Best (100% FREE) VPN Apps for Mac for 2021

Since the development of VPN and the discovery that its use may not be limited to corporations and organizations, VPN use has exploded. And in response to the demand for more providers, more apps and sites that organize individual usage of VPN have become widespread.

Finding the perfect VPN that is compatible with your business needs and budget can be a chore. It can be especially frustrating for a Mac user because you have to consider the compatibility of the VPN with the device. Below, we have listed some VPNs and their advantages and disadvantages, so you can make an informed decision on what VPN to subscribe to if you use a Mac.

Best “Risk-free” VPNs for Mac

Most of us certainly appreciate free things, but for a matter as important as your online security, it may be better just to bear the cost. Of course, you don’t have to rush in and buy the first or highest-rated VPN plan you see. There are VPNs that are risk-free. They give you time to use their VPN plan and to make a decision on whether to continue using it after the time has elapsed or to look for something else. Most of them have a money-back guarantee.

Here, we share the best two of these VPNs. These providers are also at the top of the data security market, and it is displayed in their features and reviews.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN devices

Features

  • Number of servers: More than 3,000
  • Speeds: Unlimited
  • Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
  • Maximum devices supported: 5
  • 24 live chat: Yes
  • 30 day money back guarantee: Yes

Pros/Cons

  • Fastest VPN out there
  • Strict no logs policy
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Few discounts
Visit ExpressVPN

This VPN service has received a lot of praise, and as far as we can tell, it is well deserved.

ExpressVPN is located in the Virgin Islands, which has strict laws guarding the privacy of individuals that have dealings there. There are no compulsory data retention policies or surveillance as in some other countries. ExpressVPN is in an excellent privacy jurisdiction, which is not involved in the 5/9/14EyesSurveillanceAlliances.

The company has over 3000 servers in over 160 locations in 90+ countries worldwide. All the servers are run in RAM mode. This means that nothing is saved, and all information is lost when the power is turned off. There are browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers.

ExpressVPN reviews boast of much including excellent speed throughout the server network, unbelievable bypassing of geo-restrictions, even in countries such as Japan and China!. ExpressVPN doesn’t log any information, nor does it have any DNS or IP leaks. This means that you cannot be caught torrenting copyrighted resources. Itas an inbuilt kill switch, which is a feature that prevents traffic from exiting your device in case your connection drops. This feature is especially useful if you’re connected to an unsecured public network.

There is another feature offered by ExpressVPN called split tunneling. It allows you to keep some sites unencrypted and view regular or local content, rather than transmitting all your traffic into the VPN and accessing content from abroad only. ExpressVPN allows for 5 simultaneous connections. This provider offers dedicated, user-friendly, and reliable apps that are supported on all devices.

These are only a few of the features that make ExpressVPN touted as the best VPN provider. The service has three plans. Each of them has a 30-day money-back guarantee. The monthly plan is billed at $12.95/month. The 6 months plan is $9.99/month but billed at once. And, the one-year plan is $6.67/month with a bonus of an extra 3 months (also charged at once).

  • Pros: Fastest VPN out there; Strict no logs policy; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $6.67

NordVPN

NordVPN devices

Features

  • Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: 6
  • Dedicated IP-addresses? Yes
  • Servers: 5342 in 58 countries

Pros/Cons

  • Lots of pricing options
  • Netflix support kept up to date
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Slow app
Visit NordVPN

This rival VPN provider is neck ‘n’ neck with the features provided by ExpressVPN. It’s a huge company operating out of Panama. It’s safe to say that this is another behemoth of a VPN. Some of the attractive features of NordVPN include excellent security and privacy. The company is located in Panama, which is a good privacy jurisdiction. There are no laws in Panama that require data retention.

NordVPN offers over 5000 servers in 60+ countries.It has a kill switch feature and ensure no DNS leakage. It also offers Double VPN protection: This feature encrypts your data and routes it through two VPN servers. It uses SmartPlay technology, which allows you to access over 400 geo-restricted streaming networks such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, etc.

Furthermore, NordVPN makes sure there is no logging of data. It is stated very clearly on their website that they do not log data. It works for torrenting. 24/7 live chat is available to help with any inquiry you might have. It has a pretty decent and stable speed. It can support more than six simultaneous devices at a time.

NordVPN provides some of the cheapest but most full-featured VPNs around, but it does come with some commitment. There are 4 plans to choose from when using NordVPN:

  • One month plan – $11.85/month
  • 1-year plan – $6.99/ month
  • 2-year plan – $4.99/month
  • 3-year plan – $3.49/month.

Each of these plans still has a 30-day money-back guarantee if the VPN does not meet your criteria.

  • Pros: Lots of pricing options; Netflix support kept up to date; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $3.71

Do free VPNs work with Mac?

Not really. Most free VPNs do not, in fact, work with MacOS. Some work only on Android, Windows, MacOS, and Linux, but most are suited for Android and Windows.

But there is almost always a catch when using a service for free. This is why it is recommended to buy full-featured VPN packages. This is not to say the free VPNs are bad. Some of them are quite amazing, considering the fact that the provider receives no payment.

We’ve shortlisted six VPNs that manage to be free, still have some great features, and work on Mac devices.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN devices

Features

  • P2P support? Yes
  • 30-day money-back guarantee? Yes
  • Country of origin? Switzerland
  • Servers: 600+ in over 40 countries
  • Simultaneous devices: 5

Pros/Cons

  • Professional support
  • Modern interface and apps
  • AES-256 encryption
  • Lesser known provider
Try ProtonVPN

This VPN company is based in Switzerland. The ProtonVPN free version has one massive advantage over its competitors – it actually works with no hidden drawbacks. It’s not the only one, but it’s pretty huge. The capabilities of its free version include unlimited broadband; there is no data cap. Thus, you can use the device for your Mac device’s protection for as long as is necessary.

ProtonVPN has software for Android, MacOS, Windows, and iOS. You can download and install the Mac app for your device.  The interface is pretty user-friendly. The main interface shows a map of the world, your present IP, possible connection servers, etc.

It uses the AES 256-bit encryption model to secure its servers. In addition, it does not store users’ data, even in the free version.  Its Kill switch is entirely automated. You cannot turn it off. Thus, you have security on the go. 

Some of the disadvantages relative to its paid version include its slow speeds. Your streaming speed, especially, may not be as stellar as you’d like for it to be.  Furthermore, it only has 3 server locations to choose from; the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan. However, connecting to these servers is pretty straightforward. 

  • Pros: Professional support; Modern interface and apps; AES-256 encryption;
  • Lowest price: €4

Hide.me

Hide.me devices

Features

  • Number of servers: 1800+
  • Server locations: 72 locations
  • Maximum devices supported: 10
  • 24 live chat: Yes
  • 30 day money back guarantee: Yes

Pros/Cons

  • Has free option
  • No log policy
  • Secure connection
  • Not very cheap
Try Hide.me

Hide.Me’s free VPN is pretty serviceable. Here, you get to use up to 10GB of data on the service per month. This is renewable indefinitely, giving you an almost exhaustible length of time to use the service.

Hide.me has about 1900 servers in 75 locations However, users are allowed to connect to 5 locations while on the free mode. It has a privacy check function that allows you to examine your connection and check other details like where your internet connection is, if your location is concealed, etc. It has a wide array of VPN client software, including one you can use for your Mac devices

This provider uses the AES 2566-bit encryption model even in the free mode. More so, it blocks ads from interfering with your service and also does not keep logs of your activities on the service. You can use a wide selection of VPN protocols. The free version also has full access to the tech support team.

The disadvantages relative to its paid version include the fact that its speed is mediocre. Data is restricted to 10GB per month. The free plan limits you to four locations only – the Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, and the United States.

  • Pros: Has free option; No log policy; Secure connection;
  • Lowest price: €4.99

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield devices

Features

  • Unlimited data? Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Military grade encryption? Yes
  • Servers: Over 3200 in 80+ countries

Pros/Cons

  • Unlimited HD streaming
  • Blocks malware
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Unreliable support
Try Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield has one of the best free VPN services on the internet today. You get up to 500MB per day if you’re a registered user, which tallies up to around 15GB per month. Pretty hefty for a free VPN version. Hotspot Shield is much faster than the average free VPN. Thus, you can use the service without fears of lags or delayed speed. Even more remarkably, it has servers for Windows, iOS, Android, and Mac devices. 

This provider employs military-grade encryption technology. It also does not log any data related to users’ activities on its platform.  It can access some geo-restricted content like Netflix. It’s easy to use, with a quick setup that only takes a few minutes.  If you run into any challenges, the responsive customer care personnel on hand will help clear any confusions you may have.

The disadvantages relative to its paid version include the fact that only one location —the U.S. — is available in free mode, which is particularly terrible compared to the over 70 countries available in the premium version. Ads are supported. This could make the experience less than ideal for you. Furthermore, there is no 24/7 tech support. You can only connect one device.

  • Pros: Unlimited HD streaming; Blocks malware; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $6.99

Windscribe

Windscribe devices

Features

  • Browser extension? Yes
  • Pricing options: 3
  • Free trial: No
  • Unblocking of all websites? Yes
  • Locations: Servers in 60 countries

Pros/Cons

  • Military grade encryption
  • Available on all major platforms
  • App for mobile devices
  • Lesser known provider
Visit Windscribe

Windscribe is a relative newcomer on the internet security market, but it is one of the best VPN providers around. If you use WindScribe’s free version, it provides a generous 10GB of bandwidth every month and is extremely dedicated to securing your privacy. While encrypting your IP address, Windscribe also blocks ads, malware, trackers, etc.

This provider utilizes the AES 256-bit encryption model to keep its users safe. It does not keep logs, and it hides your browser history from your Internet Service Provider. It is also supported on a wide range of operating systems. 

There are browser extensions available for Firefox and Chrome. It gives unrestricted access to geographically blocked content. It has customizable subscription plans, which allows you to add a few more features not available in the free version. It allows an unlimited number of connections. This means that you can connect any number of devices, in addition to your Mac device.

Now, for the downsides of this free VPN compared to its premium version. Firstly, you only get about 10 countries to choose from, when encrypting your IP address. More so, customer support leaves a lot to be desired with no live chat or phone support. Speed is around average.

  • Pros: Military grade encryption; Available on all major platforms; App for mobile devices;
  • Lowest price: $4.08

TunnelBear

TunnelBear devices

Features

  • Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes, bitcoin
  • Dedicated IP-adresses? Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Locations: 28 countries

Pros/Cons

  • Unlimited browsing
  • Account manager
  • Military grade encryption
  • Free version allows only 500MB data
Visit TunnelBear

TunnelBear’s whole concept for their web page is, quite frankly, adorable. But the bear might just be one of the few bright spots of this VPN’s free version. The advantages are: the user interface is lovely and easy to use. TunnelBear offers a completely free version. It makes accessible a one-off use of 500MB of data on its service. When you tweet about the service, you get an extra 1GB of data. You will be glad to know that this provider has compatible apps for Mac devices.

The provider has an intuitive user interface. Once you get online, it connects you with the best server in your given location. It allows a 5-device simultaneous connection on its service and has a responsive customer care system to treat every query and question that comes up.

The disadvantages include its low data allotment. 500MB of data is pretty low and can easily get exhausted within the space of a short period. Furthermore, users may have to grapple with spotty connections and slow speeds. For users who place a lot of premium on speed, upgrading to a paid version might be the best solution.

  • Pros: Unlimited browsing; Account manager; Military grade encryption;
  • Lowest price: $3.33

PureVPN

PureVPN devices

Features

  • 24/7 support? Yes
  • Simultaneous logins: 5
  • Dedicated IP-addresses? Yes
  • Servers: over 2000

Pros/Cons

  • Port forwarding
  • Servers located all over the world
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Not the cheapest
Visit PureVPN

PureVPN is a fantastic VPN provider you can use for your Mac devices. Unfortunately, it does not have a totally free version per se but allows you a 7-day free trial window. This is excellent if you just need a VPN for a short while, say while vacationing. This brief window is exciting, especially if you consider that you will be able to access all of the features the provider has during the period.

This provider’s 6500 servers place it in the upper echelon of VPN providers. It also states that the servers provide ‘unparalleled performance’. Thus, you can expect everything from streaming to downloading content to even surfing the internet to be on point with the service. To top it off, it provides users with unlimited bandwidth and speed while they use the service. This severely limits the possibility of your Mac device hanging while you use the VPN service.

For security, this provider uses the AES 256-bit high-grade encryption model to protect its users. It has all of the other VPN security features that premium providers possess. Hence, on its service, you will find a kill switch, dedicated IP addresses, split tunneling features as well as port forwarding. PureVPN also maintains that it is a log-less VPN. This means that it does not retain any aspect of its users’ data. This is fantastic for privacy.

With one PureVPN subscription, you can connect 10 devices at the same time. When the 7-day free trial window elapses, you will not be under any compulsion to renew the service. Even if you eventually choose any service, PureVPN gives you a generous 30-day period to make up your mind concerning its services. At any point where you are unsatisfied, you can request a refund.

  • Pros: Port forwarding; Servers located all over the world; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $3.33

The Bare Bones of Free VPNs

A VPN is a fantastic idea. It provides privacy, security and can give you access to content that would ordinarily be restricted to you. Looking at this from this angle, a free VPN probably sounds fantastic. But there’s always a downside.

There are dangers in using a free VPN. To use a VPN service, you must have a certain degree of trust in the company. A few things a free VPN provider can do which they are not meant to are:

  • Log and track content, your IP address and the sites you visit, etc.
  • Deliberately slow your browsing speed.
  • Use obsolete encryptions.
  • Place unreasonable data usage restrictions on your browsing.
  • Your data can even be sold.

What is a VPN, and Why Do You Need One?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service that connects your device to another network securely. In essence, it allows you to surf the internet without leaving digital footprints or any information that might be traced to you. It does this by encrypting your IP address and rerouting it through its servers in another location. So, for example, if you are browsing from your home city of Houston, TX, using a VPN can make those monitoring your IP address believe you’re in Hong Kong.

Using a VPN provider can also help you:

1. Stream videos and play games without your Internet Service Provider slowing you down.

2. Bypass geo-restrictions: Some content is restricted based on the geographical location on your IP address. A VPN can easily bypass such censorship.

3. Use public Wi-Fi without worrying about your data being stolen.

4. Conceal your real location or fake your location by encrypting your IP address.

5. Securely communicate without fear of eavesdroppers.

How To Set Up a VPN on Mac

Setting up and installing a VPN on Mac devices is not difficult. This is especially if the VPN provider already has an app for Mac OS devices. However, if the provider does not have a compatible app, you will have to install it manually. This is a lot more technical, and you may need help.

In this section, we look at how to install a VPN client on a Mac device. Our template will be ExpressVPN. Rest assured, though, that if you choose a different VPN provider, the steps here will not vary so much. The steps are as follows:

Select and pay for an ExpressVPN subscription plan.

You will receive a notification asking you to choose a password and to set up your account.

  • Download the ExpressVPN Mac app from the provider’s website.
  • Install the software.
  • Launch the app and log in using the credentials you created above.
  • Toggle the settings to your preference.
  • Choose any location of choice.
  • Start using the VPN with your Mac device.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are risk-free VPNs better than free VPNs?

Generally, yes. Risk-free VPNs offer you all of the benefits of free VPNs without any of the risks. To use a risk-free VPN on your Mac device, though, you will need to demonstrate a show of faith by paying for a plan. The VPN providers discussed here are quite trustworthy and will refund your money if you cancel at any point before the window closes.  

Is my Mac secure enough to keep out bad actors?

Sadly, no. Mac devices, no doubt, come with sophisticated security features. However, those may be incapable of keeping out determined bad actors. Any time you get on the internet, you open yourself to the possibility of being hacked or monitored. This is why you need a VPN to eliminate all that.

Will a VPN slow down my Mac’s speed?

Yes. This is even more so if you are looking to use a free VPN service. However, top-tier providers, such as those who offer risk-free services, keep the speed lags to the minimum. This is hence another reason to use a risk-free VPN service.

Can I use the free VPN service on more than one Mac device?

No. Most free providers allow you to connect just one Mac device to a free account.

In conclusion

All of the above VPNs are enabled on Mac and iOS platforms. Some lay emphasis on torrenting, others on streaming and bandwidth, and others on security and privacy.

As the user, you must decide on what features are most important to you and your budget to help guide you when choosing a VPN plan. You should also read the privacy policy of any VPN provider you want to choose to avoid any unwelcome surprises.