The 6 Best (100% FREE) VPNs For Mac in 2020Last Updated by Julia Olech on April 01, 2020
There are hundreds of free VPNs on the Mac App Store, but only a few can be trusted. Many free VPNs are slow and unsafe, and some won’t even work on macOS devices.
So can you find a good free VPN for your Mac? Yes, but it’s not easy.
A free VPN may seem like a good idea, but you need to be very careful. To help you find the best free protection for your Mac, I’ve tested and compiled a list of safe and trustworthy VPNs.
Quick Guide — 6 Best Free VPNs for Mac:
- NordVPN — the best VPN for Mac with the tightest security features, unlimited data, and fast speeds. Free for the first 30-days with a money-back guarantee.
- TunnelBear — 256-bit AES encryption and an easy to use interface but only 500MB free each month
- Windscribe — a generous free 10GB of bandwidth every month but slow speeds
- SpeedifyVPN — high security standards and fast streaming speeds but unresponsive customer service
- ProtonVPN — no bandwidth restrictions or data caps but only 3 server locations to choose from
- Hide.me — no throttling and a user-friendly interface but unable to unblock US Netflix
Hidden Dangers of Free Mac VPNs
Before you download a free VPN, you need to be aware of the dangers that come with it.
The most common problem with free VPNs is data logging. 72% of free VPN providers track and sell your online activity and habits. Moreover, free VPNs make a profit from advertising. Ads often contain viruses, which means you may be infecting your device with malware.
Many free VPNs also come with restrictions. Apart from monthly data caps, providers limit the number of devices you can connect. You won’t have a range of choices for server locations either. All the limitations impact what you can do on your Mac while browsing the internet.
During my tests, I discovered that a majority of free VPNs available on the App Store are outdated and slowed down my Mac.
From my experience, premium VPNs are a much better choice. Most premium providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means that you can get all the features a paying customer would, but without spending a cent.
To find the best free VPNs and protect your Mac, use my safe and trusted VPN providers from the list below.
6 Best free VPNs available for Mac
1. NordVPN — Best Free Premium VPN for MacOS
- Tightest security features
- Dedicated user-friendly Mac app
- 5,000+ servers in 59 countries
- Unblocks most geo-restricted content
- 24/7 user support available
- Won’t work on iOS devices in China
NordVPN is my top recommendation for Mac because you can download it for free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. It’s a risk-free choice that lets you use all of the premium features like unlimited bandwidth, a large server network, and no data restrictions without spending any money.
NordVPN has many security features to keep your Mac secure. Apart from a kill switch, no-log policy, and DNS leak protection, it offers some more advanced features. Obfuscated servers, P2P support, and Onion over VPN let you bypass firewalls (like the Great Firewall of China), and give your internet traffic an extra layer of protection.
Apart from impressive security, NordVPN can unblock most geo-restrictions. During my tests, I could access US Netflix, Hulu Live, and BBC iPlayer.
Moreover, NordVPN’s online live chat service is available 24/7, which is the fastest way to get help. The email support option is better for getting more detailed information.
2. TunnelBear — Large Global Network of Servers
- Secure encryption, killswitch, and no-logging policy
- Easy to use Mac app
- 1,000+ servers in 20 different locations
- Able to bypass firewalls and censorships
- Allows torrenting
- Only 500MB data allowance with a free plan
- Doesn’t support streaming
TunnelBear has a dedicated Mac app with a simple and easy to navigate interface. With a free plan, TunnelBear offers limited bandwidth of 500MB per month. It is enough for quick online browsing, but not for downloading large files. You can get 1GB of data extra if you share TunnelBear on Twitter or purchase one of the cheap subscription plans.
TunnelBear has around 1,000 servers in over 20 different locations. You can connect up to 5 devices on the same account to protect any of your macOS and iOS devices.
Unfortunately, TunnelBear doesn’t allow streaming. I was unable to watch BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, or US Netflix. However, it supports torrenting and P2P sharing.
The VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption to fully protect your Mac. And the Always On feature automatically launched as soon as I turned on my laptop. I was even able to bypass the Great Firewall of China using GhostBear mode.
While TunnelBear does offer a free trial, it does not have a money-back guarantee. If you decide to purchase this service, be aware of that.
3. Windscribe — Generous Monthly Data Allowance
- Military-grade encryption
- Simple app interface specially designed for Mac
- Generous 10GB of free data a month
- Doesn’t require email address sign up
- 24/7 live chat support
- Poor download speeds
- Limited servers— many unaccessible
- Doesn’t unblock US Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu Live
Windscribe comes with 10GB of free bandwidth every month and 10 server locations including the UK and US. If needed, I could add extra server locations for $1 per month with its “build a plan” option.
Windscribe VPN offers military-grade encryption, a zero-log policy and DNS leak protection with a free plan. And the built-in ad blocker protects your Mac against any potential malware and stops annoying pop-ups during streaming.
I was happy to see that Windscribe can be added as a browser extension for double protection. It won’t work on Safari, but it’s available on Chrome, Firefox and Opera.
Sadly, Windscribe proved to be a poor choice for streaming. The provider struggled to unblock platforms like Netflix, Hulu Live and Amazon Prime Video. My connection was incredibly slow as well — download speeds dropped by almost 90%!
If you decide to build your own plan with Windscribe, remember that it only offers a 3-day money-back guarantee.
4. SpeedifyVPN — Incredibly Fast Download Speeds
- Very fast streaming speeds
- User-friendly Mac app
- Servers in 37 locations
- 2GB of data free each month
- Allows torrenting
- Killswitch available only on iOS devices
- Lack of customer support
- Allows connection on only 1 device
As the name suggests, SpeedifyVPN can provide impressive speeds other free VPNs can’t. I could stream YouTube videos and HBO Go in HD with no lags. Unfortunately, the provider couldn’t unblock BBC iPlayer, itvHub or Netflix.
As a free user, you can get up to 2GB of data every month without setting up an account. You won’t even have to enter your email address or credit card details! Speedify’s free plan allows you to use the VPN on only 1 device. But since I didn’t have to create an account, I could set it up on both my Mac and iPhone.
A big disadvantage to SpeedifyVPN is the lack of customer support. You can only contact customer service by email. Apart from receiving an automated message, I still have not received a response over a week later.
If you decide to purchase Speedify, you can get your money back within 30 days.
5. ProtonVPN — Unlimited Free Data Allowance
- Strong privacy laws like no-log policy and military-grade encryption
- Connects Macs with one click
- Unlimited free data usage
- Built-in ad blocker for Mac
- Supports P2P apps
- Choice of only 3 server locations
- Available on only 1 device at a time
- Fluctuating download speeds
- Unable to unblock UK streaming platforms
ProtonVPN offers unlimited usage and no data caps so you can browse freely on your Mac. With a free account, you can connect 1 device at a time. I could also choose from only 3 server locations — USA, Netherlands, and Japan.
The limited location choice means the servers become overloaded very often. I experienced speeds that were frustratingly slow during peak times, making it nearly impossible to stream videos.
ProtonVPN is focused on providing complete anonymity to its Mac users. The VPN provides 256-bit encryption, DNS Leak Protection and Always On feature. ProtonVPN also offers a Tor over VPN option, which lets you direct the traffic through the Tor network.
ProtonVPN offers a 30-days money-back guarantee for purchased packages, but be careful— you can only contact customer service by email.
6. Hide.me — Beginner-Friendly App on Mac
- AES 256-bit encryption, killswitch, zero-log policy and IP leak protection for extra security
- Easy to use macOS app
- Split-tunneling option available
- Monthly allowance of 2GB of data for free
- 24/7 live chat support
- Limited choice of server locations with a free plan
- Connect only 1 device at a time
- Unable to unblock US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
With Hide.me’s free plan, your data allowance is capped at 2GB of data per month. You can connect one device at the time and choose from 4 server locations — Canada, Netherlands, Singapore, and the US.
Due to limited server choices, I wasn’t able to use the UK’s major streaming services like BBC iPlayer. During my tests, the provider couldn’t unblock US Netflix either but worked fine with Netflix in Canada.
Hide.me VPN has an incredibly user-friendly Mac application. You can choose a server with one click of a button. Another click and you’re connected.
If you want to try the purchased version of Hide.me, it offers a 30-days money-back guarantee through customer service.
Why You Should Use a VPN on Your Mac
The most famous online hacker attack on MacOs was the KRACK attack in 2017. It affected every device connected to Wifi without a secure connection. Hackers had access to all data that wasn’t encrypted, including credit card details, billing information, passwords, photos, and more.
Apple has since resolved the issue, but this shows that Macs are just as vulnerable other devices.
A VPN is a powerful security tool that can:
- Bypass online censorship
- Give you full anonymity online so no one can track your location or habits
- Block malware and hacker attacks from zero-day vulnerabilities
- Access geo-restricted content like US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu Live, and more
- Protect your personal data including credit card and banking details
Free VPNs may be tempting, but they come with a number of dangers and limitations. Many providers compromise on security features, putting your personal data at risk. What is more, free VPNs often put data and speed restrictions on their customers. With a premium VPN, you’ll stay completely anonymous and safe while enjoying unlimited browsing on your Mac.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Your Mac
With hundreds of options, it’s really difficult to find the best VPN for your Mac. I have tested and chosen the best 6 providers that will keep your device secure for free.
To find the best VPN service for macOS, I looked for providers with:
- Killswitch available for privacy protection
- A strict no-logging policy
- DNS leak protection
- An easy to use interface with an app for Mac
- A money-back guarantee or a free subscription
- An inbuilt malware/ad blocker
How to Download, Setup, and Use a VPN on MacOS
Once you’ve found the best VPN for you, download it on your Mac. To download it manually, follow the instructions below.
How to Install a VPN on a Mac
1. Go to the website of your chosen VPN. I recommend NordVPN as you can get it with a 30-day free trial.
2. Sign up and choose your plan.
3. From the download options, select “Download on the Mac App Store” or “Download OpenVPN.” In my experience, downloading directly (OpenVPN, macOS10.10 or later) is easiest.
4. When downloaded, install the application.
5. Once installed, click the VPN icon on your menu bar, pick a country, and Quick Connect.
How to Set up an L2TP VPN Connection on MacOS
If you want an L2TP VPN connection on macOS, you’ll have to set it up manually. It’s easier than it sounds. Follow these steps and connect quickly.
1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, then click Network.
2. Choose + at the bottom to create a new network.
3. Select VPN from the Interface drop-down list.
4. From the VPN Type drop-down list select the type of connection you want to set up (L2TP, IKEv2, or IPSec).
5. In the Service Name, type in the name of your VPN and click Create.
From here, use the default configuration or create your own. To create your own:
6. Type in the Server Address (external IP address), and Account Name (username from the authentication server) for the VPN connection.
Either click Connect or Authentication Settings for a default configuration.
7. In User Authentication, enter your user Password. From here, you have two options.
- Option 1: If configured to use a pre-shared key as the credential method, select Shared Secret and type the pre-shared key for this tunnel.
- Option 2: If configured to use a certificate as the credential method, select Certificate and click Select.
8. Click OK.
FAQs on Free Mac VPNs
Mac should be virus-free, why do I need a VPN?
The belief that Macs are more secure than Windows is a myth. While it may be less susceptible to viruses, it can still be easily tracked and hacked. The KRACK attack is a great example of that. The best way to protect your Mac is to download a VPN. With a quality provider, you can use anti-malware features, military-grade encryption, killswitch, and DNS Leak Protection. That way you will be protected against both viruses and online hackers.
How much data do I need a month?
It depends what you’re planning to do. For quick secure browsing like banking or shopping, small restrictions will be enough. But for streaming sports, movies or playing online games, even 10GB a month may not be enough. A premium VPN, like NordVPN, offers unlimited bandwidth meaning you don’t have to worry about data restrictions.
Can I use a Mac VPN on my iPhone too?
Yes! All of the VPNs included in this article work on both macOS and iOS, so you can connect your Mac, iPhone AND iPad. You can also download them on other operating systems like Windows or Linux and a range of devices including your smartTV.
Secure Your Mac with a VPN
With a VPN, you can protect your personal data and stay anonymous online while using your Mac. However, a free VPN can compromise on your security and even sell your data to third parties.
The recommended free VPNs are credible and trusted, but offer short-term solutions due to their restrictions.
For unlimited browsing and premium protection, I recommend NordVPN. With its 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s the best risk-free solution that will keep your Mac safe from cyber threats, hackers, and viruses.