NordVPN Expert Review

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Rating ?
4.9 / 5.0
Features 4.9 / 5.0
Ease of Use 5.0 / 5.0
Pricing 5.0 / 5.0
Reliability & Support 4.9 / 5.0

It’s no big secret that NordVPN is reputed to be the best VPN out there. It has excellent reviews nicely situated on its homepage from very happy customers, as well as links to articles by bigwig industry publications like PC Mag, Forbes etc. I wanted to figure out what all the fuss was about, so took it upon myself to do my own audit. NordVPN really speaks to its users. It’s an entire package of...

NordVPN User Reviews
4.7
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Herbert
May 23, 2017
  •  5
Smooth and prodigious

I was using a few vpns before but none of them were like a NordVPN. It's been more than six months now and this is the the best service you can find on market. I love to stream overseas sports and there is no slow connection when you connect to the server.


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Allyn
May 23, 2017
  •  5
Like a lot NordVPN

I like a lot NordVPN, very intuitive, good looking interface, kill-switch and many other usefull features, good speed and also it works with Netflix on all servers I've tried already. Overall the best VPN I've tried.


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Davin
May 23, 2017
  •  5
As others pointed out - one of the best VPN

As others have pointed out, this is one of, if not the best VPN service, as they have great customer support, good speeds, many features and the biggest competitive advantages you could get this premium service for the price of medium quality service.


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Features Description
Number of Server Locations (countries) 57
Number of servers 839
Number of IP Addresses 800
Does VPN keep logs No
Includes Kill Switch Yes
Devices per license 6
How to use NordVPN 5.0 / 5.0

INSTALLATION

There are many ways to connect, some very simple, others that require more technical finesse. NordVPN provides all the basic features of its competitors, and then some. The difference is in the details, and in the quality of service. We tested NordVPN in its most commonly used settings, since that is generally how it will be used.

Nord has applications for Windows and Mac, as well as native apps for OS X, Android, and iOS. Other systems were not left out, but do not have a native app and must be set up manually. Not to worry, however, as Nord VPN’s site does an exceptional job of taking you by the hand and showing you how to configure the connections for these other systems.

For example, if you have a Windows phone or a game console, you should be able to use Nord VPN. You should even be able to implement the service on specific routers.

All VPN providers need to ensure that their clients can connect heterogeneous equipment, and all serious vendors propose numerous features. What is less common, however, is being able to access all servers using any desired protocol (OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP and IPSec), which Nord enables you to do. There are protocols that protect you more, such as openVPN, and others that protect you less, such as PPTP. Specific applications however, may dictate a specific protocol.

I am equipped with a PC running Windows 10, as well as an Android smartphone, so I conducted tests with these devices.

What I sought to test was the ease with which we could set up their application. For my PC, I went on the website of NordVPN and downloaded their Windows application. The download started, and at the end of it, I simply had to install the application.

Once launched, I was prompted to enter the username and password of the connection, and I was ready to begin.

For Android, the process was nearly identical, except that I downloaded through the PLAY STORE. Once again. I downloaded the app, accessed my account using my ID and password, and was ready to begin.

The installation of these two applications is exceedingly simple and should be easy, even for true novices.

Want to see how to install NordVPN? See our how-to here.

EASE OF USE

I used NordVPN on my PC significantly more than on my Android, so this is where I focused most of my attention. The Android app, however, behaves similarly to the PC application, so most of the remarks I make are just as relevant to the former.

The application is simple:

As I mentioned above, NordVPN proposes standard servers of limited use. They are mainly used to surf and to view streaming programs (they define nowhere what standard servers can be used for) and special purpose servers.

If you want peer-to-peer capabilities (e.g. for downloading torrents), high-speed streaming with a guarantee of no interruption, a dedicated IP access, Tor, DDOS prevention, access to Netflix USA, or double VPN, you should use special servers designed for this use. You cannot for example, connect to a standard server to download a torrent. NordVPN detects this activity, and information flow is cut off.

When you connect to NordVPN, it shows you a list of countries, which you then choose from, after which it connects to a standard server in that country. It looks simple, but is mostly irrelevant for me because I never connect on a normal server (I also download a fair amount) and want to choose a fast server that allows peer-to-peer.

If you want to connect to a special purpose server, you must select the next tab, labeled "Servers," which allows you to choose the server appropriate for your needs. If you want to connect to a special purpose server, you must select the next tab, labeled "Servers," which allows you to choose the server most appropriate to your needs. This tab allows you to make a precise choice for your connection, and in my opinion is quite handy! There were a few instances in which I could not connect to a server, but those were rare. I believe that a user guide of the application is needed, but I have not seen it anywhere. NordVPN boasts on its simplicity, and they certainly follow through on this.

Interface- MapSelection by Country



Download

Pricing 5.0 / 5.0
Best Offer
$3.29/month
Standard
$7.00/month
Simple
$11.95/month

Compared to the competition, prices are rather reasonable: $11.95 for a month, $42 for six months ($7/month) and $69 for one year ($5.75/month).
If you search a bit more thoroughly, you may even find coupon a code that significantly reduces the registration price.

Right now, Nord is running two specials for 72% off 2-year subscriptions and 66.5% off 1-year subscriptions. Click here to take advantage of them. For the 1-year coupon, apply the code 70off at checkout to take advantage of the deal. And if you have any trouble applying the code, see our post Applying Tricky Nord Codes.

I appreciate that they do not offer discounted plans with limited features, such as limited volume exchange with lower priced plans. Whichever plan you chose, you are entitled to the same service.
You are also entitled to a money back guarantee of a month, which is enough time to gauge the provided service, once you have tested the geographical blocking.

However - and this is not clear on the website - subscriptions are automatically renewed at the end of their period. Your account settings will not tell you if automatic renewal is active, and you cannot preemptively turn this off. You need to call support for that and/or check your bank statements.

I am also relatively sure that, rather than offering you the best available rate (i.e. current coupon rate), the renewal is done at standard rates.

Almost all VPN operator’s settings default on automatic renewals, and I dislike this, especially as they often do so without informing their subscribers. Even if the subscribers are informed, they are always at the mercy of a health problem or an oversight, which can cause them to be regularly charged for a service they no longer use.

If the VPN providers want to offer an automatic renewal service, it should be an opt-in option for users. This trade policy, I repeat, is not specific to NordVPN.

The support specialist informed me that this will be modified in the near future. When this is the case, you will be the first to know!

NordVpn is one of the most affordable VPN Services – surely the most secure - but beware of automatic subscription renewals.

Reliability & Support 4.9 / 5.0

By clicking “Help” from the menu bar, I could choose from several options: writing my query in the search box, browsing tutorials and FAQs, filling out a form, or starting a live chat. The support is active 24/7, and the skills of my interlocutor were over and above what I usually observed in the support services.

The Bottom Line
Daniel Krohn
(Technical writer, ex-robot manual creator gone privacy enthusiast/VPN expert)
Nord is simply the best combination of speed, security and service

To build such a network, as well as maintain it and provide support, requires a lot more effort and intentionality than I could handle. My job, however, is to have a look at how it works, and to write down my impressions.

NordVPN is:


  • A serious service

  • Stable enough (at worst)

  • Easy to install

  • Protective of its users

  • An excellent support provider

  • Very attractive in terms of rates (especially if you find a coupon).


At the price of three dollars per month for an annual subscription with a coupon, we are really encouraged. This is one of the best market prices.The only downsides:

  • Ease-of-use is somewhat less easy than expected

  • Functionality has some ways in which it could be improved upon

  • Some unwanted bugs


In our extensive experience, there is no such thing as a perfect VPN service. Some excel in areas where others languish, and vice versa. NordVPN is not recommended so highly for no reason. They maintain a positive balance between all attributes, and their users seem to agree. Just see the reviews above!

So, if you are looking for a great deal on your VPN, NordVPN is an excellent choice.

NordVPN
4.9 / 5.0
Detailed expert review
Daniel Krohn
(Technical writer, ex-robot manual creator gone privacy enthusiast/VPN expert)

It’s no big secret that NordVPN is reputed to be the best VPN out there. It has excellent reviews nicely situated on its homepage from very happy customers, as well as links to articles by bigwig industry publications like PC Mag, Forbes etc. I wanted to figure out what all the fuss was about, so took it upon myself to do my own audit.

NordVPN really speaks to its users. It’s an entire package of unbeatable specs - like 2048-bit encryption, “double VPN,” and having 839 servers in 49 countries to choose from - pretty much places it at the top of the market. I really like how the site outlines the top 12 reasons why it’s the best VPN out there. From “lightning speed” to no logs and an “automatic kill switch,” the site had me convinced just from its homepage. When I tried it for myself, it was smack on accurate with all its promises. Exceptionally fast and secure, and with an easy to use interface – even for dummy users like me – I would have to admit, NordVPN gives you a good run for your money.

Under the support section, they have some handy tutorials for users with virtually any operating system (including iOS and Android). I followed the Mac tutorials – complete with screen grabs and easy instructions; making my experience really easy and educational at the same time.

Their pricing plan did have me a bit dubious. I didn’t want to commit to a whole year – which is 52% less than signing up for one month – as my general rule of thumb is to sign up for any online services one month at a time. After all, you never know if a better option might appear on the market. Thus, I chose the one-month plan at $11.95, which is more expensive than some other VPN options, but as I have learned, you get what you pay for, and in this case you get a lot.

Right now, Nord is running two specials for 72% off 2-year subscriptions and 66.5% off 1-year subscriptions. Click here to take advantage of them. For the 1-year coupon, apply the code 70off at checkout to take advantage of the deal. And if you have any trouble applying the code, see our post Applying Tricky Nord Codes.

PROTECTION

NordVPN swears not to keep any logs, encrypts all exchanges in 2048 bits, with the option to use 3072-bit encryption, has their own DNS servers in order to prevent leakage, and has a " kill switch" to stop some applications in case of accidental disconnection.

Nord Settings                            NordVPN Protection Settings

Some of their servers are also equipped with dual VPN.

Regarding the non-retention of logs, we just have to take their word for it, because although their support rep was rather convincing, I could not neither confirm nor deny this conclusively. Please consider that I cannot confirm with any VPN providers, as there is no standard test for this.

The same goes for the claim of 2048-bit encryption. To check this, I would have to intercept the data exchanged, particularly during the key exchange phase. It would require too many resources for the context of this article. The same for their double VPN capability, since they would have to give me access to the configuration of their servers.

However, thanks to our tool, which shows you if any information is leaking from your connection, I can confirm that my identity was properly hidden and that there were no DNS leaks.

I also found that the "kill switch" was operational during the test.

I am convinced that NordVPN protects you extremely well, and this is the main feature that you look for in a VPN.

NordVPN protects you almost too well, because the 2048-bit encryption, and definitely the 3072-bit encryption, is much too sophisticated for the decryption capabilities that we have today.

In 2010, researchers cracked a 768-bit key, and it took deep pockets (an INRIA research institute French equivalent to 425 quad-core PC for one year). It is expected that 2096-bit encryption will not be cracked by brute force before 2030. There is an emerging technology, quantum computing, which should eventually have the ability to crack just about anything. It is, however, still in its infancy, and bears complexity that goes far beyond the limits of my understanding. To be sure, this technology will not be available to everyone when it is first released, mostly due to its costly nature. To my knowledge, it is far from operational. The Chinese just announced their launch of a quantum communication satellite, which is a huge breakthrough. They also have goals for 2030.

The encryption efforts are dependent on the value of data that is being protected, and the NSA does not disclose its actual capabilities; I personally feel, however, adequately protected with 256-bit encryption since the efforts to crack my exchanges would be disproportionately large compared to the secrets I personally want to keep. And what about the practical use of a 3072-bit dual VPN, except for the purposes of a great marketing stunt? Personally, I do not see the usefulness, but maybe it has more use than I give it credit for.

You would likely think that if it can do more, it could do less. That would be true if there was no impact on speed. Unfortunately, this is not the case! The more sophisticated the encryption protocol is, the more the speed tends to deteriorate. As for the double-VPN, the velocity drops beyond what is acceptable.

Everything is relative, however; The US Navy has developed a very low frequency communication system that allows it to send instructions to their submarines without requiring them to come to the surface. It is exceedingly slow, taking several minutes to send a message about the size of a mobile phone text message, but it is justified by the security it affords. They must avoid the disclosure of their submarine’s locations any price.

I am not a spy, nor would I involve myself in crime or terrorism. I also do not live in a country that jails its citizens for their ideas. I simply want to protect my privacy, and a 256-bit encryption (OpenVPN) seems adequate to me. However, every individual should evaluate their encryption needs according to their own requirements.

The quality of protection is one of the hallmarks of NordVPN, and tt protects us far beyond our current needs.

 

BUGS

Beware of bugs. They are not blockers, but they are present.

Nord Devices Bug

Here is the first of them. Your contract with Nord gives you the right to connect up to six devices at once behind the VPN. Not having a large family, I doubt I will need the ability to connect this many devices at once.

In the top right of the app, you can see the number of connected devices. The problem is that I only had one computer connected at the time of this screen shot. The counter is inaccurate, and because of this, I might find myself abroad, denied connection because the number of devices has falsely reached its maximum.

The support tells me that it is just a visual bug, that they are fixing it, and that it has no negative effect on the number of devices that I can actually connect.

One last little bug: I managed to crash the application. Do not ask me how I did it. I was already disconnected, so it did not affect the safety. I was about to close the application when I saw the following message:

Nord Crash Bug

There are people who can crash their equipment just by looking at it. I had that reputation long ago and it looks like it might be coming back!

None of the bugs that I have shown you are causes for concern, as they do not affect the quality of service. This is more of an attempt for us to prove to you that we are not just reciting the operator's brochure to give you our opinion, as some of our competitors seem to do.

Our promise is to do our best and most honest review, so you can know what to, and not to, expect with NordVPN.

Besides, we did not inform NordVPN of our intentions in regards to publishing a full and complete review when we purchased our subscription, and I kept them in the dark until the tests were all completed. This was obviously to prevent any possibility of biased treatment.

 

STABILITY

NordVPN for PC is generally stable. During my tests, I was only disconnected twice, both times while I was sleeping, and according to my settings, the service did not reconnect automatically.

The good news is that my protection remained active. What I did not want to show to my internet service provider had been properly hidden, as I had programmed it to do.

I did have some problems with the Android app, particularly with connecting, which proved difficult on occasion. This, however, should not deter most people.

In light of my tests, I consider the service to be stable (at least on PC), and compliant with my security requirements.

 

USE

In this section, I would like to discuss three items:

  1. How to choose the server with the fastest speed.
  2. How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs.
  3. How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country.

 

How to choose the server with the fastest speed

With NordVPN, to determine the best server to connect to, you must choose one that is compatible with the activities you are performing, connect to it, determine its speed, and if necessary, repeat the process with another server until you are satisfied.

I consider this process to be very inefficient, as there is no function for automatically measuring the server’s performances based on the type of server you are looking for. Some operators offer this service, but not most. However, considering the discrepancy speeds of NordVPN’s servers, it needs to be called for.

Speaking of which, the application also lacks a dropdown list allowing users to choose a protocol, which is especially important if 256-bit encryption is preferred.

How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs

This is not, strictly speaking, a NordVPN bug. However, there are IPs that have already been given to others, this is resulting in rejection by some servers. This is due to users being connected to the same IP, and the website having blocked them in the past.

Nord IP Detection

 

Here is, for instance, what happens when you try to access a site named cpasbien with an IP that they have previously blocked.

The workaround for this is to use a different server, whose IP is not forbidden. NordVPN has some servers that give you a dedicated IP. It would actually be better for all servers to have this feature by default, or alternatively, to have the possibility for each server to choose our IP from a scrolling list.

How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country

When I travel, I sometimes want to watch TV programs in my native language, but for copyright reasons, broadcasting is not allowed outside of the country in which it is normally available.

If you connect normally (without a VPN), the streaming is rejected. This is called geo-blocking, and a VPN is the right tool to get around this.

In theory, it should be sufficient to connect to a server in the country where you want to watch the program (with a suitably fast connection) with NordVPN, thereby fooling the target site into believing that you are in the same country, even if you are, in fact, relaxing under a coconut tree with a mojito in your right hand, holding a straw between the toes of your left foot.

If you succeed doing that, please send us the pictures!

Unfortunately, this theory does not always work in the real world because the assigned IP might be recognized by the content provider as a VPN IP. This problem arises with virtually all VPN operators and not just with NordVPN. Users are, for example, running into issues with Netflix when using certain VPN servers.

Nord Netflix ErrorGeographical blocking despite the selection of a server in the appropriate country

 

To fix this issue, you need to choose another server in the same geographical area, which assigns you a different IP, one that is accepted by the sites that are broadcasting the programs that you want to watch.

In France, NordVPN has four servers. Of the four, there should be one that is accepted by the TV sites you want to watch. Belgium, however, has only one server. The same goes for Denmark, Bulgaria and a handful others.

Therefore, we recommend, as long as your money-back guarantee is valid, that you ensure that the sites displaying your favorite programs are accessible from NordVPN’s servers. Otherwise you might end up traveling, without being able to watch the latest episode of Dallas that you love so much!

Having the ability to choose multiple IPs in every server would be a pretty nice feature.

To summarize, I think that NORDVPN has still some work to do in giving their users all the desired features. They do, however, provide as good an experience as any other VPN out there in this regard.

 

SPEED

For most of our speed tests, we use the site Speedtest by Ookla. This is an extremely serious site, but unfortunately, we cannot ignore the temptation that VPN vendors may feel to increase the priority of the speed when they detect a flow for measuring it. This is not to say that the VPN operators cheat, but I posit that they might be tempted to do so.

I tested from my baseline of about 20Mbps download and a ping of 15ms, not particularly slow nor particularly fast either. These performance specs are stable and guaranteed by my Internet service provider. I also tested not only the regular VPNs, but also some of the “niche” ones, like Ultra Fast TV, Tor and DoubleVPN. Here are the results.

Speed Test- Baseline
My connection without VPN.

Speed Test- US #1 Speed Test- UK Server Automatic                       US Server #1                        UK- automatic

Speed Test- Romania Automatic Speed Test- Russia Automatic                       Romania- Auto                       Russia- Auto

Speed Test- Dedicated IP- Germany #70 Speed Test- Ultra Fast TV                        Ultra fast TV               Dedicated IP- Germany #70

Speed Test- Double VPN- Russia - Netherlands Speed Test- Double VPN- UK - Netherlands               Double- UK - Netherlands  Double- Russia - Netherlands

Speed Test- P2P- Sweden #12 Speed Test- P2P- US #305                    P2P- Sweden #12                     P2P- US #305

 

As you can see, the results vary considerably, and I suspect that if I were to do these tests on a different day, or simply at different times of the day, I would get different results. No matter how fast or reliable the connection is with a VPN provider, this kind of fluctuation is somewhat inevitable. I also suspect that this difference in performance is due to NordVPN servers not being dedicated, and that their bandwidth is not contractually guaranteed (this type of contract is more expensive).

I was particularly impressed with my connection speed during my first “Double VPN” test, as I was expecting the speed to be slower. As you may know, as a general rule, the more encryption you have, the slower the speed. I was even able to stream Netflix, almost, with waiting for buffering with the Double VPN connection.

Another point worth mentioning is that the connection that Nord automatically chooses for you for a particular country is not always the best or fastest. It appears that it is sometimes worth testing a few connections (of which there are many, to say the least), instead of taking the easy way and just letting the program decide for you. This is a bit of a disappointment, but certainly not a deal breaker.

Overall, the connections they offer are very fast and certainly can handle whatever you can throw at them. I especially appreciate the selection of “special purpose servers” they provide.

  • 839 Servers in 57 Countries
  • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
  • No Logging Policy
  • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
  • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
  • Get started with NordVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 6
VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
Daniel Krohn
(Technical writer, ex-robot manual creator gone privacy enthusiast/VPN expert)

If you like watching live video streaming and downloading torrents, NordVPN is a great one-size-fits-all VPN that secures your connection with powerful tools and blazing speed. Unlike other premium VPNs, you don't have to pay that much to get high speeds and security.

It’s no big secret that NordVPN is reputed as the best VPN out there. It has excellent reviews nicely placed on their homepage, and all from very happy customers, as well as links to articles by bigwig industry publications like PC Mag, Forbes etc. I wanted to figure out what all the fuss was about, so took it upon myself to do my own audit.

NordVPN really speaks to its users; It’s an entire package of unbeatable specs - like 2048-bit encryption, “double VPN,” and 839 servers in 57 countries to choose from - that pretty much places it at the top of the market. I really like how the site outlines the top 12 reasons why it’s the best VPN out there. From “lightning speed” and no logs to an “automatic kill switch,” the site had me convinced just from its homepage. When I tried it for myself, it was smack on accurate with all its promises. Exceptionally fast and secure, and with an easy to use interface – even for dummy users like me – I would have to admit, NordVPN gives you a good run for your money.

Under the support section, they have some handy tutorials for users with virtually any operating system (including iOS and Android). I followed the Mac tutorials – complete with screen grabs and easy instructions; making my experience really easy and educational at the same time.

Their pricing plan did have me a bit dubious. I didn’t want to commit to a whole year – which is 52% less than signing up for one month – as my general rule of thumb is to sign up for any online services one month at a time. After all, you never know if a better option might appear on the market. Thus, I chose the one-month plan at $11.95, which is more expensive than some other VPN options, but as I have learned, you get what you pay for, and in this case you get a lot.

Right now, Nord is running two specials for 72% off 2-year subscriptions and 66.5% off 1-year subscriptions. Click here to take advantage of them. For the 1-year coupon, apply the code 70off at checkout to take advantage of the deal. And if you have any trouble applying the code, see our post Applying Tricky Nord Codes.

PROTECTION

NordVPN swears not to keep any logs, to encrypt exchanges in 2048 bits, to have their own DNS servers in order to prevent leakage, and to have a " kill switch" to stop some applications in case of accidental disconnection.

Nord Settings                            NordVPN Protection Settings

Some of their servers are also equipped with dual VPN.

Regarding the non-retention of logs, we just have to take their word for it, because although their support rep was rather convincing, I could not neither confirm nor deny this conclusively. Please consider that I cannot confirm with any VPN providers, as there is no standard test for this.

The same goes for the claim of 2048-bit encryption. To check this, I would have to intercept the data exchanged, particularly during the key exchange phase. It would require too many resources for the context of this article. The same for their double VPN capability, since they would have to give me access to the configuration of their servers.

However, thanks to our tool, which shows you if any information is leaking from your connection, I can confirm that my identity was properly hidden and that there were no DNS leaks during the test.

I also found that the "kill switch" was operational during testing.

I am convinced that NordVPN protects you very well, and this is the main feature that you look for in a VPN.

NordVPN protects you almost too well, because a 2048-bit encryption is much too sophisticated for the decryption capabilities that we have today.

In 2010, researchers cracked a 768-bit key, and it took deep pockets (an INRIA research institute French equivalent to 425 quad-core PC for one year). It is expected that 2096-bit encryption will not be cracked by brute force before 2030. There is an emerging technology, quantum computing, which should eventually have the ability to crack just about anything. It is, however, still in its infancy, and bears a complexity that goes far beyond the limits of my understanding. To be sure, this technology will not be available to everyone when it is first released, mostly due to its costly nature. To my knowledge, it is far from operational. The Chinese just announced their launch of a quantum communication satellite, which is a huge breakthrough. They also have goals for 2030.

The encryption efforts are dependent on the value of data that is being protected, and the NSA does not disclose its actual capabilities; I personally feel, however, adequately protected with 256-bit encryption since the efforts to crack my exchanges would be disproportionately large compared to the secrets I want to keep. And what about the practical use of a 2048-bit dual VPN, except for the purposes of a great marketing stunt? Personally, I do not see the usefulness, but maybe it has more use than I give it credit for.

You would likely think that if it can do more, it could do less. That would be true if there was no impact on speed. Unfortunately, this is not the case! The more sophisticated the encryption protocol is, the more the speed tends to deteriorate. As for the double-VPN, the velocity drops beyond what is acceptable.

Everything is relative, however; The US Navy has developed a very low frequency communication system that allows it to send instructions to their submarines without requiring them to come to the surface. It is exceedingly slow, taking several minutes to send a message about the size of a mobile phone text message, but it is justified by the security it affords. They must avoid the disclosure of their submarine’s locations any price.

I am not a spy, nor would I involve myself in crime or terrorism. I also do not live in a country that jails its citizens just for their ideas; I simply want to protect my privacy, and a 256-bit encryption (OpenVPN) seems adequate to me. Every individual should evaluate their encryption needs according to their own requirements.

The quality of protection is one of the hallmarks of NordVPN. It protects us far beyond our current needs.

BUGS

Beware of bugs. They are not blockers, but they are present.

Nord Devices Bug

Here is the first of them. The contract with Nord gives us the right to connect up to six devices at once behind the VPN. Not having a large family, I doubt I will need the ability to connect this many devices at once.

In the top right of the app, you can see the number of connected devices. The problem is that I only had one computer connected at the time of this screen shot. The counter is inaccurate, and because of this, I might find myself abroad, denied connection because the number of devices has falsely reached its maximum.

The support tells me that it is just a visual bug, that they are fixing it, and that it has no negative effect on the number of devices that I can connect.

One last little bug: I managed to crash the application. Do not ask me how I did it. I was already disconnected, so it did not affect the safety. I was about to close the application when I saw the following message:

Nord Crash Bug

There are people who can crash their equipment just by looking at it. I had that reputation long ago. It looks like it might be coming back!

None of the bugs that I showed you are really causes for concern, as they do not affect the quality of service. This is more of an attempt for us to prove you that we are not just reciting the operator's brochure to give you our opinion, as some of our competitors seem to do.

Our promise is to do our best and most honest review, so you can know what to expect and not to expect with NordVPN.

Besides, we did not inform NordVPN of our intentions when we purchased our subscription, and I kept them in the dark until the tests were completed. This was obviously to prevent any possibility of biased treatment.

STABILITY

NordVPN for PC is suitably stable. During my tests, I was disconnected only twice while I was sleeping, and according to my settings, the service did not reconnect automatically.

The good news is that my protection remained active. What I did not want to show to my internet service provider had been properly hidden, as I had programmed it to do.

I did have some problems with the Android app, particularly with connecting, which was sometimes difficult. This, however, should not deter most people.

In light of my tests, I consider the service to be stable (at least on PC), and compliant with my security requirements.

USE

In this section, I would like to discuss three items:

  1. How to choose the server with the fastest speed.
  2. How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs.
  3. How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country.

How to choose the server with the fastest speed

With NordVPN, to determine the best server to connect to, you must choose one that is compatible with the activities you are performing, connect to it, determine its speed, and if necessary, repeat the process with another server until you are satisfied.

I consider this process to be very inefficient, as there is no function for automatically measuring the server’s performances based on the type of server you are looking for. Some operators offer this service, but not most. However, considering the discrepancy speeds of NordVPN’s servers, it is be called for.

Speaking of which, the application also lacks a dropdown list allowing users to choose a protocol, which is especially important if 256-bit encryption is preferred.

How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs

This is not, strictly speaking, a NordVPN bug, but there are IPs, already given to others, resulting in rejection by some servers. This is due to the fact that users had connected to the same IP, and the website had blocked them in the past.

Nord IP Detection

Here is, for instance, what happens when you try to access a site named cpasbien with an IP that they have blocked.

The workaround for this is to use a different server, whose IP is not forbidden. NordVPN has some servers that give you a dedicated IP. It would actually be better for all servers to have this feature by default, or alternatively, to have the possibility for each server to choose an IP in a scrolling list.

How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country

When I travel, I sometimes want to watch TV programs in my native language, but for copyright reasons, broadcasting is not allowed outside of the country in which it is normal broadcast.

If you connect normally (without a VPN), the streaming is rejected. This is called geo-blocking, and a VPN is the right tool to get around this.

In theory, it should be sufficient to connect to a server in the country where you are allowed to watch the program (with a suitably fast connection) with NordVPN, thereby fooling the target site into believing that you are in the same country, even though you are, in fact, relaxing under a coconut tree with a mojito in your right hand, holding a straw between the toes of your left foot.

If you succeed doing that, please send us the pictures!

Unfortunately, this theory does not always work in the real world because the assigned IP might be recognized by the content provider as a VPN IP. This problem arises with virtually all VPN operators and not just with NordVPN. Users are, for example, running into issues with Netflix when using certain VPN servers.

Nord Netflix ErrorGeographical blocking despite the selection of a server in the appropriate country

To fix this issue, you need to choose another server in the same geographical area, which in turn assigns you a different IP, one that is accepted by the sites broadcasting the programs that you want to watch.

In France, NordVPN has four servers. Of the four, there should be at least one that is accepted by the TV sites you want to watch. Belgium, however, has only one server. The same goes for Denmark, Bulgaria and a handful others.

Therefore, we recommend, as long as your money-back guarantee is valid, that you ensure that the sites displaying your favorite programs are accessible from NordVPN’s servers. Otherwise you might end up traveling, without being able to watch the latest episode of Dallas that you love so much!

Having the ability to choose multiple IPs in every server would be a pretty nice feature.

To summarize, I think that NORDVPN has still some work to do in giving their users all the desired features. They do, however, provide as good an experience as any other VPN out there in this regard.

SPEED

For most of our speed tests, we use the site Speedtest by Ookla. This is an extremely serious site, but unfortunately, we cannot ignore the temptation that VPN vendors may have to increase the priority of speed when they detect a flow for measuring it. This is not to say that the VPN operators cheat, but I posit that they might be tempted to do so.

I tested from my baseline of about 20Mbps download and a ping of 15ms, not particularly slow nor particularly fast either. These performance specs are stable and guaranteed by my Internet service provider. I also tested not only the regular VPNs, but also some of the “niche” ones, like Ultra Fast TV, Tor and DoubleVPN. Here are the results.

Speed Test- Baseline
My connection without VPN.

Speed Test- US #1 Speed Test- UK Server Automatic                       US Server #1                        UK- automatic

Speed Test- Romania Automatic Speed Test- Russia Automatic                       Romania- Auto                       Russia- Auto

Speed Test- Dedicated IP- Germany #70 Speed Test- Ultra Fast TV                        Ultra fast TV               Dedicated IP- Germany #70

Speed Test- Double VPN- Russia - Netherlands Speed Test- Double VPN- UK - Netherlands             Double- UK - Netherlands  Double- Russia - Netherlands

Speed Test- P2P- Sweden #12 Speed Test- P2P- US #305                    P2P- Sweden #12                     P2P- US #305

As you can see, the results vary considerably, and I suspect that if I were to do these tests on a different day, or simply at different times of the day, I would get different results. No matter how fast or reliable the connection is with a VPN provider, this kind of fluctuation is somewhat inevitable. I also suspect that this difference in performance is due to NordVPN servers not being dedicated, and their bandwidth not being contractually guaranteed (this type of contract is more expensive).

I was particularly impressed with my connection speed during my first “Double VPN” test, as I was expecting the speed to be slower. As you may know, as a general rule, the more encryption you have, the slower the speed. I was even able to stream Netflix, almost, with waiting for buffering with the Double VPN connection.

Another point worth mentioning is that the connection that Nord automatically chooses for you for a particular country is not always the best or fastest. It appears that it is sometimes worth testing a few connections (of which there are many, to say the least), instead of taking the easy way and just letting the program decide for you. This is a bit of a disappointment, but certainly not a deal breaker.

Overall, the connections they offer are very fast and certainly can handle whatever you can throw at them. I especially appreciate the selection of “special purpose servers” they provide.

  • 839 Servers in 57 Countries
  • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
  • No Logging Policy
  • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
  • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
  • Get started with NordVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 6
VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
Daniel Krohn
(Technical writer, ex-robot manual creator gone privacy enthusiast/VPN expert)

The NordVPN Desktop app secures your connections with powerful tools and blazing speed. Unlike other premium VPNs, you don't have to pay that much to get high speeds and security.

It’s no big secret that NordVPN is reputed as the best VPN out there. It has excellent reviews nicely placed on their homepage, and all from very happy customers, as well as links to articles by bigwig industry publications like PC Mag, Forbes etc. I wanted to figure out what all the fuss was about, so took it upon myself to do my own audit.

NordVPN really speaks to its users; It’s an entire package of unbeatable specs - like 2048-bit encryption, “double VPN,” and 839 servers in 57 countries to choose from - that pretty much places it at the top of the market. I really like how the site outlines the top 12 reasons why it’s the best VPN out there. From “lightning speed” and no logs to an “automatic kill switch,” the site had me convinced just from its homepage. When I tried it for myself, it was smack on accurate with all its promises. Exceptionally fast and secure, and with an easy to use interface – even for dummy users like me – I would have to admit, NordVPN gives you a good run for your money.

Under the support section, they have some handy tutorials for users with virtually any operating system (including iOS and Android). I followed the Mac tutorials – complete with screen grabs and easy instructions; making my experience really easy and educational at the same time.

Their pricing plan did have me a bit dubious. I didn’t want to commit to a whole year – which is 52% less than signing up for one month – as my general rule of thumb is to sign up for any online services one month at a time. After all, you never know if a better option might appear on the market. Thus, I chose the one-month plan at $11.95, which is more expensive than some other VPN options, but as I have learned, you get what you pay for, and in this case you get a lot.

Right now, Nord is running two specials for 72% off 2-year subscriptions and 66.5% off 1-year subscriptions. Click here to take advantage of them. For the 1-year coupon, apply the code 70off at checkout to take advantage of the deal. And if you have any trouble applying the code, see our post Applying Tricky Nord Codes.

NordVPN swears not to keep any logs, to encrypt exchanges in 2048 bits, to have their own DNS servers in order to prevent leakage, and to have a " kill switch" to stop some applications in case of accidental disconnection.

Nord Settings                            NordVPN Protection Settings

Some of their servers are also equipped with dual VPN.

Regarding the non-retention of logs, we just have to take their word for it, because although their support rep was rather convincing, I could not neither confirm nor deny this conclusively. Please consider that I cannot confirm with any VPN providers, as there is no standard test for this.

The same goes for the claim of 2048-bit encryption. To check this, I would have to intercept the data exchanged, particularly during the key exchange phase. It would require too many resources for the context of this article. The same for their double VPN capability, since they would have to give me access to the configuration of their servers.

However, thanks to our tool, which shows you if any information is leaking from your connection, I can confirm that my identity was properly hidden and that there were no DNS leaks during the test.

I also found that the "kill switch" was operational during testing.

I am convinced that NordVPN protects you very well, and this is the main feature that you look for in a VPN.

NordVPN protects you almost too well, because a 2048-bit encryption is much too sophisticated for the decryption capabilities that we have today.

In 2010, researchers cracked a 768-bit key, and it took deep pockets (an INRIA research institute French equivalent to 425 quad-core PC for one year). It is expected that 2096-bit encryption will not be cracked by brute force before 2030. There is an emerging technology, quantum computing, which should eventually have the ability to crack just about anything. It is, however, still in its infancy, and bears a complexity that goes far beyond the limits of my understanding. To be sure, this technology will not be available to everyone when it is first released, mostly due to its costly nature. To my knowledge, it is far from operational. The Chinese just announced their launch of a quantum communication satellite, which is a huge breakthrough. They also have goals for 2030.

The encryption efforts are dependent on the value of data that is being protected, and the NSA does not disclose its actual capabilities; I personally feel, however, adequately protected with 256-bit encryption since the efforts to crack my exchanges would be disproportionately large compared to the secrets I want to keep. And what about the practical use of a 2048-bit dual VPN, except for the purposes of a great marketing stunt? Personally, I do not see the usefulness, but maybe it has more use than I give it credit for.

You would likely think that if it can do more, it could do less. That would be true if there was no impact on speed. Unfortunately, this is not the case! The more sophisticated the encryption protocol is, the more the speed tends to deteriorate. As for the double-VPN, the velocity drops beyond what is acceptable.

Everything is relative, however; The US Navy has developed a very low frequency communication system that allows it to send instructions to their submarines without requiring them to come to the surface. It is exceedingly slow, taking several minutes to send a message about the size of a mobile phone text message, but it is justified by the security it affords. They must avoid the disclosure of their submarine’s locations any price.

I am not a spy, nor would I involve myself in crime or terrorism. I also do not live in a country that jails its citizens just for their ideas; I simply want to protect my privacy, and a 256-bit encryption (OpenVPN) seems adequate to me. Every individual should evaluate their encryption needs according to their own requirements.

The quality of protection is one of the hallmarks of NordVPN. It protects us far beyond our current needs.

BUGS

Beware of bugs. They are not blockers, but they are present.

Nord Devices Bug

Here is the first of them. The contract with Nord gives us the right to connect up to six devices at once behind the VPN. Not having a large family, I doubt I will need the ability to connect this many devices at once.

In the top right of the app, you can see the number of connected devices. The problem is that I only had one computer connected at the time of this screen shot. The counter is inaccurate, and because of this, I might find myself abroad, denied connection because the number of devices has falsely reached its maximum.

The support tells me that it is just a visual bug, that they are fixing it, and that it has no negative effect on the number of devices that I can connect.

One last little bug: I managed to crash the application. Do not ask me how I did it. I was already disconnected, so it did not affect the safety. I was about to close the application when I saw the following message:

Nord Crash Bug

There are people who can crash their equipment just by looking at it. I had that reputation long ago. It looks like it might be coming back!

None of the bugs that I showed you are really causes for concern, as they do not affect the quality of service. This is more of an attempt for us to prove you that we are not just reciting the operator's brochure to give you our opinion, as some of our competitors seem to do.

Our promise is to do our best and most honest review, so you can know what to expect and not to expect with NordVPN.

Besides, we did not inform NordVPN of our intentions when we purchased our subscription, and I kept them in the dark until the tests were completed. This was obviously to prevent any possibility of biased treatment.

STABILITY

NordVPN for PC is suitably stable. During my tests, I was disconnected only twice while I was sleeping, and according to my settings, the service did not reconnect automatically.

The good news is that my protection remained active. What I did not want to show to my internet service provider had been properly hidden, as I had programmed it to do.

I did have some problems with the Android app, particularly with connecting, which was sometimes difficult. This, however, should not deter most people.

In light of my tests, I consider the service to be stable (at least on PC), and compliant with my security requirements.

USE
In this section, I would like to discuss three items:

  1. How to choose the server with the fastest speed.
  2. How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs.
  3. How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country.

How to choose the server with the fastest speed

With NordVPN, to determine the best server to connect to, you must choose one that is compatible with the activities you are performing, connect to it, determine its speed, and if necessary, repeat the process with another server until you are satisfied.

I consider this process to be very inefficient, as there is no function for automatically measuring the server’s performances based on the type of server you are looking for. Some operators offer this service, but not most. However, considering the discrepancy speeds of NordVPN’s servers, it is be called for.

Speaking of which, the application also lacks a dropdown list allowing users to choose a protocol, which is especially important if 256-bit encryption is preferred.

How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs

This is not, strictly speaking, a NordVPN bug, but there are IPs, already given to others, resulting in rejection by some servers. This is due to the fact that users had connected to the same IP, and the website had blocked them in the past.

Nord IP Detection

Here is, for instance, what happens when you try to access a site named cpasbien with an IP that they have blocked.

The workaround for this is to use a different server, whose IP is not forbidden. NordVPN has some servers that give you a dedicated IP. It would actually be better for all servers to have this feature by default, or alternatively, to have the possibility for each server to choose an IP in a scrolling list.

How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country

When I travel, I sometimes want to watch TV programs in my native language, but for copyright reasons, broadcasting is not allowed outside of the country in which it is normal broadcast.

If you connect normally (without a VPN), the streaming is rejected. This is called geo-blocking, and a VPN is the right tool to get around this.

In theory, it should be sufficient to connect to a server in the country where you are allowed to watch the program (with a suitably fast connection) with NordVPN, thereby fooling the target site into believing that you are in the same country, even though you are, in fact, relaxing under a coconut tree with a mojito in your right hand, holding a straw between the toes of your left foot.

If you succeed doing that, please send us the pictures!

Unfortunately, this theory does not always work in the real world because the assigned IP might be recognized by the content provider as a VPN IP. This problem arises with virtually all VPN operators and not just with NordVPN. Users are, for example, running into issues with Netflix when using certain VPN servers.

Nord Netflix ErrorGeographical blocking despite the selection of a server in the appropriate country

To fix this issue, you need to choose another server in the same geographical area, which in turn assigns you a different IP, one that is accepted by the sites broadcasting the programs that you want to watch.

In France, NordVPN has four servers. Of the four, there should be at least one that is accepted by the TV sites you want to watch. Belgium, however, has only one server. The same goes for Denmark, Bulgaria and a handful others.

Therefore, we recommend, as long as your money-back guarantee is valid, that you ensure that the sites displaying your favorite programs are accessible from NordVPN’s servers. Otherwise you might end up traveling, without being able to watch the latest episode of Dallas that you love so much!

Having the ability to choose multiple IPs in every server would be a pretty nice feature.

To summarize, I think that NORDVPN has still some work to do in giving their users all the desired features. They do, however, provide as good an experience as any other VPN out there in this regard.

SPEED

For most of our speed tests, we use the site Speedtest by Ookla. This is an extremely serious site, but unfortunately, we cannot ignore the temptation that VPN vendors may have to increase the priority of speed when they detect a flow for measuring it. This is not to say that the VPN operators cheat, but I posit that they might be tempted to do so.

I tested from my baseline of about 20Mbps download and a ping of 15ms, not particularly slow nor particularly fast either. These performance specs are stable and guaranteed by my Internet service provider. I also tested not only the regular VPNs, but also some of the “niche” ones, like Ultra Fast TV, Tor and DoubleVPN. Here are the results.

Speed Test- Baseline
My connection without VPN.

Speed Test- US #1 Speed Test- UK Server Automatic US Server #1 UK- automatic

Speed Test- Romania Automatic Speed Test- Russia Automatic Romania- Auto Russia- Auto

Speed Test- Dedicated IP- Germany #70 Speed Test- Ultra Fast TV Ultra fast TV Dedicated IP- Germany #70

Speed Test- Double VPN- Russia - Netherlands Speed Test- Double VPN- UK - Netherlands Double- UK - Netherlands Double- Russia - Netherlands

Speed Test- P2P- Sweden #12 Speed Test- P2P- US #305 P2P- Sweden #12 P2P- US #305

As you can see, the results vary considerably, and I suspect that if I were to do these tests on a different day, or simply at different times of the day, I would get different results. No matter how fast or reliable the connection is with a VPN provider, this kind of fluctuation is somewhat inevitable. I also suspect that this difference in performance is due to NordVPN servers not being dedicated, and their bandwidth not being contractually guaranteed (this type of contract is more expensive).

I was particularly impressed with my connection speed during my first “Double VPN” test, as I was expecting the speed to be slower. As you may know, as a general rule, the more encryption you have, the slower the speed. I was even able to stream Netflix, almost, with waiting for buffering with the Double VPN connection.

Another point worth mentioning is that the connection that Nord automatically chooses for you for a particular country is not always the best or fastest. It appears that it is sometimes worth testing a few connections (of which there are many, to say the least), instead of taking the easy way and just letting the program decide for you. This is a bit of a disappointment, but certainly not a deal breaker.

Overall, the connections they offer are very fast and certainly can handle whatever you can throw at them. I especially appreciate the selection of “special purpose servers” they provide.

  • 839 Servers in 57 Countries
  • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
  • No Logging Policy
  • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
  • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
  • Get started with NordVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 6
VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
Daniel Krohn
(Technical writer, ex-robot manual creator gone privacy enthusiast/VPN expert)

NordVPN is a great one-size-fits-all VPN that works seamlessly with Android devices as well as a range of up to 6 other devices simultaneously. Unlike other premium VPNs, you don't have to pay much to get high speed and security.

NordVPN really speaks to its users; It’s an entire package of unbeatable specs - like 2048-bit encryption, “double VPN,” and 839 servers in 57 countries to choose from - that pretty much places it at the top of the market. I really like how the site outlines the top 12 reasons why it’s the best VPN out there. From “lightning speed” and no logs to an “automatic kill switch,” the site had me convinced just from its homepage. When I tried it for myself, it was smack on accurate with all its promises. Exceptionally fast and secure, and with an easy to use interface – even for dummy users like me – I would have to admit, NordVPN gives you a good run for your money.

Under the support section, they have some handy tutorials for users with virtually any operating system (including iOS and Android). I followed the Mac tutorials – complete with screen grabs and easy instructions; making my experience really easy and educational at the same time.

Their pricing plan did have me a bit dubious. I didn’t want to commit to a whole year – which is 52% less than signing up for one month – as my general rule of thumb is to sign up for any online services one month at a time. After all, you never know if a better option might appear on the market. Thus, I chose the one-month plan at $11.95, which is more expensive than some other VPN options, but as I have learned, you get what you pay for, and in this case you get a lot.

Right now, Nord is running two specials for 72% off 2-year subscriptions and 66.5% off 1-year subscriptions. Click here to take advantage of them. For the 1-year coupon, apply the code 70off at checkout to take advantage of the deal. And if you have any trouble applying the code, see our post Applying Tricky Nord Codes.

PROTECTION

NordVPN swears not to keep any logs, to encrypt exchanges in 2048 bits, to have their own DNS servers in order to prevent leakage, and to have a " kill switch" to stop some applications in case of accidental disconnection.

Nord Settings NordVPN Protection Settings

Some of their servers are also equipped with dual VPN.

Regarding the non-retention of logs, we just have to take their word for it, because although their support rep was rather convincing, I could not neither confirm nor deny this conclusively. Please consider that I cannot confirm with any VPN providers, as there is no standard test for this.

The same goes for the claim of 2048-bit encryption. To check this, I would have to intercept the data exchanged, particularly during the key exchange phase. It would require too many resources for the context of this article. The same for their double VPN capability, since they would have to give me access to the configuration of their servers.

However, thanks to our tool, which shows you if any information is leaking from your connection, I can confirm that my identity was properly hidden and that there were no DNS leaks during the test.

I also found that the "kill switch" was operational during testing.

I am convinced that NordVPN protects you very well, and this is the main feature that you look for in a VPN.

NordVPN protects you almost too well, because a 2048-bit encryption is much too sophisticated for the decryption capabilities that we have today.

In 2010, researchers cracked a 768-bit key, and it took deep pockets (an INRIA research institute French equivalent to 425 quad-core PC for one year). It is expected that 2096-bit encryption will not be cracked by brute force before 2030. There is an emerging technology, quantum computing, which should eventually have the ability to crack just about anything. It is, however, still in its infancy, and bears a complexity that goes far beyond the limits of my understanding. To be sure, this technology will not be available to everyone when it is first released, mostly due to its costly nature. To my knowledge, it is far from operational. The Chinese just announced their launch of a quantum communication satellite, which is a huge breakthrough. They also have goals for 2030.

The encryption efforts are dependent on the value of data that is being protected, and the NSA does not disclose its actual capabilities; I personally feel, however, adequately protected with 256-bit encryption since the efforts to crack my exchanges would be disproportionately large compared to the secrets I want to keep. And what about the practical use of a 2048-bit dual VPN, except for the purposes of a great marketing stunt? Personally, I do not see the usefulness, but maybe it has more use than I give it credit for.

You would likely think that if it can do more, it could do less. That would be true if there was no impact on speed. Unfortunately, this is not the case! The more sophisticated the encryption protocol is, the more the speed tends to deteriorate. As for the double-VPN, the velocity drops beyond what is acceptable.

Everything is relative, however; The US Navy has developed a very low frequency communication system that allows it to send instructions to their submarines without requiring them to come to the surface. It is exceedingly slow, taking several minutes to send a message about the size of a mobile phone text message, but it is justified by the security it affords. They must avoid the disclosure of their submarine’s locations any price.

I am not a spy, nor would I involve myself in crime or terrorism. I also do not live in a country that jails its citizens just for their ideas; I simply want to protect my privacy, and a 256-bit encryption (OpenVPN) seems adequate to me. Every individual should evaluate their encryption needs according to their own requirements.

The quality of protection is one of the hallmarks of NordVPN. It protects us far beyond our current needs.

BUGS

Beware of bugs. They are not blockers, but they are present.

Nord Devices Bug

Here is the first of them. The contract with Nord gives us the right to connect up to six devices at once behind the VPN. Not having a large family, I doubt I will need the ability to connect this many devices at once.

In the top right of the app, you can see the number of connected devices. The problem is that I only had one computer connected at the time of this screen shot. The counter is inaccurate, and because of this, I might find myself abroad, denied connection because the number of devices has falsely reached its maximum.

The support tells me that it is just a visual bug, that they are fixing it, and that it has no negative effect on the number of devices that I can connect.

One last little bug: I managed to crash the application. Do not ask me how I did it. I was already disconnected, so it did not affect the safety. I was about to close the application when I saw the following message:

Nord Crash Bug

There are people who can crash their equipment just by looking at it. I had that reputation long ago. It looks like it might be coming back!

None of the bugs that I showed you are really causes for concern, as they do not affect the quality of service. This is more of an attempt for us to prove you that we are not just reciting the operator's brochure to give you our opinion, as some of our competitors seem to do.

Our promise is to do our best and most honest review, so you can know what to expect and not to expect with NordVPN.

Besides, we did not inform NordVPN of our intentions when we purchased our subscription, and I kept them in the dark until the tests were completed. This was obviously to prevent any possibility of biased treatment.

STABILITY

NordVPN for PC is suitably stable. During my tests, I was disconnected only twice while I was sleeping, and according to my settings, the service did not reconnect automatically.

The good news is that my protection remained active. What I did not want to show to my internet service provider had been properly hidden, as I had programmed it to do.

I did have some problems with the Android app, particularly with connecting, which was sometimes difficult. This, however, should not deter most people.

In light of my tests, I consider the service to be stable (at least on PC), and compliant with my security requirements.

USE

In this section, I would like to discuss three items:

  1. How to choose the server with the fastest speed.
  2. How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs.
  3. How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country.

How to choose the server with the fastest speed

With NordVPN, to determine the best server to connect to, you must choose one that is compatible with the activities you are performing, connect to it, determine its speed, and if necessary, repeat the process with another server until you are satisfied.

I consider this process to be very inefficient, as there is no function for automatically measuring the server’s performances based on the type of server you are looking for. Some operators offer this service, but not most. However, considering the discrepancy speeds of NordVPN’s servers, it is be called for.

Speaking of which, the application also lacks a dropdown list allowing users to choose a protocol, which is especially important if 256-bit encryption is preferred.

How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs

This is not, strictly speaking, a NordVPN bug, but there are IPs, already given to others, resulting in rejection by some servers. This is due to the fact that users had connected to the same IP, and the website had blocked them in the past.

Nord IP Detection

Here is, for instance, what happens when you try to access a site named cpasbien with an IP that they have blocked.

The workaround for this is to use a different server, whose IP is not forbidden. NordVPN has some servers that give you a dedicated IP. It would actually be better for all servers to have this feature by default, or alternatively, to have the possibility for each server to choose an IP in a scrolling list.

How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country

When I travel, I sometimes want to watch TV programs in my native language, but for copyright reasons, broadcasting is not allowed outside of the country in which it is normal broadcast.

If you connect normally (without a VPN), the streaming is rejected. This is called geo-blocking, and a VPN is the right tool to get around this.

In theory, it should be sufficient to connect to a server in the country where you are allowed to watch the program (with a suitably fast connection) with NordVPN, thereby fooling the target site into believing that you are in the same country, even though you are, in fact, relaxing under a coconut tree with a mojito in your right hand, holding a straw between the toes of your left foot.

If you succeed doing that, please send us the pictures!

Unfortunately, this theory does not always work in the real world because the assigned IP might be recognized by the content provider as a VPN IP. This problem arises with virtually all VPN operators and not just with NordVPN. Users are, for example, running into issues with Netflix when using certain VPN servers.

Nord Netflix ErrorGeographical blocking despite the selection of a server in the appropriate country

To fix this issue, you need to choose another server in the same geographical area, which in turn assigns you a different IP, one that is accepted by the sites broadcasting the programs that you want to watch.

In France, NordVPN has four servers. Of the four, there should be at least one that is accepted by the TV sites you want to watch. Belgium, however, has only one server. The same goes for Denmark, Bulgaria and a handful others.

Therefore, we recommend, as long as your money-back guarantee is valid, that you ensure that the sites displaying your favorite programs are accessible from NordVPN’s servers. Otherwise you might end up traveling, without being able to watch the latest episode of Dallas that you love so much!

Having the ability to choose multiple IPs in every server would be a pretty nice feature.

To summarize, I think that NORDVPN has still some work to do in giving their users all the desired features. They do, however, provide as good an experience as any other VPN out there in this regard.

SPEED

For most of our speed tests, we use the site Speedtest by Ookla. This is an extremely serious site, but unfortunately, we cannot ignore the temptation that VPN vendors may have to increase the priority of speed when they detect a flow for measuring it. This is not to say that the VPN operators cheat, but I posit that they might be tempted to do so.

I tested from my baseline of about 20Mbps download and a ping of 15ms, not particularly slow nor particularly fast either. These performance specs are stable and guaranteed by my Internet service provider. I also tested not only the regular VPNs, but also some of the “niche” ones, like Ultra Fast TV, Tor and DoubleVPN. Here are the results.

Speed Test- Baseline
My connection without VPN.

Speed Test- US #1 Speed Test- UK Server Automatic US Server #1 UK- automatic

Speed Test- Romania Automatic Speed Test- Russia Automatic Romania- Auto Russia- Auto

Speed Test- Dedicated IP- Germany #70 Speed Test- Ultra Fast TV Ultra fast TV Dedicated IP- Germany #70

Speed Test- Double VPN- Russia - Netherlands Speed Test- Double VPN- UK - Netherlands Double- UK - Netherlands Double- Russia - Netherlands

Speed Test- P2P- Sweden #12 Speed Test- P2P- US #305 P2P- Sweden #12 P2P- US #305

As you can see, the results vary considerably, and I suspect that if I were to do these tests on a different day, or simply at different times of the day, I would get different results. No matter how fast or reliable the connection is with a VPN provider, this kind of fluctuation is somewhat inevitable. I also suspect that this difference in performance is due to NordVPN servers not being dedicated, and their bandwidth not being contractually guaranteed (this type of contract is more expensive).

I was particularly impressed with my connection speed during my first “Double VPN” test, as I was expecting the speed to be slower. As you may know, as a general rule, the more encryption you have, the slower the speed. I was even able to stream Netflix, almost, with waiting for buffering with the Double VPN connection.

Another point worth mentioning is that the connection that Nord automatically chooses for you for a particular country is not always the best or fastest. It appears that it is sometimes worth testing a few connections (of which there are many, to say the least), instead of taking the easy way and just letting the program decide for you. This is a bit of a disappointment, but certainly not a deal breaker.

Overall, the connections they offer are very fast and certainly can handle whatever you can throw at them. I especially appreciate the selection of “special purpose servers” they provide.

  • 839 Servers in 57 Countries
  • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
  • No Logging Policy
  • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
  • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
  • Get started with NordVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 6
VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
Daniel Krohn
(Technical writer, ex-robot manual creator gone privacy enthusiast/VPN expert)

NordVPN is a great one-size-fits-all VPN that works seamlessly with iOS devices, including iPhone, iPad and Mac. You can connect up to 6 different devices simultaneously or run your wifi on an entirely secure network. Unlike other premium VPNs, you don't have to pay much to get high speed and security.

NordVPN really speaks to its users; It’s an entire package of unbeatable specs - like 2048-bit encryption, “double VPN,” and 839 servers in 57 countries to choose from - that pretty much places it at the top of the market. I really like how the site outlines the top 12 reasons why it’s the best VPN out there. From “lightning speed” and no logs to an “automatic kill switch,” the site had me convinced just from its homepage. When I tried it for myself, it was smack on accurate with all its promises. Exceptionally fast and secure, and with an easy to use interface – even for dummy users like me – I would have to admit, NordVPN gives you a good run for your money.

Under the support section, they have some handy tutorials for users with virtually any operating system (including iOS and Android). I followed the Mac tutorials – complete with screen grabs and easy instructions; making my experience really easy and educational at the same time.

Their pricing plan did have me a bit dubious. I didn’t want to commit to a whole year – which is 52% less than signing up for one month – as my general rule of thumb is to sign up for any online services one month at a time. After all, you never know if a better option might appear on the market. Thus, I chose the one-month plan at $11.95, which is more expensive than some other VPN options, but as I have learned, you get what you pay for, and in this case you get a lot.

Right now, Nord is running two specials for 72% off 2-year subscriptions and 66.5% off 1-year subscriptions. Click here to take advantage of them. For the 1-year coupon, apply the code 70off at checkout to take advantage of the deal. And if you have any trouble applying the code, see our post Applying Tricky Nord Codes.

PROTECTION

NordVPN swears not to keep any logs, to encrypt exchanges in 2048 bits, to have their own DNS servers in order to prevent leakage, and to have a " kill switch" to stop some applications in case of accidental disconnection.

Nord Settings NordVPN Protection Settings

Some of their servers are also equipped with dual VPN.

Regarding the non-retention of logs, we just have to take their word for it, because although their support rep was rather convincing, I could not neither confirm nor deny this conclusively. Please consider that I cannot confirm with any VPN providers, as there is no standard test for this.

The same goes for the claim of 2048-bit encryption. To check this, I would have to intercept the data exchanged, particularly during the key exchange phase. It would require too many resources for the context of this article. The same for their double VPN capability, since they would have to give me access to the configuration of their servers.

However, thanks to our tool, which shows you if any information is leaking from your connection, I can confirm that my identity was properly hidden and that there were no DNS leaks during the test.

I also found that the "kill switch" was operational during testing.

I am convinced that NordVPN protects you very well, and this is the main feature that you look for in a VPN.

NordVPN protects you almost too well, because a 2048-bit encryption is much too sophisticated for the decryption capabilities that we have today.

In 2010, researchers cracked a 768-bit key, and it took deep pockets (an INRIA research institute French equivalent to 425 quad-core PC for one year). It is expected that 2096-bit encryption will not be cracked by brute force before 2030. There is an emerging technology, quantum computing, which should eventually have the ability to crack just about anything. It is, however, still in its infancy, and bears a complexity that goes far beyond the limits of my understanding. To be sure, this technology will not be available to everyone when it is first released, mostly due to its costly nature. To my knowledge, it is far from operational. The Chinese just announced their launch of a quantum communication satellite, which is a huge breakthrough. They also have goals for 2030.

The encryption efforts are dependent on the value of data that is being protected, and the NSA does not disclose its actual capabilities; I personally feel, however, adequately protected with 256-bit encryption since the efforts to crack my exchanges would be disproportionately large compared to the secrets I want to keep. And what about the practical use of a 2048-bit dual VPN, except for the purposes of a great marketing stunt? Personally, I do not see the usefulness, but maybe it has more use than I give it credit for.

You would likely think that if it can do more, it could do less. That would be true if there was no impact on speed. Unfortunately, this is not the case! The more sophisticated the encryption protocol is, the more the speed tends to deteriorate. As for the double-VPN, the velocity drops beyond what is acceptable.

Everything is relative, however; The US Navy has developed a very low frequency communication system that allows it to send instructions to their submarines without requiring them to come to the surface. It is exceedingly slow, taking several minutes to send a message about the size of a mobile phone text message, but it is justified by the security it affords. They must avoid the disclosure of their submarine’s locations any price.

I am not a spy, nor would I involve myself in crime or terrorism. I also do not live in a country that jails its citizens just for their ideas; I simply want to protect my privacy, and a 256-bit encryption (OpenVPN) seems adequate to me. Every individual should evaluate their encryption needs according to their own requirements.

The quality of protection is one of the hallmarks of NordVPN. It protects us far beyond our current needs.

BUGS

Beware of bugs. They are not blockers, but they are present.

Nord Devices Bug

Here is the first of them. The contract with Nord gives us the right to connect up to six devices at once behind the VPN. Not having a large family, I doubt I will need the ability to connect this many devices at once.

In the top right of the app, you can see the number of connected devices. The problem is that I only had one computer connected at the time of this screen shot. The counter is inaccurate, and because of this, I might find myself abroad, denied connection because the number of devices has falsely reached its maximum.

The support tells me that it is just a visual bug, that they are fixing it, and that it has no negative effect on the number of devices that I can connect.

One last little bug: I managed to crash the application. Do not ask me how I did it. I was already disconnected, so it did not affect the safety. I was about to close the application when I saw the following message:

Nord Crash Bug

There are people who can crash their equipment just by looking at it. I had that reputation long ago. It looks like it might be coming back!

None of the bugs that I showed you are really causes for concern, as they do not affect the quality of service. This is more of an attempt for us to prove you that we are not just reciting the operator's brochure to give you our opinion, as some of our competitors seem to do.

Our promise is to do our best and most honest review, so you can know what to expect and not to expect with NordVPN.

Besides, we did not inform NordVPN of our intentions when we purchased our subscription, and I kept them in the dark until the tests were completed. This was obviously to prevent any possibility of biased treatment.

STABILITY

NordVPN for PC is suitably stable. During my tests, I was disconnected only twice while I was sleeping, and according to my settings, the service did not reconnect automatically.

The good news is that my protection remained active. What I did not want to show to my internet service provider had been properly hidden, as I had programmed it to do.

I did have some problems with the Android app, particularly with connecting, which was sometimes difficult. This, however, should not deter most people.

In light of my tests, I consider the service to be stable (at least on PC), and compliant with my security requirements.

USE

In this section, I would like to discuss three items:

  1. How to choose the server with the fastest speed.
  2. How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs.
  3. How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country.

How to choose the server with the fastest speed

With NordVPN, to determine the best server to connect to, you must choose one that is compatible with the activities you are performing, connect to it, determine its speed, and if necessary, repeat the process with another server until you are satisfied.

I consider this process to be very inefficient, as there is no function for automatically measuring the server’s performances based on the type of server you are looking for. Some operators offer this service, but not most. However, considering the discrepancy speeds of NordVPN’s servers, it is be called for.

Speaking of which, the application also lacks a dropdown list allowing users to choose a protocol, which is especially important if 256-bit encryption is preferred.

How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs

This is not, strictly speaking, a NordVPN bug, but there are IPs, already given to others, resulting in rejection by some servers. This is due to the fact that users had connected to the same IP, and the website had blocked them in the past.

Nord IP Detection

Here is, for instance, what happens when you try to access a site named cpasbien with an IP that they have blocked.

The workaround for this is to use a different server, whose IP is not forbidden. NordVPN has some servers that give you a dedicated IP. It would actually be better for all servers to have this feature by default, or alternatively, to have the possibility for each server to choose an IP in a scrolling list.

How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country

When I travel, I sometimes want to watch TV programs in my native language, but for copyright reasons, broadcasting is not allowed outside of the country in which it is normal broadcast.

If you connect normally (without a VPN), the streaming is rejected. This is called geo-blocking, and a VPN is the right tool to get around this.

In theory, it should be sufficient to connect to a server in the country where you are allowed to watch the program (with a suitably fast connection) with NordVPN, thereby fooling the target site into believing that you are in the same country, even though you are, in fact, relaxing under a coconut tree with a mojito in your right hand, holding a straw between the toes of your left foot.

If you succeed doing that, please send us the pictures!

Unfortunately, this theory does not always work in the real world because the assigned IP might be recognized by the content provider as a VPN IP. This problem arises with virtually all VPN operators and not just with NordVPN. Users are, for example, running into issues with Netflix when using certain VPN servers.

Nord Netflix ErrorGeographical blocking despite the selection of a server in the appropriate country

To fix this issue, you need to choose another server in the same geographical area, which in turn assigns you a different IP, one that is accepted by the sites broadcasting the programs that you want to watch.

In France, NordVPN has four servers. Of the four, there should be at least one that is accepted by the TV sites you want to watch. Belgium, however, has only one server. The same goes for Denmark, Bulgaria and a handful others.

Therefore, we recommend, as long as your money-back guarantee is valid, that you ensure that the sites displaying your favorite programs are accessible from NordVPN’s servers. Otherwise you might end up traveling, without being able to watch the latest episode of Dallas that you love so much!

Having the ability to choose multiple IPs in every server would be a pretty nice feature.

To summarize, I think that NORDVPN has still some work to do in giving their users all the desired features. They do, however, provide as good an experience as any other VPN out there in this regard.

SPEED

For most of our speed tests, we use the site Speedtest by Ookla. This is an extremely serious site, but unfortunately, we cannot ignore the temptation that VPN vendors may have to increase the priority of speed when they detect a flow for measuring it. This is not to say that the VPN operators cheat, but I posit that they might be tempted to do so.

I tested from my baseline of about 20Mbps download and a ping of 15ms, not particularly slow nor particularly fast either. These performance specs are stable and guaranteed by my Internet service provider. I also tested not only the regular VPNs, but also some of the “niche” ones, like Ultra Fast TV, Tor and DoubleVPN. Here are the results.

Speed Test- Baseline
My connection without VPN.

Speed Test- US #1 Speed Test- UK Server Automatic US Server #1 UK- automatic

Speed Test- Romania Automatic Speed Test- Russia Automatic Romania- Auto Russia- Auto

Speed Test- Dedicated IP- Germany #70 Speed Test- Ultra Fast TV Ultra fast TV Dedicated IP- Germany #70

Speed Test- Double VPN- Russia - Netherlands Speed Test- Double VPN- UK - Netherlands Double- UK - Netherlands Double- Russia - Netherlands

Speed Test- P2P- Sweden #12 Speed Test- P2P- US #305 P2P- Sweden #12 P2P- US #305

As you can see, the results vary considerably, and I suspect that if I were to do these tests on a different day, or simply at different times of the day, I would get different results. No matter how fast or reliable the connection is with a VPN provider, this kind of fluctuation is somewhat inevitable. I also suspect that this difference in performance is due to NordVPN servers not being dedicated, and their bandwidth not being contractually guaranteed (this type of contract is more expensive).

I was particularly impressed with my connection speed during my first “Double VPN” test, as I was expecting the speed to be slower. As you may know, as a general rule, the more encryption you have, the slower the speed. I was even able to stream Netflix, almost, with waiting for buffering with the Double VPN connection.

Another point worth mentioning is that the connection that Nord automatically chooses for you for a particular country is not always the best or fastest. It appears that it is sometimes worth testing a few connections (of which there are many, to say the least), instead of taking the easy way and just letting the program decide for you. This is a bit of a disappointment, but certainly not a deal breaker.

Overall, the connections they offer are very fast and certainly can handle whatever you can throw at them. I especially appreciate the selection of “special purpose servers” they provide.

  • 839 Servers in 57 Countries
  • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
  • No Logging Policy
  • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
  • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
  • Get started with NordVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 6
VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
Daniel Krohn
(Technical writer, ex-robot manual creator gone privacy enthusiast/VPN expert)

NordVPN is a great one-size-fits-all VPN that works seamlessly with iOS devices, including iPhone, iPad and Mac. You can connect up to 6 different devices simultaneously or run your wifi on an entirely secure network. Unlike other premium VPNs, you don't have to pay much to get high speed and security.

NordVPN really speaks to its users; It’s an entire package of unbeatable specs - like 2048-bit encryption, “double VPN,” and 839 servers in 57 countries to choose from - that pretty much places it at the top of the market. I really like how the site outlines the top 12 reasons why it’s the best VPN out there. From “lightning speed” and no logs to an “automatic kill switch,” the site had me convinced just from its homepage. When I tried it for myself, it was smack on accurate with all its promises. Exceptionally fast and secure, and with an easy to use interface – even for dummy users like me – I would have to admit, NordVPN gives you a good run for your money.

Under the support section, they have some handy tutorials for users with virtually any operating system (including iOS and Android). I followed the Mac tutorials – complete with screen grabs and easy instructions; making my experience really easy and educational at the same time.

Their pricing plan did have me a bit dubious. I didn’t want to commit to a whole year – which is 52% less than signing up for one month – as my general rule of thumb is to sign up for any online services one month at a time. After all, you never know if a better option might appear on the market. Thus, I chose the one-month plan at $11.95, which is more expensive than some other VPN options, but as I have learned, you get what you pay for, and in this case you get a lot.

Right now, Nord is running two specials for 72% off 2-year subscriptions and 66.5% off 1-year subscriptions. Click here to take advantage of them. For the 1-year coupon, apply the code 70off at checkout to take advantage of the deal. And if you have any trouble applying the code, see our post Applying Tricky Nord Codes.

PROTECTION

NordVPN swears not to keep any logs, to encrypt exchanges in 2048 bits, to have their own DNS servers in order to prevent leakage, and to have a " kill switch" to stop some applications in case of accidental disconnection.

Nord Settings NordVPN Protection Settings

Some of their servers are also equipped with dual VPN.

Regarding the non-retention of logs, we just have to take their word for it, because although their support rep was rather convincing, I could not neither confirm nor deny this conclusively. Please consider that I cannot confirm with any VPN providers, as there is no standard test for this.

The same goes for the claim of 2048-bit encryption. To check this, I would have to intercept the data exchanged, particularly during the key exchange phase. It would require too many resources for the context of this article. The same for their double VPN capability, since they would have to give me access to the configuration of their servers.

However, thanks to our tool, which shows you if any information is leaking from your connection, I can confirm that my identity was properly hidden and that there were no DNS leaks during the test.

I also found that the "kill switch" was operational during testing.

I am convinced that NordVPN protects you very well, and this is the main feature that you look for in a VPN.

NordVPN protects you almost too well, because a 2048-bit encryption is much too sophisticated for the decryption capabilities that we have today.

In 2010, researchers cracked a 768-bit key, and it took deep pockets (an INRIA research institute French equivalent to 425 quad-core PC for one year). It is expected that 2096-bit encryption will not be cracked by brute force before 2030. There is an emerging technology, quantum computing, which should eventually have the ability to crack just about anything. It is, however, still in its infancy, and bears a complexity that goes far beyond the limits of my understanding. To be sure, this technology will not be available to everyone when it is first released, mostly due to its costly nature. To my knowledge, it is far from operational. The Chinese just announced their launch of a quantum communication satellite, which is a huge breakthrough. They also have goals for 2030.

The encryption efforts are dependent on the value of data that is being protected, and the NSA does not disclose its actual capabilities; I personally feel, however, adequately protected with 256-bit encryption since the efforts to crack my exchanges would be disproportionately large compared to the secrets I want to keep. And what about the practical use of a 2048-bit dual VPN, except for the purposes of a great marketing stunt? Personally, I do not see the usefulness, but maybe it has more use than I give it credit for.

You would likely think that if it can do more, it could do less. That would be true if there was no impact on speed. Unfortunately, this is not the case! The more sophisticated the encryption protocol is, the more the speed tends to deteriorate. As for the double-VPN, the velocity drops beyond what is acceptable.

Everything is relative, however; The US Navy has developed a very low frequency communication system that allows it to send instructions to their submarines without requiring them to come to the surface. It is exceedingly slow, taking several minutes to send a message about the size of a mobile phone text message, but it is justified by the security it affords. They must avoid the disclosure of their submarine’s locations any price.

I am not a spy, nor would I involve myself in crime or terrorism. I also do not live in a country that jails its citizens just for their ideas; I simply want to protect my privacy, and a 256-bit encryption (OpenVPN) seems adequate to me. Every individual should evaluate their encryption needs according to their own requirements.

The quality of protection is one of the hallmarks of NordVPN. It protects us far beyond our current needs.

BUGS

Beware of bugs. They are not blockers, but they are present.

Nord Devices Bug

Here is the first of them. The contract with Nord gives us the right to connect up to six devices at once behind the VPN. Not having a large family, I doubt I will need the ability to connect this many devices at once.

In the top right of the app, you can see the number of connected devices. The problem is that I only had one computer connected at the time of this screen shot. The counter is inaccurate, and because of this, I might find myself abroad, denied connection because the number of devices has falsely reached its maximum.

The support tells me that it is just a visual bug, that they are fixing it, and that it has no negative effect on the number of devices that I can connect.

One last little bug: I managed to crash the application. Do not ask me how I did it. I was already disconnected, so it did not affect the safety. I was about to close the application when I saw the following message:

Nord Crash Bug

There are people who can crash their equipment just by looking at it. I had that reputation long ago. It looks like it might be coming back!

None of the bugs that I showed you are really causes for concern, as they do not affect the quality of service. This is more of an attempt for us to prove you that we are not just reciting the operator's brochure to give you our opinion, as some of our competitors seem to do.

Our promise is to do our best and most honest review, so you can know what to expect and not to expect with NordVPN.

Besides, we did not inform NordVPN of our intentions when we purchased our subscription, and I kept them in the dark until the tests were completed. This was obviously to prevent any possibility of biased treatment.

STABILITY

NordVPN for PC is suitably stable. During my tests, I was disconnected only twice while I was sleeping, and according to my settings, the service did not reconnect automatically.

The good news is that my protection remained active. What I did not want to show to my internet service provider had been properly hidden, as I had programmed it to do.

I did have some problems with the Android app, particularly with connecting, which was sometimes difficult. This, however, should not deter most people.

In light of my tests, I consider the service to be stable (at least on PC), and compliant with my security requirements.

USE

In this section, I would like to discuss three items:

  1. How to choose the server with the fastest speed.
  2. How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs.
  3. How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country.

How to choose the server with the fastest speed

With NordVPN, to determine the best server to connect to, you must choose one that is compatible with the activities you are performing, connect to it, determine its speed, and if necessary, repeat the process with another server until you are satisfied.

I consider this process to be very inefficient, as there is no function for automatically measuring the server’s performances based on the type of server you are looking for. Some operators offer this service, but not most. However, considering the discrepancy speeds of NordVPN’s servers, it is be called for.

Speaking of which, the application also lacks a dropdown list allowing users to choose a protocol, which is especially important if 256-bit encryption is preferred.

How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs

This is not, strictly speaking, a NordVPN bug, but there are IPs, already given to others, resulting in rejection by some servers. This is due to the fact that users had connected to the same IP, and the website had blocked them in the past.

Nord IP Detection

Here is, for instance, what happens when you try to access a site named cpasbien with an IP that they have blocked.

The workaround for this is to use a different server, whose IP is not forbidden. NordVPN has some servers that give you a dedicated IP. It would actually be better for all servers to have this feature by default, or alternatively, to have the possibility for each server to choose an IP in a scrolling list.

How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country

When I travel, I sometimes want to watch TV programs in my native language, but for copyright reasons, broadcasting is not allowed outside of the country in which it is normal broadcast.

If you connect normally (without a VPN), the streaming is rejected. This is called geo-blocking, and a VPN is the right tool to get around this.

In theory, it should be sufficient to connect to a server in the country where you are allowed to watch the program (with a suitably fast connection) with NordVPN, thereby fooling the target site into believing that you are in the same country, even though you are, in fact, relaxing under a coconut tree with a mojito in your right hand, holding a straw between the toes of your left foot.

If you succeed doing that, please send us the pictures!

Unfortunately, this theory does not always work in the real world because the assigned IP might be recognized by the content provider as a VPN IP. This problem arises with virtually all VPN operators and not just with NordVPN. Users are, for example, running into issues with Netflix when using certain VPN servers.

Nord Netflix ErrorGeographical blocking despite the selection of a server in the appropriate country

To fix this issue, you need to choose another server in the same geographical area, which in turn assigns you a different IP, one that is accepted by the sites broadcasting the programs that you want to watch.

In France, NordVPN has four servers. Of the four, there should be at least one that is accepted by the TV sites you want to watch. Belgium, however, has only one server. The same goes for Denmark, Bulgaria and a handful others.

Therefore, we recommend, as long as your money-back guarantee is valid, that you ensure that the sites displaying your favorite programs are accessible from NordVPN’s servers. Otherwise you might end up traveling, without being able to watch the latest episode of Dallas that you love so much!

Having the ability to choose multiple IPs in every server would be a pretty nice feature.

To summarize, I think that NORDVPN has still some work to do in giving their users all the desired features. They do, however, provide as good an experience as any other VPN out there in this regard.

SPEED

For most of our speed tests, we use the site Speedtest by Ookla. This is an extremely serious site, but unfortunately, we cannot ignore the temptation that VPN vendors may have to increase the priority of speed when they detect a flow for measuring it. This is not to say that the VPN operators cheat, but I posit that they might be tempted to do so.

I tested from my baseline of about 20Mbps download and a ping of 15ms, not particularly slow nor particularly fast either. These performance specs are stable and guaranteed by my Internet service provider. I also tested not only the regular VPNs, but also some of the “niche” ones, like Ultra Fast TV, Tor and DoubleVPN. Here are the results.

Speed Test- Baseline
My connection without VPN.

Speed Test- US #1 Speed Test- UK Server Automatic US Server #1 UK- automatic

Speed Test- Romania Automatic Speed Test- Russia Automatic Romania- Auto Russia- Auto

Speed Test- Dedicated IP- Germany #70 Speed Test- Ultra Fast TV Ultra fast TV Dedicated IP- Germany #70

Speed Test- Double VPN- Russia - Netherlands Speed Test- Double VPN- UK - Netherlands Double- UK - Netherlands Double- Russia - Netherlands

Speed Test- P2P- Sweden #12 Speed Test- P2P- US #305 P2P- Sweden #12 P2P- US #305

As you can see, the results vary considerably, and I suspect that if I were to do these tests on a different day, or simply at different times of the day, I would get different results. No matter how fast or reliable the connection is with a VPN provider, this kind of fluctuation is somewhat inevitable. I also suspect that this difference in performance is due to NordVPN servers not being dedicated, and their bandwidth not being contractually guaranteed (this type of contract is more expensive).

I was particularly impressed with my connection speed during my first “Double VPN” test, as I was expecting the speed to be slower. As you may know, as a general rule, the more encryption you have, the slower the speed. I was even able to stream Netflix, almost, with waiting for buffering with the Double VPN connection.

Another point worth mentioning is that the connection that Nord automatically chooses for you for a particular country is not always the best or fastest. It appears that it is sometimes worth testing a few connections (of which there are many, to say the least), instead of taking the easy way and just letting the program decide for you. This is a bit of a disappointment, but certainly not a deal breaker.

Overall, the connections they offer are very fast and certainly can handle whatever you can throw at them. I especially appreciate the selection of “special purpose servers” they provide.

  • 839 Servers in 57 Countries
  • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
  • No Logging Policy
  • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
  • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
  • Get started with NordVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 6
VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
Daniel Krohn
(Technical writer, ex-robot manual creator gone privacy enthusiast/VPN expert)

NordVPN users in the states enjoy ultra fast TV streaming while securing their privacy at all times. It's a great one-size-fits-all VPN that secures your connection with powerful tools and blazing speed, and unlike other premium VPNs, you don't have to pay much to get high speed and security.

Operating under the jurisdiction of Panama, NordVPN has a network of 839 servers located in 57 countries. Their VPN servers support a number of configurations for encryption and specific uses like file sharing and streaming media. They offer regular VPN connections with strong encryption options such as 2048 bit SSL for the OpenVPN protocol or AES-256 bit encryption for the L2TP protocol. If you need more security, then you can connect to their Double VPN server where traffic is routed through two servers and encrypted with two layers of AES-256-CBC encryption. The OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP with IPSec protocols are supported on all their servers. The service supports up to 6 simultaneous connections so you can connect all of your devices.

PROTECTION

NordVPN swears not to keep any logs, to encrypt exchanges in 2048 bits, to have their own DNS servers in order to prevent leakage, and to have a " kill switch" to stop some applications in case of accidental disconnection.

Nord Settings NordVPN Protection Settings

Some of their servers are also equipped with dual VPN.

Regarding the non-retention of logs, we just have to take their word for it, because although their support rep was rather convincing, I could not neither confirm nor deny this conclusively. Please consider that I cannot confirm with any VPN providers, as there is no standard test for this.

The same goes for the claim of 2048-bit encryption. To check this, I would have to intercept the data exchanged, particularly during the key exchange phase. It would require too many resources for the context of this article. The same for their double VPN capability, since they would have to give me access to the configuration of their servers.

However, thanks to our tool, which shows you if any information is leaking from your connection, I can confirm that my identity was properly hidden and that there were no DNS leaks during the test.

I also found that the "kill switch" was operational during testing.

I am convinced that NordVPN protects you very well, and this is the main feature that you look for in a VPN.

NordVPN protects you almost too well, because a 2048-bit encryption is much too sophisticated for the decryption capabilities that we have today.

In 2010, researchers cracked a 768-bit key, and it took deep pockets (an INRIA research institute French equivalent to 425 quad-core PC for one year). It is expected that 2096-bit encryption will not be cracked by brute force before 2030. There is an emerging technology, quantum computing, which should eventually have the ability to crack just about anything. It is, however, still in its infancy, and bears a complexity that goes far beyond the limits of my understanding. To be sure, this technology will not be available to everyone when it is first released, mostly due to its costly nature. To my knowledge, it is far from operational. The Chinese just announced their launch of a quantum communication satellite, which is a huge breakthrough. They also have goals for 2030.

The encryption efforts are dependent on the value of data that is being protected, and the NSA does not disclose its actual capabilities; I personally feel, however, adequately protected with 256-bit encryption since the efforts to crack my exchanges would be disproportionately large compared to the secrets I want to keep. And what about the practical use of a 2048-bit dual VPN, except for the purposes of a great marketing stunt? Personally, I do not see the usefulness, but maybe it has more use than I give it credit for.

You would likely think that if it can do more, it could do less. That would be true if there was no impact on speed. Unfortunately, this is not the case! The more sophisticated the encryption protocol is, the more the speed tends to deteriorate. As for the double-VPN, the velocity drops beyond what is acceptable.

Everything is relative, however; The US Navy has developed a very low frequency communication system that allows it to send instructions to their submarines without requiring them to come to the surface. It is exceedingly slow, taking several minutes to send a message about the size of a mobile phone text message, but it is justified by the security it affords. They must avoid the disclosure of their submarine’s locations any price.

I am not a spy, nor would I involve myself in crime or terrorism. I also do not live in a country that jails its citizens just for their ideas; I simply want to protect my privacy, and a 256-bit encryption (OpenVPN) seems adequate to me. Every individual should evaluate their encryption needs according to their own requirements.

The quality of protection is one of the hallmarks of NordVPN. It protects us far beyond our current needs.

BUGS

Beware of bugs. They are not blockers, but they are present.

Nord Devices Bug

Here is the first of them. The contract with Nord gives us the right to connect up to six devices at once behind the VPN. Not having a large family, I doubt I will need the ability to connect this many devices at once.

In the top right of the app, you can see the number of connected devices. The problem is that I only had one computer connected at the time of this screen shot. The counter is inaccurate, and because of this, I might find myself abroad, denied connection because the number of devices has falsely reached its maximum.

The support tells me that it is just a visual bug, that they are fixing it, and that it has no negative effect on the number of devices that I can connect.

One last little bug: I managed to crash the application. Do not ask me how I did it. I was already disconnected, so it did not affect the safety. I was about to close the application when I saw the following message:

Nord Crash Bug

There are people who can crash their equipment just by looking at it. I had that reputation long ago. It looks like it might be coming back!

None of the bugs that I showed you are really causes for concern, as they do not affect the quality of service. This is more of an attempt for us to prove you that we are not just reciting the operator's brochure to give you our opinion, as some of our competitors seem to do.

Our promise is to do our best and most honest review, so you can know what to expect and not to expect with NordVPN.

Besides, we did not inform NordVPN of our intentions when we purchased our subscription, and I kept them in the dark until the tests were completed. This was obviously to prevent any possibility of biased treatment.

STABILITY

NordVPN for PC is suitably stable. During my tests, I was disconnected only twice while I was sleeping, and according to my settings, the service did not reconnect automatically.

The good news is that my protection remained active. What I did not want to show to my internet service provider had been properly hidden, as I had programmed it to do.

I did have some problems with the Android app, particularly with connecting, which was sometimes difficult. This, however, should not deter most people.

In light of my tests, I consider the service to be stable (at least on PC), and compliant with my security requirements.

USE

In this section, I would like to discuss three items:

  1. How to choose the server with the fastest speed.
  2. How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs.
  3. How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country.

How to choose the server with the fastest speed

With NordVPN, to determine the best server to connect to, you must choose one that is compatible with the activities you are performing, connect to it, determine its speed, and if necessary, repeat the process with another server until you are satisfied.

I consider this process to be very inefficient, as there is no function for automatically measuring the server’s performances based on the type of server you are looking for. Some operators offer this service, but not most. However, considering the discrepancy speeds of NordVPN’s servers, it is be called for.

Speaking of which, the application also lacks a dropdown list allowing users to choose a protocol, which is especially important if 256-bit encryption is preferred.

How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs

This is not, strictly speaking, a NordVPN bug, but there are IPs, already given to others, resulting in rejection by some servers. This is due to the fact that users had connected to the same IP, and the website had blocked them in the past.

Nord IP Detection

Here is, for instance, what happens when you try to access a site named cpasbien with an IP that they have blocked.

The workaround for this is to use a different server, whose IP is not forbidden. NordVPN has some servers that give you a dedicated IP. It would actually be better for all servers to have this feature by default, or alternatively, to have the possibility for each server to choose an IP in a scrolling list.

How to prevent sites from refusing to stream broadcasts due to geographic blocking, despite choosing a server in what should be a suitable country

When I travel, I sometimes want to watch TV programs in my native language, but for copyright reasons, broadcasting is not allowed outside of the country in which it is normal broadcast.

If you connect normally (without a VPN), the streaming is rejected. This is called geo-blocking, and a VPN is the right tool to get around this.

In theory, it should be sufficient to connect to a server in the country where you are allowed to watch the program (with a suitably fast connection) with NordVPN, thereby fooling the target site into believing that you are in the same country, even though you are, in fact, relaxing under a coconut tree with a mojito in your right hand, holding a straw between the toes of your left foot.

If you succeed doing that, please send us the pictures!

Unfortunately, this theory does not always work in the real world because the assigned IP might be recognized by the content provider as a VPN IP. This problem arises with virtually all VPN operators and not just with NordVPN. Users are, for example, running into issues with Netflix when using certain VPN servers.

Nord Netflix ErrorGeographical blocking despite the selection of a server in the appropriate country

To fix this issue, you need to choose another server in the same geographical area, which in turn assigns you a different IP, one that is accepted by the sites broadcasting the programs that you want to watch.

In France, NordVPN has four servers. Of the four, there should be at least one that is accepted by the TV sites you want to watch. Belgium, however, has only one server. The same goes for Denmark, Bulgaria and a handful others.

Therefore, we recommend, as long as your money-back guarantee is valid, that you ensure that the sites displaying your favorite programs are accessible from NordVPN’s servers. Otherwise you might end up traveling, without being able to watch the latest episode of Dallas that you love so much!

Having the ability to choose multiple IPs in every server would be a pretty nice feature.

To summarize, I think that NORDVPN has still some work to do in giving their users all the desired features. They do, however, provide as good an experience as any other VPN out there in this regard.

SPEED

For most of our speed tests, we use the site Speedtest by Ookla. This is an extremely serious site, but unfortunately, we cannot ignore the temptation that VPN vendors may have to increase the priority of speed when they detect a flow for measuring it. This is not to say that the VPN operators cheat, but I posit that they might be tempted to do so.

I tested from my baseline of about 20Mbps download and a ping of 15ms, not particularly slow nor particularly fast either. These performance specs are stable and guaranteed by my Internet service provider. I also tested not only the regular VPNs, but also some of the “niche” ones, like Ultra Fast TV, Tor and DoubleVPN. Here are the results.

Speed Test- Baseline
My connection without VPN.

Speed Test- US #1 Speed Test- UK Server Automatic US Server #1 UK- automatic

Speed Test- Romania Automatic Speed Test- Russia Automatic Romania- Auto Russia- Auto

Speed Test- Dedicated IP- Germany #70 Speed Test- Ultra Fast TV Ultra fast TV Dedicated IP- Germany #70

Speed Test- Double VPN- Russia - Netherlands Speed Test- Double VPN- UK - Netherlands Double- UK - Netherlands Double- Russia - Netherlands

Speed Test- P2P- Sweden #12 Speed Test- P2P- US #305 P2P- Sweden #12 P2P- US #305

As you can see, the results vary considerably, and I suspect that if I were to do these tests on a different day, or simply at different times of the day, I would get different results. No matter how fast or reliable the connection is with a VPN provider, this kind of fluctuation is somewhat inevitable. I also suspect that this difference in performance is due to NordVPN servers not being dedicated, and their bandwidth not being contractually guaranteed (this type of contract is more expensive).

I was particularly impressed with my connection speed during my first “Double VPN” test, as I was expecting the speed to be slower. As you may know, as a general rule, the more encryption you have, the slower the speed. I was even able to stream Netflix, almost, with waiting for buffering with the Double VPN connection.

Another point worth mentioning is that the connection that Nord automatically chooses for you for a particular country is not always the best or fastest. It appears that it is sometimes worth testing a few connections (of which there are many, to say the least), instead of taking the easy way and just letting the program decide for you. This is a bit of a disappointment, but certainly not a deal breaker.

Overall, the connections they offer are very fast and certainly can handle whatever you can throw at them. I especially appreciate the selection of “special purpose servers” they provide.

  • 839 Servers in 57 Countries
  • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
  • No Logging Policy
  • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
  • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
  • Get started with NordVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 6
VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
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