Mac fanboys and PC users have been arguing for decades about which operating system is better. While it’s true that each operating system has their own unique advantages, Mac users know their operating system is a higher quality product. After all, who hasn’t heard of the infamous ‘blue screen of death (BSOD)’ which can crash any Windows computer in a heartbeat.
We all know that Mac systems are much more stable and secure, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect.
We’ve all run into problems on Apple devices which don’t exist on Windows platforms. One of the biggest problems of owning an Apple device is finding the right software. From video players to security applications, it can be difficult finding the right program for your computer.
Microsoft’s operating systems are more mainstream, and as a result, more programs are written for Windows than Mac. But Windows applications lack many of the security and hardware integration benefits of Apple’s proprietary software. Some software developers will create applications for both platforms, but how do you know that you’re getting the best security software for a Mac?
If you haven’t tried to find the best VPN for Mac OS X, believe me, separating the wheat from the chaff can feel challenging.
Security Vulnerabilities that Plague Mac Users
There is a common misnomer among avid Mac users that I need to talk about. Most people tend to think that OS X is inherently impenetrable, whereas Windows is riddled with security flaws. However, this misnomer can be incredibly misleading, fooling many Mac users to think their information is secure.
When their data is actually still easily accessible by governmental agencies and common hackers. While it is true that OS X operating systems are not susceptible to viruses and malware as often as Windows, OS X still contains security flaws. And all bets are off once your data leaves the computer. Even the latest version of OS X – El Capitan – was found to contain numerous bugs and weaknesses in the code that posed massive security threats.
Though operating systems play a key role in your privacy and security, the largest factor to consider when browsing the web is encryption. Once you click a link in a web browser or sign into an online account, your data can be seen by third-parties as it traverses across the very public Internet. However, encrypted data is impossible to read, whether or not it is intercepted by hackers or surveillance programs (as long as your data is encrypted with the latest standards).
When you access a website, your computer or mobile device is sending personal information to a server. But there is one gaping security hole – the destination server could be anywhere in the world. As your data is transmitted across the Internet, it can be intercepted and read by:
- Foreign governments
- Service providers
Regardless of the operating system you use. Information sent across the vast digital ocean known as the Internet has no allegiance to any OSs. Whether you use a Mac or a PC, data has to travel great distances through physical cables before reaching its destination.
And there’s no telling how many different countries, borders, and geographic boundaries the data will cross, making your data vulnerable to interception during the long journey. As we all witnessed from the information made public by Edward Snowden, governments are always on the prowl for domestic and foreign communications data. But guess what?
It isn’t their business to know what you say in emails, Skype calls, or what websites you visit. Would you really want to take the risk of personal communications, phone calls, instant messages, or pictures ending up on some government’s servers (especially if you live under a fascist regime)? Of course not – that would be a huge invasion of privacy.
Government surveillance makes most people feel like their personal information has been invaded, but you can easily protect data with an online VPN tunnel.
Security, Anonymity and Censorship Circumvention for Mac Users
Fortunately, there is good news for Mac users. You can easily secure data from the prying eyes of governments, browse the web privately and anonymously, while unblocking content — if you use one of the best VPNs for Mac OS X. The sad truth is that the average Internet user doesn’t know how to protect themselves online, so let’s take a brief look at the security advantages of using a VPN tunnel.
First of all, a VPN tunnel adds an encryption layer to your data. To put it simply, a VPN scrambles data you transmit across the Internet so that it can’t be read by third-parties. Even if a hacker or eavesdropper was able to successfully capture said data, they would be powerless to decipher your mess of a message.
Secondly, VPN technologies help boost privacy by letting people browse the web anonymously. When you browse the web without a VPN or make a DNS request, it is incredibly easy for ISPs, governmental authorities, and web administrates to track your activity via your IP address.
They have the power to see what websites you visit, and can even log session information that shows what time of day you visited a website and the duration of that visit. A VPN tunnel will prevent others from seeing this information by masking your personal IP address.
Instead of accessing a website or Internet resource with the IP address given by your ISP, you’ll be able to ‘borrow’ one temporarily from the VPN’s service list . Last but not least, VPNs work in a similar manner to a proxy services. Often times you’ll find that streaming video and audio services like:
Restrict access to their services from foreign nations. This can be a real pain when traveling or when you just want to catch up on the latest episode of your favorite television show. The good news is that a VPN tunnel can unblock this content. In fact, a VPN tunnel will even be able to unblock content that has been restricted by a government.
Many times professional work environments will block access to sites like YouTube or Facebook for productivity reasons too, but a VPN will unblock websites in these scenarios as well. In this day and age, no one can afford to ignore Internet security. Now that we understand how a VPN tunnel can protect you with encryption, anonymity, and censorship circumvention, let’s go ahead and take a look at the best VPNs for Mac OS X.
Best VPNs for Mac 2017
$ 8.33 per month 3 Devices All Plans
|Visit ExpressVPNExpressVPN Review|
$ 5.04 per month 3 Devices All Plans
|Visit AirVPNAirVPN Review|
$ 10.00 per month 2 Devices All Plans
|Visit IPVanishIPVanish Review|
$ 6.95 per month 5 Devices All Plans
|Visit Private Internet AccessPrivate Internet Access Review|
$ 5.00 per month 3 Devices All Plans
|Visit VyprVPNVyprVPN Review|
ExpressVPN is not only one of the best VPNs in general, it’s also a pretty killer service on Macs and iOS devices too. People seem to like ExpressVPN more than other providers because they have a well-rounded service, complete with a 30-day money back guarantee, and reliable 24/7 customer support. Check out our review for more details.
The service uses the latest and greatest security algorithms to ensure that your data doesn’t end up in the wrong hands, and they even provide a detailed and easy to use guide to setup their client on a Mac. The only real downside to their service is that they cost a little bit more per month than most other providers, but the quality of their service easily justifies the nominal increase in monthly price.
Why We Like ExpressVPN:
Express VPN is easily one of the best VPNs for Macs. They frequently rise to the top of the best VPNs charts and are a clear leader in the industry. Thanks mostly to their incredibly fast network of VPN servers spread out across 94 different countries.
- Servers in 94 countries
- SmartDNS & Network Lock
- Great mobile & desktop apps
- Great customer service
- Collects non-identifiable metadata
- Rather expensive
- Only connects 3 devices
AirVPN has a fantastic attitude to privacy, and the technical know-how to back it up. Plus it works with Tor, and sports high speeds and strong server reliability. Few other competitors offer the real-time server capacity that Air VPN makes available on their website, and they don’t filter protocols (such as P2P mechanisms) like some of their competitors.
Another handy feature of their service is that they route data to servers on their internal network to obfuscate (i.e. scramble) the origins of your data. This technique functions in a similar manner to Tor, and though you might think it adds unreasonable latency to your connection, it is still incredibly fast. They provide a client download for Mac users, and they are reasonably priced as well.
With an annual subscription, the monthly cost of their service plummets to €4.50.
Why We Like AirVPN:
AirVPN is an obvious choice for Mac users who love transparency and champion user rights. And Mac users that have multiple Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads don’t need to worry. Because AirVPN allows up to three simultaneous connections per user account.
- Fantastic connection speeds
- Strong servers in Europe
- Unbeatable privacy & security
- Data routing obfuscates data
3 simultaneous connections
Weak servers in Asia
Routing introduces extra latency
IPVanish offers some of the most innovative security measures available and enough simultaneous connections to secure up to five Apple devices. IPVanish is our third best VPN option for Mac users. Their setup guide is in the form of a slideshow, and it has step-by-step screenshots that make the configuration process easy even for the most technologically illiterate user.
The only small issue with IPVanish is when you connect to a server on the opposite side of the world can introduce a fair degree of latency, but this shouldn’t be a problem as long as you have a solid Internet connection. Last but not least, they aren’t too expensive. When you opt for a 1-year plan, the monthly cost is only $6.49. Which gets users protection using OpenVPN and 256-bit AES encryption.
Why We Like IPVanish:
Currently, IPVanish operate 400 servers in 60 countries, so you’ll have plenty of flexibility when choosing global connections. Which is critical if you want to unlock content or terminate a VPN connection in a country that doesn’t have governmental surveillance. Furthermore, their network of servers is fast and reliable, so you won’t have to worry slow speeds.
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Unlimited P2P traffic
- DNS-leak prevention
- Traffic visualizer
- Great MacOS support
- NAT firewall
- Based in the U.S.
- No live-chat support
- Lacks user forum
- No referral program
4. PIA VPN
PIA VPN offers the perfect combination of speed and price. Plus recent updates to it OS X client now mean it’s a viable option for Macbook users, too. Their setup guide for Mac users is adequate, and they have a seven day money-back-guarantee to ensure that you are pleased with the quality of their connections.
But one of the most interesting things about their service is the adoption of a different networking strategy. Instead of spreading themselves thin by placing one or two servers in each country, they concentrated a lot of servers within a few geographic areas. With 3,100+ servers in 24 countries, they have tremendous capacity to make sure users don’t run into “busy server” issues.
Lastly, they are fantastic for users with a lot of devices they wish to secure, because PIA VPN allows up to 5 simultaneous connections per account.
Why We Like Private Internet Access:
Private Internet Access deserves an honorable mention on any list of the best VPNs for Mac and iPhone. There are plenty of reasons to love their service, but most people are enamored with them because they are one of the cheapest providers on the market. However, even though you can get their service for as little as $3.33 per month, they’re still a quality provider.
- Great privacy & security
- Improved Mac client
- Very fast speeds
- Fantastic value for money
- Servers in only 24 countries
- 7-day money back guarantee
VyprVPN boasts a fast and secure network that not only keeps users safe, it’s also one of the handful of services that can access geo-restricted sites, like Netflix. VyprVPN’s pricing model is a little different than most other competitors, because they have different package tiers. However, you can purchase the pro version of their service for only $6.25 per month.
Note that they do have a free trial option, but this really only serves as a way for users to test out their service. The free trial has monthly data limits that don’t make it feasible for long term use, but it is a great way to test the waters.
Though Vyper’s Mac setup guide could use some work, their service has unique features such as a kill-switch mechanism and the ability to dynamically choose which of your applications send data over the VPN’s tunnel.
Why We Like VyprVPN:
Last but not least, VyprVPN is owned and operated by their parent company, Golden Frog (based out of Switzerland). Being based out of Switzerland, they’re not under government pressure to keep detailed logs of user activities. To date, they run 700+ servers in over 50 countries, and they have a strong presence in Europe.
- Easy to use
- Great security
- Up to 5 connections
- Great OS X client
- No refund after 3 days
- Some logging
- No encryption on basic plan
From blogging about human rights under fascist governments, to surfing Facebook at work (when you’re not supposed to): VPNs are the bread and butter of keeping the Internet rooted in its one true principle — freedom of expression and information sharing.
Alongside the obvious security and privacy related benefits, getting to terms with a VPN service is something every Mac user should get acquainted with in 2017. So, have you ever used a VPN or are planning to? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.