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Setup Tutorials

How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS

In this tutorial we will show you how to install CactusVPN app for macOS and how to connect to VPN or Smart DNS using our app, but first let’s see what are our requirements.

Requirements

In order to use the CactusVPN app you will need:

  1. A CactusVPN account. If you don’t have one you can try our services for free.
  2. macOS Version 10.11 (El Capitan) or newer. If you have macOS 10.10 or lower, please follow one of our manual setup tutorials for VPN or the manual tutorial for Smart DNS.
  3. Your VPN username and password to connect to VPN and / or the Smart DNS key to connect to Smart DNS. You can find them in your account on our website, by going Services.
  1. Install CactusVPN app.

    1. Download the app from here.
    2. Open the downloaded file.

    3. Drag and drop the CactusVPN icon (1) to the Applications folder (2) to add the app to Applications.

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 1

    4. Open Finder (3), go to your Applications (4) and there you will find the CactusVPN app (5).

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 2

    5. Launch the CactusVPN app.

    6. When you’ll open the CactusVPN app for the first time, you will be notified that the app was downloaded from the Internet and will be asked if you are sure you want to open it. Click “Open” (6).

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 3

      Also you may be notified that the CactusVPN app is trying to install a new helper tool. Helper tool allows our app to create a VPN tunnel. Enter your Mac user password and click on “Install helper”.

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 3-2

    First, you have to choose whether you want to sign in to use our VPN services or our Smart DNS services. To do that, choose between “VPN” (7) and “Smart DNS” (8) tabs.

    If you want to connect to Smart DNS and don’t need VPN, just skip part II and go directly to the part “III. Connect to Smart DNS”.

  2. Connect to VPN

    1. To use our VPN services, choose the “VPN” tab (7).

      Type your VPN package username (9) and password (10). You can find them in your account on our website, by going to Services. Make sure you use your VPN username and password and NOT the website account credentials (What is the difference?).

      Click “Sign in” (11).

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 4

    2. You are now signed in. Select the VPN server location (12) you want to connect to.

      To connect to VPN, click on “Connect” button (13).

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 5

    3. You may be asked if you allow to add VPN configurations. Click on “Allow”.

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 6-2

    4. You will be asked to enter your Mac user password. Enter it and click on “Always Allow” (14).

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 6

      If you click on “Allow” instead of “Always Allow”, the password will be saved only for the current session and will be requested again next time you’ll connect to VPN.

      Keep in mind, the password will be requested every first time you’ll connect to VPN after restarting the app or signing out and signing in back. It is requested by macOS (not by our app) as a additional security measure of the IKEv2 protocol.

    5. Once you are connected your IP is changed and your connection is encrypted.

      If you’ll click on the Servers menu, you will find the “Sort by speed” button. Click on it to sort all the VPN servers by speed. After sorting, the first server from the list will be the fastest one for you.

    6. By going to the “Settings” tab (15) you can make the following configurations:

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 7

      • “VPN protocol” – choose the VPN protocol you want to use.
      • If you select the OpenVPN protocol, you will be able to set the OpenVPN protocol (TCP or UDP) and OpenVPN port you want to use.
      • “OpenVPN port” – choose the OpenVPN port you want to use.
      • “Run app. at macOS start-up” – run the CactusVPN app when your Mac starts.
      • “Sign in at app. start” – sign in into your account when CactusVPN app starts.
      • “Start app. minimized” – start the CactusVPN app minimized.
      • “Connect VPN on sign in” – automatically connect to VPN using the last used city and protocol after signing in.
      • “Minimize app. on VPN connect” – minimize to tray the CactusVPN app after connecting to VPN.
      • “Reconnect if VPN connection is dropped” – automatically reconnect if connection is dropped.
      • “DNS leak protection” – turn on or off the DNS leak protection (What is DNS leak protection?).
      • “Group servers by country when sorting by speed” – when you sort VPN servers by speed, they will be grouped by country.
      • “Stop internet traffic if VPN connection is dropped” – This is the “Internet Kill Switch”. When you turn on the Kill Switch, your internet connection will not work until you connect to VPN. If the VPN connection drops, our app will disable your internet connection. To enable your internet connection back just connect to VPN, disable the Kill Switch, sign out or close the CactusVPN app.
    7. By going to the “Apps. Killer” tab (16) you can set up which applications will be automatically closed when the VPN connection drops. We recommend adding the P2P/BitTorrent software you use.

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 8

      • Click the “Add application” button (17). Go to the folder where the application is installed and choose the application you want to add.
      • Check the check-boxes from the column “Restart on reconnect” (18) to automatically restart the application after VPN reconnects.
      • Click the buttons from the column “Remove” (19) to remove the applications you don’t want any more to be automatically closed when VPN connection drops.
    8. Sometimes, for support purposes we need some information from the log files of the software. To save logs, go to the “Support” tab (20) and click the “Save logs” button (21). It will save the logs and will open a folder with all CactusVPN log files stored on your computer.

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 9

  3. Connect to Smart DNS

    1. To use our Smart DNS services, choose the “Smart DNS” tab (7), type your “Smart DNS key” (8). To find it, sign in to your account on our website and go to your package. Click “Sign in” (9).

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 10

    2. Click the “Enable Smart DNS” button (10).

      CactusVPN VPN Software for Mac OS Setup: Step 11

      Before enabling Smart DNS, you can choose:

      • “Websites region” (11) – choose the region that will be used for multi-regional websites.
      • “DNS Server” (12) – choose the one that is closest to you.
    3. By going to the “Settings” tab (13) you can make the following configurations:

      How to set up CactusVPN App for macOS: Step 19

      • “Run app. at macOS start-up” – run the CactusVPN app when your Mac starts.
      • “Sign in at app. start” – sign in into your account when CactusVPN app starts.
      • “Start app. minimized” – start the CactusVPN app minimized.
      • “Enable Smart DNS on sign in” – automatically enable Smart DNS after signing in.
      • “Minimize app. on Smart DNS enable” – minimize to tray the CactusVPN app after enabling Smart DNS.
      • “Update IP address every” – set up how often your IP will be automatically updated. That’s useful when you ISP often changes your IP address.

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