Mullvad Review

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Summary Mullvad is a small VPN company from Sweden, where VPN is exempted from the European Union Data Retention Directive. They immediately impressed us with an impassioned attack on internet censorship, government eavesdropping, and the European Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive, standing up for human rights and the basic democratic principles of freedom of information and

freedom of speech.

They then impressed us more by backing up this rhetoric with cast iron encryption, a client that boasts features such as and DNS leak protection and blocking your internet connection in the event of disconnection from the VPN server, as well as acceptance of Bitcoin and even cash by post payments.

It is therefore a great shame that Mullvad stumbled somewhat in the execution,as although the core service worked fine, important aspects (as we will discuss below) basically just failed to work. Nevertheless we like Mullvad, and wish them the best in resolving what we hope are just teething problems.

Prices and Features

Fitting its somewhat bare-bones ascetic, Mullvad offers only one plan at a flat €5 (approx. $6.50) per month. For this you get a simple but secure OpenVPN connection. Mullvad also supplies PPTP for devices that don’t support OpenVPN, and for easy setup on Android and iOS devices. There are servers available in Sweden, Germany, Netherlands and the US.

The Websites and Customer Support

The Mullvad website is again a no frills affair, but it explains what is on offer well enough, and has a FAQ that covers all the most important questions we normally like to ask. In general you are left with a positive impression that Mullvad know what it is doing.

Other than the FAQ and some setup guides, Mullvad doesn’t do much hand-holding, although it does provide an email address to contact them. We do like the fact that the owners are happy to identify themselves by name, and provide a bricks and mortar contact address which is unusual in the often slightly shadowy world of VPN, inspiring confidence in Mullvad and a belief in the owner’s sincerity.

Privacy and security

Privacy is the raison d’etre of any serious VPN company, and Mullvad clearly does take it very seriously. On a technical level the 2048-bit RSA and 128-bit Blowfish OpenVPN encryption will stop any attempts to spy on user’s data, and the inclusion of DNS leak protection and an ‘internet kill switch’ in the client ensures that no data is likely to be accidentally divulged.

With strong statements about standing up to internet censorship, surveillance and data retention, Mullvad keeps no logs of any kind, and encourages the use of Bitcoin payments (together with providing links on how to ensure these payments are truly anonymous). It also encourages the use and anonymous email when registering and will accept cash payment in the mail! All of which leads us to like Mullvad very much.

The Process

Signing up

Mullvad comes with a ‘free trial’ although for how long is kept secret until you install the software. As it turns out, it’s for 3 hours – not long, but enough to try the service out and see how it performs.

client 1

No personal information is asked at all for the trial, and if you choose to carry on and subscribe then you are issued an ID number so that, depending on your chosen payment method, you cannot be identified.


The basic client interface is so simple that you need do nothing at all to get in running other than click install! The client connects automatically to a server of its choice with zero fuss. If you want to change the country of the server you are exiting from, then the settings can be accessed by right-clicking the Task Bar icon.

client 5
The icon turns green to let you know that you are connected

From the Settings window you can also turn on DNS leak protection, manage port forwarding, and ‘block internet traffic on connection failure.’

 client 2

However, we did run into problems when trying to connect to any server outside Germany. This was very disappointing, and is likely due to their server being too busy.

fail results

Unfortunately we could only test our connection speeds to Germany.  We used a 10 megabyte UK broadband connection.

Without VPN
Connected to VPN server in Germany

Other Platforms

Mullvad provides OpenVPN clients for Windows, OSX and Linux, plus setup instructions for Android (using OpenVPN for Android and PPTP) and  iOS (using PPTP). In addition to this, they provide source code files which should allow the client to run on any platform.

Setting up OpenVPN for Android

We decided to give the Android instructions a test run. They are a little sparse and not really intended for beginners.

 ovpn android

We were nevertheless ready to get stuck in, but where thwarted but the fact the link to the config. files didn’t work! Not to let a little thing like that get in our way, we tried downloading the ‘plain OpenVPN’ files but this didn’t work either, so we gave up…


We liked

  • Good OpenVPN encryption
  • Accept Bitcoin and cash payment
  • Great overall dedication to privacy and anonymity
  • Fast connection
  • Easy to use client with some great features that we wish more VPN’s would include
  • Cheap

We weren’t so sure about

  • Could only connect to server in Germany
  • Links to OpenVPN files didn’t work

We hated

  • Hmmmm…

So we should probably put not being able to connect to most of the servers, and the fact that the OpenVPN config files were missing, in the ‘We hated’ category, but cannot bring ourselves to do it! Mullvad is clearly a small enterprise with limited resources, and in light of the clear dedication to users’ privacy it displays, together with an impressively easy to use and fully featured VPN client and low monthly cost, we are willing to give Mullvad the benefit of the doubt (for now). Hopefully these are just teething troubles, and given that the core VPN service worked well, we think it worth the more adventurous VPN user who is willing to give an underdog a try (and maybe provide some feedback to help them resolve their issues) giving the service a go.

Update (18/06/13): We decided to go back to Mullvad to see if they had ironed out the issues we encountered, and we are pleased to say that all issues seem to have been resolved. We now give Mullvad our whole-hearted endorsement!

Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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17 responses to “Mullvad Review

    I’ve been using this service for quite awhile now. It’s been very good in terms of features, function and reliability. I can now use my Android device (Nexus 4 and 5X) permanently connected on VPN using OpenVPN with the mullvad.ovpn file on the SD card.

    Price – fine
    Speed – fine
    Features – fine
    Customer service – fine
    Privacy Policy – VERY GOOD! 5/5

    I’ve been using Mullvad for several months now in order to bypass my ISP torrent block and it worked fine without any problems. I also like the fact that one account can be used on up to three devices.

    So far experience has been fantastic for the price. Had all the features I was looking for and sufficient speed (20/40). Had some issues with client but connecting over OpenVPN was easy with provided configuration files.

    Testing from Amanah Tech (…
    Hosted by Keewaytinook Okimakanak (Toronto, ON) [1.99 km]: 15.78 ms
    Testing download speed………………………………….
    Download: 17.36 Mbit/s
    Testing upload speed…………………………………………..
    Upload: 40.20 Mbit/s

    Seems pretty nice so far.. the 3 hour trial worked well; the only hitch I ran into was that my OS needed a little tweaking to work with OpenVPN (I needed to disable NetworkManager’s dnsmasq), but the VPN service itself was fantastic!
    I prefer to use my system’s VPN manager, but the program they provide to do it worked really well. Everything was easy to use and pretty fast.

    Now we’ll see if my envelope with $6 can make it to Sweden without being looted by unscrupulous postal workers.. :/

    1. Mullvad is good and fast. I used it for half year. It works well.
      I am using several VPN providers such as vpnbook and airvpn.
      Mullvad is better than them.

    Hi PissedOff,

    I will just chip in to say that BestVPN agrees with you. For European countries where we do recommend you use, see You may also be interested in this article:

    Mullvad now has fully operating servers in Sweden and the Netherlands, which are much better options.

    Do not use Germany server (with this or any other VPN) to do P2P…Germany copyright law is even worse than the US and UK, it’s really like a 3rd world country!

    Hi Symbol,

    As we noted in an update at the end of the review, last time we checked on Mullvad everything worked just fine, so the comments about dead links to the config files can now be safely ignored.

    Referring to your final section,’Setting up OpenVPN for Android’, possibly you were not logged in? This is how it went for me:
    First of all you have to log in to your online account, then when you download the Android config files, they contain your User ID in the file name. I then followed the instructions copying them to my Android device. Finally I opened OpenVPN and steered it towards the copied config files.
    When you then click on to connect with OpenVPN, each time it asks you to confirm the Mullvad config files, and you’re away, for me it’s faster than my W7 connection.
    Hope that helps!

    1. Can you flesh out how you did this a bit more? I am not a beginner but not exactly adept either. Can you maybe make a step by step for beginners to get this set up for android?

      1. Hi Iz. We have a detailed look at how to set up VPN on an Android device in this article

    Mullvad is the best out there!
    Easy to use client, fast connection, and no bandwidth limits!
    Excellent privacy, and no logs!
    All this for only 5 euro per month!

    Very usefull here in Poland where freedom of speech no longer exists
    and people are put to jail for making jokes of government.

    Less than 1 Mbit/s? Some Windows computers have packet loss problems with OpenVPN over UDP. One thing that can help is to make the tunnel run over TCP instead. Go to Advanced in Settings and set protocol = tcp in the [Client] section.

    been a customer for three months, and this service getting worst for everyday.
    disconnections every day, support doesn’t answer email.
    maassive packet loss, this service only work good if you are on 56k modem or less

    Mullvad is absolutely fantanstic. The guys are quick to respond to problems and the speed is great. 🙂

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