Mullvad VPN review: Our favorite ultra-private VPN gets even better


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Mullvad in brief:

  • P2P allowed: Yes
  • Business location: Sweden
  • Number of servers: 780
  • Number of country locations: 35 (38 for WireGuard)
  • Cost: €5 ($5.86 at this writing) billed monthly
  • VPN protocol: OpenVPN
  • Data encryption: AES-256-GCM
  • Data authentication: TLSv1.3 (TLS_CHACHA20_POLY1305_SHA256)
  • Handshake: 4096-bit RSA

For a long time Mullvad has been a solid VPN service that didn’t change a whole lot other than adding an improved app. It continues to use its improved VPN app that we saw roll out several years ago, but the company is also adding new features and dramatically expanding its network compared to what we saw last time around. 

Note: This review is part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

Despite the changes, Mullvad’s greatest strength is still that it prefers to know as little about you as possible, which is a huge win for anyone trying to stay as anonymous as possible online. The company doesn’t even want to retain your email address—whether a primary address or a “burner” one only for VPNs.

Instead, Mullvad issues each user an account number—current numbers are about 16-characters long. The company’s attitude seems to be that the less it knows about you, the better.

mullvadvpnconnected 2021 IDG

An active connection in Mullvad for Windows.

Mullvad’s app looks modern and clean, and very much like a Windows Store app. It starts with a non-interactive map in the primary section of the window to show which location you’re connected to, or your default location at the country level.

When connected, you’ll see a Switch location and Disconnect button at the bottom of the window. The top of the screen, meanwhile, shows a green banner with the Mullvad VPN logo indicating you’re connected.

Click the Disconnect button and Mullvad shows your true location, the top goes from green to red, and the buttons at the bottom are labeled as the last country you connected to and Secure my connection.

If you jump into the country listings, you can either select a country, select a specific location within the country if more than one is available, and drill down to individual servers. The app doesn’t show any specific metrics about each server such as ping times or load, but if there’s a red circle next to it that means it’s not available for use. Green, meanwhile, means it’s working.

The app is very easy to read and understand. It’s not a free moving window by default. Instead it’s a panel that’s permanently fixed to the bottom-right corner of the screen. There’s enough space that it doesn’t feel constrained sitting there. If you don’t like that, however, Mullvad allows you to undock the app and move it around like a normal window. To do so select the settings cog at the top right of the window and then go to Preferences > Unpin app from taskbar

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