You need a new VPN – but which one should you choose?
There are so many services out there, each advertising themselves as the best and the greatest, that it can be hard to figure out what’s what.
That’s why we’re wading down into the trenches, putting the top VPN services to the absolute test, and sharing exactly what we find, so you can see the pros and the cons of each provider.
Without further ado, here’s our review of NordVPN.
NordVPN is one of the most popular VPNs on the market. And that’s not surprising, given the amount of features they provide.
Members not only get access to a VPN with a confirmed no-logging policy and a great network of servers, they can also take advantage of some of Nord’s more unique security features, like Double VPN and Obfuscated servers.
And NordVPN is compatible with all your favorite devices, including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
Plus, it all comes at a competitive price.
Pricing and Value
NordVPN memberships start at $11.95 per month. But if you’re willing to commit to a longer period, from 1 to 3 years, they become one of the most affordable services on the market.
A 3-year subscription comes to just $2.99 per month, which is one of the lowest fees you can get for a premium provider.
They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee on all plans, so you can buy with peace of mind, knowing that NordVPN stands by their service.
But is NordVPN worth it? Keep reading to find out.
NordVPN has a ton of features. Here’s a quick rundown.
- Based in Panama
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Doesn’t keep logs (independently audited)
- Built-in killswitch
- 6 simultaneous connections
- OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP protocols
- Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, and Obfuscated servers
- Blocks ads and malware
- Unlimited bandwidth
- 5,000+ servers in 62 countries
- Apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and more
- Torrent and p2p friendly
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Accepts Bitcoin payments
Read the rest of our review, where we explain and evaluate these features in more detail.
Most VPNs will slow down your internet speeds to some degree, but we’re always looking for a VPN service that minimizes this speed loss.
Here’s our test with no VPN connected
And NordVPN appears to be one of them. In our testing, we ours speeds when connected were quite comparable to when we weren’t using the VPN at all.
Here’s our test with the VPN connected
That being said, there was some variability from server to server, and we noticed that some of the countries with fewer servers gave us slower speeds.
But in general, NordVPN is definitely a pretty fast VPN.
Netflix and Streaming
One of the first things many folks want to know about a VPN is, “does it work with Netflix?”
After all, Netflix has created a pretty sophisticated blocking mechanism for VPNs. Why? Because a good VPN not only allows you to access Netflix content from other regions, it can help you bypass bandwidth throttling.
And they’ve been pretty successful at blocking most VPNs. But not NordVPN.
Now, Netflix might not work on all 5,000+ servers, but it works on enough to get the job done, including at least a few dozen servers in the US.
Are you a P2P user? Then you’re in luck, because NordVPN is P2P-friendly.
They also provide all of the features we look for in a secure VPN for torrenting, including a no-logs policy, strong encryption, unlimited bandwidth, a killswitch, and a non-US/Fourteen eyes jurisdiction.
NordVPN offers some other interesting features as well, including Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, and Obfuscated connections, which can provide even more privacy when you’re downloading.
The only catch is that NordVPN prefers if you limit your P2P traffic to certain servers, and these aren’t available in every country.
NordVPN has apps for all of the major operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as the big two mobile OS’s, Android and iOS.
We’ll talk about our experiences with the Windows app first.
Now, NordVPN advertises themselves as the “easiest VPN ever”. So, we came in with the expectation that downloading and setting up their software would be pretty simple. And fortunately, it was.
Once we had it up and running, it was time for testing.
And what did we find? For starters, Nord’s app makes it really easy to select a server. The main window gives you both a map and a list to choose a country from. And from there, you can choose to be connected to the fastest server or to use the drop-down box to select a specific server.
At the top of the server list, you also have options for P2P, Double VPN, Dedicated IP, and Onion Over VPN servers.
In short, NordVPN gives you as much or as little control of your server as you want, and it does it all from the same window.
The other main window is the ‘Settings’, where you can toggle CyberSec, your Internet or App Killswitches, Obfuscated Servers, and more. We’ll explain those features in a little more detail in the Security section.
And as we covered in our Speeds section, NordVPN managed good speeds on a variety of servers.
All in all, our experience with the Windows version was a good one.
Fortunately, our time with the Mac app was just as impressive.
Set-up was simple. And once setup, the Mac software is pretty much identical to the Windows version.
The main window gives you full control over the server you select by using either the server map or list. You’ll be able to select, say, the United States, and from there let NordVPN pick your server for you – or choose your own server, whether it’s in Charlotte or Seattle.
When using the dropdown menu, the NordVPN app also shows you how much load each server is experiencing.
The Mac app gives you access to the P2P, Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, and Dedicated IP servers, as well as Obfuscated Servers if you enable them in the Advanced Settings.
From the ‘Settings’ menu, you can also tweak your other preferences, like setting NordVPN to kill the connection to certain apps if the VPN drops.
In summary, we give the Mac app for NordVPN a big thumbs up.
To put it simply, NordVPN has one of the best server networks in the business. For starters, they offer both a huge number of total servers, with over 5,000, as well as a large selection of countries, with 62.
That’s a great combination, since it means you’ll always be able to find a server that’s reasonably close and is not overloaded with users.
NordVPN also offers specific servers for P2P, Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, Obfuscated VPN, and Dedicated IP. You’ll be lucky to get half of those options on other VPNs.
For a VPN to be worth it, it needs strong security.
And fortunately, NordVPN offers a robust suite of security features, including some pretty unique ones, to keep you safe while you surf. Let’s take a look.
Based in Panama
NordVPN is based out of Panama, meaning its outside the jurisdiction of both the US and the rest of the Fourteen Eyes.
And that’s a good thing for your privacy, since it makes you less vulnerable to snooping government agencies, DMCA notices, and more. Panama doesn’t have any invasive data retention laws either.
Confirmed No Logs
Most VPNs claim they don’t keep logs. After all, they wouldn’t get much business if they didn’t.
However, few have subjected their no-logs policy to investigation by a third-party audit. But NordVPN has. And the audit confirmed that NordVPN doesn’t log important data, like your IP or when you connect.
This is huge. Finding a provider that doesn’t log is one of the most important aspects of choosing a VPN, and NordVPN not only promises to protect your data, they proved it.
Double VPN and Onion Over VPN
NordVPN has a few security features that you won’t find nearly anywhere else.
That includes both Double VPN, which is pretty much what it sounds like. By connecting to a Double VPN server, your connection will be routed through the first server and encrypted, then routed through a second.
If someone were to bypass one layer of protection, they’d still be faced with that extra layer. This provides a superior level of security, protects against leaks, and more.
Onion Over VPN is a similar idea, only this time you’re using Tor (The Onion Router) as your second layer of security. If it or your VPN protection are bypassed, you still have that second layer of security keeping you safe.
With features like these, NordVPN is a good bet for people who want to obtain the maximum possible privacy and security that they can.
There are times when you want to use a VPN without people knowing that you’re using a VPN. For instance, if you’re in a government that places heavy restrictions on internet activity and VPN use, like China.
That’s where obfuscation comes in. By using one of Nord’s Obfuscated servers, you’ll have all of the benefits of a VPN, like security and encryption, but outside parties won’t be able to tell you’re using a VPN.
To use an Obfuscated server, simply enable it from the advanced Settings in the NordVPN app, then select the server from the server list.
NordVPN’s built-in CyberSec feature not only blocks ads, it protects you from malware, phishing, and more. It makes your internet activity safer and more convenient, without much input on your end.
And this is a feature you won’t see many VPN services providing.
All good VPNs have a killswitch, which shuts down your internet traffic if your VPN drops. But NordVPN takes it a step further by giving you two different options for your killswitch.
On one hand, you have a normal “Internet Killswitch”. Then there’s the “App Killswitch”. Instead of stopping your internet entirely, this setting allows you to choose certain apps, like your torrenting client, to cut off individually.
This allows you to keep your most sensitive data from leaking without losing your entire internet connection.
NordVPN does provide DNS and IP leak protection, which is always a good thing. It’ll prevent personally identifying data from slipping through the cracks of your VPN connection.
Encryptions and Protocols
Users have access to a good selection of protocols with Nord, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP. The only one you’re missing is SSTP, but few people use it anyway, since the main protocols are superior.
With these protocols in place, you’ll be able to benefit from up to 256-bit encryption.
NordVPN does accept Bitcoin payments, which allows you to put an extra layer of protection on your privacy.
NordVPN offers 24/7 support in the form of their live chat feature. And in our experience, they did a pretty good job.
Once we had connected to the chat, we got in touch with a representative quickly, and they did a solid job of answering our questions.
In general, NordVPN focuses on making their service as easy-to-use and accessible as possible, and they seemed to deliver on that on all counts.
Alright, so we saw exactly what NordVPN has to offer, from basic security features, like an internet kill switch, to some more advanced ones, like their Double VPN. We also discussed their logging, torrenting, and pricing policies.
And we liked, if not loved, most of what we saw. The most stand-out aspects were NordVPN’s server network, their app, their strong security features, and their audited no-logs policy.
What didn’t we like? Well, there wasn’t much to complain about. But we did find that some of Nord’s servers provided slower speeds than others.
So, in the end, would we recommend NordVPN? The answer is a big, fat yes.
NordVPN is one of the strongest, most secure VPNs on the market, it’s accessible to both newbies and veteran users, and it all comes at a very reasonable price.
There’s really nothing more to say, other than to encourage you to try NordVPN today!