10 Best VPNs for Mac: Trusted, Safe & Fast (Tested 2019)

With so many average VPNs out there, finding a great VPN service for macOS is frustrating and time-consuming. I’ve tested 78 VPN apps on my Macbook Pro and found most of them are useless. They were either painfully slow, unable to bypass geoblocks, or logged my browsing activity.

macOS already provides powerful built-in security features. A VPN needs to offer more than just basic protection to be worth installing. During my tests, I discovered a handful of VPNs that stand out and offer additional features to secure your Mac.

Every VPN on my list has been handpicked based on its performance and usability. I have tested each of them rigorously to confirm that they are safe, fast, and anonymous. You can learn more about my testing process here.

Short on time? Here’s a quick summary of my top VPNs for Mac:

1. NordVPN– safe, perfect for streaming, and fully optimized for macOS.
2. ExpressVPN– the fastest VPN I tested.
3. CyberGhost– intuitive and user-friendly service that’s great for beginners.
4. Surfshark– unlimited connections make it the best value for money.
5. IPVanish– a powerful VPN that works with Kodi and Apple TV.

These VPNs offer high-performance apps that work smoothly, even if you’re using an older version of macOS. I have given preference to VPNs that can unblock popular streaming services and those that offer built-in ad and malware blockers.

NordVPN Hack — Try It Free for a Month!

Whether you’re looking for a short-term VPN to binge the latest Netflix show or to protect your Mac while you travel, you can use this hack to try NordVPN for a month.

NordVPN offers a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. We tested NordVPN’s refund policy, and it’s quick and easy to get your money back if you’re unhappy with the service.

2019’s Best VPNs for Mac — Tested and Compared

1. NordVPN

The best VPN for Mac is fast, feature-packed, and fully optimized for macOS

  • Easy-to-use Mac app with one-click connect
  • Unlimited bandwidth with up to 6 simultaneous device connections
  • Kill switch for Mac: Yes
  • OpenVPN supported: Yes
  • Supports torrenting: Yes, P2P specialty servers available
  • Can access: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO GO, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV
  • Also available for: iOS, Windows, Linux, Android, BlackBerry, Routers, Raspberry Pi, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox
  • Data logging: Strict no-logs policy

NordVPN is my top choice because of its feature-rich, dedicated macOS apps.

There are two NordVPN macOS clients. One (available on NordVPN’s website and compatible with Yosemite 10.10 or later) offers OpenVPN protection, while the other (available on the App Store for Sierra 10.12 or later) uses the IKEv2/IPSec protocol. You can learn more about VPN protocols with my colleague’s comprehensive guide.

Both apps include an automatic kill switch, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, and a built-in ad and malware blocker.

All of NordVPN’s apps use robust AES 256-bit encryption to protect your data. You can use its Double VPN feature to add an additional layer of encryption, but most users don’t need this extra protection.

Advanced obfuscation settings let you bypass censorship without being detected, even in heavily restricted locations like China. It is also compatible with Onion over VPN for Tor.

NordVPN keeps a strict no-logs policy. It’s headquartered in privacy-friendly Panama, outside the 5/9/14-Eyes jurisdiction.

Its enormous global network consists of 5,500+ servers across 60 countries. There are optimized servers for streaming and P2P connections.

NordVPN is a solid choice for streaming, too. Its SmartPlay technology can unblock 150+ popular streaming services, including Netflix US.

SmartPlay detects the best server for you to bypass a geoblock and make the change automatically, so you don’t need to change your settings. Best of all, it’s fast enough to stream in HD and 4K.

Don’t use NordVPN if:

You want to pay with PayPal (NordVPN stopped accepting PayPal in some countries).

If you have any questions, NordVPN’s customer service team is available 24/7 via live chat.

You can try NordVPN risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Check out our full NordVPN review to read users’ opinions and see how it ranks in our more detailed tests.

Try NordVPN Now!

2. ExpressVPN

The best choice if you also have an iPhone

  • Kill switch for Mac: Yes
  • OpenVPN supported: Yes
  • Supports torrenting: Yes, P2P activity allowed on all servers
  • Can access: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, DAZN, HBO GO, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV
  • Also available for: iOS, Windows, Linux, Android, BlackBerry, Routers, Raspberry Pi, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, PlayStation, Xbox, Apple TV, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Roku, Chromecast, Nvidia Shield
  • Data logging: Strict no-logs policy

ExpressVPN is consistently faster than any other VPN I tested. These speeds, combined with it’s 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries, ensure buffer-free streaming, torrenting, and gaming.

ExpressVPN and NordVPN compete for first place with their macOS apps, but ExpressVPN has the better iPhone app.

If you want to use your VPN on your iPhone as well, I recommend ExpressVPN. If you use an Android phone, though, you’ll save some money by choosing NordVPN instead.

The macOS app uses 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN to protect your Mac. It also offers DNS/IPv6 leak protection and an automatic kill switch. Its SmartLocation feature will automatically connect you to the best server available.

ExpressVPN makes a lot of fuss about its customizable shortcuts in the app. I tested it out myself and found the shortcuts only saved me 2-3 seconds. On a few occasions, it actually took longer to load a site using shortcuts than it would have taken me to open my browser and type in the address.

ExpressVPN’s innovative TrustedServer technology ensures that all its servers load the same up-to-date software. These servers run on RAM, which requires power to write data. This means that every time an ExpressVPN server is rebooted, it’s wiped completely clean.

You can use its MediaStreamer software to stream on devices that don’t support VPNs, like gaming consoles and some smart TVs. Unfortunately, MediaStreamer does not encrypt your data while you’re streaming.

Don’t use ExpressVPN if:

You’re looking for a cheap VPN. ExpressVPN offers a premium service that is worth the cost, but there are other great choices on this list that are more budget-friendly.

You can reach ExpressVPN’s customer support 24/7 via live chat.

ExpressVPN is a high-performing VPN that pairs well with macOS and iOS. You can take advantage of the no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee to try it for yourself, worry-free.

Our in-depth ExpressVPN review takes a closer look at this top service, and included comments from other users.

Try ExpressVPN Now!

3. CyberGhost

A great choice for beginners 

CyberGhost
  • Kill switch for Mac: Yes
  • OpenVPN supported: No
  • Supports torrenting: Yes, dedicated profile in the app shows servers and number of users
  • Can access: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, DAZN, HBO GO, Amazon Prime Video, Sky Go
  • Also available for: iOS, Windows, Linux, Android, Routers, Raspberry Pi, Chrome
  • Data logging: Strict no-logs policy

Romania-based CyberGhost is an affordable service with a user-friendly macOS app.  It’s intuitive and incredibly easy to navigate.

CyberGhost operates 6,000+ high-speed servers in 90+ countries, including optimized servers for streaming and P2P. Its single-click Best Location feature automatically connects you to the fastest server, based on your location. It also includes a built-in ad blocker.

Advanced users can customize their connection settings in the Smart Rules menu, but there’s no need. The app is ready to connect as soon as you open it up.

It offers tough 256-bit AES encryption, a strong no-logs policy, an automatic kill switch and DNS/IPv6 leak protection. The Mac client uses the IKEv2 protocol.

Don’t use CyberGhost if:

You are looking for a VPN that works in China.

You can contact customer support 24/7 via live chat. Or, use CyberGhost’s 45-day money-back guarantee to test it out for yourself.

Our detailed CyberGhost evaluation includes reviews written by other customers.

Try CyberGhost Now!

4. Surfshark

Best value for your money 

  • Kill switch for Mac: Yes
  • OpenVPN supported: No
  • Supports torrenting: Yes, P2P activity allowed on all servers
  • Can access: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO GO, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN
  • Also available for: iOS, Windows, Linux, Android, Routers, Chrome, Firefox, Amazon Fire TV
  • Data logging: Strict no-logs policy

Surfshark is unique because it offers unlimited simultaneous connections. This means you can protect all of your devices with just one account.

It operates a strong network of 800+ servers in 50+ countries. It supports P2P connections and can access popular streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Surfshark’s macOS client uses secure 256-bit encryption and the IKEv2 protocol to protect your Mac. It also features an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection.

Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, outside the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance. It keeps a strict no-logs policy and operates to the highest privacy standards.

Its built-in security suite, CleanWeb, blocks ads, trackers, malware, and phishing attempts.

Other features available for macOS include split tunneling, MultiHop, and NoBorders mode for bypassing censorship.

Don’t use Surfshark if:

You want to install the VPN on your router.

Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test it out risk-free.

Read our detailed review to see what real users think about Surfshark.

Try Surfshark Now!

5. IPVanish

The best VPN for streaming with Kodi and Apple TV

  • Kill switch for Mac: Yes
  • OpenVPN supported: Yes
  • Dedicated torrenting profile: No
  • Can access: Netflix, BBC iPlayer
  • Also available for: iOS, Windows, Linux, Android, Windows Phone, Routers, Chromebook, Amazon Fire TV
  • Data logging: Strict no-logs policy

This US-based VPN operates a network of 1,300+ servers across 75+ locations. Its well-designed app allows macOS users to customize their VPN settings, a feature that’s often available only to Windows users. This makes it easy to use with both Kodi and Apple TV.

IPVanish has a zero-logging policy and offers a choice of OpenVPN UDP/TCP, IPSec, L2TP, and IKEv2 VPN protocols on your Mac. SOCKS5 proxy connections are also available.

It also offers DNS/IPv6 leak protection, obfuscation, and an automatic kill switch.

Don’t use IPVanish if:

You’re looking for a service based outside the 5/9/14-Eyes’ jurisdiction.

IPVanish offers a 7-day money-back guarantee on all its services.

Read our detailed review to find out more about IPVanish, including real customer comments.

Try IPVanish Now!

6. SaferVPN

  • Kill switch for Mac: Yes
  • OpenVPN supported: Yes
  • Can access: HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, BBC iPlayer, and others.
  • Supports torrenting: Yes.
  • Also available for: Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and routers.
  • Data logging: no-logs policy, but some connection logs kept

SaferVPN is a great choice if you’re on a budget. The VPN supports IKEv, PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN protocols.

Users can access over 700 servers in 34 countries. SaferVPN performs well in speed tests and can access popular streaming platforms like HBO and BBC iPlayer.

The dedicated macOS app is user-friendly and includes an automatic kill switch. SaferVPN also automatically connects you to the best VPN server when you use public wi-fi.

Don’t use SaferVPN if:

If you need a VPN to bypass tough government censorship. SaferVPN does not work in China, Russia, Egypt, or the UAE at this time.

Any issues can be quickly resolved with SaferVPN’s 24/7 live chat support.

SaferVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 24-hour free trial, which makes it easy to try it out before you commit.

Take a look at our detailed SaferVPN review to see how it compares against its competitors.

Try SaferVPN Now!

7. PrivateVPN

  • Kill switch for Mac: No
  • OpenVPN supported: Yes
  • Supports torrenting: Yes; P2P activity allowed on all servers
  • Can access: Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, Amazon Prime Video
  • Also available for: iOS, Windows, Linux, Android, Routers
  • Data logging: Strict no-logs policy

PrivateVPN is another budget-friendly VPN with strong security and a zero-logs policy. You can connect to the macOS client with a single click.

The network is smaller than others on this list, with 150+ servers across 60 locations, but this doesn’t affect its overall performance. PrivateVPN is fast, and its streaming-optimized servers can access Netflix and other popular streaming services.

PrivateVPN protects your Mac’s data with 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN, and DNS/IPv6 leak protection.

Thanks to its Stealth mode, PrivateVPN is powerful enough to bypass tough VPN blocks and deep packet inspection.

Don’t use PrivateVPN if:

You need a VPN with an automatic kill switch.

PrivateVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee makes it easy to try out its service risk-free.

You can read user comments and see how PrivateVPN performed during our in-depth tests in our review.

Try PrivateVPN Now!

8. VyprVPN

  • Kill switch for Mac: Yes
  • OpenVPN supported: Yes
  • Dedicated torrenting profile: No
  • Can access: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer
  • Also available for: iOS, Windows, Android, Routers, Android TV, QNAP, Blackphone, Anonabox
  • Data logging: Strict no-logging policy

VyprVPN operates a network of 700+ servers worldwide. It is fast, and the dedicated macOS client is easy to navigate.

VyprVPN’s proprietary Chameleon protocol disguises your encrypted traffic as regular internet traffic, allowing you to bypass DPI, censorship, and VPN blocks.

It can access popular streaming services like Netflix and allows P2P traffic for secure torrenting. VyprVPN has a zero-logging policy to protect your anonymity.

You also get other important security features like robust 256-bit encryption and an automatic kill switch. Its NAT firewall blocks unrequested inbound traffic, stopping hackers and botnets before they can access your device.

Don’t use VyprVPN if:

You want to pay with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

VyprVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to test its service yourself.

Our in-depth look a VyprVPN also includes real customer reviews.

Try VyprVPN Now!

9. UltraVPN

  • Kill switch for Mac: Yes
  • OpenVPN supported: Yes
  • Dedicated torrenting profile: No
  • Can access: Netflix, Hulu, HBO
  • Also available for: iOS, Windows, Android
  • Data logging: Strict no-logging policy

US-based UltraVPN is a strong choice for streaming on your Mac. Its dedicated streaming profile, Ultraflix, can unblock Netflix and other top streaming platforms.

UltraVPN’s network consists of 100+ high-speed servers in 58 countries. It performed well during my speed tests.

You can choose from IKEv2, UDP, or TCP VPN protocols. Other features include an automatic kill switch and a no-logs policy.

Don’t use UltraVPN if:

You want to use it in a country with invasive government censorship. UltraVPN does not currently work in China.

UltraVPN offers a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our detailed UltraVPN review to see what its users think.

Try UltraVPN Now!

10. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield Devices
  • Kill switch for Mac: No
  • OpenVPN supported: No
  • Dedicated torrenting profile: No
  • Can access: Netflix (although not the US catalog), BBC iPlayer
  • Also available for: iOS, Windows, Android, Chrome
  • Data logging: Yes (keeps connection logs for the duration of VPN sessions, as well as data for marketing purposes)

Hotspot Shield operates 2,500+ high-performance servers across the globe. It’s perfect for streaming, browsing, and torrenting.

It offers 256-bit encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, and an automatic kill switch. It allows P2P connections, so you can torrent anonymously.

Don’t use Hotspot Shield if:

You want a VPN with 24/7 customer support

Hotspot Shield offers a limited free service alongside its full-featured premium VPN. The free service is capped at 500 MB per day usage. This isn’t enough data to torrent or stream, but it is enough to test the service.

Hotspot Shield’s premium account comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Our Hotspot Shield review includes opinions from other customers.

Try Hotspot Shield Now!

Best VPNs for Mac: Quick Comparison Table

VPN Money-Back Guarantee Simultaneous Connections Compatible Streaming Services P2P Support
NordVPN 30 days 6 440+ including Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Showtime, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Sling TV Dedicated servers
ExpressVPN 5 Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, DAZN, and BBC iPlayer All servers
CyberGhost 45 days 7 Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, Hulu, Comedy Central, Eurosport, ESPN, and more. Dedicated servers
Surfshark 30 days Unlimited Netflix, Hulu, CBS, ESPN, Amazon Prime Video, and more. All servers
IPVanish 7 days 10 Netflix, BBC iPlayer All servers
SaferVPN 30 days 5 HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, BBC iPlayer, and more. Yes
PrivateVPN 30 days 6 Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. Yes
VyprVPN 30 days 5 Netflix and BBC iPlayer Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, and more. Yes
UltraVPN 30 days 3 Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO Yes
Hotspot Shield 45 days 5 Netflix (although not the US catalog), BBC iPlayer Yes

Choosing the Best VPN Service: How We Ranked & Compared These VPNs

Every VPN on my list has met my strict criteria for usability. I tested more than 15 factors, including speed, server locations, P2P support, streaming, security and logging policies, price, customer support, and compatibility.

Here are some of the most important things I looked for:

Powerful Security

All of the VPNs on this list use military-grade encryption and keep a strict no-logs policy.

I gave preference to VPNs that offer an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection.

I looked for services that use OpenVPN protocol as standard. This protocol is open-source and regularly audited for security issues. It’s widely regarded as the safest VPN protocol to use.

Fast Speeds

Speed is one of the most important aspects of choosing a VPN. It’s frustrating and impractical to deal with huge loading times and buffering.

It’s normal for your connection to slow down a little when you connect to a VPN. Your data has to travel further to reach the VPN server, and it takes some time to encrypt and decrypt your information. However, this should be barely noticeable when using a premium VPN.

All the VPNs on this list consistently met the speed requirements to torrent and stream in high-definition during my tests.

Unblock Streaming Services

Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu use geo-restrictions to control the content you watch. For example, the Netflix catalog in Australia includes around half the titles available to US viewers.

VPNs mask your IP address to help you overcome geoblocks and stream content from other regions, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.

I made sure that all the services on my list could unblock at least two popular streaming services during my tests.

FAQ

Do I need a VPN to protect my Mac?

macOS’ built-in security features are tough. But, they become impenetrable when you pair them with a quality VPN.

VPNs use encryption to protect your personal information from cyber thieves.

And, although Apple Gatekeeper is an effective measure against malware execution, a VPN with a built-in malware blocker will stop an attack before it reaches your device.

Masking your IP address with a VPN is the easiest way to protect yourself against DDoS attacks, doxing, and internet surveillance. It’ll also help you bypass geoblocks and censorship  — an area where macOS falls short.

There’s a reason antivirus sales are dropping worldwide. Many users are opting to combine macOS’ security suite with a VPN instead of purchasing an antivirus suite.

What are the best VPNs for iOS?

All of the VPNs on my list offer great iOS apps, too.

Are free VPNs safe?

In short – no. Businesses need to make money, and VPN companies are no different. If they aren’t making money from their product, they need to find alternate ways to turn a profit.

Some free VPNs generate revenue by selling users’ data to third parties, even if they’ve promised top-notch security. A few have even been found to install malware and trackers on your device.

There are a few safe free VPNs, though.

These are the limited free versions of premium VPN services, like Hotspot Shield.These free VPNs heavily restrict your speed and data, but they can be a good option if you only need a VPN for a few days.

But with so many premium providers offering free trials and money-back guarantees, there’s very little reason to risk your security with a free VPN.

VPN use is legal in about 95.9% of the world.

The main exceptions are China, Iraq, Iran, Russia, Belarus, Turkey, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. In these countries, VPN use is either a legal gray area or completely illegal.

But if you’re a tourist in one of these countries, you don’t need to worry. There haven’t been any issues with international tourists using VPNs in these countries.

No matter where you live, it’s your responsibility to make sure you follow the law and your provider’s terms of service at all times.

Are VPNs available for other devices, too?

Yes! VPNs are available for almost every device. The top three VPNs on my list support all devices and operating systems, so you can easily secure your macOS, phone, smart TV, gaming console, and any other device you need to protect.

Summary

I have tested each VPN on this list to ensure it meets my strict criteria for speed, security, and usability.

My top recommendation is NordVPNbecause of its powerful and feature-rich macOS apps. You can try NordVPN risk-free on your Mac with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Get Started with NordVPN NOW!

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