NordVPN review

NordVPN

NordVPN – the safest out there?

Many users are still unaware of the fact that their Internet Service Provider (ISP) can monitor their online communications and keep track of the websites that they visit. Furthermore, since internet is a public network it can be accessed by anyone, meaning that apart from your ISP, your data could potentially be exposed to other users (people that hack your connection), large companies and of course governmental organizations. Luckily there is a way to protect your privacy online and that is using a VPN. A VPN is a Virtual Private Network that creates a secure, private connection within internet allowing you to access all the websites and applications that you normally use but without being monitored or controlled by third parties. When you use a VPN, all your data is encrypted, which means that not even your ISP will be able to see what you do online.

There is a wide offer of companies that offer VPN services and one of the options would be NordVPN. NordVPN is VPN that is based in Panama which means that it operates under the jurisdiction of Panama and that means an extra layer of security. The team behind NordVPN is no newcomer in internet security as such they created and manage every aspect of NordVPN to offer their customers a secure, cost friendly, easy to use and high technology VPN solution. They are definitely one of the best VPN providers in the market right now. Want to know why? Then let’s look more into their service.

Servers Location

NordVPN hosts servers in 17 countries and are growing regularly. Just to name a few are – Sweden, Canada, Spain, France, Hong Kong, Russia so they got it covered quite well. Also they have a free proxy list that contains of up to 3000 free proxies.

Network Status & Speed

Most of the time the servers aren’t too populated and so connecting to them shouldn’t be a problem. Also the server status can be checked from their website.

Speed was quite decent in most of our tests. Nothing too fancy, but decent nonetheless. We reached 10 Mbps on average in most of our tests, peaking at 30 Mbps with the high bandwidth server. NordVPN itself advertises 100 Mbps connection and I believe that is with the high bandwith server but unfortunately we didn’t reach those speeds.

Unfortunately we didn’t capture the high bandwidth screenshot and unfortunately we couldn’t replicate the same results again and such as no picture of that. That somewhat shows the fluctuation of the download speeds. Also the speeds over UDP were no good at all for us.

Supported OS, Devices and Protocols

Here is where NordVPN comes to life – they support all of the main OS’es – Windows from XP to W8, Linux, Mac OS X and You can also use it with Android, iOS Routers and WM. Also they have wonderful tutorials about almost all of them and even with different protocols so even the most stranger person to PC’s could use their service without a hiccup.

Almost all servers can be used with major VPN protocols such as L2TP, PPTP and OpenVPN which supports boh UDP and TCP. Although IP addresses are normally dynamic, NordVPN will sort out a static IP for those who require one and torrent users will also be happy because NordVPN supports torrenting. There are also some special servers such as Double VPN Server that routes traffic at least through two hops in where the traffic is encrypted with two layers of cipher AES-256-CBC encryption. And the connections are mixed between TCP and UDP which also increases security. Also the Tor over VPN solution is available and that means another layer of security. Also it is a wonderful solution for those who can’t connect directly to Tor because of ISP restrictions.

Also a great benefit would be the possibility to connect 2 devices simultaneously with one account either with computer or phone. And on top of that NordVPN provides Encrypted Chat, Secret Notes, Chrome Proxy Extension and more for free.

Software

Quite recently NordVPN developed their own program for connecting to their servers. It definitely has to be one of the strong points of NordVPN. It also has a few but quite handy extra options, such as kill switch.

As of right now it is only available to Window but hopefully soon we’ll also see it on other OS’es.

Plans & Pricing

NordVPN offers a simple ‘all-in one’ pricing plan of €8 (approx. $11) per month, with discounts for bulk purchases. And there are 4 options of them – 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months. It is also glad to hear that they offer a free trial so users can get a hunch about their services.

It is a bit pricier than most of the other VPN providers but for all of that You will get an rock solid solution.

Customer Support

The website has an extensive knowledge base in which you are very likely to find the solution to your query. But if you need to contact their support team, you can do it by email or by Live Chat. Unfortunately at the time of review the Live Chat was offline but contacting through email was very pleasant – responds were friendly, heplful and fast, variating from 30 minutes to few hours.

Security

Well after all with VPN’s it boils down to security. Are the encryption’s safe, what about the logs? What if a VPN provider gets a notice from a federal agency stating they want all the information, logs and so forth about You? Well I’ll tell you one thing – You don’t need do worry about any of that with NordVPN. After all like the title states NordVPN is probably the safest VPN out there right now I have came across.

The encryptions they use are rock solid – L2TP/IPSec it is AES-256. For OpenVPN – 2048 bit SSL encryption. PPTP uses MPPE-128 encryption. But usually it isn’t about the encryption because it’s mathematics and NSA can’t just come and crack an AES-256, at least not in a long time. But what they can do is send a DMCA notice or a court order about revealing their service user. But because NordVPN operate under the jurisdiction of Panama and there is no data retention law in Panama hence they are allowed not to keep logs legally. So as such they do not keep any logs – no traffic logs, no timestamps, nothing. All of their logs are pointed directly to /dev/null. Also there aren’t any kind of monitoring taking place and all of the servers are ran solely on memory. And did I already mention the possibility of paying with Bitcoin?

Of course there is no such thing as completely secure system in the world but NordVPN has nailed quite near to that.

Conclusion

We liked

  • Probably the most secure solution of all the VPN’s out there right now
  • NordVPN’s own developed handy and user-friendly program
  • Tor over VPN
  • A neat but informative homepage
  • Multi-platform and protocol ability

We didn’t like

  • A bit pricey without buying bulk
  • A little bit fluctuating speeds

With rock-solid privacy and their overall policy, NordVPN starts off on the right foot with us. The biggest step back would be the mixed results of download speeds but hopefully we’ll see some improvement also in there. Other than that the first impression of NordVPN was fantastic. There are few VPN providers who take security and user privacy as seriously as do they. That’s why after all said and done they’ll get a big thumbs up from us.

Author – Johannes Tammekänd