Shadowsocks with the Mullvad VPN app


Last updated: 23 December 2020

Unable to surf the entire web because you're stuck behind a restrictive firewall? Then Shadowsocks might be your answer. This guide shows how to use Shadowsocks in the Mullvad VPN app.

What is Shadowsocks?

Please see our Intro to Shadowsocks guide.

Find the Shadowsocks setting

  1. Open the app and click on the gear icon.
    A red arrow pointing to the Settings icon (cogwheel) in the Mullvad VPN app
  2. Click on Advanced.
  3. Scroll down to Bridge mode.
    A red arrow pointing to Bridge mode in the Mullvad VPN app.
  4. Bridge mode is where you can turn Shadowsocks on and off.

Configure the setting

By default, Bridge mode is set to Automatic. This means that if the app fails to connect three times (often a sign that you're stuck behind a restrictive firewall), it will then attempt a bridge connection.

If you intend to use Shadowsocks or other bridge connections at all, switch the setting to On. Doing so will connect you faster. This setting may be worth trying if you're in a restrictive country (for example, Turkey).

Your connection details

Once connected, you can look at the bridge details on the app's connection screen by clicking on the servers. Additional details about your connection will be displayed, including the fact that you're using Shadowsocks.

Connection screen in the Mullvad VPN app showing details about the user's Shadowsocks connection.

Under the connection location, you'll see two servers listed. Our example shows "hk-hkg-003 via hk-hkg-br-001".

Your internet traffic begins by entering the second server (in this example, hk-hkg-br-001) which acts as the Shadowsocks proxy. Then it proceeds onward to the other server (hk-hkg-003) before exiting. The exit server's IP address and location is what becomes publicly visible. If you check your connection with our Connection check, this is the information you will see.