Thanks to its clever marketing messages and user-friendly persona, NordVPN has managed to build a strong reputation for being highly transparent. However, as you’re about to see, this PR image isn’t just purely based on this VPN’s marketing strategy. In fact, NordVPN truly has a lot to offer to its subscribers, which is why it’s also the recipient of numerous awards. However, no matter if we’re talking about NordVPN or some other VPN, the only way to get to know these is via reviews, just like this one.
We’ve placed NordVPN through a series of rigorous tests and spent quite some time testing this VPN service. If you stick with us until the end of this article, you’ll get to know all there is to know about this VPN, what to expect, and well as its place among today’s popular VPN services. So, welcome to our hands-on NordVPN review!
Before we get started with this review, we’re going to present some quick facts about this VPN. Therefore, make sure to take a quick look at the table found below.
|Logs||No logs, whatsoever.|
|Number of Servers||59 countries; 5,650+ servers.|
|Encryption Standards||AES-256; OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, NordLynx.|
|Speed Reduction||17%, on average.|
|Live Chat Support||YES|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Web browsers & compatible routers.|
|Price||Starting at $3.49/month.|
Next, we would like to highlight the ability of VPNs to unblock popular media streaming services. So, the following table will tell you which streaming platforms can be unblocked by using NordVPN.
Media Streaming Support
|American Netflix||YES (via some servers)|
|Hulu||YES (via some servers)|
|BBC iPlayer||YES (via some servers)|
|Amazon Prime Video||YES (via some servers)|
And lastly, if you’re in a rush to see our conclusions about NordVPN, we will present them via the following table. Take a look to quickly learn different ins and outs of this VPN.
The Bottom Line
|Pros||Easy to install; Highly polished interface; Double encryption; Plenty of servers; No data leaks; Plenty of value for the price; Amazing performance.|
|Cons||Not the best solution out there for media streaming.|
|The Final Verdict||NordVPN is among the best VPNs right now. It’s very user-friendly, keeps no logs, and relies on military-grade encryption – so you can browse the Web freely.|
In case you’d like to really dive into everything that NordVPN offers, keep on reading our review. We will be taking a very close look at this VPN by inspecting its most prominent and vital aspects.
NordVPN – TechNadu’s Hands-On Review!
Finally, we’re ready to start our hands-on review of NordVPN. We’ll first do background research and see if the basics are covered well. After that, we’ll show you how to use this software, what to expect, and plenty more. And if you’d like to learn more about this process, here’s how we review VPN services.
And before we jump in, we need to say that we’ve tested NordVPN on macOS. However, everything said below applies to any other platform that NordVPN supports as well.
Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation
NordVPN used to come with a reputation for truly caring about its customers. However, that reputation is no longer intact after a series of accusations as well as a recent hacking attempt targeting this VPN’s data center. Our Score: 8/10.
When choosing a VPN, you must know whether you can trust it. One of the best ways to find trustworthy VPNs is by checking their background. You want to know about its jurisdiction as well as if there were any problematic data leaks in the past.
Jurisdiction & Applicable Laws
NordVPN has decided to base its operations in Panama. This was a good choice as this country has no data retention laws that could force VPNs into collecting your private data. Also, Panama is not a member of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance – which is a group of countries with data retention laws and aggressive mass-surveillance operations.
If you decide to check out more information about NordVPN, you’ll be out of luck. Just like with the majority of VPNs, finding this VPN’s physical addresses or telephone numbers is close to impossible. In the VPN world, this is a good thing – since secrecy is imperative.
It should also be noted that certain rumors were circulating about this VPN a while back. According to those, NordVPN is owned by a company called Tesonet, based in Lithuania. Furthermore, there were allegations that NordVPN is related to HolaVPN, known for turning its users into botnets. However, NordVPN was quick to react. This VPN has managed to complete an independent audit to reassure its users of its safety – and it rejected any connection to Tesonet. In addition, it also went through an in-depth penetration testing, making NordVPN even tougher against hacking attacks.
The VPN has also issued a statement about numerous actions its plans to take – to further improve the security of its customers in the future. This statement was a direct result of the previously mentioned allegations – and can be seen as NordVPN’s attempt to fight against those rumors.
Previous Data Leaks
NordVPN has a strict no-logs policy and it promises not to collect any of your personal information. You will be happy to know that NordVPN looks to be sticking to that promise, and also employs tough security protocols that prevent any kind of unauthorized access to their servers. However, this doesn’t mean that there weren’t any problematic situations in this VPN’s past.
In September 2018, it was revealed that NordVPN had contained a privilege escalation bug that could have exposed some of the user data (which didn’t happen). However, this bug had been fixed before the report became public. And not too long ago, there were reports of a strange behavior related to NordVPN’s data flow through the VPN’s servers. However, the official explanation soon followed – and it looks like this was caused by NordVPN’s anti-censorship mechanism (nothing suspicious, once again).
We’ve also learned that NordVPN had been hacked in 2018 after an unknown hacker managed to access one of the VPN’s Finland-based data centers. As NordVPN explained, this was an isolated case that didn’t endanger any personal information. Even though the data center was hacked, no user credentials were stolen, and no critical stuff could have been intercepted by the malicious actors.
Supported Platforms & Devices
NordVPN covers pretty much any popular and less popular platform out there. You can always count on using a native application offered by this VPN. Our Score: 10/10.
When you decide to use a VPN, you’ll want one that protects all your devices. That’s because using a single unprotected device poses a risk of leaking your personal data. So, here’s a table explaining which devices are natively supported by this VPN.
|Desktop Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chromebooks.|
|Mobile Platforms||Android, iOS.|
|Web Browsers||Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox.|
|Routers||DD-WRT, Tomato routers, and more.|
|Other Devices||Android TV, Amazon Fire TV devices.|
It’s clear that NordVPN brings wide compatibility with numerous platforms and devices. What’s also important to note is that you can use NordVPN on devices not mentioned in the table above – as long as those devices support the OpenVPN protocol. This VPN provider offers a dedicated page with instructions on how to install and use the VPN by utilizing third-party OpenVPN solutions.
Of course, you can always go for a capable VPN router. Aside from DD-WRT and Tomato routers, NordVPN can be installed on any router that supports OpenVPN configurations. This is how you can protect all your devices at once, without having native clients installed.
Lastly, NordVPN supports up to 6 simultaneous connections, which seems like a generous offer. If you install NordVPN on your router, this will count as a single device, no matter how many devices you connect to it.
Installation & Initial Configuration
Downloading, installing, and configuring NordVPN doesn’t require you to have any technical knowledge. The entire process is very user-centric and intuitive. Our Score: 10/10.
As you can guess, you first need to subscribe to NordVPN to get started using this service. Once you do that, you’ll end up with your username and password, so you can log-in to your account on the official website.
At the top of your account page (on NordVPN’s website), you’ll see four tabs: Dashboard, Downloads, Billing History, and Change Password. While the first one gives you an overview of active services and their expiration dates, you’ll need to use the second tab to download native applications. For each of the available platforms, you’ll have several options to choose from. So, go ahead and select your platform and the installer will automatically download.
Now you need to run the installer – just like you would usually do on your computer’s operating system. After a few seconds, NordVPN will install on your device and you’ll see its log-in screen. Enter your credentials and you’re ready to start using this VPN.
It took years for NordVPN to build its offer. Today, aside from the standard set of options, this VPN offers some highly advanced and unique features. Our Score: 10/10.
In this segment, we take a look at a set of standard and advanced options that VPNs usually offer. With this said, we will show you a table of these options and whether NordVPN supports them or not.
VPN Features Checklist
|DNS Leak Protection||YES|
|IPv6 Leak Protection||YES|
|Unlimited Server Switches||YES|
NordVPN is a provider that develops its services in a rapid manner. It is adding new servers all the time, as well as new features every couple of months. For example, it came up with its CyberSec feature a few months ago – whose role is to eliminate dangerous ads, pop-ups, and malware.
It’s also worth noting that NordVPN is actually a double VPN. This means that you can set your traffic to go through two secure servers, adding an additional layer of protection. As you can expect, this means that truly no one will be able to track what you do online.
Also, let’s not forget about the basics. You can count on all kinds of protections, including DNS and IPV6, and there’s a kill-switch that blocks all your traffic if your VPN connection drops. All in all, a pretty comprehensive package.
NordVPN comes with an army of servers spread across the entire planet – and it often expands that network in a rapid manner. Our Score: 10/10.
According to the latest data, NordVPN has more than 5,650 servers. Find some additional information in the table below.
Server Count Info
|Number of Servers||5,650+|
|Number of Locations||N/A|
|Number of Countries||59|
|Specific Cities Selection||NO|
As you can tell, the number of secure servers that NordVPN offers is astounding. Having more than 5,650 servers, NordVPN is among the VPNs with the highest number of servers. However, we don’t actually have precise information where those servers are located nor can we pick a specific city to connect to. The only option where this is present is among NordVPN’s servers from the USA.
Having this many servers is a good thing. In theory, this means that you’ll hardly connect to an overcrowded server with bad performance. However, this doesn’t mean that VPNs with 500 or 1,000 servers won’t perform as good as NordVPN. What we’re saying is – even though having plenty of servers is a nice thing, this shouldn’t be the most important aspect of choosing a VPN.
Update: A number of VPNs were under attack in Russia in 2019, being forced to cooperate with the country’s Roskomnadzor. To avoid implementing website-blocking mechanisms, NordVPN has decided to remove all of its servers from Russia. In other words, NordVPN is still a fully-functional VPN even if you’re located in this country – but you won’t be able to find any servers located inside Russia.
Ease of Use
Despite a few awkward things, NordVPN is generally very easy to use. It comes with a user-centric UI across all of its apps. Our Score: 9/10.
As you can see from the image above, NordVPN is actually a very simple application. The home screen consists of a map – showing all the countries where the VPN offers servers. To connect to any of these, simply click on the server’s location. Alternatively, you can check the left-hand side of NordVPN’s UI. This is where you’ll find the full list of servers, where you can also find specialized options such as – Dedicated IP, Double VPN, Obfuscated, Onion Over VPN, and P2P.
Before you click on any country’s name from the left-placed list, you can take your time to pick a server manually. Hover over any country’s name, and you’ll see a ‘three dots’ icon on the right. Click on this icon, and a quick menu will appear. Then, pick a server from this menu and connect to it.
To dive deeper into what NordVPN offers, you can check its settings. Even though the VPN doesn’t give you a huge list of options to play with, we still recommend visiting this section to fine-tune your user experience. To get to the settings panel, you can go to NordVPN > Preferences, or via the VPN’s UI.
- General: This is where you can instruct NordVPN to auto-launch on system startup, as well as auto-connect to a specific server. Then, we strongly recommend enabling the VPN’s CyberSec feature (to block ads and malware). Other than that, you can choose a different VPN protocol and check for updates.
- Kill Switch: In case NordVPN’s secure connection drops, you can set a list of apps that will be shut down automatically. This can be helpful in many instances, like for example – if you’re planning to download torrent files.
- DNS: If you want to use a custom DNS server, this is where that can be done.
- Appearance: Sadly, NordVPN doesn’t yet bring a dark mode on macOS. However, you can decide where to show its icon (in your dock or in the menu bar).
- Account: And finally, this is where you can review your account’s details, including when your subscription is due to expire.
It is also interesting to note that NordVPN has been busy developing its mobile apps as well. For example, it’s Android app has been recently updated with a new major version, bringing some new features as well. Among those, you can now use split-tunneling on Android. There’s also a new ‘VPN Snooze’ feature which lets you pause your VPN connection for a while.
Don’t worry, NordVPN is also fully functional on iOS. Just recently, an update was issued that lets iOS users use OpenVPN on their devices. This is done by using the official OpenVPN client for iOS and the installation is unbelievably simple. You can find a guide on how this is done on the official NordVPN website.
Media Streaming & Torrenting Support
NordVPN can unblock popular media streaming websites – but in a limited way. You’ll really have to dig to find servers that actually work. Our Score: 7/10.
One of the benefits of using VPNs is the ability to unblock websites. Therefore, it’s not surprising that many are using VPNs to access American Netflix, as well as a few other hugely popular media streaming services. So, let’s take a look at which services does NordVPN supports, and what’s the situation with torrenting.
Media Streaming & Torrenting Support
|Netflix US||YES – Via some servers.|
|Hulu||YES – Via some servers.|
|BBC iPlayer||YES – Via some servers.|
|Amazon Prime Video||YES – Via some servers.|
|Torrenting (P2P)||YES – But only via specialized servers.|
If you contact NordVPN and ask whether you can unblock media streaming services, they will tell you that you can. You might even be offered a series of servers to connect to, based on the streaming service you want to use. However, it takes some time and effort to make this VPN unblock media streaming websites.
So, let’s talk about Netflix. First, we allowed NordVPN to choose the best server – and Netflix wouldn’t even load in our Web browser. Then, we contacted NordVPN’s support team and got a bunch of server numbers. We have used this instruction, but without any luck. Then, all of a sudden, some servers have decided to work – and we were able to access the American version of Netflix without problems.
The situation was the same with Hulu and BBC iPlayer. The biggest problems happened with Amazon Prime Video that managed to work after trying a dozen servers – but even then it was too slow to watch anything, even in the lowest resolution.
And lastly, know that NordVPN supports torrenting – but not via regular servers. For this, you’ll need to connect to a specialized P2P server. Unfortunately, you can’t expect the best performance at all times since this depends on a whole range of variables.
Security & Privacy
If you choose to become a NordVPN customer, you can rest assured that your personal data is properly and fully protected. Our Score: 10/10.
Now, let’s talk about privacy and security – perhaps the most important aspect when choosing a VPN. We’re going to take a look at NordVPN’s encryption and logging policy, and we’ll test its claims as well.
Supported Encryption Protocols
NordVPN says that it uses ‘military-grade’ encryption. More precisely, its encryption is based on AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 256-bit keys. These days, this encryption is considered to be the strongest out there, used by financial institutions and even government agencies. Going against it would be incredibly hard, if not impossible.
Next, you should know that NordVPN supports three encryption protocols: IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and NordLynx. IKEv2 and OpenVPN are highly capable and practically uncrackable VPN protocols. If possible, we suggest you use OpenVPN as this is currently the safest protocol that also provides optimal performance.
Let’s not forget that NordVPN now offers a protocol called NordLynx. This one is based on the WireGuard protocol, promising the best possible protection without throttling your Web connection speed. Right now, this protocol shows a lot of promise, but only time will tell if it’s a viable alternative to OpenVPN.
As you might have noticed, NordVPN no longer supports protocols such as L2TP/IPsec and PPTP. As the company is saying, these are obsolete protocols that are largely vulnerable to data leaks. So, the company has completely removed those protocols and they are no longer accessible within the official apps.
NordVPN has come up with a strict no-logs policy. This means that this VPN does not collect your private data, online activity, or browsing history. In other words, none of your personal information is stored on any of NordVPN’s thousands of servers. And to prove this, NordVPN recently went through an independent audit.
DNS Leak Test
Now, it’s time to check if NordVPN has any DNS leaks. We will use a highly reputable test that checks for any leaks and we’ll see if any of our ‘real’ information pops up. Check out the image below.
As you can see, the websites that we visit don’t see our true IP address. Instead, they see what NordVPN serves them – and that’s a server that we’ve connected to.
Speed & Performance
As per our tests, NordVPN performs amazingly well. There’s close to no throttling even when connected to remote servers. Our Score: 9/10.
We are now going to check how well this VPN performs. To do this, we’ll first show you the speed of our Web connection, without a VPN involved. Then, we’ll run speed tests when connected to both nearby and remote servers. So, let’s get started.
What you can see in the image above is the speed of our Web connection – without a VPN. We have a speedy connection, with 88.03 Mbps for downloads and 14.69 Mbps for uploads. Now, we will connect to NordVPN and choose a nearby server that should give us the fastest possible speed.
As is turns out, NordVPN offers a server in our home country. Considering the number of servers it offers, this isn’t a surprise. As you can see, we got 87.27 Mbps for downloads and 14.12 Mbps for uploads. This is an excellent result, obviously.
The image above shows the results of a server located in our neighboring country. During this round of speed testing, we got 46.95 Mbps for downloads and 14.16 Mbps for uploads. While we were happy with the upload speed, we felt surprised by how much our download speed had decreased.
Lastly, we’ve tested several servers located in the USA, with the ability to unblock Netflix and other video streaming websites. Surprisingly, these servers behaved quite well. On average, we got around 82 Mbps for downloads and 14 Mbps for uploads. So, there’s almost no speed reduction, whatsoever.
|Download Speed||Upload Speed||Speed Reduction|
|Baseline Speed||88.03 Mbps||14.69 Mbps||0%|
|Nearest Server||87.27 Mbps||14.12 Mbps||0.8%|
|Nearby Server||46.95 Mbps||14.16 Mbps||46.6%|
|Remote Server||82.68 Mbps||14.10 Mbps||6.0%|
By taking a look at the table above, we can say that NordVPN has throttled our Web connection by around 18%. However, we were pleasantly surprised by how well NordVPN performed, in general. This especially goes when connecting to remote servers – where there’s very little throttling available.
NordVPN offers a complete range of customer support channels – so you can have all your questions answered, promptly. Our Score: 10/10.
If you take a look at older reviews of NordVPN still found online, you’ll see that many were complaining about this company’s lack of live-chat and other types of support. Well, that is no longer the case. NordVPN has upgraded its customer support system, and you can expect the following types of resources:
- Live Chat Support: You can talk to a real person via live chat, from the home page of NordVPN. We’ve tried this option a few times, and managed to get someone to talk to us in a matter of minutes. The company’s representatives were quite helpful and polite.
- Email Correspondence: In case live-chat is unavailable, you can send an email to the company. However, you can expect a reply to come within 72 hours. Therefore, live chat should always be your first choice.
- Support Center: NordVPN has a dedicated support page on its website that acts as a troubleshooter. You can check out several categories or use the built-in search option to find an answer to your problems.
- Tutorials: Lastly, there are comprehensive installation tutorials that are especially helpful for obsolete and rarely used operating systems.
NordVPN is among high-priced VPNs, but it becomes much more affordable via its long-term plans. Our Score: 8/10.
Surprisingly, NordVPN offers four types of subscriptions. These range in their subscription periods and their prices. So, here’s a handy table where you can check what’s on offer.
|Subscription Plan||Total Price||Per Month||Savings|
It’s clear that by choosing a ‘lengthier’ plan, you have the option to save the most. With this said, you can sign-up for NordVPN and pay $3.49 per month if you go for its 3-year plan. However, you must be wondering what will happen to NordVPN in three years, and if spending your money in this way is a good idea?
Well, you should first know that NordVPN has been on the market since 2012. It never suffered an exposing data leak and it’s been one of the best VPNs constantly. And we shouldn’t forget to mention that NordVPN’s 3-year plan comes at a very affordable price – much lower than what you’ll find at its competitors. Also, you can pay via credit cards and crypto-currencies (if you’re after complete anonymity).
Lastly, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. In case you’re unhappy with the product or if you’re experiencing any issues, you can ask to have your money returned, no questions asked.
Do We Recommend NordVPN?
It’s true that NordVPN does have a few quirks. However, the same could be said for any VPN provider. At its core, this is a rock-solid VPN that truly takes care of your privacy and makes sure your sensitive data doesn’t leak on the Web. Aside from that, it can unblock media streaming websites and you can download torrents as well. All in all, a very comprehensive package.
- PROS: Quick and easy installation; Highly polished UI; Plenty of servers across the world; Can unblock Netflix US; No logs, whatsoever; No previous data leaks.
- CONS: Not every server can unblock websites; Fluctuations in performance.
- OUR SCORE: 9.2 out of 10!
NordVPN is beloved by millions of users around the world, and we can easily see why. It allows you to browse the Web, stream media, and even download torrents – all while being 100% safe online. You can see why it’s easy to recommend NordVPN to those looking for a trustworthy VPN solution. So, go ahead and check out NordVPN for yourself!