Mullvad Review

Dann Albright

Dann Albright

Mullvad is a Swedish VPN that’s been protecting users around the world since 2008. They have some unique features that make them stand out from other VPNs—like a highly usable website and no-email signups.

The service offers over 200 servers in 30 countries around the world, with a strong focus on Europe. Mullvad only uses two VPN protocols: OpenVPN (the industry standard) and WireGuard, an experimental protocol that seeks to be faster and more secure than both IPSec and OpenVPN. These protocols are paired with AES-256 encryption, providing strong security against snooping.

One of the most interesting features of Mullvad is that they encourage anonymous payments through Bitcoin and cash.

Yes, cash.

You can put cash in an envelope, along with your account number, and mail it to Sweden to pay for your account.

Mullvad’s website doesn’t even track you. They don’t sell your browsing data to third parties. They only put two cookies on your computer: one that keeps you logged in and one that remembers your language preference.

While Sweden isn’t part of the core US-UK intelligence-sharing agreements, it is peripherally part of signals intelligence sharing in Europe. Mullvad’s parent company is based in Sweden, so they’re firmly in Swedish jurisdiction. With the VPN’s awesome privacy policy (see below), it’s probably nothing to worry about.

In short, Mullvad is extremely committed to privacy. Let’s see how the VPN itself stacks up.

Mullvad Pros

1. No Logging Whatsoever

Mullvad’s no-logging policy is very clear:

Mullvad privacy policy

They don’t keep any logs of anything. You don’t have to use your email address or real name to sign up, and if you pay with cash or Bitcoin, there’s no record of your payment. This is one of the most privacy-conscious VPNs out there.

They don’t even track your browsing on their homepage.

So if the Swedish authorities come knocking, they won’t have any information at all to give up to them. As they point out, though, there may be bank records.

2. Simple Pricing

To run Mullvad, you need to pay €5 per month (that translates to $6.15 at the time of this writing). It’s not the cheapest VPN out there, but the simple, straightforward pricing is great. You don’t have to pay extra for more servers or features. You get everything for €5, and that’s it.

Mullvad pricing

There are no contracts, either; it’s always month-to-month, so you can stop whenever you’d like.

3. Flexible Payment Options

Mullvad accepts cash, Bitcoin, PayPal, and credit card payments, so you can pay in whichever method appeals to you the most. Cash and Bitcoin are totally anonymous, which is a bonus, and you get a 10% discount for paying in Bitcoin because of decreased administration costs.

The site’s FAQ indicates that they’ve had some difficulties with PayPal payments in the past.

4. Solid Security Practices

Mullvad is really dedicated to security. And not just in their VPN—they start at the very base of their workflow to make sure the entire thing is secure. They use open-source software like the Qubes operating system to keep their computers secure. The VPN doesn’t support older VPN protocols like IPSec or PPTP. Mullvad runs its own public key infrastructure. And the service uses AES-256 encryption to keep your data secure.

This is one of the few VPNs that meet‘s criteria for security, and that’s a big plus.

5. No Virtual Servers

Virtual servers share resources with other servers and operating systems in large data centers. Mullvad uses only dedicated, “bare metal” servers in carefully selected locations.

This gives them complete control over the behavior and actions of their servers.

6. Supports Torrenting

Mullvad doesn’t monitor your connection, so they won’t stop you from running your favorite torrent client. In fact, they have a recommended client (Qbittorrent) and include instructions for setting it up to work with their VPN.

You can use any torrent client you like, but they recommend Qbittorrent because there’s no bundled adware and it’s a privacy-conscious app. And because of their no-logging policy, you won’t have to worry about DMCA notices. There’s no information they can hand over.

7. Built-in Killswitch

If your connection to Mullvad is interrupted, the client will turn off your internet connection. This keeps your computer from sending data over an unencrypted connection. Mullvad’s VPN client has this feature built in—all you need to do is turn it on and it will add another layer of protection.

Mullvad VPN killswitch

You’ll want to turn on the Stop DNS Leaks option while you’re there, too. (Mullvad’s DNS leak protection is effective, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally revealing DNS information when this option is enabled.)

8. Works with Tor

If you want even more security than a standard VPN provides, you can use Mullvad over Tor. There’s even a guide to help you get the whole thing set up. You might find that this slows your connection down significantly, but if you want to be absolutely secure, you can’t beat using Mullvad and Tor together.

9. IPv6 Compatibility

Many VPNs block IPv6 traffic to prevent IP address leaks, but Mullvad actually works with your IPv6 connection. All of your traffic, whether IPv6 or IPv4, is routed through their VPN servers. You can also choose to block IPv6 traffic if you don’t need it.

At the time of this writing, there’s a disagreement between Cogent and Google that’s affecting the IPv6 traffic on two of Mullvad’s servers. So if you’re concerned about IPv6 traffic, you may want to check out their server list to make sure you’re not going to run into any difficulty.

10. Five Simultaneous Connections

With clients for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS—as well as the ability to install the VPN on your router—you can use a single Mullvad account to protect pretty much every device in your home.

11. 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee (and 3-Hour Trial)

When you get an account number from Mullvad, you have three hours to test it out before you have to pay. That’s not very much time. But they also offer refunds for the first month, so if you find that you don’t like it or that it doesn’t work well for you, you can get your €5 back.

It’s also worth noting that you can use multiple account numbers to extend your Mullvad trial. But it’s a pain to do, and probably isn’t a good use of your time. So take advantage of the money-back guarantee if you need to.

Mullvad Cons

1. Slow Speeds

Privacy is obviously important.

But ideally, you don’t want to sacrifice performance for privacy. You should be able to expect a relatively quick session while browsing anonymously.

So I ran speed tests on US, EU, and Asian servers to see how well Mullvad works. Here are my results:

US Server (California)

  • Ping: 184 ms
  • Download: 19.2 Mbps
  • Upload: 9.68 Mbps

Kind of disappointing results, especially when it comes to upload speeds. These should be better.

EU Server (Netherlands)

  • Ping: 40 ms
  • Download: 10.48 Mbps
  • Upload: 17.58 Mbps

Mullvad VPN download and upload speed

These speeds are a bit better than the results on US servers, but still pretty slow.

Asia Server (Hong Kong)

  • Ping: 327 ms
  • Download: 15.23 Mbps
  • Upload: 4 Mbps

Simply put: These are slow results.

Some VPNs I’ve already reviewed have download and upload speeds as fast as 70 or 80 Mbps.

Mullvad does offer some tips on their site for improving connection speeds, like connecting to a server that’s closer to your geographical location.

2. No Live Chat

Mullvad’s support is very basic; there’s a support email address displayed on their website, and you need to email them your questions and issues. There’s no live chat, and they don’t use a system like Zendesk that keeps track of your query.

They’re also available on Twitter, but the social team isn’t very active, so it’s not a great bet for customer support.

3. No Netflix Support

While it’s always possible that something will change, at the time of this writing, Mullvad’s US servers aren’t working with Netflix. So if you want to stream a US Netflix show or movie, you’ll need to choose a VPN that works with it.

4. No Android or iOS App (Connects via OpenVPN App)

Mullvad does work on Android and iOS—but instead of using their own app, they connect via the OpenVPN app. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that you’ll need to go through a few extra steps. It still works just fine. But the setup is a bit longer.

If you’re interested to see how it works, check out the guide for installing Mullvad on Android or iPhone/iPad.

5. No Option for Dedicated IP Address

Mullvad’s IP addresses are shared. This is fairly standard, but it’s nice to have the option to reserve a dedicated IP address. The biggest advantage to having your own dedicated IP is that you’re more likely to be able to access services like Netflix. It doesn’t provide additional security (and may actually be slightly less secure), but some people still find it useful.

Do I Recommend Mullvad?

Absolutely. This is one of the most privacy-focused VPNs out there, even going to the level of accepting mailed cash for payments.

There aren’t many drawbacks—but the speed is a big one.

There’s no getting around it; Mullvad will drop your connection speed significantly.

If that’s not a big issue, then it’s a great choice for a VPN provider.

Not being able to stream Netflix is also going to put many people off. But if you’re not looking to stream internationally, there aren’t many counts against Mullvad. The lack of live support can be annoying if you’re having problems. But the app is so simple that you shouldn’t need to use the support process very much.

And, of course, there’s the price issue. You can definitely find cheaper VPNs that will give you similar performance (hint: NordVPN)

But when a company is so obviously dedicated to internet privacy, it’s worth paying a little more, because they’re doing good things for the internet at large.

Want to try it yourself? Head to the Mullvad download page. (Remember that you’ll also need a Mullvad account number.)

Add your own review

4 user reviews for Mullvad

Pat 2/10 December 10, 2017

Too slow

I used it 30 days. I thought it was too slow. I went from 86 Mbps to around 20-25 Mbps.

Lulu Freud 10/10 November 22, 2017

Fantastic Vpn

I’ve used a lot of vpns, the “famous” ones (PIA, ExpressVPN, PureVPN, NordVPN etc…) but the best ones I found were Mullvad and AirVPN.

Both deeply involved in Internet freedom causes and not only doing business.

Mullvad is the top of the cream for an European user: Good client that you can easily customize, great speed, strong encryption and VERY safe registration.

For Linux users, there’s a possibility to use Wireguard which is fluent sand save.

Ed 4/10 October 29, 2017

Slow speeds ruined it

I was excited to sign up with Mullvad when it came out. It was really fast at first, but now they’re below average.

Everything else is great, but they should really improve their servers to handle the amount of new customers they receive each day.

I’ve cancelled my account with Mullvad for now.

Matthias 9/10 October 4, 2017

Probably the safest VPN

I’ve had the luck to be a part of Mulvad beta testing and I’ve been their customer ever since.

They’re cheap, they don’t keep ANY logs, based in Sweden – which is a pretty independent country. It’s for your PRIVACY, not for watching Netflix and bypassing geo restrictions.

Yes – their speed is slightly slow, but stable. I’d say it’s a pretty solid VPN product.