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NordVPN (and NordVPN Teams) review

Excellent connectivity, security, and privacy tools from the biggest name in the VPN business

NordVPN review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

NordVPN still provides excellent security, great connection speeds, and a top-tier user experience. Its ease of use and powerful in-depth features make NordVPN a solid choice for VPN novices and veterans alike, with only the odd application interface niggle to complain about.

For

  • Established brand with tons of servers
  • Manage your team's VPN connections
  • Additional features like Onion over VPN

Against

  • Some UI issues

NordVPN is quite possibly the best-known VPN on the market today, with a huge presence garnered through powerful advertising campaigns, security-focused performance and years of trusted service. However, biggest isn't always best, and in this review we'll be giving a comprehensive evaluation of the Panama-based virtual private network to see if it's still worth your time and money.

As part of our rundown of NordVPN we’re going to take a look at NordVPN Teams, a parallel service designed to bring the security benefits of the NordVPN network to a corporate environment. NordVPN Teams shares many of the features which make the consumer version of NordVPN so appealing, including 256-bit encryption, a reliable kill switch, and malicious website blocking, making it one of the industry's best business VPNs.

By the end of this review you should have a good understanding of NordVPN's strengths and weaknesses, and be able to make a decision on whether this is the right VPN service to trust to keep you safe online.

NordVPN review - NordVPN homepage

(Image credit: NordVPN)

Plans and Pricing

If you're looking for the consumer version of NordVPN you have four options to choose from. You can pay monthly for $11.95 per month, annually for $6.99 per month, or every two years for $4.99 per month. 

As always, though, the best value for money is available through the longest three-year contract. At $125.64 all in, this package involves a hefty upfront cost, but choosing it does mean your monthly cost is reduced to a manageable $3.49. However, like many VPN providers, Nord often offers discounts and deals, so it's worth checking back here once in a while to see if there are any bargains available.

All regular NordVPN contracts come with exactly the same features, but things work a little differently over on the business side of the platform. The most basic NordVPN Teams package is known as the Basic plan. Paid annually, it costs $7 per user per month and gives you access to core features such as a multi-user control panel. 

If you’re after custom gateways and dedicated servers, you’ll need to go for the Advanced NordVPN Teams package instead, which costs $9 per user per month. Price-wise, these two plans aren't too costly, and work out a fraction cheaper than some competitors. 

However, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) active directories and centralized management are only available through the top-tier NordVPN Enterprise package. Prices for this final plan vary depending on the size of your organization, so you’ll need to contact NordVPN directly for a quote.  

  • More: Save yourself some cash with the best cheap VPN

Features

NordVPN has a good amount of useful features. First off, you can use the platform to tunnel your internet connection through over 5,000 servers spread over 59 countries. This means that even if you're trying to connect to a popular location, you’ll almost certainly be able to find a server with adequate capacity. 

For business customers, however, it’s worth noting that the NordVPN Teams network is slightly smaller, with servers covering just 31 countries. 

NordVPN review - features

(Image credit: NordVPN)

Both editions of the platform come with excellent privacy provisions to keep your information secure. A strict no-log policy means sensitive browsing information is never recorded on NordVPN servers, while a double encryption feature enables you to connect to two servers at once, adding an extra layer of security.

Onion over VPN compounds this, and while it can slow connections by routing through the Onion network, it provides unparalleled anonymity. If you want to keep your data as safe as can be, Nord has some powerful options available.

To keep your devices protected from malicious sites and software, NordVPN has created CyberSec. If you activate this feature while connected, it will block phishing scams, malware, and intrusive ads, speeding up and improving your browsing experience. 

This could also ostensibly help reduce the visible effect of the slight latency introduced by using any VPN – while your connection might be fractionally slower, your sites will have less to load.

Interface and in use

One of the most pleasing things about using NordVPN is that there are many ways to connect to NordVPN servers. You can install a plugin for your favorite browser, install a client application on your mobile device, or make use of NordVPN software on a traditional desktop computer.

The interface of the program varies depending on which of these methods you use, but the desktop client is quite characterful compared to bland competitor VPNs. Most of the interface is taken up by an interactive map, and you can select a server by clicking on a location or by searching for a country in the left hand sidebar.

NordVPN review - user interface

(Image credit: NordVPN)

However, while this interface is retained in the mobile apps, it doesn't work quite as well due to the limited space available. On the desktop client it's easy to have the map and server list on show simultaneously, but the default mobile display is just the map plus a quick connect button.

While it's quite pleasing to look at, in practice it's quite irritating – especially if you're planning on changing server a lot. There is a server list available with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen, but we'd like to see this from the off. 

It's a small quibble – the apps themselves work pretty seamlessly – but it's one you're likely to notice. However, due to apps' excellent performance, we still rate NordVPN as one of the best Android VPNs on the market.

By contrast, the NordVPN Teams interface is extremely toned down. Upon opening the desktop version of Teams, you’ll see a simple black sidebar with a list of available servers. We think NordVPN definitely made the right call in removing all cartoonish design elements from this business-oriented edition of the app.

NordVPN review - NordVPN Teams interface

(Image credit: NordVPN)

In terms of speed NordVPN performs well, and is near the top of the pack. When connected to nearby NordVPN servers, test download speeds on our 75MBps UK line dropped by around 6-8%, which in practice is fairly negligible. 

In our US testing, Nord delivered speeds of 125-300MBps on our faster 600Mbps test line. While that seems like quite a drastic drop, it's not unusual and is more than usable for streaming HD video and other daily tasks. Nord features on our best US VPN buying guide, so if you're in the States, it's worth having a look to check out the competition.

Support

NordVPN customers are free to raise technical and billing issues with customer support agents at any time of day thanks to 24/7 live chat support. During our NordVPN review we posed a few example questions to agents through this service, and the team replied swiftly with helpful advice.

If you don't want to chat, there are plenty of well-written FAQ articles and troubleshooting pages that should have you covered. However, if you find yourself rooting through pages and finding nothing to help, we'd always advise hopping onto live chat to resolve it – as a vital feature you're paying for with your subscription, it'd be a waste not to use it if you need to.

Depending on the tier of service, NordVPN Teams customers may get an enhanced support service in the form of priority chat responses and even a 24/7 tech help phone line. Given the increased cost of a NordVPN Teams account and the presumably more important things users are doing, this certainly seems appropriate, and we appreciate that the time has been put in to set this up.

The competition

If you're looking for a VPN for personal use but can't stomach the price of NordVPN, we'd recommend having a look at Surfshark. With many of the same features at almost half the price, it's a great money-saving option. However, you'll have to sacrifice some of the in-depth security features like Onion over VPN.

On the other hand, if you’re after a VPN that caters to your business needs, it's worth giving Perimeter 81 some consideration as an alternative to NordVPN Teams. This VPN uses software-defined perimeters to create manageable and secure networked systems – and although it's very slightly more expensive, it tops our best business VPN buying guide.

NordVPN: Final verdict

Packed with unique functionality and protected by a strict no-log policy, NordVPN is great value for money, and offers a well-balanced experience - it certainly runs our favorite ExpressVPN closely for its money. It’s even secure enough to use for sensitive business work, and you can take full advantage of that by subscribing to NordVPN Teams. 

While its apps are slightly hindered by an awkward interface and US speeds aren't as lightning-fast as some of its rivals, these are small complaints and Nord is certainly still worth your consideration.

Specs

Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux
Supported protocols: OpenVPN, IPSec/IKEv2, NordLynx (Wireguard), SSTP
No. of servers: 5,100+
No. of countries: 59+
Country of registration: Panama
Payment options: Credit card, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, direct debit, Bitcoin & other cryptocurrencies, Unionpay, Alipay, cash in-store
Real name necessary? No
Encryption protocol: AES-256
Data usage: Unlimited
Bandwidth usage: Unlimited
Max. no. of simultaneously connected devices: Six
Customer support: 24/7 chat and email, phone support with Teams
Privacy policy: No logging

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