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Mullvad VPN Review

 100% 
(1 User reviews)
Mullvad VPN screenshot
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

88.0/10
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 privacy-focused, fast, and secure VPN that allows P2P traffic on all of its 764 servers. Sadly, it doesn't beat strict geo-restrictions and it only unblocks US Netflix. It also lacks compatibility with many devices.

Ranked #19 out of 68

Mullvad VPN Category Ratings

  • 3.33.3/10
  • 8.58.5/10
  • 9.39.3/10
  • 9.29.2/10
  • 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

  1. Fast short-distance speeds
  2. Good VPN for torrenting
  3. Privacy-friendly logging policy
  4. Advanced security features
  5. Easy-to-use desktop app
  6. Pay with cash

Cons

  1. No access to BBC iPlayer, Disney+, HBO Max, or Hulu
  2. Small server network
  3. Support is slow and limited
  4. No long-term saving options
  5. Doesn't work in China

Mullvad’s website states that “privacy is a universal right,” but is this VPN service truly private? After putting Mullvad’s VPN applications through our rigorous tests, we can confirm that it is.

The VPN service meets most online 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 users and fans of torrenting. The VPN delivers fast short-distance speeds and it features a built-in kill switch to hide your IP address in the event of a connection drop.

But, the VPN service falls short when it comes to bypassing stricter geo-restrictions. It can only access US Netflix and it’s also not as compatible with devices as top-tier VPN services.

See our ExpressVPN review, the best VPN for streaming

Mullvad VPN Key Data

Data CapUnlimited
Speed86Mbps
Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
Data LeaksNo
JurisdictionSweden (14-Eyes Member)
Servers764
IP Addresses764
Countries38
US NetflixYes
TorrentingUnlimited
Works in ChinaNo
SupportEmail & Online Resources Only
Cheapest Price$5.95/mo
Official WebsiteMullvad.net

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.

It does not 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.

Fast Local Speeds But Slower Over Long-Distances

Speed & Reliability

9.29.2/10
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 is quick, particularly on short-distance connections. But its speeds drop considerably on longer connections, and latency (ping) is often too high. We also experienced some connection drops, showing that Mullvad isn't as reliable as we'd expect.

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: 91Mbps
  • Upload Speed: 93Mbps
  • Ping: 3ms

Local Speed Test results with Mullvad VPN:

  • Download Speed: 86Mbps
  • Upload Speed: 88Mbps
  • Ping: 14ms

Download speed loss when Mullvad VPN is running: 5%

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.

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

If you want even faster nearby VPN speeds, head over to our Hotspot Shield review or our NordVPN review, the two fastest VPNs we’ve tested.

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: 44mbps (52% slower)
    • Upload: 85Mbps (9% slower)
  • Germany:
    • Download: 83Mbps (9% slower)
    • Upload: 90Mbps (3% slower)
  • Singapore:
    • Download: 38Mbps (58% slower)
    • Upload: 76Mbps (18% slower)
  • Australia:
    • Download: 38Mbps (58% slower)
    • Upload: 8Mbps (91% slower)

The results above show how Mullvad slows down considerably connecting to servers further away.

The speed loss connecting to the US and Australia was over 50%, which isn’t great. Read our speed analysis of ExpressVPN, one of the quickest VPNs on long-range connections.

It’s a different story when it comes to Mullvad’s upload speeds, which were impressive. We come across very few VPNs with so little international upload speed loss.

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 other top VPNs.

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

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

VPN Speed Performance Comparison Chart

The chart above shows us that Mullvad’s average download speed loss is far worse than ExpressVPN. But, it competes well against Private Internet Access and NordVPN.

Limited Range of Locations: Only 764 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 764 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
38Countries
Image of a city landscape
63Cities
Image of a pink marker
764IP Addresses

Mullvad only operates VPN servers in 38 countries. This is a narrow range. For comparison, ExpressVPN have servers in 94 countries.

Most server locations are based in Europe, so Mullvad may not be the best VPN for users located elsewhere in the world.

If you’re not in Europe, take a look at our NordVPN review, which covers more countries across the globe.

Mullvad VPN currently operates 764 servers. But with just one IP address per server, the risk of server congestion increases. So far, this hasn’t been the case during our speed tests.

Good US City Coverage

You can also access city-specific VPN servers in six countries, including 13 cities in the US:

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

Many City Servers in Australia

Also, there are six city locations across Australia:

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

Most top-rated VPNs only cover Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Mullvad’s presence in six Australian cities makes the VPN a great choice for Australians.

However, other world regions are not so lucky. South America (Brazil) and Africa (South Africa) only count one server country location each.

US Netflix Access Only

Streaming

3.33.3/10
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.

Mullvad isn't a good VPN for streaming. It unblocks US Netflix, but that's it. That means you can't unblock BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Hulu, and more.

We’ve had mixed streaming results with Mullvad VPN.

In the past, the VPN unblocked both US Netflix and BBC iPlayer. However, recently we couldn’t stream BBC iPlayer on neither its London nor Manchester server.

Only Two Servers Stream US Netflix

The VPN doesn’t have any dedicated streaming servers, so we tested all of Mullvad’s US servers to see which ones work with US Netflix.

Frustratingly, we only managed to watch American Netflix on the San Jose server.

Luckily, there are more reliable VPNs for watching US Netflix and VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer.

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.

Mullvad VPN allows torrenting and P2P activity on all of its servers.

The VPN is a secure and reliable torrenting VPN thanks to its good speeds, strong logging policy and a range of privacy features.

P2P-friendly settings include a built-in kill switch, and port forwarding for torrent seeders. You can also use the service’s SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting, but we recommend using the full VPN at the same time.

No Guarantee It Works 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, we can’t recommend Mullvad. It often won’t work.

Mullvad’s Shadowsocks proxy may sometimes work, but it’s very rare based on our tests.

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

If you need a VPN that works in highly censored nations, read our review of Astrill, our top-rated anti-censorship VPN. It even works consistently in China.

Good Apps But No Extensions Or Fire Stick

Platforms & Devices

How is device compatibility 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 Logo
    Windows
  2. Mac Logo
    Mac
  3. iOS Logo
    iOS
  4. Android Logo
    Android
  5. Linux Logo
    Linux
  6. Router Logo
    Router

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

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

No Firestick App or Smart DNS

Sadly, Mullvad doesn’t have a native Fire TV app or a Smart DNS. This makes it more complicated to use the VPN on Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox, and similar devices.

This isn’t entirely surprising considering that Mullvad is such a poor VPN for streaming.

The only solution is to set up the VPN on your home router, but we don’t recommend beginners do this. Rather, use a native VPN for Fire TV Stick, or a gaming-optimized VPN.

Lacks Browser Extensions

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

Disappointingly, the company hasn’t built any VPN or proxy browser extensions. They are increasingly popular with VPN users, because of their ease of use.

If you like using browser add-ons, see our best VPNs for Chrome or our best VPNs for Firefox for more information.

Wide Range of Security Features

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. SOCKS
  2. Split Tunneling

Mullvad’s VPN apps have many extra security features, ideal for anyone seeking high levels of online 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 Built-In Kill Switch

The built-in VPN kill switch prevents your true IP address from being exposed during connection drops. It runs at all times and automatically kicks in upon a connection failure.

No 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 & 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.

Apps 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.

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

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

Unfortunately, there isn’t any live chat support available and the speed of email replies can vary a lot; 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.

$5.95 Flat Price

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: $5.95 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 $5.95 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.

If you want to pay even less per month (by subscribing to a longer-term plan), you can read our page for the best cheap VPNs.

  1. Monthly

    US$5.95/mo

    Price converted from 5 EUR. Subject to currency fluctuations.

All plans have 30-day money-back guarantee

Payment & Refund Options

Mullvad accepts payment via a large number of methods:

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

Those who pay with Bitcoin are also given a 10% discount.

A Good VPN Focused On Privacy

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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