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Mullvad VPN Review

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1 user reviews
Screenshots of Mullvad on MacOS
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

Ask Simon about Mullvad VPN

Our Verdict

8.18.1/10
How is this calculated?

Our overall rating is reached by combining several subcategories. The subcategories are weighted as follows:

  • Logging & Jurisdiction: 30%
  • Speed & Reliability: 25%
  • Security & Features: 20%
  • Streaming: 10%
  • Torrenting: 5%
  • Ease of Use: 5%
  • Support: 5%

See our full methodology in how we review VPNs.

Mullvad is a fast, privacy- and security-focused VPN. However, it lacks the capabilities and network to compete with the best VPNs. Mullvad is very good for private browsing and torrenting, but it can't unblock any streaming platforms. It also lacks browser extensions, a Firestick app and Smart DNS.

Ranked #18 out of 70 VPNs

Mullvad VPN Category Ratings

  • 3.53.5/10
  • 8.58.5/10
  • 9.39.3/10
  • 9.59.5/10
  • 7.67.6/10
  • 5.85.8/10
  • 7.47.4/10
  • 77.0/10
  • 7.17.1/10
  • 66.0/10

Mullvad VPN Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Fast short-distance speeds
  • Good VPN for torrenting
  • Privacy-friendly logging policy
  • Advanced security features
  • Easy-to-use desktop app
  • Pay with cash

Cons

  • No access to streaming platforms
  • Small server network
  • No Smart DNS or Fire TV Stick app
  • No browser extensions
  • Support is slow and limited

Mullvad’s official website states that “you have a right to privacy” but is this VPN service truly private?

As part of this Mullvad review , we put all the VPN’s applications through our rigorous test process, and we can confirm the service is indeed very private.

The VPN service meets most internet privacy needs. It doesn’t keep any personally-identifiable user logs, it uses high-grade encryption and secure VPN protocols.

Mullvad is well-suited for privacy-focused as well as torrenting users. The VPN delivers exceptional download speeds, and it comes with a built-in kill switch to hide your IP address if the VPN connection drops.

Sadly, the VPN service is unable to beat strict internet filters and geo-blocks. It doesn’t work with any popular content platform, including US Netflix, and it won’t work in China, either.

On the whole, this Mullvad VPN review highlights the service’s strength as a privacy tool, and its shortcomings versus all-round better VPNs.

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Mullvad VPN Key Data

Data CapUnlimited
Speed86Mbps
Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
Data LeaksNo
JurisdictionSweden (14-Eyes Member)
Servers762
IP Addresses762+
Countries38
US NetflixNo
TorrentingUnlimited
Simultaneous Connections5
Works In ChinaNo
SupportEmail & Online Resources Only
Cheapest Price$5.70 per month
Money-Back Guarantee30 Day Money-Back Guarantee
Official WebsiteMullvad.net

Mullvad is a very private VPN

Logging Policy & Jurisdiction

9.39.3/10
How is this calculated?

We dissect the logging and privacy policies of every VPN. A VPN should never log:

  • Your real IP address
  • Connection timestamps
  • DNS requests

A base of operations outside of 14-Eyes or EU jurisdiction is preferable.

Mullvad VPN is based in Sweden, which isn't the best country for privacy. But its logging policy is private enough that we aren't worried; only minimal anonymous metadata is collected. It's not a zero logs approach, but it's safe.

Mullvad VPN employs a minimal-logs policy that only collects anonymous connection metadata relating to server usage.

The VPN doesn’t log any traffic, user bandwidth, or originating IP addresses. However, the service monitors a user’s total number of simultaneous connections. This data is never stored, though.

Additionally, Mullvad collects some anonymous usage stats, namely CPU load per core and total bandwidth used per server.

Anonymous usage stats are used to maintain reliable server performance. This data is stored indefinitely, but it won’t affect your privacy since it’s completely anonymous.

You also don’t need to submit any personal details to create an account, not even your email address. You’re simply assigned a randomly-generated account number, which functions as your login credentials.

Mullvad’s privacy policy is as close to zero-logs as you can get without potentially jeopardizing performance.

Mullvad is based in Sweden

Mullvad VPN is owned by Amagicom AB and run by its CEO, Jan Axel Jonsson.

The company is incorporated in Sweden, part of the ‘Fourteen Eyes,’ an intelligence alliance made up of 14 countries who collect and share mass surveillance data.

This is usually a red flag, but Mullvad doesn’t log your web activity so there is no user data that can be linked back to you.

Mullvad's overall speeds are impressive

Speed & Reliability

9.59.5/10
How is this calculated?

Speed ratings are calculated using upload speeds, download speeds, and ping (latency).

We test average speeds regularly using a dedicated 100Mbps connection in London, UK. Local download speed is considered the most important factor.

Mullvad's speed performance has improved drastically since we first started testing it. Now, Mullvad is very fast across the board, picking up excellent download speeds on local and international connections.

Mullvad registered fast speeds in our extensive tests. It’s not the fastest VPN we’ve reviewed, but it’s a very quick VPN nonetheless.

We tested Mullvad’s short-distance speeds by connecting to one of its UK servers from our physical location in London, UK. Here are the results:

Local Speed Test results before using Mullvad VPN:

  • Download Speed: 100Mbps
  • Upload Speed: 94Mbps
  • Ping: 3ms

Local Speed Test results with Mullvad VPN:

  • Download Speed: 94Mbps
  • Upload Speed: 88Mbps
  • Ping: 14ms

Download speed loss when Mullvad VPN is running: 6%

The speed results above show how fast Mullvad is connecting to nearby servers. A 6% speed drop is very good, and something few VPN services attain.

In fact, the VPN is quickly catching up some of the fastest VPNs we’ve reviewed. Our Hotspot Shield speed tests came in at even higher speeds, though.

Sadly, we did experience a number of connection drops during our speed tests. As such, Mullvad’s connection reliability needs improving.

International speed test results

Over longer distances, Mullvad slows down a fair amount, although many VPNs experience this.

We also tested Mullvad’s speeds connecting to other countries, from closer ones to far away ones.

Here are our Mullvad VPN’s latest international speed test results:

  • USA:
    • Download: 83Mbps (17% slower)
  • Germany:
    • Download: 89Mbps (10% slower)
  • Japan:
    • Download: 62Mbps (38% slower)
  • Australia:
    • Download: 61Mbps (39% slower)

Although speeds drop as high as 39% connecting to Australia, these are actually very good long-distance speed results.

There are still faster VPNs out there, though.

High latency is an issue

The VPN’s latency is a let down, unfortunately. Mullvad’s best average ping time was 14ms – way above our most highly-rated VPNs.

High ping times cause lag, particularly when gaming online. For this reason, we can’t recommend Mullvad for avid gamers. Instead, we recommend these online gaming VPNs.

Unexpected connection drops

We also experienced a few connection drops during our tests, particularly connecting to city-level servers rather than general country ones.

Connections drops are from ideal and symbolize Mullvad’s less than optimal reliability.

At least, Mullvad’s VPN kill switch kicked in each time to ensure our true IP address wasn’t exposed and this seems to happen less and less.

Mullvad’s speeds compared to other VPNs

The graph below illustrate Mullvad’s speeds compared against three top VPNs: ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Private Internet Access.

We use our internal automated speed test tool to calculate the average download speed loss on a capped 100Mbps connection.

The tool runs VPN speed tests automatically four times a day, seven days a week on our New York server.

Provider speed comparison chart

The chart above shows how Mullvad’s average download speed loss isn’t much worse than ExpressVPN. The VPN is also beating Private Internet Access, and matching NordVPN’s speeds.

Limited range of locations: only 762 servers

Server Locations

7.67.6/10
How is this calculated?

The global spread and coverage of the VPN server network is the most important factor here.

We also consider the number of city-level servers, plus how many IP addresses are maintained.

This rating does not directly contribute to the Overall Rating, but instead makes up a portion of the Security & Features rating.

Mullvad has 762 servers across 38 countries. It's nowhere near as extensive as some competitors, but casual users should be satisfied, especially if you're based in Europe where most servers are located.

Globe with a blue flag
38 Countries
Image of a city landscape
65 Cities
Image of a pink marker
762+ IP Addresses

Mullvad only operates 762 VPN servers in 38 countries. This is a narrow range.

To put this into perspective, NordVPN’s servers cover 60 countries.

Most of Mullvad’s VPN server locations are based in Europe and the United States, so the VPN isn’t the optimal choice for users located elsewhere in the world.

Mullvad has good US city coverage

You can also access city-specific VPN servers in six countries, including 12 cities in the US:

  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York
  • Phoenix
  • Raleigh
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Jose
  • Seattle
  • Secaucus

12 specific city server locations is a respectable offering. It allows US-based users to connect to a nearby server, and to bypass US sports blackouts.

Mullvad covers Australia’s East and West coasts

Mullvad also servers Australian users well by running servers in six city locations:

  • Adelaide
  • Brisbane
  • Canberra
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Sydney

Most top-rated Australia VPNs only cover Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Mullvad’s presence in six Australian cities is therefore very impressive.

However, other parts of the world aren’t served anywhere near as well as the US and Australia. South America (Brazil) and Africa (South Africa) only count one server country location each.

Mullvad's server list

Mullvad VPN’s server list.

Mullvad features a wide range of security settings

Security & Features

7.47.4/10
How is this calculated?

Top-rated VPNs offer OpenVPN or WireGuard protocols, AES-256 encryption, and a functional kill switch. We also consider additional security features and the global spread of VPN servers.

Mullvad focuses on security at the expense of entertainment. But that means it's safe and well-suited to those who want to browse the web anonymously. It uses WireGuard protocol and encrypts your data with the best cipher, AES-256. There's a built-in kill switch to prevent exposures and leak protection as well.

Protocols
  1. OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
  2. WireGuard
Encryption
  1. AES-256
Security
  1. DNS Leak Blocking
  2. First-party DNS
  3. IPv6 Leak Blocking
  4. Supports TCP Port 443
  5. VPN Kill Switch
Advanced features
  1. Ad Blocker
  2. Double VPN
  3. SOCKS
  4. Split Tunneling

Mullvad’s VPN apps have many extra security features, ideal for anyone seeking high levels of internet security.

VPN connections are encrypted via the AES 256-bit cipher and you can choose between two VPN protocols: OpenVPN (desktop only) and WireGuard (desktop and mobile).

Mullvad’s multi-hop setting

Similarly to Surfshark, ProtonVPN and NordVPN, Mullvad also offers a server multi-hop function.

Mullvad's Bridge mode

Mullvad’s multi-hop setting is called Bridge mode.

Multi-hop, or Double VPN as it’s sometimes known, routes your connection via two VPN servers before taking you to a website or application.

While it worked well in our tests, speeds suffered considerably. This isn’t uncommon, we experience the same slowdown when we tested ProtonVPN’s Secure Core servers.

Mullvad’s built-in kill switch

The built-in VPN kill switch prevents your true IP address from being exposed during connection drops.

The kill switch runs at all times and automatically kicks in upon a connection failure.

Mullvad's built-in kill switch

Mullvad’s built-in kill switch worked every time.

While testing Mullvad, we did run into one or two connection failures. This isn’t optimal, however the VPN did temporarily block the internet and prevented our true IP address from leaking.

Mullvad didn’t suffer any DNS or IP leaks

Mullvad also operates its own DNS servers, meaning your web traffic isn’t routed through potentially less secure third-party servers.

The apps also feature integrated DNS leak protection to prevent your DNS credentials from becoming visible to a third-party.

In fact, the VPN service successfully masked our IP and DNS credentials in our battery of VPN leak tests.

Mullvad VPN DNS Leak Test From Browserleaks.com

Mullvad VPN leak test from browserleaks.com. We test from the UK.

Split tunneling on Android and Linux

Split tunneling lets you decide which programs should use the VPN connection, and which ones shouldn’t. This can help fix connection issues when the VPN is running.

This feature is only available on the Android and Linux apps, though. For Windows and macOS, there is a manual split tunneling process, but it’s more complicated.

Mullvad's split tunneling setting

Split tunneling setting in Mullvad’s Android app.

Mullvad’s ad blocker

Mullvad’s iOS application is equipped with a working ad and tracking blocker.

Mullvad's ad and tracking blocker

The block ads and tracking settings in Mullvad’s iOS app.

We visited a number of websites on Safari with the setting enabled and the VPN blocked all ad units.

Mullvad’s apps are built in Rust

For more our more technical readers, Mullvad’s apps are developed using Rust, a programming language made for building secure programs. They’re also built using code signing for app and server code.

Fast, P2P-friendly VPN with port forwarding

Torrenting

8.58.5/10
How is this calculated?

We calculate the average download bitrate of every VPN using a bespoke torrenting setup.

Testing also factors in the percentage of servers which permit P2P, plus useful features like port forwarding.

We rate Mullvad highly as a torrenting VPN as all of its servers are P2P-friendly, it picks up a fast average MiB/s, and comes with strong security. There's port forwarding and SOCKS5 proxy, too.

For starters, Mullvad VPN allows torrenting and P2P activity on all its private servers.

We tested it using several safe torrent clients like qbittorent, and the VPN’s download speeds were quick and stable.

While it wasn’t as fast as our best torrenting VPNs, it’s certainly a VPN that torrents at high speed and privately.

Mullvad’s P2P-friendly settings

One of Mullvad’s strengths is its P2P-friendly settings: a built-in kill switch for security; port forwarding and a SOCKS5 proxy for faster file-sharing speeds.

Mullvad doesn't unblock any streaming service

Streaming

3.53.5/10
How is this calculated?

Streaming is rated by the number of different services unlocked, how many regional libraries are viewable, and how consistently the VPN can access them.

Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, DAZN, and Amazon Prime Video are all tested on a weekly basis.

You shouldn't use VPN for streaming. In our latest tests, it failed to unblock a single content platform. In other words, it won't work with Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more.

Mullvad performed terribly in our latest streaming tests.

In the past, the VPN unblocked both US Netflix and BBC iPlayer. However, recently we couldn’t stream neither.

Netflix detected all of Mullvad's VPN connections

Netflix detected all of Mullvad’s VPN connections.

Not only does Mullvad no longer work with Netflix or BBC iPlayer, it doesn’t unblock HBO Max, DAZN, Hulu, Disney+, or any other major platform, either.

Luckily, there are much more effective VPNs for watching US Netflix and VPNs for BBC iPlayer.

Doesn't work consistently in China

Bypassing Censorship

5.85.8/10
How is this calculated?

Our remote-access server in Shanghai, China routinely tests if a VPN can beat restrictions and access a free, open internet. Obfuscation technologies and nearby servers are also a contributing factor.

This rating does not directly contribute to the Overall Rating, but instead makes up a portion of the Security & Features rating.

Mullvad isn't reliable against Chinese censorship or in countries like Russia, Turkey, and UAE. There's a chance it works when using the Shadowsocks proxy, but there are safer, more reliable choices out there.

Due to China’s crackdown on VPN services, Mullvad rarely worked in our China VPN tests.

While Mullvad’s Shadowsocks proxy worked very infrequently, it’s not enough for us to recommend getting Mullvad for use in China.

The VPN is also unlikely to work in other high-censorship countries, such as Turkey, Iran, UAE, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

Our review of Astrill VPN illustrates the unblocking capabilities of a top-rated anti-censorship VPN, which Mullvad simply doesn’t have.

Open source natives apps but no browsers extensions or Fire TV Stick app

Platforms & Devices

How is this rated?

A quality VPN should maintain functional, fully-featured applications and extensions for as many platforms and devices as possible.

This does not directly contribute to the Overall Rating, but instead makes up a portion of the Ease of Use rating.

Mullvad is compatible across the major mobile and desktop devices, including macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android.

It’s also available on Linux as a custom app. We’d like to see a Smart DNS feature and Fire TV Stick app, though, and some browser extensions.

Apps

Mullvad is available to use one these devices:

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. iOS
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  6. Router

Mullvad has built user-friendly and open source VPN apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux.

The software looks very similar on all platforms, although each application comes with slightly different settings.

You can use the VPN on five connections at once, which is the industry standard these days, but less generous than many other services.

Mullvad’s desktop software: Windows, macOS and Linux

Mullvad’s dekstop software isn’t the most eye-pleasing, but it’s easy to use and worked well throughout our testing.

Mullvad's desktop VPN client

Mullvad’s desktop VPN client.

The VPN’s desktop clients include OpenVPN and WireGuard protocol selection, multi-hop (bridge mode), and traffic obfuscation.

The Windows and Linux clients also come with a split tunneling setting.

Mullvad’s mobile software: Android and iOS

As with the Windows and macOS software, Mullvad’s Android and iOS applications are almost identical.

Mullvad's Android application

Mullvad’s VPN application for Android.

What differs between the two platforms are the settings on offer.

The Android application allows split tunneling, which the iOS app doesn’t.

On the flip side, the iOS app includes an ad and tracker blocker, which isn’t available on Android.

Both mobile applications use the WireGuard protocol and automatic WireGuard key rotation. This setting changes your WireGuard keys every four days for extra security.

Mullvad lacks a Firestick app and Smart DNS functionality

Sadly, Mullvad doesn’t have a native Fire TV app. There is an .apk file for the Android app, which you can side load. It’s much easier to a native Firestick VPN, though.

There is also no Smart DNS tool, which complicates using the VPN on Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox, and similar devices. The only solution is to set up the VPN on your home router, but it’s not the easiest process.

Browser Extensions

  1. Firefox

Mullvad VPN’s limited compatibility extends to web browsers, too.

Disappointingly, the company hasn’t built a proper VPN browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

It’s a shame, because Chrome VPN extensions and Firefox VPN add-ons are increasingly popular with VPN users due to their ease of use.

However, Mullvad recently launched a proxy extension for Firefox called Mullvad Privacy Companion. It’s not a VPN add-on, and it’s only in Beta mode.

Mullvad's Firefox proxy extension

Mullvad’s Firefox proxy extension called Privacy Companion.

Privacy Companion is a SOCKS5 proxy browser extension that lets you connect to Mullvad’s proxy servers. It spoofs your geo-location, and it blocks WebRTC leaks.

Well-designed, functional apps

Ease of Use

77.0/10
How is this calculated?

This rating mainly consists of the intuitiveness of setup and everyday use.

Device or platform compatibility and customization options are also a factor.

Mullvad's apps are simple to use and they look good. They're foolproof but not entirely without faults.

How to Install & Set Up Mullvad VPN

Mullvad VPN has a sleek and simple desktop client for Windows, macOS, and Linux users. The main screen is clutter free, displaying only your connection status and selected server.

When connected, the banner at the top turns green and the app reads ‘secure connection’. A red banner indicates that the VPN is not connected.

The app disappears in your toolbar whenever you click elsewhere, which is annoying.

Changing VPN server location is simple and is done by clicking ‘Switch Location’ on the main screen – you can drill down to city level in some locations and even choose a specific server.

The main settings are located in the top right corner, but there is no access to many of the advanced features, such as split tunneling, which require manual configuration.

The app’s advanced settings only allow you to toggle between UDP and TCP and select your preferred port.

Similarly to the desktop clients, Mullvad’s mobile apps are also easy to use.

Limited customer support is frustrating

Customer Support

7.17.1/10
How is this calculated?

This rating is based on our assessment of each VPN’s:

  • Email support
  • Live chat support
  • Online resources

Not every VPN offers all of these, and they often vary in quality and response time.

Mullvad can improve its customer support system. It's not easy to find the information you need on its website and there's no live-chat feature to get quick answers. Instead, you send an email and the reply time can vary. The agents are knowledgeable and helpful, though.

EmailYes
Online ResourcesYes

Sadly, there isn’t any live chat support available, and the speed of email replies can vary from a couple of minutes to 12 hours. This is frustrating if you need quick answers.

At least, Mullvad’s customer support agents are friendly and helpful.

Mullvad’s website contains detailed FAQs and user guides that answer most common queries.

There’s no website search functionality, though, so it’s quicker to search for your question on a search engine to find the answer on Mullvad.net.

$5.70 flat price no matter the subscription length

Price & Value for Money

66.0/10
How is this calculated?

Price & Value for Money receives a rating, but is not factored into our Overall Rating. We believe the reader should decide what is or isn’t a reasonable price.

A good rating here isn’t just based on how cheap the VPN is, but for the value it offers overall.

Mullvad costs the same no matter what: $5.70 per month. A single tier pricing system is rare to find among VPNs, and its simplicity is appealing. You aren't tied to long-term deals but it's still too expensive; on longer-term deals, top VPNs can cut the price to as low as $3.00 per month or less.

Unlike most VPN services, Mullvad VPN doesn’t offer longer-term subscription plans. Or longer-term discounts for that matter.

With Mullvad, you pay one monthly price and ‘top up’ for however long you want to use the VPN.

For $5.70 a month, Mullvad is a relatively cheap VPN service, considering you aren’t tied in for 12 months or longer, and most one-month VPN deals cost over $10.00.

At $5.70 per month, Mullvad represents ok value for your money. The fact it doesn’t unblock streaming services is a problem, given there are cheaper VPNs that can bypass streaming geo-blocks.

  1. Monthly

    US$5.70/mo

    Price converted from 5 EUR. Subject to currency fluctuations.

Payment & refund options

Mullvad accepts payment via a large number of methods:

  1. American Express
  2. Bank Wire / Direct Transfer
  3. Bitcoin
  4. Bitcoin Cash
  5. Cash
  6. Giropay
  7. iDeal
  8. Mastercard
  9. PayPal
  10. Swish
  11. Voucher

Mullvad is also one of the very few VPN services that lets you pay with cash, which is great for anonymity.

Just mail it an envelope containing an amount of money, along with your account number. The company will then top up your account accordingly. You can pay in EUR, USD, GBP, SEK, DKK, NOK, CHF, CAD, AUD, and NZD.

If you pay with Bitcoin, you get a 10% discount.

Mullvad’s money-back guarantee

Mullvad’s offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, as long as you don’t pay using cash.

Mullvad offers no free trial

Sadly, Mullvad doesn’t offer any kind of free trial. The only way to test Mullvad is to take advantage of its refund promise, but you will have to purchase a subscription outright.

Alternatively, you can try one of our recommended VPN free trials, some of which don’t even ask for payment details on signup.

Mullvad VPN review summary

The Bottom Line

In summary, Mullvad VPN is reasonably fast, secure, and is gaining popularity with privacy-focused users.

Private browsing and torrenting is where Mullvad delivers the best results.

However, there are several important areas where Mullvad needs to improve. Mainly, device compatibility and bypassing streaming geo-restrictions.

If these issue don’t bother you, then Mullvad is a solid VPN choice. Otherwise, take a look at the two VPN alternatives below.

Additional research by David Hughes

Alternatives to Mullvad VPN

The new ExpressVPN logo

ExpressVPN

9.79.7/10

ExpressVPN excels where Mullvad struggles. It works well on most devices, bypasses most geo-blocks, and is very fast across long-distances. Read ExpressVPN review

CyberGhost

CyberGhost

9.29.2/10

CyberGhost is a better streaming VPN than Mullvad and is the better value for money. Mullvad is pretty expensive for what it offers. Read CyberGhost review

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio


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