|Works with||Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, iOS iPhone-iPad|
|Payment methods||PayPal, Credit Card, Bitcoin, iDeal, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, UnionPay|
|Speed||9 / 10|
|Protocols||OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, NordLynx|
|Log policy||No logs|
|Jurisdiction||Panama - Not a Fourteen Eyes Country AND Not an Enemy of the Internet.|
For years NordVPN has been dominating everyone’s list of top VPN providers. With over 8 million clients worldwide, a diverse and ever-growing server network and tons of unique features that is certainly justifiable. But the real question is – is NordVPN actually that good?
We’ve decided to put NordVPN through the wringer with our honest, thorough and in-depth review. We ran the service through multiple extensive speed, performance and security tests, tried it out on all the popular devices, systems and with all of our favorite services, checked out all of its extra features and tools. And now we have the definitive answer to the question: is NordVPN worth it?
But first things first…
NordVPN: An introduction
NordVPN was founded in 2012 in Panama – the Internet privacy haven perfect for a leading VPN provider’s headquarters. The country does not have any censorship or data retention laws, nor is it a member of any international surveillance alliances, so you can be sure all of your data is well protected and won’t be handed over to a third party.
NordVPN servers and server locations
Local laws aside, a VPN provider is only as good as it’s server network. And, boy, does NordVPN have you covered.
As of August 2020 NordVPN had a network of over 5 400 servers across 59 countries all over the world. This isn’t just great for speed, which is affected by how far away you are from the nearest server. With hundreds of servers across Europe, North and South America, Australia and a rapidly expanding network in the Pacific, Middle East and even Africa NordVPN basically guarantees you will never miss your favorite Netflix shows wherever you are.
What is especially noteworthy is that NordVPN is one of the few VPN providers who doesn’t use virtual servers. And while there is some benefit to using virtual servers (better Internet speed, for one), it is comforting to know that you are paying for using actual, physical servers.
NordVPN Speed Test
So NordVPN has servers and locations covered, but what about speed? It really won’t matter if you can connect to an American, Canadian or Australian server, if most of your time is spent waiting for the video to buffer.
The provider proudly calls itself ‘the fastest VPN experience’, but is that true? Well, this really depends on the server you choose to connect to, how far away it is, what you use it for and how much traffic it’s getting. During our tests we’ve encountered an average speed loss of 32% which is still pretty impressive and shouldn’t affect your streaming or gaming experience. When connecting to some European and American servers during our tests, we’ve observed an increase in Internet speed. This means that NordVPN can actually improve your online experience if your Internet is slow and you connect to the right server.
In a nutshell: NordVPN generally provides consistent speeds and maintains a strong connection without any game breaking issues. We haven’t encountered any problems with streaming content with any of the popular services, browsing went smooth, Torrenting was a breeze and most of the servers seem very reliable and stable. That being said, your personal experience with NordVPN may be very different and depend on tons of factors.
NordVPN offers the user a ‘Quick Connect’ option which automatically chooses an optimal server to ensure high speeds and a stable connection. So unless you are looking for something specific or trying to bypass geoblocks, we suggest using that feature to ensure the best possible experience.
The bottom line is: NordVPN may not be the fastest VPN around, but it’s definitely up there with the best.
Is NordVPN secure?
At this day and age privacy is everything. With governments looking to know everything you do and hackers breathing down your neck to steal your personal information, reliable protection should be at the top of anybody’s list when choosing a VPN.
Luckily, NordVPN has got your back. With its strict ‘no-logging’ policy, military-grade encryption on par with the systems some government agencies use and a bunch of special privacy and security features NordVPN has proven time and again to be one of the most reliable VPNs out there.
Where do we begin?
Encryption and supported protocols
NordVPN uses bleeding-edge AES 256-bit encryption which is the best possible option available today. This pairs well with the ‘Perfect Forward Secrecy’ (PFC) technology that assigns you a new key every time you log on so you appear to be a new user every time. This doesn’t only mean that all the data of your previous sessions is completely erased and unrelated to the following ones, but in the unlikely event of you being hacked there simply won’t be any personal information or history to steal.
NordVPN uses two of the most popular and secure encryption protocols today: the ever-popular and highly secure OpenVPN TCP/UDP which is the default, and IKEv2/IPSec (immediately available for Mac OS, but can be manually installed on the Windows client). On top of that, NordVPN is currently in development of its own NordLynx protocol built around the revolutionary WireGuard. It packs a serious punch in terms of security, speed and flexibility and is already available to use with some of the servers.
NordVPN is the only VPN that comes with not one, but two whole kill switches to ensure the best possible protection against de-anonymization and exposing your traffic:
- Internet Kill Switch – this will block all of your traffic if the VPN connection drops.
- App Kill Switch – it will close the apps you use, but will not stop the traffic.
CyberSec is a security feature that blocks ads, trackers and malware domains. We gave the feature a spin and found that it effectively blocks any unwanted ads and suspicious sites.
There are several reasons you might want to use the CyberSec feature:
- More privacy – with ads turning into advanced tracking tools that record your online activities for targeting advertisement, CyberSec can turn your online surfing into a much more private passtime.
- Better security – online ads are often used to spread malware (malvertising) which can infect your device even if you don’t click on them. CyberSec protects you and your devices by blocking all of the malicious domains based on a real-time threat list.
- Improved performance – ads tend to eat up a lot of your bandwidth turning the Internet into the most frustrating experience. Blocking the ads with NordVPN CyberSec can greatly improve your online experience.
- An improved experience – it’s just so much better to go online without being bombarded with ads, pop-ups and malware, isn’t it?
NordVPN is one of the few VPN providers that offers a multi-hop option. This basically means that the service encrypts your data across two separate servers before going online. The multi-hop function is the must have tool in the arsenal of modern day political activists, journalists and anyone else looking to protect their freedom of speech.
This feature offers several benefits to those concerned about their privacy:
- An extra level of security – double encryption and the mix of two protocols makes your connection virtually unhackable.
- Total IP protection – since your IP was changed by the first server, the second has no information about you and cannot be traced back to you.
- Absolute privacy – nobody, not even your own ISP will ever know your final destination on the Internet (they will, however, know that you are using a VPN).
For those looking for maximum online security NordVPN is one of the few VPNs that works with the Tor Network. The Onion-over-VPN feature adds another level of encryption using the Tor Network on top of the standard VPN server before connecting to your destination on the Internet.
There are several reason you would want to take advantage of this advanced option:
- Simple access to the Onion network – just one click and you’re there.
- Extra security – with two independent levels of encryption you can be sure no one will ever steal your personal information.
- Absolute privacy – with this level of encryption no one will ever find out what you’ve been doing online.
The trade-off for this extra level of security is that the Onion Network is very slow, so don’t expect lightning-fast speed.
With this impressive line-up of features and options is the NordVPN app still easy to use and can the average user pick it up without having to take a special course?
NordVPN has always offered excellent customer experience and usability regardless of the platform or device you use. The setup is very straightforward and gets you started with the best options enabled right of the bat. Afterwards you can always adjust the client to better suit your needs and preferences.
The app goes for a slick, minimalistic and simple design so that any user can quickly get the hang of it. The “Quick Connect” option at the top of the screen will immediately connect you to the best performing server nearby. But if you need to connect to a specific country or server, there’s always the option to use the neat map or use the country and server list on the left part of the app.
From there you can also access all of NordVPN’s settings and adjust them to your personal preference.
There are some differences between NordVPN clients for different platforms and devices, but those are few and won’t require you to get used to the app all over again.
NordVPN Browser Extensions
NordVPN also offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox and is one of the few providers whose extensions work with both desktop and mobile devices. These lightweight and easy-to-use extensions will only encrypt your browser traffic and also offer you a few extra features, such as CyberSec to block ads and protect from malware.
For an extra layer of protection the extensions come with a default WebRTC feature to protect you from accidental IP leaks browsers are famous for.
Does NordVPN work with Netflix and other streaming services?
Streaming is the #1 reason people look into getting a VPN subscription. Why should you settle for the shows available with you local Netflix or limit yourself to the streaming platforms available in your country? And with the streaming services clamping down on VPNs it is fair to ask, whether NordVPN is any good at bypassing geoblocks and unblocking streaming services?
NordVPN has a SmartPlay function specifically designed to bypass geoblocks and other restrictions, allowing you easy access to otherwise inaccessible content.
Here’s a rundown of streaming services that NordVPN is compatible with.
Even though Netflix has begun an all-out war against VPNs, blocking several of their IPs, NordVPN cuts through all of those restrictions with ease. We found out that 95%+ of NordVPN’s servers still work with Netflix and allow you to stream all the content you want.
While some are already over the Mandalorian, others still have several months to go before Disney+ in launched their respective countries (and some may even never get it). NordVPN allows you to connect to a variety of servers where Disney+ is already available and enjoy all of its content with consistent speeds and without any restrictions.
Even though the popular British streaming service has some of the toughest geoblock features, NordVPN knocks them all down with ease. Simply connect to a UK server and enjoy a weekend of binge watching the best Britain has to offer.
The variety of Amazon Prime Video content is incredible. And NordVPN lets you watch all of it wherever you are and whichever library you prefer.
Apple TV+ offers a lot of unique content you won’t find anywhere else. And NordVPN lets you watch all of it!
NordVPN does grant you access to the popular Hulu streaming service. However, A VPN is not enough to stream Hulu. We suggest checking out our full guide on how to unlock Hulu using a VPN.
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs out there to stream your favorite sports. Whether you prefer ESPN+ or ESPN3 this provider has got you covered.
Is NordVPN good for gaming?
If you’re a hardcore gamer chances are a good connection means the world to you. With the tendency of VPNs to lower internet speeds and increase ping, a VPN may not be the best option for a smooth gaming experience where twitch reflexes are key.
That said, NordVPN is still one of the most reliable VPNs out there for gaming. Even though Xbox and PlayStation do not support the built-in NordVPN functionality it is fairly easy to set up. And with consistently high speeds and a lot of options for choosing a server that best suits your gaming needs, NordVPN is sure to provide you with a mostly buffer- and lag-free experience.
In some cases, if you are playing with a bad connection, NordVPN can actually increase your Internet speed and make your gaming experience that much more enjoyable. It is also one of the top tools to use against bandwidth throttling, as well as DDoS attacks (but you are probably safe there).
But the single best feature NordVPN offers gamers is unlimited access to the world of gaming as well as the opportunity to take advantage of the best deals on the market. Wherever you are you can always check out what’s new in your favorite marketplace, access foreign Steam regions to take advantage of the best deals and even get your hands on some games early.
Does NordVPN work for Torrenting?
You didn’t hear this from us, but yes, NordVPN is perfect for using BitTorrent.
With countries all over becoming tougher on Torrent users, NordVPN is here to help with a slew of P2P-friendly servers around the world. With a P2P option in the apps NordVPN will automatically find the best suitable server for your location. And even if you forget to enable the option, if NordVPN detects P2P activity it will automatically reroute you to a torrent-friendly server.
Along with its top-notch P2P support, NordVPN has a bunch of other features for Torrent enthusiasts, such as its no logging policy, several layers of DNS and traffic leak protection and even SOCKS5 proxies for faster download speeds.
How much does NordVPN cost?
Advanced security options, impressive speeds, stable connection are all great, but it all comes down to how much a VPN costs and whether the buck is justified by the bang.
It warms our hearts that, despite its stellar reputation and a bunch of special features, NordVPN is still one of the cheapest VPN services around. Albeit not the cheapest one, but still very affordable.
Like most VPN providers, NordVPN offers several plans, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs:
- 1-month plan for € 10.64/month
- 6-month plan for € 8.01/month
- A crazy 2-year plan that will cost you just 3.30 € per month and will save you up to 68% in the long-run. This exclusive subscription is only available with VPNService. So don’t miss out!
Does NordVPN have a free version?
It makes sense that you would want to test if the VPN suits you before committing to a long-term payment plan.
NordVPN doesn’t have a free or trial version persay, but it does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee option.This means you can subscribe to a plan, try the service out for a month, and if by some miracle it doesn’t suit you, they will fully refund you and cancel your subscription.
That’s about as free as VPNs get!
Is NordVPN customer service any good?
Any service is only as good as the people behind it. So let’s say you are not as tech savvy as us and need some help installing or tuning the app – would NordVPN customer service be able to provide you with support and assistance?
NordVPN actually offers several options to resolve any and all of your issues. Whether you are new to the world of anonymous browsing or an experienced user, NordVPN is there for you.
First of all, NordVPN has a dedicated support website that is full of over 500 pages of useful information, ranging from simple installation manuals, to troubleshooting guides to the most advanced tutorials. A bit difficult to navigate when compared to other providers’ support websites, but the information is definitely there.
NordVPN 24/7 live customer service
In addition to a thorough support site, NordVPN also offers its customers 24/7 service via live chat or email.
We’ve checked out their live chat and we always got a response within a few minutes. The Customer Support Reps were helpful even though their answers were usually just copied from the FAQ page. If the support agent isn’t able to solve your problem you’ll get another assistant who is sure to help you.
Customer Service via Email works just as well but does take a bit longer. We recommend reserving this option for solving difficult issues.
So how good is NordVPN?
It’s so easy to get lost in the many features, options and tools NordVPN throws at the users. And we could honestly go on for hours. But the bottom line is: is NordVPN actually that good?
To be completely honest: yes, yes it is. With its impenetrable encryption, fast and stable speeds, a fleet of servers all over the world, flexible setting, intuitive interface and bunch of extra features NordVPN has definitely earned its spot among the best VPN service providers.
NordVPN may not be the very best VPN due to some unstable servers, a lack of advanced settings and still being a bit on the pricey side (unless you use the exclusive VPNService offer), but it’s sure to satisfy any of your browsing, streaming and gaming needs.
What platforms does NordVPN work on?
NordVPN supports most of the major operating systems and devices including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS and Android. NordVPN also offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Does NordVPN keep logs?
NordVPN commits to strict ‘no-logging’ policy. The service only retains your username and time of your last session for 15 minutes after you log out.
How many devices can you use NordVPN on?
You can connect up to 6 devices simultaneously via NordVPN. But you can also install NordVPN on your router and make the number of connections unlimited.
Does NordVPN have split-tunneling?
NordVPN does not support split-tunneling on desktop. But you can use NordVPN’s browser extensions to only encrypt your browser traffic. However, NordVPN does have a split-tunneling option in its Android app.
Can you install NordVPN on your router?
Yes you can, but only if your Router supports OpenVPN as a “Client”. You can find a thorough guide on how to install NordVPN on your router on their support website.
Does NordVPN offer any solutions for businesses?
NordVPN offers businesses a package solution with NordVPN Teams which includes secure and remote connection from anywhere in the world, private and shared gateways and a lot of team management features.
Can you use NordVPN on Xbox and PlayStation?
Neither Xbox, nor Playstation support the built-in NordVPN functionality. But you can still install the service on your preferred gaming console with the help of NordVPN’s thorough guides on their support website.
How much does NordVPN cost?
NordVPN offers several payment plans. The longer you subscribe to NordVPN for the lower the cost. And with a special offer courtesy of VPNService you can get NordVPN for as little as 3.30 € per month.
What types of payments does NordVPN accept?
NordVPN is very flexible when it comes to payment options. They accept most of the major credit cards, iDeal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, UnionPay and even some cryptocurrencies.
Does NordVPN have a free or trial version?
No, NordVPN does not have a free or trial version. It does, however, offer a 30-day money-back guarantee option.
How to get a refund for your NordVPN trial?
To get a refund on your 30-day money-back plan you simply have to contact their support team via Live Chat or Email.
How can you reach NordVPN customer support?
You can contact NordVPN’s customer service via chat on their support website or by Email.
What is NordLynx?
NordLynx is a security protocol developed by NordVPN around the infamous WireGuard. NordLynx is still in development but you can already use it with some servers.
What is NordPass?
NordPass is a service developed by NordVPN that lets you securely store, organize and access all of your passwords from anywhere.
What is NordLocker?
NordLocker is an encrypted cloud service developed by NordVPN which lets you securely store and share up to 500 GB of data.