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.
Even though only one VPN currently has a VPN extension that works directly with the Safari web browser (ExpressVPN), there are plenty of high-quality options that offer a full VPN app that will protect all traffic on your device, including Safari.
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 ExpressVPN 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.
- ExpressVPN: This is my top choice VPN for Safari and the overall best-performing VPN based on my tests. ExpressVPN is the only VPN at the time of writing to offer a dedicated Safari browser extension. It also offers fast speeds, excellent security and top content-unblocking ability.
- NordVPN: This is a great budget-price VPN with a lot of high-quality features. It offers decent speeds and an easy-to-use app for the major platforms.
- CyberGhost: A VPN with top-level encryption standards and rapid speeds. Offers a large number of servers and is able to unblock the 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.
- Surfshark: A newer, but growing, 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.
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.
ExpressVPN is the only VPN service on this list that offers a dedicated browser extension for Safari. This is offered as an alternative to the full VPN app, and it can be useful for some internet users who want a lightweight solution, and only want to encrypt the traffic in their web browser.
The Safari extension does not provide the same level of encryption or protection as the full version of ExpressVPN, but it does deliver fast speeds and can unblock restricted websites from overseas. For users who do want to use the browser extension, ExpressVPN is currently the only choice.
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 – the highest level of encryption currently available. Additional security features include a kill switch on the desktop version, IP and DNS leak protection and a no-logs policy.
Apps are available for all major operating systems, including iOS, Mac, Windows and Android.
There’s no free trial with ExpressVPN, but there is a 30-day “no-hassle” money-back guarantee.
- Lightweight Safari browser extension
- Military-grade encryption
- Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime and more
- Operates a network of more than 3,000 servers spanning 94 countries
- Easy-to-use apps
- Slightly more expensive than other VPNs
BEST FOR CHROME:ExpressVPN is my #1 choice for Safari thanks to its fast speeds, excellent security features, robust VPN app and lightweight browser extension. ExpressVPN is able to unblock most content online from any location. Try it risk-free with their 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
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.
Speeds are decent and can handle streaming video in HD.
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 are apps available for devices operating on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS.
- Encrypts Safari traffic to military standard
- Unblocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Strong privacy settings
- Large server network
- Connection to some servers can be slow
BEST BUDGET VPN:NordVPN offers top security and encryption standards that can make using Safari and the rest of your device safer. The desktop apps are easy to use, and with a large server network, NordVPN can unblock all the major streaming platforms.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
CyberGhost offers some of the fastest VPN connections I have tested. Using this VPN 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 3,500 servers in more than 60+ 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.
Supported platforms include Android, iOS, macOS and Windows.
- Very fast speeds
- Strong, secure encryption
- Easy-to-use desktop and mobile apps
- Good choice of server locations
- Has trouble unblocking Amazon Prime Video
GREAT VALUE: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.
Surfshark is a relatively new VPN provider, but it has already shown that it has strong capabilities.
It has a decent-sized network of over 500 servers, which are located across 50 different 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 privacy features include 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.
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 and iOS. The apps are user-friendly and have an easy-to-use interface.
- Unlimited connections
- Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu
- Speedy connections
- Less server choice than other VPNs
EASY TO USE:Surfshark is a relatively new VPN provider, but it delivers impressive results with speed, security and the ability to bypass geo-restrictions. With unlimited connections, Surfshark provides good value subscriptions. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of Surfshark.
Why Is a Full VPN Better Than a Browser Extension?
Many VPN providers offer a lightweight browser extension for Google Chrome and Firefox, but only one currently offers a VPN extension for Safari – ExpressVPN.
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.
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. Only ExpressVPN currently offers a dedicated Safari browser extension.
Safari can’t match browsers like Firefox and Chrome for plugins and customization options.
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.
For those using the Safari browser, there are a number of VPNs listed above that perform well with the application. ExpressVPN is my #1 choice VPN for Safari, with a standalone browser extension, excellent security features and a no-hassle 30-day money-back guarantee.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.