The Best 5 VPN’s for Mac OS
Apple Mac computers are becoming increasingly popular, and have been for a number of years. Therefore there is an increasing need to deploy a VPN to browse the web anonymously via your Mac, iPhone or iPad.
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Getting Started with VPN for Mac
VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network” and works pretty much the same on all devices. If you are new to the VPN space then check out our article “What is a VPN? (Beginners Guide)” to find out the ins and outs of a VPN service provider.
Firstly, you will need to choose a suitable VPN provider. We have outlined our 5 Top Pick VPNs for Mac below. However, our all-time favorite is ExpressVPN due to their sheer wealth of experience and servers based all around the world.
Once you are VPN savvy then it is time to get started with setting up a VPN for your Apple device.
Do Macs Support VPNs?
Interestingly enough Mac OS X itself actually supports connecting to the leading VPN providers directly. Additionally, you can automatically reconnect if you connect to a VPN that uses OpenVPN (OpenVPN is the industry VPN gold standard open-source security protocol that utilizes SSL/TLS for key exchange). However, it is important to note that many VPNs offer their own browser extensions or apps that you can automatically install. Thus, negating the requirement to use this inbuilt feature on your Mac.
Starting out with Mac VPNs
If you are just starting out we would suggest that you use TunnelBear or ExpressVPN. They both provide their own apps that you can download easily via their site. The apps allow you to easily select VPN server locations and change settings.
TunnelBear is the most affordable with their completely “FREE – Little Bear” package that allows you to get started with no money down – additionally, if you sign up for a year you get their premium VPN service for just $4.99 per month. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, has a bigger network but is a bit more pricey in comparison.
How do I turn on my VPN on my Mac?
If you want to use the Mac OS Network control panel to connect and manage your VPN, then follow the 10 step process below:
- Click on the Apple menu
- Select System Preferences
- Click Network
- Click the Wi-Fi icon
- Select Open Network Preferences
- Click the plus sign button
- Select “VPN” in the Interface box.
- Choose the type of VPN server you are connecting to and in the “VPN Type” box fill in a nickname that you will remember to find your VPN
- Select “Show VPN status in menu bar” so that you can manage your VPN directly from your menu bar
- Click “Apply” to save your preferences
When you use a VPN directly from your Mac OS it will not automatically reconnect to your VPN on startup (if you are not using the app provided by your VPN). If you want to do this then you need to install a VPN AutoConnect app. You can easily download a VPN AutoConnect app from the app store.
What is the Best Free VPN for a Mac?
There are a lot of VPNs that work well for the Mac Operating System (OS), some paid and some free. Below I have outlined 5 of the best and also added information on what ones offer a completely free service. Express VPN is top of my list due to the sheer number of servers and the impressive speed and efficiency of their VPN service for Mac OS.
Mac users, of course, want the best VPN to protect their privacy and data, so we took it upon ourselves to find the best VPN for macs in this eye-opening VPN services list.
#1 | ExpressVPN – Best VPN for Mac ($8.32/Month)
Due to their high performance and stability, Mac VPN services need to respond rapidly and provide ultra-fast servers with access across the world. With servers in over 142 server locations, Express VPN is true to its’ name, providing the speediest VPN services available.
Express VPN allows Mac users to access their favorite shows on Netflix anywhere in the world, access to stream your favorite movies, and keeps you safe and secure on public WiFi. They offer some cutting-edge features such as a kill switch, split tunneling, advanced leak protection and they provide OpenVPN as standard. Another reason that ExpressVPN is our go-to Mac VPN is the handy shortcut feature so that you can quickly jump on to your favorite services (right below the on button).
Express VPN is available for Mac users from as little as $8.32/mo with 24/7 customer support, including live chat, 256-bit AES encryption, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. It may not be the cheapest, but Express VPN works side by side with your Apple products, providing a top-notch secure connection anytime, anywhere.
(You can also check out an in-depth review of ExpressVPN)
#2 | NordVPN
Nord VPN is a real tough cookie to crack when it comes to privacy. Mac users will enjoy a 256-bit AES encryption private and secure connection, promoting a strict zero logs policy, so none of your data will be kept on file.
Mac users will love Nord VPN’s iOS App to ensure all of their devices are safe and secure with 6 devices simultaneously running off your WiFi. Whatsmore is Mac users can pay with bitcoin payments so every aspect of the process is kept private.
Nord VPN may not be the cheapest option but it does offer 700 servers over 57 countries, including South America and South East Asia. Nord VPN is easy to use, easy to set up, and offers Mac users attractive features for keeping their privacy online.
#3 | Private Internet Access
From only $3.33/mo, Private Internet Access (PIA) offers an extremely affordable VPN service that can be applied to 5 licenses to be used simultaneously across multiple devices, such as, Mac and iOS.
PIA offers a seven-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to pay for their services with any major credit card, PayPal, and even Bitcoin. With Private Internet Access, you can encrypt your data with up to AES-256, authenticate it with SHA256, and handshake with RSA 4096.
If you’re looking for live support, PIA no longer offers this, however, their ticket support system is fast and responsive and they offer step by step video guides in their knowledgebase. PIA’s settings and encryption choices are easy to use, easy to navigate, and easy to understand.
#4 | TunnelBear
TunnelBear is most certainly a quirky alternative when it comes to VPN services, with a range of pricing plans to suit all Mac users. For starters, TunnelBear offers a free plan to give you a taster of the full package, with no restrictions other than usage.
TunnelBear is true to their word when they say they only keep minimal connection logs and present an easy to use and easy to understand process for any user. From only $4.16/mo if you pay yearly, TunnelBear will give you a VPN service that will protect your Mac and multiple devices on an unlimited basis.
If you’re desperate for speed, however, TunnelBear may not be your best option as they are based in Canada, and if you don’t like their services, they don’t offer any refunds due to their free plan. On the flip-side, your Mac VPN servers are available in 20 different countries so you’ll enjoy bypassing geo-restrictions all over the world. Strong 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption with SHA256 authentication is used in addition to TunnelBear’s kill switch, so you’ll be protected even if the connection drops.
#5 | VyprVPN
VyprVPN has servers in over 70 countries, making it highly accessible across the world for only £4.08/mo if you pay annually. What’s more is that VyprVPN offers a 3-day free trial so you can test their security and privacy waters without being locked into any commitments.
VyprVPN have a great support network across multiple platforms, including Mac and iOS, and is an idea choice for beginners. Their services configure automatically and offer an easy to use interface with no detrimental effect to the speed they offer.
One of the main benefits of VyprVPN for Mac users is that they use a technology called Chameleon which drastically reduces recognizable data to hackers and makes it a brilliant choice for users in countries with restrictive governments. With over 700 servers based across the world, Mac users can enjoy the freedom of streaming from multiple devices whilst protecting their geolocation, privacy, and security.
OK now you have selected the best VPN to fit your requirements, now it is time to put it to the test…
How to set up a VPN on your Mac, iPhone or iPad
It is really easy to set up most of the top VPNs on your Mac, iPhone or iPad. All of the top VPN providers offer easy to install applications. All you have to do is go to their website and pick the best plan for you.
Take Express VPN for example
- Firstly you select the “Get Started” button and then head off to their order page.
- Select your Subscription on the ExpressVPN on the order page
- Download and install the ExpressVPN app for Mac
- Then you simply connect to any of their 148 server locations
Once you have installed the app then there is a simple 3-Step configuration process before you can quickly get on and surf anonymously.
All in All
A VPN is a great investment that will keep you safe while browsing the web. You will be able to surf the web anonymously and also access blocked content. The best Mac VPN providers have dedicated Mac Apps. The best Mac VPNs use OpenVPN as standard to provide the best security and highest performance.
It is also good to check that your VPN has a Network Lock kill switch, offering further protection and security if your connection unexpectedly drops.
If you want to get started for free, try TunnelBear – or if you are all in then we would suggest ExpressVPN as your Mac VPN provider.