5 Best VPNs for Mac in 2023

As a Mac user, you’re a part of Apple’s safe and secure ecosystem that does a lot to protect you from malicious actors. However, Apple’s ecosystem doesn’t provide online privacy, so you need a VPN for Mac to browse the Internet securely.

Also, it’s true that Apple offers their iCloud Private Relay. It is a privacy-protecting technology that hides your activities when using the Safari browser. Still, it’s not available in all regions and countries. You also need an iCloud+ subscription to have access to it. 

To overcome these limitations, you need a standalone Mac VPN app. That’s because a VPN will not only help you stay safe - but also help you bypass geo-restrictions and ISP throttling. Moreover, it’ll unlock Apple services in countries where western companies (like China) are banned.

That said, the best VPN provides identity protection and unblocks content on your Mac and other Apple devices. On top of that, VPNs are cross-platform services, so you can use your subscription on non-Apple devices as well (you just need the best VPN for multiple devices).

This article will go through the 5 best VPNs for your Mac. We’ll also cover how to set up VPN on your Mac, provide plenty of handy tips and tricks, as well as answer some frequently asked questions as well. 

Let’s get started, shall we?

How to Get a VPN on Mac

To use a VPN on your Mac, you need to install your chosen VPN app. Then, connect to a VPN server. The exact steps to get started with the best VPN for MacBook:

  1. Sign up for a VPN that works on macOS (we recommend ExpressVPN).
  2. Download and install the VPN app on your computer.
  3. Once installed, log in to the VPN app to reach its home screen.
  4. Next, connect to any VPN server of your choice.
  5. Minimize the app and continue using the Web. That’s all!

Still, trying to figure out how to proceed? In that case, you’ll want to check out our detailed how to setup a VPN on a Mac guide for more details.

Best VPN for Mac

The best VPN for Mac must have all-rounder capabilities, including fast servers, excellent security, and unparalleled privacy. It must use the most robust tunneling protocols, such as WireGuard and OpenVPN. Also, it must protect you against identity theft and offer other privacy features such as a kill-switch and no-logs privacy policy. Last but not least, it should also have a money-back guarantee and 24/7 live customer support chat.

Based on the criteria mentioned above, these are the 5 best Mac VPN services:

  1. ExpressVPN - Our #1-Rated VPN for Mac
  2. NordVPN - Best All-Round Mac VPN
  3. CyberGhost VPN - Secure and Robust Streaming on Mac
  4. Surfshark - Best Beginner-Friendly Mac VPN
  5. PIA - Ideal for Tech-Savvy Users 

1. ExpressVPN - Our #1-Rated VPN for Mac

Editor's Pick
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ExpressVPN is the best Mac VPN because it sets itself apart by providing unparalleled privacy, security, and performance. In addition, it leads the pack with its network of 3,000+ servers across the globe, ideal for streaming, P2P, and browsing the Internet. This means you can access streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and plenty more.

They follow a strict no-logs policy, ensuring no user data is stored. In addition, ExpressVPN’s servers are RAM-only, which means there’s no chance of your data ever reaching the VPN’s servers. On top of that, features such as a kill switch ensure no data leaks, even if the VPN connection drops.

It also offers an intuitive and user-friendly interface. Here, you get a one-click option to connect to any server and advanced options to change your VPN settings. Additionally, you get to use it on up to 5 devices simultaneously.

Moreover, it uses modern tunneling protocols like Lightway and OpenVPN to aid macOS security. These protocols use military-grade encryption. The proprietary Lightway tunneling protocol is fast, secure, and offers transparency to the users.

Lastly, you’ll get to count on its 24/7 live chat support. And, if you want a refund, you can take advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee.

PROS

  • Native macOS app.
  • Amazing performance.
  • Excellent privacy features.
  • No-logs policy. 
  • Great for any use.

CONS

  • 5 simultaneous connections.

2. NordVPN - Best All-Round Mac VPN

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NordVPN is a well-known VPN that works great on any Mac desktop or laptop. Its security and privacy measures are top-notch, enabling you to browse the Internet freely. NordVPN has a large fleet of 5,300+ servers across 60 countries. This means you can use it to unblock content and do peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers.

Also, NordVPN follows strong privacy policies, including a no-logs policy. However, they do collect some necessary data, which is anonymized and nothing to worry about (verified by independent audits). Apart from these, they offer a kill switch (a way to cut off the Internet if the VPN connection drops) and RAM-only servers.

Furthermore, NordVPN is also very secure as it uses AES-256 encryption. The VPN pairs its encryption with strong tunneling protocols, including NordLynx (a lightweight and faster version of WireGuard) and OpenVPN.

This VPN for Mac is very fast but slower compared to ExpressVPN. However, it can provide lag-free Internet access, even when you opt to use all its 6 simultaneous connections.

Lastly, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. You also get access to 24/7 customer live chat support

PROS

  • Modern macOS interface.
  • Strong privacy policies.
  • Great security and encryption.
  • More than 5,000 servers. 
  • Known for privacy protection.

CONS

  • Remote connections can be slow.

3. CyberGhost - Secure and Robust Streaming on Mac

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All game consoles
All smart TVs
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CyberGhost is a secure and robust MacBook VPN that lets you browse the Internet with complete peace of mind. It offers more than 9,500 servers across 90+ countries. This makes it an excellent pick for those who want to unblock streaming services such as Netflix US, Prime Video, Hulu, or Disney Plus.

Based in Romania, you’ll be covered by privacy-friendly laws. Their privacy policy is strong and ensures no user data is collected. Moreover, you also get other privacy-focused features such as kill-switch and RAM-only servers

As for protocols, it deploys OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard to create secure connections. Furthermore, it encrypts your connection with the 256-bit AES algorithm.

Speed-wise, CyberGhost falls behind ExpressVPN and NordVPN. You can expect a more noticeable speed drop, so we recommend this VPN if you have a relatively fast Web connection. On the plus side, you get up to 7 simultaneous connections.

CyberGhost goes one step further compared to its competitors regarding the money-back guarantee. It offers a 45-day money-back guarantee on longer plans. As for customer service, you can connect with them through their 24/7 live chat.

PROS

  • Tons of servers.
  • Specialized for media streaming.
  • Works on any macOS device.
  • Excellent privacy policy.
  • 45-day money-back guarantee.

CONS

  • Slower than its competitors.

4. Surfshark - Best Beginner-Friendly Mac VPN

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Windows
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Mac
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Chrome
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Amazon Fire TV
All game consoles
All smart TVs
Parallel Connections
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If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly VPN for Mac, Surfshark is a great option. It lets you browse privately using one of its 3,200+ servers in 100 countries. These servers are great for streaming (easily unblock popular streaming services such as Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, Netflix, and Prime Video). You also get P2P support.

Surfshark’s security features are top-notch. Unlike its competitors, it doesn’t have its own take on tunneling protocols. However, it uses already tried and tested protocols such as WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN. In addition, it uses 256-bit AES encryption. Finally, it uses an IP rotator that changes the user’s IP address every minute.

Also, this VPN offers excellent privacy, with features like a kill-switch, split-tunneling, DNS leak protection, and more. They also follow a firm no-logs policy and use RAM-only servers.

In terms of speed, Surfshark performs fast, matching speeds provided by ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Also, you can use it on as many devices as you want, as Surfshark comes with unlimited simultaneous connections.

Even though Surfshark is beginner-friendly, you may need help. In that case, you can always clear your queries with their 24/7 customer chat service. And, if you want a refund, you can take advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee.

PROS

  • Incredibly simple to use.
  • Servers in 100 countries.
  • Unlimited device support.
  • Real-time data breach alert.
  • Excellent privacy policies.

CONS

  • Take a while to connect.

5. Private Internet Access - Ideal for Tech-Savvy Users

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Amazon Fire TV
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Private Internet Access (PIA) is an excellent choice for tech-savvy users looking for a MacBook VPN. With thousands of servers in 84 countries, you can unblock streaming platforms and access content freely with no buffering. In addition, these 10-Gbps servers are optimized for speed, enabling you to take full advantage of its 10 simultaneous devices limit.

If you opt for PIA, you can rest assured that your data will be safe. It doesn’t log any user activity as it follows a robust no-log policy. Also, you get access to split tunneling and a kill-switch, which might be missing in most other Mac VPNs.

PIA utilizes WireGuard and OpenVPN to secure your connection. It further strengthens it by using military-grade encryption. Then, it offers features such as port forwarding, DNS, and proxy setups. If you want to go further, you can also customize remote ports!

However, these advanced features should not deter beginners as you can ignore them completely. PIA works out of the box just fine - even if you don’t tinker with its settings.

Overall, PIA is an excellent Mac VPN. It’s fast and secure and also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. Also, you get 24/7 live chat support.

PROS

  • Supports split-tunneling.
  • Fast servers.
  • Offers advanced VPN features.
  • Good security protocols.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.

CONS

  • Not beginner-friendly.
  • US-based company.

What Is a Mac VPN?

A Mac VPN is a Virtual Private Network that works on macOS. Even though macOS is a secure OS, it doesn’t have built-in VPN connections. That’s why you need a third-party VPN for Mac to make your online adventures secure.

Also, it’s worth noting that a Mac VPN works just like a VPN on any other platform. In other words, it routes your traffic through a secure server. During that process, it encrypts your data, making it unreadable to anyone else. You can learn more about what is a VPN as well as how VPNs work by using the provided links. 

To learn more about what to expect from a capable Mac VPN service, as well as what are the possible uses for a VPN, just keep reading. 

Why Do You Need a VPN for Mac?

You need a VPN for Mac because it helps you bypass geo-restrictions, fight against ISP throttling, while improving your privacy as well. Even though macOS is a secure platform, a VPN can help you in the following ways:

  • Privacy: Almost every site wants to access your data and show you advertisements when you go online. Even governments are keen to know what you do online. A Mac VPN can help you solve this privacy problem by giving you a new IP address.
  • Accessibility: Apple services are tightly integrated and may require constant and consistent access to their servers. However, many countries, including China, don’t allow access to western companies. So, if you’re visiting regions with limited access to Apple servers, you can use VPN to regain access to them.
  • ISP Throttling: Many internet service providers indulge in throttling users’ speeds. This happens when the ISP notices you using a lot of bandwidth. To prevent you from overwhelming their network, they’ll slow you down. With a VPN, you can bypass the limitation and browse the Internet at full speed.
  • Geo-Restrictions: A VPN can also help you bypass geo-restrictions. The best VPN for Mac offers access to thousands of servers spread across the globe, making it easy to access any local content, especially if you’re traveling.

Can I Use a Free VPN for Mac?

Yes, you can use a free VPN for Mac. However, you should avoid them. This is because free VPNs are very limited. They don’t offer unlimited data, so you’ll quickly find yourself exhausting those (typically very strict) data limits. 

Moreover, they sell your data and show ads for monetization purposes. You won’t be able to access most online services and platforms due to a lack of servers.

In conclusion, free VPNs must be avoided at all costs. However, if you still want to try them, we suggest reading our free VPN guide to learn how to use them effectively.

Final Thoughts

The best VPN software for Mac secures the Web for you - unlike any other type of software. It lets you hide your IP address, bypassing geo-restrictions and ISP throttling. Moreover, you’ll also get to bump up your online privacy with VPN, giving you complete peace of mind. 

If you want the best VPN for Mac, we recommend ExpressVPN - our #1 Mac VPN that excels in all departments. It is fast, secure, and privacy-focused, giving you an unparalleled VPN experience out-of-the-box.

FAQ

Does Mac Have a Built-in VPN?

No, Mac doesn’t come with a built-in VPN. To use one, you need to pick a VPN service, subscribe to it, and then download your chosen VPN app on macOS.

What is the Best Mac VPN? 

ExpressVPN is the best Mac VPN and it’s our #1 recommendation. It offers the best VPN package with fast servers, best privacy optimizations and excellent security.

That’s all for our guide on the best Mac VPN services. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

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