NordVPN Review

Editor's Rating
Visitor Rating
[Total: 34 Average: 3.1]
  • Simultaneous Connections: 6
  • Number of Countries: 50+
  • Number of Cities: Not specified
  • Monthly Cost – High/Low: $11.95/$5.75 USD
  • Zero-Log Policy: Yes
  • Review Last Updated: 2016-09-13

nordvpnNordVPN is a Panama based VPN provider that has now grown to be one of the biggest service providers available. Since their humble beginnings, they have applied a strict “no log policy” with great security features. The service supports to P2P users, and offer additional security features to try and distinguish themselves from the crowd. They notably provide Tor over VPN and double VPN servers for ultimate security, but also have dedicated video streaming servers for those that need the best possible speeds. The service did not always have a very large coverage, with only a dozen countries a few years back, they have greatly improved in service, flexibility, and cost value. Instead of their old 2 user limit, they now allow up to 6 simultaneous users per account, and cover some 50+ countries with over 550+ servers for optimal speeds in most parts of the world.

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Pricing:

I considered NordVPN to be overpriced when I first reviewed them, but they have now become a very competitive vendor in the market. Pointing out again that one account allows up to 6 simultaneous connections, versus the previous limit of 2, the price plans now offered provide solid value per dollar spent. When considering the features and network coverage provided, they now have one of the better offerings on the market.

  • Simple 1 Month: $11.95/Month USD
  • Standard 6 Month: $7.00/Month – Total $42.00 USD
  • Best Offer – 1 Year: $5.75/Month – Total $69.00 USD

User satisfaction is now guaranteed with a 30-day no hassle refund. Yet another great improvement, since they only offered refunds for 3-days when they first launched. Now you can test the service for an extended period of time completely risk-free. Bitcoin payments are also accepted for paying anonymously.

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Features:

NordVPN’s strength is privacy and then some. Additionally to keeping no logs, they have two special servers located in Latvia and Sweden for Tor over VPN connections. These servers layer a Tor network connection to the VPN for even highgher anonymity. A total of 5 double VPN servers are also available, which route the connection twice giving you two AES-256 bit encryptions over your data. A little overkill, but you could never be too safe, I guess?

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For those more concerned with gaming, or streaming movies and TV shows, NordVPN also has two Ultra fast TV servers located in the UK, and US, as well as a Netflix USA server that is often rotated when blocked. Anti-DDoS and Dedicated IP servers are also available for advanced needs ranging from gaming to hosting content. And finally, a long list P2P-safe server locations are available for safe anonymous torrent use. NordVPN displays status of their servers as well, but the information is rather basic and focused on what is up and running, available protocols, and current loads.

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Beyond their specialized servers, they offer the regular standard encryption servers like any traditional service, and cover some 50 countries and counting. The server list does not display city location, so I would assume that most servers available on any single country are located in the same place. More importantly, they have up-kept the network by increasing server count to over 500 now, and has helped maintain and improve service quality over time.

nordvpn-app-clientNordVPN provides nicely designed client software for all major platforms; Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android. I mostly covered their specialized server offerings, but the client itself also has some merits. The app allows you to change standard connection settings such as UDP and TCP protocols, as well as auto-connect and quick server selection. DNS leak protection is turned on by default, but users also have the option to use some advanced functions.

Starting with Smart-Play, which is a NordVPN specific service that utilizes a proxy to access streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and so on, while still keeping the VPN service encrypting the data. It first passes through the VPN tunnel, and than uses the proxy to circumvent geo-blocking and access streaming or gaming services directly better speeds. On the surface, it may sound confusing, but ultimately what it does is that it only utilizes the VPN encryption to connect to the proxy, but a direct connection between the proxy is made to any service of your choice, reducing speed loss. This is a good option to turn on for video or music streaming, as well as gaming or any other response time sensitive application. I suppose overall security is not as strong, but a very good feature for some of the most popular reasons people use VPNs in the first place.

Finally, NordVPN also provides a Process kill list, which is simply a customizable killswitch. You can simply drag and drop any application or process into the process kill list, and if NordVPN detects a connection drop, all of those applications will cease to transfer or receive any data until the connection is re-established. A great security feature for sensitive applications.

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Security:

Nord VPN does quite well when it comes to security for its customers. The OpenVPN encryption system provides a 256-bit AES while there is 128-bit PPTP and 256-bit L2TP encryption available as well. The service ensures no DNS leaks as well as the customizable kill switch just mentioned. Also already covered are the Tor over VPN, or double VPN servers for those of you that like the idea of doubling your encryption layers.

Their no log policy has been trustworthy so far, and their P2P dedicated servers guide you in selected torrent safe locations. Based out of Panama, NordVPN takes full advantage of the “no mandatory data retention laws” by not storing any logs whatsoever. Add to this the ability to pay in bitcoins and you can retain your own anonymity while using the service.

Speed & Stability:

NordVPN offers unlimited bandwidth and data transfers, and have been improving on speed quite drastically. Previous test results ranged from very fast to slow and intermittent connections that were not exactly heartening. However, my latest tests show good speeds on the majority servers, even when very distant. For the most part, my internet bandwidth suffers minimal to no speed loss when using the standard service, all within limit of course. Using Smart-Play did not provide drastic improvement, but again, there was little to improve on as far as transfer speeds go. Basically, depending on the server that you choose, it will determine the overall connection and performance that you get. Servers in Canada, Germany, and some other countries offer 1 Gbps lines on which I experienced consistently good service quality.

Customer Service:

Customer service can be accessed through live chat or email, and NordVPN promises prompt replies to a myriad of questions and concerns. Altough there is no mention of 24/7 support, they have a clean and easy to navigate website which makes all the pertinent information quick to locate. If you still have any questions, you should be able to find more information through their tutorials, knowledge base, and FAQ pages.

Conclusion:

Overall, NordVPN offers  solid security and privacy, and these days, if you want to make sure you’re data is not being intercepted, it helps to choose an overseas provider in a location where government data collection is not in practice. I give them accolades on providing specialized servers such as Tor and Double VPN servers, and a custom killswitch list. While it does not appeal to everyone public, there’s plenty of security and privacy freaks that want that high level of shielding for both every day web use, or torrent downloads.

On the other side of the coin, they cater to streaming and gaming audiences with the Smart-Play proxy option, or Ultra-Fast TV servers and Anti-DDoS protection. Mostly, the service should be commended for regular network updates that allowed them to grow into one of the best VPN services on the market this year. Competitive pricing plans with a solid 30-day refund policy, mixed with a well-rounded service for every need, NordVPN easily ranks as one of the best VPN services I have recently used.

Pros:

  • Great speeds.
  • Supports P2P torrents.
  • Smart-Play and Streaming servers.
  • Advanced servers, including double-VPN.
  • 6 simultaneous connections per account.
  • 30-Day money-back trial.

Cons:

  • High cost on monthly plan, but bi-yearly and yearly are affordably priced.

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37 Comments

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