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NordVPN review

You get what you pay for… and more

(Image: © NordVPN)

Our Verdict

In addition to a large server network, NordVPN covers all the VPN necessities for a fraction of the price of some other providers. It unblocks popular geo-restricted services, supports torrenting, provides strong security mechanisms, and has opened its doors to independent auditors who confirmed its no-logs claims.

Pros

  • Wide server coverage
  • Unblocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • Affordable
  • Risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Independently audited

Cons

  • No free trial
  • Some minor performance issues

NordVPN is a VPN service provider hailing from Panama and is currently one of the best VPN providers on the market. It has a multitude of servers - over 5,550 units in 60 countries, making it one of the largest in this sense.

All these servers allow it to unblock some of the popular streaming channels unavailable in some locations due to various reasons like censorship or company-specific agreements. These services include Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Kodi.

NordVPN is also P2P-friendly, allowing you to engage in file exchange on many of its servers. If you’re connected to a server that doesn’t support this and try torrenting, the service will recognize this and automatically switch you to a P2P-optimized one.

It has apps for all the major devices and some less conventional. An interesting feature in its iOS app is the integration with Shortcuts, letting you connect directly to NordVPN by simply saying “Hey Siri, connect to NordVPN” or whichever custom phrase you choose.

You connect up to six devices with one account and use them all at the same time. However, if you install the service on one of the supported routers, you can extend this number to virtually unlimited. If you don’t want the hassle with enabling the router yourself, there are lots of NordVPN-equipped routers you can purchase on the website.

(Image credit: NordVPN)

Plans and pricing

NordVPN offers a wide selection of subscription plans to choose from. The least affordable is the 1-month option at $11.95. Next is the 1-year plan with the price tag of $6.99 per month (or $83.88 billed every year), followed by the 2-year plan at $4.99 per month ($119.76 billed every 2 years). Choose the 3-year subscription and the price drops to $3.49 per month ($125.64 billed every 3 years).

All the plans are covered by the risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee which also counts as a free trial. Specifically, NordVPN doesn’t have such a thing (anymore) but will issue a refund if you request it within 30 days after payment, regardless of the reason.

This gives you a chance to test out the service to the max and get your money back if you don’t wish to continue. This is a solid option although you do have to part with your money for a short while. Do note that if you’ve made your purchase through Apple’s App Store, you’ll need to contact Apple support about a refund.

Payments can be made via credit cards, Alipay, UnionPay, PayPal, Sofort, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and cryptocurrencies. However, the availability of these payment methods may depend on the buyer’s physical location.

(Image credit: NordVPN)

Privacy and logging

Your privacy is guaranteed thanks to the impenetrable AES-256-GCM encryption and OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec protocols. OpenVPN is automatically assigned in Windows and Android, while IKEv2/IPSec is activated as a default option in the iOS client. If you’re using the Mac client, you can choose between these two protocols. This bunch was recently joined by the new WireGuard-based NordLynx protocol currently available to Linux users. It combines the high-speed connection provided by WireGuard with NordVPN’s privacy-protecting double NAT system.

A kill switch is another essential privacy feature that NordVPN’s apps are equipped with. This mechanism jumps in whenever there’s a VPN connection failure and immediately blocks your entire Internet connection. This protects your private data from getting into the wrong hands. NordVPN has not one, but two kill switches - one that kills the Internet connection and another that only turns off the apps you choose.

NordVPN has some interesting features differentiating it from some competitors. The DoubleVPN feature routes your traffic through two VPN servers for double security. The Onion over VPN directs it through the Onion network, on top of already routing it through NordVPN. The CyberSec feature blocks malware, phishing attempts, malicious websites, and annoying ads.

The provider states it doesn’t store connection timestamps, traffic information, IP addresses, session information, bandwidth, and other data. But while many other VPN vendors seem to be perfectly fine with not substantiating these claims, NordVPN is different. The company has asked an independent company to conduct an audit of its privacy policy to prove it has nothing to hide.

Additional reassurance concerning the no-logs policy is provided by NordVPN’s physical location - Panama, a country with no data retention laws.

 

(Image credit: NordVPN)

Client Setup

NordVPN is compatible with a wide array of platforms. It has apps for Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, Android TV, and Linux. There are also proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox which don’t have the full functionality seen in some other VPN browser extensions but can efficiently protect you from IP leaks, malware, and ads. All these are easy to install and use, but if you need any help, you can find manuals on the website.

Tools and guides are also available for manual installation of the service on a long list of other platforms, including routers, MikroTik, Raspberry Pi, Synology NAS, BlackBerry, and more.

(Image credit: NordVPN)

Performance

If you choose NordVPN, you’ll be provided with outstanding and consistent speeds. Although some of the servers in distant locations perform slightly worse than those in close proximity to the user, this is quite common in the VPN business. Connection errors do happen, although not very often.

(Image credit: NordVPN)

Support

A support site teeming with information on various topics is there for you if you get stuck with any part of the service. Additionally, you can consult the company’s blog for extra information about the service and VPNs in general. More help is available if you contact the customer service agents via live chat and email 24/7.

Final verdict

NordVPN provides a complete VPN experience and fulfills the VPN requirements of most users - access to geographically restricted services, P2P traffic, robust security, extra features, and a verified no-logging policy. There is room for improvement but nothing major.

The Verdict

4.5

out of 5

NordVPN

In addition to a large server network, NordVPN covers all the VPN necessities for a fraction of the price of some other providers. It unblocks popular geo-restricted services, supports torrenting, provides strong security mechanisms, and has opened its doors to independent auditors who confirmed its no-logs claims.