There has been a lot of talk about a Panama-based VPN that has been in the industry for over 10 years now. NordVPN has made quite a name for itself by showcasing the many powerful, intuitive and convenient features that it provides in its packages. This particular VPN is not like the others of its kind. Unlike other VPNs out there, NordVPN doesn’t just give its users the opportunity to hide their location but rather, gives them the option to choose a particular VPN based on the kind of activity they require it for simply streaming online.
Every VPN comes with its own set of unique features which is what makes it so important that our readers get to read this incredibly detailed and unbiased NordVPN review that we have compiled for them.
Pricing and Plans
NordVPN comes with a month long money-back guarantee. However, it also provides users with a week-long free trial for mobile users and a 3-day free trial for its desktop users, which is a pretty good package if you ask us.
In terms of payment, this VPN accepts both credit/debit cards as well as the option to pay through PayPal. A newly introduced feature, keeping in line with the recent monetary trends, it also accepts the option to pay through Bitcoins which gives users a chance to make their payments anonymously. Given that a VPN is used for the anonymity features it provides, this feels like a great option for users looking to maintain their identity a secret.
Following is a list of other payment options users can opt for:
Performance Levels (Speed Test)
This is the difficult part of this review. Features may tell a certain story, however, it is the performance scores that ultimately decide whether a VPN is worth your dime by being the best VPN in the market or just a ladder step while you skip on to the top. Let’s crack down to it, shall we?
In the past, NordVPN has been beaten by its main competitor in the market which was ExpressVPN. However, in 2018 alone, the performance results of NordVPN scored through the roof.
Here we will be showing you the results of several speed tests conducted to see how efficiently NordVPN handles the security of your data traffic.
For this particular speed test, a 100 Mbps cable internet connection was used and the results without the VPN were as follows.
And even through the best VPNs in the market managed to score more than the speed level of 70 Mbps, NordVPN came out a victor by reaching 71.11 Mbps.
Overall, what we gained from running these speed tests was that NordVPN proves to be one of the fastest VPN in the market beating its competitors by 4 points to be exact.
This step of the process is a fairly straightforward one. An email address is needed but you can easily use a disposable one to maintain your anonymity. Once you have signed up, you can download the VPN immediately. You will receive a confirmation email with some useful links for resources.
Features and Add-Ons
NordVPN may be a relatively cheaper VPN than most but that doesn’t mean that users miss out on important features. In fact, NordVPN does offer users some pretty great features that include the following:
- IP hiding
- Kill switch options
- Simultaneous connections for your whole family
- DoubleVPN access so your data is encrypted twice for security
NordVPN has apps for not only Windows but also for iOS, Mac and Android phones. All of these come with their very own detailed tutorials making protocol connectivity easy for users using these particular apps along with 40 different mobile OS, Raspberry Pi as well as routers.
The problem with most VPNs is that when the connection is lost, users aren’t always notified. However, when connection is lost while you are using NordVPN, the software automatically pulls the kill switch on your connection, thereby terminating any and all programs that may reveal your identity to connect to the internet you are using.
DNS Leak Protection
The problem with manually setting up a VPN connection is that you as a user become prone to DNS leaks. NordVPN has measures put into place that will automatically counter such leaks and protect you against harm.
Onion Over VPN
For users who wish to visit the TOR network, which is also widely known as the dark web, NordVPN provides you with the option to reroute your traffic through its own VPN before sending it off to the Onion Router which conceals your messages in layers and layers of encryption for added protection against data leaks.
If you wish to access geographically restricted streaming services such as Amazon Prime, BBC and others then NordVPN’s SmartPay feature allows you to access more than 400 of such services with ease taking binge-nights to a whole new level.
Privacy and Security
Let’s face it, nobody uses a VPN that provides everything apart from privacy. The basic feature that users look for in the best VPN out there is its ability to maintain a client’s anonymity. Let’s discuss just how good NordVPN does that for you.
Panama-Based VPN Equals Safe VPN Jurisdiction
Panama has a zero government surveillance and uncensored internet access policy and since NordVPN is a Panama-based software, it offers the same to all of its users. It does not monitor nor does it store or record the logs of any of its trusted users. Panama also happens to be out of the jurisdiction of the influence of organizations such as GCHQ and NSA. This is specifically what qualifies a Panama-based VPN such as NordVPN a suitable choice for those looking to maintain anonymity.
NordVPN’s website uses more than one tracker but to the average user, these are fairly non-invasive and goes by undetected. The most important thing here is that there are absolutely no connections that NordVPN has with Facebook trackers or Google Analytics.
The traffic used by NordVPN is the standard 256-bit AES encrypted and it uses 2,048-bit SSL keys. The option for DNS leak protection is automatically toggled on. The tor over VPN routes the traffic through the VPN first and then makes it go through the Tor traffic which gives users a chance to access the onion websites thereby increasing their data security.
One major downside to this whole procedure is that the use of Tor network may end up slowing your connection down a bit. Among other downsides is the fact that it will keep changing your Tor exit node along with your IP address to maintain anonymity.
No Logging Policy
While there may be VPNs out there that keep logs of what their users do online, NordVPN does not. On their official website, it can be seen that NordVPN does monitor some data but it has very little to do with the privacy of the users. Take a look at the following that they monitor:
- Service performance data for recommending suitable servers to users
- Payment data
- E-mail addresses
However, that is just the regular stuff that should be too worrisome for clients looking for anonymity. Another reason to join hands with this VPN service is that its payment processor is in no way connected to the main company.
All Your Netflix and Torrenting Needs
Being one of the few VPNs out there with many servers at disposal, NordVPN gives its users to download Torrents by easily bypassing their geographical restrictions. This also applies to streaming websites like Netflix which may be restricted in some countries for use altogether.
Netflix has been known to be vigilant in figuring out fast whether or not a user is using a VPN which is why most VPNs steer clear of it. NordVPN however took on the task and made it possible to use Netflix. However, it is to be noted that not all of NordVPN’s servers work with Netflix, but a few do get the job done.
Let’s discuss your torrenting needs now. Being real, it has to be admitted that not all of us actually pay for movies and games anymore. Torrenting always seems like a fair bet but one must be able to hide one’s IP address. In a situation like this NordVPN comes to the rescue by giving users access to P2P Servers that are solely meant for keeping torrenting activities private from the prying eyes. These special servers can easily be accessed through the server list on the application.
Zero IP or DNS Leaks
Whenever we take up the task to review a VPN service, we run several tests to ensure that they don’t leak any IP or DNS. In order to do that, we set our location to NordVPN’s USA server and used about 4 websites to find out whether or not there were any DNS leaks. Following are the websites we used.
- com for WebRTC leak test
- Perfec-Privacy.com for IP and DNS leak test
Overall, we are confident that using NordVPN will not result in any IP or DNS leaks for users, if the tests are proof of anything.
Another test we ran was a Chrome extension leak test which revealed that NordVPN is one of the very few VPNs out there that did not leak.
A round the clock support system is available to NordVPN users with the help of a web based ticket system that is also available on Facebook, Twitter and via email. Users can take advantage of the live chat options in the case of emergencies.
Live Chat and Email
While in the past, NordVPN’s support has wavered somewhat, in the recent days however, it has picked up where it was lacking. In the year 2018 alone, NordVPN won the Best Customer Service award by being not only the most fast and detailed VPN service out there but also the most knowledgeable one.
Sometimes live support is not enough when users are presented with complicated problems only faced by users much like themselves. In cases like these, a vast directly like the one offered by NordVPN can give users a chance to read up on support articles o fix the problem they are facing themselves.
Final Thoughts: Would We Recommend NordVPN?
Hands down, we do have to say that we put our full support behind NordVPN. It may have some flaws but compared to the other big fish in the market, it offers you the best services for its value. It is not only secure but also fast. It doesn’t come with a complicated structure as well as a huge learning curve like its competitors AirVPN and TorGuard which is what makes it such a reliable VPN for newbies as well as advanced users.
NordVPN has the largest server list out there but keep in mind that not all of them can be trusted to do the job. With over 4800+ servers in more than 60 countries, only a few function correctly to unlock streaming services for you.
Unless NordVPN’s competitors like ExpressVPN up the ante by lowering their prices and introducing new features, NordVPN may soon end up replacing it to be the #1 VPN service out there.
However, we will see if NordVPN continues the good work by being good to its users. If you are someone who is looking for a good VPN service on a limited budget, NordVPN is absolutely the right choice for you. This NordVPN review must simply help lead the way to making the right VPN decision for you.