Best VPN for Mac in 2020 – An Extensive Review

VPNs are slowly becoming a necessity for many Mac users who prefer to surf the internet in private or for those who want to access geo-restricted media content. Although Macs are less susceptible to malware compared to PCs, they do face just as much risk when it comes to online threats and obstacles.

Factors to Choose a Good VPN

Below we will go through a few important considerations to take note of before deciding on which VPN service to subscribe to.

Performance

Obviously, a VPN needs to be able deliver lightning-fast speed so as not to not interrupt your online activity. It is absolutely pointless to get a VPN service that just slows you down and lags just when you need it.

To determine how good its speed is, the first thing you will need to look at is their server proximity. Generally, you should be able to get the same level of security from the VPN regardless of distance or location you choose. On that note, you also need to decide if you will be mainly using the VPN from one location only or in different countries while traveling. Some VPN providers only have servers in a few countries and you may experience a drop in internet performance when you’re outside of these countries.

Next, the overall speed of a VPN provider depends on the company’s technology and implementation. Not all VPN services are created equal – some work better for speed and performance while others may be slower but with much better user experience. Utimately, the best VPN offers fast connectivity that is both reliable and consistent.

Unblocking Geo-Restricted Content

Many media content such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC, and HBO are geographically restricted due to license agreements. A good VPN is can open up access for you to stream your favorite movies and TV series regardless of where you are in the world.

On top of streaming Netflix, VPNs can also help you get early access to new games. Let’s say there is a particular online game that you really want to play finally drops a release date – but it will only be available in Japan first, hours before any other servers go live. All you need to do is to connect to a Japanese IP address through your VPN and you’ll be able to get ahead of others.

Security

The most important factor of all most people subscribe to a VPN is to ensure that their data remains safe and secured. It is pointless to invest in a protection plan that leaks information you want hidden to other parties.

How secure a VPN company really is simply boils down to two main factors: their encryption method and jurisdiction. Some VPNs have older or traditional encryption that is more susceptible to cyber attacks, while a few VPNs have proprietary encryption technology that is much harder for third party to break into.

As mentioned earlier, it is also vital to know where your VPN service provider is located at and what local laws might mean for your privacy. Some countries have local governmental laws that require companies to retain information on customers and their internet usage. These data will then need to be handed over to the authorities as and when requested.

Customer Support

For a general internet users who do not need all the extra fluff offered by top VPN providers, you can save a lot of time and effort by choosing a much more user-friendly VPN that has a simple userface for easy setup. In any case, customer service should always be available to help you prepare for the worst.

Many VPNs have live chat support that runs 24/7 and may be difficult to reach by phone outside of their business hours. Some have phone customer service reps that run on shifts to guide you round the clock. And others have robust tutorial videos and guides geared towards users who are more technologically proficient.

Cost

Many VPNs now come with a wide range of pricing, in fact, the service providers have further complicated decision making by offering different subscription plans at greater discounts. Some have high charges billed monthly, but a much cheaper rate per month if billed annually, while some have lower monthly charges, but their annual bill remains almost the same. Some newer VPN providers even have affordable subscription plans that go up to 5 years of service.

Top VPN for Mac

With so many VPNs to pick from and such confusing phrases, it could easily rile up a headache in anyone. Fortunately, we have done all the heavy-duty work to narrow down the best VPN services for your Apple devices in our guide below.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum simultaneous connections: 5

ExpressVPN easily gets on our list as the top choice for the best all-round VPN on Mac. The VPN has a dedicated app that is super intuitive and user-friendly, featuring a one-click option for quick connection among other advanced options.

ExpressVPN also has a very good iOS app and Safari browser extension for a more complete Mac VPN experience. Other than that, this VPN service provider includes in-depth tutorials for Apple users in case you get lost while setting up. One of ExpressVPN’s more notable features is allowing your local devices to go through the VPN via wireless hotspot connection to your Mac.

With a military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, ExpressVPN protects your connection and keeps all online activity undercover to ensure that privacy should never be your concern again. The VPN provider has a strict logging policy that clearly states they do not collect or log any of your activities.

ExpressVPN’s logging policy clearly outlines that they will never log:

  • IP addresses
  • Browsing history
  • Any website you visit/Torrent you download
  • DNS queries

The VPN service provider also features a “Network Lock” which is a kill switch that helps users secure their data in the unlikely event of when their VPN drops suddenly without any reason. This service works efficiently to protect all your internet traffic from outsiders as long as your online security is not restored.

ExpressVPN manages all your DNS requests through their own private servers that do not log queries when you access any site. Their Zero-Knowledge DNS feature will make sure that none of your online activities can be traced back to you so you can have a care-free surfing experience.

ExpressVPN even offers a .onion version of its website. This option allows users to use a throw-away email address to create a completely anonymous account with the VPN so that absolutely none of your internet activity will ever be linked back to you. That is how safe and reliable ExpressVPN promises to be.

Additionally, the software features unique split tunneling that works seamlessly across Mac devices. The feature allows users to pick and choose specific apps to run through VPN and stay protected while your other online activities, such as general web browsing and online gaming can remain unaffected by the VPN.

The pricing plans for ExpressVPN is not the cheapest option on the block, but it is certainly worth all the penny due to its added benefits. If you’re still worried, you can always take the VPN for a test run with their 30-day full-service free trial with a money-back guarantee if you end up deciding against it.

Pros:

  • Superfast download speeds on international connections
  • Easy-to-use and user-friendly Mac app
  • Fantastic support for Apple users
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Well-encrypted, kill switch-protected connections
  • Accepts Bitcoin as payment

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive

2. CyberGhost

CyberGhost

Number of servers: 5700+ | Server locations: 110+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum simultaneous connections: 7

Headquartered in Romania, CyberGhost has more than 5,000 servers globally that is spread among 90 different countries. Romania is considered as a safe location as it based far away from the reach of the Fourteen Eyes. This means the service provider does not need to share its users’ information to any other country and gets to protect your privacy at all times.

CyberGhost’s desktop app offers one of the most secure VPN services in the industry that supports are L2TP, IKEv2, and OpenVPN protocols. Topped with military-grade encryption, this VPN easily protects all your critical information without a doubt.

Other than that, CyberGhost’s desktop app also features a Kill Switch that allows you to remain anonymous even when your VPN connection stops working. The feature drops all internet connection when you’re disconnected from your VPN to ensure your privacy is secured.  

One slight downside about CyberGhost that is worth mentioning is its less effective ad-blocking feature. While CyberGhost does not work to block advertisement pop-ups on HTTPS websites. ad-blocking feature does work on Windows, Mac, and iOS devices, which is more than sufficient for general users looking to stream content online. So for Mac users, you should not have anything to worry about.

Unfortunately, CyberGhost does not come with a free trial service and their monthly plan can even be quite pricey. On the flip side, the VPN service provider does have a 45-day money-back guarantee for you to get your money back and their longer-term plans are rather budget-friendly.

Pros:

  • Permits up to 7 simultaneous connections
  • Great for first-time VPN users
  • Zero-logs policy

Cons:

  • Does not work reliably in China or UAE
  • Slow connection through some servers

3. NordVPN

NordVPN

Number of servers: 5,600+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum simultaneous connections: 6

NordVPN is synonymous with internet security as this VPN service provider offers ultra-secure connection through its support of IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TOP protocols. In addition, NordVPN’s ‘Double VPN’ works to route your traffic through two hops of servers to offer users with an extra layer of protection.

NordVPN’s clients for both Mac and iOS are relatively simple compared to other VPNs which can is great especially for first-time users. However, it does not mean that you are limited in options. The NordVPN gives Mac users much more customization than the average provider.

This service provider has the IKEv2 version of its client on the App store and an OpenVPN version directly from their website for you to pick out. Additionally, you can even manually set up to use OpenVPN without installing either of them. This is a great option for those tech savvy users who love the flexibility to tinker with.

With over 5,600 different servers spread out across 60 different countries, NordVPN is easily one of the largest server networks with fast and reliable speeds. They even feature unlimited usage bandwidth, which means you will never have to suffer through throttled internet speed again.

Other than that, NordVPN offers two different kinds of Kill Switch; the desktop version and mobile version. Both work to kill your entire internet connection when anything goes wrong to ensure your data and connection remains secure.

If you fear for your privacy, fortunately this VPN provider is headquartered in the data retention-free jurisdiction of Panama. NordVPM employs a super strict no-logs policy that clearly states that they do not store any activity and connection logs in order to protect your privacy.

NordVPN comes with 4 different subscription plans for you to pick from. All the plans offered are priced reasonably especially considering their many amazing features. Aside from the 7-day trial, the VPN service provider even has a hassle-free full 30-day refund policy in case you decide to go a different route.

Pros:

  • Double-VPN servers
  • Fast connection speeds
  • No-log policy
  • Accepts Bitcoin as payment

Cons:

  • Speeds are sometimes volatile
  • Overly simple apps

4. IPVanish

IPVanish

Number of servers: 1,300+ | Server locations: 75 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 7

If you’re looking for a VPN with a large server database, it is tough to ignore IPVanish. IPVanish offers fast and reliable connection that work flawlessly across all their servers. Their 1,300 servers over 75 locations allow this VPN to deliver an impressive global coverage.

IPVanish has a nifty design for its mac app which also includes many options like a kill switch and automatic IP switching. This US VPN offers blazingly fast connections and will even automatically connect you to the faster server available. This VPN service not only has fast downloading speeds, their servers even support P2P activity.

As one of the most popular VPNs worldwide, IPVanish cares for their users and does not take privacy lightly. The company does not stores any  logs, not even connection logs that are usually used for troubleshooting. However, this popular VPN service is based in the US which is part of the 5-eyes country. Although IPVanish is required to hand over data to the US authorities when demanded, since they do not retain any logs, information handed over ti the authorities would be quite literally useless.

 

On top of their fancy security systems like OpenVPN, IKEv2 Kill Switch, Private Check, and Password Generator, this VPN service provider goes one step further by offering you a level of control over their OpenVPN setup. You have the ability to choose the OpenVPN port (1194 or 443) that you want to use, or you can further reduce your chances by going for the “Scramble OpenVPN Traffic” option.

IPVanish works efficiently to keep your identify under wraps with their strict no-logging policy. The company does not record any connection, traffic, or activity data accessed through their server in order to preserve your civil right to privacy.

IPVanish features efficient customer support with three different ways for contact:

  1. 24/7 live chat support
  2. 24/7 email support (support@ipvanish.com)
  3. Help section on the website for tickets

You are sure to receive helpful responses regardless of mode of contact. If you don’t like to go through the fuss of discussing your issue with another person, you can even go through their help section for some assistance on setting up the app, FAQs, troubleshooting and billing questions.

Unfortunately, IPVanish has a slightly more expensive pricing despite having good discount offers. Additionally, the company also does not have a free trial on offer, but at least their plans do come with a 7-day money-back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Good security
  • Great performance
  • Reliable connection
  • Fast connection speeds
  • Split tunneling function

Cons:

  • Mac App not always easy to use

5. Hotspot Shield

Number of servers: 2,500+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5

The Hotspot Shield VPN app only takes a couple of clicks to get you up and running. It will automatically assign you to the optimal server with the fastest connection speed. While the free extension does not allow much room for configuration with limited choices of server locations, their premium subscription plan lets you gain full access to over 2,500 servers in 70 different countries

Hotspot Shield’s Catapult Hydra protocol offers users with one of the fastest VPN connection available at present. This makes the VPN your top choice for lag-free internet surfing. In terms of performance, their upload and download speeds are proven to be slightly better than the rest, so you can expect an instantaneous connection to stream geo-locked media content without any need for buffering time.

On the other hand, Hotspot Shield is a brainchild of a company called AnchorFree in the United States. Since it is based in the US, the company is required to abide by local mandatory data retention rule and have to hand over any data upon request from the authority. However, if you’re only using it for general browsing and are not committing any hanky panky activities, the VPN’s jurisdiction should not be a major concern for you.

Hotspot Shield will protect you from third party as they will not expose your original IP address, DNS, or WebRTC information while you’re connected to their service. However, the company’s logging policy can be a little confusing. Hotspot Shield claims that they do not keep logs of your online activities, yet there are a sections where they mention using customer data for a variety of purposes.

If you’re working on the free version, you may expect to see some advertisements as the company teams up with a few third parties to remain profitable. Nonetheless, you need not worry about your privacy as the service provider will only hand out anonymized IP addresses and they will not sell user browsing history to the advertisers.

While Hotspot Shield’s subscription plans may not be the most affordable option available, they do come with a 45-day refund policy for you to get your money back in case you decide against them. You can also set up a free account to test out their full services with their 7 days free trial. But you do need to remember to cancel the trial as they will automatically start charging you for their monthly service once time’s up.

Pros:

  • No logging
  • Up to five simultaneous connections
  • 45-day refund policy
  • 7-day free trial

Cons:

  • Part of the Five Eyes country
  • Questionable logging policy
  • Free version comes with advertisement

6. SurfShark

SurfShark

Number of servers: 1,000+ | Server locations: + | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: ?

This British Virgin Island (BVI) based VPN service provider is not part of the 5, 9, 14, eyes countries and has no data retentions laws that it needs to comply with. SurfShark started from humble beginnings with just over 100 servers to now having multipled to more than 1,000 servers across the globe in under a year. It is a notable feat for our all-time favourite underdog.

SurfShark works to help you unblock major streaming sites such as Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, and Amazon Fire TV Stick at an impressive speed that is perfect for lag-free streaming. But the best part about it is that the company lets you connect to an unlimited number of devices with just one single account, so your whole family can watch from multiple screens at the same time.

SurfShark features an unbreakable AES 256-bit encryption to keep you safe and secure making it one of the most secure VPN available in the industry without a doubt, this is. This provider even features a CleanWeb function to let access the internet free of interruption from ads, trackers, and malware.

The Multihop feature on SurfShake app takes IP masking to a whole new level by allowing you to establish a chain of VPNs. With this feature, you can virtually appear in two different locations simultaneously without suffering from a speed drop.

The company even has a Whitelister option which lets you exclude specific apps or websites from connecting to the VPN. That is great if you prefer exclude websites that you might use for streamig and general browsing while remaining secure for other certain sensitive apps.

SurfShark comes one of the most affordable VPN plans available on the market. In fact, their services come in three different package plans at amazing discounts. With their extensive 30-day money-back guarantee offer, you will be able to get a complete refund should you decide against this service provider.

Pros:

  • Unlimited device connection
  • Multihop Feature
  • Whitelister Feature
  • Unbreakable military-grade encryption service
  • User-friendly app

Cons:

  • Requires permission that may be dangerous for your privacy

7. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN

Number of servers: 150+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6

PrivateVPN is a small VPN provider that is based in Sweden. Though it may seem a bit far from the US, a little digging revealed that Sweden is actually part of the five eyes alliance. This makes PrivateVPN a whole lot less insecure as the Swedish government can demand the VPN service provider to hand over the user data at any time.

But! PrivateVPN has actually found a loophole within Sweden’s legal system that allows the company to not collect any personal data. So, even if the government were to seize all the data from PrivateVPN, they would not have any useful information to work on.

At the moment, PrivateVPN only offers slightly over 150 VPN servers spread over 60 different countries. Although this amount is a little less compared to the other more popular VPN service providers, we still think the average home users will be perfectly content with what PrivateVPN has to offer.

Just like many service providers, PrivateVPN encrypts all your data to keep your privacy secured from third parties through their AES-256 encryption feature. Their wide range of VPN protocols include OpenVPN (with TCP/UDP), L2TP, IPsec, PPTP, and IKEv2.

In case you were to have any questions or doubts regarding your VPN service, you can always turn to PrivateVPN’s official website where you’ll find a dedicated support section. Below are a few support channels that you can use to get more information:

  1. Live Chat Support – Unfortunately, this handy option is not enabled 24/7, more often you’ll be able to send a message and the company will respond to you via email.
  2. Installation Guides – The company has a series of nicely written installation guides that are easy to understand. They even have videos to guide you through a step-by-step process.
  3. Frequently Asked Questions – PrivateVPN has done a good job of coming up with commonly asked questions and providing additional support that is on-point and concise.
  4. Support Tickets – You can send an email to the VPN’s tech support and you can expect a reply within a day.

PrivateVPN offers three subscription plans at attractive prices. It is also worth noting that the provider frequently gives out discounts, especially during certain holidays or celebrations. At times you can even see its annual subscription go as low as $2.00 per month. So, do check out their webpage for any latest promotion.

The company accepts credit card, PayPal, and even Bitcoin payment for that added layer of protection. All of its subscription plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you end up finding their services not up to par.

Pros:

  • Fast connection speeds
  • Zero logs
  • Strong encryption

Cons:

  • Smaller server network
  • Lack of global coverage

Final Verdict

ExpressVPN is one of the top service provider that simply needs no introduction, it is an all-time favorite among privacy enthusiasts. Being one of the best VPN services available in business, it is no surprise to find that their Mac app provides a similarly exceptional experience. The software offers a simple and easy-to-use method to manage the basic features that you use most regularly.

With servers spread out over 90 different countries, ExpressVPN delivers punchy performance alongside their numerous features such as unblocking Netflix capability, reliable torrenting, tunneling protocols, more than 3,000 super-fast servers, 30 days refund, Bitcoin Payments, and an extremely powerful encryption system to keep all your online activities safe and secure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use a no-logs VPN?

The reason you should use a no-logs VPN is because tour internet provider (ISP) freqeuntly keeps detailed records of your online activity. All your data and interactions on the net are completely exposed to anyone in the world. However, your internet provider is blocked from seeing the content of your data when you route your connection through a VPN. The VPN service efficiently encrypts all your data to shield it from outsiders. This way, you get to roam about the internet without worrying about someone else tracking your every move.

Your VPN provider can actually see the IP addresses of individual web pages and contents of your data on sites that are not HTTPS protected. But not to worry as most websites these days are already protected by HTTPS, in any case your VPN provider can still see which websites you have visited.

Another great thing about VPN is that these service providers – depending on jurisdiction –  are not bound by law to hand over their logs to the government, unlike ISPs. Though most VPN service providers vows to protect your privacy, only a no-logs VPN can be trusted to keep such a promise. As the company cannot be forced to hand over information that it does not possess.

Will a no-logs VPN make me anonymous?

One should always remember that VPNs provide privacy and not anonymity. VPN services can always start logging in order to match users with their internet activity and some service providers are even not entirely honest about log retention and may even have stored some historical data on their users.

Generally, VPNs provide a high level of privacy against all sorts of blanket surveillance on the internet with minimal impact to your internet experience. These servies work to keep you out of trouble when you’re torrenting, but you should not rely on them to keep you safe if you commit any criminal acts online.

Those whose rely on true anonymity, such as journalists, political dissidents, and whistleblowers should use Tor instead.

How to be sure your VPN is a no-logs provider?

At present, we can only take VPN service providers at their word or pay attention to the increasing number of independent audits set out to test their policy. We hope to see more of such audits throughout the industry to improve the level of transparency between companies and their customers.

Always read Terms of Service and Privacy Policies

It is improtant to take a good look and review each VPN provider’s ToS and Privacy Policies as it is easy to make bold and generalized “no logs” claim on their websites. These VPN providers are also quick to qualify such claims in the small print section their Terms of Service and Privacy Policies.

Warrant Canaries

Gag orders usually accompany warrants and court orders requiring companies to hand over customer details. This stops the company from alerting its customers that something is amiss. In order to curb such issues and reassure customers, some VPNs operate warrant canaries.

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