NordVPN Review: Feature, Security, Speed Test, and more

NordVPN - Detailed Review

As mentioned, NordVPN is one of the best, oldest, and most respected VPN services currently on the market. It is also one of the biggest ones in terms of its server network, but also among the fastest and most secure VPNs in the world. It offers a wide variety of features, excellent protection, and more.

Let’s take a look at its!

NordVPN Overview

Server network: NordVPN has a massive server network which includes 5,105 servers in 60 countries.
Protocols: NordVPN uses OpenVPN protocol, which is the best one available.
Encryption: NordVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption, which is the best in the industry.
P2P support: NordVPN supports torrenting and other forms of P2P traffic, making file sharing easy and secure.
Double VPN: NordVPN offers Double VPN feature, meaning that standard VPN is routed through a second VPN, which doubles the encryption, making it unbreakable.
Tor support: NordVPN allows Tor-over-VPN, meaning that your traffic can be routed through a VPN and then through Tor network, increasing anonymity and privacy.
Netflix support: NordVPN is one of only a few services that still works with Netflix.
CyberSec: NordVPN allows you to activate a CyberSec feature which avoids ads and protects you from malware, phishing, and similar threats.
Auto connect: NordVPN can be set to connect automatically on startup.
Kill switch: NordVPN offers a kill switch which instantly severs your connection in case there is a VPN app malfunction, thus preventing you from exposure.
Invisibility on Lan: Your computer will be invisible to others on the local area network (LAN), which is great for avoiding danger on public Wi-Fi.
Affordable: NordVPN offers multiple payment plans which are very cost-efficient.
Money-back guarantee: NordVPN guarantees to return your money within the first 30 days after the purchase.
Easy to use: NordVPN app is extremely user-friendly and intuitive.
DNS Leak protection: NordVPN uses DNS leak protection to ensure that your data will not leak and go to ISP (internet service provider) servers instead to NordVPN servers.
No logs policy: NordVPN guarantees not to keep any of your data or share it with others.
Multiple device support: NordVPN is available on multiple devices and systems, and it allows you to connect up to 6 devices with a single account.

NordVPN: Privacy and Security (TEST)

Privacy and security are among the most important things that you should look for in a VPN service. After all, the whole point in using a VPN is to remain secure online and to protect your privacy.

NordVPN offers excellent security, starting with the fact that it is headquartered in Panama, which is a safe jurisdiction with no data retention laws and also known as ‘Internet Friendly Jurisdiction’. This makes it stand out from others, as a lot of other VPN services are located in the US and similar countries which seek to collect and analyze user data. These countries’ governments are known for even demanding that their VPN services submit their users’ information, which they must do if presented with a court order.

You will never have such problems with NordVPN, which does not keep any logs of your activities, and is headquartered outside of jurisdictions that may request information about you. Panamanian-based provider guarantee great anonymity, privacy and secure your data.

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NordVPN Guarantee of No Logging Policy

Your activity while using NordVPN is ensured by an automated technical process that is’t monitored, is’t recorded, is’t registered, is’t stored and is’t transferred to third parties. NordVPN has a strict log-free policy when it comes to monitoring user activity on the Internet. This is all true.

However, the company still monitors some important data, for example: email address and payment data. No worries! Such monitoring is regularly practiced in many companies. For example, your email address is necessary for such companies to contact with the client and communicate important information. As for payment data. They are required for processing transactions, refund requests etc.

OpenVPN and Double VPN Protection

Next, it will protect you with the strongest protocol (OpenVPN) and the most powerful encryption algorithm on the market – AES-256-GCM with a 2048-bit Diffie-Hellman key. Not only that, but it allows you to secure your traffic even further with a Double VPN and VPN-over-Tor features, which double the encryption and make your traffic pretty much untraceable. When using function of Double VPN, your actions on the Internet are hidden behind two servers, not one.

Double VPN protection

NordVPN uses new generation adaptive encryption (NGE) with IKEv2 / IPsec protocols. These protocols use powerful cryptographic algorithms and keys that cannot be cracked even by supercomputers. You will always have the most up-to-date encryption and high-quality connection security.

NordVPN Kill Switch Got Your Back

NordVPN offer its users programmed Kill Switch. Probably you’ll be happy to stay secure online 100% in case your internet connections is lost, which may cause to leak your data privacy. This NordVPN’s advanced feature is useful and promise always got your back.

No matter which version you use, desktop or mobile app, go to ‘Settings’ and read this note: “If a VPN connection drops, Kill Switch will disable the internet until connection is restored”. And then easy enable Kill Switch option for added automatically protection your data and real IPs.

NordVPN DNS Leak Protection

Another useful feature for privacy lovers is enabled DNS leak protection. This geo-tricky technology protects users’ DNS requests from specific locations. These days if someone knows your IP address, equals they can find place you live. Fact, your IP is easy to find, for starters just Google it: ‘What is my IP address’ and will see also Geo-IP (location).

It’s easy to check if NordVPN protects connection Fort Knox-like. We tried, you got it. We used this DNS leak test.

Nord VPN DNS leak test

As you see, when using NordVPN your IP nor DNS will likely never get leaked.

NordVPN Servers

As mentioned, NordVPN features a massive server network with 5,111 servers located in over 60 countries around the world. This means that you can change your online location as many times as you want, and access pretty much anything on the internet.

By the way, since April 2019 NordVPN officially shut down all of its Russian servers. So connecting to NordVPN servers in Russia may no longer be safe. It happened because of Roskomnadzor (their proper name is a mouthful – The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media) was demanding that NordVPN makes changes to its service that would directly affect its users’ security, privacy and online freedom fro providing access to any servers located in Russia. So NordVPN removed Russian servers from their service.

NordVPN server locations include (full list on this page):

  • Europe – 2327 servers
  • Asia – 481 servers
  • The Americas Region – 2216 servers
  • Africa, the Middle East and India – 70 servers

NordVPN Speed Test

NordVPN is a high-speed VPN service, which is important for those who might want to use it for watching videos, downloading content, or torrenting. It’s noteworthy, in late 2018 NordVPN became first VPN to receive the Speedtest Recommended badge for its fast connection speeds.

But, we wanted to see just how fast it really is, so we did a couple of tests. Here is what our internet speed looked like without a VPN in Netherlands. We used 100 Mb/sec internet WiFi connection (at least our provider say that!) and this service – Ookla.

Test Speed Without VPN

After using a great Quick Connect feature, NordVPN found the closest of its servers, and after conducting another test, here is what the speed was like with a VPN but nearest server in your or neighboring country.

Speed Test VPN Near Server

Internet connection speed test results for France servers:

Speed Test VPN France

We decided to see what the speed might be like if we were to connect to a server that is further away, so we choose the one in South Korea.  Here are the results now.

Speed Test VPN South Korea Server

As you can see, there is still clearly an impact on speed in both cases. However, the closer the server you have connected to, the lesser the impact. Even with speeds like this, NordVPN still slows you down less than most other VPN services, but it provides excellent protection in return. Besides, even these speeds are more than enough for streaming videos, downloading files, or sharing them via torrent, but with much better security. Write in the comments, what is your speed?!

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NordVPN Apps & Interface

When it comes to NordVPN, the service truly offers a great number of dedicated apps for different devices and systems. You can use it on smartphones, desktops, laptops, tablets, Smart TVs, and even routers. It offers support for Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, and it also provides Firefox and Chrome extensions.

What platforms support the NordVPN

The app consists of a world map with all of the server locations on different continents, and the map takes the majority of the app. On the left side of the app, there is a server list, which you can organize so that it will present you with all servers in all countries, or limit them only to those that support P2P, Dedicated IP, Double VPN, or Onion Over VPN.

Once you start going through servers, the list will also start listing you servers to which you were connected recently, which is a quick way to re-connect to a server that worked well for you in the past. On the very top of the app, there are two tabs — Servers, and Settings. When the app launches, you will be on the Servers tab so that you can start surfing the web protected right away. However, if you go to the Settings tab, you will be able to optimize your VPN experience by choosing which features should or should not be activated.

The offered features are:

  1. CyberSec, a new feature that lets you avoid ads and protect you from malware;
  2. Auto connect, which we mentioned earlier;
  3. Start NordVPN on startup, which ensures your protection right from the start;
  4. Internet Kill Switch, which will end your connection if the app malfunctions;
  5. Invisibility on LAN, which makes you invisible on the local area network;
  6. App Kill Switch, which will also prevent your apps from connecting to the internet in the VPN app malfunctions;
  7. Notifications, which will notify you when you connect/disconnect;
  8. Start minimized, which prevents the app from popping out when you launch your system.

Apart from that, there are also advanced settings, as well as your account information,  where you can check how long your subscription will last and when did you subscribe to the service.

Free vs Paid VPN

Of course, subscription information indicates that NordVPN is a premium service, which is true. All good VPNs are premium services, and it is always recommended that you use a premium service instead of the free one. The free service will, of course, allow you to use a VPN without paying for it. At least, not with cash.

However, running servers and providing features costs money, and a free VPN needs to sustain itself in other ways if it’s not getting the money from you. They mostly do that by collecting your information, browsing history, and alike — and selling it to third parties. Most of the time, this includes advertisers who seek information about as many users as possible, so that they can improve the ads that they will target you with, and as a result, improve their own businesses.

Apart from that, free VPNs are also slow, and their protection levels are quite low, usually with no additional security features, while their encryption and protocols are outdated and will likely not protect you properly at all.

As for NordVPN, you can get all the features we have already mentioned and explained at quite an affordable price. NordVPN offers four different plans for you to choose from:

Plans and prices for NordVPN

Simply put, the longer the plan, the bigger the discount you receive, and you will also be able to use your VPN for years without having to think about it or when do you have to pay for it. The 3-year plan is billed only once per 3 years, the 2-year plan only once in 2 years, and the 1-year plan only once per year. If you choose the 1-month plan instead, you will have to renew it every month and pay a much larger price in the long-term.

No matter which plans you choose, NordVPN will provide you with a 30-day money back guarantee, meaning that you can get your money back at any point during the first 30 days since the moment you purchased the plan. Not only that, but NordVPN will also grant you a 3-day long free trial so that you can test it before actually having to pay.

What About Payment Methods?

As for the payment methods, you can buy NordVPN services via credit cards, cryptocurrencies and other online payment methods.

Payment Method of NordVPN

You’re 100% guaranteed back your money in 30-days

PayPal? Adyen!

On February 1st, 2019 NordVPN reported, they discontinued cooperation with PayPal. So instead of directing customers to PayPal, company will provide a seamless purchase experience by managing all customer data and recurring subscriptions ourselves. From now on, VPN service launched partnership Ayden – one of the most popular payment providers. Which also provides a self-hosted payment system.

Moreover, as they say in NordVPN, company is about to introduce number of new region-specific local payment options, which will make service more accessible to internet users worldwide.

NordVPN refund money

NordVPN offers not only a free trial, but also has successful refund policy – 30 days money back guarantee. Is this up to 1 month refund period real? We contacted the customer support, and assistant said that all refund requests process max 24 hours.

To refund, do so within 30 days following your purchase, contact their customer support team. Keep in mind, it may take additional few days for your bank to refund your account.

Also remember, this VPN provider does not give refunds for StackSocial, Amazon, and BestBuy. And purchased iTunes subscriptions are subject to the native app stores’ refund policies.

To be honest, we never even had in mind to refund NordVPN. We bet, you won’t do it.

How to set up and use NordVPN?

Once you decide which payment plan suits you best, the next step is to download the apps you need.

All of the apps are easy to download, set up, and use, and the entire process of obtaining one lasts only a few minutes. As soon as you download it, install it, and launch it, you can surf the web with total protection. As mentioned, it is extremely easy to use, and it is simple to understand.

All you need to do is choose a server, which you can do on the world map, or the list located on the left side of the app, and the app will quickly connect you to it. After that is done, you are free to use the web as you see fit, and access any websites or services that are available in the region where the server is located. This is example of how to set up and use Nord on popular platforms:

How to Install and Set up NordVPN on macOS

How To Set Up and Use NordVPN on Windows 7, 8.1, 10

Help and 24/7 Support

Another extremely important thing when it comes to VPNs is their customer support. Users need to be able to get proper support when they run into a problem or when there is something that they do not understand or know about the VPN service they are using. However, while this is one of the most important things for every VPN service, many of them do not seem to understand that, and their customer support is limited to support tickets, and email, at best.

NordVPN support, however, understands how important it is for its customers to get in contact with the service quickly and have their questions answered as soon as possible. No wonder, its customer service got Best Customer Service Award 2018. While they do provide an email-based service and can be contacted by support@nordvpn.com. You can also get in contact through live chat to answer any question you may have – just access directly to the bottom right corner on the NordVPN website.

Tech-Support of NordVPNThe support team is available 24/7 and quick to help, typically it takes 1-4 mins for their reply. To make sure, we approached this live chat. And asked information about working servers for bypassing geo-restrictions on Netflix. And NordVPN assistant ‘Sam’ replied within (you won’t believe it!) … 7 seconds!

Although you might end up with a copy/paste answer if it is a simple matter which can already be found in the FAQ or on other parts of their website. If your problem is more complex, you can contact the service via email, provide screenshots, and receive another assistant to help you with your issue any time, any day.

Does NordVPN work with Netflix?

Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services around the world, with a massive library that includes movies, TV shows, anime, documentaries, and pretty much anything else you may think of. However, the problem with Netflix is that not every region has access to the same content. Additionally, there are some regions that can’t access Netflix at all, due to their country’s censorship and restrictions.

Does NordVPN work with Netflix?

While this is very unfortunate, it can easily be solved with NordVPN, which is one of the few services that work great with Netflix and other streaming services to this day. Simply connect to NordVPN, choose a server in a different country, and check out what is offered on Netflix there.

Smart Play‘ feature also unlocks local content in outlying places for more than 400+ streaming services to all audiences: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Vevo, Crunchyroll, BBC iPlayer, Mubi, Pandora, Telemundo, Shudder, Cartoon Network, Kodi, and more.

To ensure secure access to Netflix in different regions on desktop devices (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X), please connect to any of the servers mentioned below:

  • Netflix US – you can connect to any of our servers except for those based in the UK, Canada, Netherlands and Japan.
  • For watching Netflix Canada/UK/Netherlands/Japan/France/Italy – you can connect to any of NordVPN servers in that specific country.

Notice, here is update from NordVPN team support member ‘Sam’: “In order to access Netflix on mobile devices (Android, iOS), please connect to any of the specific servers listed in this article with updates on Netflix accessibility in different regions.

What About Torrent Sites?

The main problem is that all devices that download or upload the same file on a P2P network (like Pirate Bay or RARBG) can see each other’s IP addresses. This is the essence of a peer-to-peer network, otherwise, it does not work. Therefore, what is good for the effective exchange of information is not very useful for your privacy.

In addition, your ISP can also quickly detect that you are using P2P. It can deny access to file-based Web sites or set bandwidth limitations, which slows down your Internet connection.

If you keep these risks in mind, a NordVPN will be your best friend when using P2P. The company has developed a special “P2P-servers”. They provide security and privacy for your connections when you use P2P.

NordVPN p2p servers for torrenting

Using NordVPN on a router

As mentioned, NordVPN can be used on a wide variety of devices, which include smartphones, computers, tablets, Smart TVs, and more. However, you can also use it on a router and encrypt the traffic of all of your devices at once. If you want to use NordVPN on your router, there are three different options:

  1. Get a router that is pre-configured from a tech store. They might be a bit more expensive, but it will be much easier to combine it with NordVPN.
  2. Get a router that is VPN-enabled. This means that the router can be used with no flashing required.
  3. Flash the router you already have. This is the third and pretty much the worse option, as it can be dangerous and difficult. The difficulty can vary depending on the router you are using.

Once you start using NordVPN on your router, you should make sure to connect to the nearest server and make sure that it has the lightest load. That will significantly improve your speeds while connecting to a faraway server that is overcrowded will likely have a massive impact on how fast you’ll get to browse the web. Configuring routers is not a particularly difficult process, and there are plenty of instructions online which can help you do it yourself, even with a minimal amount of tech knowledge.

Experts from NordVPN recommend using routers from this list (up to 10-40 Mbps respectively): Asus RT-N18U, Asus RT-AC66U, Asus RT-AC68U, Asus RT-AC87U, Asus RT-AC3200 etc. As you can see, they recommend using routers from Asus, and for a good reason. The fact is that most of the routers from the famous company Asus support OpenVPN thereby it is easily configured.

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How to use NordVPN with Kodi?

If you are not interested in watching Netflix, but would rather stream content on Kodi — you can do that too, and still, remain safe and secure with NordVPN. In fact, NordVPN and Kodi work great together, and NordVPN servers are specially configured to work with this streaming service. Add the fact that NordVPN already has servers dedicated to streaming, and you get the fastest streaming service with the best protection available.

Here is how you can make NordVPN work with Kodi, regardless of which device you plan to use it on.

  1. Get a NordVPN account
  2. Download and install the app for the device you wish to watch Kodi on
  3. Launch the app and connect to one of the servers dedicated specifically to streaming
  4. Launch Kodi, and enjoy!

Final verdict

So, after all of this, do we recommend using NordVPN? Absolutely.

NordVPN offers the best protection, helpful customer service, a large server network with more than decent speeds, as well as many locations. Further, it is packed with security features that will ensure that you never get exposed online, and it is based in Panama, outside of all nosy jurisdictions, which helps them to avoid any data retention laws.

NordVPN covers a wide variety of devices and systems, and you can even cover your entire home by combining it with your router. It is very affordable and easy to use, with a simple and clean interface where you will easily find your way around even if you are a first time VPN user. With all said and done, NordVPN is one of the best VPN services in the world, and not without reason.

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Markus Clark

My name is Markus Clark and I'm VPN, Torrent and Internet Security specialist. I'm fond of programming languages, studying new technologies. Also I worked as a technical engineer, and now I am blogger.
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Franck

Great job Markus and Team of this site! So much useful information in one article! I have been using Nordvpn for about a month now, and I can say that this application is ideal for users of torrent sites. The presence of a Kill switch is especially cool – a very useful feature, if a VPN connection is terminated, it automatically blocks access of my devices to the Internet, so this is just necessary for a torrent.

Atiksh
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Atiksh

Thanks for that! Best VPN which I have ever seen …