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NordVPN Review

$11.95 $3.49

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8.5/10 (Expert Score)
Product is rated as #2 in category VPN Providers
It’s easy to see why NordVPN are one of the top VPN providers in the field. With a no nonsense client, fast servers and competitive pricing they have to be in any ones top 5 possible solutions.
Design
9
Speed
8.5
Price
8.5
Features
8.5
PROS:
  • Competitive Pricing
  • Independently Audited
  • Fast Servers
  • Outside 5/9/14 Eyes
  • Accepts Crypto
CONS:
  • Power intensive on android
  • Sluggish connection times
  • Limited Protocols

About NordVPN


It’s easy to see why NordVPN are one of the top VPN providers in the field. With a no nonsense client, fast servers and competitive pricing they have to be in any ones top 5 possible solutions. There is little to fault about their service aside from a few niggles like the battery intensive android app and sluggish connection times. Based in Panama outside the reach of 5 eyes with a comprehensive and independently audited no logging policy. Additionally with crypto currency payments, privacy is is clearly high on the agenda

nordVPN_Laptop 

The clients don’t offer you all of the connectivity options that maybe some of the more niche providers do. It’s OpenVPN:AES-256GCM on the windows like and IkEv2/IPSec on mac & iOS. This simplicity is great for the average user who just wants to log in and get the best possible encryption available today.

We would like to see an option of IKEv2/IPSec on the android client as the app is currently very battery intensive. Fortunately this worked around by using a client like StrongSwan which utilises IKEv2/IPSec and significantly reduces the strain on the phone.

Pricing

NordVPN’s pricing is simple with just four options and one bolt on. The monthly plan is quite expensive at nearly $12 while the yearly and two year plans are competitive. The 3 year plan offers a significant saving of 70% if you are prepared to pay upfront. While this does make for an attractive offer we are not sure we would recommend signing up to anything for three years.

There are a good selection of payment options but no Paypal. “We decided to stop supporting payments via PayPal so that we can have more control over your purchase experience. Now we can provide a unified payment system hosted on our website instead of a third party. We manage all customer data and recurring subscriptions by ourselves, which allows us to reduce security risks.”  this makes NordVPN the only provider who don’t accept this gateway.

Crypto currencies are processed via CoinPayments. Accepted coins are BTC, DASH, LTC, BTT, ETH, TRX, XMR, ZEC & XRP. For this you only need provide an email address which is what we’d expect from any provider these days. Unfortunately there is no option for gift cards.

Monthly

$11.95

per month

$11.95 billed Every Month

One Year

$5.66

per month

$143.40 $83.88 billed every year

Two Years

$4.04

per month

$286.80 $119.76 billed every 2 years

Three Years

$3.49

per month

$430.20 $125.64 billed every 3 years

NordVPN also offer a dedicated IP address for an additional $5.83 a month.

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Security & Privacy

NordVPN_Macos

At the present time OpenVPN:AES-256GCM is the industry standard and the only way to connect via the Windows client. You should expect this level of encryption from any provider.

NordVPN provide various types of server to connect to

  • Obfuscated – During tests NordVPN’s obfuscated servers were able to bypass a corporate firewall within a UK local authority. Something not many others have been able to achieve.
  • Dedicated IP – The dedicated IP servers work well for streaming where we had good results with iPlayer in the UK. Clearing your cookies locally resolves most playback issues. As a result of streaming services constant battle with VPN providers this isn’t guaranteed to work every time so you may need to try a few different servers before you can play back the desired content.
  • P2P – NordVPN run separate servers for p2p traffic. This is so the large amount of traffic cased by filesharing doesn’t impact on the experience of customers streaming and browsing.
  • Double VPN – Or Multihop VPN connects you to two different servers, doing so encrypts your data twice.
  • Onion Over VPN – This Connects to the VPN server. When your data travels to the internet it routes through the server then through the onion network before reaching the desired location.

Other key features that you should find all services provide are

  • Killswitch – activating the killswitch should block all internet traffic from your device. We tested this on both android and Windows without any issue
  • Anti Malware – Cybersec is NordVPN’s solution. Its as a part anti malware, Ad blocker and will block you device from participating in a DDoS attack.

One thing we would have liked to see is some kind of restricted app feature to allow the customer to bypass the VPN for certain apps or executables.

Testing the DNS resulted in no leaks

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Feedback

We asked all the VPN Providers reviewed to answer the following questions, here’s what Laura at NordVPN said to us.

What logs do you keep ie. IP address, Timestamp etc and if so how long you keep them?

NordVPN Service is provided by an automated process, and your activities while using it are not monitored, recorded, logged, stored or passed to any third party. We do not store connection timestamps, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses or other data. However, to limit the number of simultaneous sessions of an active user, an algorithm keeps their username and the timestamp of the last session status while the session is active. This data is wiped within 15 minutes after the session is terminated.

Only basic payment information is processed through our payment service providers (e.g. Stripe, Credorax, Adyen, Payssion, etc.) and payment processing partners authorized to provide services within respective country.

By using NordVPN Services, you agree to the whole NordVPN Terms of Service including all said general provisions incorporated by reference.

From what jurisdiction is your company registered and where do you operate from?

NordVPN is operating under the jurisdiction of Panama, what allows us to guarantee our no logs policy.

In the case DMCA's or equivalent how are they handled?

DMCA requests are being handled according to all the rules. We don’t know anything about our customers as we do not log IP addresses and basically this is what we are replying to each request.

What steps would be taken in the event that a court orders your organisation to recognise a current or former client of your service? How would your organisation respond to a court order requiring you to log on to a user's future activity? Have these situations ever been acted out in the past?

We have never received a request to log any of our customers. And in case of a court order we would simply state that we have no data to provide.

Are BitTorrent and other file-sharing traffic allowed on all servers? If not, then why? Do you provide a port forwarding service? Are there any ports being blocked?

NordVPN allows P2P traffic on some servers. We do not support P2P on all of our network in order to maximize user-experience for those, who are using VPN for streaming or regular browsing. We do not provide port-forwarding and block only SMTP 25 port to prevent spamming through our service.

What would you suggest to your users is the most reliable VPN link and encryption algorithm?

All of our supported protocols are safe and reliable. Our iOS application is based on IKEv2/IPSec protocol, Windows and Android apps use OpenVPN with AES-256-GCM encryption, Linux application supports OpenVPN and NordLynx – the latest generation protocol built around WireGuard.

Are any of your VPN servers hosted by a third party? If so, what steps are you taking to stop these partners from snooping on any inbound and/or outbound traffic?

We have servers hosted by a third party. Have we have a full access to them and install Vanilla OS solely by ourselves. Each ISP we deal with must meet our requirements. Moreover, logging such huge amounts of traffic would be very expensive and ineffective.

Do you use DNS servers of your own?

Yes, we have our DNS servers.
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Speed

nordvpn_speed

Overall speed is excellent. We tested servers in the UK and Netherlands. Also tested were Malaysia, Spain, Romania, Iceland and Switzerland for their respective privacy laws. You can find our reasons for choosing these countries here.

Reference nordvpn_Base_test
United Kingdom nordvpn_UK
Netherlands Nord_Netherlands
Malaysia
Spain NordVPN_Spain
Romania NordVPN_Romania
Iceland NordVPN_Iceland
Switzerland NordVPN_Switzerland

We’ve run these tests a few times and the only country that struggles is Malaysia. One thing that is significantly noticeable is that if your PC goes sleep at night like ours do there’s quite a wait the the client to reconnect when it wakes up and you log back.

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Conclusion

8.5Would we recommend NordVPN. Absolutely, without hesitation.

 

Please keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. Moreover we pay for every subscription nor do we accept free products in return for positive reviews. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

Specification: NordVPN Review

No. Connections

6

Outside 5/9/14 Eyes

Yes

Encryption Protocols

IKEv2/IPSEC, OpenVPN:AES-256GCM

Logging

No

Payment options

Alipay, Amazon Pay, Credit/Debit Card, Crypto Currencies, Direct Debit, Union Pay

Platforms

Android, Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Linux, MacOS, Windows

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Photos: NordVPN Review

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