- Torrenting and P2P allowed
- Zero logs policy
- Based in Panama
- Six simultaneous connections
- Great security features
- Mediocre speeds
Nordic privacy advocates founded NordVPN in 2012. It has 200,000 users and counting, and has gained a reputation for being tough on online security.
While speeds can be a little iffy, depending on what server you’re on, this is a small price to pay when it comes to online privacy.
How Much Does It Cost?
NordVPN has three different pricing plans. A month’s subscription costs the rather high price of $11.95. However, that cost is discounted to $7 per month if you get a six-month subscription, $5.75 for a years subscription and $2.75 for a 3 year plan – under half of the original monthly outlay. In addition, the firm operates a 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives new users plenty of time to try the VPN and thoroughly check the quality of the service.
NordVPN operates a strict money-back guarantee. While it will happily give users their money back, Nord expects users to give its technical team a reasonable opportunity to get the software set up to optimal levels before they award that refund.
Finally, NordVPN has a referral program, which allows subscribers to gain rewards from getting their friends to sign up.
What Do I Get?
NordVPN is a highly subscribed and well liked VPN provider from Panama. The VPN has no (known) links to Mossack Fonseca. It is a VPN that offers both fantastic features and value for money. Also excellent is that Nord allows users to install the VPN on six simultaneous devices.
Perhaps best of all, this service is privacy-focused. The VPN software is fully featured, with plenty of robust security features. Encryption implementation levels are immensely secure throughout its worldwide network of servers. All in all, users get to choose from over 4440 servers in 62 countries around the world.
Also good news is that P2P file sharing is permitted on the service. Additionally, features we love include the auto-connect, kill switch, DNS leak protection, shared and dedicated IPs (on request), and Tor over VPN, for people who want to use the deep web in a highly secure manner.
One feature that we highly praise NordVPN for, is the firm’s decision to provide an emergency VPN service to people in dire need. The emergency VPN service is completely free of charge and is there to help people living in authoritarian regimes. It can be called on by anybody who needs to use a VPN for fear that their life could be in danger as a result of specific digital communications or website visits that they need to make.
Logs and Location
Panama became a tax haven not because of lax privacy laws, but because of a specific legal climate that is highly shrouded in secrecy. This makes it a great place to run a VPN from. NordVPN avails from a total lack of mandatory data retention laws in the area. This allows NordVPN to operate a strict zero logs policy, which is the cornerstone of the privacy focused service.
NordVPN can be downloaded for all the popular platforms: Windows, OS X, iOS, Linux, and Android. In addition, NordVPN is compatible with DD-WRT, Asus, Tomato routers, and the pfSense firewall.
Signing up to Nord is made easy and can be done with a credit card, PayPal, or Bitcoin (for those that want a little extra anonymity). Following payment, users can quickly navigate to the downloads page to follow detailed setup instructions (complete with pictures).
For this review I tested NordVPN’s Windows and Android Apps.
NordVPN’s Windows app is among the best in the industry. It is both intuitive and easy on the eye, making it feel slick while delivering ease of use and performance. Users can select servers by country or specific node. Connecting couldn’t be easier: simply select a server and click on the connection button at the bottom.
The settings tab has all of the other important features well laid out. The auto-connect, kill switch, DNS leak protection and the UDP/TCP options are all selected here.
In the Server tab, subscribers can access plenty of information about servers, including uptime and capacity stats. This allows users to quickly pinpoint servers with the best speeds. In addition, dedicated anti DDoS, Tor over VPN, and smart TV streaming-optimized servers are all located in this section of the feature-rich VPN client.
Nord has a bespoke Android client that easily compares to its flagship Windows client. The Android app is easy to use and has all the important features that you would hope for. This is excellent, and is something that many VPN providers often fail on. Furthermore, NordVPN has implemented security on the Android app at the same high levels as on the other platforms. Highly pleasing.
Security uses AES-256 bit data encryption, RSA-2048 handshake, and SHA-2 data authentication. This is high level encryption implementation that you can’t argue with! As such, NordVPN’s security is completely robust. Add to that its firewall server protections and port options for SSH connections, and you begin to get an understanding of why this is such a well rounded security service.
Finally, we commend Nord’s forthcoming update, which will add the quicker IKEv2 VPN protocol to its arsenal of encryption options (though OpenVPN still remains the recommended encryption option here at VPNAnalysis.com).
Speed and IP Leak Tests
Perhaps the only drawback that comes with Nord’s increased levels of security is that it does slow connection speeds down a little (which is no surprise). During our testing here at VPNAnalysis.com, however, no excessive lagging was experienced during either browsing or streaming.
I ran each test five times. The screenshots show the best download result.
UK test server, no VPN (control):
UK test sever and UK VPN server:
US test server, no VPN (control)
US test server, US VPN server:
We are happy to say that no IP leaks or IPv6 leaks were detected – apart from the not-dangerous WebRTC Bug. This is excellent, and means that the VPN is providing the security it claims.
Website Usability and Aesthetics
NordVPN has an excellent, well designed website. Users can easily navigate to the Pricing, Features, and Servers pages. In the footer, there are links to weekly updated social media accounts and extra resources. In addition, there is a highly useful translation option, which has thirteen different languages to choose from. Thus accessibility is great, no matter where you are.
NordVPN also has an outstanding blog that is updated twice a week. It provides information about both service updates and VPN industry news, along with VPN tips and tricks for getting the most out of your service.
NordVPN has an absolutely brilliant FAQ section on its website that clearly answers a lot of commonly experienced problems. Thus users can quickly resolve issues that they may encounter. In addition, users can find detailed setup guides in this knowledge base. Best of all, the VPN covers all the bases by providing just as much info for all the different platforms and devices that you can use it on.
For those rare occasions when more help is required, there is a 24/7 live chat support service. Queries to the ticket email system also receive responses within just a few hours and their agents are polite, well trained, and highly knowledgeable.
Should I Subscribe to NordVPN?
Although we understand that slower speeds can be a huge turn off, there can be no doubt that Nord is an AMAZING VPN that only slows connections down in proportion to the high levels of security that it provides. As such, the reality is that Nord’s performance is stronger and only proportionally slower in balance to the extra security it provides. With that in mind, this service is definitely the right service for most people.
Why? Security is the cornerstone of any VPN service and higher levels are optimal. Plus, because users can request a dedicated IP for streaming at high speeds, NordVPN does provide everything that users need – as long as they use the service and all of its features properly.
- Zero logs
- Outstanding encryption
- Excellent VPN software for all platforms
- 24/7 support
- Fantastic uptime and network reliability
- Nothing much
A bit meh
- Medium speeds
- Common WebRTC bug (not dangerous)