Though Mac computers are generally considered the most protected in the world, they are not 100% invulnerable. You can never be sure that you are not tracked by someone – hackers, scammers, intelligent services, or your own ISP. If this seems a bit annoying to you and you experience quite a natural desire to disappear for a while, a good free VPN is exactly what you need.
Moreover, a vpn service can help you resolve some other issues, for example, get an access to geo-restricted web content or securely connect to a public Wi-Fi. In our review, we are going to present you a list of best free VPN solutions for Mac of the year 2018.
What is the best free VPN for Mac?
As a general rule of a thumb, the best software is not free software. This is quite understandable: developers don’t strive to work for nothing. As a rule, a genuine purpose of any free program is to make its users purchase the full premium version. Free VPN for Mac is not an exception. You can use it, but you will constantly think of upgrading. They will provide you the bare minimum of features, suitable just for basic tasks resolving.
Free VPN providers want to make money like any other commercial organizations. They can do it in several ways. Most frequently, one of the following methods are used:
- They force you to watch paid ads every time you set a VPN connection. Though this approach doesn’t cause any real harm to you, it is rather annoying, plus it takes up your time.
- They set severe speed limitations. You still can access any sites you wish but the connection speed is twice or thrice as low as usual.
- Some dishonest providers use “black” methods. They simply collect your logs and personal information and sell the data to third parties, for example, to advertisers.
Ads and various limitations that would not allow you to enjoy streaming and torrenting are quite annoying, but the truly worrisome fact is that some free VPNs would sell your personal data to third parties to make money. And still, there are a few free VPNs for Mac that are worthy of a closer look.
Top Free VPN Services for Mac to Consider
It’s hard to believe, but there are some totally free VPN services that work really well for Mac and can be used for various purposes just as popular paid VPNs. However, all of them have certain limitations. It’s for you to decide whether you can do with these restrictions or not, as it largely depends on the goals you pursue. Read all the reviews carefully to find your best VPN for Mac.
- access to remote servers in 20+ countries
- truly user-friendly interface
- no-logging policy
- no annoying popups
- only 1.5 Gb per month for free
TunnelBear is one of the best VPN services for Mac that has both a free and a paid version. But its free iteration is even more popular, as it has few true competitors. Its performance is pretty good: modify your IP address, access censored and restricted sites, and even unlock streaming services (except for, maybe, Netflix).
TunnelBear is a service that won’t make you compromise your privacy. It boasts a 100% zero-logging approach, so you may stop worrying about the probability of your data being traded or stolen. When it comes to security, advanced AES 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN protocol are used by default.
TunnelBear doesn’t cut down speed in its free version but you’ll hardly be able to stream something with it, as the monthly free traffic is just 500 Mb. Twitting about them will give you extra 1GB monthly, but 1,5 GB is still not quite impressive. This is the biggest disappointment about TunnelBear free package.
A great thing about TunnelBear is that all its servers are available to the users of the free edition. As of now, the provider has servers in 22 countries, which is not bad. Add the fact that the provider doesn’t force you to watch pop-up ads, and you’ll fall in love with it.
TunnelBear gives its users an opportunity to upgrade to the paid tier at any moment. It offers a single all-in-one pricing plan that allows up to five simultaneous connections and unlimited bandwidth.
- Giant (billed monthly) – $9.99
- Grizzly (billed annually –$49.99 ($4.17 per month, save 58%)
- 10 Gb per month for free
- torrenting allowed
- strong encryption and data protection
- the speed is average due to a high load on free servers
Windscribe is another honest free VPN provider that has a client for Mac computers. Its strong points are a no-logging policy, hefty 10 Gb per month for free, and availability of P2P servers for hassle-free torrenting. The provider’s unique feature is a configuration generator that allows adjusting the settings according to your personal needs.
Windscribe adheres to high security standards in its work. For data encryption, it uses AES-256 cipher with SHA512 auth and a 4096-bit RSA key. As for security protocols, the default option is OpenVPN but SOCKS, and IKEv2 are also available.
A strong advantage of Windscribe over TunnelBear is 10 Gb of free bandwidth per month. However, the number of server locations available to the users of the free version is limited to 10. For this reason, the load on these servers is pretty large, which causes noticeable speed drops. Thanks to the availability of P2P servers, torrenting is possible: with Windscribe one can download up to 10 Gb of free content every month.
Like other free VPNs, Windscribe offers its premium version with expanded possibilities. Apart from unlimited bandwidth, after upgrading you will get an access to 55 server locations instead of 10, ad- and malware blockers, and a config generator. The monthly fee for this option set is $9 but you can buy an annual pack and get a generous discount.
- Monthly price – $9
- Annual price–$48.99 ($4.08 per month, save 55%)
- high security standards
- no bandwidth limits
- minimal logs are collected
- only 3 server locations
- no P2P support
- low speed
ProtonVPN is a Switzerland-based provider of VPN services with a free version available. It has a client for Mac that has some nice features and possibilities. Though the free edition looks rather restricted, it is quite usable.
In terms of security, ProtonVPN has nothing to complain about. It uses an AES-256-CBC cipher with HMAC SHA-512 hash authentication and OpenVPN protocol as a default option. The provider collects minimal logs, such as the time of connection and the duration of a session, nothing more.
As we had mentioned, the free version of ProtonVPN is rather restricted. Users get access to 3 server locations and can connect only one device under one free license. P2P servers are unavailable for free, which means you won’t be able to use the VPN for torrenting. Moreover, the connection speed is quite low, partly, because of the load on the free servers.
Unlike the previously described providers, ProtonVPN offers three different premium plans – Basic, Plus, and Visionary. Their monthly price is $4, $8, and $24 respectively. All of them open an access to all server location, support P2P, and can be used for torrenting and streaming, as there is no speed limit. More expensive plans come with a range of useful extras and allow more simultaneous connections.
- Basic monthly price – $5;
- Basic annual price – $48 ($4 per month, save 20%)
- Plus monthly price – $10;
- Plus annual price – $96 ($8 per month, save 20%)
- Visionary annual plan – $ 288($24 per month).
- access to US servers
- strong encryption
- blazing speed
- malware protection as a bonus
- only 500 Mb of bandwidth per month
- no streaming and torrenting
The free Hotspot Shield version is quite usable, but only if you are not going to use it for streaming and torrenting. Needless to say it can’t unblock Netflix. Hotspot Shield supports P2P, but an access to dedicated P2P servers is provided only to those users who upgrade to the premium version. A pleasant bonus is the availability of free browser extensions and free malware protection.
Like other top-rated free VPN providers, Hotspot Shield uses top-notch AES-256 encryption and supports OpenVPN protocol. The company claims to collect zero user logs, which is a strong advantage, as well as the availability of the kill-switch feature. That said, it forces users to watch pop-up ads, which is rather annoying.
Those looking for high download speed will like the Hotspot Shield VPN. It is one of the fastest free VPNs compatible with several platforms, including Mac. That said, its speed is a sort of unstable and largely depends on the server location. In the free version, users are granted 500 Mb of traffic daily, which is not bad for hassle-free and secure browsing.
If you decide to upgrade to the premium version of Hotspot Shield, you’ll get numerous perks, such as unlimited bandwidth, an access to 2500 servers, including P2P servers, in 25 locations, and will get rid of the annoying advertisement. While a basic monthly plan is quite expensive – $12.99, you can save up to 76% and get a bi-annual plan at the price of $3.49 per month. All the packages available are as follows:
- Monthly price – $12.99;
- 6 Months price – $53,94 ($8.99, save 31%);
- Annual price – $71.88 ($5.99, save 53%);
- Bi-annual price – $125.64 ($3.49, save 60%).
- access to servers in 10 countries
- an easy-to-use app
- unlimited bandwidth
- customer service to help you
- little information about the product’s specifications
- a lot of ads
Can a free VPN offer unlimited bandwidth? Yes, it can, if it is Betternet. With this VPN you get unlimited access to restricted sites, safe browsing, and streaming. The provider offers a standard feature set. It allows unlocking geo-restricted content by changing the IP-address, stream content from some popular platforms (except for Netflix), prevent tracking of your online activities, and so on.
Betternet doesn’t provide much information about its security protocols and encryption methods used. According to the claims found in its blog, this is OpenVPN with AES 256-bit encryption and 128-bit AES-CBC for IPSec but there are no official specs on their site. It is known that Betternet keeps some connection logs but no activity logs.
Betternet makes money on advertisement, which is officially stated on its website. You’ll be regularly offered to watch an ad or install an app. In exchange for this, it provides unlimited bandwidth to all its users. Connection and download speed is not bad too, so torrenting and streaming via Betternet is possible.
Like most free VPNs, Better offers a premium version of its software. As it is stated on their site, the biggest advantages of the paid edition are the absence of advertisement and a possibility to choose which server you want to connect to. At the same time, the number of servers is not specified. The basic price of its paid version is $11.99, which is a sort of pricey. But you can save up to 66% going long-term.
- Monthly price – $11.99;
- 6 Months price – $23.99 ($3.99 per month – save 50%)
- Annual price – $35.99 ($2.99 per month – save 66%)
The above-mentioned products are absolutely free, and all of them are available for Mac users. Just visit the site of the chosen free VPN, download Mac version and enjoy a complete online privacy for no money. However, after utilizing a free VPN for a while, you may start to get annoyed with its limitations. If it happened, it’s high time to consider an alternative approach.
In the next section of our review, we’ll tell how to use premium VPN software without spending a single dollar on it. Keep on reading to know how to use best VPNs for free and enjoy unlimited opportunities.
How to Use Premium VPN Service for Free?
It’s logical enough that all the top VPN providers want some money for their services. Usually, the fee is not large – something around a few dollars per month. Moreover, all of them offer very good discounts when you buy a 1-year or a 2-year package. In some cases, it is possible to acquire full-featured software at a price of $2 monthly. And still, people look for free VPN products for various reasons.
- They are going to a country with severe censorship for 2-3 weeks (for example, on a business trip).
- They need one-time access to torrents (to download a particular file) or a streaming site.
- They are on a tight budget right now and can’t afford to buy an annual VPN plan, while a monthly plan is too expensive.
In all the listed situations, it makes no sense to buy a premium pack of VPN software. Meanwhile, there is a smart way to use high-quality paid services as free products. The point is that most providers offer a free trial period and/or guaranteed money back period.
Top VPNs Mac Users Can Get for Free
Here are some examples that you can take advantage of right now. All of the VPNs on the list are top providers that ensure 100% safe web-browsing and suit for streaming and torrenting thanks to high speed.
- ExpressVPN is without exaggeration it is the best VPN provider for any platform including Mac. The fact you may not be aware of is that it offers an impressive 30-day money back guarantee period. It means that if you are going on a business trip abroad, you may simply download ExpressVPN and utilize it for over 4 weeks without spending a cent! Just get a full refund no questions asked. ExpressVPN copes well with tough governmental censorship and is, therefore, a perfect choice for people going to countries like China.
- NordVPN is known for its double-security solutions and a huge number of available servers – over 4800 units located in 62 countries of the world. NordVPN offers a free trial, but it only lasts for 3 days, which will suit you in the case you need one-time access to a particular web-resource. On the good side, there is a 30-day period when you can take your money back. That is, you can buy its basic plan, use it as intensively as you like, and simply take your money back in a month!
- One of the industry’s leaders – CyberGhost VPN– offers plenty of cool features to Mac users. It has a generous 7-days free trial and 30 days of the guaranteed money back period. It’s a good chance for getting VPN software from the globally recognized provider for free.
The Bottom Line
VPN services have become an integral part of our life. With a good VPN software, Mac users can feel protected wherever they are, e.g use a public wi-fi with no worries that someone will snoop their private information. If this is your reason for getting a VPN, one of the reliable free providers listed above will probably work for you. Just be careful and remember that some free VPNs cannot be trusted.
Would you like to use your vpn for torrenting or streaming? If so, and in addition, annoying ads are not something you are ready to tolerate, you would better take a closer look at the top vpn providers. Get use of the trial period and money back guarantee they offer to test the services and choose the one that will fully satisfy your needs. Once you are ready to commit, a premium VPN service can cost you just a couple of dollars per month.