NordVPN Review

Simply one of the best VPNs for privacy and security on the Web

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4.9

NordVPN

NordVPN

NordVPN

What We Like

  • Choose from over 5,200 servers in 60 countries

  • One of the best VPNs for streaming Netflix catalogs

  • Quick Connect button, dedicated P2P servers, enhanced security

  • Works on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and Android TV

  • Encrypted proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox

  • Ad blocking and malware protection

What We Don't Like

  • No free trial (only a 30-day money-back guarantee)

  • To get the best price of $2.99/month, you have to commit for three years

  • The 30-day money-back guarantee does not apply to purchases from Apple’s App Store or authorized resellers

If you’re in the market for a highly-rated, no-logs VPN service that has a multitude of servers, a supernatural ability to get around geo-restrictions (even in countries like China), and can’t be touched by the 14-Eyes Alliance — NordVPN is a smart choice for your online privacy needs.

4.9

NordVPN

NordVPN

NordVPN

If you’re looking for a top-notch VPN, you’d be hard pressed to find a better service than NordVPN. It's consistently ranked as one of the top VPN providers, with over 5,225 NordVPN servers across 60 countries. Offering 256-bit military-grade encryption, robust torrenting support, and optional Double VPN protection — it’s no wonder this Panama-based VPN provider is popular with millions of privacy-driven Web surfers around the world.

We thoroughly tested NordVPN to see if its reputation is all it’s cracked up to be. Among other things, we evaluated how easy it was to set up and use, cost and speed, as well as encryption options to determine if it’s worth buying a subscription. (Spoiler alert: Yes).

Setup Process: Simple and Straightforward

We found the setup process for NordVPN to be exceptionally easy and straightforward. From the NordVPN website, download the appropriate software for your device and operating system, and follow the installation steps on your screen. With NordVPN, you don’t need to download any extra configuration files or do any additional tweaking to the program to make it work. It works right of the “box,” and we like that a lot.

NordVPN
NordVPN.  NordVPN

Design: User-Friendly and Intuitive

NordVPN’s engineers have taken complex VPN technology and made it simple to use — even if you’ve never used a VPN before. The desktop interface is clean, sleek, and intuitive. Simply launch the program and choose which country you want to connect to, or just use the Quick Connect button at the top. NordVPN automatically selects the best server for you, connecting you in seconds. The visually-based interface also features a map that shows the location of your server (in green). At any time while surfing, you can choose another server (in blue) without your internet connection being dropped.

Once you’re connected, you’re protected. You can check the connection status at the top of the screen or in your computer’s menu bar.

Performance: Excellent, With Minor Blips

With NordVPN, the connection and surfing speeds are excellent. We found there was a slight lag when opening up a new Web page, but it was minor and did not significantly detract from the browsing experience. (In the case of one banking website unable to load, switching the server quickly resolved the issue.) Embedded videos loaded quickly, and there was virtually no buffering or freezing. We also viewed videos on news sites such as CNN, plus movie-length videos on YouTube and paid streaming services like Amazon Prime. For faster streaming, NordVPN gives you the option of UDP over TCP (User Datagram Protocol over Transmission Control Protocol), which is faster than TCP and provides reduced latency.

NordVPN
NordVPN. NordVPN 

Privacy Policy: Strict

NordVPN is strategically located in Panama, which is considered a privacy haven thanks to having its own laws and jurisdiction. Specifically, Panama isn’t subject to U.S. data retention laws or the EU DRD (Data Retention Directive). This allows NordVPN to guarantee their strict no logs policy, making it a safe haven for privacy-seekers, torrenters, and anyone looking to circumvent surveillance and draconian censorship laws.

From the NordVPN website: “NordVPN guarantees a strict no-logs policy for NordVPN services, meaning that your activities using NordVPN Services are provided by automated technical process, are not monitored, recorded, logged, stored or passed to any third party. We do not store connection time stamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses or other data.”

While NordVPN’s billing provider is based in the U.S. (primarily to prevent payments from being flagged), it has nothing to do with the VPN service itself.

Security Features: Extensive and Impressive

When it comes to security, NordVPN goes above and beyond the usual VPN service. Whether you’re a casual Web surfer, work with sensitive data, or a need to keep your information out of the hands of the government — NordVPN offers multi-pronged protection over a variety of platforms.

NordVPN’s enhanced security features include:

  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES): NordVPN uses military-grade AES with 256-bit keys. To break this, you would need supercomputers running for billions of years.
  • Strict No-Logs Policy: NordVPN does not keep or save details about you and your online activity for any reason.
  • Automatic Kill Switch: NordVPN’s kill switch provides continuous monitoring of your VPN server connection. If it drops for any reason, the Kill Switch blocks your device or specified apps from accessing the Web.
  • DNS (Domain Name System) Leak Protection: With NordVPN, your device will only use DNS servers operated by NordVPN, not leaked to DNS servers at your ISP.
  • Onion Over VPN (Tor): This is an exclusive NordVPN security feature that gives you the advantages of The Onion Router (Tor) combined with the security of a VPN tunnel.
  • CyberSec: This is an optional feature in the NordVPN settings that automatically blocks ads and malware.
NordVPN
NordVPN. NordVPN

An Extra Security Feature: Double VPN

Besides the above security features, NordVPN also offers something called Double VPN. Just like the name sounds, Double VPN doubles your level of encryption. With Double VPN, your data traffic flows through two VPN servers, not just one. For anyone who needs a high level of online security and privacy, this feature can be invaluable. This might include journalists and political activists who need to protect their activities and sources from the government.

NordVPN is a safe haven for privacy-seekers, torrenters, and anyone looking to outsmart surveillance and geo-restrictions.

Torrenting: Plenty of P2P Servers

NordVPN offers exceptional support for Peer-to-Peer (P2P) traffic, offering over 4,433 active P2P servers in around 40 countries. Just choose the P2P option on the left-hand side of the menu, and you’ll automatically be connected to the best servers for torrenting. It probably goes without saying that if you torrent, always use a reliable and highly secure VPN service.

NordVPN
NordVPN. NordVPN

Price: Very Reasonable

In terms of pricing, NordVPN is very reasonably priced for all the features and options you get. Offering a choice of monthly, one-year, two-year, and three-year plans, you can get your monthly cost down to as low as $2.99/month (which works out to about 10 cents per day — a bargain by any standard). But if you’re not ready to commit to a longer term, you can still buy a monthly plan for just under $12, which is still an inexpensive 40 cents a day.

Competition: NordVPN vs ExpressVPN

You’ll often find NordVPN and ExpressVPN competing against each other, but there are some differences between the two services. For starters, NordVPN is the overall cheaper option, with plans starting as low as $2.99/month. The best-discounted price you can get for ExpressVPN is $6.67/month. Both have unique security features that don’t overlap. For example, NordVPN has Double VPN, while ExpressVPN has a split-tunneling option (which allows you to route traffic over both encrypted and unencrypted connections). When it comes to available platforms, you’ll probably get more choices with ExpressVPN, which even has apps for Kindle Fire and Nook. Both companies offer a 30-day money back guarantee, so you can take a test run and compare.

Final Verdict

One of the best VPNs for your buck.

Offering multitudes of servers around the world, super fast speeds, Tor, Double VPN, excellent torrenting support, the ability to unblock almost any website — and all of this at a reasonable cost — you’ll have a hard time finding a better service.

Specs

  • Product Name NordVPN
  • Price $2.99
  • Operating Systems Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and Android TV
  • Mobile platforms iOS, Android
  • Server locations 60 countries
  • Torrenting Yes (optimized P2P servers)
  • Encryption 256-bit OpenVPN or IKEv2/IPSec
  • Price $2.99 per month for 3-year plans
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