NordVPN has been a popular name in the VPN industry. It is an all-rounder VPN provider that has gained popularity over a decade and continues to grow. It 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
- Past History of the NordVPN Provider
- Extra Privacy and Security Features
- Streaming and Torrenting
- Final Verdict
Security and Privacy:
Streaming and Torrenting
- Amazon Prime
- BBC iPlayer
- Disney Plus
- HBO Max
- 5200+ servers in 65 countries
- $11.99/m on a 1-month plan
- $4.99/m on a 1-year plan
- $3.99/m on 2 years plan
This NordVPN review looks deep into the VPN features and finds out if it’s honest with all its claims.
Security and Privacy
According to stats, 93% of internet users are worried about their internet privacy and security. In addition, 86% of the users fear falling victim to a cyber-attack. Many users rely on a VPN 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 Some VPNs might even use outdated encryption protocols, so looking into these three essential features is crucial while gauging a VPN’s privacy and security.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 VPN provider uses encryption to secure user data from snooping eyes. A reliable VPN uses secure encryption ciphers that have remained uncrackable by any external entity. NordVPN ensures robust security through the industry’s highest:
- AES-256 bit encryption
- 4096-bit RSA key
- SHA-512 authentication keys.
By using such robust encryption, NordVPN makes it almost impossible for the prying eyes to intercept your online activities and view your data traffic.
In case you want to see for yourself if the VPN provider is living up to its claims, you can use the Wireshark software to test and analyze the NordVPN encryption standards.
– 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 use NordVPN with ease without having to fear that the VPN provider might at any time come under pressure from its government to spy on or store their information.
– 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 their 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 out bugs on their Hacker One page. In addition, 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 highly recommends users use the proprietary NordLynx protocol because it boosts speed and security and is very well compatible with all NordVPN clients.
The 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 MOBLE 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.
– 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. Even 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. Since this internet traffic is commonly used during online banking or online shopping, the VPN traffic gets an artful disguise making it hard for any firewalls or deep-packet inspection technology to detect and block it. 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.
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 been involved in violating the user’s privacy and data because let’s be honest! If they can do it once, what is stopping them from doing it again? But then again, while looking into the past 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 been undergoing various log and security audits to prove that they remain true to its 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 by using any anonymous payment methods that 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. Your IP address is changed by the first server 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 then 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 need to 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 different categories, where one category gets encryption and gets 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, which you don’t have to share with anyone. The VPN provides dedicated IP address servers in five locations and costs $60/year. Using a dedicated IP address enables privacy and security while protecting you from the hassles of shared IP addresses. In the case 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 up 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 your online payments, secure access to the business servers, protect IoT devices and avoid CAPTCHAs and blacklists.
– 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 also 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 gain a better P2P performance since it transfers data into smaller data 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 secure your connection since it doesn’t ensure encryption, leaving it open for snooping. Apart from that, it also 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 combined with 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 an essential feature protecting user identity and security by preventing data leaks. The feature works by preventing 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. If any leaks are found, you are immediately notified by the NordVPN app.
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 that you are downloading for malware before allowing it access to 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.
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 60 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.
You can use it 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, and hence is the best VPN for streaming Netflix. Besides this, you can also use NordVPN to watch NFL and UFC matches on free sports streaming sites.
The VPN doesn’t offer any streaming servers, but it doesn’t impact your streaming experience. NordVPN offers an impressive SmartPlay feature to connect a VPN on devices that don’t support a VPN. Therefore, you can connect NordVPN on all operating systems, streaming devices, and gaming consoles and enjoy watching the blocked streaming content.
– 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?
NordVPN is among the fastest VPN providers in the market. It consists of a larger server network in 60 countries and thus takes less time to establish connections. The VPN speed doesn’t show significant lags or buffering while connected to local and international servers.
The choice of server also determines the speed, so if you want to enjoy a blazing fast speed, choose the NordLynx protocol. Overall, NordVPN is a fast VPN with unnoticeable speed drops. But by switching the protocols, you can solve this problem and browse the web with maximum speed.
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 5200+ servers in 65 countries, but these are standard servers. If you’re looking for some specific purpose, 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 censorships and make it easy to access the internet in authoritarian regimes.
- 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. Except for the dedicated IP address servers, all the servers are free to access. To access these servers, you need to buy the dedicated IP address features at an additional $60/ year.
– How Good is NordVPN Customer Support?
NordVPN offers excellent customer support to the users. It includes an email and 24/7 live chat support feature. You can initiate the live chat at any time, and the chatbots responsively address your query. But, if you want to talk to any member of the support team, you have to drop a message with your name, email address, and subject matter and will get an instant reply without waiting too long for an answer.
In addition, the VPN provider has a resourceful website. It covers an extensive knowledge base with guidelines, FAQs, video tutorials, troubleshoots, blogs, and a news section.
Overall, the NordVPN customer support is good, and the accessibility and the service quality make it stand 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.
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-days money-back guarantee. You have to buy the premium subscription plan to test out the VPN’s services. If you’re not satisfied 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. With a single VPN subscription account, you can connect to your Android, iOS, Windows, and any streaming device.
NordVPN offers browser extensions for Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Google Chrome. You can use the browser extensions if you are looking for a lightweight solution by installing them on your browser. But remember that an extension can only protect your browser traffic and leaves your emails and torrent traffic unprotected.
NordVPN offers a separate business VPN known as NordLayer. It is a cloud-based VPN provider that offers military-grade encryption and follows 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.
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. By connecting to any of these servers, you can enjoy streaming the US Netflix content library. Besides this, NordVPN is a good option to use on 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 to use that protects your data from getting into the wrong hands. For this purpose, NordVPN uses the industry’s highest encryption standards and secure tunneling protocol like the next generation NordLynx protocol. In addition, it also maintains your digital privacy and their jurisdiction, logging policy, and infrastructure proves it. The VPN provider despite being experiencing a server data breach is safe to use and all thanks to its various log and apps audit.
Moreover, NordVPN is a great option to stream Netflix, download torrents, and access the internet from any restrictive countries. The VPN providers also offer great deal of value in terms of functionality.
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.