There are plenty of contenders to choose from, but a few stand out from the crowd, and NordVPN is one of them. This NordVPN review will assess one of the world’s top privacy tools, and let you know why we think it’s the best option to go for.
What do we look for in a good VPN?
Before getting into the features that come with NordVPN, it helps to put VPNs into context. NordVPN is a premium provider, but you can only really understand what that means by understanding the ingredients of a good VPN.
Basically, when we grade VPNs, we use a set of criteria. VPNs like NordVPN tend to satisfy all of these criteria, putting them in a league of their own:
- Speed – It’s not acceptable when VPNs slash your connection speed by 50%, no matter how impressive their encryption is. We’re looking for hardly any slowdown and smooth streaming, every time.
- Servers – Having a large server community isn’t everything, but it matters. With thousands of servers, VPNs max out on speed and make it easier to bypass geo-blockers.
- Encryption and protocols – The core of any package, encryption have to be watertight – preferably AES 256, with OpenVPN, or at the least IPSec tunneling protocols.
- Price – We’re happy to spend a bit more for real security, but you can still find a value for money VPNs which balance quality and price, that’s for sure.
- Torrenting – Not everyone will use their VPN for torrenting, but we appreciate providers who give users the option – and not just on a couple of servers.
- Devices – Elite VPNs allow customers to install their client on multiple devices, and offer clients for all platforms.
- Accessories – Add-ons are always welcome, from kill switches and Double VPN protection to browser extensions, and malware scanners.
- Free trials – This one is tricky. We value VPNs which offer generous free trials but are wary of providers who make money from free versions. But offering a try-before-you-buy version is usually a very good sign.
Getting to know NordVPN: Does it meet our standards?
Now let’s move onto the meat of this review. The first thing to note is that NordVPN is classed as a premium Virtual Private Network. You’ll often find it in top 10 lists, or it may be recommended by friends. So its reputation is pretty strong. But before you fall for NordVPN’s marketing success, we need to look under the hood, and security seems like a great place to start.
Predictably, NordVPN scores highly when it comes to security. The basic configuration features an OpenVPN tunneling protocol (top of the line), with 256-AES CBC encryption with a 2048-bit key. In other words, enough to keep out any government agents or hackers.
Unusually, NordVPN comes with a DoubleVPN setting as part of the package. This allows users to hide the fact that they are using a VPN at all – which gives even more privacy than a standard setup. It’s also something which contributes towards NordVPN’s Netflix unblocking prowess.
Some basic payment information is logged, but you can work around this by paying via cryptocurrencies. So, on the privacy and security front, NordVPN has pretty much everything covered.
- Speed and streaming
But how does this Virtual Private Network actually perform in the wild? Very well as it turns out. NordVPN almost never struggles to access Netflix, and you can rely on it to open up the streaming platform’s content.
It’s also one of the most torrent-friendly VPNs around, with fast servers and no problem with users who have a huge appetite for data.
Moreover, while it probably isn’t the fastest VPN in the world, NordVPN doesn’t slouch. It’s fast enough for torrents or streaming fans to enjoy any content without noticeable slowdown.
All good VPNs should be easy to contact and helpful when customers run into problems. Thankfully, NordVPN delivers here. The Help Desk makes contacting customer care extremely easy, and there’s a responsive live chat feature for instant feedback.
With these specifications, you might expect a sky-high price tag, but you’d only be half right. While NordVPN is more expensive than some budget alternatives, it isn’t out of the reach of most customers.
When promotions are running, you can protect yourself for $2.99 per month – incredibly affordable for an elite VPN. And the prices aren’t ridiculous outside sale periods.
It’s also worth noting that NordVPN operates 30-day money back guarantee. So if you want to try before you buy, you can just cancel your subscription. You probably won’t want to, but it’s nice to have the option.
Do we recommend NordVPN for your privacy needs in 2019?
Yes, we’d have no hesitation in recommending NordVPN. Everything comes together in a package which is superior to any other VPN. It’s fast, secure, affordable, and has great support. And we haven’t even got onto features like the kill switch or the anti-malware tools in the CyberSec add-on.
NordVPN is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and as a browser add-on for Chrome or Firefox. So if you need protection, and you want the best, give it a try.