Using a VPN On Your Mac

It is relatively easy to use a VPN service on your Mac. Simply install the software that the service provides, and then set some preferences. From there it is usually automatic. Some services let you pick a server location and set some networks to be trusted at all times.

Comments: 27 Responses to “Using a VPN On Your Mac”

    David Hold
    3 years ago

    How about a review of/ comments on:
    1 Opera VPN free, unlimited, iOS app or button on opera browser
    2 betternet free unlimited chrome extension plugin

    3 years ago

    David: Haven’t used Opera’s thing. It only works inside that browser, so it doesn’t provide protection for other network activity or apps. I assume that Chrome extension is the same since it is in the browser by definition. Only a portion of Internet activity is “in the browser” with perhaps a majority being mail and apps.

    markb
    3 years ago

    I use the paid TunnelBear product and it works fine on my Mac and iOS devices.

    Mr. Luigi
    3 years ago

    I use Opera’s Free VPN iOS app on my iPhone and iPad. It does show things down a bit. But, heck, it’s free and unlimited and I suggest folks give it a try if you’re looking for cheap, global protection on an iDevice. I haven’t used the Opera browser with built-in VPN. But, as Gary said, that only protects you when using the Opera browser. Here’s the link to Opera’s Free VPN app. Opera Free VPN – Unlimited Ad-Blocking VPN by OSL Network
    https://appsto.re/us/TOWAab.i

    chacalcdn
    3 years ago

    Using ExpressVPN and fully satisfied. Was using Netshade b4 but kept having problems using Safari browser.

    Peter Johnson
    3 years ago

    Here is a website that compares various VPN companies along with a trust column. I used to use Cloak but have switched to Mullvad.
    https://thatoneprivacysite.net/vpn-comparison-chart/
    Mullvad: https://www.mullvad.net/

    Michael Davidson
    3 years ago

    Is it necessary to use a for-$$$ VPN, or are there quality free VPN’s out there?

    3 years ago

    Michael: Not sure. I pay for mine as there always has to be some downside to a free service. And security isn’t a place where I’m looking for a bargain. I haven’t tried any free VPN services.

    Robert Burnett
    3 years ago

    I use PIA VPN but found that when I connect the Firewall is automatically disconnected on my MacBook Pro. Spoke with Apple Store staff in Edinburgh, they knew of PIA but had no solution to the Firewall issue. It appears that when you connect to PIA the user has to accept the PIA firewall. No idea if this is the same for all VPN’s. Any feedback would be appreciated by yourself or Apple.

    Jerry
    3 years ago

    If you have multiple user accounts on the Mac, does the VPN work on all accounts or does each user have to have a VPN separately?

    MissDori
    3 years ago

    I compared reviews of several VPNs online before deciding which one to purchase, and finally decided on NordVPN (available in the App Store). I am impressed with their great customer support. I had previously tried a different one from the Apple App Store and was very unhappy with it; I could never reach customer support. I’ve had this one now for about a month, it covers up to six devices/computers active at one time and has some special pricing for multi-year bundles.

    3 years ago

    Robert: Interesting. Perhaps a firewall gets in the way of a VPN? And perhaps it isn’t needed? Tried looking up information about it. but since both firewalls and VPNs are things servers use too, it was hard to find an answer. Perhaps ask a firewall/security expert about that.

    3 years ago

    Jerry: Most VPN services I have found will work on multiple computers and devices. Once installed on your Mac, the software should be available across all user accounts, but you may have to log in omniscience’s each the first time you use it on each. Depends how they set up their software.

    John Russell
    3 years ago

    My wife and I are headed to Alaska soon. Any recommendations for a good VPN that has a “family plan,” at least for just the two of us? Thanks.

    3 years ago

    John: Most allow you to use it across several or even unlimited devices. So you sign up for one plan and use it on all of your devices.

    DutchRo
    3 years ago

    Gary: Could John Russel have a issue with the limit on the number of simultaneous connections under the same account?

    3 years ago

    DutchRo: Not as long as they are aware of the limit, if any, from their chosen VPN. I regularly used the same VPN with a MacBook, iPad and iPhone and never seem to have an issue with Cloak.

    MIke Fisk
    3 years ago

    I was using Private Internet Access (subscription) which became unstable and there support suggested an open source product Tunnelblick which works fairly well and I’m guessing is free unless the PIA people count then as part of there stable? Will find out come renewal time.

    Bruce Anschutz
    3 years ago

    I use SurfEasy VPN. I have found it to work the best for me.
    https://www.surfeasy.com/

    Patrick
    3 years ago

    Hi Gary – we’ve always found your info helpful so thanks for that (belong to a little Mac computer club).

    I’ve used HotSpot Shield for several years now and have found it mainly pretty good. One downside is only 5 devices at once can be connected through your account. Have been disappointed only twice when it has disconnected for no reason.

    Dan
    3 years ago

    Gary, the recent federal ruling that allows ISP’s to sell personal content is disturbing to me. This looks like a way to prevent my home ISP from gaining access to it. Is that correct?

    3 years ago

    Dan: Yes, using a VPN means that your ISP doesn’t know what sites you are visiting and what data you are sending and receiving. But the sites themselves know, if yo are logged in. So your ISP doesn’t know what you type on Facebook (and didn’t before, since Facebook uses https), but Facebook does (of course, since the whole point is for Facebook to display this information to your friends).

    K
    3 years ago

    My first VPN was proXPN which I found too cumbersome to setup on my iOS devices as well as it constantly dropped connections too.

    After some moderate research, I picked NordVPN. So far, no issues on either macOS or iOS.

    Check out privacytools.io, thebestvpn.com, and other reviews (non-sponsored) for their recommendations too. There is a lot of marketing hype and FUD surrounding VPNs so choose wisely. Stay safe out there…

    Phyllis S.
    3 years ago

    I’m using ExpressVPN on my iPad and iPhone. It was easy to install and seems to work fine. Am I correct in assuming I don’t need to use it on my iMac desktop computer?

    3 years ago

    Phyllis: If you are using a VPN to protect yourself when on public or untrusted Wi-Fi (like I am) and you are using your own trusted Wi-Fi at home with your iMac, then you don’t need a VPN. But if you are using it to hide where and what you are doing online from your ISP (like others do) then you need to use it all the time on all your machines.

    Phyllis S.
    3 years ago

    Thanks, Gary. That’s what I thought. I travel a lot and I just want protection so I can use my iPad for things like on line banking, if needed. BTW, I’m really enjoying your Patreon posts, so I’m glad I’m participating and helping out – a little, anyway!

    3 years ago

    Phyllis: Thanks! Most (all?) banks would be using https, so you should be relatively safe. But I also use VPN when logging into my bank’s website from outside my house, so I agree with you there.

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