NordVPN Review (2021) – No logs, sublime encryption and functional Netflix servers!
NordVPN is considered one of the top VPNs in the industry. In fact, NordVPN became the market leader during 2019. This is in part due to their efforts in promoting their service on popular social media such as YouTube. Chances are, you’ve come across a video sponsored by NordVPN this past year.
NordVPN is a subsidiary of Tefinkom & Co. With the headquarters of their holding company located in Panama, NordVPN and its user base enjoy a high level of freedom regarding internet legislation. Having their headquarters in Panama also means that NordVPN is not susceptible to data-sharing across the “14 eyes” alliance.
NordVPN was established in 2008 and the company has been working hard to prove itself as a trustworthy and fast VPN provider with high privacy standards ever since. NordVPN even went the extra mile and managed to circumvent Netflix’ VPN defenses so their users can fully experience the possibilities of a proxy network while also being able to watch American Netflix. In this review, we’ll discuss the speed, safety, user-friendliness, server network and functionality of NordVPN.
- Simultaneous connections: 6
- Operating systems: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
- Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec
- Logging policy: No logs
- Servers: 5400+ servers in 57 countries
- Price: From $3.49 a month
- Money-back guarantee: 30 days
Speed – How fast is NordVPN?
If you use a VPN, you don’t want it to slow down your internet connection too much. We tested NordVPN on a variety of devices for an extended period to test its speeds. The potential loss of internet speed was assessed using speedtest.net. You can look at our findings below.
Speed test results NordVPN
NordVPN’s exceptional performance took us by surprise. In our previous review, NordVPN’s speed could not compete with that of other premium VPN providers. This has clearly changed. We tested both NordVPN servers in our own country and those in the US. Keep in mind that your personal speed results with NordVPN may vary depending on your internet speed and location.
Speed without a VPN (Speedtest.net):
These are the speed test results of our ‘bare’ network, without the use of a VPN. We’ll use these numbers as a base measurement to compare all our other results to.
Speed with a local server (Speedtest.net):
Above you can see the speed test results of our network when connected to one of NordVPN’s local servers. There are minimal decreases in both download and upload speeds, but these differences are negligible.
Speed with a USA server (Speedtest.net):
The results above detail the speeds our network reached when we connected to the fastest US server. The upload speed in particular shows a significant decrease. The download speed, however, is the most important factor for most VPN users. The latter isn’t affected as much, hence we still consider the performance of NordVPN to be excellent. However, remember that we tested from the Netherlands, so if you are in the US youself, you will get better results connecting to a US server.
Speed during daily use
Is NordVPN as fast in daily use? The answer is a definitive yes. We tried out this VPN during several everyday activities, including simple browsing, hard-core gaming, and downloading. Both downloading via P2P and dedicated platforms such as Steam went remarkably fast as well. After all that testing, we can safely conclude that there is no noticeable difference in speed between a connection through NordVPN and one without a VPN. For us, everything ran just as smoothly.
Most modern VPN providers automatically allow you to connect to their fastest possible server on a specific location, and NordVPN is no exception. This system, combined with NordVPN’s numerous servers, guarantees a stable and fast connection.
Conclusion speed NordVPN
- NordVPN is really fast
- The speed tests show only a small decrease in speed
- During daily use there is no noticeable difference in speed, not even while gaming
- NordVPN automatically connects to the fastest possible server available
- P2P downloading was very easy with NordVPN
Safety – How secure is NordVPN?
Another important part of our VPN review process is checking the safety and privacy policies. This is most definitely NordVPN’s strong suit. As mentioned earlier, NordVPN’s headquarters are located in Panama. In this section, we’ll explain why that’s a definite advantage. Moreover, we’ll delve into the protocols NordVPN supports, their logging policy, and their kill switch option.
NordVPN has military grade levels of encryption. Most notably, they use 256-bit AES data encryption. This, along with their well protected servers and excellent firewall, makes NordVPN’s safety very solid. Moreover, they also offer support for a lot of different protocols, including the faster IKEv2/IPsec. However, we would recommend the OpenVPN protocol, since it’s generally considered to be the safest option. NordVPN supports the following protocols:
Logging and privacy
As mentioned earlier, NordVPN is registered in Panama. In this country, they have great privacy legislation, which means that NordVPN is not compelled to keep logs on their users. There aren’t a lot of providers that can truly say they do not keep any logs of their customers, as Nord does. In order to ensure this and avoid a server possibly getting hacked, NordVPN is working on diskless RAM servers, which contain no sensitive information at all. In case of a hack, there will be no data or configuration files to be found on it – so there’s no information to steal.
Moreover, NordVPN also supports obfsproxy. This ( Tor) technique is meant to prevent Deep Packet Inspection, which allows the use of a VPN to stay hidden. This could allow users in countries like China and Turkey, where VPN use is generally banned, to get a VPN to work. NordVPN also offers additional protection against IP leaks.
Finnish server hacked
In 2019 NordVPN revealed that one of NordVPN’s Finnish servers had been hacked the previous year. An unauthorized person managed to get access to the system of the datacenter that owned the server. Although this was a serious issue and came as a real shock, NordVPN handled the situation well. No personal data or customer logs were leaked, since the provider doesn’t keep any logs. The affected server is no longer in use and NordVPN ended their contract with the datacenter.
Since the hack, NordVPN has done everything in their power to increase their security. None of their other servers were affected. Regardless, the provider has been checking and auditing its servers closely. They’re also planning a full infrastructure audit as well as a new no-logs audit.
Moreover, they have joined the VPN Trust Initiative along with other well-regarded providers such as PandaVPN and ExpressVPN. NordVPN also started a bug bounty program, encouraging ethical ‘white hat’ hackers to search for bugs in NordVPN’s system, so they can fix them. NordVPN now uses diskless RAM servers and has increased the security standard of the providers of their servers. Finally, they’re building their own network of servers, exclusively owned by NordVPN. All of this shows how seriously they take the safety of their customers.
Despite the hack, NordVPN remains one of the safest premium VPNs on the market. Their location and strong no-log policy prove that NordVPN will keep your personal data safe and protect your privacy.
For additional protection, NordVPN also has its own kill switch option. This option is very similar to the kill switch of other VPN services. It ensures you won’t leak any personal data when you temporarily lose your connection to the VPN server. Instead, your internet connection will be completely interrupted until the VPN connection is back up and running.
Aside from that, NordVPN allows you to place certain apps and programs on a special app kill list. This way, just those specific apps will be shut down if the VPN connection drops. This can be very useful. Imagine you usually use one browser for private activities, while you use another for less sensitive online surfing. By adding the first browser to the kill list, you’ll ensure that this browser will be shut down once the safe VPN connection is lost, while the other browser keeps running. You’ll have full control over what you can and can’t do while your VPN is down. In other words: this kill switch is extremely useful and safe.
What information does NordVPN need?
To create an account with NordVPN, you only need an email address and a password. You could choose to use a disposable email address if you want to remain more anonymous. NordVPN won’t ask for additional information like your phone number or home address. They also provide the option of paying with cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. This way you can stay (almost) completely anonymous while creating your NordVPN account. Note that, if you use any other form of payment, you’ll have to give NordVPN some of your personal details, such as your bank account number.
Conclusion safety NordVPN
- NordVPN’s headquarters are situated in Panama
- NordVPN offers strong AES 256-bit encryption
- NordVPN supports most protocols for all devices (OpenVPN en IKEv2/IPSec)
- The company has a strict no-logs policy
- You can use their kill switch option for increased protection
- You only need an email address and password to create a NordVPN account
Usability – How user-friendly is NordVPN?
NordVPN tries to simplify their software and apps but not at the expense of the possibilities and settings. They have managed to create a perfectly balanced look that is also pleasing to the eye.
Below you will be able to read all about the user-friendliness of NordVPN. Moreover, you will find out about the design of their apps and the different payment methods they offer.
The NordVPN Website
NordVPN has a simple and clear website. They use soothing colors that are easy on the eyes and provide the user with just enough information. This combination makes it one of the best VPN websites on the web.
The personal account page is also very clear. All the essential information is under the “dashboard” tab. The two other tabs available are “downloads”, where you can find all the software and apps for different devices, and “change password”, where you can change your password. This overview of information is all a user really needs from a VPN website.
Installing NordVPN is a piece of cake. Through your account page you can download the necessary software for most operating systems. You can also download the Nord installer on your device. This way you only need to log in to start using their service. On mobile devices and tablets you can download the NordVPN app from the App Store. Nowadays, downloading a VPN is child’s play. All big VPN providers have easy-to-install software and special apps for all types of devices. NordVPN is no exception. Additionally, they offer a browser extension for Chrome, Brave and Firefox.
If , however, you run into problems while installing NordVPN, you can take a look at their support page. Here they provide you with manuals for the installation of their software, among other things. You can also find a guide there to set up NordVPN to watch Netflix or ask any other question that you may have.
NordVPN’s appearance and ease of use
The desktop application for Windows and Mac has a large range of choices and installation options.
The NordVPN software is clear and visually attractive. In the app, there are different ways to select a server. One option is to choose your server location on a world map. Alternatively, you can also select your server based on a specific feature, such as P2P downloading or watching Netflix. Another option is choosing a server that is the fastest for your location. You can also create a list of servers based on country you want to stream from.
The app is stable and fast. It would have been nice if they had included a speed test in the application to find the fastest server yourself. However, we didn’t really miss it because NordVPN can find a very fast server for you by itself.
Apart from the world map you can also just select your server from an alphabetical list of servers. If you select a country you can then choose between the different servers in that country. This way, you can manually select another server if you are blocked on one server by a website or streaming service. The server list also shows the distance between your location and the location of the server. Additionally, they also tell you if the server is being used by a lot of other users or not.
The NordVPN iOS app is also easy to use and has stable connections. Do not forget to allow the app to gain access to your device, however. The app can manage the connections for you. Connecting to a VPN server will be quick and easy. In this app you can also select the type of VPN server that you want to use and NordVPN will make sure you get connected to the fastest server.
There is little to no difference between the mobile app and the desktop software that NordVPN offers. Both are clear, user-friendly, and have a uniform appearance. This provides NordVPN with a certain look and feel that is very pleasant to the user.
NordVPN and Linux
More and more people are starting to use paid VPNs on Linux Distros. NordVPN has realized this and put in the extra effort to set up a variety of guides on how to use NordVPN servers through the Linux terminal. They also employ enough people to address any Linux-related questions you may have.
NordVPN servers can be installed for Debian- Fedora-, and openSUSE-based distros. It’s also possible to connect to NordVPN servers QubesOS and RHEL. This means your system will most likely be able to run on their servers. Unfortunately, there aren’t any UI-based apps for Linux, so you’ll have to set up everything through the terminal. Of course, most hardcore-Linux fans won’t mind this at all.
No matter what system you use, you’ll first have to download the NordVPN servers repository. They are available in .deb and .rpm format. You can install them by either clicking the download and running it through a package manager or by giving the command in the terminal. You’ll also find step-by-step guides for each of the distros on the NordVPN website.
Finally, it’s also possible to easily change the DNS servers in Linux to NordVPN DNS servers in case you’re worried about any DNS leaks.
Pricing and methods of payment
NordVPN has one subscription package with different prices depending on the duration of your plan. This means that if you get a subscription for a longer period, your monthly fee will be lower. All the plans give you access to more than 5400 servers worldwide and you can use one subscription on 6 devices at the same time. Finally, all the subscription plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Below you can get an overview of their subscription plans.
- 1-month plan: With this plan you get the NordVPN service for one month. This is especially nice if you want to try out this VPN. You can get this plan for $11,95 a month.
- 1-year plan: This plan will allow you to use the NordVPN services for 12 months. You can get this for only $6.99 a month ($83,88 in total).
- 2-year plan: To enjoy the NordVPN protection even longer you can get this subscription for 24 months. By committing for a longer period, you only have to pay $4.99 a month.
- 3-year plan: Want to go all out and really embrace the NordVPN way of life? Then you can get this subscription for 36 months. For this subscription, prices drop even further, to $3.49 a month. This is a very cheap option for a top premium VPN!
NordVPN offers several different payment options. You can pay for your subscription with your credit card, PayPal, or Amazon Pay. Moreover, they offer a lot of regional payment methods which is ideal if you have no other way of paying. Finally, they also have the option of paying with different cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ripple, and Monero. These options are especially nice if you want to stay (almost) completely anonymous.
NordVPN has great customer service. If you cannot find the answer to your question in the large database on their website, you can get in contact with them through email and a live chat option that you can find easily on their homepage. This way, you can always get a quick answer to all your queries. For the live chat you do need to give a name and email address, however. This is to prevent people or spammers from abusing the option.
The answers to most questions can be found on their FAQ page. When we tested the customer support, we noticed that you could get an answer through the live chat within a minute. However, we did come across some NordVPN employees that weren’t up to date on all the goings-on in the company. For instance, one of the people we talked to wasn’t aware of NordVPN’s service for businesses. This isn’t really a big problem, but it does come across slightly unprofessional.
All in all, we were happy with the NordVPN customer service. They are easy to reach and will help you out immediately.
Conclusion usability NordVPN
- The NordVPN website is clear and organized
- The NordVPN software is easy to install on most operating systems and devices
- NordVPN has a large database of frequently asked questions and manuals
- The software has a clean look and works very intuitively
- You can pay for a NordVPN plan with credit card, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and many other options
- The NordVPN customer support is easy to reach and gets back to you quickly
Server network NordVPN
At the moment of writing, NordVPN has more than 5400 servers in 57 countries. As opposed to many other VPN providers, the NordVPN servers aren’t all the same.
There are some servers that offer a double VPN connection for extra safety. These servers create a connection between servers in two different countries next to your connection to the VPN server. Another specialty server you can choose from are the “Onion over VPN” servers that provide an additional protection against DDoS attacks. With these servers you get a protection like Tor without having to use the Tor browser.
Additionally, NordVPN has servers that are specifically set up for Netflix or P2P traffic. Finally, they also offer dedicated IP servers for those who want a static IP address. The NordVPN server network is ideal for unblocking any restricted content online.
Number of servers and locations
NordVPN has over 5400 servers spread across 57 countries. You can find their servers in the following countries.
- America: US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chili
- Europa: UK, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Italy, Spain, Austria, Luxemburg, Finland, Czech Republic, Romania, Iceland, Hungary, Portugal, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Ireland, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovakia, Latvia, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldavia, Ukraine, Cyprus, Griekenland, Serbia
- Asia-Pacific: Australia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam
- Africa, The Middle East and India: India, South-Africa, Turkey, Israel
Dedicated IP address
NordVPN has a dedicated IP service. This means you can get a dedicated IP address with your NordVPN subscription. At the moment of writing, they only offer IP addresses on servers in the following locations:
- The U.S.
- The U.K.
- The Netherlands
Conclusion server network NordVPN
- NordVPN has over 5400 servers across 57 countries
- You can get a dedicated IP address on a limited amount of servers
- NordVPN offers different server types for extra protection, the use of Netflix, and downloading through P2P networks
After looking at the speed, safety, user-friendliness, and server network of NordVPN, we will now delve into some of their additional options. Below you can find an overview of these extras that make NordVPN special.
NordVPN and Netflix
With NordVPN you can access your Netflix account. Moreover, it is also easy to get access to the US Netflix content. Their Smartplay feature makes it incredibly easy to stream content from a different country. Simply by connecting to a server in, for instance, the US you will get access to the American Netflix content. Some Netflix content is specific to the US or UK, which means you won’t be able to see those movies or series if you are in Japan or Germany. However, with a VPN like NordVPN you can pretend to be in the US and thus gain access to this content.
We tested this from the Netherlands and could stream Netflix without any difficulties. Depending on your location you could encounter some lag. If this happens you can always try out different servers to see if it gets better.
Netflix is trying really hard to stop VPNs from helping us change our IP address. We have noticed over the last couple of months that Netflix will sometimes see we are using a proxy or VPN when we are trying to use their service with NordVPN. However, once we pick another server in the NordVPN app we are able to stream. Sometimes it can also help to simply refresh the page a few times. This is slightly annoying but certainly not the end of the world.
NordVPN and torrents
NordVPN also has special servers for torrent downloading. These P2P servers allow the downloading and uploading of torrents. With the easy NordVPN software you can select one of these servers and start downloading torrents safely and anonymously. Because most of the NordVPN servers are very fast you can download files in no time.
NordVPN is without a doubt a good provider for P2P traffic. For this reason, it is often used by those who want to prevent fines for illegal downloading.
CyberSec is an additional security feature NordVPN provides to block any adds and protect you against malware,phishing, and other online threats. This nifty safety feature by NordVPN makes sure your device cannot be used in DDoS attacks. Nor can it get infected by malware. NordVPN look out for your online safety.
The NordVPN browser extension for Chrome, Brave and Firefox
NordVPN has an easy browser extension for Chrome, Brave and Firefox. This extension will essentially enable HTTPS for most websites and secure your traffic with the CyberSec feature.
NordVPN business solutions
Apart from their regular service for private use, NordVPN also has a specific service for businesses. With these subscriptions you will get priority support and a dedicated accountmanager. Moreover, the administration is very easy and you can apply for a dedicated IP for all your accounts. This package makes it extremely attractive for businesses to start using a VPN to protect their data. You can get the NordVPN safety standard for all the devices in your office!
Conclusion – Our experience with NordVPN
|Netflix works||There was a security incident with their Finnish server back in 2018|
|No-log policy (very good privacy settings)|
|Strong encryption and high speeds|
|Clean and uniform user-interface|
|Has a Kill Switch|
|Offers special P2P, torrent and Tor VPN servers|
|Offers VPN servers with double VPN connection|
|Great choice in servers|
|Dedicated IP available|
All in all, we like the NordVPN service very much. Their no-logs policy is solid, and their wide selection of servers make it a very attractive for any user. Moreover, the VPN is perfect to stay completely anonymous online. NordVPN has lots of extra options to improve your online safety which definitely makes them the safest premium VPN provider. They provide this awesome service for a more than reasonable price, which truly makes it one of our favorites.
Looking for a quick answer to your question about NordVPN? Have a quick glance down below. Your question might just be in our NordVPN FAQ’s! Click on one of the questions to see the answer.
NordVPN is one of the very best VPNs when it comes to security. This provider only uses OpenVPN TCP and OpenVPN UDP. According to many cybersecurity experts, these encryption protocols are the most secure VPN protocols right now. Furthermore, NordVPN’s no-log logging policy provides the highest level of privacy. Lastly, NordVPN offers several extra safety features, such as a kill switch, double VPN connections and Onion over Tor.
NordVPN works well with Netflix and allows you to watch Netflix content from several countries. As such you can use NordVPN to watch the US version of Netflix when you’re abroad for business or leisure, or to get access to the Italian version of Netflix, for instance.
If you do, for whatever reason, encounter a problem with accessing Netflix, you can try to connect to a different server, contact NordVPN’s customer support or try an obfuscated server or dedicated IP-address.
You most definitely can. In fact, NordVPN offers special P2P servers, optimized for peer to peer traffic, for this very purpose. You’ll find these in the main menu of the NordVPN app (on the left).
Yes, NordVPN offers dedicated IP addresses in the following countries: the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France.
NordVPN is a very affordable VPN provider, especially if you take the excellent quality and many extra features they offer into account. You can get a NordVPN subscription for as little as $3.17 a month.