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8 Best VPNs for Mac (SAFE & FAST) Tested in June 2021

Macs come with basic security features, but it doesn’t guarantee you 100% protection online. A good Mac VPN offers additional security that encrypts your traffic to help keep you safe from data leaks, harmful malware, and cyberattacks.

But not all VPNs work well with macOS. Some don’t have native apps for Mac, so setting them up can be complicated. Other VPNs I tested even slowed down my Mac’s performance to the point where I had to uninstall the app.

With the help of my team, I tested 300+ VPNs using a MacBook Pro (running Big Sur) and shortlisted these 8 tried-and-tested VPNs that boosted my Mac’s security without slowing it down.

My top choice is ExpressVPN because it has top-tier security features, superfast speeds, and was really easy to set up on my Mac. Plus, you can test it risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee and ask for a refund if you’re not completely satisfied.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free For 30 Days!

Short on Time? Here Are the Best VPNs for Mac in 2021

  1. ExpressVPN — Easy-to-use Mac app with fast speeds, automatic kill switch for extra security, and 3,000 servers worldwide.
  2. CyberGhost — User-friendly Mac app that’s great for streaming and torrenting safely, but doesn’t work in restrictive countries like China.
  3. Private Internet Access — Mac app lets you customize encryption and security features how you want, plus it’s a great VPN for torrenting, but its speeds are really slow on long-distance servers.
  4. PrivateVPN — Intuitive app for macOS with strong privacy features, but comes with a small server network.
  5. VyprVPN — Great for overcoming VPN blocks in restrictive locations with your Mac, but it can be a bit expensive.

Plus, 3 more VPNs that are great for Mac.

Try ExpressVPN on Your Mac Today!

The Best VPNs for Your Mac — Updated in 2021

1. ExpressVPN — Secures Your Mac with Reliable Connections and an Easy-to-Use App

  • Fast connections for smooth streaming and torrenting on your Mac
  • Military-grade encryption, leak protection, strict no logging policy, and an automatic kill switch to keep you safe and anonymous online
  • Unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Compatible with: Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, El Capitan, and Yosemite
  • Also works with: iOS, Apple TV, Windows, Android, Linux, routers, and more

ExpressVPN’s latest deal June 2021: Get 3 months completely free on your annual subscription with this current offer! It’s not for certain when this deal will end so it’s best to check the deals page to see if it’s still available.

ExpressVPN adds a solid extra layer of security and privacy to your Mac. It comes with military-grade 256-bit encryption, IP and DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch (called Network Lock) to keep your Mac protected even if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly. Network Lock wasn’t enabled when I first installed and opened ExpressVPN, but it was easy to toggle on under Preferences.


Screenshot showing how to activate ExpressVPN kill switch on macOS.

Network Lock isn’t automatically turned on when you first start ExpressVPN, so you need to turn it on yourself.

I liked that when Network Lock kicks in, you get a warning so you know your Mac is protected. At one point, my Mac went into sleep mode while ExpressVPN was connected. When I turned it back on Network Lock warned me that my internet had been disabled until it rebooted my VPN connection, which only took about 4 seconds.

ExpressVPN has a strict no-logs policy that has been audited and verified, so none of your sensitive data is stored or shared. It’s also headquartered in the British Virgin Islands (outside 5/9/14 Eyes jurisdiction), which is a privacy-friendly country with no data retention laws. That means no government or agency can force ExpressVPN to store or share any of your information with third parties.

On top of that, it uses Trusted Server technology (RAM-based servers), so that all of your browsing and connection data is wiped clean the moment you disconnect from the server. So, even if a government subpoenaed ExpressVPN to hand over user data, it would have nothing to share.

You can choose between 4 security protocols with its Mac app: L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), and its own unique Lightway protocol. Lightway is designed by ExpressVPN and is optimized for speed, security and reliability. It uses a well-established cryptography library (wolfSSL) that’s been extensively tested and examined by third parties for security, so it’s safe to use. I was curious just how much faster Lightway would be than OpenVPN, so I compared my speeds on a few servers using both protocols.


Chart comparing speeds of OpenVPN and Lightway using ExpressVPN's Mac app.

Other than the London – UK server, I had faster speeds using Lightway compared to OpenVPN

There were a few inconsistencies, but overall Lightway outperformed OpenVPN for speed. The inconsistencies can be explained by the fact that Lightway was still in its preview phase during my tests, so there were fewer servers to choose from. However, my connection times using Lightway were always less than 1 second — using OpenVPN I had to wait 5-10 seconds to connect. Even though I was disappointed at first that there was no WireGuard support (because it’s usually the fastest protocol), Lightway proved to be a great alternative.

Ultimately, ExpressVPN’s speeds are really fast. For my speed tests, I connected using the automatic selection feature, which chooses the fastest protocol based on your network and activity. On other local servers, I had speeds averaging 42 Mbps (10% loss) and on long-distance ones my speeds averaged 38 Mbps (19% loss). It’s normal for a VPN to decrease your speed by about 10-25%, and since I had a fast connection to start with, these drops in speed weren’t noticeable.

Its native Mac app is also really user-friendly. It only takes 1 click to connect and the server list is organized intuitively. There are 3 categories organized by country: recommended, recent, and all. You can also search for a location using the search bar and save your favorite servers, which show up in a list in the recent tab.


Screenshot showing ExpressVPN's user interface on Mac.

Smart Location will give you a server with the fastest speeds based on your location

The recent tab puts all your favorite and most recent servers in one place, making it super easy to navigate quickly. I tested it out on my iPhone as well (since you can connect 5 devices at once) and the iOS app is almost the same as the Mac one — super easy to use. However, I was pretty disappointed that there’s no kill switch for iOS.

If you connect in a restrictive country (like China or the UAE), you will be shown a list of servers under the recommended tab that have been tried-and-tested to bypass internet blocks and VPN-blocking technologies. That means ExpressVPN works in countries with a lot of internet censorship, like China.

Because there are so many servers (3,000 servers in 94 locations), ExpressVPN also makes bypassing geoblocks on streaming sites painless. I was really impressed with how reliably ExpressVPN unblocked some of my favorite sites on my Macbook — I accessed 8 different Netflix libraries including the US and UK, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max to name a few. Since ExpressVPN has such fast speeds, it only took about 5 seconds for each site to load and I could watch shows in HD quality with no buffering whatsoever.


Screenshot showing ExpressVPN unblocking Hulu on macOS.

I tried 10 different US servers and they all worked with Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+.

It even works with Apple TV — its MediaStreamer feature lets you unblock apps like US Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu so you can watch on your big screen using Apple TV. It only took me a couple of minutes to set up by tweaking the DNS settings in my Apple TV device.

All of the servers are P2P-friendly, which makes it a great option for torrenting, too. You don’t have to search for a specific server to torrent safely. I simply opened Transmission and my 3GB file was downloaded in 12 minutes. Since ExpressVPN doesn’t limit your bandwidth, you can torrent and stream as much as you want.

ExpressVPN offers a split tunneling feature as well. This lets you choose which apps and websites you want to use the VPN connection and which ones you want to bypass it. However, I was pretty disappointed that it isn’t available for newer versions of macOS. I contacted ExpressVPN through their 24/7 live chat module to ask about this and they informed me split tunneling isn’t supported on macOS 11 (Big Sur). You can only use this feature if you’re running a version of Mac between 10.10 and 10.15.

ExpressVPN can be a bit expensive, so I was glad that I could save some money and get 49% off when I signed up. You can always try it out risk-free and ask for a refund within 30 days if you’re not satisfied. I asked for a refund when I finished writing this review and it wasn’t a problem to get my money back — it only took 4 days to process.

Get ExpressVPN for Mac Now!

2. CyberGhost — User-Friendly Mac App Optimized for Streaming and Safe Torrenting

  • Good connection speeds for smooth streaming and browsing on your Mac
  • Military-grade encryption, leak protection, a no-logging policy, and an automatic kill switch to keep you protected online
  • Unblocks: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Hulu, Showtime, and more
  • 7 simultaneous device connections
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Compatible with: Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, and Sierra
  • Also works with: iOS, Apple TV, Windows, Android, Linux, routers, and more

June 2021 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 85% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost’s app for Mac is super easy to use, even if you’ve never used a VPN before. It only took me 2 minutes from download to connection. In a single click, you’re automatically connected to your fastest server and protected by military-grade 256-bit encryption, IP and DNS leak protection, and a built-in automatic kill switch. It takes almost no effort to fully protect your Mac with CyberGhost.

While most VPNs organize their servers only by location, CyberGhost organizes its 7,100 servers (in 91 locations) based on what you want to use them for, which makes it a great VPN for beginners. You can choose servers optimized for downloading if you want to torrent safely or servers optimized for streaming if you want to watch geoblocked streaming content on your Mac.


Screenshot showing CyberGhost's streaming optimized servers on Mac.

You can also search for servers based on location under “All servers”

It has servers dedicated to unblocking dozens of streaming sites including US Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. When I tested its Hulu-optimized server, it only took 7 seconds for the site to load and I was able to watch shows in HD with no buffering at all.


Screenshot showing CyberGhost Mac VPN unblocking Hulu.

Little Fires Everywhere loaded in about 7 seconds and I didn’t experience any slowdowns.

The downloading optimized servers gave me a list of more than 50 locations with the load percentage next to each one. With this information, you can select a server that isn’t too overcrowded (and is close enough to your actual location) to ensure the fastest speeds for torrenting. I chose the Austrian server during my tests and downloaded a 1GB video file in 7 minutes — that’s about how long it would have taken without a VPN, so I was pretty impressed.

Since CyberGhost is headquartered outside surveillance alliance jurisdiction in Romania and has a strict no-logs policy, your sensitive info is super safe. So if you accidentally download a copyrighted file while torrenting, you won’t have to worry about getting in trouble.

You can also activate your own personal dedicated IP address, but this will cost you a minimum $4.75/month extra when I checked. I’ll stick to the shared public IPs to stay anonymous because I find that a bit expensive.

You get some advanced security features in CyberGhost’s Mac app to further improve your privacy as well. Firstly, you can choose between IKEv2 or WireGuard security protocols (you have to manually configure OpenVPN, unfortunately). There’s also ad, malicious website, and online tracking blockers. You can use the HTTPS redirect function to block you from accessing unsecured sites on your Mac. Lastly, there’s a data compression feature you can turn on which will help you stay within your bandwidth limits if you have them.

You can connect up to 7 devices at once with CyberGhost. I set it up on my Windows PC, iPad, and iPhone and found the app easy to install and use across platforms. I was especially pleased that CyberGhost has a kill switch on its iOS app because that’s something that a lot of VPNs don’t offer. You can even set CyberGhost up on your Apple TV using its streaming-optimized SmartDNS feature that unblocks multiple regions’ streaming content.

CyberGhost’s biggest downfall is that it doesn’t work in countries with a lot of internet restrictions like China or the UAE.

I also find its one-month plans a bit expensive. However, when I signed up I was able to get 85% off my subscription. Keep in mind, you can also use its money-back guarantee to try CyberGhost for free for 45 days if you opt for a 6-month plan or longer. When I tested the refund process it was easy to get my money back. I used 24/7 live chat on its website and the agent didn’t even ask me why I wanted to cancel. I got my money back in 5 days.

Get CyberGhost for Mac Now!

3. Private Internet Access — Customizable Encryption and Security Features to Keep Your Mac Safe

  • Fast speeds for streaming and torrenting on your Mac
  • AES 256-bit encryption, leak protection, no-logs policy, and an automatic kill switch to protect your Mac and keep you anonymous online
  • Unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and more
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Compatible with: Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, and High Sierra
  • Compatible with: iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, routers, and more

June 2021 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 80% off!

Private Internet Access’ Mac app has an impressive set of security features that you can customize the way you want. You can choose between AES-128 or AES-256 encryption under connection settings. While 256-bit is stronger, 128-bit is still safe to use, but it takes less time to encrypt data, giving you faster speeds. I toggle on 128-bit when I’m streaming videos (for example), but use 256-bit on public WiFi to ensure my Mac’s fully protected.

It also has a customizable kill switch. You can set it to “auto”, so it will only block traffic in case the VPN connection drops. Or you can set it to “always” which will block traffic even if you terminate the VPN yourself. So, depending on whether you’re more concerned about speed and reliability or strong security, you can set up PIA to best suit your online activity. I love how much freedom I had testing PIA out — and it’s something that I haven’t seen with many other Mac VPNs (they’re usually a very simplified version of their Windows counterparts).

To further customize your Mac’s VPN connection, you can choose between OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols, select remote and local port settings, set custom DNS addresses, and choose certain apps to bypass the VPN connection (aka. split tunneling). Despite all the advanced features and customization options, the app is intuitive and easy to use. I found it really convenient that it was located in my Mac’s top tray menu for easy access as well.

I was a bit concerned that PIA is headquartered in the US (within 5/9/14 Eyes jurisdiction), however it operates under a strict no-logs policy, so it’s safe to use. Your privacy is also protected with IP and DNS leak protection (PIA passed all my leaks tests) and PIA Mace — this feature blocks domains flagged for ads, trackers, and malware (it doesn’t block ads on safe websites like in YouTube videos, unfortunately).

PIA performed really well when I used it for P2P file-sharing on my Macbook. All of its servers are P2P-optimized and it offers SOCKS5 proxy and port forwarding on some servers to help optimize performance. I tested this out by downloading the same 2.5GB file on 5 local servers with port forwarding enabled. I was super impressed that each time it only took about 12 minutes for the transfer to complete. PIA is a strong choice if you use your Mac to torrent often and want to stay anonymous.

While I experienced almost no speed loss on local servers, long-distance ones were slow. My speeds averaged 8 Mbps on US servers (an 81% decrease). It was too slow to stream in HD — even though I was able to access US Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max, the picture quality was pixelated and choppy. If you need to use long-distance servers to bypass geoblocks for streaming (for example), it’s not the best choice.

I was pleased to get a 80% discount on my subscription when I signed up. It made it pretty affordable. However, you can also test PIA out risk-free for 30 days using its money-back guarantee and ask for a refund if you’re not satisfied. I didn’t have any issues getting my money back when I tested the guarantee. I told customer service over live chat why it wasn’t right for me and I got my money back within 5 days.

Get PIA for Mac Now!

4. PrivateVPN — Simple macOS App With a Strong Focus on Protecting Your Online Privacy

  • Good speeds for browsing and torrenting on your Mac
  • Military-grade encryption, leak protection, a no-logging policy, and an automatic kill switch to keep your online activity private
  • Unblocks: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more
  • 6 simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Compatible with: Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, and El Capitan
  • Also works with: iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, routers, and more

PrivateVPN is a great option if you want to keep your Mac safe and stay private in 1 click. It only took me 20 seconds to download, install, and connect. Once connected, you’re protected with military-grade 256-bit encryption that uses perfect forward secrecy, IP and DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch that comes already enabled. Usually you have to navigate through an app’s settings to turn the kill switch on yourself, so everything is already set up for you the first time you load the app.

The default security protocol for Mac is OpenVPN, which is known for being one of the safest in the industry. However, you can choose between UDP and TCP, and there’s also an option for L2TP connections. AES-256 and AES-128 bit encryption are both available if you want to customize your connection a little bit more.

PrivateVPN also operates under a strict no-logs policy and offers a Stealth Mode feature, so it works in restrictive countries like China and Iran as well. But Stealth Mode can also help you bypass firewalls set by your work or school network (if they block social media sites like Facebook, for example). I tested out Stealth Mode on a cafe’s public WiFi network that wouldn’t let me load Netflix. After I toggled it on, the site loaded no problem.

The downside to PrivateVPN is it has a pretty small server network, with 86 servers in 63 locations. I was worried this would give me slow speeds, but I was impressed that I had a steady average speed of 30 Mbps on local servers. Since all of the servers are P2P-friendly, the network is great for torrenting safely with great speeds (I downloaded a 2.5GB file in 10 minutes). You can also configure port forwarding to boost torrenting performance even more.

However, I had pretty significant slowdowns while using some of PrivateVPN’s long-distance servers. My average speed was only 7 Mbps when I tested 5 US locations. While I was glad that I could unblock US Netflix, Hulu, and Hotstar, my speeds were too slow to watch in HD without buffering. So if you need servers located far away from your real location to stream, expect some long loading times and lag.

PrivateVPN’s customer support wasn’t the best. Its 24/7 live chat support wasn’t always available, but when I did get a live agent they were friendly and thorough when answering my questions. You can also try its email support, but I didn’t even receive a response to the few inquiries I sent.

When I signed up to test it out, there was a promotion that allowed me to get 77% off my subscription, so it was very affordable. If you’re not convinced, you can always test it out for free for 30 days using its money-back guarantee. Luckily an agent was available on the live chat when I wanted to request my refund and I didn’t have any issues. I had my money back 5 days later.

Get PrivateVPN for Mac Now!

5. VyprVPN — Unique Security Protocol Helps Your Mac Overcome VPN Blocks

  • Decent speeds for streaming and P2P file sharing on your Mac
  • Military-grade encryption, leak protection, no-logs policy, and an automatic kill switch to keep your Mac safe online
  • Unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and more
  • 30 simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Compatible with: Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, and Sierra
  • Also works with: iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, routers, and more

VyprVPN’s Chameleon protocol makes it easy to access blocked and censored websites without anyone knowing. It does this by making your VPN traffic look like regular, unencrypted traffic so it can bypass VPN detection software, so you can use VyprVPN in restrictive countries like China.

Chameleon is also good for bypassing firewalls on monitored networks. If your workplace blocks Snapchat or Facebook (for example), using Chameleon will help you access those sites anyway. Just to make sure this worked, I went to my local library and was able to load torrenting sites — these are usually blocked by its network, so I was impressed that Chameleon gave me access.

VyprVPN also comes with all the standard security and privacy features you’d expect from a good Mac VPN. It has 256-bit encryption, a strict no-logs policy, IP and DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch that will protect your real IP from being exposed in case the VPN disconnects for any reason. When I performed leak tests on 7 of VyprVPN’s servers, no IP or DNS leaks were detected, so your Mac is well protected.

On top of that, you can choose from the standard IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard protocols. I was glad to see WireGuard support because it’s often not available for Mac. And it’s also a huge plus that OpenVPN is supported, so you don’t have to manually configure anything yourself to make use of the best security protocols.

There’s also a NAT Firewall which is built into its servers — this protects your wireless connection from receiving unrequested scans that can leave you vulnerable to malware or data theft (from hackers or bots, for example). While this is mostly useful for mobile devices that don’t have built-in firewalls, it adds an extra layer of protection to your Mac desktop, too. If you don’t want to use the feature you can turn it off under settings.

VyprVPN also gave me fast speeds, especially its Chameleon protocol. I performed tests on 10 of its 700 servers and had speeds averaging 20 Mbps, which was fast enough for me to stream in HD without buffering (and download torrents quickly). You can also unblock a number of streaming sites on your Mac, including US/UK Netflix, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer.

Unfortunately, VyprVPN’s subscriptions are on the pricier side — but you can take advantage of its latest deal to get it for just $1.67/month. If you don’t want to commit, you can also test it out for free using its 30-day money-back guarantee. I used the guarantee to use it for this review — I requested a refund within the guarantee period and had my money back 7 days later.

Get VyprVPN for Mac Now!

6. IPVanish — Unlimited Connections to Protect All Your Apple Devices

  • Good speeds for browsing torrenting, but too slow for streaming on your Mac
  • Military-grade encryption, leak protection, a zero-logs policy, and an automatic kill switch to keep your data private
  • Unblocks: Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, and more
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Compatible with: Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, and El Capitan
  • Also works with: iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, routers, and more

IPVanish Deal June 2021: It's hard to find active IPVanish offers so I was really surprised to find this one! Click here to get 25% off your IPVanish subscription today! Discount automatically applied (no code required).

IPVanish gives you unlimited simultaneous connections, so you can protect all of your Apple (and non-Apple) devices. It offers all the standard security and privacy features including 256-bit encryption, leak protection, and an automatic kill switch, so all your devices will be well protected (however, the iOS app doesn’t have a kill switch). You can also choose between multiple security protocols including IPSec, IKEv2, and OpenVPN.

You can customize how OpenVPN and IKEv2 connect. For example, you can add a “scrambling” (aka. obfuscation) feature when using OpenVPN. This makes your VPN connection look like a regular internet connection. If you live in a country that bans VPNs (like China), scrambling will help bypass VPN blocks. Unfortunately, it slowed my connection down quite a lot — when I tried to use it to bypass network firewalls during my tests, I had really long loading times.

The app is also intuitive and easy to use. You can use the Quick Connect feature to get the best server based on your network and location. If you want to manually select a server, you can view its 1,600 servers (in 75 locations) as a list or as a map — or you can filter them by region or latency. I always think it’s a bonus to see the load and ping data of the servers because it helps you choose the best possible connection.

IPVanish also offers TOR compatibility and SOCKS5 proxy, which will help improve performance if you torrent a lot with your Mac. It was a bit difficult to set up — I had to manually configure the proxy details into qBittorrent’s preferences. However, I used a setup guide on IPVanish’s website and it was easy to follow. Once I’d set it up, I downloaded a 2.5GB file in only 9 minutes — that’s really fast. IPVanish is located in the US (within 5/9/14 Eyes jurisdiction), but it has a strict no-logs policy, so you are safe to torrent anonymously.

All of its servers support P2P-sharing as well, but I got pretty slow speeds when I used them for torrenting and streaming. I tested 5 of its servers and my speeds averaged 6 Mbps. While the US servers unblocked Netflix and HBO Max on my Macbook, I had slow speeds so you won’t be able to watch in HD without buffering.

I was glad that I could get 25% off my subscription when I signed up. But you can also test IPVanish out for free for 30 days using its money-back guarantee. I contacted customer support over live chat when I finished this review and my refund was approved. I had my money back 5 days later.

Get IPVanish for Mac Now!

7. SaferVPN — Automatic Protection While Using Your Mac on Public WiFi

  • Only fast enough for browsing the web on your Mac
  • AES 256-bit encryption and an automatic kill switch to keep your data safe
  • Unblocks: US Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and more
  • 12 simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Compatible with: Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, El Capitan, and Yosemite
  • Also works with: iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, routers, and more

SaferVPN comes with automatic WiFi protection that switches on as soon as you connect your Mac to a public network. If you’re about to connect to an unknown WiFi network, SaferVPN detects this and warns you with a reminder to connect your VPN if you haven’t already. I found this feature really useful because I use public WiFi for work sometimes and I forget to turn my VPN on sometimes. I also tested it on my iPhone and found it super handy since it switches networks so often — you never have to worry about exposing your private data accidentally.

It keeps your Mac protected with strong security features including military-grade encryption, IP and DNS leak protection, a zero-logs policy, and an automatic kill switch (I had to enable it in settings myself, though). You can also choose between a number of security protocols, including OpenVPN. You don’t have to manually configure anything to use the best protocols (L2TP and IKEv2 are also supported).

SaferVPN has 950 servers in 43 locations, which isn’t the biggest network. I got decent speeds on local servers. When I used the Automatic Location feature, I was given a server in the Netherlands and had speeds averaging 20 Mbps, which was fast enough for most online activity. However, I experienced major slowdowns on long-distance servers. While you can access US Netflix and Disney+, you’ll have speeds too slow to watch in HD.

In addition, only a few servers are P2P-friendly — Canada, Netherlands, and Spain. I’m lucky to live close to the Netherlands, so I had good speeds when I used that server to download torrent files. However, if you want to torrent on your Mac and are located far away from SaferVPN’s P2P servers, you’ll probably have really slow speeds because of the distance.

SaferVPN was offering a deal when I signed up, so I could get it for 100% off, which was great. But they also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try SaferVPN risk-free and ask for a refund if you’re not happy with the service. It has great customer support and 24/7 live chat — I requested a refund after this review and they approved it no problem. I had my money back in 6 business days.

Get SaferVPN for Mac Now!

8. ZenMate — Quick Setup So Your Mac is Protected Right Away

  • Good speeds for streaming and browsing with your Mac
  • Military-grade encryption, an automatic kill switch, and leak protection to protect your privacy
  • Unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and more
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Compatible with: Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, and Sierra
  • Also works with: iOS, Apple TV, Windows, Android, Linux, routers, and more

ZenMate’s macOS app is lightweight, and the installation process is quick — it only took me 3 minutes to download, install, and connect after signing up. The server list (it has 3,400 servers in 79 locations) is organized into 3 categories — All, for downloading, and for streaming — so finding a server that suits your needs is super easy.

The streaming optimized servers worked really well when I tested them — I could unblock multiple Netflix libraries (including US and UK), Hulu, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer. I had good speeds for streaming in HD, but only on local servers. With an average speed of 19 Mbps on the London server, I was able to watch UK Netflix without lag. However, my speeds did slow down on long-distance servers and I had some buffering watching US Netflix.

There are only a few P2P-optimized servers and they’re all located in Europe. That was convenient for me because I live in Belgium, so I had decent speeds when I tested them out. But because I had much slower speeds over long distances, these servers will probably be too slow for you if you’re located far away from Europe.

Zenmate doesn’t have any advanced security features in its Mac app, but it comes with all the standard ones: 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection. It also operates under a strict zero-logs policy, so all of your private data is safe from prying eyes. Unfortunately, the Mac app doesn’t support OpenVPN — it runs exclusively with IKEv2, which is still safe to use, but not quite as fast.

Zenmate’s website promoted a 7-day free trial, but after I signed up that option wasn’t available anymore, so I was glad to at least get 80% off my subscription (despite my disappointment). However, you can also test Zenmate out for free for 30 days using its money-back guarantee and get a full refund if you’re not satisfied. There’s no 24/7 live chat, so I had to send my request via email contact form. I got a reply within 24 hours and my money showed up 10 days later.

Get ZenMate for Mac Now!

Quick Comparison Table: Best Mac VPNs

Lowest Price Mac Compatibilty OpenVPN support? Kill Switch? Zero Logs Policy? Torrenting Support? Fast HD Streaming?
ExpressVPN $6.67/month OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later
CyberGhost $1.99/month macOS 10.12 Sierra or later ✔(but with manual configuration)
PIA $2.08/month macOS 10.13 High Sierra or later
PrivateVPN $2.08/month OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later
VyprVPN $1.67/month macOS 10.12 Sierra or later
IPVanish $2.62/month OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later
SaferVPN $2.33/month OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later
ZenMate $2.22/month macOS 10.12 Sierra or later

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Tips on How to Choose the Best VPN for macOS

I used the following criteria to rank the best VPNs for Mac in this list. These are the most important things you should look out for when deciding on the best Mac VPN for you:

  • Native macOS apps — Look for VPNs that have dedicated Mac apps. These are easier to install and use (just a few clicks), so you don’t waste time with complicated setups.
  • Compatible with the latest Mac versions — Choose a VPN provider that regularly updates its software to keep up with macOS updates. This way you won’t be left unprotected with an old, outdated VPN app.
  • Strong security features — To add an effective layer of security to your Mac, you need a VPN that comes with (at the very least) 256-bit encryption, a strict no-logs policy, leak protection, and an automatic kill switch. Many of the VPNs in this list offer even more security features like ad/malware blockers and OpenVPN support.
  • Reliable server networks — The more servers a VPN has, the faster it tends to be. The more server locations available, the more geo-restricted content you can access. Most of the VPNs in this list have large global server networks, so they’re great for unblocking streaming sites (like Netflix and Hulu) and have speeds more than fast enough to stream in HD.
  • Simultaneous device connections — All of the VPNs in this list offer at least 5 device connections, so you can connect your iPhone, iPad, and other devices with a single subscription. Some even offer unlimited connections, so you can keep your whole family safe online.

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Quick Guide: How to Set Up a VPN for Mac in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Get a trusted Mac VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN because it’s Mac app is easy to use and it has superfast speeds for all your online activity (and you can try it free for 30 days).
  2. Connect to a server. Choose a server close to your actual location for the fastest speeds.
  3. Start browsing on your Mac freely and safely! You can now stream geoblocked shows and torrent safely with a secure and private connection!

How To Manually Configure a VPN on Your Mac

You may need to take a few extra steps to set up a VPN if:

  1. Your device restricts you from downloading VPN apps (e.g. if your work laptop has strict permissions so you can’t download new apps). You’ll need to decide which VPN protocol you want to use before setting it up.
  2. You want to use a security protocol not supported by your device.

These are the different protocols you can configure with your Mac using the steps below:

  • OpenVPN — This is the most secure protocol with the fastest speeds (I highly recommend this for Mac users). The quickest and fastest way to use OpenVPN for Mac is to download a VPN (like ExpressVPN) that has built-in support for it and doesn’t require any manual configuration. If your chosen VPN doesn’t support OpenVPN, you can still set it up manually (with Tunnelblick/Viscosity clients) using the steps below.
  • IKEv2 — This is a lightweight and secure protocol known for its fast speeds (which would be suitable for your mobile devices). It’s still slower than OpenVPN and as it’s only available over UDP, it does get blocked by some firewalls. There are very few VPNs that allow you to set IKEv2 up manually with your Mac so you’d have limited choices.
  • L2TP/IPSec — This is a less secure (and slower) protocol compared to OpenVPN and IKEv2. It uses UDP so you might get blocked by some firewalls. It still offers more security than PPTP, but I still wouldn’t recommend it unless you have no other protocol option.

OpenVPN with Tunnelblick

Tunnelblick is a free, open-source client designed specifically for using OpenVPN with macOS.

  1. Download Tunnelblick. Then install it as you would any other app on your Mac.
  2. Download .ovpn config file. These can usually be downloaded from your VPN provider’s website or found under your account credentials. Each file represents a server, so download a few if you want a selection of server locations.
  3. Add the config files. Open the Tunnelblick menu and choose “VPN Details”. Under “Configurations”, drag and drop the .ovpn file(s) you just downloaded.

    Screenshot showing how to connect a Mac to OpenVPN manually

    When I used Tunnelblick I didn’t even have to click “Connect” — I was immediately shown a pop-up asking for my VPN credentials

  4. Connect to a server. Select the .ovpn server file you want to connect to and click “connect”. You might need to enter service credentials from your VPN provider. These can usually be found under account information.
  5. Safely surf the web on your Mac! You’re now protected online using the OpenVPN security protocol.
Screenshot showing Mac connected to OpenVPN using Tunnelblick

You’re now connected to OpenVPN using Tunnelblick

OpenVPN with Viscosity

Viscosity is a paid OpenVPN client. It costs a flat fee of $14, but also offers a 30-day free trial.

  1. Download Viscosity. Install it the same way you would any other Mac app.
  2. Download .ovpn config file. These can be downloaded from your VPN’s website or found under your account credentials. You’ll need to download one for each server you want to connect to.
  3. Set up the server connection. Open Viscosity and in the settings menu, go to “Preferences”. Then go to Connections > + > Import Connection. Select “From File” and choose the .ovpn file you just downloaded.
  4. Create a username and password. This will complete the connection setup.
  5. Find your VPN connection. Look in the Viscosity menu. If you see the connection you just set up, that means you’re connected and ready to go!

IKEv2

You can set this up under network settings in your Mac and don’t need to download a third-party app.

  1. Open Network Settings. Go to System Preferences > Network.
  2. Create the IKEv2 connection. Click the little “+” symbol underneath your list of connections. Beside “Interface”, select “VPN”. Next to “VPN Type” choose IKEv2. Then you can name your connection and click “Create”.

    Screenshot showing how to manually set up IKEv2 Mac VPN

    Make sure you have authentication details from your VPN provider handy

  3. Go to Authentication Settings. Here, you need to find the authentication info provided by your VPN provider. It’s usually under the dashboard section when you log in to your account with your web browser.
  4. Click “Connect”. You’re now connected to your VPN provider’s IKEv2 VPN tunnel!

L2TP/IPSec

You can set this up in your Mac’s network settings without downloading any third-party apps.

  1. Open Network settings. Go to System Preferences > Network.
  2. Create the L2TP/IPSec connection. Click the “+” sign — it’s at the bottom of the list of connections on the left. Beside “Interface,” select “VPN”, and choose “L2TP over IPSec” as your VPN Type. You’ll be given the option to create an account name so it’s easier to find the right connection next time.
  3. Go to Authentication Settings. Here, you must fill in the authentication details provided by your VPN provider — usually located in your dashboard when you log in with your browser.

    Screenshot showing how to input Mac VPN details for manual L2TP connection

    Select your new connection and enter your VPN details

  4. Click “Connect”. And that’s it! Your L2TP connection is set up on your Mac.

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FAQs on VPNs for Mac

Which Mac VPN is best for Netflix?

ExpressVPN is the best Mac VPN for Netflix. You can access 14+ different Netflix libraries with ExpressVPN, including US, UK, Canada, and Japan.

It also has lightning-fast speeds for streaming in HD and Ultra HD and a vast network of servers that are super reliable. I unblocked multiple Netflix libraries with the first server I chose every time and had no error messages. Since it has native apps for iPhone and iPad, you can unblock Netflix on all of your Apple devices easily.

ExpressVPN also comes with MediaStreamer (aka. SmartDNS), which lets you unblock US Netflix and other US-locked streaming apps on your Apple TV (or any streaming device that doesn’t support VPN apps). You just need to tweak your Apple TV’s network settings (it’s really easy).

Is there a Safari VPN extension?

There are no VPN browser extensions for Safari. However, using a VPN’s app will keep your entire Mac protected, including everything you do in Safari. On top of that, some VPNs (like ExpressVPN) can be controlled from the top drop-down menu bar on your Mac — it’s as convenient as a Safari extension and keeps your whole device protected (instead of only your online activity within the Safari browser).

Apple stopped supporting many third-party Safari add-ons with the release of Safari 12 (in 2018) and started charging a fee to anyone who wanted to keep theirs in its gallery. That’s the reason why you won’t find a VPN extension for Safari.

Which VPNs work with macOS Big Sur?

Every system-wide Mac VPN works with Big Sur. There was some confusion when Big Sur was released with some claiming that it allowed certain Apple apps to bypass VPN connections — this is not true. As long as you’re running a system-wide VPN like the ones recommended in this list, it will keep your entire Mac running Big Sur protected.

Can a VPN help increase my Mac speeds?

Not normally. A VPN will generally slow your Mac’s connection speed a little bit because it takes time to encrypt your traffic to keep you protected. However, a good VPN with fast speeds won’t slow your Mac’s speeds in any noticeable way.

If you’re experiencing slow speeds with your Mac VPN, the best way to overcome this is to connect to a server close to your actual location. You can also select a server with low capacity or load (the fewer people connected to a server, the faster it will be).

Can I use a free VPN for my Mac?

Technically yes, but I would not recommend it. Most free VPNs come with hidden costs like a lot of ads, service caps, untrustworthy privacy policies, and even malware. All of the free VPNs I’ve used on my Mac throttle your speeds so much you can’t do anything except browse the web. They also limit your data to around 1-5GB per month (1-3 hours of HD streaming) and can rarely unblock popular streaming sites. I even encountered a few free VPNs for Mac that were unsafe to use:

  • UFO VPN was caught storing sensitive data that could be used to track its users, even though its privacy policy says it doesn’t.
  • Unlocator’s privacy policy actually says that they store your information for a limited time and that it can be used to identify you.
  • Hola VPN stores and shares identifiable information. They even fully admit to sharing it with third parties as if that doesn’t defeat the whole purpose of using a VPN anyway.
  • Opera VPN logs your browsing activity and sells it to advertisers. It’s also only available as a browser, so it doesn’t protect your Mac system-wide.
  • Betternet VPN keeps logs on an anonymized basis. This provider’s privacy policy isn’t straightforward and while the logs they keep can’t be traced back to you, you’re better off using a VPN with a strict no-logs policy to protect your privacy.

All of the VPNs in this list are safe to use and come with money-back guarantees so you can test them out risk-free for a limited time.

Can I use a Mac VPN for other iOS devices?

Yes! macOS and iOS are 2 different operating systems. I only selected VPNs that have native apps for both macOS and iOS, so you can use them on all your Apple devices (including iPhone and iPad). They also offer at least 5 simultaneous device connections, so you can download the app on all your Apple (and non-Apple) devices with only one subscription. Some even have ways to set up a VPN to unblock streaming content on your Apple TV.

Do Mac VPNs work in China?

Yes, but not all of them.

ExpressVPN is the best Mac VPN to use in China. It has security features built into its app that were designed to bypass the “Great Firewall of China”. It also works in many other countries with a lot of internet restrictions (like Turkey, the UAE, and Russia).

China is always improving its VPN-blocking technologies to censor what you can see online. If you’re looking for a Mac VPN that works in a restrictive region, you need one with obfuscated servers (sometimes called stealth mode) to make your VPN connection look like regular internet traffic so it won’t get blocked. You might also need to download the VPN before you enter China in case its website is blocked there.

MacOS is pretty safe, why should I get a VPN for Mac?

There are a few reasons why using a VPN on your Mac is beneficial. The VPNs in this list will boost your Mac’s security (without slowing it down) because they:

  1. Keep your online activity anonymous. A VPN encrypts your traffic and hides your IP address. That means no third parties (including governments, ISPs, and hackers) will be able to see your personal details or what you’re doing online. This also keeps you safe on unsecured WiFi networks where people using the same network can see sensitive details about you.
  2. Allow you to watch geoblocked content. By changing your IP address, a VPN tricks websites and streaming platforms (like Netflix or Hulu) into thinking you’re in another location. This allows you to access content that isn’t normally available in your location.
  3. Bypass internet censorship. Many VPNs have special technology (called obfuscation) that bypasses VPN-blocking technologies used in highly censored countries like China, Russia, and UAE. This allows you to surf the web freely. You can also get past firewalls set by certain networks that block you from some websites. If your workplace or school campus blocks Facebook, for example, a VPN will allow you to access it.

Does Mac have a built-in VPN?

No, macOS does not come with a built-in VPN. While you can configure manual VPN connections on your Mac (in Network Settings), you still need credentials from a VPN provider to set it up. You’re better off using a VPN with a native app for Mac because it’s more secure, comes with a lot more safety features, and is much easier to set up and use.

How can I keep my Mac safe?

A VPN is the best way to secure your Mac. Macs have lots of great security features, but they don’t protect your privacy — only a VPN, with its end-to-end encryption, can truly guarantee you online anonymity from your ISP, government, and online threats. But there are other precautions you can take to help keep your Mac safe and secure:

  • Use anti-malware software. Macs are becoming even more prone to malware and other online threats than Windows PCs, so using a trusted anti-malware software is highly recommended. Some VPNs offer built-in malware blockers (like CyberGhost) to protect your Mac from these growing threats.
  • Use a password management system. iCloud Keychain is built into your Mac and automatically generates one-of-a-kind passwords and encrypts them. This helps keep all of your online accounts safe (especially if you tend to re-use the same password). If a hacker intercepts one of your accounts, they won’t be able to access all of them using the same password.
  • Use Safari as your web browser. Safari has security measures that prevent your online activity from being tracked. This differs drastically from browsers like Google Chrome that collect your data and use it to generate targeted ads for profit. However, as long as you connect to a VPN server, you’ll be completely anonymous no matter which browser you use.

Don’t Risk the Safety of Your Mac (And Your Personal Data)

Even though macOS comes with built-in security features, you’re still not 100% protected. Using a VPN adds a strong extra layer of protection to your Mac because it encrypts your traffic. It also allows you to bypass geoblocks to access content online that’s normally not available to you and comes with extra security features like ad/malware blockers to keep you even more protected.

Of all the VPNs I tested, ExpressVPN is the best option for Mac. It has top-tier security features, a strict no logs policy, and an easy-to-use native app that runs smoothly on Macs. It also has fast speeds for streaming and torrenting. Plus, ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out for yourself completely risk-free. If you’re not satisfied, you can always get a full refund.

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To summarize, here are the best VPNs for your Mac

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