If you’re in the market for a VPN for Mac, but you don’t have the money to spare, you’re probably prowling the web in search of a free VPN to do the job.
Let us give you some advice: stop.
Most free VPNs offer nothing but bandwidth limitations, privacy concerns, and in some cases, even malware.
We’ve all heard the saying before: “You get what you pay for.”
With free VPNs, this couldn’t be truer. Fortunately, not all free VPNs are on the “avoid at all costs” list. While they should never be used as a long-term solution, we’ve found a few options to hold you over until you can afford a premium service.
Let’s take a look at the best free VPNs for Mac.
What to Look For in a Mac VPN
Before we jump into our recommendations for the best free VPN for Mac (and why you should avoid free VPNs in the first place), let’s review what to look for in a Mac VPN:
- The provider is not based in a 5/9/14 Eyes country
- Strict no-logs policy
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Automatic kill switch
- IP and DNS leak protection
- Lots of servers
- High-speed connection
- Able to unblock streaming services
- Unlimited bandwidth
- OpenVPN protocol
- 24/7 customer support (live chat is best)
The unfortunate thing is, when it comes to free VPNs, it’s impossible to tick all of these boxes. However, lucky for you, we did manage to find several promising free VPNs for Mac…
The Best Free VPN for Mac
These are our guidelines for finding a free VPN you can trust:
- Do extensive research, but be careful of fake or compromised VPN review sites
- Use a freemium service, where the provider offers a free version and a premium version
Using the above criteria, here are our top recommendations for a free Mac VPN:
- Windscribe is a freemium service, meaning you can upgrade to the paid version at any time! The two versions are almost exactly the same, with the only limitations being the 10GB/month bandwidth cap and a smaller server network. However, you can get an extra 2GB/month if you Tweet about the provider!
- ProtonVPN is another freemium option. There aren’t any data limits, but you can only connect to VPN servers in 3 countries.
- Tunnelbear is a cute, bear-themed freemium VPN that offers 500MB/month for free. However, you can get an extra 2GB/month if you Tweet about the provider! There are a few other issues (including some user logs being kept), but it’s a good way to ease into the world of VPNs.
- hide.me is a freemium VPN offering 2GB of free data every month, with access to 5 server locations, 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and IP leak protection. The free version also includes hide.me’s split tunneling feature.
- Hotspot Shield is yet another freemium service, offering 500MB of free data per day. That’s right – per day! The free service comes with 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and malware protection.
Why You Shouldn’t Rely on a Free VPN for Mac
Relying solely on a free VPN for Mac would be a colossal mistake.
The fact is, even with the best free VPN out there, you’re still going to run into issues. You might run out of data. Your information might be shared. You might not be able to securely browse the internet.
There are a million potential disasters waiting to happen.
That said, the 5 free VPNs mentioned above are great short-term solutions. But if you’re thinking of sticking with a free VPN long-term, you should know what you’re dealing with.
For example, most free VPNs are one (or all) of the following:
- Completely fake
- Logs your data and sells it to the highest bidder
- A government honeypot (or is otherwise known to give user data to the government)
- Has poor security
- Has major malware issues
The Better Option…
Of course, we couldn’t end this article without offering a better solution.
In the case of a free VPN for Mac, it’s utilizing the free trials and money-back guarantees of trusted premium VPN services. This is especially beneficial if you only need a VPN short-term (though we always recommend using a VPN long-term.)
Here are the best premium VPNs for Mac:
- CyberGhost VPN – 14-day money-back guarantee (45-day guarantee on longer subscription terms)
- ExpressVPN – 30-day money-back guarantee
- NordVPN – 30-day money-back guarantee
- Surfshark – 30-day money-back guarantee
- VPNArea – 14-day money-back guarantee (30-day guarantee on longer subscription terms)
However, do remember money-back guarantees often have terms and conditions attached! In some cases, this includes bandwidth limits.
Being in a financial rut is taxing. It certainly doesn’t help when you suddenly find yourself out of a VPN because you can’t afford to keep your subscription.
While using a free VPN should always be a short-term solution, we hope the options in this article will help you out.
Be sure to use our VPN comparison tool to find the right VPN to install on Mac!