The Safari web browser comes already installed with Apple devices, such as the iPad, iPhone and Apple Mac.
It’s no surprise that, with the popularity of Apple devices, Safari currently ranks as the second most popular browser in the world, with a 13.2% share of the market as of March 2019.
If you’re one of the many internet users who choose to browse online with Safari, I will show you how you can improve your browsing experience by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A VPN encases your internet connection in a tunnel of encryption and routes it through the VPN’s servers. This makes you more secure online, hides your real location and helps you gain access to more content, such as overseas video streams that are blocked by region.
The thing is, most VPNs don’t offer a Safari browser extension. This is because Apple doesn’t support many third-party extensions, and charges an annual fee to the ones it does.
But that’s okay, because browser extensions don’t protect all of your online activities like a full VPN app does. In fact, I always recommend that users opt for a full VPN app rather than a browser extension, as it gives you more protection and covers all traffic from your device.
In this article, I go over the 5 best VPNs for use with the Safari browser.
How to Use a VPN With Safari
In order to get started using a VPN with Safari, you need to take a few simple steps.
- Choose a VPN that works well with Safari and can provide robust security and privacy. I would also recommend choosing a VPN that can unblock content from overseas to give you options when traveling abroad. I’ve rated NordVPN as the best VPN for Safari.
- Install the VPN app for your device from your VPN provider’s website.
- Launch the VPN app, log into your account and select a VPN server to connect to.
- Once connected to the VPN server, launch the Safari web browser. When using the VPN app, all web traffic from your device, including the Safari browser, will be fully encrypted and safe from hackers and online surveillance.
Best VPNs for Safari
If you’re looking for a quick answer on which VPNs are the best VPNs for Safari, you can read the summary below. I go into more detail in the full review later on.
- NordVPN: This provider is my #1 pick for Safari. The provider offers lightning-fast speeds, strong security and privacy protections, and excellent content-unblocking ability.
- Surfshark: A newer, but growing, budget-priced VPN provider that performs very well on security, with reasonably good speeds and top-level security and encryption. Capable of unlocking major content streaming services.
- ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN was the only VPN to offer a dedicated Safari browser extension, but has dropped support for the extension. It offers fast speeds, excellent security, and a great content-unblocking ability.
- CyberGhost: A VPN with top-level encryption standards and rapid speeds. Offers a large number of servers and is able to unblock big-name streaming websites, like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
- PrivateVPN: Small but very fast VPN that manages to cover a large number of countries, allowing lots of restricted content to be unblocked. Offers very high levels of security and privacy.
To rank the best VPNs for Safari, I used the following criteria:
- Works well with Safari
- Strong security/encryption
- Good range of servers
- Can unblock streaming sites like Netflix
- Easy-to-use apps
Here are my full reviews of the top 5 VPNs for Safari.
NordVPN ranks as the #1 best VPN for Safari thanks to its solid encryption, comprehensive privacy protections, blazingly fast speeds and extensive content-unblocking ability.
NordVPN has a large network of servers and several easy-to-use desktop and mobile apps, which work well and encrypt all traffic to and from your device. This includes any apps you have running in the background and any data sent while you are using the Safari browser.
Since there is no Safari browser plugin, you’ll have to use the full NordVPN desktop client or mobile version, which provides the best security. This includes 256-bit encryption, which is the same grade of security that the U.S. military uses.
NordVPN’s speeds scored as the fastest of all VPNs in my latest round of speed tests, making it an excellent provider if you have a need for speed.
Because NordVPN operates one of the largest VPN networks available, with over 5,000 servers in more than 60 countries, you have the option to unblock content from almost anywhere around the globe.
In tests, I found several versions of the Netflix website, including U.S. and U.K. libraries, could be unblocked. You can also bypass geo-restrictions for BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video with this VPN.
There’s a number of top privacy and security settings available, including government-grade encryption, a kill switch, DNS and IP leak protection, and a zero-logs policy on user traffic and metadata. The provider also lets you pay with the privacy-friendly Bitcoin.
There are apps available for devices operating on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, as well as Amazon Fire, Android TV, and Linux.
- Encrypts Safari traffic to military standard
- Unblocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Ridiculously fast speeds
- Strong privacy settings
- Large server network
- Connection to some servers can be slow
BEST VPN FOR SAFARI:NordVPN offers the best protection and performance for your Safari browsing adventures. The provider offers fast download speeds, extensive content-unblocking ability, and impressive security and privacy protections. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark offers its high level of service at a budget-friendly price. Although a relatively new VPN provider, it has already shown that it has strong capabilities.
It offers over 3,200 servers in 65+ countries, giving a wide range of access to different content. This includes the ability to bypass geo-restrictions on streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more.
Speeds register as very fast, making it good for streaming TV online, and security is good for all traffic sent via Safari and on the rest of your device.
Available security features include bank-grade encryption and DNS and IP leak protection, while the Windows and Mac versions have a kill switch that automatically disconnects you from the internet should your connection to the VPN unexpectedly drop.
Privacy-wise, Surfshark does well, keeping no logs of your online activities and accepting Bitcoin in exchange for its services.
A popular feature of this VPN is its allowance of unlimited simultaneous connections to the VPN from a single plan, so every device can be covered.
Surfshark supports a wide range of platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV and Amazon Fire. The apps are user-friendly and have an easy-to-use interface.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu
- Speedy connections
- Low price
- Advanced settings are missing
BEST FOR BUDGET:Surfshark offers its exceptional service at a surprisingly low price. The provider boasts fast speeds and an unlimited simultaneous connections policy, allowing you to connect as many devices as you want to its servers at once. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of Surfshark.
ExpressVPN was the only VPN service on this list that offered a dedicated browser extension for Safari. However, Safari version 12 and up changes the way browser extensions are allowed, and ExpressVPN dropped their browser extension support for Safari.
it should be noted that ExpressVPN’s app does work just fine with the Safari browser, and provides excellent protection with Safari and any other Mac browser.
When it comes to the full ExpressVPN app, connections are fast and reliable. There’s a large selection of servers, and at the time of writing, this includes 3,000+ servers in 160 locations across 94 countries.
ExpressVPN does an excellent job of unblocking geo-restricted content, and it’s able to stream Netflix U.S and U.K, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and many of the growing number of network-based streaming services, including All 4, ABC Go, and others.
The ExpressVPN desktop client and mobile app provide military-grade AES encryption of your data – Additional security features include a kill switch on the desktop version, IP and DNS leak protection, and a no-logs policy.
Privacy protections include the fact that ExpressVPN follows a no-logs policy and accepts Bitcoin as a secure payment method.
Apps are available for all major operating systems, including iOS, Mac, Windows, and Android, as well as Amazon Fire, Linux and Chrome OS.
There’s no free trial with ExpressVPN, but there is a 30-day “no-hassle” money-back guarantee.
- Fast connection speeds
- Military-grade encryption
- Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and more
- Operates a network of more than 3,000 servers spanning 94 countries
- More expensive than other VPNs
- Only allows 5 simultaneous connections
GREAT FOR STREAMING:If you have a hankering for international streaming content, ExpressVPN may be for you. Its fast speeds, excellent content-unblocking ability, and wide global server network allow you to access content all over the world. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
Using CyberGhost is easy thanks to apps that are quick to download, easy to install and simple to use, with a clean and intuitive interface.
All your web traffic sent through Safari will be encrypted to the current highest available standards, 256-bit. In addition, any background applications accessing the internet from your device will be encrypted, and all data will be secured.
If one of the reasons you’d like to use a VPN is to access geo-restricted content from around the world, CyberGhost performs well, unblocking all the major streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. One downside is that it currently struggles to unblock Amazon Prime Video.
There’s a good choice of servers, with over 6,500 servers in more than 90 countries. DNS and IP leak protection is available to mask your real IP address at all times, and there’s a kill switch that works on all supported platforms. Military-grade encryption is the standard here.
CyberGhost protects your privacy with a strict no-logs policy and an acceptance of Bitcoin as a private payment method.
Supported platforms include Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Amazon Fire, and Android TV.
- Strong, secure encryption
- Easy-to-use desktop and mobile apps
- Good choice of server locations
- Has trouble unblocking Amazon Prime Video
- Not many advanced options
BEST FOR BEGINNERS:CyberGhost is a good choice for users looking to encrypt Safari browser traffic and all other traffic going to and from their device. Rapid speeds make it good to use for streaming, and the apps are very easy to use. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
PrivateVPN is a smaller VPN in terms of the size of its server network, with just 150 servers available to choose from. However, the servers within this network are well distributed across 60 countries, giving it a good reach.
The desktop and mobile apps are easy to use and can provide high-level encryption for all data going to and from your device on the internet, including all web traffic on Safari.
Users will be able to change their IP via the VPN connection and access restricted content from around the globe, including streaming sites like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix video content.
PrivateVPN is also one of the fastest VPNs currently on the market, making it a good choice for watching video content, and users should have no problems with buffering or lag, even when watching in HD.
Privacy is assured, as PrivateVPN makes it almost impossible for anyone to access your details. There’s a zero-logging policy, and even your ISP can’t see what you’re doing online.
Easy-to-use apps are available for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows.
- Great speeds
- Excellent customer support
- Unblocks Netflix U.S., U.K., and others
- Live chat is not available 24/7
- Small number of servers
GREAT SPEEDS:PrivateVPN protects your traffic sent through Safari with top encryption standards and privacy features, and it delivers some of the fastest VPN speeds available. A downside is that the provider’s server network is relatively small. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Why Is a Full VPN Better Than a Browser Extension?
Many VPN providers offer a lightweight browser extension for Google Chrome and Firefox, but none that I have seen offer a Safari browser extension.
It is possible that Apple’s notorious compatibility issues and its selectivity when it comes to approving third-party apps are the reasons why most VPN providers don’t offer browser extensions for Safari. The Cupertino firm also now requires that all Safari browser extensions be approved by them.
This is not a major problem, though, as browser extensions are not full VPNs and cannot deliver the best security and privacy standards for your device. A full VPN can cover all your Safari browser traffic in addition to the rest of your device’s traffic, all at the same time.
Web browser extensions work via encrypted proxies that act like a middle man, hiding your real location. This server sits between your web browser and the internet, obscuring your real IP address and replacing it with the server’s IP instead.
This kind of proxy server can be used in your browser to bypass geo-restricted content and encrypt your traffic. However, browsers have a vulnerability to WebRTC leaks, which can expose your IP address. A full VPN is able to protect you against WebRTC leaks, keeping your security intact.
What Browser Is Right for You?
When using a browser to use the web, there are a number of factors that influence which one is best for you.
These can include compatibility with your operating system, speed, built-in security features, compatibility with other plugins, VPNs and tools that you may want to use.
Below, you can find a quick overview of the pros and cons of each browser. This can be used to help you decide which browser will best fit your needs.
Tor is considered one of the most secure and private browsers around. It offers a little bit more than a standard browser, offering a suite of security tools.
Traffic in the Tor browser is routed via random points around the world, making your online activity very difficult to track. Tor also blocks tracking cookies and store no data.
On the negative side, the performance of Tor can be slow.
Microsoft Edge browser is a secure and fast web browser. It comes with Windows 10 and is now also available on Android and iOS. It performs well at blocking malware and phishing websites.
This browser is bulky, at 23 MB compared to other mainstream browsers, like Chrome and Firefox, which are much lighter. Another negative is that Microsoft Edge isn’t compatible with Mac computers or PCs running early versions of Windows.
Google Chrome is the most popular browser available today, with over 1 billion users worldwide.
The browser offers reliable and fast performance, it’s compatible with countless plugins, and it can be extended and tweaked to really make it a personal experience that works for you. Most top-tier VPNs also offer a dedicated Chrome plugin.
Privacy can be a concern, as Google collects and uses user data, and the browser is quite resource-hungry, not performing well on machines without adequate RAM.
Mozilla Firefox is a very light and fast browser with lots of functionality.
It’s light on system resources, so it can be used even on older laptops or systems with less RAM. Firefox is great for privacy tools, and as it’s produced by Mozilla, a non-profit company, it does not have the same incentive to sell user data, like other browsers do.
Firefox has a decent number of compatible plugins and can block ad trackers. Most top-tier VPNs also make a browser extension that is compatible with Firefox.
Safari is native to Apple’s iOS and MacOS and is the best browser for Apple devices. Safari is also compatible with Android phones and tablets, but it doesn’t work with Windows-based PCs.
Safari is fast to launch and loads pages quickly, and it does a great job of warning users about dangerous websites, malware, and phishing.
Safari can’t match browsers like Firefox and Chrome for plugins and customization options. However, it does offer added privacy protections over Edge, Firefox, and Chrome.
Which VPNs Offer VPN Extensions for Safari?
At the time of writing, none of the major VPN providers offer VPN extensions for Safari.
What Is the Best iPhone VPN?
The best VPN for Safari is also the best VPN for iPhone: NordVPN. With its fast connections, iPhone native app and more, the VPN will offer excellent service for both Safari and iPhones. See my Best VPN for iPhone article for more information.
Does Safari Have a VPN?
No, Safari has no integrated VPN functionality. That makes it important to get a VPN app to protect your internet travels while you're using Safari.
Encrypting your web traffic comes with many benefits, including better online security and the option to stop anyone else seeing your online activity, even your ISP.
NordVPN is the best VPN for Safari. Although it doesn’t offer a standalone Safari browser extension, considering the fact that it’s safer to just use a full VPN app, NordVPN is the best option. Its lightning-fast speeds, wide global server coverage and strong security and privacy protections make it attractive.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the NordVPN website.