Nord Security is a leading brand that produces online security solutions and tools, and NordVPN is one of its products. It is an all-rounder VPN provider that has gained popularity over a decade, and with the addition of the meshnet and threat protection feature, NordVPN continues to grab more attention.
The VPN offers solid encryption, fast and reliable speeds, and belongs to the safe jurisdiction of Panama. The VPN has a verified no-log policy and intuitive apps packed with advanced security and privacy-boosting features. The table below gives a quick overview of the VPN:
- Security and Privacy:
- Streaming and Torrenting
- Security and Privacy Of NordVPN
- Past History of the NordVPN Provider
- Extra Privacy and Security Features
- Streaming and Torrenting
- Final Verdict
Security and Privacy:
Follows a verified no-log policy
- Kill switch
- Double VPN
- Threat Protection
- Dedicated IP address
- Tor over VPN
- Dark web monitoring
- Multi-factor authentication
Streaming and Torrenting
- Amazon Prime
- BBC iPlayer
- Disney Plus
- HBO Max
- 5200+ servers in 59 countries
- $11.99/m on a 1-month plan
- $6.79/m on a 1-year plan
- $5.99/m on two years plan
- Live chat support
- Website resources
The popularity of NordVPN gives it an edge over other VPN providers but is it only the hype, or is it worth using? To know the truth, it’s best to conduct a detailed NordVPN review, look deep into the VPN features, and find out if it’s honest with all its claims.
Security and Privacy Of NordVPN
According to statistics, 93% of internet users worry about privacy and security. In addition, 86% of the users fear falling victim to a cyber-attack. Many users rely on VPNs to maintain their digital privacy and protection from online threats. However, not every VPN is as secure as it claims to be. While some often have a shady log policy, others have faulty jurisdictions impacting user privacy and security. Some VPNs might even use outdated encryption protocols, so looking into these three essential features is crucial while gauging a VPN’s privacy and security.
– What Type Of Encryption does NordVPN Use?
A reliable VPN provider uses encryption to secure user data from snooping eyes. NordVPN ensures robust security through the industry’s highest:
- AES-256 bit encryption
- 4096-bit RSA key
- SHA-512 authentication keys.
With such robust and virtually uncrackable encryption, prying eyes can’t intercept your online activities and view your data traffic. You can use the Wireshark software to test and analyze the NordVPN encryption standards to see if the VPN provider is living up to its claims.
– Where is NordVPN located?
NordVPN belongs to a safe jurisdiction of Panama which means:
- The country is not a part of any global surveillance alliance.
- It does not follow any data retention laws.
- There are no data collection laws or privacy regulations.
With such a secure jurisdiction, users can easily use NordVPN without fear that the VPN provider might come under pressure from its government to spy on or store their information at any time.
– Does NordVPN Keep Logs?
Moreover, NordVPN, to prove its stance on being a no-log VPN, has undergone a log audit process. The company hired a PwC audit firm to audit its log policy twice. The log audit report clearly states that the VPN is free from keeping any user data and logs and hence is safe and reliable to use.
Besides this, NordVPN 2019 also hired VerSprite to perform the security audit of NordVPN apps. They found a few glitches, but they don’t cause harm to the users’ security. Also, NordVPN, to improve its performance and service, is offering bug bounties to find bugs on their Hacker One page. In October 2020, the VPN provider switched the data center to RAM-only servers. All your data gets wiped out after every session leaving no way for data to get stored in the servers.
As a whole, NordVPN is a private and transparent VPN, proving this by taking initiatives like undergoing security audits and offering bug bounties programs.
– NordVPN VPN Protocols
NordVPN supports a range of popular VPN protocols and allows users to choose any. The VPN provider uses OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), IKEv2, and NordLynx protocol. The NordLynx is the latest addition that’s built around the WireGuard technology. It uses state-of-the-art cryptography and outshines the previously available VPN protocols. NordVPN recommends users use the proprietary NordLynx protocol because it boosts speed and security and is very well compatible with all NordVPN clients.
OpenVPN is the by-default VPN protocol that supports all major devices and operating systems. It uses AES-256 bit encryption and offers a perfect balance between security and speed. Besides this, NordVPN also uses the IKEv2 protocol, which uses a MOBIKE protocol, making it the best choice for mobile users who want to switch between cellular data and Wi-Fi.
The specifications used by each NordVPN protocol differ, but they all ensure a top-notch level of online security. It’s recommended that if you’re using the VPN for browsing, then use OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocol, but if you want to stream or download torrents, then opt for the NordLynx protocol.
– Bypassing Censorship
Using free internet in countries like China, Russia, UAE, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey is impossible because the state controls the internet. As a result, many websites and services are inaccessible. The government in these states uses advanced technology to detect any bypassing tool like a VPN, making things worse for the users. But, there are some reliable VPNs like NordVPN capable of bypassing censorship.
NordVPN comes with obfuscated server technology that disguises the VPN traffic as regular HTTPS internet traffic, making it hard for any firewalls or deep-packet inspection technology to detect and block it. Impressively, NordVPN is also among the few reliable VPN providers that work in China. You can connect to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam servers to bypass censorship and freely access the internet in China. With NordVPN, you can stream videos on YouTube, browse Instagram and Facebook, and send messages on WhatsApp in regions where these services are blocked.
Past History of the NordVPN Provider
A VPN provider with a bad track record can hugely impact its credibility. Users avoid using a VPN that has violated the user’s privacy and data because let’s be honest! If they can do it once, what stops them from doing it again? But then again, while looking into the history of the VPN provider, it is crucial to look into the actions they took in re-implementing the breached privacy and gaining the user’s trust.
NordVPN company belongs to a safe jurisdiction, and the company owner hasn’t been involved in any data-leaking incident. But two incidents in the past raise great doubts about NordVPN’s credibility. In 2018, one of NordVPN Finland’s servers got hacked, exposing some users’ browsing habits.
The VPN provider revealed that the Finland server doesn’t contain usernames, activity logs, or passwords. But can see the websites the users might visit. However, the information taken from the server can’t decrypt the traffic because the stolen encryption key has expired.
Since then, NordVPN has undergone various log and security audits to prove that they remain true to their claims.
Another thing that users find suspicious about NordVPN is its parent company. Tefincom owns NordVPN, but the payment goes to CloudVPN Inc upon buying the service, which is based in the USA, and the CEO has a close association with a data harvesting service. However, it is easy to mitigate this issue using any anonymous payment method NordVPN provides its users.
Extra Privacy and Security Features
NordVPN’s popularity is because of the wide range of features it offers to its users. These advanced features maintain your online security and privacy and ensure the best user experience. Here’s a quick list of the extra features offered by NordVPN:
– Double VPN
To add an additional layer of security and privacy to your browsing experience, NordVPN offers a double VPN feature. It is a highly advanced feature that encrypts your data twice via two VPN servers instead of one. The first server changes your IP address, and the second server remains unaware of this. It makes you completely anonymous, as no one can see your final destination, including the ISP. If you reside in a restrictive regime, are a journalist or political activist, or simply want to avoid government surveillance, then you should use this feature. However, the double VPN feature might slow down your connection because the traffic goes via two servers. Thus, if you need maximum speed or want to access the TOR browser, avoid using it. You can enable this feature and double up your security on Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, and Windows operating systems.
– Split Tunneling
It is an advanced feature that allows you to select which apps must be protected by a VPN and which can directly access the internet. There are various benefits of using split tunneling features like accessing local and foreign services and enjoying fast speeds. However, this feature is only available on Android, Windows, and Android TV. The feature essentially allows you to maintain two connections simultaneously. The NordVPN app divides your internet traffic into two categories: one gets encryption and rerouted through secure VPN servers while the other remains untouched. While there are three types of split tunneling; App-based split tunneling, Inverse split tunneling, and URL-based split tunneling, Nord VPN only allows the first two.
– Dedicated IP Address
Besides offering thousands of shared IP addresses, NordVPN also offers static IP addresses, which you don’t have to share with anyone. Using a dedicated IP address enables enhanced privacy and security while protecting you from the hassles of shared IP addresses. Most banking applications, business servers, and various other websites tend to block one of those IP addresses. Having a dedicated IP address helps mitigate that issue while ensuring anonymity. Moreover, it also allows you to keep your exact IP address anywhere. The feature is particularly useful for business owners and frequent travelers who can use this unique IP address to secure their online payments, secure access to the business servers, protect IoT devices and avoid CAPTCHAs and blacklists. The VPN provides dedicated IP address servers in five locations, costing $ 60 per year.
– SOCKS5 Proxy
NordVPN is one of the few VPNs that offer a SOCKS5 proxy allowing users to utilize it for a fast and reliable internet browsing experience. The SOCKS5 proxy is a special feature that allows users to bypass internet restrictions, specifically if certain websites blacklist their VPN IP addresses. Moreover, it offers users a faster and more reliable internet connection by utilizing proxy servers to form UDP or TCP connections through arbitrary IP addresses. The proxy also helps users improve P2P performance since it transfers data into smaller packets, ensuring faster downloading speeds.
While the SOCKS5 proxy does present a series of advantages, it does not ensure security like a VPN. For starters, it doesn’t guarantee data privacy or secures your connection since it doesn’t ensure encryption, leaving it open for snooping. Apart from that, it can’t circumvent national firewalls since it can’t evade Deep Packet Inspection.
– Onion Over VPN
Onion over VPN is the NordVPN special feature that gives you the Onion Router (TOR) advantage and extra security provided by a VPN tunnel. The feature helps access the Onion Network and browse it anonymously while canceling the risks typically accompanying the TOR network. The VPN encryption hides your IP address, protecting you from potentially compromised Onion servers that are voluntarily operated. Since accessing the Onion network can often be difficult for journalists, activists, and bloggers to access specifically in censorship-heavy countries, the feature adds an extra layer of privacy through VPN encryption.
The VPN essentially works under the Tor over VPN principle; it connects to the VPN first and then accesses the Onion network. With this, it even hides your IP address from Tor entry nodes. The only drawback with this feature is that you won’t be able to access sites that block Tor traffic. Moreover, even your ISPs can’t see you using Tor, and you can freely access the .onion sites.
– Automatic Kill Switch
A VPN Kill Switch is essential to protecting user identity and security by preventing data leaks. The feature prevents your device from making unsecure connections and ensures continuous monitoring of user connection to remote servers. In case of connection drops, the feature blocks access to your internet connection until the VPN connection is restored, preventing data leaks.
Nord’s automatic kill switch feature is available across platforms. In Windows and macOS apps, users can specify which apps they want the kill switch to block in case of connection drops. In Android 7 or later, users might have to enable a system-wide Kill Switch by going to Settings -> Wireless and networks -> More -> VPN -> enable “Always on VPN.”
– Dark Web Monitoring
The dark web monitoring feature is another impressive security and privacy feature offered by NordVPN. It scans the dark web and informs you about any leaked credentials associated with NordVPN, such as email addresses. The NordVPN app immediately notifies you if any leaks are found.
While the feature is available within the NordVPN apps by default, users have to manually turn on the feature by navigating to the settings of their respective apps. After that, NordVPN enables continuous Dark Web monitoring in the background, ensuring security from potential data leaks.
– Threat Protection Feature
In February 2022, NordVPN introduced a threat protection feature. The new feature boosts security against cyber threats by blocking out ads, trackers, websites, and infected files. In short, the feature allows proactive protection from advanced cyber threats before they can potentially harm your device.
The feature ensures robust privacy and security. It scans every file you are downloading for malware before allowing it to access your device to enable security. Moreover, it also blocks ads, trackers, and potentially well-known malicious websites, helping users mitigate malware infections.
Moreover, NordVPN is among a few VPN providers that offer a business VPN and other security suites. You can even use the Nord password manager and encryption software to further maintain your sensitive data’s security.
NordVPN has recently announced a new Meshnet feature that allows you to access your device over encrypted private tunnels. It routes all the online traffic through another machine, meaning you’ll access the internet under that machine’s IP address. Users can add up to ten devices and 50+ external devices via invitations. The VPN offers a special IP address for each device that only works with the meshnet. This feature is available on Android, Mac, iOS, Windows, and Linux operating systems. As a whole, it is a great feature for file-sharing and gaming.
– Multi-Factor Authentication
Another impressive feature that NordVPN offers is multi-factor authentication. It adds a layer of security to your online accounts and ensures that no one can intercept your online security. When enabling this feature, you must enter the password and authorize the login attempt with another special app, code, or a second device. It is a great feature that prevents intruders from invading your account and compromising sensitive data. In other words, this feature protects you from phishing and data theft incidents.
As a whole, NordVPN comes with excellent security and privacy-boosting features that take your digital security and privacy to the next level.
Streaming and Torrenting
VPN use is not only restricted to providing privacy and security. Many people succumb to using a VPN to mitigate a hoard of problems alongside torrenting and streaming. For starters, users face the ISP throttling issue every time their ISP catches them streaming or forming P2P communications.
Moreover, there is a significant compromise of privacy and security for anyone who wants to download torrents, specifically amid the torrenting swarm. Therefore, it is best to use a VPN compatible with streaming and torrenting and provides privacy, security, and super-fast speeds to mitigate these issues.
– Compatible Streaming Platforms
NordVPN is an ideal VPN for streaming because of its extensive global server and streaming-supported feature. The VPN comes with more than 5000 servers in 59 countries. With such a vast server network, it’s easy for NordVPN to establish a connection quickly. Moreover, it ensures super-fast streaming speed with negligible buffering and connection lags, further enhancing your streaming experience.
The VPN doesn’t offer streaming servers, but an impressive SmartPlay feature allows you to access all kinds of streaming content securely. This feature is implemented within the apps, so you don’t need to set it up. All you need to do is to connect to the right VPN server. The SmartPlay feature combines with the smart DNS technology, enabling you to watch your favorite streaming content from anywhere. Because of this feature, you can connect NordVPN on all operating systems, streaming devices, and gaming consoles and enjoy watching the blocked streaming content.
You can use NordVPN on a wide range of streaming platforms and quickly watch your favorite TV shows, sports, and movies. The VPN provider performed exceptionally well with Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, and Netflix. Since it unblocks 19 Netflix libraries, including the US Netflix, it is the best VPN for streaming. In addition, you can also use NordVPN to watch NFL and UFC matches on free sports streaming sites.
– Is NordVPN Good For Torrenting?
Torrenting is risky, but a reliable VPN provider like NordVPN can ensure a safe downloading process.
You can consider using NordVPN for safe and unlimited downloading. The VPN offers 3000+ P2P dedicated servers that ensure a fast downloading process. Moreover, NordVPN also provides a kill switch, torrent IP leak protection, and a split tunneling feature. These features protect your real identity from getting revealed while you safely download torrents from any site.
In addition, NordVPN also offers a SOCKS5 proxy that you can use on any torrent client like BitTorrent and can download torrents at an improved speed. But since it only hides your IP address and provides no encryption, it’s better to avoid and use the split tunneling feature instead.
– How Fast Is NordVPN?
The speeds are the fastest as compared to other VPN providers. Various factors determine the speed, and one of them is the choice of protocols, so if you want to enjoy blazing-fast speed, choose the NordLynx protocol. It is the next-generation protocol that’s designed for the fastest connection speeds.
Besides this, the VPN consists of a larger server network spread in 59 countries. This means that it takes less time to establish connections. The VPN speed doesn’t show significant lags or buffering while connected to local and international servers. However, as a general rule, always connect to the nearest server because connecting to a server in another state or region increases latency. The streaming and downloading speeds are consistently fast and reliable; however, people find the browsing speeds a bit unstable and unreliable.
Overall, NordVPN is a fast VPN with unnoticeable speed drops, but by switching the protocols and servers, you can further improve the browsing speeds.
NordVPN offers a range of user-friendly apps for all major platforms. The apps are well-designed, have an intuitive interface, and easy-to-use. You can navigate through the app and find all the options and features without any trouble. You can easily install the apps on any device and enjoy a seamless browsing experience.
– The Number of Servers NordVPN Provides
NordVPN consists of a vast server network which is indeed impressive. It has 5200+ servers in 59 countries, and the good news is that the new servers are being added up. However, NordVPN had announced it would shut down its servers in India because of the surveillance law passed in India that asks VPN companies to collect and store users’ data. This shows that NordVPN doesn’t compromise its users’ privacy.
Interestingly, NordVPN comprises five types of servers, such as:
- Onion Over VPN Servers: These servers are 25 in number, and you can use them when you want to access the Tor browser.
- Dedicated P2P Servers: These servers are designed for a safe and fast torrent downloading process.
- Double VPN Servers: These servers add an extra security layer by encrypting your data traffic twice.
- Obfuscated Servers: These servers help bypass censorship and make accessing the internet in authoritarian regimes easy.
- Dedicated IP Servers: By connecting to these servers, your IP address remains the same, and you enjoy more anonymity on the web.
All those mentioned above are the specialty servers offered by NordVPN and are free to use except for the dedicated IP address servers. You can find these servers in seven locations, including America, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and the UK. To access these servers, you need to buy the dedicated IP address features at an additional $60/ year.
As of September 2020, all NordVPN servers are running on diskless RAM servers, meaning no data is stored locally. In addition, NordVPN has started to build a network of colocated servers that the NordVPN staff can only access.
– How Good is NordVPN Customer Support?
NordVPN offers excellent customer support to users. It includes an email and 24/7 live chat support feature. You can initiate the live chat anytime, and the chatbots responsively address your query. When you initiate the live chat, the bots suggest topics and give the feeded answers or website articles links. However, it is disappointing that the bots handle the live chat instead of the human assistants.
This means that if you need any urgent technical assistance, then the live chat feature won’t offer any help. To talk to any support team member, you have to drop a message with your name, email address, and subject matter, but you have to wait for a few hours to get a reply.
In addition, the VPN provider offers extensive website resources to help users. It covers an extensive knowledge base with guidelines, FAQs, video tutorials, troubleshoots, blogs, and a news section that offers great help. You can also follow NordVPN on any social media platform like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram and stay informed about any latest development.
Overall, NordVPN’s customer support is good, which is one reason it stands out against many other VPN providers.
– What Devices Is NordVPN Compatible With?
NordVPN offers multiple device compatibility features, meaning you can connect NordVPN to all major devices and operating systems. This includes:
- Windows platforms
NordVPN offers native and well-designed apps for all the above-mentioned devices. You can download the apps from the NordVPN official website or the respective app store. The apps possess a neat and user-interface and are easy to use. Though some features vary from device to device, it provides excellent functionality. However, since the VPN provider has released the new version of the apps, many people are unhappy with this change and have shown utter displeasure on Reddit.
Besides this, you can also use NordVPN on Android TV, routers, Apple TV, Amazon TV, Roku, Chromecast, and gaming consoles.
NordVPN doesn’t offer a completely free trial but comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. You must buy the premium subscription plan to test the VPN’s services. If unsatisfied with the VPN’s performance, you can ask for a full refund by contacting the customer support team via email or the 24/7 live chat feature. But if you have bought the subscription via bitcoins, you can’t get a refund.
NordVPN allows up to six simultaneous device connections at a time. You can connect to your Android, iOS, Windows, and any streaming device with a single VPN subscription account.
NordVPN offers browser extensions for Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Google Chrome. These browser extensions work as a VPN proxy that secures your browsing experience changes your IP address and ensures that no one can snoop on your browsing data. The threat protection lite feature blocks malicious ads and websites and maintains digital privacy. But remember that browser extensions can only protect your browser traffic and leave your emails and torrent traffic unprotected.
NordVPN offers a business VPN known as NordLayer. It is a cloud-based VPN provider that offers military-grade encryption and various features to protect your business data. The VPN is compatible with all devices and OS and offers different subscription plans depending on the size of your business and needs.
NordVPN works perfectly well in China and thanks to its obfuscated servers. These servers impersonate your VPN traffic like regular HTTPS traffic and help bypass the censorship filters easily.
NordVPN offers its servers in 15 different US cities. You can enjoy streaming the US Netflix content library by connecting to any of these servers. Besides this, NordVPN is a good option for all other streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, HBO, Hulu, and Disney Plus.
NordVPN is one of the top-quality VPN providers available today. It is the safest VPN that protects the data using the industry’s highest encryption standards and secure tunneling protocols like the next-generation NordLynx protocol. In addition, it maintains digital privacy, and its jurisdiction and logging policy prove it. Despite experiencing a server data breach, NordVPN is safe to use, thanks to its various log and app audits.
Moreover, NordVPN is a great option to stream Netflix, download torrents, and access the internet from any restrictive country. It offers a range of extra privacy and security-boosting features. Also, it consists of user-friendly apps for Android, Apple, Linux, and Windows platforms. These apps are easy to use and download. You can even download it on streaming devices and gaming consoles and stream your favorite content. The VPN has an effective customer support team that’s always there to assist users via email or the 24/7 live chat feature. Since NordVPN offers premium subscription plans if you want to try out its services, avail of the 30-day money-back guarantee offer.
All in all, NordVPN offers excellent service, and you should try it once.
I have been using NordVPN since I moved to Australia two years back and my experience with it is superb. I recommend it to others as well.
NordVPN is surely one of the best VPNs available. It is secure, fast and reliable to use due to its robust encryption and secure jurisdiction.
I been using NordVPN from while now, so far no complains.