NordVPN Review 2019 *Revisited* | Why it managed to score 9.4!
NordVPN is honestly one of the best services among 100+ popular VPN reviews I have conducted. It’s affordable, easy to use and comes with features that actually work as advertised.
Besides that, NordVPN also has the largest server count I’ve personally ever come across.
But perhaps the thing that really amazes me the most, is the fact that NordVPN somehow manages to cram all of its features in a powerful yet lightweight multiplatform client.
Having said that:
Since you guys are here for the NordVPN review, I’m going to cover all the aspects of this amazing VPN for you guys, including it’s:
- Logging policy
- Netflix unblocking
- Customer support
- Overall usability
- Support for devices
- Pricing plans
What did I like about NordVPN?
As I said, NordVPN has tons of good things going for it. It has a huge fan following and a reputable stature unlike any other.
To give you guys a rundown of what I liked about NordVPN, I have decided to break this review into several sections.
For the sake of making this review a heck of a lot more concise, I’ll also mention the Nord rating score in each category.
Nord’s cutting-edge privacy features
Over the years, VPN services have evolved into much more than simple online privacy tools. They are far more secure and feature rich.
The phrase “leaving no stone unturned” is perhaps what best describe NordVPN. They’ve literally gone all out on features.
Some of the features that really caught my eye are listed below:
- OpenVPN among other encryption protocols
- DNS Leak Protection
- Onion Over VPN
- Kill Switch
- Simultaneous Connections
- Tor Over VPN
OpenVPN and other encryption protocols
Although you can connect this VPN through a variety of protocols, I personally favor OpenVPN.
The reason for this is simple:
OpenVPN provides a perfect blend of speed and security. It is an open source technology and has a proven history of being an efficient tool against hackers.
Moreover, this tunneling protocol has the ability to enable Perfect Forward Secrecy. A feature that adds an extra layer of security on your server.
The OpenVPN protocol in Nord comes with AES 256-bit encryption and 2048-bit DH key. In addition to this, the provider has also added IKEv2/IPsec, which is inbuilt into the Windows client of NordVPN.
In case you are willing to sacrifice security for speed, you can go for PPTP.
To sum up, Nord has equipped itself with powerful protocols to safeguard users from online threats.
The latest and perhaps the most significant added feature of this VPN is CyberSec. It is a tool that protects your devices from dangerous websites, DDoS attacks, and unwanted ads.
This feature keeps you away from botnet control. It does that by cutting any communication your device might have with the command and control server of the botnet.
Overall, Cybersec is the cherry on top of NordVPN’s overall service. It does fail in some instances but considering it’s a new feature, I will give it time to become more efficient.
DNS Leak Protection
Call me paranoid but I am not easily satisfied with my online security. In fact, DNS and IP leak tests are a regular part of my procedure whilst evaluating a VPN.
Therefore, I tested out this VPN on ipleak.net, dnsleaktest.net, and ipleak.com in this review.
The DNS address was the same as the IP address, in all of my tests. That’s why I can conclude that DNS and IP leaks are not an issue with this VPN.
This is another hidden gem of NordVPN.
The SmartPlay feature worked flawlessly for me. No matter what I threw at it, it pretty much unblocked it without a hitch.
I haven’t had the time to use this feature extensively, however, supposedly it can give you access to over 400 awesome streaming services like Netflix, Pandora, BBC, iPlayer, and others.
The NordVPN Kill Switch feature worked flawlessly for me.
To test the kill switch feature, I simply closed one of the running NordVPN services from the task manager.
As soon as the error message showed up, I immediately noticed that my internet connection got disabled.
Although not necessarily a feature, it is one option I absolutely loved about NordVPN.
Unlike ExpressVPN which only allows 3 simultaneous connections, Nord allows you to connect six devices to one subscription plan.
This makes it not only super affordable but also a hell of a lot more convenient as you don’t have to deal with managing multiple accounts.
Heck, while I was testing out Nord for this review, I and my buddies actually shared one subscription plan.
Tor Over VPN
Additionally, NordVPN also offers Tor over VPN services for users looking to experiment with less popular online security options like the Tor network.
Personally, I do not recommend Tor on its own as it is outdated and obsolete software. However, a combination of both Tor and VPN can offer a sneaky route to avoiding cyber surveillance.
The multiHop is a neat feature. It has the ability to establish a chain of VPNs, making you hard to track.
With multiHop enabled, the second VPN server has no idea about your original ID. It also provides double encryption protecting from the most advanced hacking tools.
Of course, all this comes at a price. It is practically impossible to stream or download content with multiHop enabled.
Onion over VPN
Accessing the Dark Web is also quite possible with NordVPN, in fact, there’s a dedicated option for Onion over VPN within the client itself.
If you use this feature, you can essentially route your traffic with VPN before sending it to the Onion Router.
Even more, privacy features!!!
As if the above-mentioned features weren’t already enough, I discovered a few more which I’m going to discuss below.
Web proxies are a quick and easy solution to access geo-restricted content. This tool allows you to change your IP and bypass regional restrictions.
Note that web proxies are not a replacement for a VPN, as they do not encrypt your data traffic. But they do provide little privacy with greater online freedom.
YouTube needs no introduction. It has long established itself as the premium resource of high-quality video content.
Unfortunately, in many regions, YouTube is restricted in one way or another. Some countries block individual videos on the site while others have banned the site altogether.
Nord VPN allows you to circumvent these restrictions with its YouTube proxy.
Massive server count
With 5000+ servers spread out across 62 countries, Nord has the biggest server library I have ever seen.
Needless to say, it almost gives it a right to brag about it.
The extensive server network of this VPN extends to Asia Pacific, Europe, Americas, Africa, and the Middle East.
Below are some of the most sought-after server locations of NordVPN.
Nord provides 1970+ servers in the United States. These servers come with Double VPN, Obfuscation and P2P compatibility.
With the USA servers of NordVPN, you can unblock the US library of Netflix. This way you can access content that would be otherwise blocked outside of the USA.
For users seeking to access British content, this VPN provides 540+ servers from Great Britain.
The NordVPN UK servers are P2P compatible, which means they are fit for torrenting activities.
Furthermore, just like its U.S counterpart, Nord VPN UK servers also come with MultiHop and obfuscation capabilities.
Ever since the Australian government introduced the mandatory data retention law in 2018, the demand for VPNs has increased in the Down Under.
Fortunately, you don’t have felt left out as NordVPN even offers 225+ servers in Australia.
Since there are so many servers, 5080 to be exact, it is impossible to list all of them in this review. Instead, you can check out the complete server list on NordVPN website.
Does this VPN use Actual or Virtual Server?
Many VPN providers use virtual server locations. These servers spoof a location while being present elsewhere. For instance, a virtual server can actually be in Moldova but it can spoof a location in Ukraine.
To detect virtual servers in the humongous NordVPN servers list, I ran some of its servers on Ping.pe.
Thankfully, I was not able to detect a single virtual server in all of my tests.
Selecting Your Servers
Picking out your preferred servers on this VPN is a gratifying experience, especially on Windows and Mac.
The servers are scattered throughout the map and can be selected by clicking their respective markers.
Counter-intuitively, you can also choose the servers from the list in the countries section.
Data retention free jurisdiction
Although in my experience, I’ve reviewed many VPN services, very few were actually able to guarantee a true no logging policy.
Despite what many top VPN would claim, often times VPN providers simply don’t have a choice, they are required by law to log confidential user data.
This, of course, happens in countries where there is strong data retention laws
Despite Nord claiming to operate from Panama, I still decided to deconstruct their logging policy. To my surprise, NordVPN actually doesn’t log your data.
Well after a bit of digging around on their website, I discovered that they actually operate under the umbrella of Tefinkom & CO S.A.
If you’re confused, don’t be.
Turns out, S.A is typically used in Panama to register anonymous companies. In fact, it’s a common practice out there to avoid having to abide by any data retention regulations.
This information does sound convincing. I for one do believe my data is absolutely safe with Nord.
True No Logging Policy
In conjunction with NordVPN’s jurisdiction of operation, their logging policy is pretty much spotless except for a few caveats
I have to admit after a quick chat with the customer support representative, I was convinced they don’t keep any logs.
However, with a bit more snooping around, I discovered they do keep logs to some extent, Email address, Payment data and server performance data to be exact.
Don’t worry though, this type of information is pretty standard and wouldn’t actually compromise your true identity.
Having said that:
If you’re still doubtful, you can always choose an anonymous payment option like Bitcoin. This way, even if the provider does retain any sort of data, it’ll still be insufficient to track you or your online activity.
NordVPN Netflix & BBC iPlayer works flawlessly
In recent years, Netflix has been on a crusade against VPN services. Although the site does not explicitly mention VPNs in its ToS, it is hell-bent on blocking tools that unblock geo-restricted content.
Having said that:
I was surprised to see NordVPN easily unblocking U.S Netflix. What was even more impressive, it did it all without the presence of a dedicated streaming server.
NordVPN servers that worked with Netflix & BBC iPlayer:
- United Kingdom
- United States
After successfully unblocking Netflix with NordVPN, I also decided to unblock one of its arch competitors.
Again, despite being inaccessible by most VPNs, NordVPN flawlessly unblocked BBC iPlayer for me.
This is really impressive, as I was seriously not expecting it to work with both Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
NordVPN P2P review, Torrenting without a fear
In my experience reviewing VPN services for a living, I’ve often encountered services that don’t usually support P2P.
For instance, just at the top of my head, TunnelBear doesn’t support P2P at all. In fact, they use to have an entire landing page explaining why.
While it’s understandable why VPN providers don’t want to deal with intricate copyright issues, you’ve got to admit a VPN isn’t complete without P2P support.
Thankfully this isn’t the case with NordVPN. On the contrary, you’ll be glad to see there’s a dedicated option just for P2P in the NordVPN client.
Near perfect speeds
Now for the part that matters the most.
The part that truly haunts VPN users, the dreaded speed drop.
It’s no surprise, VPNs often take a pretty marginal chunk out of your bandwidth and Nord isn’t an exception.
Having said that:
Despite seeing a couple of bad reviews about Nord’s speeds, I personally didn’t encounter any. In fact, I still can’t understand what all the fuss was about.
To precisely test the speeds of NordVPN, I tested it on several different servers.
Before connecting to the VPN, I ran Speedtest.net on my 25Mbps connection and recorded the following variables:
After that, I first connected to the U.S server and the results were the following:
Naturally, I tested the UK servers next and the figures were once again impressive.
From there, I hopped Down Under and got the following variables for the Australian server.
Lastly, I tried out the Canadian servers and received the following speeds.
Despite seeing a pretty decent drop in upload speeds on some servers, downloading speeds remained solid.
In fact, if you just consider downloading, Nord is amongst the fastest VPN I’ve tested so far, almost giving ExpressVPN a run for its money.
Expert customer support
One of the biggest gripes I have with most VPN providers is with their customer support. Not only are they often time technically uneducated but also painstakingly slow.
Fortunately, I didn’t encounter any such issues with Nord.
NordVPN support can be contacted two ways, either through direct 24/7 NordVPN Chat or Email ticketing system.
Either way, the support staff of the VPN is proficient and has firsthand knowledge of the brand.
Moreover, the NordVPN chat support is actually 24/7. I tested in different instances of day and it was available every time.
Best of all:
Even if you ask a relatively technical question you’ll still get a human response as opposed to copy pasted answers.
Overall I was extremely impressed by their customer support.
NordVPN help center
Although NordVPN is very easy to operate, it’s still nice to see the inclusion of helpful troubleshooting manuals and quick start guides.
Speaking of which, the help section of NordVPN has four sections Getting Started, Billing, Connectivity and General Info.
Although the articles, guides, and FAQs on the support section are short and extremely helpful, they’re not organized efficiently.
The first question in the Getting Started section is about setting up the VPN on Smart TV.
Wouldn’t it be much more helpful to have a quick start guide for Windows instead?
Other than that, I found everything quite helpful, especially the troubleshooting guides.
Extremely Frugal price plans
NordVPN is extremely affordable, in fact, if you compare it to ExpressVPN, it’s without a doubt a lot cheaper (in a good way).
The plans are pretty straightforward and there is no flashy premium, elite or platinum kind of pricing plans. Instead, it just offers a simple 3 year, 2 years, 1 year and a regular 1-month plan.
Best of all:
All of the above-mentioned plans expect the regular monthly plan comes with pretty hefty discounts.
How much exactly.
Well, take a look at their plans below.
Now granted, you’ll find cheaper options on the internet. However, rest assured, none of them can offer so many features and servers at such frugal price point.
Personally, I’d go with the 3-year plan since its much cheaper, plus I wouldn’t have to worry about my subscription expiring anytime soon.
Overall, I believe NordVPN pricing plans leave little to be desired.
In addition to its conventional pricing plans, Nord also offers bespoke packages for small and medium-size businesses.
Availing this service is also super simple. You just need to inform the provider regarding the number of accounts you require. After doing so, you will receive a quote within 2 days.
Even though I have not used this service myself, I’m glad they’re at least offering one.
7-day NordVPN trial:
Before I started my review NordVPN, I actually got myself a 7-day NordVPN free trial just to get familiar with their service.
I was also quite impressed by the fact that they actually include all the premium features as well in the trial version.
Easy & secure payment options:
Nord also offers some of the most flexible payment options I’ve ever seen.
Instead of just offering payment gate for a visa, MasterCard and PayPal, NordVPN goes to some great lengths at offering a wide range of diverse payment options, even including support for anonymous cryptocurrencies.
- Credit Card (via PayPal)
- PayPal (See the best VPN services for PayPal here)
- Sofort Banking
- Cash (For US residents)
NordVPN ditches PayPal following the partnership with Adyen
NordVPN hosts a variety of payment options. From crypto to credit cards, NordVPN basically supports them all.
This includes PayPal too. It’s all pretty standard, you head on over to their site, select a payment option and check out.
However, things have changed in the past few days.
You see, what many have failed to notice is their recent discontinuation of PayPal support.
Yup, that’s right, you can no longer purchase a NordVPN subscription through PayPal.
Now, there isn’t much available online regarding this sudden shift. Heck, I just found out about this issue through Twitter.
In a response to a recent Tweet, NordVPN linked their official blog post explaining the reason behind ditching PayPal.
— Marquis de (@Kerloar) February 1, 2019
Here’s what went down:
Basically, they were too concerned about growing number of security risks that they have finally discontinued their long term partnership with PayPal.
Instead of relying on PayPal, NordVPN has now shifted to a self-hosted payment processing solution. Doing so, NordVPN will manage all customer data and recurring subscriptions themselves.
So who are they substituting PayPal with?
Well from now on, instead of PayPal, Adyen will manage all of NordVPN’s secure transactions.
For those of you who don’t know, Adyen is among the world’s leading payment providers. Unlike PayPal, Adyen provides a self-hosted payment system.
According to NordVPN’s official’s blog post:
“The versatility that Adyen offers and its experience with markets all over the world will help us become even more flexible and better at pursuing our goals”.
Without a doubt, PayPal has always been a pretty viable payment option. Now only time will tell how Ayden ones up them.
What do you guys think about this sudden shift? Let me know in the comments.
Super intuitive and easy to use
I’ve got to admit, the moment I downloaded NordVPN client, I expected it to be overwhelming to use.
However, I was totally wrong. As I soon as I gave it a go, I was blown away by how intuitive and immersive the overall experience was.
Launching the NordVPN app after signing in, you’ll be presented with an extensive map to choose the server location you want to connect to.
Counter-intuitively you can also use the countries option to scroll through the list of available countries and their servers.
Besides that, enabling security features such as CyberSec, Auto Connect, Kill Switch, and others can easily be done with a simple toggle switch.
Overall, the client is very well equipped and its simplicity makes it super easy to use regardless of your experience with VPNs.
Exceptional support for a wide range of device
Another thing I really loved about NordVPN is its extensive support for diverse devices.
Not only does Nord offer apps for desktops but also offers exclusive apps for Android and iOS devices.
These apps are available on Google Play Store and iTunes respectively. This way no matter what device you have you can always secure it in a matter of minutes.
But perhaps what’s even impressive is the fact you can set it up on your router.
Overall, very satisfied with their device coverage.
What I don’t like about NordVPN?
I rarely demand perfection from a VPN service. But since NordVPN has set superior standards for itself, I would like it to maintain that benchmark.
Following are some aspects of this VPN that I found during my review which need further improvement.
Little Information about the Owners
The only gripe I have with NordVPN so far is that they are very secretive.
I mean I get anonymity but at least give us something. All I was able to dig up about them is that they operate under a parent company by the name of Tefinkom & CO S.A.
While most providers are secretive about their operations, some VPNs do take their information public. VyprVPN and ProtonVPN are two prominent examples of public VPN services.
Personally, I respect these services as they have included transparency in their service.
The relationship between a VPN user and the provider requires a certain level of trust. And in my opinion, blind trust is never a good thing.
All in all, this is one area where Nord can definitely improve upon.
Slow Refund Procedure
Another constant issue you’ll hear about NordVPN is with their refund policy.
While conducting this review, I browsed through several social media forums. One constant complaint I saw was that it takes a month for the VPN to provide a refund.
Meanwhile, other VPN services are able to give the refund within a few days.
Regardless, this isn’t something that would make me turn away from this brilliant VPN. But I would suggest the providers improve upon this aspect of their service.
NordVPN Review Reddit
As you guys might have already guessed, I’m totally vouching for Nord. However, it’s not just me who’s totally sold over NordVPN, I’ve found many people over Reddit rooting for this VPN.
My two cents!
Now you’re probably wondering do I recommend NordVPN…
Well yes, absolutely 100% yes.
It truly blew me away with its simplicity, speed and its arsenal full of a top-notch privacy feature that actually works as advertised.
Besides, Nord is also competitively way cheaper than other VPNs in its class (ehm ehm….ExpressVPN).
With that said:
There are a few things I mentioned in this review on NordVPN that needs to be improved upon, but otherwise highly recommend you go for this VPN.
I hope you found my NordVPN review helpful. Let’s see what new and exciting features they offer in the future.