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NordVPN Review

NordVPN believes in its tagline, internet without borders and that’s why it takes your online security and privacy seriously. It has over 4800 servers located in 62 countries. Its VPN apps are available for the following platforms: Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome browser and networking devices such as routers. It offers a simultaneous connection of up to 6 devices. Apart from privacy and security, it’s suitable for streaming services such as Netflix.
NordVPN Review 2018

Introduction

The internet is open cyberspace packed with both good and dangerous entities. To have a great surfing experience, you need a VPN that can help you enjoy your internet freedom as well as keep you secure. The VPN should also ensure that your digital privacy is not compromised. The perfect VPN match for this task is NordVPN.

Why NordVPN?

NordVPN offers advanced security coupled with complete privacy when accessing the internet. With its encryption and other security solutions, you don’t have to worry about internet threats. You also get to enjoy access to global content via its vast global network of high speed performance servers.

Pricing and Plans

NordVPN has 3 premium pricing plans with a 3-day trial period. You also get a 30-day money-back guarantee. All the plans offer the same VPN service. Payment can be made via various ways of transferring money online. They include PayPal, all major credit cards, and even other payment methods such as Yandex are supported. For extra privacy, NordVPN also allows the use of major crypto currencies such as Bitcoin. Below are the pricing plans:

1-month Plan:
$11.95 billed monthly

1-year Plan:
$6.99/month, $83.88 billed every 12 months.
This plan saves you 41% off the original price $143.40

2-year Plan:
$3.99/month, $95.75 billed every 2 years.
On this plan you save 66% off the original price $286.80

NordVPN Features

Security

Security is both an essential factor and function for a VPN since it’s a challenge on the open internet. Your internet security level dictates how you will interact with various security threats. Below are ways in which NordVPN ensures your connection is secure:

  • Military grade encryption – NordVPN uses the Advanced Encryption Standard, AES with 256 bit-keysin conjunction with the OpenVPN protocol. It also recommends users to use the IKEv2/IPsec protocol. NordVPN uses Next Gen Encryption on the IKEv2/IPsec making it uncrackable even by the most powerful computers. These protocols provide more security, reliability and a faster VPN experience.
  • CyberSec – besides encryptions, NordVPN implements this feature which is an advanced solution that protects you against malware. CyberSec also protects your device from being controlled by botnets as well as ensuring you don’t get annoying ads. Additionally, CyberSec blocks potentially dangerous websites that may propagate phishing scams.
  • Double VPN –NordVPN ensures that your data traffic is routed through more than one server through a process called server chaining. This process enhances security by re-encrypting the previously encrypted internet traffic. This featureis only necessary when sensitive information is involved. You don’t need to enable it if you are concerned with unblocking content or streaming as it has a higher encryption overhead, hence you might experience buffering problems.

Privacy

Besides security, your privacy is also NordVPN’s top priority. Privacy ensures your digital identity is well protected and safe from cybercriminals. Here are some ways in which NordVPN ensures that you are not tracked, monitored or any of your confidential data logged:

  • Strict no logs policy – with this policy in place, NordVPN does not collect or track your VPN activities when you are online.
  • DNS leak protection – at times, your internet traffic may not be routed through your VPN but rather through your ISP. This is called a DNS leak, and it violates privacy.
  • Onion Over VPN – to achieve anonymity, NordVPN combines the power of the Onion Router (Tor) by routing encrypted VPN traffic through its network. This combination provides maximum privacy and security.
  • Automatic Kill Switch – this feature blocks outgoing traffic when the VPN connection drops. This is necessary to avoid internet access outside the secure tunnel. Without an automatic kill switch, your ISP and other prying eyes will be able to see what you are doing when the VPN connection drops.

Other features

  • SmartPlay technology – NordVPN uses this technology to ensure a perfect streaming experience with no issues such as buffering, slower connections and bandwidth throttling.
  • Special servers such as P2P, Anti DDoS, Dedicated IP servers and Obfuscated servers – these special servers ensure you get a dedicated service without interruptions. For instance, P2P servers provide safe and private torrenting with high speeds. Obfuscated servers scramble VPN traffic and disguise it to appear as local traffic; this is necessary for countries with censored internet and watchdogs.
  • Browser proxy extension

Speed

For a VPN to fully achieve its functionalities, speed is essential. NordVPN ensures that you get high speeds through its high-performance servers. With their speeds, you can stream online content without ‘buffering’ problems. It’s also important to note that VPN speeds can be affected by a number of factors such as the internet speed, the encryption overhead, protocols used, other antivirus software and the distance between your location and the connected server. Generally, the further the server, the lower the speeds. Other factors such as server overload can also affect the speedof the server.

NordVPN Speed Test

We tested NordVPN servers while in Estonia using 50Mbps connection. We chose 4 different locations to see how the speed varies. Even with furthest servers such as the ones in Australia (highest ping) NordVPN managed to maintain the fairly same speed as shown with the other servers. The drop and vary in speed can be attributed to the factors mentioned above.

Nevertheless, all the server speeds shown are capable of handling speed intensive tasks such as streaming and torrenting. For instance, to watch Netflix HD, you need 5 Mbps and for ultra HD 25 Mbps.

Australia

USA

Germany

Finland

 

NordVPN – Company and Jurisdiction

NordVPN was launched in 2008 and is based in Panama. It is operated by Tefincom S.A. Panama is a suitable place for a security and privacy-minded VPN since there’s zero government surveillance and Panama doesn’t require NordVPN to log nor retain user data and activities. In any case, NordVPN guarantees a strict no log policy, and in their terms of service they have stated clearly that “We do not store connection time stamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses or other communications data.” This means even if somehow they are compelled to give out user data, they won’t have anything to give out. In addition to that, NordVPN has also stated that as of 5thSept, they have not received any National Security letters, gag orders or any warrants from any government organization, this is how safe NordVPN is.

Also, Panama is outside the reach and direct influence of the US and EU jurisdiction and other surveillance communities such as the “14 eyes alliance” This means NordVPN is one of the best VPNs in terms of privacy as there’s no foreign surveillance in Panama.

NordVPN Customer Support

There’s a reason why NordVPN has been awarded for great customer service. It’s because they have a user-friendly, knowledgeable and responsive customer service. Customer support is offered 24/7 through a live chat and an email system. NordVPN also has a help center with a knowledge base that almost has solutions regarding any problem you might face when using the VPN service. The help center is divided into four main categories: Getting Started, Billing, Connectivity and general info. This makes it even easier to look for a solution.

We contacted NordVPN customer support to see how responsive they are. We simply asked whether NordVPN has an iPhone app. It took less than 30 seconds for the customer support team to join the chat and respond to my question. We were also satisfied with the answer.

 

DNS Leak Test

NordVPN promises to keep your privacy intact by offering various mechanisms. We did a DNS leak test on the VPN, and we are happy to say that NordVPN doesn’t leak. Indeed, their DNS leak protection technology works. Besides not allowing DNS leaks, we did not experience any IPv4, IPv6 and WebRTC leaks as we conducted various leak tests.

NordVPN Logging Policies

Besides jurisdiction, it’s important that a VPN doesn’t log any user data. This ensures maximum privacy and security of its users and also, they won’t have anything to give if petitioned to do so. According to NordVPN website, it clearly states that NordVPN guarantees a strict no logging policy.

NordVPN Usability and Apps

NordVPN service provides apps for various computing platforms such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS and Chrome extensions. Using NordVPN apps in their various platforms is simple and straightforward. Its apps offer a minimalistic yet simple interface with an intuitive map showing its servers. The best thing about them is that the VPN service has managed to have a similar look on all the platforms. This makes it easier to switch from one platform to another. The apps are also user-friendly as all functions and settings are easily accessible.

If you get stuck during the setup process – it rarely happens, NordVPN has a tutorial for every platform to help you through the process. Generally, it is easy as it involves signing up, downloading the client and lastly installation. Unless you on Linux, you shouldn’t experience any problems.
  

Does NordVPN unblock Netflix?

One of the reasons why you should use a VPN is because it helps you in gaining access to geo-restricted and blocked content. Mostly this content is made up of streaming services which offer an alternative for cable TV such as Netflix.

Due to the complex VPN detection technology at Netflix, many VPN services have suffered a blow by getting their IP’s blocked when accessing the service. Netflix has many ways of detecting VPN, and the common way is by looking at Shared IP addresses and DNS. If a VPN doesn’t have strong DNS leak protection while connected to Netflix, a leak might occur which will reveal the real location of a user. This location may certainly not match with the IP address, and this results into a block.

NordVPN has no problem with unblocking US Netflix whatsoever.  If you experience a problem, change to another US server. Netflix works very hard to ensure VPNs are not used to access their service. Why US Netflix?

US Netflix has the largest catalog of movies and TV shows as compared to what Netflix offers in other countries. This is attributed to content holders’ agreements and copyrights. This is the reason why some shows are not available in other countries. To enjoy Netflix fully, you must access the US Netflix catalog. If you are not in the US, NordVPN can help you out. Simply, log into NordVPN and connect to a US server. Some of the alternative VPNs that unblock Netflix are ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, VyprVPN.

9 Total Score
Excellent choice!

A VPN that takes your privacy and security seriously is a priority when surfing the internet. With NordVPN, you won’t have to worry about any cyberthreat. Besides strong encryptions and protocols, it has advanced security solutions that oversee your security and privacy is intact. Additionally, it has high-performance servers which deliver the required speeds for streaming and accessing online content. It will also help you reclaim your online freedom as it will help you circumvent censorships and geo restrictions.

PROS
  • High-speed performance servers
  • Strict no log policy
  • Highest level of security
  • Wide selection of servers
CONS
  • Shorter free trial period
User Rating: 5 (3 votes)