Mac users can get somewhat complacent about security, but they shouldn’t – Apple’s desktop computers are being increasingly targeted by cybercriminals, and it never pays to let your guard down.
Certainly, as well as competent antivirus, folks with a Mac need a quality Virtual Private Network just as much as anyone on Windows – although not every VPN service provides a client or satisfactory support for macOS users. However, if you’re stuck as to which provider to go with, help is at hand…
How to choose the best VPN for Mac
It’s not always easy to find a Mac-friendly VPN service. Obviously enough, it’s important to choose a provider that offers a pre-configured client for its service. Having a good Mac client is a huge boon in terms of simply making things as easy as possible. Solid iOS support is also a welcome feature if you’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem and have an iPhone as well as a Mac.
Best all-round VPN
Number of servers: N/A | Server locations: 136 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 3
ExpressVPN is our top choice for the best all-round VPN service on the Mac. Their dedicated app is intuitive and very user-friendly, which features a one-click option for connecting, as well as some advanced options. It uses 256-bit OpenVPN encryption both over UDP and TCP protocols and comes with a kill switch.
Nevertheless, the pricing slightly tarnishes things. The service is a tad pricier than most other VPN providers, with no free trial – but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. ExpressVPN offers three price plans, with the 12-month plan offering the best value. The packages available are:
Most secure VPN
Number of servers: 739 | Server locations: 58 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6
When it comes to security, NordVPN does it like no other. Its own ‘Double VPN’ technology encrypts data twice – in other words, it passes your data through two separate VPN servers to make things even more secure – while there are additional security extras such as encrypted chat, web proxy extensions and so on.
NordVPN’s clients for both macOS and iOS are rather basic compared to others, but keeping things simple can be advantageous for novices. This provider is also P2P-friendly and has a strict zero logs policy, which makes it perfect for those seeking an ultra-secure and private experience. The performance was slightly above average in our testing, too.
There's a free 3-day trial (hidden away in the FAQ), and NordVPN is a relatively affordable service. There are three plans available with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The 1-year plan is the most popular and obvious choice. The packages available are:
Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: 200,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 3-5
This Switzerland-based provider operates a tier-1 network and is solely in charge of its own servers – so it’s no wonder that VyprVPN does well on the performance front. In fact, in our testing we found that it more than doubled our download speeds compared to our regular rates (without the VPN running).
When it comes to Mac, there is a rather neat and, to our knowledge, unique feature. Namely, the ability to manage and customise your VPN connections on a per-app basis, allowing for better overall control of your online privacy. And in terms of security, you get VyprDNS, OpenVPN (160-bit and 256-bit), L2TP/IPsec protocols, as well as VyprVPN’s own Chameleon protocol for avoiding VPN blocking.
VyprVPN has two pricing plans with either monthly or annual billing. Monthly plans are rather expensive, so the yearly option is the best way to save money. Curiously, there are no refunds available from this provider, so be sure to utilise the three-day free trial in order to test the service out before you buy. The packages available are:
- Basic: [$9.95 a month] [$45 annually - $3.75 a month]
- Premium: [$12.95 a month] [$60 annually - $5 a month]
Best balanced VPN
Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40000+ | Maximum devices supported: 5
IPVanish’s Mac app features a nifty design and a few welcome options like a kill switch and automatic IP switching. The service is blazingly fast, and it’ll automatically hook you up to the fastest server available, a nice touch on the convenience front. Not only are download speeds fast with this VPN, it allows P2P.
OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP protocols are supported, and there’s also decent iOS support and a wide coverage of servers, with no logging of the user’s activities.
However, you pay for the performance you get here. IPVanish doesn’t have a free trial, although there is a 7-day money-back guarantee with all three available plans. The 1-year subscription is clearly the best choice. The packages available are:
Most affordable VPN
Number of servers: 300+ | Server locations: 50+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
KeepSolid VPN Unlimited has all the right ingredients in optimal quantities. Its native Mac client is well-designed, and you can pick up nifty extras like a personal server or a personal static IP. The service also boasts solid iOS support and doesn’t store any user information on the privacy front.
Performance varied a bit during our testing, but overall the service was solid enough, doing well on downloads, but with things slowing up a bit more on uploads. And the choice of servers isn’t as extensive as some rival VPNs.
There are three price plans and they all represent good value for money, ranging from a monthly offering to a permanent ‘Infinity’ subscription. The 1-year plan offers the best savings (if you don’t need a permanent plan, that is) – and don’t forget you can avail yourself of a 7-day free trial to test the service out. The packages available are: