vpn macbook free Best VPN for Mac 2023: Reviews and buying advice for Mac users

maaloma nich
12 min readDec 17, 2022

vpn macbook free Best VPN for Mac 2023: Reviews and buying advice for Mac usersA VPN (virtual private network) is an essential tool nowadays, regardless of which device you use.

With the increased popularity of VPNs has come an increased number of VPN providers vying for your business. That makes finding the best one to suit your needs difficult.

To help you sort out the right provider for you, we’ve committed to extensive research and testing of VPN services that cater to Mac owners in our guide to the top VPN services for Mac.

vpn macbook free Best VPN for Mac 2023: Reviews and buying advice for Mac users

With the internet abuzz with privacy concerns and the potential changes coming to net neutrality, you’ve likely heard about

before. When used correctly, a VPN can greatly strengthen your online privacy, assist in keeping your personal information secure, and even spoof your location in the world — allowing you to access websites or services that would otherwise be off limits due to region-locking.

Indeed, one of the most popular reasons to use a VPN outside the US is to get access to blocked online content, such as foreign Netflix libraries. With a vpn macbook free you can watch BBC iPlayer while outside of the UK, or access US Netflix from the UK, for example.

While Macs are generally considered to be more secure than PCs, VPNs are still useful for Mac users because it affects the connection between your Mac and the internet, rather than the computer itself.

If you subscribe to Apple’s iCloud+ you may be thinking you don’t need a VPN to hide your location and identity. Apple’s update for iCloud subscribers includes iCloud Private Relay, which sounds a bit like a VPN because it encrypts your web-browsing traffic and sends it through a relay to hide your location, IP, and any information about what you were browsing.

However, iCloud Private Relay is not a VPN because you aren’t able to choose an IP address or a region, and you won’t be able to make it look like you’re coming from another location. So you can’t watch geographically locked Netflix content, for example. Read more here: iCloud+ Private Relay explained.

Our current favourite service is Surfshark, which is a well-priced all-rounder. But below you will find the top VPN services for Mac.

Right now nearly all the VPN services are doing huge Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, so it’s a great time to subscribe!

Best vpn macbook free 2022–2023

vpn macbook free Most of these will cost less than $5/£5 per month, with some less than $3/£3. There are free VPNs available, but beware that some severely restrict which servers (and therefore countries) you can connect to and the amount of data you can download through those servers. You may be able to save money if you take a look at our round up of VPN deals

It’s also important to read the terms and conditions before using a free VPN, as in rare cases they sell your data to third parties to offset the cost of you using it without paying. It’s a bigger problem on iPhones and Android where unscrupulous companies try to cash in on the VPN ‘gold rush’ and offer up poorly put together apps. Stick with our recommendations and you’ll be safe from these, though.

VPN apps very easy to install and use but for a step-by-step guide, read how to set up a VPN on a Mac.

All of these VPNs will also work on your iPhone and iPad as well, but you might want to check out our separate guides to the best VPNs for iPhone and best VPNs for iPad.

Best VPNs for Mac: Reviewed & Ranked

1. Surfshark


- Fast WireGuard speeds

— Unlimited devices and connections

— Easy to use


- No split tunneling on macOS

— Kill switch can’t be customised

MSRP: From $2.49 per month

Surfshark is a great-value VPN that offers a lot more than you’d expect for a small monthly price.

Its apps are easy to use and it reliably unblocks streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It’s missing the specialty servers offered by rivals such as NordVPN, though.

Connection speeds are very impressive, and that’s thanks to the use of the WireGuard protocol. You really won’t notice any slowdown in your internet speed when Surfshark is running, so long as you have WireGuard selected and aren’t using servers the other side of the globe.

The company has upgraded all its servers so they run entirely in RAM, just like NordVPN and ExpressVPN. It’s also a member of the VPN Trust Initiative, while two-factor authentication (2FA) is a feature few VPN services offer.

The other reason to consider Surfshark is because it undercuts almost all of its rivals on price, yet doesn’t place any limit on the number of devices you can use simultaneously.

So you can install and use it across many devices including your Mac, PC, Android and iOS devices, as well as browsers.

There’s a kill switch, a strict no-logs policy and a Multi-Hop feature which routes your connection via two VPN servers for an extra layer of protection. However, there’s no split tunneling or GPS spoofing on the Mac.

— 3200+ RAM-based servers

— Multi-Hop connections

— Unlimited simultaneous connections

— 24/7 customer service

— Two-factor authentication

— GPS spoofing (Android only)

Sign up to Surfshark here.

Read our full Review Surfshark for Mac

2. NordVPN


- Easy to use

— Impressive WireGuard speeds

— Lots of servers


- No split tunneling on macOS

— Two separate apps can be confusing

MSRP: From $3.71 per month

NordVPN is one of the biggest and best-known VPN services. It sat firmly at the top of this list for years until Surfshark pipped it to the post. NordVPN is easier to use than Surfshark and has a more up-to-date independent audit. It also has speciality servers for specific purposes. But Surfshark is cheaper, offers unlimited connections and has more in-depth double VPN features.

There are more than 5,000 servers available across 59 countries. You won’t have to figure out which one to choose thanks to the handy ‘Quick connect’ feature that picks the server best suited to your needs.

Connections are fast and reliable, and NordVPN unblocks popular streaming services around the world including Netflix and BBC iPlayer. You can connect up to six devices simultaneously.

Recently Nord has added support for the faster WireGuard protocol, making it one of the fastest VPN services out there. However, it’s only available on the ‘IKE’ version of the app, which only offers a permanently enabled kill switch. To have more control, you’ll need to download the ‘OpenVPN’ version, albeit with slightly slower speeds.

— 6 simultaneous connections

— 24/7 tech support

— Kill Switch

— Works with Netflix & other streaming services

You can get 68% off the usual monthly price if you take advantage of the two-year plan. However, there’s no split tunneling on the Mac version.

Read our full Review NordVPN for Mac

3. ExpressVPN


- Easy-to-use desktop program

— Broad device support

— Excellent speeds


- ExpressVPN’s team is largely anonymous

— Expensive

MSRP: From $6.67 per month

ExpressVPN is one of the most accomplished VPN services you can buy. Everything you’d expect from a modern VPN is here, including an effective kill switch, impressive device support and split tunneling for app-by-app protection. Although the latter doesn’t yet work on macOS Big Sur, it is extremely easy to set up, with quick access via the menu bar one of the highlights.

ExpressVPN has often led the way when it comes to security, but other providers are quickly catching up. It’s no longer the only one with RAM-based servers, while solid device and tech support are the norm whichever service you use.

The new Lightway protocol looks set to deliver big increases to the speeds ExpressVPN is capable of, but as open-source technology many similar services will be able to make use of it. Many of these are significantly more affordable.

With the introduction of Apple Silicon, there’s no doubt that ExpressVPN is more than capable of serving the next generation of Mac. It’s just not the only one.

— Kill switch (Network Lock)

— 5 simultaneous connections

— 24/7 customer service

— Works with Netflix & other streaming services

See ExpressVPN subscription plans here.

Read our full Review ExpressVPN

4. VyprVPN


- Fast WireGuard speeds

— Very easy to use

— Unblocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer

— Low starting price


- Comparatively few servers

— Not clear which servers are virtual

— Patchy support experience

MSRP: From $2.50 per month

VyprVPN offers everything most people are looking for in a VPN, without needing to spend much money.

You get fast WireGuard speeds, alongside separate protocols focused on reliability, anti-censorship and ease of use. It’s also excellent at unblocking geo-restricted content, whether that’s local versions of Netflix or BBC iPlayer & ITV Hub from outside the UK. Premium features such as split tunneling and a kill switch are here too, even if the latter can’t be customised.

VyprVPN’s no-logs policy has been independently audited, and the service adheres to a strict Privacy Policy from parent company Golden Frog. More than 700 servers in over 70 countries should be plenty for most people, although there’s often only one per country. It’s also not clear which of these are physical and virtual.

— Kill switch and split tunneling

— WireGuard protocol means fast speeds

— 30 simultaneous connections

— Works with Netflix & other streaming services

Nonetheless, it’s still speedy, reliable and affordable — especially if you don’t mind subscribing for three years. That 36-month plan will set you back just $1.81/£1.36 per month, representing excellent value for money.

See full VyprVPN pricing here

Read our full Review VyprVPN

5. FastestVPN


- Affordable pricing

— Good speeds

— 10 simultaneous connections


- Limited compared to the Windows app

— Limited VPN protocol options

MSRP: $10 per month (deals are available)

This easy-to-use, attractive, and uncomplicated app is a great option for VPN newbs. In addition to its straightforward and uncluttered design, FastestVPN also offers good speeds and a sufficiently expansive network. It’s icing on the cake that its privacy policy is easy to understand and makes all the right promises.

In our tests, FastestVPN maintained about 30 percent of the base speed across five locations on multiple test days, although there were some weak spots in Asia and Australia.

— Supports 10 simultaneous connections

— 32 country connections with more than 250 servers

— Internet kill switch blocks all online traffic if VPN connection drops

Despite it’s name it’s not the fastest VPN, but FastestVPN does make the right privacy promises in a way that’s easy to understand.

Read our full Review FastestVPN

6. ProtonVPN


- Easy-to-use software interface

— Secure Core helps hide your location

— Built-in malware and tracker blocker

— One of the fastest we’ve tested on a Mac


- A few occasions where Netflix didn’t work

ProtonVPN is an impressive VPN. It starts with a free tier with very limited features, is easy to understand, offers a collection of interesting features and great speeds.

— 55 country options

— Includes NetShield malware and tracker blocker

— Internet kill switch option

— Works with Netflix and other streaming services

— One of the fastest vpn open source we’ve tested on macOS

ProtonVPN is a ProtonVPN starts with a free tier with very limited features is an excellent service with fast speeds, the right privacy promises, a good amount of features including support for streaming services, and fair pricing. It’s well worth a look.

Read our full Review ProtonVPN

7. CyberGhost


- Impressive WireGuard speeds

— Dedicated downloading and streaming servers

— Affordable


- No split tunneling on vpn open source

— No recent audit

— Didn’t unblock BBC iPlayer

MSRP: From $2.25 per month

CyberGhost is one of the biggest names in the VPN industry. It’s affordable and user friendly, so is perfect for anyone using a VPN on their Mac for the first time.

Like certain rivals, it is constantly adding new servers and the current tally of over 6700 in 88 countries means you should always be able to get a fast connection. And in our tests, we’ve always seen great speeds from CyberGhost, especially following the introduction of the WireGuard protocol.

It works with phones, tablets, browsers and of course your Mac.

— 6700+ servers

— 7 simultaneous connections

— 24/7 customer service

— Kill switch

It’s not perfect, though — there’s no split tunneling on the Mac, no evidence of a recent independent audit of security credentials and a user experience that’s slightly rough around the edges. It also didn’t unblock BBC iPlayer in our testing.

Still, at $2.25/£1.99 per month for 3-year deal (which currently gives you three months’ extra free), it still represents very good value for money.

Read our full Review CyberGhost for vpn open source

8. Private Internet Access


- Lots of servers

— Fast WireGuard speeds

— Split tunneling works well

— Unblocks BBC iPlayer


- Clunky Mac app

— No independent audit

— Based within 14-eyes

— Doesn’t unblock ITV Hub

MSRP: From $2.91 per month

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a compelling macbook vpn at a relatively affordable price, making it a great option for the Mac.

It has an incredible 33,665 servers across 73 countries — that’s far higher than almost any consumer VPN service. These include all the most popular locations, with the option for up to 10 simultaneous connections.

Speeds are excellent, thanks to the recent introduction of the WireGuard protocol. PIA also benefits from a kill switch and split tunneling, features that are sometimes left out of Mac VPN services.

It allows you to access international versions of Netflix, as well as BBC iPlayer while outside the UK.

The service doesn’t log any of your details or activity, so even though it is based in the US, there’s no data to hand over should the authorities order PIA to do so.

— 33,000+ servers

— 10 simultaneous connections

— 24/7 customer service

— Kill switch and split tunneling

However, it’s not perfect.macbook vpn There’s no evidence of an independent audit and the Mac app is clunky in comparison to some rivals.

Nonetheless, PIA is a solid VPN service at an affordable price. A two-year subscription works out at only $2.91/£2.37 per month. You also currently get two months extra for free.

Read our full Review Private Internet Access

9. Hide.me


- Fast WireGuard speeds

— Dedicated streaming servers

— Impressive free tier


- Slightly clunky UI

— No recent independent audit

— Premium plans are expensive

MSRP: From free (Premium subscription from $5.41 per month)

Hide.me is another VPN service which has improved considerably in recent years.

As well as offering a completely free version (which none of its rivals here do), it has also added WireGuard, which is considerably faster than other encryption protocols.

Other key features include a customisable kill switch and split tunneling, as well as a Stealth Guard which stops selected apps from running without the security of a VPN connection.

vpn open source It can unblock Netflix and allows you to access BBC iPlayer from outside the UK. There’s also solid device support, with up to 10 simultaneous connections permitted.

— 1900+ servers in 47 countries

— Kill switch

— Split tunneling

— 24/7 live chat

— 10 simultaneous connections

— Free version

However, the user interface on Mac is a bit clunky, and we’re still waiting for an update to the 2015 no-logs policy certification.

Read our full Review hide.me VPN

10. Malwarebytes Privacy VPN (Mac)


- Easy to use and understand

— Supports WireGuard protocol

— Clear privacy policy


- Not a lot of features

— Other VPNs have more anonymity features

MSRP: $3.33 a month, one device

Malwarebytes, probably best known for antivirus software and advice, also offers a standalone VPN service called Malwarebytes Privacy. It’s an easy to use app with the right kind of privacy promises — as you’d expect from a respected name in security based in the U.S.

— Offers 32 country locations

— More than 245 servers

In our tests Malwarebytes was a mid-tier performer in terms of speeds, but it should be good enough for most casual users.

Malwarebytes Privacy vpns reviews does a good job and, starting at $3.33/£2.50 a month for one device, the price is right.

Read our full Review Malwarebytes Privacy VPN (macbook vpn)

11. PureVPN


- Lots of servers

— Impressive security credentials

— Unblocks iPlayer u0026amp; ITV Hub


- No WireGuard on Mac

— No split tunneling on Mac

— Kill switch can’t be customised

MSRP: From $1.99 per month

PureVPN is a service to consider if you need to connect to one or more of the countries which aren’t covered by its rivals.

There are more than 2,000 servers available across 141 countries (the most of all services listed here).

However, some of those are achieved using virtual server locations. Virtual servers are usually rented from a datacentre, which means the VPN company may have less control over them. PureVPN is transparent about which servers are virtual and which are physical — you can see a small ‘v’ next to each virtual server on the PureVPN website.