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

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-bi...

NordVPN User Reviews
4.7
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Nitish
Jul 22, 2017
  •  5
Mac 9/10 , iOS 8/10

The client provided for Mac is fabulous . Works exactly as expected . Great speed , stability and vast choice of countries to access content . I have noticed disconnections although they are rare. The kill switch works great if the disconnection does happen. The client provided for iOS is a little unstable . There are intermittent disconnections . The performance has definitely improved after the recent update . Not sure how the kill switch works on iOS . Need some tool tips around that . iOS 10.3.2 . NordVPN app is up to date.


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Ronny
Jul 21, 2017
  •  5
Good prices, easy to set up.

Works seamlessly, don't even notice it. I can use Netflix and get more movie content without regional problems. I had it up and running in a couple of minutes, from downloading, setting up, to running.


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Alfred
Jul 20, 2017
  •  5
Good value for money

Good value for money - I like it is located in Panama and have strict no log policy, also they provide the biggest list of streaming services. I asked customer guy to provide streaming services they support and he dropped doc with a list of over 400+ channels


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Notable Features
Excellent security and privacy
  • Strict no log policy for VPN, Encrypted chat, (they keep minimal data for website - for login and subscription process)
  • Automatic kill switch (programs must be specified in advance)
  • For those especially concerned with privacy, NordVPN offers an extra security solution – Onion over VPN
Several specialized networks, including
  • Streaming video
  • Tor over VPN
  • Double data encryption, 9 servers in 7 countries for that (Canada, Hong Kong, Latvia, Netherland, UK and US)
Unlimited bandwidth and multiple devices per account
  • No Bandwidth Limit
  • P2P allowed
  • Connect up to 6 Devices under one account
Features Description
Number of Server Locations (countries) 57
Number of servers 1000
Number of IP Addresses 1000
Does VPN keep logs No
Includes Kill Switch Yes
Devices per license 6
How to use NordVPN 5.0 / 5.0

NordVPN is extremely easy to use. You simply download it within seconds, install it, and choose a server:

- Go to nordvpn.com

- Click on Get VPN now.

- Choose your VPN plan.

- Fill in payment details.

- Once it downloads on your computer, simply and unzip the file, install it, and start it.

Download

Installation and setup of both the desktop and mobile versions was easy and straightforward. Server selection defaults to simply selecting a country from a world map, but you can switch to a list of countries and choose a specific server for a particular country.

Although you can manage and configure your account within the application, it is still probably easier to first create your account online at the NordVPN web site and then download/install the application.

If you run into any problems or questions, I suggest that you use the live chat support, which I found to be very fast and effective.

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. NordVPN is offering a special discount of 72% off their 2-year subscription and 67% off their one-year subscription, which makes their prices totally affordable.

They accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Paypal, Bitcoin, and Paymentwall.

In addition to standard credit cards, NordVPN also accepts Paypal and Bitcoin for payment.

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. If you have any trouble applying the code, see our post Applying Tricky Nord Codes.

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. I did feel that there wasn’t a real person on the site though, which was very different from my more personal experience with the TunnelBear crew. However, having 24/7 customer support is a big plus.

The NordVPN web site includes a very large set of detailed and comprehensive tutorials for configuring VPN options on a wide variety of platforms and devices.

NordVPN offers support in several forms, including social media, if you should have any questions or problem. I found the live chat support to be very fast and effective.

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
Easy to use, reliable, and includes advanced privacy features.

The bottom line is that NordVPN simply has everything to offer. It’s fast, it’s super secure, it has servers everywhere, and it’s very reasonably priced. There are no real drawbacks to choosing this site at all.

It even won PCMag Editors' Choice award. What’s more to consider?

NordVPN is a high quality and reliable VPN. Both the desktop and mobile apps are simple to install and have an easy-to-use user interface, with the ability to choose a country/server via a world map or detailed list.

In addition to a strict no logging policy, NordVPN offers several advanced privacy features, such as Double data encryption servers in several countries and Onion over Tor connections.

Your account includes up to six connected devices and there is no bandwidth limit. NordVPN succeed in allowing us to unblock both Netflix and BBC videos. Access speeds were somewhat varied, but overall more than acceptable.

NordVPN definitely offers a great combination of simple ease-of-use and advanced and unique privacy features, for a very reasonable price.

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 as the best VPN out there. It has excellent reviews nicely propped on the homepage from very happy customers, as well as links to articles by big wig industry publications like PC Mag, Forbes etc. You get the point.

I wanted to figure out what all the fuss was about, so I took it upon myself to do my own audit:

NordVPN really speaks to its users. It’s an entire package of unbeatable specs 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” to no logs to an “automatic kill switch,” the site had me convinced 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 is my number one choice. I also have to say that I was able to stream Netflix at a high speed, which is something not a lot of other VPNs can accomplish.

Under the support section, they have some handy tutorials for users with pretty much any operating system. 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 was 52% less than signing up for one month – as my general rule of thumb is to sign up to online services one month at a time. After all, you never know what better stuff might appear on the market. So, I chose the one month plan of $11.95, which turned out more expensive than other VPN options.

However, I would definitely purchase the one-year plan if their service is going to stay like this!

 

 

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 takes privacy very seriously. NordVPN has a very strict no logs policy and the company headquarters are in Panama, which has no data retention laws.

Installing and configuring NordVPN is very straightforward. The user interface defaults to a simple map view for selecting country to connect to, but more advanced users can switch to a list view, which allows selection of specific servers in each country. For more advanced configuration settings, i.e. VPN protocols, step-by-step instructions and screenshots on provided on their web site. Desktop and mobile apps only support Open VPN with UDP and TCP protocol.

NordVPN allows up to six devices per account. The software works smoothly and reliably and performance is generally very good, although not always consistent. Pricing is very reasonable and flexible.

NordVPN offers customer support via live chat, email, and their support ticket system. They are also very active on Facebook and Twitter. While I got excellent answers to my support questions, the live chat response time was very fast, while the ticket response was rather slow.

NordVPN makes it very easy to cancel an account and to receive a refund if you cancel within the first 30 days. In both cases, I was able to rake the actions online and the changes were finalized very quickly.

  • 1000 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
  • Simple to install and manage
  • Support for wide range platforms and devices
  • 927 servers in 57 countries
  • Strict No Logging policy
  • Specialized server networks
  • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
  • 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.

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.

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 takes privacy very seriously. NordVPN has a very strict no logs policy and the company headquarters are in Panama, which has no data retention laws.

Installing and configuring NordVPN is very straightforward. The user interface defaults to a simple map view for selecting country to connect to, but more advanced users can switch to a list view, which allows selection of specific servers in each country. For more advanced configuration settings, i.e. VPN protocols, step-by-step instructions and screenshots on provided on their web site. Desktop and mobile apps only support Open VPN with UDP and TCP protocol.

NordVPN allows up to six devices per account. The software works smoothly and reliably and performance is generally very good, although not always consistent. Pricing is very reasonable and flexible.

NordVPN offers customer support via live chat, email, and their support ticket system. They are also very active on Facebook and Twitter. While I got excellent answers to my support questions, the live chat response time was very fast, while the ticket response was rather slow.

NordVPN makes it very easy to cancel an account and to receive a refund if you cancel within the first 30 days. In both cases, I was able to rake the actions online and the changes were finalized very quickly.

  • 1000 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
  • Simple to install and manage
  • Support for wide range platforms and devices
  • 927 servers in 57 countries
  • Strict No Logging policy
  • Specialized server networks
  • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
  • 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 1000 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.

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 takes privacy very seriously. NordVPN has a very strict no logs policy and the company headquarters are in Panama, which has no data retention laws.

Installing and configuring NordVPN is very straightforward. The user interface defaults to a simple map view for selecting country to connect to, but more advanced users can switch to a list view, which allows selection of specific servers in each country. For more advanced configuration settings, i.e. VPN protocols, step-by-step instructions and screenshots on provided on their web site. Desktop and mobile apps only support Open VPN with UDP and TCP protocol.

NordVPN allows up to six devices per account. The software works smoothly and reliably and performance is generally very good, although not always consistent. Pricing is very reasonable and flexible.

NordVPN offers customer support via live chat, email, and their support ticket system. They are also very active on Facebook and Twitter. While I got excellent answers to my support questions, the live chat response time was very fast, while the ticket response was rather slow.

NordVPN makes it very easy to cancel an account and to receive a refund if you cancel within the first 30 days. In both cases, I was able to rake the actions online and the changes were finalized very quickly.

  • 1000 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
  • Simple to install and manage
  • Support for wide range platforms and devices
  • 927 servers in 57 countries
  • Strict No Logging policy
  • Specialized server networks
  • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
  • 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 1000 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.

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 takes privacy very seriously. NordVPN has a very strict no logs policy and the company headquarters are in Panama, which has no data retention laws.

Installing and configuring NordVPN is very straightforward. The user interface defaults to a simple map view for selecting country to connect to, but more advanced users can switch to a list view, which allows selection of specific servers in each country. For more advanced configuration settings, i.e. VPN protocols, step-by-step instructions and screenshots on provided on their web site. Desktop and mobile apps only support Open VPN with UDP and TCP protocol.

NordVPN allows up to six devices per account. The software works smoothly and reliably and performance is generally very good, although not always consistent. Pricing is very reasonable and flexible.

NordVPN offers customer support via live chat, email, and their support ticket system. They are also very active on Facebook and Twitter. While I got excellent answers to my support questions, the live chat response time was very fast, while the ticket response was rather slow.

NordVPN makes it very easy to cancel an account and to receive a refund if you cancel within the first 30 days. In both cases, I was able to rake the actions online and the changes were finalized very quickly.

  • 1000 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
  • Simple to install and manage
  • Support for wide range platforms and devices
  • 927 servers in 57 countries
  • Strict No Logging policy
  • Specialized server networks
  • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
  • 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 1000 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.

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 takes privacy very seriously. NordVPN has a very strict no logs policy and the company headquarters are in Panama, which has no data retention laws.

Installing and configuring NordVPN is very straightforward. The user interface defaults to a simple map view for selecting country to connect to, but more advanced users can switch to a list view, which allows selection of specific servers in each country. For more advanced configuration settings, i.e. VPN protocols, step-by-step instructions and screenshots on provided on their web site. Desktop and mobile apps only support Open VPN with UDP and TCP protocol.

NordVPN allows up to six devices per account. The software works smoothly and reliably and performance is generally very good, although not always consistent. Pricing is very reasonable and flexible.

NordVPN offers customer support via live chat, email, and their support ticket system. They are also very active on Facebook and Twitter. While I got excellent answers to my support questions, the live chat response time was very fast, while the ticket response was rather slow.

NordVPN makes it very easy to cancel an account and to receive a refund if you cancel within the first 30 days. In both cases, I was able to rake the actions online and the changes were finalized very quickly.

  • 1000 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
  • Simple to install and manage
  • Support for wide range platforms and devices
  • 927 servers in 57 countries
  • Strict No Logging policy
  • Specialized server networks
  • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
  • 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 1000 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 t