Connection speed – why is it so slow?

CONNECTIVITY

Last updated: 16 March 2022


There is an increased Internet home usage due to the curfews for the coronavirus Covid-19. This can affect maximum Internet speeds with or without a VPN in certain locations.

Does it feel like your connection speed isn't nearly as fast as it should be while using Mullvad? Try these methods to improve your speed.

Note: Almost all Internet providers that sell to consumers will not guarantee speeds, or if they do their bottom range is often half of what their sold speed is. For instance, Telia in Sweden says their speeds are 500-1000Mbit/s for their 1000Mbit/s connection. Bahnhof, another Swedish provider, does not have a guaranteed speed for connections over 100Mbit, but instead relies on best effort.

Using the Mullvad app

Install the latest version of Mullvad

Always use the latest version of the Mullvad VPN app. We are constantly making improvements, some of which can improve your speed.

Select the country closest to your location

If you do not select a country, the Mullvad app will default to Sweden. Click on "Switch location" in the app and choose a server that is close to your actual location. This can make your connection several times faster or slower, depending on country selected.

Switch to another city within the same country

You can select a city in the Mullvad app after you click on "Switch location" by using the down-arrow on the right side of the country.

Use a server from a different hosting provider

Mullvad servers are hosted by various providers in different data centers and your Internet provider might have better peering and speed to another provider. You can find the providers on our Servers page.

Try WireGuard protocol

WireGuard is the default protocol for Linux and MacOS, and you can select it manually in our app for Windows. Open the Settings, then click on Advanced. Under Tunnel protocol, click on WireGuard. Also make sure that the WireGuard key is valid by scrolling down to WireGuard settings > WireGuard key, and click on "Verify key" before you connect.

Change WireGuard port

Your Internet provider may limit the speed on certain ports. To change it, open the Mullvad app settings, then click on Advanced. Scroll down to WireGuard settings and set the port to Automatic, 51820 or 53 and see which works best for you.

If you use WireGuard standalone then you can change the port number in the WireGuard configuration file on the Endpoint line to almost any port number.

Change the WireGuard MTU

Some mobile networks require that you lower the WireGuard MTU to prevent connection stalling. Open the Mullvad app settings, then click on Advanced. Scroll down to WireGuard settings and set the MTU in the bottom to for example 1280.

Try OpenVPN protocol

OpenVPN is the default protocol for Windows, and you can select it manually in our apps for Linux and MacOS. Open the Settings, then click on Advanced. Under Tunnel protocol, click on OpenVPN.

Try TCP with OpenVPN

Several Internet providers throttles UDP connections. If that is the case, changing to TCP can show a significant increase in performance. Open the Settings, then click on Advanced. Under Tunnel protocol, click on OpenVPN. Then scroll down and go to "OpenVPN Settings". After that click on TCP and then 443.

Turn off multihop

Using multihop can improve your anonymity, however it also slows down the speed as the connection is routed from one Mullvad server to another, often in different locations. Open the Mullvad app settings, then click on Advanced. Scroll down to WireGuard settings and make sure that "Enable multihop" is not enabled. If you use OpenVPN protocol then go to the OpenVPN settings and set Bridge mode to Automatic.

General tips

Try another Internet connection or computer/device

To help you rule out problems with your Internet connection or router you can connect to a mobile Internet connection via a Wi-Fi hotspot and see if you get better speeds. You can also try it on different computers or devices.

Use an Ethernet network cable instead of Wi-Fi

A Wi-Fi connection can work fine, but it might be slower due to a weak signal or interference from other wireless networks, or appliances. Use an ethernet network cable instead to make sure that you get reliable speeds free from disturbance.

Try to use (or not use) our SOCKS5 proxy

Doing so might increase or decrease download speed depending on the circumstances. Follow our SOCKS5 proxy guide to get set up.

Temporarily disable your third party anti-virus and firewall

Try this to see if this improves your speed. Remember to turn it back on again after testing.

High speed Internet connections (1 Gbps)

If you have a very fast Internet connection then you can try to use Linux instead of Windows. The Linux kernel WireGuard implementation is faster than the Windows implementations. You can for example try to put Ubuntu on a USB stick and run it live to test it.

Using OpenVPN standalone

Use our configuration files

If you are configuring the VPN manually, try instead to use the configuration files that we provide for OpenVPN and WireGuard®.

Connect to another server

Find the line "remote se.mullvad.net 1300" in the OpenVPN configuration file and change "se.mullvad.net" to one of the servers on our server list.

Update OpenVPN standalone

Make sure to update OpenVPN to version to 2.5.0 or later. If you are using Windows then add windows-driver wintun on a new line in your OpenVPN configuration file.

Downgrade TAP driver (Windows 7 OpenVPN users)

If your speeds are resulting in kilobytes per second instead of megabytes, try downgrading your TAP driver to version 9.9.2_3.

About routers

Running an OpenVPN client on your router will likely perform much more slowly. This is because most routers have a slow CPU and will top out at roughly 5–20 megabits per second. In contrast, a modern PC can handle 100 megabits per second or more.

Temporarily disable your router's anti-virus/firewall

Test to see if this improves your speed. Remember to turn the firewall back on again after testing.
Also check if you have turned on "UDP Flood Defense". If you can't disable it then try to add the IP address of the Mullvad server to its whitelist.

Reboot your router

Some routers perform quite poorly after they have been running a while.

Contact Mullvad

If you cannot solve your problem you can contact support@mullvad.net. Feel free to provide us with a trace route to our VPN server by doing the following. Then please send us the result as text, not a screenshot.

First disconnect from Mullvad and then run the following command (replace the server name with the one you are using):

Windows
In a Command Prompt:
tracert se1-wireguard.mullvad.net

Linux
In a Terminal:
mtr -wz se1-wireguard.mullvad.net

macOS
In the Terminal app:
traceroute se1-wireguard.mullvad.net

 

"WireGuard" is a registered trademark of Jason A. Donenfeld.