7 Best FREE VPNs for Mac and Safari (Tested & Updated 2023)
- Best Free VPNs for Mac and Safari — Full Analysis (Updated February 2023)
- ExpressVPN — Secure Mac App With Lightning-Fast Speeds and a Global Network
- CyberGhost — Mac App With a Large Server Network to Access Content Worldwide
- Proton VPN — Unlimited Data for Non-Stop Streaming and Browsing on Your Mac
- Avira Phantom VPN — Unlimited Connections Lets You Protect All Your Mac Devices
- hide.me — Top-Notch Security Features to Protect Your Mac Devices
- Quick Comparison Table: Best Free VPNs for Mac and Safari
- Warning: Risks of Free VPNs
- Tips on How to Choose the Best Free VPN for Mac and Safari
- Quick Guide: How to Set Up a VPN for Mac and Safari
- FAQs About Free VPNs for Mac and Safari
- Get the Best Free VPN for Mac and Safari
Macs are becoming a more popular target for hackers. I’ve been a long-time Apple fan because I always felt safer using its products. However, as the company’s gained more customers, hackers have started targeting Mac users more and more. Unfortunately, VPN Safari extensions are largely unavailable (especially not free ones). A better option to stay safe is to use a full VPN app.
Using a VPN app protects your entire Mac, iMac, or Mac Mini — including your Safari traffic. I tested 30 free VPNs on my Macbook Pro and shortlisted the best ones that are safe to use (some of them even performed well for streaming!). Unfortunately, as most free VPNs do, they have some limitations.
While I was determined only to shortlist completely free VPNs, my top recommendation is ExpressVPN. It isn’t 100% free, but it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. In addition, it has industry-leading security features, superfast speeds, and unlimited bandwidth that make it super safe and great for streaming — no free VPN can match it. Since it’s backed by a money-back guarantee, you can test ExpressVPN out risk-free. I made sure they’d hold true to their word, and I got all my money back in 3 days with no hassle.
Short on Time? Here Are the Best Free VPNs for Mac and Safari — Tested in February 2023
- ExpressVPN — Strong security features to safeguard your Mac and Safari browsing sessions. Superfast speeds and 3,000+ servers in 94 countries. You can try ExpressVPN on your Mac risk-free for 30 days because it offers a money-back guarantee.
- CyberGhost — Huge server network, fast speeds, and optimized servers for easy access to streaming and torrenting. It offers a trustworthy 45-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it out with your Mac for free.
- Proton VPN — This free Mac VPN has unlimited data, so you can browse and stream as much as you want, but it has slow speeds and a tiny selection of servers.
- Avira Phantom VPN — Free VPN for Mac offering IP/DNS leak protection that passed my tests, but you only get 1GB of monthly data, and it doesn’t come with a kill switch.
- hide.me — Robust security features are included with this free Mac VPN, plus a decent monthly data allowance of 10GB. But it doesn’t work with streaming sites.
Tested February 2023 Try Risk-Free for 30 Days
- Military-grade encryption and a kill switch safeguard your Mac
- 3,000+ servers in 94 countries unblocks tons of global content
- Unlimited data and lightning-fast speeds to stream and browse without interruptions
- 5 simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
- Compatible with: Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, routers, Apple TV, and more
ExpressVPN has great security features to keep all the vital information on your Mac safe (this includes any activity in Safari, as well). It comes with AES 256-bit encryption. This is the strongest encryption standard, so your IP will be hidden from anyone looking to steal your data. To protect you even when the VPN suddenly disconnects, the automatic kill switch will block your internet connection. In addition, it also offers IP/DNS/WebRTC leak protection. Using my iMac, I tested 15 of its servers and didn’t find any IP/DNS leaks.
Your Safari browsing sessions are kept private with TrustedServer Tech and a no-logs policy. Most VPN servers use hard drives — however, TrustedServer are RAM-only and automatically clear your data upon each reboot. ExpressVPN’s zero-logs policy promises it won’t ever store your information; this has been audited and verified by independent security companies. As an added assurance, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands and outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. Meaning, it’s not obligated to hand over user data, even to government agencies.
ExpressVPN’s unlimited data and impressive speeds let you browse and stream without delays. It also offers a proprietary protocol (Lightway) that's optimized to minimize speed loss while securing your data. When I switched from OpenVPN to Lightway, I immediately noticed a speed boost of about 15%. Using this, I tested over 20 worldwide servers with my MacBook and found an average of 54.2 Mbps (with a starting speed of 61.4 Mbps). You only need 25 Mbps to stream in Ultra HD, so I never had to worry about buffering.
You can access tons of content on your Mac with ExpressVPN's network of 3,000 servers in 94 countries. During my tests, I connected to 9 locations, including the US, the UK, Germany, Japan, and Australia. This lets me access the Netflix libraries in these countries without hesitation. It worked just as well with Disney+ and Hulu in the US, which are both known for their tough geoblocks.
Plus, all of the servers support P2P traffic, so I could always find an uncrowded torrenting connection for high-speed downloads. Unlike most VPNs, its servers also work in strictly-censored countries, like China and the UAE. However, the team at vpnMentor doesn’t condone using a VPN illegally, so be sure to read up on your local laws.
ExpressVPN’s native Mac app is compatible with OS X El Capitan (10.11) and newer, and it's super easy to use. There is a Smart Location feature, which automatically connects you to the fastest server available. It also allows you to save shortcuts to your favorite websites and apps. In addition, its MediaStreamer feature lets you set it up on Apple TV — when I tested it, I could watch Netflix on my big screen within minutes.
Unlike many VPNs, ExpressVPN is optimized for Silicon, a processor used on most newer Apple devices, including Mac computers, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Since it doesn’t require software translation to work with Silicon-running devices, you’ll get top speeds and glitch-free integration.
You can even use split tunneling to choose what traffic passes through the VPN. I use this feature when I want to access local sites while I’m torrenting through the VPN tunnel on my Mac. You’ll also never have to worry about losing access to your online banking and domestic streaming sites since you can exclude them from the VPN with this feature.
It's true that ExpressVPN isn’t really free. However, it is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. This allows you to test all ExpressVPN’s premium features risk-free. You can ask for your money back if you’re not satisfied. I tried the policy myself to make sure it's legitimate and asked for a refund using its 24/7 live chat support. The support agents always responded in 2 minutes or less. After the support team member asked me a few user-satisfaction-related questions, they approved my refund. I had my money back in 3 business days.
- 9,753+ servers in 91 countries to access hundreds of region-locked sites
- Unlimited data and superfast speeds keep your online activities lag-free
- 7 simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more
- Compatible with: Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, routers, Apple TV, and more
CyberGhost’s Mac app lets you access a vast network of 9,753 servers in 91 countries. I tested more than 15 servers in the US and could unblock my US Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max accounts while traveling abroad. The VPN also comes with specialty servers for streaming and torrenting. The streaming servers are optimized for high speeds and reliable access to streaming sites — its torrenting connections offer strong security and fast downloads. This way, you'll have no problem finding a reliable and speedy connection.
With its strong security features, the data on your Mac won’t be exposed to cyberthreats. It has AES 256-bit encryption and a kill switch — plus, automatic WiFi protection, which connects your device to the VPN as soon as you connect to an unknown network. On my iMac, I used an online tool to test 8 servers and didn’t find any IP/DNS/WebRTC leaks whatsoever.
CyberGhost has a strict zero-logs policy, so it won't store or sell your data, either. This means that your online activities can’t be logged. Plus, it releases transparency reports every 3 months that show you how many requests are made for its data (and that it has never had anything to share). On top of that, it's headquartered in Romania (a country outside of the 14 Eyes Alliance). With CyberGhost, you can use your Mac and browse Safari without having to worry about your privacy.
You can stream, browse, and play games without slowdowns. I tested 15 of its servers and had an average speed of 45.6 Mbps; plus, optimized servers increased my download rate by 15%. Those fast speeds also come with unlimited data and are more than fast enough for streaming your favorite shows in high quality on your Mac (you only need 25 Mbps to stream in UltraHD, so my speeds were almost double what you need).
It only took me 3 minutes to download and install the app on my MacBook. CyberGhost also has an easy-to-use Mac app, so it’s a great option if you're new to VPNs. After the installation was complete, I could find and connect to a server in just a couple of clicks.
Although you have to pay for a plan upfront, CyberGhost offers a money-back guarantee, so you can test it with your Mac for free. Unfortunately, the short-term plan only gives you 14 days to test CyberGhost out. To get the 45-day money-back guarantee, you'll have to sign up for a long-term plan. However, the refund policy is super straightforward — it took less than 5 minutes for my return to be issued.
When I tested this, the support agent asked me a couple of user-satisfaction-related questions, then quickly issued my refund. Within 5 days, I saw the money in my bank account again.
- Unlimited data and decent speeds for browsing with minimal slowdowns
- 24 free servers in the US, the Netherlands, and Japan to enjoy geoblocked content
- 1 device connection
- Can unblock: Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Kodi
- Compatible with: Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, and routers
Proton VPN gives you unlimited data to stream and browse on your Mac for as long as you want. This is impressive, since most free VPNs only give you enough data to stream for 1-2 hours, at best. Plus, its nearby servers are pretty fast — during my tests with my MacBook, I got an average of 31.2 Mbps on its local servers in the Netherlands. However, when I connected to its long-distance servers in Japan and the US, my speeds dropped to 13.4 Mbps.
You get access to 65+ free servers in Japan, the Netherlands, and the US. I was able access a few region-specific sites in each country. When I used its Netherlands connections, I unblocked Mediacourant and Dumpert without hesitation. Its Japan servers let me watch TV Tokyo and NHK, while the US servers worked with Peacock and Crunchyroll.
I could also use the free servers for torrenting (although it claims you can't torrent on free servers). However, I did find that the servers are often overcrowded — during high peak hours, I ran into some speed loss. For instance, while torrenting on the weekend, my download rates were 80% slower than my normal connection.
Your entire Mac is protected with top security and privacy features. Most notably, you can use WireGuard with the free plan (most free VPNs make you upgrade). This VPN was also developed by highly regarded CERN scientists committed to upholding online privacy, so it's a highly trusted VPN. You also get top encryption with perfect forward secrecy, leak protection, and a kill switch, all upheld by an audited and verified no-logs policy.
Its Mac app is compatible with Sierra (10.12) and newer and setting it up is easy. You can only use the free version on 1 device, but Proton VPN offers free OpenVPN config files for router setup, allowing you to use it on all your home devices.
I was disappointed that Proton VPN’s unlimited data isn’t that useful for streaming. It couldn't unblock a lot of popular platforms, including region-specific Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and Hulu. In addition, Proton VPN doesn’t offer 24/7 customer service, so I had to contact them by email. Even though it took 3 days to get a response from support, it was still very informative and helpful.
- Unlimited simultaneous device connections to cover your entire household
- Up to 1GB of monthly data and fast speeds for smooth browsing
- 1 free server (nearest location) to secure your connection
- Can unblock: Only local sites (the free plan only connects to local servers)
- Compatible with: Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android
Avira Phantom VPN lets you connect as many devices as you want. That's a pretty rare feature for any VPN, especially a free one. I tested it out by connecting it to my Macbook Pro, my iMac, and my iPhone. I was browsing on Safari with each device, and I didn't notice any difference in the performance. Plus, I was happy to see it passed leak tests with each device too.
You can trust Avira Phantom VPN to be responsible with your data because it has a strict no-logs policy. While reading through it, I found that it doesn’t log any browsing history, IP addresses, or personal information. This means it keeps your Mac secure without storing data that can be used to track you.
It has some impressive speeds, so you won’t experience any annoying slowdowns on your Mac. My speeds averaged 34.5 Mbps during my tests. This allowed me to stream in HD as you only need 5 Mbps for that. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with unlimited data like Proton VPN; Avira Phantom has a data cap of 500MB per month. This is only enough for small activities like checking emails and browsing. Luckily, you can get 500MB more if you sign up with your email address.
The VPN comes with a native Mac app that is compatible with macOS Sierra (10.12.4) and later. One minor con is that you can only connect to 1 server (but it does allow torrenting). You have to use the ‘nearest location’ feature, which automatically assigns you a server that’s close to where you are. It's not a good option if you want to unblock geo-restricted content. However, this free VPN is still a great option if you want to stay safe on your Mac and Safari.
The only downfall is that the free service doesn't provide direct customer support. You have to upgrade for support via email, phone, and social media. Fortunately, Avira’s website has an extensive database with answers to the most frequently asked questions. I even found video tutorials on how to install the VPN on my MacBook.
- 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and DNS/IP leak protection to keep your Mac’s data safe
- 10GB of monthly data, and 5 server locations (US East & West, Canada, Netherlands, and Germany)
- 1 device connection
- Can unblock: YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram
- Compatible with: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, and routers
The free version of hide.me has military-grade security features that prevent anyone from stealing the data on your Mac. You can choose from a wide range of VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, Wireguard, SoftEther, SSTP, and IKEv2. It also comes with AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, Stealth Guard, and IP/DNS leak protection. When I tested its 5 free servers, I didn’t find any IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks.
I found that hide.me doesn’t store any personal browsing history from your Mac sessions. It has a minimal logging policy that ensures it doesn't track your online activities. However, it does log your VPN username and the IP addresses you’ve used. Although I was worried about that, I was happy to read that the data is anonymous and gets erased every few hours, so it's not stored for long. In addition, hide.me is located in Malaysia, which is good for privacy since it's outside the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance.
You get fast speeds and 10GB of data for free every month with hide.me. It's a good choice for torrenting a couple large files — it only took 3 minutes to download 500MB with uTorrent (and all 5 servers support torrenting). Although, while the speeds were fast enough for HD streaming (mine averaged 26 Mbps), hide.me didn't work with any popular streaming sites like Netflix or Disney+ during my tests.
Even though the free plan only allows for 1 device connection, it gives you access to plenty of features. For instance, I was able to use split tunneling to access local content (like the news) without turning my VPN off. Downloading its native Mac app is easy, and it's compatible with macOS Catalina (10.15) and up. Plus, it’s fully optimized for smooth integration with Apple Silicon — unlike any other 100% free VPN on my list.
For any questions that may arise, you can reach out using hide.me's 24/7 live chat. When I had a question about downloading the VPN, a live agent replied within 2 minutes. They explained that you can download the app without signing up or registering, which is really convenient.
- Ultra-fast speeds with 15GB of monthly data (500MB daily) for lag-free browsing
- 1 free server in the US to unblock a few sites
- 1 device connection
- Can unblock: YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram
- Compatible with: Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android
Hotspot Shield’s Mac app uses the unique Catapult Hydra protocol to improve speeds when you're browsing. During my speed tests, I had an average speed of 18.4 Mbps. This is impressive since the free server it offers is located in the US (which is more than 5000 km away from my location).
You can use your Mac without having to worry about your online safety. Hotspot Shield has top-notch security features that keep your IP hidden, including AES 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, and IP/DNS leak protection. I performed several leak tests and didn’t find any IP/DNS leaks.
Hotspot Shield lets you use 500MB of data per day, which is plenty for checking emails and updating social media. You can also download small files. However, I ran out of data after watching a video in SD for 30 minutes. This means that it’s not enough to stream your favorite shows on your Mac in one sitting.
The VPN offers a native Mac app that doesn’t require you to sign up or register. It's compatible with macOS Sierra (10.12) and higher, and it also offers built-in malware protection to block suspicious websites and protect you from potential malware infections. However, be aware there are in-app ads with a free account and they do get a bit annoying.
A minor con is that the VPN’s headquarters are located in the US (inside the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance). In addition, while reading through its logging policy, I did find that it keeps some anonymous logs of the device and the amount of bandwidth you’re using. However, since they cannot identify you with this data, it is still a good VPN to keep your Mac safe.
Hotspot Shield doesn’t offer its 24/7 live support with its free service. Luckily, it provides an extensive FAQ section and troubleshooting guides on its website. There's also an option to email support if you can't find an answer to your question. When I emailed a question regarding the protocols, I received a helpful response from a representative within a few hours.
- 500MB of monthly data and decent speeds to browse without major slowdowns
- 2,600+ free servers in 47 countries to access sites from across the globe
- Unlimited simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram
- Compatible with: Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android
TunnelBear offers a user-friendly Mac app that is easy to set up. It only took me 5 minutes to download and install the VPN. Moreover, you can connect to a reliable server with only 1 click, and it has an adorable interface with cartoon bear animations. This makes it fun to use and a good option for beginners. The app is compatible with macOS Sierra (10.12) and up.
I ran its servers through a leak test and didn’t find any. That's because TunnelBear has robust security features that protect your Mac’s online data. These features include AES 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN support, a kill switch, and IP/DNS leak protection.
It doesn't store any of the metadata on your Mac. The VPN's strict no-logging policy gets audited yearly, and TunnelBear also publishes an annual transparency report. Any time requests are made for data on its servers, it has nothing to share. This means that although it’s based in Canada (within the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance), you don’t have to worry about your online data being logged or shared.
During my MacBook tests, it had decent speeds on local servers. When I tested 8 of its European servers, I got average speeds of 14.6 Mbps. However, on long-distance servers, my rate decreased by 40%. Luckily, you can use its extensive server network to connect to a server nearby and optimize your speeds for smoother browsing.
Its GhostBear Mode helps you bypass censorship and deep packet inspection (DPI). It makes your encrypted data look like non-VPN traffic. This means you can use it on your Mac to bypass strong firewalls and VPN-specific blocks.
Unfortunately, TunnelBear has a data cap of 500 MB per month, which is far too little to stream in high quality. However, since I couldn’t unblock any streaming platforms with it, this VPN isn't a good option for streaming anyway. Luckily, you can get an extra GB of data if you tweet the company. I tweeted them through a pop-up in the app when I downloaded it and the extra 1GB was added to my account less than 2 minutes later.
Each free VPN on this list is safe and dependable, but they differ significantly in what they offer. Since you pay upfront to test the first two listed VPNs (ExpressVPN and CyberGhost), you get access to all of their features and abilities. Since the free VPNs are much more limited, they vary with which online activities you can use them for (i.e., streaming, security, torrenting, etc.)
VPNs with limited speeds and data can cause buffering and interruptions, depending on your online activities. Plus, it’s essential to check that the VPN is compatible with your macOS device, as some VPNs only support the latest operating systems.
You may also need a free VPN offering P2P support or a widespread server network. While P2P support is needed for torrenting, servers in different locations will help you access region-specific sites and streaming platforms.
Warning: Risks of Free VPNs
Many free VPNs for Mac are unsafe and can’t be trusted with your data. All of the free VPNs on our list were tested to ensure their safety.
These are some of the dangers when downloading a random free VPN:
- Free VPNs can collect and sell your data. Free VPNs often sell Mac users' data to third parties for a profit. Always check the free VPN’s logging policy to ensure your online data is protected.
- Free VPNs can leak your data due to weak security features. They often don’t have the budget to keep their security protocols up-to-date, which leads to IP/DNS data leaks on your Mac. In addition, you miss out on important security features such as a kill switch and military-grade encryption.
- Free VPNs can be infected with harmful viruses and malware. A lot of free VPNs have malware and viruses embedded in their app. Furthermore, because most free VPNs need advertising to make a profit, they often don’t have built-in ad blockers. This means they can bombard your Mac with ads and even increase the risk of infecting your device with malware.
The best way to stay safe on your Mac is to use a low-cost VPN. They offer military-grade security features and come with a strict no-logs policy. Plus, they don’t have limitations like data caps, slow speeds, and small server networks. Luckily, the top services offer a money-back guarantee so that you can test them for a limited period of time. You can always ask for a refund if you’re not impressed.
Free VPNs to Avoid
Unlike the free VPNs for Mac on my list, these free VPNs are dangerous to use. They can share your data with third parties or include malware and viruses.
The following free Mac VPNs are not safe and should be avoided:
- Hola: Hola is not a VPN but a peer-to-peer network. This means that you share a network with all users, so you’re accountable for everyone’s online activities.
- VPNBook: Keeps logs and infects your device with malware.
- VPN Gate: Run by volunteers and stores user logs.
- SuperVPN: Infested with malware.
- TurboVPN: Downloads malware to your device.
- BetternetVPN: Keeps logs to create targeted advertisements.
- GOVPN: Leaks your IP and DNS and has embedded malware in its app.
Tips on How to Choose the Best Free VPN for Mac and Safari
I’ve decided to share the key features I tested to determine my shortlist. This way, you can make your own informed decision when choosing the right free VPN for Mac and Safari:
- Really free. I tested every VPN and ensured that it’s either completely free or at least backed by a reliable money-back guarantee. This ensures that if you do have to pay upfront to test a service, you won’t risk losing money.
- Easy-to-use Mac app. I made sure that all the VPNs on this list come with native Mac apps that are easy to install and use. This way, it will work seamlessly with any Mac device, including MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini, and more.
- Strong security and privacy features. I ensured my recommended free VPNs for Mac have military-grade security features like AES 256-bit encryption and IP/DNS leak protection. I checked each of these VPNs logging policies as well to ensure they are responsible with your data.
- Fast speeds and enough data. I checked all the data limits and tested the speeds of all the VPNs on my list to ensure that you can browse, stream, and torrent without annoying slowdowns.
- Allows P2P downloads. I made sure that most of the free Mac VPNs on this list support P2P file sharing.
- Ability to unblock some streaming sites. Most free VPNs cannot unblock streaming sites at all. The only VPNs on this list that could unblock streaming sites were ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Proton VPN.
- Responsive customer support. I made sure that it was easy to get in touch with customer support or find answers on the VPN’s website.
- Download a VPN. My top recommendation is ExpressVPN. It has a native Mac app, robust security features, and superfast speeds (You can even try it risk-free as it's backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee).
- Connect to a server. If you want to keep your speeds as fast as possible, make sure to connect to a server nearby.
- Start browsing! Now you can safely browse on your Mac.
FAQs About Free VPNs for Mac and Safari
Is there a free VPN browser extension for Safari?
No, I didn't find any free VPNs with Safari extensions during my tests. There used to be a few, but it has become more difficult to get extensions approved by Apple over the years. However, there are many great (and free!) VPN apps available for Mac that protect your data in Safari as well as your entire Apple device.
If you're particular about using a browser extension, most VPNs offer them for Chrome and Firefox, so you can still use them on a Mac if you have one of those browsers installed.
What is the best free VPN for Mac to watch Netflix?
For reliable access to Netflix's regional libraries, I recommend my top 2 listed Mac VPNs. They both come with money-back guarantees, which lets you try them out for a limited time with the guarantee of a full refund within that period. This gives you access to their large server networks which unblock Netflix reliably. Plus, they have unlimited data and superfast speeds for buffer-free streaming.
From the 100% free Mac VPNs, Proton VPN let me easily access Netflix on my Macbook — but only Netflix Originals. This is somewhat helpful, but this content is available everywhere Netflix is available anyways.
Unfortunately, most truly free VPNs won’t work at all due to the IP blocks that Netflix constantly updates. Free VPNs simply don't have the funds to upgrade their technology fast enough to keep up. In addition, they often come with other limitations, such as data caps and slow speeds that make streaming almost impossible. For Netflix, my recommendation is to use a premium service’s free trial or money-back guarantee instead.
Can I get a free VPN for Mac without registering?
Yes, you can. Many free VPNs for Mac don’t ask you to enter your email address or create an account to download the VPN. Avira Phantom VPN, hide.me, and Hotspot Shield all don’t require you to register.
Will a free Mac VPN work on my other devices as well?
For the most part, no, because free VPNs are usually only available for 1 device connection at a time. However, Avira Phantom VPN has a free plan that actually lets you connect unlimited devices. That's super rare for a free VPN. On top of Mac, it also lets you download apps for devices running iOS, Windows, or Android operating systems. Besides Avira Phantom VPN, these free VPNs are also a reliable choice for your iPhone and iPad.
How much will a free VPN impact my Mac's speed?
It will lower your speeds quite a bit more than a low-cost premium VPN will. Free VPNs offer a limited number of servers that are often overcrowded. The more users on a server, the slower the speeds tend to be. Some free VPNs throttle your bandwidth, which slows your connection down even more. This is done to encourage you to upgrade to a paid plan.
The fastest free VPN on our list (Avira Phantom VPN) was still around 63% slower than ExpressVPN on average. If you're concerned about speed, then it's best to try a low-cost premium VPN that comes with a money-back guarantee.
Does Mac have a built-in VPN?
No, Macs don’t come with their own VPN service, but it does have built-in IKEv2 and L2TP support. To use this, you’ll still need a VPN subscription that comes with IKEv2 or L2TP configuration files, and not many free VPNs offer this. Plus, connecting a VPN via this method gives you limited options. It’s better to install a VPN’s Mac app, so you have full functionality — from security settings to the location you connect to.
On the other hand, iCloud offers Private Relay for Safari (only). This is just a proxy connection, though, and a slow one at that. It doesn’t change your virtual location, encrypt your traffic, or help you overcome geo-restrictions. So it’s not as safe or beneficial as using a VPN.
Why do I need a VPN for Mac?
Without a VPN, all of the personal information on your Mac can easily be exploited. A Mac VPN protects your online privacy by encrypting your personal data and hiding your online traffic from your ISP, hackers, and other malicious third parties. It can protect you whether you’re browsing from home or while connected to an unsecured public WiFi network.
Many people used to believe that Macs were safe from hackers and viruses, especially compared to Windows machines. But as the popularity of Macs has grown, so has the threat of cyber attacks. For example, in 2020, a Malwarebytes analysis showed that Mac users faced about double the amount of cyber threats encountered by PC users. So, using a VPN to secure your device and all of your personal info on it is a smart precaution to take — just in case.
Aside from its safety benefits, a VPN allows you to access geo-restricted content from anywhere. It can help people in countries with strict censorship safely access banned sites and have free communication.
Get the Best Free VPN for Mac and Safari
Out of all the free VPNs I tested, ExpressVPN was the best. Truthfully, it's not 100% free, but it was no match against any of the truly free VPNs on this list. While the free options are safe, they come with limitations that make them a poor choice for long-term use (capped speeds, not enough data, small server networks, and poor unblocking abilities, to name a few). ExpressVPN doesn't have any such limitations and offers some of the best security features available.
It comes with a trustworthy 30-day money-back guarantee. When I tested the guarantee to make sure they stood by their word, I wasn't disappointed. I contacted the 24/7 live chat team to request a refund, and the agent didn't pressure me to stay at all. They just asked why I wanted to cancel, and after explaining, my refund was approved. So, I can honestly recommend trying ExpressVPN out yourself because it is risk-free. It only took 3 days for me to get my money back in full.
The best VPNs for Mac and Safari with money-back guarantees are…
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The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.
VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.