Whether you’re using the El Capitan, Monterey, or Big Sur version of macOS, it’s essential to use a VPN on your Mac. As an Apple user, you probably already prioritize online privacy. However, without a Mac VPN, your data is at risk of hackers and other eavesdroppers.
Using a VPN for macOS is your shield against ISP and government surveillance, ensuring robust online privacy for all your activities. Securing your personal information with a VPN is critical. Not only will it prevent your Mac data from being disseminated and sold to data brokers and advertisers, but also prevents websites from tracking your IP address.
A Mac VPN enhances your online freedom, granting you access to region-locked services and the ability to bypass website censorship. In this article, we look at the best VPNs in the business for Mac users.
The best VPNs for El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey:
- NordVPN: My top VPN for El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey. It has a large network of fast and secure servers, ensuring that users are able to enjoy the content they want without lag. It is also a very secure platform and can access a variety of services. It comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: The best value-for-money option for El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey. It offers solid speeds and powerful security and privacy protections.
- ExpressVPN: A top option regardless of your location in the world. Users get fast connection speeds and strong security measures.
- CyberGhost: A beginner-friendly, easy-to-use option that has a vast server network, ensuring that users can access many services globally.
- PrivateVPN: A smaller, privacy-focused option that has strong security measures in place. Reliably accesses content on major US streaming platforms.
- IPVanish: A streamer-friendly option. It is also secure and can easily unblock a variety of services. Unlimited simultaneous connections.
- Private Internet Access: A lightweight and secure option. Strong security features, and 24/7 live chat is available should you encounter any issues.
- Atlas VPN: A smaller provider that provides lag-free streaming and a secure connection. Facilitates unlimited simultaneous connections.
I carefully researched many different VPN options in order to find the best ones. Here is a list of the criteria I used to determine what the best options are:
- Compatible with all the listed versions of macOS
- A large server network
- Strong security measures in place such as encryption and a kill switch
- Easy to use and install
- Fast connection speeds
- Great customer support
- Able to unblock a wide variety of services
For more information about the criteria I used, take a look at the testing methodology section found later in this article.
Best VPNs for El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey
Here is my list of the best VPNs for El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey:
NordVPN is an excellent VPN choice for those who stream a lot, with blazing-fast connection speeds and over 5,500 servers in 60+ countries. With its fast connection speeds and multiple server locations, it is also a great option for expats who may be looking to unblock content from their home countries.
In addition to being a great option for expats, there are several security features in place that keep users secure while using the service. For example, measures such as 256-bit AES encryption, an app-specific kill switch, an automatic ad-blocker, a malware scanner, and protection against DNS, IPv6 and WebRTC leaks, keep users’ connections secure while they use the service. No logs are stored either, which is excellent from a privacy viewpoint. NordVPN also accepts cryptocurrency payments that don’t associate users’ names with payments, unlike traditional credit card payments.
NordVPN apps are available for macOS, iOS, Linux, Windows, and Android. Routers can be manually configured to work with the service too. Six simultaneous device connections are supported and the customer support team can be reached 24/7.
- Fast connection speeds are great for streaming applications
- Strong security measures keep users protected
- No logs are stored
- Apps are available for many different platforms
- The customer support team is available 24/7
- The desktop app can be slow at times
BEST OVERALL VPN:NordVPN is my top choice. It has a large server network that offers speeds fast enough to support streaming content in high definition and is a secure platform. Offers users a 30-day money-back guarantee so they can try the service risk-free.
Surfshark is an excellent, affordably-priced VPN. While it is affordable, the quality doesn’t take a hit. It has over 3,200 servers, spread across 100+ countries. It is a good option for those who might be interested in changing their IP address for reasons such as unblocking social media sites. It also offers fast streaming speeds and can unblock many other types of services.
In addition, this service has strong security measures in place, such as 256-bit AES encryption, and protection against IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS leaks. A kill switch and traffic scrambling are also provided. Another positive aspect of this provider is the support provided for cryptocurrency payments. This service also stores no logs and accepts cryptocurrency payments. This form of payment allows for more anonymity than what is offered with traditional credit card payments.
Surfshark apps are also available for many different platforms. These include Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. This service can also be installed on routers that support it. Surfshark offers users an unlimited number of connections. This is great for users with many different devices. In addition, the customer service team is available 24/7 via live chat which bodes well for people in different time zones.
- Can access many different services
- Fast connection speeds
- Strong security measures
- An unlimited number of connections are supported
- Able to use cryptocurrency payments
- Some servers are slightly slow
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is affordable and still upholds high standards. It can unblock many different services and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN is an excellent option for users who stream a lot. This is because it offers some of the fastest streaming speeds when it comes to VPNs. It has a network of over 3,000 servers in 94+ countries, making it a great option for users who need to access geographically restricted services. It is also very easy to use, which is why it’s a good choice for beginners.
The provider also has strong security measures in place. These include 256-bit AES encryption, perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch, and protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. This provider has a .onion site which can only be accessed via the anonymous TOR network. The TOR network is heavily encrypted and therefore is an excellent option for those who want to browse anonymously. Another privacy measure that has been put in place by ExpressVPN is the company’s acceptance of cryptocurrency payments. These allow users to make payments without having their names associated with the payment like with traditional credit card payments. In addition, this service stores no logs and eight simultaneous device connections are allowed.
ExpressVPN has apps available for iOS, Android, macOS, and Linux too. It can also be installed on supported routers. The customer support team can be reached 24/7 via the provided live chat.
- Fast connection speeds
- Can unblock top-tier streaming services
- Strong privacy measures such as .onion site and acceptance of cryptocurrency payments
- Good security measures such as encryption
- More expensive than some other options
- Lack of customizability could be frustrating for advanced users
GREAT STREAMING OPTION:ExpressVPN offers very fast streaming speeds and this provider clearly prioritizes security and privacy, as seen by its .onion site and acceptance of cryptocurrency. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost has a huge number of servers. It has over 9,700 servers in around 91+ countries in total.
There are also strong security measures in place. These include 256-bit AES encryption and a kill switch. This service also stores no logs. In addition, this provider accepts cryptocurrency payments, which are more anonymous than traditional credit card payments.
CyberGhost apps can be downloaded for macOS, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS. Some routers can also be manually configured to work with this service. The customer support team is available 24/7. Seven simultaneous connections are supported by this provider.
- Clients are easy to use
- 24/7 live chat service is provided
- Huge server network is spread across a large number of countries
- Strong security and privacy measures are in place
- Blocked in the UAE and China
- Torrenting and P2P may not work on all servers
LARGE SERVER NETWORK:CyberGhost has a very large server network. It gives users lots of different choices for getting a different IP address. It has strong security measures in place and gives users a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PrivateVPN is a smaller VPN provider, with just over 200 servers. However, its server network is spread across 60+ countries. This means that you can access streaming services from many different regions and countries. PrivateVPN provides fast streaming and connection speeds overall and can access streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer.
PrivateVPN has strong security measures in place such as 256-bit AES encryption, protection from IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS leaks, and it stores no logs. On top of that, this provider accepts cryptocurrency payments. This allows for a greater level of anonymity.
Apps are provided for iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS. Linux devices and routers can be manually configured to work with this service. One thing to note is that customer service agents can only be reached during regular business hours. The quality of customer service is excellent but this could cause issues for some. 10 devices can be connected on a single subscription simultaneously.
- Accesses Netflix and many other streaming sites
- Fast speeds
- No logs are stored
- Works in China
- Small server network
- Customer support isn’t available 24/7
PRIVACY-FOCUSED VPN:PrivateVPN is a privacy-focused VPN that has features such as strong encryption in place to keep you safe while online. It also provides access to a wide range of streaming platforms. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish has a network of about 2,000 servers in around 50+ countries. It has also been trusted by the Kodi community for several years thanks to the robust nature of the VPN network; it’s fast and reliable.
There are also many security measures in place. These features include 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and protection against IPv6 and DNS leaks. A traffic scrambling option is also included and the provider stores no logs.
IPVanish apps are available for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. In addition, this service can be manually installed on some routers and Linux. It supports an unlimited number of simultaneous connections and live chat support is available 24/7.
- Fast connection speeds
- Great option for torrenters and Kodi users
- No logs stored
- Unlimited number of connections allowed
- Some servers don’t work with Netflix
- Apps don’t work in China
UNLIMITED CONNECTIONS:IPVanish is secure and it offers fast streaming speeds. Users can also have an unlimited number of connections. A 30-day money-back guarantee is included.
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a lightweight option with servers in over 80 countries. It can access streaming services such as YouTube TV and BBC iPlayer along with access to region-locked IPTV services.
Strong security is offered by this provider. AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and split tunneling are offered to keep users safe while online. Note that this service stores no logs.
Apps are available for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. PIA has customer service that is available via their 24/7 live chat as well. An unlimited number of device connections is allowed.
- Strong security measures
- Can provide secure access to many services
- Wireguard VPN protocol supported (faster, more efficient protocol)
- Several customization options
- Doesn’t work reliably in China
- App design is lacking in some ways
LIGHTWEIGHT AND EFFECTIVE OPTION:PIA is a lightweight option that can provide users with secure access to many streaming services. It supports unlimited simultaneous connections, has several customization options, and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Atlas VPN has just over 750 servers in around 40+ locations. This provider’s network is fast and secure and can unblock many different services. Atlas VPN is a newer provider but it doesn’t cut back on quality.
The provider has a lot of security measures in place. These include a kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption, and protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks. The service stores no logs and MultiHop servers are in place that can encrypt users’ data twice. Atlas VPN also allows users to make payments with cryptocurrency. This type of payment allows for a greater level of anonymity since names aren’t associated with this type of payment.
Atlas VPN apps can be downloaded for Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS. In addition, an unlimited number of connections is supported.
- Can access many different services
- Connection speeds are fast
- MultiHop servers encrypt data more than once
- No identifying logs are stored
- Doesn’t work in China
- Customer service could be improved
FAST AND SECURE OPTION:Atlas VPN is a newer service but it provides quality features. It offers fast speeds and strong security too. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Our testing methodology: How I found the best VPNs for El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey
There are many different VPNs available. However, they are not all top-quality options. For this reason, I have carefully reviewed the best options. I used a strict set of testing criteria for this which I have outlined below:
- Several servers available: The more servers the better. Having many servers gives users lots of options for an IP address in a location they desire.
- Strong security measures in place: VPNs provide protection against hackers on open WiFi networks and they encrypt your internet connection. They also mask your identity and browsing information when you’re online, ensuring that governments and ISPs don’t have access to this data.
- Ability to unblock services: The VPN services that I have reviewed allow users to get access to content that is blocked due to geographical restrictions. Not all VPNs can achieve this. Only quality options such as the ones reviewed here have the functionality to allow this across a wide range of services globally.
- Fast speeds: While all VPNs slow down your internet connection a little, this should be barely noticeable (if at all). The VPNs here allow for fast browsing without lag and ensure that there is no frustration while browsing and that the overall experience is smooth.
How to connect to a VPN
To get started with a VPN for El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey, simply follow these steps:
- First, you will need to sign up for a top-tier VPN service. I recommend NordVPN. It offers a large number of servers and features such as DNS leak protection.
- After signing up, download the app that works with the device that you want to use the VPN service on.
- Now, after logging in, you can select a VPN server and connect to it. For example, if you’re abroad and want to access the US Netflix library, select a US VPN server.
- After connecting to the server of your choice, you should be able to use the internet normally. In cases where you need to access geographically restricted content that is normally restricted to specific locations, as long as you have connected to a server in a country where the content is restricted to, you should be able to access the content.
If you have any issues, try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies. If this still doesn’t work, you can contact your VPN’s customer service team in an attempt to resolve the issue.
FAQs: best VPNs for El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey
Should I use a free VPN?
I don't recommend using a free VPN. Free VPNs are usually slower than paid VPNs. This means laggy connections, buffering while streaming, and general frustration all around. In addition, some free VPNs cut corners and don't offer security measures such as encryption.
They may also limit the amount of data that can be transferred over their servers daily, making activities such as streaming impossible. In addition, some VPNs rely on annoying pop-up ads as a source of income and some free providers have been known to use shady methods of making money such as selling user data for a profit.
For these reasons, I recommend using a top-tier paid VPN option such as one of the options reviewed here.
Are VPNs safe?
Yes, in fact, using the internet with a VPN is safer than using it without one. VPNs ensure that your connection is encrypted and they offer protection while using public/open WiFi networks. This ensures your safety in the online world.
Are VPNs legal in El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey?
Yes, VPNs are legal in these areas. In fact, VPNs are legal in most territories and countries with a few exceptions. These include Belarus, China, and Iran. Bear in mind that illegal activities are not allowed just because you're using a VPN.
Note that nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice.
- Best VPNs for El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 5. PrivateVPN
- 6. IPVanish
- 7. Private Internet Access
- 8. Atlas VPN
- Our testing methodology: How I found the best VPNs for El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey
- How to connect to a VPN
- FAQs: best VPNs for El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey
- Should I use a free VPN?
- Are VPNs safe?
- Are VPNs legal in El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey?