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Web development, programming languages, Software testing & othersTop 6 Ubuntu Alternatives 1. Debian GNU/Linux
Debian is one of the Ubuntu alternatives as it is a freely available distribution over the internet offering stable CD images specifically meant for GNOME. In Debian, finding help is extremely easy as it is one of the most popular distros; therefore, many of the community are there to support and assist those needing help. It has a standard Linux-based desktop and not some specialized desktops, making it easier and more convenient for people to use this. It also provides a vast variety of hardware platforms and packages which are very helpful when it comes to enhancing the support and the productivity of the application. Another reason to choose Debian is its offering of a high level of security and stability, which establishes a solid foundation for a robust operating system through rigorous testing of packages before they are productized.2. Deepin OS
Deepin forms another one among the list of Ubuntu alternatives. One of the prime reasons it is an excellent alternative to Ubuntu is its interactive and design-based desktop interface. Simple activities such as sharing, searching and moving around are quite easy in this interface. It can look like a mac based operating system and a Windows-based operating system. It would be best if you changed the mode from Fashion to Efficient. It also provides a rich set of apps to simplify your daily tasks. It gains recognition for its automatic clearing of the package cache, resulting in faster program execution and launch than other operating systems in its league. It also has varied support for plugging graphics cards, providing a rich gaming experience.3. Linux Mint
Linux Mint is a modern-looking operating system that becomes convenient for people who still find it easy to use traditional operating systems. It has huge release support. The simple and elegant user interface, which goes by the name of Cinnamon, can customize many desktop features. It is derived from Ubuntu and shares the same code base; hence, all the underlying features are well-standardized and well-built, like those of Ubuntu. Many other applications are forked and meant to be used by the masses. It is the best bid for the people who want to extend the capabilities of Ubuntu but with the traditional look and feels user experience.4. CentOS
This is one of the most famous alternatives present for Ubuntu today. It is a stable operating system based on Red Hat Linux with a modern desktop environment and comparatively easy installation. CentOS is the community version of the Red Hat Linux Distribution and is probably one of the most popular Linux distributions and versions ever used. The GNOME project provides the default look and feel, which is extremely easy to install. It uses the Anaconda installer, which is more or less the same as the Fedora Linux Distribution. There is no comparison to the quality and quantity of applications installed in CentOS and Ubuntu. The primary difference lies in the fact that it uses Red Hat Linux Distribution and not Debian or Ubuntu, and therefore, there can be a slight difference in commands that can be seen.5. OpenSuse
The rich set of applications, features, and GNOME-based desktop interface makes OpenSuse a good fit as an alternative to Ubuntu. The two versions, Tumbleweed and Leap, have their mechanism regarding the update frequency. Tumbleweed receives rolling updates, so you don’t need to worry about the installation part once you install it. On the other hand, Leap is a point distribution that is responsible for periodic updates. Generally, this periodic cycle occurs over 6 months. Regarding package management, OpenSuse also leans towards the Red Hat side rather than the Debian or Ubuntu-based side. The Unique selling proposition of OpenSuse, however, is its stability. It includes the software, tools, and applications such as Firefox web browser, music player, video player, etc.6. Fedora
The Fedora distribution is one of the best alternatives for Ubuntu, as RedHat backs it and constantly focuses on innovation. It uses the latest software and extensively tests before releasing its product. It was out-of-the-box integration with GNOME and spins and labs, specifically different images with WM/DE and particular themes, along with fast, stable updates and high performance. One of the main features of Fedora is that installation is also possible on the hard disk’s bad sectors and provides a vast array of binary packages ready for installation.Recommended Articles
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Are you aware that OpenAI has discontinued Codex? Therefore, trying excellent AI code assistant tools similar to Codex may be a great time.
Some great Codex alternatives include Github Copilot, TabNine, GPT-CC, IntelliCode, SourceAI, Code Whisperer, and DeepCode, which provide access to unique coding features.
Read on to discover how these alternatives fare to Codex.What Is Codex And How Does It Work?
Codex AI or OpenAI Codex is a natural language processing (NLP) technology developed by OpenAI to generate custom codes.
Unveiled in 2023, it became an instant hit with programmers to create code responses, complete codes, and correct coding errors.
However, it was discontinued by OpenAI on March 2023 and consolidated with GPT’s other coding models.
Therefore, users are less likely to access Codex as a standalone service.Features Of Codex
Although it has been discontinued, Codex was known for some fantastic features, including:
Code Generation: Codex AI can create code in multiple programming languages based on natural language input from users.
Natural Language Processing: The tool can understand and respond to natural language questions, enabling users to interact with it using human-like language.
Speed And Efficiency: Codex AI produces code more accurately and quickly, making it a valuable tool for developers.
Integration With Development Tools: Codex AI is integrated with various development tools, such as GitHub’s Copilot, which allows developers to write code more efficiently.
Customization: Codex AI can be customized to specific domains, enabling it to provide more relevant and accurate code suggestions for particular industries or topics.
Continue reading to learn about the similarities and differences between Codex and ChatGPT.Top 7 Codex Alternatives To Use In 2023
Although very helpful, Codex was older technology with limited features. Maybe it is why OpenAI decided to discontinue it.
Nonetheless, here are some excellent code assistant alternatives you should try.1. Github Copilot
GitHub Copilot is an AI-powered code completion tool developed by GitHub in collaboration with OpenAI.
The tool is integrated into the Visual Studio Code editor so programmers can use the feature in conjunction with the code they are working on, which saves time.
It helps programmers write code more efficiently by providing intelligent code suggestions and autocompleting code snippets based on the code’s context.
Moreover, you can use it to create a boilerplate, debug existing codes, generate test cases and assertions, and more.
Copilot uses OpenAI’s GPT-3 architecture to generate responses, but the reactions are limited to coding activities.
Here is how GitHub Copilot fares to Codex.
GitHub Copilot can be integrated into VS Code editor to generate suggestions while working on the codes.Codex works as a standalone API that can be used in various applications.
It is only available to selected users who have been accepted into the technical preview chúng tôi is available to anyone with access to the OpenAI API.
GitHub Copilot is a joint venture between GitHub and OpenAI.Codex is solely owned and operated by OpenAI.
It is developed in close collaboration with the developer community, with feedback and input from chúng tôi was primarily being developed by OpenAI’s research team.
Continue reading to discover some of the best alternatives to GitHub Copilot and ChatGPT Vs. GitHub Copilot.2. TabNine
TabNine is an AI-powered code completion tool from Codota that uses deep learning algorithms similar to GPT to provide intelligent code suggestions to programmers.
It is designed to work with various code editors and IDEs, including Visual Studio Code, Atom, Sublime Text, and IntelliJ IDEA.
It makes TabNine a better alternative to Codex and many other code completion tools.
Moreover, you can customize the tool to disable specific suggestions and fine-tune them for specific codebases.
Here is how TabNine fares to older code completion tools like the Codex.
TabNine integrates with a wide range of code editors and IDEs.Codex works as a standalone API through the Open AI.
It can be customized to disable specific suggestions or to prioritize suggestions based on the user’s coding chúng tôi can be fine-tuned for specific domains, providing more accurate and relevant suggestions for specific industries or topics.
Offers self-hosting capabilities via VPC or on-premises chúng tôi can only be accessed through OpenAI platform.
It uses less data than Codex AI, which can be beneficial to work with limited bandwidth or have data usage chúng tôi is based on token system, where each token will have a set bandwith usage.3. GPT-CC
GPT-CC is an open-source version of GitHub Copilot based on GPT architecture, designed specifically for code completion tasks.
It was developed by researchers at the University of Hong Kong, EleutherAI, focused on developing large-scale language models.
One of the critical features of GPT-CC is its ability to generate code suggestions beyond simple code completion.
It can suggest entire functions, classes, and modules based on the written code, making it a powerful tool.
Here is how GPT-CC compares to Codex.
GPT-CC is based on the GPT architecture and NLP.Codex uses a combination of transformer and neural network architectures.
GPT-CC is an open-source model, meaning it can be used and modified by anyone.Codex is owned and operated by OpenAI, and access to the model is controlled by OpenAI.
It is highly customizable, allowing fine-tuning the model for specific domains or chúng tôi can be can also be fine-tuned, but this requires access to the underlying code and infrastructure.
It supports a range of programming chúng tôi supports a more limited set of programming languages.4. IntelliCode
Another excellent AI-assisted development that makes a perfect alternative to Codex is IntelliCode.
As the name suggests, it learns from individual developers’ code patterns and practices, improving its suggestions over time based on the developer’s coding style and preferences.
Intellicode also learns from code repositories on GitHub and suggests the most popular and relevant code snippets to the developer.
One exciting thing about IntelliCode is that it integrates with GitHub, allowing developers to collaborate on code and review pull requests quickly.
Therefore, it can make a valuable alternative to Codex in many ways.
Here are some unique differences between IntelliCode and Codex.
It provides code completion suggestions and refactoring recommendations for the programming languages it chúng tôi can generate code in various programming languages, suggest codes, and improve existing codings.
It can learn from individual developers’ code patterns and preferences to improve its code chúng tôi can only be fine-tuned for specific domains and topics.
It supports a wide range of programming chúng tôi supports a more limited set of programming languages.
Intellicode is developed by Microsoft and is integrated into their VS and Visual Studio Code IDEs.Codex AI is developed and owned by OpenAI and is accessible through the OpenAI API.5. SourceAI
SourceAI is a code assistant tool based on GPT-3 model, designed to provide intelligent code suggestions.
It uses machine learning algorithms to analyze the code in real time and generate intelligent suggestions for the following line of code, saving time and effort.
Developers can use it for code completion, refactoring, and optimization. Additionally, it can detect and correct errors in the code.
Additionally, it can be integrated with various IDEs, such as Visual Studio Code, Atom, and Sublime Text.
Here is how Source AI can become your best alternative to Codex.
It features code completion, refactoring, optimization, error detection, and suggestions for code snippets and chúng tôi offers code generation, natural language processing, speed and efficiency, customizability, and integration with IDEs.
It offers code completion and other suggestions for specific programming languages such as Python, Java, and chúng tôi is been designed to generate code in various programming languages.
It offers a free community edition with limited features, as well as paid plans for individuals and chúng tôi is currently only available as a paid service for businesses.6. DeepCode
On the list is a powerful AI-powered code analysis platform, Deep Code, which provides unique code assistant features.
Developed by Swiss developers in 2023, it uses machine learning algorithms to analyze and identify potential errors, analyze data flow, process natural language, and improve code quality.
Here are some of the features of Deepcode.
Improved Code Quality: It detects and highlights potential issues in code.
Time-Saving: It can identify potential problems much faster than manual code reviews.
Comprehensive Analysis: Covers many potential issues, including security vulnerabilities and code smells.
Integrations: It can integrate with popular development tools such as Visual Studio Code and GitHub.
However, it is not just an analysis tool; it specializes in multiple programming languages and improves the overall coding experience, making it very different from Codex.
It is a code analysis tool that identifies potential errors and vulnerabilities in chúng tôi is a code generation tool that can write code based on natural language inputs.
It can be integrated with popular IDEs like Visual Studio Code and chúng tôi is integrated into GitHub’s Copilot, allowing developers to code more efficiently.
DeepCode offers both free and paid plans.Codex AI is currently only available through GitHub’s Copilot.7. Code Whisperer
Code Whisperer is a more recently developed code assistant tool developed by Amazon.
It can generate whole lines and fully functional code as an AI coding companion through your preferred IDEs.
In fact, it was developed by Amazon to overcome the limitations of previous code assistant tools.
Moreover, it is trained on billions of lines of code retrieved from open-source repositories, including Amazon repositories, API documentation, and GitHub, which makes it quite robust.
Code Whisperer can become a great chance for developers looking for something unique.
During the preview period, developers can use CodeWhisperer at no cost.Codex is only available through OpenAI API obtained through paid package.
The code recommendations are based on different repositories and chúng tôi code recommendations are obtained from GitHub and GPT library.
It is most efficient when user input is short and directed to discrete tasks so that no single function is too chúng tôi can generate, improve, correct, and complete codes.The Bottom Line
Some Codex alternatives can undertake and autocomplete complex tasks, saving developers much time.
Now that Codex is discontinued, you should adopt many great alternatives that offer more unique features.Frequently Asked Questions Can I Use IntelliCode With Languages Other Than C# And Python?
However, the level of support may vary depending on the language and the specific features you are using.Can TabNine Generate Code In As Many Languages As Codex AI?
TabNine currently supports more than 50 programming languages, which is lesser than Codex AI, but TabNine offers more accuracy and speed.How Customizable Is Source AI Compared To Codex AI?
Source AI is highly customizable compared to Codex AI, which can be trained on custom datasets and tuned for specific use cases.
In contrast, Codex AI does not currently offer the same level of customization.
A backup is a safeguard against catastrophic damage to your computer or data loss. But many disasters that could take out your computer might also destroy your backup. Think about theft, fire, or flood, for example.
So, you need to keep a backup in another location. The easiest way to achieve this is with cloud backup. Carbonite is popular, offering both unlimited storage plans (for a single computer) and limited storage (for multiple computers).
It’s recommended by PCWorld as the “most streamlined” online backup service. That might be true for Windows users, but the Mac version has severe limitations. Carbonite is reasonably affordable, starting at $71.99/year, but two of its best competitors are significantly cheaper.
This article will introduce you to several Carbonite alternatives that run on both Mac and Windows. Some offer unlimited storage to back up a single computer. Others support multiple computers but offer limited storage. All are subscription services costing $50-130 per year. One or more of them should suit your needs.
Carbonite Alternatives That Offer Unlimited Storage
1. Backblaze Unlimited Backup
Backblaze is an effective and affordable “set and forget” service for backing up a single computer and the winner of our Best Online Backup roundup.
It’s simple to set up because it intelligently does most of the work for you. It’s easy to use—in fact, your computer is backed up continually and automatically. We have a detailed Backblaze review that provides more detail.
In our Backblaze vs. Carbonite comparison, we found that while Backblaze is the obvious choice for most users. It’s not the best for everyone, though, especially those who need to back up multiple computers. Businesses that need to back up between five and twenty computers would be better using Carbonite, which is cheaper when backing up five computers or more.
Keep in mind, though, that only 250 GB of storage is offered, while Backblaze imposes no limit. We list several other cloud backup solutions for multiple computers in the next section.
Backblaze Personal Backup is a subscription service that costs $6/month, $60/year, or $110 for two years. One computer can be backed up. A 15-day trial is available.
2. Livedrive Personal Backup
Livedrive also offers unlimited storage to back up a single computer, but that’s where the similarities end. It’s a little more expensive (6.99 GBP per month is about $9.40) and doesn’t include features like scheduled or continuous backups.
Livedrive Backup is a subscription service that costs 6.99 GBP per month. That covers one computer. You can back up five computers with the Pro Suite, which costs 15 GBP per month. A 14-day free trial is available.
3. OpenDrive Personal Unlimited
OpenDrive offers unlimited cloud storage for a single user rather than a single computer. At $99.00/year, it’s more expensive again. It’s not as easy to use as Backblaze, nor does it continuously back up your computer. The service offers a few additional features, though, such as file sharing, collaboration, notes, and task management.
OpenDrive offers 5 GB of online storage for free. The Personal Unlimited plan is a subscription service that offers unlimited storage for a single user. It costs $9.95/month or $99/year.
Carbonite Alternatives That Support Multiple Computers
4. IDrive Personal
IDrive is the best online backup solution for more than one computer. It’s very affordable—the cheapest plan provides 5 TB of online storage for a single user to backup an unlimited number of devices. Refer to our IDrive review for more details.
In our IDrive vs. Carbonite shootout, we found that IDrive is faster—in fact, up to three times faster. It supports more platforms (including mobile), offers more storage space, and (in most cases) is less expensive.
IDrive offers 5 GB of storage for free. IDrive Personal is a subscription service that costs $69.50/year for 5 TB or $99.50/year for 10 TB.
5. SpiderOak One Backup
While SpiderOak also lets you back up an unlimited number of devices, it’s significantly more expensive than IDrive. Plans for both companies start at around $69/year—but that gives you 5 TB with IDrive and only 150 GB with SpiderOak. The same storage with SpiderOak costs a massive $320 annually.
SpiderOak offers four subscription plans that let you back up an unlimited number of devices: 150 GB for $6/month, 400 GB for $11/month, 2 TB for $14/month, and 5 TB for $29/month.
6. Acronis True Image
Acronis True Image is a versatile backup subscription service that performs local disk image backups and file synchronization. Its Advanced and Premium plans include cloud backup.
That means you can realize your complete backup strategy in a single application, which is appealing. However, the Advanced Plan only offers 500 GB to back up a single computer. After that, upgrading becomes expensive. Backing up five 500 GB computers (something that IDrive’s cheapest $69.50 plan can handle) costs $369.99/year.
Like SpiderOak, it offers secure end-to-end encryption. Learn more in our Acronis True Image review.
Acronis True Image Advanced is a subscription service costing $89.99/year for one computer and includes 500 GB of cloud storage. There are also plans for 3 and 5 computers, but the storage amount stays the same. The Premium subscription costs $124.99 for one computer; you choose the amount of storage from 1-5 TB.
So What Should You Do?
Computer backups are essential. One human error, computer problem, or accident could permanently erase your valuable photos, media files, and documents. Offsite backup should be part of your strategy.
Why? Learn from my mistake. On the day our second child was born, our house was broken into, and our computers were stolen. I’d just done a full backup of my machine, but I left the disks on my desk right next to my laptop. You can guess what happened—the thieves took them, too.
Carbonite offers several cloud backup plans at reasonably affordable prices. Safe Basic gives you unlimited storage to back up a single computer for $71.99/year. Its more expensive plans let you back up multiple computers.
However, some options offer more storage or let you back up more computers at a lower price. It might be worth switching, though that would mean starting your backup over. With cloud backup, that typically takes days or weeks.
If you only have one computer to back up, we recommend Backblaze. If you have more than one computer or device, check out IDrive.
Facebook took the internet by storm when it went global in 2006 and it is the biggest social network now. When it comes to social media, Facebook is the king. That’s why, depsite numerous privacy concerns, it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. There is nothing that can match Facebook right now. Some people might argue Twitter is better but it’s not really an alternative, and it’s certainly not aimed at people who want to be in touch with friends and families.Best Facebook Alternatives for Different Users in 2023
We have divided this article in sections for different use-cases. You can use the table of content below to quickly jump to the section you want.Why we need a Facebook alternative?
Everything has its pros and cons and so does Facebook. While Facebook has become a part of our lives and it is loved by millions, it has got its share of criticisms. It has been panned across the globe for its ever changing privacy settings, which gives Facebook total control over the information that we provide on our accounts.Facebook Alternative for Photographers and Artists (Photography/Art)
If you are a professional photographer or even a budding one, 500px is the place you should visit more often instead of Facebook. 500 px is a very strong photography community and along with interaction with other photographers, you will get to see some amazing pictures. The website also brings various tools and features for photographers. you can also check out other alternatives if you have some disliking to 500px.
DeviantArt is the perfect platform for artists, who want to showcase their art galleries to the world. It has a great community of artists you can interact with and along with that you get to see some great art. There are a number of features that aim at making life easier for artists and moreover, it also makes sure the artists get their due credit.Facebook Alternative for Designers
Behance is a great community for designers where people can showcase their creative designs and discover some great work. Along with the community, Behance allows you to follow and like other designers or their work. You can also get in touch with people to discuss designs.
I guess you didn’t expect me to give Adobe Portfolio a miss, did you? Well, if you are willing to create a good-looking site where you can showcase your masterpiece, you should keep Portfolio in mind. The site comes with a plethora of layouts and also offers a wide range of customization so that you can create a site that can appeal to your audience.
Another notable feature of Portfolio is that it automatically optimizes your site for any device to ensure it can run smoothly. That’s not all, the pro version of Portfolio can offer access to the whole collection of Adobe creative apps that can enhance your creativity.
Facebook Alternative for Professionals/Career oriented needs
LinkedIn has been a popular platform for professionals and it continues to remain so. LinkedIn gives you the ability to interact with other professionals, recruit employees and find jobs. It’s also great if you want to be up to date on the latest business and industry news. There’s also LinkedIn Pulse if you want to share new ideas with other big names of the industry.
Facebook Alternative for Media Sharing
Instagram, owned by Facebook has grown over the past few years by leaps and bounds. It’s an all round social network, as it lets you upload photos, short videos and even exchange texts with others.
The great thing is you can set Instagram to post your updates on your Facebook, Twitter and other profiles as well. Thanks to Instagram’s popularity, there has been a rise in apps similar to Instagram, which you can check out. People love Instagram so much, that in future, it might end up replacing Facebook.
Going by the latest trend, TikTok has become the go-to platform for sharing lip-syncing videos. And if you are after a Facebook substitute that can let you share and explore fun-loving bite-sized videos, look no further than ByteDance’s offering.
Just like Facebook, this video-sharing site also creates a fully personalized video feed so that you can quickly access the sort of videos that appeal to your fancy. Courtesy a huge community of creators, you will always have a variety of videos – from gaming to comedy to memes – to watch. As a creator, you get a ton of eye-catching filters and insanely crazy music to add some glam quotient to your clips.
TikTok was banned by the Indian Government last year, but there are a ton of TikTok alternatives that you can check out instead. Plus, you can now share TikTok-like videos on Instagram Reels as well. If you’re interested, make sure you check out our comparison between TikTok vs Instagram Reels, and some great Instagram Reels tips and tricks.Discussion Forums Microblogging
Facebook Alternative for Dating
There are a number of cupid apps but Tinder is most certainly the best among them. For people unaware about Tinder, it’s a popular dating app that matches two people when they have both swiped right, that is “like”. If you don’t like Tinder, there are a host of other alternative dating apps.Facebook Alternative for User reviews
Previously known as Angie’s List, this Facebook alternative for user reviews has been renamed to Angi. It’s great for anyone having trouble choosing the best shops around the neighbourhood, and a lot more. Angi is a website where you can find reviews of local businesses by users. Along with reviews, you can find ratings and deals around your neighbourhood. The website only lists U.S. based businesses for now though.Facebook Alternative for Movie lovers
IMDb is the go-to website for movie lovers and deservedly so. It’s a great website where you can read reviews of a movie from various users and rate movies you’ve just watched. Along with that, you can also discuss various movies on the “Message Board” with the very cool community. There’s also IMDbPro, if you want to get in touch with an actor or artist.
Rotten Tomatoes is another website every movie lover visits to take an opinion on a movie. The popular movie rating website collects ratings from users and critics. It shows the ratings in a cool Tomatometer feature, and if the movie is fresh, it’s good and if rotten, not so much.Facebook Alternative for Programmers/Developers
If you’re a developer or an aspiring programmer, you’ve probably heard of or visited Stack Overflow. The platform’s excellent Q&A section will help you out if you run into issues during your coding sessions. Simply put, Stack Overflow is a programmer’s best friend and is something developers across the world use on a daily basis. Moreover, you can also make use of its jobs portal to land your dream job.Facebook alternative for Startup enthusiasts/Investors
AngelList is a great platform for startups and people looking to invest in a startup. It’s a great way for investors to connect with startups. There are also options to find a startup job, posts jobs and raise money for your company online. To sum it up, it’s an awesome c0mmunity of the best seed investors across the world.
Crunchbase is another great platform if you have a budding company or a startup. It’s a community of various companies, startups, VC and other investment groups. Every one of them has profiles and startups can connect with seed investors. Various companies can also get in touch and collaborate for a project.Facebook Alternative for Live Streaming
We can’t talk about live streaming without mentioning Twitch, can we? Twitch is a live-streaming platform with a special focus on gaming. Gamers can use the platform to stream games and interact with the community. Apart from gaming-centric channels, Twitch also has a ‘Just Chatting’ for casual conversations. If you’re a gamer, Twitch is a viable alternative to Facebook Gaming.Facebook Alternative for Music Lovers
That’s not all, Spotify is also home to a ton of podcasts so that you can tune-into your favorite podcasts. Long story short, if you are hunting for a Facebook alternative to spice up your music listening, chances are pretty high that Spotify will win you over right away!
SoundCloud is one of the largest music community and social network on the internet. If you are an independent music producer and want to showcase your music to the world, SoundCloud should be the perfect place. It lets you market your tracks and thanks to the likes & repost feature, you should get the traction you deserve.
Miscellaneous Facebook Alternatives
If you’re looking for a Facebook alternative for simple voice conversations with people from around the world, Clubhouse is the place to be. The app offers groups where you can join in on discussions with other people interested in similar topics, and you can create your own room to start talking about something you’re interested in as well.
The app is pretty much like a Podcast that’s always running and has tonnes of different topics to explore. Whether you want to talk about Apple’s latest software updates, or just stand-up comedy, or even theoretical physics, you can find it all on Clubhouse. If Clubhouse doesn’t interest you, there are many apps like Clubhouse that you can check out as well.
Doximity is a social network for physicians and doctors. Doctors and Physicians have their profiles on their network and they can connect with each other. They can also find job openings at leading hospitals and other such opportunities.
Discord is a social platform to engage with communities. It has topic-based channels within servers to facilitate better communication on niche topics. You can use Discord for staying close to the communities you care about. In addition, you can use the app to share your screen with friends and family. You can create new Discord servers, add Discord soundboards to have some fun, and more. Plus, there are some amazing Discord bots that can enhance your server, and if you still don’t like the service, you should check out our list of Discord alternatives.Frequently Asked Questions Q. Is Facebook losing its popularity?
Despite its scandals, Facebook is not showing any signs of slowing down. In fact, the social media giant witnessed a surge in usage during the coronavirus pandemic.Q. Is MeWe a good alternative to Facebook ?
MeWe has the potential to be a good alternative to Facebook, but its content moderation policies are not up to the mark.Q. What social media is not owned by Facebook?
Social media platforms such as Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn are not owned by Facebook. You can scroll up to see all the Facebook alternatives you can use.Q. Which social media is best for privacy? Q. What happens to Facebook accounts when someone dies?
Facebook offers an option to assign a trusted contact to let friends know that they have passed away. After the contact chooses to memorialize the Facebook account, the profile gets locked with a ‘Remembering’ tag.Q. Did Facebook buy Instagram?
Yes, Facebook acquired Instagram in a $1 billion deal back in April of 2012.Q. Is it better to use Facebook app or browser?
If you’re on a PC, you should use Facebook on a browser. On the other hand, Facebook app provides a better experience on mobile devices.Q. Why should you avoid Facebook?
Facebook is a privacy nightmare and knows more about you than you think. You can follow our guide to delete your Facebook account if you want to regain your privacy on the internet.Best Facebook Alternatives You Should be Using
AutoCAD is a flagship product by Autodesk, the drafting industry’s juggernaut, designed to help its users with product or building design, manufacturing planning, construction, and civil infrastructure. It also costs much more than other programs that match its capabilities. For this reason, we are sharing this list of the best alternatives to AutoCAD.
Tip: If you just need to draw diagrams, you don’t need AutoCAD. Check out some of the best online diagramming software.What Makes a Good AutoCAD Alternative?
If you’re an average student or hobbyist working on a lean budget, you don’t have to always pick AutoCAD. There are some worthy contenders with similar supporting infrastructure and critical functionality.
The challenge is in deciding which AutoCAD alternatives are worth your time, as the market is awash with ghastly knockoffs. You’ll obviously want more affordable alternatives to AutoCAD that offer similar features and read similar files, easily integrate with AutoCAD, and are intuitive to learn.
The most important factors to consider include:
Cost – free drafting software is always a great option, but even lower-cost premium options are still better than the more than $1,700/year you’ll pay in subscription fees with AutoCAD.
Compatibility – if you previously used AutoCAD or need to view and edit AutoCAD files, you’ll want to choose an alternative that’s compatible. It’s important to note that there is an official free AutoCAD file viewer available if you just need to view files.
Cross-platform compatibility – even though AutoCAD is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, a Linux version still doesn’t exist.
Built-in toolsets – AutoCAD contains built-in toolsets to get you started quickly with common tasks, such as architecture and electrical.
Intuitive interface – despite all the complex tools and features, AutoCAD is still incredibly intuitive. The best alternatives are easy to learn and use and will ideally have ample documentation.1. FreeCAD
While LibreCAD works great for 2D models, FreeCAD is one of the best open-source alternatives to AutoCAD for 3D modeling, though it supports 2D as well. Plus, it’s designed for Windows, macOS, and Linux environments.
Parametric modeling is a core feature, allowing you to go back through various changes to build upon them. Dozens of file types are supported, included DWG. Grouped workbenches make it easy to find the tools you need for specific tasks, and more are being added regularly.
The large variety of tools in this free architectural design software can easily rival those in premium alternatives and AutoCAD itself. Plus, it’s free.Pros
Support for dozens of file types
Uses minimal resources to run on older systems
Active community for support
Parametric 2D sketcher
Workbenches make it easier to useCons
Steep learning curve
Some features may be outdated, depending on community development2. SolidWorks
AutoCAD has had pretty good support for 3D modelling, but its greatest strengths remain as a 2D-design and drafting architectural software.
Solidworks is a parametric solid modeler focused mainly around 3D designs, so you’ll need to have some knowledge of engineering terms rather than just geometric ones.
The latest edition of SolidWorks has excellent features, like the ability to do freehand sketches on touchscreens. Despite being primarily focused around 3D modelling, its 2D sketching tool still remains functional, even though it’s much lighter than what you find in AutoCAD.Pricing details
You have to request a quote for exact pricing, but the starting price is around $4,000 a year, along with an annual maintenance fee of over $1,000. Students can pay as little as $60 a year, and qualifying startups and entrepreneurs can even get it for free initially. The reason it’s so expensive is that it is so similar to AutoCAD. There’s also a cloud-based version, but once again, you have to request a quote.Pros
Excellent 3D modeling functionality
Unbeatable in the fields of engineering and automation
Compatible with DXF files
Assesses weak points in designs
Good 3D-printing compatibility
Some command-line functionalityCons
Limited 2D sketching
Good to know: for those who just want to create beautiful images to share via social media, check out these design tools.3. BricsCAD
This CAD platform is known for its reach features and has several familiar features, including native .dwg applications.
If you’re familiar with AutoCAD’s 2008 version, BricsCAD has a somewhat similar interface, plus rich features in 2D design and 3D direct modeling. You can use it with the major operating systems, such as macOS, Windows, and Linux, and hundreds of third-party apps from across the world that are based on .dwg.
Despite being a paid software like AutoCAD, BricsCAD is more affordable with four editions: Lite, Pro, BIM, and Mechanical. The latter two are feature-packed with tools that aren’t found in AutoCAD, such as Sheet Metal, 3D Compare, and BIM.
BricsCAD also integrates with the cloud, has a robust rendering engine, recognizes XREFS, and is customizable.
If you just need a basic 3D modeling solution, BricsCAD Shape is free. While it doesn’t have the same powerful features, it’s still an impressive offering for free architectural design software.Pricing details
One great thing about BricsCAD is that you can try it for free for 30 days without a credit card. After that, you’ll have several options, including:
Lite – $314/year or $560/lifetime
Pro – $615/year or $1150/lifetime
BIM – $1,010/year or $1,890/lifetime
Mechanical – $950/year or $1,780/lifetime
Ultimate (bundle of all editions) – $1,120/year or $2,100/lifetime
As you can tell, lifetime licenses make this significantly more affordable overall.Pros
Easy to use if you’re familiar with AutoCAD
Faster LISP execution
Perpetual licenses available
Broad customization and development capability
Built-in tools such as IFC import/export, architectural direct modeler with BIM database and SketchUp SKP
Opens complex drawings faster
You can read, edit, save AutoCAD files to .dwg
Can use AutoCAD customization
AI-enhanced predictive QUAD cursor works faster on large drawingsCons
Has a difficult document management tool
Limited scope4. DraftSight
Draftsight is a professional-grade alternative to AutoCAD, designed for users looking for better ways to read, write, and share .dwg files.
Through its clear user interface, which makes DraftSight easy to use and learn, you can make accurate revisions, as design elements are stored in layers. You can also create G-Code directly in the program and save and open DXF and DWG files. It has a huge design library from which you can use existing designs, do batch-printing, and access macro recording.Pricing details
A free 30-day trial is available. This is one of the most affordable professional alternatives to AutoCAD. The plans are as follows:
Professional – $199/year
Premium – $480/year (adds 3D functionality)
Enterprise/Enterprise Plus – pricing by quote onlyPros
Good for 2D modeling
Easy to run with storage space
Easy to learn and use
Perpetual license available
Save and open DWG and DXF files
Compare designs, add symbols, or append PDFs to project filesCons
Doesn’t run LISP routines
No express tools
Not useful if you want specialized solutions
Good to know: you can also design a beautiful poster with Microsoft Powerpoint.5. SketchUp
Formerly Google SketchUp, this free tool is an excellent pick for CAD professionals.
SketchUp is a 3D-modeling program used for a wide range of uses, including interior design; architectural, civil, and mechanical engineering; and video game and film design.
Available as a freeware version, the tool works with several types of files, including DWG, DXF, OBJ, XSI, and more, and can export HD animations and PDFs.Pricing details
While the architecture design software is mainly known for its free version, there are three premium plans available if you need more functionality, such as unlimited access to pre-built 3D models, unlimited cloud storage, and a desktop edition. These include:
Shop (Web only) – $119/year
Pro (desktop/Web) – $299/year
Studio (desktop/Web) – $699/year
Promo codes are often available on the site to get the Pro and Studio plans on a discount.Pros
Easy to learn and use
Easy to import different types of files
Vast library to upload or download drawings
Good for creating 3D models
Integrates with third-party pluginsCons
Less detailed designs owing to lesser rendering ability
Doesn’t let you create NURBS
Desktop version is only compatible with Windows6. LibreCAD
This is another free alternative program that is feature-rich and commands a large following of customers and designers.
LibreCAD is a high-quality open-source 2D-modeling software birthed from QCAD (later known as CADuntu) and resembles AutoCAD in concept and features.Pros
Easy to learn and use
Writes DXF files
Source code is available on GitHub
Seamless transition from AutoCAD
Multilingual (more than 30 languages)
Cross-platform support for Mac, Windows, and Linux OS
Can export JPG, SVG, PDF, PNG, and other file typesCons
Only displays 2D views
Can’t work on 3D models and rendering7. QCAD
If you prefer to try what LibreCAD started, check out QCAD. It’s one of the best AutoCAD alternatives for 2D models and is regularly updated.
It’s open source and cross-platform, working Linux, Mac, and Windows. If you’re new to CAD tools, it’s a good beginner-friendly option, but has ample features for more experienced users. The free version offers more than 40 construction tools and over 20 modification tools.
While the basic version is free, a Professional edition is available with a healthy dose of extra features, such as support for more file formats. However, it’s fairly inexpensive at just $39. The Professional version trial is bundled with the free version and offers a 15-minute trial per session.Pros
Built-in part library with over 4,800 CAD parts
Basic version free
Import and export DXF and DWG files
Support for SVG, PDF, JPG, BMP, PNG, XPM, XBM, ICO, TIFF, and more
Detailed documentation and active communityCons
Some file formats are Professional edition only
2D only8. OpenSCAD
OpenSCAD is one of the more unique free AutoCAD alternatives that focuses on 3D modeling for machinery and parts. It’s designed for Linux/Unix, macOS, and Windows.
It works a little differently than most of the alternatives to AutoCAD on this list. It’s not an interactive 3D modeler. Instead, it works more like a compiler. You’ll use the code editor to make adjustments to colors, sizes, shapes, and positions. Instead of drawing things out yourself, you import libraries (which are free) to build your creation.
You may want to use a mind-mapping tool like the ones on this list to plan out your design before diving into the tool.Pros
Numerous libraries and free resources available on the website
Has an active Thingiverse community
Supports DXF, STL, and OFF filesCons
Isn’t a true design tool
Has a learning curve9. JTS IntelliCAD
When you need professional features at a fraction of the cost of AutoCAD, look no further than JTS IntelliCAD. Formerly known as TrueCAD, this premium tool supports all DWG and DXF versions from R2.2 and later.
Most of the the file formats you would want are supported, such as JPG, STL, BMP, TIFF, and more. Easily import and export PDF. There are numerous 2D design tools along with 3D modeling features. You can even use LISP programs within IntelliCAD or create your own.
While the software isn’t free, it’s just $149 for a perpetual license. If you choose to upgrade to a new version (which isn’t required), it’s only $80 to upgrade.Pros
Offers many of the same features as AutoCAD
Supports many file formats
Works for both 2D and 3D modeling
Great support for DWG and DXF file versions
No subscription or upgrades requiredCons
Only available for Windows Vista and later10. CMS IntelliCAD
CMS IntelliCAD is powered by IntelliCAD, just like JTS IntelliCAD. It’s often considered one of the best AutoCAD alternatives due to the features and file support.
While it may seem overwhelming to beginners, this is a tool experienced AutoCAD users could fall in love with. A free trial is available.Pricing
Perpetual license – $250
One-year edition – $130
Plus perpetual license – $300
Subscription – $150/yearPros
Close AutoCAD competitor
Advanced design and editing tools
Native DWG and DGN supportCons
Only compatible with WindowsHonorable Mentions
While the above are some of the best drafting software alternatives to AutoCAD, they’re not the only options that deserve a mention.
Some others you may want to check out that aren’t quite as feature rich but still great for personal use and smaller projects include:
nanoCAD – Offers a free basic option for educational and personal projects only. Five premium plans are available starting at $180/year. It provides all the tools you need for most drafting projects and is compatible with DWG files. For commercial use and additional features, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan.
Tinkercad – This is a free educational tool from Autodesk. While it’s not as feature-rich as AutoCAD, it’s an ideal alternative for beginners, hobbyists, and personal drafting projects. While it’s made for students and educators, you can create a personal account for free to start tinkering with new designs.Frequently Asked Questions How can I get the premium AutoCAD alternatives cheaper?
Many of the premium options on this list offer free and low-cost student editions. There may also be discounts for non-profits if you contact the company directly.Is a free alternative to AutoCAD powerful enough to compete?
Yes. While they may not be as feature-rich, you can still create detailed designs. If you’ve ever used AutoCAD and never used even half of the features, you’d be much better off with a free alternative. If one doesn’t meet all your needs, consider using two different alternatives with complementary features.Do these tools let me sketch out designs first?
Not really. Built-in shapes and lines are used to develop your designs. If you prefer a sketching tool, try these Windows-based sketching tools. Some are cross-platform, such as GIMP.
Image credit: SolidWorks, BricsCAD, CHIP, SketchUp, LibreCAD, CMS IntelliCAD, Kumpan Electric via Unsplash
Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.
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A VPN can provide the cage that I need. It enhances your privacy and security and tunnels through to sites that have been blocked. It does this by securely connecting you to a computer network somewhere else in the world. This masks your identity and your encrypted data can’t be spied on by others.
But all VPNs are not the same. Which is the best for Mac users? To find out I installed six leading services on my iMac and MacBook Air and thoroughly tested them.
Overall, I found NordVPN to be the best. It offers exceptional privacy and security, and can consistently connect to streaming services.
But because it offers extra functionality and has a more complex interface, it’s not quite as suitable for beginners. That honor goes to ExpressVPN. While it’s more expensive to run, it just works, though it’s not as reliable when connecting to Netflix.
The other services have their strong points too, and one of those may suit you. So read on to learn what’s good and bad about each one.
Why Trust Me for This Mac VPN Review?
My name is Adrian Try, and I’ve been using Macs to run my business for the last decade. I work online out of a home office and understand the importance of using the right tools and practices to stay safe on the net. In previous roles, I offered computer support, set up business networks, and managed IT for several organizations. I’ve seen the damage that can happen because of malware, phishing attacks, and hackers.
A VPN is an effective security tool, enabling you to maintain privacy and security. I’ve tested and reviewed the best out there and ran them through a series of tests over a number of weeks. Each one has different strengths and weaknesses. Read on to make sure you choose the right one.
Who Should Use a VPN?
The first is those who value privacy and security. This includes businesses, corporations, non-profits, and government departments, as well as savvy home internet users. Services like NordVPN and ExpressVPN collect as little personal information as possible, have great privacy policies, and offer a number of quality tools to enhance your security.
The second group is those who watch streaming content, and wish to access content not normally available in their countries. NordVPN, Astrill VPN, and CyberGhost are the most successful here. For more details, refer to our Best VPN for Netflix roundup.
Best VPN for Mac: Our Top Picks
Best Choice: NordVPN
You can download NordVPN from the developer’s website or the Mac App Store. I recommend that you download from the developer, or you’ll miss out on a few features.
While I found NordVPN easy to use, its interface is a little more complex than other apps. You’ll see a map of the available servers is displayed, accompanied by a full list on the left.
This interface is better suited to users with some VPN experience, though I imagine most users will become comfortable with it quickly. If you’re looking for a simpler VPN, choose ExpressVPN.
Nord runs their business in a way that protects your privacy. They don’t want to know anything personal about you and don’t keep logs of the sites you visit.
They only record the information they need to serve you:
an email address,
payment data (and you can pay anonymously via Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies)
the timestamp of the last session (so they can limit you to six devices connected at any one time)
customer service emails and chats (which are stored for two years unless you request they remove them sooner)
cookie data, which includes analytics, referrals, and your default language.
You can have confidence that your privacy is safe with Nord. Like other VPNs, they ensure your private information isn’t leaking through the cracks, and enable DNS leak protection by default on all their platforms. And for ultimate anonymity, they offer Onion over VPN.
NordVPN uses strong encryption and gives you a choice of encryption protocols. They use OpenVPN by default, and you can install IKEv2 if you prefer (or it comes with the Mac App Store version by default).
Nord includes several features to enhance your security. The first is a kill switch that will block internet access if you’re disconnected from the VPN. It’s enabled by default (well, not the App Store version), and unlike other VPNs, it allows you to specify which apps are blocked when the kill switch is activated.
In case your VPN connection drops, NordVPN Kill Switch will automatically block your device or terminate certain programs from accessing the Internet outside the secure VPN tunnel.
If you need a higher level of security, Nord offers a unique feature: double VPN. Your traffic will pass through two servers, so gets twice the encryption for double the security. But this comes at the expense of performance.
Note that double VPN (and quite a few other features) are missing from the App Store version.
Nord has some very fast servers. Of the six VPN services I tested, Nord had the second fastest peak speed of 70.22 Mbps (only Astrill was faster). But server speeds varied considerably, and the average speed was just 22.75 Mbps, the second lowest overall.
Maximum: 70.22 Mbps
Average: 22.75 Mbps
Server fail rate: 1/26
Out of the 26 different speed tests I performed on Nord servers, I only encountered one latency error, meaning that 96% of the servers I tested were working at the time. But the slow speed of some servers may mean you need to try a few servers before you find a fast one.
With over 5,000 servers in 60 countries, NordVPN is well-placed for streaming. They include a feature called SmartPlay, designed to give you effortless access to 400 streaming services.
I tried streaming Netflix content from nine different servers and was successful every time. Nord was the only service to achieve a 100% success rate in my tests, then did the same when I tried streaming content from BBC iPlayer. That’s the sort of consistency you want in a VPN.
But Nord doesn’t offer split tunneling. That means that all traffic needs to go through the VPN, and makes it even more important that the server you choose can access all of your streaming content.
Also Great: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive VPNs in this roundup, but it just works. It’s easy to use, quite fast, and great for privacy and security. It’s not the best for streaming Netflix content—you may need to try a number of servers before you find one that works—but I had great success with the BBC. Read our full ExpressVPN review here.
ExpressVPN is easy to use, even if you’re new to VPNs. When the switch is off, you’re unprotected. When you turn it on, you’re protected. Easy.
ExpressVPN’s slogan is, “We’re fanatical about your privacy and security.” That sounds promising. They have a “no logs policy” clearly stated on their website.
“ExpressVPN does not and will never log traffic data, DNS queries, or anything that could be used to identify you.”
Like other VPNs, they do keep connection logs of your user account (but not IP address), the date (but not time) of connection, and the server used. The only personal information they keep of you is an email address, and because you can pay by Bitcoin, financial transactions won’t even trace back to you. If you do pay by some other method, they don’t store that billing information, but your bank does.
How effective are these precautions? A few years ago, authorities seized an ExpressVPN server in Turkey in an attempt to uncover information about the assassination of a diplomat. What did they discover? Nothing.
ExpressVPN made an official statement about the seizure. In the statement, they also explained that they are based in the British Virgin Islands, an “offshore jurisdiction with strong privacy legislation and no data retention requirements.” To further protect your privacy, they run their own DNS server.
ExpressVPN runs its own private, encrypted DNS on every server, making your connections both safer and faster.
They also support TOR (“The Onion Router”) for the ultimate anonymity.
ExpressVPN uses strong encryption and allows you to choose between a variety of encryption protocols. By default, they choose the best protocol for you.
Defeat hackers and spies with best-in-class encryption and leakproofing.
ExpressVPN includes a kill switch that blocks all internet access when you become disconnected from the VPN. This is an important security feature, and unlike other VPNs, is enabled by default.
ExpressVPN does not include an ad blocker.
ExpressVPN’s download speeds aren’t slow. They’re actually a little faster than NordVPN on average, though Nord’s peak speed is significantly higher. The fastest server could download at 42.85 Mbps (compared to Nord’s 70.22), and the average speed was 24.39 (compared to Nord’s 22.75).
Maximum: 42.85 Mbps
Average: 24.39 Mbps
Server fail rate: 2/18
When testing server speeds at random, I encountered only two latency errors, giving Express a high-reliability rating of 89%—almost as high as Nord’s. ExpressVPN offers a speed test feature, and will test every server in about five minutes, and allows you to favorite the fastest.
If streaming from Netflix is important to you, NordVPN, Astrill VPN and CyberGhost are the most reliable services. When I tested ExpressVPN I only had a 33% success rate: I tried twelve servers at random, and only four worked. BBC iPlayer is a different story: I was successful with every UK server I tried.
So while ExpressVPN is not your best choice for streaming content, you will have success if you persevere by trying different servers. Or you can use split tunneling to access shows available in your own country.
This feature allows you to choose which internet traffic goes through the VPN, and which doesn’t. You could surf securely connected to your VPN, but access local Netflix shows through your normal internet connection.
VPN split tunneling allows you to route some of your device traffic through a VPN while letting the rest directly access the internet.
Make sure you check out the ExpressVPN Sports Guide if you want to use the service to keep up with sports streams in other countries.
Want to have more choices? No problem! Here’s a list of free and paid Mac VPNs you may consider.
Other Good Paid VPNs for Mac
Like many other VPNs, CyberGhost’s default interface is an on/off switch. You pull this down from the menu bar to connect and disconnect from the VPN.
But the app can also run in a window, and you can display a list of servers on the left.
CyberGhost has a strict No Logs policy and offers DNS and IP leak protection to ensure your identity isn’t accidentally compromised. For an additional fee, you can access their “NoSpy” servers which are housed in a special data center that is isolated from third parties.
CyberGhost includes a number of features to keep your connection secure, including an ad blocker, malware blocker, tracking blocker, and HTTPS redirect.
The app also incorporates an automatic kill switch and choice of encryption protocols.
CyberGhost is fast. It has the third fastest peak speed of the six VPN services I tested (67.50 Mbps), and the second fastest average speed of 36.23.
Maximum: 67.50 Mbps
Average: 36.23 Mbps
Server fail rate: 3/15
Initially, I wasn’t impressed with CyberGhost for streaming. I had little success connecting to Netflix… until I found the servers optimized for Netflix.
I had much better success with these. I tried two, and both worked. I had similar success (two out of three) when connecting to BBC iPlayer from CyberGhost’s UK servers.
2. Astrill VPN
While Astrill VPN is a great service, I can’t currently recommend it to Mac users. It hasn’t been updated to work with the next version of macOS. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any reassurance from the developers that they’re working on an update. Read our full Astrill VPN review here.
Astrill has a “no logs policy” clearly stated on their website.
“We keep no logs of our user’s online activity and we believe in absolutely unrestricted Internet. The very design of our VPN server software does not allow us to see which clients accessed what websites even if we wanted to. No logs whatsoever are stored on VPN servers after connection is terminated.”
But “no logs” doesn’t absolutely mean “no logs”. For the service to function, some information is needed. Your active session is tracked (including your IP address, device type and more) while you are connected, but this information is deleted once you disconnect. Also, your previous 20 connections are logged, including the time and duration of the connection, the country you’re in, the device you used, and which version of Astrill VPN you have installed. No personal information is permanently logged, protecting your privacy.
Astrill allows you to pay your account with Bitcoin, which is another way to limit the amount of personal information you send the company. But they collect some personal information when you create an account (even for the free trial): you need to provide an email address and phone number, and both of those are confirmed. So the company will have some identifying information about you on record.
Astrill VPN uses strong encryption and allows you to choose between a variety of encryption protocols. They also offer a kill switch that blocks all internet access when you’re disconnected from the VPN. Finally, when using the OpenWeb protocol you had access to an Ads Blocker that will stop sites from trying to track you.
Of the six VPN services I tested, Astrill is the fastest, both when considering peak and average speeds. Its fastest server was able to download at 82.51 Mbps, which is a very high 95% of my disconnected (non-protected) speed. That’s especially impressive since that server was on the other side of the world. And the average speed over all the servers I tested was 46.22 Mbps.
Maximum: 82.51 Mbps
Average: 46.22 Mbps
Server fail rate: 9/24
Because it’s so fast you may decide to use it despite its current 32-bit status. If so, I recommend you limit your subscription to six months at a time, in case it is not updated before the next version of macOS.
Astrill also includes a speed test feature that will test all of the servers you’re interested in and allows you to favorite those that are fastest.
Finally, Astrill doesn’t require all traffic to go through your VPN connection. It allows certain browsers, or even certain websites, to connect directly.
I tried streaming Netflix content from six different servers, and all but one were successful. That success rate of 83% is only marginally behind NordVPN’s perfect score. With the higher download speeds, we found Astrill the best VPN service for Netflix.
3. Avast SecureLine VPN
Avast SecureLine VPN doesn’t try to do more than it needs to. The service offers reasonable speed, privacy and security, and a few extra features. If you just need a VPN on your mobile device, Avast is your cheapest option. Read our full Avast VPN review here.
SecureLine has a focus on ease of use. Its main interface is a simple on/off switch.
The service doesn’t keep logs of the data you send and receive online, but they do keep logs of your connections: when you connect and disconnect, and how much data you’ve sent and received. They delete these logs every 30 days.
“We will store a time stamp and IP address when you connect and disconnect to our VPN service, the amount of data transmitted (up-and download) during your session together with the IP address of the individual VPN server used by you.“
They include a kill switch that blocks internet access if you’re unexpectedly disconnected from the VPN. This feature is turned off by default, but easy to enable in the settings.
But while a VPN can protect you from malicious files, I was surprised to discover adware inside the Avast SecureLine VPN software when I scanned the installer with Bitdefender Virus Scanner. Not ideal in an app designed to make you more secure!
Avast’s servers are in the middle of the range when it comes to speed: 62.04 Mbps peak and 29.85 Mbps average across my iMac and MacBook.
Maximum: 62.04 Mbps
Average: 29.85 Mbps
Server fail rate: 0/17
I had very little success in streaming Netflix content. I tried eight servers in total, and only one worked. Then I discovered that Avast offers servers that are optimized for Netflix and tried again. All four failed. If you’re interested in streaming from Netflix, Avast StreamLine is the worst VPN to choose.
PureVPN has the most affordable monthly subscription, but in this case, you get what you pay for. We found it to be very slow, unable to reliably connect to Netflix, and unstable—we suffered several crashes. To switch to a different server, you first need to manually disconnect from the VPN, which increases the amount of time you’re exposed. I can’t recommend PureVPN.
I found PureVPN’s interface less consistent to use than the other services, and it often took additional steps. I couldn’t find a way of choosing which server to connect to within a country.
PureVPN allows you to choose your security protocol, or by default will choose the best one for you.
The app can send you reminders when you’re not connected to the VPN and includes a kill switch.
The app also offers split tunneling, DDoS protection, and ad blocking.
Without question, PureVPN is the slowest service I tested. The fastest server I found had a low download speed of 36.95 Mbps, and the average speed was 16.98 Mbps.
Maximum: 34.75 Mbps
Average: 16.25 Mbps
Server fail rate: 0/9
I tried streaming Netflix content from eleven different servers and was only successful four times, which is a low 36% success rate.
But I had much better success streaming from BBC iPlayer. All four UK servers worked.
Several Free VPNs for macOS
VPN services need to run a network of servers throughout the world, so it’s no surprise that you need to pay for the best of them. Although $3/month for our winner isn’t a lot to pay, you may be interested that there are plenty of free services as well.
If you’d like to try a free VPN, here are a few of the best options:
Hotspot Shield Free VPN allows you to use up to five devices at a time but is limited to 500 MB per day. There are just 25 server locations around the world so performance isn’t up to the standard of our winners, and the app is more difficult to set up.
Speedify gives you access to all of their fast servers for free, with the limitation of 5 GB each month. You don’t need to set up an account to use the free service.
ProtonVPN allows unlimited bandwidth for free but limits you to one device with access to just three countries. They rate the speed of their free service as “medium”, while the paid plans are rated “high”.
chúng tôi offers 2 GB per month and limits you to one device at a time. The free plan can access five locations around the world, while the paid plans offer 55 locations. Free users should experience the same speed as those paying for the service.
TunnelBear Free offers just 500 MB of data a month (the same as what HotSpot Shield offers in a day). But it’s backed by a big name, having been acquired by McAfee.
SurfEasy is a bit different—it’s a VPN within a browser. You’ll need to use Opera to access the VPN, and the free plan is limited to 500 MB per month.
How We Tested and Picked These Mac VPN Apps
Ease of Use
Using a VPN shouldn’t have to get technical, and most people will want a service that’s easy to use. None of the VPNs I tested were overly complex, and are suitable for most users. But some were definitely easier to use than others.
If you’re new to VPNs and want the simplest interface, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, Astrill VPN and Avast SecureLine VPN may suit you. Their main interface is a simple on/off switch, and that’s hard to get wrong.
By contrast, NordVPN is better suited to users with some familiarity with VPNs. It uses a map of where its servers are located around the world, and the service offers additional features. But that doesn’t mean that it’s difficult to use, and most users will become comfortable with it quickly.
Finally, PureVPN’s interface is a little more complex and disjointed, and changes depending on what you use the VPN for. You may find yourself searching for the features you need.
Expect your internet speed to decrease when using a VPN. Your traffic is being encrypted and also passing through a server that may be on the other side of the world. But I discovered some VPN services are significantly faster than others.
You’ll have access to hundreds or thousands of servers. They will vary in speed, and generally the further away they are from you, the slower they will be. Some services are consistently fast, while others vary widely in speed, requiring a little more time and effort to find a fast one.
Servers Around the World
VPNs offer the choice of many servers around the world, speeding the service by evening out the load and offering a greater variety of streaming content to enjoy. Here’s the number of servers offered by each provider:
Avast SecureLine VPN 55 locations in 34 countries
Astrill VPN 115 cities in 64 countries
PureVPN 2,000+ servers in 140+ countries
ExpressVPN 3,000+ servers in 94 countries
CyberGhost 3,700 servers in 60+ countries
NordVPN 5100+ servers in 60 countries
Note: The Avast and Astrill websites don’t quote the actual number of servers.
But in my experience, these servers are not always available. During my tests, there was a number I couldn’t connect to, and others that were too slow to even run a speed test. Here’s the success I had when connecting to random servers:
Avast StreamLine VPN 100% (17 out of 17 servers tested)
PureVPN 100% (9 out of 9 servers tested)
NordVPN 96% (25 out of 26 servers tested)
ExpressVPN 89% (16 out of 18 servers tested)
CyberGhost 80% (12 out of 15 servers tested)
Astrill VPN 62% (15 out of 24 servers tested)
Besides encrypting your traffic, VPNs may offer additional security features. These include a kill switch to protect you if you unexpectedly disconnect from the VPN, a choice of security protocols, ad and malware blocking, and split tunneling, where you decide what traffic goes through the VPN and what doesn’t.
Access to Streaming Content
You may find you’re unable to access Netflix and other services when using a VPN, but that happens more with some services than others, and the difference is significant. Here is my Netflix success rate with the various services, ranked from best to worst:
NordVPN 100% (9 out of 9 servers tested)
Astrill VPN 83% (5 out of 6 servers tested)
PureVPN 36% (4 out of 11 servers tested)
ExpressVPN 33% (4 out of 12 servers tested)
CyberGhost 18% (2 out of 11 servers tested)
Avast StreamLine VPN 8% (1 out of 12 servers tested)
Note that CyberGhost has some servers that are optimized for Netflix, and I had 100% success when using them. So does PureVPN, but none of their special servers worked for me.
VPN providers may have more or less success with different streaming services. For example, I had good success accessing the BBC iPlayer’s content from NordVPN, ExpressVPN, PureVPN, and CyberGhost, but not Astrill. I recommend you test each service for the content you care about.
Avast SecureLine VPN $59.99
Astrill VPN $99.90
Cheapest (prorated monthly):
Avast SecureLine VPN $5.00
Astrill VPN $8.33
What You Need to Know about VPNs for Mac
A VPN Offers Privacy through Online Anonymity
You’re more visible than you realize. As you connect to websites and send them information, each packet contains your IP address and system information. That has some serious implications:
A VPN can help by making you anonymous. Instead of broadcasting your own IP address, you now have the IP address of the VPN server you’ve connected to—just like everyone else who’s using it. You become lost in the crowd.
Now your internet service provider, the websites you visit, and your employer and government can no longer track you. But your VPN service can. That makes the choice of a provider extremely important.
A VPN Offers Security through Strong Encryption
Internet security is always an important concern, especially if you’re on a public wireless network, say at a coffee shop.
Anyone on the same network can use packet sniffing software to intercept and log the data sent between you and the router.
They could also redirect you to fake sites where they can steal your passwords and accounts.
Someone could set up a fake hotspot that looks like it belongs to the coffee shop, and you could end up sending your data straight to a hacker.
VPNs can defend against this type of attack by creating a secure, encrypted tunnel between your computer and the VPN server. The cost of this security is speed. Choose a provider that offers good security protection while minimizing the impact on your speed.
A VPN Offers Access to Censored Websites
You don’t always have open access to the internet. Your school or employer may block certain sites, either because they’re inappropriate for children or the workplace, or your boss is concerned that you’ll waste the company’s time. Some governments also censor content from the outside world. A VPN can tunnel through those blocks.
Of course, if you do there may be consequences. If you’re caught, you may lose your job or receive government penalties, so make your own considered decision.
A VPN Offers Access to Blocked Streaming Services
Some content providers restrict access to some or all of their content depending on your geographic location. Because a VPN can make it look like you’re in a different country, it can give you access to more streaming content.
So Netflix now attempts to block VPNs as well, and the BBC iPlayer uses similar measures to make sure you really are in the UK before you can view their content. So you need a VPN that can successfully bypass these measures so you can access the content that’s important to you.
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