Mozilla launches Firefox Private Network VPN for $4.99 per month
Mozilla continues to expand its products and services beyond the Firefox web browser. Firefox Private Network was launched as the first product of the revamped Test Pilot program that Mozilla put on ice earlier this year.
Mozilla launched it for Firefox users in the United States at the time and as a browser proxy only. The system works similarly to third-party VPN solutions for Firefox in that it protects user data and privacy by routing traffic through Private Network servers.
Firefox users needed to install the Firefox Private Network extension to make use of the provided browser-level protection.
Today, Mozilla Mozilla unveiled the next step in the process. Still only available for users from the United States, the organization launched a full Firefox-branded VPN service.
The VPN service is only available for Windows 10 at the time of writing and the $4.99 per month is an introductory offer. Mozilla promises to release versions for Android and iOS, Chromebook, Mac and Linux in the future.
Firefox Private Network customers who pay for the full protection get access to about 30 regions and may use the service on up to five devices.
The VPN service is provided by Mullvad behind the scenes and uses WireGuard, a new VPN protocol.
The underlying policy of Mullvad is that we never store any activity logs of any kind. We strongly believe in having a minimal data retention policy because we want you to remain anonymous.
Mullvad has a strict no logging policy and accounts use a number system that keeps track of the remaining hours of service only. The service supports several payment methods including traditional methods that may reveal information and systems that don't reveal those information, e.g. cash transactions or Bitcoin.
The full-device VPN protects the entire device whereas the browser extension only Firefox activity. A free option is provided and even though Mozilla changed some of its options, is not very practicable to use.
The core reason is that one-hour passes are assigned to the free user and that those are limited to 12 currently (opposed to 4 three-hour passes previously). Means: even if you connect to the service for just a minute, you will waste one of the available hour passes.
The price of $4.99 is an introductory price that is available during the beta. Mozilla has not revealed the price that it will charger after the beta ends but it is very likely that it will charge more than $4.99 for a monthly subscription. Mullvad charges about $5.50 (â‚¬5 Euro) per month for one month of access to the service.
Most VPN services, e.g. NordVPN, offer discounts when customers subscribe for longer periods. Whether that is the case for Firefox Private Network accounts remains to be seen.
The $4.99 put Mozilla's offering somewhere in the middle when it comes to price. There are cheaper VPN providers out there but also several that charge more than $5 per month.
Mozilla plans to run the beta in the United States "into early 2020" to expand the service to other regions "soon thereafter".Â Interested users may join a waitlist to be notified when the service becomes available in their region.
Mozilla has an advantage over other VPN providers; the organization may integrate the service in one form or another in the Firefox web browser to advertise the paid version to users directly. Mozilla did not reveal whether it plans to do that but it could help the organization get away with slightly higher prices than competing offers.
Now You: What is your take on this development? Have you ever dealt with Mullvad?
Imagine paying to get tracked by Mozilla.. even more! lmao
I agree, WireGuard and all VPN companies spy on you. In fact I finally got my own sparrows as an internet alternative. They rock.
If you could actually provide proof and verified documentation that ‘all’ VPN services are doing what you claim that would be something notable but otherwise, troll much?
They can’t because they’re not. On the other hand, it takes a LOT of digging to find a good VPN.
If you’re that paranoid, go off the internet.
Then again it’s Yuliya being anti-Firefox for no reason. Like always. What a dick.
You may just built your own VPN! There are many open sources tools, all u need is to rent a vps, maybe cause u 3 dollors a month, and a little time to make it work.
>Yuliya being anti-Firefox for no reason
Just so you know, I used Fx for a good 5+ years as my main browser up to that point.
Yuliya which browser do you recommended? will it be better than my own sparrows browser? I have stopped using Netflix too the last 3 years for security reasons, their recommendations know too much about me. I have switched to sparrowflix, it’s awesome.
Imagine paying to get tracked by Mozilla.. even more! lmao
No tracking. No paying for Mozilla. No.
It’s going to become even more difficult to be skeptical of Mozilla’s privacy promises without being gang-abused now that the VPN industry has invested in them.
Interesting, but if I understand properly, this is not for me. A VPN that only covers you in the browser is a nonstarter. It leaves too much unprotected.
The free version covers Firefox, the commercial version the entire system and all apps that run on it.
Ah, very nice! Thank you.
The browser extension is free for a whopping 12 hours a month.
Mullvad user here. Use it with Wireguard on my Linux laptop and OpenVPN (via the excellent Passepartout app) on iOS. Connectivity is great and speeds are decent. Having said that, I’m not sure how I feel about their tie-up with Mozilla. On one hand, I suppose Mozilla are probably one of the better internet companies to group yourself with, but on the other I feel it just paints a bigger target on Mullvad to attract unwanted attention from nefarious actors. I like that Mullvad doesn’t require any identifying information to create an account (you just get a number) but I assume you’ll only be able to use the Firefox version with a Mozilla account?
It will be interesting for a number of reasons: can Mullvad handle the increase in traffic? What is the benefit of signing up via Mozilla over signing up directly? when will it leave beta? Will it be offered in all regions?
I don’t imagine Mullvad will have trouble “scaling up” with some cash injections from Mozilla, particularly if they just rent third-party servers.
However, your second question is essential: why should anyone bother with the Mozilla version of the service? My guess is that there won’t be a compelling reason, and that this service is just aimed at Firefox users who don’t know anything about Mullvad and just want to get a VPN from a brand name they recognize. If that’s all it is, this partnership is a win-win for the two companies.
PS. This is my second post attempt because I got a “don’t post so fast” error the first time. This is weird because I only attempted to post one message.
@Matti: Considering trying out Mullvad myself. Do you find their speeds to be prohibitively slow? Online reviews seem to think they’re among the slowest VPNs around.
@ShintoPlasm: It’s hard to give a proper picture of VPN speeds (for any provider) because there are regional/geographical factors involved. My speed “rating” would only be relevant to you if we lived in the same town or state.
I live in Southeast Asia where Mullvad doesn’t have that many regional servers, but the speeds I get have been better than some of the other bigger VPN providers I’ve tried. Obviously none of them can come close to the seeds I get from my own VPN hosted on a DigitalOcean droplet in my country, but with Mullvad I can achieve about 200mbps on average. More importantly, they’ve been consistent. With some other providers I used in the past (ExpressVPN,VyperVPN, ProtonVPN), speeds would fluctuate lot day to day. Mullvad isn’t immune, but my connection has been consistently decent at least.
I’m still a bit surprised Mozilla went with Mullvad. I was under the impression they were busy sucking up to Cloudflare and would employ the Cloudflare Warp backend. I suppose it was a matter of money in the end.
@ShintoPlasm: I tested Mullvad few days ago and the speeds I was getting were generally not OK. Some servers were better than the others, but none could saturate my bandwidth. The fastest server was 3/4 of my non-VPN speed, while the slowest was only 1/4. I’m on 200mbit.
@Matti: Interesting point about the larger target, but the only nefarious actors I’d be worried about are the VPN users themselves, as opposed to the state and corporate actors that are monitoring the users. We may have to contend with lots of flagged IP addresses as the larger user base comes on board…
We’ll see. Up to now Mullvad has impressed me. I just hope these guys can keep it up.
@Jason: Maybe “nefarious” wasn’t the right word to use, but yeah, my concerns align with yours with regards to the larger, more visible IP blocks. Captcha hell and all that jazz.
@Jason, yes a Firefox Account is required (even for the free version).
According to this link: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-accounts-managing-account-data, you only have to provide an e-mail address, password, & age (probably required by law in some jurisdictions to prevent age sensitive access to minors).
If you’re comfortable with providing this level of information, then you can save $.50 a month and have Mozilla integrate their VPN solution into Firefox and all your other software programs (I hate the word “apps”).
A better alternative to VPN is the Tor browser: it is free, does really anonymize you against commercial tracking (not just hiding your IP address from sites), is trustless, and can serve as a foreign proxy too.
The best alternative are sparrows. They have changed my life, I don’t need internet anymore.
The Tor browser is the de facto standard for privacy on the internet; however, you must make alot of compromises to commit to the Tor browser.
Mozilla is probably targeting exisiting and future VPN users, who want a higher level of privacy, but don’t want to make the compromises involved in committing to the Tor browser.
It’s still way too slow for regular use, and there is no guarantee of speeds or quality between different guards. When you stuck with a slow guard or circuit Tor becomes unusable.
Private!! For a mere Tallers!! Grab your debt card now!!
The fact that “The VPN service is provided by Mullvad behind the scenes and uses WireGuard, a new VPN protocol” really does not mean much to me, given that it only works on the browser and through an extension, which 100% controlled by Mozilla that could be modified at any time without prior notice.
You need to distinguish between the browser extension (browser only) and the dedicated application (system-wide).
I stand corrected, didn’t realize that from the article (read it as if it was still the Extension only VPN).
However as far as the extension goes I will still make my point that it can be modified at any point without prior notice, so the experiment should end as soon as possible and be taken into a full VPN client.
Martin, I disagree with you that the Free version is “not very practical”.
Firefox’s FREE Private Network is great for someone with a laptop/notebook/tablet that only needs to use a VPN to access free Wi-Fi at the airport, or in the waiting room lounge while waiting for the dealership to fix/do maintenance on their vehicle, or in their hotel room on vacation, etc.
Most people in those situations are only checking their e-mail, checking their airline flight information, looking at the hotel restaurant’s website (checking the menu), etc. 12 hours a month is great for those purposes (even in 1 hour blocks, you can tether than together for more time), and you only need to install an extension (which you can disable when you’re not using it) to enjoy the benefits.
It’s not the VPN solution for everyone, but it’s probably perfect for some people (and it gives people a chanee to try the service for free, on their browser).
I think that 12 hours per month is fine, but the splitting into 12 blocks is not. My main gripe is that you waste a whole block even if you just check emails for a minute.
Point taken, but if you’re only using the VPN to encrypt your browser traffic while using a public Wi-Fi access point AWAY from home, you may only need it a handful of times a month (at the airport, hotel, car dealership, doctor’s office waiting room, etc).
In those situations, the free Firefox Private Network may fulfill all your requirements, since you may not even use it 12 times a month.
Obviously, if you’re intending to use a VPN for work or home use, you probably need to pay for a VPN.
I’m finding Epic Privacy Browser suitable for my needs. There’s also Opera and Tor. I’ll probably give the FF free VPN a try when it’s released worldwide, just to see if it leaks.
I like Epic Privacy Browser; it’s very underrated IMO. I use their free proxy service to access some blocked sites. And Opera and Tor are other good options, depending and your given needs.
I don’t use FF that much anymore, but when i do I’ll likely this free VPN option. Time to give it a try.
There’s also Cloudflare’s WARP, but I’m still waiting for the desktop version they promised.
That said, the best free VPN options that work system wide are ProtonVPN (best) and VPN Gate, at least from what I’m aware of.
Mullvad’s an excellent VPN, they’ve even upgraded their bizarre Windows Notepad style interface to something with color that looks more typical.
I used them for quite a while, no complaints, they just weren’t fast from my location. I hope they don’t turn into yet another sell out, a la Startpage.
Beside the idea that a browser based VPN is really silly given all the ways a browser and a not locked out of the tunnel OS could communicate, anyone who’s done a bit of research can find a fast VPN with a secure tunnel and kill switch in the same price range.
Seems like the market for this would be those looking for security or privacy (whatever those mean), maybe a slightly more knowledgeable segment than those who like Opera’s free “VPN,” which often reviews worse than p2p botnet Hola. Does this market even exist within FF’s user base?
It’s very hard to find a good VPN; savvy FF users wouldn’t touch FF’s VPN with a 10 foot pole. Let’s see what the reviews say.
Saying Startpage “sold out” is absurd. They weren’t even acquired; they took on an investor as a partner, which is practically necessary to get real scale in Silicon Valley. This ultra-pseuedo-purity attitude by people who have zero business sense is exactly why most privacy-friendly and FOSS services remain obscure and go unused. It’s possible to protect consumers and still make money.
I agree that “sold out” is hyperbolic. But the choice of partner does cast a question mark over them. Disclaimer: I don’t use Startpage, so I have no emotional reaction to this. I’m merely an interested outsider.
Saying Startpage is possible to protect consumers and still make money is absurd.
You should probably throw out your computer and phone and go live in the woods as a forager then because apparently you’re prepared to live without the advantages and conveniences of the market which have all been brought to you by capitalism.
Does Firefox VPN service is that available worldwide or not, because i don’t interesting VPN and so my network is fairly good.
I’ve been using Mullvad for over a year – but not via app instead directly on the firewall ( OpnSense ) via. OpenVPN . The limitation to XX concurrent connections is thus omitted . You pay by letter and cash ( 5â‚¬ / month ) – works problem-free .
Then why should you switch to Mozilla and take a third one with you ? Even more if the access is then only limited to the FF ?
Mullvad is terrific but it’s been causing a lot of stalling/timeouts the last few days. I expect it’s because of the huge increase in traffic from Mozilla and people leaving PIA that their servers aren’t ready for.
Update: I downloaded the current beta and it seems to have fixed the connection issues. Thanks for the speedy patches, Mullvad!
VPN-connections doesn’t make You safer online. Hackers use software installed on Your computer or the operating system itself (especially Windows 10).
Most people who use a VPN don’t need it, but they’ve been fed lies by ad-campaigns, mostly on YouTube where there’s a large audience which does not properly understand how a VPN works, why and when you should use one, let alone which one to use, or completely unaware of the fact that most VPN services are basically useless as they could easily be funded by governments. Beacuse really, if you have unlimited funds, and you know your people would use such a service, why not just fund one, or to, or as many as you see fit, and have every single one of them hand you their data.
Can’t wait for Firefox to launch a subscription version where you have to pay $5 a month to get the no-ads experience and a free version riddled with ads from top to bottom. What a joke Firefox has become. xD
I wish there was a VPN with block accounts (1TB for 20$ or in that ballpark) rather than a running monthly subscription fee. Would fit my use case better since I’d only use it intermittently, in short burst during travel. Some months not at all.
This actually sounds like a great idea, maybe you can reach out to one of your favorite VPN service providers and ask them about this. It would also serve as a nice extension to their free tiers, where a user can gain access to the premium service for a fee, and up to a certain amount of data, instead of (or in addition to) the free plans experiencing less server and lower speeds.
One major thing I’m hoping Mozilla’s involvement will help with is the creation of FOSS clients for iOS and routers which Mullvad can adapt. Mozilla will probably be creating their own apps but they are being built to run on Mullvad servers, so hopefully Mullvad can use that code to create its own. The lack of an iOS and router app are the biggest platform weaknesses Mullvad has right now.
Mozilla is only a reseller here, they are not paid for providing a service to the users, they are paid to advertise for a third-party service, like with search engine deals. Not only they aren’t looking for income sources that would be compatible with a non-profit (I suppose that donations to the for-profit MozCo aren’t tax deducible so they have probably chosen themselves to exclude this type of funding since the beginning when it was created), but the for-profit income sources they choose inevitably involve the less ethical ones like ads or tracking.
Once one is paid to advertise for a service, one is going to be much less regarding on whether they are actually trustworthy, or whether they remain trustworthy, or whether they are the best choice for the users compared to their competitors, an important question for a VPN, those companies can be shady. And then the software design tends to be oriented towards aggressively pushing users to use the partner (see the address bar used as a search bar for instance).
This is also at the expense of possibly better alternative solutions like integrating a Tor mode, that is free and doesn’t just shift trust to the VPN provider. Tor browser is based on Firefox, much of the work would already be done… But it’s possible that VPNs have other benefits like speed and less web breaking, and maybe they didn’t choose the worst VPN company. But now that they are paid by VPN companies, alternative solutions are locked out, good or bad ones.
I find the “No activity logs — We’re Mozilla. We don’t log your activity and we’re always on your side.” line strange (beyond the problem that Mozilla has privacy problems themselves and is certainly not always on our side). The VPN is Mullvad, not Mozilla. They just mean that they trust Mullvad not to log, and if you trust Mozilla by transitivity you should trust Mullvad. But we heard that before when they justified having Google Analytics in Firefox, or centralizing the DNS traffic at Cloudflare: we trust Google, so if you trust us, you should trust Google… Mozilla is not a guarantee of trustworthy partners (we knew that from Google Search of course, but in the search case Mozilla didn’t try to pretend that it was a private solution that could be trusted).
BTW I use Fennec F-Droid on Android, not Firefox, the former removes the proprietary trackers of the latter (another case of “we’re always on your side” ?). It seems that using birds to communicate is not the only conceivable alternative to a browser with proprietary trackers, after all.
“Now You: What is your take on this development? Have you ever dealt with Mullvad?”
I’m pleasantly surprised that mozilla chose Mullvad over any other VPN. This is my usual VPN for years (you can check my ip right now ;) and they’re really good.
You can use their open source software to connect or you use openvpn with their config files.
Their policies seem fair and privacy-oriented. Obviously, I can check if it’s truethey don’t log anything. But I trust them.
One of the reasons is because they are the only (as far as I know) VPN that accepts cash and they’re honest about it. I’ve sent 5 euro with my account number through mail and within about 1 week, my account was credited with 1 full month. They could have just pretended they never received my money after all.