Mullvad vs NordVPN: which VPN is better?
Mullvad and NordVPN are well-known VPN service providers which can help you secure your online browsing experience. Both of them offer useful features, like the split tunneling and an in-built ad blocker.
However, it’s essential to look into how each of them performs in terms of speed, security and other capabilities if you want to find the best option for you.
In this Mullvad vs NordVPN comparison, I will examine their features, level of protection, and pricing plans to help you decide which is better.
NordVPN vs. Mulvad VPN
|🥇 Overall rank:||#1 out of #29||#14 out of #29|
|🖥️ Servers:||5400+ servers in 60 countries||784+ servers in 38 countries|
|📖 No logs policy:||No logs||No logs|
|💵 Pricing:||From $3.29/month||$6/month|
|🔥 Coupons:||NordVPN coupon 68% OFF||Cybernews VPN Coupons|
|🔒 VPN protocols:||OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, WireGuard (NordLynx)||WireGuard, OpenVPN|
|🍿 Streaming services:||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more||YouTube|
|🖥️ Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|📥 Simultaneous connections:||6||up to 5|
|💁🏻 Support:||Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat||Email, Facebook, Twitter|
Speed performance: Mullvad vs NordVPN
The VPN speed performance depends on multiple variables, one of which is the tunneling protocol. Both Mullvad and NordVPN support WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) protocols, so I have tested the speed performance with each of them individually.
- Baseline: 1 ms/300 Mbps download/300 Mbps upload
|Download average||235.02 Mbps||247.11 Mbps|
|Upload average||186.34 Mbps||175.65 Mbps|
During the test, NordVPN and Mullvad both performed well with the WireGuard protocol. NordVPN showed an average of a 20% download and a 36% upload speed drop. Mullvad, on the other hand, showed slightly larger average losses – 15% in download speed and 40% in upload speed. However, virtually both providers offer equally great speeds.
|OpenVPN (TCP)||NordVPN||Mullvad VPN|
|Download average||37.93 Mbps||85.79 Mbps|
|Upload average||39.38 Mbps||46.72 Mbps|
When testing the VPNs with the OpenVPN TCP protocol, it’s important to keep in mind that this protocol is focused on security and not speeds. Likewise, NordVPN showed an average speed loss of 87% in both downloads and uploads. Mullvad delivered better results showing an average download speed drop of 71% and 84% upload speed drop.
|OpenVPN (UDP)||NordVPN||Mullvad VPN|
|Download average||180.947 Mbps||265.476 Mbps|
|Upload average||104.927 Mbps||93.293 Mbps|
OpenVPN UDP is another version of this protocol which is faster. So, the results were more promising as well. NordVPN showed an average of 39% download and 64% upload speed loss. Mullvad in this case also delivered relatively better results – 9% download and 68% upload speed reduction.
All in all, both Mullvad and NordVPN are fast VPNs. However, if you want to get the greatest speeds, you should definitely opt for the WireGuard protocol as both providers offer the best performance with it.
Netflix and streaming performance
|Netflix||✅ Yes||❌ No|
|DAZN||✅ Yes||❌ No|
|BBC iPlayer||✅ Yes||❌ No|
|YouTube||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Hulu||✅ Yes||❌ No|
|HBO Max||✅ Yes||❌ No|
|Amazon Prime Video||✅ Yes||❌ No|
If you look at the table above, you can probably see that NordVPN is excellent at unblocking a variety of popular streaming platforms. I had no problems watching Netflix US and other libraries, as well as accessing DAZN, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max or Hulu.
Additionally, NordVPN has a very useful SmartPlay technology which allows you to stream worldwide content on devices that don’t even support a VPN connection. So, you can easily set it up and watch your favorite shows on your smart TV with friends and family.
Mullvad and NordVPN both support torrenting. The main difference between the two is that NordVPN has dedicated P2P servers which are optimized specifically for torrenting. Additionally, if you start torrenting with Netflix on a regular server and get detected, it automatically connects to the specialty server to ensure your protection. So, you get amazing speeds and security at the same time.
Even though Mullvad doesn’t have dedicated P2P servers, it claims that all of its servers are P2P-friendly. I have tested both VPNs and the results are great – good connection speeds and no throttling. Thus, I would call it a draw since despite the slight differences, both NordVPN and Mullvad perform well.
The Mullvad vs NordVPN feature comparison is quite straightforward. Both VPNs have the essential attributes, like the split tunneling and an in-built ad blocker which you get with the subscription.
However, NordVPN goes an extra mile to improve user experience and provides additional features, like the dark web monitoring, specialty servers, and the SmartPlay technology. These extras create additional value to the overall service and I would definitely call it a winner.
Split tunneling is specifically designed to help you manage which apps should use the VPN connection and which ones shouldn’t. It’s useful if you want to watch geo-restricted content on a streaming platform and download files at the same time without any loss of speed.
NordVPN offers the split tunneling feature for Windows and Android users. The Windows app allows you to enable or disable the VPN for specific applications. So, they’d connect to the VPN automatically every time you open the app.
Its Android version, on the other hand, offers an inverse split tunneling feature – you can only disable the VPN for individual apps. What’s worth mentioning is that this attribute is currently not available for macOS, Linux, and iOS users.
Mullvad VPN also supports split tunneling, so you can select which apps to exclude from the VPN connection and route them directly through your ISP. However, it’s also only available on Windows, Linux, and Android.
Some of the premium VPNs aim to provide all-round security when browsing online. For this reason, NordVPN offers the CyberSec feature which blocks intrusive ads and malicious websites.
Once it’s enabled, it will start examining the websites you access in real-time. If you try to enter one of the blacklisted sites which is known for hosting malware, it will notify and deny access.
Similarly, Mullvad also has a feature to block ads and trackers, so that malicious pages wouldn’t track your browsing activity or display pop-ups. You can enable or disable each of them separately in the settings.
While both VPNs have essential features, NordVPN offers some extra ones to provide even better security and improve user experience. For example, it has the SmartPlay technology which allows you to stream geo-restricted content on devices that don’t support VPNs. You can easily enjoy watching your favorite shows with friends and family on a Smart TV or other device.
Apart from that, NordVPN also has specialty servers which can help you to get the best experience using a VPN for a specific purpose. It offers P2P servers for torrenting or double VPN and obfuscated servers for maximum privacy.
Additionally, it offers the Dark Web Monitoring feature that continuously checks if your private data has been exposed. If the information linked to your email address has been found on the dark web marketplace, you’d immediately receive a notification and call to take action.
Mullvad vs NordVPN: which is more secure?
Security must be a number one priority when it comes to the VPN services. Luckily, Mullvad and NordVPN both take effective measures to provide strong protection for their users.
Both VPNs employ military-grade AES encryption and operate under a strict no-logs policy which ensures that no one could access your information.
In order to ensure security, NordVPN has upgraded almost all of its servers to run on RAM-only. In simple terms, they don’t use a hard drive to store usage logs.
Instead, NordVPN servers use a volatile memory for operational data which is completely wiped if there’s a system reboot. Unlike hard drives, RAM-only servers are significantly harder to breach and can be remotely wiped up initiating a restart if there’s a threat to the security of stored data.
Mullvad also takes security seriously. All of its servers are encrypted to avoid unauthorized access and protected with the bastion host – specialty computers designed to withstand attacks.
Mullvad and NordVPN both use a military-grade AES-256 encryption protocol. It is known to be the golden standard in the industry since it’s immune to brute-force attacks and virtually unbreakable. Thus, your information is safe at all times from third parties.
Apart from that, NordVPN is located in a privacy-friendly place, Panama, which doesn’t have intrusive legislation. Mullvad, on the other hand, stays in a 14-Eyes country, Sweden. Yet, the company takes impressive measures to protect its users’ information.
For example, you can create a Mullvad account completely anonymously as it doesn’t require your email address and even accepts cash payments. Thus, I am really impressed by the efforts of both NordVPN and Mullvad to maintain the highest level of privacy standards.
It’s essential that the VPN services you choose wouldn’t collect your sensitive information. Luckily, Mullvad and NordVPN operate under strict no-log policies which ensure that your data is safe. Additionally, both VPNs are examined by independent auditing companies to make sure that their privacy claims are valid.
NordVPN has been audited in 2018 and 2020 by one of the Big Four accounting firms, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers). The results concluded that this VPN service provider complies with the highest privacy and security standards.
Mullvad has also been examined by an independent auditing firm, Cure53, in 2020. The audit concluded that no personally identifiable information (PII) or privacy leaks were discovered.
Plans and pricing
When it comes to pricing and plans, NordVPN has flexible subscription options. You can purchase a 1-year, 2-year or 1-month plan and get relevant discounts depending on the duration of your subscription.
Mullvad employs a completely different pricing strategy – one flat monthly rate. In simple terms, it doesn’t matter for how long you decide to use this VPN, you’ll have to pay exactly the same monthly fee.
|Check pricing||Check pricing|
NordVPN costs $11.99 if you subscribe monthly or $4.99/month with the 1-year plan and $3.29/month with the 2-year plan. If you want to get the best price, I suggest committing to the VPN services for two years as then you’ll pay the lowest monthly fee.
With Mullvad, you will have to pay $6.00/month for as long as you use the service. It doesn’t have any other pricing plans. Additionally, it’s important to mention that the payments are made in Euros (€5.00/month) as it’s the only currency it accepts.
Comparing the pricing plans, Mullvad VPN is cheaper than NordVPN only if you want to use the services for a single month. However, if you’re searching for a long-term plan, both 1-year and 2-year NordVPN subscriptions cost less.
|Middle East & Africa||4||2|
NordVPN offers over 5400 servers in 60 different locations, including such regions as the Americas, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, and Europe. The server fleet is quite remarkable as even some of the best VPNs can’t offer that.
It’s important to note that NordVPN also has specialty servers, such as dedicated IP, obfuscated, double VPN, P2P, and onion over VPN servers. Each of them are optimized for a specific activity. For example, its obfuscated servers help to bypass restrictions in extreme censorship cases.
Platforms, interface and ease of use
NordVPN has dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. So does Mullvad. Both VPNs are easy to use and the installation process doesn’t take long.
One thing worth mentioning is that before installing Mullvad, you have to visit its official website and generate a 16-digit account number. This additional step is designed to help you remain completely anonymous while setting up the VPN. So, I wouldn’t see it as a drawback.
|Supported OS||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox||Firefox|
|Other devices||Kodi, Android TVs, Fire devices||-|
Both VPNs have dedicated extensions to help you secure your browsing experience. NordVPN extension is compatible with Firefox and Chrome, while Mullvad only supports Firefox.
Additionally, NordVPN’s SmartPlay technology allows you to use it on multiple streaming devices, like Kodi or Firestick. Unfortunately, Mullvad doesn’t offer such an option and supports less simultaneous connections. That being said, it’s evident that NordVPN takes the lead in this category.
NordVPN has very user-friendly desktop applications which are intuitive to use. Windows users get the ability to enjoy all of its features, like the split tunneling, kill switch, and pause or auto-connect.
As it’s quite common macOS users get a slightly limited version of the VPN. Yet, it’s mostly because of the strict security regulations of Apple itself. For example, you can’t disable the kill switch or use split tunneling.
Mullvad’s desktop apps are also very easy to use. You can quickly access Preferences or Advanced Settings, as well as select the desired country and server. Similarly to NordVPN, its Windows version is less limited than macOS.
Comparing the VPN desktop apps, I would say that even though they provide pleasant experiences, the interface of Mullvad’s apps seem slightly outdated. However, this opinion might differ from person to person.
NordVPN has dedicated apps for iOS and Android devices which are visually identical. Using them is very intuitive – you can quickly enable/disable the VPN connection, choose servers, and access the settings.
It’s worth mentioning that the iOS version doesn’t support split tunneling and doesn’t have a customizable kill switch. However, it has the Dark Web Monitoring feature which is not available for Android users.
Mullvad also supports both operating systems and has user-friendly apps. Even though they’re easy to navigate, I would say that the interface seems slightly outdated, just like the desktop versions. Its iOS version is also limited compared to Android, as you can’t use the split tunneling feature.
Excellent customer support is a highly important factor of a premium VPN service provider. With NordVPN, you have a variety of different methods of how to get help.
It offers one of the fastest and most popular options among the users – 24/7 live chat. You can directly ask a question and receive a response from a support agent within a few minutes.
If you have a generic question about how to set up the VPN or how to use one of its features, you can find useful how-to guides, articles, and FAQs on its website.
Mullvad vs NordVPN – which one wins?
|Ease of use||✔️||❌|
The completed Mullvad vs NordVPN comparison shows that NordVPN outperforms Mullvad in the majority of examined categories. The most substantial advantages are a wider selection of servers and outstanding capabilities to unblock streaming services, like Netflix.
Additionally, NordVPN offers more features which are not only related to security but also focused on user experience. For example, you can easily stream movies on your Smart TV or select specialty servers that are optimized for a specific activity.
I wouldn’t say that Mullvad is not worth your attention completely, as it’s heavily focused on transparency and privacy. Unfortunately, neither it unblocks streaming services nor it offers a large server fleet. So, if you’re highly concerned about your privacy, Mullvad is a great option. Otherwise, you should definitely choose NordVPN as it’s a more versatile VPN service provider.
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Is Mullvad VPN better than NordVPN?
No, NordVPN is better than Mullvad VPN since it has more servers, better customer support, unblocks Netflix and other streaming platforms, and has more flexible pricing plans. Even though Mullvad has a relatively decent server fleet, it’s not capable of unblocking popular streaming services and has only one subscription option.
Is Mullvad good for gaming?
Yes, Mullvad is a good VPN for gaming as it supports both WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) tunneling protocols and provides great speeds. So, you can definitely enjoy playing games without throttling.
Is Mullvad better than ExpressVPN?
No, Mullvad is not better than ExpressVPN because it has a smaller server fleet and doesn’t unblock streaming platforms. With ExpressVPN, you can choose from over 3000 servers in 91 countries and watch shows on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or DAZN without any troubles.