Best For Budget Conscious Privacy Hawks
- Privacy baked into its account system
- Strong stance on transparency
- Requires no email or account information
- Extremely affordable
- Some advanced features, like multihop connections
- Servers in a small range of countries
- Account number system may confuse some customers
Apple has touted the security and privacy of its platforms for so long they’re practically part of the sales pitch now. But all of Cupertino’s cleverness can only go so far because your ISP, advertisers, and all kinds of snoops are eager to monitor your online activities. A VPN is a simple tool that helps reclaim some of that privacy, with the added benefit of letting you reroute your web traffic anywhere on earth.
When you switch on a VPN, it creates an encrypted connection between your Mac and a remote server operated by the VPN company. All your web traffic is sent through this encrypted connection, exits the server, and then rejoins the internet as normal. Simple!
There’s a strong argument that the widespread adoption of HTTPS already protects your data, and VPNs are overkill. It’s true HTTPS does prevent observers from intercepting your information. VPNs do hide more of your data, however, and protect your DNS requests, denying ISPs even that insight into your activities.
Custom Macos VPN Software
Undoubtedly the easiest way to set up a VPN on your Mac is to download a VPN providers custom macOS app. Almost all VPN services these days offer one, although somewhat annoyingly they are not always as fully featured as their Windows siblings.
Each custom app is different , but the installation general follows the following format:
1. Sign up for the VPN service. If you dont do this first, then you will probably be promoted to at the sign-in stage when you first run the app. Even VPNs which offer a free trial usually like you to register using a valid email address before you can use their service.
2. Download and install the custom client just as you would any other macOS software. This usually means downloading a .dmg file, double-clicking it, and flowing the prompts.
3. Run the app and sign-in using your account details . macOS will almost certainly ask you to Allow changes to its network settings, and possibly also to Allow the app keychain access.
4. Most apps will offer to auto-select a server location for you, or you can choose one yourself. To help you choose, many apps allow you to sort or otherwise mark servers that are particularly suited to a particular purpose, such as privacy, streaming, or P2P downloading.
Great For Streaming On Unlimited Connections
Surfshark is also a great VPN for streaming. The VPN works with most major streaming services, including US and UK Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Max.
You can access geo-restricted TV shows and movies on your Apple TV, too. Surfshark is in fact one of few services to offer a Smart DNS feature.
You may have trouble streaming in 4K, though, as the VPNs long-distance speeds arent as good as ExpressVPNs or NordVPNs.
Surfshark is unique in that it allows unlimited simultaneous connections. You can therefore protect all your devices, and even share your VPN account with friends and family.
Also Check: How To Get VPN On TV
What If The Mac VPN Connection Drops
If your VPN connection drops, then the kill switch will shut down all web apps and browsers so your internet service provider cant see any of your online activities. After this happens, we recommend that you:
Start The L2tp Connection
The name of the VPN connection is the service name you used when you configured the L2TP connection on the client computer. The user name and password are for one of the users you added to the L2TP-Users group. For more information, see About Mobile VPN with L2TP User Authentication.
To start the L2TP connection:
After the VPN connection is started, the Connect button changes to Disconnect.
If you want to connect to the non-default authentication server, specify the authentication server in the Account Name text box. For more information, see Connect from an L2TP VPN Client.
Read Also: VPN For TV
Is There An Apple VPN For Mac
If youre a paid iCloud subscriber, you already have access to a feature called Private Relay. However, while many have referred to this as a built-in VPN, it doesnt allow you to spoof your location, access geo-blocked services abroad, or bypass local internet restrictions.
The good news is that most VPNs offer dedicated apps for macOS and iOS. Further, unlike Apples Private Relay, these services will encrypt data from all of your apps, not just the Safari browser. Additionally, major providers usually dont log your real IP address, which is a huge advantage for anyone concerned about their digital privacy.
Best VPNs To Change Mac Location
There are many VPNs on the market to choose from, but that can be a problem. With so much choice, its all too easy to pick the wrong option. You will need a VPN that offers robust security features and consistently unblocks streaming services.
So how do you find the right VPN? Easy, you let us do the searching for you! Weve done all the hard work, tested many options, and put together a shortlist of the 3best VPNs for changing your location on a Mac – and here they are.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Free VPN On Mac
How To Manually Setup A VPN Using Your Macs Network Settings
If you need to connect to a remote network such as an office network, you have to setup a VPN manually on your Mac.
Heres how to setup a VPN manually on a Mac.
- Go to the Apple Menu > System Preferences and select Network
- Click the + button on the left and choose VPN.
- Select the VPN Type you want to setup. This will need depend on the type of connection you want to setup and this information will be provided by your system administrator. The connection will be one of these types:
L2TP over IPSec is an extension of the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol used by internet service providers to enable a VPN over the internet.
PP2P which is an obsolete security protocol which we dont recommend unless its your only option.
Cisco IPSec is a set of security protocols specific to Cisco VPNs.
IKEv2 is a protocol that sets up a security association in IPSec.
- Once youve chosen the correct protocol for your VPN give it a name and click Create.
- You must then enter the Server Address, Remote ID and Local ID. This will be provided to you by your corporate system administrator or technical department.
Once youve setup the VPN network on your Mac, you will be able to log into your office network at home for example, and use it just as if you were in the office.
If you ever want to delete the VPN you setup on your Mac, go back to the Network Settings and use the – symbol to remove the VPN network.
How To Connect Your Mac To Any VPN
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more…
Justin Duino is the Managing Editor at How-To Geek. He has spent the last decade writing about Android, smartphones, and other mobile technology. In addition to his written work, he has also been a regular guest commentator on CBS News and BBC World News and Radio to discuss current events in the technology industry. Read more…
Macs have built-in support for connecting to the most common types of VPNs. If you want to ensure your Mac is automatically reconnected to your VPN or connect to an OpenVPN VPN, youll need a third-party app.
You May Like: How To Block Websites On Att Router
Everything You Need To Know About Macs
Apples devices are loved by hardcore tech-heads and casual users alike. Its estimated that Apple sold around 22.5 million Macs worldwide in 2020. So whether youre bashing out a serious creative project on an iMac or browsing in the local cafe on a MacBook Air, you always get that Apple seal of quality.
From the powerful M1 chips powering the machines to the sleek, iconic design, you know youre getting a premium product when you buy a Mac.
Current Mac range:
- Mac Pro
Option : Use Apples Built
Dont worry if your VPN does not offer dedicated VPN software. Its not as daunting as it sounds. All you need to do is follow the manual setup outlined below:
If you received a VPN configuration file from your work network administrator, you can import it and set up your connection.
To import a VPN settings file on your Mac, follow one of the instruction below:
- Automatic setup:
Don’t Miss: 911 Dollar VPN Download
Choose A VPN Service For Your Mac
A VPN remains one of the best ways to protect your data from being viewed or stolen by hackers if youre looking to add an additional layer of security and privacy to your online presence.
A few reasons you might want to install a VPN are:
- Connecting to a work network remotely to create a secure environment when working outside the office.
- Anonymous online browsing to secure web traffic on public Wi-Fi connections.
- Accessing sites available in other countries to unlock content restricted in your home country.
Of course, VPNs are useful for a whole host of other reasons than the ones weve covered above, including:
- Helping reduce bufferingtime while streaming audio or video.
- Saving you money, especially when using comparison sites to shop for airline tickets, hotels and car rentals.
- Accessing your home network while youre away.
Sending All Traffic Over VPN
Go back in System Preferences and select Advanced.
Straight away, we see an option to Send all traffic over VPN connection. Ticking this and then saving the changes will mean your Mac will pass all network traffic over the VPN. It is generally not recommended since it can make your Internet connection appear very slow and you may also find accessing servers and printers on the network youre physically on is stopped.
For all the data to be passed over the VPN once the option is enabled, we need to set the service order. This is the order that your Mac passes data over the network. We must have the VPN as the first service in the list. To do this, select the drop down cog menu and select Set Service Order… From here, you can drag the services into the required order, making sure the VPN is at the top.
However, this is necessary if you need to access a site as we discussed earlier thats only available in the country where your VPN server is located. Going back to our earlier example, if you were in the UK and you needed to access a US only site, enabling this option will allow you access to that site.
Read Also: Express VPN For Samsung TV
Free Mac VPNs To Avoid
VPN services require constant investment from the VPN company to function properly.
This money goes towards server infrastructure, support staff, development costs, and a range of other essential components.
Without paying subscribers, many free VPN services make money in other, more unsafe ways.
These methods include collecting and selling user data to advertisers, refusing to pay the costs involved to implement safe security practices, and some are simply scams.
Here are some popular free Mac VPNs that are dangerous to use:
Unblocks Us Netflix With Fast Speeds
ExpressVPN has consistently proven itself to be the fastest VPN on long-distance connections.
Our speed test results recorded just a 20% speed loss when connecting to the US from the UK.
Fast speeds are essential as ExpressVPN unblocked all major streaming services in our streaming tests, including US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.
ExpressVPNs unmatched performance on international connections means that no matter where you are, you can always stream geo-restricted movies and TV shows in HD and 4K.
You May Like: Pokemon Go VPN Android
More Expensive But Worth The Extra Cost
Although the VPN has an impressive amount of features, it is no secret that ExpressVPNs prices are higher than other VPN providers.
You can spend 50% less if you opt for Private Internet Access long-term plans over ExpressVPNs.
But, ExpressVPN does come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can always get a refund if you decide the VPN is not worth the price.
In short, ExpressVPN is the best VPN you can use on your Mac. It has the most user-friendly Mac app and the VPN integrates seamlessly with all other devices in the Apple ecosystem.
Do Macs Have VPNs Built In
Although Macs let us connect to private networks without a VPN app, these networks arent VPNs in the traditional sense. While they are different from connecting directly to Wi-Fi, these private networks dont encrypt your web activity or device IP address. If thats what youre after, then youll need a third-party VPN app for your Mac.
You May Like: How To Connect Att Uverse Router
Works With Every Apple Device
ExpressVPN is also one of only two VPN services in our list that works across all Apple products, including Apple TV.
The VPNs MediaStreamer feature is the best Smart DNS tool weve tested. It reroutes your DNS requests and unblocks geo-restricted content directly on your Apple TV. This is ideal for streaming US Netflix and HBO Max on your TV screen.
Encrypting Your Web Browsing
As a VPN connection is secure, any data going across it is encrypted. When youre at a coffee shop and youre browsing the web, your traffic could potentially be monitored. Most VPN software includes an option to have all your Internet traffic – not just when youre accessing the VPN destination – to pass over a VPN connection, thus encrypting all your web browsing and increasing the security of anything you do online.
Recommended Reading: Opera Turn On VPN
Manually Configure A VPN For Mac
Perhaps you want to use the built-in VPN client that comes with macOS. This client supports the PPTP, IKEv2, and L2TIP/IPsec VPN protocols.
Apple doesnt make it hard to set up a VPN on Mac, but it also doesnt make it easy. Keep in mind these steps require you to choose your VPN first. The main advantage of these connections is that you can set them up without having to download a separate VPN app to use them.
To manually configure the built-in VPN client:
There you go! Youve just linked a VPN to your Mac, and its connected. Pretty simple, but is that all there is to do? Yes and no.
Also, check with your VPN service to make sure that there are no unique settings that you need to enable/disable to log in from the built-in macOS client.
How To Test Mac VPNs
Aside from researching how they work, we perform three major tests on VPNs: a speed test, a DNS leak test, and a WebRTC leak test. Heres how to do each:
We use a free speed test from Ookla, but there are tons of free options online.
Recommended Reading: How To Watch Netflix Japan Without VPN