NordVPN is a Panama-based VPN service provider that has been in the VPN business since 2012. They have a solid server network and, thanks to their reliable services, their customer base is ever-growing. NordVPN has a strict no logs policy and some quite attractive features, such as double encryption and P2P servers. Continue reading our objective NordVPN review to learn more about this famous VPN provider.
The NordVPN client for Windows is probably one of the best in the industry. It’s hard to say what its strongest suit is – whether it’s the ease of use or the elegance and visual appeal. Before connecting, you choose a server and you connect with just one click. This client has a useful feature that shows you the stats for each server (speed, capacity, etc) so you can actually make an informed decision.
The bespoke Android app is equally attractive and easy to use, which is not something we see a lot. VPN service providers usually focus all their efforts on the Windows client and often tend to neglect the mobile device apps.
Performance and Reliability
NordVPN did well on speed tests during the research phase for this NordVPN review, but not as well as some other providers. You can never expect to have the exact same speeds with a VPN as you would have without it, especially when connecting to a distant server, due to latency. However, while the tests did show some significant slowdown, we have to say it was almost unnoticeable when it came to actual browsing and streaming – and that’s what matters the most. Many people use VPNs to watch movies or shows and listen to radio stations that are not available to them for some reasons, which is why having decent speeds is so important.
In addition, this VPN service puts hardly any strain on your computer’s performance. NordVPN promises no DNS or IP leaks whatsoever and from what we saw, they actually deliver on that promise. Still, it’s always advised to run leak tests from time to time in order to be sure.
In addition to Windows, NordVPN is compatible with all the other major platforms and operating systems, including iOS, Mac OS X, Android, and Linux. Moreover, you can use it on your router (DD-WRT, Asus, and Tomato).
You can connect up to six devices at the same time, meaning you can actually use VPN on your personal computer, your tablet, and your smartphone.
The company runs 1731 servers in 61 countries of the world and the number of locations keeps growing month after month. The servers are actually divided into groups according to their type and specialization. You have servers for Tor, servers for ultra fast TV, double VPN, anti-DDoS, dedicated IP servers, standard VPN servers, Netflix USA servers and servers for P2P sharing or torrenting. This makes things incredibly easy for users. After you decide what you want to use the VPN for, you simply find a server group that specializes in that particular service and choose the location nearest to you or the one that allows you to bypass geo-restrictions.
The Tor-over-VPN allows you to send your traffic to one of the NordVPN servers where it gets encrypted and sent along to the Tor network. It is a handy solution that provides higher security, which many users will definitely appreciate.
NordVPN is very serious about security and therefore offers the full security suite with protocols ranging from PPTP and L2TP to OpenVPN with strong SSL-based 2048-bit encryption. There is also a free proxy list with up to 3000 free proxies, both shared (static/dynamic) and dedicated IPs, secret notes, double VPN for increased anonymity, as well as firewall pass-through.
NordVPN desktop apps are equipped with an application kill switch that lets you choose which applications you want to be shut down in case your VPN connection suddenly drops. NordVPN representatives state that the company is currently working on an upgraded version of the kill switch feature that would work on the system level. The new system kill switch would terminate your Internet connection instead of just shutting down select apps.
Security and Privacy
NordVPN offers a unique security feature called double encryption. Logically, if your connection is encrypted twice, you will be twice as secure. This is something that really sets NordVPN apart from other VPN providers.
As for the protocols, like we already stated in this NordVPN review, NordVPN offers all of the most widely used protocols, including those considered the best. So, you have OpenVPN, which is considered the most secure, PPTP, L2TP and IPSec protocols. NordVPN uses AES-256 cipher paired with RSA-2028 handshake and SHA-1 HMAC authentication. The service also provides perfect forward secrecy with 3072 DHE keys.
Encrypted chat and secret notes are additional security features and, again, something we don’t get to see often in other VPN service providers and the same goes for Tor-over-VPN and multi-hop connections.
As for privacy, Panama does not have any data retention laws, meaning the company is not required to hand over any of your personal info to the authorities. But even if there were such laws, the company wouldn’t have anything to give to the authorities since they do not keep any logs at all.
NordVPN’s support page has a quite impressive FAQ section that covers pretty much every question you might have prior to signing up for the service, as well as those questions and issues you might experience once you start using a VPN.
There are also plenty of useful tutorials, as well as a lively online community, with a message board and profiles on all the most popular social media websites.
NordVPN offers three plans – Simple, Standard and Best Offer. The Simple plan lasts one month and costs $11.95. The Standard plan is good for six months and costs $7 per month while the Best Offer, which gives you a year of VPN, costs $5.75 per month, billed annually.
The company offers a 30-day money back guarantee and accepts all the traditional payment methods, including some less conventional ones, such as Bitcoin.
NordVPN Pros & Cons
As we wrap up this NordVPN review, here’s a quick overview of the features that wowed us and the aspects of the service that could use some improvement.
- No logs
- Double VPN
- Strong encryption
- Tor-over-VPN and ultra-fast TV
- Excellent support
- Up to 6 simultaneous connections
- High speeds
- unlimited bandwidth
- P2P allowed
- Smart DNS
- SOCK5 proxies
- Not the cheapest VPN provider