Mullvad vs NordVPN comparison 2021

Jan Youngren
Jan Youngren | Chief Editor
Last updated: July 12, 2021
Mullvad vs NordVPN comparison

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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.

Highlights

MullvadNordVPN
Our rating8.2⭐9.6⭐
“Best for” nominee
Best no-logs provider, Best for Tunisia, Best for BruneiBest overall, Fastest VPN, Best for streaming, Best for torrenting, Best for Kodi, Best for China
Price starts from$5.40/month$3.30/month
ReviewMullvad reviewNordVPN review
WebsiteMullvadNordVPN

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

More live data from our VPN Speed Test tool
NordVPN Mullvad VPN
USA server
Download Speed 1,513 Mbps 652 Mbps
Upload Speed 1,500 Mbps 410 Mbps
UK server
Download Speed 1,284 Mbps 832 Mbps
Upload Speed 1,189 Mbps 576 Mbps
Germany server
Download Speed 1,049 Mbps 761 Mbps
Upload Speed 1,070 Mbps 749 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.

Servers

MullvadNordVPN
Servers750+5500+
Countries36+59+
All physical servers
YesYes
Owns all servers
NoNo
RAM-only servers
NoSome
P2P serversYesYes

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.

NordVPN app interface with server map

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.

Price comparison

MullvadNordVPN
Free version
NoNo
Free trial
No7-day (Android)
One month
$5.40/month$11.95/month
One year
N/A$4.92/month
Two years
N/A$3.30/month
Money-back guarantee
30 days30 days
Website
VisitVisit

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.

NordVPN
NordVPN
VPNpro rating: 9.6 / 10

Security

MullvadNordVPN
EncryptionMilitary-gradeMilitary-grade
ProtocolsWireGuard, OpenVPNNordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2
Kill switch
Yes (desktop only)Internet and app-level kill switch
DNS and IP leaks
No leaksNo leaks
Security featuresMulti-hop, Split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, Shadowsocks, Port forwardingAd & 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.

NordVPN kill switch options

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.

Privacy

MullvadNordVPN
JurisdictionSwedenPanama
LoggingNo-logs policyIndependently-audited no-logs policy
Anonymous payment
Cryptocurrencies, cashCryptocurrencies, cash
Anonymous registration
YesNo

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.

Mullvad VPN anonymous registration number

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.

Mullvad VPN
Mullvad VPN
VPNpro rating: 8.2 / 10

Compatibility and ease of use

MullvadNordVPN
Major dedicated apps
AllAll
Other dedicated apps
N/AFire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV
Browser extensions
N/AChrome, Edge, Firefox
Manual setup
N/ARouter, firewall, NAS
Simultaneous devices
56

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

MullvadNordVPN
Netflix US
NoYes
Other Netflix libraries
NoYes
Other platforms
NoYes
Smart DNS
NoYes

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.

Screenshot of NordVPN unblocking Netflix in US

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

MullvadNordVPN
Allowed on
All serversSelect servers
Free SOCKS5 proxy
YesYes
Split tunneling
Yes (Linux, Android)Yes (Windows, Android)
Port forwarding
YesNo

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.

Customer support

MullvadNordVPN
24/7
NoYes
Live chat
NoYes
Phone line
NoNo
Email
YesYes

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.

Mullvad Help Center screenshot

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

Mullvad🥈NordVPN🥇
Speed and serversLoses❌Wins✔️
PricingLoses❌Wins✔️
Security
Loses❌Wins✔️
PrivacyWins✔️Loses❌
Compatibility
Loses❌Wins✔️
Streaming
Loses❌Wins✔️
Torrenting
TieTie
Customer supportLoses❌Wins✔️
Total wins
1 out of 86 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.

Get NordVPN with 72% OFF


You may also like to read:
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN
NordVPN vs PureVPN
NordVPN vs PIA
Mullvad vs PIA

FAQ

Does Netflix block NordVPN?

Netflix tries to restrict VPNs from allowing access to geo-blocked content, but that doesn’t always work. NordVPN is still a great choice for getting around geographical restrictions. 

Is NordVPN free?

No, NordVPN is not free. Instead, it has a 7-day free trial available for Android users. Once claimed, the VPN can be used on other devices as well.

Is Mullvad the best VPN?

Mullvad is good for privacy, but it is far from the best. It does not work with streaming services, lacks support on many different devices, and is quite expensive in the long run.

Does Mullvad VPN work with Netflix?

Unfortunately, Mullvad VPN does not work with Netflix. It’s great for privacy and getting around most geographical restrictions, but it’s not optimized for getting around streaming service blocks.

What are the disadvantages of a VPN?

First off, a VPN will slow down your internet speed. The percentage of reduction depends on a variety of factors, such as your ISP, VPN service, tunneling protocol, encryption standard, and more.

Furthermore, good VPN services cost money. There are free services as well, but they are unreliable and perform poorly.

Lastly, data center IPs are used for a variety of reasons and tend to get blacklisted, banned, or restricted access. Depending on your use case, you might face frequent Captchas.

Top VPN providers
NordVPN
9.6 / 10
30-day money-back guarantee
Military grade encryption
Friendly support
Surfshark VPN
9.4 / 10
Strong encryption
Excellent performance
Unlimited simultaneous connections

Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.

2 comments
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  1. Elopra

    It’s disappointing that a big company as Mullvad doesn’t understand the importance of proper support. I mean, in this industry, 24/7 online chat is a must if you ask me. Any company that doesn’t have it is not even on my “to try” list.


  2. avatar
    Mikaela Bray

    Realistically speaking, few people will ever need port forwarding to use torrents because you don’t have to maintain a download/upload ratio on public torrent sites. It could also be said that NordVPN is better for torrenting because they allow you to get a dedicated IP (thus eliminating the need for port forwarding, but without the risk of having a forwarded port), whereas Mullvad does not. We’d still say they’re more or less equal in this area.

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