7 Best VPNs for Mac in 2024 (All macOS Versions)

Julia Olech
Last Updated by Julia Olech on November 30, 2023

Macs have solid built-in security, but, without the additional protection of a VPN, your Mac is vulnerable to the same cyberattacks as a Windows PC. Connecting to a VPN boosts your Mac’s security, stopping your data from leaking and preventing anyone from snooping on your activity. However, many VPNs design features for Windows, and I struggled to find Mac VPNs that are easy to set up and use without crashing the entire system.

I tested 46 VPNs on my MacBook Pro (running macOS Monterey) and shortlisted the best VPNs for Mac in 2024 so you don’t have to risk your safety or money. ExpressVPN stands out as the #1 Mac VPN with blazing-fast speeds, strong security features, and a user-friendly app. It even has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test every feature on your own Mac with zero risk.

Try ExpressVPN for Mac risk-free

Quick Guide: Best Mac VPNs in 2024

  1. ExpressVPN — #1 VPN for Mac with fast speeds, top-tier security, and beginner-friendly macOS app. Try ExpressVPN on Mac!
  2. CyberGhost — Optimized servers for streaming, torrenting, and gaming on Mac, but short-term subscriptions don’t offer the best value for money.
  3. Private Internet Access – The largest server network among other Mac VPNs, but doesn’t work with UK streaming platforms.
  4. NordVPN — Great speeds, but complicated user-interface.
  5. Surfshark — Budget-friendly, but doesn’t offer IPv6 protection.

Jump here to see 2 more that made the cut!

The Best VPNs for macOS — Reviewed and Tested in 2024

1. ExpressVPN — Top Mac VPN for Speed, Security, and Easy Connections

Key Features:

  • 3,000+ trusted servers across 105+ countries
  • Lightning-fast speeds on all servers for the best experience on every Mac
  • AES-256 encryption, split tunneling, IP and DNS leak protection, and a no-logs policy
  • Works on 8 simultaneous device connections
  • Compatible with macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) or higher
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

ExpressVPN is the most well-rounded VPN for Mac in 2024 with fast speeds, advanced security measures, and a user-friendly macOS app. Throughout testing, I never worried about a DNS leak or my connection speed dropping without warning. Unlike other VPNs, I didn’t need to connect to a special P2P or streaming server to torrent or catch up with shows on Mac as every connection supports these activities.

I found that ExpressVPN gave me the fastest speeds on my Mac out of any VPN I tested. Most VPNs slow your speeds because the data takes more time to travel from the server to your device. However, ExpressVPN didn’t drop my speeds by more than 7% from my base connection regardless of which country I connected to. I could even speed up my Mac’s traffic by swapping to ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol, optimized for even faster connections. It boosted my speeds higher than my original WiFi traffic, which is almost impossible to come by.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN speed tests showing servers in the US, UK, Australia, and Germany
I had top speeds that barely differed from my base Mac traffic on every ExpressVPN server

With military-grade encryption and DNS/IP leak protection, ExpressVPN instantly secures your Mac upon connection. It also employs a unique technology called TrustedServer, which wipes your activity with every server reboot. Coupled with the “Network Lock” kill switch that automatically hides your device activity when you switch servers or experience a dropped connection, these safeguards make it nearly impossible for anyone to spy on your Mac.

In fact, the only real drawback for Apple users is that ExpressVPN’s kill switch isn’t available on iOS, but this isn’t a dealbreaker considering the company still offers robust iPhone security.

As it’s located in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN offers an unquestionable no-logs policy because local laws don’t require user data retention. After deeper research, I found that Turkish authorities requested files from ExpressVPN, but the request was left unanswered since the VPN had nothing to hand over. This gave me full confidence that ExpressVPN abides by its privacy policy keeping your Mac activity unattainable to anyone.

Thanks to its strong security, ExpressVPN can access your paid subscriptions on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, or other sites when you travel or use a corporate IP address. During my tests, I could easily log in to my streaming accounts using ExpressVPN’s local servers. I also had no issues watching shows and movies in HD with zero lag or buffering.

You can use ExpressVPN to keep up with top streaming content on your Mac

ExpressVPN is compatible with the entire Apple ecosystem, including Mac, iPhone, and Apple TV. Better yet, ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer feature lets you secure Apple devices that don’t usually work with VPNs, like an Apple Watch. I could also control my connection from a drop-down menu in the top right corner when I used Safari, simulating a fully secure browser extension.

I find all these premium features are well worth the $6.67 per month (the lowest monthly price and available on the 1-year + 3 months plan).

If you’d like to try it for yourself, you can use ExpressVPN to secure your Mac risk-free. Every plan is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee — if you’re not fully satisfied, you can request a full refund. I tested the “no questions asked” policy myself and a live chat agent immediately approved my request without asking for my reasoning. The money was in my bank account after 4 days.

ExpressVPN unblocks: Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, Showtime, ESPN, Sling TV, fuboTV, DirecTV Now, DAZN, and more.

ExpressVPN also works on: iOS (10.0 or newer), Apple TV, Apple Watch, Windows, Android, Linux, Chromebook, Chrome, Firefox, Smart TVs, routers, and more.

2024 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan + 3 months free (you can save up to 49%)! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.

2. CyberGhost – Optimized Servers for Smooth Streaming and Torrenting on Mac

Key Features:

  • Network of 11,780+ servers in 100+ countries
  • Great speeds on optimized servers for Mac streaming and torrenting
  • Secures your Mac with 256-bit encryption, no-logs policy, and DNS/IP leak protection
  • Supports 7 device connections at the same time
  • Works with macOS 10.12 (Sierra) and above
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

CyberGhost streaming and torrenting servers make it easy to watch and download content on your Mac. Compared to regular connections, these servers provide improved speeds for bufferless, high-quality streams and quick torrents. I was also happy that CyberGhost splits its servers into appropriate categories, so I didn’t have to manually find the best connection myself.

After selecting the “For streaming” tab, CyberGhost offers a long list of servers dedicated to popular streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, and more. These servers work with their assigned platform to help you access content without problems. The in-house team regularly tests the connections to make sure they’re not blacklisted and still work on Macs.

Similar to streaming servers, CyberGhost’s “For torrenting” tab has 70+ locations programmed for secure and quick downloads. Each server shows its user load, so I always knew which server would give me top speeds. During testing, servers in Greece and the Netherlands had the fewest users, allowing me to torrent a 50GB file in just 10 minutes.

Screenshot of CyberGhost Mac app's streaming servers tab.

You’ll instantly see the optimized servers when you select the “For Streaming” tab

One of my favorite features is the ad blocker. My testing showed that CyberGhost easily blocks malicious websites, web trackers, and ads that contain malware, so my Mac was never at risk of getting infected. That said, CyberGhost doesn’t block every ad that pops up (such as in-video promotions on YouTube), and I had to use a third-party app to get a fully ad-free experience.

Regardless of which server you choose, your Mac is always protected by 256-bit encryption and an automatic kill switch. CyberGhost also offers all of its macOS security features on iOS, so you’ll protect all of your Apple devices to the same extent! I was especially impressed that I could enable a kill switch on my iPhone as it’s almost impossible to find with other VPNs.

CyberGhost has a no-logging policy to ensure all your online activity remains anonymous. Although the policy has yet to undergo an independent audit, the company is headquartered in privacy-conscious Romania, so it’s not legally bound to collect user data. A live chat agent also informed me that none of my information is ever retained on the company’s servers. So, even if any authorities requested user files, CyberGhost has nothing to give away.

Despite its budget-friendly claims, CyberGhost’s short-term plan is overpriced and comes with only a 14-day money-back guarantee. In my opinion, you’re better off with a long-term subscription. Despite the higher cost, you’ll get to try CyberGhost on macOS at no risk for 45 days, which is much better than just 2 weeks.

Just like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost makes it easy to get a refund through the 24/7 live chat. I contacted the VPN after 28 days of testing and I got my money back 7 days later.

CyberGhost unblocks: Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Showtime, ESPN, Sling TV, fuboTV, DirecTV Now, and more.

CyberGhost also works on: iOS (13.0 or higher), Apple TV, Apple Watch, Windows, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Smart TVs, routers, and more.

2024 Update! You can subscribe to CyberGhost for as low as $2.03 per month + get an extra 4 months free with the 2-year plan (save up to 84%)! This is a limited offer so grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.

3. Private Internet Access – Largest Server Network for Easy Mac Connections

Key Features:

  • 35,000+ servers in 91+ countries
  • Customizable settings let you increase speeds on your Mac for bufferless streaming
  • 256-bit encryption, malware blocker, a kill switch, leak protection, and a no-logs policy
  • Connect up to unlimited devices at once
  • Compatible with macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) or greater (64-bit only)
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Private Internet Access (PIA) has a huge server network, making it easy to find a reliably fast connection for Mac. With servers in over 91 countries, I could always choose a working connection. PIA claims to spread its user load evenly to prevent slowdowns, so I ran speed checks to verify this. I tested 75+ servers and found my Mac speeds remained steady at all times.

Most of PIA’s servers are located in the US which makes it great for streaming Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and other US-based platforms. With the lack of sudden speed drops, you won’t experience buffering or lags on your Mac. Unfortunately, PIA doesn’t work with UK streaming sites, like BBC iPlayer or ITV. If you regularly use these on your Mac, you’ll need a different VPN.

PIA let me apply custom security settings on my Mac. I could choose which encryption protocol I wanted as well as various other options, like port forwarding settings, split-tunneling, malware protection, and custom DNS servers.

I enabled the toughest AES-256 encryption to check my bank account and prevent my information from leaking. However, more advanced encryption slows your download speeds. If you want to use PIA to stream on your Mac, choose a faster protocol. Even with the less strong encryption, your Mac’s IP address and data are still invisible to prying eyes.

Screenshot of Private Internet Access Mac app's custom protocol settings.

Adjusting my security settings was easy with PIA’s macOS app

Many VPNs let you toggle the kill switch on and off, but PIA’s kill switch is fully customizable too. The “Auto” setting worked like a regular kill switch, protecting my Mac connection against data leaks if my WiFi suddenly became unstable. However, the “Always” option instantly disabled my internet even when I turned PIA off myself.

Despite so many security options and a huge server list, I found PIA’s macOS app very easy to navigate. The VPN automatically selected a fast server for me after I clicked on the country I wanted to connect to. I also easily swapped my settings as most options have a drop-down menu or toggle, so it only takes a few seconds to adjust your Mac traffic.
You can choose between a 1-month, 1-year, and 2-year subscription, although the 2-year + 4 months subscription gives you the lowest monthly price. It comes down to just $2.03 per month, which makes PIA an extremely affordable premium VPN.

As a new user, you can try PIA’s extended macOS features risk-free for 30 days. I found it extremely helpful as it took me a few days to fully understand how to make the most of the customized settings. I canceled my subscription online after using PIA for 27 days and received a refund directly to my bank account a week later.

PIA unblocks: Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Showtime, ESPN, Sling TV, fuboTV, DirecTV Now, and more.

PIA also works on: iOS (11.0 or more), Apple Watch, Windows, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Smart TVs, routers, and more.

2024 Update! You can subscribe to PIA for as low as $2.03 per month + get an extra 4 months free with the 2-year plan (save up to 83%)! This is a limited offer, so grab it now before it's gone! See more information on this offer here!

4. NordVPN — Premium VPN With Cheap Prices on Long-Term Plans

Key Features:

  • Short and long-term subscriptions available
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 6,320+ global servers in 110 countries
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Protect up to 10 devices at once

NordVPN is one of the best VPNs on the market — and you can get super cheap prices when you sign up for a long-term subscription. One thing to note, however, is that when it’s time to renew your subscription, prices do increase quite significantly.

I was particularly impressed with the high performance of every server I tested. Just because a VPN has thousands of servers doesn’t mean they all work. Servers can still struggle to work — and some can even fail to connect completely. However, NordVPN’s servers work with Netflix for smooth, buffer-free streaming.

I did, however, have issues with using NordVPN’s native Fire TV app. Although it mostly worked with Netflix, it sometimes had issues and kept crashing. I also found that NordVPN’s user interface for desktop devices was less user-friendly than ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.

NordVPN has the following security and privacy features:

  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • kill switch that cuts your internet access if your connection to a VPN server drops suddenly
  • built-in ad and malware blocker, so you don’t need a third-party ad blocker
  • fully audited no-logs policy (audited by PwC) – NordVPN doesn’t store any personal or identifying data while you’re connected to the VPN

In addition, NordVPN includes Threat Protection that protects you from viruses, infected websites, and trackers – and it works whenever you have the NordVPN app open, even if you’re not connected to a VPN server.

NordVPN's threat protection keeps you fully protected at all times

NordVPN protects you from online threats 24/7

With plans that cost as little as $3.09 per month, it's easy to find a NordVPN subscription plan that suits your needs. You can also stream, torrent, and browse for free for up to 30 days with its money-back guarantee. I tested this to ensure that you’ll really get your money back. At first, the support team tried to give me an extended trial period — but they initiated my refund right away after I told them I wasn’t interested in the extension. I got my money back in 6 business days.

NordVPN works with: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, SkyTV, HBO Max, SHOWTIME, DAZN, ESPN, YouTube TV, and more

NordVPN works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chromebook, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Fire Stick, and Android TV

Get NordVPN today

5. Surfshark — Best Value for Money with Unlimited Device Connections and Fast Speeds

Key Features:

  • Short and long-term plans available
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 3,200+ global servers in 100 countries
  • No bandwidth restrictions
  • Connect unlimited devices at once

Surfshark offers the best value for money out of every premium VPN on the market. You can connect an unlimited number of devices with a single subscription, which means you can use Surfshark on all your devices without getting logged out.

I tested Surfshark’s simultaneous connections on 2 PCs, 2 phones, a Fire Stick 4K, and an iPad. My connection remained reliable on all 6 devices. Even while I was actively streaming on all my devices, my average speed was 112 Mbps — fast enough for UHD quality.

When I saw the price of this service, I thought it couldn’t possibly have top-grade security features for such a low price, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Surfshark has the following security and privacy features:

  • AES 256-bit encryption on all devices, with ChaCha encryption available for Android users
  • Wireguard VPN protocol enabled by default
  • diskless, RAM-only servers to protect your privacy (no data can be physically extracted from any servers)
  • kill switch (although this isn’t enabled by default)
  • IP and DNS leak protection

Surfshark offers two-factor authentication (2FA) on your account. This feature requires you to enter an extra code before you can log in to ensure that only you can access your account.

While Surfshark does have slightly fewer global servers than rivals such as CyberGhost and PIA, I didn’t experience any issues during my tests. I easily connected fast working servers every time, and I had excellent speeds for streaming, downloading torrents, and browsing the internet.

You can try Surfshark for yourself with the 30-day money-back guarantee. It has plans that cost as little as $2.29. Requesting a refund is easy with Surfshark’s live chat feature. Although the support team asked why I wanted to cancel my subscription, I had no problem getting my money back (and it only took 4 days!).

Surfshark works with: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Sling TV, Hotstar, HBO Max, DAZN, and more

Surfshark works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Linux, Fire Stick, Samsung Smart TVs, LG Smart TVs, Android TV, Kodi, and selected routers

Get Surfshark today

6. PrivateVPN – The Most Affordable Subscription Plans for Mac Users

Key Features:

  • 200+ servers in 63+ countries across the globe
  • No data caps for fast speeds and quick downloads on Mac
  • Military-grade encryption, Stealth Mode, IP leak protection, and a kill switch
  • Connect up to 10 Apple devices simultaneously
  • Compatible with macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) or more recent
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

PrivateVPN protects your Mac and budget with some of the cheapest plans on the market. You get the most substantial discount of 85 on the 3-year plan — but even its 1-month plan is more affordable than most low-cost VPNs.

In my testing, I was genuinely impressed by PrivateVPN. Despite its relatively compact server network, it consistently delivered swift speeds on my Mac. Connecting to their network of over 50 servers worldwide only led to a modest 37% reduction in my speeds, bringing it down from 98Mbps to 62Mbps. This slight variance ensures a seamless performance, even if your network speed happens to be lower than mine, effectively preventing any noticeable lags.

I ran numerous security evaluations to gauge my Mac’s safety. Through this, I found that PrivateVPN does a great job in shielding it from data leaks and malicious software. Furthermore, I tested the kill switch feature by putting my Mac to sleep while the VPN was on. When I woke my Mac, PrivateVPN promptly disconnected me from the internet, maintaining my privacy effectively.

Apart from essential security, PrivateVPN’s Stealth Mode feature maximizes your Mac’s online anonymity. When turned on, the feature allows PrivateVPN to work with sites you can’t use without a VPN connection. It’s useful if you’re dealing with website blocks in offices, libraries, or universities as it’ll help you access your accounts on Netflix, Facebook, or other sites.

Screenshot of PrivateVPN connecting to a US server and unblocking the movie Aquaman on HBO Max
PrivateVPN’s Stealth Mode goes around local firewalls, letting you stream best shows at work or school

If you’re overwhelmed by large interfaces, PrivateVPN lets you swap to a Simple View app on your Mac. This gives you only a couple of buttons necessary to set up your connection. This intuitive mode lets me connect my Mac in just 30 seconds! I could also swap to PrivateVPN’s Advanced View to select a VPN protocol and alter other security settings on the Mac app.

Due to PrivateVPN’s limited server network, I occasionally faced user congestion, resulting in a reduction of my speeds to 18Mbps—nearly 80% lower than my typical rate. Consequently, this led to a significant sluggishness in loading websites and caused disruptions in streaming quality. If your internet connection is already on the slower end, it might be advisable to consider an alternative VPN option.

Luckily, you can test PrivateVPN with your Mac risk-free with its money-back guarantee. This gives you 30 days to check the VPN and decide if you want to keep your subscription. If not, connect to its 24/7 live chat and ask for a refund. I had my money back 8 days after requesting it.

PrivateVPN unblocks: Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Showtime, ESPN, Sling TV, fuboTV, DirecTV Now, and more.

PrivateVPN also works on: iOS (10.0 or more), Apple TV, Apple Watch, Windows, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Smart TVs, routers, and more.

7. IPVanish – Secures Your Mac and All Other Apple Devices You Own At the Same Time

Key Features:

  • 2,400+ servers available in 57+ countries
  • Uncapped speeds on every server for quick streaming and browsing
  • AES-256 encryption, zero-logs policy, SOCKS5 web proxy, and multiple VPN protocols
  • Works on unlimited Apple devices at the same time
  • Compatible with macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

IPVanish supports unlimited device connections, letting you secure your Mac and other Apple devices simultaneously. Regardless of how many devices you connect, your speeds remain equally fast. I tested it by using IPVanish on all 7 of my Apple products. I didn’t notice a difference on any connection and could stream, play games, torrent, and browse at the same time without interruptions.

Of all IPVanish’s VPN protocols, WireGuard gave me the fastest traffic on my Mac. It’s always my go-to protocol on macOS as it balances excellent protection with great speeds. My testing showed that my speeds were only 31% slower than normal — more than enough for seamless multitasking on Mac and other devices.

Additionally, IPVanish’s “Scramble” option disguises your Mac traffic as a regular connection. It worked best with online blocks on popular sites, so using it will enable you to rightfully access your accounts from anywhere. Just keep in mind the feature is available with the OpenVPN protocol and will slow down your traffic by applying heavier protection to your Mac.

From a privacy standpoint, I was concerned about IPVanish’s US location as the country is a part of the 5 Eyes data-sharing alliance. However, IPVanish employs a strict zero-logs policy to counterbalance this. This means even if any authorities ask for information, there’s no user activity to provide.

To help bolster this no-logs policy, IPVanish has tight DNS and IPv6 leak protection and a kill switch, all of which successfully protected my data during testing. Although the kill switch isn’t available on the iOS app, you’ll have nothing to worry about if you use IPVanish primarily on your Mac.

I was happy that IPVanish is compatible with Tor and offers a free SOCKS5 proxy for safe torrenting on Mac. I could use it with multiple torrenting clients, like Vuze, BitTorrent, uTorrent, and Deluge. However, make sure you use an antivirus and legitimate torrenting sites as the proxy doesn’t offer encryption, so it won’t protect you like a VPN.

Screenshot of available SOCKS5 proxy locations included with an IPVanish subscription.

IPVanish supports fast torrenting on Mac with a SOCKS5 proxy

Despite its “Quick Connect” feature, IPVanish may struggle to find the fastest server for Mac. I noticed that manually selecting which city I wanted to connect to gave me better speeds than letting the VPN choose for me. Luckily, IPVanish shows the user load and ping of each server making it quick to connect your Mac.

I recommend you try IPVanish on your Mac risk-free for 30 days. It’s extremely easy to get your money back if you don’t like it — I didn’t even need to speak to anyone. Just cancel by logging into your account on the website and your refund will be processed automatically.

IPVanish unblocks: Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, ESPN, Sling TV, fuboTV, DirecTV Now, and more.

IPVanish also works on: iOS (11.0 or higher), Apple Watch, Windows, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, routers, and more.

Comparison Table: 2024’s Best Mac VPNs

VPN Supported macOS Torrenting Support Number of Simultaneous Connections Offered VPN Protocols Kill Switch Money-back Guarantee
ExpressVPN 10.13+ 8 Lightway, Wireguard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec 30 days
CyberGhost 10.12+ 7 WireGuard, IKEv2 45 days
Private Internet Access 10.13+ unlimited WireGuard, OpenVPN 30 days
NordVPN 10.15+ 10 NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2 ✔  30 days
Surfshark 10.15+ Unlimited WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2 30 days
PrivateVPN 10.11+ 10 OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec 30 days
IPVanish 10.13+ Unlimited WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec 30 days

How I Tested and Ranked the Best VPN Apps for Mac

Hundreds of VPNs claim to provide top Mac features for Mac, but only a handful are worth considering. To save you time and money, I tested top VPNs on the market against rigorous standards and shortlisted the services that offer:

  • Large global server network, so you can always find a connection you’re looking for.
  • Fast and reliable speeds with uncapped bandwidth to stop buffering, lags, or high pixelation on any website.
  • Easy-to-use apps for Mac and other Apple devices to easily switch between them without having to learn how to navigate a new app layout.
  • Strong security and privacy with military-grade encryption, an automatic kill switch, data leak protection, and top VPN protocols on Mac.
  • Support for multiple device connections, so you don’t have to choose which of your Apple devices to protect first.
  • Proven money-back guarantee that lets you try top monthly VPNs for Mac without any risk and get a refund if you change your mind.

Warning! Avoid Downloading These VPNs on Your Mac

Installing the wrong VPN can be dangerous. In the best case, it won’t give you the anonymity and security you need. But untrustworthy VPNs might store and sell your data to third parties or even hack your Mac. Through research, I found multiple VPNs you should never subscribe to.

Opera VPN

Opera web browser comes with a built-in VPN — but I wouldn’t trust it on my Mac. That’s because Opera VPN keeps logs of your online activity and sells your data to third parties despite claiming it does “not log any information related to your browsing.” Its privacy policy then contradicts this and explains it has to collect your information to abide by agreements with advertisers.

Moreover, Opera VPN doesn’t use a reliable VPN tunneling protocol like WireGuard or OpenVPN. Instead, it provides a very common TLS encryption (used by HTTPS websites) which isn’t secure enough for Mac or any Apple device.

Betternet VPN

Even though the provider claims not to “collect, log, store, or share any data log belonging to users,” Betternet collects your information according to its privacy policy. This includes your IP address, device details, websites you visit, and more. Even though your browsing history can’t be traced back to you, it’s still concerning that such private information is being tracked and stored.


According to CISRO, CrossVPN uses malware and malvertising to track your activities and collect personal data. On top of that, the VPN doesn’t protect your data with any encryption, so it leaves your Mac vulnerable on every website you visit.


Disguised as a free VPN, MacVPN is malicious software used to exploit your data when installed on Apple devices. It was developed by hackers who lure unexpected users into downloading the malware by promising the best online security. I tried downloading it on my Mac, but my antivirus instantly flagged the file up and deleted it to protect me.

Quick Setup Guide: 3 Steps to Install a VPN on MacBook and iMac

The easiest way to install a VPN on your Mac is to download the native app for macOS. Every VPN on the list works with Mac Pro, Mac Mini, iMac, iMac Pro, Macbook Pro, and Macbook Air. They also support iOS, so you can use them on an iPhone and iPad, as well as Apple TV and Apple Watch.

  1. Download a VPN for Mac. ExpressVPN provides consistently fast speeds with strong Mac security and privacy (use it on your Mac in confidence for 30 days).
  2. Log in and connect to a server. All recommended Mac VPNs let you set up your connection in just a couple of clicks.
  3. Enjoy online privacy and freedom on your Mac! Now you can stream, torrent, play online games, and safely browse the internet from anywhere in the world.

How to Manually Configure a VPN on Mac

Most of the time, you can use your VPN as soon as you download and install it. However, you may need to manually configure a VPN on Mac if you’re using a work computer or want to enable a specific VPN protocol, such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, or L2TP/IPSec.

I recommend using OpenVPN as it’s one of the fastest and most secure VPN protocols you can configure on Mac. Most VPNs on the list come with OpenVPN already built-in, so you don’t have to manually set it up. If your VPN doesn’t immediately work with OpenVPN, you can configure it with Tunnelblick or Viscosy.

Configure OpenVPN on Mac with Tunnelblick

Tunnelblick is an open-source program for macOS that lets you use OpenVPN on your Mac for free.

  1. Download Tunnelblick and install it on your Mac.
  2. Download configuration file for the server you want to connect to from your VPN’s website. Each server has a different file, so download more than one for a bigger connection selection.
  3. Add the configuration files to Tunnelblick. To do so, open the program and drag and drop each file into the “Configurations” box.
  4. Select an ovpn. file and press “Connect.” If needed, input your VPN’s service credentials found in your account information.
  5. That’s it! Now, you can start safely using the internet on your Mac.

Set Up OpenVPN on Mac with Viscosity

Viscosity lets you configure OpenVPN on your Mac, but you need to pay to use it. Luckily, it comes with a 30-day free trial.

  1. Download Viscosity and install it on your Mac.
  2. Download OpenVPN configuration files from your VPN for every server you want to use. The more files you choose, the wider your server selection will be.
  3. Import the server configuration files into Viscosity. Once you open the software, go to “Preferences”> “Connections” > “+” > “Import Connection.” Select one of the ovpn. files you downloaded.
  4. Set up a new username and password. This should prompt Viscosity to connect you to the server you just added.
  5. Check if your Viscosity connection is running. If you see the server file in Viscosity’s menu, it means your Mac is now connected to a VPN.

Authenticate a VPN on Mac Through IKEv2

IKEv2 offers good security without slowing down your speeds. However, it doesn’t always work with restricted sites as well as UDP and its speeds are still slower than with OpenVPN. On top of that, only ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, PrivateVPN, and IPVanish support the IKEv2 protocol.

Apple lets you set up IKEv2 in your Mac settings.

  1. Go to “Preferences” > “Network” to open Network settings.
  2. Create a new connection with IKEv2 as the VPN type. Click the “+” icon in the bottom left corner and select “Interface” > “VPN” > “IKEv2” in the pop-up window. Name your connection and click “Create”.
  3. Input your VPN’s authentication information, like the server address and remote ID. All details are listed in the dashboard in your VPN account.
  4. Tap “Connect” — your Mac connection is ready!

Create a L2TP/IPSec VPN Connection on Your Mac

Compared to OpenVPN and IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec is slow, outdated, and less secure. It’s more likely to struggle with online firewalls as it uses UDP. It should be your last resort, so use it only if there’s no other protocol available on your Mac.

  1. Go into your Mac’s Network settings by tapping on “Preferences” > “Network.”
  2. Set up an L2TP/IPSec connection. Select the “+” in the bottom left, then go to “Interface” > “VPN” > “L2TP over IPSec.” You’ll be prompted to set up an account for a quicker setup time in the future.
  3. Enter authentication details you received from your VPN. You can find them within the dashboard when you log in to your account through your browser.
  4. Press “Connect” and start using your Mac as normal! The L2TP/IPSec connection is now running on your device.

FAQs: Using a VPN on macOS

What’s the best free Mac VPN?

CyberGhost is the best VPN you can use on your Mac for free for 45 days. Although you have to pay to subscribe, it doesn’t lock you in a long-term contract straight away. The money-back guarantee lets you make the most of CyberGhost on your Mac and other Apple devices, and get a full refund if you change your mind.

Screenshot of a user successfully requesting a refund from CyberGhost over live chat with the 30-day money-back guarantee

A CyberGhost agent processed my refund without a fuss

I tested the policy myself, so I guarantee there’s no risk involved. The 24/7 live chat is the fastest way to get your refund. My conversation with a CyberGhost’s agent lasted less than 2 minutes — I didn’t even have to say why I was canceling. I received my money within 7 business days.

Can I use a VPN with Netflix on Mac?

Yes, you can use a VPN on Mac to watch Netflix, but it’s a bit of a gray area. According to its Terms of Use, Netflix doesn’t allow you to change your location with a VPN to access its content. However, there’s no record of the streaming giant taking legal action against its users — you’ll most likely be blocked with a proxy error if your VPN doesn’t work.

ExpressVPN is a top VPN for watching Netflix on Mac with unbelievably fast speeds that let you keep up with your favorite shows in full HD and with zero buffering. Moreover, it regularly updates its servers to stop Netflix from blacklisting them. On the rare occasion that the VPN can’t connect to Netflix, simply switch servers or clear your browser’s cache (it always works for me).

Which Mac VPN works in China?

ExpressVPN is the best Mac VPN you can use in China as it provides fast speeds and access to your usual accounts. However, non-government approved VPNs (like ExpressVPN) are illegal in the country. While there have been no public cases of tourists being penalized by the Chinese government, exercise a basic level of caution when using a VPN during your travels.

What’s the fastest VPN for Mac?

ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN for Mac as it gave me the best and most consistent speeds across local and distant servers. My connection barely slowed on servers in the UK, US, Mexico, Italy, Japan, and Australia — I wouldn’t have noticed a difference if I didn’t run speed tests. I also found that enabling the proprietary Lightway protocol boosted my Mac’s speeds so they matched my base connection of 98Mbps, which is a rare find in the VPN world.

Can I use a Mac VPN on my iPhone?

Yes, any of the recommended VPNs for Mac also work on iPhone and iPad. I shortlisted the services compatible with all Apple products and routers, so you can use them on devices that don’t immediately support third-party connections, like Apple TV. Plus, these VPNs support multiple macOS and iOS connections at once, so you don’t have to log out of your Mac to use a VPN on your iPhone.

Does Apple have a VPN for Mac?

No, Apple doesn’t have built-in VPNs for Mac. Paid iCloud subscribers have access to a service called Private Relay, but it’s currently in beta and only encrypts data when using the Safari browser. macOS does allow for manual VPN configuration, but you’ll still need a top-tier VPN service in order to establish a connection.

Considering the complicated setup options and limitations of iCloud Private Relay, it’s much easier to install a VPN with a native macOS app like ExpressVPN. This gives you more security features and lets you connect to a server with just a couple of buttons instead of fumbling with Mac network settings.

Which VPN has an extension for Safari?

None as Safari doesn’t support VPN extensions, but you can protect your Apple browser with a quality Mac VPN. Setting it up secures all your traffic, keeping your online gaming and torrenting equally safe as browsing the internet.

Even though it doesn’t have a Safari extension, ExpressVPN lets you control your connection from the drop-down menu on your Mac. It resembles a VPN browser extension, so you don’t have to open the app to alter your connection. You don’t need to manually set up it up either as the feature works as soon as you install ExpressVPN on your Mac.

Which VPN works with macOS Big Sur?

All of the recommended Mac VPNs work with macOS Big Sur. It’s a big misconception that the operating system update released by Apple in 2018 somehow blocked third-party VPNs. All VPNs in the article easily run and protect macOS 10.13 and above.

If you have an older Mac, I recommend trying PrivateVPN as it’s the only VPN on the list that still supports macOS 10.11.

Do I really need a VPN for my Mac?

Yes, your Mac is vulnerable to hacker attacks and other security threats when you use it without a VPN. When you switch on a VPN, it creates an encrypted connection between your Mac and a server controlled by the service. This safeguards your internet and helps you get around other online restrictions when you travel. However, you shouldn’t abuse a VPN for illegal activities on your Mac, so make sure to check local laws before you connect.

Additionally, there are a few extra ways to safeguard your Mac:

  • Make the most of the Safari browser — Mac’s native browser doesn’t collect any of your data (unlike Firefox or Tor) and blocks fingerprinting.
  • Install antivirus software — Macs don’t offer anti-malware security, which is necessary to stop hackers from infecting your device. You can skip this step if you get a VPN with a built-in antivirus like CyberGhost, as it automatically protects you from malware.
  • Use Mac’s built-in password manager — iCloud Keychain stores login information with end-to-end encryption and syncs your data across all Apple devices. It’ll also alert you if your passwords were compromised and suggest a stronger alternative.

Get the Best VPN to Protect Your Mac Online

Despite Apple’s regular security updates, your Mac is vulnerable to scams, hacking, and identity theft. The only way to reduce security risks on your Mac is to get a quality VPN with the best protection and privacy. It should also come with fast speeds and reliable connections, so it won’t impede your usual online activities like streaming or torrenting.

Not all VPNs are Mac-friendly though, so I ran extensive tests on my MacBook Pro to find the best services. According to the results, ExpressVPN is the most well-rounded VPN for your Mac. It offers unbreakable security, top-of-the-line privacy, excellent speeds, and compatibility with popular online websites, ticking all your VPN needs. Best of all, you can test ExpressVPN on Mac risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Summary — Best VPNs for Mac in 2024

Top Ranked Top Choice
$6.67 / month Save 49%
CyberGhost VPN
$2.03 / month Save 84%
Private Internet Access
$2.03 / month Save 83%
$3.09 / month Save 76%
$2.29 / month Save 85%
Did you like this article? Rate it!
I hated it I don't really like it It was ok Pretty good! Loved it!
4.30 Voted by 3 users
Thanks for your feedback