If you want to surf the internet or access geo-restricted content anonymously, VPNs are your best option. Looking into the best VPN services can be daunting, though, with so many products available on the market. NordVPN is a leading contender for a full-service VPN that won’t leave you unprotected. In this NordVPN review, we check out what all the fuss is about and why many say this service is the best out there.
Some companies spend way more on marketing than on actual tech development, making it hard to spot the truly legitimate services from the money-grabs. NordVPN is not a paper-thin service, however, and we’re here to go through its best features, pros, and some of its shortcomings so you can know exactly what you’re getting.
What Is NordVPN?
VPNs hide your IP address by redirecting traffic through an encrypted tunnel and a VPN server, so websites are unable to track your activity. NordVPN is one of the leaders in the VPN service market. Starting in 2012, the company came from humble beginnings but now has over 14 million users.
What Makes NordVPN Stand Out
With 5,517 servers in 59 countries, NordVPN has one of the largest server networks around. More importantly, they are all RAM servers, which means user data is deleted with every single reboot. The NordVPN company location is in Panama, a privacy-friendly country, and it has a verified no-logs policy, ensuring it doesn’t keep any information about its users.
- Great live chat support
- Thirty days money-back guarantee
- Supports all popular Operating Systems
- Unblocks Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and other popular streaming services
- A large number of servers
- RAM servers
- Split tunneling
- Excellent leak protection and a kill switch feature
- No-log policy
- Users can connect up to six devices
- External audits
- No free trial
- A monthly subscription is pricey
- Torrenting is not supported on all servers
NordVPN Price Plans
NordVPN has personal and business (team) plans, with the possibility of monthly and yearly subscriptions. Of course, the longer you commit, the lower the monthly price will be. The company also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Monthly subscription – $11.95 per month
- 1-year subscription – $59 for the whole year, which comes to $4.92 per month
- 2-year subscription – $89 up-front, but you get a top-rated VPN for a monthly price of $3.71
NordVPN Teams Plans:
- Basic – $9 per user, but a one-year subscription comes with a 20% discount. The basic plan includes centralized billing, license transferability, and SSO with Google, Azure AD, and Okta.
- Advanced – A monthly plan is $11, but for a yearly plan, it costs $108. This plan enables you to purchase dedicated servers and offers 24/7 priority support.
- Enterprise – This customizable plan varies depending on the features you want to select. It is intended for company use and offers premium services that have established this company as one of the top VPN services. Some options are API access, on-premise dedicated servers, centralized configuration and management, next-gen site-to-site capabilities, and 24/7 phone support.
Comparatively, NordVPN is a premium service, and premium always comes with a price. It wouldn’t be proper to compare it to low-end products because it’s simply not in the same league. At $11.95, it’s still cheaper than its main competitors, CyberGhost ($12.99) and ExpressVPN ($12.95), making us feel pretty good about NordVPN pricing.
As you would expect from an industry leader, NordVPN provides its users with many options and features. Luckily, even though it’s packed with features, it’s still easy to use.
NordVPN allows you to connect up to six different devices. If you connect NordVPN to your router, however, it will secure all devices on your network, using just one of the available slots. During our NordVPN review, we’ve managed to connect nine devices to VPN through the router app, and we were limited only by the number of devices we could find around.
This feature enables you to decide which websites you want to access through the VPN and which not. It means that you can browse some local content without a VPN and stream movies from a distant streaming service through a VPN at the same time.
Although some NordVPN reviews say that this feature is not supported (Security.org, for instance), we can say we’ve tried it, and it works perfectly fine. It only works on Windows and Android devices, though.
Double is how NordVPN company named it, but others call it a multi-hop feature. It enables the user to connect to several servers for increased encryption and protection. It is a premium feature that not many VPN providers offer. The only downside is that the users may experience a more significant speed drop because the data is flowing through two servers.
If your connection to the VPN gets wobbly or you get disconnected, it will leave you exposed and vulnerable. A kill switch option prevents data exposure when a disconnection does happen. It immediately shuts down all internet traffic so you wouldn’t be exposed even for a fraction of a second.
We have to mention that we had no connection problems during the VPN review. The only thing we didn’t like is that while it’s ON by default on mobile, it’s OFF on desktop. It can be confusing, so you better check if it is on before first use.
AES 256-bit Encryption
Governments and militaries from all over the world use this encryption type to protect top-secret data. It’s currently one of the safest ways to protect sensitive info, and NordVPN also uses it to safeguard your connection to the VPN.
It’s one of those specific features that keep the NordVPN rating considerably high. Obfuscated servers are specific VPN servers that conceal the fact that you’re using a VPN. When you use a regular VPN server, your internet provider can’t see what you are doing, but it knows you are using a VPN from the way the data looks. Obfuscated servers change how data should look so no one can figure out you are using a VPN, and the websites that usually block VPNs will grant you access.
While conducting our NordVPN speed review, we’ve concluded that the connection is fast, and more importantly, it’s consistent. During the testing, there were no speed spikes or drops, and we tested it from the US, UK, and Australia.
The average speed loss was about 53%. The UK servers reached an average speed of 99.93Mbps, while US servers reached 88Mbps. These speeds are ideal for streaming and gaming, and our NordVPN review showed that Australia also has good speeds, averaging at 86Mbps.
Dark Web Monitor
The Dark Web Monitor feature scans the Dark Web depositories that trade in illegally acquired data. If the monitor finds some hint that you have been targeted or taken advantage of, you receive an alert and advice to change passwords immediately. That is an impressive feature we rarely see in our VPN reviews, and it definitely sets NordVPN apart from any of the competition.
Besides the already standard OpenVPN and IPSec/IKEv2, NordVPN is also using its NordLynx protocol. It relies on the ultra-fast WireGuard protocol, and it offers a significant increase in speed and security. Having a solid R&D section sends a strong message about the company’s stability, and the NordVPN cost shows how eager it is to invest in user safety and satisfaction.
Dedicated IP Address
You will need a dedicated (static) IP to access some websites, and NordVPN offers a solution to that problem. By paying an additional fee, NordVPN offers a dedicated IP address from the US, Germany, France, UK, or the Netherlands.
This feature aims to help you secure some online payments, avoid CAPTCHAs, and access various IP-restricted networks. There is a drawback, however. This feature costs an additional $70 per year.
You might run into a NordVPN review that says this is a default setting and even consider it a drawback (Security.org). We researched it, however, and it’s not. We confirmed that it is a paid premium feature.
How Does NordVPN Stack Up Against the Competition?
NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN
These two VPNs are considered by many to be the best on the market, and naturally, they are fierce competitors. A quick NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN review shows no significant differences. They both have a no-log policy, RAM servers, excellent speed results, and external audits. One of the most prominent advantages NordVPN has over ExpressVPN is the number of servers, with 5,517 compared to 3,000. NordVPN is also slightly cheaper, especially if you choose long-term subscription plans.
Is NordVPN Easy to Use?
After you press that NordVPN download button, the process is automated and easy to follow. Once you’ve downloaded the .exe file, choose where to install it, and after a few seconds, your VPN is ready to use. The user interface across different operating systems is very similar, so you won’t have trouble getting around.
The overall impression is that the app has a good balance between fine-grained control and simplicity. You can choose between servers on the map and make fine adjustments that, sadly, open up in a too-small window. That’s our only complaint, though.
Is There a NordVPN Free Plan?
One of the few downsides to NordVPN is that it doesn’t offer a free plan or trial period. It’s premium software, and you can’t expect premium features to be free. If you are looking for a free VPN, you should be careful. VPNs are expensive to run, and some companies that advertise as free sell user data on the market. Some respectable companies offer free plans, like TunnelBear, for instance. Just keep in mind that they are pretty limited compared to their paid plans.
Is NordVPN Safe?
NordVPN is as safe as it gets. With obfuscated servers, new NordLynx encryption protocol, AES 256-bit encryption, and RAM servers that will get entirely deleted at every reboot, it will keep you concealed from prying eyes.
NordVPN Customer Support
NordVPN offers four kinds of customer support. It is well-organized, and that’s one of the main reasons many believe that NordVPN is the best VPN service on the market. While three options are available with all subscription plans, direct phone support is only available with the Enterprise plan. The options are as follows:
- Help Center page. You can find many helpful guides and tutorials on installing and using NordVPN and fixing the most common issues on this page.
- Email support. You can ask for help through an email. The listed response time is under 24 hours, but it is usually much quicker than that.
- Live chat support. NordVPN customer reviews are full of praise for the chat support, and we had a similar experience. The company offers 24/7 live support, which is nice to have when dealing with some urgent issues. When we tried it, they answered all of our questions immediately and correctly.
- Direct phone line support. The Enterprise plan is the only service that receives this type of support. It is the most extensive and expensive NordVPN plan.
Summary of Our NordVPN Reviews
They say that it is lonely at the top, but that doesn’t apply to the VPN market. There are multiple good VPNs out there, and with such fierce competition, companies are doing a lot to stay ahead. NordVPN somehow seems to do it better than anyone else, though. Its strong R&D department is what separates it from the crowds.
As we have mentioned before in our NordVPN review, 2020 was the year that brought many changes to the company. It introduced the ultra-fast NordLynx encryption protocol and started using RAM servers only. It’s always nice to see a company that is improving its services, especially while maintaining sensible prices. With a drive to give the best service possible and an extensive list of features, we’ve concluded that NordVPN is one of the best buys on the market today.
People Also Ask
Is NordVPN any good?
NordVPN is one of the best-rated VPNs on the market. It provides excellent speeds thanks to the innovative NordLynx encryption protocol and complete protection thanks to the AES 256-bit encryption. Some other features that have made it famous are its no-log policy, HQ in Panama (a privacy-friendly country), and external audits confirming that it has kept the highest safety standards.
Is NordVPN safe in 2021?
The NordVPN company’s safety standards are one of the highest in the industry. Not only does it have regular external audits to ensure complete safety, but it also has a bug bounty program that generously rewards anyone who can break the security ring. From the middle of 2020, NordVPN started using only RAM servers, which get entirely deleted at every reboot.
Should I trust NordVPN?
You can trust NordVPN. It doesn’t only conduct regular internal security audits, but it also hires external auditing companies to check safety standards. For illustration, NordVPN hired one of the biggest names in the cyber-security world, VerSprite, as its consultant, and it passed with flying colors.
Is NordVPN trustworthy?
NordVPN is a trustworthy company. It’s been on the market long enough to prove itself, and the company is committed to user safety and satisfaction, proven by developing its NordLynx encryption protocol. This protocol significantly improves connection safety and speed, and when a company is investing so heavily in R&D, it’s the best sign that it’s here to stay.
Is NordVPN good in Australia?
NordVPN is one of Australia’s favorite VPN services, and it has every reason to be. It has 5,517 servers spread through 59 countries, constant high connection speed, RAM servers, and a no-log policy. VPNs are popular in Australia, and when some VPN company is one of the best sellers there, it’s a clear sign that it is doing a great job.
Can you be tracked using NordVPN?
No, when using NordVPN, no one can track you. The company offers several layers of protection to ensure this, such as AES 256-bit encryption, the latest NordLynx encryption protocol, a multi-hop feature that passes your traffic through two VPN servers, and much more. During our NordVPN review, all of these features worked flawlessly, and we have no reason to think it would perform any other way for anyone else.