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NovaVPN Review 2022: User-Friendly, But Short On Features
NovaVPN has private DNS servers and a solid no-logs policy, but is it as secure as it seems? The server network is a bit small but it's able to unblock Netflix and a few more popular sites, including some in China.
The P2P optimized servers make torrenting a breeze but the lack of a kill switch for mobile could put your data at risk if the VPN fails. Overall, it will need a little work before it can compete with trusted services, especially since it only offers some of its features on specific devices.
I was able to unblock several popular streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, 9Now, Amazon Prime, and more. I was also able to gain access to a couple of sites in China, like Sohu. Speeds were fast enough to stream reliably in HD, so you can watch movies without worrying about buffering.
I was unable to watch BBC iPlayer which surprised me considering it was able to access sites in China, a country notorious for internet and VPN restrictions.
Unblocks: Netflix, Hulu, 9Now, Sohu, and more
I was able to stream several popular sites reliably in HD
Blocked By: BBC iPlayer
NovaVPN was unable to break through BBC iPlayer's geoblocking
Download speeds were fast enough to view content in HD on all of the servers I tested and upload speeds were really good in most areas, the ping speeds were far too slow for gaming on most of the servers.
Speeds decreased significantly from base speeds even while connected to a US server
After connecting to a server in the US my base download speeds dropped by 98%, I decided to try another location to see if the speeds would be better. I connected to a server in Maryland as shown in the graph, the download speed was still 90% slower than my base speed. I prefer no more than a 20-30% drop in speeds, that way my daily activities like browsing, streaming, and uploading massive amounts of photos to the cloud aren't interrupted. To give you an idea of standard speeds for these activities, check the list below.
Streaming in HD: 5Mbps download
Streaming in UltraHD: 25Mbps download
Video Chat: 1.2-50Mbps upload, 150ms max ping
Gaming: 20-100ms ping, 5Mbps upload, and 15-50Mbps download
Uploading to social media: 5-15Mbps upload
Luckily, the upload speeds weren't affected as much and only suffered a 21% drop. The pingback was also in the acceptable range for gaming.
Download speeds continued to decrease for both the UK and China servers I tested, 95% and 97% respectively. Upload speeds for the UK were only 11% slower than my base speed, which is excellent for being so far from my true location. On the other side, understandably, the ping speeds increased above acceptable levels for gaming in both the UK and China.
Usually the Australian servers give me the worst download speeds but NovaVPN's Australian server produced faster speeds that the nearest location I tested in the US! I was very surprised, I was able to stream Netflix Australia and 9Now in HD and in some cases UltraHD. Gaming and video chat are out of the question but you could comfortably upload large photo files without issues.
Is NovaVPN Fast Enough for Gaming? Not On Most Servers
The download and upload speeds on most servers are acceptable for gaming but the high pingback speeds could create issues with lag and disconnects. Ping is the amount of time it takes for your data to travel from your device, to the server, process, and travel back to your device again. If pingback is too high, you will have major latency issues.
There are a couple of impressive security features including optional DoubleVPN and a kill switch. Double VPN offers twice the encryption, which means twice the security. It also offers an Auto On feature in Settings, for Android and iOS.
I was also able to choose between TCP and UDP for encryption. Generally, UDP gives better speeds for streaming but TCP is more reliable as a whole (even if it slows you down a bit). Either way the service features military-grade encryption to help protect your data as it travels the web.
NovaVPN has a solid no-logs policy and the IP/DNS leak test I performed showed it doesn't leak your address or requests.
NovaVPN didn't leak my IP address or DNS requests
Is NovaVPN Safe for Torrenting?
There weren't any IP address or DNS request leaks, so your tracking shouldn't be an issue. It also offers P2P optimized servers in multiple locations. Add private DNS on all servers that helps further reduce the risk of leaks and its secure enough to torrent anonymously.
On the downside, the kill switch is only available for Windows. If you want a VPN with a kill switch for multiple apps, that works well for torrenting try one of these.
NovaVPN has 83+ servers in 22 countries including (but not limited to) the UK, Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
While the server network is a bit small, the wide distribution of servers worldwide offers plenty of connection opportunities. It also offers P2P optimized servers in the Netherlands and Russia.
Does NovaVPN Work for China? Yes
I was able to easily access Chinese news sites, including Sohu. Keep in mind the kill switch isn't available for mobile though, if you're a citizen of China using NovaVPN you could end up in hot water if the server fails. Server speeds were also fairly slow during non-peak hours, so it may be hit or miss during high traffic.
Simultaneous Device Connections
NovaVPN allows you to connect to up to 6 devices on one license. A nice feature if you want to cover multiple devices without the extra cost, or have multiple users in one household.
The website for NovaVPN says it's compatible with macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android. The fine print in its knowledge base clarifies that a bit further, saying it only supports macOS 10.12 or later and Windows 7 or later. While most mac and Window enthusiasts have upgraded to one of these versions, it's worth noting for anyone still running Vista or El Capitan.
Installation & Apps
NovaVPN has a well-organized interface. It's Quick Connect feature automatically connects you to the closest server by clicking on the Start button. If you want a specific location you can select one from the Locations list, it also gives you the option to let NovaVPN help you choose a list of P2P optimized locations as well.
One of my favorite aspects was the Favorites list, where you can earmark all of your most used servers for easy access later.
You can select a server from the list or let NovaVPN help you choose a location
Setup & Installation - Fast and Simple
Setting up NovaVPN for mobile or desktop takes less than 3 minutes. I simply downloaded the app, selected a plan, signed in, and used the Help Me Choose option to connect to a server.
As far as Setting go on mobile there isn't anything to special, including additional security features. The available settings include Notifications (on by default), Connect On Startup, and use TCP. The Account options are much the same, you can upgrade your plan, make a payment, or change your password. The Terms and Conditions are also located under Account.
NovaVPN offers Medium (daily), Heavy ($6 every six months), and Super-Heavy ($12 annually) plans. Each plan costs a dollar a month, but larger plans provide extra benefits. All plans feature unlimited data and access to all available servers.
Accepted payment methods include Visa, Mastercard, and Maestro.
Reliability & Support
There isn't an option for live chat support. You'll need to submit a ticket and wait for the response.
NovaVPN has a simple but helpful knowledge base, that has the answers to most common navigation and set up questions. The knowledge base is located in Help Desk, which also contains its ticketing system for 24/7 customer support.
Well-organized but not ready to compete with the best just yet.
NovaVPN is has a clean interface that's easy to navigate, user-friendly, and the organization is on point. Still, it needs to make the kill switch available on all supported devices and look into adding a few other popular features like an ad blocker, live chat support, and browser extensions.
If you want a VPN that can stream, torrent, and packs a punch when it comes to additional features, check out our top VPNs.
No. NovaVPN currently doesn't offer extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or any other browser, it's only available for macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android. If you want a great VPN for Chrome, take a look at one of these providers.
Is NovaVPN safe?
Yes. I didn't find anything in my research or testing that shows NovaVPN isn't safe, though making the kill switch available for all platforms would go a long way toward protecting users on every platform.
Can NovaVPN unblock Netflix?
Yes. I was able to unblock Netflix US, Australia, and Canada using NovaVPN. I was unable to access Netflix France though. If you want to get access to more Netflix libraries and other great services like BBC iPlayer, try one of these VPNs for movies.