Mullvad VPN is a Sweden-based virtual private network service that has earned praise as one of the most privacy-focused options available. This Mullvad VPN review will provide an in-depth analysis of its capabilities around security, speeds, streaming, pricing, and more to determine if its niche appeal measures up to competitors for different user needs.
Mullvad VPN sets itself apart by making user privacy and anonymity its foremost priority above other considerations. From offering completely anonymous sign-ups requiring only an account number to its independently audited no-logs policy, the provider goes further than most to remove identifying user information.
It also provides high-speed Wireguard connections and advanced leak protection across apps for all major platforms. One trade-off is limited configuration options and sparse interface design in favor of hardened security. Still, with top-notch 256-bit AES encryption, port forwarding support, and reliability audits from firms like Cure53, Mullvad remains a go-to solution for the privacy conscious.
- Good speeds: Mullvad ensures consistently fast VPN speeds by making use of top-tier server infrastructure and the modern WireGuard protocol. This allows low-latency HD video streaming and rapid file downloads.
- Enhanced anonymity: By only requiring an account number instead of usernames or emails, Mullvad enables anonymous sign-ups and near-complete user anonymity. Features like multi-hop connections, Tor overlay support, and Bitcoin payments further cover tracks.
- Easy Windows usage: Despite the pared back interface, using the Windows Mullvad app offers effortless connection options ideal for first-time VPN users. Server locations are readily changed under the hood icon menu.
- Cash and email-less account setup: Users need only generate an anonymous account number before paying directly via cash or cryptocurrency. No personally identifiable information gets collected, boosting privacy.
- Strict no-logs policy: An independent audit confirmed Mullvad’s zero-logging policy across 14-server test sample with no activity or connection logs saved under any circumstance.
- Blazing fast speeds: Top speeds averaging 60-80Mbps down on WireGuard connections ensure smooth 4K streaming with 75ms latency and near 90% consistent speeds across different locations.
- Not guaranteed to work with Netflix: Due to aggressive blacklisting policies, Mullvad only unblocks Netflix outside the US reliably. Results vary across other regions and streaming platforms too.
- Minimal extra features: Unlike other commercial VPN options, Mullvad minimizes features in favor of privacy. So don’t expect much beyond the basic VPN tunnel. No ad blockers, VPN split tunneling or other add-ons.
- No account password protection: While login details aren’t necessary to use the service after obtaining an account number, this does mean losing that number risks losing associated VPN access.
- Located in Sweden: Being under Swedish jurisdiction subjects Mullvad to joining the 14 Eyes intelligence alliance if pressed by authorities, raising questions around true zero-logging resilience.
- Struggles with non-Netflix video streaming: Due to not utilizing residential IPs optimized for streaming, unblocking capacity on BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others appear lackluster and unreliable.
- No 24/7 live support: Email-based customer assistance means delayed issue resolution with little accountability. For privacy purists this trade-off seems worthwhile but undermines user-friendliness.
Mullvad stands out by taking a privacy-first approach toward even fundamental VPN features, though it does result in limitations around usability and compatibility:
- As one of the earliest providers to adopt WireGuard protocol support across its entire server fleet, Mullvad ensures leading connection speeds, reliability and security leveraging this modern protocol.
- The provider’s connection check page offers at-a-glance verification of VPN status, DNS/WebRTC leak protection efficacy, and warns if your public IP address gets blacklisted – an invaluable transparency & audit tool.
- Official Mullvad VPN apps cater to Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android devices (including Anonabox routers). Linux distros have a CLI app while router-level configurations are manual.
Unlike most other providers, Mullvad sticks to a single pricing tier and plan structure:
- A fixed rate of €5/month (around $5), regardless of subscription length. No yearly pricing or multi-year deals offered.
- Anonymous sign-up means even recurring payments require no personal information, with Bitcoin, cash and altcoins accepted.
- While competitively priced among privacy VPNs, spending more on Mullvad only makes sense for users who truly prioritize uncracked anonymity above all else. For others, cheaper yet moderately secure options might seem more reasonable.
Ultimately for those who want hardcore encrypted connections without any logging or tracking, Mullvad provides exactly that – but nothing more. Users wanting additional perks will have to compromise on privacy or pick another service.
Alternatives to Mullvad
For people who like Mullvad’s security strengths but want improved entertainment unblocking, extra features or lower costs, several alternatives exist too:
- Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous device connections for a very wallet-friendly price. May appeal more to casual users wanting extra usability.
- CyberGhost boasts over 7,400 servers across 90 countries, outnumbering even leading rivals. Its speeds prove capable enough for most uses as well at a great value.
- Created by former CERN scientists, Proton is completely open-source. While strict no-logs and decent speeds, it has fewer servers available overall than Mullvad.
- Based in Switzerland, Perfect Privacy offers comparable privacy with extras like public IP addresses for all servers. However, speeds are slower based on older OpenVPN connections only.
Mullvad VPN rightfully earns its reputation as a top choice for anyone who values their online privacy above all else. From industry-leading speeds thanks to next-gen WireGuard support across all servers to hardcore anonymity options opening cash-paid accounts devoid of any personal information required, it covers the fundamentals remarkably well.
Assorted features like the connection checker status page, Tor integration and SOC 2 audit reports further cement exceptional privacy practices and transparency from Mullvad. This focus does result in limitations around logging user activity, troubleshooting issues quickly and unblocking geo-restricted video content reliably. But privacy purists willing to trade away some usability would find little reason to complain.
For the average consumer prioritizing a balance between privacy, flexible utility and cost savings though, Mullvad’s singular pure-privacy niche does demand some sacrifices. Whether paying a slight premium for top-tier uncracked anonymity is worthwhile or cheaper compromise options make more sense depends entirely on aligning individual user priorities to Mullvad’s unrepentantly privacy-obsessed value proposition.