Best VPN for Mac 2017

Summary:  Despite being more secure than the competition, Apple computers and laptops are still susceptible to being hacked. A VPN is a great way to keep your data safe, ensuring prying eyes stay away from your personal data. Most VPN providers have a dedicated Mac client, but some are undoubtedly better than others. We’ve checked out the best on the market, and we’ve come up with a concise list for Mac VPNs. While many of the top VPNs on the market are very competitive in terms of features offered and price, we strongly recommend ExpressVPN as the best VPN for Mac users.

Best VPN for Mac

Why Do You Need A VPN for Mac?

First and foremost, using a VPN with your Mac is the best way to keep your personal information secure. Governments, advertisers, and hackers are keen to get their mitts on your data, for a range of reasons that aren’t ideal.

While MacBooks are known for being less likely to getting viruses and malware compared to other operating systems, it’s still relatively easy for hackers to gain access to the machines using various methods. Hacking into your internet connection and intercepting the data is just one of the ways that hackers and other criminals steal your credit card info, passwords, banking accounts and other sensitive information.

Aside from security, VPNs can be used for a range of purposes. You’ll be able to access geo-restricted content, and you could even see an increase in your overall connection speeds.

Whether for communication or entertainment, bypassing restrictions will allow you to surf in peace. We’d strongly recommended using a Mac VPN for accessing sport streams or adult content.

Then there’s the outlay. Macs are infamously expensive, so an additional layer of security will help to protect your expensive metal baby. So if you’re hoping to get the best VPN for your new MacBook Pro, it’s worth taking a look at the ones we’ve listed above.

How Did We Test the VPN Software for Mac Computers

Testing VPNs is fairly simple. While testing them out, we look at a wide range of criteria.

To get started, we built a list of every provider that claimed they provided dependable service and helped with geo-location restrictions, while also maintaining a high level of security. This left me with a total of nine different providers.

Using the six criteria below and through methodical testing of each service on my list, we narrowed the list of nine original providers down to the reputable services that are worthy of consideration.

Performance Factors for Mac VPNs

Criteria #1: How Good is Their VPN Client?

Above all, a solid client is the main foundation for a good VPN. You’ll be using it to access their servers, so a simple and sleek design is best. There’s generally parity when it comes to the two main platforms, so it’s down to the VPNs themselves to find a way to stand out from the crowd. The best Mac VPNs usually have great software.

That’s why some focus on security or faster speeds. Others try to do it all, but you can’t beat a specialized service.

Criteria #2: Do They Log Data?

While determining if a VPN service was worth it or not, we checked their data logging policies. (In most cases, your ISP will record all data that is sent and received from your connection. Some VPN providers have also made this a part of their process.)

The last thing you want is a log of what you’ve been up to online. It could potentially be turned over to the government if they submit a request for information, or even sold on.

To avoid any problems, the VPNs that we recommend won’t log your data, so you know that choosing one we’ve provided will give you a genuinely secure connection.

Criteria #3: Bandwidth and Pricing

Bandwidth refers to how much data you can transfer each month. If there’s a limit on how much bandwidth you can use, you’ll end up getting charged outrageous fees halfway through the month when you exceed your data usage/bandwidth limit.

When it came to choosing the best VPNs for MacBook users, we looked at the total amount of bandwidth available, with providers that offer unlimited bandwidth scoring higher on the list.

As for pricing, we’ve listed VPNs that will work for a range of different budgets and timescales. We’ve chosen the expensive Mac VPNs that are worth the money, as well as the cheaper ones that won’t let you down.

Criteria #4: How Is Their Customer Support?

Technical problems or potential billing issues are a major worry when you start off with a new service. That’s why we looked at the level of customer support for each of the providers on the list.

We rated every provider we tested on their response time to customer support inquiries.

Criteria #5: How Fast Is the Connection?

Connection speed is always crucial. Some VPN providers will give you ample bandwidth, but limit your actual speeds to a crawl.

While looking through the list of nine different providers, we checked each service’s ping times, download speed, and upload speed, and then made a judgment based on each.

Best VPN for Mac 2017

#1 ExpressVPN for Mac

The pick of the bunch is undoubtedly ExpressVPN. It’s intuitive and speedy, with great customer service and tight security. It only takes a few clicks to get their VPN Mac client up and running, and they have servers in 90+ countries around the globe.

Bandwidth is unlimited, and ExpressVPN keeps no logs of user data. You’ll also be able to use P2P software for torrenting.

If you do run into any issues, they have an average response time of roughly 30 minutes. It’s quicker than the competition, although you’re unlikely to find much to complain about. If the server does cut out unexpectedly, ExpressVPN has a kill switch (Network Lock) to ensure that any sensitive apps or websites will automatically close.

The only downside is that it’s slightly pricier than the norm. It’s worth the extra cash, but there are better deals if you’re aiming to pay as little as possible per month. It’s our choice as the best VPN for Mac in 2017.

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#2 NordVPN for Mac

NordVPN is a efficient provider, emphasizing safety and security above all else.

While security is a key feature of their Mac client, it’s also highly accessible for the average user. Once you’ve signed up and downloaded the app, you just have to pick a server destination from the map to get started. It’s easy to use, with an intuitive setup and excellent speeds. (They have dedicated apps and clients for all of the major PC and mobile platforms.)

You’ll face little to no slowdown using their servers. NordVPN doesn’t apply any speed or bandwidth restrictions, so you’ll be able to download and stream as much as you like.

They keep no records of user data, and you can even pay with Bitcoin. Their 24-month deal at $3.29 per month is great value for money, even if it is a long contract.

Their Live Chat feature wasn’t working for us, and response times via the ticketing system will take a few hours on average.

Overall, it’s a worthy contender to ExpressVPN and we strongly recommend NordVPN.

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#3 PrivateVPN for Mac

Located in Sweden, PrivateVPN has servers in over 50 countries. Their Mac VPN client is solid, with a few additional features. You can have multiple connections at the same time, and they will remotely set up the service if you encounter any problems when you’re starting off.

If you’re looking for an affordable Mac VPN, it’s cheap at the current discounted rate of $2.98 per month for 15 months, although it’s normally priced at $10.95 for 1 month. There’s no cap on bandwidth, and while our speed tests showed that PrivateVPN is a bit slower, we found the difference to be inconsequential.

Despite these minor lag at times, there are numerous servers to choose from. We also got an instant response via their Live Chat customer support system.

If you are looking for a VPN for Mac to keep your computer safe, PrivateVPN will do the job. It is a secure VPN with a zero log policy and boasts an uptime speed of 98%.

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#4 PureVPN for Mac

Undoubtedly one of the best VPNs for Mac, PureVPN offers a solid client with a range of features. Additional functionality is their unique selling point, with antivirus software and ad blocking for safer browsing.

You’ll be able to gain use their browser extension for the above. The VPN also comes with more traditional features, including a kill switch and server tests to check speeds. There’s no bandwidth cap or limit, but they do have a ‘fair use’ policy in place. If you’re a heavy user, it could be best to go for another Mac VPN for your downloading needs.

They keep no user logs, aside from a record of when you’re using the service. It’s not ideal, but it could be worse. Customer support comes in the form of Live Chat, (which was available) as well as numerous guides on their website.

At the time of writing, their 24-month plan is heavily discounted at $3.25 per month. It’s a worthwhile choice if you’re looking for an all-in-one Mac VPN package.

Sign up with PureVPN here.

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#5 IPVanish for Mac

IPVanish is an incredibly fast VPN, and well respected in the industry based their vast experience. They have a lot of servers worldwide, with near unmatched download speeds.

Their Mac VPN client is well rounded, and it’s sleek and easy to get to grips with. However, they are based in the USA, which means they’re close to the watchful eye of the NSA. (That being said, they do operate with a strict ‘zero logs’ policy.)

There’s no limit in terms of bandwidth. In fact, they don’t mind what you do as long as you don’t try to use the same account on more than one IP address at a time.

It’s priced at $6.49 per month for a yearly package, which is reasonably good considering their speeds. They provide 24/7 customer support, but there’s no Live Chat feature. You’ll have to send an email via their ticketing system, which will be responded to on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis.

We’d probably go for ExpressVPN if we had to decide between the two, but it’s a worthy challenger to our top pick.

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What VPN for Mac is Best

Despite common misconceptions, Apple computers are susceptible to numerous hacks and issues. A VPN will keep your data safe, but they offer more than just added security. Even so, everyone can benefit from faster connection speeds and unlocked content, as long as the price is right.

Considering the above criteria, we’d have to choose ExpressVPN as the best VPN software for Mac.

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James is a writer and blogger from London. He's interested in online privacy and security, offering a perspective from across the pond.

2 Comments
  1. Reply dave.riddell@iinet.net.au'
    David
    February 10, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Interesting read but I’ve been trying for days to get to the Buffered VPN site and all I get is an error message (from Safari, Chrome or Firefox) telling me that my my message is not secure.. and no way of reaching the Express VPN url – HELP!

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      February 12, 2016 at 1:03 am

      Hi, David. Sorry you had problems. I just tried the link to BufferedVPN, and it took to me to the site with no problems. Can you try again?

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