The VPN industry is filled with options of all types, budget ranges, features, and offerings, so that people can pick the perfect match to suit their current encryption needs. There are hundreds of VPN brands currently populating the market. However, only a handful of them can be considered a top VPN and truly elite.
NordVPN is, without a doubt, an elite company in the vast VPN industry. It is based in Panama, so users don’t have to worry about the brand complying to law enforcement agencies in the event of an investigation, and is full of useful security features that will enhance the user’s experience and safety.
NordVPN is very user-friendly, easy to use and configure, and it can connect people to servers, networks, and sites of more than 60 countries around the world. This top VPN is also suitable for streaming (including Netflix and the BBC iPlayer) and torrenting.
PRICING & PLANS
As of 2020, NordVPN’s price remained one of the highest of the field, which is both good and bad. It is an advantage because with it comes to an impressive package of features, but in reality, the cost is a little steep considering other similar alternatives (ex. Private Internet Access).
For the monthly VPN service, users will have to pay $11.95, a high figure that not everyone is prepared to pay. However, NordVPN has excellent discounts and deals if the person chooses to acquire or sign up for a longer-term plan.
For the yearly mode, they will pay $69 per year, or roughly $5.75 per month, a vast improvement over the monthly figure. For the two-year plan, the price is $39.50 per year, or the equivalent of $3.29 per 30 days. Impressive!
However, the best deal is offered in the 3-year plan: users would pay $33 per year or $2.75 per month. The payment options available are Bitcoin, PayPal, all the major credit cards, AliPay, and more. This option is not always available.
PRIVACY & LOG POLICY
One of the most relevant aspects of the VPN service, at least from the consumer’s point of view, is how strongly do they fight to protect their privacy. After all, that should be the VPN’s bread and butter: anonymous browsing.
When it comes to NordVPN, they are in a position to guarantee users some peace of mind regarding their privacy. The company operates under the jurisdiction of Panama, away from any data retention laws or agreements. That means that NordVPN is under no obligation to share user’s data with the government or any related agency.
One of the tiebreakers that people take into account when deciding which VPN service to get is the number of servers and countries that the specific company provides access to. In other words, since VPNs are seen as accessibility tools, the more places it can help users unblock content, the better.
In relation to that last remark, NordVPN is the best VPN to choose, because it offers the possibility to access impressive 4,657 servers. There are dedicated servers for each user at the due request, and the high amount of options is perfect for unblocking content and finding the fastest speeds and the best and most stable performance.
The 5,000+ servers are located in a similarly outstanding 62 countries, which is one of the highest numbers in the industry. NordVPN, in short, can help its customers to enjoy international and local content in 62 countries around the world.
2165 of the servers are located in the Americas, and 2029 are spread around European soil. Another 377 are in the Asia Pacific, while 54 are in Africa, the Middle East, and India. The United States alone has 1834 servers, more than a sizable portion of VPN companies in the VPN industry have in total.
Again, the best and most interesting trait that NordVPN has to offer its users is the variety of specialized servers. There are BitTorrent VPN traffic options, servers to enter the Tor network, and anti-DDoS servers.
You can get more info about NordVPN server network here.
SPEEDS & PERFORMANCE
NordVPN speed, once criticized for not being on par with the industry standards, has improved significantly thanks to investments made by the firm in infrastructure. The company tests out very well, achieving impressive download and upload rates in most servers.
Having a speedy VPN connection is hugely important at the moment because the VPN technology itself can slow down the user’s Internet connection by roughly 10%. However, if a VPN service provider offers good enough speeds, customers won’t even feel the downgrade.
The best VPN companies averaged nearly 70 Mbps in download speeds, and NordVPN usually tests out at 74-75 Mbps. Better yet, NordVPN doesn’t lose speed when the user connects to servers located far away in the physical environment. Remember, the usual practice is that the further the server from user’s area, the slower the connection should be because the data will travel a longer distance.
That said, NordVPN’s servers are pretty fast. One thing to keep in mind, though, is IP leaks. There are few or no IPv4 or WebRTC leaks, but several users have reported IPv6 leaks while using NordVPN. The company should do a better job alerting people that it doesn’t always perform a good job handling IPv6 leaks.
All in all, NordVPN speed rates and performance are top-notch, right on par with the industry standards for the best VPN on the market. It is fast enough to enjoy a movie or a TV series on Netflix or the BBC iPlayer, for example.
PROTOCOL & ENCRYPTION
Nord VPN offers protocols as follows, and all come with high-level encryption:
- OpenVPN protocol comes with 2048 bit SSL encryption
- Nord VPN’s Double VPN is encrypted in double AES-256-CBC through the multi-node farm.
- PPTP comes with MPPE-128 encryption
- L2TP/IPSec (IKEv1) protocol comes with AES-256 encryption
- IKEv2 comes with some improvements over IKEv1, and offers built-in NAT traversal, quicker tunnel convergence times and MOBIKE to name a few.
There are several protocols available, according to the VPN service provider. These are the technologies or means that the different brands use to encrypt and protect their customers’ content and data.
Some of the most famous and widely-implemented are OpenVPN, IKEv2, PPTP, L2TP, and IPSec. Very few VPN providers can brag about offering them all as options for users to choose, and fortunately, NordVPN is one of them.
It is possible to connect the six devices simultaneously to the NordVPN service, but if you want to connect them to the same server, you need to choose different protocols. Fortunately, TCP and UDP count as different protocols.
That means that you can, for example, connect up to four different devices at the same time to the same server through L2TP, PPTP, OpenVPN TCP and OpenVPN UDP. If you have two extra gadgets, they can be connected to another server with any protocol.
As for encryption, NordVPN uses the -RSA-AES256-SHA for its OpenVPN connections. That means that the RSA-2048 encryption keys are implemented and the authentication method is HMAC SHA1.
Here NordVPN can surpass almost any competitor, with just a few notable exceptions. The company offers a complete list of features and traits to captivate users from different locations and with distinct needs.
For starters, NordVPN desktop client has a very useful kill switch, to protect the user’s data privacy in the event of a VPN connection loss. Sharing unencrypted traffic could be catastrophic, but thankfully, NordVPN got you covered.
NordVPN also offers users a chance to connect up to 6 different connections at the same time, over the VPN average of five. Additionally, it has more than 5,000 servers in 62 countries, which means that a lot of entertainment options are available with just a few clicks or taps away.
This option also fosters P2P activity, which means that it is perfect for torrenting. On top of that, it has dedicated IP addresses, a Smart DNS service, and double VPN for extra protection against the threats of sharing unencrypted traffic.
The Smart DNS service, or “SmartPlay” as it has been marketed by NordVPN, is especially useful. The Smart DNS is a geo-spoofing technology that can solve the user’s DNS requests from specific locations, making it perfect for unblocking local content in remote areas.
NordVPN’s SmartPlay makes more than 150 streaming services available to all audiences. Platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Vevo, Telemundo, Shudder, Cartoon Network, and more can be accessed with ease.
NordVPN can offer you the ability to enter the Tor Network while rerouting your traffic through its VPN encryption and sending it to the Onion Router.
NordVPN also comes with enabled DNS leak protection, a web proxy and a free Chrome extension. A SOCKS5 proxy also comes with all packages, as does instant access to China’s websites and services through obfsproxy. There are also easily configurable DNS servers.
EASE OF USE
NordVPN is astonishingly easy to use and set up. The entire process will take a few minutes. It is pretty straightforward, and you don’t need to be a geek to install it on your device. Once you download the software, you’ll need to input your username and password, and you’re good to go. There is settings menu that you can use to configure simple settings like to connect automatically, DNS protection, Kill Switch, etc.
Not only that, but it is also very convenient to start up a small network around your home or office, as it lets users connect up to six different devices at the same time.
They have dedicated VPN apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, offering a personalized, adapted experience to all the users of those major operating systems. Also, NordVPN has thorough manuals, guides, and tutorials about the service and protocol connectivity for those OS and other devices, such as Routers and Raspberry Pi.
Learn how to set up NordVPN.
The web is plain and simple, with an attractive white and blue theme and assertive use of space. The information is well distributed around the layout, and there is a FAQ section detailing key aspects of the service.
In the past, there were a few complaints about NordVPN’s treatment to its customers regarding specific subjects. However, that view has slowly changed, and while it still isn’t unanimous, people laud the brand for the quality of their support staff.
People can contact NordVPN by writing an email to [email protected] or through live chat. The latter option is available 24/7 and there will be a staff member ready to take on all questions.
However, in some cases, you will find a copied/pasted response, which does not project the kind of personalized attention that some users may require. That is far from a perfect setup, but is ok, because NordVPN’s email support can offer you a more customized experience.
NordVPN has a fantastic service known as the Knowledgebase, which is basically a directory of support articles that you can read at any moment with the intention of solving your issue. There are nearly 500 tutorials and guides to browse.
It is worth mentioning that NordVPN comes with a three-day free trial that let users test the services before committing to a longer-term plan.
Another perfect tool to let users try the services for free is the 30-day money-back guarantee. If, after a month, you are not satisfied with NordVPN service, you can ask for a full refund and the company will issue a refund, no questions asked.
However, there is a caveat. The company may take a while to process your refund, and in some cases, the waiting time can be up to a month, which isn’t very convenient. However, there are only a few reported issues about the refund policy and its trustworthiness.
For starters, the NordVPN service is expensive. If you take the long-term plans discounts out of the equation, you are left with a pricey VPN. However, the burden is softened by the good service provided by the company.
IPv6 leaks can be a problem, so users need to stay alert at all times. NordVPN itself has said that they can’t always deal with them. The network seems to have a lot of users, which may lead to performance issues eventually.
In conclusion, NordVPN has a few shortcomings, but is one of the best VPN brands on the market and comfortably belongs to the elite of the industry. Being based in Panama, users don’t have to worry about privacy, and the security features are top-notch.
Streaming and torrenting lovers are in for a treat if they choose NordVPN as their primary encryption resource. It can unblock Netflix regions, Hulu, the BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and local services and channels with ease.
NordVPN is a highly compatible VPN app for all purposes. It keeps no logs of users activity, it has the ability to connect six devices simultaneously, and there are more than 5,000 servers in 62 countries to unblock content.