A recent study reveals that American households spend an average of 24 hours per week online. Whether you’re connected all day long or just a few hours a day, it’s essential that your connection is reliable, safe, and private.
Virtual Private Networks, or a VPN, help to keep your information secure and your identity private regardless of where you do your internet browsing. With so many VPNs available, all claiming to offer a secure connection, it can be challenging to determine which one is best for you.
In our Mullvad VPN review, we take a closer look at the VPN’s features and what we like about the service (and what we wish was better). We also discuss everything else you need to know so that you can confidently decide if Mullvad is right for you.
What is Mullvad?
Mullvad VPN was established in 2009, and the company’s primary mission is to offer customers the “universal right to privacy.” The VPN is part of a Swedish-based company, Amagicom (which stands for “free communication”).
In 2010, Mullvad started accepting “non-traditional” payments like cash and Bitcoin, and since 2014, the company has been evolving and improving to ensure a private connection. Today, Mullvad has over 300 regular (OpenVPN) servers, 59 WireGuard servers, and 10 bridge servers in over 30 countries.
Every VPN is loaded with features; some that are user-friendly and others that are a hassle to use. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more commonly sought-after features and then we’ll follow up with some of the pros and cons of using Mullvad VPN.
Ease of Use
You don’t need to be an experienced tech user to use a VPN. Most VPNs are designed with usability in mind. We understand that our idea of “ease of use” might be different than yours, but Mullvad VPN is one of the more user-friendly VPNs available.
To get a Mullvad account, all you need to do is register, complete an easy captcha, and then you’ll receive an account number. You can download the software, and the app will automatically install itself as long as it’s compatible with your device.
Mullvad VPN has apps for macOS, Windows, Debian, and Fedora. You can also use the Mullvad OpenVPN to install it on iOS, Android, Chromebook, Linux, and other desktop operating systems. Each account allows up to five simultaneous connections, which is an ideal option for a household or a user with multiple devices.
While you will automatically be connected to the best server, you can click on the menu and choose a specific server. Some users may be cautious about using a VPN that looks so “bare bones,” but you have access to relevant information like your connection status, how much time is remaining, and the software version.
There are some advanced settings, such as tunnel IPv6, DNS leak protection, and ports, but unless you know how they work (and what they do), you’re better off leaving the settings alone unless you contact customer support.
Reliability, Performance, and Speed
Not only can an unreliable VPN be frustrating to use, but it can put your online identity and other private information at risk. Slow connection and performance speeds are sometimes unavoidable (yet annoying nonetheless). Mullvad works hard to avoid reliability and speed issues.
Overall, it’s a reliable VPN that connects users to the best server available. Many speed tests show the best and fastest connections to servers in Sweden and other parts of Europe. Given Mullvad’s location, the connection speed and performance on US and Australia servers also receive decent ratings.
It’s important to remember that regardless of where you’re located or which server you choose, it’s not uncommon to experience a slight lag or drop in speed with all VPN services. This doesn’t mean that your identity or other information is at risk, and in the case of Mullvad, it makes sure you’re always protected.
Since Mullvad believes that all of its customers deserve privacy, the VPN should be private. Mullvad does a great job of valuing privacy from the start. When you register for an account, you’re not required to use an email address or even your real name.
Mullvad also has a zero-logging policy. While it is based in a country which is part of the 14 Eyes Security Agreement, its no-logging policy means that there’s not sensitive and confidential information to share. According to Mullvad, here’s what’s covered under its no-logging policy:
- Mullvad will not log any traffic connected to an account number
- No DNS requests
- No logging of connections (including disconnects or timestamps)
- No IP address or user bandwidth
- No logging of account activity or payment information
It’s important to note that Mullvad does keep track of the total number of connections, total bandwidth per user, and CPU load per core. Why does it keep track of this information? According to Mullvad, it keeps track of information to “monitor the health of each VPN server” to ensure that it doesn’t become overloaded or vulnerable to attacks or other network issues.
The logging of certain information is only to improve the VPN service and doesn’t put your confidential information or your identity at risk.
Other Security Features
To offer even more security and privacy, Mullvad has an automatic kill-switch that is designed to protect any data just in case your VPN connection fails. If you lose your connection, the kill-switch kicks in.
Mullvad also has DNS leak protection. The app’s feature is automatic (like the killswitch), but if you are using the OpenVPN, you need to turn it on manually. Thanks to Mullvad’s public DNS server, you don’t have to worry about your real IP address being revealed to websites.
Other security features include military-level 256-bit AES encryption and SSL/SSH tunneling support. These features are designed to offer an extra layer of security so that your data remains hidden in countries where internet surveillance is common.
A Few Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve highlighted some of the basic features of Mullvad VPN let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the service
What We Like About Mullvad
- No logging policy
- Easy to use and register for an account
- Multi-platforms and multiple users
- Torrenting allowed
- Decent speeds
- Kill switch
- A large number of servers
- Strong encryption
- Anonymous payment methods
- Works in China
What We Don’t Like
- Doesn’t unblock streaming services like Netflix or Hulu
- Limited customer support
When you sign up for Mullvad, you have the option to sign up to pay for one month ($6.11), three months ($18.34) six months ($36.69), or one year ($73.39).
Mullvad accepts PayPal, major credit cards, Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. You can find more about its pricing here. If you pay with Bitcoin, you can receive a ten percent discount due to the lower fees and less need for admin.
Mullvad has a 30-day money back guarantee, but it cannot honor the guarantee to users who use cash due to anti-money laundering regulations.
While Mullvad is pretty easy to use, there may be moments when you want to use customer support. Mullvad offers support through email and has a fairly substantial FAQ section, but no live chat support.
Our Verdict on Mullvad VPN
As reflected in our pros and cons section, we like Mullvad VPN more than we don’t. For the most part, it’s a user-friendly VPN, and we love that it truly lives up to its mission to provide privacy to all users.
While we wish that it worked better with streaming sites, had faster speeds on U.S. servers, and had a better customer support department, Mullvad is worth considering if you want a VPN that offers complete anonymity.