NordVPN review

TOP rank 9.8 Reviewed by Jayden Andrews
February 10, 2020

Would I recommend NordVPN? I think you already know the answer. It is one of the best VPN apps on the market, and if you are interested in a VPN product that will not disappoint on any front, you should definitely consider making the purchase.

NordVPN has some novel security features, such as the one dubbed Onion over VPN that adds an extra layer of protection when browsing on the Tor network. The company also has obfuscated servers that are ideal for surfing in countries, such as China and Sudan, where internet connections are restricted.

3 years: $3.49/month
Save 70%

Would I recommend NordVPN? I think you already know the answer. It is one of the best VPN apps on the market, and if you are interested in a VPN product that will not disappoint on any front, you should definitely consider making the purchase.

NordVPN has some novel security features, such as the one dubbed Onion over VPN that adds an extra layer of protection when browsing on the Tor network. The company also has obfuscated servers that are ideal for surfing in countries, such as China and Sudan, where internet connections are restricted.

9.9
Speed
9.9
Security
9.9
Compatibility
9.8
Price
9.8
Support
Pros
Over 5000 super-fast servers to choose from
Military-grade encryption and no-logs policy protect your privacy perfectly
Optimized for torrenting and streaming
Supports up to 6 simultaneous device connections: Desktop, Mobile, Smart TV, etc.
30-day money-back guarantee – get your money back if not satisfied, no questions asked
Cons
Pricy subscription plans
No phone line for customer support

Summary

Speed drop speedtest We check the speed with and without VPN, then calculate the average in percentage. The smaller the speed drop, the faster the VPN.
-6%
Logging
Strict no-log policy
IP, DNS Leaks
No
Jurisdiction The 5 Eyes (FVEY), 9 Eyes and 14 Eyes alliances impose laws that force VPN companies to hand over logs to the government upon request. Privacy Havens - These are countries where companies don't have to share their logs to the government and VPN users are completely protected.
Panama (Privacy Haven)
Servers
5100+
Countries
59
Netflix Unblock
Yes
Torrenting speed drop
0%Excellent
Simultaneous connections
6
Works in China
Yes, obfuscated servers
Support
24/7 Live Chat, Email
Kill switch
Yes
Encryption AES-256 is the most secure type of encryption today. Other standards like DES-CBC, AES-128 provide lower levels of security.
AES-256
Protocols OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec are the most popular protocols which provide optimal balance between speed and security.
IKEv2, OpenVPN
Platforms
Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows
Applications
Chrome, Firefox, Routers

Speed tests

Ordinary connection
Download: 2.1 Mbps
Ping: 173 Ms
Upload: 0.06 Mps

Speed throttling is an issue that every VPN app has to deal with. This is because VPN apps work by rerouting your internet traffic through an encrypted server, a process that if not handled properly, may grind your internet speeds to a halt. That is why we found it necessary to test NordVPN and see if setting up the connection with the app would, in any way, negatively impact the speed of my internet connection. For this test, we used an already slow 2 Mbps connection, it is easier to check for internet throttling that way.

Checking VPN servers

Verdict? When it comes to speed, NordVPN performs exceptionally well! As you can see, the speed from a server located thousands of miles away in Japan had the same exact speed as our original DNS server. It is a testament to how remarkably fast NordVPN’s servers are.

Norway
Download: 1.96 Mbps
Ping: 162 Ms
Upload: 0.07 Mbps
Japan
Download: 2.1 Mbps
Ping: 362 Ms
Upload: 0.16 Mbps
USA
Download: 2.05 Mbps
Ping: 502 Ms
Upload: 0.1 Mbps
Australia
Download: 1.8 Mbps
Ping: 407 Ms
Upload: 0.10 Mbps

Average speed drop: -6%Excellent

Servers

5100+ servers
59 countries

NordVPN has one of the highest numbers of servers among VPNs today. With a staggering network of 5100+ servers spread across 59 countries in Asia Pacific, the US, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India, finding the perfect server has become a lot easier with these many options. NordVPN uses a combination of obfuscated and regular servers to provide VPN users the optimal balance between speed and security.

Security features

For VPN apps, it is all about the ability to surf the internet anonymously. The app works by encrypting your data and assigning you IP addresses from any of their servers and in the process masks your real identity.

The way to test whether a VPN app meets this basic requirement is to run a series of security tests that look at the protocols in use, the data encryption methods employed, extra security features, and to perform IP and DNS leak tests.

Military Grade AES-256 Encryption

NordVPN uses the Advanced Encryption Standard or AES 256-bit that was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a US government entity charged with promoting and maintaining measurement standards. It is the same encryption method used by the US military and intelligence agencies to send classified information.

The AES encryption standard works well with a number of VPN protocols, such as OpenVPN and IKEv2.

OpenVPN Protocol

In layman’s terms, a protocol is a set of rules that guides how computers communicate. In this sense, VPN protocols maintain connections between different computers while encrypting and encapsulating the transferred data. They do this with the help of servers that are located all over the world. One of the most popular VPN protocols that helps with is OpenVPN.

OpenVPN is an open source software popular for its ease of use, strong security and compatibility features with advanced encryption standards, such as the AES 256-bit.

IKEv2

The Internet Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) is the most secure and fastest protocol at the moment. While IKEv2 was developed by Microsoft and Cisco and is hence propriety technology, there are several open source implementations like the one used by NordVPN.

By implementing these two protocols together with the AES encryption standard, a NordVPN connection is as secure as any can get.

Double VPN

The Double VPN feature is a privacy solution that encrypts your communication twice by sending it through two servers. Double VPN is available to Windows, Android and macOS users.

Onion over VPN

Onion over VPN is a security measure that adds an extra layer of protection over the Tor network.

Check all NordVPN features

Dedicated IP Servers

Dedicated IP servers are servers reserved to customers who have purchase them. That way, they no longer have to be assigned randomly generated IP addresses.

Obfuscated Servers

Obfuscated servers are servers that help bypass internet restrictions in countries such as China, Iran, and Sudan where governments monitor the internet traffic.

CyberSec

CyberSec is a technology that protects NordVPN users from malicious sites, unsafe connections, and ads. Due to Google’s ad policies, CyberSec is not able to protect users from ads if they download the app on Google Play.

Kill switch

NordVPN’s kill switch feature will automatically disconnect you from the internet when the app malfunctions, meaning that no matter what, your identity will always remain protected.

IP and DNS Leaks

There is only one way to know if your VPN connection is truly anonymous. That is to perform DNS and IP leak tests on a site such as Ipleak.org. I went ahead and performed tests on NordVPN and the following were the results. I connected to a server located in Canada and as you can see, there were no IP or DNS leakages.

In case you are wondering, an IP or DNS leakage would have revealed my real IP address and not the one assigned to me by the VPN app. In this case, it only showed that I was doing the test from Canada, thus confirming that I was truly anonymous. To further enhance the security of their service, NordVPN has added security features and measures that I think are worth mentioning.

IP leak results:
No leaks
DNS leak results:
No leaks

Logs policy

NordVPN has a strict no logs policy. They do not collect information on any of the following:

  • Incoming or outgoing IP addresses
  • Connection date and duration
  • Amount of data transferred
  • Websites that you visit
  • Files downloaded
  • And the software used

It is important to look at an app’s no logs policy because, while VPN servers hide your activities from your ISP, your VPN provider can still see what sites you visit.

NordVPN’s no logs policy can be found in the privacy section of the website.

Check NordVPN privacy policy

Unblocking Netflix

Is it possible to stream content on Netflix using NordVPN? This is actually a very important question and the answer is just as concerning. You see, companies like Netflix and ESPN serve different geographical regions different types of contents, with the best being reserved for North American and European audiences.

With the help of a VPN app, such as NordVPN, one can fool Netflix to believe that the user’s location is in the US or Canada. We just did that and Netflix was none the wiser.

Netflix
Netflix unblock status:
Success

Torrenting

For the next test, I wanted to see if it was possible to use a torrent client, such as uTorrent and still get your download on time. Going by the speeds I got during the speed tests, I was already certain that NordVPN would also ace this test.

Torrenting without VPN:
221 kb/sec
Torrenting with VPN:
221kb/sec
Speed deduction: 0%
Excellent

It might seem that the download speed shot up during the connection, but that is not the case. The thing is, the two speeds (with and without connection) are so closely matched that it is nearly impossible to tell them apart. It is a testament to how fast NordVPN’s connection is.

Tor Check

We also wanted to see how well NordVPN would perform over the Tor network. I even enabled their Onion over VPN security feature to gauge its performance. With a 2mbps connection, I was still able to stream HD content over the connection. For some reason, I felt that I was more anonymous than I had ever been surfing the internet.

I guess it was because I was already on a secure network, using the latest encryption techniques and with an extra layer of security dubbed Onion over VPN. If I had used one of those obfuscated servers, I bet I would have felt invisible.

Tor
Compatibility status:
Success

Platforms

Android
iOS
Linux
macOS
Windows
Chrome
Firefox
Routers
Simultaneous connections:
6 devices

NordVPN is available on the following platforms: Windows, Android, IOS, and Linux. I tested the app on a desktop computer and on my Android phone. Compared to other VPN apps that I have also tested, NordVPN seems to have the best desktop interface. It can fill a large portion of the screen, which means that you don’t have to strain to make out any of the features.

 

Customer Support

NordVPN

NordVPN customer support system is only available on mail and chat. I used the chat system to ask a few questions and the response was instant. It, however, took a few hours before they responded on mail. I would say that the customer support system is above average.

Support channels:
Email
Live chat
Help center
Phone line

Pricing

NordVPN has four pricing plans: a $3.49 per month for 3 years, $4.99 per month for 2 years, $6.99 per month for a year, and $11.99 for one month. All plans come with a 30 days money back guarantee.

1 month
$ 11.95
per month
 
$11.99 billed every month
1 year
$ 6.99
per month
Save 41%
$83.88 billed every year
2 years
$ 3.49
per month
Save 70%
$83.76 billed every 2 years
3 years
$ 3.49
per month
Save 70%
$125.64 billed every 3 years

NordVPN is a little bit priced above what most people are comfortable with. It is actually rare to see a VPN app that goes beyond $9 a month. While the difference might not be much, people like to buy stuff by comparing it with an anchor price. For me that anchor price (what I expect a VPN app to cost me) is about $8 a month anything above this gives me an eerie feeling that tells me to resist.