We break down what NordVPN brings to the crowded market of VPN providers
NordVPN is Panama-based VPN company whose core value is the belief that every user deserves privacy and security online and off. As such it does not log, much less provide, user data in any country it operates in, including China, Russia, and other states with poor online privacy records.
What you're getting access to is 4831 servers in 62 countries – rather impressive numbers when taken in the context of its competitors. Better yet, you're being offered Tor-over-VPN servers, for another layer of privacy. NordVPN will encrypt your online activity to protect your private data from hackers or snoopy advertisers. You'll be free to enjoy global connectivity along with high-performance speed and secure access to streaming websites, censored content and social networks.
Another benefit of Nord is that they're rocking purpose-specific servers. For example, the company boasts a series of high-speed servers built and dedicated towards P2P or video streaming services only. Obviously, and as was the case in our tests, having a collection of these is a great way to offer the end-user a smoother experience that's better angled to what they want to get out of the Internet.
Throw in an always appreciated and risk mitigating “30 days money-back guarantee”, and Nord is a top-tier choice for a VPN.
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What features does NordVPN offer?
If privacy is your main concern, this service provider offers a wide array of features to keep you off the grid. After one quick and easy sign up (think: email address, password and the download of a 43MB client) NordVPN is ready to protect your IP address and make sure that no one else can see which websites you visit or what files you download. You'll immediately enjoy the benefits of
an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection and Onion Over VPN for that extra layer of anonymity.
Nord's great for those of you travelling abroad or for the individual who wants to leap a few geo-fences to have a larger pool of streaming content to pick from. The 4831 servers on offer are split as follows: 2235 in The Americas, 2163 for Europe, 404 for the Asia Pacific and the remaining 52 are scattered throughout Africa, The Middle East and India.
Overall, we found our NordVPN experience to be seamless and easy to set up – using it is entry-level stuff that can be figured out by any newcomers to VPN. There are a number of features tucked away in the settings for the more advanced user, however. With one click you can enable Double VPN for an extra layer of protection (which, in our case, routed us through a server in Taiwan). You can click into P2P-centric and Dedicated IP servers, too, and quickly determine their current loads via percentage.
Further options include the enabling of ad and malware-thwarting CyberSec, protocol selection (TCP or UDP) and custom DNS settings. You can also configure specific programs for your Kill Switch and decide whether or not you want to only deal with Obfuscated Servers. Though the map scroll/zoom on the app is a little clunky for our tastes (on the Mac, at least), NordVPN's proprietary means to control its product is a nice mix of power and user-friendliness.
Admittedly, it wasn't smooth sailing for us from the get-go as NordVPN stubbornly refused to connect to US servers in the opening hour of our experience. The silver lining: this provided the perfect opportunity to test out the company's 24-hour assistance. Fortunately, the Help Centre on the site is comprehensive and easy to navigate (which solved our problem).
Further testing found that the email ticketing system was instantaneous with a response coming back from the NordVPN support team within 14 hours (which was well under the 48 hours stated). That said, we did miss the live chat function offered by the last VPN service we reviewed, PureVPN.
How much does NordVPN cost?
NordVPN offers three different plans. The smallest of toe dips is a one-month setup of $11.95 and you can get that rate cheaper by locking in for a yearly plan that'll squash your monthly payment down to $6.99. Worth noting: the 30-day refund policy applies to all of the above.
What payment methods does NordVPN accept?
NordVPN offers a wide variety of ways to pay. You've got the ubiquitous major credit card options, PayPal, three types of cryptocurrencies and a few other lesser-known options.
What devices does NordVPN support?
NordVPN currently lets you secure your browser with a dedicated Chrome plug-in, plus it offers app support for the following platforms:
NordVPN allows you to connect 6 devices simultaneously.
What servers does NordVPN offer?
At current count, NordVPN offers a whopping 4831 servers. There's a dynamic list of them here on NordVPN's website.
What's the bandwidth like?
It depends on various criteria. If you connect to the closest server, NordVPN states you may expect around 30% loss in bandwidth speed. We ran three control tests disconnected, three tests connected to the AU server and three connected to the US server and averaged the results for ping, download speed and upload speed.
|Control Ping (ms)||55.3|
|Control Download (Mbps)||5.2|
|Control Upload (Mbps)||0.5|
|AU server Ping (ms)||54.3|
|AU server Download (Mbps)||5.6|
|AU server Upload (Mbps)||0.5|
|US server Ping (ms)||348.7|
|US server Download (Mbps)||2.0|
|US server Upload (Mbps)||2.8|
Is it illegal to use NordVPN?
No, not at all. Do people sometimes use a VPN for illegal activity? Yes. But, those people aren’t guaranteed complete security if the activity breaches the terms and conditions of a VPN provider.
Will NordVPN keep me safe from hackers?
Yes, that’s the idea. Using a consumer VPN allows for you to browse the Internet anonymously, quelling the threat of hackers and eavesdroppers. Although they are not always completely secure, this is why it’s important to research the quality of a VPN provider and the security protocols they offer.
Am I locked in with NordVPN when I sign up?
It all depends on what package you choose. If you choose the basic, you'll only be committed for the month, whereas if you choose the standard you'll be locked in for 6 months and 12 months for the best offer.