It’s great to run the latest version of Mac OS X since Apple offers free updates. I grabbed El Capitan as soon as it was released. This can pose a challenge at times if VPN services are not ready for the changes in the OS. That seems fair since the same thing happens to Windows partners all the time. It can take time to catch up. I have noticed that some VPN providers are faster than others to update their software. This was a consideration when deciding on our list of the best Mac VPNs.
As a Mac user I know how important it is to find good software. I love Mac OS X but finding software can be a challenge compared to the options available for Windows users. The same is true for VPN services. A lot of them support Mac through Tunnelblick. This is ok but I prefer a custom VPN client that is easy to use. I also want the same advanced features they offer for windows users on my Mac systems.
I was a devoted Windows user for years before the release of the first iPhone. After experiencing the iPhone I started moving over to Apple devices. Next came an iMac. Followed by an iPad and a Macbook. Since then my family has added several more OS X and iOS devices. My kids each use a Macbook Pro for school and my wife loves her Macbook Air. We have grown into a family of Apple fans.
This post is focused on the best VPNs for Mac users. I would add that all of our top choices have solid iOS apps. You can view our best iOS VPNs to learn more about their mobile apps. We looked at the same criteria we use for evaluating VPNs for any purpose. That includes the speed and reliability of the service. Along with their network size, commitment to privacy and customer support. Having an easy to use Mac client was a must for ranking in our top 5 list.
Best VPNs for Mac
Reviews of the Best Mac VPNs
1. IPVanish offers unlimited VPN access from just $4.87 a month.
IPVanish is our choice for the “Best VPN of 2015” based on their performance, reliability, privacy, and price. Managing a tier-1 network gives IPVanish an edge over other providers. This allows them to provide you the best possible performance. It also increases the reliability of the service because they have full control over their VPN servers. They have a strict “no log” policy which gives you greater privacy. Having control over all aspects of the VPN service allows them to give you the best price. IPVanish kindly offers our guests a 25% discount. Enjoy unlimited VPN from just $4.87 a month.
IPVanish Mac client in action
- Servers Locations – select any server location to connect
- Sort options – sort by city, country, server or response time
- Response time – sort the list by response time to find the fastest server for your current location
- Protocol selection – choose between PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN protocols
Performance is key for those of us who enjoy watching tv shows and movies from other countries. Especially if you want to watch live sporting events or HD content. IPVanish has servers around the world with the speed and reliability to handle major events like the World Cup, Olympics, ICC Cricket, Super Bowl, and Grand Prix circuit.
Privacy is important to anyone looking for a VPN service. Any VPN you choose will offer encryption but IPVanish takes it a step further. They offer 256-bit AES encryption. IPVanish supports OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP protocols. Giving you a high level of security when connected to their network. Their “no log” policy ensures that your activities will not be logged while using the service.
IPVanish supports a wide range of devices. They have custom software for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. They also support DD-WRT and Tomato routers. Setting up your router to use the service allows you to protect your entire network with a single VPN account. IPVanish includes two simultaneous connections with every account so you can protect multiple devices at the same time. New members are covered by a 7 day money back guarantee. Enjoy unlimited VPN access from just $4.87 a month with our 25% off discount.
2. OverPlay offers unlimited VPN access from just $6.25 a month.
OverPlay is based in the UK and provides both VPN and Smart DNS service. They separate themselves from other providers by giving VPN members free SmartDNS access. This allows you to watch shows and movies in other countries without any speed loss. Enjoy unlimited VPN and SmartDNS from just $6.25 a month with our exclusive 25% discount.
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As you can see OverPlay offers SmartDNS and Secure VPN accounts. The difference is encryption. For online privacy you will want their VPN service. If your goal is to unblock content in other countries then SmartDNS is a great choice. The VPN plan comes with free SmartDNS access. Giving you the best of both worlds.
OverPlay manages a large network of VPN servers in key countries around the world. They support OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP protocols. You will find the service to be fast and reliable. On the SmartDNS side they have a channel line up on the OverPlay site. It will help you find the channels available in each country along with the devices they support.
OverPlay offers custom VPN clients for Windows and Mac users. They also support Linux, iOS, Android and custom routers. SmartDNS adds support for game consoles, smart tv’s, media players, and more. Anything that allows you to change the DNS settings. Enjoy unlimited VPN with free SmartDNS access from just $6.25 a month.
3. ExpressVPN offers unlimited VPN access from just $8.32 a month.
ExpressVPN does a lot of things right. They are a bit pricier than some services but the quality is excellent. You can expect fast connections and friendly tech support. They have some of the best VPN client software. You can tell they put a lot of effort into the interface design for all their software. You can sign up for unlimited VPN from just $8.32 a month. They offer a 30 day money back guarantee.
ExpressVPN Mac client in action
The ExpressVON Mac client require OS X 10.8 or later. They also have a previous version that supports OS X 10.7 and lower. The client fully supports El Capitan. Here are some highlights of the ExpressVPN Mac client:
- Auto-connect to best location – let the client select the best server based on your current location
- Recently used – see a list of the latest VPN servers you connected to
- Run a speed test – you can run a speed test from within the client
You’ll find that ExpressVPN is very user friendly. They start by offering a 30 day money back guarantee. There are no usage or connection limits. You simply request a refund in the first 30 days if you are not happy with the service. Their client software is very user friendly. I am especially fond of their Mac client. The software looks great and is very easy to use.
ExpressVPN manages a large network of VPN servers around the world. They host servers in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. They are one of the fastest VPN services we have had the pleasure of testing. On top of great service, ExpressVPN offers excellent customer support.
As a member of ExpressVPN you’ll have access to free client software for Windows and Mac. They also have mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. They provide a nice set up guide for DD-WRT routers. ExpressVPN supports OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP. You can sign up for unlimited VPN access from just $8.32 a month. All new members are covered by their 30 day money back guarantee.
4. HideMyAss offers unlimited VPN access from just $6.55 a month.
HideMyAss has been helping users protect their online privacy since 2005. With many years under their belt the HMA team provides an excellent service. HMA has the largest network of any major VPN provider. They are headquartered in the UK and have offices in London, Kiev and Belgrade. Enjoy unlimited VPN from just $6.52 a month.
HideMyAss Mac client in action
The HideMyAss Mac client requires OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later. They also have an older version compatible with Snow Leopard, Leopard, Tiger, Panther and older OSX versions. Here is a quick summary of the HMA Mac client features:
- Search feature – easily search for a server in the country selection
- Auto-path – enable this option to connect using UDP for the fastest connections
- IP address settings – change IP address without disconnecting and schedule regular IP changes
A benefit of having such a large network is that you can access VPN servers in countries that are not available from other services. The HideMyAss network can get very busy at times. I suggest you use their HMA Pro VPN client which has a load balancing feature. This allows you to optimize your speed while using their service.
If you travel the world or live in a country without many local VPN servers then HideMyAss is your best choice. They are always expanding their network and adding new servers. They have multiple server locations in many different countries. Including servers in areas that are not covered by other VPN networks.
HideMyAss has a full line up of software. They have custom clients for Windows and Mac. They also have mobile apps for iOS and Android. You can set up your router to work with the service. HMA supports OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP protocols. Sign up for unlimited VPN access from just $6.55 a month. HMA offers a 30 day money back guarantee.
5. PureVPN offers unlimited VPN access from just $4.16 a month.
The PureVPN team launched their VPN service in 2007 and it has been going strong ever since. They start with standard VPN access and offer a number of add-ons like SmartDNS, dedicated IP, NAT firewall and more. With PureVPN you pay one low price for unlimited VPN access. You can add on other features for an additional cost. PureVPN is one of the only VPN providers to offer split tunneling and dedicated IP addresses.
PureVPN Mac client in action
- Purpose selection – the client will help you choose the best sever depending on your current needs.
- Country selection tool – select the country you want to connect to from the list.
- Auto-connect – automatically connect on launch and at system start up
The PureVPN team manages a large and growing network of VPN servers around the world. You will find multiple server locations in popular countries like the United States and United Kingdom. Windows users will be happy to hear that they offer SSTP connections. They also support OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, and IKEv2 protocols.
PureVPN has client software for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. All together they have one of the best sets of clients and mobile apps we have ever used. The Windows client includes a VPN kill switch feature to help protect your IP address in case you drop the VPN connection. Both the Windows and Mac clients have a smart purpose selection (SPS) tool that helps choose the best protocol and server based on your needs.
I’d like to mention one more PureVPN feature that every member can use. The service supports split tunneling which allows you to tunnel a portion of your Internet traffic thru the VPN while sending other requests directly to your ISP. This can help protect your privacy while allowing you to view streaming content outside the VPN connection without any speed loss. Sign up for unlimited VPN access from just $4.16 a month.
Take a look at our Top 10 VPN services if you would like to explore other options. The top 10 list was compiled with an overall experience in mind. While this post focuses on the best VPN for Mac, the overall top 10 looks at a wide range of devices and purposes for using a VPN. You can follow us @VPNSP for the latest VPN news and special offers.