NordVPN Review 2021
- Secure servers in 60+ countries
- DNS leak protection
- Relatively expensive
- Password manager and secure cloud storage cost
NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN services and boasts an extensive network of more than 5,000 servers in 60 countries and an impressive set of features that appeal to users of all levels. This Panama-registered virtual private network provider was founded in 2012. It has since extended into mobile apps, desktop extensions, and, most recently, a business solution called NordVPN Teams that’s aimed at small teams or remote employees. Notably, this VPN is a no-log service. According to the website, “we don’t track, collect, or share your private data.” More specifically, the company doesn’t collect any connection logs, timestamps, session information, or IP addresses, nor is it obliged to by law—much thanks to Panama’s jurisdiction, where NorthVPN is registered.
Pricing and Features
NorthVPN offers a rich selection of security and privacy features:
- Two different VPN protocols: IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN (which is set as default)
- DNS leak protection: to protect online activity from unencrypted queries
- Automatic kill switch: to block internet access when a VPN connection drops
- Invisibility on LAN: to protect users’ privacy on a Local Area Network (LAN)
- Dedicated, private IP address: to skip blacklists and secure online payments. NordVPN offers IP addresses in five locations: US, UK, Netherlands, France, and Germany.
- Double VPN: to double users’ encryption level for enhanced security
- CyberSec: to block any suspicious phishing attacks and block online ads
- Onion Over VPN (TOR): to enhance protection while using TOR
- Obfuscated servers: to enjoy NordVPN from restricted locations (e.g., China, Iran)
NordVPN operates hundreds of dedicated P2P servers that are optimized for file sharing. Once a user attempts to run a file-sharing program on any of the other servers, they are automatically rerouted to a P2P-server for their protection.
When it comes to the price tag, note that NordVPN doesn’t offer a free trial. However, it does come with a 30-day money-back guarantee except for any purchases on the Apple App Store. Users can choose between a one-month plan at $11.95 a month, a one-year plan at $4.92 a month and a two-year plan at $3.29 a month,. Though the feature list is identical in all, the two-year plan is significantly cheaper than the monthly or even the yearly one. Users can purchase the service using any credit card, through Amazon Pay, or even Crypto Currencies.
Speed is a one of the main considerations when it comes to selecting a VPN service. Though every VPN service is bound to affect your internet connection and slow it down to an extent, there are significant performance differences between the services. We’ve compared our speed benchmark ISP connection with that of NordVPN. Below is our ISP connection benchmark.
NordVPN Speed test from Germany
We first attempted to use NordVPN’s Quick connect feature, which connects users to the most reliable nearby server (in our case, the UK).
The initial results seemed promising as the drop in download and upload speed wasn’t significant. We then proceeded and attempted to connect to a US server that was recommended by the system.
Given our location (Europe), the results weren’t bad at all. True, the ping showed 203ms, almost 20 times our benchmark. Yet the download and upload speeds weren’t significantly affected. Lastly, we attempted to connect to a server in remote Australia.
Considering our location, we were impressed with the results, especially the upload speed that was minimally affected despite the great distance from the server.
NordVPN speed test from South Africa
Our baseline internet speed test results in South Africa
NordVPN speed-test from South Africa using US default servers – Test1
NordVPN speed-test from South Africa using US default servers – Test2
NordVPN speed-test from South Africa using US default servers – Test3
NordVPN is as easy and straightforward as it only gets. Once you download the software, all you need to do is enter your login details, and you’re in. The dashboard is clean and user-friendly, even for beginners. It’s divided into a world map with server locations on the right-hand side, and specialty servers/list of countries to choose from on the left-hand side. Under “settings,” users can tinker with some advanced options and security features (such as the CyberSec and Internet Kill Switch), set the auto-connect, and access the help center, which brings us to the next point.
NordVPN won an award for “Best Customer Service” back in 2018. Judging by our experience, this achievement is well deserved. Users can access the resourceful help center, use the 24/7 live chat option, or simply send an email to the customer support department. The help center offers myriad of support articles and a search box that allows users to find them, whereas the live chat and email offer almost-immediate assistance from an agent. We tried contacting support via email and live chat and were answered within two hours and 40 seconds, respectively. In both instances, the agent was professional, knowledgeable, and helpful.
NordVPN on Windows
- Simultaneous connections allowed: 6
- Server locations: 60+
- Average speed (in Mbit/s): 88.94
- Number of servers: 5,000+
With more than 5,000 servers, among which hundreds of specialty servers, NordVPN is as fast as it is reliable. True, the service may not come cheap. And yet, it’s worth the investment, whether you are interested in securing your internet sessions or stream your content.