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5 Best VPNs for Mac in 2018

A VPN can be a powerful tool for Apple Mac. With a growing number of Macs and Macbooks on the market, most providers now offer a MacOS client. Here is our definitive list of the best VPNs for Mac users


VPN for Mac

The Best VPN for Mac

If you're looking to block your IP when surfing the web our list of recommended VPNs for Mac are ideal. For more information on any of the providers, simply scroll down.

  1. ExpressVPN - A fast, reliable VPN that is ideal for streaming HD content on a Mac
  2. NordVPN - A well-rounded VPN that offers speed and security to any Mac user
  3. CyberGhost - An easy to setup VPN that is ideal for beginners and veterans alike
  4. PrivateVPN - Looking for a VPN for Mac on a budget? Look no further
  5. VyprVPN - The stealthy choice for any Mac users looking to block their IP when surfing

Macs themselves are pretty secure, and Apple can be trusted to look after your privacy far more than Microsoft can! But no matter how secure your Mac is, your internet connection is no more secure or private than it is for any other internet device.

A VPN for Mac will improve your online security and privacy. If that sounds worthy but dull, a Virtual Private Network will also let you watch TV shows that are usually restricted to people in other countries and torrent safely.

Top 5 VPNs for Mac Users

Let's take an in-depth look at which 5 VPNs made our list:

1. NordVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.8 out of 10
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Editor's Choice

NordVPN is undoubtedly a fully-featured service. The fact that it is based in Panama and keeps no logs at all is also a big draw for those who care about privacy. Its software looks good, and works well. Speed performance is now very impressive. And a three-day free trial, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee give you plenty of opportunity to ensure that everything works for you as it should. NordVPN actually offers two Mac clients. The new IKEv2 Mac App Store app is the default option, but the older OpenVPN app is more fully featured. The IKEv2 app has both a system kill switch and a per-app kill switch, but not much else. The OpenVPN app has these too, and also offers obfuscated servers, custom DNS settings, and CyberSec protection.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 62
  • Average Speed 56.06 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 6
  • Jurisdiction Panama

Likes

  • Based in Panama (great for privacy)
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • Dedicated IPs (cost extra)

Dislikes

  • IPv6 leak in macOS IKEv2 app

Features

Total servers 4568
Countries 62
Simultaneous connections 6
Bare metal or virtual servers Combination
Router Support
Routers Supported Raspberry Pi Tomato Synology DD-WRT AsusTOR AsusWRT AsusWRT-Merlin pfsense D-Link Linksys TP-Link OpenWRT belkin DrayTek Qnap Arris TOTOLink Mikrotik Huawei Tenda WD MikroTik IPFire TRENDnet EdgeRouter GLiNet NetDuma Fortinet Sabai ubee
Allows torrenting
Port forwarding
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction Panama
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 206.23
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 56.06
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 3 Days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

2. ExpressVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.7 out of 10
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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.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 94
  • Average Speed 69.4 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 3
  • Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands

Likes

  • Super fast - great for streaming!
  • Very secure 256-bit encryption
  • Unlimited downloading
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 5* 24/7 customer support
  • Special Deal: Save 49% Today

Dislikes

  • IPv6 WebRTC leaks (fixed by browser extension)
  • A little pricey
  • BVI jurisdiction is not ideal

Features

Total servers 2000
Countries 94
Simultaneous connections 3
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Routers Supported Asus RT-AC56R, Asus RT-AC56S, Asus RT-AC56U, Asus RT-AC68U, Asus RT-AC87U, Linksys EA6200, Linksys WRT1200AC, Linksys WRT1900AC 13J1, Linksys WRT1900AC 13J2, Linksys WRT1900ACS, Linksys WRT3200ACM, Netgear R6300v2, Netgear Nighthawk R7000
Allows torrenting
Port forwarding
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? N/A

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 141.39
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 69.4
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial No
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

3. CyberGhost

BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
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CyberGhost‘s software is easy-to-use while also being fully featured. It also uses strong encryption. 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 backed up with a very competitive price.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 60
  • Average Speed 61.67 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 7
  • Jurisdiction Romania

Likes

  • Private: Great logs policy
  • Based in Romania so no government spying!
  • Good looking and easy-to-use software: Seven simultaneous connections
  • Friendly Live Chat support
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) torrenting allowed

Dislikes

  • Not much

Features

Total servers 2750
Countries 60
Simultaneous connections 7
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Routers Supported Any router with VPN capabilities
Allows torrenting
Port forwarding
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction Romania
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Trackers used

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 139.14
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 61.67
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial No
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

4. PrivateVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
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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. 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.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 60
  • Average Speed 58.9 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 6
  • Jurisdiction Sweden

Likes

  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Servers in 56 countries
  • Strong OpenVPN encryption
  • Zero logs
  • 24/7 customer support

Dislikes

  • Not much

Features

Total servers 100
Countries 60
Simultaneous connections 6
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Allows torrenting
Port forwarding
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN
Other protocols IPSec, Shadowsocks

Privacy

Jurisdiction Sweden
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 310.16
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 58.9
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Proxy
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 7 days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

5. VyprVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.4 out of 10
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VyprVPN is a Switzerland-based VPN service that would excel as your Mac OS or iOS VPN. VyprVPN is 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.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 70
  • Average Speed 47.99 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Switzerland

Likes

  • Strong encryption protocols and policies
  • Worldwide server network
  • 24/7 customer support
  • PayPal now a payment method
  • Proprietary Technology & exclusive features

Dislikes

  • Connection logs stored for 30 days
  • No P2P

Features

Total servers 700
Countries 70
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Allows torrenting
Port forwarding
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN
Other protocols Chameleon

Privacy

Jurisdiction Switzerland
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 74.82
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 47.99
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 3 days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer
Amazon Prime
Hulu

Why do I need a VPN?

A VPN is a way to securely connect your Mac to a 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.

A VPN for Mac will enable you to:

  1. Encrypt All the data that passes between your Mac and the VPN server. The VPN hides your data from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), so that it cannot spy on what you do online.
  2. Avoid censorship, by connecting to a server that is located in a country where there is no such censorship.
  3. Keep your IP address private. 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 VPN services can be manually configured for MacOS and OSX.

If you're interested in knowing how a VPN works in more detail, check out our VPNs - What You Need to Know guide.

Will a Mac VPN work on my iPhone and iPad?

macOS and iOS are different platforms, so a macOS app will not work in iOS and vice versa. Most VPN services, however, allow you to run a VPN app on a number of different devices using the same VPN account at the same time. This is often referred to as “simultaneous connections.”

This means that if five simultaneous are allowed by your provider you could run it on a MacBook, your iPhone and iPad, your desktop gaming PC, and have a spare connection for a partner or family member to use!

Check out our 5 best vpns for iphone.

Mac VPN Protocols

A VPN protocol is the set of instructions used to negotiate a secure encrypted connection between two computers. Mac computers do support VPNs (via network preferences), however, some protocols are better than others.

The most notable of these are listed below:


ProtocolWhat is it?
Key FeaturesIs it secure?
OpenVPN
An open source, fully audited protocol that is widely regarded as the most secure VPN protocol available.Easily integrate with MacYes
PPTP
This is an old VPN protocol that hasn’t been considered secure for years.Easy to useNo
L2TPUsually implemented with the Internet Protocol Security (IPsec).Very stableYes
IKEV2
A new protocol that is increasingly popular because it is both fast and secure.Reconnects an internet connection when interruptedYes

Quick View

Editor's Choice 1. From $6.67 / month
BestVPN.com Score 10 out of 10
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2. From $3.99 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9 out of 10
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3. From $2.75 / month
BestVPN.com Score 8.4 out of 10
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4. From $2.73 / month
BestVPN.com Score 7.6 out of 10
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5. From $4.17 / month
BestVPN.com Score 6.8 out of 10
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Written by: 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.

29 Comments

  1. gramic
    Verified User on September 18, 2017
    Reply

    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 replied to gramic
      on September 18, 2017
      Reply

      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
    Verified User on September 15, 2017
    Reply

    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 replied to Anna
      on September 18, 2017
      Reply

      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 replied to Anna
      on September 29, 2017
      Reply

      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 replied to Anna
        on October 3, 2017
        Reply

        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
    Verified User on August 5, 2017
    Reply

    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 replied to Ariel G
      on August 23, 2017
      Reply

      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.

  4. JJ
    Verified User on May 29, 2017
    Reply

    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. Douglas Crawford replied to JJ
      on May 29, 2017
      Reply

      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.

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