Finding the best VPN for Mac OS can be somewhat challenging.
Because Mac OS users represent a smaller segment of the population, VPN services often put less energy into their Mac OS apps.
But not to worry, there are still plenty of great options. In this guide we will cover:
- The best VPN clients for Mac OS
- Native VPN support using the built-in VPN configuration on Mac OS
- Third party OpenVPN clients
All of the Mac OS VPN options suggested below were thoroughly tested for IP address leaks, DNS leaks, WebRTC leaks, speed, reliability, and whether all the features functioned as advertised. All recommendations below passed these tests without any problems to report.
So without further delay, we’ll jump right into the best VPN apps for Mac OS…
Best VPN for Mac: VPN.ac
VPN.ac is a Romania-based VPN provider that offers a very secure, high-performance service. It’s run by a small team of network security professionals (Netsec Interactive Solutions), with a focus on security and overall quality. Their Mac OS client performed excellent in testing with no leaks, no bugs, and great overall speed and reliability. (See the VPN.ac review for all test results.)
VPN.ac’s server network consists entirely of dedicated premium servers with self-hosted, secure DNS. Along with offering more security, this also gives you excellent speed and reliability. You can also see real-time server bandwidth stats here (click VPN Nodes Status at the top).
All VPN features are available for Mac users, including: 18 double-hop VPN server configurations, advanced encryption options, obfuscation features, and IP/DNS leak protection. The double-hop VPN configurations give you a very high level of privacy and anonymity (explained further in the multi-hop VPN chains article).
If you’re a Mac OS user looking for a secure, high performance VPN service, VPN.ac is one of the best you’ll find. (See their full list of features here.)
- Highest security standards for VPN server network (dedicated premium servers, with self-hosted encrypted DNS)
- Excellent speeds with plenty of available bandwidth at all times
- Multi-hop (double VPN) server configurations
- Obfuscation features with many different encryption options
- Professional and prompt tech support
- Low price for a very advanced VPN (good value)
- Minimal connection logs (no activity, erased daily)
Passed all tests.
VPNArea is a smaller VPN provider out of Bulgaria that offers a good Mac OS client. It is a solid option for privacy-focused users due to their no logs policies, Bulgaria jurisdiction, secure applications, and ad-blocking DNS servers. Extensive testing of the Mac OS client did not find any leaks, problems or bugs.
VPNArea is also a good choice for streaming and torrenting. They are one of the few VPNs that continues to work with all major streaming services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. They also offer a range of servers that are optimized for torrenting.
Additionally, VPNArea provides chat support that is available 7 days a week (but not all day). (See all VPNArea features here.)
- Competitive price
- No logs
- Live chat support
- Great for streaming and torrenting
- Strong security features, with self-hosted, secure DNS
- 6 simultaneous connections (which can be shared with others)
- Dedicated IP addresses available in some countries
- Fewer advanced features
6 (can be shared with others)
Passed all tests.
VyprVPN is a Switzerland-based VPN provider that offers very high-quality apps with excellent security and performance. Extensive testing of their Mac OS client found no leaks or problems. (VyprVPN also has the best Android and iOS apps I’ve tested.)
VyprVPN is unique in that they physically own every server in their network. This provides excellent security and protection for customer data (no third parties). From a performance standpoint (speed and reliability), VyprVPN is also among the best (see test results).
The main drawbacks with VyprVPN are the connection logs and policies that discourage torrenting. On a positive note, all connection data is deleted after 30 days and they are very honest and transparent about their policies. Their support is also top-notch, with professional 24/7 live chat assistance.
And finally, they also offer a 3 day free trial and 25% off annual plans.
- Entirely self-owned and operated server network, including secure DNS
- Excellent network security
- Strong encryption
- Great speeds and reliability
- Features to defeat VPN blocking (Chameleon protocol)
- User-friendly applications for many devices/platforms
- Minimal connection logs (no activity, erased every 30 days)
- Torrenting (P2P downloads) discouraged
*with 25% discount
Passed all tests.
Native VPN for Mac OS
Another option available on Mac OS (El Capitan and later) is the built-in IPSec/IKEv2 VPN setup.
If you want something that is simple, user-friendly and leak proof, then this option may be for you. The one drawback is that the IPSec/IKEv2 protocol is not considered quite as secure as OpenVPN. Nonetheless, it still beats most OpenVPN apps that will leak your IP address or regularly crash.
To use this setup, you just need to import the IPSec/IKEv2 configuration files from your VPN service into your network preferences area. Once you have imported the server configurations, you can simply connect directly from the Mac OS X menu bar – no apps required!
This shows you your real-time connection status, along with the server you’re connected to in the drop-down menu. In the screenshot above, I have imported the server configurations I want to use from Perfect Privacy.
Leak proof – To make your setup leak proof (no IP address leaks) simply activate the “Connect on demand” option. This utilizes the native Mac OS firewall and forces all traffic through the VPN (no IP address leaks). This is basically a fool-proof kill switch.
Perfect Privacy – If you want to utilize the IPSec/IKEv2 setup, Perfect Privacy is a great option. While you won’t get all the features that are offered through their VPN Manager app (only available on Windows and Linux), speed and reliability will be excellent. You can also utilize their advertisement and tracking blocker, which is called TrackStop.
VPN.ac – VPN.ac is another option that offers support for the built-in IKEv2 setup. However, just like with Perfect Privacy, you won’t be able to utilize multi-hop configurations.
OpenVPN clients for Mac (third party)
You can also utilize third-party VPN clients for Mac OS X. Here are two options that support OpenVPN:
Tunnelblick – Tunnelblick is a good, basic Mac OS VPN client that is free and open source. The main drawback is that Tunnelblick is limited on features – such as a kill switch or IP leak protection. Unless, you create custom firewall rules, your regular internet traffic will be active even if the VPN connection disconnects.
Viscosity – Viscosity is a great third-party OpenVPN client that’s offered for Mac OS and Windows. The Viscosity Mac OS client provides many features and customization options.
If you are looking for a third-party OpenVPN app for Mac OS, Viscosity is worth the cost ($9 lifetime license). I thoroughly tested it out with ZorroVPN (review) and found it to work quite well. (You can also get a free 30 day trial license here.)
Conclusion on VPNs for Mac OS
As you can see, there are many good options for Mac OS users.
Ultimately, the best VPN for Mac OS will depend on your unique needs. Each option has its pros and cons. The goal of this Mac OS VPN guide was to show you all the options so you can find the best solution.
If you are sick of VPN apps that don’t work well, you may want to consider the IPSec IKEv2 option with a provider that will support this setup, such as Perfect Privacy.
Finally, if you want to take advantage of all your VPN’s features, here are three options that provide great apps for Mac OS: