Let's face it, if you're a Mac user you probably think your laptop or desktop is impregnable. Think again – Apple’s desktop computers are being increasingly targeted by cybercriminals, and it never pays to let your guard down. Getting the best Mac VPN you can is a good option to help give you extra online security.
Online security is a big reason why downloading and installing a VPN is becoming an ever more popular thing to do, but of course there are plenty of other reasons why you may be hunting for a Virtual Private Network. Whether it's because you're trying to use your Mac to access websites that are blocked by your office, school or ISP (or even your government!) or just want to watch foreign TV shows, getting a VPN makes sense.
Certainly, as well as competent antivirus, folks with a Mac need a quality VPN just as much as anyone on Windows – although not every one of the best-rated VPN options 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 with TechRadar's dedicated best Mac VPN guide.
- Check out our guide to the overall best VPN service of the year
The best Mac VPN 2019
Best all-round VPN for Mac
Number of servers: 3000+ | Server locations: 160 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum devices supported: 3
ExpressVPN is our top choice for the best all-round VPN on the Mac. The firm's dedicated app is intuitive and very user-friendly, featuring 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.
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 streaming services like Netflix.
The provider is a tad pricier than most other VPNs, but may be a great fit for those who want the best 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:
Get the best Mac VPN 2019: $6.67 per month (with 3 months FREE)
You can tell that we really rate Express - it's the VPN we'd choose if we were getting one. And the good news is that TechRadar readers can get a little perk when they sign up, too. ExpressVPN has agreed to give readers three months extra free when they sign up for a year. Here are its plans and prices in full:
2. Hotspot Shield
A great option for online privacy
Number of servers: 2,500+ | Server locations: 25 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
The premium offering from Hotspot Shield is a great mix of price and privacy. The prices start low and we found in our tests that its encryption was strict in ensuring your anonymity online will be protected.
Plus, thanks to its pretty cool sounding Catapult Hyrda protocol, it recorded some of the fastest times of any VPN as well. So if the main reason for installing a VPN on to your Mac is for gaming or streaming, then you shouldn't be dogged with laggy interruptions that some lesser Virtual Private Networks can cause.
And then there's the numbers. For a start, you can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously from one account - so that's your Mac, smartphone (iOS or Android), Smart TV and games console with room for something else on top. Hotspot Shield has access to more than 2,500 servers across 25 countries and offers 24/ 7 support. The 7-day trial and 45-day money back guarantee makes Hotspot even more attractive to try, and these are its current plans in full:
Specialist Mac software rich with features
Number of servers: 3,700+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 7
"Digital anonymity especially crafted for your Mac". It's a pretty enticing sell from VPN provider CyberGhost, which we've found has the smarts to easily back up its claims. Let's start with the basics: more than 3,700 servers spread across 60 countries, no bar on torrents and some really handy live chat support if you ever run into difficulties.
Guaranteed no logs, rigorous encryption and a trigger-happy killswitch for any breaches in security mean it's certainly strong. But it's the added little extras that make CyberGhost stand out from the rest. Wanting to unlock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube or something else? No worries, as CyberGhost will automatically connect you to the server best poised for the purpose. It can also block ads, trackers and malicious websites.
If we have one criticism, it's that the user interface could do with some tweaking and optimisation. Sometimes this VPN isn't the easiest to navigate around. And there was the odd clogging, which lead to reduced speeds from servers in the far reaches of the globe. It's still well worth considering however, with these its best prices and plans:
Straightforward and secure
Number of servers: 5300+ | Server locations: 60+ | 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. Performance was slightly above average in our testing.
There's a free 7-day trial, and otherwise NordVPN is one of the most affordable VPN options for your Mac. The packages available are:
Brilliantly balanced Mac VPN
Number of servers: 1200+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40000+ | Maximum devices supported: 10
The Mac app from IPVanish features a nifty design and a few welcome options like a kill switch and automatic IP switching. The VPN 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 in terms of outright value. The packages available are:
How to choose the best Mac VPN
It’s not always easy to find a Mac-friendly VPN. 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.