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Mullvad VPN review Australia

Mullvad is a reasonably priced and easy-to-use VPN that doesn’t have a whole lot more going for it.

Mullvad VPN
Mullvad VPN
2.5 out of 5 stars
2.5
Price
€5/mth
Servers
666
Simultaneous connections
5
Nathan Lawrence
Jul 04, 2023
Icon Time To Read4 min read

When I first reviewed Mullvad in 2020, I liked the commitment of the virtual private network (VPN) service to user anonymity but bemoaned the lack of servers, location choices and how ineffective it was at bypassing the geoblocks of popular international streaming services. Fast-forward to more recent times, and not a lot has changed. Unfortunately for Mullvad, this stasis reality ensures it doesn’t rank in the best VPNs, and leaves an overall feeling that Mullvad isn’t overly interested in catching up with its better-specced peers.

Mullvad has very competitive monthly pricing and offers a service that’s fast to connect and disconnect. It’s also very easy to use for first-time VPN users. That said, Mullvad doesn’t compete in terms of the all-important numbers: servers, locations and simultaneous connections. Additionally, it has a bigger impact on download speeds than it should and, years later, it’s still bad at streaming for popular international services outside of Australia.

pro
Pros
pro Fixed monthly pricing
pro Fast to connect
pro Easy to use
con
Cons
con Low server, countries, location counts
con Five simultaneous connections
con Terrible download speeds and streaming
Mullvad VPN Connection Screen

Mullvad VPN prices and plans compared

Typically, we have a table towards the top of a VPN review that breaks down the different subscriptions available: usually monthly, annual and multi-year options. With Mullvad, there’s only really the monthly one. Whether you try Mullvad for a month, stick around for a year or keep it for life, you’ll pay €5 per month.

On one hand, Mullvad has the cheapest monthly pricing of the 17 VPNs I’ve reviewed, which makes it a cheap VPN choice for those who only occasionally want to use a VPN. On the other hand, the longer you stick around, the worse the value gets in comparison to Mullvad’s VPN peers. Mullvad does scrape into the top 10 for annual pricing, but the value gets comparatively worse the longer you keep paying a monthly fee.

Additionally, while there isn’t a free version of Mullvad to try, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Compare Mullvad VPN prices to other VPN prices

Brand
Price
View plans
Countries/locations
Details
From US$12.99/mo83/100+Best VPN
From AU$19.79/mo84/146Stacks of servers
From US$12.95/mo113/151Very user-friendly
From AU$19.99/mo82/112Fast speeds
From US$15.45/mo99/142Unlimited connections
From US$7.99/mth55/82Unlimited connections
From AU$79.99/yr29/29Bundles well with antivirus

Mullvad VPN connectivity and user experience

My time spent revisiting Mullvad has been more frustrating than rewarding, even if its commitment to user anonymity is admirable. Unlike other VPN providers, Mullvad doesn’t ask you to use your email address or even a password for credentials.

Instead, Mullvad spins up a unique number that’s linked to your account. It’s a great plus for user anonymity, given you don’t have to use your email address for access. That said, I highly recommend using a password manager to save the number for use on more than one device.

Mullvad is incredibly easy to use and fast to connect. Expect to connect to a Mullvad server in a couple of seconds, then disconnect almost immediately when you’re done VPNing. That is, when it works. I’ve been testing Mullvad across three Windows 11 PCs and have had all kinds of reliability issues.

There are the basic things, like how Mullvad randomly selects locations when you connect to a country rather than choosing the closest one. And that’s if it connects at all. On my main PC, Mullvad gets caught in loops and never actually connects to a server. On a Surface Laptop 4, it connects to locations about half the time, then inexplicably stops connecting to others with an unhelpful DNS error.

I’ve had the most success with Mullvad VPN on my older desktop PC, which is where I did the majority of my testing, but it still raises reliability concerns. What’s more concerning is that Mullvad only listed 666 global servers at the time of writing, which is a lean number compared to high-scoring VPNs like ExpressVPN (3,000+), NordVPN (5,500+) and Private Internet Access VPN (35,000+).

While massive server counts aren’t the be-all and end-all of a quality VPN experience, VPNs with lots of servers do tend to be more reliable and offer better uptime.

Mullvad Screenshot

Mullvad VPN supported devices

Mullvad supports up to five simultaneous connections—the entry-level number for VPNs—and it’s only really available on a handful of expected platforms, namely:

  • Windows
  • MacOS
  • Linux
  • iOS
  • Android

And that’s it. More advanced users can download the WireGuard or OpenVPN configuration files to use with respective clients, but it’s a shame there isn’t native support for more platforms. Note that while there are also a few free official website entries under Mullvad Browser, they don’t include VPN functionality.

Mullvad Screenshot

Mullvad VPN speeds

Unless your internet provider is throttling your speeds, connecting to a VPN service will impact your latency and download/upload speeds. To highlight this, the table below shows the midday speeds for Mullvad with an Aussie Broadband100/40Mbps FTTC connection.

Mullvad VPN server latency and speeds from Australia

VPN server
Download speed
Upload speed
Latency
No VPN75.26Mbps38.1Mbps6ms
AU VPN (auto, fastest)50.91Mbps (~32% slower)36.49Mbps (~4% slower)7ms (1ms slower)
US VPN (auto, fastest)48.39Mbps (~36% slower)33.21Mbps (~13% slower)142ms (136ms slower)
UK VPN (auto, fastest)44.22Mbps (~41% slower)27.5Mbps (~28% slower)264ms (258ms slower)

Overall, Mullvad’s speed test results range from great to bad. In terms of the good, the minimal impact on latencies for Australia, the US and the UK are great, with best-in-class latency to the US (equal with VPN Unlimited). The disclaimer there is that Mullvad continued its odd trend of connecting to random servers: Chicago and New York instead of the typically faster Los Angeles (which reaped the best results).

The impact to upload speeds is acceptable, but there’s a big hit to download speeds. That’s particularly disappointing for Mullvad because it had a minimal impact on download speeds when I first tested it in 2020. Back then, there was also less of an impact on download speeds for US and UK servers.

Mullvad VPN streaming

For those who don’t mind running the risk of having their streaming services blocked or banned, a VPN is a great tool for streaming content from geoblocked libraries overseas. A VPN that’s great for streaming should work across popular US, UK and Australian streaming services, loading content libraries in a timely way while buffering content quickly and without errors.

In terms of the table below, buffering speeds are rated accordingly:

  • Fast (1–5 seconds)
  • Moderate (5–15 seconds)
  • Slow (15–25 seconds)
  • Extremely slow (slower than 25 seconds)

Mullvad VPN performance with popular streaming services

Streaming service
Mullvad VPN compatible?
Buffering speed
Netflix USNoN/A
HBO MaxNoN/A
HuluNoN/A
PeacockNoN/A
BBC iPlayerNoN/A
KayoYesFast
Stan (including Stan Sport)YesFast

Mullvad was terrible for streaming in 2020, and the same is true today. The big exception, though, is Mullvad scored rare bragging rights to bypassing Kayo Sports’ very strict geoblocks. Curiously, the Perth server that bypassed Kayo was unable to get past Stan’s VPN block, which is typically a gimme win for VPNs. I was, however, able to get Stan working on other Aussie servers.

Try as I might with the US and UK servers, though, I couldn’t get any of the multiple locations I tested to work with the respective streaming services of those regions. Typically, below is where I’d add a table showcasing how Mullvad might work with different NBN speeds with specific services, but because it only worked with the Australian services, that table would have no contextual value.

Should I buy Mullvad VPN?

Mullvad has cheap monthly pricing and a top-tier approach to user anonymity with an easy-to-use service. That’s where the praise ends. During my tests, Mullvad was an unreliable VPN that doesn’t offer great download speeds and isn’t worth considering as a great streaming VPN. Consider Mullvad if user anonymity is paramount, but there are honestly a lot of better VPNs out there for everything else.

Mullvad Screenshot

Mullvad VPN frequently asked questions

No, Mullvad isn’t better than NordVPN. The only areas where Mullvad has a real edge over NordVPN is its fixed, cheap monthly pricing and unique user anonymity. Outside of that, NordVPN is a better VPN in every other key area.
Mullvad is a trustworthy VPN with military-grade encryption on a predominantly RAM-only server network. It’s also open to independent audits. That said, Mullvad is headquartered in Sweden, which is part of at least one data-sharing alliance (meaning user data on non-RAM servers could be shared).
Mullvad experienced slow download speeds, fast upload speeds and decent latency in our tests from Australia. One of the reasons Mullvad may be slow is that it has a comparatively small server network (hundreds vs thousands), and server congestion may lead to slower speeds and impacted reliability.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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