Despite Mac’s reputation as a system immune to cyberattacks and privacy threats, the fact is that malware attacks on macOS are still persistent, with Shlayer Trojan affecting one in every ten Mac systems.
Moreover, the rising trend demonstrates that macOS is far from secure as popularly assumed.
Therefore, to help you choose the best VPN for Mac, we have finalized a list of the best VPN services based on rigorous testing criteria that you can use on Mac so you can obtain top-notch online protection and unblock geo-restricted channels like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC Player on your macOS.
We tested these VPNs on MacBooks and iMacs to see how it works. We then tested VPNs on various performance criteria to bring you only the best of the best. So let’s see what each best Mac VPN has to offer.
Why Do I Need a VPN for macOS?
Many reasons force users to install a VPN for their macOS. However, it doesn’t have a lot to do with the operating system. What we believe is that it’s actually the privacy problem over the internet that drives towards this. Here are all the reasons you need the best VPN client for Mac:
- Privacy: In today’s digital world, your data is always being collected and sold to third-party advertisers by the government. However, if you use a VPN, you can eliminate that by hiding your identity.
- Security: A VPN adds an extra layer of security by offering military-grade encryption for data protection. This way, your connection would be encrypted and you’ll be secure from various nasty exploits.
- Bypassing geo-restrictions: While traveling abroad, you won’t be able to access your favorite streaming services of your native country due to geo-restrictions. However, by connecting to a VPN server back home, you can unblock your favorite streaming services and enjoy content on them.
- Speeds: Your activities are often subject to throttling, especially if you’re gaming or torrenting. A VPN can help you bypass this so you never get slow speeds.
- Accessibility: Being an Apple user, you’re often denied multiple Media Services. Also, if you live in restrictive countries, then you won’t be able to access certain websites unless you use a macOS VPN,
The Best VPNs for Mac – In-Depth Analysis
After testing 150+ VPNs on various criteria, such as speed, macOS compatibility, server network, encryption, and more, we will bring you the best VPN for Mac 2022.
1. ExpressVPN – The Best Overall VPN for Mac
ExpressVPN is the best VPN software for Mac, with an excellent reputation on Reddit and Mac communities. It offers thousands of servers in 94 countries, helping users unblock Netflix and other restricted channels/websites. Being the best VPN for Mac, it offers the best security, performance, and unblocking ability.
ExpressVPN also offers a Lightway protocol that is faster than OpenVPN and a great alternative to WireGuard protocol.
ExpressVPN’s app for Mac is very user-friendly, and there is an Automatically connect button that connects you to the best possible server according to your location.
Its servers are categorized into three sections – country, recommended, and recent. There is also a search bar so that you can search for your desired location.
We also tested ExpressVPN on iPhone as well as its macOS app is a lot like its iOS app. Both are easy to use with advanced features. However, ExpressVPN’s iOS app lacks the kill switch feature that is available on the macOS app.
With global server coverage, ExpressVPN makes bypassing geo-restrictions a piece of cake. It works with all other streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, DAZN, and more. We could also unblock Netflix with ExpressVPN of the US, UK, CA, JP, FR, and other regions.
It also unblocked BBC iPlayer on its UK server in under 7 seconds which was very impressive. The speeds were also more than enough for streaming in Ultra HD quality without any lags.
ExpressVPN also offers a MediaStreamer feature that allows you to use it on Apple TV. In addition, with ExpressVPN, you can unblock popular sites like Hulu, HBO Max, and more on the big screen.
ExpressVPN offers P2P-friendly VPN server locations, which makes it a great option for downloading torrents. Also, with its fast speeds, you will have no problem downloading large files quickly.
ExpressVPN is fast as, during testing, it delivered an average speed of 95.39 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection, with less than a 7% drop in speeds. This drop-in speed was barely noticeable.
During testing, it only took us about 15 minutes to download a 3 GB file. As there are no bandwidth limitations, you can stream and download with ExpressVPN as much as you want.
The AES-256 encryption, like other top virtual private networks, is used by default in the ExpressVPN macOS app. Also, it offers an internet kill switch to defend against accidental data leakage.
There is also a split tunnelling feature that lets you choose which apps you want to use the VPN connection and which ones should be out of the virtual private network tunnel. However, this feature is not available on macOS 11.
This VPN is available for just $6.67/mo (Get 49% Off + 3 Months FREE this Black Friday/Cyber Monday), and there is also a 30-day money-back policy so you can try it risk-free on your Mac. You can also cancel ExpressVPN and claim a refund if you don’t like its service. We tested this policy and got our refund within six days.
If you’re looking to read more about this VPN, then you just need to go through our ExpressVPN review.
- Compatible with Mac OS 0.13 (High Sierra), 12 (Monterey), 10.15 (Catalina), etc.
- Offers super-fast speeds on all servers
- Comes with Lightway protocol, IKEv2, and more
- Offers a kill switch, split tunnelling, no logs, and more.
- Provides a 24/7 live chat support
- Doesn’t offer any free plans
- Offers only five multi-logins
2. Surfshark – Budget-friendly Mac VPN
Surfshark is another best VPN for Mac and iPhone that’s super affordable and loaded with features that Mac users are likely to find appealing. This VPN is priced at $2.05/mo (Get 84% + 2 Months FREE this Black Friday/Cyber Monday). It allows unlimited simultaneous connections on a single Surfshark account.
Meaning, you can secure all your Apple devices (and other non-Apple devices) with Surfshark and share them with your friends and family.
Surfshark offers an easy-to-use app for macOS with access to 3200+ servers across 100 countries. In addition, it performs well when it comes to unblocking geo-restricted content.
We managed to unblock various Netflix libraries (including US, UK, CA), along with Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu with Surfshark quite easily.
You can also choose from multiple servers that offer the MultiHop feature for an additional layer of security. The provider also doesn’t leak the IP or DNS traffic, proof of its security for torrenting purposes.
Its macOS app offers all the best features like an automatic kill switch, CleanWeb (adblocker), Whitelister (split tunnelling), DNS/IPv6 leak protection, and MultiHop.
Its MultiHop feature allows double encryption by rerouting your online traffic through two different countries. Therefore, it makes it impossible for your ISP, government authorities, or hackers to track your activities.
Surfshark also supports torrent/P2P activities and is quite secure for this purpose. All its servers are P2P-friendly. It also offers reliable connection speeds for downloading large files. During testing, Surfshark managed a speed of 75.12 Mbps speed on a 100 Mbps connection.
Other than that, Surfshark is a great choice if you need to amp up your privacy on the macOS. On Mac, you can choose from various security VPN protocols, including IKEv2, OpenVPN, WireGuard, and Shadowsocks.
Its Shadowsocks proxy is recommended for users in countries with heavy censorship like China, UAE, Egypt, and more. However, you will have to set it up on your Mac and iOS devices manually.
The provider adheres to a zero-logging policy, which is pretty reassuring. Surfshark is also audited by third parties, including Cure53. You can check the full audit report, as no major issues were detected in its browser extension.
It also comes with a 30-days money-back guarantee, so you can test it risk-free on your Mac for 30 days. Surfshark also offers excellent customer service with 24/7 live chat support, so you can contact support and claim your refund.
If you’re looking to read more about this VPN, then you just need to go through our Surfshark review.
- Compatible with Mac OS Sierra 10.12 and above, Catalina, Monterey, Mojave, etc.
- Offers a great service at a cheap price.
- Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime on Mac.
- Comes with the latest WireGuard protocol
- No free plan available
3. NordVPN – Fast Speed VPN for Mac Users
NordVPN is the most secure and fastest Mac VPN with the best speeds and privacy features. In addition, NordVPN offers a huge global server network (5500+ servers across 59 countries ), and unblocks hundreds of streaming platforms.
NordVPN offers a lot of security features on its macOS app. There is a Double VPN feature that encrypts your data twice for additional security. There is also an adblocker called CyberSec that works like a charm.
We tested this feature on NordVPN’s browser extension, and it removed all side banners and popups from web pages, making it one of the best VPNs with an ad blocker as well as the best VPN for Mac.
NordVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption for data protection along with a wide range of protocols. You can choose from OpenVPN, NordLynx, IKEv2, L2TP, and more.
There is also an internet kill switch feature that shuts down your internet connection in case the VPN connection drops.
NordVPN also works with all the popular streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and more. During testing, we managed to unblock 30+ streaming sites, including niche websites like Crunchyroll. On its UK servers, we unblocked BBC iPlayer within 15 seconds.
NordVPN works great with torrenting on Mac. It offers P2P-optimized servers in 45+ countries. Even if you start torrenting on a normal server, NordVPN will automatically redirect you to its P2P servers.
We did not experience any connectivity issues during testing, and it was enough for uninterrupted streaming. To boost download speeds during torrenting, NordVPN also offers a SOCKS5 proxy. When tested its speeds, it offered an average of 82.45 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
NordVPN offers apps for various platforms such as Windows, Android, iOS, and more. You can even NordVPN with FireStick, Roku, Kodi, and other streaming devices.
NordVPN is available for only $3.69/mo (Get 55% Off + 2 Months FREE this Black Friday/Cyber Monday) and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee too. You can also claim your refund by contacting customer support, as it also features a human live chat option that is available 24/7.
If you’re looking to read more about this VPN, then you just need to go through our NordVPN review.
- Compatible with macOS 10.13 High Sierra, 11 Big Sur, 0.14 Mojave, etc
- Offers 5200+ servers in 60 countries
- Comes with Double VPN, CyberSec, obfuscated servers, and more
- Offers dedicated apps for Android, iOS, FireStick, router, etc
- Comes with six multi-logins only
4. CyberGhost – Popular Mac VPN with Great Additional Features
CyberGhost is the most user-friendly Mac VPN that is super easy to use and a great choice for beginners. CyberGhost offers 8900+ servers in 91 countries, and all these servers are organized into categories.
These categories include servers optimized for streaming, torrenting, gaming, and NoSpy servers. You can easily choose the best server for your needs.
It has servers dedicated to unblocking streaming sites like US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more. So, instead of connecting to a country server, you can choose a dedicated server for streaming service that you want to unblock on your Mac. For example, CyberGhost’s UK server worked well with BBC iPlayer and unblocked it within 9 seconds.
For P2P, you can connect to its torrenting optimized servers that are offered in more than 50 locations. These servers also show load percentage in the list, so you can connect to a server that offers better speeds and isn’t too overcrowded. For example, CyberGhost offered an average speed of 71.42 Mbps speed on a 100 Mbps connection.
CyberGhost also offers advanced security features for macOS users to boost their online privacy. There is 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, and multiple protocols to choose from.
You can choose between IKEv2 and WireGuard security protocols. For OpenVPN, you will have to manually configure it on your Mac device.
CyberGhost’s Mac app also contains an ad blocker that also blocks trackers and malicious websites. There is also a data compression feature that makes sure you stay within your bandwidth limit on your Mac.
You can connect up to 7 devices with a single CyberGhost account. What’s best is that you can even set it up with your router and use it on your other Apple devices to bypass restrictions.
You can also set up CyberGhost on Apple TV using its SmartDNS feature optimized for streaming.
CyberGhost is also reasonably priced at $2.29/mo and comes with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee. There is also a 24/7 live chat feature that you can use to connect to agents if you want to cancel and claim your refund.
If you’re looking to read more about this VPN, then you just need to go through our CyberGhost review.
- Compatible with macOS High Sierra (10.13), Mojave (10.14), Sierra (10.12), etc
- Unblocks multiple streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, and DAZN
- Offers 7700+ servers in 90 countries
- Allows 7 multi-logins
- Offers an ad-blocker, kill switch, and WireGuard protocol
- Comes with a 45-day refund policy
- Some servers offer below-average speeds
5. Private Internet Access – Best Torrenting VPN on Mac
Private Internet Access is the best VPN for torrenting on Mac. PIA performed exceptionally well while torrenting on Mac.
All of its servers are optimized for P2P, and it also offers a SOCKS5 proxy and port forwarding feature to boost performance. Overall, PIA is a strong choice if you want to torrent safely on your Mac devices.
One of the most distinguishing features of PIA is its large server network. PIA offers more than 35000+ servers in 80 countries.
PIA’s macOS app is packed with all the latest security features. For example, you can choose between AES 128-bit and AES 256-bit encryption.
If you want faster speeds, you can select 128-bit encryption, but we recommend using 256-bit encryption to ensure the safety of your Mac device on unsecured public Wi-Fi.
There is also a kill switch feature that you can toggle on and off according to your needs. It also offers a feature called MACE that blocks ads and malware. Despite offering all these features, its macOS app is easy to use with a clean interface.
Using its Mac app, you can unblock a variety of streaming services, including BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, DAZN, and more.
With so many servers to choose from, you also get good speeds. During testing, PIA delivered an average speed of 61.91 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection. However, on long-distance servers, you might experience slower speeds.
One concerning thing about PIA is that it is headquartered in the USA (a major member of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance). However, the provider offers a strict no-logs policy and is safe to use. In addition, PIA does not log any identifiable user data, so you are safe with this provider.
PIA is the best VPN software for Mac that’s highly affordable, costing only $2.03/mo . For this price, you also get ten simultaneous connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you’re looking to read more about this VPN, then you just need to go through our PIA VPN review.
- Compatible with macOS Mojave, Big Sur, High Sierra (10.13+), and more
- Offers a server network of 35500+ servers in 84 countries
- Comes with SOCKS5 and port forwarding support
- Offers MACE, split tunnelling, and kill switch
- Provides 10 multi-logins
- Based in the United States
- Some servers make take a lot of time to connect
Quick Comparison Table: Best VPN for Mac
Here is a brief comparison table of the five top-rated VPNs for Mac in 2022:
|Mac Compatibility||OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later||OS X 10.12 Sierra or later||OS X 10.12 Sierra or later||macOS 10.12 Sierra or later||macOS 10.13 High Sierra or later|
|Security||AES 256 Bit||AES 256 Bit||AES 256 Bit||AES 256-bit||AES 256-bit|
|Servers||Servers in 94 Countries||3,200+ in 63+ Countries||5,200+ in 59 Countries||7000+ in 90 Countries||35,500+ in 78+ Locations|
|Streaming||Netflix, ITV, Hulu, and More||Netflix, BT-Sports, Hulu, and More||Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, and More||Netflix, YouTube TV, Hulu, and More||Netflix, Apple TV+, and More|
|Compatibility||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers|
|Torrenting Support||All Servers||All Servers||Some servers||Some Servers||All Servers|
|More Info||ExpressVPN Review||Surfshark Review||NordVPN Review||CyberGhost Review||PIA Review|
|Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site|
How We Tested and Selected the Best VPNs for Mac
The increasing severity of cyberattacks and geo-restriction makes it tougher for a VPN to stay active for a long period. Keeping this in mind, we identified the best criteria that helped us choose the best VPNs for Mac:
1. Mac Compatibility – The best Mac VPNs should support multiple macOS versions, including macOS 11, 10.15, 10.14, and more. So, we included all VPNs that offer native Mac clients and are easy to install and set up.
2. Performance/Speed – We tested the speeds of the VPNs based on macOS using speedtest.net. Choosing a high-speed VPN is a must because generally, VPNs tend to slow down speeds, so with a fast VPN, speed decline is not noticeable. This is why we ensured that the VPNs we list do not drop your speed by more than 30%.
3. Unblocks Sites – The capacity of the VPN to unblock geo-restricted sites like Netflix from abroad. The best Mac VPN services should be able to unblock streaming sites and blocked channels on Mac from anywhere in the world.
Using the VPNs above, you can access multiple streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, and more.
4. Torrenting – Availability of P2P-optimized servers with IP leak protection. VPNs should offer multiple P2P servers so you can torrent safely on your Mac devices. All the VPNs above offer P2P-optimized servers so you can torrent safely on your macOS.
5. Servers – The best VPN macOS should offer a large server network with global coverage so you can connect to any location you want to. All the VPNs we listed come with servers ranging between hundreds to thousands.
6. Privacy & Encryption – The logging policy and encryption mechanism as per standards to avoid surveillance. Similarly, it should also offer 256-bit encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and a kill switch.
The best Mac VPNs we listed come with a variety of security features that ensure keeping users private and anonymous at all times.
Can I Use a Free VPN with Mac?
Yes, you can use the best free VPN for Mac, but we’ll strongly advise you not to do that. First, most free VPNs are not safe because they have untrustworthy privacy policies and contain malware.
Free VPNs log your user data and sell it to third-party advertisers, thus violating your right to privacy. For example, Hola VPN was caught sharing identifiable user information to third parties and selling idle bandwidth of free users.
Similarly, free VPNs also throttle your speeds and have a few congested servers with users, thus offering extremely slow speeds that make the VPN hard to use. At best, you can only browse the web because streaming is out of the question.
Therefore, it’s best to stick with the best VPN client for Mac i.e. ExpressVPN, and what’s best is that it also offers a minimum 30-day money-back guarantee so you can use it risk-free for 30 days on your Mac.
FAQs – Best VPN for Mac
Let’s go through some frequently asked questions.
Does Mac have a built-in VPN?
No, Mac does not have a built-in VPN. You can manually configure a VPN on your macOS, but you will still need VPN credentials from a provider.
However, the manual configuration is a lengthy process, so you’re better off using a VPN with native apps as it is much easier to set up and secure.
Is a VPN necessary for Mac?
Yes, a VPN is absolutely necessary on Mac if you want added security over the internet. The best VPN software for Mac will offer you complete encryption on your network for staying safe and allow you to access geo-restricted sites safely.
What is a shared secret in Mac VPN?
The shared secret, also known as the Pre-shared Key, is a form of password for your VPN’s gateway which can be configured on your device. The Pre-shared Key is specific to your gateway and can be found in the configuration guide of your device.
How to troubleshoot Mac VPN error?
Here are a few solutions to fix the VPN error on Mac:
- Check if the server you’re connected to is working.
- Reinstall/Restart your VPN provider.
- Check if the internet is working.
- Check if the right ports are open.
- Check your VPN credentials.
How to uninstall a VPN on Mac?
To uninstall a VPN on Mac, visit the Application folder and drag and drop the VPN app into the bin.
How to share a VPN connection on a Mac?
To share a VPN connection on Mac, visit System Preferences > Sharing > Internet Sharing. From there, you’ll see the following options: Share your connection from (Choose the VPN connection you created on Mac), to computers using (check the Wi-Fi box). Then, visit the WiFi options and set up the password for it.
Set up the following:
- Network Name
- Tap OK.
Re-enter the password and enable Internet Sharing. Then, click Turn WiFi On > click Start. You will see the Internet Sharing: On status from there.
In your menu bar, you’ll see the following icons: your VPN connection and WiFi Internet Sharing status.
Which is the best free VPN for Mac?
Windscribe is the best free VPN for Mac as it provides the best services along with full fledge privacy and protection.
Even though macOS come with many in-built security features, there are still some vulnerabilities that are left untreated. To ensure 100% protection of your Mac device, you need a VPN. But not the best free VPN for Mac. You should always you can add a layer of security and encryption to your device with a premium VPN.
Using a VPN, you can also unblock geo-restricted streaming sites from anywhere in the world. Of the top 5 VPNs that we shortlisted, ExpressVPN remained the best VPN for Mac, as it offers the best unblocking ability, macOS compatibility, with great privacy features.
That’s all for our best VPN for Mac 2022 guide. In case of any questions, please ask in the comments.