Using VPN is a simple and reliable way of staying anonymous on the web and protecting all types of sensitive data. However, with so many VPN products on offer, choosing the best one is not an easy affair. NordVPN consistently ranks among top-5 VPN services providers. But is it really as good as claimed? Read our unbiased NordVPN review to know the whole truth.
NordVPN has a lot to be loved for. During tests, it proved its brilliant performance in most spheres. While having an excellent feature set, a great support service, and perfect security indicators, it is good but not great in terms of speed. For example, ExpressVPN vs NordVPN is noticeably speedier. That is why the final results are as follows:
Pros and Cons
- More than 4 thousand NordVPN servers in 61 countries.
- No user logs are collected.
- A very easy to use client with a user-friendly UI.
- A free trial period is provided.
- An opportunity to connect up to 6 devices.
- It lets you get to Netflix/iPlayer hassle-free.
- Tor-over-VPN feature for a higher security.
- Various protocols supported.
- Double VPN feature is liked by many users.
- Some features slow down the connection seriously.
- The speed varies much depending on the selected server.
NordVPN is not a new name in the market. It is a well-established provider of VPN services with the headquarters in Panama. Like all similar companies, they don’t reveal much information about themselves but as it recently became known, they also use a proxy server located in the US. Still, don’t be too suspicious: NSA and other governmental agencies are not going to track you. This US server is used mainly for payments processing and software development. The main company’s activities are under the jurisdiction of Panama that doesn’t impose any restrictions on Internet users’ freedom. As of today, there are more than 4 thousand NordVPN servers worldwide.
NordVPN offers an array of features that make it stand out of the crowd. Of course, not all of them are equally brilliant; moreover, the usefulness of some of them casts doubt. Within the framework of this NordVPN review, we’ll touch upon the most important and interesting features.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN allows using up to six devices under one license simultaneously. This is convenient for larger families or those who use multiple devices. However, you need to take into account that you need to select different servers for different devices, and if you want to use one and the same server, you’ll have to choose different protocols. The supported protocols are OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), PTPP, L2TP, IPSec, and IKEv2.
An interesting solution is the “special” NordVPN server list. So-called speciality servers are intended for users with specific needs. For example, there are special NordVPN torrenting servers (P2P type), anti-DDoS servers for the ultimate protection from attacks, and dedicated servers (provided on request) for accessing particular platforms. Onion (TOR) over VPN servers are intended for a simultaneous use of VPN and TOR, and so-called Double VPN servers make the traffic route longer due to using one additional intermediate point. The two latter features theoretically must provide a stronger protection, but in practice, they slow down the whole process significantly, while the benefits of using them are non-apparent.
The proprietary CyberSec feature is essentially an ad-blocker. Not only does it block undesired advertisement, but also provides a malware protection. On the top of this, it is free, which is an extra reason to use it.
The kill switch feature helps to drop Internet connection immediately as soon as the VPN connection fails. It means that you won’t be able to access Internet until the VPN connection is restored. However, you may adjust this feature for particular programs, for example, for torrents in order to be able to continue downloading content after the VPN connection failed.
Via NordVPN, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other streaming services can be accessed. It means that it copes with geo-restrictions better than most VPN services. However, the speed of streaming varies very much depending on your location and the location of the site you are trying to access.
Despite a really great feature set, NordVPN speed can be described as inconsistent. Different speed tests show different results, but there is one general trend: the closer the chosen server is, the higher the speed is and vice versa. For example, if you are trying to access American streaming services while being in the US, chances are you’ll succeed. But as soon as you try to reach out any content from a Japanese server, the speed will drop so significantly that you’ll be likely to abandon this idea. Other variables that impact the speed are the number of users currently connected to this server and the time of the day.
Among other things, NordVPN offers a free web proxy extension. It is available for the Chrome browser only, and there is little information about it on the official site. In any case, it is definitely not the product of the primary importance for the provider, and it doesn’t provide a serious protection. However, the browser extension can be a convenient solution for those who just need to hide their real IP addresses for some reason without downloading a full-fledged VPN client.
Safety and Encryption
No matter for what reason you decided to download NordVPN, you don’t want to feel concerned about security issues. Luckily, NordVPN is among those services that guarantee the highest level of users’ privacy. They promise not to track your logs and not to collect any personal information. Of course, we all know that any rule has exceptions, so if you do something completely illegal or criminal, be sure that you will be tracked one day. However, all right-minded users can be quiet about their privacy. The fact that the company is physically located in Panama adds optimism.
Needless to empathize, NordVPN uses the most progressive encryption methods. Quite expectedly, the AES-256 standard is used for encryption of every single connection. For regular users, it means that their VPN-connections are as hack-resistant as possible. Extra layers of protection are provided by the use of HTTP and SOCKS5, though the latter can negatively influence the speed.
Pricing Plans and Payment Methods
The next thing that we can’t but mention in our NordVPN review is pricing. For the sake of users’ convenience, they offer only one pricing plan that by default includes all the services provided by the company. A basic price per month is $11.95. But you can save up to 41%, buying a 1-year plan for $83.88. Then the price per month will be just $6.99, which makes it a great value for money. This is an official discount from the provider that is currently offered to everyone. Be careful with the advertisement of whopping 90% discount NordVPN coupon codes – chances are they are fake.
As for payment methods, NordVPN offers enough flexibility. The easiest way to pay for the chosen package is using your regular Visa or MasterCard. However, if you don’t want more confidentiality, you may opt for PayPal. Finally, those who don’t want to leave any traces can pay with cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoins. Combining this payment method with the use of Tor browser, you’ll provide the strongest security level.
In most NordVPN reviews, their client-oriented approach is mentioned. If you visit their official website, you’ll make sure that the company does everything to help their customers to make the most of using their products and feel comfortable. They have a convenient structured Help section and their own blog where the latest news is published. However, if you don’t want to lose time trying to find an answer to your question, their support team is always there. A live chat is available 24/7 to everybody, including non-registered users. It means that you may ask your questions even if you are not going to buy the product.
How to Use and Installing
As soon as you download NordVPN software you may immediately begin utilizing it, even if you are a complete neophyte in this sphere. No matter what particular client you opt for – all the apps have an intuitive interface and are very easy to use. The preparatory stage includes just three simple steps.
- Purchasing. Choose the suitable option and pay for it, using any payment method available. Keep in mind that at that stage you’ll be requested to enter a valid e-mail. The link to NordVPN download will be sent to this e-mail, so don’t use fake e-mails.
- Downloading. Follow the link and download the software. It takes a couple of minutes: just follow the instruction to complete the process. If your choice is NordVPN Android, you can download its mobile client directly from Google Play (or from the AppStore for iOS).
- Installation. It’s as simple as clicking the downloaded file (on a PC) or wait for an automatic installation (on a mobile). As soon as the software has been installed, you may start using it.
The full version of the program for Windows (the most popular option) offers an array of features and options, but its interface doesn’t seem clattered. It has a minimalistic white and blue design, large readable icons and intuitive buttons and switches. A nice solution is a highly detailed map for choosing the location of a server. Alternatively, one can choose a server from a usual list where the locations are listed in an alphabetic order.
In the Setting tab, advanced users can manually switch on and off the features they need or don’t need. However, if you don’t want to go deep into the details, you may just use default settings – the program is smart enough to choose the optimal options.
If you think that you may not like the product for some reason, use NordVPN free trial period. It lasts just three days but usually, this is enough to decide on whether you like it or not. On the top of the NordVPNtrial, there is a 30 days money back guarantee. However, according to NordVPN reviews of real customers, virtually nobody uses it. Maybe it’s because the product is really great.
The Bottom Line
In this NordVPN review, we have covered the main features of the popular VPN service. There are many reasons to love NordVPN: Netflix fans like it for an easy access to streaming services, and those who actively use torrents – for a hassle-free bypass of restrictions without noticeable losses of speed. In terms of the feature set, it definitely stands out of the crowd. Though not all the features are equally important, it is still nice to have them. Finally, availability of the NordVPN trial period and its “money back guarantee” policy add some credibility to the company.
However, there are there are some minor downsides that also need to be mentioned. The main drawback that is reflected in all NordVPN reviews is its inconsistent speed that depends on several variables. Also, some features seem to be excessive. For example, its “Onion over VPN” or “Double VPN” features can negatively impact the overall speed, while their benefits seem to be arguable.
- Before the full version of NordVPN download, try it for free. The trial period of 3 days is provided, though it is not advertised anywhere on the official site. Read the FAQ section or contact the support service for details.
- Keep in mind that NordVPN Netflix connection depends on multiple variables, mainly, on your location and the location of the server you are trying to connect to. If you are not satisfied with the speed, try to repeat the attempt later (when the load on the server will be less severe).
- If you’ve made your mind up to buying a NordVPN package, opt for the 1-year plan – it will help you to save as much as 41%.