Mullvad VPN is a beginner VPN that focuses on boosting digital privacy and security and is pretty good at doing its job. It’s a safe VPN with industry-standard protections, advanced security, and privacy-boosting features. However, the VPN’s jurisdiction, Sweden, poses a big question mark on its reputation.
For this reason, people avoid using it despite being a pocket-friendly VPN. Do the Swedish laws force Mullvad VPN to retain and share users’ data? The best available way was to review Mullvad VPN to resolve this query.
Like the top-rated VPN providers that care about users’ privacy and prevent logging their sensitive data, Mullvad VPN is also on that list. Before starting the detailed Mullvad VPN review, let’s have a quick overview of the VPN and its features:
Security and Privacy:
- AES-256 bit encryption
- Follows a no-log policy with security and infrastructure audit reports
- Kill switch
- Split tunneling
- ShadowSOCKS5 proxy
- Bridge Mode
- Ad, malware, and tracker blocker
- Custom DNS server
- Port forwarding
Streaming and Torrenting
List of Compatible Streaming Platforms
- Unreliable on all streaming platforms
List of Torrenting Features
- Split tunneling
- Torrent IP leak protection
- ShadowSOCKS5 proxy
No. of Servers
- 800+ servers in 40 countries
- €5/m on a one-month plan
- €5/m on a yearly plan
- €5 on a decade plan
- Email Support
- Online resources
The table above isn’t enough to answer a long list of queries you might have. Hence, let’s start testing and reviewing Mullvad VPN.
Security and Privacy
The best VPN won’t ever compromise your online security and privacy. Such a VPN provides the utmost protection by using strong encryption ciphers and protocols. It conceals your IP address and prevents storing any data related to your online activities. In addition, it belongs to a privacy-friendly jurisdiction and undergoes a security and logs audit process to prove that they’re honest with its claims. It is, therefore, crucial to never overlook these aspects while choosing a VPN.
What type of Encryption does Mullvad VPN use
Mullvad VPN uses secure AES-256-bit encryption to safeguard your data traffic from privacy invaders. The AES-256 is the highest encryption standard; the threat actors cannot break it and intercept your online communication. Hence, your data remains protected from privacy intruders.
Jurisdiction of Mullvad VPN
Mullvad VPN has jurisdiction in Sweden, and it’s not ideal for privacy-conscious people. The country is an EU country and follows the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations laws.
Moreover, Sweden is among the 14 Eyes alliance countries and, by a signed agreement, is bound to share the users’ browsing data with other allies. But, what’s interesting, in Sweden, according to the Electronic Communication Act (2003:389), VPN providers are not part of the electronic communication networks or services. Hence, any data logging rules are not applicable.
Logging Policy – Does it Keep Logs?
While signing up for an account, the VPN provider doesn’t ask you for personal information, such as your username, password, or email address. The users are assigned a random account number, the only identifier of the person using the Mullvad account.
But since the company has reasoned that they collect the payment information to pay refunds and for accounting purposes, it is something not to worry about.
Mullvad VPN has undergone several external independent security and infrastructure audits that prove it is a trustworthy VPN provider. The famous audit firm Cure53 last audited the VPN in January 2021. The company performed its infrastructure audit and found that the VPN wasn’t collecting or sharing any personally identifiable information or major privacy leaks. The VPN provider has also audited its apps and OpenVPN protocol. If you want to know more about these audits, follow this link.
Which Tunneling protocols does it offer?
Mullvad VPN uses secure tunneling protocols for maintaining data security. The VPN supports two protocols:
Both are reliable, strong, and fast and guarantee maximum web protection. The WireGuard protocol is the latest open-source protocol that offers the best performance in terms of speed. Since the protocol comprises smaller code baselines and consumes less bandwidth, it provides much improved downloading and uploading speed than traditional VPN protocols.
The VPN protocol also ensures a higher level of safety by using strong encryption ciphers like ChaCha20 and Blowfish. Besides this, Mullvad VPN uses the standard Linux kernel implementation when available or the wireguard.go.
The VPN also implements the OpenVPN protocol, yet another open-source protocol, and is free from significant vulnerabilities. It utilizes the SSL/TLS libraries and AES-256 bit encryption for encrypting the data traffic.
Though OpenVPN protocol speed is not as fast as WireGuard protocol, it gets on the top in providing a top-notch level of security. You can either choose the protocol according to your preference. Go to advance and select the OpenVPN or WireGuard protocol; otherwise, the VPN provider will automatically select the protocol.
How good is Mullvad VPN at bypassing censorship?
A crucial reason for using a VPN is to circumvent internet censorship and browse the web freely. Mullvad VPN also allows such freedom to its users. It uses the SOCKS5 proxy that hides your IP address and allows you to access blocked sites and services like Facebook, Twitter, and Skype.
Moreover, the VPN provider offers a Bridge Mode, the obfuscation technology used to get around internet blocks in China, Russia, and Turkey. It works by connecting you to Mullvad Bridge servers and then to the country where you want to bypass the web blocks. However, the bridge mode works perfectly well in countries that use less strict censorship technology, like the UAE.
Any extra privacy and security features by Mullvad VPN
The VPN provider with a range of extra privacy and security-boosting features is more reliable than those without these features. A fully featured packed VPN provider guarantees a much more secure and improved user experience by utilizing these features.
ShadowSOCKS5 is an open-source protocol designed to bypass censorship. The Internet firewalls cannot detect the VPN traffic because it uses HTTPS encryption, which disguises your traffic as regular Internet traffic. Hence, it’s the most preferred choice of users living in censored countries. Also, since it is light in weight, it improves speed, a feature that significantly helps users during torrenting.
However, you can only use this feature when the bridge mode is enabled because it works only on the Bridge servers. When enabled, your internet traffic will first go through the bridge servers and then the exit server of your choice. Also, use this feature in a combination of VPNs to keep your data and activities private.
Bridge mode is Mullvad VPN’s anti-censorship feature that merges two or more networks. This feature is useful when connected to multi-hop servers or the ShadowSOCKS5 proxy. Also, you can use it to improve latency and your digital privacy.
To enable this feature, go to Settings > Advanced > OpenVPN > OpenVPN settings > Bridge Mode > Tap to turn it on. You can select the entry and exit locations from the location list. However, the bridge mode is currently not available for mobile apps. But, if you’re an Android user, you can use the ShadowSOCKS5 app with the OpenVPN app to benefit from the bridge mode.
Mullvad VPN’s multi-hopping feature makes it easier to increase online privacy for Linux and WireGuard users. With this feature, your internet traffic passes via multiple servers, re-encrypting and assigning you a different IP address each time. In other words, it adds an extra layer of protection by routing the internet traffic via two or more servers in two separate jurisdictions, thus providing greater privacy and security.
The multi-hopping feature is available on Linux, Windows, and MacOS apps. To enable this feature, go to Settings > Advanced > WireGuard settings > Enable multi-hop. Like bridge mode, you can select the entry and exit locations.
Custom DNS server
Mullvad VPN also supports custom DNS servers for Android and Windows devices. It is an excellent feature for blocking adverts and trackers from invading and disturbing browsing experiences. Also, you can use this feature to filter out harmful or malicious websites that might risk your digital privacy.
DNS servers are your browser’s first point of contact on the internet. In other words, your DNS server has knowledge regarding every website you visit, every file you download, and every image, including ads or videos, present on the webpage you visit.
On the downside, most DNS servers are owned by ISP or other big companies working alongside ISPs and sharing databases. As ISPs have long since been practicing a gross abuse of user privacy, this DNS leak ultimately leads to a significant cause for concerns regarding online privacy and security.
Therefore, to mitigate these risks, Mullvad VPN offers custom DNS servers, due to which all of your DNS requests get rerouted to their non-logging DNS resolvers instead of ISP or public DNS providers. To enable this setting, you can quickly turn on their feature by Going to Settings > Advanced > Enable the custom DNS server.
Ad, Malware, and Tracker blocker
Online trackers and ads irritate the most while browsing the web. They somehow invade privacy and even collect information about your browsing activities. Some might infect your device with spyware or malware and compromise your device’s security. Mullvad VPN apps offer ad, malware, and trackers blocking features to block them from recording your browsing activities. This feature also saves your mobile bandwidth and helps improve page loading speed.
The ad and tracker blocking feature is available in all Mullvad VPN apps, but you must set it up manually if you’re using it on Android.
Mullvad VPN is among the few providers offering the port forwarding feature. With this feature, you can enable remote computers to access a specific service or computer with a private LAN. It also proves to be handy when setting up a gaming server. Besides this, you can use the Mullvad VPN’s port forwarding feature to improve your downloading speed and get around NAT firewalls.
However, since the port forwarding feature brings risks, like allowing unwanted connections to access your device, it is better to use only when needed.
Overall, Mullvad VPN possesses great features that improve security and privacy.
Streaming and Torrenting
Using the best VPN to download torrents and access blocked streaming content is crucial. Besides encrypting and masking your online identity, VPN providers are equipped with advanced features that prevent the security and privacy issues related to streaming and torrenting and ensure a fantastic user experience.
Compatible streaming platforms
Mullvad VPN is not an ideal choice for streaming. Though it works on YouTube, it’s pretty unreliable on other popular streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, DAZN, and Hulu. Users on Reddit also criticized the Mullvad VPN for not being suitable for watching TV shows and movies on Netflix. However, it does allow you to watch the streaming content on Netflix on selected servers like Japan.
Instead of using Mullvad VPN, you must look for other reliable options for streaming.
Is mullvad VPN good for Torrenting?
Mullvad VPN is another option that you can consider for downloading torrents. With the kill switch and IP leak protection feature, the VPN ensures that your IP address doesn’t get exposed during torrenting. The VPN also doesn’t log any of your data related to P2P file-sharing activities, which guarantees that your activities remain private and hidden.
Besides this, Mullvad VPN offers split tunneling and a ShadowSOCKS5 proxy feature, ensuring a safe and hassle-free downloading experience.
How Fast is mullvad VPN
Mullvad VPN offers fast and reliable connection speeds when connected to OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols. Both protocols are designed for fast speed, resulting in fewer connection lags. However, WireGuard’s speed is much faster than OpenVPN. But, if you’re using Mullvad VPN to bypass censorship, OpenVPN can offer better protection and speed with the TCP port.
You can also improve the speed while switching to different servers. The VPN provider offers a small server network comprising 800+ server networks. The server speed varies on different devices; still, you can boost your connection speeds by switching servers and protocols. However, to compete with the fastest VPN provider, it’s better if Mullvad VPN considers expanding its server network.
Mullvad VPN speeds fluctuate a bit while browsing. There isn’t any significant drop while streaming and torrenting, and they are expected to rise by 10-15% more than provided by your ISP. But some users have complained about poor downloading speed.
Mullvad VPN offers dedicated apps for all desktop and mobile devices. These apps are user-friendly and easy to use but differ in functionality and available features. You can download the apps from the Mullvad VPN’s website or the app store.
Each Mullvad VPN app has an impressive auto-connect and local network-sharing feature. Also, you can report a problem about a bug or vulnerability by simply going to the settings option and finding the report a problem option. However, this feature isn’t available if you’re an iOS user.
The number of servers Mullvad VPN provides
Mullvad VPN offers more than 800 servers in 40 countries. These servers are fully encrypted and are either owned by the VPN or rented. The servers that the VPN owns are much more secure and faster than the rented servers. The rented servers are not shared with anyone else. You can find Mullvad VPN’s servers in all major cities like:
Since Mullvad VPN has a physical server network, that’s the main reason why there are few countries to connect to. Compared to other top-ranked VPN providers, Mullvad VPN’s server network is pretty minimal and thus impacts the performance when trying to establish a connection.
How good is Mullvad VPN customer support
If you experience issues using any Mullvad VPN apps, its customer support team will always assist you. You can contact the customer support team via email or reach out on Twitter and Facebook. The VPN also offers great help with its online resources and help center available on the website. You can find FAQs, troubleshooting, setup guides, and blog posts here. Also, the VPN has a YouTube channel that helps you immensely in the setup process.
Another much-appreciated thing about Mullvad VPN customer support is that you can easily change the language of Mullvad VPN apps. The VPN offers support in 20 languages making it easier for people to use it from anywhere without facing any language barrier.
Mullvad VPN offers a good range of online material to help users; however, its customer support is certainly not the best when compared. It’s mainly because the VPN lacks the 24/7 live chat option. Thus, if you’re looking for quick and instant replies, then it won’t happen while using the Mullvad VPN.
What devices is Mullvad VPN compatible with
Mullvad VPN is compatible with Android, iOS, MacOS, Linux, and Windows devices. All the apps look similar, but the settings options and available features might differ. One disappointing thing about Mullvad VPN is that you can’t install them on streaming devices and gaming consoles. It lacks the Smart DNS feature and won’t offer any support to provide a seamless streaming experience.
Mullvad VPN ranks among the safest VPN providers to use. The VPN service neither keeps logs nor shares your data with the government and surveillance agencies despite belonging to a 14 eyes surveillance alliance. Moreover, it prioritizes your online anonymity by using standard encryption, secure protocols, and a range of advanced security and privacy-boosting software.
The VPN provider further improves your browsing experience by offering native and easy-to-use apps for all major platforms and devices. However, if you want to watch the blocked streaming content on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or any other platform, you must not choose Mullvad VPN and instead use its alternatives like ProtonVPN and VyprVPN or PIA VPN.
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About the Author
Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.More from Rebecca James
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