Mozilla unveils $4.99/month subscription-based VPN, says it won't hang onto user logs

Sling some dollars Moz's way for that special WireGuard experience

Those wondering how Mozilla plans to plug the holes in its finances were given a clue today in the form of a subscription-based Virtual Private Network (VPN) bearing the company's stamp.

For a mere $4.99 a month, and with no long-term contract needed, Mozilla's WireGuard-based VPN service has emerged from beta testing and is ready for action, according to the company.

The benefits of using a VPN are manifold: a layer of security is added when you hop onto public Wi-Fi, users can be made a little more anonymous while browsing, and activities such as messaging are secured.

There are also multiple free and paid options already out there, meaning Mozilla is hoping that slapping its brand on its own version will be what makes it stand out in a crowded marketplace.

The Firefox maker was also keen to talk up the performance of its service, which it attributed to the use of WireGuard, the size of which is "less than a third of the average VPN service provider", Moz said. WireGuard itself put in an appearance in the Linux kernel earlier this year and aims to be both "as easy to configure and deploy as SSH" while also "designed with ease-of-implementation and simplicity in mind."

As well as its small size making audits easier, WireGuard also straddles platforms besides Linux, with implementations including Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Its developers have made the modest claim that "it might be regarded as the most secure, easiest to use, and simplest VPN solution in the industry."

And so here we are.

Moz's take has slapped on a simple-to-use interface, familiar to those that have used other VPN services, which allows a user to select their location and turn the thing on. Up to five devices may be connected and Mozilla laid claim to over 280 servers in 31 countries. Sounds great, until one considers that rival ExpressVPN has managed to cover 94 countries. Still, "by choosing Mozilla VPN," the Firefox maker insisted, "you are contributing to a mission-driven organization and our pledge for a healthy internet."

What could be finer?

Things are a little limited in terms of platform. Windows 10 and Android versions are available, with iOS on the way. A spokesperson told The Register: "We are actively making improvements to our beta iOS VPN client and working with Apple on approval."

Mac and Linux flavours are "coming soon", it added, and an extension for the company's Firefox browser is also in beta, replete with 12 hours of free access per month through the Firefox Private Network, although the service remains US-only at the moment.

The company insisted that, in terms of data, it is only focusing on what it needs to make the service work and will not be keeping user logs. It pointed to its Data Privacy Principles and sniffed: "We don't partner with third-party analytics platforms who want to build a profile of what you do online." So there. ®

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