Mullvad Review (2020)
- 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: 4.5 out of 5 (18 users)
My First Impressions
Does Mullvad keep logs?
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)
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:
- ChaCha20 for symmetric encryption, authenticated with Poly1305, using RFC7539’s AEAD construction
- Curve25519 for ECDH
- BLAKE2s for hashing and keyed hashing, as described in RFC7693
- SipHash24 for hashtable keys
- HKDF for key derivation, as described in RFC5869
- Noise_IK handshake from Noise, building on the work of CurveCP, NaCL, KEA+, SIGMA, FHMQV, and HOMQV
- All packets are sent over UDP
Mullvad offers a free 3 hour trial, which helped me to test it without a cost.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 363 OpenVPN, 353 WireGuard, and 36 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.
What I liked:
What I didn’t like: