Make sure you’re completely protected when you’re using Safari.
More and more of us are using Safari to browse the internet. In fact, as of 2021, Safari is the second most popular browser, with a 16 percent share of the market.1 Just like users of Chrome, Edge, and Firefox, we Safari users need a good virtual private network (VPN) if we want to stay safe in the digital world. A VPN creates a secure, encrypted tunnel for all our internet activity, and it assigns us an IP address so we can surf in complete anonymity. Which VPNs work best with Safari, though? We’ve got all the details below.
Macs are known for being secure, with features like File Vault and Apple ID Two-Factor Authentication. So why would you use a VPN that skimps on security? When it comes to security features, NordVPN is one of the best there is.
What we like
Headquartered in Panama
Minimal data logging
5,500 servers in 60 countries
What we like
Torrenting available only on some servers
Slow speeds on Windows devices
No phone support
Limit of six simultaneous connections
Fast Speeds on Macs
Let’s start with the bad news: All VPNs slow your device down to some extent. You can’t expect to run a sophisticated encryption program without giving up some speed. Now the good news: NordVPN is so lightning-fast on Macs that you’ll barely notice the speed changes. When we compared our Mac’s speed when it was running NordVPN to its speed when it had no VPN running, we found that the ping rate increased by just 10 percent. That’s far better than the industry average of 32 percent. Download speeds were just 24 percent slower, and upload speeds were just 20 percent slower.
Speed Test on Macs
Without the VPN
With the VPN
NordVPN is based in Panama. That means the offices get a lot of sun. It also means the company is completely outside of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes surveillance consortiums. What does this mean? Well, the countries in these groups have agreed to share online intelligence with one another and can subpoena any customer records to hand over to authorities. With NordVPN, though, we could trust that our information was absolutely safe and secure from any government agency snooping. So kudos to Nord here.
Here’s another thing: Even if governments force NordVPN to hand over customer data, they won’t have any incriminating data to share. IP addresses and browsing data are all off-limits to log, so no piece of information about how you used the VPN is stored anywhere.
The whole reason we advocate using VPNs is that they route internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel, ensuring no one can see what you’re doing online. That’s their one job. It turns out, though, that there’s something even safer than an encrypted tunnel: VPNs that route our traffic through two or more encrypted tunnels. NordVPN uses multi-hop technology, connecting us to at least two servers every time we turn on the feature, so we get double the security, double the protection. And we only had to pay one NordVPN price to enjoy this privacy benefit.
FYI: Multi-hop means the VPN sends internet traffic through not just one server but two, providing double the encryption.
What We Liked
Outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, 14 Eyes
Strict logging policy
What We Didn’t Like
Slow speeds on Macs
Relatively high prices
Only five simultaneous connections
A VPN’s protocol is the set of directions that determine how it goes about using encryption to connect us to the internet. That makes it an extremely important element when it comes to providing us with protection. ExpressVPN has always offered OpenVPN, one of the most stable and secure protocols out there. Because it’s open-source software, OpenVPN has been rigorously checked and fine-tuned by thousands of users, so it’s guaranteed to do its job. Recently, ExpressVPN has also been offering its own proprietary protocol, Lightway, which it claims provides the same protection as OpenVPN with faster speeds. What we really like, though, is that the VPN lets us choose exactly which protocol we want to use.
ExpressVPN provides direct access to Netflix. Now, you might be thinking, so what? I don’t need a VPN to connect to Netflix. But here’s the thing: with the right VPN, you can log on to Netflix through an anonymous IP address, which allows you to access Netflix in other countries. It turns out that every country’s content library is just a little different from the others. Want to watch shows that are only available in the U.K.? You need a VPN like ExpressVPN that always provides a stable Netflix connection through an anonymous IP address.
3. Private Internet Access VPN - Best Safari VPN with Split Tunneling
Private Internet Access is one of our favorite VPNs for our Macs, and with the same Mac desktop app, we were able to use Private Internet Access to keep our Safari browsing private. Although PIA doesn’t have a Safari browser extension, its Mac app did just fine in hiding our IP address, encrypting our browsing data, and unblocking geo-restricted content while we browsed. On top of all that, it’s affordable and it provides consistent speeds.
What We Like
Supports split tunneling
Strict no-logs policy
Affordable rates starting at $2.19 a month
What We Don’t Like
App design could be improved
No free trial
No native Safari extension
Split tunneling doesn’t work on iPhones and iPads
Advanced Split Tunneling
We like multitasking using our Macs, and we can’t tell you how many times we’ve needed to keep our VPN connection to protect our Safari browsing while having to access other apps on unencrypted networks. It sure gets annoying, but thanks to Private Internet Access’ advanced split tunneling, we were able to configure a VPN to our liking. That includes setting up which apps can bypass our VPN connection, so that we wouldn’t have to connect and disconnect the VPN often.
A Private Way To Access The Internet
Private Internet Access is one of the best VPNs on the market today partly because of its no-logs policy. That means that whatever you do while connected to the VPN stays private. That includes the websites you visit, your original IP address, how much data you’ve used, and so on. That no-logs policy gives us peace of mind that, although the U.S. government can ask Private Internet Access for its customer records, PIA has nothing to give up.
WebRTC Leak Protection
WebRTC has long been supported by Chrome and Firefox, but for us Safari users, it was added only after Safety 11. WebRTC, which stands for Web Real-Time Communication, speeds up transmission of data to enable live streaming and video chatting. That said, it has a flaw. Sometimes, if you’re connected to an unsecure VPN, WebRTC can leak out your real IP address and compromise your privacy.
Private Internet Access is prepared for that, and offers WebRTC leak protection. We tested it ourselves and didn’t find any leaks.
Besides a MacBook and an iPad, we use tons of other Apple devices daily and all of them deserve protection from a VPN. That’s easy to achieve with IPVanish, as it offers unlimited simultaneous connections. Whether you have one device or ten devices, you can connect them to IPVanish all at the same time.
What We Liked
Unlimited simultaneous connections
Works with Safari
What We Didn’t Like
History of sharing customer data
Only some servers work with Netflix
Headquartered in the U.S., a Five Eyes member
No browser extensions
Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
We recommend IPVanish to all our family and friends with large families. That’s because IPVanish is one of the few VPNs out there that allows you to make an unlimited number of simultaneous connections on an unlimited number of devices. And it’s all for one great IPVanish price and for a single IPVanish subscription. Your kids can surf the internet on their tablets in the backseat, and you can map out directions to the nearest gas station while your wife verifies your hotel reservations – knowing that you are all safe.
Split tunneling is a clever feature several VPNs, including IPVanish, have begun to offer in recent years. It allows you to log on to the plain old internet at the same time you’re using your VPN. When you’re out and about using the internet, you can send files securely through your VPN and simultaneously listen to your favorite Spotify tunes, using whatever public Wi-Fi happens to be available. This feature can save on bandwidth, keeping your connection as fast and stable as possible.
We’re serious about our entertainment. Streaming’s great for scratching that itch, but not everything’s available on Netflix, Hulu, and Prime. When we’re looking for something a little harder to find, we like having torrenting options. Luckily, IPVanish not only provides a secure VPN connection but also a number of dedicated torrenting servers. That way we can get exactly what we need without sacrificing our safety.
We like the little extras CyberGhost offers, like over 7,500 different servers and one of the best customer support experiences in the business. We like the fact that we’re always safe and secure behind AES-256 encryption, and that CyberGhost is located outside Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes. We love, though, CyberGhost costs.
What We Liked
Over 7,500 servers
Responsive customer support
Headquartered outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes
What We Didn’t Like
Logs IP addresses
Slow speeds on Windows
Limited split tunneling
Static IP addresses
A VPN is an absolute necessity for browsing the web these days, whether you’re using Safari or some other browser. But we’re not made of money. That’s why we were pleased to see that CyberGhost pricing included some very affordable options. At $12.99, a single-month subscription isn’t exactly cheap, but if you’re willing to commit to a one-year or two-year subscription, there are big savings on the table. A one-year plan costs $3.95 per month, while a two-year plan costs just $3.15 a month. In addition, the company holds generous sales throughout the year. For Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, for instance, a two-year subscription was as low as $2.17 a month. See our guide to the Best Black Friday and Cyber Monday VPN Deals for more info.
Price per month with annual plan
Price per month with two-year plan
We haven’t come across many VPNS that have over 5,000 servers. CyberGhost has a whopping 7,500. These are located in 90 different countries around the world. That means wherever you happen to be you can always count on a nearby connection. The closer the connection, the faster the speeds. Plus, more servers in more countries means more access to more content libraries from streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus.
VPNs can be tight-lipped. When it comes to our data, that’s a good thing. We don’t want companies blabbing about our IP addresses. The trouble happens when a company doesn’t want to talk to us either. We value good customer service. That’s one reason we put CyberGhost on this list. With CyberGhost, we knew we could always get answers to even our most difficult questions, any time we needed them. The company offers a blog and an extensive knowledge base, but even better it offers 24/7 online chat.
As you would expect, we go through a rigorous selection process when we’re putting together a list like this one. Not every VPN lives up to our exacting standards. What do we look for? We consider a variety of factors, including a VPN’s price, features, security, speed, and customer service. You can get a deeper look into how we evaluate each of these factors, below.
Our primary concern for this list was just how well each VPN worked with Safari. We made sure every VPN on our list was compatible with the Safari browser. In addition, though, we chose VPNs that worked especially well with Apple products generally. We gave high marks, for instance, to any VPN that provided high speeds on Mac devices.
A Look Back in Time: Apple introduced Safari 1.0 on January 7, 2003. Users downloaded nearly 5 million copies in the first six months.
All VPNs slow down your connection to some extent, but we always want to make sure to select the ones that slow that connection down as little as possible. To check this, we conduct speed tests, using both a Windows and a Mac device. We check upload, download, and ping rates on devices running the VPN and then on those same devices when they aren’t running the VPN. Comparing the two numbers gives us a percentage difference that offers a general guideline for just how well each VPN works.
Our most important concern when it comes to VPNs is security, but we like it when a VPN comes with a few bells and whistles too. We take account of just what extras each company offers, looking in particular for things like:
Split tunneling: With split tunneling, we can sign on to the regular internet at the same time we’re using the VPN.
Torrenting support: We prefer VPNs that let us access peer-to-peer networks, and give bonus points to those that offer one-touch connection to torrenting-ready servers. In fact, if torrenting is your thing, we’ve put together a list of the very best VPNs for torrenting.
Streaming access: We look for VPNs that let us connect to multiple streaming services and to content libraries around the world.
FYI: With the right VPN, you can access Netflix libraries in countries all over the world, giving you more streaming content.
These days customer service has become a lost art. We’re all the more excited, then, by those companies that treat us well. We don’t expect VPNs to offer phone support, since that’s risky when it comes to privacy. We like it, though, when a VPN offers 24/7 live chat support. In addition, we expect the company to produce top-of-the-line apps that aren’t just effective but easy to use as well.
Security and Privacy
The heart of any VPN is its security. What kind of job does it do keeping us safe, and what kind of job does it do keeping our data private on the internet. Of course, security can be a complicated subject. Lots of components go into keeping a VPN safe:
Leak-free: A DNS or WebRTC leak means others can see our data and track our activities. As a result, we check every VPN for DNS leaks at DNSLeakTest.com. In addition, we use a tool from ExpressVPN to check for WebRTC leaks.
Strong encryption: We prefer VPNs that use AES-256 to encrypt our signal. AES-256 is good enough for the U.S. military, so it’s good enough for us.
Strong protocols: We want AES-256 to be part of a broader protocol of encryptions that protect us at every point when we’re online. We’re partial to the OpenVPN protocol, though we like others, such as WireGuard and Lightway.
Location: We’ve mentioned this a few times now, but it bears repeating. A VPN can keep us truly safe only if it’s located in a country outside the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes surveillance groups.
Multi-hop: Multi-hop is still a relatively new technology, so not every VPN has it. Still, we love it when our internet activity gets routed through not just one but multiple servers.
Safari VPN Pricing
Who isn’t worried about price? We certainly pay a lot of attention to it. There are many factors that go into whether a VPN is a good buy or not. A high price, for example, might be OK if a VPN comes with lots of features. Overall, though, we like VPNs that cost less than $12 for a single month. We also prefer VPNs that offer discounts for long-term contracts, and generally, look for prices that drop to three or four dollars a month with a year’s subscription.
Want to know even more about what makes a good VPN? Check out our complete guide to VPNs.
Safari provides a great browsing experience, but it can’t keep you protected all on its own. When you’re out there in the world, signing on to public Wi-Fi networks everywhere you go, you need a VPN. You might as well choose one that works well with Safari.
Don’t go away just yet. We’ve got a few more answers for you, below.
No, Apple does not recommend a specific VPN to use with its products. If you’re using a Safari browser on your Mac, we recommend NordVPN because it provides maximum security and fast speeds on Macs. Other great VPNs for Safari include ExpressVPN, IPVanish, and CyberGhost.
NordVPN does support Safari. In fact, NordVPN is at the top of our list when it comes to VPNs that work well with Safari. It is located outside Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes jurisdictions. In addition, it maintains a strict logging policy. Plus, it offers multi-hop technology, so all internet traffic is routed through multiple servers.