Setting up NordVPN is a no-brainer. Once you sign up for an account, you only need to download and install the software on your mobile device or PC. You can then launch the app, select a country and click connect. You can also choose between their many optimized servers.
The servers are organized by type or country, and the desktop app shows the current capacity for latency in milliseconds for each server. Simply select the one you want and click connect. You can also refresh the status of the servers anytime.
In case you encounter any problems, you can head to their website. Here you will find picture tutorials that will take you through most common setup and usability issues. They also have a blog section where you can learn more about the product and educate yourself on all topics surrounding cybersecurity.
If you are like most VPN users, speed matters to you, and you would probably want to know everything about it. NordVPN is generally known to have superfast servers. However, different servers tend to have different speeds. For instance, while this VPN has consistent download speeds across the board, Australia servers may be a bit slow.
While it’s true that the Australia servers may require a little improvement, we cannot complain about speeds of over 30Mbps. This speed is more than enough for most users. Moreover, you will find that manually picking the lowest load server near you will give slightly higher results. The difference is not huge, but it matters if you are looking to optimize your VPN’s performance.
It is also worth noting that better speed can only be achieved with a speedy internet connection. If your internet connection is slow, NordVPN will also be slow.
The privacy value of a VPN starts with the support of encryption technology. NordVPN scores highly with its AES-256-CBC support using a 2048-bit Diffie Hellman key. Although this cannot be compared to the top of the range standards of RSA, you would have to be an encryption geek to notice, and this is more encryption power than you need for most situations.
NordVPN earns more points for its strong Ikev2/IPsec support that get you AES-256-Gcm for encryption and supports forward secrecy to keep changing keys. This ensures that should a hacker manage to penetrate one session; they will still be locked out of the next one.
This excellent system is now the default for Mac and iOS. It is also available in Windows and some of the other clients.
Once you’re connected, NordVPN employs more tricks to improve your privacy. One such trick is the Onion Over VPN. It routes your traffic through NordVPN’s own network and then directs it to its final destination.
Although a double layered obfuscation slows down the service, it also reduces the chances of someone tracing an action back to you. What is even better is that you don’t have to learn anything about how Onion works to make this work. You don’t have to set up or install anything, you just connect to one of NordVPN’s specialist Onion Over VPN routers through your client, and the system takes care of everything else.
NordVPN also has a double VPN system. Here, your traffic goes to one server, is re-encrypted and sent to another NordVPN server before being sent to its final destination. Most people might not find this feature useful or necessary but for those who can find a reason to use it, the technology is available, and it does not cause any significant decrease in speed.
Whenever you are connected to NordVPN, its kill switch works to ensure that data does not leak when the VPN connection drops. Unlike most VPNs, NordVPN has two kill switches. An app kill which kills specific applications when the connection drops and an internet switch which blocks all the net access when you are not connected to the VPN. You can easily turn off the general internet switch if it is inconvenient.
NordVPN also blocks DNS leaks. Your DNS address is always the same as your IP address.
It is vital for VPNs to access GEO-backed websites. Although NordVPN doesn’t shout about its ability to unblock any particular service or site, they do make statements about allowing you to continue accessing your favorite entertainment services and websites without having to worry about censorship.
Netflix is usually the most difficult to access, and while most VPNs are unable to bypass its protection, NordVPN has no problem allowing its users in. And even though it doesn’t guarantee that NordVPN will unblock other hard-to-access websites, it does give you an above average chance.
VPNs don’t explicitly talk about their P2P support and NordVPN is no exception.
Not all servers support torrents, but the service provides numerous P2P-friendly servers in the UK, the US, and several other locations around the globe, so you should be able to find a suitable server wherever you are.
Using a VPN that does not support P2P on some of its servers can be tricky. You don’t want to connect to a server and launch your torrent client only to find that it doesn’t work. However, NordVPN is smarter than most VPNs and when it detects P2P activity, it automatically re-routes your connection to a torrent-friendly alternative.
NordVPN has additional features that make it a better torrenting choice. Such features include multiple layers of DNS and traffic leak protection, a strict no logging policy, and support for bitcoin and other cryptocurrency payments. It also includes privacy extras such as Onion Over VPN and Double VPN.
NordVPN has a CyberSec feature that you can benefit from by simply logging in to one of their servers. This feature is a DNS-based blacklisting scheme that blocks ads, malware, and phishing sites, and hinders malware on your system from accessing known command and control servers. The service is kept up to date, meaning it can detect malicious links even when they are just a few days old. It also seems to recognize more malware than some antivirus software.
This is not to say that you can ditch your antivirus software because you are using NordVPN. While it is useful in blocking malware, it does not work as hard as an antivirus software to analyze the URLs content, check file signatures, block exploits and generally keep you from harm.
CyberSec also has its downside. It does not allow users to selectively ignore alerts or whitelist selected sites and it sometimes blocks legitimate websites – in which case, you will need to turn it off, access the site, then turn it back on once you are done.
Another issue with this malware blocking feature is that while it does block a few ads, it does not match the likes of uBlock and Origin and, again, you cannot whitelist or control this feature.
NordVPN’s pricing structure is simple and straightforward and there are three pricing options available. The first option is the monthly option which costs $11.95 a month.
The second option is a twelve-month pricing plan where you pay $6.99 each month. The final pricing option for voice tier is the thirty-six-month plan that costs $2.99 each month. If you’re a deals junkie, then the 3-year plan is your best option. Going with this, you will pocket a staggering 75% in savings.
Each of these plans is clearly laid out. You will not find any of the sneaky marketing tricks often found online. For example, won’t run into misleading headlines, or pages asking you to sign up for years to get what you requested for. NordVPN lets you know the effective monthly rate, the billing frequency and the total amount you will have to pay to ensure that the terms of the deal are clear to you before you make a purchase.
The sign-up process is pretty easy too. You don’t have to disclose all your personal information since NordVPN only requires your email address. The payment options are also better than most with support for PayPal, cards, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through payments, and other assorted systems such as WebMoney, Alipay, Yandex, and others.
If you are still not convinced that this is the right VPN for you, you can take advantage of their three-day free trial without having to part with your money.
Once you have signed up, you are still under the protection of the 30-day money back guarantee. We are not talking about one of those sneaky clauses that disqualify you from getting your money back based on the number of times you logged in or the amount of data you have transferred. NordVPN lets you use the service as much as you would like and cancel within 30 days if you do not like it.
The only complaint about NordVPN’s money back program is that the refund can sometimes take up to one month.
VPN’s are a highly technical topic. Any provider worth their salt should offer expert help whenever you need it.
NordVPN has a wealth of support articles on their website. These articles are sorted into different categories such as connectivity, getting started, general info, billing, etc. You can use the search box to find articles related to a certain keyword.
For instance, a search for ‘speed’ will display a speed and bandwidth article which has numerous tips such as try another location, restart your devices and routers, change your protocol settings, among others.
Previous reviews of NordVPN were full of complaints about slow support. The VPN service provider now has full chat support with helpful representatives. It is active throughout so you can interact with a representative any time of the day or night. You can access the chat support directly in the bottom right corner of the NordVPN website. Connecting with a representative takes about one minute which is an excellent improvement from the previously slow email tickets.
It is clear that the NordVPN service provider has made tremendous improvements over the last year. Some of these improvements include:
- Numerous servers added around the world
- Speed improved throughout the server network
- Excellent security and privacy features such as adblocking, CyberSec, and specialty servers.
- Better app with increased security.
NordVPN is also one of the most affordable VPN’s in the industry. The current discount prices bring the most cost-effective subscription cost down to $2.99 per month. The 30-day money back guarantee allows you to try the VPN to see if it suits your needs without taking too much risk.
If you’re looking for a VPN service provider that will meet your needs, look no further. NordVPN is a solid choice for your consideration.