How to stay safe online by using a VPN on your Mac

Are Mac VPNs safe?
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While fewer Macs than Windows devices get infected with malware, that certainly shouldn't make you feel invincible online and take more risks. When you're online, no matter what OS you're using, it's essential to take steps to protect you and your data, and using a Mac VPN is at the core of that.

Here, we'll be running down a few ways in which choosing and using a VPN can help you secure your Mac more effectively, and which is the best VPN for you to go with.

  • Setup VPN: our comprehensive guide for all devices

VPNs can improve your safety online

VPNs work similarly on any device, so the process is very similar whether you're using a Mac or a Windows device, with most of the same features and settings available, depending on the specific provider. When you’re using a reliable VPN, your internet activity won’t be visible to your ISP, network administrator, or any other third parties.

Without a VPN, that information will be potentially accessible to a large group of individuals and organizations. For example, brands monitor users’ browsing data to build personal profiles and send targeted ads. Your activity could also be extracted by hackers if you’re using an unsecured public network.

Always download from reputable sources

While some VPNs and other cybersecurity providers offer malware detection, you should still be careful when downloading files from the internet. On its own, a VPN won’t prevent you from downloading malware that could impact your computer’s performance or put your data at risk.

If you’re looking for a new VPN, make sure to download it from the provider’s official site – it's been know for otherwise legitimate VPN software to be 'bundled' with malware on third-party sites. Also, reputable VPNs won’t ask you to download or install any additional applications.

A VPN won’t make you invincible

While a VPN can protect you from some risks, you should still keep your guard up when using the internet. VPNs are capable of combating certain types of threats, typically those that involve attempts to extract data from your online activity – by tracking your location, for example. But you’ll still be vulnerable to other attacks. Phishing, for example, constitutes the majority of cybersecurity breaches worldwide.

These attempts are growing more and more sophisticated every year, forcing internet users – even those using VPNs – to be more careful when entering passwords, credit card details, social security numbers, and other pieces of sensitive information.

Not every paid VPN is trustworthy, but premium providers are more likely to be reliable than free ones. Free VPN services often generate income by selling browsing data to third parties, which essentially nullifies the main benefit of a VPN.

While some free options may have enough features for casual users, they typically fail to offer the same level of safety. Paid VPNs from reputable brands are the best option if you’re serious about your online security.

Which VPN do we recommend for Mac?

NordVPN, Surfshark, and Hotspot Shield are all great options, but ExpressVPN is the one we'd go for when using a Mac. Its blazing fast speeds, diverse server locations, 24/7 customer support availability, and fair prices put it ahead of the competition.

That said, each of the above VPNs offers reliable security, so you can’t go wrong with any of them. Assuming that all the providers you’re considering match your security needs, the right VPN for you depends on your use case – for example, you might want one with servers in a particular country or one that supports a large number of simultaneous connections.

it offers the best of both worlds without compromise

With super-simple apps and easy connections for the newbies, but serious power and configuration under the hood for those that want to tinker, it offers the best of both worlds without compromise.

You'll get unlimited access to over 3,000 servers in 94 countries, and you'll also be able to access pretty much every streaming service wherever you are. If you're not sure, Express also offers a generous 30-day money-back guarantee, and Tom's Guide readers can claim three months absolutely FREE when signing up to a 12-month plan. What's not to like?