Whether you're concerned about your online privacy or looking to access sites that are ordinarily blocked in your country, a VPN (virtual private network) will help. You'll be able to hide your location online and access blocked content using the services in our round-up of the best VPNs for Mac.
Many people use a VPN in order to enjoy the BBC iPlayer's streaming services while outside of the UK, or to access US Netflix whilst inside the UK in order to make use of its expanded catalogue (although with much tougher restrictions these days many VPNs can no longer help you access these reliably).
A VPN is also a great tool to help you keep prying eyes at bay, giving anonymity whilst browsing the web. Our current favourite is NordVPN, which is a well priced all-rounder. We also recommend ExpressVPN along with eight more great services listed below.
The VPN services we recommend are all paid-for, but most will cost less than £5/$7 per month. There are free VPNs available, but beware that some free VPN services may install unwanted toolbars or third-party applications, and others simply offer much less advanced features. It's important to first read the terms and conditions before using a free VPN, and to make sure you know the free VPNs limits.
All of these VPNs will also work for your iPhone or iPad if you want, though if securing your connection on the go is your focus you might want to check out our separate guide to the best VPNs for iPhone and best VPNs for iPad.
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What's the best VPN for Mac?
NordVPN sits firmly at the top of our list of recommended VPNs. It's great for security, ease-of use and value, offering a variety of useful features.
The company tells us that it does not keep any logs of user activity at all, and there are more than 5,000 servers across 62 countries to choose from. That's more than most other VPN services available, and the most of all of the services reviewed here.
NordVPN adds an extra layer of security by offering a Kill Switch that will end the connection if the VPN drops for any reason.
The app is easy to install and set up, and there are mobile apps and browser extensions included should you need them. Connect to up to six devices at once. We had no trouble connecting to Netflix and other streaming services.
You can get NordVPN for as little as £3.10/USD$3.99 per month if you take advantage of the two year deal. Alternative options include a one year plan, a six month plan or a one month plan.
Find out more in our full NordVPN review.
Another great and trusted VPN service is ExpressVPN. There are thousands of servers across 148 locations in a whopping 94 countries.
There's a zero log policy, 24/7 live chat customer support and a 30-day money back guarantee. There's also a kill switch, and the company prides itself on continuously improving and maintaining high speed servers.
It's not the cheapest option available £5/$6.67 per month if you choose the 15 month deal, but you can use it across three devices simultaneously and there are mobile and router apps, as well as browser extensions.
ExpressVPN works well with streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, too. It's a solid option.
3. Goose VPN
This fast and easy-to-use VPN is aimed at home users who want to access media that's restricted in their region. It offers few options to maintain a very simple interface, putting it among our favourite VPNs of 2018.
You'll be able to access US Netflix from within the UK, as well as other region-blocked content like BBC iPlayer from outside of the UK.
There's also a kill switch feature, mobile apps and browser extensions, and you can have an unlimited number of simultaneous connections meaning you can share it across devices among your family members.
There are less server locations available with Goose VPN, just 77 across 27 countries. However, we found that short connection time and connection quality, as well as the ease of connecting to foreign media, makes up for it.
There's a 30 day free trial available, otherwise you can sign up for the one year plan for £4.99/$6.97 per month, or a more expensive one month plan. There's also a limited one month plan that gets you 50GB for £2.99/USD$4.17, but that won't be enough for most.
4. TunnelBear VPN
Our fourth recommendation now, and this one's fun. It's called TunnelBear, and offers a quirky approach with plenty of bear puns to keep you entertained.
Behind that, though, is a solid, fast and affordable product that does exactly what you'll need it to do without overburdening you with options and choices.
You'll get a kill switch, mobile apps, browser extensions and the ability to connect via five devices at once.
The server choice is a bit limited, as there are only 22 countries available, but most people will find that it's plenty for their needs. It's firmly dedicated to securing family browsing, and is ideal for accessing streaming services like Netflix.
There is a free version of TunnelBear available, but you'll only get 500MB per month. If that's not enough, you can upgrade to the monthly plan for £7.35/$9.99, or the yearly plan for £3.65/$5 per month.
You can also read our full TunnelBear review.
PureVPN is fast and reliable, packed with features at a great price.
It is among the biggest services when it comes to the number of countries it offers. There are more than 2,000 servers available in 141 countries.
PureVPN claims that there are no third-parties involved in its service, and that it keeps no logs of your activities. It's a self-managed network owned by the company itself. It does, however, keep a record of connections and bandwidth in order to optimally manage its servers.
It has a kill switch feature, and also offers split tunnelling if you only want to use the VPN connection for specific apps.
PureVPN is compatible with more than 20 devices, including your Mac, and you can login to 5 devices at once with your account. Prices start at £1.96/$2.49 per month for a three-year plan thanks to a special offer, but there are also six month and one month options.
There is a 7-day money back guarantee, and the support is fantastic thanks to a live chat feature available 24/7.
It's worth noting that PureVPN has been in the news recently after it allegedly helped the FBI track down an internet stalker. While we're happy that a such a person is no longer at large, this does make us question PureVPN's 'no logs' claims, and frankly the claims of other VPNs in this round-up, as we can only trust what we are told by these companies when it comes to logging.
CyberGhost is a big name in the VPN industry. It's affordable and user friendly with a wide range of pre-configured features perfect for newbies.
There are more than 2,700 servers available across 60 countries, and the list is growing fast.
In addition to helping to keep you anonymous online, CyberGhost also claims military-grade encryption to protect you against hackers trying to steal your data on public WiFi hotspots.
It works with most devices including phones, tablets, browsers and of course your Mac, and there's also an ad-blocker included in the application to speed up surfing.
It can cost as little as £2.70/$3.50 per month if you sign up for three years, but there's also a two year, one year or one month option.
IPVanish is good-looking and easy to use, so is one of the best VPN options for beginners.
It'll appeal to home users thanks to access to Netflix US. However, it's also based in the US, which is a distinct turn-off for those worried about online privacy, but it doesn't keep any traffic logs at all so it's unlikely any data will be available to share with the government anyway.
The good news is that it has 1,000 servers across more 60 countries, and you'll be able to connect via five different devices at once with the same account.
If you do want to use the service for torrents you can reduce the encryption to hide your IP address without sacrificing download and upload speeds.
Plus, IPVanish owns and operates the entire internal infrastructure (its private network, physical points of presence and servers), which is unlike most other VPN services available today.
IPVanish offers a Kill Switch, apps for iOS, Android and Windows in addition to Mac, but misses out on browser extensions.
You'll get a 7-day money back guarantee, and prices start at around £4.95/$6.49 per month.
Find out more in our full IPVanish review, or visit the IPVanish website to sign up for a subscription.
This family VPN offers great value for money. You can connect to five devices simultaneously for £4.79 per month if you sign up for a year's subscription. For three devices the price decreases to £3.63 per month.
The downside is that we had trouble connecting to Netflix US the first time, although we have since been more successful and found an easy and fast connection to the service. This is common among VPNs as Netflix is constantly blocking VPN servers while VPNs are creating new ones to get around it.
There are more than 700 servers available across 70 countries, and you'll find that you can connect to them quickly and easily. There's also a kill switch and great mobile apps to boot, but it lacks browser extensions.
9. Private Internet Access
For an wide choice of servers, Private Internet Access offers one of the biggest ranges at more than 3,400, although they're only spread across 33 countries.
It's cheap at £2.10/$2.91 per month, and you'll get five licences for that small fee that can be used simultaneously on any device, including iOS and MacOS.
It doesn't track your IP address or timestamps, offers a Kill Switch feature and lets you pay anonymously. It's also among the fastest VPNs available.
There is one big downside, though, and that's that it is based in the US, which is the very centre of the 5-eyes data swapping collective.
For some, that will ring immediate alarm bells, but if you're not overly concerned about where it is based this is a definite contender.
Hidden24 focuses completely on privacy and anonymity, after starting life in 2005 as a reaction to Sweden's snooping laws.
It now has a UK-based server farm that means you can protect yourself online by connecting to another UK server. It uses the operating system's own VPN capability so there's no app to download, and setup is simple thanks to complete, detailed guides.
There are also US servers available to connect to US Netflix, and the service is speedy and stable. There's no kill switch option though.
It is most useful for ex-pats or those travelling outside of the UK, as it means you can access UK content including BBC iPlayer even when you're not in the country.
Hidden24 starts at £3.33/$4.61 per month.