- Go to the Apple App Store.
- Search for "vpn".
- Choose a VPN from the results that you want to use on your Mac.
Be wary of the "free" VPNs! They often don't have as many servers, which means you'll notice significant internet slowdowns when using them. And they lack the security features of their moderately priced rivals.
We use NordVPN and love it! They even offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it for free for 30 days.
Set up account
After downloading the VPN, you'll need to set up your account with the VPN provider. If you're looking for additional security, then you can even use a cryptocurrency to purchase the VPN so your information can't be stored by the provider.
Open the VPN and enable it
When you open the VPN application on your Mac, you'll likely be given options of how and where you want to route your internet traffic. The most important options are:
- Country (location of VPN server)
If you're just using the VPN for security, then you should choose a VPN server nearby in your own country. If you're using the VPN to try access foreign data or video, then you'll want to choose a foreign country.
The protocol is how the VPN encrypts your data and funnels your traffic through a VPN server. Most often, all you'll need is OpenVPN protocol—so if you're new to VPNs, we'd select that one for now. Just in case, here's a brief overview of the different VPN protocols.
The recommended general-use protocol, OpenVPN, is included in NordVPN. What's unique, however, is that with NordVPN, you can choose between either the TCP or UDP internet protocols depending on what your VPN needs are. OpenVPN is an open-source protocol, making it very secure.
For those looking for the most stable VPN protocol, NordVPN offers the IKEv2 protocol, though notes that Windows users will likely have the easiest time running this particular VPN protocol.
The newest and fastest VPN protocol available, Wireguard, is available from NordVPN as "NordLynx." This open-source protocol is lightening fast, due to it's minimal coding. This is the preferred protocol for those wanting speed, like gamers or those wanting to stream video.
SSTP, or Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol, is a protocol owned and operated by Microsoft, which may make some wary of the privacy it offers. Still, it's a secure and good protocol for average use.
VPN icon in the menu bar
You should see a VPN icon from your VPN provider in your Mac's menu bar. You can usually connect from there too.
We recommend going to your VPN setting and preferences to set up the VPN to auto-launch when your Mac starts. This way you'll never have to worry about forgetting to connect before you access the internet.
We've got an easy way to make sure your VPN is active! You can check the status of your Mac's VPN anytime by heading over the NordVPN homepage and looking for the protection status at the top of the screen—even if you aren't using NordVPN!
Need to turn it off?
Check out our guide to see how to easily turn off your Mac's VPN.