5 Best Free Mac VPNs to Download in 2021 (Works on All OS)
There are a ton of free VPNs, but most of them aren’t worth downloading. I’ve found most free VPNs are extremely limited, with low data caps, restricted access to streaming sites, and only a couple of server locations at best. Not to mention, a lot of VPNs don’t have native apps for Mac which can make installation a complicated process.
I also discovered free VPNs can’t all be trusted to keep my personal data or my Mac safe. Many free VPNs log or sell data to advertisers for revenue, and a few have even been known to include malware, spyware, and phishing scams.
To save you time, I tested 34 free services to find the fastest and safest options for your Mac. Every VPN on this list is operated by a trustworthy company, works on macOS 10.12 or later, and is 100% free.
While some free VPNs are better than others, all free services are limited in some way. If you want a truly unrestricted VPN experience for a low monthly price, I recommend ExpressVPN. It has unlimited data, thousands of servers for streaming and torrenting, and high-quality encryption to protect your data and devices. Best of all, you can test ExpressVPN for yourself risk-free and get a full refund if you’re not satisfied.
Quick Guide: Best Free VPNs for macOS in 2021
- ExpressVPN — #1 VPN for Mac with unlimited data, powerful security, and fast global servers that work with popular streaming services like Netflix. Plus, ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try the service without risk!
- Hotspot Shield — 15GB of data per month and fast speeds, but restricts free users to 1 US server and struggles with streaming services.
- TunnelBear — Strong encryption and several global server locations, but only 500MB data per month.
- Hide.Me — 10GB monthly data allowance and strict zero-logs policy, but has unreliable speeds.
The Best Free Mac VPNs You Can Download in July 2021
- Unlimited data to stream, torrent, and browse as much as you want — no monthly caps
- Military-grade encryption keeps your online activity anonymous
- 3000+ global servers for fast connections from anywhere in the world
- Unblocks sites like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video with ease
While it’s not free upfront, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Mac and it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means you can test ExpressVPN without any risk — if you change your mind, you can claim a full refund with no questions asked.
When I connected to ExpressVPN on my MacBook Pro, I was impressed by the blazing-fast speeds on its global servers. I ran speed tests on servers in the US, UK, Germany, and Australia and my internet speed never dropped below 89Mbps from a baseline of 115Mbps. This is more than fast enough for data-intensive activities, like streaming, torrenting, and gaming.
Even with multiple devices connected, ExpressVPN’s speeds were reliably fast. You can secure up to 5 devices at the same time, or configure ExpressVPN with your router. This way, every device connected to your WiFi is protected by ExpressVPN’s encryption and you can connect as many as you want.
ExpressVPN’s top-tier encryption also allowed my team and I to access streaming sites like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and more. I could watch The Mandalorian on Disney+ with every server I tested. With ExpressVPN’s fast speeds, I didn’t encounter buffering or lag while streaming.
With 3000+ servers in 94+ countries, it’s easy to find a fast ExpressVPN server near you. I also like that I didn’t have to manually search for the best server in any given country. Once I chose a specific country, the Mac app automatically connected me to the fastest server when I clicked the giant power button. I could even save shortcuts to my favorite websites or apps on the ExpressVPN app’s home screen. Then, all I had to do was connect to a server and click on the shortcut icon to visit my favorite content.
Once connected, ExpressVPN secures your Mac’s internet traffic in multiple ways. Its AES-256-bit encryption is of the highest standard, so no hackers or trackers can monitor your activity. It features a kill switch that cuts the internet if the VPN connection is interrupted, preventing data leaks. Plus, ExpressVPN also has DNS, IP, and WebRTC leak protection as standard, further securing your data when connected.
As an extra safeguard, ExpressVPN uses RAM-based servers that completely wipe all user data with each scheduled reboot. It’s not physically possible for your data to be stored on these servers — even if a server was seized by the authorities, no data could be recovered. Additionally, ExpressVPN has a strict zero-logs policy that has been verified by an independent third-party audit. As such, ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for both online privacy and freedom.
You don’t have to take my word for it. I recommend you test ExpressVPN risk-free for yourself to see if it’s right for you. Unlike other VPNs, ExpressVPN even has a “no questions asked” refund policy. This makes it quick and easy to use the 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. When I tested it, my refund was approved in less than 1 minute over live chat — and the money returned to my account in just 4 days.
Compatible with macOS: 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.10 (Yosemite), 10.11 (El Capitan), 10.12 (Sierra), 10.13 (High Sierra), 10.14 (Mojave), 10.15 (Catalina), and 11 (Big Sur).
ExpressVPN also works on: iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, Chromebook, Blackberry, Raspberry PI, Windows Phone, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast, routers, and smart TVs.
July 2021 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan (you can save up to 49%) + 3 months free! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.
- 500MB daily data allowance (15GB monthly)
- Zero-logs policy for personal data but does share location with third parties
- 1 server in the US — fast connection speeds worldwide
- Blocks access to streaming services
Hotspot Shield’s best feature is it’s impressively fast for free users, despite offering a single virtual US server location. I found that Hotspot Shield uses a unique protocol called Catapult Hydra that is designed to improve connection speeds and reduce latency — and it works.
I ran a speed test using Ookla from my home in the UK and reached speeds of almost 103Mbps when connected to the US server. I expected Hotspot Shield to limit speeds for free users so I’m impressed that it was similar to my regular internet speed of 115Mbps. That said, I’d like to see Hotspot Shield support additional VPN protocols like OpenVPN. It’s not available on other platforms due to the use of Hotspot Shield’s proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol.
While you get 15GB of free data every month with Hotspot Shield, it’s restricted to a maximum of 500MB per day. The 500MB daily allowance runs out quickly so it’s not ideal for streaming or downloading (just running a speed test used 200MB!). However, for day-to-day browsing and banking online, I found Hotspot Shield effective at protecting my data security. I ran multiple DNS, IP, and WebRTC leak tests and found Hotspot Shield kept my data private and secure within the encrypted tunnel.
Hotspot Shield isn’t the best choice if you want to access streaming sites like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more. 500MB of data is only enough for about 40 minutes of SD streaming. Plus, when I tried to watch Netflix my connection was blocked and Hotspot Shield asked me to upgrade to access these services. It’s not unusual for free VPNs to block particular sites to encourage purchases, but it can be annoying to have services blocked.
You’ll also find that Hotspot Shield doesn’t provide live support for free users. However, there is an extensive FAQ help section on the website and you can contact customer support through email. I sent an email about Hotspot Shield’s Hydra protocol and had a detailed response in 2 hours that answered my questions fully.
If you’re looking for a free VPN that provides an extra layer of privacy on unsecured networks, Hotspot Shield is a good option. You can download the free app for macOS now to get started quickly — you don’t have to enter any payment details or even create an account to use the service.
Compatible with macOS: Sierra 10.12, High Sierra 10.13, Mojave 10.14, Catalina 10.15, and Big Sur 11.
Hotspot Shield also works on: iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, and routers.
- 500MB monthly data allowance
- Military-grade encryption secures your internet traffic
- 23 server countries, but slowest connection speeds
- Limited streaming and torrenting due to data restrictions
TunnelBear’s macOS app may have a playful bear theme but don’t underestimate this free VPN’s security features. Owned by cybersecurity company McAfee, TunnelBear uses military-grade protocols to encrypt your traffic and secure your private data when you’re online. I found TunnelBear also uses SHA256 data authentication, and Perfect Forward Secrecy via 3072 bit DH key exchange. Basically, this means it’s extremely difficult for your data to be seen, tracked, or hacked when you’re connected to TunnelBear.
This VPN also uses the OpenVPN protocol on macOS, which in addition to being open source, offers faster, more secure connections than legacy protocols.
Even though the provider is owned by a US company and based in Canada, TunnelBear has a strict no-logs policy. This is reassuring, as both countries are the Five Eyes Alliance, a group of countries that records and shares all kinds of user data. None of your online history or data is tracked or stored, so you’re completely anonymous. TunnelBear publishes a yearly transparency report so users can see how many data requests have been made by official court subpoenas. To date, TunnelBear has provided no user data despite receiving more than 30 court-ordered requests as there simply isn’t any data to share.
I was pleased to find TunnelBear is capable of bypassing the Great Firewall of China with its GhostBear Mode, which makes your encrypted data look like non-VPN traffic. This makes TunnelBear a secure option for accessing online content in countries with heavily restricted internet.
During tests, TunnelBear’s servers easily accessed my Netflix account without being detected. However, I wasn’t able to stream any shows or movies as the monthly data cap is just 500MB.
If you want more data to regularly stream, torrent, or download large files, you need to upgrade to TunnelBear’s paid plan. However, I found 500MB is enough for light online browsing (as long as you avoid loading pages with images and videos).
The biggest downside to TunnelBear is that my speeds were the slowest out of every VPN on the list, dropping more than 80% from my base speed of 115Mbps. During testing, Australia was the slowest at 11Mbps, with the US slightly faster at 15Mbps and Germany at 14Mbps. The UK server was the best with speeds of 20Mbps.
Fortunately, downloading and installing TunnelBear is much faster — it only takes a few minutes to get the service for free on your Mac. You can sign up for TunnelBear with your name and email address only, with no payment details necessary. Plus, free users have access to TunnelBear’s ticketed customer support system. I sent an email about an issue I had connecting to BBC iPlayer and had a response in less than 24 hours.
Compatible with macOS: Sierra 10.12, High Sierra 10.13, Mojave 10.14, Catalina 10.15, and Big Sur 11.
TunnelBear also works on: iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
- 10GB monthly data cap — can stream, browse, and torrent
- Never logs or records activity or identifiable data — zero ads
- Servers in 70 countries providing fast speeds in Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and the US (East and West)
- Successfully unblocks Netflix, Disney+, and other streaming platforms, but doesn’t support torrenting
Hide.me provides 10GB of free data each month, which is more than enough for browsing, checking social media, and streaming on YouTube. With my 10GB, I connected to Netflix and streamed for several hours in both HD and SD.
To use my data more efficiently, I used hide.me’s split tunneling feature. This allows specific traffic to be routed through the encrypted connection while the rest uses my local IP address. Only the encrypted traffic counts towards my bandwidth cap, so I get more efficient data use and precise security.
hide.me’s free features have the same protection as the paid plan. This includes 256-bit AES encryption, a no-logs policy, and kill switch so there’s no risk of your information being exposed. It also provides access to multiple VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, which assures me that hide.me takes user security seriously. Based in Malaysia, hide.me isn’t required to log its users’ data either — another way it protects your online activity.
You can connect to servers in Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and the US (East and West) with hide.me’s free plan. While this is limited compared to services like ExpressVPN, it gives you a range of options based on your location. This means you can benefit from faster connections with nearby servers and access local content more easily.
My speeds were fast enough for basic, lag-free online activities during my tests, like browsing the internet and watching video clips. My fastest speeds were in Germany and the Netherlands at over 40Mbps — these are closest to my physical location. My slowest speeds were with the US West server at 29Mbps, a drop of 74% from my standard speed. It’s worth noting that hide.me supports P2P file-sharing for torrenting within your data cap, though your speeds may be slow.
You can only contact Hide.me through an email ticket system. It took 3 hours before I got a helpful and informative response that fully answered my question — fast for a free VPN.
hide.me’s app is fully optimized for macOS and compatible with Apple Silicon, which powers the newest Mac devices. I found this let hide.me run more smoothly than other VPNs that aren’t optimized for Mac. Plus, downloading the app directly from the Mac app store meant it automatically updated so I got the latest and best security without having to do anything.
As a big privacy plus, I found hide.me requires no registration — just download the app to use hide.me for free. Your plan expires after 30 days but you can renew it as many times as you like.
Compatible with macOS: Catalina 10.15 and Big Sur 11.
Hide.me also works on: iOS, Windows, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox.
- Unlimited monthly data — no caps for streaming and browsing as much as you want
- 1,000+ servers in Japan, Netherlands, and the US with decent speeds
- No access to premium streaming services like Disney+
ProtonVPN provides unlimited data and reliable security features that are ideal for streaming on Netflix and YouTube — all for free with zero ads. This is particularly impressive as many free VPNs restrict data and keep advanced security features for paying customers. I could watch Netflix in HD quality with every server I tested without having to watch my data cap.
I was pleased to find ProtonVPN was developed by the same team as ProtonMail, with a focus on privacy and security. It’s based in Switzerland which has strong data privacy laws. All of my internet traffic is secured with layers of encryption — an AES-256 cipher, SHA-348 hash & RSA-4028 handshake — to ensure my data can’t be seen by hackers and trackers. With its Secure Core technology, ProtonVPN routed my connection through privacy-friendly countries to protect my activity from potential surveillance. Plus, ProtonVPN uses Forward Secrecy to make sure my traffic couldn’t be captured and decrypted by hackers even if one of the encryption keys was compromised.
Unfortunately, you can only connect to servers in Japan, Netherlands, and the US on ProtonVPN’s free plan. This is the smallest server network of any VPN on this list, and limited my access to content in other countries. ProtonVPN’s free plan also doesn’t support torrenting, which is a shame given its unlimited data. As torrenting is data- and bandwidth-intensive, ProtonVPN reserves torrenting support for premium users.
I was disappointed to find that ProtonVPN’s free plan doesn’t allow for simultaneous connections. If you want to use it on multiple devices, you’ll need to upgrade to a ProtonVPN premium plan.
My speeds were also inconsistent when I tested each server. From my base speed of 115Mbps, the Netherlands option was fastest at 45Mbps — but my speeds slowed to 29Mbps for the US and just 15Mbps for Japan. Since free users have the same choices to connect to, it’s likely that servers are overcrowded so speeds will be slower.
While I expected customer service to be slow for free users, I was satisfied with ProtonVPN’s detailed and friendly response. When I emailed ProtonVPN to confirm which servers were available on the free plan, I received a response just 7 hours later.
While I felt frustrated by the limitations of the unpaid plan, ProtonVPN’s macOS app was very user-friendly with a clean layout. To sign up for a free ProtonVPN account all you need is an email address. No credit card information or other details are required.
Compatible with macOS: Sierra 10.12, High Sierra 10.13, Mojave 10.14, Catalina 10.15, and Big Sur 11.
ProtonVPN also works on: iOS, Windows, Android, Kodi, and Linux.
Quick Comparison Table
I compared all 5 services using the following criteria to find the best free VPN for Mac. With top-tier security, unlimited data, and 3000+ servers, ExpressVPN is the best choice for Mac.
However, ExpressVPN is not totally free — the top VPN for Mac that is completely free is Hotspot Shield. It has excellent security and a generous 500MB of data daily, but you’re limited to a single US server.
|Always Free||Data Limit||Free Server Number||Security||Works
How to Choose the Best VPN for Mac
It can be tricky to choose which free VPN is the best, especially if you’ve never used one before. Here are the key features I looked for during my testing:
- Data allowance — To avoid limiting how much you can stream, browse, torrent, and game online, you need a VPN with a high data allowance. If you want to game or stream regularly, you’ll need at least 10GB of monthly data. For casual, secure browsing, 500MB is likely enough.
- Top-tier security — All VPNs include the following:
- A minimum of AES-256-bit encryption, which is military-grade and cannot be brute-force broken.
- DNS, IP, and WebRTC leak protection proven by leak testing, ensuring all data stays within the secure tunnel.
- A kill switch that blocks access to the internet if the VPN connection is interrupted, keeping your data and activity private.
- Global server network — With multiple global servers, you can easily find an available server close to your location. This improves your overall speed and means you can access local streaming accounts and other online content. Smaller server networks are often slower due to user congestion, unlike the global network of a premium VPN like ExpressVPN that provides reliably fast speeds worldwide.
- Content unblocking — Servers are able to access local accounts for services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+.
- Fast speeds — A small drop in speed is inevitable when using a VPN — even the best VPNs can cause a speed drop of at least 10%. My speed tests proved these free VPNs were fast enough to stream videos, browse the internet, use social media, and download files. This means a minimum speed of 25Mbps for HD streaming, plus gaming, torrenting, and browsing without interruption.
- Compatible devices — Works with macOS 10.12 and later, plus other devices and platforms like iPhone, iPad, Windows PC, and more.
- Simultaneous device connections — Ideally, your VPN should allow you to connect multiple devices at the same time for maximum protection. Free services that offer multiple simultaneous connections ranked higher.
- Easy-to-use Mac app — User-friendly interfaces are easy to navigate without any technical knowledge — ideal for beginner and more experienced VPN users.
- Accessible support — If an issue arises or you have a question, you should be able to rely on fast and effective support to provide a solution. At a minimum, I expect an email response within 24 hours.
I evaluated 34 free Mac VPNs according to the criteria above and found ExpressVPN is the #1 choice for Macs. It offers unlimited data, top-notch security features, excellent speeds for streaming, and access to thousands of global servers. Although it isn’t a free VPN, you can purchase ExpressVPN with confidence as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you change your mind you can get a full refund, no questions asked.
Does Your Mac Really Need a VPN?
While Apple devices have excellent in-built security, Macs are still targeted by online threats and attempts to steal user data. This means that even though a Mac is more secure than a Windows device, it’s still important to protect your Mac with a high-quality VPN.
The biggest threat to Mac users is data theft which can happen any time you connect to the internet. Once your traffic starts traveling from your device, it can be intercepted by hackers and spies, or even surveilled by your ISP. Using a VPN means all of your data is encrypted through a secure tunnel so no-one is able to see what you’re doing. This maintains your online privacy and mitigates the risk of having your data stolen.
A VPN also protects you while you’re torrenting by making your online activity anonymous. When P2P file-sharing, your IP address and other data is exposed to other users connected to the same torrent. Hackers can use this information to trace your device and even launch malware attacks against your Mac and network. The VPN connection masks these sensitive details so you can torrent knowing your private data is secure.
These VPNs have the encryption, privacy, and security features necessary to guarantee your online safety when using your Mac. By using a VPN, you make your online activity anonymous to avoid hackers and spies. Plus, a VPN can help protect your Mac from malware, phishing scams, and spyware and further boost overall security.
The Hidden Risks of Free VPNs for Mac
While all of the free VPNs on my list are safe to use on your Mac, you need to be aware of the hidden dangers that free VPNs don’t want you to know about.
1. Security and Privacy Risks
While some free VPNs rely on advertising to earn revenue, others collect your online activity to sell it to the highest bidder. This information may include:
- Websites you’ve visited
- Products you’ve purchased
- Videos you’ve watched online
- Your physical location (from your IP address)
This data is often sold to advertisers so they can bombard you with personalized ads. It could also be sold to governments, legal authorities, and even hackers, posing a serious security risk.
There’s also a chance that the free VPN you download could be hiding malware. This can be hidden inside VPNs to steal your private data. You can be exposed to phishing scams, or your computer could get hijacked unless you pay a ransom. Downloading just any free Mac VPN isn’t worth the risk to your security, especially when you can use a top-tier service like ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days. It has military-grade encryption to protect your data.
2. Poor Performance Prevents You Streaming, Torrenting, and Browsing
Even the best free VPNs have limitations — services like Hotspot Shield deliberately block access to streaming sites to save bandwidth for its paying customers. Data caps mean you won’t be able to stream, torrent, or browse as much as you want to. Limited server numbers can cause congestion, resulting in lag and delays. Overall, it’s a frustrating experience that will cost you time and effort when you could be streaming your favorite show or downloading important files.
Using a free VPN might be fine for checking Google or social media, but you’re likely to be disappointed with other online activities. To use the internet freely and securely, it’s better to upgrade to a quality VPN service like ExpressVPN so you can get premium unlimited protection.
Avoid These Dangerous Free VPNs for Mac
To make sure you keep your Mac secure, don’t download these VPNs:
- Betternet — Sells your personal data to unverified third parties and is suspected of installing trackers and malware on user devices.
- GOVPN — Claims to connect you to a VPN server, but your true IP address remains visible to all sites (and spies) online.
- Hola VPN Free Proxy Unblocker — Zero servers, encryption, or privacy. It was even caught selling user information and bandwidth!
- SuperVPN — Keeps connection logs, has concerning encryption levels, and is suspected of containing malware.
- TurboVPN — Allows advertisers to add cookies to your browser to track your online activity and gather data.
- VPNBook — Logs your IP address if you’re even able to connect to its servers and customer support is not responsive to address concerns.
- VPN Gate — Tracks and collects user data and is run by volunteers so anyone can spy on your online activity.
How to Download and Setup a VPN on MacOS in 3 Easy Steps
- Download a VPN to your Mac. I recommend ExpressVPN for its fast speeds, reliable server network, and high-level security. Plus, you can try ExpressVPN risk-free!
- Check your inbox for the confirmation email. Follow the instructions to set up your password.
- Install and launch the VPN. Now you’re ready to start using a VPN on your Mac!
FAQ: Fast and Secure Free VPNs for Mac
What’s the safest and fastest free VPN for Mac?
The top free VPN for Mac is Hotspot Shield. It emerged as the top choice after I extensively tested and ranked the best free VPNs for Mac — although none of them are perfect.
ProtonVPN has a generous 500MB daily data limit, a strict zero-logs policy to keep you securely connected, and impressive speeds. The only drawbacks to consider are that most streaming sites are restricted and you can only connect to 1 server in the US.
It’s important to note that even the best VPNs for Mac will have an impact on your connection speeds. This is because your traffic has to travel further and encrypting your data takes time. Premium VPNs minimize this speed loss so it’s barely noticeable, but you may find some free services limit connection speeds to encourage you to upgrade.
If you want to use a VPN with no restrictions, the best option for Mac is ExpressVPN. Its military-grade encryption is ideal for privacy while browsing, banking, and online shopping. ExpressVPN also has fast speeds perfect for watching Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more in UltraHD without any buffering.
What’s the best free VPN to unblock Netflix on Mac?
To bypass Netflix’s tough proxy detection, I’d suggest using ExpressVPN. Its superior encryption can help you get around Netflix’s detection technology to avoid the annoying proxy error message. While it isn’t free, ExpressVPN is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means you can make sure ExpressVPN is suitable for your Netflix viewing and if you’re not satisfied, you can get a full refund.
Most free VPNs block streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video to encourage you to upgrade to a premium plan instead. With this limitation, it’s likely you won’t be able to watch as much as you want even if you find a working server. It takes about 3GB of data to stream an hour of HD media and most free VPNs don’t offer large data allowances. For unlimited streaming, you’re better off using a premium VPN service like ExpressVPN.
Is there a good free VPN for torrenting on Mac?
For fully free torrenting, you should take a look at hide.me. It supports P2P data transfers on all 5 servers, although you’re limited to 10GB of monthly data usage.
If you don’t want to deal with data limits, you can torrent with ExpressVPN risk-free. ExpressVPN supports P2P file-sharing on every server connection and has unlimited data for as many downloads as you want. Plus, its high-level encryption keeps you anonymous at all times while torrenting.
My team and I don’t condone illegal torrenting of copyrighted materials. Please make sure you’re aware of your local laws and regulations before using a VPN to torrent any files.
Which free VPNs work on the latest macOS version?
All of the free VPNs on this list support Sierra 10.12 and later. Earlier versions of macOS aren’t generally supported, although ExpressVPN supports Mavericks 10.9 and later.
If you’re using a version of macOS that isn’t supported, you can try using OpenVPN to manually configure a free VPN with your device.
Does a free Mac VPN work on iOS, Android, and other devices?
All of the free VPNs on this list work with the most popular devices — Windows PC, Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, and Linux.
As one of the top overall VPNs for Mac, ExpressVPN has native apps for iPhone, iPad, and will even protect your Apple TV with its router configuration. Plus, ExpressVPN allows up to 5 simultaneous connections so you can protect all of your Apple devices at the same time. While it’s not completely free, ExpressVPN is backed by a guarantee, so you can try it without risk. I recommend you test ExpressVPN with your Mac and other devices to see if it’s right for you.
Can I use a VPN extension or app for Safari?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any free (and 100% safe) VPN extensions or apps for Safari. However, the top free VPNs on this list are all compatible with Safari. When you’re connected to a VPN server, this will automatically protect your Safari activity — so you don’t need a separate app or extension to guarantee your security when you’re online.
Several VPNs — like ExpressVPN, Hide.me, TunnelBear, and Hotspot Shield — have browser extensions available for Chrome and Firefox. This way, your browsing activity remains private without changing your overall Mac connection.
Can I use OpenVPN on Mac without a third-party VPN app?
Yes, but I don’t recommend it. Many providers — including ExpressVPN — support the OpenVPN protocol and come with additional benefits like a kill switch and DNS leak protection. However, if you’d rather not use third-party VPN software or there isn’t an app available for Mac, you have a few options for manually configuring a VPN:
Tunnelblick — Tunnelblick is a free, open source client that supports OpenVPN. In order to use it, you’ll need access to a VPN server (either from another service provider or one provided by your company), as well as the OpenVPN configuration file (.ovpn) for the server(s) you wish to connect to. If you’re technically proficient, you can also set up another computer or router to act as a VPN server.
The main issue is that Tunnelblick lacks the built-in protections provided by third-party VPN providers. Unless you set up tools like custom firewall rules or IP leak protection yourself, your internet traffic could be exposed.
Viscosity — Viscosity is an intuitive VPN client that lets you establish fast and secure connections to external servers that run OpenVPN protocol. It’s a great option if you’re an advanced user looking to set up multiple VPN connections. However, I’d avoid it if you’re a relative newcomer and are looking for something a bit easier to use. It also doesn’t have a kill switch so your data may leak if your connection suddenly drops. It’s available for a one-time payment, though you can also try it free for 30 days.
L2TP (Built-in Support) — L2TP is a different VPN protocol that offers a similar level of speed and security as OpenVPN. The main appeal of L2TP is that it’s readily available for Macs and can be easily configured once you have the necessary details from your VPN provider. Apple has a useful guide on how to set up an L2TP VPN connection on its website.
How do I change my IP address on Mac?
The best way to change your IP address on your Mac is by using a high-quality VPN. With an encrypted VPN connection, your true IP address is hidden and replaced with an IP from the VPN’s server. You don’t have to make any manual configurations — it’s as easy as choosing a server and clicking “connect.” To make sure the VPN has changed your IP address, you can check with our useful IP address tool here.
You also have the option to use a proxy server to change your Mac’s IP address. This similarly masks your IP address and replaces it with a new one like a VPN. However, a proxy server doesn’t provide the security of a VPN connection and could leave you exposed to hackers and tracking software. For maximum safety and anonymity online, I recommend using a VPN like ExpressVPN to change your IP address.
Can I get a free VPN for Mac without registering?
Yes — hide.me is a free VPN for Mac that requires no registration to use. You don’t have to enter your email address or create an account to download the VPN and it’s always free. However, it does have some limitations like all free VPNs; data is capped at 10GB per month and you can only choose from 5 server locations.
You may have heard of VPN Gate as a free service for Macs that doesn’t ask users to register. This VPN is completely free — there’s no premium version so you won’t be prompted to upgrade. I don’t recommend using it though; VPN Gate is on our list of VPNs to avoid as we can’t verify its security and it’s been known to collect user data.
If you don’t want to face limitations or dubious security, I suggest choosing a service like ExpressVPN. While you do have to register to use it, you get premium protection, unlimited data, and thousands of servers to choose from. Plus, you can purchase ExpressVPN with confidence as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Does Mac have a built-in free VPN?
No, Mac devices do not have their own built-in free VPN. However, Macs do have built-in IKEv2 support, which you can find and configure in the System Preferences. This means you can set up a VPN connection without the need for a third-party app. IKEv2 support still requires configuration files from a VPN provider, like the services listed here — you can’t use IKEv2 support to set up a VPN connection without the configuration files.
Protect Your Mac for Free With a Quality VPN
Finding a free VPN for Mac is more difficult than you’d think — very few are capable of providing you with enough data and many are downright dangerous to use. That’s why I tested 34 free Mac VPNs to find trustworthy services that protect your personal information online.
However, even the best free VPNs have restrictions. Weak security, small data allowances, fewer server options, slower speeds, and no access to streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer are among those limitations. These restrictions can lead to a dangerous, frustrating, and time-consuming experience for you.
That’s why I recommend using a premium VPN service. While they’re not free, you get guaranteed security and privacy with no data caps for streaming, torrenting, gaming, and more. Plus, a premium VPN won’t restrict you to particular locations or limit your speeds — you get full access to every feature. If you decide the service isn’t right for you, premium VPNs are usually backed by money-back guarantees so you can try them risk-free.
But don’t take my word for it. You can test ExpressVPN for yourself to make sure it works for you. Its powerful security and encryption features protect your Mac when you’re online. Its unlimited data lets you torrent and stream on Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and more without bandwidth caps. If you change your mind about ExpressVPN within 30 you can get a full refund. I tested ExpressVPN’s money-back guarantee for myself and had my money back in less than a week.