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Mozilla VPN review

Can Mozilla's first foray into the VPN world live up to the hype?

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

It might be a little light on features in its infancy, but Mozilla VPN is a low-cost, easy-to-use, and high-performing option for occasional users. The simple pricing plan will suit those who want to dip in and out of a subscription, but its streaming support does leave a little to be desired.

For

  • Affordable, simple pricing
  • Simple to navigate
  • Very quick in some scenarios
  • A trusted brand

Against

  • Can’t unblock many streaming sites
  • Lacking features
  • Few configuration alternatives
  • Measly device registration limit

Mozilla VPN is finally out of beta testing and taking aim at the best VPN services available. You'll be able to download it in a handful of countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, and Malaysia, but if your location doesn’t appear in that list, fear not as Mozilla has promised to add more locations by fall.

Originally a browser extension, Mozilla VPN is now an independent product providing system-wide protection for Windows, iOS, and Android apps. So, how does it perform, and is it the right option for you?

Mozilla vpn review - homepage

(Image credit: Mozilla VPN)

Basics, plans and pricing

Mozilla VPN’s network consists of just over 280 servers in around 40 locations, which should be adequate for most users. Experienced VPN users will be pleased to hear that Mozilla VPN uses Mullvad's VPN servers (a well-known and trusted brand), which it connects to via only the modern WireGuard protocol for maximum performance and privacy.

Features include a kill switch that can be set to deploy in the event that the VPN drops out. However, if this advanced-level security isn’t required for all your tasks, split tunneling ensures you can carry on browsing using a standard connection too.

Be aware that although Mozilla VPN works with up to five devices, they all need to be registered. So, if you’re already at the maximum capacity, you’ll need to deregister one of the devices before you can add another. Some providers, like KeepSolid VPN Unlimited, have similar rules, but most, like ExpressVPN, don’t force you to register a device before you can use it, which makes the process far simpler.

There is only one price plan costing $4.99 a month when paid monthly – cheaper than many other providers’ annual plans. However, if you’re looking for long-term cover, Mozilla VPN might start to look a little more expensive than some, as there’s no benefit to signing up for longer. However, you will benefit from a 30-day money-back guarantee with no hidden catches, so you can test the service to see if it fits.

  • More: If you're on Apple, check out the top Mac VPN

Privacy and logging

Mozilla is a trusted brand, and this track record is one of Mozilla VPNs key selling points. On top of this, Mozilla VPN has partnered with the well-known privacy-focused provider Mullvad, which gives the product yet more credibility.

Mozilla VPN review

(Image credit: Mozilla VPN)

At the point of sign up, Mozilla VPN does register your IP address, other technical information (such as operating system and hardware configuration), and some interaction data. However, echoing the Mullvad Privacy Policy, it doesn’t log traffic, IP addresses, information regarding session times, bandwidth, or DNS requests.

Mozilla VPN also encourages users to consider Mozilla’s general Privacy Principles.

Although not as technical as some other providers’, the company's privacy commitments are comprehensive. There are also rumors of a third-party audit on the horizon, which would further bolster its place as a private, secure VPN.

Apps

Before using Mozilla VPN, you’ll need a Firefox account. After setting this up, we paid our subscription fee and were redirected to the Downloads screen. We were pleased to see the Windows client only took a matter of seconds to download and install.

We found Mozilla VPN's Windows client easy to navigate thanks to its familiar interface. You’ll see your location displayed in a pop-up box, and within the same pop-up you can also change location and switch the VPN on and off.

As there’s no automation built in to search for the fastest connection or favorites section, you need to select these options manually. This process was a little more complicated than we would have liked.

That said, the speed of the service compensated for any niggling issues, and we were connected in under three seconds. Comparably, OpenVPN connections take around five seconds, while some other protocols can take over 20.

mozilla vpn

(Image credit: Mozilla VPN)

You can choose to be alerted if your device connects to an unsecured Wi-Fi network, turn on or off IPv6, and optionally access devices on your local network. This simplicity will be welcomed by most, but seasoned users might expect a little more control.

Settings are even thinner on the ground, with just an 'App Permissions' feature. That said, when you tap 'Protect specific apps,' you can decide which of your apps will use the VPN or not. Essentially split tunneling, this does give you a little more control over its deployment.

The interface of the Android app is almost identical to that of the desktop client. This was a well-thought-out design choice that not all VPN providers make, and the consequence is that although it’s new, there don’t seem to be any lingering functionality issues that can often crop up in mobile versions of VPNs.

Kill switch

Unusually, the Windows client’s kill switch can’t be turned on or off. It’s not regular, but it makes sense. If you have a VPN running why would you want to disable a feature that blocks unprotected internet traffic?

The presence of WireGuard and the VPN’s basic design made it difficult to test the kill switch using our regular technical methods – which, really, was a problem for us to solve and no bad thing on Mozilla’s part. However, experimenting with some new techniques, we did discover that occasionally when the Mozilla VPN Broker service failed and connection dropped out, we were only notified through a message on the client interface.

If you weren’t able see the interface, you wouldn’t know about the risks. That aside, though, the client worked extremely well almost all of the time thanks to its basic design, which mitigates any major issues. On top of this, the connection itself is managed by another Windows client for enhanced reliability.

Performance

Mozilla VPN is marketed as a secure, privacy-focused service as opposed to a website-unblocking specialist. Our review mirrored this, and although we were able to access US YouTube and BBC iPlayer, we couldn't access Amazon Prime, Disney+, or US Netflix. Strangely, iPlayer’s usually trickier than Netflix – but there you go. If you are looking for a streaming VPN, we’d certainly wait a while to see how Mozilla develops this aspect of the service before coughing up the cash.

Download speeds averaged around 60Mbps on our 75Mbps UK connection, which is reasonable. However, the fastest VPNs do tend to perform around 10-15% better. Connection speeds between the UK and US were above average, though, at 45-60Mbps. From the US, you can connect from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Salt Lake City, Seattle, so the spread is wide.

Running our speed tests from a European data center with provisions up to 800Mbps, Mozilla VPN topped out at a mega 260Mbps – a very impressive result indeed. In fact, many competitors would struggle to hit 100Mbps.

The competition

Realistically, if you're after the most fully-featured VPN on the market, you should definitely have ExpressVPN on your list. With over 3,000 servers and apps for all your devices, it provides the slickest experience available. However, at $6.67 a month for 12 months, it's a little pricier than Mozilla VPN.

If you're looking to save money, check out Surfshark. At around $2 a month on a two-year plan, it's serious value for money, and it provides a great experience too. However, if you prefer some freedom without being locked in to a contract, Mozilla VPN may still be a better option.  

Final verdict

Quick and easy to use, Mozilla VPN has made a very promising start and is already a decent option for users who are looking for a privacy-focused VPN. But right now, it’s not even close to big names like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. More experienced users are much better off using one of these advanced providers – for the moment at least.

Specs

Client software platforms: Windows, iOS, Android (Mac and Linux coming soon)
Supported protocols: WireGuard
No. of servers: 280+
No. of countries: 31+
Country of registration: USA
Payment options: Credit card
Real name necessary? Through credit card, yes
Encryption protocol: AES-256
Data usage: Unlimited
Bandwidth usage: Unlimited
Max. no. of registered devices: Five
Customer support: Knowledgebase and email
Privacy policy: No logging