We scoured the Internet and did our research on dozens of services ultimately determining the best VPN for Mac users is NordVPN based on the price, feature set and overall performance. While a premium Mac VPN isn't necessary for all users needs or budgets, investing in one can have a lot of benefits. In some cases, it can even save you money (I'll get into this later). 

As you read on, I'll give you a brief overview of the what, how and why of VPN software for Mac so you have a better understanding of the concept. From there we will take a look at seven of the best services currently on the market and comparing them to determine which is the best fit for your needs. Since every user's needs are different, the right choice for me might not be the right choice for you and vice-versa. 


What Is A VPN?

VPN is a fairly common term in technology (especially networking) standing for Virtual Private Network. The concept at its core is connecting your computer or mobile device to a remote network. This remote network remains private while maintaining data access over public networks.

The actual details of the process are overly technical for someone without any type of networking experience. However, in simpler terms, everyone using the Internet has an IP address. This address tells companies where their visitors are accessing their website or service from. By using a VPN, you can change this address and appear as though you are located in another state or country without actually being there.


Why Should You Use A VPN?

Not everyone needs a VPN, but many can benefit from using one. The most common uses of a VPN include management, security and function.

The management use is most common in a corporate environment. Employees who are out of the office from can connect to their private network via a VPN. This allows access sensitive information like email and documents stored on the company server. This role is reserved for business executives and access to a private VPN like this will be offered on a company basis. Due to this, we will not be talking about this type of VPN within this article.

From a traditional Internet user's standpoint, the security and function are more necessary. There are many ways that a VPN can become useful and these will vary on the person, but here are some common situations where a user could see potential benefits:

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    Access websites or services that are restricted or censored by certain countries (Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, etc.)
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    Ensure your ISP or third-parties can't spy on you or throttling speeds based on usage
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    Automatically block annoying advertisements or malicious threats (option varies by service)
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    Keep your data and information safe when utilizing a public Wi-Fi network
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    Enjoy an anonymous online presence free of marketing and info tracking (no data logs)
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    Potential to save money on airfare or hotels by booking from another location (works in certain situations)
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    Save on VOIP services that charge for international calling by using an IP from the caller's country of origin

With more of our lives being involved with Internet usage, a VPN is a great way to protect yourself from the potential harm or tracking by companies third-parties, ISPs or the government. 


Why Shouldn't You Use A Free Option?

There are several good reasons why this article isn't titled the 'best free vpn for mac'. Like many things in life, VPNs are the type of thing that fall under the "you get what you pay for" mantra. While you can find free services out there, the experience differs greatly as does the privacy. 

Free VPN services always have a "catch" in order to be able to stay free and that should be worrisome to potential users. In the event of saving a couple of bucks, what are you willing to sacrifice?

Here are some reasons why a free VPN isn't the best or safest idea:

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    Overall network presence is poor giving you less IP locations at slower speeds 
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    Limited bandwidth only allows you to utilize the service until you hit a data cap  
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    Servers are often outsourced for cheaper with no indication or who is handling your data
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    They do not offer transparent policies and can log your usage to sell for financial gain
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    Minimal support options (if any at all) should you are experience problems with a VPN
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    Lack of support for apps on all modern operating systems or mobile devices
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    Little connection customization only offering support for limited protocols

Could you use a free VPN? Of course, but if you value your privacy then it simply isn't a good idea as there are far too many unknown variables that could put your information at risk. 

Keep in mind, some popular streaming services like Netflix will automatically block common VPNs affecting the majority of free option and even some premium solutions.

In this event, you'll get an error saying "You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy." Unfortunately, services who trigger the VPN warning will not be able to successfully stream content from that provider and you'll need to switch to another VPN solution.


How Do The Top Mac VPN Services Stack Up?

NordVPN Logo
Tunnelbear Logo
ExpressVPN Logo
PureVPN Logo
VyprVPN Logo
CyberGhost Logo
IPVanish Logo

Company

NordVPN

Tunnelbear

ExpressVPN

PureVPN

VyprVPN

CyberGhost

IPVanish

Pricing (Monthly)

$3.29 - $11.95

Free - $9.99

$8.32 - $12.95

$3.25 - $10.95

$5 - $6.67

$4.99 - $10.99

$6.49 - $10

Free Trial

3 day

500MB/month

30 day (refund)

7 day (refund)

3 day

30 day (refund)

7 day (refund)

Countries

61

20+

94

141

70+

30+

60+

Max Devices

6

5

3

5

3-5

5

5

Mobile Apps

iOS/Android

iOS/Android

iOS/Android

iOS/Android

iOS/Android

iOS/Android

iOS/Android

Ad-Blocking

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Streaming

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Peer-to-Peer*

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*We do not condone illegal downloading or distribution of copyrighted materials. Use at own risk.


NordVPN Homepage
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Editor's Choice

Server Count: 1189

Server Locations: 61

Dedicated IP: Yes (fee)

Max Simultaneous Devices: 6

Encryption: Military grade (double) 

Plan Pricing

Free - (3 day trial)

$3.29/month (2 years)

$5.75/month (1 year)

$11.95/month (1 month)

via NordVPN.com

Pros

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    Data is highly encrypted & private (no logs)
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    Easy to setup and use
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    Fast & efficient performance
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    Supports media streaming, mobile & P2P

Cons

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    Monthly plan is pricey
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    72 hour trial remains hidden in terms

We chose NordVPN as our top choice for a few good reasons. One of the largest being their dedication and efforts in keeping users of their VPN's data private and safe. They do this through military grade encryption not once, but twice to ensure the highest levels of protection.

From a comparison standpoint, it is one of the most impressive on paper offering a maximum of six devices that can use their VPN simultaneously across just under 1200 servers spanning 61 countries.

Nord supports multimedia streaming such as Netflix or YouTube so those living in countries with censorship against streaming services can now access them. Their mobile support is offered on iOS and Android via dedicated apps located in the respective app stores. 

While NordVPN has a lot of advanced features for power users, it also is incredibly easy to setup and use even if you aren't tech savvy. The native clients for each OS are clean and simplified allowing you to turn connect or switch VPNs with just a few clicks of your mouse and no prior networking knowledge needed. 


CyberGhost Homepage

Server Count: 700+

Server Locations: 30+

Dedicated IP: No

Maximum Supported Devices:

Encryption: AES 256-bit

Plan Pricing

$4.99/month (1 year)

$7.99/month (6 months)

$10.99/month (1 month)

via CyberGhost.com

Pros

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    Data is encrypted & no logs are kept
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    30-day refund guarantee
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    Multiple protocols including OpenVPN
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    Built-in Malware blocking technology

Cons

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    Only 30 countries to choose from
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    Still requires credit card for testing service

CyberGhost is another one to highly consider and our runner up to NordVPN as it hits all the marks while remaining cheaper when paying on a month to month basis. Where CyberGhost falls short is their lower number of countries with only 30+ offered which is the second lowest for services mentioned on this list.

The number of concurrent devices that can use CyberGhost is a respectable five with mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. In addition, there is native support for Linux, routers and even Kodi media centers. 

Advanced features for this provider include access to multiple protocols such as OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec and PPTP. There is also native support for ad blocking in addition to the removal of malicious content that may come about through your web browsing experience.

Unfortunately, CyberGhost doesn't offer a truly free trial so you'll need to provide a credit card to sign up for any account. The good news is you have a 30-day refund period if you test the service and determine that it doesn't fit your needs. 


ExpressVPN Homepage

Server Count: 1,500+

Server Locations: 94+

Dedicated IP: No

Maximum Supported Devices: 3

Encryption: AES 256-bit

Plan Pricing

$8.32/month (1 year)

$9.99/month (6 months)

$12.95/month (1 month)

via ExpressVPN.com

Pros

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    Data is encrypted & no logs are kept
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    24/7 chat & email support
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    Optimized for high performance
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    Unblocked, unrestricted access to popular sites & services 

Cons

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    No free trial (just 30-day refund period)
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    Limited to 3 simultaneous devices
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    No ad-block technology
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    Priced higher than most

ExpressVPN is a well-known company in the VPN industry offering a service designed for high speeds and security. Their service follows suit of its competitors offering AES-256 encryption along with a variety of protocols that can be switched on the fly or set to automatic for optimal speed and security. 

As I stated earlier, ExpressVPN has put a large focus on performance and it knows their users want to experience fast speeds and unobstructed access to online streaming services. They have dedicated their server architecture to offer smooth and efficient media viewing with no bandwidth caps.

There are a few downsides to ExpressVPN, but for some people these won't be enough reason to steer them away. First off, the pricing is higher than every other service in this article with pricing only going as low a $8.32/month for a 12-month commitment and as high as $12.95/month for a month-to-month plan.

For the premium price, I was disappointed to see that it is capped at only three devices for simultaneous usage and there is no included ad-block technology. When you've got someone like NordVPN offering double the device support and excellent ad-block technology, it makes spending the higher price on an ExpressVPN subscription a tougher sell. 

Lastly, there is no free trial when signing up with ExpressVPN and you'll need to provide active payment details right when you create your account. However, there is a 30-day money back guarantee which is risk-free so you will be able to get a refund if you deem the server to not fit your needs within the first month. 


A look at the PureVPN Homepage.

Server Count: 750+

Server Locations: 180

Dedicated IP: Yes (fee)

Maximum Supported Devices: 5

Encryption: AES 256-bit

Plan Pricing

$3.25/month (2 year)

$8.95/month (6 months)

$10.95/month (1 month)

via PureVPN.com

Pros

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    Data is encrypted & no logs are kept
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    Highest number of server locations
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    Compatible with 20+ devices
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    24/7 live chat support

Cons

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    Lacks a free trial (only 7-day refund)
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    Streaming support is spotty
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    No annual pricing 

PureVPN has been around since 2006, originally founded by GZ Systems based in Hong Kong. Since then, the company has expanded rapidly over the years and have reached 180 server locations to date (the highest on this list). 

The team at PureVPN has worked on providing their customers with great versatility. Part of this is the support for 20+ devices including game consoles, smart TVs, Rokus, Amazon Fire devices, Chromecasts, routers, laptops and desktops.

You can utilize peer to peer services with PureVPN, but due to Global Web Policy, they do not allow P2P or filesharing on their servers based in the UK, US, Canada or Australia. You can still engage in P2P using their servers in other countries, but this could result in slow performance.

In the past, PureVPN has worked with popular video streaming services to allow those in restricted countries with a way to access a site like Hulu or Netflix. However, the support for this is not reliable and there have been instances in the past where these services have blocked PureVPN users such as here or here so there is a risk if you subscribe simply for Netflix or Hulu access.


TunnelBear Homepage

Server Count: Unknown

Server Locations: 20+

Dedicated IP: No

Max Simultaneous Devices: 5

Encryption: AES 256-bit

Plan Pricing

Free - (500MB free per month)

$4.99/month (1 year)

$9.99/month (1 month)

via TunnelBear.com

Pros

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    Data is encrypted
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    The most beginner friendly VPN on this list
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    Solid performance
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    Offers a free trial that refills its bandwidth cap every month

Cons

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    Limited plan options
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    A fraction of the server locations as others
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    No peer-to-peer support
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    Some streaming services like Hulu or Netflix block TunnelBear

If you are brand new to the concept of VPNs then TunnelBear might be one to look into. Designed for its simplicity, the service touts an overly simple registration and their native applications are a breeze to setup and utilize.

One of the biggest allures to TunnelBear for budget-friendly users is that they offer a free trial plan that doesn't require a credit card for registration (most trials in the VPN industry will) and this plan allows up to 500MB of bandwidth each month. The best part about this no cost plan is that the 500MB quota refills every month.

There is no doubt that this is a great offer by Tunnelbear, but truthfully 500 megabytes won't get you very far in web consumption. I blow through it in less than an hour.  Fortunately, their two premium plans are reasonably priced and you could sign up for the equivalent to the cost of just a few days worth of coffee. 

However, the real dilemma with TunnelBear comes with their lack of support for peer-to-peer networks like BitTorrent as they ports are manually disabled from the company. While this likely isn't a big deal for beginners who don't actively engage in file sharing, it may be an issue for power users.

Additionally, while they do support streaming on their network, there have been many reports in the past with issues connecting to Hulu and Netflix. From my testing, I was able to connect to both without any errors although I would be concerned about long-term reliability with access to media streaming.


A screenshot of the VyprVPN website's homepage.

Server Count: 1000+

Server Locations: 70+

Dedicated IP: No

Maximum Supported Devices: 3-5 

Encryption: AES 256-bit

Plan Pricing

Free - (3 day trial)

$5/month (Basic - Annual)

$6.67/month (Premium - Annual)

via VyprVPN.com

Pros

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    Data is encrypted
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    Chameleon technology 
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    Compatible with 20+ devices
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    24/7 live chat support

Cons

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    Annual pricing is 50% cheaper than monthly
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    Basic has less features than premium
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    The service is not entirely log less
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    Netflix has blocked VyprVPN users in the past

Unlike the rest of the services listed here, VyprVPN actually offers two separate service plans that differ in price as well as features and functionality. For example, the basic $60/year plan will only offer support for 3 simultaneous devices and does NOT have the ability to utilize the VpyrVPN Cloud or Chameleon Protocol which limits the effectiveness of the VPN. 

If you opt for the higher $80.04/year plan, you'll gain access to both of those advanced features thus getting the full benefits of the VpyrVPN service as well as simultaneous use up to 5 devices. Keep in mind, the yearly pricing is 50% cheaper than the monthly cost which rises to $9.95/month for basic and $12.95/month for premium.

The team at VpyrVPN has put their focus on performance and versatility. This includes access to over 200,000 global IPs as well as advanced features like multiple encryption protocols, NAT firewalls and integrations with existing applications for Mac, Android, iOS, etc.

On the VpyrVPN features page they state that you'll receive "faster, unrestrictied Internet speeds on Netflix, YouTube Hulu and more." However, there are users complaining of Netflix blocking them from access like shown in this thread.

A VpyrVPN representative did comment on this matter and assured me this is no longer the case stating:

 "The thread that you are linking to is from January 2016 which was back in the early days of Netflix’s attempts at blocking VPN services. Our methods of getting around the Netflix ban have become a lot more sophisticated since those early days and users of VyprVPN can use the service to successfully to access Netflix USA and other leading streaming services."

As of right now, VpyrVPN should remain accessible for popular media streaming websites however we are uncertain about the long-term reliability of VpyrVPN for media streaming so keep that in mind if this is your primary focus for choosing a VPN. 


IPVanish Homepage

Server Count: 850+

Server Locations: 60+

Dedicated IP: No

Maximum Supported Devices:

Encryption: AES 256-bit

Plan Pricing

$6.49/month (1 year)

$8.99/month (3 months)

$10/month (1 month)

via IPVanish.com

Pros

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    Data is encrypted and no logs are kept
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    Multiple protocols to choose from
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    Best suited for P2P
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    24/7 support

Cons

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    Annual pricing is a bit high
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    No ad-block technology
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    Netflix has blocked IPVanish users in the past

IPVanish is one of the most popular services listed hear for the peer to peer community. There are two primary reasons why this is the case. 

The first one is the fast performance that IPVanish has achieved through their server architecture which allows for unlimited bandwidth. Secondly, is the entirely log less policy which means they don't keep any forms of logs about their users and how they utilize the VPN service.

If you aren't going for the peer to peer route then IPVanish might not be the best choice. Their annual payment cost is higher than other competitions while lacking any form of ad-block technology. Additionally, popular streaming services like Netflix have blocked IPVanish users in the past so we cannot promise reliability for anyone looking to use a VPN for bypassing restricted streaming platforms. 


So What Is The Best VPN Client For Mac?

From a general perspective, we did our research and believe NordVPN to be the best overall choice based on price, features and performance. However, that isn't to say another server on this list could be better suited for you.

If you are still unsure, I recommend clicking through to each service's page and reading through their service information to determine which sounds most suitable. Everyone's needs are different so there is not always a definite answer for the 'best VPN for Mac' debate.