NordVPN Review by our expert
Rating ?
4.8 / 5.0
Features 5.0 / 5.0
Ease of Use 5.0 / 5.0
Pricing 4.8 / 5.0
Reliability & Support 5.0 / 5.0

NordVPN is a great one-size-fits-all VPN that works seamlessly with iOS and MacOS devices. So, it doesn't matter if you're using an iPad or MacBook or both, NordVPN works on all of them. And, with up to six simultaneous connections and the ability to run the VPN on a router, you can use the VPN on all of your devices without a problem. The best part? Unlike ...

updated: Dec 12, 2018
NordVPN User Reviews
4.8
Bobby
Dec 12, 2018
  •  5
I have Nord VPN on all of my devices

It helps me a lot while I'm traveling. I use Nord VPN on the public WiFi too. I can feel safe with this provider. Also. I'm so happy, that from now it works on Linux. So Nord VPN covers all my devices.


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    Laskart Vanessa
    Dec 6, 2018
    •  5
    Very good

    I have a very good experience with NordVPN. I am able to access to the US Netflix library and my connection works good. I recommend NordVPN to all users. It’s also very easy to set up. For any question or issue the online chat is very efficient.


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      Jesus Vivara
      Dec 5, 2018
      •  4
      Helpful and easy to install

      NordVPN is really easy to install in every device, downloads in some servers up the limit of downloads and improve the internet connection, the servers are really specialized and the software includes an additional protection for your connection.


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        Features Description
        Number of Server Locations (countries) 62
        Number of servers 4701
        Number of IP Addresses 2254
        Does VPN keep logs No
        Includes Kill Switch Yes
        Devices per license 6
        Ease of use - NordVPN 5.0 / 5.0

        NordVPN is really simple to install and download. The user-friendly website and apps make it easy to choose a plan, pay for it, and get started.

        What I love about it:
        - Effortless download and installation
        - OpenVPN is automatically configured
        - Easy to choose servers in different countries
        - The app recommends specialized servers suited to your needs

        What I don’t like as much:
        - Other security protocols need to be set up manually, which can be tricky.
        - I'm not crazy about the map interface, but maybe it's just me - many users seem to like it.

        Download

        Watch the short video review and tutorial below of NordVPN
        Pricing 4.8 / 5.0
        3-Year Plan
        $2.99 /month
        1-Year Plan
        $6.99 /month
        1-Month Plan
        $11.95/month

        Don’t miss out on NordVPN’s Winter Holiday deal ! For a limited time, you can get the 3-year plan for only $2.99 a month.

        NordVPN accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Paypal, Alipay, Paymentwall, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies. If you are in the US, you can also pay in cash at a few dozen different locations.

        The prices change according to subscription length, not the number of features. Keep in mind that the plans renew automatically, so you have to cancel manually or you will be charged again once your subscription runs out.

        The 30-day money-back guarantee means you can try out NordVPN risk-free.

        Reliability & Support 5.0 / 5.0

        Customer support is one of the main areas where NordVPN really outshines the competition. Chances are you will never need to contact their team, but if you do, you can count on a prompt, friendly reply.

        While the NordVPN website offers an excellent FAQ section and a wealth of guides and step-by-step tutorials, the live chat is always available and it's the best place to get a quick answer. You can even ask them general questions about VPNs, even if you don't end up buying theirs.

        We tested NordVPN’s refund policy and found that they do indeed return users' money as promised.

        The Bottom Line
        Ariel Hochstadt
        (Ex-Google, International tech speaker)
        Second year in a row winning the Best VPN Award says it all!

        NordVPN is one VPN that has it all. It's fast and super secure, it can unblock almost anything on the web, it has servers all over the world, and it's very reasonably priced. While there are a few things we would like them to improve – if you're looking for a reliable, trustworthy and affordable VPN, NordVPN is the way to go.

        NordVPN
        4.8 / 5.0
        Detailed expert review of NordVPN
        Ariel Hochstadt
        (Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

        There’s no doubt that NordVPN is the hottest name on the VPN market these days, despite the rumors that pestered it lately that it logs users data.

        At first glance, it’s hard to find any flaws in NordVPN. It can bypass even the trickiest VPN blocks to access Netflix USA and more than 100 other heavily guarded streaming services, including HBO Go, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.

        It also boasts an impressive list of advanced security and privacy features.

        Let’s take a closer look at NordVPN and see why, despite a couple of shortcomings, it’s the best VPN your money can buy.

        Not only that, but the company is offering an amazing deal for a limited time - get the 3-year plan for only $2.99 a month.

        Get the Deal Now!


        nordvpn review (1)

        Overview of NordVPN’s Features

        Ease of Use: 5/5
        Performance: 5/5
        Speed: 4.5/5
        Servers: 4/5

        Ease of Use

        First off, I’ll admit I’m no VPN newbie. I use a bunch of different ones on a daily basis. I was pleased to see that while NordVPN is very easy to set up and start using – it even recommends specialized servers to suit your needs, which is great for beginners – it also offers plenty of features for advanced users, such as the ability to manually configure your VPN protocol.

        What beginners will love about NordVPN:

        • Effortless download and installation
        • User-friendly map interface
        • Easy to switch between servers
        • Automatically selects the best server for your needs
        • OpenVPN protocol is automatically configured
        • Great customer support + guides and tutorials

         

        Experienced VPN users are sure to appreciate:

        • Supports additional security protocols, including IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP
        • Double VPN feature encrypts your traffic twice
        • DNS leak protection
        • Onion over VPN

         

        Reliability and Support

        The NordVPN website offers an extensive FAQ and help section, which includes a wealth of guides and tutorials - but if you run into any trouble, the 24/7 live chat support is always there to help you out.

        Email support is also available, but response time can be up to 48 hours, so the live chat is usually your best bet.

        I contacted support on several different occasions and the team was always friendly, knowledgeable and professional. You can even ask them general questions about VPNs, even if you aren’t a NordVPN customer.

        Streaming Netflix (and Everything Else)

        I tested NordVPN with various streaming services and found that it can easily get around VPN blocks and access Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and SlingTV.

        I had no problem connecting to these services on my Windows PC or my iPad.

        However, I could not access DAZN in any country, and I also had some trouble connecting to Netflix France.

        NordVPN infographic streaming services

        NordVPN’s SmartPlay technology offers a smooth, buffer-free streaming experience, and you can find a handy, up-to-date list of servers for each service in the help section on the company’s website.

        When you encounter a geoblocked website, SmartPlay will automatically switch you to a server that can unblock it, so you don’t need to manually change your settings.

        Start Streaming Now

        Built-In Ad Blocker:

        I tried to stream directly from a couple of my favorite TV channels’ websites as well.

        I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the new CyberSec feature, which detects and blocks ads (and even nastier stuff, like malware and DDoS attacks), successfully eliminated all those annoying pop-up ads you sometimes get on streaming sites. I was able to watch an entire episode of Arrow with no interruptions.

        Interestingly, CyberSec also blocks ads on YouTube videos - one of the main features that YouTube Premium subscribers pay top dollar for, included in your VPN package!

        Torrenting and P2P

        If it’s torrenting you’re after, you’ll be glad to know that NordVPN has designated P2P servers that allow you to access torrent sites from anywhere in the world while keeping you anonymous and safe.

        Apps and Extensions: What Does NordVPN Work On?

        NordVPN offers apps for every major platform, including Windows , MacOS, Android , iOS , Android TV, and Linux.

        There are also browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, and you can even install it on your router.

        You can connect up to six devices simultaneously with a single account, which is great for small businesses, large families or gadget freaks like me.

        nordvpn review (2)

        Server Network

        Nord VPN operates more than 5,000 servers (and counting) in over 60 locations, with almost 2,000 in the US alone.

        It's nice to see they have servers in several countries where internet censorship is a serious issue, such as Russia and Turkey.

        However, I wouldn't mind seeing a wider selection of servers in the Middle East and Africa.

        Speaking of censorship, NordVPN does work in China but only if you install it before you get there.

        The Need for Speed

        Now, let's talk about speed. I don't care who you are or where you live – if you use the internet, you hate buffering and lagging. And you certainly don't have time to sit around staring at a blank screen while you wait for sites to load.

        You'd think running a simple speed test while using NordVPN would be a good way to tell if it's a fast VPN or not, but speed tests can actually be quite misleading.

        Your VPN connection speed depends on a number of factors, such as your server location and its distance from where you are situated, how many other users are connected to that same server and even the time of day.

        However, speed tests can tell us if we’ve lost speed by connecting to a VPN.

        A small amount of speed loss is almost unavoidable when using a VPN because our data is traveling a greater distance to the server we’re using.

        Optimally, the slowdown shouldn’t be noticeable - and if you’re experiencing ISP throttling or using a congested network, you might even gain speed.

        With this in mind, I tested NordVPN to see if there was a difference in speed - and I was happily surprised.

        My speed before connecting to NordVPN:

        nordvpn review (3)

        My speed after connecting to NordVPN using its auto connect feature:

        nordvpn review (4)

        When I connected to an international server, my latency suffered a little, but was well within normal limits. Most importantly, I barely noticed a change in my loading times while browsing and watching videos.

        nordvpn review (5)

        I can say that from my own personal experience, while there used to be some buffering and lagging issues with NordVPN in the past, its connection speeds have dramatically improved – I'd even go as far as to say that while I was using it over the past couple of months, I couldn't believe how fast it was.

        NordVPN’s Privacy and Security Features

        Data security: 5/5
        Anonymity: 5/5
        Reliability: 5/5

        For me, a VPN is about more than just good entertainment and file sharing. Before I invest my hard-earned cash in a VPN, I want to know exactly what it is going to do for me and my online privacy, and how well it is going to do it.

        Features Overview:

        • 2048-bit encryption
        • Double VPN
        • IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN
        • DNS leak prevention
        • Automatic kill switch
        • Built-in malware and botnet blocker
        • Onion over VPN

         

        Military-grade Security:

        NordVPN offers all the basic security features, such as 2048-bit encryption, a nice variety of protocols (including OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2/IPsec), and DNS leak protection.

        If all these acronyms mean nothing to you, don’t panic – when you connect to a NordVPN app, it will automatically select the best encryption settings for your needs.

        Double VPN:

        NordVPN’s Double VPN feature sends your data through two different servers, encrypting it not once, but twice.

        To be honest, unless you’re a political activist or journalist working in a censorship-heavy country, this is probably way more encryption than you actually need – but in this crazy world we live in, I guess you never know when your privacy could suddenly be put at risk.

        DNS Leak Prevention:

        I tested NordVPN for IPv6, IPv4 and DNS leaks and could not find any at all, even when trying to crash the app in attempt to find a hole (you can read more on that here).

        Automatic Kill Switch:

        Kill switches are rapidly becoming an industry standard, and NordVPN's kill switch offers different settings: in case your VPN connection drops (a very rare occurrence), you can choose if you want it to instantly disconnect you from the internet or just shut down certain apps.

        Built-in Botnet and Malware Protection:

        CyberSec is one of NordVPN’s most impressive features, in more ways than one. If you visit a website that is associated with dangerous activity - like malware - CyberSec will kick in and prevent you from accessing it.

        It’ll also safeguard against botnet control, even if your device is already infected malware.

        Onion over VPN:

        Onion over VPN, which allows you to use the VPN service in combination with Tor, is another nice feature you won't find in every VPN, and it's good to have if you're in a situation where your anonymity and privacy are particularly important to you.

        Dedicated IP:

        For an extra fee, you can get your own dedicated IP, which can be convenient if you need to maintain the same IP address whenever you connect through VPN.

        Is NordVPN Safe?

        Data Logging: Do They, or Don't They?

        NordVPN outlines its no-logs policy very clearly in its privacy documents and terms of service.

        nordvpn review (6)

        In a recent audit by PWC, independent auditors reviewed NordVPN's servers and code and found that indeed, the company does not log any identifiable user information. I really appreciate this transparency, which goes to show that the folks at NordVPN actually care about their users' privacy and anonymity and are willing to go the extra mile to make us feel completely safe.

        When I contacted their support team for further clarification, I was told that they do log some data, such as server performance reports, email addresses and payment details (but if you prefer to remain completely anonymous, you can pay with bitcoin or a variety of other cryptocurrencies).

        I don't lose sleep over this, as it is standard practice for VPN companies. As long as they're not logging any personally identifiable information, I'm happy.

        However, when I borrowed a friend's Android device to check the app, I noticed that the developer listed was a US-based company called CloudVPN (not to be confused with a different VPN with a similar name). This could have been a problem as the US is subjected to stricter governmental and mandatory data retention laws, since it is part of the 5-Eyes and 14-Eyes Alliance.

        This had me somewhat concerned about jurisdiction issues, but when I contacted NordVPN once again, the service agent explained (very patiently) that CloudVPN is a service they use for registering Android and iOS apps and processing PayPal payments.

        I asked a contact at PayPal about this, and she confirmed that this is common, legitimate practice for companies registered in exotic locations like Panama.

        nordvpn review (7)

        NordVPN receives thousands of requests to deliver data about their users, but so far, there has never been a single complaint about a privacy breach. Me? I'm still happy.

        Staying Ahead of the Curve

        It's obvious that the folks at NordVPN are constantly working to improve their service and technology, regularly adding new features and benefits.

        They keep their Android and iOS apps up-to-date, and these apps are almost as good as the desktop versions.

        This is exactly what you want to see in a VPN company, especially if you're considering investing in a long-term plan.

        Another one of those recent features is the popular Chrome extension.

        It's important to note that this is not actually a standalone VPN, but a proxy that allows you to quickly change your IP address from your Chrome browser. While I wouldn't call this a security flaw, I would like to see them take the extra step and connect it to their full VPN app.

        nordvpn review (8)nordvpn review (9)

        Pricing

        Don’t miss out on NordVPN’s special Holidays deal : For a limited time, they are offering the 3-year plan for only $2.99 per month.

        NordVPN offers a range of flexible and convenient payment methods, including VISA, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, Alipay, Paymentwall, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies.

        If you live in the US, you can also purchase a subscription with cash at Fry’s Electronics and Micro Center stores.

        The prices change according to the length of your subscription, and all plans offer the same features.

        Your plan will renew automatically, so you will need to remember to cancel it manually or you will be charged again once your subscription expires.

        Get the Deal Now

        Free Trial and Money-Back Guarantee

        You can try NordVPN risk-free with a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee (although to get your refund, you have to talk to a service representative via live chat or email and give them your reason for quitting).

        However, I have a feeling that once you start using NordVPN, you won't want to say goodbye.

        About 'em Rumors

         

        How Does NordVPN Compare?

        The Verdict

        NordVPN isn’t the cheapest VPN out there, but it’s one of the best when it comes to your security and value for money.

        It passed all of my tests with flying colors, and many of its features - like CyberSec - went above and beyond my expectations.

        Pros:

        • Easy to use
        • Blazing speeds
        • Unblocks Netflix
        • Military-grade security

         

        Cons:

        • Lacks transparency
        • Refunds can take up to 30 days
        • Can’t unblock DAZN or Netflix France

        As far as I'm concerned, if you're looking to invest in a long-term VPN service plan, NordVPN is an excellent choice for just about anyone.

        • 4000 Servers in over 60 Countries
        • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
        • No Logging Policy
        • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
        • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
        • Get started with NordVPN now
        Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
        Mobile app:
        Devices per license: 6
        VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
        Ariel Hochstadt
        (Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

        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.

        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. Even though their support rep was rather convincing, I cannot 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 130 servers, so there should be at least one that is accepted by the TV sites you want to watch. Belgium, however, has only 48 servers.

        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.

        • 4000 Servers in over 60 Countries
        • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
        • No Logging Policy
        • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
        • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
        • Get started with NordVPN now
        Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
        Mobile app:
        Devices per license: 6
        VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
        Ariel Hochstadt
        (Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

        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 4,000 servers in 60 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.

        NordVPN settings - windows

        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.

        • 4000 Servers in over 60 Countries
        • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
        • No Logging Policy
        • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
        • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
        • Get started with NordVPN now
        Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
        Mobile app:
        Devices per license: 6
        VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
        Ariel Hochstadt
        (Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

        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.

        • 4000 Servers in over 60 Countries
        • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
        • No Logging Policy
        • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
        • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
        • Get started with NordVPN now
        Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
        Mobile app:
        Devices per license: 6
        VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
        Ariel Hochstadt
        (Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

        NordVPN is a great one-size-fits-all VPN that works seamlessly with iOS and MacOS devices. So, it doesn't matter if you're using an iPad or MacBook or both, NordVPN works on all of them. And, with up to six simultaneous connections and the ability to run the VPN on a router, you can use the VPN on all of your devices without a problem. The best part? Unlike other premium VPNs, NordVPn is super affordable, and 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. From “lightning speed” and no logs to an “automatic kill switch,” NordVPN it pretty convincing from the homepage. Exceptionally fast and secure, and with an easy to use interface, 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). They are super helpful and guide you on installing and running the VPN.

        You would think that such a high-functioning VPN would cost a lot, but NordVPN knows how important it is to be affordable. They constantly have incredible deals and coupons to save you up to 77%!

        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.

        NordVPN settings - Mac

        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 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.

        • 4000 Servers in over 60 Countries
        • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
        • No Logging Policy
        • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
        • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
        • Get started with NordVPN now
        Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
        Mobile app:
        Devices per license: 6
        VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
        Ariel Hochstadt
        (Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

        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.

        • 4000 Servers in over 60 Countries
        • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
        • No Logging Policy
        • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
        • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
        • Get started with NordVPN now
        Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
        Mobile app:
        Devices per license: 6
        VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
        Ariel Hochstadt
        (Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

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

        Operating under the jurisdiction of Panama, NordVPN has a network of 1000 servers located in 57 countries. Their VPN servers support a number of configurations for encryption and specific uses like file sharing and streaming media. They offer regular VPN connections with strong encryption options such as 2048 bit SSL for the OpenVPN protocol or AES-256 bit encryption for the L2TP protocol. If you need more security, then you can connect to their Double VPN server where traffic is routed through two servers and encrypted with two layers of AES-256-CBC encryption. The OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP with IPSec protocols are supported on all their servers. The service supports up to 6 simultaneous connections so you can connect all of your devices.

        PROTECTION

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

        Nord Settings NordVPN Protection Settings

        Some of their servers are also equipped with dual VPN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        BUGS

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

        Nord Devices Bug

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

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

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

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

        Nord Crash Bug

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

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

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

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

        STABILITY

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

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

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

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

        USE

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

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

        How to choose the server with the fastest speed

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

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

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

        How to avoid being rejected by websites that ban some IPs

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

        Nord IP Detection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        SPEED

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

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

        Speed Test- Baseline
        My connection without VPN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • 4000 Servers in over 60 Countries
        • 2048-bit SSL Encryption
        • No Logging Policy
        • Double VPN and Tor VPN Connections
        • VPN Gateways Tuned for Streaming Media
        • Get started with NordVPN now
        Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
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        VPN Plans: www.nordvpn.com
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