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Best VPN for Mac

Callum Tennent
By Callum TennentUpdated
A Macbook and iMac running a VPN

Apple Macs may have a stronger resistance to malware and viruses than other computers, but you still need a VPN for your MacBook or iMac. Most big-name VPN providers now offer dedicated MacOS clients, but not all of them are worth using.

Out of the 99 VPNs we’ve reviewed, these five are the best VPN services we recommend to Mac users.

Carry on reading for our unbiased review on each of these five VPNs, including some of their flaws. If you’re after a free VPN service though, we recommend these free VPNs for Mac.

The Most Important Factors When We Review a VPN for Mac

  1. Sleek, user-friendly Mac apps
  2. Fast local and international speeds
  3. Useful privacy features
  4. Transparent, fair and privacy-focused logging policies
  5. Works with Netflix
  6. High quality customer support

Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs

Read More Information on Our Top 5 Best VPN Services for Mac

Ranked #1 out of 99 VPNs for Mac

Works with

Netflix, Hulu, Sky, Now TV, HBO, SlingTV, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Very fast, global average of 59Mbps
  2. Instant set-up on Mac
  3. Reliable access to Netflix & iPlayer
  4. No restrictions on P2P traffic
  5. Minimal logging policy
  1. Shorter plans could be cheaper
  2. Three simultaneous connections only
The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is our highest-scoring VPN, and nothing changes when you use it on a Mac.

No other VPN offers such consistently fast speeds across its entire network, nor do many match its uninterrupted access to Netflix and other sites.

The Mac app is user-friendly and the list of supported other devices is long. The three connection limit could be more generous, though.

Ranked #2 out of 99 VPNs for Mac

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Fast download speeds: 75Mbps (global average)
  2. Simple & quick installation on Mac
  3. Works with Netflix & BBC iPlayer
  4. Torrenting/P2P allowed on many servers
  5. Zero-logs VPN
  1. Slow email support
  2. Extra protocols need manual configuration
The Bottom Line

NordVPN is a cheaper alternative to ExpressVPN for Mac that does the basics incredibly well – even if it lacks the full package offered by its rival.

It’s very secure and works reliably with both Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Local downloads peak at 451Mbps, making it one of the fastest on the market.

The Mac app is slick and user-friendly and you can protect up to a generous six devices at once.

Ranked #3 out of 99 VPNs for Mac

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Fast download speeds: 64Mbps (global average)
  2. Newly-updated Mac app
  3. Works with Netflix
  4. Optimized servers for Torrenting/P2P
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. No P2P on US & Australia servers
The Bottom Line

CyberGhost may be cheap, but it competes with its more premium rivals on almost every front – especially streaming and privacy.

Speeds on local connections are typically over 187Mbps, which comes in handy for streaming in HD using CyberGhost’s optimized servers.

A recent update to the MacOS app has made it sleek and user-friendly, which is a huge improvement on the older, more garish version.

Ranked #4 out of 99 VPNs for Mac

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Fast download speeds: 54Mbps (global average)
  2. Quick & easy setup on Mac
  3. Works with Netflix
  4. Unrestricted torrenting/P2P
  5. No logging
  1. Apps could be more user-friendly
  2. Short refund period (7 days)
The Bottom Line

IPVanish is a top pick for Mac users who prioritize Kodi and torrenting thanks to excellent speeds, no logging and extensive privacy tools.

It’s ultra-fast locally but less so internationally across a network that’s mid-sized for locations but super-sized for servers and IP addresses.

The Mac app could be more user-friendly, but makes up for it with powerful privacy features.

Ranked #5 out of 99 VPNs for Mac

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Fast download speeds: 71Mbps (global average)
  2. User-friendly Mac app
  3. Works with Netflix & iPlayer
  4. Torrenting/P2P allowed on all servers
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. No VPN kill switch on Mac app
  2. Small server network
The Bottom Line

PrivateVPN is another cheap alternative for Apple Mac users, with super-fast downloads that reach 394Mbps locally.

Access to popular streaming like Netflix sites is reliable, and the Mac app is simple to use, if a little dated.

It falls just short of our top picks for its small server network and because, unlike the rest, its MacOS client lacks the essential VPN kill switch feature.

Why Are These the Best VPNs for Mac?

Our best VPN picks for Mac have the fastest results in our speed tests around the world. They also consistently unblock popular streaming services, such as Netflix. We favor transparent, minimal logging policies along with advanced privacy features to make sure you’re always protected.

We spend hours testing every VPN on all available platforms, including MacOS, to make sure that you’ll have the best experience possible.

Don’t worry, our highest-scoring VPNs are constantly being tested and retested, so our recommendations are always up to date.

How to Use a VPN on Mac

If you’re not too tech-savvy then you can breathe a sigh of relief: installing a VPN on MacOS is just as simple as installing it on Windows, with no special extra steps required.

So long as your chosen VPN has a Mac-specific program it will usually be as simple as running the install file.

You can often decide to install your VPN at router level so that every device on your home network is covered at once – this is a little more technical, but it can be a great workaround for VPNs that aren’t available on Mac.

Once you’re connected, the VPN will continue to run in the background and you can carry on using your Mac as normal. For more information, hints and tips, check out our guide How to Install a VPN on Your Mac.

How to Add a VPN to Safari

If Safari (for desktop) is your web browser of choice, and you want to use a VPN extension/add-on with it, then we recommend you use ExpressVPN.

It’s the only top-tier VPN service that has a VPN extension for Safari, and it works very well. To add the ExpressVPN add-on to Safari, follow our step-by-step guide on adding VPN extensions to browsers.

How to Choose a VPN for Mac: 7 Tips

Almost all major VPN providers offer a dedicated app for Mac users, but the quality of these can seriously vary from one provider to the next.

Our top picks all have sleek, user-friendly Mac apps that still pack in loads of configurable manual settings without being too cluttered or confusing.

There’s no point in choosing a VPN with a super-sleek Mac app if the performance is no good.

As a general rule, the faster speeds the better – and you should also look for low latency on local servers for a seamless browsing experience.

Just remember that you won’t get fast speeds without a good internet connection in the first place.

The closer the VPN server to your physical location, the better the performance. A higher number of servers tends to mean less congestion and improved speeds, although there’s no guarantee.

We make sure to test every VPN we review on its speed and latency when connecting to a wide range of popular locations all around the world.

All our recommendations on this page will protect every internet-connected app and program on your Mac.

Not only that, but we also check to find out if they’ll grant you access to some of the most popular websites and services, like Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

The sheer amount of VPN jargon can be overwhelming, which is why we make sure to spell out when a product is the real deal and when it’s talking nonsense.

Do look out for OpenVPN though, as this connection protocol offers the best overall blend of speed and security. Ignore talk of military or bank-grade encryption and just look for AES-256, as that’s the gold standard.

A VPN kill switch is the most vital extra feature as it will protect you from exposing your real IP address should your connection drop unexpectedly.

Most VPNs will claim to be ‘zero logs’ – but the reality is a little more complex.

In order to deliver consistent performance across a vast server network, the majority of providers will need to monitor at least some connection details of their users. There’s good ways to do this, and very, very bad ways – we’ve seen equal measures of both.

The Logging Policy section of our reviews saves you having to read through reams of small print, as we tell you all the information in plain English.

Even the most expensive VPN plans can be made affordable by taking out a longer subscription.

Don’t bother with a one-month plan – 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing one with a long refund period.

We’d advise a 30-day no-questions-asked guarantee – they essentially act as a free trial period.

Make the right choice, though, and you hopefully won’t be thinking about a refund at all.