Not a lot of us know we need a VPN provider like NordVPN until we the see ads, experience a hacking attempt, or have someone discover our place of residence based on an IP address. Then, we realize their ISP has access to everything we do on the Internet. Even worse, they often “sabotage” us at their discretion, and we still have to pay the full price. By using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), a lot of those problems go away, and we’re free to surf the Internet with peace of mind. In our NordVPN review, our goal is to show why it deserves the title of one of the best VPN providers on the market. Let’s start.
By buying a VPN like NordVPN, you attain a vast set of useful features. At its core, this will allow you to hide your real IP address with a VPN. Then, because this isn’t a free VPN service, you’ll be able to mask your VPN connection from websites, services, and apps.
NordVPN was founded in 2008. It is based in Panama, a country known for respecting citizens’ privacy. Furthermore, Panama is not a member of the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes Alliance, and doesn’t have a mass surveillance program or data retention laws in place.
With 5,500+ servers in 59 countries across the globe and unlimited connections by changing a VPN, it isn’t the provider with the biggest number. For example, it has less than CyberGhost (6800-7000 servers), but much more than ExpressVPN, with 3000+ servers. Even if you run into problems, which isn’t common, you can simply reconnect to a different server and try again.
While most people care about privacy, VPN speed is just as important, and NordVPN knows this. By using a VPN to connect to countries in Europe, where my native IP address is, I’ve only noticed a loss of speed of about 5%. By connecting to Australia, the loss was around 10%, and by connecting to the United States, it was close to 30%. But, you have to consider the physical distance of thousands of miles, which isn’t up to the VPN provider! The browsing speed was not visibly affected, and you are unlikely to notice this on daily basis.
Unlimited data usage
If you care about concealing your identity but don’t care about performance, just get a free VPN with limited bandwidth. NordVPN offers infinite data usage and unrestricted speed.
This is one of the features of NordVPN that stands out. Thanks to the ability to connect to their obfuscated servers, you can mask your VPN connection and make it look like a regular IP address. This allows you to bypass VPN a block by going around the DPI (Deep Packet Inspection), which isn’t easy. This applies to using a NordVPN in China, a country known for severe censorship. It’s notoriously hard to go around the Great Firewall of China with a VPN, and impossible without. The same is true for the United Arab Emirates, Russia, and other countries that don’t value citizen freedom.
P2P and Specialty Servers
Connecting to these servers allows you to download large files via torrents, and not get your real IP logged. That means your ISP cannot know what you’ve downloaded, and send you a hefty bill. Unlike ExpressVPN, where all servers support P2P, only certain ones support P2P with NordVPN. It’s not a flaw per se, but they need to catch up, for sure.
No-log Policy and Encryption
NordVPN encrypts the Internet traffic between your device and their servers with an AES-256-GCM encryption algorithm that uses a 4096-bit DH key. In other words, it’s nearly impossible to break unless you have a decryption key. This eliminates any chance of spying by third-parties. This includes NordVPN itself – they store no connection or activity logs, can’t decrypt your data, and thus there’s nothing to turn over to the authorities.
Unblocking Streaming Services
The ability of NordVPN to unblock well-known streaming services, known as SmartPlay, is the reason most people subscribe. By connecting to their servers, we bypassed Netflix VPN block in more than 10 countries, which makes for more than 99% of the Netflix catalog. Other than that, we successfully unblocked:
NordVPN can most likely unblock a majority of other streaming services out there.
Circumvent ISP Throttling and Spying
We mentioned the ISP (Internet Service Provider) sabotage. They throttle your Internet bandwidth to make sure every user has a balanced experience. The problem is – you’re still paying them for the maximum speed! Plus, they can see everything you do online. By connecting to a NordVPN server, all of these capabilities are taken away from the ISP.
These are protocols that use certain ports and encryption (although not always) to ensure your VPN connection isn’t discovered, among other things. Feel free to play around with OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), WireGuard (NordLynx), and IKEv2/IPSec protocols. Older and weaker protocols such as L2TP/IPSec and PPTP are no longer in use by NordVPN, and you don’t need them.
NordVPN stands out for a few more reasons:
You can connect up to 6 devices at the same time with one subscription. Great for an extended family that likes to stream or simply stay anonymous together.
If you want to make a VPN always on, this will be a saving grace. This feature allows you to pick which apps to route through a VPN tunnel, and which to let use your real IP address. This is particularly useful if you need to access your online bank. In that case, foreign IP addresses will be blocked, even if you have the right login credentials.
If your VPN connection drops for any reason, NordVPN automatically kills the Internet traffic until it’s re-established or you manually disable the VPN. This is part of their IPv6/DNS leak protection safeguard and prevents your real identity from becoming known.
CyberSec is basically a free AdBlocker that comes with a VPN. But it goes further – it blocks malicious elements, adware, spyware, and even malware, even if it’s already on your computer and active.
NordVPN has a customer service team available 24/7/365, providing professional support with any questions and inquiries.
NordPass and NordLocker
These are bonus features while choosing a subscription plan. NordPass, which runs for between $1.99 and $4.99 per month, allows you to store all of your passwords in one place. NordLocker is an encrypted cloud service. To store up to 10 GB of data, you will have to pay between $1.49 to $7.99 per month. The exact amount depends on the available discount at the time of purchase.
NordVPN Installation and User Interface
After about 5 minutes it takes you to purchase a subscription and you install a NordVPN app, you will see a simple GUI. On computers, it will have a map of the world with options on the left, and a Connect in the bottom right corner. On mobile phones, it’s a simple Quick Connect button with options to choose a server manually. Extremely easy-to-use and beginner-friendly.
NordVPN has applications/programs for Linux, Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, Android TV, Chromebook, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, and routers. They also have extensions for Chrome and Mozilla. If you like to configure a VPN yourself, you can setup a VPN for Windows and on Mac manually with NordVPN, too.
Speaking of NordVPN price, it is split into three main payment plans:
- 1-month plan – $11.95/month.
- 1-year plan – 4.92/month.
- 2-year plan – 3.73/month.
As you can see, the best price of NordVPN is with a 2-year plan. Furthermore, NordVPN will randomly award you 1, 12, or 24 months absolutely free of charge if you choose that plan. The only problem is – you have to pay the full amount upfront. Still, you’re getting about a 70% discount and a great bonus on top of it. Additionally, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee, but no complete free trial when most premium VPN providers offer 7 days on top of a 30-day (or even 45 days with CyberGhost) money refund.
- 5,500+ servers in 59 countries worldwide
- Unlimited bandwidth, rock-solid encryption, and zero-log policy
- Obfuscated, P2P, and Specialty servers with great VPN speeds
- Works in China
- Has a built-in Adblocker (CyberSec)
- Extensive device support
- Many security protocols to choose from
- Responsive and knowledgeable 24/7 customer support
- No completely free trial when others offer 7 days
- Discounts only when purchasing long-term plans
NordVPN is a premium-grade VPN provider that supports a wide variety of uses, has military-grade encryption, and constantly works to introduce new features and improve users’ safety on the Internet. It also offers thousands of servers with very little speed loss and latency increase and has apps for all major operating systems that are very easy to set up and use. Most importantly, there are significant discounts at all times, so you’re always getting a good price.
One of the fastest VPN services out there with a bunch of useful features to secure your internet connection. User-friendly interface, easy setup, great support, everything you need from a VPN provider.