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NordVPN Review: How Good & Safe it is?

Nordvpn Review

Considering whether to invest in NordVPN but still uncertain about its value? Dive into my review, where I made a NordVPN speed test and offer insights on securing the most affordable and efficient VPN service. Discover the capabilities of this virtual private network in my comprehensive analysis.

Introducing NordVPN by Nord Security

NordVPN has established itself as a leading virtual private network (VPN) provider since its inception in 2012. Initially conceptualized by a group of friends passionate about internet freedom, NordVPN set out to tackle global internet censorship and resist government surveillance. What began as a small-scale service for close associates rapidly expanded into a widely recognized brand, particularly after launching its first Android app in 2016.

Today, NordVPN is not just a VPN provider but a prominent part of Nord Security’s suite of cybersecurity tools. With an impressive network of over 5,900 ultra-fast servers across 60 countries, NordVPN ensures a robust and reliable service for its 14 million users globally. Despite its extensive reach, NordVPN does not operate in countries like Russia and China due to stringent government regulations. For instance, NordVPN withdrew its services from Russia rather than comply with demands for state-imposed internet censorship. Consequently, Russian users can access NordVPN, but without local servers.

Nordvpn Review How Vpn Work
Official website Nordvpn.com

NordVPN’s expansive server network is matched by its wide platform compatibility, supporting Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, macOS, and even gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation. This adaptability ensures that users can enjoy secure internet access across multiple devices.

Apart from NordVPN, Nord Security offers a range of cybersecurity products. These include NordPass, a password manager, NordLocker for file encryption and storage, NordLayer catering to business VPN needs, and NordWL, a toolkit for developing VPN products. Each of these services complements NordVPN’s mission to provide secure and unrestricted internet access worldwide.

As we delve deeper into this review, we’ll explore the various security features that make NordVPN a top choice for those seeking a reliable VPN service.

NordVPN Price

In the ever-evolving world of VPN services, affordability is key. After thorough research and analysis, I’ve found that NordVPN offers a range of pricing options tailored to different needs and budgets. They provide 1-month, 1-year, and 2-year plans, ensuring flexibility for their users.

As of now, the pricing structure is as follows:

  • Monthly Plan: A one-month subscription is priced at $12.99, suitable for those who prefer short-term commitments.
  • Annual Plan: The 1-year plan offers a substantial 45% discount, plus an additional 3 months free, totaling $67.35 or $4.49 monthly. This plan balances affordability with a longer commitment.
  • Biennial Plan: The best value lies in the 2-year subscription, currently at 63% off, plus an additional 3 months free, totaling $80.73, which breaks down to just $2.99 per month.

It’s important to note that regardless of the chosen duration, all plans come with a 30-day risk-free full refund policy.

Nordvpn Review Pricing
NordVPN pricing

NordVPN has expanded its offerings with bundle options, including NordVPN combined with NordPass or adding NordLocker for comprehensive digital security.

NordVPN + NordPass Bundle:

  • 2-Year Bundle: At $107.73, this option (equivalent to $3.99 per month) includes a 62% discount and an extra 3 months.
  • 1-Year Bundle: Priced at $82.35 or $5.49 monthly, this bundle offers a 48% discount and an extra 3 months.
  • 1-Month Bundle: Available for $13.99 for those preferring a shorter commitment.

NordVPN + NordPass + NordLocker Bundle:

  • 2-Year Bundle: This comprehensive package is $134.73 for two years (or $4.99 per month) with a significant 69% discount and 3 additional months.
  • 1-Year Bundle: Costing $97.35, which is $6.49 monthly, providing a 60% discount and 3 additional months.
  • 1-Month Bundle: Priced at $14.99 for the most flexible option.

Subscription plans and bundles reflect NordVPN’s commitment to providing accessible and versatile VPN solutions. Whether for individual use, sharing among family, or splitting with colleagues, these plans and bundles offer some of the most competitive prices in the market.

Exploring NordVPN Latest Offers and Deals

Nordvpn Logo Up to 74% OFF
NordVPN.com
Sale
74% off on NordVPN 2-year plan + 3 months extra.
Valid until June 12, 2024

NordVPN Features – Server Network

I’ve been exploring their extensive server network, which currently boasts over 5900 NordVPN servers across 60 countries. This includes a strong presence in key locations like the United States, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. One feature I particularly appreciate is the ability to select a server from specific cities in countries such as the US, France, Germany, and Canada. This granularity in server choice enhances the user experience, providing more localized connection options.

Nordvpn Windows 10 App
The apps are intuitive and easy to use (this one is for Windows).

Double VPN servers

NordVPN’s specialty server offerings are a significant highlight. Their Double VPN servers, which route traffic through two servers, provide an additional layer of security. This is particularly beneficial for users like political activists or journalists working in sensitive areas, where extra security is paramount.

Onion Over VPN

The Onion Over VPN service is another innovative feature. It combines the anonymity of the Onion network with the security of a VPN, making it an excellent choice for users who prioritize privacy above all else.

Obfuscated servers

Their Obfuscated servers are particularly noteworthy. These servers mask the fact that a VPN is in use, which is crucial in countries with heavy internet censorship and VPN restrictions. This feature can be a game-changer for users in such regions, allowing them to bypass firewalls and other forms of internet censorship.

P2P servers

For those involved in peer-to-peer (P2P) activities, NordVPN’s P2P servers are optimized for secure and fast file sharing, which is a must-have for users regularly engaging in such activities.

Nordvpn P2p Servers
There are special servers for P2P in the application.

Dedicated IPs

Lastly, the option for Dedicated IPs is an interesting addition. Unlike typical shared IP servers, these provide an individual or a small group with their own unique IP address. This is particularly useful for users who require a consistent and recognizable IP address for online activities, adding an extra layer of personalization to the service.

Privacy Features

In the realm of VPN, privacy features are not just a bonus but a necessity. NordVPN stands out in this regard, offering a suite of features designed to protect user privacy and ensure secure internet browsing. Understanding these features is crucial for anyone considering a VPN, as they form the backbone of what makes a VPN service truly valuable. From advanced encryption protocols to unique server management, NordVPN’s approach to privacy is comprehensive and reflects a deep commitment to user security.

One of the primary concerns for any VPN user is how their data is handled and protected. NordVPN addresses this through a combination of state-of-the-art technology and strict privacy policies. The service employs advanced encryption methods, a range of secure VPN protocols, and innovative server infrastructure to safeguard user data. Additionally, features like the Kill Switch and the strict no-logs policy further fortify user privacy, making NordVPN a robust choice for those seeking to maintain confidentiality and anonymity online. Below, we delve into these privacy features in more detail.

AES Encryption with 256-bit Keys

NordVPN employs the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256-bit keys, which is currently the gold standard in encryption. This level of encryption is widely regarded as unbreakable and is used by governments and security experts worldwide. When using NordVPN, your online data is encrypted with this robust encryption, making it virtually impossible for anyone to intercept or decipher your internet traffic.

VPN Protocols

NordVPN offers a choice between three VPN protocols:

  1. IKEv2/IPsec: This protocol is known for its high speed and security. It’s particularly effective for mobile devices, providing a stable connection even when switching between networks.
  2. OpenVPN: OpenVPN is an open-source VPN protocol known for its balance of speed and security. It’s highly configurable and widely considered to be very secure.
  3. NordLynx: This is NordVPN’s adaptation of the WireGuard VPN protocol. NordLynx addresses some of the privacy concerns associated with WireGuard by implementing a double NAT system. This system ensures that no identifiable user data is stored on the server.

RAM Servers for Enhanced Security

As of September 2020, NordVPN transitioned to a network of diskless RAM servers. This is a significant security enhancement, as RAM servers do not store any data on hard drives. All information is wiped clean every time the server is restarted, ensuring that no residual data is left behind. This makes it nearly impossible for any data to be compromised or extracted from the servers, even in the unlikely event of physical server seizure.

Colocated Servers for Total Control

NordVPN has begun building a network of colocated servers. These servers are exclusively owned and managed by NordVPN, ensuring complete control over the server infrastructure. This setup allows for tighter security measures and reduces reliance on third-party data centers. Only NordVPN staff have physical access to these servers, adding an extra layer of security.

Kill Switch

The Kill Switch feature is crucial for maintaining privacy. If your connection to NordVPN’s server drops unexpectedly, the Kill Switch feature immediately cuts off your internet connection. This ensures that your data doesn’t get transmitted over an unsecured connection, inadvertently exposing your private information.

No-Logs Policy

NordVPN emphasizes its commitment to user privacy with its no-logs policy, which has been audited three times. This means that NordVPN does not track, collect, or share your private data – a crucial aspect for those concerned about privacy.

Additional Features

NordVPN doesn’t just stop at providing encrypted tunnels for your internet traffic; it goes a step further by offering a range of specialized features. These additions are crafted to address specific user scenarios and challenges, making NordVPN a versatile tool in your online security arsenal. Whether it’s about optimizing your streaming experience, securing your digital identity, or customizing how you connect, NordVPN’s extra features are designed to give you more control and assurance. Let’s delve into these features and see how they can benefit your online journey.

Split Tunneling

This is a particularly useful feature for Android and Windows users. Split Tunneling allows you to choose which part of your internet traffic is routed through the VPN. For example, you can have your banking app traffic go through the VPN for extra security, while your regular browsing isn’t affected. This flexibility is great for both privacy and performance.

NordVPN’s CyberSec

NordVPN’s CyberSec is a robust feature that not only blocks ads but also prevents access to malicious websites. It’s fully available across iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux, with Android devices benefiting from the website blocking aspect. This feature significantly enhances browsing safety, especially when venturing into less secure corners of the internet.

Dark Web Monitor

This is a proactive security measure that scans the dark web for credentials linked to your email address. If your personal information is found on the dark web, you’re alerted, allowing you to take immediate action. This feature adds an extra layer of security, particularly against identity theft.

NordVPN Presets

A convenient feature where you can combine custom VPN settings, like selecting a preferred server, with shortcuts to apps or websites. This customization saves time and ensures that you’re always connected to the optimal server for your needs.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

NordVPN offers MFA for account protection, enhancing the security of your VPN access. The option to use Google credentials for accessing NordAccount is a user-friendly touch, streamlining the login process while maintaining security.

SmartPlay

This feature is a fusion of VPN and Smart DNS technologies. It allows you to access content securely and bypass geo-restrictions. This is especially useful for streaming international content that might otherwise be inaccessible.

Automatic Server Selection

The apps automatically choose the fastest server in a selected country. This feature is a huge boon for those who aren’t tech-savvy or simply don’t want to spend time figuring out the best server to connect to.

Device Coverage

With one NordVPN account, you can secure up to 6 devices. The wide range of supported platforms – including Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, Mac, Android TV, and various browser extensions – makes it versatile. Additionally, the option to use NordVPN on a home router to secure all devices connected to the home Wi-Fi is particularly appealing for family or multi-device environments.

Threat Protection

In the digital age, where online threats are becoming more sophisticated and prevalent, it’s crucial to have robust protection against a variety of cyber threats. NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature is designed to be a comprehensive shield, guarding users against a myriad of online dangers, ranging from malware to intrusive trackers.

How does Threat Protection work?

Threat Protection by NordVPN operates as a multifaceted defense mechanism, tailored to counteract various forms of cyber threats. It integrates seamlessly into the user’s digital life, offering protection that extends beyond the conventional boundaries of a VPN. Let’s delve into how this feature functions to provide a safer and smoother online experience.

Malware Blocking

At its core, Threat Protection offers robust defense mechanisms against malware. It actively prevents users from navigating to malicious websites. What’s more impressive is its capability to scrutinize downloaded files for malware, automatically discarding those that pose a threat. This preemptive action is crucial in safeguarding against potential harm.

Scanning Executable Files

NordVPN’s Threat Protection doesn’t just stop at website screening. It conducts comprehensive scans on all executable files up to 20MB. This thoroughness ensures a high level of security without compromising personal data, as it smartly excludes files like PDFs or DOCXs which might contain sensitive information. This selective scanning process reflects a balanced approach to security and privacy.

Flash Drive File Scanning

For Windows users, an additional layer of security is present. Threat Protection extends its scanning capabilities to some files on flash drives, especially if they are downloaded from the internet. This feature addresses a common vulnerability where external devices can be a source of malware.

Tracker Blocking

The feature also takes privacy seriously by blocking third-party trackers. These trackers often collect private information stealthily, but with Threat Protection, NordVPN users can browse with the assurance that their data isn’t being silently gathered.

Ad Blocking

Beyond security, Threat Protection enhances the browsing experience by blocking intrusive ads, including annoying pop-ups. This isn’t just about convenience; it’s a safety measure, too, as some ads are known to harbor malware.

Always-On Protection

Finally, what sets Threat Protection apart is its ‘always on’ nature. Once activated, it provides continuous protection, independent of whether the VPN connection is active or not. This means users are protected at all times, offering peace of mind in an increasingly unpredictable digital world.

Meshnet

Meshnet by NordVPN is an innovative feature that significantly extends the functionality of a traditional VPN. This technology allows users to establish direct connections to other devices, creating private, encrypted tunnels. Unlike standard VPN connections that route traffic through a VPN server, Meshnet enables direct device-to-device connections, irrespective of their geographic locations. This is achieved through NordVPN’s NordLynx technology, an advanced and more secure version of the WireGuard VPN protocol.

The practical applications of Meshnet are numerous and exciting. It facilitates secure and efficient file sharing, remote device access, and even the organization of LAN gaming parties. All of these activities benefit from the encrypted traffic feature synonymous with VPN services.

How does Meshnet work?

At its core, Meshnet allows for the routing of online traffic through another machine. This is how it operates:

  • Device Capacity: Users can add up to 10 of their own devices under the same NordVPN account, plus an additional 50 external devices via invitation.
  • Compatibility and Routing: While Meshnet is available across various platforms including Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, and Linux, the traffic routing feature is currently only available on Windows and Linux. However, devices on other platforms can still connect to a Windows or Linux machine for traffic routing purposes.
  • Security Measures: To ensure security and prevent unauthorized access, device pairings must be authorized by users. Each NordVPN account is assigned a unique name for these connections. Furthermore, NordVPN provides a unique IP address for each device, distinct from the ISP-assigned IP address.

This combination of features makes Meshnet a highly versatile tool, expanding the utility of NordVPN beyond the realms of traditional VPN services. Its integration of NordLynx technology further assures users of enhanced security and performance, making it a standout feature in NordVPN’s offering.

EDITOR’S TIP:
Find out how VPNs work in our Best VPNs article, where we also show you alternative VPN providers.

NordVPN is Officially the Fastest VPN on the Planet

AV-TEST (an independent organization that tests and evaluates antivirus and security software) has conducted various measurements and testing of VPNs. This test showed NordVPN to be the fastest VPN. More information on Technadu. PrivateVPN, TopGuard and PureVPN all finished behind NordVPN. The popular ExpressVPN is only in 5th place. I have personally measured some connections in worse areas, like Turkey and Albania, where I expected the connection to be slow. How did it go? It was fast and with perfect latency (ping).

Nordvpn Review Speed Test
Speed and stability test after connecting to a server in Albania. Tested on Speedtest.net

NordVPN Speed Test

LocationDownload [Mbps]Upload [Mbps]Ping [ms]
USA (New York)34,0823,8989
EU (Frankfurt)29,3938,325
Australia (Sydney, Melbourne)32,6310,22256
New Zeland (Auckland, Wellington)31,519,36283
Brazil (Sao Paulo)31,834,88221
United Arab Emirates (Dubaj)27,0412,35138
worldwide (average)31,116,5168,7

NordVPN Applications

NordVPN’s suite of applications across different platforms stands out for its adaptability and user-centric design. My hands-on experience with these apps on various devices has revealed a consistent focus on ease of use and robust security features.

Windows Application Preview

My experience with NordVPN’s Windows application has been notably smooth and intuitive. The interface is sleek and user-friendly, making it easy to navigate through the various settings and server options.

iOS Application Preview

Using NordVPN on iOS devices has been equally impressive. The app is optimized for a mobile experience, offering a clean and straightforward interface. What I appreciate most is its consistency in maintaining a strong and stable connection, even when switching between different networks.

NordVPN Customer Support

NordVPN ensures that users are never left in the dark when facing issues or queries about their service. This commitment is evident in their 24/7 customer support availability, which is a critical feature for any VPN service.

One of the primary ways NordVPN maintains this support is through their chat and email channels. These options cater to different user preferences. For instance, the chat feature is ideal for immediate assistance. It’s a real-time solution for users who might be facing urgent issues or need quick clarifications about the service. On the other hand, the email support is suitable for more detailed inquiries or for issues that may require a thorough investigation.

Beyond direct communication, NordVPN also offers extensive self-help resources. The Blog and FAQ sections on their website are treasure troves of information. These sections are particularly helpful for users who prefer to troubleshoot issues independently before reaching out for help.

In my personal experience, NordVPN’s customer support has been commendable. The few times I’ve needed to reach out, I found the chat support to be swift and efficient. The representatives were knowledgeable, and I appreciated how they managed to provide clear and concise answers without overwhelming me with technical jargon. This approach is particularly beneficial for users who may not be deeply versed in cybersecurity or technical aspects of VPN services.

NordVPN Pros and Cons

Pros (+)Cons (-)
+ Possibility to connect up to 10 devices.- Manual configuration for Linux.
+ No Log policy.- No free version.
+ Services for corporate customers.
+ Wide server network.
+ 24/7 customer support.

Background Information on NordVPN

NordVPN has consistently been at the forefront of advancements in the VPN industry, showcasing a strong commitment to security and user trust. A key milestone in their journey was becoming the first VPN provider to initiate a public bug bounty program on HackerOne. This move not only underlined their dedication to transparency but also actively engaged the cybersecurity community in strengthening their service.

In 2019, NordVPN demonstrated its leadership by becoming one of the founding members of the VPN Trust Initiative (VTI). This initiative is not just a coalition; it represents a significant step towards setting industry-wide standards for VPN services, ensuring that users get the most secure and reliable experience possible. Furthermore, the VTI plays a pivotal role in educating the public about the security benefits of VPNs, which is crucial in an era where digital privacy is increasingly under threat.

Another noteworthy development in 2020 was the inclusion of Troy Hunt, a revered figure in web security and the creator of haveibeenpwned.com, on the Nord Security advisory board. Hunt’s involvement brings a wealth of expertise and credibility to the table, reinforcing NordVPN’s commitment to excellence in cybersecurity.

In 2021, NordVPN marked International VPN Day (August 19th) by launching the National Privacy Test. This initiative is particularly close to my heart as it aims to educate internet users about potential online threats and enhance overall cybersecurity awareness. Such educational endeavors are vital in empowering users to navigate the digital world safely.

Recognition of NordVPN’s efforts came in 2022 when it was named one of TIME’s Best Inventions in the “Apps and Software” category. This accolade is not just a feather in their cap but a testament to their ability to balance top-notch security without hampering internet speed, a common concern among VPN users.

Lastly, the end of 2022 saw NordVPN completing its third independent audit, carried out by Deloitte, to verify its no-logs claim. These audits are crucial for establishing trust and transparency, ensuring that users’ data privacy is not just promised but proven.

Conclusion

In wrapping up my review of NordVPN, I want to highlight its remarkable features while noting some minor areas for improvement. What really sets NordVPN apart is its vast server network across the globe, ensuring blazing-fast speeds. This speed advantage is especially evident in speed tests, where NordVPN consistently comes out on top.

The applications for Windows and iOS are notably user-friendly, significantly enhancing the user experience. Although the server location map can be a tad cumbersome, it doesn’t majorly impact the overall functionality. Crucially, NordVPN ticks all the boxes for what you’d expect from a leading VPN provider.

Key features include a dependable Kill Switch, a strict no-log policy, dedicated servers for P2P activities, efficient bypassing of geoblocking, and secure IP address shifts. Moreover, it steps up online safety by blocking ads and malware. These aspects together solidify NordVPN’s standing as a comprehensive and reliable VPN choice, catering to a variety of needs ranging from basic privacy to more complex security demands.

For more insights, check out our regularly updated comparisons of the best VPNs.

5/5 - (4 votes)

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