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VPNs and their support for providing an enhanced experience in going about your day to day online activities can be something you would indeed be unquestioned. In today’s world, where our life moves around in a web of several online entities and everything around has something or the other having something to do with the Internet, a VPN is something that is both inevitable and affordable.
Among a host of the VPN services that have been vying for your attention, NORDVPN has been one of the unique options that that has become a true market leader in recent times. But, does it really provide you access to all that you want from a VPN – security, affordability, availability of mobile apps and premium level speeds?
We will go through an in-depth review of NORDVPN to understand it better, and also find a few Pros and Cons that the service offer.
How much does NORDVPN cost?
To begin with, we will check out the cost estimations first. When it comes to the pricing, NORDVPN provides you a clear and straightforward pricing structure. There is no ambiguity and confusion with their four straightforward plans.
Monthly Plan – It will cost you $11.95 a month. The plan can be an excellent option if you are trying it out to find the usability and features
Half Yearly Plan – Opting for a six month subscription will help you get an effective pricing of $ 9 a month. You will be billed at $54 every six months. That would be a saving of 24 percent compared to the monthly plan
Annual Plan – One year plan on the service will reduce your monthly billing to $5.75 per month. You will be charged $69 for an year which comes to a saving of 51 percent.
NORDVPN offers you multiple payment options to choose from. You can pay your subscription charges through credit card, PayPal, or Amazon Pay. There are several other region specific payment options as well. The payments are also accepted through cryptocurrencies which should be yet another added advantage.
Does NORDVPN offer any free trial? Though NORDVPN claims to offer free trial, it isn’t technically a free trial option. You need to shell out money to use the free trial feature. The FREE Trial term actually refers to the 30 day moneyback guarantee offered on all its plans.
Privacy and Security features
Once the price has been decided, the next prime feature one needs to evaluate with a VPN service involves the privacy and security features offered by the service provider. Does NordVPN offer a good level of privacy?
Well, yes. When it comes to safeguarding your privacy, NORDVPN relies upon a few safer protocols. The privacy of any VPN service is primarily dependent on the encryption used and NORDVPN makes use of a host of them – a strong IKev2/IPsec support should speak for itself. It uses an AES-256-GCM cipher and HMAC SHA256 hash authentication. You also have access to Perfect Forward Secrecy through a DHE-4096 key exchange.
Those apart, NORDVPN also makes use of the WireGuard VPN protocol on its VPN apps. Named NORDLynx, we will cover it later in this post.
The security features offered by NordVPN are further bolstered by the use of a Kill Switch. This just shuts off all the internet connections as soon as the VPN connection drops. That would mean you do not need to worry about any sort of security breach. The service also provides a protection against DNS leaks which should further enhance the security level of the tool.
Is there anything to be worried about? Well, the NordVPN found its server hacked in 2018. There wasn’t any proof to indicate any impact for the users, but the company actually did not come up with much transparency about the issue. That may be a thing of concern, though we haven’t observed anything untoward.
What are NordVPN Logging policies?
‘NordVPN guarantees a strict no-logs policy for NordVPN services, meaning that your activities … are not monitored, recorded, logged, stored or passed to any third party. We do not store connection time stamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses or other data … Further, NordVPN have a strict no logs policy when it comes to seeing user activity online: NordVPN is based in Panama, which does not require data storage.’
What VPN Protocols does NordVPN support?
While there are several ways you can establish a VPN connection, OpenVPN has been one of the prime options. NordVPN supports OpenVPN making it one of the best options to go with. It has been one of the best features we found rather impressive along with the support for another prime VPN protocol viz IKEv2/IPSec.
Yet another excellent protocol that has become quite mainstream over the past couple of years is WireGuard. NordVPN has already deployed it long ago and deployed it under a large scale under the name NordLynx. Being the latest technology, it should be something we would call futureproof.
The server network
The strength of a VPN service lies in the number of servers and their performance. How does the server locations and performance stand up for the NordVPN service?
NordVPN has its servers set up in over 59 countries globally. A bulk of the servers are located in the US and UK, but there are a few chunks in the rest of the world as well. The service has its servers spread across almost all the major regions across several locations in Asia, South America, Europe, and a handful in India and the Middle East. It even offers a server in Africa which is quite ignored by most of the VPN service providers.
You will even notice the servers located in regions such as Hong Kong, Turkey, and Vietnam that have been notorious for restrictive policies on the use of internet. As with the number of servers, it is second only with 5300 servers as opposed to the clear leader CyberGhost which has 5900 servers.
Speed test – How fast is NordVPN?
While the privacy and security are the foremost requirements in a VPN service, the speed and performance also play a major role. Tests have indicated that there are no connection failures and the speed is respectable enough in most of the cases.
The Quick Connect feature offered by NordVPN makes it one of the best services to get connected right away. The services detects your location and connects to the fastest server available. As long as you are connected to a server in the US and UK, you should ideally get a blazing speed. Activities such as streaming, browsing, and gaming should be a breeze in most of the cases.
Does NordVPN work with Netflix?
While Netflix has tough geoblocks that stops most of the VPNs from accessing the blocked content, but NordVPN does beat through Netflix. The unique Smartplay feature unblocks most of the geoblocks effectively and efficiently.
The service does not claim explicitly that it can unblock any of the specific streaming services, but our tests proved that it is quite effective in unblocking most of the geoblocks introduced by the prime streaming services.
Netflix apart, we also tested a few other streaming services such as
- BBC iPlayer: A little tough, but using browser extension from NordVPN should resolve the issue.
- Amazon Prime Video
- HBO GO
Is NordVPN good for Torrenting?
There are over 5300 servers coupled with the strict no logs privacy. That should make NordVPN a god option to use for torrenting without hackles. With an unlimited data bandwidth, you would find it to be one of the excellent options to share and receive any data.
NordVPN works with almost all major torrenting platforms and this includes the popular options such as uTorrent, BitTorrent, and Vuze. The server recommendation tool provided by NordVPN should be yet another plus point to achieve better results when working with the torrent sites.
Apps, extensions and other compatibility
NordVPN is compatible with almost all devices and platforms. The list includes Windows, Android, Mac and of course, iOS. The iOS app may be a little difficult to handle, obviously because of the Apple restriction than on NordVPN.
The Windows client is easy and simple to install. As soon as you launch the client, you are shown a map to find the location of the server you want to connect to. You need to pan through the map and then click on the location to connect it. We found it a little annoying and not a standard option.
Of course, you have access to an alphabetically curated list of countries and servers. Yet another problem we observed was that there wasn’t a list of servers that are good for a particular task – like best for gaming, best of P2P and similar.
The Android app is one of the popular VPN Android apps and has more than 10 million downloads currently. You would find not many settings. You would get access to a few decent options for ad, phishing and malware blocking. The smart autoconnect feature is yet another thoughtful inclusion.
There is no intuitive or default Kill switch available, but you can enable it from the settings. Options to set up a custom DNS or enable TCP to improve connection stability are a few features that can prove to be one of the excellent options.
The iOS app is installed easily despite the powerful iOS restrictions. Once again, there is an awkward map interface that we already described. You do have the options for other requirements such as Double VPN, Obfuscated and Dedicated IP options, as well as P2P servers.
It may not be convenient as in the case of the other platforms and that has more to do with the iOS restrictions.
The browser extensions are yet another thoughtful options offered by NordVPN making it one of the tech savvy VPN service provider in almost every respect. The Chrome and Firefox proxy extensions let you in making the task of choosing the VPN location, and connecting to the server rather simple and easier.
The Customer Support
The first line of the customer support is through its website support. There are several options available for the different help guides. All the information is available in a clearly demarcated categories. The search box option is yet another plus point.
The site construction is a little out of place. The website construction is quite les intuitive. While there is a good deal of content with respect to finding any support query you may have, actually finding them is a little difficult.
You have access to a 24 x 7 live chat support. The service does work in a very efficient and perfect manner. The solutions to your problems are a click away and you would definitely be impressed with the performance. You also have an email support option available.
A Few FAQs
Can you use NordVPN on multiple devices?
You can connect with up to 6 devices as a time. If you have connected your VPN to your router, you can use it on as many devices you have connected to the router.
Does NordVPN have a data cap?
No. NordVPN does not limit the bandwidth in any case. However, you will find a lower speed than your unprotected connection speed.
Where are NordVPN servers located?
NordVPN has servers across Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam
Does NordVPN offer IPV6?
No. IPV6 support is currently not available. NordVPN has stated that they are likely to add support in 2021.
The Closing Thoughts
Well, that was what we have with respect to NordVPN and how effective the VPN service has been in terms of offering you an enhanced quality of service. With all the high end features and functionalities, the NordVPN service has indeed been something worthy enough to dig into.
A good number of servers coupled with an excellent no logs policy should ideally make it one of the prime options ever. While it may not be the cheapest option as such, but it is one of the fastest VPN services ever for the obvious reasons that we have already covered. We find it to be a powerful VPN service with the right things and components that have been thrown in the right quantities.
For a practically good number of users, it should be what provides a truly reliable service quality.