We are living in the digital age, connected with the internet. While the internet has its own benefits and perks, it also comes with a major issue- lack of privacy. The Internet has become a gold mine of information valuable for hackers and training AI models. Every company on the internet wants your data and therefore, it is important to deploy measures to hide your digital footprints. While there are plenty of technologies you can deploy to make sure that your personal information is not available to your ISP or other apps, VPN stands out to be the best means to do it.
If you own a macOS device, installing and setting up a VPN is challenging. Here, we have enlisted the step-by-step method to install a VPN on Mac to ease the process for you. Before we go to the steps, here are some reasons why you need a VPN and some recommendations that might help you choose the best VPN from the choices available out there.
What is VPN and how does it work?
VPN or Virtual Private Network is the most commonly used method to prevent tracking online while surfing the internet on a public WiFi, access geo-restricted content, or accessing highly confidential information on the internet. As compared to other methods like using incognito mode and proxy sites, VPN is considered the safest method to prevent tracking online.
A virtual private network works by routing your internet traffic via a VPN provider’s service and this traffic is encrypted. Therefore, when you enter a URL to visit the website, the data passes through your VPN provider’s server before it reaches the destination website. This intermediate connection allows you to hide your PC’s IP address from the website you’re visiting thus allowing you to access the content that is restricted in your region.
VPNs are strongly recommended if you often use an unsecured WiFi network, for example, using your WiFi at places such as libraries, schools, and cafes. Accessing banking websites or entering your payment details on such a network could allow hackers to get hold of your card details and other payment methods.
Now that you know VPN and why you should use VPNs, the next step is choosing a VPN provider. There are hundreds of VPN providers in the market claiming to be the best. But, there are some factors that you need to ensure before choosing a VPN provider. If you are in the market for a VPN provider, the below-given factors would help you in making a wise choice.
How to choose the best VPN provider?
In order to choose the best VPN provider, you need to make sure that the provider you are choosing facilitates the following features:
1. Number and location of servers
The number of servers and their locations is an important factor to consider before choosing a VPN provider. Check with the provider whether the VPN covers all the major locations around the globe. If you are going to a country where internet restrictions are considerable, choose a VPN that offers servers in countries like the USA, UK and Australia. For example, if you are planning to live in China for some time, choose a VPN that works there to bypass the censorship by the government.
2. Check whether it can bypass geo-restrictions
If the primary purpose of a VPN for you to bypass geo-restrictions on websites like Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO, choose a VPN that offers the functionality for it. For example, ExpressVPN and Cyberghost VPN have dedicated features to unlock Netflix and Prime catalogue of other countries like America.
3. User-friendly Interface
It is important that you get a VPN with a user-friendly interface. Choose a VPN that offers a hassle-free method to connect and disconnect to different servers all over the world. VPNs with the user-friendly interface would allow you to protect yourself online easily even if you are not a tech-savvy person
Pricing could be another deciding factor if you are in the market to choose a VPN provider. There are free as well as paid options. However, choosing a free VPN involves certain risks whereas those risks are eliminated if you opt for a paid VPN provider.
Top 3 VPN Recommendations
After assessing a VPN provider on the above parameters, the next thing is to choose the best VPN. To make it easy for you, we have handpicked the 3 best VPNs for you to choose from:
When it comes to the best VPNs, ExpressVPN always appears at the top of the list owing to its excellent and reliable services. With more than 3,000 servers in 160 locations, ExpressVPN is powered by TrustedServer Technology that ensures that the company does not log any of the user’s data. ExpressVPN comes equipped with important VPN features such as kill switch, IP address masking, VPN split tunnelling, and more. What makes ExpressVPN better than other VPNs is its lightning-fast connectivity and its ability to unblock geo-restricted websites.
NordVPN is another important name when it comes to VPNs. If you’re looking for a VPN to secure yourself online, look no further than Nord VPN. Nord VPN is incredibly fast and offers the option to use the VPN on 6 accounts simultaneously. The VPN provider has 5471 servers at the time of writing in 59 countries. You get features like split tunnelling support, kill switch, dedicated IPs, IP masking, and more with Nord VPN. NordVPN offers monthly, quarterly and annual plans which you can choose according to your convenience.
3. Surfshark VPN
Surfshark VPN has risen to ranks in the list of best VPN providers but providing top-notch services. With 3,200 servers in 65 countries, Surfshark VPN offers highly reliable VPN services to its users. The reason why we have added Surfshark here is the fact that it offers unlimited device support which means you can connect unlimited devices to VPN simultaneously. It also offers anti-adware, anti-malware and tracker blocking along with the VPN. There are three special modes in Surfshark VPN namely Camouflage mode, Multihop and NoBorders mode to help you bypass restrictions applied by your ISP or government and surf the internet in complete privacy.
Now that we have got the ordeal of choosing the best VPN out of the picture, here is how you can install a VPN on a macOS device. You can install any VPN on Macbook Air, Macbook Pro and other macOS devices easily.
How To Install VPN On Mac?
Installing a VPN app on macOS
If you have opted for VPNs like ExpressVPN, Surfshark or NordVPN, you can download the operating system specific app from their official website after making the payment.
Once you have downloaded the app, install the app like you would install any other app. Usually, this is a fairly simple procedure as you need to double click on the .dmg file and follow the on-screen instructions.
Once the app is installed, launch it and connect to the desired server.
Manually Configure VPN On Mac
Besides installing the VPN app on your Mac device, there is also an option to manually configure a VPN on macOS. The in-built VPN client in macOS comes equipped with PPTP, IKEv2, and L2TIP/IPsec VPN protocols.
By following the below-given steps, you can set up a VPN on macOS’ default VPN client. Additionally, you do not need to download any additional app if you setup VPN on Mac using these steps.
- Click on the Apple icon on the top left of your Mac device’s display and choose System Preferences from there.
- Choose the Network option from the list of options available on the next screen.
- Click on the “+” button on the bottom left side of the screen.
- Click on the interface dropdown and choose “VPN” from there.
- Now choose the preferred VPN protocol from the list of options.
- Next, enter any name for the VPN connection and insert it in the “Service Name” box. This does not have to be anything specific, you can choose this as per your liking.
- Click on Create button to create a VPN profile.
- Now, refer to the settings provided by your VPN provider and fill in the options including Server address and account name.
- In the next step, you can choose to display VPN status in the menu bar for easy access.
- Click on Authentication Settings.
- Enter the password and shared secret provided by your VPN provider to complete the process and click on Ok.
- To ensure that your all the internet traffic is routed through VPN, click on Advanced button and click on the checkbox against the relevant option.
- Click on Apply to save the settings and then click on the connect button to connect to the VPN.
After completing the above steps, you can check with your VPN provider if any additional settings need to be applied to the macOS client. One of the major disadvantages of manually inputting settings in macOS client is that you need to configure them every time you change the server.