NordVPN Review

NordVPN new logoNordVPN 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. NordVPN supports P2P, and it offers additional security features that allow the service to distinguish 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 who need the best possible speeds. The service did not always have a very large coverage, with only a dozen countries a few years back, but the service has significantly improved and it is currently known for its flexibility and cost value. Instead of their old 2 user limit, they now allow up to 6 simultaneous users per account and cover more than 60 countries with over 5,400 servers that can provide optimal speeds to customers around the world.

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Security and Privacy

NordVPN does quite well when it comes to security as it offers solid protection for its customers. To ensure that your data is secured, NordVPN supports OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec, two protocols known for their strong encryption. OpenVPN is available in the Windows, macOs and Android apps. It is known for its top security. It can be used for TCP, as well as UDP ports so you have flexibility to browse the internet securely and enjoy your favorite online games and media content with seamless performance. Currently, 256-bit AES is the leading encryption solution in the industry and this is what NordVPN uses to secure your data. NordVPN uses AES-256-CBC with a 2048-bit DH key to secure your data when you use OpenVPN.

Then we have IKEv2/IPsec, a protocol that uses high-level cryptographic algorithms and keys. On top of the security that this protocol brings by default, NordVPN uses Next Generation Encryption to make IKEv2/IPsec even stronger. It is the ideal option to protect your Apple devices due to the high encryption and efficient performance. NordVPN allows you to enjoy the advantages of IKEv2/IPsec on your iOS and macOS devices.

The two protocols supported by NordVPN are reliable and they are good choices to keep your internet traffic protected. In addition, when you connect to NordVPN, the client selects the encryption settings that better suit your needs. The strong encryption supported is reinforced with another feature known as CyberSec. This is NordVPN’s advanced technology to protect you from malicious websites, ads that spoil your browsing experience and more. CyberSec scans websites to check if they are included in blocklists. It prevents you from accessing dangerous sites and it is designed to protect you from phishing, malware, spyware and other threats. In addition, it can help you to avoid botnet control and it blocks annoying ads.

nordvpn settings

Privacy is a key element of NordVPN. The provider is based in Panama, a country that is not part of surveillance alliances and that is far from the jurisdiction of privacy enemies such as the NSA. In addition, Panama doesn’t have mandatory data retention laws. This allows NordVPN to offer a strict no logs policy. NordVPN doesn’t keep logs of your activities or any information that could compromise your privacy. Since there are no logs kept, there is no information that they could provide, even if they get a request from third parties such as copyright enforcement agencies. NordVPN’s status as a zero logs provider has been confirmed by independent auditors. Four different auditing firms have put NordVPN’s zero-logging claims and in all cases, the provider received their approval. Here is what NordVPN has to say about its logging practices:

We do not store connection timestamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic data, IP addresses, or other data. Nothing to store – nothing to share with anyone.

IP and DNS leaks test

nordvpn ip leak

DNS or Domain Name System is in charge of “translating” domain names like vpnpick.com into IP addresses to connect to, and vice-versa. The numeric names of web servers that are difficult to remember are translated into language that is easy to understand. It also works the other way. To keep you privacy protected, a VPN routes your entire traffic (including your DNS requests) through its network. The problem is that your system may still use the default DNS servers, which results in DNS leaks that allow your ISP to see what websites you visit. NordVPN addresses this issue using DNS leak protection technology, designed to keep your online activity and privacy intact, even if the DNS servers send unencrypted queries outside a secure VPN tunnel. To confirm that NordVPN truly keeps your privacy protected, we went to DNSleaktest.com. After connecting to NordVPN, we saw that our real IP address and location were hidden. The Extended test showed that there are no DNS leaks either. NordVPN passed the tests, proving its commitment to protect the privacy of its customers.

Features

NordVPN’s strength is privacy and then some. Apart from being a no logs service, NordVPN supports Tor over VPN connections. These servers layer a Tor network connection to the VPN for even higher anonymity. NordVPN allows you to enjoy simultaneously the powerful anonymity functionality of the Onion network, and the protection that a VPN offers to keep your information secure and private. Using the Tor network in combination with a high quality VPN service like NordVPN takes protection to the next level. You won’t need to worry about any vulnerabilities that could expose your real IP address/location or your activities. This is an advanced combination to defeat censorship and it is ideal for users, particularly journalists and activists, who live in countries where the internet is heavily restricted and monitored.

NordVPN also supports double VPN servers, which route the connection twice and doubles up the AES-256 bit encryptions over your data. It may be a little overkill, but if you are looking for the ultimate level of security and don’t mind to take a hit on the connection speed, this could become your favorite feature. While the protection that it offers is complex, the way in which it works is actually quite simple. First, your traffic is routed through a secure VPN server that encrypts it. Then, the encrypted traffic reaches a second VPN server that encrypts it again. Finally, you get to your internet destination with high security and privacy. Double VPN provides an incredible standard of protection that keeps your real IP address hidden. Your IP is masked by the fist server you connect to and the second one won’t have any information about you.
nordvpn server countries

For those more concerned with gaming, or streaming movies and TV shows, NordVPN also has Ultra fast servers that are optimized for streaming. In addition, NordVPN allows you to get access to at least six Netflix libraries, including the one available in the United States, which contains a great deal of entertainment options. Since Netflix is constantly trying to prevent the use of VPNs that help subscribers to get around the geo-restrictions, NordVPN uses advanced technology and it invests on its infrastructure to ensure that you can access the content that you want. If a server is blocked by Netflix, a new one is made available. NordVPN also offers a long list of P2P-safe server locations for safe anonymous torrent use. NordVPN displays the status of their servers as well, although the information is rather basic and focused on what is up and running, available protocols and current loads. Anti-DDoS and Dedicated IP servers are also available for advanced needs ranging from gaming to hosting content.

nordvpn server region selection

Beyond the specialized servers, NordVPN offers standard encryption servers and users can select the settings that better suit their needs. There are over 5,500 servers that cover 61 countries and counting. The server list does not display city location, but you can see the number of servers that are available in each country. In every location, you will find a variety of options including P2P, Obfuscated, Double VPN and Onion over Tor. More importantly, they have up-kept the network by increasing server count, and has helped maintain and improve service quality over time.

NordVPN provides nicely designed client software for all major platforms; Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android. The service also offers encrypted proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox browser. There is also an app for Android TV that gives you the chance to easily set up NordVPN on your device, to enjoy the best international content securely. For other platforms such as Rapsberry Pi, Synology and routers, NordVPN offers tutorials that will allow you to set up the VPN manually.

nordvpn windows client app

The VPN client 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.

The we have 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 with 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. If your main concern is speed, rather than security, this is a very good feature.

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 applications that carry sensitive data. As previously mentioned, NordVPN also has its CyberSec feature that blocks dangerous websites and lets users avoid annoying ads.

NordVPN offers unlimited bandwidth and data transfer and it has improved on speed quite drastically. Previous test results ranged from very fast to slow and intermittent connections that were not exactly heartening. However, the latest tests showed good speeds on the majority of servers, even those very distant. In general, the 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.

Before Connection

Nordvpn Speed 1

After Connection

Nordvpn Speed 3

Netflix and Streaming Test

NordVPN successfully unblocked american Netflix, and all other international streaming platforms of live television channels tested, which included Amazon Prime, Hulu, Telemundo, Zattoo, and BBC One to name a few. Thanks to their integrated SmartPlay DNS service mentioned in the service features, NordVPN should successfully bypass geo-blocks in more than 150 countries world wide. Not only that, because the Smart DNS proxy has a direct connection to the streaming platform before passing through your VPN, servers are often capable of reaching much faster streaming speeds than regular downloads. A very good choice for heavy streamers.

Pricing

Initially, NordVPN was considered as an expensive solution when compared to other services available. However, they are now a highly competitive service that offers great value for money. One account allows up to 6 simultaneous connections, instead of the previous limit of 2, so the price plans that are currently 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.

nordvpn plans

Simple 1 Month: $11.95/Month USD
1 Year: $6.99/Month – Total $83.88 USD
2-Year plan: $3.99/Month – Total $95.75 USD
Best Offer – 3 Year Deal $2.99/Month – Total $107.55 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.

Customer Support

Customer service can be accessed through live chat or email, and NordVPN promises prompt replies to a myriad of questions and concerns that is available 24/7, they have a clean and easy to navigate website, which lets you find the pertinent information without delays. We tested the live chat and received a fast and friendly response, right to the point. 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. One of the best thinsg about NordVPN is the fact that it provides specialized servers such as Tor and Double VPN servers. While these features slow down your connection and may not appeal to everyone, there are many security and privacy freaks who want that high level of shielding for both every day web use, or torrent downloads.

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On the other side of the coin, NordVPN also caters for streaming and gaming audiences with the Smart-Play proxy option, as well as Ultra-Fast servers and Anti-DDoS protection. Mostly, NordVPN should be commended for regular network updates that have allowed the service to grow into one of the best VPN services available in the market. 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 that you can get.

38 Comments

  1. I suspect the many positive reviews of this VPN You can read around are either the result of an extensive copywriting effort, or the judgment of unskilled / undemanding people. In fact, NordVPN’s network is too often sooo slow that You’re obliged to change server and server over again and again until you find an acceptable solution. Usually, when you find a (seemingly) “good” server, it will let you download at a good speed (say, 50% of your theoretical bandwidth) for a day or so (often much less), and then it will sadly slow down to a few kbps (i.e. the average speed of most other servers). With these bandwidths it’s impossible to judge the “security” of this service: for instance, you might face some disconnection by using unsecure / untested servers located on the other side of the planet (I’m in Italy and presently I’m testing some US servers, which, at least, are less loaded than the european ones). Disconnections, by the way, are rather common even during “normal” operation, as observed by others, and in many cases the culprit is (again) the very slow connection (even Windows “Network and Sharing Center” might report You’re disconnected from the Internet!). Of course, many applications (for instance many P2P clients) under these circumstances try different routes to reach their networks, and may thus reveal your real IP.

    1. I came to a conclusion that VPNs have widely different experiences for various people, perhaps it’s the ISP that are at fault, or just location. I am using NordVPN in Iceland, and I had a way better experience. I am perhaps one of your unskilled people, but I am in no way undemanding. I have been using torrents all the time, and once I experienced slow speeds I contacted NordVPN customer support ASAP, which suggested using qBittorrent, I don’t recall what was the reasoning but after following their set up speeds increased greatly. Also concerning your worry about revealing your real IP, there’s an app feature called “Killswitch” which blocks your torrent connection if connection is lost. (https://nordvpn.com/features/kill-switch-technique/), so I take it that you haven’t been in contact with their customer support. All products sometimes have some issues, and its up to you, to go to them and say ” I have these problems, can you help me or refund me?” or of course you can go around the internet moaning about a lackluster service.

  2. Absolute rubbish. Couldn’t connect to a server most of the time and then constant disconnects. When occasionally able to connect the speed was terrible. Can’t use my computer the way I would normally so what’s the point? I guess the best security for using the internet is not using the internet at all, so I suppose NordVPN have got that side of things covered!!!! Will be getting a refund.

  3. Price vs Quality is good. They also managed to get Netflix US working outside of the USA (which is a good thing ofcourse).

  4. I purchased 6 days ago and It just doesn’t work. I have contacted customer services several times including twice on the first day but still does not work.
    They just keep asking me to do the same thing over and over with no success.
    But just ignore refund requests with no explanation
    Wish I had looked at this first and the other review sites as i’m in the middle east and it is obvious it does not work here, BUT THEY DONT TELL YOU THAT AND CONTINUE TO TAKE PEOPLES MONEY FOR A SERVICE THEY CANT PROVIDE IN THIS REGION.

  5. I purchased an annual subscription and it just didn’t work. I immediately asked for my refund. Many excuses and non-responses later, I’m filing a case for recovery with Paypal. Stay away!! They definitely won’t give you a “no-hassle” refund!! You’ll have to fight to get your money back from them.

  6. Works most of the time.
    Slow /loading, connecting../
    Sometimes connection drops, but can’t tell how often
    Accepts btc
    So far no DNS leak, but I set that manually on my side
    Not perfect but I’ll stick w/ nord til I find something better…

  7. NordVPN does not work in UAE. I was just there and with the new laws in place, effective 1 August, NordVPN is blocked. Don’t waste your money on it until they can fix it for Dubai.

  8. My first VPN and I thought it was good.Speeds ok some connection issues.but not too bad.
    Gone to PIA VPN much better speeds and no connection issues anymore and even cheaper than Nord..

  9. I am old Nordvpn user. And they really had a lot of tech issues ~ 6 months ago. I was even considering to change VPN provider. But they had several serious updates and looks like now everything works well.
    Speed is decent, and US netflix + UK BBC works well.
    Also customer support reacts instantly helping with any issues I ever had.
    Really happy about my descision to stay on Nord!

  10. I am very old NordVPN user. And I like the service. In the past they had some problem, but their support always helped me and looks like most of them are resolved now.
    I am a bit surprised when people are saying that NordVPN is shit, and HideMe or PIA is better. I think those are employees of HideMe or PIA. Because if you really would try all 3 services, you would see what Nord is much more advanced. In tested a lot of different VPN services, because I need VPN for my work. So I know what I say.

  11. Using Nord about 2 months, mainly to secure wifi in public spaces + for Netflix. So can’t comment about very advanced features. Very happy with their speed, which is core thing for me.
    And nextflix still works, which is good also :)

  12. Been using for almost a year (got a 2 year plan for a good price). In the beginning it was slow-ish, probably due to high number of new users. Now the speeds are great, netflix still works, I love the new Android app. Seems that NordVPN is on the right track.

  13. I have been using NordVPN for 3 months now, and am really happy! The major factor for me to switch from PIA was that Nord allows Netflix, HULU and BBC streams worldwide, while all other providers are unable to do so after recent changes. Also shotout to outstanding customer support!

  14. I’ve tried five VPNs for at least a month each now, and NordVPN is the worst of them. Servers are often down or unresponsive, speeds are very bad, and their support people could not care less once they have your money. Stay far away from this one.

  15. I dont know how they can be most recommended logless VPN for god sick.
    – They leak your IPv6
    – No switch kill for internet connection
    — but worst of all THEY LEAK YOUR REAL IP—
    If you using Windows (7) like me you are **** up.
    I was surfing all day and i normally do not turn off my PC but only switch it to sleep mode and even I set automatic reconnect and EVERY TIME i turn my PC into sleep mode and then woke up my PC their official application showed me that i am “CONNECTED” with green status but in real i was not connected and all of time i was surfing under MY REAL ADDRESS.

  16. A very good vpn, you get what you pay for and this is value! I especially like how its not USA based so your not at risk for sudden privacy and personal rights violations by the top 2% of people over there who think they control us all, as in all countries. The Kill switch is finally on Mac and the ap is great except for IOS 9 still not fixed. But the computer interface for both windows and mac is easy to use with the saftey of a kill switch and face it all vpns have tecnical problems, so drop outs will happen at least your safe with nord. They have consistantly added new servers and i hope they continue and spread them around a bit and ensure the quality and privacy of them , yet to see any feedback about any vpn on how they ensure this whEn in different countries.

  17. I’m disappointed in the service. Unstable connections and low speeds are the norm. I’ve also never been able to get the socks5 proxy working properly, but that may be a router issue on my end, I’m not sure. I often end up wasting time trying to find a server with good speeds and stable connection. I wish they would have less servers with better connections rather than a lot of flaky ones you have to cycle through to find a good one. Basically the service is terrible and I’m annoyed I bought a year of it. The refund policy is also terrible and I haven’t bothered trying to argue with customer support.

  18. Better stay away with NORDVPN. Servers are very unstable, having technical issues every month, most servers are always down almost 80% of them, 70% of the time speeds are very slow like you’re in a dial-up. Customer service representatives are completely useless, responses are from canned response (scripted). Technicians are stupid, could not even make the servers stable for a whole month.

  19. I have been using NordVPN for about the last nine months which has allowed me to witness the number of available servers nearly double. This makes it obvious that the staff at NordVPN does monitor the server use and works to grow with the customer base. However, the service frequently suffers from outages of various scales. It is not uncommon to be unable to connect to any NordVPN server for times ranging up to hours. A review of my logs during these types of outages indicates that authentication of my user/pass is frequently the issue. It is not known if there was a loss of the authentication server that resulted in the issues or some sort of attack. The staff at NordVPN could improve transparency by providing explanations for the loss of service. Overall, the security, bandwidth and support have been acceptable, just not the down time.

    I have no issue recommending this service for the less dedicated users who do not value 100% reliability from their VPN provider. You simply can’t depend on NordVPN 100%.

  20. Very fast and was cheaper than many other option. I have yet to have disconnects as other people mentioned, that might either be due to them upgrading their servers or maybe its just the location of the servers (eastern US) but I have yet to lose a connection. I will try a different VPN next year just because I want to try out all the popular ones before I settle, but so far, NordVPN is my favorite and I have no issues recommending it.

  21. Worst VPN service ever, and believe me Im a costumer of 4 other vpn services.
    Servers are constantly down, every month several servers go down, sometimes for weeks.
    In my case it was for the UK servers I joined, many times they are down and sometimes they only come up at the end of the month, must be some bandwitdth issue?
    After contacting service, always same excuse: “Vpn server is under maintenance”.
    Every month? For days/weeks?
    Avoid at all cost.
    I bought service for a year for 36$.
    I asked for a refund and they agreed but they would discount 8$ for each month of use.
    I have used them for 1 month and half, and they only want to refund 24$ of the 36$?
    This is what they get, negative feedback on them, because they are dishonest and have crappy service.
    They are a joke of a vpn service.

  22. Worst VPN I ever used in my life!
    Constant disconnects + slow speeds makes it the worse one!
    Paid for 1 year, now there is no way I can get my money back!
    What they are doing is they trying to get as many subscribers as possible and fail to provide quality services!

  23. I just joined finding it confusing to ensure I’m fully protected, as i just used zen mate free prior and it hid my ip address nicely and was fast. I see the benefit of no logs, but i don’t know if I’m really secure and my standard iso modem isn’t said to be set up for VPN so is it really safe? The local servers I had too they said were “out for maintenace” as my logs kept showing errors every 5 minutes using records from my laptop. how can i really check I’ve don a dans leak test and others showed my computer type and other info?

  24. Got it this month. It is the first VPN I am using ever, though I cannot compare it with other providers. I gave it a free three days try. It was painfully slow at first.
    I asked them what was wrong, they had answered back shortly and somehow fixed the problem (I still think it was my ISP throttling VPN connections). They provided a lost of nodes close to me which will most likely give me a better performance.
    The number of devices that can be connected simultaneously are more than 2 now, (four if I remember right).

    The only issue I am experiencing so far are frequent disconnections by using UDP ports with OpenVPN. That has started a few days ago, and before it was working fine and very reliable. I think it is again the ISP involved in this problem.

  25. Bought the 2-year subscription on sale.

    So far, so good. Mostly on par with my prior VPN service.

    Only 2 major drawbacks:

    1. I’ve noticed more down servers on with Nord compared to my prior service. Not that it’s impaired me severely.

    2. Speeds are almost, but not quite, as fast as my prior serveice. I’d say, on average, Nord’s speeds are 85-95% of the previous VPN service I used.

    All-in-all, I consider NordVPN a great value considering I was paying 2.5X what I’m paying now.

  26. Absolutely brilliant service.

    Can’t say enough good things about NordVPN. After using some of the top touted VPN’s on the market, NordVPN is in a class of its own.

    No any glitches when connecting. No disconnects thus far – moreover unlike other VPN’s that disconnect if the PC goes idle for a period, NordVPN maintains the connection. Seamless ability to change from one server to another. Unlike other VPN’s I’ve used, Nord never messes with the ability to connect to the internet in the usual way once you disconnect. Speeds are also great.

    This an awesome service and can’t recommend it enough.

  27. Utter crap. There’s plenty of non-US based non-logging VPN services.
    My BIGGEST issues are:
    – constant disconnects from some services (e.g. Russia #2 over OpenVPN or ALL servers over l2tp) – sometimes it takes minutes, sometimes an hour, but eventyally youre going to be disconnected, for sure
    – unreliable services – using several EU servers (located in NL, RO, PL, AT+NL) I tried to download ONE 120MB file from uploaded.net. It never succeed! The most I got was ~25 MB then “connection reset by peer” (as per wireshark)
    – unreliable services – do you want to use Skype? imgur? interactive ssh? Forget it. The best you can do is browsing http servers or torrenting (where that’s not important that your connections keep breaking)
    – two concurrent sessions only – that’s ridiculous, especially because in ~30% cases when my always-on session is logged in I can’t connect to ~half of the servers (over l2tp) and I’m frequently forcefully logged out of the windows app with claim that my username/password is invalid. Very funny. Not.
    – transfer speeds – usually 10-100 kB/sec (while my home broadband is 16Mbit/s)
    – no logs in the application (so you have no idea why you’ve been disconnected or can’t connect
    – unreliable service – pretty often app shows most of the servers as down
    – NO WAY TO TURN BACK – no “money back” guarantee when you buy service using bitcoins (which I prefer because it’s fastest). Was it Paypal I would start dispute.

    Bottom line: NEVER EVER NordVPN again. I have used few others before and this one was definitely worst. And the plentiful of [frequently unavailable] servers absolutely don’t help.

  28. Very few providers these days do not log your activities. And whats the difference is it isp or vpn logging? :))) This one does not, cyberghost also. Others are not so credible so I choose from these two.

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