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).
VPNs are also a great tool to help you keep prying eyes at bay, giving an element of anonymity whilst browsing the web.
There are free VPNs available, but beware that some free VPNs 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.
Generally, though, even paid-for VPNs are quite cheap. You can subscribe to many for under £6 per month.
Read on for our round-up of the best and most popular VPN services available for Mac. To find out more about what a VPN does and how that can benefit you, read: What is a VPN?
Best VPN for Mac
A great VPN option for security, ease-of-use and a variety of useful features is NordVPN. The company tells us that it does not keep any logs of user activity at all, and there are more than 1,000 servers across 61 countries to choose from which is more than most other VPN services available.
NordVPN offers Kill Switch that will end the connection if the VPN drops for any reason, too.
NordVPN is very reasonably priced, and offers lots of privacy and security features to help it become one of the most attractive VPN services for internet users looking for privacy online.
It's easy to set up and it's quick, too, and there are mobile apps included should you need them. Connect to up to six devices at once.
Find out more in our full NordVPN review.
Among the speediest VPN services out there is ExpressVPN. It's not the cheapest option available £6.50/$8.30 per month, but it does offer 24/7 live chat customer support and a 30-day money back guarantee, as well as a zero log policy and kill switch.
There are more than 1,000 servers available in 95 countries, and a range of apps for mobile devices as well as your Mac or PC, in addition to router apps too.
ExpressVPN also works with Netflix to allow you to virtually reside in the country of your choice to access additional TV shows and movies. It's a solid option.
You can find out more in our full ExpressVPN 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 750 servers available in 141 countries.
It also boasts that there are no third-parties involved and no logs of your activities, as 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 $2.95 per month if you're willing to commit to a year, or $10.95 per month if you want to pay on a month-by-month basis.
We did have trouble running PureVPN on older Mac operating systems, so bear this in mind before you subscribe. It does have a 7-day money back guarantee though, so you can always try it. Plus, the support is fantastic thanks to a live chat feature available 24/7.
You can find out more in our full Pure VPN review.
Another of our favourites is CyberGhost offers one of the safest ways to browse the web, and has managed to build a solid reputation when it comes to security and transparency.
In addition to helping to keep you anonymous online, CyberGhost also boasts military-grade encryption to protect you against hackers trying to steal your data on public WiFi hotspots.
It works with most devices including phones and tablets, and there's also an ad-blocker included in the application to speed up surfing. Of course, that does deprive impoverished writers of their hard earned money, so that's something worth bearing in mind if you want to switch the ad-blocker on.
You'll pay $69.60 upfront if you'd like to commit to two years, which is the cheapest option in the long run at $2.90 per month. But if you want just one month of CyberGhost you'll pay $10.40.
You can find our more in our full CyberGhost review.
Private Internet Access
For an even wider choice of servers, Private Internet Access offers a whopping 3,340.
It's also mega-cheap at just under £3 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.
Find out more in our full Private Internet Access review.
IPVanish is good-looking and easy to use, so is one of the best VPN options for beginners. isn't going to help you watch US Netflix, but it is a popular option that is well-worth considering if you have a different priority such as torrents or security/privacy.
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 a whopping 700 servers across 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.
Better yet, 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, and offers apps for iOS, Android and Windows in addition to Mac. You'll get a 7-day money back guarantee, and prices start at around £5 per month.
Find out more in our full IPVanish review.
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.
We found the service to be speedy and stable, but there's no kill switch option and you can only connect to UK servers for now, so no US Netflix.
It is useful for ex-pats or those travelling outside of the UK though, as it means you can access UK content including BBC iPlayer even when you're not in the country.
Find out more about Hidden24 in our full review.
We liked ZenMate for its simplicity. You just have to download it and then pick a country, and that's more or less all there is to it.
We're not sure exactly how many servers ZenMate has, but there are 28 countries to choose from. If you just want to get online with a simple, low-cost VPN, this may be for you.
Simplicity isn't always the best thing, though. If you want to control things like encryption level, or if you really want a kill switch, you'll need to look elsewhere.
It does grant access to US Netflix, but it was mighty slow when we tried to do so. It also seemed to slow down our internet connection.
It costs £5.99 per month, or £49.99 per year. There's also a 14-day money back guarantee.
Find out more in our full ZenMate review.
A speedy option that offers a great interface for mobile is StrongVPN. It can access Netflix US and doesn't log any data.
It does have its downsides, though, including a lower country count than rivals at 24, and just 46 cities. It's also a bit complex and technical, so it definitely isn't for beginners.
The price is extremely competitive, though, at $10 per month or $69.96 per year.
Buffered is the final option on our list, and while it should be a perfectly serviceable VPN solution thanks to its many features, it is let down by a slow interface, fiddly mobile setup and poor performance.
Plus, it's not the cheapest available, and it logs some data that some might find off-putting.
There are more than 30 countries available to reside in though, and you don't need to worry about any bandwidth restrictions.
There's no free version of Buffered, but there is a 30-day money back guarantee available.
Plans include a monthly plan at $12.99 per month, but you can save by opting for a bi-annual plan for $9.99 per month or a yearly plan of $8.25 per month. There's 24/7 customer support, too.