In the digital world, selecting the right VPN service can make all the difference between secure browsing and compromised privacy. With numerous options available, it can be challenging to determine which VPN provider best meets your needs. So how do ExpressVPN and Mullvad compare in the world of VPNs?
In this comprehensive Mullvad vs ExpressVPN comparison, we put both VPNs through head-to-head tests, examining their features, performance, and value for money to help you make an informed decision. We posted all Mullvad and ExpressVPN test results below with screenshots.
|Location||British Virgin Islands||Sweden|
|Logs||No Logs (audited)||No Logs (audited)|
|Torrenting||All servers||All servers|
|Support||24/7 live chat; email; knowledge base||Email; knowledge base|
|Apps for||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, Smart TVs, Firestick||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Price||$6.67 (with coupon)||$5.44|
|Coupon||49% Off + 3 Months Free >||N/A|
We will be comparing the two contenders based on the following twelve categories:
- VPN Apps and Device Compatibility
- Speed and Performance
- Feature Sets
- Server Networks
- Security Features and Privacy Policies
- Logging and Audits
- Streaming and Unblocking Capabilities
- Torrenting Support
- Pricing and Plans
- Customer Support
VPN Apps and Device Compatibility: ExpressVPN vs Mullvad
When it comes to device compatibility, ExpressVPN and Mullvad VPN offer different levels of support.
|Apps||Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android||Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android|
|Browsers||Chrome, Firefox, Edge||N/A|
|Other||Android TV, Fire TV, Gaming systems, Aircove and other Routers, and more||N/A|
ExpressVPN is a premium VPN solution that supports a wide variety of platforms and devices, as you can see in the table above. ExpressVPN’s user-friendly apps are consistent across almost all platforms, ensuring a seamless experience for users. Here is their Windows desktop app:
This means that whether you’re looking for the best VPN for Android, your Windows laptop, your macOS desktop, or even your web browser, you can expect the same high-quality user interface and easy-to-navigate settings. We’ve already seen ExpressVPN’s Windows app. Here’s the browser extension that we tested out for this report.
All of the ExpressVPN apps performed well in our tests by quickly connecting to a VPN server and also delivering fast and consistent speeds. This consistency is a testament to ExpressVPN’s commitment to providing a top-notch user experience, regardless of the device or operating system.
The one big exception to the rule is ExpressVPN’s command-line Linux app. If a graphical user interface for Linux is important to you, Mullvad has something you might like. You could also check out Surfshark in our guide to the best VPNs for Linux.
Additionally, ExpressVPN offers a smart DNS feature called MediaStreamer, which enables users to unblock content on devices that do not support VPNs, such as gaming consoles, and smart TVs. They also have an app if you want to use a VPN for Firestick.
Mullvad VPN offers functional apps for major platforms like Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and Linux. Their apps have a clean look and are similar across all the devices they support. Take their Windows VPN app for example:
Interestingly, Mullvad VPN offers a full graphic interface for Linux, instead of the command line interface ExpressVPN supports. While Mullvad provides strong apps for the things it supports, the service lacks the extensive range of device support found in ExpressVPN. Mullvad does provide configuration files to use if the device you are interested in has its own WireGuard or OpenVPN client.
But setting up VPN clients manually can get pretty technical. You might find it challenging to set up Mullvad VPN on devices like gaming consoles and smart TVs. Keep that in mind if you need VPN for streaming or gaming.
|# of simultaneous connections||8||5|
ExpressVPN allows up to 8 simultaneous connections and Mullvad VPN offers up to 5 simultaneous connections. While you can install the VPN apps on as many devices as you wish, you can only secure that number of devices at any one time.
Note: If you need more connections than these services provide, you might want to check out our Surfshark VPN review. Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections.
VPN apps and device compatibility winner: ExpressVPN
Mullvad vs ExpressVPN speed tests and performance
Speed and performance are crucial factors when choosing a VPN, as they can impact your overall online experience. ExpressVPN and Mullvad VPN both offer reliable connections and reasonable speeds, with ExpressVPN consistently delivering quicker connections across its server network.
In testing ExpressVPN over the years, we’ve found it to deliver fast connection speeds and reliable performance across its server network, even with remote locations. Therefore you can expect minimal impact on upload and download speeds, allowing for smooth streaming and browsing.
Mullvad VPN, while offering decent speeds and performance, may not always be as fast as ExpressVPN, particularly in locations with increased latency. However, for users who prioritize privacy and security over speed, Mullvad VPN still provides a satisfactory service.
Here are the results of our speed tests pitting ExpressVPN vs Mullvad VPN when connecting to various locations in the US and elsewhere. All speed tests were performed with the fastest available protocol, connecting from our US facility on a 1,000 Mbps test machine, using the official Mullvad and ExpressVPN apps.
ExpressVPN connecting to a server in Seattle: 329 Mbps
Mullvad VPN connecting to a server in Seattle: 384 Mbps
With the Seattle server, we see that Mullvad had a slight advantage over ExpressVPN with download speeds. Let’s see if this holds true for other locations.
ExpressVPN connecting to a server in Los Angeles: 296 Mbps
Mullvad VPN connecting to a server in Los Angeles: 125 Mbps
With the Los Angeles server location, we found that ExpressVPN outperformed Mullvad VPN with server speeds that were nearly double the throughput of Mullvad.
ExpressVPN connecting to a server in New York: 270 Mbps
Mullvad VPN connecting to a server in New York: 87 Mbps
ExpressVPN connecting to a server in the UK: 246 Mbps
Mullvad VPN connecting to a server in the UK: 62 Mbps
Based on all of our speed tests, ExpressVPN is generally faster than Mullvad VPN, and it also gives much more consistent and reliable speeds. This table summarizes the results:
|Seattle||329 Mbps||384 Mbps|
|Los Angeles||296 Mbps||125 Mbps|
|New York||270 Mbps||87 Mbps|
|United Kingdom||246 Mbps||62 Mbps|
While neither of these VPNs is slow, ExpressVPN gives you a clear advantage with performance. It’s also important to note that these providers offer different VPN protocols that may affect speeds. While ExpressVPN relies on the Lightway protocol to deliver the fastest speeds, Mullvad uses the WireGuard VPN protocol.
Speed and performance winner: ExpressVPN
Note: If you are looking for the fastest VPN you can get your hands on, check out our guide to the fastest VPN services. The top performer was
ExpressVPN vs Mullvad features comparison
|Logs||No logs (audited)||No logs (audited)|
|Multiple VPN protocols||Yes||Yes|
|Built-in ad blocking||Yes||Yes|
A key aspect of any VPN comparison is the range of features offered by each provider. We’ll compare the unique offerings and advantages provided by ExpressVPN and Mullvad VPN, highlighting aspects from advanced security features to split tunneling.
ExpressVPN sets itself apart with a robust suite of features, including:
- VPN split tunneling that controls which traffic passes through the VPN tunnel
- TrustedServer technology – RAM-only servers for additional security
- Network Lock VPN kill switch to keep your data from being exposed if the VPN connection fails
- Private DNS
- No activity or connection logs as confirmed by third-party audits
- Built-in ad blocking with Threat Manager feature
It also supports multiple VPN protocols and offers browser extensions for secure web browsing. These features make ExpressVPN a versatile and secure choice for users seeking advanced security and customization options.
Mullvad VPN’s focus lies primarily on privacy and security. A recent upgrade is the transition to RAM-disk servers, which provide enhanced privacy by ensuring no data can be stored on a VPN server. In addition, Mullvad offers:
- A VPN ad blocker to keep your browsing experience secure and private
- Anonymous account creation for enhanced privacy in this world of endless data hacks.
- Unique payment options like cash can be sent through the post with a generated account number.
In comparison to Mullvad VPN, ExpressVPN also supports cryptocurrency for buying subscriptions, and this is a private payment method. Additionally, you can use a temporary burner email if you don’t to link your account to your primary email address. There are also secure email options that work well for this purpose.
While lacking some of the advanced features found in ExpressVPN, Mullvad VPN’s commitment to privacy and security is commendable.
Feature sets winner: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN and Mullvad server network comparison
A VPN’s server network plays a crucial role in the overall user experience, including aspects like connection speed, reliability, and access to geo-restricted content.
|Unique features||RAM-disk servers||RAM-disk servers|
ExpressVPN boasts an impressive server network, with over 3,000 servers in 94 countries. This is on par with Surfshark and CyberGhost. Its servers are RAM-only, ensuring that all data is deleted upon each restart, prioritizing user privacy, just like we see with NordVPN and Surfshark. With a wide range of locations and a reputation for reliable connections, ExpressVPN stands out in terms of server network quality. You can see other ways in which ExpressVPN compares to CyberGhost in our CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN comparison article.
Mullvad VPN, on the other hand, has a smaller server network, with 650+ servers in 39 countries. Mullvad’s network provides decent coverage and now includes RAM-disk servers.
Based on our tests and analysis, we are concerned with the relatively small size and limited geographic distribution of the Mullvad VPN server network. Smaller networks often have problems circumventing geo-restrictions, which prevents them from giving you access to much of the world’s streaming content and other media.
Unfortunately, Mullvad also suffers from these types of small network problems. In addition to problems with streaming which we will discuss later, we ran into an inordinate number of CAPTCHAs while testing Mullvad VPN. A small server network increases the odds that multiple people will be connecting to the same destination from the same VPN server IP address. This kind of activity often triggers CAPTCHA authentications when you browse the web.
Server networks winner: ExpressVPN
Security Features and Privacy Policies
When it comes to online privacy, security features, and privacy policies are of utmost importance. Both ExpressVPN and Mullvad VPN offer strong encryption and no-logs policies to protect user data.
|Ciphers||AES-256, ChaCha20||AES-256, ChaCha20|
|VPN Protocols||OpenVPN, Lightway||OpenVPN, WireGuard|
|Ad and Malware Blocker||Yes||Yes|
In terms of security, both ExpressVPN and Mullvad VPN are tough contenders. ExpressVPN supports both the OpenVPN protocol with AES-256 encryption and the Lightway protocol with ChaCha20 encryption, both of which are considered extremely secure. It also offers split tunneling, private DNS with leak protection, the Network Lock kill switch, and Threat Manager, a DNS blocker that protects you from ads, trackers, and malicious websites.
On the flip side, Mullvad VPN supports the OpenVPN protocol with AES-256 encryption and the WireGuard protocol with ChaCha20 encryption. You also get private DNS with leak protection, built-in kill switches, an ad and tracker blocker, and split tunneling. The Mullvad split tunneling feature is one of their strengths, giving you the ability to easily select which apps will be excluded from the VPN tunnel.
When it comes to privacy, both VPNs stand tall. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, a country known for strong privacy laws. The VPN service has a strict no-logs policy that has been audited by third parties multiple times. Their privacy was confirmed back in 2017 when a hostile country seized one of their servers but could find no personal information on it. This is discussed in our no logs VPN guide.
Mullvad VPN is based in Sweden and also has an audited no-logs policy. However, they go a step further. Mullvad operates on the principle of full anonymity. It allows you to sign up using a randomly-generated account number, and pay for your subscription using cash or Bitcoin. While both VPNs offer strong privacy protections, Mullvad’s unique approach to anonymity is a plus for those who value extreme privacy.
Note: Sweden is a member of the 14 Eyes intelligence alliance, which introduces the possibility that Mullvad VPN could be pressured by the government to turn over user data despite their corporate policies. But thanks to their audited no-logs policy, even under government pressure, Mullvad would have no logs to hand over to anyone.
Security features and privacy policies winner: Tied
Logging and Audits
|No-Logs||Audited (KPMG, Cure53)||Audited (Assured AB)|
A VPN’s commitment to user privacy can be further evaluated through its logging policies and third-party audits. ExpressVPN and Mullvad VPN have both undergone independent audits to verify their privacy claims, showcasing their dedication to user privacy.
ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy ensures that your browsing data, DNS queries, or any identifiable personal information are not collected or stored. This policy has been verified through rigorous audits conducted by reputable independent firms including KPMG, Cure53, and PwC, reinforcing our faith in ExpressVPN’s privacy claims. In fact, ExpressVPN is on our list of the best no logs VPNs.
Mullvad VPN also maintains a no-logs policy, ensuring that user activity and connection data are not stored. Their policy has been audited by Assured AB, strengthening their privacy claims as well.
Logging and Audits winner: Tied
|Jurisdiction||British virgin Islands (BVI)||British Virgin Islands (BVI)|
ExpressVPN’s home jurisdiction is the British Virgin Islands, a location known for its strong privacy laws. This location is outside the jurisdiction of any known intelligence alliances. Additionally, the British Virgin Islands has no mandatory data retention laws, allowing ExpressVPN to maintain its strict no-logs policy.
Mullvad VPN’s home jurisdiction is Sweden, a Scandinavian country known for its strong commitment to internet freedom and privacy. This country, recognized worldwide for its democratic values, provides a safe and secure environment for VPN providers.
Streaming and Unblocking Capabilities
Unblocking geo-restricted content on streaming platforms is a major use of VPN services. In this section, we compare the streaming and unblocking capabilities of ExpressVPN against Mullvad VPN.
|Streaming Service||ExpressVPN||Mullvad VPN|
|Other leading streaming services||Yes||?|
ExpressVPN is widely known for its ability to unblock geo-restricted content on Netflix and other streaming platforms. We have found it to be one of the best services for this, providing access to all the leading platforms. There was a time when ExpressVPN had problems streaming BBC iPlayer. But as you can see below, those problems are in the past:
Thanks to the faster connection speeds and better reliability ExpressVPN has gained with the Lightway VPN protocol, it remains one of the best VPNs for streaming, ensuring that users can enjoy streaming from around the world without interruptions or buffering.
ExpressVPN is also one of the best VPNs for Netflix. In our own tests, ExpressVPN consistently unblocks numerous Netflix regions around the world. We also found it to be a great VPN for Amazon Prime and also Hulu streaming.
Mullvad VPN, in contrast, struggles with unblocking popular streaming services but may work with some regional TV channels and YouTube. We consistently ran into problems trying to stream Netflix, as you can see here:
We had the same kind of trouble streaming BBC iPlayer and decided to call it quits there. While you may be able to stream content from certain sources, it is clear to us that Mullvad VPN is not one of the better services for streaming and unblocking content.
Streaming and unblocking capabilities winner: ExpressVPN
Torrenting and other P2P transfers are another major use case for VPNs.
|Large Server Network||Yes||No|
|Free from IP Address Leaks||Yes||Yes|
|Anonymous Account Creation||No||Yes|
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for torrenting. It offers fast and reliable speeds with its Lightway protocol, ensuring smooth and uninterrupted downloads. Its strong security features provide excellent protection and privacy while torrenting. Additionally, ExpressVPN’s large network of servers makes it easy to download content from different regions without restrictions.
Mullvad VPN is also a good VPN for torrenting. It too offers strong security and privacy protections, making it an ideal choice for P2P file sharing. While Mullvad VPN is somewhat slower than ExpressVPN, its anonymous account creation process provides superb privacy.
In conclusion, if fast speeds and unrestricted torrenting are your priorities, ExpressVPN might be a better choice. However, if privacy and anonymity are of utmost importance to you, Mullvad VPN is also a viable option.
Torrenting support winner: Tied
ExpressVPN vs Mullvad prices and subscription plans
|Subscription Length||Mullvad VPN||ExpressVPN|
|Coupon:||N/A||49% Off Coupon|
ExpressVPN offers a range of subscription plans. You will get the best price by subscribing to the annual plan using our discount coupon. That will get you a price of $6.67 per month, which includes a 49% discount and 3 free months.
Even when we apply our discount to ExpressVPN’s 12-month plan, this service is still significantly more expensive than Mullvad VPN. On this front, you will have to decide if the additional value offered by ExpressVPN is worth the additional cost (see the value section below for more on this).
Mullvad VPN offers simple flat-rate pricing of €5 per month, which comes out to about $5.44/month USD. There are no options, no free months, and no discounts for longer subscriptions. Just a simple $5.44 per month. While this price is significantly higher than the discounted prices offered by services like NordVPN and Surfshark, it is a better price than even ExpressVPN’s best discount.
Note: If you want a cheap VPN service, there are better options to consider. See our Surfshark vs Mullvad VPN comparison for one example. There are also some VPNs with a free trial to consider as well.
Pricing and plans winner: Mullvad VPN
|Support Options||24/7 live chat, email, Knowledge Base||Email, social media, online guides, blogs|
ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat support, email assistance, and a comprehensive knowledge base. Mullvad VPN lacks 24/7 live chat support and relies on email and social media for customer assistance. However, it does offer online guides and blogs for user reference.
We consider 24/7 live chat support to be crucial. Imagine missing the big game or an episode of your favorite soap opera because you spent hours or days waiting for an email from your VPN service’s support staff.
Customer support winner: ExpressVPN
Value: Is ExpressVPN or Mullvad best?
A VPN’s value to you can be complicated to figure out. All things being equal, a lower price means a greater value. But all things are never equal. Each VPN delivers a different combination of performance and features, making a simple price comparison of little use. And of course, what you plan to use a VPN for enters into the calculation too. For example, Mullvad VPN costs less but is really bad at streaming, while ExpressVPN costs more but is really good at streaming. Only you can decide which is the best value for you.
What we can do in this section is look at things from the perspective of a typical VPN user. In that situation, ExpressVPN with more server locations, faster connections, great streaming performance, and support for more devices is a better value even at its higher price.
Value winner: ExpressVPN
Conclusion: ExpressVPN wins
In conclusion, both ExpressVPN and Mullvad VPN offer different advantages and disadvantages. They really cater to different user needs.
ExpressVPN excels in areas such as device compatibility, speed and performance, server network, and unblocking capabilities, making it an ideal choice for users seeking a feature-rich and reliable VPN solution.
Mullvad VPN prioritizes privacy and security over everything else while offering lower prices than ExpressVPN. Ultimately, the choice between ExpressVPN and Mullvad VPN will depend on your specific requirements and priorities. We recommend you return to the individual sections of this comparison to see which of these VPNs is better for your specific needs.
To help you in this endeavor, here are the winners in each of the categories we examined during this comparison:
|VPN Apps and Device Compatibility||ExpressVPN|
|Speed and Performance||ExpressVPN|
|Security Features and Privacy Policies||Tie|
|Logging and Audits||Tie|
|Streaming and Unblocking Capabilities||ExpressVPN|
|Pricing and Plans||Mullvad VPN|
If you would like to try ExpressVPN, you can get the best possible deal using our exclusive discount coupon:
If instead, you would like to try Mullvad VPN click the button below to get started:
But don’t limit yourself to just these two options.
We have a range of other recommended VPNs in our best VPN list here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a better VPN than ExpressVPN?
NordVPN appears to be a better option than ExpressVPN as it offers faster speeds for torrenting, more control over your security setup, and superior unblocking ability. It is also almost as fast and has more servers to choose from than ExpressVPN. Learn more in the NordVPN vs Mullvad comparison.
Which VPN is better for unblocking streaming services like Netflix, ExpressVPN, or Mullvad VPN?
ExpressVPN is the better choice for unblocking streaming services like Netflix, offering fast speeds and a wide range of server locations for an uninterrupted streaming experience.
Are both ExpressVPN and Mullvad VPN suitable for torrenting?
Yes, both ExpressVPN and Mullvad VPN are suitable for torrenting, providing reliable security and privacy while engaging in anonymous P2P activities.
This ExpressVPN vs Mullvad VPN comparison was last updated on December 4, 2023.