NordVPN – Review

4.6/5

'NordVPN has long claimed the title of best VPN but how does it compare to the current crop of competition?'

NordVPN consistently ranks either top or very near the top across most online publications and for good reason, boasting impressive features such as unblocking of georestrictions, thousands of servers and military-grade encryption.  

Pro's

Con's

Price and plans

NordVPN has 4 plans available, ranging from a 3-year plan to a monthly subscription. Compared to other VPN’s offering a premium service, it sits somewhere in the middle but regularly offers great value deals on the 2- and 3-year plans. 

They are currently offering 70% off their 3 year plan with an additional month free. 

It also offers multiple ways to pay including Bitcoin, PayPal and other assorted payments such as AmazonPay.

 

As an added bonus, NordVPN also offers a no questions asked 30-day money back guarantee which goes some way in making up for the lack of free trial offered by other providers.

Personally, I always find the idea of paying for a 3-year plan too much of a commitment but for those who find their trial period to be everything they need, this is a great option for saving on cost in the long run. 

Privacy

With its headquarters based in Panama, far away from the Fourteen Eyes surveillance, you get a sense of the level of security afforded to users. Using encryption guaranteed by the AES-256-GCM algorithm as well as utilising perfect forward secrecy to regularly change keys, ensuring even if one session is attacked by a hacker, they will be blocked from the next session. NordVPN themselves have a great short video on what perfect forward secrecy is.     

NordVPN also utilises IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN and Nordlynx which provides algorithms that are unbreakable to supercomputers. It also uses Onion over VPN which is unique to NordVPN, giving you all the advantages of The Onion Router as well as the additional security of a VPN.  

Zero Logs Policy

We do not store connection timestamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic data, IP addresses, or other data. Nothing to store – nothing to share with anyone.’ 

NordVPN guarantee a ‘zero logs policy’, which many other VPN’s claim. However, an independent audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG in Switzerland confirmed these claims making an industry-first step towards transparency.

Ad-blocker / CyberSec suite

CyberSec Suite is NordVPN’s own solution to blocking ads and malware attacks. It works by blocking websites that are known for hosting malware or phishing scams, making you safer from online threats. It also blocks annoying pop up ads that we have all come to know and hate.  With the protection on it also ensures you will be safe from participating in DDoS attacks. 

Performance

Along with privacy, the performance and speed of a VPN is one of the main factors in many people’s mind when choosing a provider and NordVPN performs well across multiple tests..

Standard internet speed

NordVPN connection (US)

NordVPN connection (Latvia)

NordVPN connection (Dedicated IP)

Some great results all round with the Dedicated IP taking an expected hit. The performance on continued testing also proved reliable with no sudden dips in speed or service interruptions. Its worth noting that all VPN’s will affect upload and download speed but with NordVPN that effect is minimal, even when completing bandwidth-heavy tasks. The connection success was also tested for around 20 various locations with no failures across 2 days of testing. 

On April 22 of this year, NordVPN also announced a major upgrade to their NordLynx system which was initially rolled out to Linux users and is now available for Windows, iOS and macOS. According NordVPN, after over 250,000 tests they found that NordLynx was their fastest VPN Protocol at their disposal which ensures a new benchmark for speed across their platform. 

Torrenting

Although not supported on all of its servers, NordVPN does provide hundreds of dedicated P2P servers globally (4,600 across 46 countries) meaning no matter where you are, you can be sure to have a server close by. Along with the aforementioned zero logs policy and Onion over VPN feature, it makes a strong choice if Torrents are what you need.   

There are no data caps or speed limits on any devices which is a big positive, even if the max number of devices is at 6 which is bettered by some competitors.  

Support

NordVPN offer a great support system. The tutorial section on its website breaks down the categories into concise and easy to read headings and also provides a 24/7 live chat service for any other queries or issues you may encounter. In the latest round of updates, they also included the option to message customer service directly from the app (iOS). 

Conclusion

There’s a lot to like about NordVPN and not much to dislike. It offers a great service with fantastic speeds, powerful encryption and unique features justifying its price tag and should be high on your list of VPN choices.  

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