[This review was originally published in June 2017. It has been updated several times to reflect additional features and server locations.
Operating under the jurisdiction of Panama, NordVPN is a VPN developed by the company Tefincom & Co. in 2012. It has since been one of the favorite choices for privacy services, providing them to over 12 million customers.
Costs and What's Covered
Subscription plans include the 1-month option at $11.95 per month, 1-year plan at $6.99 (billed $83.88 every year), 2-year option at $4.99 (billed $119.76 every two years), and the cheapest, 3-year subscription that includes the biggest savings and is available for the price of $3.49 per month (billed $125.64 every three years).
NordVPN accepts various payment methods, including credit cards, Amazon Pay, PayPal, Alipay, UnionPay, Sofort, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum). You can use the latter for extra anonymity. The availability of some of these payment options depends on your current location.
All of the plans are backed by the company’s generous, risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. During these 30 days, you can fully explore the services and decide whether you want to continue using it or cancel the subscription and get a full refund. This sort of replaces the traditional free trial (which NordVPN doesn’t have), although you still have to pay for it first.
This VPN service is compatible with a long list of platforms. It provides native apps for all the major ones - Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, Android TV, and Linux. Chrome and Firefox can be protected with native NordVPN proxy extensions. Further support and tools are available for other devices like routers, BlackBerry, MikroTik, Raspberry Pi, QNAP, Synology NAS, and more.
All of the apps are very comfortable to use, even for beginners. The browser proxy extensions don’t have the full functionality that most other VPN browser extensions have, but are still effective in providing extra protection from IP leaks and blocking malware and ads.
What you get
This VPN vendor provides services with the help of over 5,640 servers scattered across 60+ countries worldwide. It allows you to connect up to six devices simultaneously, with a possibility for even more if you set it up on a supported router.
Unblocking of popular geo-locked streaming channels is a must-have for any self-respecting VPN service and NordVPN is no different. If you opt for this provider, you’ll have uninterrupted and secure access to content on Netflix (US, Canada, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy), BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Kodi, and Amazon Prime wherever you are, thanks to the SmartPlay technology employed by all of NordVPN apps.
Torrenting is also supported, albeit not all servers are P2P-friendly. Regardless, there are more than plenty of those that are. You’ll be able to experience full-speed torrenting, especially since the service can recognize if you’ve opened a torrenting client and automatically switch you to a server that supports it.
One of the features that are essential to a full VPN experience is the kill switch. It is a mechanism that forcefully blocks the entire Internet access if the VPN connection suddenly drops, effectively preventing your sensitive data from leaks. NordVPN has not one, but two kill switches - the regular one, plus an additional, app-level kill switch that shuts down only those apps that user chooses to if the VPN connection is interrupted.
There are also some extra features, like the DoubleVPN option that directs your traffic through two VPN servers. You can also turn on the Onion over VPN feature which routes the traffic through the Onion network, in addition to directing it through NordVPN’s network. And let’s not forget the CyberSec technology, which is essentially a blocker of malware, malicious websites, phishing, and ads.
Military-grade encryption is guaranteed by the AES-256-GCM algorithm with OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec transfer protocols. If your device of choice uses the Windows or Android operating system, OpenVPN is implemented by default. If you’re using an iOS app, then IKEv2/IPSec is the default for you. Mac users have the freedom of choice between these two.
The zero-logs policy lists the usual - there will be no storing of connection timestamps, session information, traffic information, IP addresses, bandwidth used, and other data. To prove it sticks to the ‘practice what you preach’ motto, the company has enlisted the help of PwC, one of the Big 4 auditing firms. PwC performed a public audit of NordVPN’s no-logging claims and reported that all of them were accurate.
The country of its registration, Panama, has no mandatory data retention laws and doesn’t participate in the ‘prying eyes’ alliances (Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes) that share intelligence information among themselves.
NordVPN delivers solid results in terms of performance. While connectivity errors do occur regularly, connection times and download speeds are largely optimal. Latencies are expected of some places further away from the user’s current location and those with poorer infrastructure.
If you need any help installing and using the VPN, or are just plain interested in what this provider has in store, you can find useful information on the website. The support section is divided into categories - general info, billing, connectivity, and frequently asked questions.
Digging around the website a bit you’ll quickly find a blog with lots of useful and interesting content such as what to do if your data is leaked, how safe jailbreaking of iPhone really is, how to delete your LinkedIn account, and more.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for or would rather talk to a knowledgeable person working at NordVPN instead, you can quickly reach them at any time of day or night via live chat or email.
NordVPN is affordable and offers all the features that even the hardcore VPN elitists will find suitable. It is compatible with many devices, provides strong security, and its no-logging policy has been independently verified. It can be used to access popular streaming services, as well as P2P torrents.
Aside from the traditional VPN mechanisms, it has its own additions - Onion over VPN technology, CyberSec, and DoubleVPN. It does have some minor issues to deal with, but the general impression is that this is one robust and complete VPN service.
Our score: 4.5/5
Client software platforms: Win, Mac, Android, iOS
Native support platforms: Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome OS, Linux, Windows Phone, open-source and branded routers
Supported protocols: L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, IKEv2, PPTP, SSTP
No. of servers: 5,551
No. of countries: 59
Country of registration: Panama
Payment options: Credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, Ethereum, UnionPay, Alipay
Real name necessary? No
Encryption protocol: AES-256
Data usage: Unlimited
Bandwidth usage: Unlimited
Max. no, of simultaneously connected devices: Six
Customer support: Email