Nord VPN Review

Right now, you probably won’t be able to find a Top VPN list without any mention of NordVPN. It’s one of the most widely known and used Virtual Private Networks in the world. But does it truly live up to its popularity and hype? Is it really the ‘The World’s Most Secure VPN’ as the company claims? These are the questions we’ll be addressing in this article.

Pros and Cons

  • Tons of Great Features
  • SmartPlay
  • Kill Switch
  • Protection against DNS Leaks
  • Double Encrypted Servers
  • They take time to issue a Refund
  • Can be a bit Expensive

Overview

NordVPN comes with a ton of handy features, despite the fact that it’s quite cheap. Let’s dive into the most popular of these:

SmartPlay

A lot of people use Virtual Private Networks to bypass geo-blocks imposed by businesses in their region. For instance, in Australia, Netflix users are given access to only 60% of TV shows on offer. That’s despite paying about the same subscription fee as US users. By using a VPN like NordVPN, you could generate a virtual IP address that points to a US server and unlocks 100% of the content.

Realistically, not all of NordVPN’s US servers will give you access to Netflix. This is because the latter is very tough on VPNs in general and is committed to cracking down on their servers. Fortunately, NordVPN has lots of servers located in the US and you’ll easily be able to find one that’s unblocked. In addition, servers located in the United Kingdom, Canada and Netherlands work well for unlocking Netflix.

NordVPN’s SmartPlay isn’t only restricted to Netflix either. In fact, it’ll give you access to around 400 streaming services including Amazon Prime, BBC, Hulu, and Pandora!

Kill Switch

Sometimes your VPN connection can get interrupted while you’re browsing the internet, essentially exposing your identity online. NordVPN’s kill switch software will automatically prevent your device or just specific programs from accessing the internet when the connection is cut off.

Protection against DNS Leaks

Typically, most VPN users will connect via OpenVPN, which is open-source software that uses TCP and UDP ports to transmit data. However, some will choose to have theirs set up manually. The main disadvantage of the latter method is that it leaves you more susceptible to DNS leaks. Thankfully, NordVPN has measures put in place to guard against leaks, helping you keep your identity secure at all times.

Double Encrypted Servers

Double encryption is just what it sounds like. When this feature is turned on, your traffic data will be routed via two of NordVPN’s servers instead of one. When the data enters the second server, another layer of encryption will be added. This second server won’t know what your actual IP address is because the data would have already been encrypted once before.

The downside of this feature is that it takes a lot of processing power to encrypt data twice. As a result, the speed of your connection will be slowed down.

Perfect Forward Secrecy

In terms of encryption, NordVPN uses 256-AES-CBC with a 2048bit Diffie-Hellman key. This allows for Perfect Forward Secrecy, where a unique key is generated for each session. This way, even if the private key of the server is compromised, your data will still be protected.

High Speeds

NordVPN isn’t just one of the most secure VPNs around; it’s also quite fast. Of course, distance is an important determining factor. The further away you are from the server, the slower it’s going to be. However, with NordVPN, you’ll still get a decent enough download speed for basic online applications, even at long distances. Let’s talk numbers.

Let’s assume that you have a 100mbps connection. If you’re connecting to a local server, you can expect to reach up to 95mbps in download speeds. That’s just a 5% loss! If you live in Europe and want to connect to a US server, your speed will cap around the 74mbps mark, which is still great for things like streaming and playing online games. Asian servers, however, will be significantly slower. Ideally, you’ll get around 12 to 15mbps at most, which is still more than enough for most online tasks.

A Wide Network of Physical Servers

As mentioned before, NordVPN offers more than 5800 servers in 62 countries. There are physical servers too, each with their own unique IP addresses. The best part is that NordVPN owns each of these 5800 plus servers, meaning that they’re not shared with any other company.

In addition, NordVPN offers city-level servers in multiple countries all over the world. This gives you the ability to reduce speed loss even further and remove latencies. For instance, there are a whopping 1800 servers spread across 20 different locations in the US. In Australia and Canada, this number is limited to 200 and 400 respectively.

Right now, you probably won’t be able to find a Top VPN list without any mention of NordVPN. It’s one of the most widely known and used Virtual Private Networks in the world. But does it truly live up to its popularity and hype? Is it really the ‘The World’s Most Secure VPN’ as the company claims? These are the questions we’ll be addressing in this article.

Jurisdiction in Panama

NordVPN operates out of Panama, which is pretty much a safe-haven for data. Like Switzerland and Singapore, Panama does not participate in information sharing with other countries. Hence, if your internet service provider requests traffic data from NordVPN, they aren’t legally obligated to comply.

In addition, Panama does not have data retention laws. This means that they aren’t required by law to keep logs of your traffic data and NordVPN chooses not to do so with their zero-logging policy.

However, they do keep a record of the following:

  • Your e-mail address
  • Payment information
  • Service performance data

Great Customer Support

Whether you have a technical question or an inquiry about pricing, you can simply fire up NordVPN’s live chat and receive an answer right away. In our experience, the support reps have been quite helpful and are very knowledgeable about technical matters.

If you have to troubleshoot something, NordVPN’s website offers more than 500 guides and tutorials for you to peruse!

The Cons

As you can see, the cons list isn’t nearly as extensive as the pros. In fact there are only two minor complaints we have about NordVPN:

They take time to issue a Refund

Although customer support claims that NordVPN issues all refunds within 24 hours, it typically takes a week or more for it to reach your bank account. This is quite a slow service when compared to other top-tier VPNs. Furthermore, refunds are not granted if you purchase the VPN through the App Store or iTunes.

Can be a bit Expensive

If you want to pay just $2.99 a month, you’ll have to sign on for a three-year plan. Otherwise, it’s $11.95 on a month-to-month basis.

Final Thoughts

Considering all that it offers, it’s quite easy to recommend NordVPN to anyone. Thanks to the 5800 plus physical servers, great download speed is pretty much guaranteed regardless of where you are. The VPN’s SmartPlay feature allows users to circumvent geo-blocks for up to 400 different streaming services.

However, what’s really impressive is the amount of security present for its users. With features like double encrypted servers and  kill switch, coupled with the fact that its country of origin has no data-retention laws, NordVPN is one of the most secure choices around. Plus, with accessible and helpful customer support, you’ll be able to eliminate any learning curve with this VPN.


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