NordVPN review

NordVPN stands out as an excellent VPN option, its affordable, fast, secure and is very good at bypassing geo-restrictions on popular streaming platforms, such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Despite a smaller global server network, its focus on physical servers translates into reliable and fast connections. With robust security measures validated by thorough testing, 24/7 customer support, and high-quality add-ons, NordVPN is a top choice for anyone seeking a dependable, feature-rich VPN experience.

Price

When considering a VPN, it’s important to look beyond just the price. The overall value of a VPN subscription can be influenced by several factors. These include the length of the subscription, the number of devices it covers, any extra features included, and the number of servers available through the VPN.

NordVPN offers a range of pricing plans, each varying based on the subscription duration and any additional features you might choose. These plans are divided into three tiers: Complete, Plus, and Standard.

The Complete package is the most comprehensive, including all the services NordVPN offers. This encompasses the VPN service itself, Malware Protection, a Tracker and AdBlocker, a Cross-Platform Password Manager, a Data Breach Scanner, 1TB of Cloud Storage, and file encryption software. The Plus package includes all these features except for the 1TB Cloud Storage and file encryption. Lastly, the Standard package provides just the VPN service, Malware Protection, and the Tracker and AdBlocker. Below, you can find the pricing details for each of these options:

2-year plan1-year planMonthly Plan
Complete Package$5.19/month$6.99/month$14.99/month
Plus Package$3.99/month$5.79/month$13.79/month
Standard Package$3.19/month$4.99/month$12.99/month

With these additional features and addons, NordVPN is very well-priced.

We used its Plus Package as a comparison with other VPNs as this is NordVPN’s most popular package.

Our findings suggest the 20 best VPNs cost, on average, $4.33/month for a 24-month subscription. At $3.99/month, NordVPN is more affordable than most VPNs. The best option is a longer subscription, as that’s where most of the savings are. We found the average monthly price for the best VPNs is $12.06. This means NordVPN is slightly more expensive for a Plus monthly subscription. 

NordVPN review

Pros

  • Affordable Pricing
  • Effective Streaming Access
  • Diverse Server Types
  • Solid Speeds
  • Useful Add-ons
  • Strong Security

Cons

  • Limited Server Locations
  • No Virtual Servers

Devices

NordVPN is available on almost any device you can think of:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • Chromebook
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Amazon Fire
  • Kindle
  • Amazon Fire Stick/TV
  • Chromecast
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Android TV

This is standard in the industry. Most premium VPNs are available on most devices.

You can install and use NordVPN on up to six devices simultaneously. This is just below the average, which our research found is seven devices. It is important to know that some VPNs offer unlimited simultaneous connections, though, like Private Internet AccessSurfshark and Windscribe.

It’s also easy to install NordVPN on a router. This enables connecting any device directly to the router to maintain an anonymous and secure internet connection on all devices.

Streaming

VPNs are great for accessing content that’s geo-restricted on streaming platforms. However, services like Netflix, MAX, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and others are getting very good at detecting and blocking VPN-provided IP addresses.

To evaluate NordVPN’s effectiveness in bypassing these restrictions, we conducted a test over a month, attempting to access US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and MAX from New Zealand.

Throughout our testing, NordVPN successfully connected to all these streaming services without any noticeable problems.

It’s important to bear in mind that each streaming service employs unique methods to identify and block VPNs. Therefore, while NordVPN proved effective in these instances, this doesn’t guarantee universal success across all streaming platforms. Nonetheless, given that these particular services are known for their rigorous VPN-blocking tactics, NordVPN’s seamless performance with them is noteworthy.

Is NordVPN secure?

To test NordVPN, we conducted Domain Name Systems (DNS) leak tests.

A DNS (Domain Name System) Leak Test is designed to check if your online privacy tool, such as NordVPN, is properly concealing your DNS queries, or if they’re being exposed outside its secure connection.

Here’s how it works: When you enter a website address (like www.reviewsfire.com) into your browser, the DNS changes this into an IP address. This IP address is the actual location of the website on the internet, a process called DNS resolution.

If you’re using a tool like NordVPN to keep your internet activities private, you’d expect all your internet traffic, including these DNS queries, to be routed through the VPN’s protected connection. However, if your DNS queries are leaking outside of this secure route, it could reveal the websites you’re visiting to others, such as your internet service provider or potential hackers.

How Does a DNS Leak Test Work?

  1. The testing site sends multiple domain names (unique and specific to the test) to your computer to resolve.
  2. Your computer responds with the IP addresses it uses for the DNS resolution.
  3. The testing site then checks from which DNS servers the responses came.
  4. If the DNS servers belong to your VPN or privacy tool, you’re good. If they belong to your ISP or another entity, there’s a leak.

In essence, a DNS leak test is a simple way to ensure that your online privacy tools effectively protect all aspects of your online traffic, including your DNS queries.

We found no issues when testing NordVPN using DNSleaktest.com. NordVPN can provide a 100% secure connection.

NordVPN review

NordVPN’s Privacy Policy

NordVPN has verified its secure connection, along with its no-logs policy – in which it declares it doesn’t log any user data or information – via three independent audits.

Deloitte performed the latest audit between November 21st and December 10th, 2022. The Big Four company interviewed NordVPN employees and inspected server configurations, logs and infrastructure, covering NordVPN’s Obfuscated, Double VPN, Standard VPN, Onion Over VPN and P2P servers.

Deloitte found that there were no signs that NordVPN violated its no-logs policy. You can view the entire report here.

Similarly, Cure53, a German-based cybersecurity firm, conducted software tests and code audits on NordVPN. In 2022, it tested the NordVPN website, browser extensions, API, Pricing API, NordAccount, NordCheckout, VPN servers and NordLynx server-side code and found no vulnerabilities in the software. You can read the app security assessment report and the infrastructure security assessment report.

Servers

Most VPNs focus on how many servers they have, but we think there’s a better way to judge a VPN.

A more useful measure is how many countries a VPN has servers in. For example, NordVPN has servers in 60 countries, which is low. Our research shows that the average for the top 20 VPNs is 71 countries. ExpressVPN is ahead with 94 countries, and Private Internet Access has servers in 84 countries. So, NordVPN is behind its competitors in this area.

But this might be because NordVPN only uses physical servers. To understand this, you need to know about how VPN servers work.

There are two kinds of servers: physical and virtual. Physical servers are actual machines set up in different locations worldwide. When you connect to one, you get an IP address from the country where the server is. These are generally faster and more reliable than virtual servers. NordVPN can also look after these servers themselves if there are any problems.

Virtual servers do the same job but don’t have their own machines in each country. They use existing hardware and are shared with other services. This often makes them slower, and it’s harder to keep them updated and fix issues.

Virtual servers are useful in countries where VPNs are either banned or hard to set up. For instance, India is strict on VPNs and doesn’t allow VPN hardware in the country. A virtual server can give you an Indian IP address from a machine in a different country. For example, ExpressVPN’s server for India is actually in Singapore.

NordVPN doesn’t use virtual servers, which might be why it’s not available in as many countries as other VPNs. So, there are places like India and China where you can’t use NordVPN. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, has a larger network, with less than 3% of its servers being virtual.

What NordVPN does really well is offer different types of servers. They have standard servers, double VPN servers, Onion over VPN, Dedicated IP, and Obfuscated servers.

Double VPN servers pass your data through two servers for extra security. Onion over VPN lets you use the Onion network without needing a special browser. Dedicated IP means you get your own IP address, not shared with others. And Obfuscated Servers are good for places where VPNs are restricted or banned.

Speed

To evaluate the speed of NordVPN, we connected to multiple servers from around the world and performed download and upload speed tests.

This can be affected by several factors, like distance from the server and native internet connection speed, so to accommodate this, we performed speed tests with the VPN turned off as well.

We performed these tests using NordVPN’s proprietary protocol, NordLynx, from our location in New Zealand:

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
NordVPN US server710.906.98
NordVPN UK server531.123.73
NordVPN Vietnam server266.675.47

These results are very good, it’s not quite as fast as ExpressVPN, but it’s significantly faster than most VPNs on the market. Below you can see ExpressVPN’s speeds.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Protocols

A VPN protocol is how your device communicates securely with a VPN server. When you use a VPN, your data must be kept safe from outside viewers. The VPN protocol handles this by encrypting your data before it’s sent out and then decrypting it at the receiving end. 

This encryption ensures outsiders can’t easily understand your data even if they intercept it. The protocol’s method for encryption and how it handles data transfer makes each protocol different. Some might prioritise speed, while others focus more on security. The critical function is to ensure a secure and reliable connection between your device and the VPN server.

NordVPN supports two protocols, NordLynx and OpenVPN.

NordLynx is NordVPN’s proprietary protocol, and it’s the best one on offer here.

NordLynx is built on the efficient WireGuard protocol, enabling faster connection speeds. To enhance security, NordVPN integrated a double NAT system, offering users more privacy through unique IP addresses each time they connect. This protocol provides a stable connection across various platforms, and its efficient design reduces resource usage, which is beneficial for devices like mobile phones with limited battery life.

OpenVPN is also an excellent secondary option. With both UDP and TCP options, it acts as a good backup if NordLynx isn’t working correctly.

NordVPN review

Customer Support


NordVPN, aligning with industry standards, offers 24/7 customer support. This service is particularly beneficial for users, as it ensures that any issues or queries can be addressed at any time, day or night.

Whether you’re dealing with connection problems or need assistance with features, NordVPN’s constant support availability means help is always just a message or call away, contributing to a more reliable and user-friendly experience.

Add-ons

As mentioned earlier, depending on which subscription option you opt for, NordVPN comes with a variety of add-ons. 

The Complete package comes with everything NordVPN has to offer. You get the VPN service, Malware protection, a Tracker and AdBlocker, a Cross-Platform Password Manager, a Data Breach Scanner, 1TB of Cloud Storage and file encryption software. 

The Plus option has all of that except the 1TB Cloud Storage and the file encryption, and the Standard option only has the VPN, Malware Protection and the Tracker and Ad Blocker on offer.

We found these add-ons were very high quality. The Tracker and Ad Blocker work well, the password manager is helpful, and the 1TB cloud storage offering is also very good.

Verdict

NordVPN stands out as a robust and value-packed VPN option. With its competitively priced plans, especially for longer subscriptions, it offers a range of features that cater to different user needs.

The availability of the VPN across various devices and its capability to bypass geo-restrictions on major streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer are significant advantages.

While its server coverage in 60 countries is slightly behind some competitors, NordVPN’s commitment to physical servers ensures faster and more reliable connections. The security tests, including DNS leak tests and independent audits, affirm its strong security and privacy credentials.

Additionally, 24/7 customer support and high-quality add-ons like malware protection and a password manager enhance its overall appeal. Although it may not be the top choice for users requiring a vast global server reach or a higher number of simultaneous device connections, NordVPN is an excellent choice for most users seeking a reliable, secure, and feature-rich VPN service.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Price
Security
Speed
Streaming
Servers
Addons
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nordvpn-review NordVPN stands out as an excellent VPN option, its affordable, fast, secure and is very good at bypassing geo-restrictions on popular streaming platforms, such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Despite a smaller global server network, its focus on physical servers translates into reliable and...