There are a lot of popular VPN choices that we’ve recommended in the past. But, does popular mean the best? Or, maybe we are missing some of the best services because we haven’t tested them yet?
Well, you do not have to endlessly search through the forums and social media to look out for what users say about a VPN. In this article, we will mention everything you care about a VPN and decide whether Mullvad VPN deserves all the glory.
Note: The VPN performance (speed and ping) will always primarily depend on your Internet connection. If you already have a poor connectivity, a VPN cannot speed that up. So, keep that in mind.
Before we dive deep into the review, let’s investigate what’s unique and why should we prefer using it in the first place.
Mullvad VPN: Why did we care to review it?
The first reason for me – the VPN app is open source! I’ll discuss later in this article why it’s important to give open source projects priority when compared to proprietary solutions.
Well, of course, we should be the ones to try out interesting services which probably might end up the next big thing in the near future. And, Mullvad VPN seems to have this potential.
A VPN is mostly utilized to enhance online privacy. And, we think that you might love the features that Mullvad VPN has to offer – in order to respect privacy.
Open Source VPN App: Why Does It Matter?
Personally, I prefer open source solutions – even though I use Windows OS for gaming (obvious reasons).
The Open Source concept has a long way to go and it is the next big thing to consider. In this case, if my VPN program is open source – I can review or request someone to audit the code in order to be sure that the program is safe and it does what it claims.
I’ve used several VPNs in the past – but an open source approach to the VPN app is definitely amazing!
Strict No Log Policy (You just need an account number, no email!)
A lot of VPN providers claim to log no activity of the user to respect privacy and to promote anonymity. However, when you create an account – you often end up giving your email address. If not just your email ID, then other information – such as a mobile number.
But, here, with Mullvad VPN – you don’t need any of that. You simply visit their website and generate an account number that’s always unique to you. Of course, you will have to keep that number safe – so that you do not lose it. Of course, it could be risky – because you do not have a separate account with password protection. So, in theory, anyone could log in to your account – by just using the account number – by a simple guess.
Well, if you observe the account number when you create it – you will notice that it is not easy to guess that kind of number – nor crack it. However, one could be lucky enough to guess it right – that is definitely a possibility. I’m not sure what kind of precautions they take in order to prevent this kind of abuse of their service.
Apart from that, you just have to share your payment details if you are subscribing to their service – only when you are using PayPal or wire transfer. It does support Bitcoin or Bitcoin cash payment as well.
So, in a nutshell, you have absolutely zero privacy risk when creating an account for the service and getting started.
Depending on what platform you need the VPN for – the setup and the troubleshooting steps will differ. The VPN program is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. I’ve tested this on Windows, and Linux – they’re pretty straightforward to set up.
I did encounter a bug where I wasn’t able to connect – but re-installed it to fix that. So, no hiccups to set up for clients and customers.
Ease of Use
No matter how secure, how fast, how good a VPN is technical, it should be easy to use. In terms of installation, user interface, and customization, Mullvad VPN is good enough.
The user interface is simple yet attractive. You don’t have to take the hassle to secure the VPN connection – just select a server/region as desired and secure it. You can utilize the Advanced options as well – but it’s well-documented and descriptive – so you know why the options exist and whether you should use them or not. The taskbar icon is pretty clear – red lock when you have not secured your connection, and a green lock when you enable the VPN – so that’s a good thing.
Now, that you’ve read about the most important factors when considering a VPN – let us check out the features it offers.
Mullvad VPN: Features
1. Public Wifi Security
When using a public WiFi network, you should definitely enable Mullvad VPN in order to encrypt your connection.
2. Eavesdropping Protection
It’s a usual thing for VPNs – but in case you didn’t know -> Eavesdropping refers to actively monitoring/recording your conversations/communication without your consent by compromising your network. But, with a VPN, you should be good to go.
3. Hide your IP
Of course, the primary goal of using a VPN is to hide your IP address. With Mullvad, your location and original IP stays hidden. We’ll perform some tests to ensure that – so go through the article thoroughly.
4. Anonymous Account
We’ve already mentioned it – but it is worth noting that you remain completely anonymous when you create an account for Mullvad. You don’t need to provide any personal information (including the email address) to register for their service. Instead, it helps you generate a random unique number as your account ID to sign in.
5. Kill Switch
To ensure that you do not reveal your real IP when the VPN accidentally disconnects – it includes a feature to block the Internet traffic – until you successfully reconnect or explicitly disconnect the VPN.
This feature is most commonly referred to as the “Kill Switch”. In other words, a feature to force you to use the Internet connection with a VPN and not without it. It comes in handy in case of accidental disconnection.
6. Prevent ISP throttling
ISPs often throttle your connection to some services – even when you’re paying for a top-tier plan. With Mullvad VPN, you can prevent this by making it tough for the ISP to identify your browsing activity. So, bye bye throttling!
7. Worldwide Servers
Although it does not offer an Indian server – but for the rest of the world – it features several numbers of servers for you to connect to.
8. Controlling VPN Servers
Mullvad VPN claims that they own their servers or rent them – but they control and administer their servers so that no 3rd party or a shared client can gain access to them.
9. OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols
OpenVPN is the best VPN connection protocol to encrypt Internet connection without comprising much on speed and response times.
In addition to this, you can utilize WireGuard protocol as well – which is also an open source protocol to create point to point connections for virtual private networks.
10. Port Forwarding available
If you need to open any ports for incoming traffic to your device, you’re free to do so.
11. Netflix and Torrenting Support
If you need to watch Netflix and download Torrent files, this VPN supports it.
Even though it’s an open source program – you can perform a basic test to scan the file to know whether it’s a safe VPN client or not.
Not everyone knows how to audit the open source code, right?
So, we utilized VirusTotal – which scans the file across 67 types of AV programs (and adware/malware detectors). And, it’s all good to go!
You can find the details of our test here.
The data transfer speed when using a VPN matter to most of the users. If you’re looking to download things over VPN or get a private browsing experience – you need to check out our speed test samples.
Note: You might encounter greater/lower speeds depending on your location and the distance to the VPN server you choose.
To start with, we utilized Speedtest.net in order to test the speed of the VPN – for a random VPN server – no matter whether it is the nearest VPN server or not.
Of course, reviewing for the best possible scenario isn’t fair at all. So, we’ll put up our random connection experience and let you know what it’s like.
With/Without VPN (Sweden Server)
The VPN provider is a Sweden-based company, so we established a connection with the Sweden server and tested the speed/ping.
So, this is our first test result, with Sweden server
And, then we disconnected the VPN and tested our connection without the VPN. Here’s what we found:
Of course, the differences explain a lot. Let’s discuss it in brief:
When we connect to the VPN, the download speed drops by a decent margin (considering that we chose a server that’s not near to us). So, if you want to download something – you should stick with the nearest VPN location available – and not pick a random location.
Ping shouldn’t matter much – because our browsing experience was unaffected even with higher ping. We tried watching a couple of videos on YouTube as well – it was a smooth experience. So, depending on your Internet connection and location – the VPN experience shall differ.
With/Without VPN (Singapore Server)
For our second round of test, we decided to choose the nearest server location (i.e Singapore – in our case). The result was resulted in pretty amazing and expected:
So, both the ping and download speeds were good enough. Even the upload speed was a bit affected – but not by a great margin.
You should always keep in mind that your ISP, location, and server selection will ultimately result in how you experience the Internet with the VPN enabled.
For the best speed and ping, you should always consider the nearest VPN server available to you.
If you need a particular location for privacy and security – you should note that you will have to compromise the speed in order to do so.
VPN Tests: What do we check?
A lot of VPN Providers offer open source tools to check whether a VPN that you use is really secure or not. ExpressVPN offers the best of the lot. You can go ahead and check GitHub for advance tests – if you are looking to use the VPN for a big enterprise or something super secret.
However, in our case, we just need to check the basics. But, what are they?
- Does your VPN leak your ISP’s IP address?
- Does your VPN leak your ISP’s DNS?
- WebRTC test – potential IP leak while using the API
If we get to know about these things, we will be sure about the security of Mullvad VPN services for a customer.
But, before we take a look at the results, let’s first get to know about them:
When you establish a connection through a VPN, you should appear using web services from a different IP address assigned by the VPN server. Well, that’s what should happen ideally in every case. However, some VPNs with poor infrastructure, end up leaking your original IP address assigned by your ISP.
In addition, no matter whether you use IPv4 or IPv6, you should be protected. There are a lot of online tools to check for the same. We’ve tested a few of them in the later part of this article to give you an idea.
Preventing an IP leak should be the top priority of any VPN service provider. Everything comes back to the IP address. So, if your IP address is safe – your information is safe unless you explicitly hand over the information to a phishing site.
In order to understand DNS leaks, you need to know what a DNS is. Every website/web server has an IP address assigned to it. Whether it’s an IPv4 address or an IPv6 address – that depends on the server administrator. IPv6 is the next big thing. But, you’ll find most of them using IPv4 addresses.
You don’t have to worry about the type of IP address being used – just note that every website has one pointing to its server. Even we do.
But, there are billions of web pages on the Internet – it is impossible to remember the IP addresses of the website. Instead, we prefer to use the domain name, right?
For example, what would you prefer?
–TheTechHacker.com or 16X.XXX.XXX.XXX IP address?
The choice is obvious.
So, the DNS (Domain Name System) acts as a register/record system to store the IP address of the web pages and translate them for you and the browser when you type the name of the site or service.
But, how does this pose a threat to your privacy?
Well, whenever you visit a site, a DNS log is being generated and recorded by your ISP. With this information, your ISP can throttle speeds if they want to. Also, your original IP will be revealed as well.
But, when you use a VPN, it uses a different DNS server – which your ISP shouldn’t be aware of.
Hence, the test for DNS leaks.
You can disable WebRTC if you are using Chrome, Firefox or Opera. If you disable it, you won’t need to test it.
However, if you need it active, then you have to check whether the VPN protects you from the WebRTC vulnerability or not.
It is a feature that powers real-time communications within the browser – similar to what’s being used for video/chat applications. It may not be a big deal for everyone – but it’s definitely something to be aware of.
Mullvad VPN Test: Insights
Now that you know what we are going to test. Let’s take a look at our results:
IP Leak/ DNS Leak / WebRTC
IPleak gives you the complete details of what information is possibly being leaked when you enable/disable your VPN.
It gives you the results of what others see by just looking at your IP address. If a VPN is secure enough, you will find a different IP address with no DNS leaks associated with it.
And, if you are not using IPv6, it should be blocked by the VPN provider.
Here’s what we found:
As you can see in the image above, my original IP is safe. The one you see above is an IP assigned to the Swedish server where I’m connected to.
I’ve opted to use IPv6 – you can do this with Mullvad (but not every VPN provider supports this) – so that’s secure as well.
But, it’s nothing to be worried about. You can, however, minimize the data by ensuring that you use trusted browser extensions.
IPv6 is the next big thing and it’s being widely used nowadays – on mobile at least. So, why not test something specific about Mullvad VPN with IPv6? Does it work well?
Yes, we can clearly see that the test result turned out to be perfectly fine for IPv6 with Mullvad VPN.
Using Perfect Privacy Check
We didn’t find anything suspicious here. So, it’s good.
Mullvad VPN Test: Conclusion
The basic tests that were performed hints that the Mullvad VPN is definitely a good VPN provider.
As we mentioned above, you can opt for advanced testing – if you need a VPN for your enterprise or something super secret.
For most the users, these basic VPN tests should be more than enough.
Unlike some other VPN providers – Mullvad offers a wide range of options to pay for the subscription.
You can pay using the following mediums:
- Bitcoin Cash
- Credit Card
- Bank Wire
- Activation Code (coupon code – if applicable)
- Pay using Swish (a Swedish payment mobile app)
It’s really nice that a VPN provider is making an effort to offer every type of payment options in order to respect customer’ privacy while making it easy to subscribe.
To be honest, I’m definitely impressed with the zero log thing and also the fact that Mullvad VPN does not need any personal information to create an account. That’s the best thing a privacy buff like me could have asked for.
In addition, considering my connection to the nearest location – I was happy with the browsing and streaming experience.
I would love to see the addition of an Indian server – for the best possible experience for me. But, for the rest of the world, the server locations available are sufficient. Also, IPv6 support is a plus for me.
In a nutshell, I would definitely recommend this VPN for every privacy buff.
Mullvad VPN Review
- Value for Money
A great VPN that provides extreme security without affecting the speed of your internet connection. Suitable for unblocking blocked websites in your region without slowing down your connection.