Mullvad Review: Quick Expert Summary
Mullvad VPN has excellent security and offers great privacy features. It secures user data with 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and secure protocols, it has a strict no-logs policy, and all of its apps are open-source. Plus, Mullvad VPN allows users to pay for subscriptions with cash, and it collects only the bare minimal personal information when you open an account.
Mullvad VPN also offers:
- Perfect forward secrecy.
- Ad blocker.
- Tor over VPN.
- And more…
Mullvad VPN is also really good for torrenting, and it works in restrictive countries like China and Iran, allowing users to access a free and open internet.
I give Mullvad VPN a lot of high marks, but it has some flaws — my main complaint is that Mullvad VPN isn’t good for streaming. In my tests, Mullvad VPN worked with Netflix, but it was unable to access Amazon Prime and many other top streaming services. Also, there’s no WebRTC leak protection, and Mullvad VPN doesn’t offer 24/7 live chat support.
Mullvad VPN allows up to 5 simultaneous connections with 1 subscription, and it’s the only VPN on the market that offers a fixed rate for a 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month payment plan — the price per month remains the same no matter which plan you choose. Plus, all plans are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
|🏅 Overall Rank||#8 out of 78 VPNs|
|📱 Number of Devices||5|
|💸 Starting Price||$5.22 / month|
|🎁 Free Plan||No|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||30 days|
Mullvad VPN Full Review
I spent a few weeks testing and researching Mullvad VPN to see how it compares to the top VPNs on the market.
Mullvad VPN is a very good VPN, and it has a reputation as being one of the most privacy-focused providers out there.
Mullvad VPN comes with industry-standard VPN security features, a strict no-logs policy, open-source apps that have been independently audited, and it’s based in a privacy-friendly country. Plus, Mullvad VPN doesn’t ask for personal information when you purchase a subscription, and it offers anonymous payment options.
Mullvad VPN also has easy-to-use apps, fast speeds, and is great for torrenting.
Mullvad VPN Features
Mullvad VPN has all of the essential VPN security features:
- 256-bit AES encryption. Mullvad VPN uses military-grade encryption to secure your data.
- No-logs policy. Mullvad VPN doesn’t log any user data (IP addresses, website traffic, and downloaded files). Mullvad VPN’s no-logs policy has been independently audited and confirmed multiple times.
- Kill switch. Mullvad VPN shuts down your internet access if the VPN connection drops. You can also configure the kill switch to block all of your internet access if you manually disconnect from the VPN server or quit the app, preventing you from going online without being connected to Mullvad VPN.
While I like how Mullvad VPN’s kill switch is customizable, the built-in kill switch is only available on Windows and macOS. You can manually enable the Android OS kill switch, but there’s no kill switch for iOS. Also, I wish you could choose which apps can use the internet if the VPN disconnects, like PrivateVPN allows.
Mullvad VPN has OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) and WireGuard, which are 2 of the top protocols out there. Both OpenVPN and WireGuard are secure and maintain fast speeds, but in my tests, WireGuard had better speeds.
Mullvad VPN also includes perfect forward secrecy (when you use OpenVPN), which regularly changes the encryption keys that encrypt your online traffic. Perfect forward secrecy prevents a third-party from accessing your data on past or future keys (only the data on your current encryption key is accessible).
Mullvad VPN has good leak protection. It automatically prevents DNS leaks by sending your traffic through its own DNS servers. And Mullvad is one of the few VPNs that supports IPv6 traffic (like Perfect Privacy). Most VPNs don’t support IPv6 — instead, they either automatically block IPv6 traffic or recommend that you manually disable it. Unfortunately, Mullvad VPN doesn’t prevent WebRTC leaks.
I like that Mullvad VPN allows you to browse Tor sites while connected to Mullvad VPN’s servers, which protects you against Tor IP leaks. For example, if your IP address gets leaked while you surf the Tor network, only the VPN’s IP address will get exposed, and not your actual IP address. While Mullvad VPN provides good Tor support, I prefer to use ProtonVPN — it lets you visit Tor sites in regular browsers like Firefox and Chrome.
Besides these standard security features, Mullvad VPN also has extra features like split-tunneling, an ad blocker, obfuscation, and a connection checker.
Mullvad VPN has decent split-tunneling that lets you exclude specific apps from the VPN tunnel. In my tests, I downloaded torrent files while connected to Mullvad VPN’s server, and I watched a movie on Disney+ while connected to my local network. This allowed me to get faster download speeds and easily access Disney+ content — since Mullvad doesn’t work with the streaming service.
Mullvad VPN’s split-tunneling feature is easy to use and it’s available on Android, Windows, and Linux. Mullvad VPN has guides that show you how to manually set up split-tunneling on macOS, but the process is very complicated.
If you’re looking for a VPN that has an excellent split-tunneling feature, I recommend ProtonVPN — it lets you also exclude IP addresses, which allows you to exclude specific websites by using their IP address.
Overall, Mullvad VPN’s split-tunneling feature is great for redirecting specific apps only through the VPN and other apps through your local network. While I’d like to see Mullvad VPN allow you to exclude IP addresses, its split-tunneling tool is easy to use and works as promised.
Mullvad VPN’s ad blocker is really good for blocking ads and trackers. I tested this feature by visiting websites like news outlets and social media platforms that usually have a lot of ads sprinkled all over the page, and Mullvad VPN’s ad blocker removed each one of the ads. And thanks to the removal of the ads, these websites loaded faster and looked much cleaner.
The ad blocker and tracker is available on Android, iOS, Windows, macOs, and Linux. The Android app requires manual configuration, but this is very easy to do and took me only 1-2 minutes to complete.
My only complaint about Mullvad VPN’s ad blocker and tracker is that it doesn’t also come with a malware blocker, which helps you to avoid visiting malicious sites. Many VPNs like ProtonVPN and Private Internet Access include a malware blocker with their ad blocker feature.
But overall, I really like Mullvad VPN’s ad blocker and tracker. It’s a great feature for blocking ads and providing you with a better online experience.
Mullvad VPN offers good obfuscation through its Bridge Mode feature. It uses Shadowsocks (an open-source encrypted proxy) to hide your VPN traffic from your internet service provider (ISP) and other third parties. Bridge Mode bypasses online firewalls in countries that restrict access to the internet like China, Iran, and Indonesia.
Mullvad VPN’s Bridge Mode works as a double VPN, sending your traffic through 2 VPN servers and 1 Shadowsocks proxy. The connection looks like this:
You → VPN Server 1 → Shadowsocks Proxy → VPN Server 2 → Internet
However, Bridge Mode will significantly slow down your speeds — in tests, my speeds were about 87% slower with Bridge Mode enabled than when I was connected to a normal Mullvad VPN server.
To enable obfuscation, you must set Bridge Mode to Automatic or On. Bridge Mode is set to Automatic by default, and it’s automatically triggered if the app fails to connect to a server 3 times. When Bridge Mode is turned On, you have to choose your entry and exit server locations to create a bridge connection. But I find the process of choosing the entry and exit bridge servers a little complicated. While I like the flexibility I have to choose my own entry and exit servers, other VPNs make it much easier to establish a connection via obfuscation — for example, ExpressVPN automatically turns on obfuscation for any server when you select the Automatic protocol under Settings, and PrivateVPN enables obfuscation for any server when you turn on its Stealth Mode feature.
While Bridge Mode works on Windows, macOS, and Linux, I’m disappointed that it’s not available on iOS or through Mullvad’s app for Android — you can manually set it up on Android by using the Shadowsocks and OpenVPN apps, but I don’t recommend doing this because it’s a complicated process. To obfuscate your VPN traffic on Android and iOS, I prefer ExpressVPN, PrivateVPN, and VyprVPN.
Overall, Mullvad VPN offers good obfuscation through its Bridge Mode feature. While I wish Mullvad VPN made the feature more intuitive and added it to Android and iOS, Bridge Mode is great for hiding your VPN traffic and bypassing censorship in countries like China.
Mullvad VPN’s Connection Check feature is really cool — it offers DNS and WebRTC leak tests so you don’t need to visit a third-party site to test your VPN’s leak protection, check to see if you’re using a blacklisted IP address, and test the ports you opened for port forwarding.
My favorite thing about Connection Check is that it displays the IP address you’re using, the hosting provider, and the server name when you torrent. This is really good because it lets you check for torrent client leaks. TorGuard has a similar feature, but it only tells you the torrent IP address.
I also really like that Connection Check lets you check if you’re using a blacklisted IP address, which usually triggers CAPTCHAs and reCAPTCHAs — they’re both tests websites use to distinguish humans from bots.
Overall, Connection Check is a very versatile leak and port testing tool. I especially like that you can check torrent IP addresses to make sure torrent clients aren’t leaking your IP address.
Mullvad VPN Privacy & Security
Mullvad VPN has one of the most transparent no-logs policies out there and offers tons of extra privacy measures for users who want to remain as anonymous as possible.
Mullvad VPN also accepts cash payments by mail (like ProtonVPN), which offers better privacy because it doesn’t leave an online money trail. Also, Mullvad VPN’s no-logs policy has been independently audited and confirmed.
Mullvad VPN is headquartered in Sweden, which is part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances (a group of countries that share intelligence data with each other). But even if the authorities asked for user data, Mullvad VPN would have nothing to hand over because it doesn’t store any user data. And while Sweden has mandatory data retention laws, they only apply to ISPs — and not VPNs.
Overall, Mullvad VPN has an excellent no-logs policy and is one of the best VPNs out there for protecting users’ privacy. And all of Mullvad VPN’s apps are open-source.
Mullvad VPN Speed & Performance
I ran a speed test in each of the 35+ countries where Mullvad VPN has a server. I used WireGuard for my speed tests because my speeds were 20% faster with WireGuard than with OpenVPN. On average, I experienced a 70% speed decrease, but I live in a country (Romania) that has very fast internet speeds, so this decrease didn’t significantly affect any of my online activities. But I asked my colleague in the US to conduct speed tests to get a fairer idea of Mullvad VPN’s speeds — on average he reported a slow down of about 17%, which is really good.
First, I ran a speed test while connected to my ISP’s local network to get a baseline for my speeds:
Unlike most top VPNs, Mullvad VPN doesn’t offer a quick connect feature, which automatically connects you to the fastest server based on your location. So instead, I manually connected to a VPN server in Romania.
While I experienced a 54% slowdown, my browsing remained unchanged from when I was connected to my local network. Websites and 4K videos on YouTube loaded instantly, and I didn’t experience any buffering while watching and skipping through the videos. I also played online video games without any lag.
Next, I connected to a VPN server in the US. My speeds were 71% slower, but I hardly noticed the difference. Websites continued to load right away, and 1080p and 4K videos only took 1-2 seconds to load. I downloaded 20 GB torrents in 15-20 minutes, which is really fast, and my Voice over IP (VoIP) calls were very stable and didn’t freeze.
Finally, I tested a VPN server in Japan, and my speeds slowed down by a whopping 89%. Websites and 4K videos took 4-5 seconds to load, and I experienced minor buffering. My P2P files still downloaded pretty fast, and VoIP calls took 1-2 seconds to load but were uninterrupted.
My country (Romania) has very fast internet speeds, so it’s not fair to compare my results with what people from other countries might see. So I asked my colleague from the US to run some speed tests, too.
First, he ran a speed test while connected to his local network to get a baseline for his speeds.
Next, he manually connected to a Mullvad VPN server in New York City, which was the closest server to his location. He experienced a decrease of 8%, and his speeds for browsing, streaming, and torrenting were barely affected.
When he connected to a server in Switzerland, his download speed was actually faster than it was when he was connected to the New York City server. My colleague had no issues with websites loading, TV shows and movies instantly starting, and P2P files quickly downloading — even his international VoIP calls were crystal clear.
Finally, my colleague connected to a server in Australia, where he had a 19% speed loss, which is still pretty good for a distant location. However, he experienced significant slow downs. Websites took 5-6 seconds to load, videos took 6-7 seconds to begin (but there was no buffering once the videos started), and he suffered some lag while playing video games.
Overall, Mullvad VPN has very fast speeds on nearby servers and decent speeds on distant servers. My colleague and I both enjoyed fast loading times for websites and videos, and our VoIP calls were stable while connected to far-away servers.
Mullvad VPN Servers & IP Addresses
Almost half of Mullvad VPN’s servers (335+) are located in Europe, and the other servers are evenly spread in North America, Oceania, and the Middle East. But Mullvad VPN has poor coverage for Asia, South America, and Africa, preventing many users in those regions from finding a nearby server to get good speeds.
However, I like that Mullvad VPN supports torrenting on all of its servers. Some top VPNs like ProtonVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and CactusVPN only allow torrenting on dedicated servers, which may prevent some users from finding a nearby server.
Mullvad VPN doesn’t offer dedicated IPs, which are IP addresses that are assigned only to you. If you’re looking for a provider that offers dedicated IPs, PrivateVPN has free dedicated IPs, and CyberGhost VPN and Private Internet Access charge a small additional cost for them.
Overall, Mullvad VPN has a good server network that is evenly spread across Europe, North America, and Oceania. It doesn’t have servers in as many countries as many of the top VPNs, but I like that all of the servers allow P2P traffic.
Mullvad VPN Streaming & Torrenting
Mullvad VPN isn’t good for streaming. In my tests, Mullvad VPN worked with Netflix, and my colleague in the UK reported that it sometimes worked with BBC iPlayer. However, Mullvad VPN failed to access Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Hulu. If you’re looking for a VPN that works with all of the popular streaming sites, I recommend ExpressVPN.
Mullvad VPN is really good for torrenting. It allows P2P traffic on all its 750+ servers, and it has port forwarding (to connect you to more peers for faster speeds). And Mullvad VPN works with all torrent clients like qBittorrent, Deluge, and uTorrent.
Before I started to download files, I ran DNS, WebRTC, and even IPv6 leak tests while connected to 10+ servers — fortunately, there were 0 leaks.
Overall, Mullvad VPN is able to access Netflix, but it can’t access Amazon Prime and other streaming services. That said, it’s really good for torrenting — Mullvad VPN supports P2P traffic on all servers and works with the top torrent clients.
Mullvad VPN Bypassing Censorship
Mullvad VPN is good at bypassing VPN blocks in restrictive countries. It offers obfuscation through its Bridge Mode feature. My only complaint is that the obfuscation feature isn’t very intuitive. If you want to use a VPN that works in restrictive countries and has a user-friendly obfuscation tool, I recommend ExpressVPN.
Mullvad VPN Plans & Pricing
Mullvad VPN has a fixed, flat monthly rate. You can choose a recurring monthly plan, or you can make a one-time payment for 1, 2, 3, 6, or 12 months (but the monthly price is the same no matter which plan you choose).
Mullvad VPN’s flat-rate price of $5.22 / month is cheaper than most VPNs if you use it for less than a year. But many VPNs (like CyberGhost VPN, Private Internet Access, and PrivateVPN) offer steep discounts on plans for 2 years and 3 years.
Mullvad VPN accepts multiple payment methods, including credit cards, PayPal, Swish, SEPA, cryptocurrencies, Mullvad VPN vouchers, giropay, EPS, iDEAL, Bancontact, and Przelewy24. Mullvad VPN is one of the only VPNs that accept cash payments in 10 different currencies (ProtonVPN also accepts cash payments).
Mullvad VPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee for all of its plans.
Overall, Mullvad VPN’s flat-rate pricing is convenient because it doesn’t force you into long-term commitments. Mullvad VPN costs a bit more than some VPNs that offer discounts for long-term commitments, but it still has very affordable pricing.
Mullvad VPN Ease of Use: Mobile & Desktop Apps
Mullvad VPN has apps for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux. Mullvad VPN is one of the few VPNs that has a Linux app with a full graphical user interface (GUI), meaning it looks just like the other Mullvad apps — you don’t have to deal with command lines to use the app.
It’s very easy to install Mullvad VPN’s apps. It only took me 1 minute to add it on my Android and iOS smartphones, and 1-2 minutes to install the desktop app on my Windows 10 PC and MacBook Pro.
Mullvad VPN’s Android app is feature-rich and easy to use, but it has some drawbacks.
The Android app has an intuitive interface, and I was able to quickly connect to a server and find all of the features, which include split-tunneling and an ad blocker (remember, you need to manually configure it). Also, it comes with WireGuard, which provides very fast speeds.
But I miss the one-click, quick-connect feature that many other VPNs include on Android. Also, Mullvad VPN’s Android app doesn’t have Bridge Mode, built-in IPv6 leak protection, and a built-in kill switch. That said, you can manually use the Android OS kill switch options: Always-on VPN and Block connections without VPN. It’s a little annoying that Mullvad VPN doesn’t mention how to manually configure the Android OS kill switch in its support guides like other top VPNs — I had to reach out to customer support to find out what I needed to do. If you want to use an Android VPN app that has a built-in kill switch, I recommend ExpressVPN or CyberGhost VPN.
Another complaint I have is that there aren’t explanations for some settings. For example, I contacted customer support to learn what the WireGuard MTU option does (it makes connections more stable on mobile networks). I hope Mullvad vPN adds descriptions for features in the future.
But overall, Mullvad VPN’s Android app is decent. It lacks a quick-connect tool, Bridge Mode, a built-in kill switch, and it doesn’t offer explanations for features and settings. But Mullvad VPN’s Android app provides fast speeds, is user-friendly, and includes some good features like split-tunneling and an ad blocker.
Mullvad VPN’s iOS app doesn’t have a kill switch, obfuscation, and split-tunneling (although most VPNs don’t support this feature on iOS). If you’re looking for an iOS app that includes a kill switch, I recommend Private Internet Access.
Like the Android app, the iOS app only has WireGuard and comes with an ad blocker.
Overall, there are better iOS VPN apps out there, but Mullvad VPN’s iOS app is easy to use, has fast speeds, and includes an ad blocker.
Mullvad VPN’s desktop apps have the same design as the mobile apps and are very easy to use. Mullvad VPN’s Windows and macOS apps also lack a quick connect feature, but it’s pretty simple to find and connect to a server.
I like that the Windows and macOS apps support OpenVPN and WireGuard. And both of Mullvad VPN’s desktop apps have a built-in kill switch that’s always enabled. Unlike the mobile apps, the Windows and macOS apps support IPv6 traffic.
The Windows and macOS apps also come with Bridge Mode and the ad blocker. The Windows app also includes split-tunneling. If you’re looking for a VPN with good split-tunneling for macOS, I recommend ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access.
Overall, Mullvad VPN’s macOS and Windows apps are user-friendly, feature-rich, and very secure.
Mullvad VPN’s Apps: Is Mullvad Easy to Use?
Yes, Mullvad VPN has easy-to-use apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux. All of the apps have a similar interface that makes them simple to navigate.
The desktop apps are better than the mobile apps — the Windows and macOS apps both have an intuitive interface, OpenVPN and WireGuard, Bridge Mode, an ad blocker, and a customizable kill switch. The Windows app is a little better than the macOS because it also has split-tunneling. The mobile apps both come with the ad blocker and WireGuard, but only the Android app includes split-tunneling.
Mullvad VPN Customer Support
Mullvad VPN customer support includes an extensive library of frequently asked questions (FAQs), setup and troubleshooting guides, and email support, but there’s no 24/7 live chat.
Mullvad VPN’s support page is well organized. It separates its FAQs and guides into 10 different topics, like the Mullvad app, Connectivity, Security, Bridges, etc. Each topic is listed on the left side of the support page, and when you click on one, it displays a handful of thorough and useful FAQs and guides.
If I was unable to find an answer with the FAQs or support guides, I contacted Mullvad VPN via email. I sent Mullvad VPN many email messages, and I always got a reply within 2-3 hours (the industry average is around 5-6 hours or more). Sometimes, the support reps even replied in under 30 minutes — and the reps were always friendly, professional, and provided me with helpful answers.
However, I really wish Mullvad VPN had live chat support like most top VPNs. I prefer the live chat platform because I like to get information in real time instead of waiting for an email. I hope Mullvad adds a 24/7 live chat tool in the future.
Overall, Mullvad VPN has good customer support. While it’s missing live chat, Mullvad VPN has tons of helpful FAQs and support guides, and I always received fast and useful replies through email.
Is Mullvad VPN the Best VPN for Privacy?
Mullvad VPN protects your data with top-notch security, provides excellent privacy features, and is both fast and user-friendly.
Mullvad VPN has a reputation for having great security and privacy. Mullvad VPN offers all of the industry-standard security features, as well as strong leak protection, perfect forward secrecy, open-sourced apps (that have been independently audited and confirmed), and Tor over VPN. Mullvad VPN also has extra features like split-tunneling and an ad blocker. When it comes to privacy, Mullvad VPN has a strict no-logs policy, accepts cash payments, and offers near-anonymous account registration.
Mullvad VPN has 750+ servers in 35+ countries, supports torrenting on all of its servers, and bypasses internet firewalls in restrictive countries.
In my tests, Mullvad VPN maintained fast speeds while connected to local and most distant servers, allowing me to browse, stream, make VoIP calls, and torrent large files without any issues. I had an average reduction in speed of 70%, but my colleague in the US only experienced a 17% drop in speeds, which ranks among some of the fastest VPNs out there.
But Mullvad VPN isn’t perfect. While it works with Netflix and is sometimes able to access BBC iPlayer, Mullvad VPN can’t access Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services. Also, split-tunneling isn’t available on macOS, and there is no 24/7 live chat support.
Mullvad VPN offers an affordable flat monthly rate no matter how long of a payment plan you choose, and it backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Mullvad VPN — Frequently Asked Questions
Is Mullvad VPN free?
No, Mullvad VPN doesn’t have a free plan. But each payment plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you test the service risk-free. Also, Mullvad VPN offers multiple payment plans where the price is the same flat rate of $5.22 / month.
While there are free VPNs available, I don’t recommend using them. They usually lack important security features, have buggy apps, set a limit on your data, have slow speeds, and may log what sites you browse and files you download.
Instead, I recommend that you purchase an inexpensive VPN like Mullvad VPN to make sure you get great security, fast speeds, torrenting support, and easy-to-use apps.
Does Mullvad work with Netflix?
Yes, Mullvad VPN is able to access Netflix. However, Mullvad VPN isn’t one of my favorite VPNs for streaming. It works about half the time with BBC iPlayer, but it doesn’t work with other popular streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Hulu.
Is Mullvad good for torrenting?
Yes, Mullvad VPN is a great torrenting VPN. It supports P2P traffic on all of its 750+ servers, allowing you to choose a server close to your location to get the fastest download speeds.
In my tests, I was able to download 20 GB files in 15-20 minutes, which is really fast. Mullvad VPN also worked with the most popular torrenting clients like qBittorrent, uTorrent, Deluge, and Transmission. Plus, Mullvad VPN allows port forwarding, which lets you connect to more peers to get faster download speeds.
Mullvad VPN also has a great feature called Connection Check that lets you test if your torrent client is leaking your IP address, and it protects your data with industry-standard VPN security features like a kill switch, strong encryption, and a strict no-logs policy.
Does Mullvad work in China?