Virtual Private Networks or VPNs provide a secure and private way for users to browse the internet. As censorship and information tracking become a problem to deal with, VPNs protect the identity and data of users by encrypting their web traffic. Since the traffic appears to arrive from a VPN server that is not connected to your computer, your identity and location remain secure.
Do you need a VPN when Mac has new features to Hide IP Address?
As a privacy conscious user who uses a VPN to route your internet activity, you’ll love the new Safari Hide IP Address and iCloud Private Relay features on the new macOS Monterey and Safari 15.
Safari Hide IP Address is an endeavor from Apple to make it harder for websites to track your activity on the web. It makes it harder to create a profile of you based on your browsing history. While the Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature does not block ads, it stops websites from being able to track your online habits without your permission. Now, Apple has added the feature to hide your IP address to provide better security from trackers.
The iCloud Private Relay is a part of the new iCloud+ feature from Apple. It provides a full IP mask and hides your IP address. iCloud+ is a combination of the existing paid iCloud service along with added features. It is available for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. In addition to iCloud Private Relay, there are other features such as Hide My Mail and iCloud Mail custom email domains.
iCloud Private Relay encrypts the traffic leaving your Mac. By using two internet relays, it hides your IP address, location, and online activity from websites and trackers.
VPN vs Safari Hide IP Address vs iCloud Private Relay
A VPN will provide privacy and hide your activity across all Mac applications including Safari, Chrome, Apple Mail, etc. Meanwhile, Safari Hide IP Address only hides your IP address from trackers on the Safari browser and iCloud Private Relay only hides your IP address from websites and trackers on the Safari browser. Hence, if you’re looking for comprehensive privacy protection on your macOS Monterey, you should definitely install a reliable VPN application.
Let us look at some of the pros of having a VPN subscription to protect your entire online activity on the Mac.
Pros of Using a VPN
- Secured Network
Websites can track your online activity and build a profile of you to target you with ads or relevant content in the future without your permission. Using a VPN allows you to transmit and receive data anonymously and hence prevent software and websites from tracking and storing your information.
- Hides Private Information
The 256-bit encryption and high security offered by VPN makes your online communication difficult to interpret for hackers who are constantly looking to gain access to sensitive information like bank account and credit card information.
- Access to Geo-blocked Websites
VPNs allow you to access websites and services that are blocked in your geographical region. Maybe you want to check out the new trending show that is blocked in your region. With a VPN connection, you can access the blocked services you are interested in.
- Prevent Data Throttling and Bandwidth Throttling
Your ISP can decide to slow down your internet service when you’ve crossed a certain data limit. With a VPN, you can avoid data throttling as your ISP cannot see how much data you’ve consumed. This is especially useful when you’re on the move and need good internet connection speeds.
Your ISP can also decide to slow down your internet connection when you visit certain websites. You can avoid bandwidth throttling by using a VPN connection. Since your ISP cannot see the websites you’re visiting, they cannot throttle your data.
Best Free VPN For Mac 2021
1. TunnelBear (Free and Paid)
You can set the Always On feature to turn the VPN on when you start up. You won’t have to reconnect with the VPN when you start up the computer. Vigilant Mode also temporarily deactivates your connection if you ever experience any disruption for any reason. The system ensures unsecured traffic won’t enter your Mac. As for the location to adopt, it is up to you to choose from the 20 countries.
The free version of TunnelBear offers protection for up to 500 MB per month. Seeing how small many Mojave apps are, this makes for a reasonable offer. You can use an unlimited program with up to five connected devices for $9.99 per month.
Another free VPN for Mac that offers a 30-day trial at the start, NordVPN focuses on flexibility. You can use your NordVPN account on six devices at once. You can link your Mojave computer to your iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, and any other Apple-enabled devices you have.
The automatic kill switch on NordVPN prevents your data from being exposed while online. The DNS leak protection also secures your content and keeps P2P connections safe.
The double data encryption ensures that the users are safe and can browse with ease knowing this. To protect privacy NordVPN never keeps any logs. The automatic kill switch shuts down any website as specified in advance. Users can mask their IP address by choosing one of the 58 locations to be their virtual location.
You can use NordVPN with a 30-day trial. You can also spend $11.95 per month after that, although a three-year plan works for $5.75 per month.
Windscribe provides the best experience among the free VPNs available for Mac computers. The macOS app comes with 10GB of free data every month and gives users access to high-speed servers available in 10 locations around the globe. If you do not provide your email address to Windscribe, you only get 2GB of free data every month.
With Windscribe, the best free VPN for Mac – you can unblock blocked websites in your country by visiting the websites through the servers of Windscribe. You can also get access to the country-restricted content on streaming services like Netflix, BBC, HBO, and YouTube. You have to note that streaming services constantly try to keep VPN users out from accessing their country-specific content library. Hence, sometimes you might not be able to access these libraries due to improved security features enabled by the streaming services.
Windscribe does not log your data and comes with DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch. These are important privacy-preserving features rare to be found in free VPNs.
The app has 256-bit encryption and supports P2P connections for its users. With 24/7 chat support available for both free and premium users, you will love the seamless chatbot and human assistance from the company.
- 10GB free data every month
- Connect to servers in 10 locations around the globe
- Support for torrenting
- Kill Switch
- Zero Logging
- DNS leak protection
- Unblock content restricted in your country
- Servers in the free plan can be overloaded at times
From the creators of the encrypted email service, Protonmail comes a unique VPN that protects your identity and activities online. ProtonVPN has been designed keeping in mind the security needs of the user. It offers unlimited bandwidth and data usage in its free version. This is unheard of and is a nice feature for users who consume a lot of bandwidth and data.
You can only connect to Japan, the Netherlands (Holland), and the United States of America in the free plan. Hence, if you’re looking to unblock content restricted in your country, the content has to be unblocked in any one of these three countries for you to be able to access it.
You cannot unblock streaming sites and torrenting is not possible. ProtonVPN also cannot be used on more than one device at a time with the free plan. This means that if you are using the VPN on your latest macOS Big Sur, you cannot use it on your iPhone.
The company has a no-logs policy and has an ad blocker inbuilt to provide a fast browsing experience. There are no upselling messages on the Mac app and the window looks neat.
- Unlimited bandwidth and data
- No logs policy for user data
- Same trusted founding team of Protonmail
- Only 3 countries allowed in the free plan – Japan, Netherlands, and the USA
- No torrenting
- Usage of only one account on one device at a time
Speedify has its servers present in 200 countries around the world. It offers its users 2GB of free data every month on the free plan. This can be more than sufficient for your browsing needs. The channel bonding feature on Speedify increases your connection speed while lowering your latency. However, there is twice as much data transmitted over your cellular data and Wi-Fi that can quickly drain your data limits.
You can download the Mac VPN free version of Speedify to test its features and speed. There is a partial logs policy for the VPN but it does not store data about the user’s activity and IP address.
Since there is no kill switch feature on the Mac OS, you can accidentally leak your IP address in the event of VPN disconnects. Unless otherwise you note the accidental disconnect immediately, you may unknowingly leak your local IP address on the internet.
Depending on the device support, there is the ChaCha encryption or AES-based encryption algorithms to provide advanced encryption. This makes it hard for hackers to snoop and take a look at the traffic through the VPN servers.
- Servers in 200 countries
- Channel Bonding feature
- Allows torrenting
- Unblock country-restricted content
- Connection on only one device at a time
- No kill switch on Mac
Your next VPN for Mac option is ExpressVPN, a solution that offers support for more servers. You can access one of three thousand servers through ExpressVPN. The company describes this VPN services as easy to set up, secure and high speed. Whether you would like to use it on your Macbook, iPad or iPhone, you will find it very easy to set up. All you have to do is sign up, install the app and connect.
The connection you get with ExpressVPN is secured with SSL 256-bit encryption. Your privacy will be ensured no matter which site it is that you will visit. You can mask your IP and keep your online journey private thanks to the kill switch. The speed is also one of the best. ExpressVPN has over 145 locations in 94 countries and has unlimited server switches.
The system also offers full offshore protection. ExpressVPN is based out of the British Virgin Islands, a country with no data storage laws. Therefore, you’ll never bear with any activity or connection logs. ExpressVPN is available with a 30-day free trial. After that, you can spend $12.95 per month or less with a long-term deal.
VyprVPN is a reliable choice among the best VPN software for Mac options. VyprVPN has hundreds of thousands of IP addresses and will give you a different one every time you get online, thus ensuring no one will be suspicious over the IP you use. You will also be able to protect your privacy online and bypass restrictive networks. The government and hackers will no longer be able to spy on you and you can access geo-blocked content.
With over 700 servers that have unlimited server switching located all over the world, surfing using this VPN service is fast. There are over 200,000 IP addresses one can have so as to maintain anonymity when surfing the web. There are no third parties involved in running VyprVPN and hence the users can feel safer.
A three-day trial works with each VyprVPN membership. You can spend $9.95 per month for coverage for three devices after this.
8. Hotspot Shield (Free and Paid)
Many people utilize Hotspot Shield on their mobile devices, but the product has been unavailable for Mac OS users until now. With the Hotspot Shield Free, you will be able to access servers in the US. With this, your internet connections will be secured and you will be warned in case you land on suspected phishing or malicious websites. Other than this, Hotspot Shield also protects you from downloading malware. It is kind of like a VPN and antivirus in one.
Once installed, you will be met by a beautiful and small blue interface through which you will be able to interact with the software. You will be able to know if you are connected and what the current network is. As for browsing, you will be able to do it normally but an IP address will be seen as well as ads when using the free version.
Hotspot Shield also has a location privacy feature that lets you link up to various servers from different parts of the world. By finding an appropriate connection, you can keep your real location secret while you get beyond the blocks that have been posted online.
The service does not offer much of a free trial except for a few days. But Hotspot Shield does have some decent deals for regular service, including an offer of $12.99 per month or $5.99 per month for a full year.
9. Private Tunnel
This is relatively new in the market but this is not to mean that it is of lower value by any means. It has been developed by the makers of OpenVPN Technologies which is among the most commonly preferred and secure protocols to use when using VPNs. With the free version of Private Tunnel, you get to have up to 2GB data traffic after which you will be required to upgrade to any of the paid versions.
The number of servers this service has is very little; only 12 locations in 9 countries. The company is based in the US and therefore the security of the data may not be guaranteed due to legal restrictions. However, only a few logs are stored and these are said to be used in maintenance and ensuring the best performance. As for encryption, the 128-bit AES-GCM is used which ensures the protection of the data without slowing the speed of the computer. The use of the VPN is also quite easy.
A seven-day free trial can help you find out what makes Private Tunnel such an outstanding program to use. OpenVPN is available for $6 per month or $35 per year with no data usage limits, although you only have three devices to work with. Fortunately, the OpenVPN system works well with many Mac computers and devices, including ones that use the Mojave OS.
You can use TunnelBear as your first choice for a free VPN for Mac needs. TunnelBear uses a contemporary and easy to read app that lets you link to one of many VPN servers from around the world. You can use unlimited server switches with TunnelBear, which works well considering how many online servers are available through the system.
10. Bitdefender Premium VPN
Your last option for a best VPN for Mac use is the Bitdefender program. Bitdefender is known more for its enterprise-level protection systems, but it also has a home VPN system that people can use with ease. The Bitdefender system uses a VPN setup and many other forms of protection.
Rather than selling you online the VPN, Bitdefender also offers an Autopilot system that identifies the best possible connection you can link up with. The Traffic Light feature also stops your connection in cases where your connection fails for whatever reason. The feature helps you with keeping your connection from being exposed while online. The program also removes adware and other unwanted programs on your feed.
You would have to spend $34.99 for a year of coverage on up to three Mac. Remember, this entails the use of a full software suite, although the features offered through the suite are all very convenient.
11. Norton Secure VPN
Norton has long been a popular name in the world of home security. You can use the Norton Secure VPN program to help you stay online and keep your activities private from others. Designed mainly for mobile devices that link to public networks, the Norton Secure VPN program focuses on encrypting your data and giving you access to a foreign IP that connects to your local Wi-Fi system. The design prevents your data from being stolen while on a public network.
You can get five devices protected for $4.99 per month. You can use this on your Mojave Mac and other Apple devices. Norton also offers this with extra coverage through its antivirus programs, although you would have to spend extra to get the protection feature up and running. Also, this only works on the current and two most recent previous versions of Mac OS X.
The best free VPN for Mac use should be chosen accordingly with the right type of program in mind. You have many choices to use when getting a VPN ready, but you need to look at how you’re going to make the most out of your content. The best VPN for Mac will be something that protects you while online and ensures you don’t have your data stolen. You should have a solution that keeps your content secure, so nothing wrong develops on your computer. Be aware of what’s around, but don’t forget to see the terms of the free VPN options out there. You might find that there’s plenty of things to like about the VPN world, especially if you want to take advantage of what your Mac can handle for your desires.