Best VPN for Mac
Apple Mac computers are amongst the most popular PCs on the market today. In fact, close to one in ten PC owners are estimated to be running a machine powered by the Mac OSX operating system and that market share means that software developers have been forced to cater for Mac users just as much as they cater for Windows users.
While Mac computers are sometimes viewed as luxury PCs, with various security benefits over other models, Mac owners need to be every bit as aware of online security and privacy issues as other PC users. This includes having an awareness of third party snooping and surveillance from ISPs and governments.
One of the best ways people can protect their privacy and enhance their online security is through Virtual Private Network services. Most VPNs on the market now offer a good level of support for Mac OSX, with dedicated client software providing all of the key features other devices can benefit from.
So which is the best VPN for Mac users?
VyprVPNs Mac OSX software client looks good and is simple to use, even for complete novices to the VPN world. It covers all the major encryption protocols, including 256-bit OpenVPN, albeit only with its Pro and Premium packages. Moreover, the software client can be put onto a USB device, allowing it to be easily used even on the go.
A strong emphasis is placed on the applications one click connection process, which enables users to quickly connect to a server and effortlessly switch between them. The app is efficient and contains all of the features offered to Windows users, including kill switch and auto-connect options. It also supports customisation via AppleScript.
Furthermore, the software features an exclusive encryption method called Chameleon, which offers more protection against deep packet inspection. As a result, users are able to access websites that usually restrict VPN traffic and online snoopers will be unable to know that the user is connected to a VPN server.
HideMyAss is one of the big names in the VPN market and has a particularly strong reputation for its Mac support. Its client software for Mac OSX is both easy-to-use and has in-depth advanced options, striking just about the perfect balance. It also provides all of the main encryption protocols, including OpenVPN, and offers great speeds.
One particularly strong aspect of the Mac software is its Speed Guide function, which acts as a server selection wizard, running a test and finding the fastest possible servers for the user at that particular time. This eliminates the potentially time-consuming task of manually finding a suitable server. In addition, there is an option to choose a completely random server, giving an extra layer of online anonymity.
Another pleasing aspect of the software is its Secure IP Bind feature, which works in a similar way to a kill switch, but allows customers to set up instructions for specific applications. This offers an excellent level of customisation and ensures that selected programs, such as P2P software, automatically stop working if the user becomes disconnected from their HideMyAss server for any reason, protecting them from ISP snooping.
The IPVanish service operates an impressive tier-1 network and provides a good level of support for Mac OSX users. Its client software is polished and all of the major settings can be easily accessed from the main screen, making it both quick and simple to operate.
Customers are able to switch between servers an unlimited number of times and all of the standard encryption protocols are offered. With the OpenVPN encryption, the software allows you to quickly switch between TCP and UDP settings, depending on whether you are using the service for regular data transfers, or streaming videos and music.
Other features of the client software include a number of different IP address settings, such as an optional IP address history function and the ability to change IP address at set intervals. Server selection is quick and simple and includes a map view, while the application is also able to run on two devices simultaneously.
PureVPNs Mac support is provided through some impressive-looking software, which has some great add-ons for high-definition streaming media use. It is also notable for the 24/7 customer support provided, which can be accessed directly from the application.
The software contains most of the features you would expect, such as a launch on start up function and a quick connect option. Encryption protocols like PPTP and L2TP are offered as standard, although the Mac OSX software does not include the most secure OpenVPN protocol, unless an add-on is obtained.
On the plus side, the softwares server selection tool is a strong feature. In addition to allowing users to choose between all of the available servers or utilise a dedicated IP, it has a select by purpose option. This suggests the best server to use at that particular time, based on the customers intended use for the VPN.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access operates out of the United States and has emerged as one of the big-name VPN providers. The service caters for Mac users and is known for its customisation potential, allowing users to strike the perfect balance between speed and security, depending on their individual needs.
In truth, Private Internet Access client software is not quite as pleasing on the eye as some of its competitors and the most advanced options are somewhat limited as well. That said, it is easy to use and offers all of the crucial features a customer would expect to find.
One of its more impressive features is a kill switch, which can be configured to automatically stop internet traffic if a user becomes disconnected from the VPN, making sure none of their internet activity is unprotected. DNS leak protection is also offered, although information on server loads is notably absent.
In this day and age, Mac users have to be careful about internet privacy and security and all of the VPNs listed offer a decent level of support. The service provided by Private Internet Access will be sufficient for most Mac users, although a lack of advanced options mean that experienced VPN users may be disappointed. PureVPN has some impressive features, but is slightly let down by the fact that OpenVPN is only available if an add-on is downloaded.
IPVanishs client software is quick and simple to operate and the easy switching between TCP and UDP is a plus point. Meanwhile, VyprVPN offers a polished service, with solid Mac OSX support, including a wide range of useful features and its own, unique top-level encryption technology.
However, ultimately, it is difficult to look beyond HideMyAss. Their client software is pleasing on the eye, user-friendly but has enough options to keep more advanced users happy. It offers all of the main encryption methods, provides great speeds and its Speed Guide and Secure IP Bind functions are especially useful.