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Verdict

Mullvad VPN is simple, fast, inexpensive and clear about its intentions, but you won’t be able to watch video when connected. There’s a single monthly price tier and no ongoing contract, so it’s the perfect low-commitment option.

Pros

  • Fast speeds
  • Low, consistent price of €5 a month
  • Great range of cross-platform clients

Cons

  • Not reliable for streaming

Availability

  • UKRRP: £4.29
  • USARRP: $5.43
  • EuropeRRP: €5

Key Features

  • Connect up to 5 devices:Mullvad VPN can be used on five different devices simultaneously, making it useful if you want it your tablet and phone as well as your laptop.
  • Multi-platform support:Mullvad VPN has clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, so it’s not restricted exclusively to PCs.

Introduction

Based in Sweden, Mullvad VPN offers a single subscription option at a single monthly price. This fast, simple VPN service costs €5 (about £4.40) a month, regardless of how long you subscribe for.

But while the Mullvad VPN is fantastic for keeping your data safe as you browse the web, you can’t do so while using streaming services such as Disney Plus and Netflix, even if your endpoint is in the same country as your registered billing address.

Pricing and subscriptions

Mullvad VPN costs £4.39/€5 a month, with no ongoing payment commitment.

That’s the only option, and it works out a very reasonable £52.68 a year. Mullvad is hands-down the cheapest VPN service I’ve tested when it comes to monthly subscriptions and it’s not too pricey for the year, either. There’s no free trial, but you do get a 30-day money-back guarantee.

As well as the usual options of payment cards, PayPal and bank transfers, Mullvad provides payment options to help those who wish to preserve their anonymity, including cryptocurrency and (my personal favourite) the option of stuffing some cash into an envelope and posting it to the company.

Privacy and Protection

  • Uses RAMdisk servers so no data is stored on media
  • Committed to a no-logging policy

Unlike many simple VPN services, Mullvad has top-class security features with RAMdisk servers throughout its infrastructure. This means that server software runs fully in memory, so if machines are seized, there’s no data that can be extracted from their hard disks.

Based in Sweden, Mullvad has made privacy its mission statement. Although Swedish law isn’t as privacy-friendly as that of some other jurisdictions, Mullvad says that it’s committed to its no-logging policy and details exactly which laws could cause potential problems. Its commitment to transparency is admirable.

Like a number of other VPN services, Mullvad licenses its infrastructure to other companies as a white label service, and most notably provides the underlying infrastructure for Mozilla VPN.

Mullvad also spearheads a number of other privacy-oriented projects, including the free and open source Mullvad Browser, which brings the non-Tor privacy features of TorBrowser such as temporary cookie holding, automatic cache clearing, history auto-wiping, and obfuscation of browser fingerprinting data that could give away details about your locations and system specific. This gives you a browser that is, in effect, always in incognito mode.

Because it’s made by Mullvad, it comes with a plugin to report your Mullvad VPN connection status, but it’s better to think of this as a privacy-enhanced browser that can be used to support the privacy features of any VPN (or even without one, if you just want to be sure that your local browsing history is wiped).

Features and usability

  • Supports wide range of platforms
  • Lots of features, including a kill switch, ad blocker and split tunnelling

Mullvad’s desktop clients only use the Wireguard protocol, implemented with security features such as automatic key rotation. The experience of using the app is very consistent across all platforms, and Mulvad is one of only a few services (also including Perfect Privacy and Private Internet Access) that provide an equivalent Linux desktop app.

Mullvad supports a range of advanced features, including split tunnelling so you can exclude specified apps from the VPN, optional access to your local network, an always-on kill switch to take you offline if the VPN drops, Shadowsocks obfuscation and multi-hop routing to take you through two different endpoint locations, with the intention of making your activities even harder to trace.

Like an increasing number of VPN services, Mullvad offers the options to block adverts, trackers and malware.

Performance

  • Reliable speeds
  • Can’t be used while streaming video

All of my testing was carried out on a virtual desktop physically located at a data centre in London with a high-speed internet connection. This testing setup produces results under optimal connection conditions. VPN clients are tested on their default settings.


UKNetherlandsUnited StatesAverage
Mullvad336.00 Mbps96 Mbps57.60 Mbps163.20 Mbps
Reference Group Average HTTP191.20 Mbps166.11 Mbps110.35 Mbps155.88 Mbps
VPN’s HTTP speed test results compared against group average and connection speed without a VPN

Mullvad’s performance in my latest tests ranged from blisteringly quick to merely fast enough for high-quality media streaming, so you’re unlikely to experience any major bottlenecks in performance, even though it can’t match the consistent speeds of rivals SurfShark, ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

However, you’ll have to use split tunnelling to use most streaming video services while connected, which will allow you to watch local streaming services without being falsely identified as someone attempting to bypass their terms and conditions. Services like Netflix, iPlayer and Disney+ don’t want VPN users to access them, and Mullvad has no interest in competing with region-shifting specialist VPNs to make the attempt.

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Should you buy it?

You want a great value VPN for security:

Mullvad VPN is one of the best value VPNs around, costing as little as €5 per month without forcing you into any long-term commitments. Its performance in my speed tests is consistently good, and it also has a no-logging policy to keep your data safe.

You want to use streaming services:

Annoyingly, you’ll need to deactivate the VPN (or use split tunnelling) when using streaming services such as Netflix, as Mullvad has made no attempt to compete with region-shifting specialist VPNs.

Final Thoughts

Mullvad is reliably quick, and it’s really nice to have the option to only subscribe for only as long as you need it without suffering any cost penalty. The company takes security seriously and is easy to use on every platform.

If you’re looking for more specialised alternatives, Perfect Privacy has a proven track record for security, NordVPN and ProtonVPN are faster and PIA works out significantly cheaper if you get a long subscription. However, assuming you’re not interested in overseas TV, Mullvad does pretty much everything else you’ll need a VPN to do, and is the best choice if you don’t want to lay out for a long-term subscription.

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How we test

We run tests from a London-based connection that typically sees speeds between 500Mbps and 700Mbps, which means that we’re able to get a good idea of what each VPN’s maximum speeds currently are.

We test multiple endpoints from each provider in three locations: the UK, the Netherlands and the U.S.

Tested speeds with three endpoints: UK, USA and the Netherlands

Researched security and no-logging claims

Tested all available features

FAQs

Is Mullvad VPN free?

No, Mullvad VPN requires a monthly fee of €5 to use.

Is Mullvad good for streaming?

No, Mullvad is not a good option when using streaming services.

Does Mullvad use Tor?

Mullvad doesn’t provide any endpoints that automatically route over Tor, but it provides instructions for using Tor when connected to Mullvad via its SOCKS5 proxy and has its own Mullvad browser, which has the non-Tor privacy features of Torbrowser but is instead intended to be used to enhance your privacy when connected to a standard VPN, such as Mullvad.

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