Whether you value privacy or speed or both, NordVPN is an impressive option; thanks for being Netflix-friendly, availability of P2P-optimized servers, anti-malware, and Bitcoin-supportive. Only the app interfaces need more configurability and control, but overall this quality VPN has plenty to offer.
NordVPN is a Panama-based provider offering online freedom and streaming options to more than 12 million internet users, their privacy suite is not just limited to VPN service, it is also offering encryption tool (NordLocker) and a password manager (NordPass).
If you’ve ever visited its NordVPN website, you’ll see some serious claims like The internet with no borders, you may call them fake marketing tactics, but this NordVPN review will clear all the air and rumors. In this review, we’ve looked at all the important details, so stick around to find out why we blindly trust NordVPN and how well it has lived up to its reputation.
It’s not another case of style over substance!
Pros of NordVPN
- Privacy audit is done by the third party
- Unblocks Netflix, iPlayer and many more
- Effective Kill Switch
- Speedy customer support
- Six simultaneous connections
- Works in China
- A huge network of servers
- Optimized servers for speed
Cons of NordVPN
- Some UI issues in desktop app
- Above-average prices
- Support site needs improvement
NordVPN Review – In a Nutshell
|VPN Servers||5600+ servers in 60 countries||9/10|
|Offered Protocols||OpenVPN, IPSec, and IKEv2/IPSec||8/10|
|Level of Encryption||Up to 256bit||8/10|
|Dedicated Apps||Available on All major platforms||9/10|
|Customer Support||24/7 Live Chat||10/10|
|Browser Extension||Chrome and Firefox||10/10|
|Log Policy||Strictly No Logging Policy||9/10|
NordVPN’s High-Performing Global Servers
NordVPN has 5,621 servers in 60 countries; more servers mean less load and better speeds; there’s a higher chance you’ll easily find one nearby. You can also see real-time bandwidth stats for every server on its website.
There’s good news for Chinese netizens that NordVPN works in China; thanks to their lineup of Obfuscated servers, that automatically obfuscate (hide) all VPN traffic and make it look like regular HTTPS traffic. NordVPN’s obfuscated servers also work in other regions like Iran, Qatar, the UAE, etc; it’s possible that you run into issues – no VPN is 100% secure in such regimes, after all.
Let’s test their performance!
To gauge how efficient NordVPN is at securing our web traffic, we have performed several speed tests while connected to the US, UK, and Asian servers.
|Server||Ping (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
Verdict on NordVPN’s Speed Tests
Security and Privacy of NordVPN – Features for Everyone
Security and privacy are what actually make a VPN valid – as this is the reason one could ask for a VPN; let’s see how strong NordVPN is?
Staring from its origin!
The best advantage of NordVPN is that it is based in an excellent privacy-friendly jurisdiction – Panama, a region away and outside of the 14 eyes countries.
We are based and operate under the jurisdiction of Panama. There is no mandatory data retention law in Panama so we do not need to store logs that are perfect for a VPN provider.
Over the past year, there have been some allegations on NordVPN’s connection to some European countries.
It’s not only this, there are some other rumors too.
If you have subscribed to NordVPN via PayPal in the past, you might have noticed that the Panamanian company behind NordVPN was listed as CloudVPN, Inc. instead of Tefincom & Co S.A.
CloudVPN is also shown as the developer for its Android app on Google Play.
Don’t know CloudVPN?
Upon asking directly from the support team, we got to know that CloudVPN is a payment collector for NordVPN, and has no affiliation with the service outside of that.
We also learned that payments directed to Panama are flagged as suspicious, so does with Panamanian apps that require special approval on the Google Play Store.
So, partnering with another company for payments is necessary for VPN providers located in exotic locations; you’ll see Tefincom & Co S.A. wherever seems possible. Since the partnership with CloudVPN is ONLY restricted to app registration, so, don’t worry! NordVPN is safe to use and honest about its headquarters.
Safe jurisdiction always plays a key role in coining the best VPN service, based in Panama is indeed an advantage to NordVPN over other VPN providers.
In the US and other jurisdictions, ISPs, VPN services, and some other entities are served secret warrants, say government subpoenas or security letters, forcing companies to log any records or details on their customers for investigation. Sometimes, they are accompanied by a gag order preventing the company from notifying the target that they have been under surveillance.
This is where warrant canaries drop in; it is a regularly published statement to confirm that a service provider has not received any secret warrant and prohibited from reporting it.
While NordVPN is in Panama, where data retention and gag orders are not legally possible, but still offering extra assurance by publishing their own (daily updated) warrant canary.
The company officially confirmed that they are in full control of their infrastructure and has never compromised nor suffered a data breach. They have not disclosed any private keys or users’ information, and have not been forced to modify their system to allow access to any kind of third party/ies.
Up to now, they have NOT received any:
- National Security letters;
- Gag orders;
- Warrants from any government or related organization.
Now, get ready to dig NordVPN’s logging policy!
Logging Policy – Is NordVPN really private?
Some VPN providers keep (some) logs, NordVPN doesn’t.
To create an account, you just need to provide Payment data (you can use bitcoins instead) and your email address – so that you’ll be contacted to send exciting announcements, service updates, to advise or errors to report, to retrieve a lost password, and most importantly, to make a VPN connection.
NordVPN also keep a record of the following;
Isn’t fair enough?
That’s the regular stuff that almost all VPN providers are logging and it’s not a matter of worry, especially when the payment processor isn’t tied up with the main company.
Do you know that NordVPN is one of the few VPN services with verified no logs?
Yes, in November 2018, NordVPN had an audit to examine their services, especially its “no logs” claim. The audit was performed by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG in Switzerland.
Unfortunately, only the existing NordVPN customers can view the full report in the member’s area.
We obtained a copy of the audit and reviewed the findings. Here is what the audit holds:
- The Auditors fully accessed to examine NordVPN’s servers, observed operations, interviewed employees, inspected configurations, databases, and other relevant aspects of the VPN service.
- NordVPN does not store IP addresses, connection, and traffic logs, or any other internet activity information.
- The audit verified that NordVPN is a “no-log service” and is true to its policies.
What else a privacy-geek look for?
What encryption does NordVPN use?
Strong encryption is what separates a great VPN from the average ones, luckily, NordVPN is in the “great” category.
You’ll enjoy up to AES-256-CBC encryption with the OpenVPN protocol – strongest combinations possible. Users on Mac and iOS get AES-256-CGM encryption supported with IKEv2/IPSec, which is also exceptional.
NordVPN also implements Perfect Forward Secrecy – unique session keys for better privacy and stronger encryption; thanks to its 2048-bit Diffie-Hellman for OpenVPN, and 3072-bit Diffie-Hellman keys for IKEv2/IPSec.
To add this, NordVPN has recently stopped dated alternatives like SSTP, PPTP, and L2TP/IPSec. Honestly speaking, OpenVPN and IKev2/IPSec are all you need, but variety is always welcoming.
Overall, the encryption is flawless. NordVPN offers some solid features to enhance your online privacy and security. Let’s take a look!
Is NordVPN compatible with Tor?
Despite being slow and prone to IP address leaks, the Tor network can still be combined with a VPN for added privacy. NordVPN offers three server locations with the Tor (onion) network:
Unfortunately, the Onion-over-VPN servers are slow, as it routes all traffic through three relays, thereby slowing everything down, but good for those desiring to visit the dark web.
CyberSec on NordVPN
NordVPN CyberSec is a feature that incorporates a malicious site filter, a tracker and advertisement blocker.
While testing, the feature effectively blocked all advertising domains on different sites we have visited; over a two-hour period, we didn’t encounter a single pop-up and enjoyed an ad-free experience, even YouTube ads were also skipped already.
Double VPN comes with extra layer of security
Using a multi-hop VPN is like adding a further layer of protection to conceal incoming and/or outgoing web traffic, it’s helpful if a server can be targeted (monitored).
NordVPN offers 16 double-hop VPN configurations, listed on their website; want a higher level of privacy and security? Double-encryption is worth the trade off.
Does NordVPN have kill switch feature?
NordVPN is among those few VPNs that offer two kinds of kill switches; a kill switch blocks traffic if the VPN connection drops, refraining you from de-anonymization of your identity and your web traffic.
Whereas, App Kill Switch will close applications if the VPN connection drops, but won’t block any traffic.
“Internet Kill Switch” is best if you are concerned about IP address leaks, as it offers the most protection and blocks non-VPN traffic using the firewall; while testing the service, an internet kill switch was effectively blocking traffic in an absence of an active connection to a VPN server.
There’s only one drawback that the Mac OS OpenVPN client does not have an “internet” kill switch (only have the application-level one), however, the Windows app offers both types of kill switches.
Overall it is still a good option at a relatively low price.
Does NordVPN have DNS leak protection?
Have you set up a VPN connection manually or reset your Windows recently? If yes, then chances are, you’re highly prone to DNS leaks.
Fortunately, NordVPN has already implemented measures to protect and help you negate such leaks.
When we review VPNs, we often conduct multiple tests to see if they’re leaking DNS or IP. To follow the tradition, we set our location to its USA server, using different sites for checking DNS leaks, including IPLeak.net, Browserleaks.com for WebRTC leaks, etc.
Overall, we are confident that neither your IP or DNS will get leaked when using NordVPN. Other security features you’ll enjoy with NordVPN are:
- Auto-connect: for a single-click VPN protection
- LAN invisibility: which will hide your device on local networks
- Easy switching: between UDP and OpenVPN TCP protocols.
- Dedicated IP Servers: useful for a static IP address (for banking and/or other purposes); NordVPN offer dedicated IP addresses in Dallas, Buffalo, Los Angeles, Frankfurt, London, and Amsterdam, costing $70/each for a year’s accessibility.
Let’s take a break from security and privacy features, and focus on streaming with NordVPN!
Does NordVPN Work with Netflix?
The notorious Netflix proxy error stops so many VPN users from accessing the popular streamer.
Fortunately, NordVPN isn’t on this list. In fact, it’s the best VPNs for bypassing Netflix’s strict detecting mechanism.
While testing, NordVPN worked flawlessly with Netflix in the UK, US, France, Japan, Canada, and Brazil; it is great as many Netflix VPN services usually offer access to just one or two regional versions – and often with hiccups.
NordVPN proves itself to be an excellent option for streaming more than 400 geo-restricted services including Netflix, BBC, Amazon Prime, Pandora, and others; thanks to its SmartPlay DNS feature.
SmartPlay is integrated into all NordVPN servers, and helps to get past geographical restrictions; it works automatically, you don’t need to set up any advanced settings – just connect and enjoy unlimited streaming. You will also find instructions server suggestions for Netflix and other popular streams and plenty of other information about streaming in their FAQ section.
We’ll share our overall experience with NordVPN’s support shortly. But first, let’s talk about its friendliness to torrenting.
Does NordVPN allow torrenting?
NordVPN has more than 4,600 torrent-only servers located in 46 countries. You can get the best P2P server straight from the VPN interface, or else use the neat server recommendation tool, found on the NordVPN website:
This is not the only good news for torrenting fans.
When torrenting with NordVPN, don’t forget to enable the kill switch to protect you in cases of connection drops; you will also find how-tos for setting up NordVPN with BitTorrent and uTorrent clients.
NordVPN apps also worked well with all of the Kodi add-ons we’ve tested; Linux and Amazon Fire Stick ones are particularly useful to Kodi users.
How much does NordVPN cost?
NordVPN has four plans:
If you’re planning for a yearly subscription, here’s how much you’ve to pay, based on the pricing plans being offered.
- The monthly plan will cost you $143.4/year
- The 1-Year plan will be of $83.88/year
- The 2-Years plan will cost you $59.88 a year
- The 3-Years plan will go up to $41.88 per year
Thank God, NordVPN’s pricing is simple and straightforward; who wants complexities when it comes to pricing?
NordVPN’s two-year plan is now up from $3.99. Its three-year plan has also increased from $2.99 to $3.49. The recent price increases made NordVPN a little more expensive than average, bargain hunters may find significantly better deals elsewhere.
Anyways, its 3-years plan is the most fairly-priced we’ve reviewed so far.
To pay for NordVPN subscription, you have three options;
As mentioned, no PayPal here; sign up and get immediate access to NordVPN and get ready to download their VPN software.
Does NordVPN have free trial?
The company has dropped its 7-day trial, apparently due to ‘widespread abuse.’ That’s a pity, but (if you’re not satisfied) there’s still a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Mobile users still enjoy its 7-day trial if opt for its yearly plan.
Make sure there could be a possibility that additional 1-7 days will be asked for your bank to refund your account; we know 30+ days is an elephant when many counterparts are offering instant refunds with a max period of 7 days.
However, we are quite sure that you won’t be needing to avail of their money-back guarantee.
Is NordVPN Compatible with ANY Device?
NordVPN claims “VPN for all your devices,” and it isn’t a joke!
If you’re running one of these major platforms/browsers on your device, you can download one of NordVPN’s apps and extensions for browsers, but make sure proxies are not full-fledged VPNs.
NordVPN lets you connect up to six simultaneous connections – isn’t enough for small businesses, family, or device freaks?
NordVPN Customer Support
Contact NordVPN via live chat or by email@example.com
Even after reviewing several different VPN providers, tens of hours of testing, reviewing, and examining, we still have needs or questions for technical assistance.
Whether to double-check the encryption offered, or a simple troubleshoot, you will still be forced to deal with the customer support of the VPN you’ve chosen.
If you’re a newcomer or not technically inclined? You might have some technical questions.
Just like any other VPN, NordVPN also offers a prolific database of how-to guides, tutorials, and informational articles other than a live chat & quick email support.
Live Chat & Email of NordVPN
NordVPN has begun a 24/7 live chat recently to assist you with any queries you may have; we used their live chat twice, both times the Customer Support Rep was quick yet courteous, once, we received a copy & paste answer.
If you have a technical question or if you’re not satisfied with the live chat response, you can use their email support.
User Experience – Is NordVPN easy to use?
So far, we’ve covered everything about NordVPN, except how we actually felt using NordVPN.
Starting from the NordVPN website, which is polished and organized to perfection. Once subscribed, we were quickly able to download and install the software on Windows. Just a minute later, we were already in the VPN app.
We found no glitches or errors in NordVPN’s clean and user-friendly interface; Switching servers and finding the specialty tabs was smooth and easy – great for beginners.
Enabling/disabling most of the settings are just a matter of clicks, with a slider to indicate the change. Scroll down to reach the advanced settings, where you can enable the obfuscated servers, set custom DNS address, and switch between OpenVPN TCP/UDP.
Want to keep things compact?
Manage NordVPN from the mini-app in the system tray – for easy connections and to know the recently used servers – it’s not too useful, but not too bad to have, either.
Overall, NordVPN offered a wonderful experience; no matter if you’re a newbie or a seasoned veteran – you’ll find everything with ease.
Do we Recommend NordVPN?
YES, YES, YES…….
Hands down, we are confidently recommending NordVPN.
NordVPN Coupon – Special Discount!
Get the exclusive deal today…
Winning experts’ recommendations are not easy – a VPN got a green signal only when passed all the tests with flying colors.
It’s a safe, secure and fair-paced VPN packed with all the top-notch features – from double VPN to obfuscated servers to use in difficult regions.
The best thing is the availability of SmartPlay that will let you stream anything everything; just pay $3.49/month and enjoy unrestricted Netflix, Hulu, BBC, and hundreds of other channels.
Audited logging policy and knowledgeable yet quick support add more colors to the canvas; there’s no room for improvement left for NordVPN to seriously work towards.
If you’re or ever been a part of NordVPN, feel free to share your experience with us.