I’ve tested more than 30 free services and found the best free VPNs for Mac in 2023. The recommended services won’t steal your data for profit — they provide top-tier encryption and zero-log privacy to keep your Macbook, iMac, and Mac Mini data secure. Even the top free VPNs have limitations like data caps or server restrictions. For the best protection, I recommend you try ExpressVPN with your Mac risk-free. It’s not 100% free, but it’s backed by a money-back guarantee, so you can purchase with confidence. Try ExpressVPN risk-free

Quick Guide: Best Free VPNs for Mac in 2023

The Best Free VPNs for Mac (Tested January 2023)

1. ExpressVPN — #1 VPN for Mac With 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

Key Features: While it’s not free upfront, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Mac, and I recommend you test it for yourself to see how well it works. If you’re not satisfied for any reason, you can get a full refund as ExpressVPN is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee — you can purchase with confidence knowing you’re not risking your money. I was impressed by ExpressVPN’s blazing-fast speeds, especially when I used its proprietary Lightway protocol (which I recommend for the best combination of speed and security). I ran multiple speed tests and found ExpressVPN reduced my speeds by just 18% on average — fast enough for lag-free streaming. Even over long distances, ExpressVPN easily mitigates speed loss caused by encryption and latency for reliably fast connections. My colleagues and I tested ExpressVPN with multiple streaming services and found we could access our local accounts for the following: With 3000+ servers in 94 countries, it’s easy to find an ExpressVPN server near you. I didn’t even have to manually search for the best server in any given country. Once I chose a specific country, the Mac app automatically connected me to the best server when I clicked the button. I could even save shortcuts to my favorite websites and apps on the app’s home screen. ExpressVPN secures your Mac’s internet traffic in multiple ways:

Military-grade encryption: The highest encryption standard, so no hackers or trackers can monitor your activity. Data leak protection: Protects against DNS, IP, and WebRTC leaks on all connections. Kill switch: Cuts the internet if the VPN connection is interrupted, preventing data leaks. TrustedServer Technology: RAM-based servers that completely wipe all user data with each reboot — proven in a real-life scenario when Turkish authorities seized an ExpressVPN server and found no data. Audited zero-log policy: Verified by PwC in an independent third-party audit.

You can also secure 5 devices at the same time or configure ExpressVPN with your router. This way, every device using your WiFi is connected to ExpressVPN, meaning you can even use ExpressVPN on your smart TV or game console. I’ve found ExpressVPN to be a little more expensive than other premium VPNs (plans start at $6.67/month), but it’s well worth the cost for the high level of security and privacy you get for your Mac. I suggest you try ExpressVPN with your Mac risk-free — if you’re not satisfied, you have up to 30 days to claim a refund. I tested the refund process and it was easy. It only took a couple of minutes to arrange over the 24/7 live chat, and I had my money back in less than 5 days. Try ExpressVPN risk-free today!

2. CyberGhost — No Data Caps for Streaming and Torrenting on Mac (+ FREE for 45 Days)

Key Features: CyberGhost is a premium VPN that you can use for free for 45 days with its money-back guarantee. All you have to do is request a refund within the first 45 days and you’ll have unlimited access to every advanced feature. This is ideal if you’re traveling overseas temporarily and you want to keep watching your favorite Netflix shows, or if you only need a VPN for a few weeks. During tests, I was particularly impressed by CyberGhost’s optimized servers available on the Mac app. These servers are specially configured so you can connect to specific streaming platforms like Netflix US, and use them for fast and safe P2P file-sharing. CyberGhost’s team regularly tests the servers to ensure they’re working properly, which saves me time finding the best connections. I also didn’t have any issues with lagging or interruptions while connected. When it comes to speed, CyberGhost’s optimized servers are significantly faster than its standard servers. During my tests, CyberGhost’s dedicated servers were 30% faster on average than the regular servers. This is especially important if you live somewhere with slower internet speeds as it could help mitigate speed loss from an encrypted connection. With these fast speeds, I could stream Netflix without buffering, torrent 40GB files in just over an hour, and even play online games with minimal lag. However, if you find you have to connect to a server further away, you may notice more lag and buffering — CyberGhost experiences more slowdown over long-distance connections. My team and I tested CyberGhost’s servers with the following streaming services and found we could access them easily: This VPN has an impressive network of 9633+ servers in 91 locations, so you’ll always find a local server that offers reliable connections. To keep your Mac and your data secure, CyberGhost has the following security and privacy features: AES-256-bit encryption: Top-tier encryption protects your data on every connection. Kill switch: Cuts access to the internet if the VPN connection is interrupted. Ad and malware blocker: Stops ads and websites containing suspicious items from loading. Audited zero-log policy: Third-party audit confirms CyberGhost doesn’t log or store any user data. RAM-based servers: All data is routinely wiped from servers during regular reboots — no data can physically be stored on the servers. You can try CyberGhost on Mac for free for 45 days with its money-back guarantee — it’s an affordable option, with plans starting at $2.19/month for a 2-year + 2 months subscription. Getting a refund is easy as CyberGhost has a no-questions-asked policy. My own refund was processed in less than 5 minutes, and I had my money back in a week. Try CyberGhost for free today!

3. Proton VPN — Unlimited Free Data and Great Security for Browsing on Mac

Key Features: Proton VPN has unlimited free data and no ads for an uninterrupted browsing experience on Mac. My team and I could watch Netflix in HD quality on every server we tested without having to watch our data use. This is reassuring if you want to leave Proton VPN connected at all times — you won’t have to worry about losing security due to a data limit. I was also pleased to find Proton VPN was developed by the same team as ProtonMail, with a focus on privacy and security. It includes the following features:

Layers of encryption: An AES-256 cipher, SHA-348 hash, and RSA-4028 handshake, and Perfect Forward Secrecy to ensure data security. Leak protection: Protects against DNS and IP leaks to keep personal data safe. Zero-log policy: Won’t log or store any data while connected to Proton VPN’s servers. Kill switch: Blocks internet access if the VPN connection is interrupted, ensuring your data won’t accidentally leak.

You can connect to servers in Japan, Netherlands, and the US on Proton VPN’s free plan. From my base speed of 115Mbps, the Netherlands option was the fastest at 45Mbps. My speeds were reduced to 29Mbps for the US and just 15Mbps for Japan, which was a significant drop of 86%. While this was fast enough for my connection, you will notice a more dramatic impact if your regular internet speeds are slower. None of Proton VPN’s free servers support torrenting, which is a shame given the unlimited data. As torrenting is data-intensive, Proton VPN reserves P2P file-sharing for its paying users. Proton VPN’s macOS app was very user-friendly with a clean layout. To sign up for a free Proton VPN account, all you need is an email address — no credit card information or other details are required. If you have any questions, you can raise an online ticket on the website. When I asked Proton VPN to confirm the available servers on the free plan, I received a response 7 hours later. Try Proton VPN for free today!

4. NordVPN — Premium VPN With Cheap Prices on Long-Term Plans

Key Features: NordVPN is one of the best VPNs on the market — and you can get super cheap prices when you sign up for a long-term subscription. One thing to note, however, is that when it’s time to renew your subscription, prices do increase quite significantly. I did, however, have issues with using NordVPN’s native Fire TV app. Although it worked and unblocked some streaming services, it sometimes had issues unblocking Netflix US and kept crashing. I also found that NordVPN’s user interface for desktop devices was less user-friendly than ExpressVPN and CyberGhost. NordVPN has the following security and privacy features:

AES 256-bit encryptionA kill switch that cuts your internet access if your connection to a VPN server drops suddenlyBuilt-in ad and malware blocker, so you don’t need a third-party ad blockerFully audited no-logs policy (audited by PwC) – NordVPN doesn’t store any personal or identifying data while you’re connected to the VPN

In addition, NordVPN includes Threat Protection that protects you from viruses, infected websites, and trackers – and it works whenever you have the NordVPN app open, even if you’re not connected to a VPN server. With plans that cost as little as $3.49 per month, it’s easy to find a NordVPN subscription plan that suits your needs. You can also stream, torrent, and browse for free for up to 30 days with its money-back guarantee. To ensure that you’ll really get your money back, I tested NordVPN’s money-back guarantee. At first, the support team tried to give me an extended trial period — but they initiated my refund right away after I told them I wasn’t interested in the extension. I got my money back in 6 business days. Get NordVPN today NordVPN works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chromebook, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Fire Stick, and Android TV

5. Surfshark — Best Value for Money with Unlimited Device Connections and Fast Speeds

Key Features: Surfshark offers the best value for money out of every premium VPN on the market. You can connect an unlimited number of devices with a single subscription, which means you can use Surfshark on all your devices without getting logged out. I tested Surfshark’s simultaneous connections on 2 PCs, 2 phones, a Fire Stick 4K, and an iPad. My connection remained reliable on all 6 devices. Even while I was actively streaming on all my devices, my average speed was 112 Mbps — fast enough for UHD quality. When I saw the price of this service, I thought it couldn’t possibly have top-grade security features for such a low price, but I was pleasantly surprised. Surfshark has the following security and privacy features:

AES 256-bit encryption on all devices, with ChaCha encryption available for Android usersWireguard VPN protocol enabled by defaultDiskless, RAM-only servers to protect your privacy (no data can be physically extracted from any servers)Kill switch (although this isn’t enabled by default)IP and DNS leak protection

Surfshark offers two-factor authentication (2FA) on your account. This feature requires you to enter an extra code before you can log in to ensure that only you can access your account. While Surfshark does have slightly fewer global servers than rivals such as CyberGhost and PIA, I didn’t experience any issues during my tests. I easily connected fast working servers every time, and I had excellent speeds for streaming Netflix in UHD, downloading torrents, and browsing the internet.

You can try Surfshark for yourself with the 30-day money-back guarantee. It has plans that cost as little as $2.05. Requesting a refund is easy with Surfshark’s live chat feature. Although the support team asked why I wanted to cancel my subscription, I had no problem getting my money back (and it only took 4 days!). Get Surfshark today Surfshark works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Linux, Fire Stick, Samsung Smart TVs, LG Smart TVs, Android TV, Kodi, and selected routers

6. Hotspot Shield — Unlimited Monthly Data With Fast Speeds for Browsing on Mac

Key Features: Hotspot Shield is pretty fast for a free VPN, despite only having 1 US server location. From my location in the UK, I ran a speed test and reached almost 103Mbps — just a 10% drop from my base speed — when connected to the US server. I expected Hotspot Shield to limit speeds for free users, so I’m impressed that it was similar to my regular internet speed of 115Mbps. Hotspot Shield uses a unique protocol called Catapult Hydra that is designed to improve connection speeds and reduce latency — and it works well. I was pleased to find that, like Proton VPN, Hotspot Shield has updated its service to allow unlimited data for free users. Most free services have data caps to ensure there’s enough bandwidth available for premium connections. With Hotspot Shield, I didn’t have to worry about going over my data limit — you can even leave the service constantly switched on to ensure your Mac is always protected. In terms of security and privacy, Hotspot Shield offers the following features for Mac:

Military-grade encryption: High-level encryption that is impossible to break in a brute-force attack secures your connection. Leak protection: Protects against data leaks to keep your IP address and DNS requests private. Zero-log privacy policy: Hotspot Shield won’t log or store any data while you’re connected to the server.

While the website states that only the premium plan can unblock subscription-based streaming platforms, my colleagues in the US managed to access Netflix and Hulu every now and then. However, with only 1 virtual US server connection, you won’t be able to access your personal accounts anywhere else — not ideal if you’re based anywhere outside of the US. I suggest using Hotspot Shield as an extra layer of security when connecting to public WiFi or unsecured networks, rather than as your primary VPN service. You can download the free Hotspot Shield app for macOS and get started quickly — you don’t even have to enter any payment details or even create an account. Try Hotspot Shield for free today!

7. hide.me — No-Logs VPN With 10GB of Free Monthly Data

Key Features: hide.me’s free VPN provides high-level privacy features that keep your Mac and data secure. Based in Malaysia, hide.me isn’t required to store user data by law, so your online activity is anonymous. Alongside top-tier privacy, hide.me also offers these features:

AES-256-bit encryption: Stops third parties from spying on your online activity. Kill switch: Keeps your data from leaking if the VPN connection is accidentally interrupted. Secure protocols: Includes OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2, SoftEther, and SSTP for customizable protection.

The free plan comes with 10GB of data each month, which you can use for browsing, torrenting, and streaming on Mac (I could even access Netflix!). This makes hide.me a solid choice for casual streaming and secure online activities.

I like hide.me’s split tunneling, which helped me use my data more efficiently. I could route specific websites and apps through the VPN’s encrypted connection — and only the encrypted traffic counts towards my data allowance. You can connect to servers in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the US. I enjoyed the fastest speeds near my location in Germany and the Netherlands (over 40Mbps), although my speed dropped by 74% when I connected to the US West server. Unfortunately, you can only use hide.me on 1 device at a time, so you can’t protect multiple devices at once. If you want to protect more than 1 device, I recommend ExpressVPN, which gives you up to 10 simultaneous connections. Customer support is only available through email ticketing. I had a helpful and informative response in 3 hours. Hide.me operates slightly differently from other free VPNs — your free plan expires after 30 days, but you can renew it as many times as you like. Better still, there’s no registration required. Simply download the Mac app to use hide.me for free. Try hide.me for free today!

8. TunnelBear — 500MB of Free Monthly Data and Military-Grade Encryption to Protect Your Mac

Key Features: TunnelBear’s macOS app may have a playful bear theme, but don’t underestimate this free VPN. Owned by cybersecurity company McAfee, TunnelBear uses high-level security and privacy features to protect your Mac, including:

Top-tier encryption: AES-256-bit encryption, plus SHA256 data authentication and Perfect Forward Secrecy via 3072-bit DH key exchange to secure your data. Secure OpenVPN protocol: Tried-and-tested connection protocol ensures strong security and solid speeds. Annual transparency reports: Lets you see how many data requests have been made by official court subpoenas. To date, TunnelBear has provided no user data despite receiving more than 30 court-ordered requests as there is simply no data to share.

During tests, my team and I found that TunnelBear could access the following streaming services: Unfortunately, TunnelBear’s monthly data cap is only 500MB — only enough for casual online browsing (as long as you avoid loading pages with images and videos!). If you want more data to regularly stream, torrent, or download large files, you need to upgrade to TunnelBear’s paid plan or choose a service with unlimited data, like ExpressVPN. Another downside is the slow speeds, which dropped more than 80% from my base speed of 115Mbps. During testing, Australia was the slowest at 11Mbps, with the US slightly faster at 15Mbps and Germany at 14Mbps. The UK server was the best with speeds of 20Mbps. I recommend you connect to servers nearby for the fastest speeds. It only takes a few minutes to get TunnelBear up and running. You can download TunnelBear for free on Mac with your name and email address — no payment details necessary. You can even reach out to TunnelBear’s ticketed customer support system if you have any questions. I sent an email about an issue I had connecting to BBC iPlayer (answer: it works, but you might have to try different UK servers) and had a response in less than 24 hours. Try TunnelBear for free today!

Easy Comparison Table: 2023’s Best Free VPNs for Mac in 2023

7 Free VPNs to Avoid and Why

To make sure you keep your Mac secure, don’t download these VPNs.

How I Tested and Ranked the Best Free VPNs for Mac

I tested more than 30 services to find the best VPNs in 2023 for Mac. Each VPN was rigorously tested and ranked according to the following criteria:

Data allowance — I recommend at least 10GB of monthly data for streaming or downloading. However, 500MB per month is likely enough if you only need a VPN for casual browsing (like checking emails). Top-tier security — All VPNs include a minimum of AES-256-bit encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch. Zero-log privacy policy — Each VPN has a strict privacy policy to protect your online activity when connected to a server. The top free VPNs have undergone an independent audit to prove your data is anonymous. Fast global servers — Multiple global servers allow you to easily find an available server close to your location, improving your speed and connection reliability. Streaming and torrenting supported — I looked for VPNs that can access streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer, plus services that support torrenting on their free servers. User-friendly Mac app — I looked for apps that are easy to navigate without any technical knowledge. Every VPN app also had to work with all versions of Mac, plus other devices and platforms like iPhone, iPad, Windows PC, and more. Responsive customer support — If an issue arises or you have a question, you should be able to rely on fast and effective support to provide a solution. At a minimum, I expect an email response within 24 hours.

How to Set Up a VPN on Mac

Setting up a VPN on your Mac is very easy, taking just a couple of minutes before you’re ready to connect to a secure server.

3 Easy Steps: How to Use a VPN on Mac

Get ExpressVPN for your Mac

What’s the safest and fastest free VPN for Mac?

I extensively tested and ranked the best free VPNs for Mac and, although none of them are perfect, Proton VPN outperformed the rest of the competitors. Unfortunately, it still comes with plenty of limitations. You only have access to 3 server locations, it doesn’t support torrenting, and I did see significant speed drops on some servers.

What’s the best free VPN to access Netflix on Mac?

Unfortunately, none of the recommended free VPNs work with Netflix 100% of the time. Even with the few free VPNs that work with Netflix, your connection is not guaranteed. Most free VPNs block streaming services to encourage you to upgrade to a premium plan instead. Most free VPNs don’t have large data allowances, either. You’re usually stuck with around 500MB to 10GB per month (as a reference point, it takes around 3GB of data to stream 1 hour in HD). I suggest using a proven Netflix VPN instead. I’ve had the most success with ExpressVPN, which easily gets around Netflix’s VPN detection technology so you can stream your favorite content. While it isn’t free, ExpressVPN is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means you can try ExpressVPN with Netflix for yourself, and if you’re not satisfied, you can get a full refund.

Is there a good free VPN for torrenting on Mac?

Out of all the 100% free (and safe!) VPNs on the market, Hide.me is the best option for torrenting as it has 10GB of free data per month. However, you’re restricted to servers in Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the UK, or the US. Make sure you check the local laws in those countries before torrenting — my team and I don’t condone any illegal activities. If you don’t want to pay for a torrenting VPN, you can always check out CyberGhost. This is a premium VPN with unlimited data, 9633 servers in 91 countries (including servers optimized for P2P file-sharing), high-level encryption, and a strict no-logs policy. The catch is that you can only use CyberGhost for free for 45 days.

Which free VPNs work on Mac?

All the best free VPNs in 2023 have custom apps for Mac (Sierra 10.12 and later). Earlier versions of macOS aren’t generally supported. Alternatively, you can manually set up a VPN on your Mac. I recommend using either the OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocols. Macs have built-in IKEv2 support, which you can find and configure in System Preferences. This lets you set up a VPN connection without the need for a third-party app. IKEv2 support still requires configuration files from a VPN provider though, so you’ll need to sign up for a VPN. You can’t use IKEv2 support to set up a VPN connection without the configuration files. If you want to set up OpenVPN on your Mac, Tunnelblick is a free open-source client that supports OpenVPN. In order to use it, you’ll need to sign up for a VPN and download its OpenVPN configuration file (.ovpn) for the server(s) you wish to connect to. The main issue is that Tunnelblick lacks the built-in protections offered by third-party VPN providers. Unless you set up tools like custom firewall rules or IP leak protection yourself, your internet traffic could be exposed. Viscosity is a paid VPN client for connections to external servers that run the OpenVPN protocol. It’s a great option if you’re an advanced user looking to set up multiple VPN connections. However, I’d avoid it if you’re a relative newcomer looking for something a bit easier to use. It also doesn’t have a kill switch, so your data may leak if your connection suddenly drops.

Does a free Mac VPN work on iOS, Android, and other devices?

The best free Mac VPNs in 2023 have apps for all major devices and operating systems, including iPhone, iPad, Windows PC, Android, and Linux. As one of the top overall VPNs for Mac, ExpressVPN has native apps for iPhone and iPad. You can even download it onto your router to link ExpressVPN up with your Apple TV. While it’s not completely free, ExpressVPN is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. This lets you purchase ExpressVPN with confidence, without risking your money if you find you don’t like it.

Is there a free VPN browser extension for Safari?

Even though the best free Mac VPNs have browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, I couldn’t find any free (and safe) VPNs for Safari. Not that it really matters — when you connect to a VPN, it automatically protects all your internet activity. You don’t need a separate VPN browser extension specifically for Safari.

Is there a free VPN browser extension for Chrome?

Yes, almost all of the top free VPNs for Mac have browser extensions available for Chrome. These browser extensions often act more like a proxy than a true VPN — they will mask your real location, but you won’t get the top-tier encryption of a regular VPN connection. Without this encryption, you’ll get faster browsing and streaming speeds but a lower level of data security. Most browser extensions will also only secure the traffic going to and from your browser, not your entire device. Personally, I recommend ExpressVPN’s Chrome browser extension. It gives you full VPN capabilities from your browser window, which is super convenient. You can access any of ExpressVPN’s 3000+ servers, plus get top-tier security and privacy on every connection — and all of your traffic is secured, not just your browser window.

Can I get a free VPN for Mac without registering?

Yes, many of the best free Mac VPNs don’t require any registration. You don’t have to enter your email address or create an account to download the VPN.

How do I change my IP address on Mac?

You can change your IP address with a VPN for Mac. With an encrypted VPN connection, your true IP address is hidden and replaced with an IP from the VPN’s server. You don’t have to make any manual configurations — it’s as easy as choosing a server and clicking “connect.” To make sure the VPN has changed your IP address, you can check with our useful IP address tool here. You also have the option to use a proxy server to change your Mac’s IP address. This similarly masks your IP address and replaces it with a new one, like a VPN. However, a proxy server doesn’t provide the security of a VPN connection and could leave you exposed to hackers and tracking software. For maximum safety and anonymity online, I recommend using a VPN to change your IP address.

Protect Your Mac With a Quality VPN

Downloading just any free Mac VPN isn’t worth the risk to your security. That’s why I tested 30+ free Mac VPNs to find trustworthy services that protect your personal information online. However, even the best free VPNs have restrictions like limited servers, data, and access to online apps and websites. If you’re willing to invest in your Mac, I suggest you try ExpressVPN risk-free. If you change your mind, you can get a full refund — no questions asked. Better still, you’ll be protected by powerful security and encryption features and have unlimited data for torrenting, streaming, gaming, and more. I tested the money-back guarantee for myself and had my refund in less than a week. Get ExpressVPN for your Mac

Other Top VPNs for Mac in 2023