The Mullvad VPN, or virtual private network, for Android offers an affordable and secure way to guard your privacy and keep your Internet communications private and encrypted over an open network.
Account privacy: To get going, you generate an account number that you and Mullvad use to identify your account. You don't need to provide any other identifying information. While you can pay for Mullvad's VPN service by credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin Cash, or other electronic method, the company also goes old school and accepts cash if you're concerned about keeping the transaction private. Stick your hard currency and account number, written on a piece of paper, in an envelope and mail it off to an address in Sweden, if you want to pay anonymously. The independent testing site That One Privacy Site also gives Mullvad top marks for being one of the best VPNs for protecting your privacy.
Using a VPN is no guarantee that your Internet activities will be hidden or that you will stay anonymous online. There are lots of shady VPN providers that overpromise and underprotect. But a trustworthy VPN can secure your communications over a public network by creating a private and encrypted end-to-end connection, can let you bypass geoblocking, and help you dodge Internet filtering and censorship.
Encrypted and secure: Besides using OpenVPN to create a private network, Mullvad uses the industry-standard AES-256 for data encryption.
Recommended client is open source: Mullvad recommends you use the OpenVPN Android app to connect to its VPN services. The app is based on the OpenVPN 2.x source code and developed by Arne Schwabe.
No logs: Mullvad said it logs nothing that can be connected to a numbered account's activity to ensure privacy. It does monitor total number of current connections, CPU load, and total bandwidth used per server.
Affordable: Mullvad gives you three free hours to see if you like its service and then charges you 5 Euro, or about $6, a month for unlimited data. While you can set up Mullvad's service on unlimited devices, you can have just five concurrent connections at once.
Speed: During informal tests of ping and throughput on Wi-Fi and cellular connections, we found our network performance took a bit of a hit, but media still streamed with few glitches.
Locations: You can create configuration files to connect to exit nodes in nearly 30 countries, including in Europe, Asia, and North America.
Set up requires a bit of work: It's not hard -- you just need to follow a few steps -- but setting up Mullvad and the OpenVPN app takes a bit more work than just downloading an app and tapping it to create a VPN connection. In some ways, the extra steps are a cost of using a secure VPN service, and Mullvad offers clear and helpful instructions for how to set up its VPN.
Mullvad takes a few more steps to set up than some other Android VPNs do, but the benefit is you are getting a top-rated VPN that takes protecting your privacy seriously.