I need help choosing a VPN

I want to get a VPN but can’t decide which one to get.

Why I want a VPN:

  • keep my IP address secret from websites I visit
  • keep my web usage secret from my ISP
  • avoid ISP censorship
  • keep my address hidden when using Soulseek (use frequently) or Bittorrent (use sometimes)

So I think my criteria would be this:

  • not too many captchas and blocked websites when browsing
  • support for port forwarding with support for multiple and unchanging ports (for Soulseek and Bittorrent, probably also needed for I2P if I wanted to use it)
  • Monero payment
  • no logs
  • good speed, so I can always leave my VPN on without thinking “oh this is a big and harmless download , I will turn it off to complete faster”
  • some way to circumvent VPNs being blocked in public Wifi on Android, e.g. by routing the connection through port 443

What I don’t necessarily need is:

  • multi-hop
  • many servers or countries (I mainly want to be connected to the same server all the time, to avoid getting logged out when my IP changes)
  • split tunneling (as long as the speed is great I don’t see why I’d need to exclude any apps)
  • fancy app (i’m happy to just get a Wireguard configuration and use a generic app)
  • more than 2 or 3 devices (I have a PC with Fedora Kinoite and a phone with GrapheneOS with a work profile as the optional third device)

So I was thinking these are the best options:

  • AirVPN (€49/year, currently €39 “birthday offer”, don’t know when it expires). Main downside is that it’s not recommended by PG because of no audits and no public facing leadership. Also while the price is good right now I don’t like the business practice of having seasonal offers, creating a sense of urgency to buy now.
  • IVPN (€60/year on the basic plan without multi-hop and only 2 devices). Main downside is the lack of port forwarding. I guess Soulseek (and Torrent) still works without it but if the other person doesn’t have port forwarding then it won’t connect… in practice how important is it really?
  • Mullvad (€60/year with more features than IVPN I guess? Also no port forwarding unfortunately…)

So first question is - is port forwarding so important that I should go with AirVPN even though it is not Privacyguides approved?

And second question is - how do you decide between IVPN and Mullvad? They seem very similar to me.

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(Disclaimer: I use IVPN only on desktop, but previously used Mullvad on desktop and currently use it on Android. Coincidentally, I also use GrapheneOS and Fedora Kinoite on my laptops.)

Going down your list of criteria,

This issue is more related to the server providers that VPN services use rather than the VPN service itself. For more info on that, see the responses in this thread: VPN breaks simple sites.

Mullvad is better in this regard since you can easily filter by provider in both the Linux and Android apps. IVPN does give you the option to show the server providers for each city in the client, but does not offer an easy way to filter them.

I have no comment on port forwarding since I’ve never had a reason to use it.

Both accept Monero, so they’re equal in this regard.

All of the VPN providers recommended on Privacy Guides have a no logging policy, so, equal again.

Good speed depends on a lot of variables. Anecdotally, I felt that Mullvad provides faster speeds on desktop when I was using it (compared to IVPN).

Mullvad’s Android app allows you to set a custom Wireguard port, which includes port 443.

Other points that might be useful for you in your decision:

“avoid ISP censorship”

Both VPN providers offer this; you can read more about them here:

Device limits

As you noted in your post, IVPN’s base plan allows you to use the app or Wireguard configurations on two devices, while Mullvad allows you to use them on five devices.

If you have any more questions about Mullvad and IVPN, feel free to ask.

Thank you! I think I’ll go with Mullvad in the end. In the end it’s just down to pricing: IVPN has less features for the same price (basic plan). And while their basic plan gets cheaper if you buy 3 years, I like Mullvad’s straight-forward pricing that doesn’t lock you in a long contract. Also I just noticed they give you a 10% discount for crypto payments (downside: no 30 days money back guarantee)


Since you’re going with Mullvad, this might help with your “not too many captchas” requirement; SOCKS5 proxy