- Netflix unblocking
- Double kill switch
- Fast live chat support
- Dual-layer encryption
- Slightly above average prices
- Browser extensions are basic
NordVPN is a very impressive service which has been around for years, perfecting its offering which is now used by over 12 million people worldwide. The Panama-based VPN has a huge number of servers dotted all over the globe, offers lots of apps for various platforms, uses layers of powerful security, and – crucially – is really good at unblocking Netflix. It's one of the few VPN providers included in our best VPN list as well.
It is worth noting that there was a server breach in 2018. Although the issue was the mistake of a third-party which has been fixed and, apparently, caused no leakages of data since NordVPN doesn't display data of real-time sessions or user information. The company assures users it's more secure than ever now as a result of this 'test'.
Since then NordVPN has implemented diskless RAM servers, meaning no data is stored locally at all. This takes privacy and security to the next level and, combined with a July no-logs audit from PwC, this is a no-log service with excellent security.
If you need a VPN to unblock Netflix, to keep banking and emails secure when on open Wi-Fi, like at hotels and coffee shops, or if you simply want to keep your browsing anonymous – you're in the right place. Here's everything you need to know about the NordVPN service so you can decide if it's the best VPN for you.
Pricing and plans
NordVPN has a selection of pricing plans which should mean there's a deal for everyone. As is often the case with VPNs, the longer you commit for, the cheaper your overall charges will work out.
The deals available at NordVPN change regularly, but the best value is usually found in the three-year plan when it is offered as it is usually around 70% off.
Currently, a month-by-month plan will cost you $11.95 per month. This is similar to other options like ExpressVPN, but a bit more expensive than some others.
A year-long plan is charged at $4.92 per month, billed at $59 for the year. You can go for a two-year plan right now which drops the equivalent monthly cost to just $3.71 — 68% off — and you'll also score an additional month or year free on top of that at random.
You can pay securely and anonymously using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies via CoinPayments. Or use Paypal, Amazon Pay, UnionPay, SOFORT Banking, and plenty more.
You get a 30-day money-back guarantee so it's easy to try the service and if for any reason you don't like it, you can cancel and get your money back in full. Also, be sure to check out our best VPN deals roundup to ensure you always get the best price when committing to a new VPN.
Testing and performance
NordVPN is all about layers of security which usually means you need to sacrifice speed. This isn't a big problem here though based on testing in real-world situations.
Connections, even to the most distant servers, work the first time, every time, and got us up and running in as little as four seconds and as long as six seconds. Impressive.
In the U.S. we used a 200Mbps line. The top test was with no VPN connected, the second was to a location in New York, and the final one was when connected to Germany. That makes this one of the faster VPN services out there, despite the extra layers of security.
For the UK we tested using a 75Mbps line and managed to get a very impressive 65-69Mbps.
For international connections, far further afield from our real-world location, we got decent 30-60Mbps speeds. Once again that's above average for VPN services.
As of October 2020, NordVPN has improved service speeds thanks to its NordLynx offering now working everywhere. The result is a service that, as the company claims, "consistently outperforms other mainstream protocols". It beats everyone but Hotspot Shield in testing.
One of the most stand-out features of NordVPN is its ability to unblock Netflix. This is ideal if you're out of the country and still want to access your shows, despite them being geo-restricted where you are. Lots of VPNs do struggle with this as many streaming services actively block VPN use. In the case of Nord, it was able to connect to Netflix first time and worked well with streaming at full quality.
NordVPN is also really useful when it comes to P2P content, or torrenting. This isn't something the company actively advertises, as some people may use it illegally. We don't condone that, but for legal use, where you may want a VPN to cover you in case you accidentally download something that's copyright protected, then Nord is ideal. While torrents aren't supported on all servers there are hundreds that do, which is a lot more than plenty of the competition offers.
Nord is a great option if you want to use it on lots of devices, not only because it works on six gadgets at once, but also because of the wide range of clients available for each device. This means dedicated software for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV plus 20 other types it can be set up on including Chrome OS, Raspberry Pi, routers, and more.
The apps, which include one for Linux, are far better than the average with an impressive rating of 8.8 placing it above everyone except KeepSolid, TunnelBear, and Private Internet Access.
The company's very own NordLynx high-speed protocol is worth mentioning as it's based on Wire Guard tech and works to get you top speeds wherever you're connecting from.
Another unique and useful feature is auto-reconnect. This is great if you disconnect to do something locally, but forget to reconnect – which happens more often than you'd think. This way, even if you forget, Nord will have you protected again in no time.
The P2P torrent support, Bitcoin functionality and unblocking of Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and the like make this really appealing, although we did find it has issues with some of those services when using the app. Of course, the Obfuscated Servers feature can be helpful in these situations to bypass VPN blocking issues.
Privacy and security
NordVPN is crammed full of useful security features. In fact, security is still one of its main features, despite all that 2018 attack mess. For example, you get not one but two encryptions along with Onion support. Nord also offers malware protection and phishing safety to keep you secure and anonymous. There's also a double kill switch and OpenVPN support backed by DNS leak protection.
That's a really impressive list of security features that all add up to one very secure online experience. But this is also backed up by a no-logging policy that should help with your privacy. Since you can pay using Bitcoin or a number of other cryptocurrencies you should be able to stay totally anonymous. Since Nord says it doesn't store data on users' information, that should also mean that you're kept secure even in the event of a leak or attack.
On top of the diskless RAM system and that PwC no logs audit result, NordVPN has done more for security tightening in 2020. Along with U.S. Cyber Security Consultants VerSprite, the company has set tighter security standards for the data centers it works with and to conduct audits that ensure that these standards are complied with.
So confident is the company, it still offers service in Hong Kong, while many others have pulled out.
Should you sign up?
If you want lots of layers of security that are also backed by smart protocols to keep you running super fast, then this is a great VPN option for you. Prices are decent, with excellent deals for longer-term commitments. Privacy is superb and payment options are varied to suit most people.
This works on lots of devices and is backed by a great 24/7 customer support team meaning you should always get what you want out of this VPN no matter what you're doing or where you are on the planet. Yup, that includes Netflix unblocking and P2P torrenting too.
NordVPN happens to be one of the best Android VPN options available right now, so give it a shot for yourself.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
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