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6 Best VPNs for Mac and MacBook (SAFE & FAST) in 2022

Macs come with basic security features, but this doesn’t guarantee you're 100% protected online. A good Mac VPN offers additional security that encrypts your traffic to help keep you safe from data leaks, tracking, and other cyber threats.

But not all VPNs work well with macOS — they’re usually just a simplified version of the Windows app. Even Mac VPNs with top customer reviews 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 and shortlisted the best ones (that boosted my Mac’s security without slowing it down). Moreover, they all offer user-friendly Mac clients.

I recommend ExpressVPN for Mac. It was easy to set up on my Mac, and it has top-tier security features for added protection without causing slowdowns. Moreover, its high-speed global network is super reliable if you want to access geoblocked content. You can test ExpressVPN on your Mac risk-free because it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with it, then it’s easy to get a full refund.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free

Short on Time? Here Are the Best VPNs for Mac and MacBook — Tested in September 2022

  1. ExpressVPN — Easy-to-use Mac app with fast speeds, robust security features, and 3,000 servers worldwide.
  2. CyberGhost — Specialized servers dedicated to bufferless streaming and safe torrenting, 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. IPVanish — Unlimited device connections to protect your Mac and other devices, but not headquartered in a privacy-friendly country.
  5. PrivateVPN — Simple, lightweight app for macOS with strong privacy features, but comes with a small server network.
  6. ProtonVPN — High-speed global network and specialty torrenting servers and features, but customer support is pretty lacking.

Try ExpressVPN Today

Best VPNs for Mac and MacBook — Full Analysis (Updated September 2022)

1. ExpressVPN — Overall Best VPN for Mac With Top Security and Fast Speeds

  • Lightning-fast speeds
  • 3,000 servers in 94 countries
  • Top security and privacy features, including unique Lightway protocol and TrustedServer Tech
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN, DAZN, and more
  • Compatible with: Mac (El Capitan 10.11 and newer), iOS, Apple TV, Windows, Android, routers, and more
ExpressVPN Offer September 2022: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

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 of ExpressVPN's security preferences

Network Lock isn’t automatically turned on when you first start ExpressVPN, so you have 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 every time the servers are rebooted. 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.

Screenshot of speed tests using ExpressVPNs Lightway protocol

Other than the UK-London servers, I had faster speeds using Lightway compared to OpenVPN

Overall, I had faster speeds with Lightway than with OpenVPN. Moreover, 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. I was able to download and install the app within 2 minutes. Plus, 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 of ExpressVPN's interface

Smart Location will automatically connect you to the fastest server nearby

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 of ExpressVPN unblocking Hulu

I tried 10 different US servers and they all worked with Hulu, Netflix US, 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. It's also a great option for streaming safely on Kodi and 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) or later. You can only use this feature if you’re running a version of Mac between 10.10 and 10.15.

Its cheapest plan for $6.67/month is a bit more expensive than other VPNs. However, ExpressVPN often offers discounts or free months of service. I recommend the 1-year plan since it offers the same features as the monthly one, but it comes at a lower monthly price.

ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can always get your money back if you’re not happy with it. I tested its policy to ensure it's trustworthy and asked for a refund using its 24/7 live chat support. After a quick chat with the agent, my refund was approved. The process was easy, and I had my money back in 2 business days.

Try ExpressVPN Today

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

  • Speciality servers for streaming and torrenting
  • 9,294 servers in 91 countries
  • Superfast speeds
  • 7 simultaneous device connections
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more
  • Compatible with: Mac (OS Sierra 10.12 and newer), iOS, Apple TV, Apple Watch, Windows, Android, Linux, routers, and more
September 2022 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 82% 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 9,294 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 of CyberGhost's interface

You can also search servers based on location under "All servers"

CyberGhost has more than 80 servers dedicated to specific streaming platforms in more than 20 different countries. I could consistently access Netflix US, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more. 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. The team at CyberGhost maintains these streaming servers to ensure that they're always up and running, even after new VPN-blocking measures are set in place.

Screenshot of CyberGhost unblocking Hulu

It only took 7 seconds to load shows 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 anyone spying on your traffic.

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 — however, it didn't work well to block all ads when I tested it out.

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. Similar to ExpressVPN's MediaStreamer, you can even set CyberGhost up on your Apple TV. Its SmartDNS feature unblocks multiple regions’ streaming content.

A minor downside is that the VPN can’t bypass China’s Firewall. However, you can still use it in other countries with strict censorship (like Iran and Turkey).

You can subscribe to CyberGhost’s long-term plan for just $2.29/month. It also offers a monthly subscription, but it's almost 4 times more expensive. It also comes with a shorter money-back guarantee period than the longer plans. You get the same features with all subscriptions, so I recommend signing up for the 3-year plan since it’s the best value.

Its money-back guarantee allows you to try CyberGhost for free for 45 days (14 days for the monthly plan). 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 3 days.

Try CyberGhost Today

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

  • Choose encryption levels, multiple security protocols, and a customizable kill switch
  • 29,650 servers in 84 countries
  • Good speeds
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more
  • Compatible with: Mac (OS High Sierra 10.13 and newer), iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, routers, and more
September 2022 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 82% 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.

Screenshot of PIA's security features

Remember that you can only change the encryption when using OpenVPN

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.

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 a SOCKS5 multi-hop 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 my speeds were fast on local servers, I did have some slower speeds on long-distance connections. One US server gave me speeds of 8 Mbps (an 81% decrease from my base speed). It was too slow to stream even in HD without choppiness. However, it wasn’t hard to find another US server with better speeds, since PIA has 53 servers in the US alone.

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 that’s been proven multiple times in real-life court cases, 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).

You can get PIA’s long-term plan for only $2.19/month. It also offers a more expensive monthly subscription, but it has the same features as the other plans. This is why I suggest signing up for the cheaper 3-year plan.

You get 30 days to play around with all PIA's features. Its money-back guarantee allows you to get a full refund if you're not 100% satisfied. After 26 days I decided to request a refund as a test. You can’t ask for your money back through its live chat, so I had to email customer service. It was a hassle-free process and my money was back in my account after 4 days.

Try PIA Today

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

  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • 2,000 servers in 75 countries
  • Fast speeds
  • Can unblock: Netflix, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Mac (OS High Sierra 10.13 and newer), iOS, Apple TV, Windows, Android, Linux, routers, and more
IPVanish September 2022 Deal: It's hard to find active IPVanish offers so I was really surprised to find this one! Click here to get 69% 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, WiFi 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, WireGuard, 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.

Screenshot of IPVanish's interface

All you have to do is navigate to the “Preferences” menu to change the security settings

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 2,000 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 a 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.

All of its servers support P2P-sharing as well, and I got impressive speeds while using the WireGuard protocol. I tested 5 of its servers and my speeds averaged 38 Mbps. Since the US servers unblocked Netflix and HBO Max on my MacBook, I could watch all my favorite shows in HD without buffering. This also makes IPVanish a solid choice if you want a VPN for Kodi.

A small downside is that it's located in the US, which is within 5/9/14 Eyes jurisdiction. However, IPVanish has a solid zero-logs policy. It also owns its entire server network and all the servers are configured not to save any traffic information passing through them (and to delete connection diagnostic data after every session). This means you don’t have to worry about your data being recorded and shared.

IPVanish’s cheapest plan costs only $3.33/month. You can also sign up for its monthly plan, but it’s more expensive — that’s why I recommend signing up for its yearly plan. Moreover, this plan comes with free encrypted cloud storage and VIPRE antivirus (malware and ransomware protection). However, it's a bit disappointing you can't pay with cryptocurrencies for added anonymity.

You can also test IPVanish for free with its 30 day money-back guarantee. If you’re not impressed you can simply claim a refund. I decided to try this policy and asked for my money back after using the VPN for 29 days. I didn’t even have to contact customer support or give a reason for canceling. I just submit a request via my account on its site. It only took 2 hours to receive an email saying that my refund was approved. I had my money back in my account within a week.

Try IPVanish Today

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

  • AES 256-bit encryption, a pre-enabled kill switch, and Stealth Mode
  • 200 servers in 63 countries
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Mac (OS X El Capitan 10.11 and newer), 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 using its Simple Mode. 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.

Navigating the server list and changing servers is also straightforward — you can search for the server you want by country and save servers to your favorites. This just makes it easy to keep track of the servers you use most, so you don’t have to manually search for them every time. I added the USA - Buffalo server because it worked great with Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max and the UK - Manchester server for BBC iPlayer.

Screenshot showing the user interface of PrivateVPN on Mac

It comes with Dedicated IPs (although they’re shared), so you don’t have to pay extra for one like with other VPNs

The default security protocol for Mac is OpenVPN, which is known for being one of the safest in the industry. It's not as fast as WireGuard or ExpressVPN's Lightway. 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 takes your privacy seriously. It has a strict no-logs policy​​ which states that it does not collect or log any traffic or usage data of any kind. This makes the fact it’s headquartered in Sweden way less concerning.

The VPN offers Stealth Mode, 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 200 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, you may need to try different servers to avoid long loading times and lag.

You can get a PrivateVPN subscription for only $2/month. Moreover, although I suggest signing up for its yearly plan because it's cheaper, even its short-term plans are pretty affordable compared to other VPNs. You can even pay with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which means that you can keep your payment info private, too.

PrivateVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee which allows you to get refunded if you’re not impressed. When I asked for my money back, the 24/7 live chat agent asked me to send an email explaining why I wanted to cancel my subscription. My refund was approved within a day, and I had my money back in 8 days.

Try PrivateVPN Today

6. ProtonVPN — High-Speed Network for Streaming and Torrenting on Your Mac Without Slowdowns

  • Superfast speeds
  • 1,746 servers in 64 countries
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Mac (OS Sierra 10.12 and newer), iOS Windows, Android, Linux, routers, and more

ProtonVPN has superfast speeds. When I tested its Germany, UK, and France servers on my Mac, my speeds had an average of 30.4 Mbps (you need 5 Mbps to stream in HD). Moreover, even on its long-distance servers, they never dropped below 25 Mbps. This combined with the fact that the VPN can unblock Netflix US, Hulu, Disney+, and more, means you can watch shows in high quality without any buffering.

It’s also a great VPN for safe torrenting on your Mac. It has more than 140 servers specialized for Bittorrent traffic, offering speeds of up to 10 Gbps. I set up a connection profile for torrenting in the app and added a shortcut to port forwarding. You can set up advanced security features so it only takes a couple clicks to activate them. With port forwarding enabled, I downloaded a 1GB file in less than 5 minutes. Moreover, it comes with IP/DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch to prevent ISP throttling and third parties from seeing your activity.

In addition, it has a solid zero-logs policy, all its apps are open source, and they’ve all undergone independent audits. Its own Secure Core servers add extra privacy and you can choose from 3 protocols on Mac (WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2). Combined with its location outside the 14-Eyes Alliance (Switzerland), ProtonVPN is one of the most trusted VPN providers out there.

I found it a bit disappointing that ProtonVPN doesn’t offer live chat support. The only way to reach out is by sending an email. Luckily, it also offers an extensive knowledge base where I could find answers to most of my questions and it never took longer than 24 hours to receive a response over email.

ProtonVPN offers a free plan as well. Even though you get unlimited data (most free VPNs have sever data restrictions), it comes with many restrictions: a small server network, slow speeds, and only 1 device connection.

Because of this, I recommend getting its Plus plan (it’s only $4.99/month). This allows you to enjoy all its premium features, including streaming support, specialized servers, and a high-speed global server network. You can keep your payment info private by signing up using cryptocurrencies.

You can also try ProtonVPN’s Plus with its 30-day money-back guarantee. However, you’ll only get refunded for the part of the service period that you didn’t use the VPN. When I asked for my money back on day 21, I got my money back for the remaining 9 days (it took 10 days to arrive).

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Quick Comparison Table: Best VPNs for Mac and MacBook

You can use the table below to compare some of the key features of the best VPNs for Mac in this list. It shows the lowest price as well as the length of the money-back guarantees. Moreover, you can find the macOS compatibility of each VPN.

Lowest price MacOS compatibility Speeds # server locations Device Connections Money-back guarantee OpenVPN / WireGuard support
🥇ExpressVPN $6.67/month OS X El Capitan (10.11) or later Really Fast 94 5 30 Yes / No (but, Lightway is comparable)
🥈CyberGhost $2.29/month OS Sierra (10.12) or later Really Fast 91 7 45 Yes (manual configuration) / Yes
🥉Private Internet Access $2.19/month OS High Sierra (10.13) or later Fast 84 10 30 Yes / Yes
IPVanish $3.33/month OS High Sierra (10.13) or later Fast 75 Unlimited 30 Yes / Yes
PrivateVPN $2/month OS X El Capitan (10.11) and up Average 63 10 30 Yes / No
ProtonVPN $4.99/month OS Sierra (10.12) and up Really Fast 64 10 30 Yes / No

Try ExpressVPN Now

Tips on How to Choose the Best VPN for Mac

A reliable Mac VPN should come with military-grade security features, a user-friendly Mac app, and a global high-speed server network. You can use this list when deciding on a VPN for your Mac. I’ve used the following key features to determine my shortlist:

  • Easy-to-Use Mac apps — Choose a VPN provider that has user-friendly apps. The VPNs listed here have similar apps for Mac and iOS, as well, so it's easy to use them across devices. It's also important to choose a VPN 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, stealth or scramble features, and Wireguard support.
  • Fast speeds — I conducted speed tests with all the VPNs I shortlisted to ensure that you can browse, stream, and torrent without slowdowns. All of these VPN apps are also lightweight, so they won’t make your machine run slower, either.
  • 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.
  • Torrenting support. Not all VPNs support torrenting, so it’s important to check that at least some servers support P2P file sharing. All the VPNs listed support torrenting, and a few of the VPNs listed here also come with a SOCKS5 proxy or port forwarding, which are torrenting-specific features meant to boost torrenting speeds.
  • Reliable customer support. It's best to choose a VPN that has 24/7 live chat support so it’s possible to solve any issues right away. I made sure that it’s easy to get in touch with customer support and find answers on the VPN’s website.

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 lightweight, easy to use, and it has superfast speeds — you don’t even notice it’s running on your Mac.
  2. Connect to a server. Choose a server close to your actual location for the fastest speeds.
  3. Start browsing! Now you can safely browse, stream, or game on your Mac and MacBook.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Today

FAQs on the Best Mac VPNs

Which Mac VPN is best for Netflix?

There are only a few VPNs for Mac that can access Netflix reliably and all the VPNs shortlisted are tried and tested — they can unblock multiple regional Netflix libraries.

Most VPNs won’t work at all due to the fact that Netflix is constantly blocking IP addresses, so VPNs have to keep up with these blocks. ExpressVPN, for example, is constantly updating its servers and IPs, which is why it’s one of the most reliable Netflix VPNs available.

If you want more Netflix compatibility, choose a VPN with a Smart DNS feature. ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access offer this and it allows you to easily unblock Netflix on your Apple TV, too.

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.

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.

Can I use a free VPN for my Mac?

Technically yes, but I would not recommend it. It’s always a better idea to opt for a low-cost premium VPN like the ones listed here.

The reason being that 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.
  • GoVPN claims to be a VPN for Mac, but actually doesn’t work. Your Mac’s IP address is still visible when you’re connected to it. This means that your data isn’t kept private while browsing the web.
  • FreshVPN claims to offer a free trial but the trial only lasts 5 minutes. After that, you’ll have to pay to use this VPN.

Will a Mac VPN slow down my speeds?

Yes. A VPN for Mac will slow down your speeds a little bit because it takes time to encrypt your traffic. However, a quality VPN app won’t slow your Mac’s speed in any noticeable way.

To minimize speed loss, connect to a server near your actual location (so that the data doesn’t have to travel far). You can also select a server with low capacity or load (the fewer people connected to a server, the faster it will be). Moreover, using a lightweight protocol such as WireGuard or ExpressVPN’s own unique Lightway will also help to reduce speed loss.

Does Mac have a built-in VPN?

No. macOS doesn’t come with a built-in VPN. It does offer IKEv2 and L2TP support and this can be manually turned on in Network settings. However, you need a VPN subscription to get the IKEv2/L2TP config files to set it up. It’s easier to just download a Mac VPN and secure your connection with its app.

If you have iCloud, you automatically have “Private Relay”. This is a proxy, and therefore not as safe as an actual VPN. It only works for the Safari browser, you can’t change your server location, access geo-restricted content, or bypass internet restrictions. Moreover, it's slower than most VPNs, so I don’t recommend using it.

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.

Note: The team at vpnMentor doesn’t condone illegal activity, so we advise that you read local laws surrounding VPN-use before using one that could be banned in your location.

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 tough firewalls. Many VPNs have special technology (called obfuscation) that allows you to bypass firewalls. If your workplace or school campus blocks Facebook, for example, a VPN will allow you to access it. Moreover, it also allows you to use the VPN in highly censored countries like China, Russia, and UAE.

Protect Your Mac Today

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

It’s difficult to find a reliable VPN for Mac with hundreds out there. All VPNs shortlisted here offer military-grade security features and user-friendly Mac apps to keep your MacBook and other Apple devices safe. Moreover, they offer fast speeds and large server networks to access content worldwide within seconds.

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.

To summarize, the best VPNs for Mac and MacBook in September 2022 are…

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