NordVPN Review: What the Fuzz Is All About?
You're probably wondering what all the fuzz about NordVPN is? And are all the claims about it being the #1 VPN on the market true?
Well, Let's dig deeper into that…
We have reviewed and studied all of NordVPN's features, servers' performance, and online comments and reviews from people who already used NordVPN to bring you a detailed analysis and thorough review.
This section checked how NordVPN fares against its competitors in terms of speed tests, number of servers, geographic distribution, and their fastest available protocol.
1. NordVPN in speed tests
NordVPN is reportedly one of the fastest VPNs. It scores top points when it comes down to the speed it provides. Whether it's for streaming, torrenting, or gaming, NordVPN makes sure you won't feel any lags or speed drops.
2. Number of servers and geographic distribution
Short explanation: NordVPN has 5400+ servers distributed over 59 countries.
Long explanation: The best VPN services always offer many server locations. The high number of servers (especially when they are quality servers) can relieve internet traffic congestion. When a server has too many users, the speed will drop. Having multiple servers in certain areas helps relieve that congestion pressure.
3. Fastest available protocol
Short explanation: NordLynx is the fastest available protocol by NordVPN (recommended to use).
Long explanation: In the VPN world, many protocols exist, with differences between protocols making the difference in how secure a VPN is, how fast, and whether it can bypass geo-censorship. Typically the trade-off is between speed and security, with the PPTP protocol typically being the fastest but the least secure.
NordLynx is a unique protocol developed by NordVPN and is based on WireGuard. WireGuard is the next generation protocol currently still in development, as it's fast but might suffer a bit in security. NordLynx is developed a step further to make sure its security and speed are top-notch.
Security and Privacy
One of the main reasons people might use a VPN is because they want to secure their VPN connection and stay anonymous while privately surfing the internet.
The most important features regarding security and privacy include:
1. Encryption and protocols
NordVPN provides AES-256-bit encryption, which is the standard for the industry. It is so secure that governments, militaries, and banks utilize this type of encryption to secure their data.
Are you new to VPNs?
For NordVPN use, NordLynx protocol for speed, use OpenVPN protocol for maximum security, and use OpenVPN protocol to bypass geo-censorship (obfuscation).
Pro mode: The protocols available for NordVPN include:
|Platform||All platforms (default for macOS and iOS)||All platforms||All platforms (used by default in most NordVPN apps)|
|Security||IPsec encryption||AES encryption (most secure)||ChaCha20 for symmetric encryption with poly1305 for message authentication|
|Firewall||UDP ports 500 and 4500, and ESP IP Protocol 50||Uses 443 port (hard to block)||The port
If no port is
it uses 51820/UDP
|Speed||Generally fast (faster than OpenVPN)||Slowest of the three (around 400,000 lines of code)||Fastest available (around 4000 lines of code)|
2. NordVPN logs policy
Short explanation: NordVPN has a true no-log policy.
Long explanation: VPN companies often mention a no-log policy, but while many mention a no-log policy, many actually mean a no activity log policy.
While both policies don't record your online activities, only the true no-log policy gathers zero information. The no activity log policy logs some of your data, such as email and billing information. In terms of NordVPN, it has a true-zero policy. Furthermore, they have undergone audits to confirm they don't log any data.
3. Kill switch
Short explanation: NordVPN has a fully functional kill switch feature.
Long explanation: NordVPN has a kill switch. A kill switch acts to sever your connection to the internet if your VPN connection fails, therefore protecting your real IP. Kill switch protection is further divided into IP leak protection and DNS leak protection. NordVPN does an outstanding job with both.
4. RAM-based servers
Short explanation: NordVPN has RAM-based servers.
Long explanation: RAM-based servers mean that instead of the saved data to SSD drives, it is saved on RAMs. This is advantageous to security because RAMs are wiped clean every time the servers reboot.
5. Based country
Short explanation: NordVPN is based in Panama.
Long explanation: NordVPN is based in Panama, which is outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. VPN companies based inside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance are considered a possible security threat as these countries are known to spy on their citizens and share information internally. (Read more on the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance).
6. Warrant canary
Short explanation: NordVPN has a warrant canary system.
Long explanation: A warrant canary is an indirect method to warn customers of governmental attempts to subpoena where the presence of the warrant on the company’s official website means the local government hasn’t tried anything yet.
If the warrant canary is removed from the company’s page, it means they were asked to provide logging data. Being outside the 5/9/14/ Eyes Alliance, and with VPN being legal in Panama, NordVPN doesn’t need a warrant canary system, yet they still provide it, so their customers are 100% sure they are safe.
NordVPN in the Real World
In terms of the applications of VPN in the real world, we dive further into how NordVPN fares against the rest in the following categories:
Short explanation: NordVPN unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, ESPN, Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO, and Hotstar.
Long explanation: The capability to access restricted websites is an essential part of any VPN's job. Netflix is usually the most significant challenge in unblocking and accessing streaming platforms using a VPN. Many VPNs have a hard time unblocking Netflix geo-restricted content; however, NordVPN had no issues regarding this.
NordVPN also allows its users to easily access geo-restricted YouTube content and unblocks many streaming platforms, including the BBC iPlayer, Hulu, ESPN, Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO, and Hotstar.
2. Torrent and P2P
Short explanation: NordVPN allows torrenting. Furthermore, NordVPN has specialized torrenting servers.
Long explanation: Torrenting goes hand in hand with VPN. Many individuals torrent illegal material and hence require a VPN to cover up both the data going over to their ISP via encryption and their location by masking their IP address.
Not all VPN companies allow for torrenting, and even fewer companies have specialized torrenting servers, which provide a better experience and speed when torrenting. However, when it comes to NordVPN, you can rest assured you are in safe hands.
Short explanation: NordVPN has specialized gaming servers.
Long explanation: When it comes to gaming, the reason why you would want to use a VPN for games is variable, but one thing is clear, which is no one wants to lag at all. Companies with specialized gaming servers make sure your gaming experience will be smoother than with companies that don’t have specialized gaming servers. (Read more on VPN and Gaming).
4. Geo-censorship bypass (obfuscation)
Short explanation: NordVPN bypasses geo-censorship, including "The Great Firewall of China".
Long explanation: Geo-censorship is the phenomenon where a VPN is banned in a country, and the country proactively takes measures to prevent its use by filtering all outgoing traffic recognized as from a VPN origin. OpenVPN is the protocol of choice when you want to "Obfuscate" your data.
5. Split tunneling
Short explanation: NordVPN has the split tunneling feature, only for Windows and Android.
Long explanation: The split tunneling feature means you can selectively use your VPN on a certain type/source of data outgoing from your device.
Split tunneling in certain situations is favorable. For example, you're torrenting while playing a video game or watching a YouTube video. In such a scenario, you would want only the torrenting to be encrypted. VPN encryption will slow down the connection speed relative to not using a VPN since the encrypted data is larger than non-encrypted.
NordVPN only provides this feature for Windows and Android but not for iOS and macOS.
In the NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN debate, a major point for ExpressVPN is the superior split tunneling. If you want a VPN for both your desktop/laptop and mobile, including macOS and iOS, I suggest you take a look at ExpressVPN.
6.Tor over VPN
Short explanation: NordVPN provides Tor over VPN and has dedicated Tor over VPN servers.
Long explanation: Torrent onion router (Tor) is a P2P program used to enter the dark web. Using a VPN adds an extra layer of anonymity, especially at the entry node, with the addition of data encryption.
7. Dedicated IP servers
Short explanation: NordVPN has dedicated IP servers.
Long explanation: While mostly when using a VPN, you would want a dynamic IP (an IP that changes whenever you reconnect to a server). In certain situations, this is not the case. A dedicated server is recommended in the following situations:
This comes to play when one needs to secure their business server access for the purpose of security. Typically in a business service setting, you want encryption of data and a select group of people to be able to login to your system. This is done by allowing particular IP addresses to log in. If your IP is shared and is not static, then this won't be possible. On the other hand, a dedicated IP means it's static and can be set as a log in condition.
Secure online payment
You might be wondering why shouldn't I just pay with the standard shared IP VPN service? Now I want you to imagine this picture from the bank's viewpoint; someone with the card number xxx has processed payments from 10 different countries worldwide in the past week. For banks, that sounds like a sane reason to block the card marking it as suspicious activity. However, when having a static IP, this issue is avoided as you pay from the same IP/location every time.
Avoid getting blacklisted
The blacklist effect, also known as the bad neighbor effect, revolves around how other people with the same IP address could do things that might end up banning the owner of that specific IP address. While you might have done nothing wrong, however, since you share the same IP as the person who got blacklisted, you get banned/ blacklisted as well. Since a dedicated IP means it's yours and yours only, this wouldn't happen.
Do you know these pesky bots with the audacity to question whether you're a bot or not? This CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) system is a security measure to protect you from getting your password hacked, protect you from spam, and many other uses. With a dedicated IP, you are less likely to encounter a CAPTCHA.
NordVPN Device Compatibility
NordVPN plans cover up to 6 devices per plan. NordVPN offers a wide range of device compatibility and is available as an extension on a few browsers.
NordVPN is compatible with:
- Fire OS
- Chrome OS
NordVPN is available as an extension on:
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft edge
NordVPN User Experience
1. Languages supported
NordVPN supports the following languages:
2. Customer support
NordVPN provides adequate customer support that is fast to answer you're questions and accurate. Support is provided to customer using:
- Email and ticketing system
- Knowledge base
- Live chat
NordVPN's customer support is one of the best on the market, along with ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Surfshark. All these VPN giants offer both email and live chat support.
NordVPN's help center is a handy tool to get an answer to your inquiry. It contains general information, FAQs, and all the information you need about managing your payments and subscriptions.
NordVPN's lengthy list of many tutorials explains how to set up the service manually, even for the less-popular platforms and devices such as; Chromebooks via Chrome OS, Windows Phone, Raspberry Pi, routers, and many more.
Pricing and Payments
As with any service on the online market, the longer your subscription, the better the value, the 2-year plan with a 68% discount is cheaper than a dinner for two in a fancy restaurant. This also makes NordVPN one of the most affordable VPNs on the market and the best value for the money.
NordVPN accepts several payment methods such as:
- Credit card
- Direct debit
- Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple)
- Amazon Pay
- Google Pay
It must be noted that they don't accept PayPal but uses an alternative payment processor, Paddle, which allows making payments via PayPal.
The great news is that they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its plans. It's a straightforward process, and all you have to do is request your money back from a customer support help desk or over the 24/7 live chat. It will probably take you five minutes until your refund request is approved, and then you get your money back in 5 working days.
After a thorough review and analysis, do we at Several.com recommend NordVPN? Yes, we do!
Since it is secure, reliable, and works great on all devices. And When it comes to streaming, it unblocks the geo-restricted Netflix content, which is the most challenging streaming service to unblock.
The only drawback would be that it doesn't accept PayPal; however, you can get around that by using Paddle as an alternative payment method.
With all that being said, it's worth trying it yourself, as it is entirely risk-free with the 30-day money-back guarantee.