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Asking yourself who would win in a Mullvad vs NordVPN comparison is mostly asking yourself what you want most from a VPN service. If you need an all-around provider, the latter is probably your safest bet. But is there something unique that Mullvad can offer?
To make the contest more relevant, I broke it down into several parts, discussing aspects of VPN services. These include security, privacy, speed, compatibility, and customer service, among others. At the end of this comparison, you’ll find out which provider (if any) comes out on top in each section.
Both services offer impressive security and privacy features, but Mullvad concentrates on that a bit too much, forgetting other reasons people use VPNs. Its nemesis, NordVPN, stands out with excellent streaming and torrenting capabilities.
When it comes to performance, Mullvad is not far behind in terms of sheer speed. But what about ease of use, compatibility, and customer support? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
|“Best for” nominee||N/A||Best overall, Fastest VPN, Best for streaming, Best for torrenting, Best for Kodi, Best for China|
|Price starts from||$5.40/month||$3.71/month|
|Review||Mullvad review||NordVPN review|
Speed and servers
The performance of a VPN depends on a number of factors. To start with, any service that hasn’t implemented the new WireGuard tunneling protocol is doomed to be slower than those which did. This protocol is important not only for speed but security as well.
Next, come the server list and its global spread. While a VPN doesn’t need thousands of servers to provide a fast connection, the number of available countries is often a deciding factor. After all, if the closest server is thousands of miles away, one should expect higher latency and less performance.
NordVPN vs Mullvad VPN: 14-Day Speed Average
|Download Speed||1,213 Mbps||546 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||1,190 Mbps||324 Mbps|
|Download Speed||1,320 Mbps||754 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||1,261 Mbps||664 Mbps|
|Download Speed||1,351 Mbps||690 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||1,186 Mbps||730 Mbps|
NordVPN is the fastest VPN service currently on the market, and our speed test results clearly show that. This definitely has to do with its NordLynx protocol, which is a proprietary version of WireGuard.
Mullvad is far behind NordVPN when looking at the numbers, even though it also uses WireGuard. On the other hand, it’s still among the top in terms of performance.
|Owns all servers||Not all||Not all|
|P2P servers||All||Not all|
NordVPN has a much better server fleet. Not only is it many times bigger, but the number of countries allows for truly global coverage. In the meantime, Mullvad concentrates on Europe and North America with few options in other regions.
I liked that both contestants use bare-metal servers only and even own some of them. But NordVPN stands out again with diskless servers that offer better security. At the time of writing this comparison, all standard servers of this VPN that make up the majority of the fleet were RAM-only.
|Free trial||No||7-day (Android)|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days|
Comparing the prices of our contenstants is difficult because they use two different strategies. Mullvad has one monthly plan, which means it’s cheaper than most but costs more than the long-term offers. That’s why by getting the yearly NordVPN plan, you’re already saving money.
Neither of the two offers a free version or a proper free trial (NordVPN gives one week for Android users), but you can still try these VPNs risk-free thanks to their 30-day money-back guarantees.
Some users like to count the price-to-value ratio by the number of allowed devices at a time. Here NordVPN has a slight edge with 6 simultaneous connections compared to Mullvad’s five.
|Protocols||WireGuard, OpenVPN||NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2|
|Kill switch||Yes (desktop only)||Internet and app-level kill switch|
|DNS and IP leaks||No leaks||No leaks|
|Security features||Multi-hop, Split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, Shadowsocks, Port forwarding||Ad & malware blocker, Multi-hop, Split tunneling, Tor over VPN, Obfuscated servers, SOCKS5 proxy, Invisibility on LAN, CyberSec|
Both services offer excellent security, but NordVPN wins this category by simply providing more features and options. For example, it adds IKEv2 protocol, which is faster than OpenVPN and can prove valuable in case there are some issues with the main NordLynx protocol.
Furthermore, NordVPN offers both app and internet-level kill switch. In the meantime, Mullvad has only the latter option and leaves iOS users without any kill switch.
I also recommend using NordVPN in China rather than Mullvad. In countries with restricted internet access, features like Obfuscated servers and Tor over VPN are invaluable. There was a time when Mullvad had its Obfsproxy, but now all that’s left is Shadowsocks.
Finally, Mullvad has fewer security features. While its opponent has neither Shadowsocks nor port forwarding, I’d rather take NordVPN’s malware blocker or obfuscated servers anytime.
|Logging||No-logs policy||Independently-audited no-logs policy|
|Anonymous payment||Cryptocurrencies, cash||Cryptocurrencies, cash|
Once again, both contestants demonstrate that they’re serious as cancer when it comes to users and their privacy. At first sight, it seems that NordVPN has an edge. It’s registered in a privacy-friendly location and had its no-logs policy audited.
Hower, Mullvad turns the table by offering anonymous registration, which means no email or other personal information. Combine it with an anonymous payment, and there’s virtually no way to track you down.
Compatibility and ease of use
|Major dedicated apps||All||All|
|Other dedicated apps||N/A||Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV|
|Browser extensions||N/A||Chrome, Firefox|
|Manual setup||N/A||Router, firewall, NAS|
As the table clearly shows, NordVPN is much more compatible. There’s probably no way that a Mullvad user could reach the device limit unless sharing the account with friends or family.
When it comes to usability, both services are user-friendly. You shouldn’t have issues with installing and connecting to your desired server.
Netflix and other streaming platforms
|Other Netflix libraries||No||Yes|
Not much to add here. If you’re interested in unblocking Netflix or BBC iPlayer, or other popular content platforms, choose NordVPN – it’s our best service for streaming. It also has Smart DNS, which will allow you to watch favorite movies and shows on smart TVs and game consoles.
I personally don’t believe that Mullvad will invest in this area anytime soon. For them, security and privacy have always been a priority.
Torrenting and P2P
|Allowed on||All servers||Select servers|
|Free SOCKS5 proxy||Yes||Yes|
|Split tunneling||Yes (Linux, Android)||Yes (Windows, Android)|
Even though NordVPN is our #1 choice for torrenting, there are some scenarios where choosing Mullvad is a better idea. One is where you’re a Linux user and want split tunneling to be available. That’s because NordVPN doesn’t have split tunneling for macOS and iOS. In fact, you can also use this feature on Mac if you configure Mullvad via Tunnelblick.
The second scenario is when you need to upload significant amounts of data before downloading. NordVPN doesn’t have port forwarding, so if other users cannot reach you because of the router or other reasons, Mullvad will do the job.
NordVPN provides much better customer support than Mullvad. The latter has email only, which means that answers may take hours, if not days. However, during that time, you can dig into Mullvad’s extensive knowledgebase – chances are you’ll find the answer on your own.
In contrast, you probably won’t spend much time browsing NordVPN’s no-less rich support section. That’s because most of your issues will be solved by 24/7 live chat.
Best VPN in each category
|Speed and servers||Loses❌||Wins✔️|
|Total wins||1 out of 8||6 out of 8|
Verdict: NordVPN or Mullvad?
My Mullvad vs NordVPN comparison has clearly shown that NordVPN is obviously a better choice. It’s faster than Mullvad and offers servers in way more countries. Most importantly, NordVPN has better prices thanks to its long-term plans that come with solid discounts.
If that alone wasn’t enough, our winner supports more platforms. While Mullvad has apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, NordVPN adds Android TV and Amazon Fire Stick & Fire TV. Furthermore, you can manually configure it on routers and download browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
It doesn’t end here. Mullvad can’t unblock Netflix, but NordVPN does that really well, offering libraries in multiple countries. You can even watch BBC iPlayer and other streaming services. Finally, NordVPN has a 24/7 live chat, whereas Mullvad is email-only.
So is there any point in choosing the loser? Turns out it is! Mullvad offers top-notch privacy with anonymous registration. This service also comes with port forwarding, which might be invaluable for P2P activities that require uploading.
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Jan is a cybersecurity and consumer protection specialist focused on investigations that help readers navigate the complex infosecurity sphere. His research and commentary has been featured in Forbes, ComputerWeekly, PC Mag, TechRadar, ZDNet, The Mirror, Entrepreneur, and many other leading publications around the world.