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NordVPN Review

NordVPN is a compelling VPN company which has been on the market for more than eight years (founded in 2012 by four childhood friends) and is now used by more than 12 million users worldwide.

Whether you want to watch Netflix US or Hulu, download torrents, enter the dark web, or protect yourself with 256-AES encryption, the Panama based VPN has it all – a large number of servers (5800+) all over the globe (87 countries).

One of the main reasons, we placed NordVPN as #1 VPN service is the simplicity. NordVPN is a real-life example where simple is better (some of the VPNs, we’ve reviewed, have a very complicated software, with a lot of features most people don’t need). Here is everything you need to know about NordVPN, so you can choose if it is the best option also for you.

No time to read? Here is the most important.

  • Speed – Is NordVPN as fast as it claims to be? Yes! We found no loss of speed in most servers.
  • Streaming – Can NordVPN unblock streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Hulu? Yes!
  • Torrenting – One of the best VPN for P2P, NordVPN gives you hundreds of P2P servers.
  • Security – AES-256 encryption and more make it one of the best.
  • Support – Live Chat, Email, Phone support and knowledgebase are there, but NO user forum.
  • Price – Cheapest price is £2.68 per month for a 3-year plan (£96.74 every three years).
  • Accessible worldwide – It works, even in China.

NordVPN is a quick and remarkably reliable VPN service that gives you secure AES-256 encryption, easy to use applications and a wide network of servers (5800+) in 59 countries.

NordVPN easily unblocks Netflix, also comes with a wide variety of exceptional security features, swift and kind support – all for a reasonable price.

How we tested?

We bought a one-year subscription plan and downloaded Windows 10 app (NordVPN 6.28.13.0).

As you can note from the image below, there are a lot of dedicated Softwares available:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Android TV plus 20 other types
  • Chrome OS
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Routers and more
NordVPN download options
NordVPN Download Options

As usual, our NordVPN review will cover performance, security, server network, logging policy, support quality, and value for money.

There are a bunch of VPNs, but NordVPN has proved itself as one of the best. It’s secure, full of options, user-friendly, simple and offers an excellent server selection. Anyone can use this VPN, even if you don’t know much about networks.

Speed & Performance

Our team ran dozens of speed tests with servers across the Americas, Europe, and Asia & Oceania. The results were surprisingly faster compared to other VPN services.

All NordVPN speed tests (by fast.com – a Netflix service) we made, using the OpenVPN protocol with AES-256 encryption. Our baseline (non-VPN) speed was about 28 Mbps, and all tests were conducted from our office in the UK.

Testing a VPN’s speed comes down to running speed tests via multiple VPN servers, and comparing the results with a regular internet connection.

We tested with Windows 10 computer connected wirelessly to our router in the office.

Remember!

Depending on your internet speed, you can achieve different levels of streaming video quality..

For example, Netflix’s speed recommendations are:

  • 500 kbps: Minimum quality
  • 1,500 kbps: Normal quality (less than 480p)
  • 3,000 kbps: SD quality (480p or better)
  • 5,000 kbps: HD quality (720p or better)
  • 25,000 kbps: Ultra HD quality (1080p or better)
speed test no VPN vpnfinder UK
Speed Test – without VPN

Without the VPN, the benchmark testing speed ping was: 60 ms, download: 18.00 Mbps and upload: 4.5 Mbps. We use this result as a baseline so that we can compare the other results.

VPNFinder Argentina speed test
Argentina Speed Test

The speed of the Argentinian server is slow, with ping 490 ms, download speed 4.90 Mbps and upload 2.40 Mbps, the load of the server was 8%, according to NordVPN. For some reason, fast.com, detected our Argenian IP wrong, here is the correct IP:

Argentina IP

Canada speed was awe-inspiring, almost no speed lost – 31 Mbps are enough to watch Ultra HD quality (1080p or better)

Speed Test Canada
Speed Test Canada
speed test France NordVPN
Speed test – France server
speed test Germany NordVPN
Speed test – Germany server
speed test USA NordVPN
Speed test – USA server

It takes between 5-10 seconds to connect to each server, and the servers speed surpassed our average speed index by 10-15% with an average load of 40-45%.

Summary of our speed test:

  • NordVPN server connections are fast
  • Only a minor drop of speed, compared to a NON-VPN connection
  • There was no noticeable difference in speed, even when gaming or downloading
  • NordVPN automatically chooses the fastest available server

A lot of factors can be important for your internet speed, including:

  • your internet speed without VPN
  • hardware/infrastructure
  • location

Features

NordVPN offers top-notch security features, a strict no-log policy, torrenting, streaming and 5800+ fast servers.

Here are some of the most critical features, summarized:

  • Ad-blocker
  • VPN on max six devices
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • VPN kill switch – automatically disconnects your device until the VPN connection is restored
  • Unlimited bandwidth and data
  • Split tunnelling – lets you route some of your device traffic through the encrypted VPN tunnel while others access the internet directly
  • Double VPN – encrypts your internet traffic twice
  • Onion over VPN – a privacy solution where your internet traffic goes through one of NordVPN server
  • DNS leak protection
  • Obfuscation tools – a technique that is used to hide you
  • WireGuard – an open-source software application and communication protocol

My Dashboard

Once you join a NordVPN, after payment and login, you will be redirected to your dashboard.

NordVPN dashboard
NordVPN dashboard

On the top side of the window, there are four buttons – dashboard, downloads, billing history and change password/no fancy options, only the most essential/.

From your dashboard, you are only able to pay and download their software, simple as that.

Supported Platforms

It offers native apps for:

  • Windows 7/8.1/10
  • Mac, Android, iOS 
  • Linux – DEB and RPM
  • Android TV
  • Routers (requires access to the router interface)
  • Amazon’s Fire TV Stick
  • Raspberry Pi and Synology NAS
  • browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox

NordVPN 6.29.7.0

NordVPN software
NordVPN Software

The easy-to-use client gives you enough information to select the perfect server for your needs. You can change your server by clicking the location on the map, or with the search bar at the top of the screen, by clicking the “dots”, you can check the current load on those servers.

There’s a kill switch; it is similar to the kill switch of many other VPNs.

The kill switch ensures that your data does not just end up on the street if your VPN connection is temporarily lost. Instead, your internet traffic is temporarily suspended until the VPN connection is restored.

The software is simple and easy to use – there are few tabs (chose a server) on the left (Recents/Speciality Servers/All Countries). NordVPN automatically chooses you the fastest server; there are recommended servers for torrenting and streaming.

On “Recents” servers, you can check your last used servers.

On “Speciality Servers” you can connect to a server with:

  • Dedicated IP server – your IP will be static
  • Double VPN server –  add a second VPN server in the mix for extra security
  • Onion Over VPN server – a privacy solution where your internet traffic goes through one of NordVPN’s servers, then through the “Onion” network, and then reaches the web. You would need an Onion Router (Tor) browser.
  • P2P server – Peer-to-Peer or use it for torrenting
double VPN map
Double VPN server

Switching between servers takes from 3 to 10 secs.

Add your prefered servers, just by hitting the “dots” and then the “heart” button.

NordVPNS’s software features
NordVPN Options
NordVPN Options

From the settings you can switch on/off:

  • CyberSec – protects you from ads, unsafe connections and malicious sites
  • The option to choose the server automatically
  • Internet or App Kill Switch
  • Custom DNS
  • OpenVPN

Additionally, you can adjust your NordVPN software – launch on startup, minimized or not, what notifications to be pushed and others.

NordVPN for Android

We tested NordVPN on a Samsung S9 running Android 10.

First of all, you need to download and install the NordVPN application on your Android device.
  • Tap on the Play Store.
  • Search for NordVPN appears in seconds.
  • When the application is installed, tap to open it.
  • Be ready to be protected.

We didn’t have any issues using the app, nor did we experience any lag or crashes.

NordVPN for Android
NordVPN for Android

The app’s design and layout are smart and stylish; the app’s main page shows a large map with all of the server locations. The app will ask you to turn on “CyberSec“. A large, blue “Quick Connect” button beneath the map connects you to the server NordVPN thinks is best for you.

Overall, my experience with NordVPN for Android is outstanding (still using it on my mobile).

Chrome and Firefox extension

The proxy addon for Chrome or Firefox is a simple version of the NordVPN app. I prefer to use the desktop version.

NordVPN Chrome Extention
NordVPN’s Chrome Extention

The browser extension gives you a new IP address for the outside world and encryption is also added to your data traffic via the browser.

Servers

NordVPN currently maintains nearly 5 800 servers in more than 59 countries. All the servers support OpenVPN, L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, PPTP and SSTP.

The variety of servers varies due to maintenance work or server failures. NordVPN has one of the best VPN infrastructures on the market and is continuously working on improving it.

NordVPN servers

As we mentioned earlier, NordVPN offers speciality servers for:

  • Dedicated IP server
  • Double VPN server
  • Onion Over VPN server
  • P2P server

Security

NordVPN a 256-bit AES encryption, which is one of the most secure encryption methods and like most providers, NordVPN relies on OpenVPN as an essential VPN protocol.

There are also IEKv2, L2TP / IPSec, NordLynx and PPTP.

OpenVPN is an open-source fast and secure encryption protocol.

IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2)  protocol is generally considered to be among the fastest and most secure protocols available.

L2TP / IPSec allows remote clients to use the public IP network to securely communicate with private corporate network servers.

NordLynx is the technology that NordVPN built around the WireGuard VPN protocol.

PPTP stands for Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol – security is outdated by today’s standards, and using this protocol is very risky.

Logging & Privacy

NordVPN is based in Panama, which does not require data storage.

By creating your account, you give to NordVPN two pieces of information: your email address and payment method (users can buy NordVPN service with cryptocurrency).

NordVPN is meant to protect the security of users’ data and their identity by strictly adhering to the most important security standards.

NordVPN Privacy
NordVPN Privacy Policy

The fact that NordVPN separates the operation of the network and the billing in two companies and can, therefore, legally protect the identity data is a strong plus in the field of security.

On the NordVPN’s website, some cookie information is collected for affiliate tracking and analytics purposes.

When you use the NordVPN app, the only data gathered is the server load.

Overall, I consider NordVPN to be a severe and reliable service, that cares about the privacy of its users.

Streaming

I began my tests by attempting to access US-only YouTube content; it’s simple and fast, works with every NordVPN US server(100+).

Netflix, it’s a battle between Netflix and all VPNs, as of now, NordVPN is on the winning side.

NordVPN Netflix
Netflix

After a few days of watching Netflix (USA in Ultra HD quality) via some of the recommended NordVPN servers, I didn’t experience any problems. Also, you can access Disney and Hulu.

Amazon Prime Video was harder to beat, it recognized that I’m using a VPN, but switching to the browser extension got the site working. I use the browser in incognito mode.

Torrenting

This isn’t something the NordVPN actively promotes (not on their homepage anymore), as users may use it illegally.

While torrents aren’t supported on all servers, NordVPN gives you hundreds of P2P servers in Europe, America and Asia and many other places around the globe.

Stick with picking the server with the least load in a region, and you’ll be excellent.

Support

NordVPN offers 24/7 live chat support (for me, the best support is the chat support, you fix your problem in a couple of minutes).

Chat support is available through the NordVPN website in the bottom-right corner, simply click on the icon, no login required.

NordVPN Support
NordVPN Support

I didn’t experience any issues during the review, so I contacted the support for some basic questions, and they responded very fast (under 30 seconds).

Plans & Pricing

The price per month is determined by the length of the subscription you take (as most of the VPNs).

NordVPN has only one subscription package and the longer you subscribe, the better price you get!  With all plans you gainAll the plans give you access to all features.

NordVPN Pricing
NordVPN Pricing

NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all plans.

The payment methods are:

  • Credit cards
  • Google Pay
  • Amazon Pay
  • Crypto Currencies (Coin Payments)
  • Alipay
  • UnionPay

All billing plans:

  • NordVPN’s monthly plan is costly at £9,20
  • 1-year plan costs £5.38 per month (£64.58 yearly)
  • 2-years plan costs £3.84 per month (£92.21 every two years)
  • 3-years plan costs £2.68 per month (£96.74 every three years)

NordVPN FAQs

🔒 Is NordVPN safe and private?

Short answer: YES. NordVPN uses the most secure AES 256-bit encryption algorithm to protect your data.

💲 Who owns NordVPN?

NordVPN is owned by the Lithuania-based data mining company, named Tesonet.

❓ Can I use P2P applications with NordVPN?

Yes! NordVPN is one of the best VPN providers for torrenting.

🆓 Does NordVPN Offer a Free Trial?

No! they do not offer a free trial, but you can try their service risk-free for 30 days and get a full refund.

📺 Does NordVPN Work with Netflix?

Yes, NordVPN works with Netflix.

❌ Can I cancel NordVPN anytime?

NordVPN offers 30-day Money-back guarantee for annual plans.

Conclusion

If you want loads of security that is also supported by strong protocols to keep you surfing quick, then this is the best option.

NordVPN’s prices are fair, with great deals for the more extended plans.

NordVPN works on up to 6 simultaneous devices and is backed by excellent chat support. Unblock Netflix and download torrents in a couple of seconds.

What I Like

  • No logs kept
  • Fast servers
  • 30-day Money-back guarantee
  • User-friendly applications
  • Panama based
  • Enough servers 5900+
  • Strong 256-bit AES encryption
  • 6 Devices/ Licenses allowed
  • Live chat support
  • P2P servers

What I Don’t Like

  • No split tunnelling
  • Discounts for longer subscriptions only

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