NordVPN review
  • Advanced security features like Double VPN and Onion over VPN. Utilizes next-generation encryption to ensure data security. Private DNS to reduce the risk of third-party spying. Non-VPN privacy tools like Dark Web Monitoring and Threat Protection


130 Votes

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ExpressVPN review
  • Kill switch, split tunneling, and MediaStreamer DNS for enhanced user security and streaming experiences. Effective unblocking of various streaming services. User-friendly app design across various platforms. Lightway protocol for swift connectivity speeds and reduced power consumption.


130 Votes

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Private Internet Access review
  • Extensive app customization for both beginners and power users. User-friendly settings, detailed advanced settings, and split tunneling. Strong commitment to user privacy with a proven no-log audit.


130 Votes

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Why do Mac users need a VPN? Beyond macOS’s in-built security, a VPN provides essential online privacy, data protection, and freedom to explore global content. We’ll show you why integrating a VPN for Mac isn’t optional but critical, what features to prioritize, and highlight the top VPNs for Mac this year, simplifying your search for the right fit.

Key Takeaways

  • Even with macOS’s strong security, Mac users are at risk from online threats and privacy invasions which can be mitigated by a VPN, providing enhanced privacy through encryption and access to geo-restricted content.
  • The best VPNs for Mac offer strong encryption and secure protocols, have extensive server networks with varied locations for speed and content access, and feature user-friendly interfaces with cross-macOS compatibility and support for multiple devices.
  • Top VPN choices for Mac in 2024 include NordVPN for its cybersecurity features and ability to unblock streaming services, ExpressVPN for its user-friendly Mac interface and robust security features, and Surfshark for offering unlimited connections and competitive pricing plans.
VPN Service Best For Price Key Features Pros Cons Overall Rating LEARN MORE
NordVPN Security $3.71/month (2-year plan) Double VPN, Onion over VPN, Advanced Encryption Military-grade encryption, robust security Concerns about transparency, intermittent Kill Switch 4/5 Check offer

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ExpressVPN Overall Performance $8.32/month (1-year plan) Kill switch, split tunneling, MediaStreamer DNS Wide privacy features, strong customer support Higher price 4/5 Check offer

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Surfshark Budget Shoppers $2.49/month (24-month subscription) Multi-hop connections, Kill Switch Budget-friendly, strong encryption Inconsistent P2P speeds 4/5 Check offer

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Why Mac Users Need a VPN

You might wonder, “Why do I need a VPN if I’m using a Mac?” After all, Mac users often feel more secure thanks to macOS’s robust security features. However, even Mac users are not immune to the pervasive threats to online privacy. Mac users often connect to open Wi-Fi networks, use cloud services, and engage in a variety of web browsing activities. This exposure makes them susceptible to tracking and potential privacy invasions.

Enter the role of a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN enhances online privacy by encrypting your online activities, rendering your IP address invisible, and protecting browser cache data. This means that companies can’t deliver location-based personalized content to you. This is just one of the reasons why every Mac user should consider investing in a reliable VPN service.

Yet, the benefits don’t stop there. Mac users may encounter various online security threats, such as:

  • trojans

  • malware

  • hacking

  • fraud

  • unwanted programs

  • adware

  • ransomware

A VPN can enhance your security by encrypting data transmission and providing a secure internet connection. This helps to mitigate these threats, keeping your online activities secure, regardless of the network you’re connected to.

Moreover, a VPN can provide access to geo-restricted content. It does this by:

  • Redirecting your internet connection through a server in a different location

  • Circumventing geographical restrictions

  • Enabling you to access content that might be unavailable in your current location.

Top Features to Look for in a Mac VPN

Knowing what to look for when choosing a VPN for your Mac is vital. Top features to consider include:

  • Security

  • Server network and locations

  • Ease of use

  • macOS compatibility

We’ll explore each of these key features in more depth.

Security and Encryption

A good VPN should offer strong encryption, secure protocols, and additional security features like a kill switch. What exactly does this entail?

Encryption is the process of encoding information so that only authorized parties can access it. In the context of VPNs, encryption safeguards your online activity and ensures the secure transmission of traffic, bolstering your internet browsing security. The most secure encryption standards for a VPN utilized on Mac are AES-256 for OpenVPN and IKEv2, and ChaCha20 for WireGuard.

Secure protocols are essential for ensuring the secure and private transmission of your online activities. They safeguard your data from potential cyber threats, hackers, and unauthorized access.

Lastly, a kill switch is a feature that automatically disconnects your device from the internet if your VPN connection drops. This prevents any unencrypted data from being transmitted, ensuring that your online activities remain private and secure.

Server Network and Locations

Better speeds, reliability, and access to geo-restricted content are guaranteed by a VPN provider with a large network of vpn servers and various locations, making it an ideal choice for an internet service provider.

The extent and distribution of a VPN’s server network hold significant importance. A good VPN should have:

  • A larger number of servers to improve speed and reduce congestion

  • A broader geographical spread to facilitate the bypassing of geo-restrictions

  • Efficient and secure routing of your internet traffic

Also, the geographical diversity of server locations carries weight. It allows users to mask their actual IP address with a VPN server address from a different location, providing secure internet access through a protected tunnel. Additionally, opting for a server location close to the user can enhance the speed and performance of the VPN.

Ease of Use and Compatibility

The best Mac VPNs should have user-friendly vpn app, compatibility with macOS versions, and support for multiple devices. To find the best Mac VPN, consider these factors.

Being user-friendly is a fundamental trait of a top-tier VPN. This includes a well-designed and intuitive interface, strong security measures, reliable speeds, and straightforward setup procedures.

Equally vital is compatibility across different macOS versions. VPN providers can ensure this by integrating the VPN functionality directly within the System Settings of a Mac and offering specialized versions of their software tailored to work with various iterations of macOS.

Lastly, support for multiple devices is indispensable. It offers the convenience of securing multiple devices with a single VPN account. This feature adds value by providing simultaneous protection for a user’s Mac and other devices, as demonstrated by providers like NordVPN, which allows up to 6 devices on one account.

Our Top Picks: Best VPNs for Mac in 2024

Given the importance of VPNs and the essential features to consider, we will now reveal our top picks for the best VPNs for Mac in 2024.

First up is NordVPN, recognized for its extensive network and positive evaluations from reputable experts. It’s also appreciated for providing access to Netflix and other popular streaming platforms.

Next, ExpressVPN, recognized as the top VPN for Mac in 2024 due to its speed, user-friendly interface, and robust security capabilities.

Finally, we have Surfshark, a cost-effective option that doesn’t compromise on privacy and security features. It allows for unlimited simultaneous connections and has a user-friendly interface.

In-Depth Analysis of Top Mac VPNs

Having introduced our top picks, we will now scrutinize each of these VPNs to assist you in making an informed decision.


Starting with NordVPN, this provider offers distinctive attributes like Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, and CyberSec, providing advanced cybersecurity features. You’ll find its user-friendly interface appealing, along with the ability to secure up to 6 devices simultaneously. This makes NordVPN a versatile option, especially for users with multiple devices.

NordVPN is also known for its high effectiveness in unblocking popular streaming services, including Netflix, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer. This provides Mac users with extensive access to entertainment content.

Finally, users can easily access NordVPN’s extensive server network through the dedicated app. The app provides a wide range of server options across 59 countries and includes real-time server load indicators to ensure optimal connection speeds.


Next, we have ExpressVPN, recognized for its user-friendly installation process and interface on Mac. Users can efficiently download the app and set it up from the ExpressVPN account dashboard, ensuring a seamless experience for fast and secure connections.

ExpressVPN also offers distinctive features like parental controls and an ad-blocker, enhancing the overall browsing experience.

In terms of security, ExpressVPN offers best-in-class encryption, private DNS, Network Lock kill switch, TrustedServer technology, and ad, tracker, and harmful site blocking.

However, ExpressVPN is a premium VPN service, and its pricing reflects the quality it delivers. Although it might be a bit pricier than other options, its comprehensive features make it worth considering.


Last but not least, let’s look at Surfshark. One of Surfshark’s standout features is its unlimited simultaneous connections, which provides the ability to protect multiple devices in your household without any restrictions.

Surfshark also provides a range of comprehensive security features, including data breach alerts, antivirus, and webcam protection. These ensure the protection of your online activities, making it a secure choice for Mac users.

In terms of speed, Surfshark demonstrates impressive performance on Mac. It achieves high download speeds and adequate upload speeds, establishing itself as one of the fastest VPNs in recent tests.

Finally, Surfshark offers a range of cost-effective pricing plans. These include the Surfshark Starter plan at $2.49 per month, the Surfshark One plan at $3.19 per month, and the comprehensive Surfshark One+ plan at $4.97 per month.

Setting Up a VPN on Your Mac

With your VPN chosen, the next step is setting it up on your Mac. This process can be achieved either through the use of a specialized VPN application offered by the VPN service or by manually adjusting the VPN settings within the Mac system preferences.

We’ll begin by discussing the process of setting up a VPN using a dedicated application. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the Apple menu and select System Settings.

  2. Choose VPN from the sidebar and opt for ‘Add VPN Configuration.’

  3. Another approach is to click on the Apple icon, navigate to System Preferences, select the Network icon, and utilize the + button to add the VPN configuration.

If you’re more tech-savvy, you might prefer to manually configure your VPN. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Apple menu

  2. Select System Settings

  3. Choose VPN from the sidebar

  4. Select ‘Add VPN Configuration’

  5. Follow the prompts to enter the details of the VPN connection.

Keep in mind that correctly setting up a VPN on your Mac is a vital step towards ensuring your online security and privacy. Take the time to ensure it’s done correctly to maximize your VPN’s benefits.

Dangers of Using Free VPNs on Mac

Despite the potential appeal of using a free VPN, understanding the potential risks is crucial. Free VPNs can present significant security risks for Mac users, including:

  • The use of inadequate or obsolete encryption protocols

  • Susceptibility to malware infections

  • The continuous monitoring of your activities and personal data

This data might be misused by the VPN providers or sold to third parties. It is important to carefully consider the risks before using a free VPN service.

Beyond security risks, free VPNs can also greatly impact your internet speed. This is due to slower server speeds, which can lead to frequent buffering and pixelation during video streaming, ultimately impacting your overall online experience.

Lastly, free VPNs often fall short in offering essential features such as unlimited data, access to dedicated servers, and split tunneling. These are crucial for ensuring optimal VPN performance and user satisfaction.


In conclusion, using a VPN is essential for preserving online privacy and security, especially for Mac users. A reliable VPN can safeguard your online activities, provide access to geo-restricted content, and enhance your overall browsing experience.

Our top picks for Mac VPNs in 2024 are NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark. Each of these VPNs offers distinct features and benefits, so your choice will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Remember, while free VPNs might seem attractive, they can pose significant security risks and lack essential features. Investing in a reliable, paid VPN is a safer and more reliable choice.

VPN Service Best For Price Overall Rating LEARN MORE
NordVPN Security $3.71/month (2-year plan) 4/5 Compare

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ExpressVPN Overall Performance $8.32/month (1-year plan) 4/5 Compare

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Surfshark Budget Shoppers $2.49/month (24-month subscription) 4/5 Compare

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Frequently Asked Questions

1Does Mac have a built in VPN?
No, Mac does not have a built-in VPN. However, you can manually configure a VPN or install a client onto your device to encrypt your connection while surfing the web.
2Can I set up a VPN on a Mac?
Yes, you can set up a VPN on your Mac by accessing network preferences, adding a VPN connection, selecting the desired VPN type, and configuring the connection details.
3Should I use a VPN on a Mac?
Yes, using a VPN on your Mac is important for protecting your data on public Wi-Fi networks and increasing privacy from your internet service provider. It can also help access streaming libraries from other countries.
4What's the best VPN to use on Mac?
ExpressVPN is the ideal pick for Mac users, offering exceptional privacy and a user-friendly interface, making it the best option available. Plus, it provides 24/7 customer support for any assistance needed.
5Why do Mac users need a VPN?
Mac users need a VPN to enhance online privacy and security, as well as to access geo-restricted content.