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NordVPN Review NordVPN Review

By Miklos Zoltan 10 January 2022

Founder - Privacy Affairs

Score Breakdown:

Price from: 3.29/mo

Available on:

10.0

total score

Things To Like

  • 5100 plus servers in 60 countries
  • Unrivaled unblocking ability
  • Verified no-log policy
  • 6 simultaneous connections

Things Not To Like

  • Not much

Available NordVPN Plans

2 Years

$3.29 per month

  • Download speeds up to 500 Mbps
  • More than 4,000 individual servers
  • Zero-logging policy and not data sharing
Get plan

1 Year

$4.92 per month

Get plan

1 Month

$11.95 per month

Get plan

NordVPN is an excellent no-log VPN service with impeccable security, privacy, and the amazing VPN speeds. The service allows you to reclaim your online freedom while accessing the internet safely.

NordVPN boasts a fleet of servers with amazing performance, and it has native apps for LL major platforms. It is suitable for both advanced and novice users.

Quick Summary

NordVPN is a fully-fledged VPN service that packs a secure, private and fast internet connection. It has an extensive server network that allows you to reclaim your online freedom from anywhere in the world. Their servers offer the best performance and unlimited bandwidth with unsurpassed unblocking abilities.

NordVPN uses strong encryption with secure and fast VPN protocols. The Panama jurisdiction doesn’t require NordVPN to log user data, which guarantees its no-log policy.

NordVPN also has excellent privacy and security-oriented features that ensure your online traffic and connection are always under maximum protection.

Its native VPN apps are compatible with all major computing platforms. The apps are easy to use, and they sport a streamlined, user-friendly interface.

Its pocket-friendly subscriptions allow you to connect up to 6 devices simultaneously. They also carry a 30-day money-back guarantee. Keep on reading to find out more about NordVPN’s top-notch VPN service!

Features:

Read the following NordVPN review to find out more details about this VPN.

Speed

10.0

NordVPN regularly optimizes and upgrades its server infrastructure for the best performance. With the new addition of the NordLynx protocol, NordVPN offers exceptional lightning speeds suitable for any data-intensive tasks.

NordVPN also bypasses ISP throttling and delivers your connection free of restrictions.

Coupling the fast speeds with unlimited bandwidth, you can torrent and download content without lag and stream videos in 4K without buffering issues.

To prove its speedy connections, NordVPN commissioned a comparative speed test undertaken by AV-TEST – an independent IT security institute.

The test involved other major VPN providers and server locations including the US, Europe, and East Asia. AV-TEST concluded that NordVPN is the fastest VPN with the best network performance.

Locations

10.0

NordVPN has an extensive server network comprising 5,100 plus servers in over 60 countries.

The geographical distribution of these servers ensures that you can access online content from anywhere in the world.

The server infrastructure is optimized to offer ultra-fast connections, unlimited bandwidth, and a secure VPN service for your everyday needs. Even with faraway servers, you will always have a reliable and stable connection.

NordVPN also offers specialty servers for specific needs. They are as follows:

Double Protection and Ultimate Privacy

NordVPN offers Double VPN and Onion over VPN servers to bolster your online privacy and protection.

Double VPN: These servers provide an extra layer of privacy and security. Your online traffic and connection are routed through a second VPN server (hence the name). This setup ensures maximum privacy and security.

Thus, your online data is encrypted twice, and you get a mixed cocktail of protocols such as UDP and TCP.

Additionally, the second server won’t know your actual IP address since the first server masks it.

With double encryption and a completely hidden IP address, prying eyes, including your ISP, won’t know what you are up to on the internet.

Onion over VPN: These servers overcome the Tor network limitation by infusing the VPN encryption onto the Tor Network. That is, you get Tor anonymity with the secure VPN service. The best part, you won’t need to use the Tor browser.

These servers also greatly increase your security and privacy.

Onion over VPN also helps you bypass ISPs who block Tor traffic and other Tor snoopers.

Double protection and ultimate security are beneficial if you are a journalist, an activist, or a dissident. You can also use these special servers when avoiding government surveillance.

Bypass Censorships and VPN blocks

NordVPN bypasses internet restrictions easily and helps you circumvent censorships with the help of Obfuscated serversObfuscated Servers.

These servers are suitable for bypassing censorship and other internet restrictions. The servers use obfsproxy technology, which is excellent at reshaping and concealing VPN traffic from censors.

The reshaping makes your VPN traffic look like regular HTTPS traffic, which is freely allowed to pass through firewalls.

Thus, it helps you avoid deep-packet inspection and other technologies that block OpenVPN traffic.

These servers are suitable in countries with stringent censorship regulations and institutions that block VPN traffic.

To bypass China restrictions, NordVPN provides special apps; you can get them on the help page.

Dedicated IP Address

Besides shared IP addresses, NordVPN also offers dedicated IP addresses with OpenVPN UDP and TCP protocol.

Dedicated IP addresses are crucial when avoiding risks associated with shared IP addresses, such as blacklists. However, you lose the knit privacy that comes with shared IP addresses.

NordVPN offers dedicated IP addresses in five server locations, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Other than avoiding blacklists, dedicated IP addresses are suitable for remote connections, IP restricted networks, secure services such as online banking and shopping, avoiding CAPTCHAS, and even streaming content.

Dedicated IP addresses are reliable since you do not share them with other VPN users.

Torrent safely and securely

NordVPN allows P2P traffic and torrenting through the optimized P2P servers.

These servers are engineered to offer the fastest speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and excellent security coupled with privacy. Hence, they are suitable for torrenting content safely and securely.

They also help you avoid ISP throttling associated with torrenting.

Moreover, NordVPN offers a SOCKS5 proxy which you can configure on popular torrenting clients. This proxy masks your IP address and provides faster connections than the VPN itself.

However, this proxy doesn’t encrypt your online traffic. If you want to torrent safely and securely, use the P2P servers.

Unblocking and streaming abilities

NordVPN boasts unmatched unblocking ability. It can bypass geo-restrictions easily and enable you to unblock online content, from websites to social media.

You can also stream your favorite movies, tv shows, sports, music, and even live TV. Thanks to its SmartPlay feature, an amalgamation of Smart DNS and VPN service baked into the NordVPN apps.

Nowadays, popular streaming services implement tough VPN blocks to curb unblocking content from restricted geo-locations.

Streaming these services with a VPN is a cat and mouse game. Fortunately, NordVPN is up for the task, and it unblocks content effortlessly.

You can use NordVPN to unblock and stream Hulu, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, DAZN, HBO Now, sporting events, other on-demand, live TV channels, and Netflix catalogs.

With the fair distribution of NordVPN servers, you can also unblock other regional services. If you encounter an error, clear your browser/app cookies/cache, then switch servers.

Privacy

10.0

NordVPN operates under the jurisdiction of Panama. This is a favorable jurisdiction for a VPN service since it doesn’t have mandatory data retention laws and doesn’t require NordVPN to store logs.

This is great for NordVPN’s strict no-log policy. Panama also has free internet and is not directly influenced by the US or EU invasive laws.

Additionally, Panama is outside the reach of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance. This makes NordVPN an excellent choice for protecting your online privacy.

No-log Policy

NordVPN implements a strict no-log policy – it doesn’t collect, store, track, or share your data. This data includes connection stamps, traffic data, session information, IP addresses, bandwidth usage, and other information related to your online activities.

With no legal obligation to store logs, even if NordVPN is subpoenaed, it won’t have anything to give.

The no-log policy has been independently audited twice by one of the Big 4 auditing firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) AG, Switzerland. PwC confirmed the no-log policy claims and concluded that the strict no-log policy is accurate.

Nonetheless, NordVPN keeps minimal information such as your email address and billing information. This is necessary for the VPN connection, troubleshooting and refunding purposes.

You can use a burner email address and pay your subscriptions using cryptocurrency to increase your privacy.

RAM-based and co-located servers

To back up its no-log policy, NordVPN has transitioned to RAM-based servers. The server architecture now runs on the volatile RAM rather than the hard disk.

Once a reboot is done (during regular maintenance), all the server contents are lost since RAM cannot store data or configurations.

If a server breach occurs or the state seizes the servers, no information will be compromised.

Additionally, the NordVPN infrastructure also relies on co-located servers. These servers are managed and controlled by NordVPN. Therefore, all the configurations, optimizations, and security implementations are done by NordVPN and no other third-parties.

RAM-based and co-located servers further improve your online privacy and security.

Encryption and Protocols

NordVPN implements a robust unbreakable encryption setup that keeps your traffic and connection safe from hackers and other prying eyes.

The setup works hand in hand with NordVPN’s secure and fast protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, and NordLynx.

NordVPN offers OpenVPN with UDP and TCP for reliable and secure service. The encryption implementation that accompanies this protocol includes the AES-256-CBC cipher, SHA256 authentication, RSA-2048 handshake, and Perfect Forward Secrecy with a 4096-bit DH key exchange.

The IKEv2/IPsec improves your security, stability, and privacy. NordVPN uses the NGE (Next Generation Encryption) in this protocol.

The NGE includes AES-256-GCM cipher, SHA2-384 authentication, and 3072-bit Diffie-Hellman keys for Perfect Forward Secrecy. IPsec safeguards the tunnel with AES-256 encryption.

NordLynx is NordVPN’s recommendable protocol. It provides the fastest connection speeds with excellent security. It is based on the WireGuard protocol modified with NAT.

Despite being a lightweight protocol, its encryption implementation supersedes OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec.

You can also keep your connection secure and private by using a kill switch, DNS leak protection, double VPN, onion over VPN, and obfuscated servers.

There’s also a CyberSec feature that blocks ads, trackers, malicious sites and botnets.

Kill Switch

Other than encryptions, a kill switch is also a great security feature that blocks your internet access when the VPN connection temporarily drops.

Internet access is restored when the VPN connection is re-established. Therefore, your online traffic won’t go to the internet directly where it is visible by your ISP and other prying eyes.

NordVPN provides two implementations of the kill switch. A system-wide kill switch and an app-based kill switch.

The system-wide kill switch blocks all traffic while the app-based kill switch blocks traffic on selected apps and closes them when the VPN connection drops.

Leak Protection

Connection leaks happen when your traffic is not always in the VPN secure tunnel. In most cases, leaks occur when your DNS queries are not resolved in the VPN tunnel; instead, your ISP resolves them.

Other than DNS, leaks can also happen if the VPN provider does not support IPv6 addresses or has no way to deal with them.

Additionally, leaks can occur on the WebRTC protocol used by apps for real-time communication on browsers.

On this protocol, your private IP address is known by communicating devices. Fortunately, NordVPN offers DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leak protection.

To check for leaks, proceed as follows:

  1. Disconnect your VPN, go to IP leak test or DNS leak test and note your IP address.
  2. Reconnect your VPN and go to sites on step 1.

If you get the same IP address and DNS servers, then your VPN connection is leaking. To solve the problem,:

  • Go to NordVPN settings > Advanced, then run the diagnostics tool. Select the reset app option and try the above steps again.

If this doesn’t solve the problem, contact customer support.

CyberSec

This is a cybersecurity feature that enhances your online security. CyberSec blocks ads (pop-ups, autoplay, among others), trackers, malicious websites, phishing scams, and lets you avoid botnet control.

Besides an ad-free internet experience, by blocking ads, CyberSec also saves you bandwidth (if you are on mobile data), and your websites will load a bit faster.

Split Tunneling and Invisibility on LAN

NordVPN offers split tunneling, a feature that enables you to choose what apps will use the VPN connection.

The remaining apps will use the unprotected connection to the internet. This feature is essential when using VPN-sensitive services or when you want to maintain a direct connection to the internet while still using a VPN.

Hence, with split tunneling, you can access your local network devices, regional content while also bypassing geo-restrictions, remote connections, and services that might block VPN traffic, such as online banking.

Additionally, you can also protect your device on a local network. You can do this by using the Invisibility on LAN feature.

However, by turning on this feature, you will also lose access to your local network devices such as printers, TVs, Network storage, streaming devices, and other computers.

Other Security and Privacy Measures

To ensure a stellar VPN service, NordVPN has implemented the following measures:

Bug bounty: There’s no practical system or network that is 100% secure. To achieve the desired quality service with impeccable security and privacy, NordVPN has a rewarding bug bounty program to help it find bugs and other vulnerabilities.

Audits: The NordVPN infrastructure undergoes continuous audits to prove its claims and find if the service is secure and private. Additionally, NordVPN vendors also undergo auditing.

Ease of Use

10.0

NordVPN offers easy to use native VPN apps. The apps sport a straightforward interface with less clutter. The user interface is streamlined across all platforms, making navigation easier.

Advanced users can tweak various settings and customizations, while beginners can use the VPN on the go without changing anything.

NordVPN supports up to 6 simultaneous connections and is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Android TV, FireStick, Chromebook and browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

For Linux users, there are no graphical distractions – you get a simple command line for your VPN commands. NordVPN is also compatible with other devices such as gaming consoles and routers.

For devices that don’t support native VPN apps, such as some smart TVs and consoles, you can use NordVPN’s Smart DNS.

The Smart DNS offers great speeds and allows you to unblock streaming services. However, it doesn’t protect your security and privacy over the internet.

To get the whole VPN experience on these devices and all your other devices, you can use NordVPN on your router.

The router option is also great in case you are using a privacy-focused operating system such as Tails.

The setup requires some tech skills; nevertheless, NordVPN provides tutorials to guide you through the whole process.

Windows

NordVPN offers a fully-featured VPN service on Windows. Similar to most software products, the Windows app packs all the features.

The Windows app home screen is divided into two columns and a toolbar. The dominant right column hosts map-based servers and the quick connect button.

The left column gives you list-based servers, special servers, and recently connected servers. On the toolbar, you can access notifications and settings.

The settings menu has tabs such as General, Auto-connect, kill switch, split tunneling, Advanced, My account, other products, Log Out and a link to the Help Center.

The general tab offers most customizations with a toggle to enable the CyberSec feature. The auto-connect tab allows you to change the VPN protocols and set trusted Wi-Fi networks.

To change the protocol, you must disable the automatic protocol selection. You can select a system-wide kill switch or use the app-based kill switch.

You can set a custom DNS on the advanced tab, enable obfuscated servers, toggle invisibility on LAN, and run the diagnostics tool.

The diagnostics tool allows you to collect diagnostics; technical data, and usage reports for troubleshooting – including your system’s information, VPN connection details, internet configuration, application logs, driver details, and adapter information.

It also allows you to reset the app, do a network flush, and create app/service dumps.

My Account tab allows you to check your subscription status, change your password, and download other VPN apps and extensions.

Mac

NordVPN offers two native VPN apps for Mac; one is available on the app store, and the other is available on their website.

The two versions have some major differences (on VPN protocols available), but they are streamlined with their Windows counterpart.

The app store version runs on newer macOS versions and offers the IKEv2 protocol and NordLynx. Another distinctive feature of this version is the system-wide kill switch.

The sideload version (from the website) runs on older macOS versions, and it comes with OpenVPN but lacks the NordLynx protocol. Its kill switch is app-based.

Despite the differences, both apps give you access to NordVPN servers, including special servers such as Double VPN, P2P, dedicated IP, and Onion over VPN.

Most other functionalities and settings are similar to what is available on Windows.

Linux

NordVPN offers .deb and .rpm packages for various Linux distributions. You can install the VPN on aarch64, armv5, armv7, i386, and x86_64 systems.

Unlike other NordVPN apps, NordVPN for Linux has no graphical user interface – you need to use the command line like most Linux apps.

On Linux, you get the kill switch, leak protection, CyberSec, and auto-suggest.

Android

The Android app sports a streamlined interface with some Android (smartphone) aesthetics. It is also loaded like the Windows app.

The home screen has map-based servers, a settings button, a quick connect button, a notification button, and a pull-up tab for list-based servers, including the specialty servers.

The settings button opens a menu for your account subscription and other setting options. These include a VPN connection tab, Tools, General, Help Center, Security level (app-related functionalities), refer a friend, discover other apps, and log out.

The VPN connection tab gives you access to auto-connect, protocols, split tunneling, custom DNS, local network discovery, and metered connection functionalities.

The Tools tab allows you to toggle CyberSec, Dark Web Monitor, and Tap jacking protection. On the General tab, you can set the apps’ appearance and multi-factor authentication.

The Android app has also been certified as secure by the Internet of Secure Things Alliance (ioXt).

On the ioXt report, the NordVPN Android app got the maximum rating in various security aspects, such as security by default, secured interfaces, proven cryptography, verified software, and automatically applied updates.

iOS

The iOS app generally has the same Android offerings with a few differences due to Apple’s restrictions. The differences include the iOS app adds the IKEv2 protocol, which is missing in the Android app (NordLynx and OpenVPN).

The kill switch is unconfigurable, and there’s no split tunneling.

Browser Extensions

The proxy browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox offer lightweight privacy and security by allowing you to connect to NordVPN servers.

They offer unlimited bandwidth, stable, fast connections, protection against WebRTC leaks, and they come with the CyberSec feature. The extensions only protect your web traffic and not your entire system traffic.

Support

10.0

NordVPN offers its friendly customer support in three ways, a 24/7 live chat, a comprehensive help center with a knowledge base, and email support.

The live chat offers quick solutions to your everyday problems with the minimal waiting time. At first, a bot will help you. If you are not satisfied, you will be connected to the support staff.

The help center is divided into four major categories; FAQ, General Info, Billing and Connectivity. There’s also a search bar that you can use by entering the relevant keywords.

The FAQ section features set up tutorials for NordVPN supported platforms and general questions regarding the VPN service.

The general info section gives you more information about various NordVPN features and functionalities and highlights SmartPlay and Smart DNS.

The billing section deals with payment and subscription issues. The connectivity section will help you troubleshoot connection problems on supported platforms.

Overall, the help center can help you solve and troubleshoot the problems you encounter when using the NordVPN service. If your problem isn’t solved by the live chat and the help center, you can use email support.

Email support is your last resort, it is slower than the live chat, but all your technical difficulties and billing issues will be solved. The response time can be a few hours to a full day, depending on the queue.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

NordVPN enables you to protect your account from cybercriminals if they are successful in obtaining your account credentials.

NordVPN allows you to use MFA to add an extra layer of protection to your account. When enabled, you will need to authorize any login attempt and verify your identity after entering your password.

Authentication is done by an MFA app or physical security keys. Security keys use tokens, and you must insert them on your device’s USB port.

The apps generate a code that you use when you log into your account. NordVPN supports various authentication apps. Recommended ones include Authenticator or Authy.

Supported security keys include USB, NFC, or Bluetooth-enabled physical keys. NFC and Bluetooth keys are suitable for authenticating your NordVPN account on your smartphone. NordVPN is compatible with all certified security keys.

With MFA, anyone who wants to log into your account must provide the generated code or the security key. Thus, this makes it hard for intruders to access your account.

Pricing

10.0

NordVPN offers the standard three subscription plans for the same service. The pricing is pocket-friendly, and you get massive discounts on long-term plans, making them more affordable.

All plans carry a 30-day money-back guarantee. Here are the details of subscription plans at the time of this review:

  • The monthly plan retails at $11.95 per month.
  • The 1-year plan costs $4.92 per month. This sums to $59.00 for the first year.
  • The 2-year plan costs $3.29 per month. This totals to $79.00 for the first 2 years.

Besides the VPN service, you can also include other NordVPN addons at checkout for an extra price (depending on your subscription plan).

The addons include NordPass Premium (a password manager) and NordLocker Premium (secure backup cloud).

NordPass

NordPass is an excellent password manager that gives competitors a run for their money.

NordPass allows you to generate unique passwords, save notes and credit cards, sync across your devices, auto-fill and autosave, and import or export other passwords. You can also protect your passwords with multi-factor authentication.

With a NordPass Premium subscription, you get to protect your family with up to 6 accounts. You can share items, build trust contacts, scan the web for data leaks, and have emergency access to your passwords.

NordPass Premium also identifies old, reused, or weak passwords.

NordLocker

NordLocker is an easy-to-use secure cloud backup that complements your VPN privacy and security.

It offers unlimited end-to-end encryption, cloud storage from 3GB to 2TB and is compatible with all types of files.

You can access your data on the go and sync it across your devices. Moreover, you can open your files without the need to decrypt them.

NordLocker also allows you to set access control permissions, create encrypted folders on your local devices, and back up your data automatically.

NordLocker gives each user a unique encryption key on shared devices – no one will see each other’s files without permission.

Student and Youth Discount

NordVPN also offers a 15% discount to students, apprentices, and 18- to 26-year-olds. To claim this discount, you need to verify whether you are a student at StudentBeans or a youth at YouthDiscount. You can then use the voucher code at checkout.

Payment methods

You can subscribe to NordVPN plans using various payment methods. NordVPN accepts major credit/debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover, and JCB), Amazon pay, Google Pay, and ACH transfer.

If you want to boost your anonymity, NordVPN also accepts cryptocurrency payments (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and others).

You can take NordVPN for a test drive with the money-back guarantee. If you are not satisfied with the VPN service, you can cancel the subscription before the 30 days are up.

You will then get your money back – this is an equivalent of a premium free trial.

Emergency Free VPN service

NordVPN believes everyone should get access to a private free internet. Thus, NordVPN ensures digital freedom for individuals facing targeted surveillance, extensive online censorship, or the threat of violence. NordVPN achieves this endeavor by offering a free emergency VPN service on request.

If you face severe threats online, you can get 6 months of free VPN service if you tell NordVPN your story.

Wrap Up

NordVPN is a top-notch VPN service that offers stellar protection, ultimate privacy, faster speeds, and premium features. Its extensive server network provides unlimited bandwidth and allows you to access online content from anywhere in the world.

With unbreakable encryptions, a strict no-log policy, and Panama jurisdiction, you can trust NordVPN to take care of your online security, privacy and reclaim your freedom.

NordVPN also gives you excellent value for your money through its first-class service.