5 Best VPN for Mac OS with Mac VPN Setup

Last updated: November 16, 2020
Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Learn how to use a Mac VPN to boost your privacy and security!

Best VPN for Mac

Need access to the Best VPN for Mac? Well, the Big Sur, Mojave, High Sierra, El Capitan, and Yosemite are highly stable/secure OS for your laptops (MacBook Air and MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac mini, iMac, iMac Pro).

However, this does not give them a clear shit from its own privacy/security issues. When connected to the internet, you may also still need protection from unwarranted threats.This is where using a VPN service comes in handy.

So, I have come up with a list of recommendations for you. Below you can find details regarding the best and free VPN for Mac in 2020.

The Best VPN Mac Apps for 2020

1.Surfshark: 2-Year Plan costs $2.49/mo
2.PureVPN: 5-Year Plan costs $3.33/mo
3.NordVPN: 2-Year Plan costs $3.71/mo
4.ExpressVPN: 1-Year Plan costs $6.67/mo  
5.CyberGhost: 3-Year Plan costs $2.75/mo

In-Depth Analysis of 5 Best VPNs for Mac

I’ve described each Best VPN for Mac in detail below, after analyzing/comparing their costs, trust pilot ratings, performance, features, and privacy offered:

1. Surfshark: Best All-Round VPN Mac

Number of Servers: 1,700+ | Countries: 63+ | Apple Store Rating: 4.4 | Maximum Devices Supported: Unlimited | Price: $2.49/mo on a 2-year plan

Powerful and strong, Surfshark tops our list as the best VPN for Mac. Based in the British Virgin Islands, the provider offers 1,700+ servers in 63+ countries worldwide. Clean, uncomplicated and feature-rich. This is what sums up the experience on Mac.

Its app uses the industry-standard OpenVPN protocol, which implements the AES-256-GCM cipher on the data channel, so no additional authentication is required. For the control channel, it uses the same AES-256-GCM cipher with the TLS key exchange secured using RSA-2048.

In terms of pricing, the VPN offers varied plans of three durations: monthly (starting at $11.95), yearly ($5.99/mo.), and 2-years (as low as $1.99/mo.) Users even have a 7-day Surfshark free trial on iOS and Android devices, along with a 30-day refund guarantee.

On the Apple StoreSurfshark enjoys a rating of 4.4 stars, from a total of 1.7k reviews. The best part of all; you have access to unlimited simultaneous connections. This means you can use a single subscription on Mac and as many devices as you want!

Best part of all: the strong encryption enables Surfshark to bypass geo-restrictions and VPN bans on a variety of streaming platforms around the world, minus any hassles and with the ability to enjoy streaming in 4k quality. These include:

Surfshark on Mac

  • 1,700+ Servers in 61+ Countries
  • Size: 111.4 MB (4.4 Stars Rating)
  • 7-Day Free Trial for iOS Users
  • Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
  • AES-256-CBC and AES-256-GCM
  • No Static IPs available

Need more information? Re-direct yourself to this full 2020 Surfshark review!

Get Surfshark Now!30 Days Money Back Guarantee

2. PureVPN: Inexpensive VPN for Macbook

Number of Servers: 3,200+ | Locations: 180+ | Apple Store Rating: 3.6 | Maximum Devices Supported: 5 | Price: $3.33/mo on a 5-year plan

PureVPN is one of the best cheapest VPNs that offer a feature-rich service for Mac users. Headquartered in Hong Kong, PureVPN has over 3,200+ servers in 140+ countries worldwide, delivering an average speed of 91.51Mbps in download and 88.59Mbps in uploads.

In terms of pricing, PureVPN offers a premium plan divided into three durations: monthly (starting at $10.95), yearly ($4.16/mo.), and 2-years (as low as $2.91/mo.). You can get a PureVPN free trial for testing the provider and its capabilities to see if it’s worth the buy.

On the Apple Store, the provider enjoys a rating of 3.6 stars from 874 reviews. The best part of all; you have access to a huge list of advanced features that include NAT Firewall, Split Tunneling, Ad/Tracker blocking, IPv6 Leak Protection, Port Forwarding, and dedicated IPs.

The provider’s Mac app offers a glitch-free interface and a “popular websites” option. It lists all popular streaming services/websites for entertainment. PureVPN is also among the few VPNs that can directly unblock VoDs directly via its browser extensions.

PureVPN on Mac

  • 3,200+ Servers in 140+ Countries
  • Size: 62.6 MB (3.6 Stars Rating)
  • Endorsed by Forbes
  • Dedicated IPs Available
  • Multi-logins on Ten devices
  • Basic security features

Need more information? Re-direct yourself to this full 2020 PureVPN review!

Get PureVPN Now!31 Days Money Back Guarantee

3. NordVPN: Secure and Value-Driven

Number of Servers: 5,100+ | Countries: 59+ | Apple Store Rating: 4.6 | Maximum Devices Supported: 6 | Price: $3.71/mo on a 2-year plan

Based in Panama, NordVPN is an affordable and highly secure VPN provider for Mac users. Holistically, NordVPN‘s experience will leave you desiring for nothing else, as it ticks all boxes of intuitiveness, user-friendliness, and advanced features as far as their Mac VPN is concerned.

For connectivity, you have access to 5,100+ servers in 100 locations globally, but surprisingly upon testing, I received no server load or speed issues. In fact, the performance was quite impressive. Best part of all: NordVPN is not located in 5, 9, or 14 eyes jurisdiction.

In terms of pricing, NordVPN offers a premium plan divided into three durations: monthly (starting at $11.95), bi-yearly ($9.00/mo.), and 2-years (as low as $3.71/mo.). You can even get a 7-day NordVPN Free Trial on iOS and Android devices, along with a 30-day refund.

There also have been no known cases of DNS or WebRTC leaks. On the Apple store, their Mac app gets a 4.6 star ratings from 100.1k reviews. By using it, users can gain the ability to unblock numerous streaming platforms around the world. These include:

NordVPN on Mac

  • 5,100+ Servers in 59+ Countries
  • Size: 163 MB (4.6 Stars Ratings)
  • 7-Day Free Trial on iOS Devices
  • Headquartered in Panama
  • Automatic Kill Switch
  • Support Needs Improvement

Need more information? Re-direct yourself to this full 2020 Ivacy VPN review!

Get Ivacy Now!30 Days Money Back Guarantee

4. ExpressVPN: Secure and Reliable Mac VPN

Number of Servers: 3,000+ | Locations: 160+ | Apple Store Rating: 4.6 | Maximum Devices Supported: 5 | Price: $6.67/mo on a 1-year plan

ExpressVPN offers an incredibly secure and reliable application for Mac users. The VPN is located in the British Virgin Islands; a safe country with virtually zero data retention laws, giving users more confidence to trust the provider. Not to mention, you can even get a free trial.

Their Mac app never crashes or gives downtime issues, and you can count on it for offering a seamless, optimized experience. The provider’s privacy policy is also incredibly strong, with many testing its zero logs policy. Users even have an ExpressVPN free trial available for testing.

As far as pricing is concerned, ExpressVPN’s plans are divided into three durations. I advise going for the 1-year one as if it offers users better value for the money. On the Apple store, it enjoys an amazing 4.6 star rating from 85.6k reviews on the Apple Store.

Similar to PureVPN and Surfshark, ExpressVPN also works smoothly on Routers and Android/Apple TVs. Thanks to their TrustedServer Technology, the provider also faces no issues in unblocking streaming platforms, such as:

ExpressVPN on Mac

  • 3000+ servers in 94 countries
  • Size: 67.4 MB (4.6 Stars Ratings)
  • Verified “no-logs” policy
  • Multi-logins on 5 devices
  • 30-day refund policy
  • Prices are a bit too steep

Need more information? Re-direct yourself to this full 2020 ExpressVPN review!

Get ExpressVPN Now!30 Days Money Back Guarantee

5. CyberGhost: Great Balance of Price and Value

Number of Servers: 6,100+ | Locations: 90+ | Apple Store Rating: 4.4 | Maximum Devices Supported: 5 | Price: $2.75/mo on a 3-year plan

CyberGhost has taken immense strides in the recent past to break into the top tier VPN category and can easily be trusted for your Mac. Headquartered in Romania, CyberGhost offers a user-friendly Mac app that boasts a black and yellow theme.

The provider offers the largest network infrastructure of 6,100 servers in 90+ countries. Best part of all, their app unblocks all popular platforms and even works on Android TVs, along with Nvidia Shield TV and Firestick devices. The GUI is incredibly impressive on all.

As far as pricing is concerned, CyberGhost VPN’s plans are divided into 4 durations: monthly (starting at $12.99), 1 year ($5.99/mo.), 2-year ($3.69/mo.), and 3-year ($2.75/mo.), giving users quite a few options in subscriptions.

On Apple Store, it gets a 4.2 star rating for over 23.7k reviews on the Apple Store. As far as features are concerned, CyberGhost offers 7 simultaneous connections, Wi-Fi protection, and ability to unblock Netflix, Hulu, Hotstar, BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, Disney Plus, etc.

CyberGhost on Mac

  • 6,100+ Servers in 90+ Countries+
  • Size: 108.4 MB (4.4 Stars Rating)
  • Zero WebRTC/DNS/IP leaks
  • 45-Day Refund Guarantee
  • Up to 7 simultaneous connections
  • Basic security features

Need more information? Re-direct yourself to this full 2020 CyberGhost review!

Get CyberGhost Now!45 Days Money Back Guarantee

How to Use a VPN with MacOS

If you want to use a VPN on your MacOS, follow the same installing process for any other software. Once signed up with any of the above-recommended providers, follow these simple steps:

  • Download the Mac application from the VPN website
  • Install the file after downloading and confirm any prompts
  • Launch the VPN application from the dock at the bottom or App Menu
  • Enter your login credentials and activate the product (if needed).
  • Select a VPN server from the list of countries/locations available
  • Hit the “connect” button and enjoy using a VPN on your Mac.

How to Setup a VPN on Mac (Manually)?

For those providers that do not have a native app for Mac, or if you prefer not using a third-party application, there are a few ways to manually configure a VPN. Basically, there are three types of VPN setups that are most popular. I will provide instructions for each:

How to Set Up an L2TP VPN Connection on macOS

  • Click on “System Preferences” in the Apple Menu.
  • Double-click the “Network Icon” and press the “+” button.
  • Click the interface drop-down list and select “VPN”.
  • Choose L2TP over IPSec in the VPN Type drop-down list.
  • Type a name for the VPN connection in the “Service Name”.
  • Click “Create” and the VPN settings will appear automatically.
  • Fill out the VPN server address, Account Name, And Password Fields.
  • Type the Pre-Shared Key, if you are using a Shared Secret connection.
  • Click on “Apply” to save changes and wait for the VPN to set up.
  • Go back to System Preferences > Network Icon > Choose the VPN you created!

How to Set Up a VPN with Tunnelblick on a Mac

  • Launch the TunnelBlick Application and click on “I have Configuration Files”.
  • Load the downloaded .ovpn files from your provider by double-clicking them.
  • You will receive a prompt to install the configurations. Select the relevant option. 
  • Click the “TunnelBlick” icon in the top right corner of your screen and hit “Connect”
  • Enter your username and password for the VPN, if prompted.
  • Enjoy using your VPN manually via Tunnelblick!

How to Set Up a VPN with Viscosity on macOS

  • Open the Viscosity application and then choose “Preferences”
  • Click the “+” sign at the bottom left of the Window.
  • Choose the “Import Connection” option.
  • Load the downloaded .ovpn configuration files.
  • Click the “Viscosity” icon in the app menu and hit “Connect”
  • Enter your username and password for the VPN, if prompted.

Factors to Look for When Choosing the Best VPN Mac

Our testing criteria for choosing a VPN software for mac is based on analyzing critical security, privacy, and device-related important issues.

Through this testing criteria, we came up with these 8 factors that we weighed providers upon when choosing our 5 best VPNs for Mac:

Compatible Apps

The provider should have a functioning, well-designed, easy to use and reliable Mac app that can allow the user to begin using the service within just a few steps.

Budget-Friendly Pricing

Our top recommended VPN, iVacy is priced at $1.99/month despite offering the highest server park and some of the most premium security features in the industry.

The provider which can make it as affordable for the user to subscribe to its services is the one that we went for when making this list.

Unblock Streaming Sites

Streaming is now a popular activity, even on Macs, so if a user is going for a provider, it needs to be powerful enough to unblock major streaming sites for it like Netflix US.

Good Server Infrastructure

Usually, the top providers have anywhere from 700-2000 servers, but some even go above that and offer 3000-5000 servers worldwide.

We didn’t opt for a provider that doesn’t offer more than 500 servers because a smaller server park means overloading and atrociously slow speeds.

No DNS or WebRTC leaks

All the encryption and protocols mean nothing if your VPN leaks your IP through a DNS or a WebRTC leak.

Our selected VPNs don’t do so as they passed all of these strict, independent DNS and WebRTC leak tests without leaking our real IP even once.

Zero Logging Policy

We don’t accept any provider to be safe enough for users unless they have an explicit zero-logging policy clearly mentioned in their privacy policy.

Some VPNs, however, do keep some negligible logs like those of your connection timestamps and bandwidth usage, but they are harmless as they can’t be used to identify you.

All of the Mac VPNs that are recommended by us don’t keep any kind of user activity logs whatsoever and can be completely trusted for keeping your data safe and anonymous.

Strong Encryption Levels

The safest form of encryption is the AES-256 military-grade level encryption, which can’t be deciphered even by brute force computing or by hundreds of supercomputers working at once.

Anything below that and we need to give that VPN a pass. Our top 5 VPNs are all offering this level of encryption and can guarantee that your data cannot be hacked in transit ever.

Based in a Safe Jurisdiction

Data retention laws of the country where the VPN is based are crucial to how secure a user’s data is with the provider. For e.g. a provider based in a country that is a member of the 14 Eyes Alliance shouldn’t be opted for.

The top 5 Mac VPNs recommended above are all based in safer locations/data-friendly countries like the British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, etc.

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5 Reasons Why Free VPNs are a Bad Option for Macs

Free VPNs might be enticing considering the considerable cost that subscribing to a paid provider can incur, but we never recommend you to go for free providers. Here’s why:

  1. Free VPNs don’t often offer Compatible apps for Macs, making it a hassle to use the service on your device in the first place.
  2. Speeds are often quite slow on services offered by free providers on top of daily/monthly bandwidth limits, making them unsuitable for modern-day browsing habits.
  3. Free VPNs have been known to sell user data and conduct other problematic activities because they need to make money and if you are not paying them through subscription fees, then they need to go somewhere to cover up their bottom lines.
  4. You won’t ever get premium features like Double VPN or Split Tunnelling in Free VPNs.
  5. Free VPNs are mostly not Torrenting friendly and neither are they good at unblocking geo-restricted streaming sites like Netflix or BBC iPlayer.
Paid VPNs are much safer, reliable and performance-oriented, and when you can get a VPN like Surfshark for as low as $1.99/month, there is no point really in risking your precious privacy and sensitive data by going for a free VPN.
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People Also Ask

What’s the best free VPN for Mac?

Free VPNs tend to be a risky option, as they suffer from a restricted server network, poor security, slow speeds, and usually, limited bandwidth and data. Some may even track and sell your data, which is why it is recommended to opt for only premium providers like Surfshark (priced at a minimal $1.99/month).

How to change VPN on Mac?

If you want to use a different VPN application on Mac, you will first have to uninstall any other software, as to not create a conflict and eventually additional network-related issues.

Do I need a VPN with a Mac?

Yes, you need a VPN for your Mac, if you want to boost your privacy and security or want to unlock a whole new world of entertainment on streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more.

Does Mac have built in VPN?

Mac does not have a built-in VPN application, but they do offer tremendous support for setting up manual connections for most common types of VPNs.

Are there free VPNs for Mac?

Yes, there are plenty of free VPNs for Mac in the marketplace, but since most of them indulge in shady practices, it is advised to opt for a premium provider.

How do I setup a VPN on my Mac at home?

Open the Apple menu and click on “System Preferences”. Open “Network” and click on “add. Choose VPN and select the protocol from the VPN type drop-down list that appears.

How do I get a VPN on my Macbook?

There are two options for getting a VPN on your MacBook. Get a provider with a native application for the operating system or setup a VPN manually.

Where do I find VPN on my Mac?

The VPNs available for connection will appear in the “Network” menu from “System Preferences”.

What is shared secret in Mac VPN?

A pre-shared key (PSK) also known as shared secret is a string of text a VPN utilizes before it receives any other credentials.

Does NordVPN work on Mac?

Yes, NordVPN works on Mac and other Apple devices. They also provide access to streaming sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, around the world.

How do I send all traffic through VPN Mac?

After downloading and installing the VPN application, launch it and connect to any server. This will change your IP address and send all traffic through a secure and encrypted tunnel.

Wrapping Things Up

The 5 Recommended Mac VPNs listed above are all primed to meet your expectations on all accounts and no other service can bring the perfect combination of privacy and reliability.

Surfshark is our most highly recommended service for Macs. Its best plan will cost you just $1.99/month and is a great investment towards your privacy.

The other options; PureVPN, NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost are equally good on all VPN important factors and you can go for either of them for your Mac too.

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