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Mysterium VPN Review 2021 - Keep This in Mind Before Buying

Author Image Andreea Juganaru
Andreea Juganaru | Cybersecurity Researcher
Updated on 3rd December 2021

Mysterium VPN is a node-sharing P2P decentralized VPN network in very early development. You can join the network as both a provider and a customer, and it’s powered by cryptocurrency micro-payments, smart contracts, and blockchain technology.

I put the new VPN through a series of tests to see how it holds up, and if there’s areas that need improvement. My assessment is based on its ability for streaming, speeds, security, privacy, torrenting, and more. It’s beginning to get a firm footing on the VPN ladder, but it still needs to grow in some areas. As it’s open-sourced, you’re likely to see many developments and spin-offs based on this technology.

Security features seem a bit lacking, but it has a fantastic ability to unblock streaming platforms. You’re placing your privacy in the hands of multiple providers so you’ll need a lot of trust to use Mysterium, especially at such an early stage. Decentralized VPNs could be the next greatest thing, but make sure you compare it to other premium VPNs first. For now, you can try it completely free while it’s in early development.

Try Mysterium VPN Free Today!

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

Mysterium VPN Features — Updated in December 2021

💸 Price 0.03USD/day
Does VPN keep logs? No
🖥 Number of servers 1000
🛡 Kill switch Yes
🗺 Based in country Switzerland
🛠 Support Ticketing System
📥 Supports torrenting No

Streaming — Unblocks Major Platforms

Mysterium VPN unblocked every streaming platform I tried. It was difficult at times to determine where I was connected. Regardless of the server I chose, the app kept displaying the UK and my original IP address. This seems to be a bug in the app, as when I used 3rd party websites to determine my IP, it had successfully changed.

Unblocked: Netflix US, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and DAZN

I was able to access the US Netflix library and start streaming with the first server I tested. Other major US streaming platforms like Hulu and HBO Max also worked without a problem. Connecting to a UK server bypassed BBC iPlayer’s geoblocks with just as much ease.

Image showing Netflix US unblocked after connecting to a US Mysterium VPN server

Mysterium VPN unblocked every streaming platform I tried

Blocked by: Nothing

There may well be a few platforms out there that Mysterium can’t quite crack, but it wasn’t the case during my tests. Overall, I was extremely impressed with its geoblock busting ability. It’s a shame that the app is buggy and didn’t always show where I was connected to. Despite this, I can recommend Mysterium for streaming purposes.

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Speeds — Unpredictable

I got highly variable speeds, mostly on the lower end but still good enough for HD streaming. Decentralized networks depend on “node-runners” (servers, if you like) that provide the IPs you connect to. This determines the given speeds and would hopefully improve over time as the number of providers increases.

The measurements of speed are:

  • Download speed — measures the amount of data you can receive in a determined time frame, measured in Mbps.
  • Upload speed — the time needed to send files from your computer, measured in Mbps.
  • Ping — the server response time. This is measured in ms, and the lower, the better.

Local Speeds

I captured my base speed first, so I had something to compare against. In the UK, I got 74.81 Mbps — a very respectable starting speed. Usually, a VPN will slow you down by around 20% because of the encryption process. What I noticed is that my download speed dropped by approximately 70% to 22.8 Mbps. This is quite a significant drop, and my ping also increased to 48 — relatively high for a local server. However, this is still enough even for 4k streaming.

Image showing reduction in speed after connecting to a local Mysterium VPN node

Mysterium VPN reduced my speed significantly, but it’s not terrible

Long Distance Speeds

When connected to IPs farther away from me, speeds were usually no faster than 13 Mbps. An interesting anomaly was that my download speed increased to the fastest it had been when choosing an Australian IP. Everything else was just as I expected, with ping steadily rising to 325 and upload speed gradually lowering but not unusable.

Image showing long distance speeds compared when connected to Mysterium VPN

Servers farther away from me gave me lower speeds, but they were still usable

These speeds are decent for HD streaming and casual downloads, but this is where it stops. If you’re after 4k ultra HD streaming, cutting-edge online gaming, or super-fast downloads, take a look at these lightning-fast VPNs.

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Server Network — Decentralized with Multiple Locations

Mysterium VPN has a decentralized network. This is different from other VPNs as it consists of other user’s nodes around the world. These act as the “servers” you connect to, and I was impressed with the range of locations I could choose from.

The actual number can change according to the number of node providers, but there are around 67 locations. Coverage is throughout Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and more — pretty impressive for a startup.

You can get paid for providing nodes, which further adds to the network infrastructure. This makes Mysterium VPN a crypto marketplace of sorts, where you can be rewarded in ETH for your stake in the VPN.

Each “server” has a price next to it and a quality indicator to help you choose the best performing IP.

If this all sounds confusing to you (which is more than understandable), you may want to explore more traditional VPNs with simple server structures.

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Security — Leaked my DNS Requests

Mysterium VPN uses robust encryption protocols like OpenVPN and the newer WireGuard, but I had a few concerns. The network functions almost as a Tor-VPN hybrid, in theory offering superior obfuscation and security.

It lacks some features associated with traditional VPNs, like a kill switch and multi-hop. Adding a kill switch would mean you’re protected if the VPN connection fails, as it turns off your internet traffic in that event. Allowing multi-hop would also be beneficial, as it could improve security by rapidly changing your IP.

You need to be extremely trusting of every node provider on the network. Though it adds a layer of security by decentralizing the network, it may also put you at risk of MITM (man in the middle) attacks if a node-runner gains the ability to intercept your web traffic. Decentralization also means that the network is unlikely to go down in its entirety unless something catastrophic happened.

It’s reassuring to know that as a node-runner, whitelisting is employed to prevent malicious use of your IP. That would be my principal concern if I were staking an interest and offering up my bandwidth to internet users. I’d want to know my IP wasn’t being used for any illegal or shady activities. How exhaustive and reliable this whitelist is, though, is down to Mysterium VPN, so you’d need to trust it to vet your connection.

Leak Test

Most locations prevented leaks, but one of the US connections leaked my DNS.

A VPN should prevent the following types of leaks:

  • IP address — exposes your real location, making you vulnerable to online threats.
  • DNS — your personal web traffic can be intercepted.
  • WebRTC — the real-time peer-to-peer communication between your browser and webpages can unknowingly reveal your IP.
  • IPv6 — internet protocol that sometimes misses the VPN “tunnel,” allowing data to fall into the wrong hands. Most VPNs disable it entirely.
Image showing leak test with DNS leak when using Mysterium VPN

I saw my ISP’s DNS while connected to a US location

Most of the time, my IP, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 were protected. However, one node in Florida resulted in my DNS leaking. This isn’t great, as leak protection should be consistent and reliable. DNS address visibility could compromise your online activity and expose you to cyber threats.

You may want to explore these tried-and-tested secure VPNs as alternatives for now.

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Privacy — Dependant on Node Reputation

Decentralized VPNs may not be as privacy-friendly as you think. No central company will be logging your information, and it’s based in Panama outside of any ”eyes” agreements. However, you’re putting an awful lot of trust in the providers of every node you connect to.

The reputation of each node is bolstered by the whitelisting, meaning if you’re a provider, you’re assured somewhat against malicious use of your IP. But not enough can be said about the other way around — there is no real 100% guarantee that you can trust the person offering your connection. As a customer, you are connecting to someone else’s IP address, and they are providing your service.

Image showing Mysterium VPN privacy policy highlighting node-runner concern

The privacy policy makes it clear that you need to trust the node-runners fully

You don’t need to log into the apps or create an account, which adds to the privacy and anonymity of using the VPN. In the same way, cryptocurrency nano-payments add a certain degree of anonymity as you don’t have to input any card details. Instead, you create a “key” when you install the app, and your spending and earning are linked to it.

It might sound like a terrifying prospect to have your web traffic flung around the world. You might find it easier to put more trust in other premium VPNs with solid no-log policies.

Try Mysterium VPN for FREE!

Torrenting — Use With Caution

Mysterium doesn’t specifically state anywhere that it disallows torrenting, but you should consider the privacy concerns above. Torrenting is often used for shady purposes, so the VPN might deem it against its standards and exclude it in the whitelist vetting process. You’d need to trust each node-runner handling your downloads, as you could be susceptible to online threats.

It’s important to note that I don’t condone any illegal downloads or copyright infringement, and you shouldn’t use a VPN for these purposes. You should also check that torrenting is allowed in your location before trying it.

Does Mysterium VPN Work in China? — No

Mysterium VPN doesn’t work in China, and the provider is very clear on this. It states that this might be worked on in the future, but it’s not available there right now.

Screenshot showing FAQ about Mysterium VPN not working in China

Currently Mysterium VPN doesn’t offer the service in China

As an alternative, have a look at these VPNs proven to work in China.

Simultaneous Device Connections — One Connection Per IP

You can connect to 1 node per IP; for example, you can only connect one device per WiFi network if they share an IP. If you’re connected to the VPN on your laptop, and then try to use it on your phone while on the same WiFi network, it won’t work. On the other hand, each node can have multiple sessions from different users/IPs.

Device Compatibility — Lacks iOS App

Mysterium VPN has multi-platform support but doesn’t have an iOS app at this time. It’s compatible with the following operating systems:

  • Android (including the APK)
  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • Docker
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Avado

Mysterium is in the early alpha development stages, but I’d like to see an iOS app released soon. I tested it on the Windows app and found it to be a bit buggy — not correctly displaying where I connected to.

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Ease of Use

5.3

Set-Up & Installation — No Registration Required

You don’t need to create an account or log into the app once you’ve installed it. It simply runs off a generated “key” that will manage your MYST/ETH spending and earning. Bear in mind that if you uninstall the apps, you’ll lose that key and the subsequent cryptocurrency earnings. No need to enter any payment information either because of this.

The Windows app was incredibly straightforward to install, and you’ll get the location options as soon as you’ve opened the app. I appreciated how easy it was to navigate and search for locations. You can’t specify an exact city; just select from various nodes in that country. Next to them, you’ll see an indication of quality and the price to use each one.

Image showing Mysterium VPN easy to use interface

I liked how simple the navigation was in the Mysterium VPN app

It was incredibly annoying that the app seemed to have a bug where it didn’t always show that I had connected to another country. Instead, it showed my original IP address, which was incorrect as I could see my IP had changed on 3rd party webpages. The app is still in “pilot” mode, so hopefully, this will be fixed soon.

There’s a distinct lack of settings options in comparison to other VPNs. All you have is price limit customization, quality, and IP type — mainly just filtering what can already be seen on the main screen. A preferences menu only lets you change the DNS connection type.

The Android app is equally user-friendly and thin on settings options. Installing the app asks for permission for storage and image access, which you might find a bit concerning. You can import your private key (linked to your MYST/ETH) once it’s installed.

I’d like to see the apps expanded with more settings and the bugs ironed out, so you can confirm where you connect.

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Compare Mysterium VPN With The Top Alternative VPNs

9.9
9.5
9.3
9.3

Pricing

1.3
1 hour 1 Gb Estimated
$0.03 /day

For the moment, there is no cost to use Mysterium VPN. This is because it’s in the early stages of development, and it’ll move to the full crypto-powered setup in the future. You can try all of its features completely free.

Soon the VPN will essentially run on a PAYG basis, with nano-payments made as a customer or provider in cryptocurrency (MYST and ETH). If you’re staking in the network as a node-runner, you can earn ETH bounties according to the bandwidth you provide over time. This is available in the UK, US, Germany, and Italy at this time.

As a customer, you’ll pay in MYST once the system is fully up and running. This is quite complicated to understand as it’s a “probabilistic nano-payment” system. Still, your average cost over time will likely work out about the same as an affordable traditional VPN. This is subject to crypto marketplace fluctuations, however.

There’s a link to “Portals” on the Mysterium VPN webpage, which uses the same node pool but offers customers the chance to pay with credit cards. If you need a more simplistic payment system and consistent low pricing, consider these affordable VPNs.

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Reliability & Support

3.3

The only contact option is the chat feature, which never seemed to be “live” at all. This turned out to be more of a ticket-based web form, where you’ll get a response within 1 day. I got a response via email after about 12 hours, which was very short but answered my question.

Image showing Mysterium VPN contact via chat

The chat feature isn’t live, but I got a response within 12 hours

Besides this, there is an FAQ section that seems to cover most general inquiries. When the VPN moves along in the development process, I’d hope to see the support service expanded with live chat. There’s a bug report feature built into the app that I used to report the issue with the location display. It seems that Mysterium VPN is encouraging user feedback in this early development stage.

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The Bottom Line

Final Verdict

VPNs powered by decentralized crypto marketplaces might well be the future, but Mysterium VPN needs a little bit of work to attract customers. This will evolve as more providers stake in the network, boosting speeds and location availability. I’m not sure I’d recommend it just yet.

You need to be able to implicitly trust every node owner, which raises some privacy concerns. The inherent anonymity with crypto payments, accountless apps, and no centralized logging is a selling point. There’s some solid encryption and brilliant capability for unblocking streaming platforms. The bugs in the app and DNS leaks require some work, and it could do with extra features like a kill switch.

It’s early days yet for Mysterium VPN, and once it advances in development, the snowball effect of more stakeholders and improved service will help it along the way. You need to be confident that you can place your trust in the double-edged sword of network decentralization.

  • Decentralized network run by users.
  • Get paid to provide your bandwidth.
  • Military-grade encryption with WireGuard and OpenVPN.
  • Extra privacy as no logging in any one place.
  • Unblocks major streaming platforms.
  • Use on a PAYG basis with no subscription.

FAQs on Mysterium VPN

Is Mysterium VPN safe?

It provides strong encryption, but it leaked my DNS. Mysterium VPN is in early development, so it’s difficult to say it’s fully safe yet. Hopefully, any problems will be ironed out shortly.

Will Mysterium VPN slow my speeds down?

Yes. As with most VPNs, the encryption process tends to slow you down. On a decentralized network, you also depend on the individual node providers for speed and reliability. I found that Mysterium VPN reduced speeds overall, but it was still fast enough for HD streaming.

Can Mysterium VPN unblock Netflix?

Yes, absolutely. Mysterium VPN really excelled in its unblocking capability. It was able to bypass geoblocks on every platform I tried. This will be dependent on the node-providers locations, which could change at any time.

Is Mysterium VPN free?

It’s free whilst it’s in early development. You can test out all of its features without paying a thing. This will eventually move on to the full cryptocurrency marketplace-based nano-payment system. You can also earn ETH by becoming a node-runner for Mysterium VPN.

Can I download a modded APK for Mysterium VPN?

Only the official APK file is available on the webpage. Downloading APKs from unverified sources could be dangerous, as you run the risk of installing viruses and malware. Installing a non-approved file won’t provide any benefits. You should only use the officially supported apps.

Are there Mysterium VPN browser extensions?

No, there aren’t any extensions yet. The provider is in the “pilot” stage of development, so this may be on the cards for later. For now, the apps are very user-friendly and can be used in conjunction with your web browser.

Money Back Guarantee (Days) : 0
Mobile app : Y
Number of devices per license : Unlimited
VPN Plans: mysterium.network

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