The best VPN for Mac in 2018

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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. Getting a VPN for Mac is a good option.

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 one of the best VPN services 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.

Next, you need powerful security with strong encryption, which goes without saying, and an easily understandable privacy policy that makes it perfectly clear what data is kept by the provider. Good performance levels obviously don’t hurt, either. Below are the five best VPN services for Mac that we've picked out for you.

The best VPN for Mac is ExpressVPN

1. ExpressVPN

Best all-round VPN

Number of servers: 1500+ | Server locations: 148 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum devices supported: 3

Easy to use Mac app
Super fast speeds
Not the cheapest provider
Only 3 simultaneous connections

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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 encryption over OpenVPN UDP by default and the app comes with a kill switch and split tunneling functionality.

There’s also a very good iOS app and Safari browser extension, so you get a complete Apple VPN experience. Great speeds, a favourable privacy policy and 24/7 customer support round off an excellent Mac VPN product.

ExpressVPN includes fast VPN servers across 94 countries and unlimited bandwidth. That makes for a solid choice for anyone using the VPN for P2P traffic or unblocking content on services like Netflix.

The service is a tad pricier than most other VPN providers,  but may be a great fit for those who want the best VPN experience for Mac. ExpressVPN doesn’t come with a free trial, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee for reassurance. 

The company offers three price plans, with the 12-month plan offering the best value (you get an extra three months into the bargain). The packages available are:

 

2. NordVPN

Most secure VPN

Number of servers: 3518 | Server locations: 61 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6

Double data encryption
Good performance
Overly simple apps

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. Performance was slightly above average in our testing.

There's a free 3-day trial, and NordVPN is a relatively affordable service. There are four plans available with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and the 3-year offer represents great value. The packages available are:

3. VyprVPN

Fastest VPN

Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: 200,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 3-5

Superfast speeds
Feature-packed app
Some logging (connection times, IPs)
No refunds

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. However, note that some logging does go on here in the form of recording connection times and IP addresses.

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:

4. IPVanish

Best balanced VPN

Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40000+ | Maximum devices supported: 5

Fantastic performance
No logs policy
Slow support response
No free trial

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, it’s worth noting that when we contacted tech support, we experienced a sluggish response, and if you have a problem, this may prove a slight source of irritation.

IPVanish doesn’t have a free trial, sadly, 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:

5. Ivacy

Most affordable VPN

Number of servers: 450+ | Server locations: 100+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5

Speedy performance
Great value for money
No free trial
Refund restrictions

Ivacy gets off to a great start in terms of raw performance, as in our testing, it offered download speeds which almost matched our normal non-VPN rates. And when you consider the plentiful server locations spread across the globe, things are definitely looking good for this Singapore-based provider.

The Mac app is pretty intuitive, presenting you with a list of purpose-themed options – such as unblocking websites, or torrenting. Simply choose what you wish to do and the client sorts out the actual nitty-gritty of the settings itself, which makes everything very user-friendly.

Multiple security protocols (PPTP, SSTP, L2TP, OpenVPN and IKEv2) and 256-bit encryption are in place here, and you also get some advanced features like split tunnelling, IPv6 leak protection and a kill switch. As for your privacy, Ivacy enthusiastically states that it keeps ‘no logs whatsoever’!

Ivacy doesn’t offers a free trial and there are some restrictions with the refund policy. It’s only valid if you connect fewer than 30 times or use under 7GB of data. The two-year plan is extremely affordable, and the packages available are: