NordVPN vs Mullvad: Side-by-Side Comparison

If you’re shopping for a new VPN, chances are you’re visiting different VPN sites and finding that they all seem impressive. It’s normal for a VPN to make big claims regarding its server speeds or standard of security. The trouble is, how are you supposed to know what’s true and what’s marketing hype? With our side-by-side comparison of NordVPN and Mullvad, we make it easy to compare and contrast what each VPN offers.

This involves hands-on testing of their apps as well as multiple tests including for server speed and DNS leaks. We even send emails to their customer support to measure response times. This information is then broken down into easy-to-manage pieces, complete with side-by-side comparison tables for quick and easy comparison. Let’s get started!

Do you need to make a quick decision? While we admire how seriously Mullvad takes user privacy, NordVPN is such a strong all-rounder that it is not only the winner of this comparison but also our best VPN service in 2024.

NordVPN vs Mullvad summary


  • Vast network of 6,000+ servers in 60+ countries
  • Works with many popular streaming platforms
  • Provides specialty servers for torrenting
  • Loaded with security features, including threat protection


  • One of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested
  • Strong privacy protection (no email required for signup)
  • Extremely simple and consistent pricing model
  • MultiHop servers for two layers of encryption

NordVPN vs Mullvad pricing and discounts

Subscription periodsOne monthOne month
One year
Two years
Special offerSave 64 percent with the 2-year Ultimate plan (works out at just $6.99/month)None
Highest price per month$15.99$5.43
Lowest price per month$3.99$5.43
One-year price$59.88 (Standard plan)$65.16
Money-back guarantee30 days30 days

NordVPN and Mullvad couldn’t be more different when it comes to their respective pricing models. Mullvad is far simpler in this respect in that it only offers one flat monthly rate of €5 a month (the equivalent of USD $5.43 at the time of writing). There are no different subscription tiers or plan lengths. Despite this being the only option, it still provides a great deal of flexibility because you can top up as much as you want when you want.

In contrast, NordVPN, sells three subscription lengths (one month, one year, and two years) as well as three subscription tiers (Standard, Plus, and Ultimate). Malware protection and an ad and tracker blocker are included with all plans. Plus tacks on a password manager and data breach scanner. Ultimate includes all of this as well as encrypted cloud storage (1 TB), identity theft recovery, and cyber extortion protection.

NordVPN is far pricier if you only commit for a month at a time. With no discounts for this subscription duration, you’ll pay $12.99 (Standard), $13,99 (Plus), or $15.99 (Ultimate). The savings start with the 1-year plan at $4.99, $5.99, and $7.99 each month respectively. However, the biggest savings come with NordVPN’s 2-year plans. Standard works out at $3.99/month, Plus at $4.99/month, and Ultimate at $6.99/month.

Although NordVPN has the cheapest possible subscription price per month, you need to commit for two years to get it. Mullvad is far more affordable than most of NordVPN’s many options, although admittedly, it doesn’t come with as many features (more on this later). NordVPN and Mullvad have 30-day money-back guarantees, so you can try them risk-free. With NordVPN, this is available regardless of the subscription you choose.

Best Deal for NordVPNPay just $6.99 a month ($167.76 total) when you choose the NordVPN Ultimate 2-year subscription plan, a discount of 64 percent.

Best Deal for MullvadThere’s only one! Mullvad has a flat monthly rate of €5 ($5.43).

NordVPN vs Mullvad features

Simultaneous connectionsUp to six

Up to five
Operating system appsWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire TVWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux
Manual install devicesSelect routersSelect routers
Split tunnelingYes (Windows, Android, Android TV, browser extensions)Yes (Windows and Mac)
Free extrasAd and tracker blocker, Malware protection, Specialty servers (P2P, obfuscated, Double VPN, Onion Over VPN), Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browser extensionsPrivacy-focused browser, Firefox browser extension, MultiHop servers (Bridge)

NordVPN comes out on top when it comes to features. Regardless of the subscription plan you choose, you’ll have access to a number of very useful security features such as an ad and tracker blocker and malware protection.

NordVPN lets you connect to specialty servers. Some are optimized for P2P file-sharing, while others provide an extra layer of security (Double VPN and Onion Over VPN). For bypassing strict internet censorship, you can use one of NordVPN’s obfuscated servers. Mullvad also provides MultiHop (Double VPN) servers.

Although Mullvad doesn’t provide quite as many additional security features (though it’s no less secure), it does have its own browser. It partnered with the Tor Project to create a free and open source browser that helps limit tracking.

Both NordVPN and Mullvad offer split tunneling on multiple operating systems. This allows you to choose which apps can bypass the VPN connection. NordVPN browser extensions even let you exclude specific URLs from the VPN.

Whether you choose NordVPN or Mullvad, you’ll have access to apps for desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and mobile (Android and iOS). NordVPN also makes an app for Amazon Fire TV, as well as browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Mullvad makes a Firefox browser extension, but it’s still in beta as of time of writing.

Some VPNs allow more simultaneous connections than NordVPN (six) and Mullvad (five). However, they’re likely enough for most people’s needs, unless you’re planning on sharing your VPN subscription with other people.

Streaming capabilities

NetflixYes, multiple libraries including the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and Japan.Yes
Amazon Prime VideoYes

BBC iPlayerYesNo
HBO MaxYesNo
Sky Go
YouTube TV

If you’re primarily looking for a VPN for streaming, know that although Mullvad was the fastest of the two VPNs in our most recent speed tests (more on that further below in this post). NordVPN is by far the strongest at bypassing geographic restrictions. We tested it with some of the most popular streaming platforms around, and it made light work of everything we threw at it.

Streaming services typically restrict access to their content in order to protect copyright and licensing agreements. A VPN lets you change your IP address, spoof your location, and bypass geo-blocking on those services. NordVPN works particularly well with Netflix and is able to securely access many different libraries including the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and Japan.

NordVPN consistently works with the likes of Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu too. Although DAZN has particularly tough VPN blocking in place, NordVPN worked with multiple country versions of the sports streaming platform.

Mullvad worked with Netflix (the US library) and Amazon Prime Video, but it struggled to bypass most other restrictions.

Evading VPN censorship (China)

NordVPN is the best VPN for China and has consistently found ways to bypass the Great Firewall. This isn’t always guaranteed, however. Online censorship is something of a fluid situation and what might work one day may fail the next. The Great Firewall uses a variety of methods to censor the internet and this includes IP blocking and URL filtering.

Nevertheless, you should be able to use NordVPN in China by connecting to a server in another country to change your IP address. If this doesn’t work, you can try NordVPN’s obfuscated servers, which disguise VPN traffic as regular web traffic by making encrypted data look unencrypted.

Mullvad is hit-and-miss when it comes to China, although that is still better than many other VPNs which fail to work at all. Although Mullvad failed to work in China in our latest tests, Mullvad’s customer support claims it should work, provided you’re using a desktop computer and the Bridge (MultiHop) feature. Based on experiences of Mullvad users online, some have had success with the VPN when in China.

Setup and interface

Automatic setup wizardWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
Main location selectionList-based / map-basedList-based
Extra settings page

Setup with NordVPN and Mullvad is very simple. Both apps come with an automatic setup wizard. Downloading and installing either VPN doesn’t take more than a minute or two. One key difference is that with Mullvad doesn’t require you to provide an email address. Instead, you’re assigned a random account number, which is the only identifier for using the service. Just be sure not to lose it!

The appearance of the two VPNs’ apps couldn’t be more different. Mullvad has a very simple, functional design. Its focus is clearly on security and privacy before everything else and that’s no bad thing. You’ll find a list of servers with a dropdown list of available cities under each country. Unfortunately, there’s no way to see server ping or capacity. Mullvad recently introduced the option to create custom lists for specific servers.

Changing your settings in Mullvad is as simple as toggling a button. Clicking on the “i” icon next to a feature provides information about it, which is particularly useful if you’re not familiar with VPNs and their various options.

NordVPN’s apps are just a lot busier. This is a VPN with a lot of features and it arguably struggles to squeeze them all in. You do have flexibility regarding how you find a server; it provides both a list and map.

NordVPN’s settings page is nicely broken down into manageable sections such as General, Kill Switch, and Appearance. However, I found that overall, I much preferred the more stripped back design of Mullvad. Of course, it won’t be for everyone and some will have greater appreciation for NordVPN’s many options within its apps.

Servers and performance

Server countries6040
Total number of servers6,000+600+
Server speed300 Mbps390 Mbps

NordVPN has by far the biggest server network of these two VPNs with more than 6,000 servers in just over 60 countries. Mullvad’s server network is very small in comparison at little more than 600 servers covering 40 countries. However, it should be said that these two networks are proportionate to the number of users served. NordVPN is a far bigger service and thus requires more servers to meet the demands of its subscribers.

As such, the total number of servers is unlikely to be an issue. Both VPN services have plenty of low load, low ping servers. Where you might take issue with Mullvad is the fact that its network covers 20 fewer countries. So if you do need to connect to a location such as ArgentinaThailandTurkey, or the United Arab Emirates, NordVPN is what you’ll need. Of course, both VPNs have servers in all of the most popular locations including the US, UK, and Japan.

These are two of the best performing VPNs you can get. Both make our list of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested. Whether you’re wanting to use your VPN for streaming, torrenting, online gaming, or video calling, the fast, unthrottled connections allow you to do so without performance issues. Of course, the closer the server to your actual location, the faster the speeds are likely to be.

Mullvad posted the faster speeds (390 Mbps average) in our latest tests, but keep in mind that this fluctuates on a regular basis and NordVPN (300 Mbps) could easily be on top next time.

Country list

Here’s the full list of countries in which NordVPN and Mullvad offer servers:

Bosnia & Herzegovina
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Hong Kong
New Zealand
North Macedonia
Puerto Rico
South Africa
South Korea
Sri Lanka
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States


VPN protocolsNordLynx, OpenVPNWireGuard, OpenVPN
OpenVPN data encryption256-bit AES256-bit AES
OpenVPN control channel encryptionRSA-4096RSA-4096
Cloaking technologyYesYes
App securityYesYes
DNS statusYesYes

NordVPN and Mullvad offer equally impressive security, starting with their use of 256-bit AES encryption to secure your data (if you use WireGuard on Mullvad, you’ll have ChaCha20 encryption) and 4096-bit RSA keys. This is as secure as a VPN can get so they’re both excellent in this respect. Both VPNs protect your connection from DNS leaks.

NordVPN defaults to its proprietary protocol called NordLynx. This is built around the WireGuard protocol. Mullvad defaults to WireGuard. Whether you’re using NordVPN’s NordLynx or WireGuard with Mullvad, you can expect fast speeds. Both VPN providers also offer OpenVPN.

Another important feature in both VPNs is the kill switch. Should the VPN connection drop unexpectedly, your data won’t be exposed because the VPN cuts your internet traffic in response. This feature can be found on NordVPN’s Windows, Mac, and iOS apps and all of Mullvad’s apps. In the case of Mullvad, the kill switch can’t be turned off.


Connection logsNoNo
Activity logsNoNo
User details for signupEmail addressNo
Anonymous payment optionsCryptocurrency, NordVPN subscription box (with cash)Cash, Cryptocurrency

NordVPN is headquartered in Panama where there are no data retention laws. It maintains a no-logs policy. It doesn’t keep any logs by which you can be identified, making it a secure choice for browsing the web anonymously. However, NordVPN does keep some information such as device identifiers and usernames and timestamps of the last session. This isn’t ideal but it’s worth pointing out that NordVPN regularly subjects its no-logs policy to independent audits.

Although Mullvad operates out of Sweden, which is a member of the 14 Eyes intelligence alliance, it doesn’t keep any logs. As such, there’s nothing of substance for Mullvad to provide, even if requested by authorities. Mullvad has a very transparent privacy policy and, unlike NordVPN, it doesn’t log your last session’s timestamp. Mullvad has also had its no-logs policy audited.

When signing up with NordVPN, you need to provide an email address for setting up and accessing your account. Most VPN providers have such a requirement, but Mullvad is one of the few that doesn’t. Instead, it provides you with a random account number that lets you connect to the VPN. No personal data is required. When you combine this with an anonymous payment option, you can sign up with Mullvad completely anonymously.

Both VPNs accept payment in cryptocurrency. Not all cryptocurrencies are anonymous, however (Bitcoin included). Mullvad provides the most anonymous option in Monero. Mullvad also offers the option for you to pay in cash (post it along with your payment token). NordVPN doesn’t accept cash but does offer a subscription box. Provided you can purchase it in cash at one of the stores that offers it, you’ll have an option to sign up anonymously (just be sure to use a throwaway email account as well).


Address allocationSharedShared
Dedicated/static IP address possibleYesNo
DDoS protectionNoNo
NAT firewallYesYes

You can expect shared address allocation when you use NordVPN or Mullvad. When you connect to a server, you’re assigned an IP address that’s shared with other users on that server. This is advantageous for your privacy because the online activity of users under that IP address are all mixed and can’t be tied to individuals as easily.

Regardless, NordVPN still provides the option for you to get a Dedicated IP address. This is an unchanging IP address that’s only assigned to you. The benefit of this is you can bypass blacklists as well as those annoying CAPTCHAs. A dedicated IP address from NordVPN costs an extra $4.19 a month. You can choose from locations including the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

NordVPN and Mullvad don’t offer specific DDoS protection but you’ll be protected from DDoS attacks just by using one anyway. This is due to the fact that a VPN changes your IP address (and hides your actual one) so that even if you were targeted, it would be the VPN server that absorbs the attack. You can then simply switch servers to change your IP address again.

Customer service

Live chatYesNo
Ticket supportYesYes
Email supportYesYes
Phone supportNoNo
Average email response time10 hours1 hour 50 minutes
Searchable knowledge baseYesYes
Video guidesYesNo

Of the two VPNs, only NordVPN offers live chat (this is available 24 hours a day), although both provide email support as well as searchable knowledge bases complete with step-by-step setup guides, screenshots, and FAQs. NordVPN has a very active YouTube channel with setup tutorials as well as details of new features and special offers.

Live chat provided by most VPNs tends to be very fast, but replies to emails can vary considerably. With this in mind, I sent both NordVPN and Mullvad three emails. These were sent on different days and at different times of day to get a better understanding of when they might be busier or have fewer support representatives available.

Perhaps NordVPN’s popularity has put too much strain on its support but its average response time wasn’t particularly impressive at just over 10 hours. On the plus side, replies were detailed and relevant to the questions I asked. In contrast, Mullvad had an average response time of just 1 hour and 50 minutes which is among the fastest of the many VPNs I’ve tested. Again, replies were well thought out and often included helpful links with further relevant information.

QuestionResponse timeNumber of emailsQuestion answered
Can I use your VPN to stream content from other countries, like Netflix USA?8 hours1Yes
How does your VPN perform in China, a country with strict internet censorship?6 hours and 15 minutes1Yes
In the event of a legal request for user information, what is your protocol?17 hours1Yes

QuestionResponse timeNumber of emailsQuestion answered
Can I use your VPN to stream content from other countries, like Netflix USA?3.5 hours1Yes
How does your VPN perform in China, a country with strict internet censorship?1 hour 30 minutes1Yes
In the event of a legal request for user information, what is your protocol?30 minutes1Yes

The Winner: NordVPN

There’s a lot to like about Mullvad. It offers very fast server speeds but, unlike some VPNs which focus more on performance, is also one of the most privacy-respecting VPNs available. It’s unique that you can sign up for Mullvad without having to provide an email address (and you can even pay anonymously in cash if you like). The customer support is very good as well.

Although we’re impressed by much of what Mullvad has to offer, NordVPN is our overall winnerLike Mullvad, it has high-speed connections but is also a much stronger unblocker of content, popular streaming services included. With NordVPN, you’ll also have access to more servers in more locations. Overall, we just feel that NordVPN provides a greater degree of flexibility, allowing you to do more, be it bypass content blocks or stream Netflix from abroad.

If you like what you’ve read about NordVPN, know that it includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can try its service out risk-free and, if at all unsatisfied, request a full refund with no questions asked.

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VPN testing methodology: How we compared NordVPN and Mullvad

When assessing VPNs, it’s important to have a strong yet transparent methodology. We focus on a comprehensive set of criteria designed to evaluate each VPN in key areas including performance, security, and value for money. Below, we go into the specifics of our testing methodology and how it provided a foundation for comparing NordVPN and Mullvad.

  • Server network: You might need to connect to a server in a specific country. This may be your current country to experience the fastest speeds, or in your home country to bypass geo-blocking while traveling abroad. Whatever the case, we compare the server networks of both VPNs, providing a full list of server locations covered.
  • Server speed: Speed may not matter quite as much for general browsing but if you plan on using your VPN for streaming, online gaming, torrenting, or video calling, you’ll need a fast, unthrottled connection. Our speed tests help us identify the fastest VPNs. These always offer unlimited bandwidth and more often than not use the WireGuard protocol.
  • Unblocking: You’ll likely come across content that’s region-locked, particularly when you travel overseas. This is often the case with streaming services which is why we tested both VPNs against a variety of them. Some VPNs are much better than others in this respect, as you’ll find with NordVPN and Mullvad (NordVPN proved more reliable).
  • Security: When looking at a VPN’s security, we take into account the type of encryption it uses, as well as whether it properly protects you from leaks (we test for DNS leaks to be sure of this). However, we also like to see if there are any extra security features such as Double VPN servers or an ad blocker. This helps separate some VPNs from others.
  • Privacy: If either NordVPN or Mullvad kept identifying logs (they don’t!), they’d automatically lose this contest. We’ve looked at 140 VPN logging policies and only recommend those that operate no-logs policies. We also take into account where they’re headquartered and whether they offer any anonymous payment options.
  • Ease of use: We know that this may be your first time using a VPN. With this in mind, we download and test VPN apps for ourselves. That way, we can get an idea of how quick and easy it is to connect to a server or configure your settings. In fact, we’ll even test their customer support by sending out emails and measuring response times.
  • Value for money: You can find a breakdown of the subscription plans of NordVPN and Mullvad. This combined with other key information such as server speed and security features helps provide a full picture of each VPN and whether they provide good value for money. You can even get a better deal with the discount coupons provided.

You can find out more about our process in our VPN testing methodology post. This further details our various tests including those related to server speeds and DNS leaks.

NordVPN vs Mullvad FAQs

What are the main differences between NordVPN and Mullvad?

Although NordVPN and Mullvad have a number of similarities (their fast server speeds being one of them), they differ in multiple ways. In particular, NordVPN has a much larger server network (6,000 to the 600 of Mullvad). NordVPN is also a stronger unblocker of streaming services. However, Mullvad doesn’t require an email address for signup, accepts cash, and offers a flat monthly rate that is cheaper than most of NordVPN’s subscription options.

Which is faster: NordVPN or Mullvad?

As of our most recent speed tests, Mullvad is the faster of the two VPNs. It averaged 390 Mbps compared to NordVPN’s 300 Mbps. Regardless, the two VPNs comfortably rank among the fastest VPNs we’ve tested, making them ideal for streaming as well as torrenting.

VPN server speeds are constantly changing (and NordVPN could well come out on top next time). Factors include your base internet speed, the VPN protocol you use, and the distance between the VPN server and your physical location. As such, the speeds you experience with NordVPN or Mullvad may vary.

Can I use NordVPN or Mullvad to access geo-restricted content?

Yes, you can use NordVPN and Mullvad to change your IP address and spoof your location. This allows you to bypass geographic restrictions on content. Some websites, particularly streaming platforms, blacklist known VPN IP addresses. We found that NordVPN is much more capable of bypassing blocking from streaming services. If that’s primarily why you want a VPN (if you often travel abroad for example), then NordVPN is your best bet.

See also: