NordVPN Review [Tested 2021]: Can it Protect your Privacy?
NordVPN is an all-rounder affordable VPN service with around 5500+ servers suited for P2P, Netflix, and overall security. Find out if it's worth getting in this updated NordVPN review 2021.
Without a doubt, NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN online. But what makes NordVPN so special? Why is it way more famous than other VPNs?
As for privacy, NordVPN is located in the data retention free jurisdiction of Panama, follows a strict no-logs policy, comes standard with features like powerful encryption, Kill Switch, Double VPN, and also optimized apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more.
On the surface, NordVPN deserves a 5-star rating for its 5500+ server network, however, when I dug a bit deeper, I found that it’s Windows app was a bit slow. This is why, instead of giving it 5-stars, I gave it 4.3/5.0 stars in my NordVPN indepth review.
Is NordVPN good for streaming?
Yes, NordVPN is good for streaming. You can use it with all popular streaming services including Netflix U.S, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and more.
Does NordVPN work with Netflix?
Yes, NordVPN can easily unblock Netflix. I was easily able to unblock the U.S library of Netflix and stream in Ultra HD picture quality. Below is an image of me streaming Avengers: Infinity War after connecting to a US Netflix server:
The fast speeds made for an excellent streaming experience with no buffering at all. You can expect similar streaming performance across most other streaming platforms mainly because NordVPN servers are equipped with a built-in SmartPlay DNS feature to help you get over geographical restrictions.
Does NordVPN work with Disney+?
Yes, other than Netflix, NordVPN also works impressively well with Disney+. As always, everything streamed in HD picture quality.
That being said, do keep in mind that you’ll have to disable the CyberSec feature before you start streaming anything on BBC iPlayer if you’re using your laptop’s browser. As for performance, these are some of NordVPN’s best servers to watch BBC iPlayer:
Does NordVPN work with Amazon Prime?
Yes, NordVPN works with Amazon Prime. But do keep in mind that Amazon Prime no longer allows changing the region. Therefore, you will only be able to access the region in which your Prime account was purchased. Here’s how you can watch Amazon Prime with NordVPN.
Speed – How Fast Is NordVPN?
NordVPN is exceptionally fast and delivers excellent speeds across its wide network of 5500+ servers in 59 countries. As detailed in our NordVPN speed test which found revealed how fast NordVPN really is, the provider seldom dropped below 90 Mbps when tested on a 100 Mbps connection:
|Server location||Download speed||Upload speed||Pings|
|Australia||91 Mbps||91.25 Mbps||131 ms|
|Brazil||96.92 Mbps||38.5 Mbps||487 ms|
|Germany||90.59 Mbps||25.67 Mbps||124 ms|
|Hong Kong||91 Mbps||93.09 Mbps||112 ms|
|Israel||92.09 Mbps||87.75 Mbps||477 ms|
|Japan||92.25 Mbps||93.41 Mbps||156 ms|
|Singapore||89.59 Mbps||98.09 Mbps||84 ms|
|United States||93.5 Mbps||94.92 Mbps||194 ms|
|United Kingdom||92.84 Mbps||97.67 Mbps||265 ms|
As you can see, the consistency is incredible and puts NordVPN out of the league of most of its rivals in terms of speed. Overall, NordVPN’s servers are super fast.
NordVPN Double-VPN speeds
When I connected to the double VPN servers of NordVPN, I experienced almost a 50% drop in speed. Before enabling the double VPN feature, the maximum speed that I got with NordVPN was 96.92 Mbps. After connecting to the USA > Canada server, I managed to get a maximum download speed of 53 Mbps.
After switching to the Switzerland > Sweden server, I still didn’t notice my speeds improve. The maximum download speed that I got this time was 51.14 Mbps.
Security – Is NordVPN safe to use?
NordVPN is actually safe to use. I say this because NordVPN is headquartered in the safe jurisdiction of Panama and offers AES-256-CBC with a 2048-bit DH key encryption. This type of encryption has around 1.1×1077 possible combinations. Unless anyone uses a supercomputer, your sensitive data cannot be decrypted.
For even more robust security, NordVPN uses OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), IKEv2/IPsec, and more recently have added WireGuard. If we talk about encryption, NordVPN uses AES-256-CBC with a 2048-bit DH key, which is the strongest cipher in the industry.
Another thing that I really like about NordVPN is the fact that it uses Perfect Forward Secrecy for every session. This means that NordVPN uses unique session keys to ensure better privacy and even stronger encryption.
NordVPN Kill Switch
NordVPN offers two different kinds of Kill Switches, one for desktops (Windows & Mac) and the other for mobile devices (iOS & Android).
The desktop version has two options. The first option is called “App Kill Switch” and the other is called the Internet Kill Switch. The App Kill Switch restricts specified applications, whereas the Internet Kill Switch disables your entire internet connection.
In comparison, the mobile version of NordVPN’s Kill Switch is quite primitive. The mobile version doesn’t support selective app killing and is limited to only disabling your entire internet connection altogether. Here’s more detail about the NordVPN kill switch.
NordVPN Double VPN
Just like the name suggests, the Double VPN feature routes your traffic through two hops which grants you extra security.
Double VPN encryption adds an extra layer of protection. It does everything that a single VPN does, however, it encrypts your network traffic twice by passing it through a second remote VPN server. While it does make your data more secure, your internet speeds are going to suffer a bit. You can expect to see a 30% to 50% drop.
Does NordVPN support Wireguard?
Yes, NordVPN now also supports the WireGuard protocol. WireGuard protocol consists of only 4000 lines of code, which is considerably less than OpenVPN. This makes the WireGuard protocol easy to deploy and audit for bugs.
At the moment this protocol is only available for Linux, iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows operating systems. However, the provider is planning on releasing the WireGuard protocol for other platforms too in the future.
Does NordVPN offer dedicated IP?
If you don’t know what a Private IP is, it is basically a unique IP address assigned to a single user. This is a premium feature and it will cost an extra $70/year over any standard VPN account you purchase.
NordVPN Onion over VPN
NordVPN is among the very few VPNs that support Onion over VPN technology. If you’ve ever used TOR, you likely know what Onion over VPN means. Tor over VPN is a foolproof strategy to ensure ultimate anonymity on the web.
This feature is super secure as it restricts even your TOR browsers from catching your real IP address. Frankly, Onion over VPN is one of the most innovative of NordVPN features.
Does NordVPN have an ad-blocker?
Yes, NordVPN offers an ad-blocker by the name of CyberSec. CyberSec works as malware and ad-blocker which makes sure you’re protected from inadvertently opening malicious sites and other cybersecurity dangers lurking around the web. It is a great tool to have to add an extra layer of security to your web presence.
It is also super easy to enable. You can just head over to the General Settings and toggle on the option that says CyberSec.
Automatic VPN connection for Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi hotspots, especially the public ones, are notoriously insecure. Today, most people leave their phone’s Wi-Fi on, so that as soon as it detects Wi-Fi within range, they’ll try to connect to it.
NordVPN can be set to automatically turn on before your phone connects to a Wi-Fi connection. The auto-connect feature can be customized to work only for unsecured Wi-Fi (which makes the most sense), for secured Wi-Fi, or for both cases.
For maximum security, it is best to configure NordVPN’s Wi-Fi auto-connect feature for both secured and unsecured networks.
Where is NordVPN located?
NordVPN is located in Panama, which is a country with no data retention laws. In fact, Panama is a safe haven for privacy-conscious users who value their privacy.
Panama also does not fall under the 5 eyes intelligence-sharing countries, this way, Panama is not liable to share users’ information with any other country or authority if required. This is great since NordVPN doesn’t have to abide by any mandatory data retention laws.
Does NordVPN keep logs?
No, NordVPN doesn’t store logs. In fact, NordVPN’s logging policy follows a strict zero-logging rule, ensuring none of the personally identifiable information of users is logged. More specifically, NordVPN legitimately doesn’t retain IP address, connection timestamps, bandwidth, or your traffic data. In fact, it is clearly mentioned in the NordVPN logging policy.
The reason why NordVPN can guarantee zero logs is because of its Panamanian jurisdiction. The only thing NordVPN keeps logs of are email address, payment data, and server performance data. Don’t worry though, this type of information is pretty standard and wouldn’t actually compromise your true identity. And besides, you can just use a separate pseudo email and cryptocurrency for total anonymity. Here are some other logless VPNs.
NordVPN Warrant Canary
NordVPN has introduced a warrant canary which is a statement that is regularly published confirming that they have not received a secret warrant, gag order, subpoenas, or national security letters from the government. NordVPN has a 3 line statement published on their website which states:
NordVPN hasn’t received any warrants so far as of 2021-01-01. You find this information at the very bottom of their about us page.
NordVPN App Security Audit
It’s not the first time the company has carried out a third-party audit. In fact, after the no-logs policy audit conducted last year, NordVPN carried out another audit on October 9, 2019, but this time for their apps.
An independent auditing firm by the name of VerSprite that specializes in finding vulnerabilities, risks, and threats in application software, performed penetration tests based on real-world attack scenarios on NordVPN’s iOS and Android apps.
According to Laura Tyrell, Head of Public Relations at NordVPN, the vulnerabilities pointed out by the auditing firm were addressed and few changes were made accordingly. This shows NordVPN’s commitment to maintaining a flawless VPN service.
NordVPN DNS & WebRTC Leak Tests
NordVPN doesn’t leak DNS, IP, and WebRTC. Even after conducting multiple tests, NordVPN passed without any issues. Here are the test results:
IP Leak Test:
First, I tested for IP leaks. To do that, I connected to a US server since it the most popular server to use. As you can see from the screenshot below, my original IP address is nowhere to be seen.
DNS Leak Test:
As for DNS leaks, NordVPN passed without any issues. Even after conducting multiple tests, NordVPN showed no sign of obvious DNS leaks. Check out the screenshot below:
WebRTC Leak Test:
Finally, I also check for WebRTC leaks and NordVPN passed this test too without any effort. As you can see from the screenshot below, my default IP address is nowhere to be seen.
Overall, NordVPN performed exceptionally well. However, I’m not surprised since NordVPN actually comes with built-in leak protection.
NordVPN Rumors, Concerns & Latest News
Currently, NordVPN is among the safest VPNs in the industry. But in the past, there was one major incident that tainted NordVPN’s reputation. In October 2019, NordVPN suffered from a security breach.
Even though one of NordVPN’s rented servers got hacked, in reality, the hacker was unable to obtain any sensitive information. The reason why no sensitive information was compromised was due to the fact that NordVPN stores no logs on their servers. This proves that NordVPN is trustworthy and secure.
NordVPN constantly comes up with new innovations to make their service more secure. For instance, NordVPN has just released a new feature called Dark Web Monitor, which constantly scans lists of compromised email addresses, passwords, and usernames listed on cybercrime forums and sends alerts to users if their credentials appear on the list.
Does NordVPN work in China?
Speaking of obfuscation, I found it quite useful, especially when accessing Chinese websites like Bilibili. Even though it doesn’t actually offer servers in China, I managed to use the Hong Kong servers to access most Chinese content.
This is truly impressive considering that a lot of popular VPNs don’t actually work in China anymore. However, NordVPN’s obfuscation technology gives it an edge over other VPNs. But if you’re going to be traveling to China, I suggest downloading the app prior to your visit there.
Is NordVPN good for Torrenting?
Yes, NordVPN actually works great with torrenting. In fact, one of the reasons why you’ll absolutely love NordVPN is because of the sheer number of P2P and torrenting servers this provider offers. Out of 5500+ servers, over 4,000 servers are optimized for torrenting. Literally, no other VPN provider in the industry is currently offering this many P2P servers.
In addition to a massive P2P server count, NordVPN has no annoying data limit or bandwidth restrictions that could throttle the speeds of your internet connection. In my testing, NordVPN performed exceptionally well and I easily managed to download a large torrent file without any major speed drops or connectivity issues.
NordVPN performed exceptionally well and I easily managed to download a large torrent file without any major speed drops or connectivity issues.
Is NordVPN safe for the dark web?
Yes, NordVPN is completely safe for the dark web. The reason why I say this is that it comes with plenty of Onion Over VPN servers. These servers are designed to keep you totally anonymous while browsing the dark web.
Other features that make NordVPN safe to use on the dark web are military-grade encryption, kill switch and DNS leak protection. Best of all, since the dark web is a sketchy place to visit, NordVPN actually comes with a built-in CyberSec feature to protect you against adware and malware.
Is NordVPN good for gaming?
Yes, NordVPN is good for gaming. During my testing, it delivered excellent speeds without any lag whatsoever. I was able to seamlessly play PUBG and Call of Duty with minimal pings and a stable connection.
One of the best things about NordVPN is that it offers unlimited bandwidth and never throttles your connection. You can enjoy endless online gaming without comprising on speeds.
If you’re an avid gamer, one more cool thing that you’ll surely love about NordVPN is that it offers DDoS protection across all of its 5500+ servers. Here are some other best VPN for gaming.
Pricing Plans – How Much Does NordVPN Cost?
NordVPN offers 3-plans, and each of them is quite affordable. The current NordVPN subscription plans are listed below:
If we talk about extra value-added features, you can also get add-ons like dedicated IPs or a NordVPN lifetime deal. If you want a dedicated or static IP from NordVPN, you’ll have to pay an extra $70.00 per year.
As for payment methods, NordVPN accepts Credit Cards, Amazon Pay, Crypto Currencies, Ali Pay, and Union Pay. The good thing about NordVPN is that it gives you the freedom to use one subscription plan on 6 devices simultaneously.
How do I get a refund from NordVPN?
All subscription plans are covered by a 30-day NordVPN refund policy, so you will be eligible for a full refund if you cancel NordVPN during this time. Here’s how you can cancel NordVPN and get a refund.
Is NordVPN Compatible with my Device?
NordVPN is compatible with almost every device you can imagine. You can use it on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and on a bunch of other devices. There are even NordVPN Chrome extension and Firefox extensions that can help you to secure your connection without even opening the app.
Aside from the common operating systems and platforms, you can also easily use NordVPN on Kodi and on routers. Best of all, NordVPN is compatible with Roku devices. Speaking of which, here’s a super simple guide if you want to set up NordVPN on Roku.
Here’s a table of all the devices that NordVPN is compatible with:
|NordVPN Compatible Devices|
NordVPN Windows & macOS Apps
NordVPN Windows app has considerably improved since the release of their new updated app. The same is true for the macOS app of NordVPN which also works just as well. On Windows, NordVPN is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7. On macOS, NordVPN is compatible with all OS versions above 10.10.
NordVPN Android & iOS Apps
NordVPN also offers well-designed apps for both iOS and Android. On iOS devices such as iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, you can use NordVPN with iOS 11.0 or above. On Android, it’s not exactly clear which OS versions it officially supports. But regardless of that, you should be able to use NordVPN on modern Android devices.
Overall, NordVPN offers great apps and the fact that it can be used on 6 devices simultaneously makes it even better considering its price.
Is NordVPN’s Customer Service Any Good?
NordVPN’s customer support is top-notch. NordVPN support can be contacted in two ways, either through direct NordVPN Live Chat or Email ticketing system. Either way, the support staff of the VPN is proficient and has firsthand knowledge of the brand.
I tested in different instances of day and it was available every time. Even if you ask a relatively technical question you’ll still get a human response as opposed to copying pasted answers. Overall I was extremely impressed by their customer support.
NordVPN App Usability & User Experience
One thing I really like in the new version of NordVPN is the option to pause your VPN connection. This saves a ton of time disconnecting and reconnecting again.
The apps are nicely designed, are quite lightweight and I experienced no connectivity issues or abrupt crashes during my testing. I really like the fact that its servers are listed quite conveniently on the left-hand side of the screen.
Another thing I quite like about both the Windows and macOS app of NordVPN is the settings menu. Protocols are easy to find and find and so is the option to enable or disable features like CyberSec and Kill Switch.
The usability of NordVPN mobile apps is outstanding. The Android app of NordVPN has a 4.2-star rating on Google Play Store and a 4.6-star rating on the iTunes store. Whether you’re an iPhone or an Android user, you’ll have no problem figuring out how to use the apps. In fact, the apps are extremely simple and easy to use.
It is pretty much self-explanatory when it comes to changing basic settings and making a connection to servers of your choice. As such, no user should have trouble figuring out how to use NordVPN. If you’re facing any issues with these apps, here are some fixes to apply when you find NordVPN not connecting.
FAQs of NordVPN Review:
Now that you know basically all the pros and cons of NordVPN, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions people have about NordVPN.
Is NordVPN trustworthy?
Yes, NordVPN is one of the most trustworthy names in the industry. In fact, NordVPN not only offers excellent customer support but has also openly disclosed their logs and Audit report. If that’s not trustworthy I don’t know what is.
Is NordVPN traceable?
No, NordVPN is untraceable courtesy of its 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection, no logs, and kill switch.
How does NordVPN CyberSec work?
NordVPN’s CyberSec feature works by securing you from malware and prevents unwanted ads from popping up on your browser.
Can I use NordVPN on multiple devices?
Yes, you can use NordVPN on multiple devices. Currently, a single NordVPN subscription plan can be used on 6 devices simultaneously. Because of this, NordVPN offers so much value for your money.
Can you use NordVPN on PS4?
Yes, since NordVPN is compatible with routers, you can use NordVPN on PS4 and with other gaming consoles. Here’s how you can set up NordVPN on a PS4.
What routers are compatible with NordVPN?
NordVPN is compatible with a lot of routers, but it recommends the following router models:
- Asus router models: RT-AC86U, RT-AC88U (AC3100), RT-AC5300
- D-Link router models: DIR-885L, DIR-895L
- Linksys router models: EA8500, WRT1900ACS, WRT3200ACM
- Netgear router models: R7500, R7800, R8500, R9000
Is there a free version of NordVPN?
No, NordVPN is a premium VPN service so it doesn’t offer a free version. However, you can use its 30 day money-back guarantee to try it out risk-free.
Is NordVPN good for Firestick?
Since NordVPN’s app is available on the Amazon app store and can be directly downloaded on various Firestick models, it is a great choice for Firestick users. Here’s how you can use NordVPN on Firestick.
Does NordVPN use virtual server locations?
No, NordVPN only uses physical server locations as opposed to virtual server locations.
Which server of NordVPN is the best one?
This is a hard question to answer. I just can’t recommend one server. It all depends on which server is closest to your actual geographical location. I would recommend using NordVPN’s server picker tool to choose the best server based on your location.
Does NordVPN slow down internet speed?
No, Since NordVPN offers 5500+ optimized servers all over the world, it will not slow down your internet speeds.
How can I speed up NordVPN?
To speed up NordVPN, go to advanced settings and choose the UDP or the TCP protocol.
Does NordVPN offer a free trial?
Yes, NordVPN offers a 7-day free trial for iOS and Android devices. However, you will have to provide your credit card details and cancel auto-renewal to avoid getting charged after your trial ends.
Verdict – Is NordVPN worth it in 2021?
Yes, NordVPN is totally worth it. After compiling this NordVPN review, I found it to be a very well made product. After all, it delivers smooth performance, affordable plans, and excellent features like Onion over VPN, obfuscation, and CyberSec that only a few VPN providers offer.
Not only that, but I was also blown away by how good NordVPN works with streaming services and torrenting. Despite streaming and downloading simultaneously, NordVPN still managed to crunch out considerably fast speeds up to 96.92 Mbps.
That being said, because its desktop apps are quite slow, NordVPN scored a 4.3/5.0 stars rating in this review. Interested in other VPNs, leave me a comment, or read our unbiased VPN reviews for 2021.
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