The conventional wisdom holds that if you’re working with a Macintosh you can rest easy when it comes to security. And while Mac and Apple devices are considered more secure and stable than their Windows counterparts, you should still consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to safeguard your privacy—not to mention to access all types of online content like Netflix and Hulu that may be blocked where you live. Most VPN companies offer dedicated Mac software, which is designed specifically for use with your Apple products.
If you’re new to the world of VPNs (you’re not alone) it can be a bit daunting at times sussing out which one is best for you. You’ll want to find a VPN that is easy to set up, that can safeguard your privacy when using your Apple device and which also gives you a wealth of features to make your online experience that much more streamlined and enjoyable.
We’ve surveyed the top companies in the industry to find you the best VPNs for Mac available today. All of these VPNs have dedicated apps and tons of features for Mac and Mac software and you should have no problem setting them up on your own within just a few minutes.
- Privacy and Security. ExpressVPN has a strict no-logging policy and your usage is never monitored. It uses the same top-notch encryption as the military in addition to other security protocols. It also has an automatic kill-switch that will terminate your connection if the VPN connection drops at any point.
- Speed. ExpressVPN is known for being one of the fastest VPNs anywhere. It uses thousands of servers located in almost 100 countries across the world to optimize the performance of your Mac. This can also help ensure smooth streaming for Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, you name it.
- Customer service. You can reach ExpressVPN customer support via email 24 hours a day or by way of an online support ticket. The company website also features an extensive online knowledge base.
Speed is one of the hallmarks of ExpressVPN, which is regularly rated one of the best VPNs on the market. The VPN uses thousands of servers across 94 countries to keep things running smoothly for your Mac. This creates a better online experience in general, but especially if you like to stream TV shows or watch sports online.
ExpressVPN can also keep your Apple device safe and secure, with top-notch encryption and security protocols, a strict no-logging policy, and an automatic kill switch that allows you to browse Safari privately and securely.
The system is compatible on all types of Mac operating systems, from High Sierra to Yosemite to Snow Leopard and can work with all Mac computers and iOS devices.
Why we love it:
If you’re an avid online gamer looking for the best VPN, ExpressVPN can make your gaming experience even better. This is in large part due to the VPN’s great speed, but also its specialized anti-DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) protection.
- Privacy and Security. NordVPN uses double-data encryption technology and has a strict no-logging policy. It also utilizes an automatic kill switch that will instantly shut down the functions of your choosing in the event the VPN connection should fall, helping keep your Mac and Mac software safe.
- Speed. Because of the high level of encryption, NordVPN does experience inconsistent speed at times. This can slow things down if you’re using your Mac to stream a TV show or watch a sports broadcast from across the world. That said, this depends largely on the location of the servers you’re using and NordVPN does not apply any speed or bandwidth limits to its users.
- Customer service. On NordVPN you can contact a representative via live chat at any time, and receive a prompt response. You can also email customer service at any time and expect a response in up to 48 hours, according to the company. There is also an extensive knowledge base on the company website’s “help center.”
There’s more to NordVPN’s app for Mac than just its beautiful design. It’s also a breeze to use. The app automatically selects the best server and includes a dedicated ping-o-meter which lets you monitor for performance issues in real time. You can also use it on up to 6 devices at the same time, meaning that your Mac and any iOS devices you have can be up and running securely in no time.
Why we love it:
NordVPN gets a thumbs up for being easy to use, but their big selling point is security. With military grade encryption (which encrypts your data twice) strict no-logging, and a host of other features NordVPN has what it takes to keep your Mac safe.
- Privacy and Security. None of your personal information is logged or stored by ZenMate and the company uses industry-grade TSL encryption standards and private servers. The company uses what it describes as “unbreakable AES 256 protocol” for security
- Speed. ZenMate touts its “turbo speed VPN” and “lightning fast speeds” and has done well in performance tests for streaming. The company does not put any bandwidth limits on users and allows for simultaneous connections on up to 5 devices.
- Customer service. Zenmate has a customer support email where you can submit questions and receive a response from a company representative. Zenmate also advertises a 30-day money-back guarantee.
When the company says “click and connect,” they mean it. ZenMate’s VPN can be downloaded and set up in just a minute and will launch automatically whenever you power up your laptop. ZenMate also works on up to 5 devices at once, so after you’ve downloaded ZenMate VPN for Mac, you can also get it set up on your iPad, iPhone, really anywhere that you have a Mac or iOS device.
Why we love it:
ZenMate is a great choice for anyone, but especially if you’re looking for a headache-free, easy to set up VPN solution. In addition, the VPN comes with a number of added security features for your Mac, including tracking protection and ad-blocking. It also has some added features for business owners, including encrypted VoIP calling and the ability to conduct international quality assurance without having to be physically present in another country.
- Privacy and Security: Surfshark offers a lot in terms of security and privacy. There are several tools it uses to hide your internet activity, even from your internet provider. Features like Camouflage Mode and MultiHop keep your identity and your activity safe and secure. Plus, with DNS leak protection and an auto-kill switch, Surfshark ensures you’re secure every minute of the day.
- Speed: Currently, Surfshark only has about 500 servers. This doesn’t contend with the big dogs that offer 2000+, which makes it all the more impressive when you see Surfshark’s speed test results. In short, they’re excellent, showing that Surfshark will only get better as it adds more servers to the collection. Surfshark also has servers spread across 50+ locations, adding to the speed.
- Customer Service: Surfshark has an excellent customer service rating across the web, and that’s because it invests a lot into making its customers happy. Surfshark offers 24/7 live chat support as well as email support. The FAQ and Help Center section is also incredibly detailed with thorough answers to help you troubleshoot on your own if you prefer.
When you add up all these benefits, it's no surprise that Surfshark lands on the top VPN lists all the time. This brand offers robust and versatile security features, lightning fast streaming, and a great user experience all around (something you don’t always get with Mac versions). All that for less than $2 a month makes Surfshark a mighty impressive option.
Why we love it:
Surfshark has a creative way of keeping you secure. The vast array of security features is nothing short of extraordinary. And this brand manages to do it all without compromising the all-important element of speed. Mac users looking for a faster way to stream and download will be pleasantly surprised with Surfshark.
5. Private Internet Access
- Privacy and Security. Private Internet Access is a secure VPN with encrypted wifi, a strict no-logging policy, a kill switch, and two-factor authentication. It also offers an enhanced level of security by blocking ads, trackers, and malware.
- Speed. While VPNs are often known for slowing down internet connections, Private Internet Access offers a fast server network, especially since the release of its Next Generation network of servers. These Gen4 servers have an upgraded infrastructure that enhances speed, reliability, and security.
- Customer Service. Private Internet Access has an extensive Help Center that includes information and troubleshooting for a variety of topics. To receive personalized assistance, you can contact the customer support team via in-site messaging and chat. As part of its customer service policy, Private Internet Access offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Private Access VPN is a veteran in the world of VPNs with over 10 years of experience. It’s easy to download and use on Mac operations systems. In addition to a secure connection, Private Internet Access offers anonymity, unlimited bandwidth, P2P support, multiple VPN gateways, and a SOCKS5 Proxy. The price is pretty great too at $2.69/month for a 2-year plan.
Why we love it:
Private Internet Access has one of the largest server networks out there with over 35,000 servers in 77 countries. This means you can get really specific about your server location and enjoy fast connections. Another great aspect of Private Internet Access is that 1 subscription is good for up to 10 devices, so you can secure all of your macOS and iOS devices for just a few dollars a month.
VPN for Macbook
When looking for a VPN for Macbook, there are a few musts that you should focus on. You want to look for a high-speed VPN that can keep up with live streams and allow you to readily switch servers if things slow down. You’ll want to make sure your VPN provider has top-notch security protocols installed, especially if you download torrents, and you’ll also want to keep your eyes peeled for a no-logging policy for your data.
You’ll also want to make sure that your VPN can bypass the VPN detectors of companies like Netflix, so you can reliably watch blocked content no matter where you are.
Finally, you’ll want to look for reliable customer service, and make sure the price is right.
Most VPN companies will provide a dedicated MacOS desktop app, which you can get up and running with just a click.
How to Install and Use a VPN on Your Mac
VPNs might intimidate some users, but they’re meant to be easy to install and use, even for the most novice of users.
First things first, shop around some and find the VPN that’s best for you. Sign up with a VPN provider and then download the Mac software. Follow the installation instructions. The software should walk you through this and it should require nothing more than double-clicking a few times. Once the VPN is installed, run it and enter in your account details as needed.
Once you’re up and running, you can get in the app and select a VPN server to connect to. You can either run the VPN all the time or just log on anytime you want to surf privately or access blocked content, it’s up to you.
- Is it legal?
Yes, with some very rare exceptions (say, in rogue, non-democratic states) using a VPN is illegal, but in the United States you have nothing to worry about from the authorities (at least not when it comes to your VPN).
Having said that, while the use of a VPN is legal, that doesn’t mean anything you do on the VPN is kosher. A good rule of thumb is - if it’s illegal when you’re not using the VPN (say, buying drugs or guns online) then it’ll be illegal even with the VPN.
- Is it safe?
No security system in the world is 100% airtight, but using a VPN provides you with a far better level of security and privacy than you would have otherwise. The connection between your computer and the VPN is secure, but the VPN’s connection to the rest of the internet is different, so if you’re doing something that you don’t want tracked, keep in mind that it can get back to the VPN IP address, though not to your specific computer. By using a mix of encryption protocols and dedicated connections, hackers are typically unable to get a hold of your data or know your location.
Protect Your Mac, Now
You could be an avid gamer or just someone who loves to stream TV shows or is concerned about privacy, and the appeal of a VPN would be the same. And while it can be tough deciding which VPN is best, by using our guide of the top VPNs for Mac you should be well-equipped with the knowledge to find the one that best matches your needs. If you are still not sure which VPN is best for you or have other devices to cover.