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NordVPN

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Number 1 Best Overall Seller

What’s Included?
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Unlimited Speeds
  • Apps for Every Major Device
  • No Web Activity Logs
  • Connect Up to 6 Devices at Once
  • Access 5200 Servers in 55 Countries
  • Real IP and Location Changer
  • Auto Connect on Startup

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Review, Tests, & Stats

If you’re short on time, here’s a brief overview of our thoughts on NordVPN. Keep reading to see our test results and our expert’s full opinion on the popular VPN service.

Pros

  • Minimal data logging. NordVPN does a decent job of respecting user privacy. They only log email, payment, and customer service information.
  • Internet-friendly location. Headquartered in Panama, NordVPN users don’t have to worry about the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes Internet surveillance alliances. Nord will never be forced to surrender user data to the government.
  • Connect multiple devices. One account can connect up to six devices to NordVPN.
  • Reliable security. NordVPN utilizes AES-256 bit encryption keys, the same standard utilized by banks and the military.

Cons

  • No split-tunneling. There’s no capability to have some applications running through NordVPN while leaving other traffic outside the encrypted tunnel.
  • Static IP addresses. While NordVPN’s static IP addresses are shared, making them difficult to trace, we prefer dynamic IP addresses that change every time you go online.
  • No live phone supportNordVPN live chat and email support respond quickly with great help, but we still wish they had phone representatives we could contact if needed.

NordVPN’s Best Features

Graphic of NordVPN on an array of devices.
Nordvpn streaming/gaming concept

There are a lot of reasons why NordVPN is our top rated VPN, so let’s break down it’s top features and explain what makes this service great.

5,000 Servers In 59 Countries

When testing NordVPN, we never had to worry about finding a server to use. No matter where you’re located in the world, odds are that a NordVPN server isn’t too far away. What does that mean for user experience? Faster speeds, easier access to global content, and reliable security worldwide.

Internet-Friendly Location

NordVPN’s headquarters in Panama City fall outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes jurisdiction. If you’re unfamiliar with these terms, they represent surveillance alliances between countries. If a VPN company is based within the jurisdiction of an Eyes alliance, a government could potentially force them to hand over data about their users. Since we believe that VPNs are first and foremost a privacy tool, we love that we don’t have to worry about our data being compromised by international law when using NordVPN.

Automatic Kill Switch

In an instance where connection is lost with a NordVPN server, a kill switch will automatically sever your Internet connection, ensuring none of your data is leaked over an unsecure location. It may seem like an unnecessary feature with NordVPN’s 99.9% server uptime, but you never know when the next storm or mass power outage is going to hit.

No Data Limit

Data usage is a sticking point in every review, so we’re happy to report that NordVPN offers their users uncapped bandwidth and unlimited data. When we stress tested their bandwidth, we were able to download a large file while streaming Netflix in 4K HD with no issues. Gamers shouldn’t have any issues, either. Several in the office have said that they’re able to play shooters like Fortnite and Valorant at high FPS while connected to NordVPN.

Minimal Data Collection

NordVPN touts themselves as a no-log VPN service, meaning they don’t collect any data on their users. While it’s not entirely true that they collect zero data, we were pleased with the amount of privacy they afford their users.

When we used NordVPN, our email address, payment data, the timestamp of our last session status, and customer service interactions were logged. They did not track the websites we visited, files downloaded, software used, our IP address, the amount of time we were connected, or the amount of data we used. The only data they log that can denote an identity is payment information, but it’s possible to use anonymous payment methods such as cryptocurrency.

Military-Level Encryption

When our data is encrypted, it means that our data is changed so that it’s not recognizable to anyone besides authorized users. It’s a main reason why we use VPNs, so it was nice to see that NordVPN has impressive standards. The company used IKEv2 and IPSec, which ensured that our VPN connection was maintained in case our Internet connection was lost. This was especially helpful when we switched from WiFi networks to mobile hotspots or used our own data. IPSec enhanced security further, either encrypting the data packet message or the entire data packet.

NordVPN also uses AES with 256-bit keys, the same encryption standard that governments and cybersecurity experts like us recommend worldwide.

Double VPN

NordVPN also employed a double VPN, meaning that our data went through multiple servers to be encrypted multiple times. This concept, known as VPN server chaining of multi-hop, enhanced our security so that not even our Internet Service Provider knew what we were up to. Most VPNs only use one server, so we felt good knowing that our data had twice the encryption protecting it before it reached its final destination.

24/7 Customer Support

NordVPN offered several options for their customer service, like a 24/7 live chat, email support, and an in-depth database of submitted user questions to leaf through. When we wanted to dig into the details on what data was logged, we navigated to their privacy policy to read it for ourselves from their FAQ page. While it’s ideal if a VPN has a phone line to talk to a human as well, we felt that NordVPN had a good smattering of resources.

NordVPN & Streaming

One of the most popular use cases for VPNs is to stream shows, movies, sports, and music across a variety of services and websites. Not all VPNs are equipped to provide their users this experience, however. How does NordVPN work with world’s top streaming services?

  • YouTube: NordVPN had no issues accessing US-only YouTube videos.
  • Netflix: We were able to access Netflix’s full library from every server we tested, which is a rarity among VPNs. NordVPN deserves credit for providing seamless Netflix streaming worldwide.
  • BBC iPlayer: We were about to stream BBC content through NordVPN’s browser extension, but not the regular app.
  • Amazon Prime Video: NordVPN had no issues streaming Amazon Prime from both the browser extension and the regular app.
  • Disney Plus: Disney+ is currently available in the US, UK, and Australia, and we were able to stream it from servers in each country successfully.

Overall, NordVPN performed extremely well in our streaming tests. BBC iPlayer was the only service we encountered problems with, and we were still able to stream when we used the NordVPN browser extension. They also offer ample support documentation and FAQs on their website for users who who need tips for or assistance with streaming.

NordVPN & Torrents

NordVPN supports torrents across hundreds of servers. While we typically prefer for all of a VPN’s servers to be P2P-friendly, NordVPN makes it about as easy as possible to connect to a server that supports torrents. 

In the app, a P2P option will automatically connect you to the best server for P2P file sharing for your location. In addition, if a torrent is started and you aren’t on a P2P server, your traffic will automatically be re-routed to a server that supports torrents. These two features make NordVPN as good for torrenting as all of its major competitors.

NordVPN also goes to great lengths to ensure their users remain anonymous, including a strict zero log policy, excellent DNS and traffic leak protection, anonymous payment policies, and privacy extras like the Tor network and Double VPN protection. 

NordVPN Speed & Leak Tests

VPNs will sometimes slow down our Internet speed, as the traffic has to go through an encryption server on top of a public network’s server. Regardless, we still want to see fast Internet speeds while we’re connected, so we made sure to test NordVPN ourselves. Below is a screenshot of our results while connected to a server in Singapore. We’ve also included speed test videos of NordVPN servers in New York City, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, and the UK.

NordVPN Speed test Singapore

DNS Leak Test

DNS stands for Domain Name Server and it’s the common name that goes with an IP address, such as Google.com. We put all the VPNs we review through a test to make sure that the VPN is successfully hiding our DNS when it’s connected; if it didn’t the VPN wouldn’t be doing its job. After being put to the test, NordVPN passed our evaluation, meaning that there were no DNS leaks when connected to NordVPN.

WebRTC Leak Test

We also made sure to do a WebRTC leak test while using NordVPN. WebRTC is a collection of technologies that let web browsers communicate with each other to increase speed. This is great because it allows all the things we had going, like Netflix, video chats, and files we had to download, to use less bandwidth. However, this comes at a cost: the devices know each other’s private IP addresses, a big no-no for us. We use WebRTC to make sure that our IP addresses don’t leak when we’re using NordVPN. Luckily, NordVPN passed with flying colors on both computer systems, showing a different IP address than the real ones on our computers.

Ease Of Use

NordVPN is extremely user friendly. On the NordVPN website, a VPN Apps link will take you directly to the download link for the device you’re using. Once the app is downloaded, activating your VPN is as simple as clicking a button. It’s truly set and forget.

In the event you need assistance, there are over 50 tutorials for every device, platform, and operating system that NordVPN supports. For DIYers there are even resources to turn your entire home network into a VPN-protected hotspot.

NordVPN also has 24 hour live support on standby. When we tested their customer support services, we reached prompt help over email, live chat, and the phone. There should be little to no concern about ease of use when it comes to NordVPN.

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Subscription & Pricing Information

We know that the bottom line matters when choosing a VPN, so we gathered all the relevant information for you to compare services. For NordVPN, we found the pricing structure pretty straightforward; we got all the same perks with all the options, but the thing that impacted the prices were the lengths of the contracts.

NordVPN offers four options, ranging from one month to two years. The low-commitment month-to-month option is $11.95 billed monthly. If we signed on for two years and spent $89.04 up front, that would come to only $3.71 a month. That’s pretty affordable, and considering the breadth of features provided, we wouldn’t mind being locked into a longer-term contract.

NordVPN user connected to a server in Europe.

Video Review

In our video review, we go through all these details again, and you’ll get a better sense of exactly how we do all our testing to make sure we’re giving you as much information as possible on how to choose a VPN for you. We’ll also take you along on our process of testing NordVPN for speed and leaks.

Company History

NordVPN was founded in 2012 by four childhood friends. Due to its extensive self regulation and loyalty to its users, the company has built a reputation on transparency, privacy, and integrity among VPN providers.

In March 2019, NordVPN was directed by the Russian government to join a state sponsored registry of banned websites. Doing so would prevent Russian NordVPN users from circumventing Russian state censorship online. Given one month to comply, the company shut down its Russian servers rather than compromise the Internet freedom of their users. As a result, NordVPN still operates in Russia, but its Russian users have no access to local servers.

NordVPN, along with five other VPN providers, is a founding member of the ‘VPN Trust Initiative’, a trade group founded to promote more self-regulation and transparency among the VPN industry. The organization is tasked with setting industry standards that protect the data and privacy of VPN users.

Breach History

On October 21, 2019 a NordVPN server breach was disclosed in a Twitter post from a security researcher. The company confirmed that one of its servers, based in Finland, was briefly compromised in March 2018.

During the breach, the attackers were able to perform man-in-the-middle attacks to intercept the data of NordVPN users. The cyberattack was the result of a vulnerability in a contracted data center’s remote administration system. According to NordVPN, the data center disclosed the breach on April 12, 2019, and the contract was ended immediately. The company estimated that 20 to 70 active sessions were exposed during the breach.

In an unrelated credential stuffing attack, NordVPN reported on November 1, 2019 that approximately 2,000 usernames and passwords were exposed.

Here’s what NordVPN said about Oct. 21 breach:

 

A datacenter in Finland we had been renting servers from was accessed without authorization. This was done through an insecure remote management system account that the datacenter had added without our knowledge.

 

Potential attackers could have gotten into one server and intercept the traffic and seen what websites people are browsing — not the content, only the website — for a limited period of time, only in that isolated region

 

The server itself did not contain any user activity logs; none of our applications send user-created credentials for authentication, so usernames and passwords couldn’t have been intercepted

 

In response, we have audited more than 4000 of our servers. We found few servers that could have potentially been at risk and either patched them or removed them.

 

In addition, we made sure that no datacenters we use have unpatched or undisclosed IPMI access. To prevent any similar incidents, among other means, we encrypt the hard disk of each new server we build, so no readable data can be accessed even if a server is accessed without authorization through a remote management system. The security of our customers is the highest priority to us and we will continue to raise our standards further and further.

NordVPN Details and Metrics

Year Founded

2008

QualSys SSL Rating

A

Trust Pilot Rating

[tp_reviews vendor="nord"]

Pricing & Payment Information

12 Month Price $89.00

6 Month Price n/a

3 Month Price n/a

1 Month Price $11.95

Lifetime Price n/a

Free Version: No

Free Trial: Yes

Free Trial Days: 30

Refund Period Days: 30

Payment Methods:

  • Paypal
  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Google Pay
  • WeChat Pay
  • AliPay
  • Amazon Pay
  • Plaid
  • UnionPay

 

Accepts Cryptocurrency:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Ripple

 

Service Overview

# of Countries:31

# of Servers:5,552

# of Protocols:4

# of Connections:6

Unlimited Bandwidth:Yes

Business VPN:No

Torrenting:Yes

Easy to Find Owners:No

Protocols:

  • IKEv2
  • OpenVPN TCP
  • OpenVPN UDP
  • WireGuard

 

Features

14 Eyes Jurisdiction:No

Enemy of the Internet Jurisdiction:No

Kill Switch:No

Private DNS:No

DNS Leak Protection:No

IPv6 Leak Protection:No

WebRTC Leak Protection:No

SMTP Allowed:No

Double Encryption:No

Ad Tracking Block:No

Claims "100% No Logs":Yes

Logs Kept:

  • Bandwidth Used

 

Languages & Support

# of Setup Docs: 70

# of Troubleshooting Docs: 112

# of Languages Supported: 9

Types of Support Offered:

  • 24/7
  • Email
  • Live Chat

 

Languages Supported:

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

 

Device & OS Support

Windows Versions:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8

 

Mac OS Versions:

  • macOS Catalina - 10.15
  • macOS Mojave - 10.14
  • macOS High Sierra - 10.13
  • macOS Sierra - 10.12
  • OS X El Capitan - 10.11
  • OS X Yosemite - 10.10
  • OS X Mavericks - 10.9
  • OS X Mountain Lion - 10.8

 

Linux Versions:

  • Debian
  • elementary OS
  • Fedora
  • Mint
  • QubesOS
  • Ubuntu

 

Android Versions:

  • Android 10
  • Pie - 9
  • Oreo - 8
  • Nougat - 7
  • Marshmallow - 6
  • Lollipop - 5
  • KitKat - 4.4

 

iOS Versions:

  • iOS 9
  • iOS 10
  • iOS 11
  • iOS 12
  • iOS 13

 

Routers Supported:

  • ASUS
  • Cicso/Linksys
  • D-Link
  • DD-WRT
  • DrayTek Vigor
  • Gl.iNET
  • Mikrotik
  • Merlin
  • Netduma
  • Netgear
  • OPNsense
  • Open WRT
  • Padaven
  • pfSense
  • Portal
  • Sabai
  • Tomato
  • Ubiquity EdgeRouter

 

Browser Extensions:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox

 

Gaming Devices:n/a

TVs Supported:

  • Android

 

Other Devices:n/a

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