Mullvad offers anonymous and private VPN service for securing your Internet connection. They use OpenVPN and WireGuard VPN protocols.
You can buy this software completely anonymously as they do not want your email for the signup process. The only reason for concern is their strict Sweden jurisdiction and no live chat option.
Amagicom AB, the company behind Mullvad, was founded in 2009 in Göteborg, Sweden by Fredrik Strömberg and Daniel Berntsson.
They had over 13,000 users to sign up in 2017, but is their VPN service better than the rest?
Mullvad VPN General Info
|OVERALL RANK:||#5th out of 74 VPNs|
|LOG FILES:||Strict No Logging|
|CONNECTIONS ALLOWED:||5 Simultaneous|
|TUNNELING PROTOCOL:||OpenVPN & WireGuard|
|JURISDICTION:||Sweden (14 Eyes)|
Mullvad Pros +
Every single VPN provider claims to not log any of your data as you make use of their networks.
We’ve discovered this to be anything but true; VPN providers do log and provide your data to authorities.
But you got us! Experts, who spend hours reading through legal jibber jabber so we can paint a true picture.
Check out Mullvad’s Logging Policy:
Did you notice something?
Sounds awfully Swiss-Bank-Secrecy like, eh? I’ll explain this amazing feature later on. You do not want to miss it!
In short, you don’t sign up with an email and password. You get a numbered account and that’s it!
Mullvad’s No-Logging Policy is perhaps the single strongest we have ever seen and it makes so much sense.
Their lack of login information gives them the ability to offer you unprecedented anonymity! Just fantastic!
Additionally, Mullvad’s website does not track you accross their web, as shown via Privacy Badger!
2. Strong Tunneling Protocols – OpenVPN & WireGuard
It was rather interesting to discover that Mullvad only use OpenVPN and a very new crypto-based protocol that is still in development: WireGuard.
WireGuard is an in-development secure networking tunnel with a very promising whitepaper. It’s very likely to become the next big thing in the VPN world. Due to a very minimalist and streamlined codebase, this crypto-based protocol is said to be able to deliver up to 5x faster connections and 0 connection delays.
As of today, Wireguard is already available for Linux and is currently in beta for both Windows and Android.
Very exciting stuff!
3. Safe and Secure – No IP Leaks
Right, we agree that Mullvad has our best interest at heart.
Step 1 – Check.
It does seem, however, that disastrous data breaches are happening more often than ever before!
Mullvad follows standard practices here and utilizes industry standard AES-256 Encryption via a UDP.
Mullvad also provides simple access to WireGuard, an in-progress open source VPN.
Nothing out of the ordinary here. I would have liked some more info on those subjects on their website.
It’s very scarce.
DNS & Malware Proof (With One Caveat)
Domain Name Servers are the systems that connect a domain like “TheBestVPN.com” to it’s actual IP address.
By facilitating this connection service (Domain -> IP), those DNS virtually have a perfect map of your browsing history.
When this information is attacked and accessed, we call it a DNS leak.
Mullvad prudently offer DNS Leak protection by default. You can also double check this via their online DNS testing tool.
We also ran Mullvad’s setup file through 67 different Anti-Virus programs.
Interestingly Baidu (Chinese Conglomerate) reports a virus, which we are confident to be a false-positive.
A bit ironic that a Chinese company with strong ties to the regime claims a VPN to have malware.
Either way, the other 60+ well-respected antivirus programs agree with us – Mullvad can be trusted!
4. Faster Than Average Speed
Common sense suggests that, if you’re taking the long road around, it’s going to take longer to go from A to B.
No difference here!
Any time you chose to utilize a VPN, you’re going off the beaten path.
Slow-downs are unavoidable!
That said, some perform much better than others. How fast a server is, depends on a billion things, not least among how much it is being used.
Cheap VPNs skimp out and let their servers be overused and bogged down.
One of our most important and extensive tests are to measure connection speeds. We perform many hundreds of them every day with the single goal of finding the fastest ones!
As usual, we used our Europe based 100 Mbps up & down connection as a benchmark.
We connected to both EU and US servers and measured how much our speeds slowed down.
Usually, we don’t like to see more than a 20% speed reduction. Here are Mullvad’s results:
Mullvad Europe Speed Test
- Ping: 62 ms
- Download: 83
- Upload: 34
Mullvad USA Speed Test
- Ping: 109 ms
- Download: 59.5
- Upload: 20.5
Compared with our fastest VPNs, this puts Mullvad in 10th place out of a total of 74 different VPNs!
Really impressive stuff, especially for domestic servers.
5. Torrenting And P2P is Allowed
With torrenting being one of the biggest reasons people use VPNs, you’d think all providers would allow them.
Not if you’re based in countries where you can get sued into the ground.
You won’t find too many torrent friendly VPNs operating in any of the 14 eyes jurisdiction.
Especially not Sweden. Ya know, the blokes who charged and jailed the The Pirate Bay Founders.
Mullvad is one of the few that DO support torrenting.
While they do not state so explicitly, their detailed and straightforward Bittorent guide suggests they are A-OK with you doing your thing!
6. Unblocks Netflix, Last Tested: June 2018
Back a few years ago, when cyber attacks and data breaches weren’t common and VPNs reserved to us nerds, they were an amazing tool to watch Netflix from everywhere in the world.
These days Netflix is very quick to identify VPN connections and block access to their services.
Remember, a VPN hides your traffic, but not always the fact that you’re using a VPN.
We tested a selection of Mullvad servers to check how many of them provide full access to the US Netflix library (the biggest one).
- New York – Works
- Illinois – Blocked
- Arizona – Blocked
- Texas – Blocked
- Washington – Blocked
- USA Random – Works*
Blocked servers are inevitable, but with Mullvad limited US server locations (12 in total + 1 Randomized) only one direct connection supports Netflix.
7. Solid Server Network
When it comes to servers: the more, the better.
Yet another point of interest their minimalistic website makes you work hard to find and understand.
Where other VPNs display this important statistic headfront, Mullvad have once again decided to display this info the most complex way possible.
In total, Mullvad offers 198 servers across 31 countries and allows 5 simultaneous connections.
Unfortunately, Mullvad doesn’t give you full access which servers you can connect to, not directly.
Mullvad Cons –
1. Super Strict Swedish Jurisdiction (14 Eyes)
After WW2, the UKUSA Agreement changed how intelligence communities worked forever. What started as an intelligence sharing agreement between two countries over 70 years ago has now become an alliance of 14 western countries which share intelligence between each other.
Scary? You betcha.
If you think the NSA only spies on US citizens, think again.
Unfortunately, Mullvad is based in Sweden, which is one of those 14 nations. In fact, Sweden has exceptionally active and considered at the forefront of information sharing.
Would this usually be a dealbreaker? Almost certainly.
Is it with Mullvad? No!
Remember how you don’t need to provide any information to register? If you make sure to pay for their services anonymously (Bitcoin), there is nothing that the 14 eyes could possibly use to identify you.
That said, I would highly suggest you to look elsewhere, if you’re not into cryptocurrency and would prefer a more convenient payment process.
2. No Live Chat Support
You don’t plan on breaking your arm next Sunday, but you still have health insurance.
Do you agree?
It’s not a question of if, but of when you’ll need to reach out and require assistance from your VPN provider. Mullvad or not.
With Mullvad, you’re going to be limited in how quick you’ll receive assistance.
Unfortunately, our favorite Swedes do not provide any sort of live chat or ticketing system. What’s more, their knowledgebase offers very poor access to help articles. You’ll have to dig and scroll to find one that may or may not answer your question.
You can reach them through their email: [email protected]
Here’s a quick CS test I performed, to gauge how they would respond to a couple of basic questions.
As you can see, I made sure to be vague and really went heavy on the “I don’t know anything” angle.
They got back to me in two hours!
Sadly, their response was just as vague and lacking in context. A bit of a disappointment.
For good measure I tested them again, this time through Facebook.
I asked a very probing question, about an abusable loophole in their system (nothing to fear). As a professional courtesy I have redacted the details to avoid people abusing their good nature.
I was amazed to receive a response only an hour later and what a response! They didn’t try to spin a story or anything, but flat out admitted what I already knew to be true.
Really impressive! I just wish this level of quality would extend to their official support channels.
One more band-aid to rip.
This one may hurt; they only provide support during and around Swedish work hours.
3. Not Very User-Friendly App For Less Savvy People
Installing the app is quick and painless. The installer weighs in at a slim 12MB and worked flawlessly.
That’s when the real fun began.
To spare you my frustration, Mullvad immediately severed my connection and attempted to connect to a server, without me doing anything.
This lost me some amount of work as I was refreshing a page at the same time.
It then failed to connect, even after several attempts. The only reason why I managed to fix it (TAP Driver issue) was due to my experience with VPNs. Their website did not offer much help either.
Newbies would have been absolutely lost here and would have to contact their support to fix a simple issue.
I ended up finding help by googling their help articles which, for some reason, can’t be searched directly on their website.
After reinstalling their TAP drivers, everything ran smoothly.
The app itself is terribly confusing, relatively speaking. Why everything has to be in two different windows remains a mystery.
Not a big issue, just completely unnecessary and wasting time. The weirdest part is their “advanced” button which just opens the raw configuration file that you can edit.
What exactly am I supposed to do with this? I have no idea. When I read advanced, I think of advanced features and options, not access to the same options in geek-speak.
Convoluted, Unnecessary, Buggy.
Really dropping the ball here.
4. Not All Devices Are Supported
Devices Mullvad supports one way or another:
Usually, we like to see VPN providers develop their standalone apps and programs for the big 5 operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS & Android.
Mullvad has developed apps for only Mac, Windows and Linux. You’ll have to go through a lengthy 15 step process via OpenVPN setup your mobile devices.
There is also no information regarding smart TVs, router assistance and other less often used internet devices.
Mullvad Pricing, Cost and Payment Methods
You know their pricing is simple, when they don’t even have a dedicated pricing page.
It’s so simple.
You make an account, which takes a couple seconds.
After that, 30 days of access costs €5 (about $6).
No monthly plans, no gated features that require “Premium” accounts – nothing.
It’s 5 euros a month and that’s it.
Among the 9 different payment methods, Mullvad accept two cryptocurrencies for anonymous payments: Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
This, coupled with their numbered accounts ensures 100% secrecy.
As for Mullvad’s refund policy, it’s solid yet can be confusing if you opt for the crypto payment route.
Make sure you carefully read it over and ensure you can provide a signature for the original address which you used to make the payment.
Oh, and don’t pay via cash. Apparently, the Swedes are not big on that when it comes to refunds…
Do I recommend Mullvad VPN?
No, I do not.
Close, but no cigar. If you really know what you’re doing, go ahead. If you’re a layman, use a simple (and secure) app like ExpressVPN.
Ah, it’s a bittersweet moment when I perform an extensive review of such a solid VPN provider and choose against it.
It really shows how quickly the industry is growing. Only a few years ago, a VPN like Mullvad would be an absolute disruptor.
Don’t settle for wrong jurisdictions, don’t settle for mediocre support, don’t settle for confusing clients, don’t settle for anything less than exactly what you want.
Add your own Mullvad review
10 user reviews for Mullvad
x64 client causes overheating issues on Windows 8.1
I've been using Mullvad for the past 12 months, but only the 32-bit version from which the screenshots have been taken in your review. Using that particular version my laptop running Windows 8.1 performs as cool as a cucumber.
But I've been advised that support for the 32-bit client will end in March next year and therefore I should switch to the 64-bit version. This is where the fun begins. For some unknown reason the x64 client causes my laptop to significantly heat up even without doing anything. Viewing videos on youtube though causes lockups due to the amount of heat generated. I reported these issues to Mullvad and was advised that they would look into it. I also provided logs taken from GPU-Z to demonstrate how hot the machine was becoming compared with running the 32-bit version which showed much lower readings. Mullvad suggested that I disable the GPU which I did and that did make a difference, but also advised me that since they were unable to replicate the problem in the lab and therefore wouldn't address it.
I'm rather sad about that because I think their service is 98% perfect. I even signed up for a month to another VPN to test whether their x64 client would also produce the same problem, but it doesn't. I really don't know what the reason is for the anomaly, but I'll have to look for another VPN once the 32-bit client ceases to function which is a shame.
Do I recommend Mullvad VPN?
Yes, I certainly would. I was looking for a VPN that supports already wireguard and mullvad seemed to be the first on the list. I didn't need to download any third-party-software. There's just a small script which I can run in the CLI which pre-configured all the servers as desired. Also there is the possibility to try the service 3h for free and an easy price plan - for me that's much more trustworthy than some offers where I have to pay directly a 12/24 months contract for the best price or something around 10 - 12$ for a trial month.
Finally a professional approach to VPN on Linux
There are only a handful of VPN providers out there who actually treat Linux customers.....well, like a customer. I've tried a number of them, the big ones and the smaller ones from the Balkans and in each and every case, with the exception of one, Linux support was limited to implementation through Network Manager. Nobody it seems has a proper gui client for Linux but Mullvad. There is one other, but it looked and operated like a Win95 programme. What I have seen lately though is a half-hearted attempt from the big operators to serve Linux users by tossing them a few crumbs in the form of a command line app. No way. Why would any self respecting Linux user settle for that bone headed process? My hat is off to the developers at Mullvad for having done their homework and the checks and balances for Mullvad vs the competition, tips positively in my favour for a change.
Close but no cigar, yet.
I'm in complete agreement with your final verdict. If your OS is Wireguard friendly and you have the required CLI-fu (not much required, tbh), Mullvad is an absolute dream. Wireguard is so streamlined and fast that I dread going back to other protocols nowadays.
What holds me back is not particularly Mullvad's fault, but rather the glacial pace with which most major operating systems are adopting Wireguard natively. With the platforms I employ, Wireguard is only reliable on Linux systems. On MacOS it's a bit flaky, and it's totally non-existent on iOS. Also isn't available for ASUS Merlin, which is really unfortunate, as I have no intention of going back to the stock OpenWRT/LEDE setup that Mullvad recommends in their documentation.
But still, I've been really impressed with Wireguard that I'm considering getting a VPS and setting up Algo - since I need Wireguard for desktop and IKEv2/IPSec for mobile - for VPN connectivity (I only torrent Linux ISOs, so no worries there), though I'll definitely give Mullvad another good look in future once more platforms support Wireguard natively, or if Mullvad provide IKEv2 support (I HATE OpenVPN on iOS) first.
Awesome speed and privacy
Mullvad is one of the best VPN providers. Not the cheapest, but they really care about your privacy. They have detailed information about how they don’t log things, the numbered accounts, and their blog posts about cryptography, and how they secure and tamper proof their laptops.
Added to that, they have great speed, especially if you use wireguard. Instant connections, at near full speed.
Good VPN, fast (to a point) and easy and probably 1 of the very few that don’t actually keep logs.
i have been using Mullvad for quite a while now. Using open vpn servers I get a nice ip adress pool, so my ip is changed every time iḿ using mullvad. I lose about 20% of speed against my isp ip address.
when using Wireguard the lose is only <5%, currently i’ḿ on a 400 Mbit/s connection. the down site of Wireguard is that your ip is statis, which is a possible risk. One can only change ip address manualy by changing the Wireguard server
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.
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.
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.