You will see many NordVPN reviews scattered all over the web, and for a good reason. NordVPN is among the top three VPN services there is.
It delivers one of the largest VPN networks, the best streaming service unblocking, and among the best features for security-conscious individuals.
However, it has seen its fair share of bad news and one of the worst being the hack on one of its servers. It was a rented server from a web hosting company, and there was no user data stored, so there was nothing to see.
While it was terrible that their server was hacked, it did show how secure Nord is with their zero-logging stance.
In our NordVPN review, we will look to see if much has changed, and it is still a force to be considered in the VPN marketplace.
- A large number of VPN servers
- CyberSec Ad-blocking feature
- Strict zero-logging policy
- New NordLynx technology
- No split tunnelling
- Still writes data to hard disk
- Slow refund for the money-back guarantee
Plans and Pricing
NordVPN has one plan, which is simple and straightforward, and all that differs are the lock-in periods. Here is what they are now offering at the time of writing; one thing to notice is the limited time offer between the rates for a 2-year plan and 3-year subscription.
- 1 month: $11.95 per month
- 1 year: $6.99 per month, billed as $83.88 annually
- 2 year: $3.49 per month, billed as $83.76 every 2-years
- 3 year: $3.49 per month, billed as $125.64 every 3-years
Payment options are all significant credit cards, Amazon pay, Cryptocurrencies, Union Pay, and Alipay.
While there is no free trial on desktops, NordVPN offers a 7-day free trial on Android and iOS.
Trying the VPN provider is also risk-free with the 30-day money-back guarantee.
Features and Benefits
Any VPN in use today, and as you will see from any VPN reviews is can it bypass geo-restrictions. In scenarios such as this, you can make use of split tunneling to direct your data through the VPN tunnel, or via the regular path of your ISP.
NordVPN, unfortunately, lacks here, yet it still bypasses any geo-restrictions you wish to throw at it. You will find several features help here, and it is clear to see why it can access so many streaming services.
First is the SmartPlay feature that offers benefits of a DNS and a VPN. Add to this; you have the specialty servers that are optimized for specific functions. Streaming and the P2P servers for torrenting the main two.
Adding to this are the obfuscated servers that prevent even your ISP from seeing you are using NordVPN. Therefore, with all these features for streaming, you will find NordVPN unblocks Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO Australia, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and any other platform you want access to.
You will also find the VPN will also work in China thanks to the measures it takes for going undetected. (Learn how to hide your IP address)
One thing not often mentioned is the OpenVPN NordVPN Kodi add-on you can install directly in the Kodi app.
Torrenting is also catered for with all the above, and with unlimited bandwidth and data you are free to find as much as you desire while remaining safe. A nifty feature is the SOCKS5 proxies you can set up on specific Bittorent clients for even better download speeds.
Private internet connections and secure surfing is the strength of NordVPN and is mentioned in many a Nord VPN review. NordVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption, the most secure VPN encryption also used by government agencies, so you know that no one will see your activities.
This encryption comes with a 2048-bit DH key, SHA2-384 authentication and perfect forward secrecy. Perfect forward confidentiality assigns a new key each time you use NordVPN, and earlier data or activities are erased.
There used to be two security protocols, OpenVPN UDP/TCP and IKEv2/IPSec.
Nord has the new NordLynx technology although they are currently in the process of being introduced. Wireguard is a new protocol, but it is considered slightly less secure, so Nord has found a solution to correct this in NordLynx.
A bonus is that this new technology is up to twice as fast as older protocols.
As standard, you will receive a kill switch that blocks the traffic that leaves your device when your VPN connection is interrupted. This stops your DNS and IP leaks. You need to enable it on your desktop.
You also have another setting, which lets you say which applications are blocked and which ones can continue to run.
You can see how effective this is when NordVPN won’t connect to any servers for the apps you set, while regular apps carry on.
With the NordVPN app stopping any data leaks, it also has Onion over VPN where you can use the Tor browser.
It is this standout feature you see in other reviews, NordVPN has dedicated servers for this very purpose. You can also use the double-hop feature for extra privacy.
Besides this, the company is outside any 14 eyes jurisdiction with headquarters in Panama. For even more privacy, you have the CyberSec suite that blocks ads, stops trackers and prevents malware infecting your system.
NordVPN servers reach 59 countries and a total of 5016 servers. With this number of server locations, it is easy to see why they are no slouch in any speed tests.
Once you open the app, you have a quick connect feature that delivers the fastest server. This may not always be suitable for your needs, yet for casual browsing, etc., it does achieve the quickest speeds.
Local speeds are almost identical to your baseline connection, yet when you connect further afield for streaming, you do see a drop-off of a few per cent. A drop of 6% is, by comparison, nothing when you look at some VPN providers that deliver a 20%+ drop in connection speed.
Depending on the server, we saw speeds increase slightly in a speed test, which was a surprise, and potentially that will continue with NordLynx.
Any user who is into online gaming will know how hard it is when you face lag or buffering. Ping times do increase, yet in gameplay, there is no drop in the action no matter where your VPN server is located from your location.
The server network is among the largest of any VPN service, so, no matter which online activity you carry out, there will be connections close to where you wish to access, or where you want to gain access from.
With this much performance, you would possibly think that once you have other users, your connection might slow more.
With 6 simultaneous connections, we ran tests, and there was no visible difference between one device connecting or all of them connecting at once, even when streaming.
With six devices, you have a selection from Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and many others to connect. You also find there is a NordVPN extension for both Chrome and Firefox browsers.
You can even use these extensions on mobile devices; this is unique in itself. In the most basic form, this can be used to simulate split tunnelling, yet it is restricted to things you do through your browser.
The last area is the router app you can install. Doing this means, you can connect unlimited devices and devices that wouldn’t usually have a VPN installed. It isn’t a dedicated app, yet there are clear instructions on how to do it in the customer support section.
Customer support is not speedy and helpful, and live chat makes a huge difference in case of problems.
In our Nord VPN review, we ran through as much as we could and pushed this service as hard as we could to find faults. Like any VPN, there are some quibbles. Usability of the desktop apps being one that stands out.
If this is one of the major setbacks, you can see why this VPN is massively popular and has so many loyal followers.
It is effortless to like all the VPN does and the way it performs. For a while, it has seen upgrades coming from the front-runners, yet it is now making some choices that can become industry standards.
The use of WireGuard can be enough to tempt many users, yet Nord has taken the ball and run with it to improve this with NordLynx, which can change the field in the VPN market altogether.
If you want one of the best VPN’s your money can buy, it is effortless to recommend NordVPN.