With awards for best overall VPN and best customer service from BestVPN.com, a slick user experience and some of the highest encryption levels in the industry, NordVPN is undoubtedly one of the best VPNs money can buy.
By default, NordVPN uses the OpenVPN security protocol on Windows, OSX and Android devices and IKEv2 / IPsec on iOS devices, coupled with military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. Support for L2TP and PPTP — which have had well-known security flaws for over a decade — was discontinued as from December 2018. In addition to this protection, NordVPN also has CyberSec, which blocks ads, trackers, spyware and malware.
To date, NordVPN has 5093 servers to choose from, including dedicated servers for Onion over VPN, Double VPN and servers optimised for peer-to-peer sharing.
When we tested the apps, we found switching from one server to another wasn’t always smooth sailing, which was disappointing at this price point. In particular, connections to North American and Asian servers (we’re based in the UK) took their time to connect. That said, all in all, most servers performed strongly. And we registered some impressive speeds.
With NordVPN on, we managed a more than respectable 48.5Mbps Mbps download speed and 17.7Mbps Mbps upload speed.
With the VPN off, our test connection hit 64.4 Mbps download speed and 25 Mbps upload speed:
When it comes to protecting your security and privacy, NordVPN performs as strongly as you’d expect.
Testing on www.dnsleaktest.com confirmed our connection was protected against DNS leaks:
Their system also uses Perfect Forward Secrecy, which assigns a unique secret key to your device which changes regularly. The advantage of this system is that, should your connection be compromised, the person who has obtained access will get locked out as soon as the secret key changes.
If you want an added layer of security, NordVPN supports Double VPN, which routes your connection through two different servers instead of one, and Onion over VPN. The latter also routes your traffic twice — first through the VPN and then through Onion’s secure network — before it reaches its final destination.
NordVPN is based in Panama, which does not have any data collection requirements. As a result, they collect minimal data:
You can’t get any more peace of mind than this.
While not as comprehensive as some other VPNs we’ve reviewed, NordVPN has a decent list of native apps. You can download a NordVPN app for:
If you’re looking for a more lightweight solution, you can also download a browser add-on for Chrome or Firefox, though not for Safari. With Safari being the second most popular browser in the world, it’s hard to understand why a browser add-on isn’t available.
Want to install NordVPN on a device that isn’t compatible with one of their apps, such as your smart TV, PS3, PS4, Roku or Apple TV?
You’ll have to either manually install NordVPN on a compatible router or share your VPN connection from a Windows PC.
As it happens, NordVPN’s knowledge-base has a vast number of in-depth tutorials to help you set up your router. So, provided you have at least some basic tech knowledge, you should be able to get up and running fairly quickly.
The firmware covered includes:
While NordVPN’s knowledge-base can be a bit slow to load, it’s well laid out and easy to navigate.
The most important topics are grouped into five categories — getting started, billing, connectivity and general info. And there’s a list of the top 5 most frequently asked questions beneath.
You can also find what you’re looking for quickly via the search widget. Even better, clicking on the result allows you to read the answer without getting redirected to a different page. Seeing as there’s so much information to sift through, this is a huge time-saver.
As you’d expect, the articles are all written in straightforward language. And screenshots make it easy to follow along. There’s also a blog with news and useful advice on keeping your devices safe online.
If you want to speak to a real person, support is available round the clock via email and live chat. Earlier in 2019, BestVPN.com gave NordVPN the award for best customer service and best VPN overall.
NordVPN has four plans to choose from. All have the exact same features and come with a 30 day money-back guarantee. The difference is that the longer you subscribe, the more you save.
Paying for a full year upfront cuts the price by 41%. A two-year plan saves you 66%. And if you’re prepared to commit to three years, you’ll get 75% off what you’d usually pay. You can also get a 7-day free trial if you download the mobile app.
Here’s a look at NordVPN’s pricing. All plans allow you to connect up to six devices simultaneously.
With award-winning customer support, very respectable speeds and strong encryption and privacy features, it’s hard to find something to dislike about NordVPN.
While it’s on the expensive side compared to other VPNs on the market, even if you pony up for the three-year plan, you do get what you pay for. And NordVPN is undoubtedly one of the better VPNs out there.