Mullvad Review (2019)

Mullvad Highlights

  • Country: Sweden
  • Logging:  No (Traffic), No (Connection),  No (IP address)
  • Bypass VPN Block (DPI): WireGuard, OpenVPN+SSH/Stunnel/Shadowsocks
  • Pricing: €5 (per month)
  • Allows P2P/ Torrent: Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Live Chat Support: No
  • Custom clients/apps: Yes (Windows, macOS, Linux)
  • Alternative website: N/A
  • Trustpilot rating: 4 out of 5 (6 users)

My First Impressions

Mullvad VPN, which was based in 2008, is owned by a Swedish company Amagicom AB. The word mullvad is translated as a mole which is also seen on the logo of the company. The name Amagicom is derived from the Sumerian word ama-gi the oldest word for “freedom“ or literary, “back to mother” in the context of slavery and the abbreviation for communication. Amagicom stands for “free communication”.
 
The website impressed me, but it was not only the design that impressed me. The website has a good design, has multi language support and easy to navigate. The most important thing I liked about Mullvad, is that the company really cares about the privacy of its users, which I will discuss in depth in the following sections.

Does Mullvad keep logs?

Mullvad is another example how VPN providers should write their Privacy Policy. It is very clear, and easy to understand, no confusing sentences, just facts.

 

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Mullvad Logging Policy

It is so easy to understand, that there was no need to underline important aspects. This is the real no-logging policy.

To sum up, Mullvad does not store:

  • traffic logs (i.e. user activity)
  • IP address
  • connection logs (i.e. bandwidth, timestamps)
Additionally, Mullvad differs from most VPN providers in one aspect. No personal information (name, email address, etc.) when signing up. The system automatically assigns users with an account number. If you want complete anonymity when using Mullvad VPN, you can use cryptocurrency or cash as the payment method.
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Mullvad Logging Policy

Does Mullvad VPN bypass Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) or similar VPN blocking firewalls?

Countries like China, Turkey, Russia etc. implement firewalls that block access to VPN services. As an example China uses the Great Wall of China (GFW) system to block most VPNs and proxies. Some VPN services use extra protocols so that users in those countries can bypass VPN block.

An update regarding WireGuard:

As of 2019, WireGuard protocol works only on Wi-FI connections in my country. The protocol itself was not designed to evade deep packet inspection, making it not the best option for the future.

Mullvad offers WireGuard protocol, which at the moment of writing article can evade DPI. WireGuard is supported on Android, iOS and macOS.

Moreover, Mullvad offers tunneling OpenVPN traffic through Shadowsocks (not Shadowsocks itself, only tunneling), SSH and SOCKS5 proxy. As far as I know, these methods are effective when bypassing deep packet inspection.

Here are protocols used by WireGuard:

WireGuard utilizes the following protocols and primitives:

wireguard_protocol_comparison
OpenVPN and Wireguard

Mullvad offers a free 3 hour trial, which helped me to test it without a cost.

 

Testing Mullvad

As usual, I test Mullvad on Windows 7 PC, and an Android phone running Android 6.0.1. I am testing on an ADSL internet provided by the local telecom company, and cellular internet provided by our local mobile operator. 

Windows Test

I started testing normal OpenVPN, which was unsuccessful as expected. Afterwards, I tunneled OpenVPN through SSH tunnel (shown on the first screenshot) following guides shown on the website. Similar to the normal OpenVPN connection OpenVPN+SSH tunnel also failed to bypass the DPI. The last test was tunneling OpenVPN through Shadowsocks. As shown on the second screenshot below, OpenVPN tunneled through Shadowsocks was successful and evaded the firewall. Another protocol capable of bypassing DPI is WireGuard, however, as it is not yet available on Windows, it was not possible to test.

After a while, I also tested the standalone Mullvad VPN Windows software. The VPN included only OpenVPN protocol and failed the test. 

mullvad_sshtunnel
Mullvad Windows test: OpenVPN+SSH
mullvad_shadowsockstunnel
Mullvad Windows test: OpenVPN+Shadowsocks

Android Test

I performed similar tests on my Android phone. Mullvad has no native app, but it offers its services via OpenVPN and WireGuard apps. As expected, standard OpenVPN failed to bypass the firewall. Afterwards, I tested OpenVPN+SSH tunnel and OpenVPN+Shadowsocks, in which OpenVPN+Shadowsocks was successful. And lastly, I tested WireGuard, and it connected without issues.

Mullvad Android test

To sum up, in the tests Mullvad managed to bypass the deep packet inspection in my country on Windows (OpenVPN+Shadowsocks) and Android platforms (OpenVPN+Shadowsocks and WireGuard).  

If you are not sure if Mullvad is for you, you can try 3 hour free trial, to check how Mullvad performs in your country. 

 

Is Mullvad affordable? (Mullvad’s pricing)

The pricing is very simple on Mullvad €5/month. Whether you pay per month or per year, you will be paying €5/month.

 

mullvad_pricing
Mullvad Pricing

 

Mullvad VPN accepts cash, major credit/debit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, Bitcoin cash and Swish.

If you want to test the VPN, Mullvad offers a 3 hour free trial.

Mullvad, also offers 30-day money-back-guarantee, except for cash payments, if you are not happy with their service.

 

What features are offered by Mullvad?

– Supported Platforms

Mullvad supports Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android, also they have native apps for Windows, Linux and macOS platforms. Also, you can configure the VPN on selected routers. 

– Supported Protocols

Mullvad VPN offers OpenVPN, OpenVPN+SSH tunnel, OpenVPN+Shadowsocks, OpenVPN+Stunnel and WireGuard protocols and SOCKS5 proxy.

– Number of Servers

Mullvad has  300 OpenVPN, 57 WireGuard, and 10 Bridge servers in 36 countries.

 

To sum up, Mullvad’s got a good ratings on Simple VPN Comparison Table

Wanna check other VPNs? Head over to the VPN Comparison Table, and find the best VPN that fits you.

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Mullvad Features

Conclusion

What I liked:

  • No logs kept (traffic, IP address, connection)
  • WireGuard, OpenVPN+SSH, OpenVPN+Shadowsocks, OpenVPN+Stunnel (bypass DPI)
  • Torrents/P2P allowed
  • Bitcoin accepted
  • User privacy is at its best

What I didn’t like:

  • No native apps for Android and iOS
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