Internet users are in need of protection, and luckily — there are tools that can make us safe online. All we need to do is learn about them and implement them. The best way to do so is by using VPNs. Today we are going to review one of the best-known and most popular VPN services around — NordVPN. Continue reading our NordVPN review to find out more about the provider.
Online surveillance, hacking attacks, malicious threats, censorship, and geo-restrictions. These are only a fraction of all the issues that internet users are facing today. What about the manipulation of thought, theft of identity, data, and money? We have to face those threats to take all the benefits of the internet. NordVPN is a great VPN provider that could help you to prevent all of the mentioned dangers above. Here’s why:
NordVPN is one of the best-known VPN services today. The company is well-known for the quality of its services, affordable prices, as well as a great marketing strategy that is especially targeting younger audiences. Also, you may have seen a lot of NordVPN advertisements on the internet or TV, but is it marketed as good as the overall quality of the service is? Continue reading our NordVPN review to find out.
All the brand awareness of NordVPN was built over the year. The company did this by partnering up with a number of YouTube influencers such as PewDiePie or Casey Neistat, celebrities that have been promoting it to millions of viewers around the world, many of which decided to try out the service and enjoy the benefits that it delivers. We also did some calculations regarding NordVPN ad and marketing spend, as there are lots of discussions on Reddit and various forums about huge investments they put on their marketing activities. Read our 2020 VPN provider research here.
If that is not enough, NordVPN sponsors Liverpool Football Club as well as Dallas Mavericks in the NBA and produced a number of videos together.
Of course, just because the service is promoted in a popular way does not automatically make it good. People are researching it and trying to find out if it is truly as good as everyone says it is. We need detailed insight into whether the service is worth the hype and in our opinion it truly is.
We can tell you a lot about NordVPN. Its many features, numerous dedicated apps, a huge server network, its privacy, and security, as well as much more. If you are trying to decide whether to give this VPN a chance, simply keep reading. You will learn all there is to know about one of the world’s top VPN services today.
NordVPN feature summary
If you are not into long, detailed reviews, and you simply wish to know what NordVPN has to offer, we have you covered. Here are some of the main features of the best VPN service available:
|Logging policies||Strict no-log (approved by PwC audit)|
|Jurrisdiction||Outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance’s jurisdiction|
|Security protocols||OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec, NordLynx|
|Encryption protocols||256-bit AES/OpenVPN|
|Customer support||24/7, via email & live chat (EN/DE/FR)|
|Unblocks US Netflix?||Yes|
|Money back guarantee?||30-day money back|
|Option to pay with cryptocurrencies?||Yes, by Bitcoin|
|Cost||$3.71 – $11.95|
These are some of the most important features that NordVPN has to offer. Now let’s take a good, long look at different aspects of this VPN, and analyze them in detail.
How to download and install
First of all, let’s talk about getting the app and setting it up. Doing both of these things is pretty easy, and it doesn’t require any advanced technical knowledge. You just have to find the right client app for the operating system you are using. Worth mentioning that NordVPN is available on almost every platform including iOS, macOS, Android, Windows (Windows 7 and up), Linux, Kodi, Firestick. Also, the provider has really nice Google Chrome and Firefox extensions, as previously not many VPN providers had this option.
All that any user needs to do is go to NordVPN’s website and create an account. This is actually even simpler than on most websites.
After that, download the app from the website itself. If you want to use the VPN app on your mobile, you’ll have to download it from the App Store or Google Play Store, depending on what kind of device you own. The website has download links and even tutorials for those who feel like they might need them. The apps are very easy to install, especially on mobile, where everything is done automatically after you hit the download button.
The Windows version will require you to start the installation process manually. Just follow the instructions, nothing is complicated, and you have already done the same for countless other apps. A cool feature that NordVPN added in 2020 October was app translations to German, French, and Spanish. Unfortunately, it is available for Windows users only.
The apps themselves are pretty user-friendly, and some might even call them elegant. Navigation is simple – you are unlikely to run into an option that will make you wonder what it is or what it does.
This simplicity makes NordVPN ideal for new users. But advanced security and privacy features make it the best choice for professionals, as well.
How good is NordVPN in terms of security?
When it comes to NordVPN’s security, it is easily among the best in the industry. The service includes the strongest security protocols to hide your traffic. As well as the strongest encryption to make it unreadable to anyone who might obtain it somehow.
As mentioned in our brief overview of features, NordVPN used to have IKEv2/IPsec, as well as OpenVPN security protocols. VPN uses the industry’s strongest encryption — 256-bit AES — which was never cracked. On top of these default security protocols, NordVPN recently introduced NordLynx – a protocol that was built on Wireguard technology and can offer users extremely good download and upload speeds.
NordVPN also features an Automatic Kill Switch, DNS leak protection, Double VPN feature, and it offers Dedicated IP addresses. Simply put, the service is pretty much packed with features that contribute to your security and privacy. It lets you use public Wi-Fi without fear of getting hacked, and it protects all the traffic from any device.
This is quite useful for those who like managing their bank accounts online, or who need to make sure that other sensitive data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Best of all — users can simply activate these features through their app at any point. This allows them to use the strongest security features when they have the need just browsing casually.
Security protocols (detailed explanation)
We’re mentioning lots of different keywords in our review. I do believe that there is a need for a short review break and we should educate what do protocols which NordVPN use mean. As mentioned, NordVPN uses IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and the newest NordLynx protocols. Here’s what it means in “human” language: IKEv2/IPsec – Is used to enhance connection speed, stability, and most important – security. IKEv2/IPsec has super strong cryptographic algorithms and keys, who are unbreakable even by the world’s most powerful supercomputers. As computer powers are constantly increasing and data leaks/breakthroughs are happening every day, it is important to stay one step ahead.
OpenVPN – is an extremely versatile security protocol, which is mostly used for TCP and UDP ports – safe browsing, streaming, and gaming. To guarantee the protection of your sensitive data, NordVPN uses the AES-256-GCM encryption algorithm with a 2048-bit DH key. The global cybersec community has a stake in OpenVPN since it has an open-source code (like Android OS), which is freely available for review and modification. With every new bug report, with every new-found vulnerability, with every line of code, this security protocol gets stronger and better.
NordLynx is also worth a detailed explanation. High speeds and privacy protection are essential for a good VPN service and NordVPN definitely takes care of that seriously. You may have heard about it last summer when this protocol was available for Linux users only. Gladly, NordLynx is available for all current NordVPN apps and is the default protocol for all of the users.
What is the reason for such excitement? First of all, this protocol offers a super-fast VPN connection and if previously Nord was struggling to get at least decent download & upload speeds, now it is definitely one of the fastest VPN providers in the market. This new protocol is based on Wireguard technology, which uses cutting-edge cryptology with a Lightway architecture. For example, Wireguard uses only 4 thousand lines of code which is tiny compared to OpenVPN’s 400k lines of script. With such a simple structure, it is way easier to find bugs or perform audits.
That should be clear, right? Now, we can continue our NordVPN review.
How many servers NordVPN have?
When it comes to servers and locations, NordVPN is among the top players in the VPN industry. The service has more than 5500 servers in total, all of which are spread around the world. The service covers around 59 countries at the time of writing,
The majority of the servers are located in Europe, with almost every European country having them. Most of them are located in the UK (572), while the least number of servers is in Macedonia (2). All in all, Europe gets around 2354 servers in total.
There are also 2205 servers in the Americas, with 1707 of them in the US, (416 in Canada, Mexico only gets 17). Several South American countries are covered as well, including Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Chile.
In the Asia Pacific region, NordVPN has 838 servers in total, with the majority of them (254) being in Australia. Japan also has a fair amount of servers (234), and so does Singapore (182). Other countries in this region include New Zealand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Finally, there are 116 servers in Africa, the Middle East, and India. South Africa has 35 of them, India has 25, the UAE has 20. Israel gets 18, and there are 18 more servers in Turkey.
You can see the full servers list at the NordVPN website.
As you can see, NordVPN has its servers spread on every continent apart from Antarctica. With the majority of servers being located in regions and countries whose content is the most sought-after in the world.
NordVPN doesn’t hold the title of the leader when it comes to the number of covered countries — it is still among the top service providers. This will unlock most of what the online world has to offer. No VPN unlocks 100% of the internet, but NordVPN is pretty much as close as it can get.
Many of its servers support torrenting, as well as Double VPN, or Onion over VPN. This was developed for extra-encrypted connections and is used by those who value privacy over everything else. And, while we are at the topic of privacy:
How private NordVPN is?
When it comes to NordVPN privacy, this is one of the VPNs which makes you completely private. NordVPN does not keep any logs of its users, and it has had plenty of audits to prove it. While most VPNs claim not to keep logs, they either reveal in their privacy policies that they do keep certain information, or they use vague statements that don’t really say anything.
NordVPN, on the other hand, quite openly states that its top priority is customer data security and privacy. This is why they only keep the necessary minimum. They need to make sure that your VPN is working properly, and that your payments are processed.
Yet they don’t store connection time stamps, session information, bandwidth amount, traffic logs or IP addresses.
In 2018, NordVPN was audited by a third party — a Zurich, Switzerland-based company called PricewaterhouseCoopers AG. The audit has confirmed that NordVPN keeps no logs of its users. So, if you do not trust NordVPN’s official statement, you can definitely trust a Swiss-based company. Especially due to Switzerland’s own extremely strict privacy laws.
We have also already talked about security features that NordVPN employs in order to make sure that your data remains known only to you.
This includes hackers, your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and even the government. NordVPN is based in Panama — and outside of 5/9/14 Eyes surveillance alliance’s jurisdiction. So there is no way that any government can demand that NordVPN hands over any of your data.
Even if they did, NordVPN wouldn’t have anything to give up. This makes it one of the safest VPNs to use when it comes to privacy.
NordVPN performance review
Another important point when it comes to choosing the best VPN is its performance. We hear users complain about how their VPN app impacts their internet speed – making it difficult to stream movies and videos or play online games. However, this is not an issue when it comes to NordVPN.
This VPN is known as one of the best choices for streaming, torrenting, and similar activities. It barely slows your internet speed.
There are points to consider like the distance between your real location and the server you are connected to. Again if you have fast internet, you likely won’t even notice NordVPN’s impact.
We run speed tests with a few completely random European servers. If previously the results were a bit mixed, now we were surprised once we got the record of 178 Mbps/download and 191.16 Mbps/upload speeds from Europe with the NY (#5101) server.
If previously you had to keep the geographical distance in mind when choosing a server, you likely won’t have to face or think about similar problems no more.
Customer support, apps, and website
Next, we have a matter of customer support, website, and apps of NordVPN. In terms of the website, there is not much to be criticized. It is functional, easy to navigate, and it has all the necessary information readily available. You can find help if you need it, and there is also a blog which covers a number of different topics. This might clarify some issues that you might be interested in.
The website also reads and displays your IP address at the top. This can be useful if you wish to check if the VPN is covering you properly.
As soon as you get to the website, you are also likely to see a countdown for various discounts. NordVPN offers these all the time.
The website is available in numerous languages. Also links to social networks where you can follow them and stay up to date with all new announcements.
Customer service is also very impressive, always replies within seconds if you contact them via live chat. This is very important for those who may run into an issue and need help immediately. Instead of having to wait for hours until the working hours start, as is the case with other VPNs. One important thing we would like to highlight is that NordVPN customer support is available not only in English but in German and French languages too!
Finally, we have the matter of apps. NordVPN offers a number of dedicated apps for all kinds of devices and systems. Including pretty much anything that runs Android, Windows, iOS, macOS, Linux, or Android TV. Also, thanks to the fact that NordVPN comes in the form of a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. You can use it on any other device that can install and run these browsers.
How much does NordVPN cost?
How much could such a service possibly cost? Of course, it is in your best interest not to spend too much money on a VPN. But, luckily enough, you also won’t have to if you go with NordVPN.
NordVPN features several plans. All of them will provide you with the same features, so you can choose anyone you want. With that said, there is a difference between them, as long-term plans come with pretty significant discounts.
If you purchase NordVPN’s monthly plan, you will have to pay $11.95 on a monthly basis which is quite expensive as we think. However, the VPN provider has a few available plans that are more affordable.
The most popular plan with the best buy value is their 2-year plan, which costs around 89 USD or $3.71/month. NordVPN also offers 1-year plans for $4.92/month or around 59 USD. Unfortunately, the provider cancelled their 3Y subscription which is not available anymore.
However, do keep in mind that each of the long-term plans requires a full payment right away. In other words, for a 2-year plan, you pay $89.00 once every two years, instead of paying per month. Another thing to remember is that each plan, including the 2-year one, has a 30-day money-back guarantee. Meaning that you can get your money back if you change your mind and decide that you don’t want to use NordVPN anymore. You can only do it for 30 days from the moment of purchase, though.
Pros and Cons
Now that we have inspected every aspect of NordVPN in detail let’s look at the pros and cons of this service.
- A huge number of servers in 59 different countries
- No-logs policy
- Supports torrenting
- Uses the strongest encryption and security protocols
- A number of additional security features
- 24/7 customer support
- Huge discounts on long-term plans
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Has dedicated apps for most devices, and browser extensions for others
- Works with US Netflix and other foreign services
- Extremely fast speeds which make it perfect for streaming
- Offers 6 simultaneous connections
- User-friendly and simple to set up
- Based in Panama
- Two no-log audits completed by PwC Switzerland
- Windows apps available in English, Spanish, French, and German
- Customer support in English, German and French
- The monthly plan is a bit expensive
- Having six simultaneous connections is not the best offer in the industry
Is NordVPN a good VPN?
As we have just seen, NordVPN barely has anything worth criticizing. Even the things that we consider cons are no real deal-breakers, only something that could be a bit better.
However, good clearly outweighs the bad. We can say with certainty that NordVPN is not only a good VPN, but easily one of the best ones. It obviously values its customers, it offers the best service, easy solutions to problems, and it is very user-friendly. Even the longest plans are very affordable, and for $89 you can be all set for the next two years, browsing the web or watching your favorite Netflix content completely secure.
You can use it on almost any device, from any place, and at any time. With all that in mind, we definitely recommend using NordVPN. Finally putting a stop to fears of losing your data or having your online privacy hacked.