ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad 2024: Who Wins, Privacy Purist or Streaming Buff?

Discover why Mullvad is perfect for privacy purists who want to stay anonymous, while ExpressVPN is the go-to choice for streaming buffs.
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Best for streaming

4.6
Learn More
On ExpressVPN's website

ExpressVPN
  • Easily unblocks geo-restricted streaming content
  • Offers AES-256-GCM encryption
  • Significantly more expensive than most VPNs

Best for privacy purists

4.3
Learn More
On Mullvad's website

Mullvad
  • Displayed faster speeds and lower latency than ExpressVPN
  • Allows you to pay with cash to retain anonymity
  • Its headquarters are in a Nine Eyes alliance country

When searching for a virtual private network (VPN), there are a lot of factors to consider. If your focus is streaming content across various platforms, like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and others, then ExpressVPN should be your go-to choice. It can unblock geo-restricted content with ease, and it comes with a suite of powerful features.

On the flip side, privacy enthusiasts will appreciate Mullvad more for helping protect your anonymity if you desire true privacy. It has a strict no-logs policy that has been audited by third-party companies, and you can generate an account number without handing over your personal information, among other features. It also caters to those on a low budget with its affordable flat rate of $5.44/mo for all plans. It's a great deal, but keep in mind that its ability to unblock content across streaming services doesn't quite match ExpressVPN's capabilities.

Keep reading to learn more about ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad on features, pricing plans, streaming ability, and more.

In this article
ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad at a glance
ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: prices
ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: features
ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: internet speeds
ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: compatibility and ease of use
ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: customer service
Mullvad vs. Express FAQs
ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: Which is better?

ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad at a glance

If you are seeking a VPN that can safeguard your privacy while offering security, you may be trying to decide between ExpressVPN and Mullvad. Although both VPN solutions use military-grade encryption and offer various features that optimize your online experience, there are some key differences between them.

For one, ExpressVPN is more expensive, with a higher starting price of $6.67/mo versus Mullvad's starting price of $5.44/mo (a flat rate for all of its pricing plans). But ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat support, whereas Mullvad only accepts email inquiries during weekday office hours — a potential deal breaker if you need the assurance of available help around the clock.

  • ExpressVPN: Best for streaming
  • Mullvad: Best for privacy purists

How do ExpressVPN and Mullvad compare?

ExpressVPN
Our Pick
Mullvad
Starting price Starts at $6.67/mo Starts at $5.44/mo
Max # of connected devices 8 5
24/7 customer support
Compatibility Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, routers, smart TVs, game consoles Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux
# of servers Servers in 105 countries 669 servers in 43 countries
VPN protocol Lightway, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2 OpenVPN, WireGuard
No-logs policy No logs No logs
Unblocks Netflix? Yes (US and UK only)
Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review

Get Mullvad

Read Mullvad Review


But ExpressVPN and Mullvad also have a lot in common. At a glance, both ExpressVPN and Mullvad are VPN providers with server locations in various countries around the world, are compatible with various operating systems, support simultaneous connections for up to five devices, and have no-logs policies audited by third parties. They both support advanced security protocols, which can be appealing to privacy-conscious users.

ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: prices

ExpressVPN Mullvad
Our Pick
Price range $6.67–$12.95/mo $5.44/mo
Best value plan 12 Months + 3 Months Free for $6.67/mo 1 Month for $5.44/mo
Money-back guarantee Yes — 30 days Yes — 30 days (except for cash payments)
See Full Pricing Details See Full Pricing Details

Reviewed by Mars Groves
“[Mullvad] also caters to those on a low budget with its affordable flat rate of $5.44/mo for all plans. It's a great deal, but keep in mind that its ability to unblock content across streaming services doesn't quite match ExpressVPN's capabilities.”

ExpressVPN is costlier than Mullvad. It has a starting price of $6.67/mo, and its most expensive plan costs $12.95/mo. ExpressVPN offers subscription plans for one month, six months, and one year.

Mullvad’s pricing is competitive, only charging a flat fee of $5.44/mo for its one-month, one-year, and one-decade plans. You can try the VPN for one month for the same price a long-time subscriber pays per month.

ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all plans if you are not satisfied with its service. Mullvad also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with its service, with the exception of refunds for cash payments due to anti-money laundering regulations.

Winner: Mullvad is our obvious winner here when it comes to pricing, blowing ExpressVPN out of the water by charging only a $5.44/mo flat fee for its one-month, one-year, and one-decade plans. You can save money on a VPN by opting for Mullvad.

ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: features

Feature ExpressVPN
Our Pick
Mullvad
Number of servers Servers in 105 countries 669 servers in 43 countries
No-logs policy No logs No logs
VPN headquarters British Virgin Islands Sweden
Encryption AES-256-GCM AES-256
VPN protocol Lightway, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2 OpenVPN, WireGuard
Kill switch
Split tunneling Yes (for Windows, macOS, and Android only) Yes (for Windows, Linux, and Android only)
Netflix support Yes (US and UK only)
Torrenting support
Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review

Get Mullvad

Read Mullvad Review


ExpressVPN has a larger server presence, spanning worldwide in 105 countries, even though its exact number of servers is unknown at the time of this review. Mullvad is more forthcoming, with 669 servers stationed across 43 countries.

Both ExpressVPN and Mullvad come with standard features, like a fill switch and split tunneling. However, Mullvad’s split tunneling function is only available for Windows, Linux, and Android. ExpressVPN has split tunneling for Windows, macOS, and Android, but it is not available on macOS 11 and above.

Both services place a high value on privacy in addition to military-grade encryption for security, with strict no-logs policies in place that have been audited by independent third-party companies to protect your privacy as you engage in online activities.

Another thing to consider is the jurisdiction of their headquarters. ExpressVPN’s base is located in the British Virgin Islands, outside of any intelligence alliances, while Mullvad is headquartered in Sweden, which is part of the Nine Eyes alliance.

When it comes to VPN features, ExpressVPN boasts a robust set of protocols, including its proprietary Lightway, as well as OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2. ExpressVPN also offers more advanced security features, such as stronger encryption with AES-256-GCM, smart DNS to help you unblock geo-restricted content, static and dedicated IP addresses, and TrustedServer technology that is routinely audited and ensures VPN servers never write your data to a hard drive for your privacy.

As far as VPN protocols go, Mullvad sticks with OpenVPN and WireGuard. Additionally, it blocks both ads and trackers, while ExpressVPN only blocks trackers and malicious sites.

ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: streaming support

Platform ExpressVPN
Our Pick
Mullvad
Netflix Yes (US and UK only)
Amazon Prime Video
Hulu
BBC iPlayer Yes (UK only)
Disney+
HBO Max Yes (US only)

We found that Mullvad couldn’t unblock any of the streaming services listed in the table above while we were connected to servers in Canada and Australia. However, Mullvad could unblock content on Netflix with its U.S. and U.K. servers, HBO Max with its U.S. servers, and BBC iPlayer with its U.K. servers.

Keep in mind that streaming services are becoming more vigilant about detecting VPNs and blocking them from accessing their platforms. Sometimes, you may need to change your server location to bypass those restrictions.

ExpressVPN was capable of unblocking geo-restricted content on all of the streaming platforms we tested from VPN servers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia. We really enjoyed that ExpressVPN could access Netflix libraries from across the world. Of the two VPNs, ExpressVPN is certainly our winner when it comes to streaming.

Winner: ExpressVPN is packed with a wider range of features, offering more server locations globally, smart DNS, and stronger encryption than Mullvad while undeniably providing greater streaming support.

ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: internet speeds

We evaluated our internet speeds while using ExpressVPN and Mullvad to determine how fast their servers are in locations worldwide. Prior to our VPN testing, we obtained our baseline speed on our test device, a 2017 Macbook Pro running the latest OS version of Ventura, while based in Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Baseline speed: 280.89 Mbps download / 18.07 Mbps upload / 16 ms ping

ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad speed test results

Server location ExpressVPN Mullvad
Our Pick
US
  • Download: 64.44 Mbps
  • Upload: 14.11 Mbps
  • Download: 108.68 Mbps
  • Upload: 16.48 Mbps
Canada
  • Download: 57.75 Mbps
  • Upload: 10.81 Mbps
  • Download: 70.32 Mbps
  • Upload: 11.81 Mbps
UK
  • Download: 28.61 Mbps
  • Upload: 7.26 Mbps
  • Download: 52.22 Mbps
  • Upload: 5.57 Mbps
AU
  • Download: 48.78 Mbps
    Upload: 9.64 Mbps
  • Download: 27 Mbps
  • Upload: 13.92 Mbps
Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review

Get Mullvad

Read Mullvad Review

Mullvad is clearly the faster VPN compared to ExpressVPN, with its quicker download speeds, quicker upload speeds, and reduced latency across server locations in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

ExpressVPN, a popular VPN solution known for its fast speeds, missed its mark during our speed testing. However, it did have the upper hand in a few instances. ExpressVPN’s download speed was faster while connected to a server in Australia, and its upload speed was faster while connected to a server in the U.K.

Latency, also known as “ping,” measures the time it takes for data to travel from your device to the server and back. In simpler terms, it's the delay you experience when you click on a link and wait for the page to load.

Why does latency matter? In tasks like online gaming or streaming videos, high latency can result in lagging or buffering, which can be quite frustrating. A good VPN can help manage latency by connecting you to a faster route to your target server.

Neither ExpressVPN nor Mullvad showed unusually high latency in the tests, suggesting both are reliable choices for online gaming, streaming, or even video conference calling. Keep in mind that VPN performance can also depend on other factors like your base internet speed, server location, and network congestion.

ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad latency comparison

Server location ExpressVPN Mullvad
Our Pick
US 25 ms 21 ms
Canada 96 ms 101 ms
UK 244 ms 181 ms
AU 180 ms 243 ms 

Winner: Mullvad is our winner with its faster speeds and lower latency in most of the server regions we tested.

ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: compatibility and ease of use

ExpressVPN
Our Pick
Mullvad
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Router
Smart devices

Both ExpressVPN and Mullvad have simple and intuitive interfaces that are easy to navigate. We didn’t have any trouble finding the settings on either VPN. Both VPNs are also compatible with popular platforms such as Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux.

Additionally, both offer support for various routers. However, ExpressVPN provides a broader range of support for smart devices like smart TVs and gaming consoles. Mullvad appears to only offer support for Android TV, as stated on its website, but sadly, it does not seem to support any gaming consoles.

Winner: ExpressVPN is the winner when it comes to a broader range of compatibility and support for various platforms and devices, including smart devices and gaming consoles.

ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: customer service

ExpressVPN
Our Pick
Mullvad
24/7 live chat
Phone
Email
Support forums
Online guides

When considering customer support, ExpressVPN appears to have the upper hand. Its 24/7 live chat is a plus if you want readily available access to help with time-sensitive problems. Mullvad lacks 24/7 live chat support, and it only accepts email inquiries during weekday office hours in Central European Time. This is a significant downside when it comes to customer service.

That being said, ExpressVPN and Mullvad both offer comprehensive online guides and blogs, which are very helpful in troubleshooting common issues, setting up the VPN, and explaining their features better. We really appreciate that ExpressVPN offers instant live chat support, however, so it gets more brownie points from us.

ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: payment options

Both ExpressVPN and Mullvad offer various payment options, ranging from credit cards to PayPal to cryptocurrency. If you’re seeking more private payment options, Mullvad allows you to pay with cash by sending it in the mail with your generated account number. This helps you retain anonymity since no name or other identifying information is needed.

Keep in mind that if you do pay with cash, no refunds or money-back guarantees can be provided in order for Mullvad to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.

ExpressVPN payment options

  • Credit cards
  • PayPal
  • bitcoin
  • Other payment options, including UnionPay, IDeal, QIWI, Sofort, Giropay, SEPA, and more

Mullvad payment options

  • Credit or debit card
  • PayPal
  • Cash via mail
  • Voucher
  • Cryptocurrencies (e.g., bitcoin, bitcoin cash, Monero)
  • Other payment options, including bank wire, Swish, Giropay, Eps transfer, Bancontact, iDEAL, and Przelewy24

Winner: ExpressVPN is our winner for customer service, offering 24/7 live chat support and email. This trumps Mullvad, which only accepts email inquiries that are not responded to immediately. However, Mullvad has an edge when it comes to privacy since it allows cash as a payment method and has more cryptocurrency payment options than ExpressVPN.

Mullvad vs. Express FAQs


+

Why is Mullvad blocking my internet?

Mullvad has a built-in kill switch that automatically blocks all internet traffic if the VPN connection drops. If Mullvad VPN’s connection is interrupted, its kill switch will protect your data. To prevent your data from being exposed, make sure that your VPN is connected and that the kill switch is enabled.


+

Does ExpressVPN have P2P servers?

Yes, ExpressVPN VPN P2P support is available. ExpressVPN offers a dedicated network of P2P servers that are located in countries with stringent privacy laws and are optimized for file sharing. Additionally, ExpressVPN supports the SOCKS5 proxy that Tor uses.


+

Can Mullvad stream Netflix?

Yes, Mullvad Netflix streaming support is available, but only in the U.S. and the U.K. (based on our testing). Keep in mind that Netflix is increasingly blocking VPNs, so you may have trouble unblocking Netflix libraries. If you’re having difficulty streaming Netflix shows with Mullvad, try connecting to a different server or using another protocol.


+

Has ExpressVPN ever been hacked?

No, ExpressVPN has never been hacked. The company places a high priority on security and utilizes a number of measures to protect its users' data, such as military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and advanced tunneling protocols. Additionally, it has a strict no-logs policy that is routinely audited by an independent, third-party company.

ExpressVPN vs. Mullvad: Which is better?

When weighing ExpressVPN and Mullvad in a head-to-head comparison, ExpressVPN is the better VPN service for a few reasons. It is capable of unblocking a wide variety of geo-restricted content on multiple streaming services, has a larger network of server locations, offers more advanced security features, and provides 24/7 live chat support.

Additionally, ExpressVPN has never been hacked and adheres to its strict no-logs policy while being headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, a country outside of the Five Eyes alliances. However, its pricing can be expensive, and it has much slower speeds compared to Mullvad.

Mullvad is a great VPN choice for privacy purists with its features that help protect anonymity and its privacy-focused payment methods like cash in the mail and cryptocurrency. More importantly, Mullvad does not require any of your user information, such as your name and email, to generate an account. Instead, Mullvad lets you generate a random account number as your identifier, which is all you need to log into your account after paying for a plan.

But not all that glitters is gold. Mullvad lacks support for streaming services in multiple regions globally, has a smaller network of servers, and has no live 24/7 chat support available for those who require immediate help.

4.6
Save 49% on 12 months + 3 months free
Learn More
On ExpressVPN's website

ExpressVPN
  • Premium VPN offering strong security and ultra-fast speeds
  • Strict no-logs policy with independent audit
  • In-house Lightway protocol for more speed and security
  • More expensive than NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost
Author Details
Mars is a cybersecurity professional and writer based in California. Currently pursuing a B.S. in Cybersecurity, he serves as an Advisory Board Member for WEBGAP, specializing in browser isolation. With an interest in OSINT, ethical hacking, and threat intelligence, Mars enjoys writing security content and has experience as a Security Researcher, Cybersecurity Analyst (WEBGAP), and Editor-in-chief (Secjuice).