The best Mac VPN in 2024

best mac vpn
(Image credit: Krisda/Shutterstock)

If you're a Mac user, a quality Mac VPN is an essential part of your online toolbox. From protecting your online privacy to getting round content blocks on Netflix and government censorship, the best VPNs of 2024 are remarkably versatile bits of software. With so many to choose from, though, it can be a tricky decision to make - especially when not every VPN has an equally compelling package for Mac devices. 

While many top providers have relatively weak macOS offerings, my team of experts and I at Tom's Guide have sorted the wheat from the chaff to give you the best possible options for Mac VPNs.

We have reviewed dozens of VPNs across multiple criteria, including speed, privacy, unblocking, coverage, and price, to bring you this list of the top 5 VPNs for Mac. 

My top three Mac VPN picks

On this page I've pulled together the 5 best Mac VPNs on the market. However, if you're short on time and just want the top three, simply look at my top choices below:

1. ExpressVPN – The very best Mac VPN

1. ExpressVPN – The very best Mac VPN
ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN for Mac and just about every other device as well. It offers class-leading privacy with useful features like a reliable kill switch, auto-connect, and an independently audited no-logs policy. 

It's great for streaming, and the powerful yet simple apps and 24/7 support team make it perfect choice for newbies and experts alike. Tom's Guide readers can now claim three months free on the 12-month plan, as well as 1 years free use of backup software Backblaze. You can also try it out risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. Surfshark – The best cheap Mac VPN

2. Surfshark – The best cheap Mac VPN
Surfshark offers an excellent mix of affordability and top-quality privacy protection. With super simple apps, unlimited connections and the option to add on antivirus as well, it offers unparalleled value for money. 

With servers in 100 countries, Surfshark establishes itself as a top choice for streaming global content, all for just $1.99 a month. Mac users can also claim a 7-day free trial in addition to the standard 30-day money-back guarantee.

3.NordVPN – The fastest Mac VPN

3. NordVPN – The fastest Mac VPN
NordVPN is a top-rated Mac VPN for privacy purists thanks to its comprehensive security suite, including extras like a built-in antivirus, ad & malware blockers, and a password manager. All Nord apps are beginner-friendly, and there’s no shortage of support, either.

With consistently fast speeds and tons of servers that are perfect for unblocking global content, it's one of the best services when it comes to streaming. If you're not sure it's for you, prices start from just $2.99 a month, and you can trial it out with the 30-day money-back guarantee.

Recent updates

In my first update of the new year, I've check the all the facts and figures on this page are correct, and well as making some slight edits for clarity in the copy. My Mac VPN recommendations have remained the same, and I still rate ExpressVPN as the best choice bar none. 

The best Mac VPNs today

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

ExpressVPN: The best VPN for Mac overall

ExpressVPN on a Macbook

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

Simply the best Mac VPN

Also works on: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox | Unblocks: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Number of servers: 3,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 8

Works seamlessly on Mac
Crisp, clean apps on all devices
Class-leading support
Excellent connection speeds
Pretty expensive – but worth it
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want class-leading privacy and security: ExpressVPN provides the most comprehensive VPN protection out there with an independently audited no-logs policy, ad and malware blockers

✔️ You want a VPN you can set and forget: Thanks to Express’s auto-connect feature, you have to connect to the VPN just once, and it’ll ensure that you’re always on a secure VPN server. 

✔️ You want a VPN for gaming on your Mac: ExpressVPN protects you from DDoS attacks, keeps your data private, and reduces ping time between gaming servers by connecting you to servers close to the network host.  

Avoid if:

You want a cheap VPN: ExpressVPN isn't exactly a bargain, and rivals like Surfshark are ideal for you if you’re on a budget. 

❌ You want built-in antivirus: ExpressVPN misses out on being an all-in-one security solution due to the lack of an antivirus, something which NordVPN has.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ExpressVPN is our #1 VPN overall and it delivers an absolutely seamless experience on Mac as well. With class-leading privacy, excellent unblocking capabilities, wide coverage, and beginner-friendly apps, ExpressVPN should be your first choice as a Mac VPN.

In my hands-on ExpressVPN review, the British Virgin Islands-based provider came out on top as my favorite VPN overall, and my decision is no different when it comes to awarding the top VPN for Mac. With powerful encryption, a rock-solid kill switch and an auto-connect feature, you can rest assured that your browsing history or real location will never be left vulnerable.

Both ExpressVPN’s Windows and Mac apps are very similar in how they look and function. However, the Mac version doesn’t have split tunneling. On the bright side, it provides the Threat Manager and the malware and tracking blocker, both of which are offerings omitted from its Windows app. It's also the best iPhone VPN on the market, so if you have multiple Apple devices, it's well worth considering.

> Sign up for my #1 VPN for Mac

The Threat Manager is a unique ExpressVPN feature that blocks apps and websites on your Mac from tracking your activity, let alone relaying it to third parties. A strict no-logs policy and class-leading encryption with secure DNS and P2P support on all servers make ExpressVPN one of the most secure VPNs on the market right now.

For even more protection, ExpressVPN employs TrustedServer technology that includes RAM-only servers and the entire software stack being reinstalled on every server at boot. ExpressVPN servers do not store any of your data, and once your session comes to an end, there’s virtually no record of it whatsoever.

ExpressVPN is also killer when it comes to streaming. It's able to unblock a wide range of global Netflix libraries, as well as BBC iPlayer outside the UK, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and tons more. 

In my recent round of testing, ExpressVPN reached a maximum download speed of 560 Mbps. Now, you really only need a 25 Mbps connection to stream your favorite content in 4K Ultra HD, so Express does more than just a decent job here. That said, it can't quite match the likes of Surfshark and NordVPN when it comes to sheer speed.

You can now log in with the same ExpressVPN account on 8 devices simultaneously. This number was previously 5, so the jump is commendable, but rivals like Surfshark and PIA come with unlimited simultaneous connections, and at a lower price point. However, I'm glad to see ExpressVPN pushing to offer more value to customers.

The introduction of ExpressVPN Keys, however, is very welcome and shows that the premium provider is focused on improving its wider range of security and privacy products – one of the few areas in which it falls behind the rivals listed just below on this page.

Overall, ExpressVPN is an ideal pick for those looking for class leading privacy, and while on the pricier side, it’s quite simply the best Mac VPN money can buy. Plus, it’s beginner-friendly with a simple interface and 24/7 responsive customer support available for any trouble you may run into. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, so try it out and see how it works for you.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ExpressVPN test results
FeatureCommentsRating
DesignAn intuitive and beginner-friendly design that’s pleasing to the eye⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useOne of the most beginner-friendly VPNs⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceSpeeds are excellent, but there are faster VPNs out there⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingExcellent across the board, with only a couple of niche Netflix libraries unavailable⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyQuite frankly unbeatable when it comes to personal protection⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportFast and knowledgeable live chat agents, with tons of useful guides⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PricePretty expensive when compared to the competition⭐⭐⭐

The best budget Mac VPN

Surfshark VPN on a Macbook

(Image credit: Surfshark)

2. Surfshark

Excellent VPN for Mac at a bargain price

Also works on: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux (GUI) | Unblocks: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

Incredibly cheap longer plans
Super straightforward to use
Good unblocking performance
Unlimited connections
Not as configurable as some
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want unlimited simultaneous connections: You can cover any number of devices with just one Surfshark subscription, including your family members and friends and then some.

✔️ You want no compromises on speed: Surfshark is as fast or faster than all its rivals, topping out at an outstanding 950 Mbps in my testing. 

✔️ You want to stream on your Mac: Surfshark comes with commendable unblocking capabilities, and with servers in over 100 countries, you’ll have access to more libraries than you'll ever need.   

Avoid if:

❌ You only want to torrent: Surfshark supports torrenting on its service, but if that’s your major use case, PIA or ExpressVPN is better suited for you. 

❌ You’re a Windows user: If you also happen to have a device running Windows, I found a minor issue with the kill switch. This doesn't affect Macs, however.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Surfshark provides exceptional value for money, with unlimited simultaneous connections, industry-leading speeds, and well-rounded security measures. It's very well suited for those who want to access global Netflix libraries and other streaming sites. For the price, you can't go wrong.

Surfshark is an excellent cheap VPN that stands tall as a capable Mac VPN thanks to its recent upgrades to be Apple M1 compatible. Plus, like Nord, Surfshark proved itself to be one of the fastest VPNs I've tested, maxing out at an impressive 950 Mbps.

With full support for WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2, industry-standard AES-256 encryption, and a few extra features like split tunneling and Double Hop, along with Clean Web 2.0 ad and malware blocking, it's a complete package. The simple, friendly Mac interface also makes these features easy to use, and just like ExpressVPN, it's a great option for first-timers.

However, the app window isn’t resizable, nor is the kill switch status shown on the home screen, both of which are a little annoying, especially when you consider that it’s not the case on Surfshark’s Windows app. But the Mac app shines through with its auto-connect functionality – something the Windows app doesn’t have. You can rest assured that you’ll be connected to a secure Surfshark server at all times.

Surfshark also provides another layer on anonymity via its Incogni service. This sees the company request data brokers, such as those dealing in marketing data, recruitment data, people search sites, and more, to delete any data they have on you. All you have to do is fill out a form and give Incogni permission to reach out to data brokers on your behalf. This shows how dedicated Surfshark is to user privacy – although you will have to sign up separately.

Surfshark sets itself apart from its competition with its unlimited simultaneous connections, making it an ideal pick for those who want to cover all the devices in their family plus share the same VPN subscription with their friends and coworkers. 

On the streaming front, the service is at par with industry leaders like NordVPN and ExpressVPN, unblocking everything I threw at it, from UK US Netflix libraries and BBC iPlayer to the more obscure platforms like 10Play.

All in all, Surfshark offers excellent encryption with the fastest speeds and a smooth and uninterrupted streaming experience – and at $1.99 a month, it's an absolute bargain as well.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Surfshark test results
FeatureCommentsRating
DesignAn intuitive and beginner-friendly design that’s pleasing to the eye⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useOne of the most beginner-friendly VPNs, and even complete rookies can easily navigate their way around the apps⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceThe fastest provider that I’ve tested⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingEffortless unblocking of just about every platform there is⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyExcellent basics, although the kill switch on Windows lets it down a little⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportA little difficult to navigate but the 24/7 professional support is pretty reliable⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceGreat value⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The fastest Mac VPN

NordVPN on a Macbook

(Image credit: NordVPN)

3. NordVPN

Security, speed and simplicity

Also works on: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux | Unblocks: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, ITVX, All4, 9Now, 10Play | Money-back guarantee: 30 days | Number of servers: 5,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 6

Some useful security extras
Loads of servers
Lots of extensions
Apps are little clunky
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want to stream Netflix on your Mac: NordVPN unblocked pretty much everything I threw at it in my testing, from popular locations like US and UK to even some hard-to-crack Netflix libraries like Japan. 

✔️ You want an all-in-one VPN: NordVPN goes above and beyond to provide you with a 360-degree security solution with great speeds, privacy, wide coverage, and 24/7 friendly support.

✔️ You want a VPN with built-in antivirus: Nord stamps its authority as a comprehensive security package thanks to a native antivirus solution.

Avoid if:

 You want to cover a lot of devices at the same time: with just 6 simultaneous connections, NordVPN doesn't match up to the likes of Surfshark that come with unlimited simultaneous connections.

❌ You want the best interface: The map-style interface isn't hugely intuitive. Those looking for simplicity will be better off with ExpressVPN or Surfshark.

❌ You want global access: although NordVPN has over 5,000 servers, it doesn't match the competition in terms of sheer range. Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark are present in a lot more countries than Nord. 

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

NordVPN is a popular choice for privacy purists that want their VPN to double up as a rock-solid security tool as well. With built-in antivirus, unblocking that's second to none, consistent speeds, and a reasonable price, NordVPN is a complete package. 

As quite possibly the best-known VPN on the market, it's no surprise to see NordVPN crop up as one of the best Mac VPNs. Alongside a full security suite, it comes with its own super-fast encryption protocol, that topped my speed tests at over 950 Mbps.

In my hands-on NordVPN review, I found that it offers all the basics, like powerful encryption and multiple protocols, but it also delivers a few features that aren't available with rivals ExpressVPN and Surfshark. The unique 'Onion over VPN' setting routes you through the Tor network, which sacrifices speed for unrivaled privacy. 

You'll also get two kill switches and a nifty Double VPN feature which encrypts your data twice by routing your Internet traffic through two VPN servers instead of one, as is the standard. 

The unique Meshnet feature works like a LAN network, allowing you to securely connect up to 60 devices directly. This eliminates the need to ever send files to the server cloud, making gaming or collaborating with your buddies and file sharing more secure. This, coupled with an independently audited no-logs policy and in-built antivirus, makes NordVPN a complete security suite adept on all counts.

On its Mac app, NordVPN has a Presets feature that allows you to combine a set of VPN settings and a server location to operate the VPN in the best possible manner as per your use case. 

For example, you can have a browsing preset that maximizes security while browsing, with ad and malware blocking. On other occasions, you can prioritize download speeds and then have a different preset to go along with those settings – lots to play around with and is much welcome.

As the best Netflix VPN, NordVPN gives you unrestricted access to every Netflix library in the world, including niche locations like Japan. Not just that, it runs smoothly with all other popular streaming sites as well, including Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. 

NordVPN's 6 simultaneous connections and servers in 60 countries mean that it's off the mark compared to Surfshark and ExpressVPN – the former offers unlimited simultaneous connections and the latter has servers in as many as 105 countries. Overall though, NordVPN does offer more in terms of extra features, so may well offer more value to you.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
NordVPN test results
FeatureCommentsRating
DesignA fun design but it could have been more clutter-free⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useEasy-to-use apps across the board but the map-like interface puts off the simplicity ⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceVery rapid and consistent, and one of the fastest ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingBypasses geo-restrictions of every platform no matter where you are ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyA complete package with a verified no-logs policy, reliable encryption, and a built-in antivirus⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 expert assistance with no shortage of help resources ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceReasonably priced but cheaper options are available ⭐⭐⭐⭐