Are you looking for a private VPN for 24/7 protection? Mullvad claims to be the right choice for you. WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols will hide your online activity from hackers and trackers. To purchase this VPN, you don’t even need to provide an email: everything is done anonymously.
In this Mullvad review, we’ll go over privacy, security, logging policy, speed, customer support, and pricing. We’ll also test its ability to access the geo-restricted content on streaming platforms and P2P compatibility. Thousands of users trusted Mullvad with their protection. What but does this software have to offer that others don’t? Let us find that out together, starting with the basics.
Mullvad was developed by Amagicom AB, a Swedish company, founded in 2009. Yes, the HQ is in Sweden, a member of 14 Eyes. Every country in this alliance is known to spy on Internet users and share their personal data with government agencies around the world. However, since the service doesn’t require you to provide any personal data, it doesn’t matter which jurisdiction the VPN belongs to.
Overall, the users have ~350 servers to choose from. They are located across 31 countries: compared to, say, ExpressVPN and its 160 cities in 94 countries, this isn’t much. On the other hand, those 350 servers are enough to get a relatively stable connection in the US and EU. Mullvad can simultaneously protect up to 5 devices. The list of supported platforms includes Windows, Mac, and Linux. It also works on mobile devices, but you’ll have to set everything up manually.
Installation is fast and easy: just download the tiny installer and follow the instructions. Still, the Win, Mac, and Linux apps are the least friendly ones out there. The dashboard isn’t at all straightforward, and all the available settings are hidden in two menus.
For a regular user, this will be a big turn-off, especially compared to the “trendy” UIs of the leading VPNs. Only users with experience will be able to make sense of it all without confusion and frustration.
What Do You Get with Mullvad VPN?
- Zero-logs policy
- Impressive connections speeds
- Excellent service for torrenting
- Industry-leading encryption
- Kill Switch; DNS leaks protection
- One of the most private VPNs
- No need to provide an email for registration
- They accept Bitcoins
- The HQ is located in Sweden
- Not quite user-friendly interface
- No apps for iOS and Android
- Customer support leaves a lot to be desired
Privacy and Security
The #1 task of any modern-day VPN is to encrypt the traffic generated by the user’s device, thus keeping his/her online activity hidden. That is precisely why it’s important to always check which protocols the Virtual Private Network supports. Mullvad is an excellent choice both for privacy and security: with it, you can rest assured that your data will stay private.
Encryption and Protocols
OpenVPN is the most popular and user-friendly encryption protocol, and we were expecting to find it in Mullvad. This is open-source software and can be accessed by regular users across the globe. It’s continually improving, thanks, in many ways, to the users reporting bugs and flaws. Along with OpenVPN, you can also choose the WireGuard protocol: it is crypto-based, still in development.
WireGuard is also open-source and free; initial tests prove that it is more effective than OpenVPN and IPsec. The experts claim that this is the future of encryption protocols; Mullvad allows the users to test it in real life. With zero connection delays and up to 5x faster connections, it’s already looking very promising. Currently, WireGuard is fully compatible with Linux and partially with Windows and Android.
Hopefully, Mac OS and iOS will start supporting it soon. By the way, the SOCKS5 protocol is also available with Mullvad. Add AES 256-bit encryption (also known as the “Military Encryption”), and you’ll get one of the most secure VPNs on the market.
Kill Switch is a highly useful feature that every single VPN should have. As the name suggests, it shuts down your Internet connection the moment the VPN goes off. Without the VPN’s encryption, third parties (including hackers and government agents) will be able to monitor your internet activity. By cutting off the network, Kill Switch prevents that from happening.
Mullvad Logging Policy
In this technological age, you can’t make two steps without someone logging your behavior. This is especially true for the Internet: the ISP, the governments, the hackers, and various companies trying to sell their product – they all want access to your personal data. That is why almost every single Virtual Private Network claims to follow the zero-logs (also known as the no-logs) policy.
Sadly, most VPN services do log users data and share it with the authorities. We already talked about the 14 Eyes alliance: Sweden is a part of it, and since Amagicom AB’s HQ is in that country, they have to provide your data to the government. However, that doesn’t really matter, as the company won’t have anything to share with them in the first place.
Here is a list of things that Mullvad does not log:
- DNS requests
- IP address
- Time stamps (connection start, end, and duration)
On top of that, users don’t need to create an account and sign up with an email and password to start using the VPN. All they have to do is generate a random account, and that’s it! In many ways, this is the most private VPN we’ve ever tested. Since you don’t share your email-password, and no important data is being logged, there will be nothing for the authorities to use against you.
We picked a number of servers located in the EU and the US and tested them multiple times to figure out the average level of performance. By the end of the tests for our Mullvad VPN review, we were pleased by how stable the connection was. While it’s not on par with the best VPNs in this regard (ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, IPVanish, and others), it’s still quite decent.
For these tests, we used a 100Mbps download-upload connection. This is important: a speed reduction of +/- 20-30% (when connecting to a domestic server) is considered to be the average for modern-day VPNs.
The following list includes the results of our tests. While your experience will most likely be slightly different, these results are still a good representation of what Mullvad is capable of:
As you can see, on the EU servers, we only had a 15% drop in download speed, which is very impressive. On the US servers, the drop in connection speed was 40% but that’s also an excellent result. Summing up, we need to say that while these test results are well above average, with the low number of servers, the connection won’t always be stable.
Besides, it takes Mullvad a long time to connect to a server: up to 18 seconds. Most of the servers are located in Sweden and the US, which is why we achieved such impressive test results. In Asia and South America, there are only a few server locations. This means if you like to travel or connect to far-away VPN servers, this provider won’t be the best bet for you.
No Leaks Detected
To make sure there are no DNS leaks, our team ran several tests with Mullvad. When a user is trying to visit a website, he/she automatically sends a URL (also known as a request) to the DNS server. Next, the server sends his/her browser the IP that allows it to access this particular website. Without a VPN, the ISP can quickly check your request history and know which sites you visit.
A DNS leak is when this “browsing history” is attacked from the outside. Mullvad features DNS Leaks protection that will ensure the privacy of your online activity. On the company’s official website, you can check whether your connection is free of leaks or not. We also checked this VPN’s setup file through dozens of antiviruses, and they all confirmed: it can be trusted.
Torrenting and Streaming
If you don’t want to have any problems with the authorities, it would be best not to download torrents. Alternatively, you could use a VPN: it will turn you into a digital shadow and hide your P2P traffic. Streaming geo-restricted content is also something that you won’t be able to do without a decent VPN. Netflix won’t give you access to its content unless you’re living in the US.
Thankfully, by connecting to a server located in the States, you’ll outsmart the service and get to enjoy your favorite shows and movies. Still, we want to stress out that many providers are known to block and throttle torrenting. Furthermore, it’s not rare for platforms like Netflix to deliberately prevent VPN servers from gaining access. Let us see whether Mullvad is an excellent choice for these tasks or not.
Is Torrenting Allowed?
In some countries, torrenting is not only illegal, but you can get sued for downloading torrents. And, any member of the 14 Eyes alliance, Sweden included, is firmly against the use of P2P traffic. It was the Swedish government that put the founders of the most popular torrent website – The Pirate Bay – behind bars. Regardless, Mullvad fully supports torrenting: not openly, of course.
On the official website, there’s a detailed and easy-to-understand guide on how to use BitTorrent securely. If you follow the instructions in that article, you can rest assured that no government agency will ever come knocking at your door.
What About Netflix?
A couple of years ago, if you had any type of a VPN, watching Netflix was like a walk in the park. Not anymore: as we just said, Netflix (and other streaming platforms) are continually blocking VPN servers. The most extensive library of Netflix content is in the US; that’s why we tested a series of servers in America. The results weren’t very promising, because of the six servers, only two gained access to this service.
While this can’t compare to the best VPNs (CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, and StrongVPN, to name a few), it’s still better than nothing. Besides, with Mullvad, you can also watch BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. The situation can change at any moment, and Netflix might block more servers in the future.
Other Streaming Options
FireStick, Kodi (on Firestick or another device), and Popcorn Time are all compatible with Mullvad. These popular streaming platforms are vulnerable to attacks, but with a VPN you can enjoy a trouble-free experience. Mullvad is a good fit as it won’t slow don’t the connection dramatically.
How Much Does Mullvad Cost?
While most VPNs offer monthly and more affordable long-term subscriptions, this is not the case with Mullvad. The only available package is the monthly 5-Euro ($5.58) plan, and it is not much for the performance this VPN demonstrates. Definitely, you’ll find some cheaper options, but other services with comparable features will cost you $9-11 per month.
All you need to do is generate a Mullvad account number, choose one of the available payment options, and that’s it! You can pay with Bitcoins, Bitcoin Cash, PayPal, Swish, bank wires, credit cards, and real cash.
Cryptocurrency is the most private payment method, but, if you’re planning on getting a refund, Bitcoins aren’t the best pick. Refunds aren’t available with cash either. The refund policy is a bit complicated; still, as far as you can provide a signature for the payment address, you will get those 5 Euros back.
Customer service is one of the worst aspects of this VPN. On the official website, you won’t find a Live Chat, even though this is the fastest and the most effective form of support. There isn’t even a ticket system available: to contact the company, you’ll need to use the following email: [email protected].
There is a FAQ section, just like with any other service. However, it’s not quite easy to use: navigation is difficult, and to find a useful article you’ll have to spend some time making sense of the search system.
On the bright side, it doesn’t take the support agents more than 2 hours to come back to you with a response. They’re also available on Facebook and Twitter, and, while the answers can be a bit vague at times, in most cases, you’ll get a clear (and helpful) reply.
The lack of a Live Chat, the ticket system, and phone calls are a big drawback. But the agents are very friendly and don’t try to hide anything, which is excellent news.
Do We Recommend Mullvad?
If privacy is the #1 concern for you, then Mullvad should definitely be on your list. This company’s zero-logs policy is one of the most transparent ones in the industry. Add the account generating system that doesn’t require you to provide an email and the ability to pay using Bitcoins, and you’ll get a highly private and secure VPN.
The cons include the customer service that is average at best, lack of iOS and Android support, and a less-than-friendly user interface. Users that only need protection for their desktop devices and don’t mind the somewhat complicated interface will appreciate this service. And to them, we do recommend Mullvad.
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