NordVPN – A Review of an Excellent VPN Service

NordVPN

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NordVPN is probably the most well-known brand in the VPN services industry. Over the years, it has steadily worked its way up to be one of the leaders in VPN services. Its popularity and the quality of the services it offers continue to grow, allowing it to hold its place as one of the top VPN services currently available on the market.

NordVPN Premiova VPN Sluzba
9.8
Verified VPN service
NordVPN
WHAT WE LIKED
  • Strong privacy and security features
  • Premium performance: high speeds, high reliability and near-instantaneous connectivity
  • Large and secure server network
  • Great customer support
  • A proven brand in a good jurisdiction
  • A non-logging service that has undergone multiple third-party audits
  • Excellent service for Netflix and several other streaming services
  • Multiple extra security features
  • High-quality applications for mobile devices
  • Excellent price/performance ratio
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED
  • Lack of an app for routers
  • The Threat Protection function is not fully operational
  • Login via web browser

Basic information

NordVPN at a glance

Web pagenordvpn.com
JurisdictionPanama
Number of countries supported59
Number of VPN servers5563
Maximum number of simultaneously connected devices6
Monthly pricefrom 3,39 €
Refund policyWithin 30 days of purchase
Free programNo
SupportLive chat 24/7
Supported systems and devicesWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Smart TV, game consoles
Kill Switch functionyes
Ad-blocking functionyes
Multi-hop functionyes
Supported protocolsNordLynx (WireGuard), OpenVPN, IKEv2

Reputation and jurisdiction

NordVPN is in an excellent jurisdiction and has undergone multiple audits

NordVPN is based in Panama, which is an excellent jurisdiction for a VPN service. Panama is not part of the Five/Nine/Fourteen Eyes alliance, and the country does not require companies to log data about their users’ internet activity.

The service was launched in 2013 and is backed by the renowned Nord Security, which also offers NordPass (a secure password manager) and NordLocker (secure file storage, syncing and sharing) apps.

Another important aspect in terms of privacy is NordVPN’s logging policy. NordVPN is one of the few VPN services that has undergone a third-party audit, which confirmed that the company adheres to a no-logging policy for its users’ data. The audit was conducted in 2019 by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG of Zurich, Switzerland.

To further verify the privacy claims, NordVPN also recently completed a second audit, which was published in July 2020. For this second audit, which was again carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, the scope was extended to include full access to servers and the entire infrastructure.

The audit officially verified that NordVPN is a log-free service that remains true to its privacy policy. NordVPN does not store any logs of its customers’ connections, IP addresses or internet activity.

A third audit was conducted by Versprite in 2019. This included comprehensive penetration testing or source code analysis. The main audit (and its findings) was completed at the end of 2019, but it is an ongoing process.

Representatives from VerSprite, a leading security group specialising in software vulnerabilities, simulated malicious attacks from every angle (penetration test) while identifying weaknesses that could make applications vulnerable to external attacks.

At the end of calendar year 2022, NordVPN underwent another external audit, which again confirmed that the service does not log any data about its users. The audit was carried out by the leading audit firm Deloitte at the end of November and the beginning of December. The firm examined the entire VPN service infrastructure in detail. The conclusion of the audit has once again confirmed that the protection of customers’ personal data is a top priority for NordVPN.

NordVPN has also officially launched a Bug Bounty program. The company will reward any user who finds security weaknesses in the NordVPN app.

Servers and speeds

Lightning-fast server speeds in NordVPN’s huge network

NordVPN has been on the market since 2013 and currently has more than 5,500 servers in 59 countries around the world. Few VPN services can boast such a massive infrastructure.

NordVPN has been transitioning towards using its own dedicated servers for some time now, which operate in RAM mode only (without the use of hard drives).

In the case of NordVPN, we haven’t seen any use of virtual servers. In addition, a NordVPN representative confirmed to us that the company does not use any virtual server locations. In other words, all of NordVPN’s servers are indeed located in the countries it lists on its site.

In our speed tests, NordVPN scored excellent results. We tested the service on a Windows system with the WireGuard protocol set up. All tests were performed on a dedicated 500 Mbps network located in Hungary at different time intervals.

Connections were very stable and we did not experience any extreme fluctuations or interruptions. The actual connection speed to the servers was extremely fast, being almost instantaneous most of the time. This made switching between VPN servers very comfortable.

Nearest / recommended server (Austria)

  • Lowest measured speed: 131,02 Mbps
  • Highest measured speed: 402,95 Mbps
  • Average measured speed: 384,17 Mbps
  • Average PING: 22,31 ms

England, London

  • Lowest measured speed: 167,78 Mbps
  • Highest measured speed: 366,68 Mbps
  • Average measured speed: 343,20 Mbps
  • Average PING: 35,88 ms

USA, New York

  • Lowest measured speed: 28,37 Mbps
  • Highest measured speed: 192,61 Mbps
  • Average measured speed: 181,75 Mbps
  • Average PING: 108,13 ms

Australia, Melbourne

  • Lowest measured speed: 18,43 Mbps
  • Highest measured speed: 98,90 Mbps
  • Average measured speed: 92,62 Mbps
  • Average PING: 233,21 ms

Security

NordLynx, WireGuard and AES 256

NordVPN offers some solid features to enhance user privacy and security above and beyond most other VPN services.

OpenVPN uses AES-256-GCM encryption and HMAC SHA256 authentication. NordVPN additionally makes use of Perfect Forward Secrecy by way of the DHE-4096 key exchange. AES-256-GCM is also used to encrypt IPSec/IKEv2 traffic.

In addition to OpenVPN and IPSec/IKEv2, NordVPN also supports the NordLynx protocol, which is based on the fast and modern WireGuard protocol. This can be used in all applications. You can easily switch between protocols in Settings / Connection.

NordVPN settings

NordLynx (WireGuard protocol) offers serious performance and security benefits:

  • WireGuard is the fastest VPN protocol available (much faster than OpenVPN)
  • WireGuard connects faster and offers better reliability, especially on mobile devices
  • WireGuard uses updated encryption algorithms

You will also find the following functionality available in the apps:

  • Kill Switch: technology that automatically disconnects you from the internet when your VPN connection goes down. You can set this either to complete disconnection from the internet or only for some applications.
  • Split VPN Tunnel: Users can choose which apps to run through the VPN tunnel and which apps will bypass the VPN tunnel.

The apps worked very well during our tests and we did not experience any data leaks, error messages, or other issues.

Applications

Clear and high-quality applications for all systems

With a premium VPN service, you expect support for all operating systems, and NordVPN won’t let you down in that regard. Supported systems include:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Android TV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Linux
  • Browser add-ons (Chrome, Firefox, Edge) – only protect data transfers directly through browsers
  • Smart TVs and game consoles (Smart DNS technology that does not encrypt data)
  • settings for routers


NordVPN does not offer a router application, unlike other VPN services brands such as ExpressVPN.

NordVPN client for Windows

Here are our main takeaways from testing the Windows and Mac OS clients:

  • Fully featured – NordVPN’s apps are packed with features that include dedicated servers, data leak protection, and a variety of settings for launching and connecting.
  • Easy to use – Whether you’re a new VPN user or a seasoned pro, NordVPN clients are very clear, intuitive, and easy to use.
  • Security – In addition to the strong encryption we talked about above, NordVPN also secures your data with a switch called a kill-switch. This will block all internet traffic (or just certain apps) if the VPN connection drops for any reason.

We were especially pleased with the mobile apps, which were very fast and very well handled. This is one of the best options available for Android.

We were slightly bothered by the fact users have to log into their account outside of the apps in the web browser. We would have welcomed logging in directly through the apps, although over time we got used to it.

Streaming and torrenting

NordVPN works with Netflix and other services

We used NordVPN servers in the US to access our US Netflix account. Everything worked perfectly without any problems. NordVPN has consistently worked to make Netflix work worldwide through its service.

With NordVPN, we got full access to the following Netflix libraries: the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Australia, India, and Italy. (we’re not ruling out other regions, but they weren’t tested as part of this review.) With support like this, NordVPN is one of the best services for Netflix.

Other streaming services (such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, DAZN, and others) are also handled brilliantly by NordVPN. It’s equally a great VPN service for Disney+, offering a wealth of content across multiple regional libraries. Additionally, NordVPN is one of the few VPN services that has mastered connecting to the UK’s BBC iPlayer.

Note: If you’re having trouble with any streaming platform, then simply ask customer support for help. Live chat representatives will tell you exactly which servers to use.

NordVPN is also an excellent choice for torrenting. Here are three reasons why:

  • Fast and consistent speeds – especially useful when downloading large files.
  • Data leak protection – NordVPN apps come with built-in data leak protection settings. This lets you torrent for hours without worrying about your IP address being revealed.
  • Safe jurisdiction – NordVPN is based in Panama. Unlike the US and Europe, Panama doesn’t have draconian copyright laws. Therefore, NordVPN can simply ignore DMCA/copyright requests from other countries.

In addition, NordVPN also has dedicated servers directly for P2P. These servers are listed in the Special Servers section and are ideal for torrenting.

Features

Ad-blocking, multihop and obfuscation servers

Double VPN (multi-hop)


NordVPN is one of the few VPN providers that offer multi-hop or dual VPN servers. With this connection, your internet traffic is encrypted through up to two separate VPN servers.

  • Double VPN gives you an extra layer of encryption between your device and the regular internet.
  • Distributes trust between two different servers.

Using multi-hop is certainly not a bad idea. Despite connecting through two servers, the speeds were surprisingly good. For example, we measured the following values when combining the UK and the Netherlands:

  • Lowest measured speed: 55,53 Mbps
  • Highest measured speed: 254,01 Mbps
  • Average measured speed: 238,23 Mbps
  • Average PING: 36,59 ms

NordVPN currently offers 31 VPN configurations with dual-layer protection. These can be easily selected within the NordVPN client settings. For those who want a higher level of privacy and security, dual VPN servers are a great option to consider.

Tor over VPN


If you’re looking for additional encryption and anonymity beyond a single-hop VPN server, another option is to use Onion-over-VPN servers, which encrypt traffic using the Tor network in addition to a regular VPN server. NordVPN currently offers two locations for this: the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Threat Protection


NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature was launched in 2022 and goes beyond VPNs. Threat Protection has replaced CyberSec.

CyberSec, the predecessor to Threat Protection, was a security feature that blocked tracking codes and advertising.

Threat Protection also offers that function, in addition to:

  • Scanning websites and files for malware. It does this in real time and blocks URLs and files infected with malware.
  • Offering continuous protection even when not connected to a VPN. CyberSec, on the other hand, only worked if you were connected to a VPN server.

With Threat Protection enabled and antivirus running, our internet connection stopped working and we had to disable it. The NordVPN site states that the feature is not a replacement for antivirus, so it’s not clear to us why it didn’t work even with virus protection active.

Dark Web Monitor

Dark Web Monitoring is a cybersecurity feature designed to prevent other people from using account information that has been leaked to the dangerous dark web. It continuously scans dark web sites looking for your login credentials and alerts you to each discovery so you can take action to protect your vulnerable account.

Meshnet

A feature that allows you to access devices through encrypted private tunnels. Sound a bit like a VPN? You’re absolutely right, but instead of connecting to a VPN server, Meshnet allows you to connect to other devices directly, no matter where they are in the world. Meshnet is powered by the NordLynx protocol. This foundation ensures top-notch security for all device-to-device connections over Meshnet.

Obfuscation servers


Obfuscation servers are available directly in the VPN client. These servers, which are available in 16 countries, hide (obfuscate) VPN traffic to make it appear as normal HTTPS traffic, and are useful in the following situations:

  • When you need to bypass VPN blocking at work, at school, or on restricted networks.
  • Avoiding state censorship efforts and VPN blocking in some countries, such as China, the United Arab Emirates, and others.

With a selection of obfuscating servers, NordVPN is a great choice if you need to use a VPN in, say, Russia, or another country that censors internet content.

Support

Excellent chat support

Chat support is always available via the NordVPN website in the bottom right corner. You don’t need to log in – just click on the chat icon and you’ll be connected to a representative.

For this review, we tried NordVPN customer support a few times and everything worked well and without any issues.

In all of our interactions, it didn’t take long to connect with a representative (usually less than a minute). The support staff were helpful in answering all of our questions.

Additionally, NordVPN provides all support in-house with trained technicians (no outside third parties), which is a big plus.

The website also has a really comprehensive database of tutorials and articles that you may also find helpful.

Subscription and prices

NordVPN offers a great performance-price ratio

NordVPN isn’t one of the cheapest services on the market, but it’s certainly not the most expensive either. With a long-term subscription, you get a monthly price you’ll rarely find with such a premium service. You can request a refund within 30 days of purchasing the service.

Payment options available are credit card, Google Pay and cryptocurrencies.

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Summary

NordVPN has confirmed its position among the VPN elite

9.8Expert Score
NordVPN

NordVPN is a premium VPN service at a very reasonable price. Measured speeds were excellent (thanks to the NordLynx protocol), the server network is huge, and the apps are sophisticated with lots of premium features. The service has already passed three audits and is in good jurisdiction. Minor bugs are negligible and the service has once again ranked among the absolute elite among VPN services available on the market.

Speed
10
Security
10
Applications and functions
9
Price and payments
10
Support and services
10
Positives
  • Strong privacy and security features
  • Premium performance: high speeds, high reliability and near-instantaneous connectivity
  • Large and secure server network
  • Great customer support
  • A proven brand in a good jurisdiction
  • A non-logging service that has undergone multiple third-party audits
  • Excellent service for Netflix and several other streaming services
  • Multiple extra security features
  • High-quality applications for mobile devices
  • Excellent price/performance ratio
Negatives
  • Lack of an app for routers
  • The Threat Protection function is not fully operational
  • Login via web browser
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