Step-by-Step Guide: Installing a VPN on Your Older Mac

In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of installing a VPN on your older Mac. We understand that technology can sometimes be daunting, but don’t worry, our friendly guide will make it easy for you to protect your privacy and enjoy a secure internet connection. By following our instructions, you will learn how to choose the right VPN provider, download and install the VPN software, and configure it to work seamlessly on your older Mac. So, let’s get started on securing your online activities and ensuring your peace of mind.

Step 1: Determine the Compatibility of Your Mac

Before you begin the process of installing a VPN on your older Mac, it’s important to determine its compatibility. This involves checking the macOS version and verifying the hardware requirements.

Checking the macOS version

To check the macOS version on your Mac, simply click on the Apple menu at the top left corner of your screen and select “About This Mac.” A window will pop up, displaying the version of macOS currently installed on your machine. It’s recommended to have at least macOS High Sierra (10.13) or later to ensure compatibility with most VPN software.

If you’re using an older version of macOS, you may need to consider updating your operating system before installing the VPN software. To update your macOS, go to the App Store and navigate to the “Updates” tab. If an update is available, click on “Update” to initiate the installation process.

Verifying the hardware requirements

In addition to the macOS version, it’s important to verify if your Mac meets the hardware requirements for the VPN software. This typically involves having a certain amount of RAM, storage space, and processing power. Consult the VPN provider’s website or documentation to find the specific hardware requirements for your chosen software.

Step 2: Research and Choose a VPN Provider

Now that you’ve determined the compatibility of your Mac, it’s time to research and choose a VPN provider. This step is crucial as it will directly impact the security and functionality of your VPN.

Understanding the importance of VPN provider selection

A VPN acts as a secure tunnel between your device and the internet, encrypting your data and protecting your online privacy. However, not all VPN providers are created equal. It’s important to select a reputable provider with a strong track record in security and privacy.

When choosing a VPN provider, consider factors such as:

  • Security: Look for providers that offer strong encryption protocols (e.g., OpenVPN, IPSec) and have a strict no-logs policy.
  • Server locations: The more server locations a VPN provider has, the better chances you have of finding a fast and reliable connection.
  • Pricing: Compare the pricing plans of different VPN providers to find one that fits your budget.

Comparing different VPN providers

To make an informed decision, compare different VPN providers based on their features and offerings. Take into consideration factors such as the number of simultaneous connections allowed, customer support options, and any additional features or services provided.

Read reviews and consult online forums to get insights from other users who have experience with different VPN providers. This will help you narrow down your options and find the VPN provider that best suits your needs.

Considering factors like security, server locations, and pricing

When considering different VPN providers, prioritize the factors that are most important to you. If privacy and security are your top concerns, focus on providers that have a strong emphasis on encryption and data protection.

If accessing geo-restricted content is a priority, choose a provider that offers a wide range of server locations, including those in the countries or regions you want to access content from.

Finally, ensure that the pricing of the VPN provider fits within your budget. While it’s important to find a reliable and secure VPN, it’s also crucial to consider long-term costs and ensure the provider offers value for money.

Step 3: Purchase and Download the VPN Software

Once you’ve chosen a VPN provider, it’s time to purchase and download the VPN software for your older Mac. This step involves deciding on a subscription plan, accessing the VPN provider’s website, creating an account, and choosing the appropriate VPN software for your Mac.

Deciding on a subscription plan

Most VPN providers offer a range of subscription plans, including monthly, yearly, and sometimes even multi-year options. Consider your usage requirements and budget when deciding on a subscription plan. Annual or longer-term plans often offer better value for money compared to monthly plans.

Accessing the VPN provider’s website

To download the VPN software, you’ll need to access the VPN provider’s website. Open your preferred web browser and enter the URL of the VPN provider in the address bar.

Creating an account

Once you’re on the VPN provider’s website, look for the option to create an account. Click on the relevant link and follow the prompts to create a new account. You’ll typically need to provide an email address and choose a password. Make sure to choose a strong, unique password to enhance the security of your VPN account.

Choosing the appropriate VPN software for your Mac

After creating an account, navigate to the downloads section of the VPN provider’s website. Look for the software specifically designed for Mac and click on the download button. The installer file will be saved to your computer, ready for installation in the next step.

Step 4: Install the VPN Software on Your Mac

Now that you have downloaded the VPN software, it’s time to install it on your older Mac. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth installation process:

Locating the downloaded VPN software

Open your Downloads folder or the location where the VPN software installer was saved. It’s often located in the Dock or the Finder sidebar. Once you’ve located the installer file, double-click on it to launch the installation process.

Running the installer

Once you’ve launched the installer, a window will appear guiding you through the installation process. Follow the instructions provided, reading each screen carefully. Typically, you’ll be asked to agree to the terms and conditions before proceeding.

Following the installation wizard

The installation wizard will guide you through the necessary steps to complete the installation process. Make sure to read each screen and select the appropriate options based on your preferences. Some VPN software may offer additional features or customization options during the installation process. Choose the options that best suit your needs and proceed with the installation.

Customizing any optional settings

Once the installation is complete, you may be prompted to customize some optional settings. These settings can vary depending on the VPN software you’ve chosen. Take a moment to review the available options and adjust them according to your preferences. This may include options such as launching the VPN software on startup or enabling a kill switch feature for enhanced security.

Step 5: Configure the VPN Settings

After the installation is complete, it’s time to configure the VPN settings on your Mac. This involves opening the VPN software, logging in to your VPN account, choosing a server location, opting for preferred VPN protocols, and adjusting additional settings as required.

Opening the VPN software

Locate the icon of the VPN software on your Mac, either in the Applications folder or in the menu bar at the top of your screen. Click on the icon to open the VPN software.

Logging in to your VPN account

When the VPN software opens, you’ll usually be prompted to log in using the account credentials you previously created. Enter your email address and password, then click on the login button.

Choosing a server location

Once you’re logged in, you’ll be presented with a list of server locations to choose from. Select a server location based on your needs. If you’re looking to access content from a specific country or region, choose a server located in that area. If you’re primarily concerned with privacy and security, choose a server location that’s geographically distant from your actual location.

Opting for preferred VPN protocols

Some VPN software allows you to choose the VPN protocol used for your connection. Common VPN protocols include OpenVPN and IPSec. If you’re unsure which protocol to choose, you can usually rely on the recommended default settings. However, if you have specific requirements or concerns, consult the VPN provider’s documentation or customer support for guidance.

Adjusting additional settings as required

Depending on the VPN software you’re using, there may be additional settings or preferences you can adjust to customize your VPN experience. Explore the settings menu or options provided by the VPN software to see if there are any additional features you’d like to enable or settings you’d like to adjust.

Step 6: Connect to the VPN Server

Now that you’ve configured the VPN settings, it’s time to connect to a VPN server. Follow these steps to establish a secure connection:

Launching the VPN software

Make sure the VPN software is open and running on your Mac. If you’ve closed the VPN software, locate it in your Applications folder or in the menu bar at the top of your screen and open it.

Choosing a server to connect to

Within the VPN software, locate the server selection menu or tab. This is where you’ll be able to choose a specific server to connect to. Browse through the available server locations and select the one that suits your needs.

Establishing the VPN connection

Once you’ve selected a server, click on the “Connect” or “Start” button to establish the VPN connection. The VPN software will now work to establish a secure and encrypted connection between your Mac and the chosen server. This may take a few seconds or longer, depending on your internet connection speed and the distance between you and the server location.

Step 7: Test the VPN Connection

With the VPN connection established, it’s important to test the connection to ensure that everything is working as expected and your data is secure. Here are a few tests you can perform:

Confirming the active VPN connection

Within the VPN software, you should see a confirmation that the connection is active and secure. This typically includes information about the server you’re connected to and your new IP address. Take a moment to verify that the correct server is displayed and that the connection status indicates that it’s secure.

Checking for IP address changes

To ensure that your actual IP address is hidden and replaced by the VPN server’s IP address, perform an IP address check. There are various websites and online tools available that can display your current IP address. Compare the displayed IP address with the one provided by your VPN software. If they match, it means your VPN connection is functioning correctly.

Verifying data encryption and security

To verify that your data is encrypted and secure, visit a website that uses HTTPS encryption. Look for the padlock icon in the address bar of your web browser, indicating that the connection is secure. You can also use online tools to perform a DNS leak test or a WebRTC leak test to ensure that your DNS requests and WebRTC traffic are not leaking outside the VPN tunnel.

Step 8: Troubleshooting Potential Issues

Although VPN installations are usually straightforward, you may encounter some common issues along the way. Here are a few troubleshooting steps to help you overcome potential problems:

Troubleshooting common VPN connection problems

If you’re unable to establish a VPN connection, check your internet connection and make sure it’s stable. Restart your Mac and try connecting again. If the issue persists, consult the VPN provider’s support documentation or contact their customer support for further assistance.

Addressing compatibility issues

If you encounter compatibility issues with the VPN software on your older Mac, check if there are any available software updates for your operating system. It’s also advisable to check the VPN provider’s website for any known compatibility issues or recommended workarounds.

Checking for software conflicts

In some cases, conflicts between the VPN software and other applications or security software on your Mac can cause issues. If you’re experiencing problems, try temporarily disabling any third-party antivirus or firewall software and see if the issue is resolved. You can also try quitting any unnecessary applications running in the background to free up system resources.

Step 9: Using the VPN on Your Older Mac

Now that your VPN is successfully installed and configured, let’s explore some potential use cases for your older Mac:

Understanding the benefits of using a VPN

A VPN provides several benefits for your older Mac. It enhances your online privacy and security by encrypting your internet traffic and masking your IP address. This protects your personal information from hackers and prevents your ISP from tracking your browsing activity.

Exploring potential use cases

There are various use cases for using a VPN on your older Mac. These include:

  1. Securely accessing public Wi-Fi: When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, using a VPN encrypts your data and protects it from potential threats.

  2. Bypassing censorship and geo-restrictions: If you’re traveling to a country with strict censorship or want to access geo-restricted content, a VPN can help you bypass these restrictions by connecting to a server located in a different region.

  3. Remote work: If you work remotely, a VPN allows you to securely access your company’s network resources and files.

Securing sensitive data and communications

With a VPN installed, you can safely send and receive sensitive data over the internet. This is particularly important when accessing online banking services, making online purchases, or communicating with colleagues or clients.

Browsing the web anonymously

By masking your IP address, a VPN allows you to browse the web anonymously. This prevents websites and online services from tracking your online activities, providing you with greater privacy and control over your personal information.

Step 10: Maintaining and Updating the VPN Software

To ensure optimal performance and security, it’s important to maintain and update your VPN software:

Keeping the VPN software up-to-date

VPN software providers regularly release updates that include bug fixes, performance improvements, and security patches. It’s crucial to regularly update your VPN software to benefit from these improvements and ensure that your VPN remains secure.

Installing new software versions

When a new version of the VPN software becomes available, follow the installation instructions provided by the VPN provider to update your software. Typically, this involves downloading the latest installer file from the provider’s website and running it to initiate the update process.

Adjusting settings for software updates

Some VPN software allows you to configure automatic updates. Enabling this option ensures that your VPN software stays up-to-date without requiring manual intervention. Check the settings menu or options within the VPN software to enable automatic updates, if available.

Step 11: Evaluating the VPN Performance

Once your VPN is installed and running, it’s important to regularly evaluate its performance to ensure it meets your needs:

Testing the connection speed

Use online speed test tools to assess the impact of your VPN connection on your internet speed. Connect to different VPN servers and test your connection speed to find the one that offers the best balance between security and performance for your specific needs.

Assessing the impact on Mac performance

While a VPN can enhance your online security, it may also have an impact on your Mac’s performance. Monitor your Mac’s performance when the VPN is active to ensure it’s still running smoothly. If you experience any significant slowdowns or issues, consider adjusting your VPN settings or connecting to a different server.

Comparing different VPN server locations

If you’re primarily using the VPN to access content from specific regions, test the performance of different server locations for the best results. Each server location may offer different speeds and stability, so experiment with different options until you find the one that meets your requirements.

Step 12: Recommended Best Practices

To ensure optimal security and privacy while using your VPN on your older Mac, follow these recommended best practices:

Enabling the VPN auto-connect feature

Most VPN software allows you to enable an auto-connect feature. This ensures that your VPN connection is established automatically whenever you connect to the internet, providing continuous protection and privacy.

Choosing secure passwords

Ensure that you use strong, unique passwords for your VPN account and any online accounts you access while connected to the VPN. A strong password includes a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Using two-factor authentication (2FA)

Wherever possible, enable two-factor authentication for your VPN account. This provides an additional layer of security by requiring a second verification step, such as a unique verification code sent to your mobile device, in addition to your username and password.

Being cautious of phishing attempts

Stay vigilant against phishing attempts that may attempt to steal your VPN account credentials or other personal information. Be wary of unsolicited emails or messages asking for your login details and always double-check the authenticity of any communication before providing sensitive information.

Regularly reviewing VPN privacy policies

Pay attention to the privacy policy of your VPN provider. Ensure that they have a strong commitment to user privacy and data protection. Regularly reviewing their privacy policy will keep you informed about any potential changes or updates that may impact your privacy.


Installing a VPN on your older Mac is a crucial step towards enhancing your online privacy and security. By following this step-by-step guide, you can ensure a smooth and secure installation process. Remember to research and choose a reputable VPN provider, configure the VPN settings to your preferences, and regularly maintain and update your VPN software. By taking these steps, you can enjoy safe and secure internet usage on your older Mac.