My new choice for a VPN

Data Protection
Published on
April 29, 2023
📖  Table of content

I tested three VPN over the last years, and since you’re asking, here is my experience with them.


Mullvad, a Swedish-based VPN provider, is a serious player in the market and was my first VPN for about three years. They are a really good choice.

Here are the key highlights from my experience:

  • Anonymity pushed to the limits: When creating an account, users receive a random number and provide absolutely no personal information. Mullvad accepts Bitcoin and cash for truly anonymous payments. They also claim to have a strict no-log policy (”We do not keep activity logs of any kind”).
  • Good connection and coverage: With around 650 servers, I always enjoyed good connection quality. Mullvad also offers SOCKS5 proxies, which can be leveraged as a reliable way of ensuring that you never browse without a VPN connection on, if you set it properly in your browser. And they provide “multihopping”, i.e. routing your connection through several servers.
  • Fascinating approach to privacy and security: I used to read their blog, to keep up with their state-of-the-art initiatives. Mullvad was an early adopter of the WireGuard protocol, which has since gained popularity among competitors. They even recently released Quantum-resistant tunnels in the app!
  • Their latest creative idea, the Mullvad browser: In April 2023, in partnership with the Tor teams, they released the Mullvad browser, a custom version of the Tor browser, for maximum security and privacy. I now use it instead of Firefox for increased privacy.

Despite seeing no drawbacks to Mullvad, since I am currently subscribed to a Proton plan, it would not be a cost-effective choice to keep a subscription to Mullvad at the same time.

Google One VPN

While it's tempting to discard "Google VPN" as an oxymoron, it's worth considering that Google's engineers likely anticipated the skepticism, and have taken measures to ensure a robust technical implementation that guarantees privacy on par with serious competitors. Moreover, the service is very reasonably priced, starting at just €2 per month with the 100GB Google One plan.

Regardless, I didn't stick with Google One VPN for long, due to several drawbacks:

  • A limited selection of countries at the moment
  • No multi-hop for enhanced security
  • Incompatibility with older MacOS versions, such as the one on my 2014 iMac

On the positive side, the app operates seamlessly, and I didn't experience any unexpected disconnections, which is a common issue with many VPNs. However, the app's simplicity and lack of options give it an unsophisticated feel, like it's designed for my grandma. When I purchase advanced security software, I enjoy having the ability to tinker with and customize various settings.

Proton VPN

I'm currently using ProtonVPN as part of the Proton suite, and so far I'm happy with it. Here are highlights from my recent experience:

  • Security standards: As you would expect from Proton, it maintains a strict no-log policy and high security standards. For the first time in my life, I actually read their privacy policy.
  • Connectivity: Crucially for a VPN, it offers a wide selection of 67 countries and 3000 servers with fast connectivity. While the performance of paid servers is good, I don’t know about the free servers though.
  • Streaming experience: Many of their servers are not detected as VPNs by streaming providers like Prime Video and Netflix, so I no longer need to disconnect for streaming services, unlike my experience with Mullvad. But ChatGPT seem to dislike them, it disconnects at almost every prompt.
  • Advanced features: All the advanced features of a serious VPN, multi-hopping for enhanced security, kill switch, several protocols including Wireguard, and an integrated malware blocker.
  • Apps: The mobile and desktop app are stable, unobtrusive, with a clean interface and a range of options that you can play with.
  • Chrome extension: They also offer a convenient Chrome extension with split tunneling, but I experience frequent disconnections, which is irritating.

I usually keep the VPN connected at all times on my personal laptop and tablet. For my work laptop, I use the Proton browser extension on Brave to avoid installing the app. And on my iPhone, I only activate VPN when necessary, since it has a negative effect on battery life, and causes some connection disruptions.