How to install a VPN on macOS

How To VPN Mac

Using a VPN on Mac is always a good idea. Sometimes your favourite VPN provider’s software isn’t available on macOS, so you’ll have to make the connection yourself. In this case, just follow the following steps:

1. Make sure you have the correct login information. Still looking for a VPN provider? We recommend ExpressVPN:

2. Go to system preferences and select “Network ”.

3. Add the VPN connection by clicking “+” in the lower-left corner. Fill in the correct login information and choose “Apply”.

4. Select the VPN connection from the list and click “  Connect ”.

Want to know how to install a VPN on your Mac with VPN software, or just want additional information on the topic? Read our full article below to find out more.

If you really want to stay safe online and prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your personal data, a VPN is the solution for you. This secure connection will help you stay safe when you are online. Many Mac users would prefer to be able to set up their own VPN on macOS without having to install any third-party software. 

Fortunately, this can be done easily. To make it as easy as possible to manually configure your VPN, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide that you can follow.

Note: Before setting up a VPN on your Mac, you must subscribe to the VPN and have the corresponding connection data ready. If you haven’t chosen a VPN yet, check out the best VPNs for macOS, or scroll down to see which VPN we recommend for macOS.

How to install a VPN on macOS

If you want to set up a VPN on your Mac, you must first be logged in to your device as an administrator, which gives you the right to adjust network and security settings. If you do not have these rights, contact the primary administrator of your computer.

Optional: Depending on your VPN, you might need to upload a security certificate for your connection keychain. Your login key fob is a kind of “safe” in which you store login details and other confidential data. You can find information about certificates on your VPN’s website.

If the provider uses a certificate, right-click the certificate in your keyring and click “Get Info”. Make sure your certificate settings look like this:

VPN setup MacOS certificate settings

Step 1: Go to your VPN settings

You are now ready to set up your VPN on macOS. First, you need to access your system preferences. You will find these preferences in the menu that opens when you click on the Apple logo in the upper-left corner. First click on System Preferences and then on the Network icon, as you can see below:

MacOS system preferences

Step 2: Add a VPN connection

When the Network menu appears, click the small “+” icon below the list of possible network connections.

Network settings MacOS + icon

This will open a pop-up window where you can enter your VPN details:

VPN type popup box
  1. Select the VPN option from the drop-down menu behind “Interface”.
  2. Choose your preferred VPN protocol type in the second box. The options offered will depend on your firewall and router settings. In general, IKEv2 is the safest protocol to use when configuring your VPN through Mac settings.
  3. Choose a name for your VPN connection and type it in the box next to “Service name”. You can pick any name, such as your provider’s name or connection type. As long as it’s a recognizable name for you, it will do.

Click the “Create” button, and you are ready to move on to the next step.

Step 3: Configure your VPN on macOS

Now that you’ve added a VPN connection, you need to connect to the VPN service of your choice. Once you click on “Create” you will be taken to another menu. It will ask you for the following information: Server Address, Remote ID and Local ID.

VPN setup server address remote ID

Fill in the boxes by following these steps:

  1.  Your server address can often be found in your VPN provider’s account details. This is the VPN server you want to use. If you can’t find it, contact your VPN service customer support.
  2. Set the external identifier to be the name of the VPN service provider of your choice, or simply enter the server address again. Depending on your VPN provider, one or both of these options are possible.
  3. It is not necessary to complete the local identification form, so feel free to leave this box blank.
  4. Click on the “Authentication settings…” button.

Step 4: Authenticate your account and log in

Once you have entered your connection data, you will need to enter your connection data to access your VPN service. By clicking on the button “Authentication parameters”, you will be directed to the following screen:

Setting up VPN account details

Choose the “Username” option from the drop-down menu, then fill in the connection information you received when creating your VPN account.

After entering your username and password, you can select the option “Show VPN status in menu bar” at the bottom of the screen. The VPN status icon will then appear at the top of your screen, making it easier for you to adjust your settings. This can be very useful if you want to quickly connect to your VPN network or switch between VPN services later.

Finally, to create the VPN connection, click on “Connect”. You have now successfully configured your VPN on macOS!

What is the best VPN for macOS?

If you want to use a VPN on your Mac, there are a few things to watch out for. After all, not all VPNs are suitable for Macs. That is why you should pay attention to factors such as compatibility with Apple products or the speed and additional options offered by the VPN. 

ExpressVPN turned out to be the best option when we tested VPNs for Mac. In addition to the high connection speeds, this VPN provider has a network containing over 3,000 servers in 94 countries.

ExpressVPN is a portable, easy-to-use VPN. It is not necessary to have a lot of technical experience to be able to use this VPN. In addition, ExpressVPN’s customer service is very helpful. Therefore, ExpressVPN is often the best choice for a general purpose VPN.

Want to learn more about other VPN providers? Don’t forget to check out our top 5 of the best VPNs right now!

Setting up your VPN on macOS using VPN software

Installing your VPN through your operating system settings is not always the best solution. If you are using a paid VPN provider, such as ExpressVPN, we strongly recommend that you use their official software. This software often supports more VPN protocols and uses DNS servers to avoid DNS leaks. In addition, it typically includes a kill switch that automatically cuts your connection if the VPN server fails. In short, you will generally be safer when using VPN software rather than setting up the connection yourself on macOS.

Installing VPN software on macOS works as follows:

install vpn french
  1. Subscribe to a VPN provider and create an account.
  2. Download the VPN software from their official website.
  3. Install the software by following the given steps.
  4. Log in to the software with your account. Usually, all you need to do is enter the username and password created in step 1.
  5. Optional: choose the desired VPN server. Depending on what you want to do online, you can choose a suitable server location. Want to watch the US version of Netflix? So choose an American server. If you are abroad and want to watch your local streams online, all you need to do is choose a server in your home country. Finally, if you just want to browse the internet safely, choose the server closest to you to get the fastest connection.
  6. Turn on the VPN. For most VPN software, this is done with one click. If you did not choose a server location, the software will likely automatically select the closest or fastest server.

Why use a VPN on macOS?

There are many reasons to use a VPN. Here are the most common:

  • Your data is encrypted, which offers additional protection against hackers and cybercriminals (as well as against other parties who might be watching you, such as governments and businesses);
  • You can use public networks safely;
  • Your location and your IP address will be hidden;
  • You can download torrents and other files anonymously;
  • It is easier to bypass geo-restrictions on social networks and streaming services (such as Netflix);
  • You can bypass censorship in some countries;
  • The speed limits imposed by your service provider will no longer apply to you;
  • You might have access to services that can normally only be used within a business or institution network. This is especially useful when you are working from home.

In short, setting up a VPN on your Mac is always a good idea. You probably use this device for most of your daily internet activities. With a VPN, your online privacy and freedom will be instantly improved.


Some macOS users may choose to manually configure their VPN. This article explains how to do it successfully, step by step. This method is usually not necessary, as most premium VPNs offer software that automatically establishes the connection for you. We therefore recommend that you use VPN software, which is often simpler and more secure. 

One VPN that will work flawlessly, no matter which installation mode you choose on your Mac, is ExpressVPN. Install a VPN on Mac – Frequently Asked Questions

If you need a quick answer to your question, maybe we can help. Just click on one of the questions below to read the answer.

The easiest way to set up a VPN is to install the provider’s software. As long as the VPN is compatible with macOS, this is the method we recommend. It is also possible to install a VPN manually by adjusting your Mac’s system preferences. 

This VPN setup on macOS can be useful when you want to be able to configure all VPN settings yourself or when you are not happy with your provider’s software.

A VPN has a number of major advantages. The secure connection will protect your data online, you will have access to specific networks (including your company network when working from home) and your privacy will be preserved. 

In addition, a VPN also increases your internet freedom. In short, a VPN on Mac will give you more privacy, security, and options on the internet.

When choosing a VPN for your Mac, you should check whether the service is compatible with Apple products, whether it will slow down your connection too much, and what options it offers. 

We have independently tested many VPNs and found that ExpressVPN is currently one of the best VPNs for Mac.