5 Best Mac VPNs in 2020 - Secure your iMac and Macbook

A VPN for Mac will give you privacy and freedom online. However, only half of the VPN providers on the market have compatible VPN software for Macs. The lack of VPNs for Mac can make it tricky to find a service. This is annoying, because a Mac VPN will stop your ISP tracking your web history for the government. It will also let you unblock geo-restricted content like BBC iPlayer or Netflix US. Or access government censored or ISP blocked websites; such as free streaming sites and BitTorrent.

Luckily, there are a few outstanding Mac VPNs on the market! In this guide, our experts have carefully analyzed the market to pinpoint the 5 best VPNs for Mac in 2020.

What are the best VPNs for Mac?

Below, you will find the best VPNs for Mac. All of our recommendations have superb Mac VPN software, strong security features, and high-speed servers (so you can stream content in HD). However, if you want to see specific details, simply scroll down for in-depth summaries about each VPN or click through to the provider's website.

  1. ExpressVPN - a veteran to the VPN industry that provides advanced VPN features
  2. CyberGhost VPN - a cheap option that is great for beginners
  3. NordVPN - the best ratio of value to VPN features available for Mac
  4. VyprVPN - a secure and reliable VPN that is a favorite among macbook owners
  5. Surfshark - is the new kid on the block. Based in the British Virgin Islands

5 Best Mac VPN clients in 2020

These are the best Mac VPNs by quite a long way, which means they will all provide fantastic performance levels. However, they do all differ slightly. The detailed summaries below will let you compare these differences so that you can pick the best Apple Mac VPN for you.

1. 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 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

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!

2. CyberGhost VPN

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

  • Pricing

    From $2.75 - $12.99
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

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. NordVPN

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

  • Pricing

    From $3.49 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

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. 

4. VyprVPN

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

  • Pricing

    From $2.71 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
    • MacOS
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

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. Surfshark

Great new VPN with all the features

  • Pricing

    From $1.99 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Surfshark VPN is only a year or so old, but in that short time, it has taken the VPN market by storm with blazing fast speed performance and 500 servers in over 50 countries.


As is to be expected from today’s top VPN providers, Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 live chat support. What is unusual is that it allows you to connect as many devices as you want to the service at the same time!


Throw in split tunneling so you can choose which apps routes through the VPN and which don’t, a full Smart DNS service, and the fact that Surfshark unblocked every service we threw at it, and you can see why it won our coveted Newcomer Award.


Surfshark is registered in the British Virgin Islands and easily meets our requirements for a no-logs VPN. Technical security is also top-notch, and we appreciate the wealth of extra privacy and security features on offer. These include double-hop VPN, and DNS-based ad blocking and malware protection. 

5 Best VPNs for Mac: Speed analysis

For a VPN to be worth its salt, privacy and security is of primary importance. However, most consumers are more interested in what they can do with their VPN once they get that privacy (and can start doing anything they like online). 

The majority of these exciting possible uses for a VPN are highly dependent on a fast internet connection, which is why VPN speeds are so important.  We test VPNs three times per day, using a gigabit line. The graph below shows you those results - so that you can see exactly which VPNs are fastest today. 

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 because you don't have a gigabit line at home. However, these results precisely show you which VPNs are fastest right now, so that you can pick the fastest VPN in the world - if that is what you want. 

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?

To evaluate VPNs and find the best services, our experts use a wide range of criteria. For a VPN to be considered good for Mac, it must have a custom Mac VPN app. It must also provide certain essential features. Our experts use an in-depth review process to find VPNs for Mac that meet the following specifications:

All of our recommended VPNs are trusted service that work 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 wondering: “Do I need a VPN for Mac?” You probably want to know how a VPN can help you. Below you will find 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 super 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 are low on cash, you may be wondering if you can get a Mac VPN for free. The good news is that we can recommend some free VPN services. However, you must stick to those providers because most free VPN services snoop on user data and sell it to third parties. This is massively risky. Some free services have even been found to contain spyware, or to lie about the encryption they provide. 

Using a cowboy free VPN 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.

With that said, please bear in mind that trustworthy free VPN plans are only there as a taster that shows people what a 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 that there are some cheap VPN services that have good Mac VPN clients on the market too. So if you need a cheaper option click through to see what is available. 

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 #7 VPN and #7 internet privacy authority by Agilience.com.

29 Comments

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.
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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...
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.
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
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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.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/2020/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-default.png
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).
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.
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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.
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.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/2020/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-default.png
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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