the recent Mayweather Vs. McGregor fight. It can also allow you to subscribe to services such as BeIN, which provide a cheap way to watch the English Premier League and other competitions.

Check out the new BestVPN.com Sports Hub for more details!

BestVPN.com & the VPN services that we feature are not intended to be used as a means of copyright circumvention. Please ensure you read the terms of service and any terms and conditions of any service you sign up to for more details.

Use VPN on an Apple Mac Computer to Evade Censorship

As I’ve already noted, a VPN will prevent your ISP and government from seeing what you get up to online. If you connect to a VPN server in another country, then you’ll be able to access the full range of internet content available to citizens of that country.

Using a Mac VPN client is, therefore, a great way to evade censorship and access restricted websites – be it on social, religious, moral, political, or copyright grounds.

A VPN Will Protect You from WiFi Hackers

A Mac VPN will protect you from hackers when using public WiFi hotspots, as your data is secure between your Mac computer and the VPN server. Even if you connect to a fake “evil twin” hotspot, the VPN will protect your data as it is encrypted.

A VPN app will also protect you when peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing. Anyone monitoring a torrent will only see the IP address of the VPN sever, not your real IP address. Do be sure, however, to choose a provider that permits P2P use. Not all VPNs do.

How Does a VPN for Mac Work?

A VPN for Mac works in pretty much the same way it does for other platforms. You use specialized software known as a VPN client to securely connect your MacBook, iMac or Mac Mini to a VPN server run by a VPN service of your choice.

macOS and OS X come bundled with a basic VPN client that supports the Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), and Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) VPN protocols. Most Mac VPN services quite rightly prefer to use OpenVPN, which third-party software supports.

Most custom Mac clients support OpenVPN, or you can set up the free and open source (FOSS) Tunnelblick client to use any standard OpenVPN configuration files.

To find out more about VPN protocols, please check our layperson-friendly VPN encryption guide.

How to Choose a Mac VPN

For Protecting Yourself from Hackers

A VPN for Mac is a privacy solution when using public WiFi, and in situations where you don’t trust the WiFi operator. It will also protect you against KRACK attacks. Strong encryption is ideal, but even weak encryption should stump most WiFi hackers.

A new feature that an increasing number of Mac VPN apps offer is “WiFi protection.” This detects when you connect to a new WiFi network and offers to enable the VPN in order to protect you.

For Spoofing Your Location

The first consideration, of course, is that the VPN client offers servers in the location you want to spoof! Speed is also important if you want to avoid buffering problems, so try to choose a VPN with the fastest servers.

It’s also important to check that a VPN service works with the content you want to access before you subscribe. We try to keep up-to-date on which VPNs work for services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer, but nothing beats taking advantage of free trials and money-back guarantees in order to check for yourself.

For Hiding Your Online Activity from Your ISP and Government

Any VPN will hide your online activity from your ISP or mobile provider. If you’re worried about your government (or the NSA) pressuring your VPN provider in some way for this information, be sure to choose a good no logs provider.

Strong technical security isn’t as important for privacy as a VPN’s logging policy, but it is a factor. Most Mac VPN clients use OpenVPN, which is good. Note, however, that “256-bit encryption” is widely advertised, but is almost meaningless in and of itself. To understand the encryption terms that do matter, please see VPN Encryption: The Complete Guide.

For Preventing Tracking by Websites

Again, any VPN will do. However, you should also use privacy browser extensions to give you more complete protection. Firefox for MacOS is open source and compatible with all Firefox privacy add-ons.

For Bypassing Censorship

In most situations, any VPN will do for bypassing censorship and accessing restricted websites. Just pick an international VPN service and use a VPN server located somewhere that isn’t censored.

If VPN websites and/or the VPN protocols themselves are blocked where you are, please see How to Bypass VPN Blocks – A Guide.

We don’t usually recommend using free VPNs, but the economic realities of living under a repressive regime may make Five Best Free VPNs and Five Best Cheap VPNs useful.

For Torrenting

Please check out Five Best VPNs for Torrenting.

For Gaming

Macs aren’t known for their gaming capabilities, although Steam does have a catalog of Mac games. A better option is probably to dual-boot into a native Windows environment using macOS native Boot Camp support. This will allow you to access the huge selection of Windows games that are available, and to run them as fast as your hardware will allow.

Although it is theoretically possible to play games under macOS using virtualization software such as Parallels or VM Virtualbox, doing so will seriously damage games’ performance. Be sure to check out Five Best VPNs for Gaming for further information on how a VPN can help you when gaming.

For Traveling

One of the best things about having a MacBook is that you can take it almost anywhere. When using public WiFi, MacBook users might want to look out for “WiFi protection” features that auto-start the VPN when connected to untrusted WiFi networks. You may also prefer using the IKEv2 VPN protocol over OpenVPN because it handles switching between WiFi networks or between WiFi and cellphone networks well.

How to Set up a VPN for Mac

Custom Mac VPN clients

Most VPN services offer custom Mac VPN clients. Because of the custom nature of the software, setup details can vary a little. However, in general:

  1. Register an account with your chosen VPN provider.
  2. Download its Mac software.
  3. Install the app. Usually, this just involves double-clicking on the downloaded .dmg file and following instructions.
  4. Run the app. You’ll likely be prompted to enter your account details on first run.

The Bundled macOS and OS X VPN Client

For L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2 connections you can use macOS’s built-in VPN client.

  1. Go to System Preferences -> Network. Click the + button and select Interface: VPN in the pop-up dialog box.
  2. Choose a VPN protocol (“VPN Type”) and pick a name for the VPN connection (optional).

  1. Fill in server details with the settings provided by your chosen VPN service.

Tunnelblick VPN Setup

Tunnelblick is a free and open source OpenVPN client that can be configured to work with either special Tunnelblick configuration files (.tblk), or any standard OpenVPN configuration files (.ovpn).

  1. Download Tunnelblick or regular OpenVPN configuration files from your chosen VPN service. You will need one file per VPN server location, although it’s often possible to download multiple configurations in a single zip file. In this case, you’ll need to unzip the files before they can be used.
  2. Download, install and launch Tunnelblick. It will ask for your Admin password. On the Welcome screen, select “I have the configuration files.”

  1. Drag the configuration file (or multiples files for multiple server configurations) to the Tunnelblick icon in the menu bar.

  1. Hit “Install,” then choose whether to install just for yourself or all users of your Mac. It will probably ask for your Admin password.

  1. And that’s setup done! To connect to a VPN server, click on the Tunnelblick icon in the menu bar and select a VPN server.

The icon will turn a darker shade to indicate that you are connected. If you hover the cursor over it, it will display additional information.

It is always a good idea to check that the VPN is working correctly (see next section). Tunnelblick features Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection and can disable Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) to prevent IPv6 leaks.

For more information on leaks when using a VPN, check out our Complete Guide to IP Leaks

“Route all IPv4 traffic through the VPN” and “Disable IPv6” are not enabled by default, however, so go to Configurations -> Settings tab to turn them on.



Note that Tunnelblick does not protect against Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) leaks. As such, you’ll need to fix the issue manually (Safari is not affected, anyway).

How to Test Your Mac VPN

To test that your VPN is working, visit ipleak.net. If the VPN is working then “Your IP addresses” should show the IP of the VPN server, not your real IP address. If you’ve connected to a VPN server in a different country, it is very easy to see whether your IP has changed.

Here I am in the UK, connected to a US VPN server with no IP leaks.

If you see an IP address belonging either to yourself or your ISP, then you have an IP leak. This includes IPv4 DNS leaks, IPv6 leaks, and Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) leaks.

Please consult A Complete Guide to IP Leaks to find out why this might be, and how to fix the issue.

Note that Safari does not support WebRTC and is therefore immune to WebRTC leaks. I nevertheless still recommend using open source Firefox for Mac with a selection privacy add-ons for maximum privacy.

Get Faster Mac VPN Speeds

When it comes to internet speeds, faster is always better! Unfortunately, a VPN will slow down your internet connection.

This is primarily due to the fact that diverting your internet traffic through a VPN adds extra distance for the data to travel, and that encrypting/decrypting data takes processor time. Many VPNs will slow your internet down dramatically.

Some VPN providers, however, have invested heavily in good infrastructure to provide faster VPN services. Usually, this means fast servers, though some providers even have their own network infrastructure.

With such a service and connected to a nearby VPN server, you can expect to enjoy 85%+ of your normal connection speeds when using the VPN. Note that the further away the server you connect to, the slower your internet will be.

If you wish to access services from specific locations, you should connect to a VPN server as close as possible to that location for maximum possible speeds.

Are VPNs for Mac Safe?

The first thing to think about is what you mean by “safe” – safe from whom?

Outside Russia, using a VPN is legal pretty much everywhere. VPNs are routinely used by businesses to secure their resources, so using one is in no way suspicious.

Although your ISP can no longer see what you get up to online, your VPN provider can. If privacy is important to you, it’s therefore important to choose a VPN for iMac or MacBook that keeps no logs that can be used to trace your internet activity back to you. For more discussion on this subject, please see Five Best No Logs VPNs.

As already noted, a VPN will keep you safe from your ISP or government’s snooping, safe from WiFi hackers, and safe from copyright holders when torrenting.

However, as great as they are, VPNs are not a one-stop privacy and security solution for your Mac. Think of them instead as a vital tool in your online privacy and security toolkit.

Other important tools include good Mac antivirus software, browser add-ons that prevent websites from tracking you, and a good two-way firewall. Please check out The Ultimate Online Privacy Guide for lots of useful information and handy Mac links on this subject. If you’re worried about criminals or the NSA hacking your Mac VPN connection, it’s also important to choose a strong VPN protocol…

Best VPN Protocols for Mac

A VPN protocol is the set of instructions used to negotiate a secure encrypted connection between two computers. Commercial VPNs commonly support a number of such protocols. The most notable of these are Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), OpenVPN, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) and Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2).

PPTP

This is an old VPN protocol that hasn’t been considered secure for years. It is widely supported, but you should only use it if absolutely necessary for compatibility with older devices.

L2TP

This is usually implemented with the Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) authentication suite (L2TP/IPsec). It is most certainly not secure against the NSA, but for most purposes is generally regarded as being secure if openly published pre-shared keys aren’t used. Its built-in compatibility with a great many devices can make it a very good choice.

IKEv2

IKEv2 is a new standard that is increasingly popular because it is both fast and secure. How secure it is against the likes of the NSA is unknown, however. MacBook users on the go may even prefer it to OpenVPN thanks to its improved ability to reconnect when an internet connection is interrupted.

OpenVPN

This open source and now fully audited protocol is widely regarded as the most secure and versatile VPN protocol available (if well implemented). My general recommendation is to use OpenVPN whenever possible. Be wary, however, about the much-advertised use of AES-256. This is indeed a gold-standard cipher, but it is in itself fairly meaningless, as the devil is in the detail.

For more information on this subject please check out VPN Encryption: The Complete Guide, which is designed to be as layman-friendly as possible. In addition to using strong encryption, a good VPN provider should prevent IPv4 DNS leaks, IPv6 leaks, and WebRTC leaks that may give away your real IP address even when using a VPN.

Will a Mac VPN Work with iOS?

Almost every VPN provider in existence supports both the macOS and iOS platforms. Even if a provider doesn’t have custom apps for iOS and/or macOS, it will offer manual iOS/macOS setup guides.

Most providers also permit multiple devices to use a single VPN account at a time. It is therefore convenient and cost-effective to use the same VPN service to protect your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

iOS apps tend not to be as fully featured as their Mac counterparts, but they get the job done. A big difference is that, thanks to Apple’s official developer guidelines, most custom iOS apps use IKEv2 rather than OpenVPN.

IKEv2 is a good VPN protocol, so there’s not much cause for concern. If you prefer to use OpenVPN, you can manually configure the OpenVPN Connect iOS app.

For more information, please see Five Best VPNs for iPhone and All iOS Devices.


Best Mac OS X and macOS VPN: Conclusion

Although not quite as well supported as Windows machines, Macs users are well catered for by most VPN services. Most offer custom VPN clients for macOS, but you can always set up the VPN manually if not.

VPNs are incredibly flexible and versatile tools, and should be a key feature in every Mac users’ online toolkit.

If you’re looking for a free VPN for Mac, check out our Free VPN Services for 2018 guide.

Best VPNs for Mac OS X: Side-by-side Comparison

Douglas Crawford

I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

38 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Mac OS X – Which VPN Software is Best for Macbooks and iMacs in 2018?

  1. I looked at NordVPN – it is good in that it has servers everywhere, but, when the VPN server drops, unless you set up the app to kill with it, you’re left connected with no VPN security. It’s the same when you first connect – you have to open your browser, so if you restore previous session, every website you were visiting, now gets to know your IP address, until you connect and establish a VPN connection to NordVPN servers.
    I use AirVPN and prefer that it locks your network immediately if the VPN connection drops, and because the network is locked, you can continue to look at your browser.

    1. Hi gramic,

      Well… The NordVPN client does have a per-app kill switch. You can choose which apps will be shut down in the event of a VPN disconnection. This is very handy, but it is not a firewall-based kill switch like AirVPN’s. So if the NordVPN client itself crashes, the specified apps will not shut down and can continue to access the internet. I’m not sure what you mean by having to open your browser. You can run the client before you open your browser…

  2. I’m confused because I’ve read and experienced inability to use the BBC iPlayer, Netflix, (and Hulu) with a VPN yet this article says the opposite. Years past one could use a VPN with the BBC Player and Netflix without problem but now I receive a Proxy error for Netflix and a similar error for the iPlayer. Please explain if I’m missing something.

    1. Hi Anna,

      Netflix, iPlayer and Hulu are actively trying to block VPN users from using their services. They do this simply by blocking IP addresses that are known to belong to VPN providers. There are ways around these blocks (such as a provider regularly recycling its IP addresses), however, and some providers are better at it than others. In our reviews we always test to see if we can access US Netflix and iPlayer. At present I know that NordVPN and ExpresVPN work with these services (you may need to contact ExpressVPN to ask which servers they recommend using). We are currently working on a system to regularly check which VPN serverces do and don’t work with Netflix and iPlayer (and hopefully other services going forward).

    2. Thank you for your helpful reply. I’ll have to try out one of the 2 VPNs you suggested. I look forward to when you’re able to say which VPNs are currently working with US Netflix and the BBC Player.

      On a similar note I live in the US and I’d love to be able to access UK Netflix shows. Is that also possible with these VPNS do you know? Thanks again

      1. Hi Anna,

        If you have problems, please let me know, but they should work (and come with 30-day money-back guarantees, so you’ll have plenty of time to check). Not sure about UK Netflix, but since you are trying those services anyway, there is no harm in checking for yourself.

  3. Would like to configure our Apple Extreme to have VPN capability or service that will block our location. Is there anything out there that we can try?

    Appreciate the feedback.

  4. Suggest you review Cloak VPN.

    I tried Cloak, Tunnelbear and Expressvpn on my western USA mac going to the closest US server and got speed losses of 5, 8 and 18%. Expressvpn mac version had some serious flaws on my system including a failure to always reconnect automatically after computer sleep. The kill switch also malfunctioned at these times. Tunnelbear was slower because they seem to only have one US server located on the east coast.

  5. After in-depth reading reviews on VPNs to use in Canada, Friends suggest Hotspot Shield being #1 and others have crappy service…(Free vs Paid) . Should I go with ExpressVPN (despite Buffered is Best)?
    Its a split 50/50 for torrenting US shows + streaming online tv from Hong Kong/Taiwan/Korea using my MacBook Pro (Sierra) + looking into Kodi for Asia programs / Soccer Games for the elderly + using Android for Asia radio, etc…
    What are your suggestions? Is it 100% completely safe from Spys, cyber security? I was told CISCO has a way around that can hack into our internet even the Gov’t can’t.
    Originally I partly installed OpenVPNGate than deleted after running into problems with Sierra. Will having VPN affect Hardware Upgrades on Mac?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi JJ,

      – Both ExpressVPN and Buffered are good for torrenting US shows.

      -To stream shows from Hong Kong/Taiwan/Korea, you will need a service with servers in those countries. Buffered has a server in South Korea, but ExpresdsVPN has servers in all these countries.

      – Nothing can be 100% guaranteed. Both Buffered (Gibraltar) and ExpressVPN (British Virgin Islands) are based in British Overseas Territories. How this might or might not affect vulnerability to UK spying is unclear. For most purposes, though, I’d say both services are fine in this regard.

      – If you run the VPN in software, then all data will be encrypted as it passes through the router. So it doesn’t matter if the router has a backdoor.

      – Running a VPN will have no effect Mac hardware upgrades.

    1. Hi Bahadir,

      ExpressVPN keeps no usage logs, but does keep some very minimal connection logs. From my full ExpressVPN Review,

      “ExpressVPN keeps no usage logs:

      “We never keep traffic logs, and we also don’t keep any logs that might enable someone to match an IP and timestamp back to a user. We work entirely on the basis of shared IPs, meaning that a single IP does not track back to an individual user.”

      However, it does keep some (pretty minimal) connection logs:

      “For the purpose of improving network resource allocation, we record aggregate data-transfer amounts and choice of server location, neither of which are data points that can identify a specific user as part of an investigation. We may collect the following information: dates (not times) when connected to our service, choice of server location, and the total amount of data transferred per day.”
      Furthermore,

      “Our software may send diagnostic data to a third party analytics provider for the purpose of identifying connection errors and possible bugs in our application. The information collected is generic in nature and does not contain personally identifying information.”

      This last part is important. ExpressVPN only keeps logs in aggregate form. This means that the minimal amount of information collected for troubleshooting purposes is not associated with the IP addresses of individual customers.

      Privacy purists may still not be entirely happy about even this level of logging, but it is unlikely to be of concern to most users.”

  6. Can VPVArea and AirVPN support different operating systems i.e. Window 7 and OS X at the same time as I have both iMac, MacBook Pro and Windows 7?
    I also have Android and iphone (Win 7 is not on Boot Camp partition).

    1. Hi Ton Bon,

      Yes. VPNArea allows you to run the service on 5 devices at once. It’s custom clinet is Windows-only, but but MacOS/OSX, iOSW and Android devices are fully supported using third party software.

      AirVPN permits 3 simultaneous connections and has custom VPN clients for Windows and MacOS/OSX (and also for Linux). iOS and Android are both support via third party software.

    1. Hi Rhiannon,

      – If you use the Facebook app, then yes, it can get a huge amount of information about your device as the app communicates directly with Facebook.
      – If you access Facebook via its web portal, then Facebook will know a great deal less. I would still recommend using ad-blocking and anti-tracking browser add-ons (eg.g uBlock Origin + Privacy Badger), however.
      – Simply by having a Facebook account, of course, you are giving away a great deal of information.
      – Of course, the second you sign-in, Facebook

  7. There are only FOUR VPNs for Mac that do not leak.
    How to test yours is on there too.
    I suggest everyone research on Reddit.
    There is now a master chart with # 164 VPNs
    with everything you need to know. A simple chart too. Amazing.
    And, a new review with leaking tests for Mac and PC.

    1. Hi Paula,

      Regarding Mac leaks, the article you are referring to is this article. The results are interesting, but do not that it only tests relatively small sample of all the VPN providers out there (29). I am a little surprised about AirVPN’s results, however, so have contacted the provider to ask for its thoughts on the matter.

      1. I asked about this on the AirVPN forums. Apparently the test must have been performed without Network Lock activated (with Network Lock activated there should be no IP leaks on a Mac, even during re-connection). Questions have been raised about why the test was performed without Network Lock activated.

  8. Looks like all the VPN providers require me to use their proprietary VPN connection software. I’m not paranoid at all, but that just seems like adding another layer of insecurity. Do you have any thoughts on that? Do you think it’s possible to just use the built-in client that comes with OS X? Thx!

    1. Hi Bob,

      Custom VPN software can provide valuable bells and whistles such as port selection and firewall-based DNS leak protection and killswitch. The excellent custom software from Mullvad and AirVPN is even fully open source. As with all OSs, MacOSX does not natively support OpenVPN, which is generally regarded as the best and most flexible VPN protocol, so to use OpenVPN, third party software is always required. OSC does natively support IKEv2. Only a few VPN providers support IKEv2, but if yours does, then it is also regarded as secure. Please see PPTP vs L2TP vs OpenVPN vs SSTP vs IKEv2 for more details.

      1. Are there any particular reasons AirVPN did not make the list? You had me sold on it in other articles.

        Thanks!

        Rob

        1. Hi Rob,

          Which providers make our lists, and in which order, is a group decision made by the entire BestVPN team. This is necessary, as no one of us is familiar with all 100+ serves that BestVPN has reviewed. Personally I would put AirVPN at the top of this list, but our figures show that AirVPN is simply not very popular with our readers, which is why the team decided not to include it here.

          1. Hi Rob,

            Yes. I do not use OSX, but the AirVPN Linux client is identical to the Windows version, and I understand the OSX one is too. IMO it is easily the best VPN software currently available.

  9. Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention: if you buy on a yearly basis, they’re even cheaper than NordVPN!

  10. As a Mac user of both NordVPN and Private Internet Access (PIA), I’m frankly a little surprised that PIA didn’t make the top 5. In terms of privacy (logs), PIA is right up there with your list. In terms of speed (I generally use UDP instead of TCP), I find that PIA is almost always faster than NordVPN in terms of downloads, surfing and connecting to a VPN server.

    After using the NordVPN software, as well as Tunnelblick and Viscosity, Viscosity wins, hands down. The NordVPN software under 10.10.5 (the latest version of Yosemite) is generally a disaster. Why? If I leave it open for any extended period of time, it gobbles up an incredible amount of memory. I’ve seen it go as high as 4gb! Unacceptable!

    The PIA software is simple and clear, but also allows for advanced settings. It also is very conservative in it’s memory use.

    As I said, and for these reasons, I’m surprised you didn’t include PIA.

    1. Hi Eaux,

      PIA is a fine VPN provider (and is indeed very cheap when purchased yearly), but I have received many complaints from Apple users (both Mac OSX and iOS) regarding its software. As a Windows/Linux/Android user I find it difficult to comment. It seems that you use Viscocity rather than PIA’s custom software, which may be why you have had a much more positive experience with the service.

    2. The PIA app for macos is indeed flaky, but if you use PIA with Tunnelblick (the OpenVPN client for macos) there is no other service working better / more robust. Tried them all in your list …

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