When one talks about VPN providers, they are typically companies who fixate on business-centric services or providing servers. However, on occasion you will see a well-known company make their own attempt at affecting the market. In early July 2020, the non-profit internet company Mozilla announced that they were starting their own Mozilla VPN service.
Mozilla has built a significant brand for themselves in the last decade. Originally the creators of the Firefox browser, the company was founded in 1998 as a company dedicated to making free and open-source software for the world. Since then, they made one of the largest browsers on the internet, as well as email reader Thunderbird while also acquiring and building a number of other apps.
The new VPN service can be found at vpn.mozilla.org, where subscribing comes at a fairly easy process. Upon logging onto there, it becomes evident that the VPN is still in development, but that users can try it out for themselves. They can immediately subscribe by clicking the “Try Mozilla VPN” button in the top right. A subscription currently costs $4.99 a month, which is much lower compared to other VPN prices. Mozilla does not offer any packages deals, wanting to offer a simpler method. But considering how limited the options are for the Mozilla VPN, this decision was likely the wisest.
The one caveat is that users of Mozilla will have to make an account, which will require information regarding email, passwords and age.
Since its announcement, the Mozilla VPN is only available for users who have Windows, iOS or Android devices. Mozilla does state that they intend to add Mac and Linux variants in the near future, but no timeline has been established for when those models will be available.
It should also be noted Mozilla’s VPN is only available in limited markets. Specifically, it is only available in the U.S., the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. If a user outside of those countries wishes to get access, they can do so by signing up for the wait list.
The Mozilla VPN servers primarily rely on WireGuard for their encryption protocols, and the options offer few options for changing or affecting the connections beyond enabling IPv6.
The Mozilla VPN states that their servers are provided through Mullvad VPN, an open-source oriented network based in Sweden. Mullvad states that they have a no-log policy, and that they intend to keep all user data anonymous and protected. This policy also extends to Mozilla’s servers, who promise to also maintain a no-logs policy for any users who wish it.
That said, not a lot is known about Mullvad’s operations, which makes judging the strength of their data convictions difficult..
The service offers a very simple interface to use after installation on your PC. Typically, the VPN will be accessible through the taskbar and will prompt you to connect upon logging in. The server will encourage you to make a connection then you’ll select a location and server to connect to.
One unique feature for the Mozilla VPN is that it keeps a front tracker available of the number of devices connected to Mozilla’s VPN. The settings for the server are limited, as Mozilla relies on simpler security options.
Upon installing the service, we connected up to a number of servers; all while relying on a 40 Mbps/min connection. Compared to other services, we had minimal issues getting our data to download. Select servers went better than others, particularly our connections to the United Kingdom and the Chicago servers. Speeds only shifted to around 35-37 Mbps.
Mozilla as a company has a history of trustworthiness as well as a history of protecting private security interests. Considering that Mozilla is only available in select countries with internet access, it seems fair to say that the odds of Mozilla’s VPN ending in some sort of criminal indictment is vastly low.
As a new VPN in an oversaturated market, there is a lot to compete with when it comes to Mozilla. The company’s reputation and the decision to partner with a pre-established VPN provider allows them to make a big impact, but there are still questions about the product’s quality and it’s spread. If you’re looking for a start-up option, Mozilla isn’t the most detailed or complex product. But it is likely a solid start for those willing to give it a try.