Asking yourself who would win in a Mullvad vs NordVPN comparison is mostly asking yourself what you want most from a VPN service. Both providers offer impressive features, but while Mullvad is all about excellent security and privacy measures, sometimes to the detriment of applications such as streaming Netflix, NordVPN is a more balanced option with great scores across the board.
To make the contest more relevant, we broke it down into several essential aspects pertaining to VPN services. Below, you’ll find out which provider (if any) comes out on top in each section.
Online security titans
In terms of online security and privacy, Mullvad vs NordVPN is a race that is as tight as they get. Mullvad, on the one hand, has received a lot of attention lately, not because it’s flashy like other VPN services, but because it promises complete online anonymity for its users.
As such, the provider is considered by many to be one of the most secure options currently in the industry. To rise up to the task, Mullvad uses only the best tunneling protocols, including Bridge, WireGuard, and OpenVPN.
Yet the real feather in their cap is the fact that they do not ask for user information when an account is created, nor do they log any identifiable information. An additional built-in kill switch and the possibility to pay anonymously with both cash and cryptocurrencies while using Mullvad complete the picture of a bulletproof VPN service.
NordVPN, on the other hand, is no less impressive. Using military-grade AES-256 encryption, the same algorithm employed by the US government to protect their online activity, NordVPN also comes with DNS leak protection, double encryption, Onion over VPN, and, to top it all off, a minimal logging policy. They are based in Panama, a small country with no data retention policies that is also not part of the 5 or 14 Eyes surveillance groups and, as such, they are under no obligation to share even the minimal data they do collect.
All in all, both Mullvad and NordVPN are excellent services in terms of online security and privacy. To differentiate between them at this point is premature, so let’s look at additional categories.
Speed and performance
If there’s one downside to all the security features offered by NordVPN, it’s the fact that, when put together, these measures can slow your upload/download speeds quite a bit. In most reviews, you’ll find that NordVPN is not the fastest service out there, but that it’s not too slow either, which we can confirm.
This is, perhaps, a point of contention where the Mullvad vs NordVPN comparison leans in favor of the former with some measure of certainty. Indeed, Mullvad is considered to be one of the fastest VPN services currently on the market. They employ a modest fleet of 345 servers globally, as compared to NordVPN’s more than 5,200 servers, but unlike Nord, Mullvad owns all the servers it uses, which gives it a nice security and speed boost.
Torrenting and P2P file-sharing
Torrenting is yet another application where the Mullvad vs NordVPN match is fairly balanced, in the sense that both of these services are ideal for P2P file-sharing. You’ll find that Mullvad, for instance, does not prevent P2P file-sharing and encrypts all relevant traffic using AES-256 with a 4096 bit RSA handshake. A free SOCKS5 proxy completes this picture by adding yet another layer of security so that users may download to their heart’s content.
You’ll get the same benefits if you turn to NordVPN, however. Their servers are optimized for P2P file-sharing, their upload/download speeds are decent, and their security measures, which also include a free SOCKS5 proxy, are top-notch. Barring any slight upload/download speed differences, you basically can’t tell these two services apart in terms of torrenting.
Netflix and geo-blocked content
So far, Mullvad vs NordVPN has been more than a fair competition, but this is where the latter begins to pull ahead significantly. One of the reasons why NordVPN uses so many thousands of servers worldwide is because they are forced to open new servers as soon as the old ones are banned by Netflix and similar entertainment platforms. Thanks to this dynamic, NordVPN users can employ the service reliably to by-pass Netflix’s geo-fencing policies.
The fact that Mullvad owns its own servers has some advantages, but one of the major disadvantages is the fact that their server fleet grows much too slowly to keep up with Netflix bans.
Put differently, you may or may not be able to access the US or UK Netflix library using Mullvad. Most likely, you won’t be able to use their service for this application, which means that if Netflix is your primary reason to use a VPN, you’re much better off with NordVPN at your side.
Online security in China
Finally, both Mullvad and NordVPN deserve an honorable mention for their work to provide online security and privacy for users in China or other censorship-heavy countries such as Russia, Iran, India, or Turkey. The way both providers resolve the issue of the Deep Packet Inspection employed by China’s firewall is something called “obfuscated servers” in the case of NordVPN and “obfsproxy” in the case of Mullvad.
Using this feature with either of the two services is likely to significantly lower your upload/download speeds. Given the circumstances, however, this is a minor drawback for major freedom.
As has already become obvious from our Mullvad vs NordVPN comparison, these two VPN providers are more similar than they are different. They are both extremely secure, they offer decent navigation speeds, and they are ideally suited for P2P file-sharing and torrenting. That being said, it is possible to buy NordVPN for a lower price than Mullvad because the former offers better deals when purchased for several years, while the latter does not.
It’s also worth considering that while NordVPN comes with an exemplary 24/7 live chat support, the only way to contact Mullvad at the moment is by email and getting in touch with an actual operator can be difficult. It is for these details, but also for the fact that Mullvad is essentially not usable with Netflix, that we recommend NordVPN as the better service.