5 Best Free VPNs for Mac

These are the best free VPNs for Mac

  1. Hide.me
  2. Windscribe
  3. ProtonVPN
  4. TunnelBear
  5. Hotspot Shield

If you are a MacBook or iMac user, you may be wondering whether it's possible to get a reliable free VPN. The answer is yes, but you must be extremely careful about which service you choose because many are substandard and could put you at risk. If you require a VPN on a constant basis to do data intensive tasks such as streaming or video conferencing, we generally recommend getting a full premium Mac VPN subscription.

With that said, the good news is that some high-quality VPNs provide a limited free plan that you can use on your Mac to gain privacy and access restricted content without paying a dime. In this guide, our experts will walk you through the best free VPN options for Mac so you can quickly get hold of a service that won’t put you at risk.

What’s the catch?

There are hundreds of free VPNs on the market, and the vast majority of them have poor privacy policies that allow them to collect your data and sell it to third parties. This is the polar opposite of what a VPN is supposed to do, and if you value privacy, it is important to stay away from these services. The providers behind these services are basically vultures, and like any low-hanging fruit, free VPNs are often designed to catch people out.

Luckily, there are some free VPNs on the market that you can trust. Some premium providers make it part of their core mission to provide a restricted free version of their service, so that people who are in urgent need of a VPN can gain limited use. These kinds of free VPN plans do not skimp on privacy or security, which means that they are 100 percent safe to use.

While it is extremely generous of reliable VPN providers to let consumers use their service for free, there are some caveats. Those VPNs are designed to give you a small taste of the entire experience, hoping you will decide to pay for a full subscription. For this reason, those providers do place certain restrictions on the free version:

  1. Fewer server locations to connect to.
  2. Usage limits/download limitations.
  3. Bandwidth restrictions (slow connection speeds).
  4. Inability to unblock Netflix and access other such services.

At the end of the day, there is no real way to get a full premium VPN experience for free. So if you require a VPN on a daily basis, it is probably worth investing to get a full unrestricted experience. However, if you are new to VPNs or only require very limited use of one; this article can help.

The Best Free VPNs for Mac

Below you will find the best free VPNs for Mac as chosen by our resident VPN experts. These services all provide strong encryption and reliable privacy policies that ensure they do the job they are supposed to do. Please read the in-depth summaries to find out what is available for free with each provider, so you can choose the best service for you.

1. Hide.me

hide.me will let you unblock content in complete privacy without paying a dime

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

hide.me is a Malaysian VPN that provides an extremely generous free plan. The VPN is secure thanks to strong OpenVPN encryption, and has a zero-logs policy to ensure your web browsing habits are always private. That means you can trust this VPN to provide data privacy and security for your MacBook both at home and on public WiFi.


For free, users get access to five server locations (US East, US West, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Canada). So, if you need a server in the UK - or elsewhere, you will need to try a different free VPN for Mac. On the plus side, hide.me lets you download 10GB of data each month at speeds of up to 80 Mbps - which makes this free VPN for macOS extremely versatile!

2. Windscribe

Windscribe offers most of its features in its free plan, only limited by a data cap

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

Windscribe is consistently rated one of the best free VPNs for Mac. Compared to other trustworthy free services, Windscribe is massively generous - allowing users 10GB of data use per month. Admittedly, Windscribe is based in Canada, which isn’t the best location due to it being a member of Five Eyes. However, it does provide strong encryption and has a zero logs policy, which means that your data will always be secure. Unfortunately, Windscribe does block Netflix on its free plan. However, a solid free Mac VPN that is worth a test run!

3. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN has no caps on its free service, making it a perfect VPN for Mac users on a budget

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

ProtonVPN is an excellent free VPN by the developers of Proton Mail. This makes it a highly trusted service in terms of privacy.  It is a zero-logs service based in Switzerland that lets Mac users enjoy VPN usage on an unlimited basis. That is pretty mind blowing, because it means you can use it all day every day. However, please bear in mind that speeds are capped and get even slower when the free servers are congested (which is often because it is highly popular).  Thus, it may not be suitable for streaming and other data intensive tasks on your MacBook. Still, when it is free and can be used at all times, who could argue!? Free users get access to servers in the Netherlands, Japan, and the USA.

4. TunnelBear

TunnelBear has a wide range of location choices on its free plan

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android

TunnelBear VPN is a free service for Mac that is also based in Canada. Again, this isn’t the best location we can think of for a privacy service to be based. However, it keeps no invasive logs that could put you at risk and its service has been audited to show that it is secure. The big drawback with TunnelBear, is that it only lets users have 500MB of downloads per month - which means it is only going to be useful to people who want to read restricted news. For streaming and other data intensive tasks, stick to a VPN above. Despite this, TunnelBear provides plenty of location choices - making it useful for bypassing censorship without paying.

5. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield gives Mac users a generous data cap of 500MB per, which stacks up

  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

Hotspot Shield is a US based free VPN that lets people have 500MB of free use every day. This is very generous, when you add that up across a whole month! Admittedly, for free users may only connect to a server in the US; but this will suit many people because it will let them unblock most important things. Hotspot Shield provides fast speeds, making it good for heavier tasks. However, it doesn’t provide OpenVPN encryption, so if you want the best encryption protocol you may want to stick to one of the services above. However, we love Hotspot Shield because it has helped millions of users worldwide during times of political upheaval - allowing them to access blocked social media and news in their time of need.

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. 

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