5 Best VPN for Mac 2018 | Top VPN Apps for Macbooks - BestVPN.com

5 Best VPN for Mac and OSX 2018

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

March 2, 2018

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an essential security and privacy tool for your Mac computer. It provides privacy while surfing the internet by hiding what you get up from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and by hiding your real identity and location from websites you visit.

A secure VPN for Mac app will also protect you from hackers when using public WiFi hotspots – yes, Mac users are just as vulnerable to such attacks as any other computer user! But VPNs are not just about serious stuff. With a VPN you can fake your location to watch streaming services with a Netflix VPN and BBC iPlayer VPN and others wherever you are in the world!

With over five years in the business and 150 VPN reviews under our best, our experts at BestVPN.com know how to pick great Mac VPNs. Here are our top picks:

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What is a VPN for Mac?

VPN providers run VPN servers located in various locations around the world. Using a Mac VPN client (app) you connect to one of these severs via an encrypted tunnel. This secures your data so that your Internet provider cannot see what you get up to on the internet

The VPN server acts as an intermediary between you and the internet. All your ISP can see is that you have connected to the VPN server, and all websites can see is that you appear to be accessing the internet from the VPN server’s internet (IP) address.  This means that your real online identity (IP address) is hidden from websites you visit.

Want to know more about VPNs? Our beginners guide to VPNs is the perfect place to start!

Why do I need a VPN for Mac?

For privacy

This fairly simple setup has many advantages. One of the biggest of these is privacy while surfing the internet. As already noted, your internet provider cannot see what you get up to, and your real identity is hidden from any websites you visit.

Most untargeted government surveillance (think NSA) simply taps into what your ISP can see, so a VPN can be very effective at preventing it. Do please be aware, however, that your VPN provider can see what you get up to on the internet. This means VPNs are great for privacy, but it is dangerous to think of them as providing anonymity (despite what is often claimed by VPN companies themselves).

For security

You should always use a VPN when accessing the internet on public WiFi. This is because a VPN securely encrypts your data to the VPN server, which prevents hackers from accessing it. It will also protect you against snooping by the WiFi operator, such as untrustworthy Airbnb hosts and commercial WiFi services who provide “free” internet access in exchange for spying on your browsing habits

For unblocking content

VPNs are also great for accessing streaming content that is usually only available to users in certain countries.  You can watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere simply by connecting to a VPN server located in the UK, for example, and access the full Netflix catalogue by connecting a VPN sever located in the United  States.

Note that some VPNs are blocked by iPlayer and Netflix, so please check out our Netflix VPN and iPlayer VPN pages for ones that are not.

For bypassing censorship

If content is censored in your country on moral, social, religious, political, or copyright grounds then no problem! Just connect to a VPN server located somewhere that does not censor content to access the free internet.

For torrenting

BestVPN.com does not condone copyright infringement, but if you must do it then a VPN will provide the privacy you need. Please see Five Best VPNs for Torrenting for more details.

Which VPN for Mac should I choose?

There is no such thing as a perfect VPN for Mac, although some do get very close. While iMac and Mac Mini users might not really need it, every VPN will protect MacBook users from hackers and malicious operators when surfing the web in public with a public WiFi VPN.

Note that even the most basic VPN encryption will foil most hackers, but the mark of a good VPN is use of strong OpenVPN encryption. Mac users might also be interested to know that Apple is a big supporter of the new IKEv2 standard. Please see our Encryption Guide for more details.

Be aware that privacy is not the same as internet security. If you value privacy, it is important to choose a no logs VPN that does not leak your IP address.

No-one likes their internet slowed down, so a VPN’s speed is important. Check out our new speed tests. For most purposes, it is best to connect to a VPN server near to you for minimum speed loss. In this case, the Max Speed/Burst Result which is most important score for you to consider.

If you want to connect to a specific location far away from you, however (for example to unblock streaming content), then the average speed results should give you a better idea of what a VPN is capable of.

If you want to torrent on your Mac, then be sure to pick a VPN that allows torrenting. If you have lots of devices or want to share your VPN subscription with family members, then pick a macOS VPN that allows many simultaneous connections.

Will a Mac VPN work on my iPhone and iPad?

Yes. macOS and iOS are two separate Operating Systems, so the same VPN software will not work on both platforms.  Almost all VPNs, however, allow multiple simultaneous connections. This means you can use the same VPN account on many devices using separate macOS and iOS VPN apps.

Every VPN supports both the macOS and iOS platforms, and most have a custom Mac VPN client and iPhone VPN app. Do please check out 5 Best VPNs For iOS for more details.

What makes a good VPN for Mac?

As already noted, the exact balance of features that are most important to you will depend somewhat on what you mainly want the VPN for. In general, though, a good Mac VPN should:

  • Be fast – using a VPN will slow down your connection, although if connecting to a nearby location this should be so minimal that you won’t notice it. Distance to the VPN server will slow things down further (blame physics!).
  • Keep no or minimal logs – this may not matter if all you care about is streaming stuff, but if you care about privacy then chose a no logs VPN.
  • Use strong encryption – even if you don’t care about the NSA, strong encryption is the mark of a good VPN. Just be aware that the devil is in the detail, and simply saying “AES-256 encryption” without context is basically meaningless marketing jargon.
  • Lots of simultaneous connections – the more devices you can connect to the service at once the better. Most VPNs now allow at least 3 simultaneous connections, but many have started to permit 5 or more.
  • Not be blocked by popular steaming services such as Netflix and iPlayer – for some this is the most important feature a VPN, for others it is irrelevant. Note VPN services 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.
  • Have servers where you want them – some VPNs offer servers just about everywhere. This is great if you need it, but most of us only want to access servers in a few select locations. So the important thing is that any VPN you pick has servers in places you want to connect to.
  • Have good customer service – 27/4 live chat support is often considered the gold standard, but the quality of support is also important. It is not fair to expect frontline live chat support staff to be technical whizz-kids, but they should be able to refer you on to someone who is, to be answered in a reasonable space of time.
  • Permit torrenting – please do be aware that not all VPNs allow torrenting, and if they don’t then you can get into trouble for it. So check. Remember that we do not condone copyright infringement.

How Do I Install a VPN on a Mac?

We have a full guide on how to install a VPN in macOS here.

Now we’ve covered everything you need to know about Mac VPNs – let’s have a detailed look at our top 5 picks. 

The Best Mac VPNs in 2018

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
ExpressVPN Homepage
  • Special Offer: 49% off today!
  • Super Fast for Streaming
  • Works brilliantly on Mac
  • No usage logs
  • Servers in 100+ countries
  • Excellent 24/7 live chat support
  • 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 user friendly. 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
2nd Place


CyberGhost Homepage
  • Special Offer: 77% off 2-year plans!
  • Excellent macOS software
  • No logs worth mentioning
  • Kill switch
  • Servers in 56 countries
  • Great customer support
  • Live chat in UK working hours only
  • Could be faster

CyberGhost‘s software is easy-to-use while also being veryfully featured. It usesvery strong encryption, and 5 simultaneous connections is generous. Being based in Romania and keeping no meaningful logs is also a big draw. Like ExpressVPN, some minimal statistics are kept, but with no time stamp or IPs recorded, these present no threat to users' privacy.

CyberGhost’s great logging policy, decent local (burst) speeds, and fully featured software are a winning combination. And witha 7-day free premium trial plus 30-day no-quibble money back guarantee, there is zero reason not to give it a whirl.

3rd Place


PrivateVPN Homepage
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Servers in over 50 countries
  • Strong OpenVPN encryption
  • Zero logs
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 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.

4th Place


VyprVPN Homepage
  • 70 server locations
  • Strong encryption
  • Switzerland based
  • Proprietary technology
  • No usage logs
  • Not good torrenting choice
  • Connection logs stored for 30 days

VyprVPN is a Switzerland-based VPN service that would excel as your Mac OS or iOS VPN. The only reason VyprVPN is so low on our list is because it’s not a good VPN provider for torrenting. Other than that, VyprVPN offers 70 server locations – ideal for accessing geo-restricted content on TV streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. VyprVPN also allows up to five simultaneous devices and offers 24/7 live customer support.

This VPN includes better than average server speeds, strong encryption protocols and proprietary technology for added security. If you prefer to sample your Mac OS/iOS VPN before committing, you can use VyprVPN’s free 3 day trial.

5th Place


IPVanish Homepage
  • No logs at all
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • Smart DNS included
  • Accepts bitcoin
  • P2P allowed
  • 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.


If you own a MacBook, iMac or Mac Mini then you are frankly bonkers if you do not use a VPN. A VPN will protect you from hackers, keep you private online, defeat censorship, and let you watch your favorite programs wherever you are in the world. All for the price of a beer or less per month, so what are you waiting for?

Douglas Crawford
March 19th, 2018

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 VPN for Mac and OSX 2018

  1. gramic says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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. Anna says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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. Anna says:

      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. Douglas Crawford says:

        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. Ariel G says:

    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.

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi Ariel G,

      I’m afraid that running a VPN on an Airport Extreme router is not easy. Check out this article from Flashrouters on the subject.

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi altuista,

      Added to our list.

  4. john smith says:

    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. Terry says:

    I use http://shazamvpn.com and love their service. The service works on every platform which is super convenient. Customer service and network performance have always been great for me as well.

  6. Bahadır says:

    So confused, i’m pretty sure Buffered was no 1 when i write this comment.

  7. JJ says:

    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?

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      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.

  8. Bahadır says:

    How Express VPN fallen to 3rd from 1st in a short time ? What they did wrong ?

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      Hi Bahadir,

      Um… but ExpressVPN remains number one in the above list.. (?)

  9. Bahadir says:


    some reviews of Express VPN on other sites say no logs, can you clear current situation of Express VPN ?

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      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.”

      “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.”

  10. Ton Bon says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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.

  11. Rhiannon Tracy says:

    Question: if one has a VPN service can entities such as Facebook still get info from your device?

    1. Douglas Crawford says:

      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

  12. Paula says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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. Douglas Crawford says:

        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.

    2. Simon Cameron says:

      What are the best 4 that dont leak

  13. Bob says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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. Rob van Hees says:

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



        1. Douglas Crawford says:

          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. Rob van Hees says:

            Thanks for the quick response. Your recommendation applies to both Windows and OSX?

          2. Douglas Crawford says:

            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.

  14. Eaux Neaux says:

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

  15. Eaux Neaux says:

    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. Douglas Crawford says:

      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. Papi says:

      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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