Mullvad offers an anonymous, 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 sign up 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 Overview
|OVERALL RANK:||#6 out of 78 VPNs|
|LOG FILES:||No Logging Policy|
|LOCATIONS:||36 countries, 299 servers|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||256-bit AES, OpenVPN, SOCKS5 & WireGuard|
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 uses 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!
Mullvad also supports the SOCKS5 protocol.
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.
Has a Kill Switch
A kill switch allows the VPN to cut your internet connection if its own tunneling process fails.
Mullvad has such feature available which further adds to the overall security.
DNS & Malware Proof (With One Caveat)
The systems that connect a domain like “TheBestVPN.com” to it’s actual IP address are known as Domain Name Servers (DNS).
A DNS can have a perfect map of your browsing history, which is precisely the problem that VPNs were initially designed to overcome. However, some VPNs encounter issues when trying to hide your browsing from a DNS server.
When this information is attacked and accessed, we call it a DNS leak.
Here at TheBestVPN.com, we put all of our VPNs through a series of tests, ensuring that IP leaks are not a threat. We initially tested Mullvad and found it to be free of leaks. We ran these same tests again in July 2019 and found that it still received perfect marks across the board.
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.
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 Mbps
- Upload: 34 Mbps
Mullvad USA Speed Test
- Ping: 109 ms
- Download: 59 Mbps
- Upload: 20 Mbps
Compared with our fastest VPNs, this puts Mullvad in 10th place out of a total of 78 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, But Only Some Servers
Back a few years ago, when cyber attacks and data breaches weren’t as common, VPNs were an amazing tool to watch Netflix from everywhere in the world.
Netflix geo-blocks its content, meaning that the Netflix someone watches in New York City would be different from the Netflix one in Rome Italy. VPNs became your go-to solution because of these restrictions.
Unfortunately, Netflix is very quick to identify VPN connections and block access to their services today.
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).
When we first reviewed this product the server in New York managed to unblock Netflix. But sadly, the company has caught on and Netflix no longer works on any of the US servers that we tested.
- New York – Blocked
- Illinois – Blocked
- Arizona – Blocked
- Texas – Blocked
- Washington – Blocked
Blocked servers are inevitable, but with Mullvad’s limited US server locations (29 in total) no direct connection supports Netflix.
That was not the case everywhere, however. We connected to a server in London England and fired up Netflix, only to be met with happy results.
Netflix fired right up and started playing Stranger Things with no lag whatsoever.
So while Mullvad’s Netflix functionality might falter in the US, there are other markets where you’re still able to break through.
That’s not the best Netflix support we’ve seen, but it’s far from the worst.
7. Solid Server Network
When it comes to servers: the more a VPN has, the better. You want options and Mullvad delivers them.
When we first reviewed this product, Mullvad had a minimalist website where users had to work hard to find server information. And when you did, it was difficult to understand.
Mullvad has turned all of that around, however, presenting a more streamlined site with a clearly defined server list, separating all of its server options into three categories.
There are 311 OpenVPN servers on Mullvad’s system, located in 38 countries around the world.
Wireguard servers are located in 27 different countries. There are 60 in all.
Mullvad also features 14 Bridge servers which are located in nine different countries.
In total, Mullvad offers 385 servers across 38 countries and allows for five simultaneous connections.
8. New User Friendly App
When we first reviewed Mullvad, we were dismayed by how poor the app’s usability was, particularly for newbies who were not VPN experts.
The company has clearly responded well to criticism, because they came back with a brand new user interface and simple design that someone with absolutely no technical experience could operate.
Signing up was simple. They don’t ask for any personal information. You just enter your payment method and pre-pay for the amount of time you want. I paid $5.61 for one month of service. We will go more into payment methods in a later section.
Once payment is received, Mullvad gives you an account number. After that, you have to download the application onto your device.
The download was simple and quick. It failed once, but I rebooted it and it went through perfectly.
The app launched and immediately connected me to a server in Sweden. If you don’t want to app to connect automatically upon launch, that setting can be changed by clicking on the gear icon in the upper right hand corner.
You can connect and disconnect from the service with the push of one button. If you want to switch your location, click on the “Switch Location” button and you will get a menu featuring every country included in Mullvad’s server list.
For countries with multiple options, click on the arrow next to its name and a drop-down menu will appear that will allow you to select individual servers by city.
Clicking on the country itself will assign you to a random server.
This is a great course correction, making what was once a product that was borderline unusable unless you were an expert into one of the simplest and most user friendly VPNs we’ve encountered.
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 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 $5.61).
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 like Paypal and Credit Cards, 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?
Yes, I do.
We once referred to this service as “close, but no cigar.” Directing VPN rookies to services like NordVPN instead. That was mostly due to usability concerns which have all been washed away with these recent updates.
Mullvad, you have earned that cigar!
Unfortunately, the support department is still mediocre and their Netflix functionality is shoddy at best. Adding dedicated mobile apps for Android and iOS platforms is something that we’re hoping to see in the future, but for now they’ve done enough to earn our endorsement.
Add your own Mullvad review
17 user reviews for Mullvad
The best VPN on the market, but a few things are missing
Mullvad is THE best VPN, if you know what you're doing and are able to handle some of its quirks. For desktop, the app is super simple to use. The kind of app you could set up on your parents' computer for them and they would have a really hard time messing it up. This is also one of the only VPNs which supports Wireguard, and the performance is leaps and bounds above OpenVPN.
The two problems I have with it were covered by the main review:
1. Home network support is lackluster. There's instructions on how to put it on a router, but not really anything on how to do an advanced configuration like route a smart device outside the VPN to avoid being blocked by streaming services, which is a big issue for a lot of users. There's also no router app. Mullvad could go a long way in fixing this by getting installed as a supported provider on FlashRouters Privacy App for DD-WRT.
2. No iOS app (Android users are covered). There's ways around this, but Mullvad's official instructions suggest using OpenVPN Connect, which is bloated, slow, and has a lot of connection issues. They should be recommending Passepartout for OpenVPN on iOS. If you want to use Wireguard on iOS, it works great, but you have to manually configure the connection to each server. It's not hard (it can be done with a simple QR code), but it does take time.
Need more than just VPN
You need more than just a VPN to be truly anonymous. You also need to use a MAC address blocker. Every computer, car, (modern car that is) smartphone - anything with a computer chip in it has a MAC address that is unique to that individual device. And in case of torrent downloads, a monitoring system may not be able to capture your personal IP address through a VPN, but it MAY be able to capture your MAC address for your computer, then can be traced to the details of the person who bought it new.
Just to be on the safe side, I use TMAC V.6. It is completely free and customizable. There are certainly others out there, but this is good for emails and torrent downloading.
Excellent for authoritarian regimes
I am a Catalan living in Spain so I am considered a 'person of interest' just by being alive and voicing my opinions. Therefore, a VPN for privacy -and to avoid censored websites- is a must. Mullvad delivers very well in that regard. No email can be associated with your account and if you pay in cryptocurrencies (which I do) it adds an extra layer of security. If the State wants to find out, it will find out, but I prefer not to make things easy for them. Speeds are also excellent and you can be connected 24/7 with minimal slowdown. On my phone I use the WireGuard protocol and even though sometimes it has some difficulties connecting, when it does it works very well with fast speeds and minimal battery drain.
WireGuard Puts It Over the Top
Mullvad plus WireGuard app equals perfection. If you’re looking for a VPN that you can use 24/7 then Mullvad with WireGuard is really your only option. And for an added bonus you can change the DNS from the WireGuard app to AdGuard DNS meaning you get malware protection and Adblocking system wide on both WiFi and Cellular. I’m using the WireGuard app for iOS and am pleasantly surprised by the speed consistency and stability of the connection. NordVPN doesn’t offer that level of consistent connection to make it something to use 24/7. I can look past the 14 eyes and the less user friendly interface because I can use Mullvad with WireGuard 24/7.
Not "non-tech" friendly
I love the anonymity, the cost, and the "always on". I've been buying two months at a time via bitcoin which rocks. The speeds are super. Connections are quick most of the time. Overall, I find this superior to NORD in almost every way. Two problems, I can't get help when I need it and if the program isn't working, I can't connect to the internet at all without uninstalling it. I'm guessing if I knew more about networking, this wouldn't be an issue but...well I don't so I uninstalled it and am trying a new provider. So far, I'm wishing I had my Mullvad back and it would just work all the time for me.
What do you mean not recommended? U crazy?
1. No contact, flat fee of €5 euros a month means they need to keep their service good to see people renew each month. Also if you don't need a VPN for a long time you aren't throwing down 2 times as much with competitors to go month-to-month.
2. Allows opening ports. 90% of VPNs are too cheap to let you open ports. They'll make excuses or whine about it. The reality is they don't because it would cripple their speeds which are already spread thin across users.
3. No email needed, no credit card info needed no nothing. You get a number that you can write down and do long as you don't forget it before your time runs out. You can just get another one. It's more anonymous than any other service.
4. 5 devices supported. ExpressVPN and other providers only allow 3 per account. 5 means you can literally cover your entire family of 4 on 1 device each for a dollar each and have 1 device spare. Or put it on your router and cover your whole network.
5. Speed. Their servers (especially in the EU) are fast as heck. Much faster than Torguard, NordVPN and PIA.
6. They give you a short trial to let you test it out. Many other providers don't offer any kind of trial or you need to throw down a payment to get a "trial" so it's really only a cashback guarantee.
7. Absolutely no logs and no other information recorded whatsoever. Who cares what "eyes" they are in. They don't record any of their user's data. There's nothing to give up.
I'm too lazy to go on. If you don't need to open ports there are other cheaper options but if you do and you still want guaranteed privacy. Then these guys are the ones to go with. I just wish they had a dedicated Android app.
What seems like a great service is being dangled like a carrot. They make you beg for it.
On the service Mullvad has lots going for it. But try to take a cautious approach to buying service, that is, buy a couple months just to be sure, then when you want a full year with your credit card, then suddenly you are a FRAUD. The actions of Mullvad are truly odd. "You use your card too often and too soon" They refuse a bonafide credit card that they can easily see has caused them no problems previously, then won't let you buy service.....until they say so. Move on people. Nothing to see here.
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.