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MozillaVPN Review 2022 — Keep This in Mind Before Buying
Mozilla is well-known for being the company behind the Firefox browser, which I usually use on my laptop because of its great security. Its VPN provides servers from Mullvad, who is also renowned for security practices. I was expecting a lot, but I decided to test it to see if it lived up to my expectations.
I tested its streaming and speed performance, and took a very close look at its privacy and security features. Overall, I was disappointed. As soon as I installed it, I had endless issues with my laptop, including frozen screens and failure to use my work messaging services. Even more, countless servers failed to connect and then froze completely, meaning I had to reboot my system every time I wanted to try it again. Plus, it failed my security test.
MozillaVPN performed terribly in my streaming tests.
I had a hard time trying to find a US server that worked. Both its Atlanta and Chicago locations struggled to connect. After waiting 10 minutes, I tried to change server location, only to find the VPN had completely frozen. In the end, I had to reboot my whole computer to get it to work again.
This entire process is way too complicated to watch your favorite shows.
Unblocks: Netflix, and BBC iPlayer
Surprisingly, its LA server did manage to connect, and gave me solid enough speeds to watch in HD. It also unblocked Netflix, which is impressive as it has recently upgraded its geoblocking technology.
Streaming speeds were decent, but only on certain servers
It’s LA server bypassed the geoblocks and let me watch without any lag. I also managed to access Netflix using its Madrid server, which gave me the best overall speeds for watching in HD.
MozillaVPN’s London server bypassed iPlayer’s blocks
After connecting to its London server, I went to the BBC iPlayer homepage and managed to get straight in to catch up on the latest episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK. It gave me high speeds with no lag or buffering.
Can’t Unblock: Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+
MozillaVPN failed to get me into Hulu, HBO Max, or Disney+, even using the LA server that got me straight into Netflix. In all three of my tests, I got stuck at the login screen. Disney+ kept recognising that I was in the UK, even after I cleared my cache and browsing history.
After waiting over 15 minutes, I had to give up
When I tried to get into Hulu, I just got frozen on the login screen. It was strange, because usually when Hulu knows you’re using a VPN it comes up with red writing under your email address saying that it can’t log you in because you’re in the wrong country.
With MozillaVPN, it just got stuck. This seemed to be a common theme during my tests - things freeze up when this VPN is running.
After waiting minutes for it to load, HBO Max eventually blocked me
I was very surprised that I couldn’t bypass HBO Max’s geoblocks with this VPN, especially since it was the same one that got me into Netflix. Since the other US servers I tried couldn’t even connect me to the VPN, I didn’t have many options.
I got quite good results from its local servers. My tests showed that I had enough to stream in HD without lag or buffering. My ping stayed low too but shot up when I tested its US server. My speed tests measured:
Download speed — this is the amount of data you can transfer per second. Faster download speeds mean you’ll avoid buffering and lag while you stream.
Upload speed — Upload measures how much data you can send through your connection.
Ping — how long it takes for your data to reach its location. More simply, the higher your ping, the more lag you’ll have.
My speed barely dropped at all using its Spanish server
My base speed without a VPN was 37.59 Mbps, with 9.33 Mbps upload speed and a ping of 14 ms. My best result came from its Madrid server, which only gave me a 15% drop in download speed. Although its ping rose to 36 ms, this was still a good reading, and would allow me to game online and download large files without any problems.
Results showed that my download speed dropped to 25 Mbps on its UK servers, which wasn’t a great outcome considering I was geographically close to that location. This gave me around 30% less than what I started with without a VPN.
My speeds dropped significantly
In general, your VPN shouldn’t slow you down by more than 20%. In this case, I experienced a 31% drop on a local server, which is way too much.
The worst result I had was with its US server, where I had the slowest speeds and the highest ping. However, I was expecting these results, as the US is thousands of miles away from me.
MozillaVPN has 400 servers in 30 countries which is pretty small for a premium VPN. When I clicked into its location options, I found them to be quite limited.
When you click into a particular country, there aren’t many server locations within each geographical area. For example, I had good results in my tests with its Spanish server, but that was lucky because my only option was Madrid. If I’d needed a Spanish server but the Madrid location wasn’t connecting, I wouldn’t have been able to use the VPN at all.
Another issue for users is that MozillaVPN is only available to subscribe if you’re in one of 15 locations. These are Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. Ironically, if you’re in any other country you would need to use a VPN just to subscribe.
MozillaVPN failed to cover my IP address and DNS requests. I was expecting MozillaVPN to sail through my security tests, since Mozilla and Firefox are brands that are renowned for their stellar security measures.
Encryption and Protocols
In terms of general security, MozillaVPN has everything I would expect to see. It uses the WireGuard protocol, which is one of the best in the business for keeping a fast but secure VPN network.
It also has 256-bit encryption on all data that passes through its servers. This is military-grade and means that even if a hacker did get their hands on your data, they would need a specific key to even attempt to decrypt it, making it virtually impossible.
IP and DNS Leak Tests
I was shocked when my first DNS leak test showed that the UK server had failed, and my own IP address was visible.
This means that any website I accessed could see who I am, and where I’m based, so it beats the purpose of having a VPN in the first place. Even more, my ISP could see the websites I was accessing (my DNS requests), so I wasn’t anonymous at all.
For a supposedly security-conscious VPN, this was disappointing
Even more, the VPN failed to block IPv6 traffic. If the VPN managed to hide my IP address and DNS requests, my connection would still be at risk. Any website that supports IPv6 traffic could still see important data about me, my location, and my device.
You can enable split tunneling, which means that you can simultaneously connect to servers in a different country while also keeping certain connections on a local server.
This is helpful if you want to use your banking app. Using banking websites is very difficult with a VPN, as they are designed to block multiple IP addresses from using the same account.
The VPN has a kill switch on its apps, so if your server’s connection drops out, your internet should shut down completely until you reconnect it.
This is helpful because it stops your personal information from becoming visible to a hacker or other third party who is trying to access it. It also stops your ISP (Internet service provider) from being able to see your activity in the event that your VPN fails. With a kill switch, you don't risk leaking sensitive information in case your VPN fails.
It has a multihop function, where you use two servers in different locations. Doubling up means you are initially connected to one server, then when you click the multihop button, a second server is engaged which will act as your exit server.
This gives an added layer of protection to the privacy-conscious and can be useful if you’re using the VPN with public WiFi. Unlike many VPN multihop features, Mozilla allows you to select which location you want to use as your exit server.
Ad and Tracker Blocker
Just as it has in its Firefox browser, Mozilla’s VPN has an ad and tracker block feature. This stops pop-up ads in their tracks and safeguards your devices against malware and trackers. The level of protection is customizable, and you can select from standard, strict, and custom.
Mozilla warns that strict can block legitimate windows from sites, causing them to crash, so be wary of which level of block you set depending on the sites you’re intending to visit.
Even though MozillaVPN and its server provider Mullvad utilize top security features, I just can’t recommend any VPN that fails a DNS test. The implications of this are huge, particularly if you’re using it in a country that has strict regulations. All your data can be exposed to the websites you visit, your ISP, and authorities. Instead, you should go for one of the most secure VPNs on the market.
Privacy — Stores IP Addresses
Since Mozilla has restrictions on which countries can currently use its VPN, it does take a lot of data from you at the point of subscription. After signing up to a Firefox account (which you have to do before you even buy the VPN), Mozilla scans your IP to discover your location.
After that, it takes data at regular intervals, including each time you select a server option. It notes that it “temporarily” collects your IP address as part of its server logs, but doesn’t specify how long it keeps it.
MozillaVPN collects user data at various times during use
The company is based in California so it falls well within the 5 Eyes Alliance. This means that if the government requested your information from Mozilla, it would be obligated to hand it over. Under a solid no logs policy, there is nothing to hand over, so it doesn’t really matter.
MozillaVPN is not safe for torrenting due to the IP and DNS leaks I experienced during my tests. This means that peers on the network and your ISP can see what you’re doing, who you are, and where you’re downloading files from. It brings many security risks, and so I can’t recommend MozillaVPN for torrenting.
Additionally, it doesn’t offer port forwarding, so even if you did go ahead and torrent, peer sharing, and seeding abilities would be impacted with this VPN.
I don’t condone torrenting copyrighted files, so always make sure you double-check the files you select to make sure they are public domain. Additionally, always check the individual regulations in your country to make sure you abide by its laws.
Does MozillaVPN Work in China? — Yes, in Theory
Provided you already have the VPN installed before you go to China, it should work in theory. This is stated on Mozilla’s FAQ pages.
You must have the VPN activated before you enter China or it won’t work
Device Compatibility — Limited to the Mainstream Operating Systems
Mozilla is compatible with macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux.
MozillaVPN has recently given users more control in the Advanced Settings area. You can enable Custom DNS, where you select a server to suit your needs, including adblock and anti-tracking.
This is okay for those who like more control over their VPN when it's in use, but from looking at the given choices I can think of many VPNs that offer these simultaneous protections as standard, without an impact on the server quality.
Get more control over your VPN in Advanced Settings.
The mac app is unusually light on features. It doesn’t offer split tunneling, which seems crazy to me as so many users will prefer a mac PC for their everyday use. Besides, it doesn’t have auto-connect, so if you’re taking your laptop to work on the go, you’ll be at risk when it connects to hotspots before you turn the VPN on.
Visually, it looks the same on all interfaces, displaying a predominantly white screen that turns dark blue upon connection. As with all of the apps, you can see how many devices you have connected on the main screen of the VPN.
As with all of MozillaVPN’s apps, the design is clear and quite sparse. Simply click and toggle through available servers and select the one you want to connect to. Once the connection is established, the VPN goes dark blue to signify connection.
You can check your upload and download speeds by clicking the information button in the top left. This also shows you your IP address.
In the App Permissions area, you can choose split tunneling if you want to keep a local connection for things like internet banking. There was no option to disable the kill switch, should you wish to do so.
The iOS app is extremely similar to the Android version, except it doesn’t have a split tunneling option.
Set-Up & Installation — Not User Friendly
With multiple steps and a shocking impact on my PC, my experience of installing this VPN was not a positive one.
If you don’t already have a Firefox account, you’ll need to sign up to it before you even subscribe to the VPN.
I prefer one-click installations when I’m choosing a VPN
Installing MozillaVPN meant that my Firefox browser became unusable. I had a number of work-related programmes open in my browser as usual, including a chat platform. Every time I used one of Mozilla’s VPN’s, it froze out all of my programmes and I had to reopen everything in a different provider’s browser. Turning the VPN off didn’t fix the issues. The only way to get back into them on Firefox was to reboot my entire computer, but then as soon as I used the VPN again it froze me out.
Its interface isn’t too badly designed, but everything is quite small. I was also annoyed that it doesn’t give an option to have a shortcut icon on your desktop. This proved to be an issue when I began to have problems with the VPN and had to search for it in my computer programmes instead of just finding it on my desktop right away.
I started my tests and within 10 minutes the VPN completely froze. Even exiting out of the VPN window didn’t work, as when I went back in it was still frozen on the Chicago server. I had to shut off and restart my laptop, which was extremely annoying.
There was a distinctive difference in my laptop’s performance once this VPN was running. Even when I turned the VPN off, the issues remained until I rebooted. It was an endless cycle of having to shut down and reboot my computer to get anywhere with MozillaVPN.
Usually, if I run into an issue with a server when I’m using a VPN, simply disconnecting the server and exiting out of the VPN solves the problem. This isn’t the case with Mozilla, and it’s a huge flaw in the interface.
In summary, installation and use were a terrible experience, and I would suggest, especially if you like to use Firefox, you avoid MozillaVPN completely.
MozillaVPN accepts credit card and PayPal payments. There is no option to pay using cryptocurrencies, so you can’t be fully anonymous. Something I didn’t like is that I couldn’t sign up for a monthly subscription — the website kept redirecting me to the longest plan.
Luckily, it does have a 30-day money-back guarantee. I requested a cancellation as soon as my tests were finished and I had my money back within 4 days. To cancel it, I did have to search in the FAQ, as it wasn’t too straightforward. I clicked on the cancellation button in the Settings > Paid Subscriptions area and received an email telling me the date it would work until. There was no information about the money-back guarantee, so I emailed them to be sure it would be honored.
Reliability & Support
Customer support is another area that falls flat with this VPN. I submitted a ticket asking for help when the VPN froze and I couldn’t get it to work. I was expecting a fast response time, as I couldn’t use it at all.
Unfortunately, I never received a response. For a premium VPN, this is surprising. Most VPNs charging Mozilla’s prices have 24/7 customer support available, and I would expect to get a response within a few hours at the latest.
“As soon as possible” does not mean any time soon
It does have extensive FAQ pages online, displaying user questions and responses. But Mozilla perhaps relies too much on the help pages and doesn’t expect users to contact it with direct queries.
I had very high hopes for MozillaVPN, but it really let me down. Not only did its VPN underperform, but it actually disrupted my laptop browser and impacted my work. This is unacceptable. With unreliable streaming capabilities, lax security, and non-existent customer support, its premium price seems outrageous.
Yes, MozillaVPN unblocks Netflix with its LA and Madrid servers. If you want to use MozillaVPN to access Netflix in different countries while you travel, you may struggle to do so. Only a couple of the servers I tested managed to connect, and if you aren’t in one of the 15 countries that MozillaVPN allows subscribers to come from, you won’t be able to access it to log in.
Will MozillaVPN slow down my speeds?
Yes, MozillaVPN will slow down your speeds. Although I had quite good results with its Madrid server, the other servers I tested dropped my download speed by around 30%. I also had quite a high ping when I tested servers that were far from my location. Worst of all, MozillaVPN slowed down my device in general, and the VPN itself kept freezing.
Is MozillaVPN safe?
No, MozillaVPN is not completely safe.I experienced IP and DNS leaks when I was testing its UK server. This means that my own personal IP address and browsing history was visible. Although it uses 256-bit encryption and the WireGuard protocol, a data leak was disappointing to see from a company that is supposed to put security first.