NordVPN Review: A VPN Service That Actually Lives up to Its Promises

NordVPN is a quality VPN service offered at a price that most people can afford. Their service focuses on anonymity and security. Using the OpenVPN tunneling protocol as well as 256 AES encryption, this is a secured VPN. When you look at NordVPN on the surface, it seems very good, but is it really a top VPN, or is their service too good to be true?

Overview

Nordvpn logo squareIn the world of VPNs, NordVPN has set itself apart from the competition. With more than 5,000 servers around the world, it has one of the largest service areas we have seen. NordVPN prides itself on protecting the privacy of its customers. In order to do this, they offer customers a number of tools that most other VPNs do not have.

NordVPN has a client console that is very easy to use and attractive to look at. It is available on a number of platforms. It is a good choice for individuals who are new to using a VPN as well as those who are more experienced and looking for a robust service.

Pros:
  • More than 5,000 servers
  • Specialized servers
  • Six devices can be connected with one account
  • P2P is allowed
  • Apps for your browser
  • Strong stance on customer privacy
  • Offers a kill switch
  • Works with Netflix
Cons:
  • Expensive for month-to-month users
  • Transparency issues
Features:
  • Kill switch
  • Double VPN servers. These encrypt your data twice
  • Servers in 62 countries
  • Applications for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac
  • Onion Over VPN – allowing clients to surf anonymously on the dark web
  • Smart Play – unlocking geo-restricted streaming services including Amazon Prime, Netflix, and the BBC

Where Are the Servers Located?

NordVPN has one of the largest networks of servers of any VPN provider. Currently, they have more than 5,000 servers located in 62 countries. The only VPN that we know of that has more servers than NordVPN is Private Internet Access. However, with NordVPN, you can actually pick the exact server you want to use. This is another plus for this high-quality service.

NordVPN’s servers are in diverse geographic locations. Unless you’re trying to connect to a small island somewhere in the Baltic Sea, NordVPN will be able to provide you with the coverage you need. In the charts below, you’re able to see a list of the servers NordVPN offers.

Here are their servers in the Asia-Pacific:

nordvpn asia pacific servers

Here are their European servers:

nordvpn european servers

These are their servers in the Americas:

nordvpn america servers

And, finally, these are their servers in Africa and the Middle East:

nordvpn africa servers

Special Servers and Security Features

video streaming vectorIn addition to regular servers, NordVPN has servers that are specifically designed to address certain concerns. For example, their P2P servers are designed for individuals who primarily want to use the VPN for torrenting.

They have dedicated IP servers as well as double VPN servers, which add an extra layer of protection by encrypting your traffic twice. Onion Over VPN servers is for individuals looking for added protection while surfing on the dark web.

NordVPN’s servers are very secure. They offer IP hiding and access to geo-restricted content. When you connect to the VPN, you are given the option of employing two different types of kill switches. One kill switch allows you to simply close a particular app. The other kill switch will completely break the Internet connection if there is a dropout of the VPN service.

They also offer protection from DNS leaks. DNS requests will be unprotected if you set up a VPN connection manually or if you reset Windows. NordVPN has gone through trade links to implement measures to protect you from these leaks.

Onion Over VPN gives an extra layer of protection for individuals who want to visit the dark web. NordVPN will route your traffic through their VPN first and then send it to the Onion Router.

nordvpn with onion over vpn

Smart Play Technology is provided thanks to specialized streaming servers that NordVPN uses to get around geo-restricted streaming services. There are a lot of VPNs that promise to be able to unblock geo-restricted content, but most of them fail. In our experience, there was not one time where we could not connect to a streaming service from outside of the country using NordVPN.

The Double Data protection option offered by NordVPN will encrypt your data twice by relaying the information through two subsequent VPN servers before it gets to the webpage of the application you’re trying to get access to. And if that’s not enough, the second VPN service will not have your original IP address. Connections are made with UDP and TCP protocols. This is an extra layer of security that most people won’t need, but if you do need it, it’s good to know that it is available.

What Is Their Logging Policy?

NordVPN claims that it does not keep any logs. However, this is something that just about every VPN promises, but only the best VPNs deliver on that promise. We are happy to say that NordVPN delivers on its promise.

nordvpn privacy policy

As a Panama-based company, NordVPN is not obliged by any government to reveal your logging information. And even if they were obliged by a government to do so, NordVPN would not have anything to give them.

Their strict no log policy means that they do not keep track of the time that you are using their service or the duration of your service. They don’t keep IP addresses, servers used, files that you downloaded, or websites that you have visited.

NordVPN goes above and beyond that. They do not keep logging details like incoming IP addresses and that you connect to their service, nor do they monitor the IP that you are allocated. This is a refreshing change from what we’ve seen with other VPNs. Many say no logging, but they do capture some of this information.

Another common trend when it comes to VPN privacy policies is that what you see on the homepage of the website is not what you see when you read the fine print in the privacy policy or in the Terms of Service.

To our surprise, NordVPN does not have any privacy-related surprises hidden in their privacy policy. The company does have information about you. But it’s things you have already guessed. For example, they have your email address to communicate with, they have your payment information, and they’re going to have messages that you’ve sent to their customer service.

But even here you have the ability to minimize your exposure. If you use an email address that you only use sign up for VPNs and if you pay with Bitcoin, you are completely anonymous. There have been some news reports in the past that suggested that NordVPN was owned by a company engaged in data mining. To date, we have not seen anything to back this up. NordVPN stayed quiet and did not defend themselves against these accusations for a long time. Recently, though, they felt the need to set the record straight and provided a detailed defense of their no logging policy.

Additionally, NordVPN took the extra step of hiring a professional service firm to do an independent audit as a way of verifying their no logs claim. This is very promising since it means that NordVPN not only says they are concerned about their customer’s privacy but they back it up with actions.

nordvpn claim

How Fast Is the Service?

When you visit VPN websites, you frequently see advertisements like “lightning speed” and “superfast servers” to describe the service they offer. NordVPN promotes themselves as being a high-quality VPN when it comes to speed and performance. After testing their service, we can confidently say that they are right.

We looked at their download speeds and saw that they were top-notch. Upload speeds were a little bit slower, but the numbers were still within a range that we consider respectable and definitely a lot better than what we’ve seen with other VPNs. That said, if you’re looking for a faster upload speed, you might want to look at ExpressVPN.

nordvpn speedtest results

By default, NordVPN is going to choose the server that it thinks will provide the best speed for your current location. And it does a decent job with this. We did see that choosing a low load server gave us a little bit better speed than what we got from the automatic selection made by NordVPN. But it wasn’t that big of a change to make the work worthwhile.

What Is Their Pricing?

nordvpn pricing table

NordVPN has a pricing plan that is easy to understand and straight to the point. You have the option of buying a two-year plan for $3.99 per month, a six-month plan at $9 a month, a one-year plan for $6.99 a month, or you can pay monthly at $11.95.

nordvpn payment method

You can pay using PayPal, a major credit card, and cryptocurrencies and prepaid gift cards. Since there is just a one-size-fits-all plan, there is no attempt to upsell. And, if you do not like the service, there is a 30-day money back guarantee. If you opt for the three-year plan, NordVPN is one of the cheapest VPN providers you’re going to find.

If you have any complaints about their pricing, it will take a while for them to pay a refund. Most VPNs will refund your money within seven days. NordVPN takes 30 days to process your refund. At the end of the day, for most people, this isn’t the biggest thing in the world, but it’s not the best customer service. Thankfully, the service is so good that the vast majority of people will not need to worry about getting a refund.

Overall, we like how simple and how fair the pricing of NordVPN is. It’s great that there is no bandwidth limit, like other VPNs on the market.

Do We Recommend the Service?

Absolutely. Most people would rather have no protection at all than deal with a VPN that’s hard to use. This is one of the reasons why NordVPN is so popular. It makes securing your online traffic easy. NordVPN offers everything that you want a VPN to have and more. We really like the fact that they have specialized servers for individuals looking to stream geo-restricted content, for those who want additional security, and for those who want to do P2P file transfers.

We also appreciate how active NordVPN is in updating their servers and communicating with their customers. When false accusations were made about their logging practices, they responded in a responsible and intelligent way. We feel that this is a good reflection on the overall service this company offers.

The fact that NordVPN is in Panama gives us an added sense of security. We know that governments cannot compel NordVPN to hand over their customer’s information. Even if they tried, thanks to NordVPN’s strict no logging policy, there would be nothing to hand over.

If you purchase the service on a month-to-month basis, it is a little bit more expensive than some of the other options out there. However, when you look at all of the services that they offer, the price is more than worth it.

The only VPN service we might recommend more than NordVPN is ExpressVPN. One of the features that sets ExpressVPN above NordVPN is their customer service. ExpressVPN has a vibrant live online chat that’s available 24 hours a day seven days a week. Their customer service agents are knowledgeable and responsive to your questions immediately.

Additionally, we’ve seen that the upload speed of ExpressVPN is a touch higher than what you would get from NordVPN. Outside of these minor differences, these two services are on par with each other.