Updated on: March 1, 2023
Short on time? Here’s the best VPN for Mac in 2023:
I tested many top virtual private networks (VPNs) to find the best VPNs for Mac in 2023.
A lot of VPNs only have strong security for Windows, some don’t work with certain versions of macOS, some come from cybersecurity companies with questionable ethics, and others are too slow, too challenging, or too expensive.
But there are a handful of really good VPNs for all Mac desktops and MacBooks. The ones that made it to this list include easy-to-use apps, offer excellent security features, provide fast speeds, work with Netflix and other streaming services, and are very affordable.
Quick summary list of the best VPNs for Mac (2023):
- 1.🥇 ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Mac users in 2023.
- 2.🥈 Private Internet Access — Strong performance with fast speeds.
- 3.🥉 Proton VPN — Decent free plan for 1 Mac device.
- 4. NordVPN — Great speeds with additional malware and web protections.
- 5. Surfshark — Unlimited connections.
- Plus 5 more!
- Comparison of the Best Mac VPNs.
🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Mac in 2023
ExpressVPN is my favorite VPN for Mac users in 2023. It’s very secure, maintains extremely fast connection speeds, has tons of great features, and is really easy to use.
ExpressVPN includes plenty of standard security features like 256-bit AES encryption and a kill switch, and it also provides extras like split-tunneling (lets you choose which traffic you want to route through the VPN) and perfect-forward secrecy (a high-security feature ensuring the strength of its encryption).
It’s also one of the rare VPNs to provide split-tunneling for Macs. However, it only works on macOS 10.15 and below, whereas Private Internet Access has split-tunneling on all macOS versions. During my tests, I configured ExpressVPN’s split-tunneling settings to only allow uTorrent to use the VPN, allowing me to route my P2P traffic through the VPN while still browsing on my internet service provider’s network.
ExpressVPN also has:
- Strict no-logs policy (independently verified in 2019).
- Good VPN location (it’s based in the British Virgin Islands, which has strong data-privacy laws).
- Fastest speeds on this list (during my tests, my average connection speed drop was only 15%).
- Lightway protocol (this protocol is faster and more reliable than OpenVPN and IKEv2).
- Obfuscated servers that are able to overcome internet restrictions and firewalls.
One of the things I love the most about ExpressVPN is how well-designed and intuitive it is. The Mac app includes most of the same features as the Windows and mobile apps, and the Mac’s interface is simple to navigate.
ExpressVPN works with all popular streaming sites, including Netflix, and Hulu, and it supports torrenting on all of its servers. But unfortunately, ExpressVPN’s browser extension for Safari no longer works. The company said it was working on an extension that would be supported on Safari 12, but the release date is still unknown.
While ExpressVPN is a bit pricey, it offers the best value on this list — and you can get it for $6.67 / month with our exclusive 49% discount. It also backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you can pay with a credit card, PayPal, UnionPay, AliPay, or cryptocurrency.
ExpressVPN is by far the best Mac VPN I’ve tested — it’s highly secure and is the fastest VPN on this list. It has standard security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and a strict no-logs policy, as well as extras like split-tunneling, perfect forward secrecy, and its own extra-fast and extra-secure protocol (Lightway). Because of its excellent speeds, ExpressVPN is great for streaming high-quality video without buffering, and it supports torrenting on all of its 3,000+ servers. ExpressVPN allows you to connect 5 devices, and all of its payment plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full ExpressVPN review >
🥈2. Private Internet Access — High-Security VPN (with Fast Speeds)
Private Internet Access (PIA) has excellent security features, really good speeds, and a feature-rich macOS app. It has servers located in 75+ countries, which prevents server overcrowding to help you maintain fast connection speeds.
While not as fast as ExpressVPN, PIA gave me some of the top speeds when I connected to nearby servers. I also got decent speeds on distant servers (with an average drop of 45%). And with all servers, I was able to stream and torrent with fast, reliable connections.
In addition to the standard security features, PIA’s Mac app is fully open-source, and it comes with split-tunneling and an ad blocker — and unlike ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access includes split-tunneling on macOS 11 (Big Sur). Additionally, while all the other VPNs advertise that they have a “no-logs policy”, PIA has had its no-logs policy proven in court multiple times.
The macOS app also comes with PIA MACE, which blocks ads, trackers, and dangerous sites. I tested this feature by accessing several ad-heavy sites and verified malicious pages, and I can confirm it’s very effective.
PIA is also really good for streaming — it works with popular sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+, as well as with smaller sites like Pluto TV, Crunchyroll, and VRV.
Private Internet Access allows 10 simultaneous connections and offers some of the cheapest VPN plans around, which start at only $2.19 / month. It accepts credit cards, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and cryptocurrency via Bitpay, and it covers each plan with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Private Internet Access (PIA) provides a lot of great security features, fast speeds, and split tunneling for all Mac computers (even Big Sur). PIA works with both popular and less popular streaming sites, is fully open-source, P2P friendly, allows 10 connections, and backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Download Private Internet Access Now
Read the full Private Internet Access review >
🥉3. Proton VPN — Best Free VPN for Mac
Proton VPN offers a good free plan for macOS users — it includes unlimited data, a strict no-logs policy, access to 3 VPN servers, and 1 active connection. Proton VPN says that free users only get “medium” speeds, but when I tested my speed on its free servers (US, Japan, and the Netherlands), I saw an average drop of 22% in internet speed, which is really good for a free VPN (it’s similar to premium competitors like Private Internet Access).
Proton VPN is often considered to be one of the most private and most secure VPNs. For starters, it’s based in Switzerland, a country with strong data-privacy laws, and all of its apps are open-source, which means that the source code is freely available for public inspection.
Proton VPN’s Mac app also comes with many additional high-security features. It has things like perfect forward secrecy, Secure Core servers (which send your traffic through multiple servers) and Tor over VPN (which allows you to connect to dedicated servers to use the Tor network inside your own browser).
While Proton VPN Free is pretty good for a free VPN, upgrading to Proton VPN Plus gets you streaming and torrenting support for just $3.99 / month. The premium plan also adds access to servers in 60+ countries, 10 connections, the “highest” speed, NetShield (ad blocker), Secure Core servers, and Tor over VPN. All of Proton VPN’s paid plans come with a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.
Proton VPN offers a good free plan (for 1 device) with unlimited bandwidth and decent speeds. It’s highly secure and very private — it has a strict no-logs policy that’s been independently audited, it’s located in a privacy-friendly country, and its apps are fully open-source. There are paid plans that add torrenting support, access to streaming services, and up to 10 simultaneous connections.
Read the full Proton VPN review >
4. NordVPN — Great Speeds & Extra Online Security Protections
NordVPN has very fast speeds and reliable connections. I tested the app on both my MacBook and iMac and while browsing online using Safari — every page I accessed loaded almost instantly, and I didn’t experience lag or buffering while streaming shows and movies in HD.
The macOS app comes with Threat Protection, which protects against malware and malicious websites. It also blocks tracking cookies and “trims” URL tracking parameters so websites can’t track your movements online. Private Internet Access offers a similar feature (PIA MACE), which is highly effective at detecting and blocking dangerous sites.
NordVPN’s Mac app also includes:
- Split tunneling.
- Kill switch.
- Obfuscated servers (and other specialty servers).
- 50+ server locations.
- Connections for up to 6 devices.
- And more…
I really like that NordVPN offers split tunneling for macOS users, allowing users to choose whether traffic is routed through their home network or the VPN. Most of the top VPNs on this list don’t include split tunneling for Mac (ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access are the only other VPNs that include this feature in their macOS apps).
It also comes with a unique virtual LAN connectivity feature called Meshnet, which allows you to set up a virtual local network that you can connect to from anywhere (perfect for file sharing or multiplayer gaming with friends). For example, once I turned on Meshnet on both my MacBook and iMac, I was able to use my MacBook to access files on my iMac despite not being connected to my home network.
I don’t that NordVPN offers 2 Mac apps, which both have differences. The “sideloaded” version (which you download from NordVPN’s website) includes the DNS services and the Threat Protection feature, but the App Store version doesn’t. And the App Store version includes access to one extra protocol (IKEv2), which isn’t available in the sideloaded version. This might not be a big issue for most users, but I’d prefer if both versions at least included the DNS and Threat Protection features.
NordVPN is reasonably priced, starting at $4.99 / month. It offers 3 plans — Standard, Plus, and Complete — each of which can be purchased as a monthly, 1-year, or 2-year plan. Considering its features, fast speeds, specialty servers, extra online protection features, and unique extras like Meshnet, I think NordVPN offers a very good value. NordVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN is a great VPN with fast speeds, extra internet security protections, and a wide range of extra features and settings. I like that it offers split tunneling, which isn’t included with many macOS VPNs, as well as online tracking and malware protections. But I don’t like that NordVPN has two versions of its Mac app that both have a few differences. All of NordVPN’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
5. Surfshark — Unlimited Connections, Huge Server Network + Optional Antivirus App
Surfshark is an easy-to-use VPN with fast speeds and a user-friendly macOS application. One thing I like is that Surfshark allows users to add an unlimited number of devices to each subscription — most VPNs limited the number of device connections. This is perfect for users with many devices or who want to share their subscription with their household.
It also has one of the largest server networks of any VPN, with over 3,000+ servers in 100 countries — more countries than all other apps on this list. ExpressVPN has a similar number of servers in 94 countries, while CyberGhost has over 9,000+ servers in 90+ countries.
Along with an extensive server network, Surfshark also comes with a range of extra features. These include RAM-only servers (like ExpressVPN), kill switch, obfuscated servers (known as “Camouflage mode”), a variety of protocols (including WireGuard and OpenVPN), and an ad blocker. It also has a strict no-logs policy, meaning the company doesn’t track any of your online activity.
However, I’m disappointed that Surfshark doesn’t offer split tunneling for Mac users (it’s only available for Windows, Android, and routers). ExpressVPN and PIA both offer split tunneling for macOS.
Surfshark also offers optional extras, including an antivirus app, which protects your Mac from malware. I like the app as it’s easy to use and includes real-time malware protection, which means it quietly runs in the background and constantly searches for malware. While it may be a decent choice for some users, I don’t think Surfshark’s antivirus is as good as dedicated antivirus programs, like Norton and Bitdefender, which offer advanced malware protections and several extra system security features.
Surfshark is a low-cost VPN, starting at just $2.30 / month, making it one of the best value options on this list. It offers a 1-month, 12-month, or 24-month subscription. You can also opt for Surfshark’s One plan, which adds the antivirus app, identity monitoring, and a secure browser. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Surfshark has a wide range of server locations, great speeds, a variety of features and adjustable settings, and optional extras like an antivirus app. Its user-friendly display makes it a good option for non-technical users, but more technical users will be disappointed by its lack of split tunneling support for macOS (ExpressVPN and PIA both offer split tunneling for Mac). Surfshark is a low-cost option and all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full Surfshark review
6. CyberGhost VPN — Best for Ease of Use
CyberGhost VPN has one of the most intuitive Mac apps on the market. It’s a great application for new users or users that are looking for a simple, easy-to-use Mac VPN service — installing and setting up CyberGhost takes only a couple of minutes, and all of the security features are already enabled.
I really like that CyberGhost VPN displays the load percentage and the ping, which means it shows you how many active users are on each server and how long it takes for data to travel to the VPN server, so you can easily know which servers you should connect to for getting the best speeds.
CyberGhost has all of the standard VPN security features:
- 256-bit AES encryption.
- Internet kill switch.
- No-logs policy.
- Based in a privacy-friendly country (Romania).
In my testing, CyberGhost reduced my download speeds by roughly 34% — that’s more than ExpressVPN, but I could still stream content and surf the internet without any major bugs or lags.
CyberGhost’s macOS app comes with specialized servers for streaming and torrenting, but it’s unable to bypass internet restrictions and firewalls, so it’s not good if you live in a country that restricts internet access (for that, I’d recommend ExpressVPN). On the other hand, CyberGhost is one of my favorite gaming VPNs in 2023.
CyberGhost VPN has several plans, including an expensive monthly plan that costs $12.99 / month and a budget-friendly yearly plan that’s just $6.99 / month. The monthly plan has a 14-day money-back guarantee, but all of the yearly plans come with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost VPN has a simple, well-designed macOS app, along with great security features. Its interface is one of the easiest to use, it provides really good internet speeds for fast file sharing and streaming, and it has top-notch security features. CyberGhost can’t currently overcome internet firewalls in restrictive countries, so if you need a VPN for somewhere like China, you’ll need something else. CyberGhost offers a lengthy 45-day money-back guarantee for its yearly plans.
Read the full CyberGhost VPN review >
7. IPVanish — Use on Unlimited Devices (Mac + All Other Devices)
IPVanish is easy to use, has all of the essential privacy features, supports torrenting, and allows unlimited simultaneous connections. The other VPNs on this list limit the number of devices you can connect through on one account, but IPVanish lets you connect as many devices as you want.
IPVanish also has 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and a no-logs policy, but it’s based in the US, which is a member of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. There was a minor incident several years ago where IPVanish told authorities a suspect’s name and IP address that then led to an arrest, but this was a long time ago and under a previous owner.
During my speed tests, IPVanish maintained really good connection speeds, with an average speed drop of around 30% (comparable with other top competitors like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN). However, IPVanish isn’t great for streaming. While I was able to watch Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, other streaming services like Amazon Prime detected that I was using a VPN and wouldn’t let me access their libraries.
IPVanish offers monthly, quarterly, and yearly plans, which start at $3.33 / month. The yearly plan includes a free subscription to VIPRE antivirus (available for Windows and macOS). IPVanish accepts credit cards and Paypal (but not cryptocurrencies) and has a 30-day money-back guarantee on its annual plan.
IPVanish provides good speeds, unlimited simultaneous connections, and an easy-to-use Mac app. It’s a good choice for torrenting, but it doesn’t work with all streaming services — I was able to access Netflix and Hulu, but not Amazon Prime. IPVanish’s annual plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full IPVanish review >
8. PrivateVPN — Good VPN for Streaming
PrivateVPN is secure, has an easy-to-use macOS app, and is one of my top choices for streaming. Its dashboard is user-friendly, and it took me just a few minutes to navigate all of the features and connect to a server. I also like how you can set up PrivateVPN to automatically connect to your favorite server when you open the app.
I never had an issue accessing any of the popular streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer. PrivateVPN also works with less-popular streaming sites like Crunchyroll, Sling TV, and Paramount+.
Thanks to PrivateVPN’s fast speeds, I was able to stream HD and 4K videos smoothly and only experienced very minor buffering when I skipped around in the video. However, PrivateVPN is not quite as fast as the top VPNs on this list.
PrivateVPN is also pretty good for torrenting — it supports torrenting on all servers, provides fast download speeds, works with all of the major torrenting clients, and has port forwarding, which lets you connect to more peers for even faster P2P downloads.
That being said, there are a few drawbacks that prevent PrivateVPN from being the very best VPN for Mac. It’s missing perfect forward secrecy, doesn’t provide WebRTC protection like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, doesn’t have extra features like split-tunneling and an ad blocker, and its Mac app doesn’t have a kill switch.
PrivateVPN has monthly and yearly plans starting at $2.00 / month and allows 10 simultaneous connections. All of PrivateVPN’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PrivateVPN is simple to use, fast, and good for streaming and torrenting on Mac devices. It works with tons of streaming services, it supports torrenting on all servers, and it takes just a few moments to get used to its macOS app. However, PrivateVPN is pretty minimalistic, as it’s missing extra features like split-tunneling and advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy, and there’s no kill switch for Macs. PrivateVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans.
Read the full PrivateVPN review >
9. TunnelBear — Great VPN for Beginners on a Mac
TunnelBear has a sleek, fun, and easy-to-use interface for macOS devices — I really love that there are cute animated bears and silly bear puns all over the Mac app. For example, when you connect to a TunnelBear server, a bear digs a tunnel from your location to your new location and pops up wearing a hat that resembles your new location.
TunnelBear’s macOS app makes it really easy to choose which VPN server you want to connect to — there’s a one-click, quick-connect tool, or you can manually connect to a server using the interactive map or dropdown server menu. TunnelBear’s settings menu also provides simple on/off toggles for nearly all settings, and there are really good support and troubleshooting guides on the website to help you tackle most issues.
TunnelBear has pretty fast speeds — during my tests, my speeds were decreased by an average of 42%, which is pretty good, but not as fast as ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, or Proton VPN. When it comes to security, TunnelBear includes perfect forward secrecy, conducts an annual security audit by an independent firm, and its Mac app has a kill switch.
TunnelBear is pretty good for streaming (but it doesn’t work with Disney+ and ESPN+), and it allows P2P traffic on all servers. While its macOS app offers obfuscation, Mac users don’t have access to split-tunneling. TunnelBear has a free ad blocker (and it’s really good), but Mac users need to download Chrome to use it.
TunnelBear offers monthly and yearly plans starting at $4.16 / month. It also has a free plan, but it limits you to 500 MB of data per month, which is only good for a few hours of browsing. All of its paid plans allow unlimited simultaneous connections and unlimited data, but I’m disappointed that there’s no money-back guarantee.
TunnelBear is secure, fast, allows unlimited connections, and has incredibly easy-to-use apps (filled with adorable bears) for Mac devices. Its code, infrastructure, and apps are independently audited and confirmed every year, it can access most streaming services, and it works in restrictive countries. TunnelBear has a free plan, but it’s only really good for testing the product, and there’s no money-back guarantee on any of its paid plans.
Read the full TunnelBear review >
10. VyprVPN — Best Selection of macOS Protocols
VyprVPN has really good security features, very fast speeds, works with popular streaming services, and allows up to 30 connections, but it’s also one of the more expensive VPNs on the market. One of the cool things about VyprVPN is how it supports a wide range of protocols. You can choose between IKEv2, OpenVPN, WireGuard, and its proprietary Chameleon protocol, which helps you get around company/university firewalls as well as bypass internet restrictions in high-risk countries like China.
In addition to having the essential security features, VyprVPN includes an advanced kill switch on its macOS app — you can set it up so you can’t access the internet without being connected to a VyprVPN server. The mac app also includes split-tunneling and public Wi-Fi protection, which automatically connects you to VyprVPN if it detects an untrusted network.
It’s also pretty fast. When I tested VyprVPN on my MacBook, my overall connection speeds only slowed by an average of 21% (faster than CyberGhost and Proton VPN, but still a little slower than ExpressVPN). VyprVPN has 700 servers spread out all around the world.
One of the biggest drawbacks of VyprVPN is how much it costs. The cheapest plan starts at $5.00 / month, and there are many other VPNs on this list that offer a better value. VyprVPN backs all plans with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN is secure, fast, really good for streaming, and supports a wide range of protocols, but it’s a little expensive. It comes with an advanced kill switch, Wi-Fi protection, split-tunneling, very fast speeds for all online activities, and it works in censor-heavy countries. VyprVPN lets you connect up to 30 devices, and it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full VyprVPN review >
Bonus. Mullvad VPN — Great Security & Privacy for Mac Users
Mullvad VPN is an open-source VPN that doesn’t require an email or other personal information to sign up — it instead provides you with an account ID to log in with. This offers an incredible level of privacy for Mac users.
Mullvad VPN has really fast speeds — during my tests, I experienced an average slowdown of around 27%, which is really fast, but not nearly as fast as ExpressVPN. I was able to stream HD content without buffering, even when skipping around in the video, and I downloaded a 10 GB torrent file in about 7-8 minutes.
Mullvad VPN’s macOS app comes with a ton of features. It includes basic security features like a kill switch, advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy, and extra features like port forwarding, an ad blocker, and Bridge mode (Mullvad VPN’s obfuscation tool), but it doesn’t include split-tunneling.
One of its biggest drawbacks is that isn’t great for streaming — it works with Netflix, but it doesn’t work with other popular streaming sites like Hulu, Amazon Prime, or BBC iPlayer.
Mullvad VPN offers monthly and yearly plans with an affordable flat rate of $5.32 / month. All of its plans allow up to 5 simultaneous connections and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans.
Mullvad VPN offers great privacy features and doesn’t require any personal information to sign up. It has really fast speeds and a feature-rich macOS app that includes an ad blocker, port forwarding, and obfuscation. But if you’re looking for a good VPN for streaming, check elsewhere as Mullvad VPN doesn’t work with most streaming apps. Mullvad VPN offers flat pricing and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with all plans.
Read the full Mullvad VPN review >
Bonus. Hotspot Shield — Good VPN for Streaming & Torrenting
Hotspot Shield has impressive speeds, really good support for streaming and torrenting, and an intuitive macOS app — there’s a very clean interface, and it’s easy to navigate all of the settings and quickly connect to your desired server.
I’m a big fan of Hotspot Shield’s proprietary Hydra protocol, which comes close to matching the speeds of the fastest protocols out there — but it’s slightly slower than ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access. The fast speeds were great for streaming on all of the most popular sites and allowed me to quickly download large files.
That being said, Hotspot Shield is missing full leak protection, a kill switch, and split-tunneling on macOS, and it’s not very good for bypassing restrictions in countries like China.
Hotspot Shield offers a free plan that limits you to 500 MB of data per day, only lets you connect a single device, and only allows you access to one server in the US.
Its short-term plan is expensive, but its long-term plan ($2.99 / month) is competitive with many of the VPNs on this list. Hotspot Shield also provides a generous 45-day money-back guarantee on all paid plans. All premium plans allow 5 connections.
Hotspot Shield has an easy-to-use app for Mac devices, works with all of the popular streaming sites, allows torrenting on all servers, and has really good speeds. It has a decent free plan, an affordable long-term yearly plan, and a generous 45-day money-back guarantee on all paid plans.
Read the full Hotspot Shield review >
Comparison of the Best VPNs for Mac
|Mac VPN||Starting price||Free plan||Money-back guarantee||Number of connections||Split-tunneling||Number of countries|
|1.🥇 ExpressVPN||$6.67 / month||❌||30 days||5||✅(10.15 and below)||90+|
|2.🥈 Private Internet Access||$2.19 / month||❌||30 days||10||✅(all versions)||80+|
|3.🥉 Proton VPN||$3.99 / month||✅||30 days||10||❌||60+|
|4. NordVPN||$4.99 / month||❌||30 days||6||✅||50+|
|5. Surfshark||$2.30 / month||❌||30 days||Unlimited||❌||100|
|6. CyberGhost VPN||$2.11 / month||❌||45 days||7||❌||90+|
|7. IPVanish||$3.33 / month||❌||30 days||Unlimited||❌||50+|
|8. PrivateVPN||$2.00 / month||❌||30 days||10||❌||60+|
|9. TunnelBear||$4.16 / month||✅||None||Unlimited||❌||45+|
|10. VyprVPN||$5.00 / month||❌||30 days||30||❌||60+|
|Bonus. Mullvad VPN||$5.32 / month||❌||30 days||5||❌||35+|
|Bonus. Hotspot Shield||$2.99 / month||✅||45 days||5||❌||80+|
How to Choose the Best VPN for Mac 2023
- Strong security. A good VPN should offer industry-standard security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a no-logs policy, secure VPN protocols (like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2), and a kill switch (to prevent any internet data from leaking if the VPN gets disconnected).
- Ease of use. A VPN needs to be easy to use. All of the brands on this list are well-designed and have intuitive interfaces, so you won’t have problems using them on a Mac computer. And they all allow you to connect to a remote server, enable/disable features, or perform almost any function with just a couple of clicks.
- Fast speeds. Every VPN will slow down your internet connection at least a little bit. But a good VPN will barely slow down your connection at all, even when you connect to distant servers. The VPNs on this list decreased my connection speeds by an average of only 20-30%, so I was always able to browse the internet, stream videos, and download files with a fast and stable internet connection. (ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN on the market).
- Additional features. Many VPNs come with extra features like obfuscated servers that can help you get around firewalls in countries that restrict access to the internet, split-tunneling for choosing which traffic to route through the VPN, and dedicated P2P servers for optimized file-sharing and torrenting. I tested all of the extra features provided by the brands on this list to make sure they add real value.
- Good value. Look for VPNs that provide at least 5 simultaneous connections, have reasonably-priced subscription plans, offer different payment options, and have a money-back guarantee.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut:
- HolaVPN. HolaVPN is fast, easy to use, and works with most streaming services, but it’s not as secure as the other brands on this list. It doesn’t have 256-bit encryption or a kill switch, and it routes traffic through other HolaVPN users instead of through secure servers.
- CactusVPN. CactusVPN has good security and allows unlimited simultaneous connections, but its Mac app isn’t as good as the Windows app. It’s also slower than the brands that made it to this list.
- Ivacy VPN. Ivacy VPN offers a good range of features and easy-to-use apps. However, it didn’t work with a few top streaming sites in my tests, it isn’t reliable in censorship-heavy countries, and many of the top VPNs have faster speeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best VPN for Mac?
ExpressVPN is my favorite Mac VPN in 2023 — it’s one of the easiest VPNs to use, it’s full of excellent features, it scored as the fastest VPN in my tests, it’s reasonably priced, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee (so you can try it out for 30 days and see if you like it).
But there are many other excellent Mac VPNs out there. Private Internet Access provides great security and a feature-rich macOS app, Proton VPN has a good free plan, and CyberGhost is a top choice for beginners.
How does a VPN for Mac work?
The VPNs listed here all work by rerouting your data through private, encrypted tunnels. All of the browsing activity that you send from your Mac gets rerouted through a third-party provider (the VPN) and encrypted with military-grade encryption before it reaches your destination website. Then, whatever the website sends back to you will also be encrypted.
This prevents anyone — including hackers — from surveilling your internet activity. A VPN also replaces your IP address with a virtual IP address from another country, so you can bypass internet restrictions. The best Mac VPNs (like ExpressVPN) can do all of these things and more.
Doesn’t macOS have a built-in VPN client?
Yes, macOS has a built-in VPN client, but it’s very different from a VPN service. The macOS VPN client connects users to a VPN at their workplace or school — so remote workers are able to access their company’s network and files, and students or faculty members can log into their campus’s network.
On the other hand, a VPN service provider like ExpressVPN or Proton VPN will let you connect to secure servers located all over the world while masking your IP address and encrypting your data — this allows you to securely and privately browse the web, stream videos, and share P2P files.
Are there any free VPNs for Mac?
Yes, but most aren’t very good. While there are some decent free VPNs for Mac users, most free VPNs aren’t secure enough, have frustrating limitations, store user data, and/or slow down internet speed. If you’re looking for a safe and secure free VPN for your Mac, I recommend Proton VPN — its free plan works on macOS, provides unlimited bandwidth on 1 device, has good speeds, and is very easy to use.
But if you’re looking for a VPN that provides multiple simultaneous connections, comes with advanced security features, works with streaming services, and allows torrenting, you should get a premium VPN. My top 3 choices — ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and Proton VPN — all offer money-back guarantees, so you have plenty of time to try them out risk-free.