ExpressVPN

5 Best VPNs for Mac OS X

A Mac VPN can protect subscribers from invasive surveillance practices. It can also overcome frustrating censorship, by providing an IP address overseas. The result is that no matter who is restricting access – landlords, ISPs, governments, workplaces, or television networks – the VPN user can reach the desired content. A good VPN unblocks everything while keeping all user data hidden from prying eyes. This is why a VPN is considered the most desirable personal cybersecurity product. For anybody who doesn’t want to read the full article, the list of our five best VPNs for Mac is below. Everyone else, please read on for an in-depth look at the best VPN for Mac (and four runners up).

The Best VPNs for Mac OS X

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

Apple Mac computers are popular due to their stability and performance levels. As with all other platforms, however, data hungry advertisers, corporations, governments and cybercriminals are putting Mac users’ data at risk. For this reason, Mac OS X users who want high levels of digital privacy are asking: what is the best VPN for Mac? In this article, we carefully consider everything and test all the VPNs to bring you this conclusive Mac VPN list.

With governments around the world eager to snoop on everyone’s web browsing history, it is vital that everyone takes the necessary action to protect their Mac’s data. An Apple MacBook VPN will massively increase the security of all data coming and going from the machine, providing privacy and freedom.

In addition, a Mac VPN will overcome any restrictions placed on internet users by copyright holders, government censorship, or internet service providers (ISPs). A VPN for OS X will also unblock geo-restricted content. So if you like streaming, watching foreign sports competitions, torrenting, or want access to US Netflix, a VPN for Mac is the answer.

Best VPN for Mac: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN LogoExpressVPN
Read Review9.8/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

NordVPN LogoNordVPN
Read Review9.4/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

3

Buffered LogoBuffered
Read Review8.4/10
$8.25 / monthVisit Site

4

IPVanish LogoIPVanish
Read Review7.8/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

5

ibVPN LogoibVPN
Read Review7/10
$4.08 / monthVisit Site

*All prices shown in US dollars

* Advertiser Disclosure
Editor's Choice Award

Winner

ExpressVPN

5/5

  • ProsPROS
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Excellent customer care
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No usage logs
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Some connection logs: aggregated and for internal use only (so very safe)

Mac VPN servers need to be lightning fast. They should also be located all over the world. ExpressVPN caters to this demand, providing servers for your Mac in 94 different countries. This makes it perfect for streaming and unblocking everything. It is also an amazing Mac VPN for traveling, business, and for staying secure on public WiFi.

This VPN provider for Mac is based in the British Virgin Islands; ideally positioned to provide secure data tunneling. Encryption is provided by 256-bit AES encryption (OpenVPN), meaning that the ExpressVPN Mac client will give you industry standard privacy and security. Customer support is 24/7.

Try the best VPN for Mac today!

Visit ExpressVPN »

30-day money-back guarantee

2nd place

NordVPN

4.7/5

  • ProsPROS
  • Fantastic iOS and OS X apps
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Good customer care
  • No logs kept
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Medium speeds
  • Slightly above average pricing

NordVPN takes a hard line on privacy, which makes it great for Mac VPN users. This excellent VPN is based in Panama. It keeps users private and secure with 256-bit AES encryption. It permits bitcoin payments and has a strict zero logs policy.

While it is a bit slower than the options further up in this list, NordVPN is a world class service with P2P support and dedicated streaming servers. In addition, it has VPN servers for Mac in 47 countries, including lesser-represented areas such as South America and South East Asia. As well as its OS X client, Apple users will love NordVPN’s dedicated iOS App.

You can try Nord VPN on Mac today – just click on the button below and make use of the risk-free, 30-day money-back guarantee.

Visit NordVPN »


3rd place

Buffered

4.5/5

  • ProsPROS
  • Very fast speeds
  • Intuitive design
  • Amazing features
  • Not US-based
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Slightly pricey

If you require a VPN on MacBook, Buffered is ideal. The prominent service is fantastic because it is based outside US and UK jurisdiction, they are based in Gibraltar. The VPN firm has become highly popular because it has some of the best Mac VPN software available. In addition, it provides an innovative, feature-rich VPN service, as well as top-notch customer service.

Its software has some fantastic features, such as open port detection and DNS leak protection. The VPN also provides uptime close to 100%, and some of the fastest server speeds we’ve ever experienced. Strong OpenVPN encryption guarantees online privacy and security.

With servers in 37 countries and super-fast connection speeds, this is an absolutely outstanding VPN for Mac. Thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try this VPN on any Mac platform, risk-free. The whole experience couldn’t be easier – just download the Mac VPN client and get started!

Visit Buffered »


4th place

IPVanish

3.9/5

  • ProsPROS
  • Very fast speeds
  • Excellent support for iOS
  • Strong encryption features
  • Very easy to use
  • P2P
  • ConsCONS
  • Two simultaneous connections limit

IPVanish is consistently rated as one of the best VPNs for MacBook because it focuses on keeping Mac VPN users secure and private online. Add to that very fast server speeds and you have a perfect mix. In addition, the firm offers one of the best VPN Mac clients (software) around. With IPVanish, you get servers located in over 60 locations around the world: perfect for all your unblocking needs. Uptime is very close to 100%, and this VPN is considered really reliable and trustworthy.

It also accepts bitcoin payments, which is ideal for people who wish to pay anonymously. IPVanish allows five simultaneous connections at a time (the same as Buffered). This makes it perfect for using on multiple Apple and or Android devices (if needs be).

Finally, the IPVanish software is really easy to use and customer service is helpful and friendly. With a seven-day money-back guarantee, IPVanish is without doubt one of the best VPNs for Mac.

Visit IPVanish »


5th place

ibVPN

3.5/5

  • ProsPROS
  • Accepts bitcoin
  • Great setup guides
  • P2P: yes
  • Based in Romania
  • Keeps no usage logs
  • ConsCONS
  • Keeps connection logs
  • Mediocre speeds

ibVPN is our final VPN option for Apple lovers who want something secure but that won’t break the bank. Although not as good as the options above, ibVPN is considered the fifth best VPN for Mac for a number of reasons. For just $4.08 per month, it really is a bargain. The software is easy to use, reliable, and provides better speeds than 95% of the 800+ VPNs on the market. It has awesome security features –  a kill switch, and a selection of protocols (including OpenVPN compatibility) – which promise to keep Mac users’ online activities private.

In addition, ibVPN offers a 15-day money-back guarantee, superb setup guides, and knowledgeable customer service. All of which makes it a very good choice for Mac VPN users. Plus it has an outstanding Mac VPN client and easy to use iOS app.

With servers in  47 countries and counting, it is also perfect for all your unblocking needs. In conclusion, ibVPN is an outstanding VPN for MacBook, which is well worth considering!

Visit ibVPN »


VPN for Mac: Considerations

‘Sierra is Apple’s latest OS X. It is the most recent upgrade to the Mac OS, and allows consumers to enjoy technical and visual upgrades. Sadly, however, Sierra does have some known vulnerabilities. The biggest one is in Apple’s Keychain application. The app is designed to keep passwords and important information secure and easily accessible. However, an issue has been spotted within Sierra that allows it to be exploited. Please be sure to read about the issue.

The good news is that the vulnerability can be quickly fixed. Even with that done, however, Mac users still need a Mac VPN to protect themselves from snooping cybercriminals, advertisers, and governments.

In addition, Mac users need a fast, private VPN so that they can stay secure when working, or surfing the web on public WiFi (where they need a VPN to stay safe from hackers). Finally, a lightning fast Mac VPN is also necessary for business calls, Skype, and video conferencing. All of the VPNs in this guide are perfect for these tasks, though we do tend to recommend ExpressVPN in particular to business users who need fantastic performance.

Free Mac VPN

Although there are some around, free VPNs for Mac OS X tend to be total letdowns and are not recommended. There are a vast number of commercial Apple Mac VPN services on the market, and the vast majority of those Mac VPNs are a complete waste of time, because they do nothing to secure you. Even most of the paid services are a con.

Many lie about protecting you with encryption levels that they don’t really have, and instead of protecting user data, sell it on to third parties: a massive security risk. For that reason, we strongly urge you to take care when selecting a Mac VPN for OS X. Remember, all of our recommendations are fast and secure VPNs for Mac, and they all honor their money-back guarantees, so please try a good service rather than risk a bad one!  

How to Set up VPN for Mac on Sierra

If you require a VPN for iPhone, VPN for Mac or VPN for Sierra, the VPN services for Mac on this list are perfect. All you need to do is subscribe to the VPN that most suits your needs by clicking through to its website to subscribe.
There are subtle differences between the services, and the number one service, ExpressVPN, really does outshine the others. However, this is a top five list for a reason – they are all great services that are better than the rest of the options out there in 2017.

Once you have selected your best VPN for Mac, click on the link, subscribe with an email address and download the custom VPN for MacBook software. After you have downloaded it, follow the installation prompts. Once up and running, simply select your encryption protocol in the software’s menu. Please don’t use PPTP: we recommend L2TP/IPSec or (preferably) OpenVPN.

How to Set up OpenVPN Encryption on Mac VPN

If you need to set up OpenVPN using the third party, open source OpenVPN Connect client, it couldn’t be simpler. Simply download the Tunnelblick software, and install it on your Mac. Got to your VPN provider’s downloads page and download the OpenVPN config files (.ovpn).

Double click on the .ovpn file for the server you wish to use. This will launch to install and secure the configuration.

Now run Tunnelblick by double-clicking its icon in the Applications folder. If left running when you log out or shut down your computer, Tunnelblick will launch automatically when you next log in or start the Mac.

The first time Tunnelblick is run on any Mac, it will ask the user for the system administrator’s username and password. This is necessary because Tunnelblick needs root privileges to run (because it modifies network settings to connect to the VPN). You will also be prompted for your VPN username and password when you connect to the server that you have set up.

Mac VPN for Netflix and Geo-blocks

A VPN for Mac OS X unblocks websites by ‘spoofing’ the Mac user’s IP address to overseas. The result is that blocks enforced by landlords, workplaces, schools, colleges, universities, television networks (for copyright reasons) or ISPs on behalf of the government are all lifted.

By connecting to a server in the US, a Mac VPN user appears to be a US resident. Connect to Australia or Spain or anywhere else and the same is true. This allows people to experience the internet as if they were in the country of their choosing. That’s why we have only recommended VPN Mac services that have lots of servers around the world to choose from.

Unblocking Content Using a VPN

Many streaming services, banking services and other things of interest (such as sports events) are geo-restricted so that they are inaccessible outside of a particular country. A VPN for Mac will unblock TV channels from other countries (such as BBC iPlayer or 4oD in the UK). British TV is often of interest to modern language students who want to improve their English skills. The same is true of other countries’ TV shows, for people learning other languages. No matter which nation’s TV you want to unblock, a VPN for OS X is the way to do it.

Netflix on a Mac VPN

Because of licensing restrictions forced on Netflix by content producers, the Netflix catalog varies around the world. Most places have seriously restricted catalogs. US subscribers are fortunate, because for the same cost they get much more content to chose from.

With the number one Mac VPN – ExpressVPN – you’ll have no problem unblocking the incredible US Netflix catalog or other geo-restricted content from around the globe. Netflix is banning VPNs regularly (IPVanish, for example, doesn’t unblock Netflix). As such, if watching US Netflix is why you want a Mac VPN, then please go for the number one option above, as this always works.

Best VPN for Mac: Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed the five best VPNs for Mac. Although some are better than others, all of these VPNs work extremely well with a MacBook. VPNs are a necessity in the modern age, but with so many available, having to choose between them can be daunting – especially when you realize how many of them are terrible services that are a complete rip-off.

Data has become a form of currency. This is why apps are often free: people pay for them with their data instead of money. A VPN is supposed to protect your privacy not sell your data. That is why people need to be ultra careful when selecting a VPN for Mac, so that they don’t risk their security even more.

All of the services in our top five list are VPNs for your Apple Mac that you can trust. Each is unique, so please take the time to consider the five best VPNs for Mac carefully. That way you’ll end up with the service that most suits you. Happy surfing!

Best VPN for Mac: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN LogoExpressVPN
Read Review9.8/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

NordVPN LogoNordVPN
Read Review9.4/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

3

Buffered LogoBuffered
Read Review8.4/10
$8.25 / monthVisit Site

4

IPVanish LogoIPVanish
Read Review7.8/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

5

ibVPN LogoibVPN
Read Review7/10
$4.08 / monthVisit Site

*All prices shown in US dollars

* Advertiser Disclosure

Title Image: Billion Photos/Shutterstock.com


Ray Walsh I am a freelance journalist and blogger from England. I am highly interested in politics and in particular the subject of IR. I am an advocate for freedom of speech, equality, and personal privacy. On a more personal level I like to stay active, love snowboarding, swimming and cycling, enjoy seafood, and love to listen to trap music.

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24 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Mac OS X

  1. 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.”

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

  6. 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.

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