You might have heard about cyberattacks. Cyberattacks are rising to a greater extent these days. What exactly is a cyberattack? An attack that steals, damage, accesses or manipulates data stored on personal computers, laptops, or mobile devices unauthorizedly. In such circumstances, using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is hugely beneficial. VPNs are available for desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. But today, we focus on VPNs for macOS systems.
What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) permits you to establish a secure and safe connection between the private and the public networks. It can be used to access any restricted sites, keeps your browsing history safe from other public systems, protects your data from malicious links, etc.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are widely used in this century. The original intention of developing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) was to connect several businesses with others securely over the network. Business people can also access all business operations from home using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A Virtual Private Network enables users to connect their computers to the internet server and access the internet connection on the desktop safely and securely. The best part of the VPN is it makes the user’s location the same as the server’s location. In other terms, if the server is present in a different country, a VPN makes the server feel that the user is also from the same country.
There are three different types of Virtual Private Networks, namely, remote access, intranet-based site-to-site, and extranet-based site-to-site. VPN’s remote access type is typically used for personal or individual use, whereas the intranet-based site-to-site VPN is used broadly in business domains.
A layered tunneling protocol is used in VPNs. The primary goal of the tunneling protocol is to allow the data to flow between networks. In simple terms, the tunneling protocol enables two systems two to communicate.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers three significant elements, confidentiality, authentication, and message integrity.
- Confidentiality implies keeping the data flowing between the client system and the server protected and encrypted.
- Authentication means the sender’s identity. In other terms, the person who sends data is the one who claims. No unauthorized user can access the VPN.
- Lastly, message integrity means no data modification or manipulation. The data sent from the client system should be precisely the same when received by the server.
The above three elements are significant objectives of secure communication.
How does a Virtual Private Network work?
There are two pints in the VPN network, one for encryption and the other for decryption. When you install VPN software on your desktop or laptop, the data traffic is encrypted using the VPN software and transmits it to the VPN server. The encryption is done at the encryption point for the VPN.
Later, the VPN server decrypts the encrypted data at the decryption point and sends it to the public network, i.e., the internet. The internet will send a reply to your requested data to the VPN server. The VPN server again encrypts the data sent by the internet and transmits it on your desktop or laptop. As your desktop has VPN software installed, it decrypts the encrypted data for you.
Hence, a virtual private network is extremely secure and does not allow attackers and third-party members to interrupt during communication. They cannot steal, damage, or manipulate the data flowing between your desktop and public networks. Another perk of a Virtual Private Network is it allows you to access the internet anonymously.
When you utilize a virtual private network, it hides your original IP address, called masking. Only the VPN server’s IP address will be visible. Third-parties cannot trace your browsing activities, and your location remains unknown. Hence, using a virtual private network is exceptionally advantageous for individuals and businesses.
Seven reasons for using a Virtual Private Network
Having a virtual private network installed on the PC, tablet, or mobile device allows you to keep your confidential data safe and access the internet securely. Here are some reasons why you should use a virtual private network.
- Many times, we use public Wi-Fi networks. For instance, we use the Wi-Fi network on railway stations or bus stations. In such situations, connecting to the public system without a VPN is dangerous, as your browsing history can be tracked, or your data may be leaked. But if you have VPN software installed on your device, it helps keep your browsing history and confidential data safe and protected.
- Suppose you need access to a particular website, and it is geo-restricted. In other terms, you need to use a website that is not available in your location. Using a virtual private network permits users to access any geo-restricted website. A virtual private network has several servers worldwide. Hence, it is possible to establish a connection between the two systems, one in the U.S.A. and the other in the U.K.
- Using a virtual private network can suppress government censorship. In many regions, the government has the right to make specific websites restricted. If you need a piece of information from any restricted webpage, using a VPN will provide access to that particular site. So, when you access any information from a restricted site, your data is encrypted.
- Everything you transmit to any server is encrypted. There is a client app offered by any VPN service. This client app permits users to select their desired server. After selecting, they can quickly establish a connection between their devices and the server.
- Many chatting applications, like WhatsApp, use built-in encryption, which makes communication secure and protected. But, there are some chat applications, which do not use the encryption technique. In such cases, having a VPN will work. Messages between any two people are protected through a VPN.
- Many people use applications that require an IP address to access their locations. One such example is Netflix. But, making the original IP address will enable attackers or intruders to know the exact location. Using a VPN will keep your actual IP address hidden and makes VPN’s IP address visible.
- Another reason to use a VPN is it blocks malicious links and websites. Attackers or hackers can have absolute control of your system through malicious links or websites. Therefore, a VPN keeps your device safe from attackers and hackers. It blocks all harmful websites and keeps your device and online activities protected.
How to select the best VPN for Mac OS X?
The following guide will be hugely beneficial for people who do not know about selecting a virtual private. There may be chaos in mind while choosing the best virtual private network. Approximately 300 virtual private networks are available today. Which one is the best of all? What features to look for in the VPN? Here are some tips for you, which will help you select the best VPN for your Mac system.
1. The purpose of using the VPN:
While purchasing the MacBook, you see several options and look for more extraordinary features. Similarly, while selecting a VPN, you must first need to know your VPN’s expectations and why you are using a VPN. For example, if you need a VPN for keeping your online activities safe from the public network, you should choose a VPN with greater security.
Another example to look at is using a VPN for streaming movies. You need a VPN that provides a faster, stable, and reliable internet connection in such cases. So, list down all features that you expect from the VPN and choose accordingly.
2. Compatibility of VPN with your devices:
The next feature to consider while purchasing a VPN is its compatibility with other devices. A virtual private network works well with all major platforms, like Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux systems. VPNs are also compatible with iOS and Android devices.
Users may have different requirements. For instance, consider you use a Windows desktop or laptop but have an iPhone mobile device. It would be best if you verified whether the selected VPN is compatible with both Windows and iOS systems in such circumstances. Another element to look for in a VPN is its capacity for connecting devices. Select a VPN that supports a higher number of connecting devices.
3. Easy-to-use Interface:
Many VPNs have quite complex interfaces. Hence, novice users cannot monitor VPNs easily. Having complex interfaces, in turn, implies trouble in the set-up of a VPN. Therefore, select the VPN having an easy-to-use and user-friendly interface. An easy-to-use VPN makes the set-up process relatively straightforward.
4. Location Compatibility:
One of the significant reasons for utilizing a VPN is to access geo-restricted websites. Users can access any restricted site from any location. Therefore, you must ensure that your VPN covers all central areas and has enough servers.
For instance, you migrate to some other country, which is not highly populated. Hence, ensure that your VPN has its server in that country as well.
5. Payment Plans and Customer Service:
For every VPN, there are specific subscription plans. Select the best VPN having a less subscription plan with more features. There are some VPNs, which are free to use. But, we recommend you not to use the free VPNs. Free VPNs have several problems, like advertisements, low streaming quality, less security, and many other issues.
The next factor to look for in a VPN is customer services. Your VPN should offer 24/7 support. In case of any issues or problems, contacting customer service becomes necessary. See for the VPN that provides live-chat customer service.
How to set-up a VPN on Mac OS X?
Many people face issues while setting up a virtual private connection on their Mac OS X or MacBook. There is one significant step in setting up a VPN on Mac OS X. This step is to add a VPN server address, account name, and authentication settings.
Mac users need to add all three fields in the Network Preferences. Adding these three fields in the Network PReferences is referred to as Configuration Settings. You might have confused about the authentication settings. The network administration provides a certificate or password as authentication settings.
Additionally, the network administrator provides a VPN setting file. Using this file, you can directly set up your VPN connection by importing it on the Mac OS X system. If there is no VPN settings file provided, you need to handle all configuration settings manually. Let us know how to set-up a VPN connection manually. Firstly, you need to import a VPN settings file on the Mac OS X system.
How to import a VPN settings file on Mac?
The following are detailed steps guiding you in importing the VPN settings file on MAC:
- Firstly, go to Apple Menu and choose System Preferences.
- You will see the Network menu and click on it.
- Later, choose the Action pop-up menu. It will take you to Import Configurations.
- Choose the file VPN setting file and import it on the Mac.
Your VPN settings file is imported.
How to add VPN settings?
Below steps of adding VPN settings will mentor you in entering all fields manually:
- Firstly, click on the Apple menu; you will see System Preferences. Click on it and later click on the Network field.
- On the left side, you will notice an Add + button. Click on it. A pop-up menu appears, named Interface, and select VPN option.
- After clicking on the VPN option, you have to select the VPN Type menu and click on the VPN connection type that your desire to set-up on the Mac system.
- Later, add the desired name and click on the Create option. Here, you have to enter all Configuration settings, i.e., account name, server address, and authentication settings.
- Add the account name and server address. Later, select the Authentication Settings menu and fill-up all information given by the network administrator.
- Some VPNs’ network administrators provide extra information, like sessions, TCP/IP settings, proxies, and DNS servers.
- If all the above information is provided, you need to fill it in the Advanced option.
- After you fill in all configuration details, click on Apply. Lastly, click on the OK button.
Your virtual private network connection is set-up on the Mac OS X system. In the menu bar, you can find the Show VPN status. Click on it to establish a connection over any public network. If, in the future, if you don’t need a VPN, go to the VPN network connection service list and select the Remove button.
10 Best VPN for Mac OS X
We have seen how to set-up a VPN on Mac systems. You also have an idea of choosing the best VPN for Mac, as we have seen some factors to consider for selecting it. Here are some hand-picked VPNs for Mac OS X with their features and specifications. Let us know each VPN in detail below.
One of the top choices of VPN for the macOS system is NordVPN. NordVPN is one of the widely used VPNs worldwide by Mac users. It has an easy-to-use and user-friendly interface, making it more manageable for novice users. NordVPN offers around 20 highly reliable features.
Coming to the Mac features of NordVPN, it provides two macOS clients. Users can download the NordVPN software from its official website and also from the Apple Store. If users download it from the NordVPN website, OpenVPN is used, whereas IKEv2 is used in the NordVPN software downloaded from the Apple Store.
- NordVPN keeps all your browsing history safe and hidden from third-parties and attackers using the next-generation encryption technique.
- It offers a higher and reliable internet connection speed hassle-free.
- There are more than 5400 NordVPN servers in around 59 countries. Hence, it covers a wide area.
- Using a single NordVPN account, you can connect six different devices.
- NordVPN does not expose your original IP address, as it masks users’ IP addresses.
- It involves the CyberSec option, which prevents and blocks malicious links and removes malware from the Mac system.
- NordVPN is compatible with all the major streaming websites, like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, SlingTV, and HBO.
Another most excellent and faster VPN for Mac systems is ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN provides a broad set of security features. Mac users can use this VPN from Mac Yosemite (10.10) through Catalina (10.15) versions.
Novice users can use ExpressVPN software freely for the first three months. Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN also uses OpenVPN and 256-bit AES encryption techniques for higher security. NordVPN has an automatic kill switch feature, whereas ExpressVPN has a Network Lock feature.
- One of the fascinating features of ExpressVPN is it enables users to access all geo-restricted contents, like movies, music, webpages, etc.
- ExpressVPN on the Mac system hides Mac’s original IP address and makes ExpressVPN server’s IP address available.
- You can use ExpressVPn on macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Androids, routers, Xbox, and many other devices.
- ExpressVPN has more than 3000 servers in around 94 countries and offers 24/7 live chat support.
- The streaming sites supported by ExpressVPN are Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, CBS, FOX, and ESPN.
- It supports five different devices to connect to it.
If you are looking for a VPN for your Mac System that offers advanced security, ZenMate is the best option. You can download ZenMate VPN for your Mac OS X from its official website or Apple Store. ZenMate is one of the most reliable VPNs that offer a higher speed.
Like NordVPN, ZenMate also has an automatic kill switch feature and uses a 256-bit AES encryption technique for security purposes. This VPN only provides OpenVPN for macOS systems. Users can experience 24/7 live chat support in case of issues.
- ZenMate has a kill switch feature, which blocks internet traffic efficiently and quickly.
- Users can access any geo-restricted web pages, streaming sites, or websites using the ZenMate VPN.
- You can download anything at a faster and reliable speed by keeping your Mac system’s data protected.
- It also incorporates a strict no-logging feature, which restricts attackers or third-parties from tracking browsing history.
- There are more than 3500 servers in more than 74 countries. ZenMate is one of the high-coverage VPNs, having more than 3500 VPNs.
- The streaming sites supported by this VPN are Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix, HBO GO, and BBC iPlayer.
IPVanish VPN for the macOS system is specially used if users require multiple security protocols. It supports all three security protocols, namely, OpenVPN, IKEv2, and IPSec. IPVanish VPN is extremely easy for novice users.
IPVanish VPN uses a 256-bit AES encryption technique for higher security. One of the best parts of the Mac system’s IPVanish VPN is it offers SOCKS5 proxies. There is a scrambling option incorporated in this VPN that enables users to fetch contents from restricted sites. It also has a kill switch feature.
- One of the fascinating advantages of the IPVanish VPN is it provides too high speed over the protected and secure network.
- It has more than 850 servers in more than 60 countries and contains 40,000 IP addresses.
- The IPVanish VPN permits Mac users to access any regional or restricted content or site.
- You can use Safari with high speeds without your original identity. It masks your actual IP address and exposes the IPVanish VPNs’ IP address over the network.
- The IPVAnish VPN is compatible with macOS, Windows, Linus, Android, and iOs devices.
- You can access content from streaming sites, like DAZN, ESPN, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, HBO Now, and HBO Go.
5. Surf Shark:
Surfshark is yet another more reliable and secure VPN for Mac systems. If you have multiple devices, Surfshark VPN is the best option. Many people worldwide use Surfshark VPN, as it offers unlimited connections. There is no restriction on connecting the number of devices with a single Surfshark account.
Surfshark supports both OpenVPN and IKEv2 for optimal internet connection speed. No worries regarding the security, as Surfshark VPN uses 256-bit AES encryption. One of the uses of this VPN is it successfully reduces the chances of man-in-the-middle (MIM) attacks.
- One of the most excellent features of Surfshark VPN is CleanWeb. This feature blocks annoying ads, prevents phishing attacks, removes malware from the Mac system, and blocks trackers.
- Users can connect a single Surfshark VPN account to unlimited devices, like, macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and Apple TV.
- It supports several streaming websites, like Netflix, Hotstar, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, SlingTV, and Go hassle-free.
- You can hide your Mac system’s original IP address and make Surfshark VPN’s IP address available to attackers. Doing this will keep your location anonymous.
Another most desirable VPN option for Mac OS X is NetShade. The NetShade VPN is very well-known for its premium-quality servers. It is one of the typically used VPNs worldwide. Since 2003, the NetShade VPN has earned the trust and faith of numerous users across the globe.
- One of the most reliable characteristics of the NetShade VPN is it offers a speed test. Users can know the internet connection speed between their Mac systems and the NetShade servers.
- Another test performed by the NetShade VPN is the ping test. A ping test determines the time taken by the macOS system’s internet connection to establish a connection between servers.
- The most loved benefit of the NetShade VPN is there is no lifetime subscription required. Hence, many users use this VPN for this particular reason.
- One more test the NetShade VPN carries out is the access test. It tests whether your macOS system can gain access to some unique websites or not.
- NetShade has a broad set of servers in approximately 18 countries.
If you are a new user in the VPN domain and don’t know how to regulate a VPN, the CyberGhost VPN is the best choice. It is very well-known for beginners. The CyberGhost VPN is one of the highly recommended VPNs worldwide. If you are looking for a VPN that requires fewer set-up operations, you can surely use the CyberGhost VPN.
CyberGhost’s MAC client VPN uses OpenVPN security protocol. The security encryption technique used in this VPN is 256-bit AES encryption. Like the above VPNs, CyberGhost also has a kill switch feature.
- One of the significant CyberGhost VPN’s characteristics is it has a built-in ad blocker. As its name suggests, it blocks annoying ads, prevents malicious links, and malware attacks the macOS system.
- The CyberGhost VPN has more number of servers than the above VPNs. It has more than 7190 servers in more than 90 countries. Hence, it has the most coverage capacity.
- The CyberGhost VPN is compatible with Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, Safari, iOS, and Android systems.
- Using the CyberGhost VPN, you can unlock content from several streaming websites, like SlingTV, FOX, Netflix, Disney+, CBS All Access, and NBC.
- It supports seven devices to connect to a single CyberGhost account.
Private Internet Access (PIA) is another VPN for macOS systems that offers more compact and reliable services. It is a smaller VPN than all the above VPNs but has more coverage area. The Private Internet Access VPN has multiple advanced security measures, enabling Mac users to access any restricted content.
The Private Internet Access VPN also uses a 256-bit AES encryption technique. Another most desirable feature is it provides a broad set of security protocols, which ensure higher security over any network.
- The Private Internet Access VPN incorporates multiple security protocols, including PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP, IPSec, and WireGuard.
- It offers the most excellent characteristic of connecting ten different devices to a single account simultaneously.
- Users can surf the Safari browser free from advertisements, malware, and phishing attacks.
- It includes the SOCKS5 proxy and multiple VPN gateways.
- There are more than 13,640 servers worldwide. The number of Private Internet Access VPN servers is exceptionally huge than other VPNs.
- It supports macOS, Windows, Linux, Apple TV, Roku, Android, iOS, and Chromebook platforms.
- You can access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, ESPN, HBO GO, Disney+, etc. using this VPN.
SaferVPN is one of the easy-to-use and user-friendly VPNs. As its name indicates, The SaferVPN is undoubtedly secure and safe to use. It has a straightforward and easy-to-handle interface. Hence, people feel comfortable using it on the macOS system.
SaferVPN utilizes a 256-bit AES encryption technique that ensures higher security over the public network. Also, it incorporates several security protocols, like IKEv2, PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2PT. The best part of this VPN is your device establishes a secure connection with the best server automatically.
- SaferVPN offers automatic security and protection from public networks.
- It includes a kill switch feature, which encrypts data traffic and makes secure data flow between your device and the server.
- SaferVPN has more than 1300 servers across the world.
- Users can fetch content from any geo-restricted sites and streaming sites, like Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, BBC iPlayer, Showtime, etc.
- It supports Mac OS X, Windows, Android, iOS, and routers.
- SaferVPN masks your Mac system’s actual IP address and makes its IP address available to third-parties and hackers.
Another most fascinating VPN for Mac OS X is PrivateVPN. It is one of the most compact and reliable VPNs. PrivateVPN is also a small VPN but offers exceptionally reliable and fast speed. It is deprived of an automatic kill switch feature for Mac systems. Hence, there may be a considerable risk that hackers can track your location.
The encryption technique used for ensuring higher security is 256-bit AES encryption. It involves several security protocols, including OpenVPN over TCP/IP, UDP, and TCP, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, and IKEv2.
- PrivateVPN is one of the most straightforward VPNs. It provides faster internet connection speeds.
- Users can keep all their browsing activities safe from attackers, malware, and phishing attacks.
- You can access any geo-restricted webpages and websites without revealing your Mac system’s original IP address.
- It supports connecting six different devices to a single PrivateVPN account parallelly.
- PrivateVPN offers users with SOCKS5 and HTTP proxy.
- It has more than 150 servers in more than 52 countries. Even though this VPN has a small coverage area, it is comparatively faster.
Advantages of a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
You might have understood the need for a VPN and its uses. We have seen the best VPNs for Mac OS X above. Let us now know what the different advantages of using a virtual private network are.
- One of the primary benefits of using a VPN is ensuring security. If you have VPN software installed on your Mac system, your confidential data is protected from being stolen, damaged, or manipulated by attackers and hackers.
- A VPN is an essential element in companies having their branches in different countries or enterprises that wish to grow their businesses. It helps in carrying out a practical and secure collaboration between companies or enterprises.
- Another use of VPN in companies is to securely share the company’s private data over any network between different branch office of that particular company.
- An employee of the specific company can access the company’s data from home using a virtual private network.
- Users using a virtual private network can surf the internet or any webpages without their identity. The original IP address is not exposed to the server; instead, the VPN server’s IP address is visible to the outside world.
- The most significant perk of a virtual private network is it unblocks any restricted site and enables users to fetch the data from that site.
- A virtual private network also enhances internet speed and requires fewer maintenance costs.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be installed on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux systems. VPNs are also compatible with Android and iOS mobile devices. A VPN is typically used across the globe for security purposes and avoiding cyberattacks. The data traveling between the client and the server is kept protected using the encryption technique.
This post covers a Virtual Private Network (VPN) definition, working, factors to consider while choosing the best VPN for Mac OS X, reasons for using a VPN, and its advantages. We have listed the ten best virtual private networks (VPN) for Mac OS X systems. The above post will surely help you in selecting the best VPN for MAC. Go through the features of each VPN and choose the best one wisely.