NordVPN: What is it and how good is it? in-depth review
Want to know everything about NordVPN, including how good – and fast – the VPN provider, as well as the latest news on the service? Well, you’ve come to the right place, because this article consists of a comprehensive NordVPN review complete with a full suite of performance tests, along with a brief report on news related to the service, as well as a comprehensive FAQ that addresses the most frequently asked questions about this VPN .
But first, let’s start with a quick TL:DR review for those who don’t want the in-depth stuff, and just want to know if NordVPN is worth buying, and how it compares to competing VPNs, in the peel.
NordVPN: 2 minute review
- NordVPN Subscription Options:
- 24 months plan – £2.74 a month (total cost £65.76)
NordVPN’s torrent support is a definite strong point, and there’s a lot to like on the privacy front, too, with plenty of smart features to help keep you safe and anonymous online. Performance levels are good, this is one of the fastest VPNs we’ve ever reviewed, and for unblocking Netflix (or other streaming content) it got us what we needed (although sometimes only via a VPN browser extension).
NordVPN’s mobile apps are better than what you’ll find with most VPN providers, their Windows client is generally good, and they’re all generally easy to use. Speaking of which, there are plenty of high-quality tutorials to help you get set up with a VPN, great customer support, all of which are useful for people who are less tech-savvy, if they ever get stuck in some way.
An extensive network of servers does all this well, and NordVPN’s commendable 30-day money-back guarantee without restrictions is worth noting. If you are not happy, you can get your money back in the first month without any hassle.
You can think of NordVPN as a high-quality, versatile VPN. It does everything to a good standard, and while some competitors may offer better performance in certain departments, if you want everything to work well – and consistent service above all else – NordVPN won’t get you wrong.
Are you eager to learn more about NordVPN? Then read on to find out all the details you might want to know…
NordVPN: Latest News and Updates
It hasn’t been long since we last looked at NordVPN, but the company has been busy improving the service in several major ways.
NordVPN upgrades its infrastructure from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps servers, for example, to improve speeds for everyone. About 60% of the servers have been upgraded so far.
The company also deploys shared servers. Instead of renting servers from hosts and hoping to manage them properly, the new hardware is wholly owned and operated by the company. No one else can access it without NordVPN’s permission.
The company has put itself through an application security audit by cybersecurity experts VerSprite. This revealed some issues, but none of them were critical, and they are all fixed now.
Elsewhere, the new Mac M1 app allows users to run the app locally on Macs running M1. And in an even more obvious change, you can now sign in to all Nord products (NordVPN, NordPass, NordLocker) via a unified Nord account, with multi-factor authentication support.
NordVPN: The Complete NordVPN Review
NordVPN registered in Panama is a very popular VPN provider with over 14 million customers worldwide. The company sells itself on features, and there’s a lot to explore.
How many servers does NordVPN have?
NordVPN has over 5,400 servers in more than 80 locations across 59 countries.
What platforms does NordVPN have apps for?
You can get apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and Android TV, NordVPN also offers tutorials for setting up the service on many other types of devices.
How many devices can you use with NordVPN?
NordVPN boasts support for six simultaneous connections, which means you can use up to six devices; And maybe this is enough for you to use all your devices at once.
What features do you get with NordVPN?
NordVPN offers all the tech features you’d expect, including OpenVPN support, NordVPN’s WireGuard-based NordLynx for strong encryption, high performance and a kill switch and DNS leak protection to keep your identity safe.
Uncommon additions include double data encryption and Onion support for added security, adware, malware, and phishing protection via NordVPN’s CyberSec technology. P2P support is a big plus, and NordVPN’s clear no-logging policy and registration in Panama provide above-average reassurance that your internet activities won’t be visible to anyone else.
The unusual pause feature allows the VPN connection to be closed, then automatically reconnect the client after a specified number of minutes. If you manually disconnect from the VPN to perform some local task, then forget to reconnect, you will appreciate how useful this can be.
If this extra feature scares you, or you run into some unexpected issues, NordVPN support is available 24/7 to point you in the right direction, via email or live chat.
NordVPN prices are slightly above average after a first-year special deal, and if you’re not entirely convinced this is the VPN for you, the 30-day money-back guarantee gives you a risk-free way to sample a service for yourself.
Do you have any other questions about NordVPN Basics? Then review the FAQ at the end of this article (scroll directly to the bottom using the link in the ribbon above).
NordVPN now has a macOS app that works natively on M1 Macs (Image credit: NordVPN)
NordVPN allows payments by credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin and more (Image credit: NordVPN)
NordVPN has three main plans: monthly billed accounts $11.95, annual plans now cost just $4.92 per month, and choosing the two-year plan brings the price down to $3.71. (The company has new offers all the time, but a more in-depth and even thorough explanation can be found in our article dedicated to NordVPN prices and deals.)
Beware of the small print, though. One-year and two-year deals include an introductory discount, and both renew as a standard annual plan, which sees prices skyrocket to $8.25 a month. Check out these and other renewal prices on the NordVPN website.
Adding NordPass Password Manager and NordLocker Encrypted Storage can give you even better value. The VPN, password management, and storage are $13.23 per month, say, on the regular annual plan (this is the long-term cost, with no built-in price increase on renewal).
Is NordVPN good value for money?
On the face of it, yes, at least for the first semester, but it’s true that bargain hunters can find better deals than NordVPN elsewhere. The annual plan for Private Internet Access costs just $3.33 per month, for example, and Ivacy’s five-year plan costs just $1.33 per month (that’s $80 up front).
However, it is far from the most expensive VPN, and we think NordVPN is fairly priced for what you get.
What methods can you use to pay for NordVPN?
There are plenty of payment options offered by NordVPN, with support for cards, PayPal, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (via CoinPayments) and various other systems (AmazonPay, UnionPay, SOFORT Banking and more).
Does NordVPN Have a Free Trial?
The company used to have a service-level free trial, long ago, but unfortunately it was dropped due to abuse.
However, new Android and iOS users get seven days of using the app for free. And if you sign up, NordVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee gives you more than enough time to get a feel for how the service performs.
It’s also very simple and straightforward, with no sneaky little printouts meaning the policy doesn’t apply if you sign in “too many times” or transfer “a lot of data”. Just use the service as often as you need to test it, and if NordVPN doesn’t work for you, cancel within the first 30 days and you’ll get a full refund.
NordVPN does a lot for your online privacy (Image credit: NordVPN)
Does NordVPN offer a good level of privacy?
The privacy value of all VPNs starts with the support of encryption technologies. NordVPN scores well here thanks to its strong AES-256-GCM encryption, and supports perfect forward secrecy for regular key changes (this time using 4096-bit Diffie-Hellman), ensuring that even if an attacker manages to hack into one session, you’re locked out from the next. .
Once you’re connected, NordVPN has other tricks it can use to improve your privacy. This includes Onion over VPN, which routes your traffic first through NordVPN’s private network, then routes it through the Onion network and to its final destination.
This double layer of obfuscation slows the service down a bit, but it also makes it extremely difficult for anyone to trace an action back to you. Best of all, you don’t have to know or understand anything at all about onions to make this work. There is nothing to install or set up, just use your client to connect to one of NordVPN’s specialist Onion via VPN routers and the system will handle everything automatically.
NordVPN also offers a dual VPN system (on Windows, Mac, and Android) where your traffic goes to one VPN server, then is re-encrypted and sent to a second NordVPN server, before heading to its destination. This wouldn’t be necessary, or even useful for most people, but it does exist if you can find a reason to use it, and technology doesn’t slow you down as much as you might expect. A quick check of one of the systems showed download speeds of 70Mbps when offline, and 55Mbps when using our best dual VPN connection (UK to France).
NordVPN actually has two kill switches to keep your real IP address hidden in case the VPN connection drops (Image credit: NordVPN)
How secure is NordVPN?
Amazingly safe. NordVPN has something in its repositories to further enhance your security, and that’s the kill switch. There is a kill switch to prevent any data leakage in case the VPN connection drops.
NordVPN stands out here for actually having two kill switches. The public internet kill switch blocks access to the entire network when you’re not connected to a VPN (this can be easily turned off if it’s inconvenient), while the app close switch closes your chosen apps if the connection drops.
NordVPN says the service prevents DNS leaks as well, and our checks with DNS Leak Test, IPLeak, and other sites confirmed that. Our DNS address was always the same as our IP address, with no DNS, WebRTC, or other leaks detected. So overall, security and privacy are tight. (For more details on services that offer top-notch security, check out our roundup of the most secure VPN providers, where NordVPN ranks high.)
Has NordVPN had its own security breach?
The less positive news is that NordVPN’s server was hacked again in 2018, which, combined with the company’s lack of transparency about this issue, should be a concern. However, we see no evidence of any impact on customers’ privacy, and NordVPN has taken a lot of post-hack steps to try to restore trust.
What did NordVPN do about the hack?
NordVPN has updated the entire network of servers to run in RAM only, no disks, ensuring that even if someone hacks a server in the future, there will be no local files for them to scan.
The company also invited security research group VerSprite to audit its applications, which helps identify and fix security issues. A bug bounty program has also been introduced, which gives an incentive for anyone to detect and report security issues with the service.
NordVPN recently joined Private Internet Access and ExpressVPN for an ioXt Alliance certified Android app. The certification covers encryption checks, network security, software update procedures, and more, and NordVPN has done extremely well with maximum scores in each category.
Steps like these can’t quite make up for NordVPN’s poor response to the 2018 hack, but they’re still very positive, and subject the company’s services to a level of scrutiny rarely seen elsewhere.