Mullvad vs. NordVPN (2020) In-Depth Comparison

Better Overall
4.8 / 5
4.8/5
  • Advanced security features
  • Massive global server coverage
  • Works with Netflix
  • Up to 6 simultaneous connections
VS
Privacy-Friendly
4.6 / 5
4.6/5
  • Unique privacy solution
  • Best for Australia
  • Allows P2P and torrenting
  • Reliable server speed

NordVPN and Mullvad are two of the most well-known providers in the VPN industry. Both are excellent in their own right.

  • NordVPN is the king of the hill when it comes to streaming. It bypasses geo-blocks with ease and ranks among the fastest VPNs in 2020. The VPN is also highly secure and incredibly easy to use.
  • Mullvad has fast connections as well and offers superb privacy with its stringent no-logs policy and anonymous account purchases.

But one has to be better than the other, right?

In this Mullvad vs. NordVPN comparison, I’ll review the two providers side by side and reveal the winner.

Mullvad VPN vs NordVPN comparison

Side-by-Side Comparison

CriteriaNordVPNMullvadVPN
Rating4.8 of 5
4.7 of 5
PriceView Best PriceView Best Price
JurisdictionPanamaSweden
Logging PolicyNo Logging PolicyNo Logging Policy
SpeedUltra-fastFast
Servers & Countries5400+ Servers in 57 Countries545 Servers in 35 Countries
NetflixYesNo
Torrenting / P2P
YesYes
EncryptionAES 256-bitAES 256-bit
Customer SupportLive ChatNo Live Chat
Simultaneous Connections6 Devices5 Devices
Supported PlatformsWindows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire Stick, RoutersWindows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Routers
Visit:Go with NordVPNGo with Mullvad
Table of Contents

Security – Protocols, Encryption & Features

Mullvad and NordVPN are reliable when it comes to security.

They use military-grade AES 256-bit encryption and support the top VPN protocols.

VPN Protocols

NordVPN comes with both OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec on its VPN apps.

The provider also supports TLS v1.2, but this protocol is restricted to its browser extensions. Mullvad, on the other hand, offers OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols.

More on WireGuard in a bit.

OpenVPN and IKEv2 remain the top-recommended VPN protocols.

They are both reliable and provide a great balance between speed and security.

While IKEv2 is faster, OpenVPN is more secure and a better option for bypassing internet restrictions like the Great Firewall of China. Good thing that both providers support OpenVPN.

Now let’s talk about WireGuard.

WireGuard Protocol Explained

Both service providers support WireGuard. But while NordVPN uses the protocol only on their Linux client, Mullvad offers it on all their custom apps.

What exactly is WireGuard?

WireGuard is a new protocol that provides encrypted connections at unprecedented high speeds. It uses advanced cryptography to secure your data and is faster than OpenVPN, IKEv2, and any of the other primary protocols.

While WireGuard is a marvel, its privacy capabilities lag behind OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec. The protocol cannot dynamically assign IPs and instead uses static IPs.

Generally, static IPs are a privacy risk, but what’s even more concerning is that WireGuard does not purge your IP logs from the provider’s servers after you’ve closed your connection. Although you’ll be anonymous on the web, anyone with access to the servers can identify you.

Luckily, both operators have taken measures to improve the anonymity of their WireGuard services.

A Unique Solution from Mullvad

Mullvad has a unique solution that automatically purges peer information if no handshake occurs within 180 seconds.

With this technology, the VPN reduces the amount of time your IP address remains visible to just 3 minutes.

The NordLynx Technology

Nord’s WireGuard solution comes in the form of NordLynx.

The technology uses a double NAT (Network Address Translation) system, hides your real IP and assigns you and every other connected user a new shared originating IP.

Unlike the original WireGuard which uses your real IP, NordLynx uses this new shared IP to connect you to the public key.

This ensures your connections remain entirely anonymous.

Extra Security Tools

Both NordVPN and Mullvad offer an internet kill switch and automatic startup.

This helps prevent connection leaks, which as you know can expose your identity.

The two VPNs also support multi-hopping, which encrypts your traffic more than once.

But NordVPN does not stop there. The provider also offers the following security features:

  • CyberSec – a security feature that blocks ads and phishing domains. It also guards against DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks.
  • Onion over VPN – send your encrypted traffic through the Tor network, which gives you extra protection by hiding your IP address from the Tor entry node.
Security Winner: NordVPN

NordVPN offers arguably the most robust security in the VPN industry. Its protocols and encryption are top-notch, and features like CyberSec and Onion over VPN make the VPN standout.

Privacy & Jurisdiction

Security is an essential aspect when choosing a VPN.

But even when security is rock solid, privacy issues can occur.

If you are looking to keep your online activities from the prying eyes of your ISP, then both Mullvad and NordVPN are excellent choices.

NordVPN Logging Policy

NordVPN maintains a transparent privacy policy.

They promise a no logs service and do not store your browsing activities, IP address, and connection timestamps.

However, like most VPN providers, NordVPN does require some necessary personal information when creating an account. This includes:

  • Email address
  • Payment data

Overall, their privacy is excellent. It’s noteworthy that when one of the provider’s data centers was hacked in 2018, no user was affected.

Following that breach, NordVPN implemented an industry-first audit into their servers and operations and the results of that audit backed up their no-logs claim.

Mullvad VPN Privacy Policy

Like NordVPN, Mullvad keeps neither activity nor connection logs.

Check out their logging policy.

Mullvad’s anonymity has never been in question.

The company collects an incredibly low amount of information.

When creating an account, you do not need to provide your name, email address, or any other personal data.

How does it work?

Anonymous Numbered Accounts

Mullvad uses anonymous numbered accounts.

The accounts are generated automatically and act as the only identifier you need when using the service. With Bitcoin or cash purchases, you can ensure there is no way of tracing the payment back to you.

However, if you choose to make payments via PayPal, credit cards, and such, some personal data may be processed.

Jurisdiction

NordVPN is located in Panama, which is a privacy-friendly jurisdiction.

The country does not impose data retention laws meaning NordVPN is under no obligation to log your data.

Mullvad’s jurisdiction is a bit concerning. The company has its headquarters in Sweden, which is in a 14 eyes jurisdiction. Being one of the most active members, Sweden has very strict data laws anywhere. Wanna know how strict?

Just ask Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij, and Peter Sunde: The Pirate Bay founders.

However, as mentioned, the VPN does not require any account information.

So if you make your payments via Bitcoin, it’ll be almost impossible for the authorities to identify you.

Privacy Winner: Tie

NordVPN and Mullvad provide excellent security features. Both VPN maintain a strict no-logs policy, and while NordVPN is located in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, Mullvad impresses with its anonymous numbered accounts.

Speed & Performance Test

ProviderAvg. PingAvg. Download SpeedAvg. Upload Speed
NordVPN105 ms83.20 Mbps36.38 Mbps
Mullvad163 ms71.89 Mbps35.77 Mbps

When it comes to VPNs, connection slowdowns are unavoidable.

Often, this is due to encryption, but also server routing does play a role too.

As such, connecting to the nearest servers can improve your speeds tremendously and is always recommended.

Both NordVPN and Mullvad offer fast and stable connections.

I tested each VPN multiple times using different servers, and I was impressed with what I saw.

Below is a summary of the speed test results.

Note: When conducting the tests, I was using the default OpenVPN protocol. My benchmark speed was 97.26 Mbps download and 49.12 Mbps upload.

How Fast Is NordVPN?

NordVPN delivered incredible speeds across Europe, Australia, and North America.

As always, the nearby servers (Europe) performed the best with only a minimal 8% reduction in speed.

On average, NordVPN delivered around 83% of my baseline download speed.

NordVPNPingDownloadUpload
Connected to UK Server
29 ms89.44 Mbps (-8.04%)44.82 Mbps (-8.75%)
Connected to US Server93 ms82.79 Mbps (-14.88%)36.16 Mbps (-26.38%)
Connected to Australia Server194 ms77.36 Mbps (-20.46%)29.51 Mbps (-39.92%)

Mullvad VPN Speed Results

Mullvad did not disappoint either, and although it was slower than NordVPN, I found its connections to be decent.

Overall, Mullvad averaged 71.89 Mbps across Europe, Australia, and the US.

NordVPNPingDownloadUpload
Connected to UK Server
56 ms81.95 Mbps (-15.74%)41.78 Mbps (-14.94%)
Connected to US Server148 ms74.26 Mbps (-23.65%)37.69 Mbps (-23.26%)
Connected to Australia Server287 ms59.48 Mbps (-38.84%)27.86 Mbps (-43.28%)
Winner for Speed: NordVPN

NordVPN delivers ultra-fast connections making it a fantastic choice for gaming, streaming, and downloading large files. On average, it is 1.3 times faster than Mullvad VPN.

Countries & Servers

NordVPNMullvad
5400+ in 57 countries545 Servers in 35 Countries

The more extensive the server network, the better.

It makes it easier to find fast servers and allows you to access local search content while still enjoying your encrypted connection.

The Massive Global Coverage by NordVPN

With its vast server coverage, NordVPN gives you higher odds of bypassing geo-blocks. The VPN offers over 5300 servers in 58 countries, including many countries that aren’t usually covered by VPN providers.

Whether you live in the US, UK, Australia, Taiwan, India, or South Africa, you can find NordVPN servers in locations near you.

In addition to having an extensive network, NordVPN also offers multiple specialty servers, including Dedicated IP servers, P2P Optimized servers, Obfuscated servers, Onion over VPN servers, and Smart DNS servers.

Well Distributed Mullvad Servers

Mullvad has 545 servers in 35 countries across the world.

While their number of servers may be small, I was impressed with their distribution. Still, Mullvad can’t quite match the massive global coverage offered by Nord.

The VPN also does not offer Smart DNS or Dedicated IP servers.

Both Smart DNS and Dedicated IPs are gold for streaming fans.

While Smart DNS allows you to enjoy neck-breaking speeds, Dedicated IPs are perfect for unblocking restricted media.

Which Provider Is Better for Australia?

Both NordVPN and Mullvad have servers in Australia. NordVPN offers 271 servers, while Mullvad provides access to 13 Australian servers.

However, despite having a lesser number of servers in the country, Mullvad covers more cities than Nord. The service has servers in 6 cities – Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.

NordVPN, on the other hand, has server locations in 5 cities – Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Servers & Countries Winner: NordVPN

NordVPN has a truly global server coverage. It provides access to thousands of servers and is perfect for bypassing geo-restrictions and censorship.

Streaming & Netflix

NordVPN is unrivaled in this category.

As mentioned, the service works reliably with geo-blocks, and that includes streaming sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Netflix is one of the toughest sites to unblock. The streaming service employs strict geo-restriction measures. In theory, it should be unblocked with the same ease as any other restricted media. Netflix, however, has put in place robust security systems that not only identify but also block VPN IPs.

As a result, most VPN providers struggle to unblock the streaming service. NordVPN doesn’t seem to have any problem.

Almost all their servers work with Netflix and I was able to access the streaming service with every server I connected to. Now that’s incredible.

When I tried using Mullvad to stream content on the service, all I got was the infamous proxy error message:

If you are living in one of the 14 Eyes countries, chances are that they can access your data too.

I tried several other servers without any luck and eventually contacted customer support for assistance. It turned out, Mullvad does not support Netflix, and they are “not working on unblocking them.”

NordVPN’s SmartPlay

BEST VPN FOR STREAMING,” that’s what NordVPN claims on their website.

While this is a bold claim, there isn’t any reason to believe otherwise. 

What sets NordVPN apart from its competitors is its SmartPlay technology.

This feature allows you to take advantage of Smart DNS’s high speeds while also ensuring your data is fully encrypted.

Streaming Winner: NordVPN

NordVPN is fast and works seamlessly with Netflix. The VPN also offers exciting streaming features like SmartPlay and Dedicated IPs.

Torrenting/P2P

Both NordVPN and Mullvad support torrenting.

However, I wouldn’t recommend Mullvad. While their robust encryption can keep you safe when connected to a torrent swarm, their jurisdiction is a problem.

As I mentioned earlier, Mullvad is located in Sweden, which is a 14 eyes country.

You want to steer clear of these providers when getting a VPN for torrenting.

This leaves us with NordVPN. Is it a good choice for torrenting?

Security-wise, NordVPN is superb. Its jurisdiction is safe and the VPN high speeds making it an ideal choice for torrenting.

Best for Torrenting: NordVPN

NordVPN offers secure connections and is located in a non-14 Eyes jurisdiction. The VPN is also fast and features P2P optimized servers.

Compatibility & User Experience

NordVPN is compatible with a wide range of devices, including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. The VPN also works with routers and has browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Mullvad also supports Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and routers but is not compatible with browsers.

Both VPNs feature dedicated clients for all the primary devices – Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. The apps have a clean interface and are easy to set up and use.

Compatibility Winner: NordVPN

Both VPNs offer easy to use apps for the primary platforms. But if you are looking for a VPN that can work on your smart TV, I recommend NordVPN.

Simultaneous Connections

How many devices do you use in a day?

Imagine now you had to purchase a separate VPN subscription for each device.

It would suck, right?

Luckily, many VPNs support multiple simultaneous connections per account.

NordVPN allows you to connect up to 6 devices at a go while Mullvad supports up to 5 devices.

Simultaneous Connections Winner: NordVPN

Both NordVPN and Mullvad support a decent number of simultaneous connections. That said, Nord does win this category since it accommodates a higher number of devices.

Reliability & Customer Support

Customer support can break or make a VPN. No software is immune to technical problems, and that includes VPNs. It’s therefore essential to ensure your VPN has quick and knowledgeable support.

NordVPN offers precisely that. Their customer support reps are friendly, and they know their stuff. You can reach support via live chat and email.

The provider also offers an FAQ section, setup guides, informative articles, and video tutorials.

Mullvad does not offer live chat support, which means it can take a while before you get a response. Direct support is available only through email, and you should know the response times can vary considerably. 

When testing their response times, I contacted them via email on two separate days. It took more than an hour to get a response for the first email but only 2 minutes for the second.

Customer Support Winner: NordVPN

NordVPN offers 24/7 live chat support and a more extensive knowledge base. They also provide numerous video tutorials, which can be quite helpful for beginners.

Cost & Payment Methods​

Mullvad has one of the most straightforward pricing systems you can find.

They don’t have monthly, yearly, or any of the other pricing cycles we see with most VPNs. All they offer is a single flat rate charge every month.

Mullvad Subscription Plans​

Monthly

$ 5
50
per month
  • Accepts credit cards, PayPal, bank wire, Swish, Bitcoin, and cash payments
  • Connect 6 devices at the same time
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

NordVPN, on the other, has four subscription options to choose from.

These include a monthly plan, a yearly plan, a 2-year plan, and a 3-year plan.

As is often the case, the longer the subscription term, the cheaper it will cost you per month.

NordVPN Subscription Plans

1 Month

$ 11
95
per month
  • $11.95 billed every month

1-Year Plan

$ 6
99
per month
  • $83.88 billed 12 months

3-Year Plan

$ 3
49
per month
  • $125.64 billed every 36 months
MOST POPULAR

2-Year Plan

$ 4
49
per month
  • $119.76 billed every 24 months

Payment Methods

Mullvad accepts multiple payment methods, including credit cards, PayPal, bank wire, Swish, Bitcoin, and cash payments. 

NordVPN supports credit cards, Bitcoin, Amazon Pay, Alipay, and WeChat Payments. They do not accept PayPal or Swish.

Refund Policy

Both NordVPN and Mullvad offer a 30-day money guarantee if you are not satisfied with the service… However, not all payment methods qualify for a refund.

  • Mullvad does not refund cash payments due to anti-money laundering regulations.
  • NordVPN does not refund payments made using prepaid cards.

Do They Offer Discounts Often?

NordVPN leads the way when it comes to discounts and offers plenty of promotions throughout the year, especially during black Friday.

Mullvad, on the other hand, rarely offers discounts.

Pricing Winner: NordVPN

While Mullvad has lower month-to-month prices, NordVPN is less expensive in the long-term. Their most affordable plan is over 30% cheaper than Mullvad’s sole pricing plan.

Compare To Other Providers

Overall Winner: NordVPN

NordVPN comes out on top in almost all the categories I tested.

It delivers faster and more secure connections and is incredibly easy to use.

NordVPN also has a larger server network and works better against geo-restrictions like those employed by Netflix and the Great China Firewall.

Mullvad does have its strengths too. The VPN provides unparalleled anonymity thanks to its use of numbered accounts and cryptocurrency.

That said, NordVPN is still the overall winner. Its service is superior, and the VPN offers better value for money.

Bram Jansen
Bram Jansen
I'm Bram Jensen, a leading expert in the realm of cyberspace, ever since I was little, books like Neuromancer and The Foundation always fascinated me, this fiction of a world that isn't simply based within the real world. As I started growing up, I started gaining interest in how I could manipulate this cyberspace that's available in the real world, so I picked a career that I knew was right for me.
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