There’s no doubt that NordVPN
is the hottest name on the VPN market these days, despite the rumors that pestered it lately that it logs users data.
At first glance, it’s hard to find any flaws in NordVPN. It can bypass even the trickiest VPN blocks to access Netflix USA and more than 100 other heavily guarded streaming services, including HBO Go, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
It also boasts an impressive list of advanced security and privacy features.
Let’s take a closer look at NordVPN and see why, despite a couple of shortcomings, it’s the best VPN your money can buy.
Not only that, but the company is offering two amazing deals for a limited time!
- Winter Deal - get the 3-year plan
for only $2.99 a month.
View NordVPN Deals
Overview of NordVPN’s Features
Ease of Use: 5/5
Ease of Use
First off, I’ll admit I’m no VPN newbie. I use a bunch of different ones on a daily basis. I was pleased to see that while NordVPN
is very easy to set up and start using – it even recommends specialized servers to suit your needs, which is great for beginners – it also offers plenty of features for advanced users, such as the ability to manually configure your VPN protocol.
What beginners will love about NordVPN:
- Effortless download and installation
- User-friendly map interface
- Easy to switch between servers
- Automatically selects the best server for your needs
- OpenVPN protocol is automatically configured
- Great customer support + guides and tutorials
Experienced VPN users are sure to appreciate:
- Supports additional security protocols, including IKEv2/IPsec
- Double VPN feature encrypts your traffic twice
- DNS leak protection
- Onion over VPN
Reliability and Support
The NordVPN website
offers an extensive FAQ and help section, which includes a wealth of guides and tutorials - but if you run into any trouble, the 24/7 live chat support is always there to help you out.
Email support is also available, but response time can be up to 48 hours, so the live chat is usually your best bet.
I contacted support on several different occasions and the team was always friendly, knowledgeable and professional. You can even ask them general questions about VPNs, even if you aren’t a NordVPN customer.
Streaming Netflix (and Everything Else)
I tested NordVPN
with various streaming services and found that it can easily get around VPN blocks and access Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and SlingTV.
I had no problem connecting to these services on my Windows PC or my iPad.
However, I could not access DAZN in any country, and I also had some trouble connecting to Netflix France.
NordVPN’s SmartPlay technology offers a smooth, buffer-free streaming experience, and you can find a handy, up-to-date list of servers for each service in the help section on the company’s website.
When you encounter a geoblocked website, SmartPlay will automatically switch you to a server that can unblock it, so you don’t need to manually change your settings.
Start Streaming Now
Built-In Ad Blocker:
I tried to stream directly from a couple of my favorite TV channels’ websites as well.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the new CyberSec feature, which detects and blocks ads (and even nastier stuff, like malware and DDoS attacks), successfully eliminated all those annoying pop-up ads you sometimes get on streaming sites. I was able to watch an entire episode of Arrow with no interruptions.
Interestingly, CyberSec also blocks ads on YouTube videos - one of the main features that YouTube Premium subscribers pay top dollar for, included in your VPN package!
Torrenting and P2P
If it’s torrenting you’re after, you’ll be glad to know that NordVPN
has designated P2P servers that allow you to access torrent sites from anywhere in the world while keeping you anonymous and safe.
Apps and Extensions: What Does NordVPN Work On?
NordVPN offers apps for every major platform, including Windows
, MacOS, Android
, Android TV, and Linux.
There are also browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, and you can even install it on your router.
You can connect up to six devices simultaneously with a single account, which is great for small businesses, large families or gadget freaks like me.
Nord VPN operates more than 5,000 servers (and counting) in over 60 locations, with almost 2,000 in the US alone.
It's nice to see they have servers in several countries where internet censorship is a serious issue, such as Russia and Turkey.
However, I wouldn't mind seeing a wider selection of servers in the Middle East and Africa.
Speaking of censorship, NordVPN does work in China
but only if you install it before you get there.
The Need for Speed
Now, let's talk about speed. I don't care who you are or where you live – if you use the internet, you hate buffering and lagging. And you certainly don't have time to sit around staring at a blank screen while you wait for sites to load.
You'd think running a simple speed test while using NordVPN would be a good way to tell if it's a fast VPN or not, but speed tests can actually be quite misleading.
Your VPN connection speed depends on a number of factors, such as your server location and its distance from where you are situated, how many other users are connected to that same server and even the time of day.
However, speed tests can tell us if we’ve lost speed by connecting to a VPN.
A small amount of speed loss is almost unavoidable when using a VPN because our data is traveling a greater distance to the server we’re using.
Optimally, the slowdown shouldn’t be noticeable - and if you’re experiencing ISP throttling or using a congested network, you might even gain speed.
With this in mind, I tested NordVPN to see if there was a difference in speed - and I was happily surprised.
My speed before connecting to NordVPN:
My speed after connecting to NordVPN using its auto connect feature:
When I connected to an international server, my latency suffered a little, but was well within normal limits. Most importantly, I barely noticed a change in my loading times while browsing and watching videos.
I can say that from my own personal experience, while there used to be some buffering and lagging issues with NordVPN in the past, its connection speeds have dramatically improved – I'd even go as far as to say that while I was using it over the past couple of months, I couldn't believe how fast it was.
NordVPN’s Privacy and Security Features
Data security: 5/5
For me, a VPN is about more than just good entertainment and file sharing. Before I invest my hard-earned cash in a VPN, I want to know exactly what it is going to do for me and my online privacy, and how well it is going to do it.
- 2048-bit encryption
- Double VPN
- IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN
- DNS leak prevention
- Automatic kill switch
- Built-in malware and botnet blocker
- Onion over VPN
NordVPN offers all the basic security features, such as 2048-bit encryption, a nice variety of protocols (including OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec), and DNS leak protection.
If all these acronyms mean nothing to you, don’t panic – when you connect to a NordVPN app, it will automatically select the best encryption settings for your needs.
NordVPN’s Double VPN feature sends your data through two different servers, encrypting it not once, but twice.
To be honest, unless you’re a political activist or journalist working in a censorship-heavy country, this is probably way more encryption than you actually need – but in this crazy world we live in, I guess you never know when your privacy could suddenly be put at risk.
DNS Leak Prevention:
I tested NordVPN for IPv6, IPv4 and DNS leaks and could not find any at all, even when trying to crash the app in attempt to find a hole (you can read more on that here).
Automatic Kill Switch:
Kill switches are rapidly becoming an industry standard, and NordVPN's kill switch offers different settings: in case your VPN connection drops (a very rare occurrence), you can choose if you want it to instantly disconnect you from the internet or just shut down certain apps.
Built-in Botnet and Malware Protection:
CyberSec is one of NordVPN’s most impressive features, in more ways than one. If you visit a website that is associated with dangerous activity - like malware - CyberSec will kick in and prevent you from accessing it.
It’ll also safeguard against botnet control, even if your device is already infected malware.
Onion over VPN:
Onion over VPN, which allows you to use the VPN service in combination with Tor, is another nice feature you won't find in every VPN, and it's good to have if you're in a situation where your anonymity and privacy are particularly important to you.
For an extra fee, you can get your own dedicated IP, which can be convenient if you need to maintain the same IP address whenever you connect through VPN.
Is NordVPN Safe?
Data Logging: Do They, or Don't They?
Despite recent rumors, spread by some of Nord's competitors, NordVPN is completely safe to use, and has a strict no logs policy.
NordVPN outlines its no-logs policy very clearly in its privacy documents and terms of service.
In fact, they were recently edited by an external auditors, who conducted a completely independent review. The auditors reviewed NordVPN's servers and code and found that indeed, the company does not log any identifiable user information.
I really appreciate this transparency, which goes to show that the folks at NordVPN actually care about their users' privacy and anonymity and are willing to go the extra mile to make us feel completely safe.
When I contacted their support team for further clarification, I was told that they do log some data, such as server performance reports, email addresses and payment details (but if you prefer to remain completely anonymous, you can pay with bitcoin or a variety of other cryptocurrencies).
I don't lose sleep over this, as it is standard practice for VPN companies. As long as they're not logging any personally identifiable information, I'm happy.
However, when I borrowed a friend's Android device to check the app, I noticed that the developer listed was a US-based company called CloudVPN (not to be confused with a different VPN with a similar name). This could have been a problem as the US is subjected to stricter governmental and mandatory data retention laws, since it is part of the 5-Eyes and 14-Eyes Alliance.
This had me somewhat concerned about jurisdiction issues, but when I contacted NordVPN once again, the service agent explained (very patiently) that CloudVPN is a service they use for registering Android and iOS apps and processing PayPal payments.
I asked a contact at PayPal about this, and she confirmed that this is common, legitimate practice for companies registered in exotic locations like Panama.
NordVPN receives thousands of requests to deliver data about their users, but so far, there has never been a single complaint about a privacy breach. Me? I'm still happy.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
It's obvious that the folks at NordVPN are constantly working to improve their service and technology, regularly adding new features and benefits.
They keep their Android and iOS apps up-to-date, and these apps are almost as good as the desktop versions.
This is exactly what you want to see in a VPN company, especially if you're considering investing in a long-term plan.
Another one of those recent features is the popular Chrome extension.
It's important to note that this is not actually a standalone VPN, but a proxy that allows you to quickly change your IP address from your Chrome browser. While I wouldn't call this a security flaw, I would like to see them take the extra step and connect it to their full VPN app.
Don’t miss out on NordVPN’s special Holidays deal
: For a limited time, they are offering the 3-year plan for only $2.99 per month.
NordVPN offers a range of flexible and convenient payment methods, including VISA, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, Alipay, Paymentwall, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies.
If you live in the US, you can also purchase a subscription with cash at Fry’s Electronics and Micro Center stores.
The prices change according to the length of your subscription, and all plans offer the same features.
Your plan will renew automatically, so you will need to remember to cancel it manually or you will be charged again once your subscription expires.
Get the Deal Now
Free Trial and Money-Back Guarantee
You can try NordVPN
risk-free with a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee (although to get your refund, you have to talk to a service representative via live chat or email and give them your reason for quitting).
However, I have a feeling that once you start using NordVPN, you won't want to say goodbye.
About 'em Rumors
How Does NordVPN Compare?
NordVPN isn’t the cheapest VPN out there, but it’s one of the best when it comes to your security and value for money.
It passed all of my tests with flying colors, and many of its features - like CyberSec - went above and beyond my expectations.
- Easy to use
- Blazing speeds
- Unblocks Netflix
- Military-grade security
- Lacks transparency
- Refunds can take up to a few days depending on the payment method
- Can’t unblock DAZN or Netflix France
As far as I'm concerned, if you're looking to invest in a long-term VPN service plan, NordVPN is an excellent choice for just about anyone.