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Latest update: Apple unveils a new iCloud+ service with 3 major security features: Private Relay (To keep all users’ iOS traffic encrypted), Hide My Email (To allow users to hide their emails), and unlimited Home Secure Video cameras. The good thing is, Apple refused to raise its prices while offering these features.

Despite Mac’s reputation as a system immune to cyber-attacks and privacy threats, the fact is that malware attacks on macOS are still persistent, with Shlayer Trojan affecting one in every ten Mac systems. The rising trend demonstrates that macOS is far from secure as popularly assumed.

Recently Apple’s head of software, Craig Federighi, testified in the Apple v. Epic Games trial, and said, “Today, we have a level of malware on the Mac that we don’t find acceptable and that is much worse than iOS.

Therefore, we have finalized a list of the best VPN for Mac based on rigorous testing criteria so you can acquire top-notch online protection and unblock geo-restricted channels like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC Player on your macOS. Let’s briefly look at VPN compatibility with macOS.

VPNs for MacmacOS requirement
ExpressVPNmacOS 10.10 or later
Surfshark macOS 10.12 or later
NordVPN macOS 10.12 or later
CyberGhost macOS 10.12 or later
VyprVPN‭ macOS 10.12 or later

We have tested these VPNs on Macbook Air and Mac desktop to see how it works. We have then tested these VPNs on various performance criteria to bring you only the best of the best. Let’s see what each best VPN for Mac has to offer!

  • 3,000+ Servers in 94 Countries
  • Hard disk free infrastructure (RAM only)
  • 256-bit Military-Grade Encryption
  • Excellent unblocking capability for Netflix, Hulu & more
  • 5 Multi Logins
  • Zero-knowledge DNS
Excellent - 4.6
Based on 100 reviews

Here are the Best VPNs for Mac in 2021

Below are our most recommended VPNs for Macs.

  1. ExpressVPN – Our #1 recommendation for the best VPN for macOS.
  2. Surfshark – Best Value VPN for MacBook with unlimited devices.
  3. NordVPN – Best privacy-focused VPN with powerful security features.
  4. CyberGhost – Popular Mac VPN with a balance of privacy features, cost, and performance.
  5. VyprVPN – A powerful Mac VPN with excellent performance and encryption protocols.

Quick Comparison Table of Mac VPNs

Here is a brief comparison table of the 5 top-rated VPN for Mac in 2021:

VPNsExpressVPNSurfsharkNordVPNCyberGhostVyprVPN
Mac CompatibilityOS X 10.10 Yosemite or laterOS X 10.10 Yosemite or latermacOS 10.12 Sierra or latermacOS 10.12 Sierra or latermacOS 10.12 Sierra or later
SecurityAES 256 BitAES 256 BitAES 256 BitAES 256-bitAES 256-bit
Servers3,000+ in 94 Countries3,200+ in 63+ Countries5,500+ in 59 Countries6,600+ in 90 Countries700+ in 70+ Locations
Kill Switch
StreamingNetflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and MoreNetflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and MoreNetflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and MoreNetflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and MoreNetflix, BBC iPlayer,  and More
CompatibilityWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, routersWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, routersWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, routersWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, routersWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers
Pricing$6.67/month$2.49/month$4.13/month$2.25/month$1.67/month
Safari Extension
Torrenting SupportAll ServersSome ServersSome serversAll ServersAll Servers
More InfoExpressVPN ReviewSurfshark ReviewNordVPN ReviewCyberGhost ReviewVyperVPN Review
Visit SiteVisit SiteVisit SiteVisit SiteVisit Site

Detailed Review of Best VPNs for Mac

1. ExpressVPN – Best Mac VPN for Money

Total Servers: 3,000+ | Countries: 94+ | Trustpilot Rating: 4.7 | Maximum Devices: 5 | MacOS compatible: Yes

ExpressVPN-best-vpn-mac

ExpressVPN is the top VPN for Mac with an excellent reputation on Reddit and Mac communities. It is powered by 3,000+ servers in 94 countries, helping users unblocking Netflix and other restricted channels/websites.

The VPN supports torrenting with the ‘US servers’ and protects the IP address and DNS leak until the download completes. The AES-256 encryption is like other top VPNs and used by default in the ExpressVPN macOS app. Also, it offers an internet kill switch to defend against accidental data leakage. It is also the best VPN for iPad as well.

Moreover, ExpressVPN is operating from the British Virgin Islands’ jurisdiction, which is outside the 5/9/14 eyes alliance and has an excellent no-logs privacy policy.

expressvpn-logging-policy-for-mac-users

You can use up to 5 simultaneous connections, and it is compatible with macOS Snow Leopard (10.6) to the latest macOS Catalina (10.15). It also features fast speed servers.

Server locationDownload speedUpload speedsPings
USA- New York85.84‬ Mbps68.59 Mbps358 ms
Hong Kong – 286.67 Mbps94.17 Mbps259 ms
Canada – Toronto 84.17 Mbps39.17 Mbps210 ms
Australia – Melbourne85.84‬ Mbps94.17 Mbps168 ms
UK – docklands‭89.17‬ Mbps75.5 Mbps134 ms

This VPN service’s only disadvantage is its high price of $6.67/mo . But if you can overlook that, then ExpressVPN is an excellent tool to improve your online privacy.

How to set up ExpressVPN on Mac (Video Tutorial):

Compatible with: Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Big Sur, Sierra, El Capitan and Yosemite.

Unblocks: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Voot, Kayo Sports, Sky TV, Foxtel and more.

Pros
  • Offers more than 3,000 servers located in over 94 countries
  • Supports 5 simultaneous connections
  • Military-grade encryption, automatic kill switch & leek protection
  • Excellent customer support available over live chat 24/7
  • Only VPN with Safari browser extension
  • Offer 30-day money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Slightly more expensive than other VPNs
Try ExpressVPN for Mac$6.67/mo for 12 months + 3 months free

2. Surfshark – Best Personal VPN

Total Servers: 3,200+ | Countries: 65+ | Trustpilot Rating: 4.3 | Maximum Devices: unlimited | Mac Compatible: Yes

Surfshark-mac-vpn

Surfshark is another best value VPN for Mac as it’s loaded with features that Mac users are likely to find appealing. Yet, it is efficient for a lot of other activities. It has over 3,200+ servers in 65 countries. Surfsharks macOS app also features obfuscated servers that help bypass censorship and geo-restrictions.

Surfshark supports torrent/P2P activities and is quite secure for this purpose. The provider doesn’t leak the IP or DNS traffic, which is proof of its security for torrenting purposes. Its macOS app offers all the best features like an automatic kill switch, CleanWeb (adblocker), Whitelister (split tunneling), DNS/IPv6 leak protection, and MultiHop.

Its MultiHop feature allows double encryption by rerouting your online traffic through two different countries. Therefore, it makes it impossible for your ISP, government authorities, or hackers to track your activities. It is fast, but not as fast as ExpressVPN.

Server locationDownload speedUpload speedPings
Australia – Perth25 Mbps93.25 Mbps132 ms
Canada – Montreal25.17 Mbps92.09 Mbps265 ms
Germany – Frankfurt25.67 Mbps92.5 Mbps117 ms
The United Kingdom – London25.5 Mbps91.09 Mbps139 ms
The United States – New York24.09 Mbps87.5 Mbps251 ms

Other than that, Surfshark is a great choice if you need to amp up your privacy on the macOS. The provider adheres to a zero-logging policy, which is pretty reassuring: There are dedicated Surfshark clients for all leading devices and platforms, including macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Fire TV, and more. With a straightforward Android application, it is no surprise that Surfshark is also regarded as one of the best Android VPNs.

It has a reasonable price at $2.49/mo – 2 years – 81% Off and comes with a 30-days money-back guarantee. As such, Surfshark is the right competitor for Mac.

How to set up Surfshark on macOS (Video Tutorial):

Compatible with: Big Sur, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, Yosemite, and Catalina.

Unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max and more.

Pros
  • More than 3,200+ servers in over 65 countries
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Efficient 24/7 customer support
  • Built-in adblocker, anti-malware, and double VPN feature
  • Fast servers with stable connectivity
Cons
  • Limited P2P servers for torrenting
  • Customer support live chat is inconsistent
Try Surfshark with Mac$2.49/mo for 2-year plan

3. NordVPN – Best Secure VPN for Macbook

Total Servers: 5,400+ | Countries: 59+ | Trustpilot Rating: 4.5 | Maximum Devices: 6 | macOS Compatible: Yes

NordVPN-best-vpn-for-macOS

NordVPN is a renowned VPN for macOS capable of unblocking Netflix and defending your privacy against online threats. With NordVPN, you get over 5,500+ servers spread across 59 countries. With NordVPNs broad server network, you will have no problem streaming, torrenting, and browsing on your Mac device.

You can download torrents with many P2P servers in the network on all versions of macOS. The security level rules out any potential IP leaks, thus allowing safe and anonymous torrenting with NordVPN. It uses the IKEv2 protocol for macOS along with AES-256 for encryption. Moreover, NordVPN has many security features such a DoubleVPN, CyberSec, and Onion over VPN. It also offers good connection speeds, as we tested on a base internet speed of 100 Mbps:

Server locationDownload speedUpload speedPings
Australia91 Mbps91.25 Mbps131 ms
Germany90.59 Mbps25.67 Mbps124 ms
Singapore89.59 Mbps98.09 Mbps84 ms
United States93.5 Mbps94.92 Mbps194 ms
United Kingdom92.84 Mbps97.67 Mbps265 ms

The provider has a strong logging policy in place and refrains from storing any privacy-sensitive information about users. NordVPN’s apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and they can be manually installed on many other devices, including Roku, Kodi, firestick, etc. With one NordVPN account, you can set up 6 simultaneous connections.

The 2-year subscription of NordVPN can be acquired for $3.30/mo , which is somewhat pricey but within reasonable margins considering Nord’s capabilities. You can get some existing discounts through our NordVPN lifetime guide. Also, explore NordVPN free trial hack to get it for 30 days completely free.

How to set up NordVPN on Mac (Video Tutorial):

Compatible with: Big Sur, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, Yosemite, El Capitan, and Catalina.

Unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, NBC, TF1, DStv and more.

Pros
  • More than 5,500+ servers in over 59 countries
  • Advanced VPN protocols such as OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • Easy compatibility with Smart TVs and other devices
  • CyberSec, Double VPN, and 256-bit encryption
Cons
  • Some servers take a long time to connect
  • Windows app is sluggish
Try NordVPN for Macbook$4.13/mo for 2-year plan

4. CyberGhost – A Popular Choice for Mac with Optimized streaming servers

Total Servers: 6,600+ | Countries: 90+ | Trustpilot Rating: 4.8 | Maximum Devices: 7 | MacOS compatible: Yes

CyberGhost-best-vpn-mac-2021

CyberGhost is another best VPN service for Mac and is a popular VPN that shields all your browser activities more simply. It boasts a robust network of 6,600+ servers distributed in over 90 countries.

CyberGhost’s strength is its ability to download torrents files anonymously. The service has no problem with IP leaks, as I found out when testing for it. The logging policy is geared towards the user and stays away from maintaining any traffic or other users’ sensitive logs. The CyberGhost apps are available for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. For less common devices, you can follow instructions on their official website to set up the VPN.

If we talk about speeds, CyberGhost did an amazing job, but if we compare it with other VPNs on this list, it wasn’t the fastest. During testing, CyberGhost offered inconsistent speeds as shown below. My base internet speed was 100 Mbps.

Country Download Speed (Mbps)Upload Speed (Mbps)Pings (ms)
US (United States)73.14 Mbps73 Mbps255 ms
UK (United Kingdom)58.51 Mbps71.09 Mbps148 ms
AU (Australia)45.14 Mbps87.25 Mbps166 ms
IT (Italy)54.67 Mbps64.44 Mbps273 ms
CA (Canada)67.17 Mbps80.09  Mbps218 ms

It uses the AES-256-encryption to make your traffic unreadable for surveillance. There is a built-in Kill Switch that is always enabled by default and cannot be disabled in the Mac app. For extra security, it also provides DNS/ IPv6/ WebRTC leak protection.

It is fairly reasonably priced at $1.99/mo and comes with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee. With one CyberGhost subscription, you can connect up to 7 devices at the same time. It is also one of the best VPN for Apple TV.

How to set up CyberGhost on Mac (Video Tutorial):

Compatible with: Catalina, Mojave, Big Sur, High Sierra, and Sierra.

Unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime and more.

Pros
  • Provides 6,600+ servers in over 90 countries
  • Uses AES-256 encryption
  • Allows 7 simultaneous connections
  • Optimized servers for streaming, gaming & torrenting
  • Live chat feature available 24/7
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Doesn’t work in China
  • Occasionally slow server speeds
Try CyberGhost with Mac$2.25/mo for 2-year plan

5. VyprVPN – An Excellent Mac VPN with top security

Total Servers: 700+ | Countries: 70+ | Trustpilot Rating: 3.0 | Maximum Devices: 5 | MacOS compatible: Yes

VyprVPN-best-vpn-mac

The last best VPN software for Mac is VyprVPN. VyprVPN is a veteran Mac VPN with powerful features and excellent overall performance to tackle the threat of web censorship. The VPN service has over 700+ servers spread across 70+ countries.

Although it has some weaknesses, such as its inconsistency to unblock Netflix, some users claim that the VyprVPN works fine for Netflix, but I could not get the same result in my attempt. The provider allows p2p traffic on its servers, and its security mechanisms ensure that there are no IP leaks to leave any reservations in your mind before downloading torrents.

For encryption, this VPN service for Mac uses the AES-256 to guard users’ traffic against any outside interference. It is equipped with a kill switch and chameleon technology that obfuscates your VPN-originated traffic. Its macOS app also features a NAT firewall that protects against hackers by blocking inbound traffic on your device. We also tested VyprVPNs speed and it was fast on most servers like the US, UK, Philippines and more.

Country Download Speed (Mbps)Upload Speed (Mbps)Pings (ms)
US (United States)95.84 Mbps85.84 Mbps242 ms
UK (United Kingdom)89.17 Mbps96.67 Mbps261 ms
AU (Australia)67.25 Mbps44.17 Mbps128 ms
FR (France)51.5 Mbps95 Mbps277 ms
Philippines90 Mbps95.84 Mbps126 ms

VyprVPN has a zero-logs policy that a third-party organization has independently audited. That makes it exceptional for privacy-focused users of macOS. VyprVPN offers apps for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android, and even routers. You can also apply manual setup on lesser-known devices.

The 36-months subscription plan is priced at $1.67/mo, which is quite affordable for a VPN that is as high-performing as VyprVPN. It also allows 5 simultaneous connections and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our exclusive VyprVPN review to know more about its features and pricing.

Compatible with: Big Sur, Catalina, High Sierra, Mojave, and Sierra.

Unblocks: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more

Pros
  • Provides 700+ servers in 70 countries
  • Uses AES-256 encryption
  • Allows 5 simultaneous connections
  • Military-grade encryption, no logs policy & Kill Switch
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Occasionally slow server speeds
Try VyprVPN with Mac$1.67/mo for 3-year plan

How to choose the Best VPN for Mac?

The increasing severity of cyber-attacks and Geo-restriction makes it tougher for a VPN service to stay active for a long period. Keeping this in mind, we have identified the best criteria that can help in choosing the best VPN for Macbook as per your requirement.

  • Mac Compatibility – Support for macOS and other devices with a simultaneous connection. We have included the best VPN for macOS with native apps that are easy to install and set up. Choose a VPN that is compatible with all the latest Mac versions and keeps up to date with macOS updates.
  • Performance / Speed – The speed of the VPN based on tested results of macOS using speedtest.net. Choosing a high speed VPN is a must because generally, VPNs tend to slow down speeds, so with a fast VPN, speed decline will not be noticeable.
  • Unblock Channels / Sites – The capacity of the VPN to unblock US Netflix from abroad. The best Mac VPN should be able to unblock streaming sites and blocked channels abroad.
  • Torrenting – Availability of P2P-optimized servers with IP leak protection. The VPN should offer multiple P2P servers so you can torrent safely.
  • Servers – The best VPN for macOS should offer a large server network with global coverage so you can connect to any location you want to.
  • Privacy & encryption – The logging policy and encryption mechanism as per standards to avoid surveillance. Similarly, it should also offer 256-bit encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and a kill switch.

Why do I need a VPN on Mac?

There are critical reasons that force users to install a VPN for their macOS. The privacy issues on Macbook have always existed and still threaten users, increasing the demand for VPN services.

Although there’s a widespread belief that Mac is immune to privacy/cybersecurity vulnerabilities, recent statistics and developments have shown this to be false.

According to 3ric Johanson: “If you look at the number of published vulnerabilities in software and the number of users and compare Windows versus macOS, you will discover that macOS has far more published vulnerabilities per user than Windows does, so I think the data pretty much speaks for itself.

Geo-restrictions are another problem for Macbook users. Some streaming channels like BBC iPlayer only work with a UK IP address, while Netflix offers different content for all regions.

Therefore, with a VPN for Mac, you can protect your online privacy from ISPs and access geo-restricted content. Apart from the premium VPN services mentioned above, several free VPNs for Mac are available in the market. However, these VPN services come with data restrictions. Learn more about the best free VPN for Mac to see if they are worth their salt.

How to manually Set up a VPN on Mac?

The best VPNs for Mac mentioned above have dedicated apps for macOS. Still, if you want to use a protocol or a security feature that isn’t available, you can always configure a VPN on your Mac device. For example, some VPNs don’t support OpenVPN for Mac, but you can manually configure it on your device.

Set Up L2TP Connection

L2TP is similar to OpenVPN and has built-in support for macOS. Follow these steps to set it up on your MacBook:

  1. Open System Preferences (you can find it on the top left corner of your screen, under the Apple icon, or in your Dock).
  2. Click Network Settings > At the bottom of the list of connections, select “+.” 
  3. Select Interface > Select VPN > Choose L2TP over IPSec.
  4. Set a name in the Account Name option.
  5. Go to Authentication Settings > Fill in your password and secret authentication provided by your VPN
  6. Select Connect. And that’s it; you have set up an L2TP connection on your Mac device.

Set Up Viscosity

Viscosity is another OpenVPN alternative for Mac users. To set up Viscosity on your Mac device, you need your VPN provider’s OpenVPN configuration files.

  1. Download Viscosity on your Mac device (it’s a paid service, but it comes with a 30-day free trial).
  2. Open the Viscosity.dmg file and drop the client in your Applications folder. The installer will automatically launch. Now, follow the installation process.
  3. Open Viscosity > Click Preferences. Once the client has been successfully downloaded, you can find Preferences under the Viscosity menu.
  4. Go to Connections > Click “+” > Select Import Connection. It will open a setup window.
  5. Select “From File” > Open .ovpn configuration file (OpenVPN file from your VPN provider).
  6. To finish the configuration, Set a username and password.
  7. Go to the Viscosity menu, and find your VPN connection. If you can see your VPN connection, it means you have successfully set up Viscosity on your Mac.

Set Up Tunnelblick

Tunnelblick is a free, open-source client that is designed for using OpenVPN on a macOS device. To set up Tunnelblick on your device, you need to get the OpenVPN configuration file from your VPN provider.

  1. Download Tunnelblick.
  2. Select “I have configuration files.” These are OpenVPN configuration files that you got from your VPN.
  3. In Add a Configuration box, select Okay. 
  4. In the Tunnelblick menu, Go to VPN Details. 
  5. Select your .ovpn files and drag them into Tunnelblick. Make sure only to highlight .ovpn files.
  6. Select Apply to All and Only Me. And that’s it; you have set up Tunnelblick on your Mac device.

FAQs

Let’s go through some frequently asked questions.

What’s the best free option when it comes to Mac VPNs?

There are many free VPNs for Mac that you can use, but we do not recommend them for various reasons. Most free VPNs are not safe because they have untrustworthy privacy policies and contain malware. Free VPNs log your user data and sell it to third-party advertisers, thus violating your right to privacy. For example, Hola VPN was caught sharing identifiable user information to third parties and selling idle bandwidth of free users.

Similarly, free VPNs also throttle your speeds and have a few servers that are congested with users, thus offering extremely slow speeds that make the VPN hard to use. At best you can only browse the web because streaming is out of the question.

Therefore, it’s best to stick with premium VPNs for Mac mentioned above and what’s best is that all of them offer a minimum 30-day money-back guarantee so you can use them risk-free for a limited time.

Which is the best VPN extension for Safari?

ExpressVPN offers the best VPN extension for Safari. It is both user-friendly and feature-rich. Unlike most VPN extensions for Safari, ExpressVPN offers DNS leak protection that protects your online browsing traffic.

Will a VPN slow down my MacBook?

In general, VPNs tend to slow down connection speeds because your data takes a longer route to travel between servers, but it is not that drastic. For example, if you use a fast VPN service like ExpressVPN, you shouldn’t experience any noticeable drop in speed. Therefore, no VPN will not slow down your Mac device.

Is using a Mac VPN legal?

Yes, using a Mac VPN is 100% legal. In fact, VPNs are recommended for Mac users because they protect you against cybercriminals and hacking. However, keep in mind using a VPN for illegal activities is treated as a punishable crime, and we do not condone unlawful usage of Mac VPNs.

Which VPN works on Mac in China?

ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that work in China and other heavily restricted countries like Iran, Russia, and more. We asked our friends in China to test it firsthand, and it works perfectly well on all Apple devices in China, including Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Macbook. You can access Facebook, Google, Instagram, Snapchat and more in China with ExpressVPN.

However, if you are thinking about travelling to China, make sure to download ExpressVPN’s app beforehand, because its website is blocked in China. It is one of the few best VPN for iPhone in China. Also, read our detailed guide on everything you need to know before travelling to China for more information.

Which Mac VPN is best for Netflix?

ExpressVPN, Surfshark and NordVPN are the best Mac VPN for Netflix. You can unblock various Netflix libraries on your Mac device with these VPNs. Out top recommendation is ExpressVPN because it also offers a Safari browser extension, so you can stream Netflix online without any issue.

Does Apple recommend VPN?

Although Apple has made no official statements about VPNs, the company does offer a built-in VPN. This indicates that the company does implicitly recommend VPN services.

Are Mac VPNs different than other VPNs?

No, Mac VPNs are not different from other VPNs and you can use them on other platforms including Windows, iOS, Android and Linux. However, make to download VPN apps directly from the site because some features are not available on VPNs apps downloaded from the App Store.

Conclusion

macOS is a phenomenal series of computers that combine style with performance in a single sleek package. But everything precious requires protection from harm, especially in an age where cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent and severe with time.

Furthermore, geo-restrictions on websites are ever-present, and for streaming enthusiasts, this is a big problem. After all, what’s the point of Netflix if most of your desired shows/movies are accessible in a foreign country.

The most trusted and effective solution to these problems is using the best VPN for Mac, for its unblocking capability with great privacy features. If you need to stay safe while surfing the web at fast speeds on your macOS, then ExpressVPN is the best option to go for.