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NordVPN Review: Top-Notch Security, Spotty Connection

Our Verdict

NordVPN is cost-efficient, providing a large number of servers and a wide array of features focused on privacy and security. There are some ongoing connectivity problems, but the service is a great solution for accessing popular geo-blocked services and torrenting.

For

  • Unblocks Netflix
  • Free 7-day trial, plus 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Double data encryption

Against

  • Connectivity issues

VPN protects your privacy online, so it’s important to choose a suitable VPN provider for your home or business. Panama-based NordVPN is one of the largest names in the VPN industry. The service features an array of features, as well as a decent number of connection devices and large number of payment options.

Specifications

Client Software PlatformsWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox
Native Supported PlatformsWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Raspberry Pi,  open-source and branded routers
Supported ProtocolsIKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN
Number of Servers5,241
Number of Countries With Servers60
Country of RegistrationPanama
Payment OptionsCredit cards, cryptocurrencies, AliPay, PaymentWall, WeChat Payments; payments through iTunes and Google Play also available, cash payments possible in the U.S.
Encryption ProtocolAES-256-GCM, Next Generation Encryption (NGE)
Data UsageUnlimited
Bandwidth UsageUnlimited
Max Number of Connected Devices 6
Customer Support Live chat, email, help center
Privacy PolicyNo logs

Pricing

NordVPN is among the most affordable VPN services. It has lower monthly rates than ExpressVPN, but some of its plans are more expensive than IPVanish’s alternatives.

The 1-month plan costs $11.95 (about £9.20), and a 1-year plan is $6.99 (about £5.37) a month. The 2-year plan costs $3.99 (about £3.06) a month, while the 3-year option is the cheapest, at just $2.99 (around £2.30) monthly. All options are fully refundable within the first 30 days if you are not satisfied with the provider’s performance.

PlanNordVPNExpressVPNIPVanish
1 Month$11.95 (~£9.20)$12.95 (~£9.86)$10
3 MonthsN/AN/A$8.99 per month
6 MonthsN/A$9.99 (~£7.60) per monthN/A
1 Year$6.99 (~£5.37) per month$8.32 (~£6.33) per month$6.49 per month 
3 Years$2.99 (~£2.30) per monthN/AN/A

NordVPN supports a wide range of payment options, such as major credit cards, debit cards and cryptocurrencies. There’s also a hidden perk -- a 7-day free trial. However, starting the free trial automatically signs you up for a 1-month subscription, which begins after the trial ends. But you can cancel any time during those 7 days without being charged. If you want to switch to a different plan, you can also do so at any time during this period.

Features

NordVPN is envied for its impressive security guaranteed by the AES-256-GCM encryption algorithm, said to be more secure than AES-CBC, and an automatic kill switch that blocks all internet traffic in the event that your VPN connection suddenly drops. This helps prevent your data from leaking into the wrong hands.

In addition, NordVPN has a bushel of extra features that separate it from the crowd. One of them is Double VPN, which ensures your data passes through two separate VPN servers, adding another level of security.

Another valuable feature, CyberSec, blocks all annoying ads and suspicious websites, preventing malware or other cyber threats from infecting your device. CyberSec also protects your device from participation in DDoS attacks if it is already infected.

Onion Over VPN is a special feature that combines all the benefits of The Onion Router (Tor) open source software with the regular VPN tunnel, adding yet another layer of security and anonymity.

NordVPN’s platform supports two protocols: IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN. The new WireGuard protocol is in the testing phase. It aims to offer even better performance than the IPSec and OpenVPN tunneling protocols.

NordVPN software is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, Android and Android TV. You can also secure your browsing with extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Installing the client is very easy, and if you run into any obstacles, there are over 50 tutorials to guide you through manual service setup on all available platforms, which includes Chrome OS, Raspberry Pi, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, routers and more.

If you want to set up NordVPN as a Socks 5 or browser proxy, the company provides tutorials for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer, uTorrent, BitTorrent, Vuze, Skype and Deluge.

Accessing geo-restricted services, like Netflix, BBC iPlayer and YouTube, is also a piece of cake for NordVPN and one of its best features. The SmartPlay feature enables safe streaming without the buffering, bandwidth throttling or slow connections.

Those wondering about torrenting will be pleased to know you can count on NordVPN to facilitate that service too. The P2P traffic is, in fact, available on select servers, and the website provides a tutorial on proper server selection.

One NordVPN account supports up to 6 simultaneous VPN connections. That’s better than the 3 ExpressVPN offers but less than IPVanish’s 10.

If that isn’t enough, you can set up your router with NordVPN to connect even more devices.

We had no bones to pick with NordVPN’s customer support either. In addition to the help center and tutorials, the company’s customer support is available 24/7 via live chat and email.

Privacy

NordVPN comes with a standard no-logs policy, promising not to track, collect, or share your private data. This policy was confirmed in a public audit conducted by Price Waterhouse Cooper. Moreover, NordVPN is registered in Panama and owned by a local holding company called Tefincom S.A., which provides legal protection from investigation.

Performance

Although our first tests recorded a number of connection failures, the connection speed itself proved to be consistent with minimal latency. That said, download speeds would sometimes drop for servers in some of the more distant countries.

In addition, the Onion Over VPN feature slowed down the service, but this is the price you pay for additional security.

Bottom Line

Although we suffered some minor issues with connectivity, NordVPN nevertheless outperforms most of the other products on the market in terms of privacy, server count and unlocked services.

It’s also cheaper than competing VPN service ExpressVPN while offering twice as many simultaneous connections, although others, like IPVanish, can support more.

IPVanish also has a pricing advantage if you’re buying a 1-month or 1-year plan. But with its highly respected encryption algorithm and automatic kill switch, NordVPN is a viable option for privacy seekers.

Image Credits: NordVPN


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  • Dark Lord of Tech
    Never had any connection issues with NordVPN on Windows or LINUX. Best VPN on the market.
    Reply
  • Q.D.McGraw
    I paid up for the three year deal. After almost a year it started randomly disconnecting me from the net unless I opened outlook then it definitely disconnected. With outlook it even locked up the screen. After working with support for a month I gave up leaving me with two years left on a subscription I can’t use. Their refund policy is only for the first month so there’s no getting a prorated refund. I tell everyone that mentions nord this story and many who don’t.
    Reply
  • Dark Lord of Tech
    Over 2 years and no issues. I have it on my phone and all 4 computers.
    Reply
  • mattferns
    NordVPN has always worked well for me! Being using it for a year or so. Recently tried SurfShark as well which is equally good.
    Reply