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Connection speed – why is it so slow?

Connectivity Windows Linux macOS Desktop 

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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.

Also please ensure that when using speedtest or similar sites that you compare against a server that is not within your ISPs network and that you use the same server when comparing with and without VPN.

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.
You can remove providers that don't work well for you by clicking on Switch location and then clicking on the Filter button in the top right corner (left corner on iPhone) (this is not available on iPads).

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 VPN settings. Under Tunnel protocol, click on WireGuard.

Change WireGuard port

Your Internet provider may limit the speed on certain ports. To change it, open the Mullvad app settings, then click on VPN settings. Scroll down and click on WireGuard settings and set the port to Automatic, 51820, 53 or Custom: 443 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 (desktop and Android app only)

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

Try OpenVPN protocol (desktop app only)

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 VPN settings. Under Tunnel protocol, click on OpenVPN.

Try TCP with OpenVPN (desktop app only)

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 VPN settings. Scroll down and go to "OpenVPN Settings". After that click on TCP and then set port to 443/80.

Turn off multihop (desktop app only)

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 VPN settings. Click on 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.

Turn off WireGuard Obfuscation

Using WireGuard Obfuscation (UDP-over-TCP) can significantly increase the latency and slow down the speed. If you don't need it then turn it off.

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.

Termporarily disable any other high bandwidth software

Downloading and uploading files will affect the speed test result, make sure to disable/turn off download/upload software (for example torrent software, streaming audi/video such as Netflix/Spotify) before testing download/upload speed when connected to the VPN.

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.

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 then you can contact support@mullvadvpn.net. It is good if you can provide us with a traceroute to our VPN server. Send us the result as text (not a screenshot). Use the instructions below.

First disconnect from Mullvad and then run the following command (replace the server name "se-got-wg-001.relays.mullvad.net" with the one you are using):

Windows
In a Command Prompt:
tracert se-got-wg-001.relays.mullvad.net

Linux
In a Terminal:
mtr -wbzrc10 se-got-wg-001.relays.mullvad.net

macOS
In the Terminal app:
traceroute se-got-wg-001.relays.mullvad.net

Try to answer these questions:

  • What speed do you get with and without the VPN? How did you test the speed?
  • Which country are you located in?
  • Do you have the same problem with multiple computers/devices?
  • What operating system are you using?
  • Can you try it using a cellular/mobile data connection?


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