Virtual private networks (VPNs) are more popular than ever. They are an important weapon in the ongoing battle against cyber snoops and may even open some geographically blocked applications and websites.
Different VPN providers specialize in different areas; it can be difficult to choose the right supplier for your needs. But once you have chosen a service provider, you still have to make decisions. Specifically, how do you know which VPN client to use? Should you use your VPN provider’s own application or flexible solution that can connect to several different services?
If you’re not sure where to turn, keep reading about the best free Mac VPN clients you can use now and a few other options you may not have considered.
Let’s start with some open source VPN software for the Mac. TunnelBlick is a free VPN client that works on macOS and iOS with any VPN provider that offers OpenVPN support. There is no Windows or Linux version.
Because the application is open source content, you can be sure that it will not secretly monitor your Internet usage in other ways, thus nullifying the benefits of using a VPN. It is thus more transparent than patented applications.
Interestingly, TunnelBlick logs all session information by default. This is not uncommon – all OpenVPN clients do the same. If you want to turn off session logging, all you have to do is add verb 0 application config file. Keep in mind that this is not linked to whether the VPN provider stores your information itself.
Finally, the app has a vibrant support community. If you have trouble, go ahead its Google Group discussion forum, and someone steps in quickly to help.
Charge: Tunnelblick (Free)
The OpenVPN project started back in 2002 and is probably the best known of all the free Mac VPN clients. In addition to the Mac version, the app is also available for iOS, Windows, and Android.
The application supports a wide variety of VPN configurations, including remote access, cross-site VPNs, and enterprise-scale deployments.
OpenVPN isn’t as easy to use as proprietary applications – or even some other OpenVPN clients – but it has established itself thanks to its rich menus and incredible reliability.
The main criticism of OpenVPN is its VPN configuration limit. By default, you have up to 50 saved. It is possible to recompile an application to remove a boundary, but it is a complex process that extends beyond this list. It is also important to know that the OpenVPN application only supports the OpenVPN protocol.
Charge: OpenVPN (Free)
3. SoftEther VPN
SoftEther VPN is one of the leading multi-protocol VPN applications. It works on Mac, Windows and Linux. The open source offer is completely free whether you use it in a personal or commercial environment.
The app supports almost all VPN protocols, which means it’s not only one of Mac’s best OpenVPN clients, but you can also connect it to L2TP / IPsec, MS-SSTP, L2TPv3, EtherIP, and most impressively, VPN-over – HTTPS connections.
If you use the developer’s own SoftEther VPN protocol, you can expect a higher surfing speed than OpenVPN. In testing, the SoftEther server was 103 percent faster than L2TP / IPsec implemented by Microsoft Windows and up to 117 percent faster than OpenVPN.
Additional features include support for packet filtering, dynamic DNS, and UDP hole punching.
Charge: SoftEther VPN (Free)
WireGuard is a high-speed VPN tunnel that can surpass OpenVPN and IPSec. Connections through WireGuard rely on the exchange of public keys. As such, a VPN can roam between IP addresses and eliminate the need to manage connections and daemons.
The technology uses state-of-the-art encryption technology to keep you secure and implement a small code of code to reduce the potential attack surface.
The VPN client for Mac allows you to connect to a VPN (assuming your service provider supports WireGuard), import new tunnels from archives, and create new tunnels.
WireGuard is also available for Windows, Linux, Android and iOS.
Charge: WireGuard (Free)
5. OpenConnect interface
The OpenConnect GUI is a free Mac VPN client. It uses TLS and DTLS to create sessions and is compatible with the Cisco AnyConnect SSL VPN protocol. For those who don’t know, OpenConnect was originally developed as an open source replacement for Cisco’s own product, and its popularity grew rapidly.
However, OpenConnect is its raw format that requires command line information. This VPN client eliminates this need by providing a clean and easy-to-understand interface that allows beginners to quickly wrap their heads around them.
The OpenConnect GUI is also available for Windows.
Charge: Open the Connect interface (Free)
Unfortunately, the range of free VPN clients for the Mac is quite limited. Therefore, we have included two paid options if the above did not suit your needs.
Shimo supports OpenVPN, IPSec, PPTP, SSL, AnyConnect, and SSH connections (note, however, that it does not support PPTP / L2TP in MacOS Catalina). It allows simultaneous connections, automated connections and 2FA. And there is even a dark space!
For security, you can enjoy AES-256 encryption, SHA-2 hash functions, and secure key exchange with the D-H method. Connections that require certificates or one-time passcodes are also supported using the Advanced Authentication (XAUTH) toolkit.
The app costs a one-time fee of $ 49 (about $ 53 at the time of writing), but you can try before you buy.
Charge: Shimo ($ 53, free trial available)
Like the free solutions we discussed, viscosity is open source. It’s available for $ 14 and is multi-platform – you can use it on Windows as well as macOS.
Viscosity is definitely the best design here. Its interface is polished like free options and is incredibly easy to use and navigate. If you’re new to third-party VPN clients in the world and you do not feel it VPN terminology
A short MakeUseOf guide to VPN terminology
, the application represents well spent money.
Technically, the app gives you a complete breakdown of connections, integrates with Keychain to keep your data secure, and runs on macOS’s advanced DNS system.
You can use the 30-day free trial before committing to an individual purchase.
Charge: Viscosity ($ 14, free trial available)
Which Mac VPN client do you prefer?
Each VPN client has different advantages and disadvantages. Which one you choose depends on the service provider VPN protocols and the provision of familiarity with configuring and operating VPNs third-party applications.
For more information on VPNs, see our guide how to set up a VPN on a Mac
How to create VPN settings on a Mac