Best VPN For Mac – Protect Your Connection

best-vpn-for-mac

Contrary to popular misconception, Macs can get viruses and aren’t immune to web-based threats. So, it’s important to protect yourself from risks caused by insecure internet connections, and spying from third parties.

All of this can be achieved with a VPN.

Unfortunately, choosing the best VPN for Mac can be challenging, as all providers claim to offer to be perfect - but they're not. There are several VPN providers, standing out from the rest. So to help you with your quest, I’ve conducted my own research and testing to find the top 5 VPNs for Mac.

I primarily based my selection on the variety of security features each provider had to offer, as well as having an easy-to-run Mac application. If you're looking for the best VPN for Mac - these are the best options:

  • NordVPN (Very affordable, secure and blazingly fast)
  • ExpressVPN (High-end security features)
  • CyberGhost (Long money-back guarantee and strong security)
  • IPVanish (Multiple security protocols to choose from)
  • Ivacy (DNS and IPv6 leak protection)

1. NordVPN

Prices start at: $2.99/month

nord vpn main page

Top of the list is NordVPN. This provider uses DoubleVPN technology to encrypt your data, not once, but twice. The technology hides your online activity behind multiple servers via a VPN tunnel making it impossible to track you online.

Additionally, NordVPN comes with a CyberSec feature which automatically blocks cyber threats and malware from infecting your device. This advanced technology solution also helps you skip annoying ads.

And while it'll run smoothly on Mac, it can actually run to several devices - all at the same time. In fact, you can run NordVPN on up to 6 different devices with just one account.

best vpn for mac Nord devices

When it comes to encryption, NordVPN uses the most advanced encryption available with 256-bit keys. The provider also has two other security protocols in place: IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN.

For maximum security, though, you can combine your NordVPN with The Onion Router (Tor). This will randomly encrypt your traffic via multiple exit nodes in different parts of the world. By doing so, it adds an extra layer of encryption to your web browsing.

nordvpn speedtestNordVPN doesn't slack when it comes to speed. My speed tests show that this VPN provider managed to retain almost 90% of download speed - my 80Mbps speed fell only to 71.2Mbs.

As for its location, NordVPN is based in Panama, which means it is out of the reach of the Western jurisdictions.

This is great for those concerned about privacy, as it means NordVPN doesn’t collect and share surveillance data.

Better yet, it has a strict no-logs policy, while other security features include an automatic kill switch, as well as DNS and IP leak protection.

best vpn for mac Nord

Last but not least, NordVPN has more than 5,200 servers in 62 countries across the world and you can try before you commit by taking advantage of the 30-day money back guarantee on offer. All of these features come at a price tag of just $2.99/month

PROS

  • An impressive selection of security protocols and features
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Based outside of the 14 Eyes alliance
  • Offers great speed results

CONS

  • Servers are identifiable by country and number rather than a specific location

2. ExpressVPN

Prices start at: $8.32/month

best vpn for mac ExpressVPN homepage

With servers across 94 countries worldwide, it’s no surprise that ExpressVPN is number two on this list. It, of course, has a dedicated Mac application, and it allows you to connect to a VPN server in a choice of 148 locations with the touch of a button.

Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption - the standard trusted by all security professionals worldwide. But it's similarities don't stop there.

ExpressVPN also benefits from a privacy-friendly location; it's based in the British Virgin Islands, which has no data retention laws. Due to this, it has a strict no logs policy, meaning it will never log traffic data, DNS queries, or any other personal information.

ExpressVPN allows you to stay anonymous online by choosing your preferred security protocol. Some of these include PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, TCP/UDP, or OpenVPN, while you can also couple your ExpressVPN with a Tor browser. Additionally, ExpressVPN comes bundled with DNS and IPv6 leak protection and an automatic kill switch in case your VPN stops working. Long story short - when it comes to securing your data, ExpressVPN is armed to its teeth.

expressvpn speed test resultFinally, one of the best features of ExpressVPN is definitely the speed it manages to retain.

During my test, my download speed fell from 80Mbps to 61Mpbs - that's 76% speed retention rate. If your internet connection's speed manages to handle traffic normally, this VPN should not interfere with smooth browsing, streaming, and downloading.

When it comes to price - this is a rather pricey solution that starts at $8.32.month. However, the security features and speed retention it provides justifies the higher price tag.

PROS

  • Multiple security protocols to choose from
  • Strict no logs policy
  • Based outside the 14 Eyes alliance
  • DNS and IPv6 leak protection

CONS

  • Only protects 3 devices per account
  • More expensive than other services

3. CyberGhost

Prices start at: $2.50/month

best vpn for mac CyberGhost homepage

Founded in 2011 and based in Romania, CyberGhost has since made praiseworthy strides to compete with some of the more established names in the VPN industry.

It has a dedicated Mac application which protects MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini devices. It’s also compatible with MacOS Mojave (10.14), MacOS High Sierra (10.13), and MacOS Sierra (10.12).

Because of its one-click connect design, you can hide your IP address in a matter of seconds to browse the web anonymously. Plus, CyberGhost uses the latest and most advanced military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to protect your browsing activities.

cyberghost speedtestThanks to more than 3,000 worldwide servers, you can connect to a location of your choosing. Also, the provider offers unlimited bandwidth and traffic with all its plans. 

However, CyberGhost doesn't rank on the top when it comes to speed. My download speed fell to 51.1Mbps when using this provider - that's about 64% speed retention.

Compared to NordVPN's and ExpressVPN's results - there's a big difference.

Despite slower speeds, it still offers a  great security pack of security features: DNS and IP leak protection and an automatic kill switch. Furthermore, you can protect up to 7 devices with just one subscription and the provider offers a 45-day money back guarantee period. All of that for just $2.50/month (if you sign a 3-year contract).

PROS

  • High-quality security features
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Protect 7 devices simultaneously with one plan
  • Longest money back guarantee period I’ve seen

CONS

  • Fewer security protocols to choose from

4. IPVanish

Prices start at: $4.12/month

best vpn for mac IPVanish homepage

Starting just one year after Cyberghost in 2012, IPVanish has managed to acquire over 1,100 servers in more than 60 countries worldwide. This means you can get unrestricted internet access from practically any area of the world.

The dedicated IPVanish application for Mac is compatible with OS X 10.10 and higher. By navigating to the bottom of the website, you’ll be able to find all the relevant setup guides so that you can get started straight away.

best vpn for mac ipvanish

IPVanish also comes with a choice of different security protocols. These include IKEv2, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec, while it also utilizes the highest standard AES 256-bit encryption and has a strict no-logs policy.

Furthermore, IPVanish has an awesome support center, divided into categories so that you can find what you’re looking for as quickly as possible.

But despite all the above, the provider is US-based, a country that is part of the 5 Eyes surveillance agreement. This means that with a warrant, firms (including IPVanish) have to hand over data to the likes of CIA, NSA, among others.

And while the no logs policy looks pretty waterproof, there is still a case to believe that the provider could potentially collect a fair bit of data about the logs. Overall, for regular users just looking to access global Netlifx libraries or download a torrent or two - it's no big deal. Just something to keep in mind.

ipvanish_speedSpeaking of speeds they're not amazing either - with speed retention of 64%, other providers on this list show significantly better results.

However,  the upload times are quite impressive.

And the ping and jitter times are both very good as well - making this a great option for streaming online media.

Considering the extensive security protocol choice, other strong security features, and a dedicated Mac app - the pricing of this VPN is more than fair. If you sign up for 2 years, you'll have to pay only $4.12/month. Howevershort 7-day money back period is less than ideal.

PROS

  • Multiple security protocols to choose from
  • Dedicated Mac application
  • AES 256-bit encryption

CONS

  • US-based and part of the 5 Eyes surveillance agreement
  • Very short money back guarantee period

5. Ivacy

Prices start at: $2.25/month

ivacy mainpage

Founded in 2007, Ivacy gives you a shield from hackers, governments, and your Internet Service Provider (ISP) by using various security protocols, some of which include: PPTP, SSTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, and IKEv2.

Today, Ivacy has more than 450 servers in more than 100 locations around the globe. With this service, you can switch servers as many times as you like, meaning if one doesn’t work, you can just try another.

Furthermore, Ivacy offers a secure DNS add-on that routes your browsing data through Ivacy’s DNS server, while it also protects you from IPv6 vulnerabilities by making all the IPv6 traffic go through the VPN. Simply put, these robust features prevent any DNS and IPv6 leaks.

best vpn for mac Ivacy features

Two other features I like about Ivacy are its advanced AES 256-bit encryption, automatic kill switch in case the VPN crashes, and the fact that it has a strict no-logs policy.

However, there’s a catch...

Ivacy is Singapore-based. While the country isn’t technically part of the 14 Eyes surveillance agreement, it is a partner for the '5 Eyes'. Along with South Korea, Singapore is known to play a key role in helping Australia and the United States tap telecommunications. While this isn't a deal breaker for most users, it's an important thing to note.

ivacy speedtestNow - about the speeds. With the speed retention rate of 63%, i it's pretty good - but still the slowest provider on the list.

Considering all that, the pricing seems fair. Signing up with a 2- year plan will save you a lot - with this plan, one-month payment comes down to just $2.25.

Also, while you may be under the impression that each plan comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, the small print says otherwise.

If you go for a one-month account, you only get 7 days to try the service. You also can’t claim a refund if you use a Cryptocurrency or Payment Wall as your payment method.

PROS

  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Various security protocols to choose from
  • DNS and IPv6 leak protection

CONS

  • Spying partner for the 5 Eyes
  • Slower than other providers
  • Not an extensive selection of servers

Which is the Best VPN for Mac?

When choosing a VPN service for Mac, you must find out which security features each provider offers. But, it also depends on what you’re using the VPN for.

Great performance and low ping/jitter times are all super useful when it comes to streaming media. And strong no log policy and jurisdiction will be helpful if you're someone who's using a VPN to access pages unavailable in certain countries.

But just to help you out - here's a little cheat sheet that will help you choose: 

  • NordVPN is best for those who want a low-cost VPN with strong features and blazing fast speeds.
  • ExpressVPN is best for those who want to concentrate on security and wouldn't mind paying extra for it.
  • CyberGhost is best for users who prioritize security but want a long money-back period.
  • IPVanish is great for those looking for multiple security protocols to choose from.
  • Ivacy will suit those who want an affordable VPN solution with extra protection.

As you can see from the order of my top 5, I believe NordVPN is the best VPN client for Mac. However, all the services above come with a money back guarantee period and so you could give a few a try before making your decision; you just have to make sure to read the small print before making a purchase.

But with that said, do you have any other VPNs for Mac you'd like to recommend? If so, leave a comment!

An experienced content professional with a creative mind. If I'm not writing, you can probably find me in the backyard playing with dogs or at some weird art show.

Leave a Comment

  1. Sam picture Sam
    2019 April 9th
    Reply

    On Mac I use exclusively VeePN. Great to use, everything suits my tasks, there is no flaws.He is not in the list submitted by you, but it also works well .

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