Brad Smith

Mullvad is a swedish based VPN provider that claims to protect your anonymity. In this review, I’ll compare Mullvad’s download/upload speed and features.

Mullvad was founded in 2008 in Sweden and is owned by Amagicom AB.

They like to think of themselves as one of the most private VPN services currently on the market.

But what does that mean? And do they live up to their own lofty claims?

Let’s find out.

In this review of Mullvad, I’m going to cover the pros and cons of the service by looking at their download and upload speeds, pricing and packages, features, and more.

I’m going to be comparing the customer support of Mullvad to other top software, test out this VPN with Netflix, disclose whether torrenting is allowed, and more.

Before we can get into all of that, here is a brief history on Mullvad so that you aren’t left wondering who’s behind this company. (Or if they have your best interests in mind.)

You probably want to know the company’s reputation before you throw your hard earned cash at them, right?

So here we go.

Who is Mullvad VPN?

I was very pleased with the overall look and feel of the Mullvad.net site. It’s modern, clean, and minimal.

It seems like the company has put a lot of thought into branding. And their “mascot” appears to be a gopher, which is pretty clever and fits in with the whole idea of using a private network.

Mullvad homepage

From the get-go, Mullvad showcases their reputation for being a secure VPN, with the first lines on the homepage reading: “World-class, online privacy.”

Here’s what Mullvad says about themselves across their site:

“Using Mullvad is straightforward and simple – just download and install the client. You won’t need to waste time with setup configurations or a multi-step registration process. We built Mullvad with ease of use in mind.”

The company also claims that “privacy is a universal right” and says that their ultimate goals is to “make internet censorship and mass surveillance completely ineffective.

Why so much emphasis on privacy?

Because they actually do go to a lot of of lengths to help you remain anonymous throughout the whole process.

This privacy theme is continued as users scroll down and the steps for using the service are explained: an account number is all you need to access Mullvad.

Mullvad account number

This is pretty revolutionary for a VPN.

Most other services require you to sign up with a valid email address. So even though your actions are often masked… your own VPN company still knows everything about you.

These companies often claim they won’t log your internet activity… but then they log your your activity on their website.

That’s where Mullvad is different.

There’s virtually no way for Mullvad to know who you are, since you don’t even have to give them your name.

And they also claim to not track your browsing on their own website, either.

PC World reviewed Mullvad in June of 2017, boasting about the security of the site as well as the speeds of their servers.

They claim that the company “takes privacy very seriously.”

Mullvad PC World reviews

The downsides of Mullvad, according to PC World, are that the “interface leaves a lot to be desired” and that a lack of passwords leave your account unprotected.

Overall, PC World says it’s an excellent service and refers to it as the “VPN that doesn’t want to get to know you.”

Now that you know exactly who Mullvad VPN is as a service (and brand), let’s turn our attention to their features.

Compatibility and features of Mullvad VPN

Mullvad’s privacy features where they shine.

Mullvad features

According to this section, you don’t even need to disclose an email address to use Mullvad.

Or a credit card! So you can use their free account number to register, pay in Bitcoin, and remain completely anonymous from your account with them.

Mullvad has 113 servers in 25 countries.

Some companies I’ve reviewed, like ExpressVPN, has thousands of servers available. So Mullvad is definitely on the smaller side.

But they do have more than a few others, like FrootVPN, who only has 30 total.

Mullvad doesn’t offer any kind of visual or map showing their server locations, but they do have an area on their site with a complete server list.

Mullvad server list

Mullvad is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

Chrome OS users can access the built-in VPN client, while Android users can use Mullvad with the OpenVPN for Android app.

Mullvad openvpn for Android

You can use Mullvad on 5 devices simultaneously. But it also works with DD-WRT routers, and they support IPv6. So you can connect a router and then add more devices on top of it.

Mullvad offers offers a kill switch. That’s critical in today’s world. Without one, you’d be left completely exposed when your WiFi connection goes out.

That happens all the time on unstable public ones. Your phone’s cell network is designed to kick in if that happens, so you might continue browsing without even realizing your VPN connection has been severed.

Kill switches prevent you this problem from happening.

Mullvad pricing and plans (one plan, 5 euros/mo)

Mullvad offers a 30-day money back guarantee policy if you use credit, debit, or Bitcoin.

Mullvad money-back guarantee

Unfortunately, no refunds are available for cash payments.

You also get to try Mullvad for free for three hours before deciding if it’s right for you.

So far so good, right? Plenty of options to try it out without ever committing a dime.

But how much will the paid service eventually cost you?

After that, it’s only €5 per month.

Mullvad pricing

Pricing for Mullvad gets as simple as that. There’s no other payment option other than a €5 monthly charge.

Many other VPN services will give you a variety of plans to choose from. The monthly one is usually the highest. And then the quarterly or annual plan is the least expensive.

Mullvad doesn’t do that. Instead, they just give you one simple package right out of the gate. So you get access to everything they have to offer.

It’s as simple as getting an account code, downloading Mullvad, and getting connected ASAP.

Download Mullvad client

So how does that compare?

Most month-to-month VPN options I’ve seen will set you back around $10. So already, you’re saving around ~$4 at current exchange rates.

However, if you do take some of these services up on pre-paying for the annual option, they might only be around ~$3-5. In this case, you might overpay for Mullvad.

 

Mullvad Pros


Now that you know a little more about Mullvad, let’s dive into the details.

I’m going to cover what I liked (and didn’t like) about their performance, including speed, customer support, logging policy, the usability of the service, and more.

Ready?

1. Security & Privacy (AES-256)

Mullvad’s data is encrypted with AES-256.

Mullvad data encryption

This kind of encryption has become the gold standard. It’s considered ‘military-grade,’ used by both government agencies and top security professionals around the world.

I also liked that Mullvad goes to such extra lengths to help you remain anonymous.

They’re one of the only VPN services I’ve seen that do not require an email address or credit card. Usually, those two things are more than enough to link your personal information to your VPN account.

But Mullvad side-steps this issue by giving you a random account number and accepting Bitcoin or cash.

Mullvad pricing and payment

Mullvad doesn’t even track your activity on their homepage. So it’s safe to say you don’t have to worry about logging.

Mullvad no logging or homepage tracking

Torrenting and P2P traffic are also allowed with Mullvad.

Mullvad allows P2P and torrent

2. Mullvad is Easy to Use

Overall, Mullvad is very easy to use.

That’s one of the beauties of not having very many features or complicated pricing plans.

Everything is very simple to install and use.

Here’s what the download page looks like:

Mullvad download the client and get three hours free

Once you hit download, installing the service works just like installing any program on your computer.

Then, here’s what you’ll see once your download is complete.

Mullvad enter account number

Just enter the account number you got from the site and hit connect.

You’ll automatically be connected to a server in Sweden, where Mullvad (similarly to FrootVPN) is based.

Once you’re connected, here’s what you’ll see.

Mullvad welcome client

There’s two areas of the platform and that’s it. “Status” and “Settings.”

Mullvad settings

Note that the time left in your account is listed right at the top of the “Status” page. Whatever server you’re connected to will appear under the “Connection” section.

On the “Settings” tab, you’ll find your account number. This is also where you can select which server you want to connect to.

Mullvad client settings and network

Just select the country you want to connect to from the drop down menu.

Mullvad client server list

This is as difficult as it gets. There’s no more features to choose from, which is nice if you don’t want to deal with all of the extra information and navigation.

If you’re looking for more options than this, though, you might be feeling a bit underwhelmed.

Overall, I’d give usability a 7/10.

 

Mullvad VPN Cons


Mullvad’s privacy features are among the best I’ve seen.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t as pleased with their performance.

The service was easy to get started with, but then a few issues started popping up.

Here’s a quick look at what went wrong.

1. Mullvad connection speed it too slow for a paid user

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.

Mullvad tips to improve speed

But overall, I’d expect much better connection speeds without having to do these workarounds.

Overall, Mullvad is the second slowest I’ve reviewed.

 

2. Mullvad customer support is not instant

If you need to get in touch with Mullvad, they list their contact information right on their site.

Mullvad contact info

There are tons of FAQs posted on their site for users to find a quick answer to their query. Otherwise, they use a ticketing system for customer support.

Mullvad FAQ

However, it looks like they’re also pretty active on their Twitter page when it comes to addressing problems and interacting with customers.

Mullvad Twitter

Some VPNs offer live chat options, so I was a little disappointed to fill out a form.

To use Mullvad’s ticketing option, you can click the “Error report” button in the bottom right-hand corner of the platform.

Mullvad Error Report

From there, you can type a message to Mullvad and even send debug information automatically. To them.

Mullvad error report form

Here’s the question I asked Mullvad:

Mullvad support request

Turns out, you just have to send your cash in the mail with your customer ID number to their physical mailing address and they will add more time to your account once the cash is received.

 

3. Mullvad VPN does not seem to work with Netflix

Now for the most exciting moment of any VPN review: Finding out if it works with Netflix.

This one of the top reasons people seek VPN access, so I was pretty eager to see if Mullvad worked with the platform.

I got excited after first signing in.

My Netflix dashboard loaded and international titles like this appeared when I was connected to a server out of Spain:

Mullvad Netflix Spain

The moment of truth came when I clicked on the title to actually watch it.

So I clicked to play and was met with…

Mullvad Netflix Error

It didn’t work. Netflix could tell I was using some kind of VPN and didn’t allow me access to the title.

This happened on every single server I tried.

So unfortunately, no. Mullvad doesn’t work on Netflix.

 

4. Pricing

Ok, maybe I’m being harsh.

I loved the fact that Mullvad only had a $5 monthly option. That means you can try out the service initially without getting locked into a long, pre-paid plan.

However, when you compare the total cost over a year with some other options, this makes it kind of expensive.

For example, VPN Unlimited comes out to only $2.50/month on their lowest (and longest) plan.

That means it’s about 50% the cost. And their connection speeds were also much faster.

 

Do I recommend Mullvad VPN?

Overall, I would not recommend Mullvad.

There was a lot to like.

It’s extremely secure, and your identity will be virtually untrackable since this VPN only needs your account number to work.

Pricing and plans are simple and easy to understand, customer support is average, and the encryption is great.

Plus, torrenting is allowed and Mullvad is incredibly easy to use.

All things considered, Mullvad definitely lives up to its reputation of being a private and secure VPN option. It allows for customers to remain virtually anonymous.

But that anonymity comes at a price.

In the end, the long-term pricing was a little too high. The connection speeds were a little too slow.

It doesn’t have any extra features. And if you want to access Netflix, this is definitely not the VPN for you.

Overall, Mullvad ranks at 42/100 based on our scoring.

So there are definitely much better options, like ExpressVPN and PIA, out there.

Have you ever used Mullvad before? If so, what was your experience like? I’m always interested to hear what other enthusiasts have to say about the VPNs that I review! Let me know below.

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