Connection speed – why is it so slow?

CONNECTIVITY

Last updated: 10 March 2021


Currently 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 nearest to your location

Choosing a server that is close to your actual location can make your connection several times faster or slower, depending on country selected.

If you do not select a country, the Mullvad VPN app will default to Sweden or the Netherlands.

Switch to another city within the same country

In the Mullvad VPN app, simply click the Switch location button and choose an alternate location.

Switch to another server within the same city

If you encounter problems with one of our servers, try a different one. Different servers can have different providers and your Internet provider might have better peering to another provider. You can find the providers on our Servers page.

Try the WireGuard tunnel protocol

In the Mullvad VPN app, open the Settings menu, then click on Advanced. Under Tunnel protocol, choose WireGuard. Make sure the WireGuard key is valid by scrolling down to WireGuard key and click on Verify key before you connect. Note: WireGuard uses UDP only. WireGuard is the default in Linux and MacOS.

Try the OpenVPN tunnel protocol

In the Mullvad VPN app, open the Settings menu, then click on Advanced. Under Tunnel protocol, choose OpenVPN. OpenVPN is the default in Windows. In Windows Mullvad version 2021.1 and newer is faster with OpenVPN than in previous versions.

Try the TCP transport protocol (OpenVPN)

In the Mullvad VPN app, open the Settings menu, then Advanced. Under OpenVPN transport protocol, choose TCP.
Several consumer ISPs will throttle UDP connections, if that is the case, changing to TCP can show a significant increase in performance.

General tips

Use an Ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi

With an Ethernet cable, you are connecting your computer directly to your internet router thereby increasing connection speed and giving you optimized Mullvad performance. A Wi-Fi connection will still work fine, but it might be slower.

Try to use or not use our SOCKS5 proxies

Doing so might increase or decrease download speed depending on the circumstances.

Follow our SOCKS5 proxy guide to get set up.

Temporarily disable your computer's anti-virus/firewall

Test to see if this improves your speed. Remember to turn the firewall back on again after testing.

Some users report significant performance increases when disabling Kaspersky IS and similar.

High speed Internet connections (1 Gbps)

If you have a really fast Internet connection then you can try to use Linux instead of Windows. The Linux kernel WireGuard implementation is much faster than the Windows wireguard-go implementation. 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 yourself, try using the configuration files that we provide for OpenVPN and WireGuard®.

Switch to another server

Find the setting "remote se.mullvad.net 1300" 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. This has helped several Windows users.

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 awhile.

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.