VPNs, or virtual private networks, enable you to browse the Internet while essentially protecting your identity. They work by masking your IP address from websites and search engines. VPN services are available on a wide variety of platforms including smartphones, but for some reason they’re seriously lacking on the Mac.
Though some (read: few) VPNs are free for life, most require a subscription to continue using it. I did my best to find solid VPN services for Mac that are relatively inexpensive. If you want to protect your privacy when using your Mac or just need access to some international links, definitely take a look at these apps.
SaferVPN has a fantastic interface for Mac and lets you choose which country you want to connect with. It even lets you know what your new, temporary IP address is while connected.
Just launch the app, choose your country and click Connect. Give permission to SaferVPN to run a virtual private network on your computer by clicking Allow when prompted. That’s it, you’re now using VPN until you click Disconnect.
SaferVPN is only free for the first 24 hours though. After that you’ll need to upgrade to continue using the service. The basic plan is just $4.99 per month (when billed annually) and works on one computer. Premium is $14.99 per month (currently on sale for $7.50) and works on three computers while the Small Business plan is $16.67 per month billed annually and installs on 10 computers.
2. Hotspot Shield VPN
Hotspot Shield VPN is another Mac app that does exactly what you’d expect. It has a different interface than SaferVPN and requires a more traditional approach for activation: you’ll have to install a configuration profile on your Mac. This takes seconds, but it’s a couple extra steps compared to SaferVPN.
Hotspot Shield also lets you select which country you want to connect to and has an option to enable/disable unsecured Wi-Fi notifications.
It comes with a seven-day free trial after which it’s significantly cheaper than SaferVPN. Hotspot Shield Elite costs only $4.99 per month — not annually — and will work on up to five devices. The yearly plan is an even better value at just $29.99.
3. VPN Unlimited
VPN Unlimited lets you choose your server as well, but it’s also by far the slowest to connect as needed. If you’re a regular VPN user, you might want to shy away from this one. (You also need to install a profile for this one.)
The reason why VPN Unlimited made this list is because of its wonderfully flexible pricing options. Rather than force people to sign up for a monthly or annual subscription and pay for VPN when they’re not using it, VPN Unlimited offers pay-as-you-go plans. If you’re on vacation and want access to websites outside of your current country just for a week or two, you can purchase VPN for as long as you need it.
Plans range from “Vacation,” seven days for $1.99, to Standard, three months for $8.99, to a lifetime of VPN for $129.99. There are plenty of other plans in between to suit what you need. If you can get over the inconvenience of slow connectivity in favor of the convenient pricing, VPN Unlimited is an adequate choice.