NordVPN is a very popular VPN provider who claims to be The World’s Most Advanced VPN. In this NordVPN review, we’ll put them towards multiple tests to see if they are as good as advertised.
|DOWNLOAD SPEED:||14.88 Mbps out of 100 Mbps|
|ENCRYPTION:||AES 256-bit encryption|
|LOG FILES:||No Logging (link to policy)|
|LOCATIONS:||63+ countries, 1,100+ servers|
|SUPPORT:||Live Chat 24/7|
|EASE OF USE:||Very Simple|
|RATING:||3/5 (speed issues)|
What is NordVPN and What Does it Do?
The fact that their company is located in Panama can raise some red flags on how they might run their business, but that’s not true. All good VPN providers are located in independent countries that don’t share information on logging (Switzerland, Singapore, Caymans, BVI and so on).
However, I decided to dig a little deeper to find more information about their company.
NordVPN definitely hides this information well enough. I wonder why. I’ll say it – nobody cares what you do and who you are as long as you deliver an excellent service and don’t keep logs, right?
Funny thing: When I actually paid for the test account to write this NordVPN review, my payment went to CloudVPN Inc. – which is located in the U.S. (five eyes jurisdiction is bad for VPNs).
When I asked NordVPN about this intransparency, they simply told me that they just handle payments through CloudVPN Inc. and it’s not associated with their VPN application/company.
To believe or not to believe? Hard to say.
NordVPN Features and Compatibility
1. Lots of Servers
NordVPN currently claims to have 1100+ servers in 63 countries. That’s a LOT. Some paid VPNs only have 20-30 countries and 50 servers. However, two bigger (and probably better) VPNs like ExpressVPN and PIA have both more than 1,500+ servers.
2. Strong Encryption
Technical: OpenVPN comes with 256-AES-CBC with a 2048bit Diffie-Hellman key. I generally like to see DH over RSA, due to the former enabling Perfect Forward Secrecy. On iOS and MacOS clients, you’ll be encrypted via an IKEv2/IPsec protocol; AES-256-GCM and a 3072bit DH key,
Non-Technical: NordVPN have gone all out on security and have employed above industry standard encryption algorithms.
3. Double Data Encryption
If you opt to turn this feature on, NordVPNs double encryption will relay your data via not one, but two subsequent VPN servers, before it reaches the web page or application you’re attempting to access. By chaining your connection through two VPN servers, your data gets encrypted twice.
In addition to the (often unnecessary) double encryption, the second VPN server will be unaware of your original IP address and connections are always made via both UDP and TCP protocols. This is a “one extra step” security feature. The vast majority of you are unlikely to ever require it, especially if you’re use is limited to simple P2P and Netflix unblocking. Not to mention the impracticality of the drastically reduced speeds you’re going to incur.
It could have been a useful feature, but the abysmal speedtest figures prove it’s complete uselessness.
The main feature of CyberSec remains the website blocking feature which automatically scans websites you’re about to visit against popular blacklists and protects you from getting involved in phishing scams and other cyber threats. In case your device is already infected and being used in a botnet, CyberSec will block your participation by detecting and cutting any forced involuntary communications.
And of course, the ad-blocker. It will not only block your regular ads, but will also hide unwanted pop-ups and autoplay videos ads. This is especially useful and recommended if you’re using mobile data as ads love to use up unnecessary bandwidth.
5. Lots of Protocols
Technical: You have a full choice of OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP and SSTP. Windows clients come with OpenVPN, while iOS & Mac default to IKEv2/IPsec.
Non-Technical: While all industry standard protocols are supported , you will have to manually set up anything that is not OpenVPN on Windows or IKEv2/IPsec on Apple devices
6. Compatible with Most Devices
Not only do they have applications for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android they have detailed tutorials for protocol connectivity for them and 40 other mobile OS, RaspberryPi’s and routers.
7. Other Important Features (Including Kill Switch)
- Kill Switch NordVPN software automatically kills your connection if your VPN connectivity is interrupted, blocking your device or terminating certain programs from accessing the internet.
- DNS Leak Protection If you have set up your VPN connection manually (say you didn’t want to connect via OpenVPN) or have recently reset your Windows, you’re prone to DNS leaks. These DNS requests will then be completely unprotected. NordVPN have implemented measures to protect you and negate such leaks.
- Onion Over VPN For extra protection, or those desiring to visit the dark web (TOR network), NordVPN offers you the ability to route your traffic first through their VPN and then send it to the Onion router.
- SmartPlay SmartPlay technology ensures you can access more than 400 geo-restricted streaming services; Netflix, Amazon Prime, Pandora, BBC and others. With more and more VPN servers unable to access Netflix, this is a welcome feature.
How Much Does NordVPN Cost
Trying to forget the above, let’s take a look at how much a subscription to NordVPN will set us back.
NordVPN’s pricing is extremely simple and straightforward. In fact, there are no plans at all. You have the option between:
A: Monthly ($11.95)
Due to no savings, this is a 1:1 equivalent of:
- $11.95 per month
- $143.4 per year
- 0% Savings
B: 6 Months ($42)
Immediately, a huge savings, an equivalent to:
- $7 per month
- $84 per year
- 41% Savings
C: 12 Months ($69)
An even bigger savings, this equals:
- $5.75 per month
- $69 per year
- 52% Savings
All those subscriptions come with one-size-fits-all plan. To make this NordVPN review accurate, we signed up for their one month plan.
Personally, I am all in favor of simplicity and fairness when it comes to pricing. Give me one plan all-inclusive plan and a few payment options and I’m happy.
Whichever subscription you chose, you get everything they offer: all major features, including access to all their servers, six simultaneous connections, full high-speed unlimited bandwidth, access to their DoubleVPN servers which encrypts data twice, their Tor over network servers, and protected Bitcoin use too.
Having said all that, their yearly plan’s pricing is very competitive. While I would never recommend you to sign up for a month-to-month plan with them, I have to admit, their yearly plan is value central.
NordVPN Performance: Slow Download Speed (–)
Ah, the meat and bones of any reputable VPN review – independent, meticulous and prolific speed testing.
To gauge just how efficient NordVPN is at securing your traffic, I conducted several dozen speedtests from our offices in Europe, connected to the US, UK, EU and Asian servers.
Some of them have been awful (hint: Avira Phantom).
For this speed test, I used 100 Mbps Cable Internet connection. And while the best VPNs managed to achieve download speeds of 70 Mbps+ and up, NordVPN only came out with 14.33 Mbps.
I tried this multiple times, but the figure I saw on speedtest.net didn’t change much.
- Ping: 116ms
- Download: 49 Mbps
- Upload: 29 Mbps
About average, pretty good for a six thousand mile journey.
- Ping: 37ms
- Download: 14 Mbps
- Upload: 48 Mbps
Very low speeds for the EU unfortunately. I made sure to repeat tests several times, over the course of 5 months, only to end up with the same results.
- Ping: 379ms
- Download: 8 Mbps
- Upload: 3 Mbps
From 100 Mbps down to 8? An absolute disaster; no sugar-coating here.
Double Data Encryption (Sweden -> Switzerland)
- Ping: 97ms
- Download: 3 Mbps
- Upload: 2 Mbps
It’s odd to see US speeds multiple times faster than EU speeds (since I’m located in Europe), servers which are only a few hundred miles from our physical location.
And as much as I hate to say this, a lot of NordVPN slows down your connection speeds. That’s just unfortunate.
NordVPN Customer Support is Good (+)
NordVPN can be contact by email@example.com or through live chat.
Even after reviewing over three dozen different VPN providers, hundreds hours of testing, examining and reviewing, we still have questions or need for technical assistance.
Whether it’s to double check the encryption offered for your router, or a simple troubleshoot on a newly built rig, you will be forced to deal with the customer support of your VPN of choice.
If you’re a newcomer or not technically inclined? You might have some technical questions.
Any VPN worth their salt will have a prolific database of tutorials, how-to guides and informational articles in addition to live chat & quick email support.
Live Chat & Email
No different to the best of the best, NordVPN has recently began offering 24/7 live chat that will assist you with any question you may have. I used their live chat twice, for an encryption question and an open ended question.
Both times the Customer Support Rep was quick to help, but came with copy & paste answer.
Should you opt to use their email support, for more technical questions or if the live chat agent did not fully resolve your issue, you’ll receive another assistant who will help you with your VPN.
Just as important as live assistance for minor questions is the vast directory of support articles you will have access to. For a topic as technical as networking, making it accessible to your everyday layman is no small task.
After going through their directory and quickly skimming to any support related page I could find, I estimate NordVPN to have well over 500 guides and tutorials.
Yes, 500 articles. The directory is so big that I estimate the majority of live chats are simple redirection to one or another article – exactly how it should be.
Very impressive, NordVPN, very impressive!
How to Use and Install NordVPN
Start by logging into your account on NordVPN’s homepage to bring up your Profile page.
This first page is your account information, including payment options and a way to download the client. Let’s head over to the Download Area now to select the first VPN client for your device.
Download Area has a list of all the operating systems that NordVPN will work on (in addition to their standard apps for each). They’ll automatically pick up on your device and recommend a few to start with. Select the appropriate one, like Windows 10 Application, and let’s start the install.
You’re on your own for this part. Go through the typical installation process for your operating system. Let’s meet back up in a sec.
Alright, now we’re ready. After going through the installation process, you can finally login to your new client. Use the very same username and password for your account and click Login now.
This is the screen you are brought to after logging in. In order to switch servers click Servers at the top of the client window.
To connect to a specific server, find the server location you want and click Connect now or choose the client’s recommended server on the right-hand side and click Connect now. You can also see that NordVPN will recommend a few different server types above the independent locations if you’re looking for a specific objective instead.
How to Refund NordVPN
As stated on their homepage, NordVPN offers 30 days money back guarantee. If you wish to cancel their service and get refunded, here’s what you need to do.
First log into your account from ucp.nordvpn.com, click “Payments” from the menu and then click on “Cancel Automatic Payments”:
Once that’s done, write to their support (firstname.lastname@example.org) that you need a refund. If 30 days haven’t passed for your first sign up, you’ll be issued a full refund within 3 to 10 business days.
P.S. Users who purchased NordVPN through Apple App Store or Google Play Store cannot be refunded.
NordVPN Review Conclusion & Alternatives
So here you have it, NordVPN review with cons, pros and speed test.
Do I recommend this? Not really. But let’s take a quick recap:
Here’s what’s good about NordVPN:
- Easy to use
- Works with netflix
- Very secure
- Cheap ($5.75/mo)
Here’s what I don’t like about NordVPN:
- Slow downlaod speed
- Company not enough transparent
Simply said, the advantages of NordVPN; awesome security, vast support articles and usability can be found elsewhere too (hint: ExpressVPN)
Without the negatives such as their extremely oversold VPN servers that can barely function (read, very slow connections) they can be a good option.
However, there are better alternative available. For the similar price ($5.75/mo), you can get a VyprVPN ($5/mo, that offers 3 day trial) as well as Zenmate($4.99/mo). Find our top performing VPNs here.
P.S. If you’ve used NordVPN, please consider leaving your own NordVPN review below:
18 user reviews for NordVPN
NordVPN - Review
Overall it’s a decent VPN provider, however there are some issue. Sometimes you’ll have connection problem, that’s one of the main problems I’ve noticed about the service. I would highly recommend you get the 3 day free trial (https://free.nordvpn.com/) No credit card required. However One big benefit to using this service is that they have a large variety of servers a lot of countries, they even have servers designed to do specific jobs such as P2P and Streaming. Its definitely not a bad service but as mentioned before give the free trial a good try and see if NordVPN is for you.
The King of VPNs
When you’re looking for a VPN, you want to get the best of the best, and that’s where NordVPN stands up. I’ve tested out a few VPN options, but only Nord met my expectations. It has a choice of over 50 different servers, so you’ll always find one that suits you. There’s no better option for a high quality, problem free service than nordVPN.
Bad customer treatment
They offer a short, free trial, but this is hidden in their support pages and you’ll never find it unless you dig for it or someone else links you to it. The purchase page repeatedly reminds you of their 30-day money back guarantee, but there are zero mentions how to request one (there are also literally zero mentions of this in the customer account pages). It works by contacting support, and then it’s up to them if they actually want to honour it.
Great for China
Great app to access all blocked content in China, it keeps updating protocol to counter the “great wall”. Good customer service response too, and the speed is super fast, super reliable.
Fast, reliable and secure
Never thought of using any VPN but forced to do so coz had to bypass some websites not allowed to open in my country.
A simple google search about VPNs displayed the name “NordVPN” and this thing made me totally fall in love with it.
Not being much technical person, don’t know how all these stuff actually works but all I can say is that it works great. Its secure, quick. NordVPN is the real deal! Best. Product. Ever.
It’s only been around 20 days since I’ve been using NordVPN, but this is the first VPN I’ve ever used. The speed of NordVPN seems to be fairly fast, but I’ve never tried any other VPN before. I would give it a 8/10 stars and probably will not change my VPN unless I see a decline in speed.
My review with NordVPN
There’s nothing like NordVPN! They keep everything in order and easy to use for anyone who is a beginner or someone that is advanced with technology! I believe everyone should give it a try as it is really useful to me when I want to be secured.
Great service, when I first got NordVPN I was new to VPN so i contacted them and they gave me all the information I needed to get started. It was not overpriced and it even had a sale, bargain! as well as theres a 30 day limit to if you want to refund if it was not good enough for you, but i believe it will be good for you, what ever you use, from a PC to a mobile device.
I love this VPN as its easy to use and i don’t have to worry about the tech side of it all. What I hate is, that it seems too simple but that isn’t an issue, thats just my opinion
NordVPN have extremely friendly customer support – when I’ve arrived at China I was unable to connect to VPN but they gave me advise how to use obfuscated servers and I could reach everything I need in a second.
Recommend for everyone to pick up NordVPN
#1 paid VPN service in the market
As many VPNs I’ve already tried NordVPN is #1 from all aspects – DL speed is nearly lighting, smartplay allows to watch more than 400 streaming services, features like kill-switch or chrome extension makes this service just awesome.
Solid VPN service
Solid, reliable vpn service with good speeds which improves day by day. The newest feature – google Chrome extension. Cool thing but I’m also waiting for FF extension as i is more privacy oriented
Easy to use
Super easy to use and set preferences. Forget it’s even on most of the time. The servers wizard finder is great, Netflix loads about 30% slower but I can deal with that.
NordVPN is very good service for all online activities, I’m using it for torrenting (their P2p servers are really fast), for accessing streaming services like HBO, US Netflix and of course for hiding my activities from government and ISP. So far hadn’t got any problems and it is cheap enough comparing with features you are covered. The most important thing they don’t keep any logs!
I’m for a few months with them, actually planned to get refunded after vacation, but decided to leave it because it works flawlessly.
Might be speed issues depends on many factors but I’m getting near the same speed as my ISP provides and it doesn’t matter I’m using US or Europe servers. Haven’t tried Asian or Pacific.
Good but comes with cost
I have been using NordVPN for streaming and P2P sharing purposes approximately six months now. I am quite happy with their service. Their servers are very fast and that’s really important for me.
The price is not very low, but I believe that you get what you pay for.
I’ve been using NordVPN for a while now to keep my phone connection safe and private. The ping speeds are okay for a VPN service and they offer many options of servers.
This become handy when you need to access sites that have been blocked by some government.
I’m using NordVPN whenever I’m travelling to access Netflix. I think spending few dollars a month for a tool that allows you to get access to certain websites + keep your computer more safe is a nobrainer really.
I’ve been a NordVPN customer for 24 months now. Solid product, nothing to complain about.
Their pricing is bit high, but it’s worth it. Keeps me secure whenever I’m doing transactions using public wifi.
If you’re into security – go with them.
Can't go wrong with NordVPN
NordVPN is such a great provider for the money that they sell their service for. I think they’re really cost efficient, fast and secure. I have a group of friends, experts in the CyberSec area and they all recommend either PIA or Nord.
It’s easy for a first timer and keeps your stuff private. I had a hard time reaching them on live chat, but they told me that they’ve had a particularly busy time that day. After that, I haven’t had any problems with them. I recommend