5 Best Mac VPNs in 2019 - Secure your iMac and Macbook

With a VPN for Mac you can gain freedom, security, and privacy online. However, out of all the VPN providers on the market, only half of them offer VPN software for Macs. The lack of compatibility for Macs can make it tricky to find a VPN. The good news is that there are some outstanding Mac VPN services on the market - you just have to look a bit harder. In this article, our experts have done the hard work for you by pinpointing the 5 best VPNs for Mac in 2019.

What are the best VPNs for Mac?

We have listed the best VPNs for Mac below. All of our recommendations have formidable Mac VPN software, strong security features and high-speed servers (so you can stream content in HD). If you want even more information, can scroll down for detailed summaries on each VPN or click through to the provider website.

  1. NordVPN - the best ratio of value to VPN features available for Mac
  2. CyberGhost - a cheap option that is great for beginners
  3. ExpressVPN - a veteran to the VPN industry that provides advanced VPN features
  4. PrivateVPN - a VPN for Mac that perfect for unblocking streams like Netflix
  5. VyprVPN - a secure and reliable VPN that is a favorite among macbook owners

5 Best Mac VPN clients in 2019

Now for the detail. The in-depth list below lets you dive into the detail of each provider and compare them against each other:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN combines security, unblocking and speed to make it a great all-round choice for Mac.

  • Pricing

    From $3.49 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • iOS
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

NordVPN is the best VPN for Mac because of its security features, fantastic Mac VPN app, and consistently fast servers. This provider is based in Panama that is considered superb for privacy. It provides a zero-logs policy and strong OpenVPN encryption that will keep your data secure from any snooping ISPs or government agencies. NordVPN has an outstanding VPN app for Mac OS, and it has all the important features you are likely to need. In fact, users can download a Mac OS client with IKEv2 or a seperate Mac client with OpenVPN. 

Both of those Mac VPN clients have a killswitch. However, only the OpenVPN Mac VPN app has obfuscated servers for getting around ISP firewalls. We tend to recommend sticking to the OpenVPN version, which also has double hop encryption, and allows users to select between UDP and TCP. 

Where ease of use is concerned this Mac VPN is outstanding, and it has servers in over 60 countries to let you unblock anything you want. It also works with Netflix US. It even has a cybersec feature that protects you from ads, unsafe connections, and malicious sites! 

We think this VPN is by far the best option for Mac users, and you can test it thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee. 

2. CyberGhost

CyberGhost is super secure and super easy to use. A great choice for fans of things that just work.

  • Pricing

    From $2.75 / month
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

CyberGhost is a VPN that also provides an excellent Mac OS X VPN app. The VPN is based in Romania, which puts it out of reach of invasive legislation such as the UK and the US. CyberGhost is cheap and its Mac app provides everything you need to gain privacy while accessing websites and services from all over the world. The software is also ideal for protecting your macbook from hackers on public WiFi. 

CyberGhost has servers in 60 countries, which means that you can pretend to be just about anywhere in the world. Admittedly, the MAc client is quite stripped back compared to its windows counterpart. However, if you want something that is perfect for beginners, and you mainly want to unblock content - this VPN will do the trick at an affordable rate. Plus you can test if for 45 days to ensure it does what you need!

3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN gives more, but you pay more. The perfect choice for those who simply want the best features and speed.

  • Pricing

    From $6.67 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

ExpressVPN is quite a bit more expensive than NordVPN. However, it has an OpenVPN Mac app that is perfect for privacy and unblocking. ExpressVPN has a zero logs policy, and it always protects its subscriber’s privacy. And, thanks to OpenVPN encryption, Mac users never need to worry about having their data tracked by their ISP or the government. 

ExpressVPN protects you against hackers on public WiFi, and when it comes to accessing more content it is exceptional. ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries, and those servers are lightning fast for HD streaming. 

This VPN unblocks important services such as US Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Sadly, Express only lets you use the VPN on 3 simultaneous devices (NordVPN permits 6). However, ExpressVPN does have a VPN extension for Safari - which may be something you want. We think ExpressVPN is worth the extra money if you can afford it because it is truly world class. Definitely worth comparing thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee!

4. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN offers a nice and low price point, but doesn't skimp on their service either.

  • Pricing

    From $1.89 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

PrivateVPN is an excellent VPN provider is from Sweden, and it is often praised by its subscribers for providing fantastic reliability. The Mac VPN app is easy to use and it has all the features you need to protect your privacy both at home and on public WiFi. 

True to its name, PrivateVPN keeps no logs, and it implements OpenVPN on all platforms - including Mac. This means that your ISP and the government will not be able to track your web browsing habits or metadata. PrivateVPN is particularly good for streaming, speeds are good and it is one of the few services that can provide access not only to Netflix US, but a large selection of Netflix catalogs around the world. Plus, servers are located in 54 countries around the world for all your unblocking needs.

Sadly, this client does not implement a killswitch so if you need one, please go for one of the two top VPNs. You can test PRivateVPN using its 30-day money back guarantee.

5. VyprVPN

VyprVPN runs their own network of VPN servers. Perfect for the more security conscious Mac user.

  • Pricing

    From $5.00 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
    • MacOS
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

VyprVPN is based in Switzerland a location that is particularly good for privacy because the Swiss government does not tend to snoop on data for no reason. The VPN runs on a completely proprietary network of servers and this VPN keeps no logs which means that your privacy is assured. VyprVPN has servers in over 70 countries, and it can always unblock everything you might need. Due to its Tier 1 network, which belongs to the internet conglomerate Golden Frog, this VPN can provide fantastic speeds for streaming. 

As is the case with the other VPNs in this guide, VyprVPN is idea for downloading from BitTorrent websites in privacy. VyprVPN has above par customer service, and its Mac OSX app has all the features you need to keep your data secure. You can give this VPN a try using its 30-day money back guarantee. And, if you want a VPn for Mac that has a killswitch and DNS leak protection built in; this VPN has what you need!

5 Best VPNs for Mac: Speed analysis

Depending on what you intend to use your VPN for, speed is a key consideration that you will want to make before making a buying decision. To help you understand how each of your recommended VPNs perform, see our daily speed test graph.

Can I use a VPN to improve my internet speeds?

Unfortunately, a VPN will not improve your current internet speeds. The tests in the graph above are conducted in lab conditions using a dedicated gigabit line. You shouldn't expect similar speeds but it provides a strong indication of which VPNs are performing well.

To learn more about how a VPN impacts your VPN speed, check out our VPN speed test guide.

Why are these the best VPNs for Mac?

When it comes to picking VPNs for Mac, there are many important things to consider. While it is vital for the VPN to have a custom Mac VPN app, it is also essential that the VPN has certain important features. Our experts use an in-depth review process to discover VPNs for Mac that meet the following criteria:

All of our recommendations are known to provide a premium service that works perfectly on Mac OS X. And, if you are an Apple user with an iPhone, you will be happy to know that all our recommendations also provide iOS VPN apps.

If you're new to the world of VPNs, find all the information you need with our handy guides:

What can I do with a VPN on Mac?

If you are asking the question: “Do I need a VPN for Mac?” You probably want to know how a VPN can help you. Below is a list of the best things you can do with a VPN…

  • Stop your ISP from tracking your web habits and communications metadata
  • Stop the government tracking everything you do online
  • Download via BitTorrent in complete privacy
  • Protect your IP address from the websites you visit and hackers
  • Stop hackers stealing your data on public WiFi
  • Access foreign services and streams
  • Watch streaming content on piracy sites with privacy
  • Save money online pretending to be elsewhere
  • Access more Sport than ever before
  • Watch US Netflix or BBC iPlayer overseas
  • Access websites and services from back home while on holiday
  • Access Facebook, Twitter, or other blocked sites at work

How to set up a VPN on Mac

Once you have opted for your favorite Mac VPN from this list, getting it set up is extremely easy:

  1. Download the VPN for Mac OS X. The software is available on your VPN’s website once you have subscribed
  2. Install the VPN for Mac OS X and log in with your credentials.
  3. Select a server from the VPN list and click connect

As soon as the VPN for Mac OS connects, your real IP address is concealed and you can go ahead and access content from that country in privacy.

Can I get a free VPN for Mac

If you don’t have much money to spend you may be wondering; what is the best free VPN for Mac? This is a fair question, and there are some free VPN services on the market that you can trust. 

However, it is worth noting that the vast majority of free VPNs make money by selling their users’ data. This is the equivalent of getting an umbrella that is full of holes. So, please exercise extreme caution and stick only to trusted free VPN software for Macs.

While using a free Mac VPN might be an option for most people, the reality is that trustworthy free VPN plans are only there as a taster that shows people what the VPN is capable of. This means that those free plans are limited and restricted in various ways (limited server locations, bandwidth restrictions, and download limits). 

The best way to get a full, unadulterated VPN experience - with all the bells and whistles - is to test one of the best VPNs for Mac using a money back guarantee:

ProviderFree Trial?Free Subscription
CyberGhostYes - 7 daysNo
NordVPNYes - 3 daysNo
ExpressVPNYes (mobile only) - 7 daysNo
PrivateVPNYes - 7 daysNo
VyprVPNYes - 3 daysNo

It is also worth bearing in mind there are a lot of cheap VPN services that have some of the best Mac VPN clients on the market.

Top-tip: Get ExpressVPN for Free!

Did you know you can experience ExpressVPN's fully featured service without limitation… for free!

If you're finding free VPNs too restrictive, why not test ExpressVPN premium service? Simply purchase a subscription using the button below and take advantage of the no-nonsense money-back-guarantee. Enjoy the service for up to 30-days, and when you cancel, you will receive a complete refund!

Visit ExpressVPN >>

VPNs Macbook users should avoid

While there are many VPN providers that are compatible and work with Mac, there are a few that we recommend you avoid outright for the reasons listed below.

Hola

Hola scores very low for overall privacy and security due primarily to the fact that they turn their users’ connections on their network into individual VPN nodes for other users to connect through. Essentially, this means that you are technically held liable for any activity being transmitted through your connection. We wouldn’t recommend using Hola under any circumstance

Unlocator

We wouldn’t recommend using Unlocator on your Mac because they are essentially a SmartDNS service first, and a VPN service second. Unlocator’s VPN service playing second fiddle to their SmartDNS service doesn’t particularly give us much faith that they direct any of the necessary resources into making their VPN worthwhile. On top of that, they do not offer a dedicated client app, they only offer access to their servers. The setup needs to be done manually on your computer, which is not ideal for VPN neophytes.

OkayFreedom

An otherwise decent VPN service, we cannot recommend OkayFreedom for Mac simply because they only offer Windows compatibility at this time.

As illustrated with the examples above, there are a few reasons why certain VPN providers do not make the cut for Mac. To be safe, we strongly advise sticking with one of the recommended VPNs for Mac in this article.

FAQs

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. Ray is currently rated #4 VPN and #3 internet privacy authority by Agilience.com.

29 Comments

  1. gramic

    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

    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. 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.

    2. 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).

  3. Ariel G

    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

    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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