mullvad vpn review

Privacy-centric VPN

Price

$5.50 /mo

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  • Jurisdiction: Sweden
  • Advanced Privacy Features: Kill Switch, Multi-hop with WireGuard
  • Number of Servers and Countries: 737 servers in 36 countries
  • Streaming and P2P: Yes
Pros / Cons
  • Account creation without any personal data
  • Great speeds at most of servers
  • True privacy-centric approach
  • 3rd party audited and open source
  • May take around a minute to establish connection
  • Not so many locations available

Mullvad promises a fast, user-friendly, and trustworthy VPN as a step toward reclaiming the universal right to privacy. Connecting to the internet with Mullvad helps users both increase connection security and keep personal information private.

In this Mullvad VPN review, you’ll learn everything you need to know about this Swedish VPN provider, such as:

  • Is Mullvad VPN as private as it claims?
  • What features does it offer?
  • Does it allow comfortable streaming and torrenting?
  • How does Mullvad VPN compare to other alternatives?

Let’s begin the Mullvad VPN review with a closer look at Mullvad’s history, ownership, and mission.

About Mullvad VPN

about mullvad vpn

Mullvad VPN launched in Sweden in 2009 under its parent company Amagicom AB. Founded by Frederik Stromberg and Daniel Berntsson, Amagicom AB and Mullvad VPN focus on protecting free communication and privacy through their virtual private network.

The name Amagicom, derived from the Sumerian ama-gi, means “freedom”.

Mullvad VPN believes that privacy is a universal right and is fundamental to any well-functioning society. As they see it, allowing people to discuss and challenge topics such as laws, ethics safely, and cultural norms helps a free and open society flourish.

Both Mullvad VPN and Amagicom AB are fully owned by their two co-founders, who are still actively involved in the company. Today, CEO Jan Axel Jonsson runs the company.

Mullvad Privacy Philosophy

Mullvad strongly believes that everyone deserves privacy, and their philosophy is that it’s their job to uphold that right. They also aim to make things like mass surveillance and Internet censorship obsolete.

Mullvad illustrates their privacy philosophy by juxtaposing how “private” many activities online feel. After all, they’re taking place from the comfort of your own home or device! As private as it may feel, online information is incredibly public.

Third parties are continually analyzing, storing, and selling the data that Internet users provide daily—through things like tweets, Google search queries, Amazon interests, and Alexa.

That’s where Mullvad’s privacy philosophy comes into play. The sole purpose of creating Mullvad was to take back some control regarding who can access what information.

For over ten years, Mullvad’s VPN service has kept users’ online information and activities private. The company is constantly searching for new ways to tighten up their security and aim for total privacy online.

Let’s dig a little deeper into Mullvad’s privacy policy in this Mullvad VPN review below.

Mullvad VPN Privacy Policy

To the above point, Mullvad has a pretty tight privacy policy with zero tolerance for any information or activity logging. They promise never to store any of their users’ activity logs. Their absolute minimal data retention policy is what supports their users’ privacy.

There are certain instances in which Mullvad may need to collect personal data. These situations include payments via Stripe, Swish, or PayPal, sending an email, or reporting a VPN issue. When these circumstances arise, Mullvad may need to process certain pieces of data.

The good news is that GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and additional data protection laws may apply to provide an extra layer of security.

Mullvad VPN Sign-Up Privacy

 

mullvad vpn sign up

Mullvad adheres to their privacy policy by not taking any personal information from its users at sign-up time. While some VPNs claim total privacy and then ask for your name and email upon sign-up, Mullvad stands true to their values.

There are no fields to provide a username, an email address, or even a password. Rather, Mullvad uses randomly generated, numbered accounts that serve as the user’s only identifying information. Additionally, users are free to create as many numbered accounts as they wish.

The only information that Mullvad keeps on hand about their users is this account number and the time remaining on the account.

Payment Privacy

 

mullvad vpn payments

Mullvad strengthens its claim to anonymity by accepting cash payments in addition to Bitcoin, bank wire, credit card, and PayPal. While most VPN providers will still require some form of electronic payment—be it card or money transfer—Mullvad allows for cash payment via post.

Anyone can add money and a payment token to an envelope, send it off to Mullvad, and get time added to their account without providing any personal information.

Mullvad also allows for Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash payments. Mullvad doesn’t use any third parties during the bitcoin payment process, uses their own full node in the blockchains, and verifies their own payments. That’s just about as private as you can get.

There are a few payment methods—credit card, PayPal, Swish, or bank wire—that will require some information gathering. These payment methods involve the third parties Stripe, PayPal, and Mullvad’s bank, SEB. Since these companies log every transaction that comes through, Mullvad has no control over the information gathered.

Stored information for these kinds of transactions may include the amount, currency, timestamp, and transaction ID.

What Mullvad VPN Doesn’t Log

While there are a few cases where specific pieces of information may be stored, Mullvad strictly refuses to log any of the following information about its accounts:

  • Traffic
  • DNS requests
  • Connections and disconnections (including timestamps and how long)
  • IP addresses
  • Bandwidth

Users can rest assured that Mullvad will never gather this information.

Emails and Problem Reporting

Users can contact Mullvad support for answers to questions or solutions to problems by sending an email to their support account or using their app.

If privacy is a top concern, Mullvad recommends its users refrain from using plain text emails. A PGP-encrypted email would be helpful in that case.

All emails sent to the support account are archived and removed from the inbox after the case is closed. All emails become permanently erased every six months from the deleted items folder, sent items folder, trash, and deep archives.

Note that Mullvad does rely on a third party to operate its emailing service, so full privacy can’t be guaranteed. MullvadVPN does clarify that they will never actively pass on any private information to additional third parties.

Jurisdiction And Privacy Laws

Mullvad is a Swedish-based VPN network, which means it is subject to this jurisdiction’s privacy laws. In Sweden, VPN providers are not required by law to track and store any user data.

Mullvad has remained steadfast in its mission of upholding the right to universal privacy. They are extremely transparent about handling user data, never storing user traffic logs, and carrying out all processing under applicable laws.

Even still, there are a few laws in Sweden that are relevant to Mullvad. The company retains lawyers to help monitor the Swedish legal landscape from a privacy perspective and ensure they handle everything according to relevant laws. Some of the most relevant privacy laws in Sweden include:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – applies to the processing of personal data by automated means and to processing by non-automated means to form a filing system
  • Act on Signal Surveillance for Defense Intelligence Activities – gives Sweden authority to surveil cross-border communications
  • Electronic Communications Ace – by definition, does not apply to Mullvad as a VPN service provider

Other laws include:

  • Act on Collection of Data in Electronic Communication in the Crime Combating Authorities’ Intelligence Service
  • Swedish Code of Judicial Procedure
  • Covert Surveillance of Data Act

These laws may have relevance, depending on the circumstances.

How Transparent Is Mullvad VPN?

mullvad open source

Transparency is essential to fostering trust as a VPN host. Mullvad seems to take transparency seriously in many ways, including company information, open-sourcing, and external audits.

Mullvad VPN is very open about who owns the company and who is running the service. In addition to information about the founders and CEO, the company website also names the other team members, so users know who they’re dealing with. They’re honest about how the company started and even provide a detailed list of company accomplishments to create a rich history profile.

Mullvad is even transparent about their program’s source code. They believe that keeping this source code open to the public will help the world become a better place more quickly. Anyone who wants to find code for the software Mullvad uses and develops can easily access it through their Open Source policy website page.

Taking it to another level, Mullvad has released third-party audit reports on their source code to assure users that their virtual private network is secure. A report by Cure 53, for example, shows only two identified vulnerabilities in the network and a small handful of low- to medium-level miscellaneous issues.

This third-party audit concluded that Mullvad VPN leaves an overall positive impression from a security standpoint. The accessibility of these reports builds trust among Mullvad users and confirms their expectations for privacy.

Mullvad Privacy Advice

mullvad vpn connection check

Even with the high-level security provided by Mullvad’s VPN, it’s always good practice to take additional safety measures on your own. Mullvad encourages its users to improve their online safety through a few simple solutions:

  • Increase your awareness of threats to privacy by researching and discussing different aspects of your privacy
  • Use the “private window” feature on your browser to keep cookies from tracking your information. Mullvad recommends using Firefox
  • Re-open your privacy windows
  • Protect yourself from DNS leaks. Test to find out if you’re vulnerable
  • Disable WebRTC, an online technology that lets users communicate via audio and video directly within the browser without additional plugins. It risks exposing your IP address
  • Be sure that your URL prefix is https://, as it signals that the site is encrypted. Using this prefix is especially important for commercial service sites, like ecommerce or banking
  • Consider what services you’ve subscribed to and how they may be utilizing your information. Delete unnecessary accounts
  • Be mindful of what attachments you download, links you click, and sites you visit
  • You can always double up on security by configuring your browser to use Mullvad’s SOCKS5 proxy. This setting will deny your browser internet access unless Mullvad is up and running properly.

While there’s no single-step answer to the question of privacy, you can work on these small habits every time you use the internet to tighten your security.

What Devices Does Mullvad VPN Support?

mullvad devices

Mullvad VPN offers user-friendly, native apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Unlike other VPN apps, Mullvad worked carefully to create a unified experience across all of their apps. Regardless of the platform, you’ll notice they’re nearly identical.

While Windows, macOS, and Linux have had custom Mullvad apps for a while, iOS and Android are both fairly new. They launched their iOS app in April 2020, which means that iPhone users no longer need to manually configure their device using the OpenVPN software. Shortly after that, in June 2020, they launched their Android app, making things easier for other smartphone users.

mullvad vpn iphone app

Other platforms, including routers, require manual setup. You can generate the configuration files needed to set up these connections through Mullvad’s two supported protocols, WireGuard and OpenVPN.

Windows users will still need to manually set up with WireGuard, but macOS and Linux users can use their respective apps.

While OpenVPN generally requires a degree of technical knowledge, accessing it over a high-quality VPN service, like Mullvad, makes it easy. Once you’re up and running with Mullvad, you can visit the download page to generate the necessary configuration files without too much trouble.

Mullvad VPN Browser Extensions

Unfortunately, Mullvad does not have any VPN browser extensions available. If browser add-ons are your thing, other VPN providers can give you the extensions you need.

Mullvad does offer a list of recommended plugins that users can utilize to protect themselves online further. All of these plugins work on Firefox, and many work in other browsers as well.

About Mullvad VPN Features

Mullvad’s features are valuable and make a difference when it comes to your private, secure, internet connection.

While Mullvad doesn’t offer the same breadth of features as other high-priced VPN services, their solid foundation of features makes their affordable service stand out:

  • Kill switch that prevents IP address from being exposed even if the connection drops

kill switch

  • Allows five simultaneous connections
  • Servers in 36 countries
  • SOCKS5 proxy connections
  • Port selection
  • Port forwarding
  • Multi-hop
  • Open VPN and WireGuard protocol

protocols

  • P2P torrenting permitted
  • Anti-censorship technologies Obfsproxy and Shadowstock bridges
  • SSH and SSL tunneling
  • Proper IPv6 routing through VPN tunnel

ipv6

Anyone looking for a serious VPN without all the bells and whistles should be happy using Mullvad VPN.

Mullvad Servers Network

mullvad vpn servers

While many VPN services offer VPN servers in hundreds of countries, Mullvad VPN currently only operates servers in 36. Most of the 750 server locations are in Europe, so users in this area will find the best results. Alternatively, those who live outside of Europe might be better suited for another VPN service.

Users in the U.S., Australia, and four other countries will benefit from their access to city-level servers. In Australia alone, there are six city server locations in: Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney.

Other countries are not as lucky. South America and Africa, for example, only have a server in one country each.

USA East server speed test:

mullvad vpn speed test usa east

USA West server speed test:

mullvad vpn speed test usa west

EU server speed test:

mullvad vpn eu server speed test

Mullvad VPN for Streaming and Torrenting

The results of Mullvad VPN streaming and torrenting tests are a mixed bag. In the past, it has been able to unblock Netflix and the BBC iPlayer; however, it has recently failed in unblocking BBC iPlayer on its Manchester and London servers.

Mullvad does not offer any dedicated streaming servers, so using a streaming platform like US Netflix depends on the server used. Some servers like Charlotte’s and San Jose’s work well, while others like Atlanta’s and Seattle’s didn’t work.

If you’d be a primary Mullvad Netflix user, you might want to look into other VPNs that successfully unblock Netflix.

As far as VPNs for torrenting go, Mullvad allows torrenting and peer-to-peer activity on all servers. It’s a reliable and safe option for torrenters thanks to its fast speeds, range of privacy features like a kill switch, and minimal logging policy.

Creating An Account With Mullvad

Creating an account with Mullvad is unusually easy, as it does not require any personal information to get started. There’s no need for an email address, password, or username – all you need to do is prove your humanity by completing a CAPTCHA, and then you’ll be given an account number.

Then, just buy your time via credit card, Bitcoin, cash by post, or PaPal and add more before it runs out.

Their comprehensive downloads page makes it easy to get the custom apps you need and configure other platforms.

Mullvad Pricing

mullvad vpn pricing

Mullvad VPN keeps its pricing structure simple. They offer flat-fee pricing at $5.50 for one month and don’t offer any long-term subscription plans or discounts. They also don’t use any long-term contracts, so you’re never locked in.

Simply pay with a voucher purchased in-store, with Swish, or even with cash. Privacy varies with each payment method, so you can find an option that meets your requirements.

There’s also the option to subscribe to the service via mobile App Stores if you want to keep your use consistently open.

Mullvad vs. IVPN

mullvad vpn vs ivpn

Mullvad VPN and IVPN are two of the most transparent and private VPN service providers out there today. When comparing the two, it’s similar to looking at a BMW and a Mercedes. Both are high-quality with excellent individual features, but when observed side by side, it’s easy to see that each company focused on maximizing different aspects of their service.

Mullvad is a privacy-centric VPN provider built around the idea of the universal right to privacy. It offers solid encryption and provides secure online environments without logging anything about its users.

IVPN, on the other hand, is a simple yet effective service focused on speed and security. It provides good service without all of the unnecessary features, perfect for those still new to VPNs.

Both of these providers are serious about their transparency and focus on security. Both Mullvad and IVPN also have a similar monthly cost, support the same platforms, and allow five simultaneous connections.

Beyond that, users have rated Mullvad higher for speed, reliability, and user-friendliness.

Because of this, Mullvad VPN comes out on top.

Mullvad VPN Alternatives

After learning more about Mullvad VPN services, if you’re still not certain it’s the right VPN for you, there are some other VPN alternatives on the market you may want to consider. Surfshark, ProtonVPN, and VyprVPN are all good options to look into after reading this Mullvad VPN review.

$2.49 /mo
  • RAM-only servers
  • Quick VPN connection initiation
  • Works in restricted and censored locations
$6.63 /mo
  • Swiss based
  • 3rd party audited
  • Secure Core - Double VPN
$2.50 /mo
  • Swiss based
  • Chameleon protocol
  • Completely own infrastructure

Surfshark

surfshark review

Surfshark VPN is an affordable, private, and safe VPN. Ideal for those who spend hours binge-watching on Netflix, Surfshark works well with streaming and torrenting platforms. It’s able to unblock 15 different Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Disney+. It even features SmartDNS for gaming consoles or Apple TV.

If you’re looking for a feature-rich VPN service that won’t break the bank and will provide robust security, Surfshark could be an excellent service to look into.

ProtonVPN

protonvpn review

If privacy is your main priority, you may be satisfied with what ProtonVPN has to offer. Users can trust that their valuable information is safe and secure with a minimal logging policy and fully-audited and open-sourced apps. While ProtonVPN doesn’t offer the fastest speeds, it’s still one of the most reliable options for streaming platforms like Netflix.

If you’re looking for a well-rounded VPN regardless of your experience with VPNs in the past, consider ProtonVPN.

VyprVPN

vyprvpn review

VyprVPN doesn’t get any recognition for being particularly fast or affordable, but users gain the benefit of extremely tight security and privacy. As a no-logs VPN provider, VyprVPN keeps its users’ information safe through things like AES-256 encryption and a privately-owned network of servers. Unlike many other VPN options, VyprVPN is also accessible in countries with strict censorship.

If budget and speed aren’t your top priorities, you may enjoy the elevated security benefits from VyprVPN.

Reddit About Mullvad

mullvad vpn reddit

If you want to get a real insider’s look into what Mullvad VPN users think about the service, there’s no better place to go than the Mullvad Reddit page. Here, you’ll find all sorts of posts covering Mullvad reviews, frequently asked questions, troubleshooting issues, platform configuration, etc.

You’ll quickly see all the right things Mullvad users have to say about the VPN service and learn more about the service’s nuances that may be relevant to you. It will then come as no surprise that Mullvad VPN is one of the best VPNs on Reddit.

Summary

In closing this Mullvad VPN review, it’s important to emphasize that Mullvad VPN is one of the most transparent, trustworthy, and secure VPN service providers today.

They set the tone for a reliable and safe VPN by providing transparent information regarding the company that owns Mullvad and the names of the people who run the service daily. They’re also very clear about their strict no-logging policy designed to keep their users’ information private to the user. Their transparency extends with their open-source codes and published third-party audits.

Mullvad takes several measures to ensure total privacy for its users. First, they don’t require any personal information to set up an account. Then, they make it easy to pay securely through methods like cash, PayPal, card, or BitCoin. They’re extremely clear about the specific circumstances that may require any collection of information and how users can avoid it.

Mullvad features custom apps for the most common devices and makes it easy to configure devices outside of those limits. With such affordable monthly rates and no long-term commitments, it’s easy to see why so many users new to VPNs choose Mullvad.

If privacy, reliability, and transparency are your top concerns as a VPN user, you should consider all that Mullvad offers.

mullvad vpn review

Privacy-centric VPN

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