NordVPN Review 2019: Rigorous Test of Veteran VPN reveals 17 Pros & 3 Cons
NordVPN might be considered a giant in the VPN industry, but it is important for us to know if it really delivers the value to its customers.
With so many sites ranking NordVPN above other reliable VPNs, the first question that immediately comes to mind is: what makes NordVPN so good?
On the surface, everything is undoubtedly good about NordVPN. The 5,000+ servers, strong AES-256 bit encryption, proprietary features such as Onion over VPN, DoubleVPN, CyberSec, and kill switch, and specialized servers for different tasks such as streaming, torrenting, and unblocking the most persistently restricted websites establish NordVPN as one of the safest VPNs out there.
As such, there are strong reasons for placing NordVPN among top 5 VPNs in the industry.
In this NordVPN review, I’m going to go into considerable depth and analyze all these key components.
The results will decide on their own if you want to purchase the VPN service or pass it on!
I reviewed NordVPN to find out:
- Is NordVPNs double VPN encryption powerful?
- Does it fall under 5 eyes,9 eyes and 14 eyes?
- Does it unblock Netflix with all devices?
- Is NordVPN speed too slow?
- Does NordVPN leak IP?
- Is NordVPN price worth it?
You will find all these answers and more with screenshots and real-live images for the different tests I performed.
Let’s examine NordVPN and see if it deserves a spot on our best VPN list.
Don’t want to read the whole review? Use filters instead……
+ What I liked about NordVPN
Jurisdiction (Where is NordVPN based)
The first thing that I want to draw attention to in this review of NordVPN is the jurisdiction of the country which will help us to gauge whether we can trust the company to refrain from any data collection exploits.
NordVPN headquarters is based in Panama, a country known for its beautiful islands, an abundance of mountains and rain forests, but most importantly a country has no data retention laws.
Panama does not fall under 5 eyes, 9 eyes, or even 14 eyes intelligence sharing countries.
That means Panama is not liable to share users’ information to any other country or authority if required.
Even though Panama does not fall under internet surveillance countries, we do know that Panamanian Justice accused former President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli for abusing privacy rights by illegal wiretapping of more than 150 people.
On top of that, the Forum of Journalists conducted a poll in 2012 in search of freedom of speech for journalists in Panama.
It concluded that 82% of local journalists’ freedom of expression was restricted by threats from President Martinelli.
Despite the fact that President Martinelli no longer governs Panama, we are still unsure if there will be a violation of privacy and human rights again.
While it is possible that authorities might be able to trace an individual using NordVPN, the chances of this happening are extremely low, especially considering the logging policy of the provider (see below).
Does NordVPN keep logs?
In conjunction with their jurisdiction of operation, which by the way doesn’t fall under the 5 eyes and other surveillance alliances, NordVPN logging policy follows a strict zero logging rule, ensuring none of the personally identifiable information of users is tracked.
NordVPN legitimately doesn’t retain IP address, connection timestamps, bandwidth, or your traffic. In fact, it is clearly mentioned on the policy page on Nordvpn.com.
I have to admit, after a quick conversation with NordVPN support chat support, I was convinced that NordVPN logs are pretty much non-existent. By that, I mean usage or connection logs.
If you don’t know what connection and usage logs are, I highly suggest you check out my in-depth VPN logs research guide.
Anyways, the only things NordVPN logs are the 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.
To cut to the chase, you can consider NordVPN among the very best logless VPN in the industry.
Is NordVPN tracking users’ location through latitude and longitudes on Linux?
NordVPN reviews are quite common on reddit. Recently, NordVPN customer reviews on Reddit expressed concern that the provider may access your original location through latitudes and longitudes.
In case you use its Linux app, you can find an unusual file by the name of insights.dat in your NordVPN app data.
In order to clear the air and discover the truth, I contacted its NordVPN support and received the following response:
“We do not track or store any personally identifiable information. Upon connecting to a VPN server, our applications send a call to our API, which has access to a geo IP database for determining an approximate user location.
This is done so that the app could identify the best server for the user and connect to it. The location data is then stored locally, on the user’s device. We do not save this information anywhere else.
Without storing that information, the app would be unable to determine the best server in cases when the user is already connected to a VPN server.
If the user clicked ‘Quick connect’ while connected to a remote server, the app would choose where to connect from the server’s standing point, not from the customer’s perspective.
The folder that contains the location data can only be accessed with root privileges. We could use ping to determine the best server as well, which we did in the past.
However, pinging more than 5000 servers would take a lot of time and device resources.
The method we’re using right now doesn’t compromise users’ privacy and is a lot more efficient.
If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to ask”.
The above feedback from NordVPN suggests that they do not have any intentions regarding the users’ logging whatsoever.
When you connect to any NordVPN server, their API received a particular message instantly. They are bound to take this initiative as it helps the provider in identifying the best NordVPN locations for the user.
Therefore, they are supposed to store users’ location data since they cannot determine the best servers for the users if they are connected to other VPN servers already.
Not to forget that NordVPN does not store users’ location data anywhere else other than their own devices.
NordVPN security is something that a lot of users take for granted. There’s actually a pretty good reason for that. The provider uses 256-bit encryption, which is the strongest VPN encryption in the industry and is used by all providers worth their salt.
But most importantly it has a Double VPN Encryption.
This feature routes your traffic through two hops which grants you extra security.
To answer this, I must explain how a single VPN encryption and double VPN encryption works.
When you are connected to a single VPN encryption, it means your internet traffic travels through a remote VPN server.
It changes your IP address and encrypts all your data that are sent and received over the internet. Simple.
Double VPN encryption adds an extra layer of protection. It does everything that a single VPN encryption does, but the internet traffic passes through a second remote VPN server and gets encryption one more time.
One thing you must know is that this feature does not activate on itself. You will find a ‘Double VPN’ option in NordVPN app under ‘Specialty Server’ tab.
Once you click on it, NordVPN will find you the best server. At the bottom of the picture, you can see 2 VPN servers appearing i.e. Russia and Netherlands.
It means, first it connected to the Russian server, and from there is connected to Netherland server. See the difference?
This way, you reach the internet destination securely and privately. Only a handful of good VPNs offer double VPN encryption and NordVPN is one of them.
NordVPN Speed Test
Keeping your online privacy secure isn’t the only thing you want when using a VPN, but speed matters too.
The part that truly haunts VPN users, the dreaded speed drop.
Having said that:
I tested the NordVPN speeds on US and UK servers to determine how fast the provider really is.
The base Internet connection on which I conducted the test is 30 Mbps.
US Server Speeds:
NordVPN’s US server hardly dropped any speed at all. The download speed of 28.45 Mbps and upload speed of 18.61 Mbps is highly satisfactory for a base connection of 30 Mbps.
UK Server Speeds:
The UK servers similarly delivered excellent speeds with download at 26.07 Mbps and upload at 6.00 Mbps.
Thus, NordVPN is arguably one of the fastest VPN services out there.
Overall NordVPN Speed Review
I was pleasantly surprised seeing how fast NordVPN works on most servers. At the worst, I’ve never seen a speed drop of more than 20% of the base Internet speed using NordVPN.
This establishes NordVPN as a VPN among the top choices if you want consistently fast speeds.
NordVPN Price – Extremely Frugal
NordVPN pricing is extremely affordable, in fact, if you compare it to ExpressVPN, NordVPN cost is without a doubt a lot cheaper (in a good way).
NordVPN plans are quite simply designed and there is no flashy premium, elite or platinum kind of pricing plans. Instead, you get to choose plans across a broad range of costs between NordVPN 3 year plan ($2.99/month), 2 years ($3.99/month), 1 year ($6.99/month) and a regular 1-month plan ($11.95/month).
Best of all:
All of the above-mentioned plans expect the regular monthly plan comes with pretty hefty discounts. Rest assured NordVPN cost per month is quite affordable, to say the least.
How much exactly?
Well, take a look at NordVPN pricing 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 a frugal price point as all these NordVPN subscriptions do.
Personally, I’d go with the 3-year NordVPN pricing plan since its much cheaper, plus I wouldn’t have to worry about my subscription expiring anytime soon.
Overall, I believe NordVPN price plans leave little to be desired.
Among recommended VPNs, NordVPN is surely one of the cheapest and offers great value for money.
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 as not many paid VPNs offer packages for consumers across different levels.
NordVPN Discontinues the 7-Day Free Trial after Being Massively Abused
NordVPN has recently taken down their extremely desirable 7-day free trial due to widespread abuse by scammers.
But this isn’t the first time NordVPN’s free trial was subject to abuse. In fact, some time back in 2018, NordVPN changed their very popular 3-day free trial to a 7-day free trial due to the fact that the 3-day trial didn’t require the users to enter credit card information.
However, considering that NordVPN free account has been discontinued for good, it seems as if the 7-day free trial didn’t prove too fruitful for the company.
According to a spokesperson of NordVPN, the abuse of their free trial was so massive that it significantly disrupted their infrastructure and overall degraded their service.
Easy & secure payment options:
NordVPN 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.
The supported NordVPN payment methods include:
- Credit Card (via PayPal)
- PayPal (See the best VPN services for PayPal here)
- Sofort Banking
- Cash (For US residents)
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 response to a recent Tweet, NordVPN linked their official blog post explaining the reason behind ditching PayPal.
Here’s what went down:
Basically, they were too concerned about the 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.
NordVPN 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
NordVPN money back policy is one of the best I’ve come across in a really long time. They offer a hassle-free full 30-day refund policy.
If you encounter any issues with NordVPN refund, you can go through their painless refund procedure and have your full subscription fee refunded within a week or so, at least that’s what I experienced.
According to one Reddit user, NordVPN not only responded to his refund request within 30 minutes but also refunded his money within a couple of days.
Although many new VPNs are following the example of NordVPN and offering 30-day money back guarantee, NordVPN remains one of the pioneers of this policy.
Exceptional NordVPNs Specialty Server Types
While I was reviewing NordVPN, I couldn’t help looking at the abundance of features that I found under the ‘Specialty Server’ option located on the left menu of the app.
There are 5 types of servers available. Each server type is important depending upon its usage. made I will describe them one-by-one.
You will find the list below:
- NordVPN P2P
- Dedicated IP
- Double VPN
- Onion Over VPN
- Standard VPN Server
- Obfuscated server
NordVPN P2P servers
One of the reasons why NordVPN is good for torrenting is that the provider offers hundreds of special servers that are optimized specifically for P2P filesharing.
While downloading torrent, which is a risky business in itself, but the important thing to note here is that there is no NordVPN data limit or bandwidth restrictions that could throttle your speeds or internet connection in general.
I have discussed P2P servers in the torrenting section in detail.
This is your personal IP address given to you by NordVPN. It will never be shared with other NordVPN users and is yours to use all the way.
This feature costs extra other than the VPN account you purchase. NordVPN has dedicated IP address for only 4 countries i.e. UK, US, Netherlands, and Germany. It costs users $70/year for each country IP.
I have discussed how to setup NordVPN dedicated IP in this guide below in detail.
Double VPN encryption is double-layered protection by NordVPN where you connect to two different servers before reaching the internet.
For example, once you enable double VPN protection, it will route you to one country, then another country until you reach your destination.
I have discussed how to access double VPN encryption in the guide below in detail.
Onion Over VPN
When it says onion, you’re probably aware why NordVPN is giving its feature that name. That’s because onions have layers.
NordVPN tried to combine the feature of The Onion Router (Tor) and the VPN itself. The Onion Over VPN servers does the same work as Tot browser and more.
When you are using Tor, your ISP knows you are using Onion, though it will not know what you’re using it for. But Onion Over VPN will give you an extra layer of protection of having your online traffic protected with a VPN tunnel.
You can also connect to standard VPN server while using Tor browser and it will shield you from third-parties and even protect your online activity from being tracked by ISPs.
Frankly, Onion over VPN is one of the most innovative NordVPN features.
Standard VPN Servers
This is probably the first thing that you notice after you have completed your NordVPN download.
NordVPN has a huge server count currently standing at 5,254 servers and presence in 60 countries. Unlike PureVPN or PrivateVPN, NordVPN only uses Bare metal physical servers. I tested a bunch of their server location and couldn’t find any virtual server.
in addition to not using any virtual servers, I find the addition of new servers every other week to be rather impressive, to say the least.
The greater number of servers meaning greater internet freedom. You get to access more websites that are located in a particular country/city region.
You can check the NordVPN server locations in the USA in the list below because the app only specifies the country of servers and their ID, but no information about cities:
- Atlanta, GA – # 369-372, 561-568, 665-676, 681-684, 940-955, 1346-1353, 1362-1365;
- Buffalo, NY – # 323, 603, 604, 617, 689-690, 912-915, 1734-1749, 1938-1941, 1750-1753;
- Chicago, IL – # 365-368, 645-656, 718-721, 734-741, 777-780, 1966-1985;
- Dallas, TX – # 381-384, 633-644, 793-800, 837-838, 839, 1027-1030, 1037-1040, 1142-1153, 1322-1325, 1338-1341, 1358-1361, 1504, 1564-1567, 1648-1651, 1688-1691, 1822-1841, 1918-1937;
- Denver, CO – # 1342-1345, 1842-1845, 2268-2307, 2332-2355, 2356-2371;
- Los Angeles, CA – # 357-360, 459-466, 483-490, 554-557, 621-628, 714-717, 746-749, 1054-1073, 1386-1388, 1418-1433, 1628-1631, 1676-1683, 1782-1785, 1806-1817, 1862-1865, 1870-1909, 1910-1913, 2204-2211, 2212-2215, 2432-2451, 2509-2516;
- Manassas, VA – # 349-352, 542-549, 679, 680, 841-843, 928-939, 956-963, 976-979, 1301-1312, 1366-1369, 1532-1535, 1729-1732, 2022-2033, 2068-2075;
- Matawan, NJ – # 1708;
- Miami, FL – # 605-616, 685-688, 707-710, 1004-1019, 1560-1563, 1696-1703, 1672-1675, 1754 – 1765, 1818-1821, 1786-1805, 2200-2203, 2224-2227, 2452-2459;
- Minneapolis, MN – # 2228-2267;
- New York City, NY – # 327-330, 373-376, 413-414, 435-438, 475-478, 657-664, 722-729, 801-808, 844-847, 916-919, 1046-1049, 1102-1141, 1194-1195, 1612-1615, 1652-1659, 1664-1667, 1704-1707, 1709-1712, 1721-1728, 1668-1671, 2308-2331, 2372-2399, 2400-2411, 2412-2419, 2420-2423, 2424-2427 ;
- Phoenix, AZ – # 337-339, 821-824, 988-1003, 1074-1081, 2481-2508;
- San Jose, CA – # 353-356, 577-600, 817-820, 1624-1627;
- Salt Lake City, UT – # 534-537, 511-513, 1640-1643, 1684-1687, 1854-1857, 1986-2005;
- Seattle, WA – # 361-364, 569-576, 758-760, 964-975, 980-987, 1326-1337, 1576-1579, 1644-1647, 1692-1695, 1850-1853, 2160-2179;
- Secaucus, NJ – # 809-816, 829-832, 833-836, 904-911, 1154-1193, 1248-1267, 1297-1300, 1314-1317;
- Louis, MO – # 1236-1239, 1268-1287, 1354-1357, 1472-1483, 1858-1861, 1914-1917, 2460-2475, 2476-2479;
- Las Vegas, NV – # 1082-1085, 1090-1101, 1086-1089, 2048-2067;
- Louisville, KY – # 1500-1503, 1512-1523, 1616-1623, 1660-1663, 1713-1720, 1866-1869, 1954-1965, 2038-2045;
- Charlotte, NC – # 1484-1487, 1524-1531, 1632-1635, 2034-2037, 2124-2159;
- New Orleans, LA – # 1492-1495, 1536-1539, 1636-1639, 1766-1781, 1846-1849;
- Oklahoma City, OK – # 1508-1511;
- Richmond, VA – # 1568-1571;
- Cleveland, OH – # 1572-1575;
- Clifton, NJ – # 1580-1583;
- Jackson, MS – # 1488-1491, 1604-1607;
- Philadelphia, PA – # 1600-1603;
- Santa Clara, CA – # 1942-1953, 2006-2021, 2180-2199;
- San Francisco, CA – # 2076-2123;
If you face heavy online restrictions in your country, only then you’re suggested to use one of Nord’s obfuscated servers.
A country like China where the cyber environment is extremely complicated, a VPN requires advanced methods to bypass their firewall.
This is where obfuscation comes to play. It involves high technological complexity also known as ‘Plan B mechanism’ that tries alternate ways to connect to a VPN when the standard method fails.
These servers, therefore, can bypass their network firewalls.
Do note that obfuscated servers NordVPN are only be used in a restrictive environment. In any other cases or countries, you’re good to use standard VPN servers or NordVPN specialty servers.
NordVPN Dedicated IP Address
NordVPN offers dedicated IP address for only 4 countries i.e.
- US (LA and Dallas)
- Germany (Frankfurt)
- UK (London)
- Netherlands (Amsterdam)
$70 is the annual price for NordVPNs dedicated IP address for any ONE of these countries. This makes it around $5.83/month for each IP.
It’s a lot! And, you will need a valid VPN account to avail of this benefit.
But why is it necessary to get a dedicated IP address? And why it is so expensive?
Every time you connect to a VPN, your original IP address is replaced with a VPN IP, which is shared by all NordVPN users.
If you purchase dedicated IP, NordVPN will hand you a personal IP which will only belong to you.
Sometimes shared IP address may get blacklisted by websites, such as while accessing Netflix or any other website. It will give you access to sites that have IP limits.
To get NordVPN IP address, you need to subscribe to NordVPN. Once you have subscribed successfully, go to the same page you will see an option ‘Get Coupon’
Insert a code i.e. dedicatedip
The coupon code will turn green, which will mean that the code is accepted. Just check out by entering payment details.
Now you will have 2 NordVPN accounts. One for a VPN account and other for dedicated IP address.
Now open NordVPN app on your device and click on Dedicated IP address tab located on the left menu.
It will connect you to whichever country IP you have purchased.
To get more coupons, visit our NordVPN coupons guide.
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.
NordVPN is available in almost all devices that are frequently used by online users. These include NordVPN iOS, NordVPN Mac, Windows, Android, Android TV, Linux, and browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
The performance of NordVPN’s app for Windows has considerably improved since the release of the updated app. The same is true of NordVPN app for Mac, which is easily one of the best VPNs for Mac computers.
The NordVPN Chrome extension (as well as the NordVPN Firefox extension) offers another convenient method to protect your browsing sessions and unblock websites, but it doesn’t offer the features such as Onion over VPN or kill switch which is only available for smartphone and computer apps of the provider.
The usability of NordVPN apps is outstanding. The apps are extremely simple and easy to use and grants you one-click connectivity from the moment you enter your NordVPN login for the first time.
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.
In addition, it is perfectly possible to use NordVPN on certain routers, but the setup process is can get a little too technical. This guide explains how to setup NordVPN on router.
Since NordVPN bandwidth limit is unlimited and the provider offers six simultaneous connections, you can enjoy the protection of this VPN using on multiple compatible devices at the same time without experiencing any speed or bandwidth issues.
You can download NordVPN app for some of these devices from below:
iOS App: NordVPN App Store
NordVPN Customer Support
One of the biggest gripes I have with most VPN providers is with customer service. 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 in two ways, either through direct Nord VPN live chat or Email ticketing system.
Either way, the support staff of the VPN is proficient and has firsthand knowledge of the brand.
Moreover, 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 copying pasted answers.
Overall I was extremely impressed by their customer support.
Malware Blocking (Securely Shop Online with NordVPN)
Did you know that there are on average 23 fake websites for every online retailer?
Luckily, NordVPN prevents your devices against phishing attempts from online hackers and cybercriminals.
There’s a feature called NordVPN CyberSec that block ads and malware.
CyberSec works as a malware and ad blocker which makes sure you are 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.
When the first time you access NordVPN, it asks whether to enable CyberSec feature. Always enable it if you want to avoid getting bombarded by pesky adware and intrusive advertisement.
In addition, the CyberSec feature will block suspicious websites or any online retailer website that it believes can infect your device.
You would need to turn this feature ON, by going into Settings and scroll down to enable CyberSec.
To conclude, it will give you 3 benefits:
- Block dangerous websites
- Avoid botnet control
- Skip annoying ads
CyberSec proves NordVPN’s commitment to guarding user’s web security which further justifies the high position that this provider enjoys in the list of best VPN services for 2019.
NordVPN Does Not Leak
If NordVPN DNS servers or IP is leaking while you’re using it, you are busted!
That is why we performed a leak test on NordVPN and it passed with flying colors.
Here is what I did:
- I visited DNS Leak Test website (without NordVPN)
- Noted my Country and IP
- Visited the website again to see whether it leaks my IP
My IP and Country (without NordVPN)
My IP and Country (with NordVPN US server)
NordVPN Does Not Leak IP
I applied the same process going into NordVPN IP Leak Test and I was fascinated to see my IP wasn’t leaking when connected to NordVPN.
I visited IP Leak Test website and checked on my IP.
My IP (without NordVPN)
My IP (with NordVPN US server)
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 NordVPN p2p option available in the client.
Does NordVPN Work In China?
For users in China, NordVPN came up with obfuscated servers.
Countries like China that has strict internet laws and regulations, the so-called Firewall of China, obfuscated servers work best.
Obfuscated server option is technically disabled in NordVPN app. To enable, you need to tap Settings and scroll down to click on Advanced Settings.
Enable obfuscated server option and return to servers tab on top.
Here you will find Obfuscated server appear in the left-side tab. Once you click on it, users in China can easily connect to the best server available.
For a detailed review, visit our guide NordVPN for China and unblock Chinese Firewall.
NordVPN Introduces Warrant Canary
NordVPN has introduced 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.
In the US and other jurisdictions that fall under 5, 9, and 14 eyes countries, the government can serve ISPs, companies, and VPN service providers with secret warrants.
These warrants are designed to force companies to hand over any record or detail about a customer for investigation.
At the same time, companies are forbidden to inform users about such a request.
This is where a Warrant Canary comes in to play. NordVPN regularly published its statement on its website saying:
- It did NOT receive National Security Letters
- It did NOT receive gag orders
- It did NOT receive any warrants
Once this statement disappears from its website, users will know that NordVPN is served with one of these. Since its inception, NordVPN hasn’t received any warrants.
Even if it did, NordVPN promises NEVER to hand over users’ data because they have none. They are based in Panama where gag orders and warrants are not legally possible.
Passed CDT Checklist
CDT is an organization that fights for global online civil liberties and human rights. It is a staunch advocate of a free and open internet.
It has created a checklist for online consumers in choosing the right VPN, to which it calls ‘signals of trustworthy VPNs’.
It has set out a few questions for all VPN service providers. If consumers could find reasonable answers to these questions related to NordVPN, then they should be satisfied with their security.
Here are some of the questions:
What is the public facing and full legal name of the VPN service and any parent or holding companies?
There were rumors that NordVPN was in fact owned by the Lithuania-based data-mining company called Tesonet.
The rumors were laid to rest when we dig deeper. NordVPN is indeed one of many Tesonet’s many partners. But does it make you worry about your data and online privacy?
It should Not!
Tesonet protected users’ privacy by registering the company in Panama (that doesn’t have data retention laws) where it is not legal to demand data by authorities.
The relationship between NordVPN and Tesonet doesn’t affect users, neither does it pose any concern.
Does the company, or other companies involved in the operation or ownership of the service, have any ownership in VPN review websites?
NordVPN doesn’t have any stake in a VPN review website, that’s for sure. But, it is hard to deny that NordVPN controversy with Trust Pilot was a hard pill to swallow.
NordVPN is accused of submitting fake reviews on Trustpilot. The review website then removed all the fake scores, leading to NordVPN rating drop down to 5 from 9.
What is the service’s business model (i.e., how does the VPN make money?
NordVPNs earn revenues from their sole business model i.e. from VPN subscriptions. NordVPN does not sell data to third-parties since they are based in Panama, that doesn’t require you to retain consumers’ data.
NordVPNs Non-Profit Organization Program
NordVPN helps the non-profit organization by giving them discounts on VPN subscription.
Even journalists and human rights advocates can apply for this offer. These individuals can ensure
- Safely communication with their sources
- Report the news without fear of being watched
- Secure access to information
Let us check what non-profit organizations have to say about NordVPN.
Amnesty International, a global human rights movement of 7 Million + people…
“NordVPN is essential to Amnesty to ensure that employees are kept safe by offering a stable and high-grade VPN service that has global coverage.”
Guardian Angel, Children’s Charity based in NY City…
“NordVPN provides us with the privacy and security that we need to keep our programs discreet, and our program participants safe”
– Now for the things, I dislike about NordVPN
Terrible transparency – Who Owns NordVPN, No One Knows
When it comes to disclosing the people running the business, NordVPN is anything but transparent. The only thing NordVPN publicly discloses is their jurisdiction of operation, that’s about it.
However, as far as the actual stakeholders or owners of the company are concerned, they don’t disclose anything about it. You can’t even view their Audit report unless you’re a member at www.nordvpn.com.
Unlike CyberGhost, NordVPN also doesn’t offer any transparency report. There’s no way of knowing whether they comply with law enforcement or not.
What’s even worse, when I shot them an email for my transparency guide, they didn’t felt the need to get back to me. The lack of transparency makes me wonder what they might be hiding from their users.
As such, in a comparative sense, we have more reasons to believe in the legitimacy of NordVPN than many other VPNs.
NordVPN with Netflix (Only works in Windows & Mobile Apps)
Is NordVPN not working with Netflix? It does but not work on Android-based boxes, TVs, and Fire TV/Stick devices.
I encountered this problem when I was testing NordVPN Netflix servers on Windows and Mobile Apps. But when I tested it on Nvidia Shield for the NordVPN review, it did not work.
I checked it with NordVPN support and there they confirmed that NordVPN is currently not working with Netflix in Nvidia Shield and other devices I mentioned earlier.
NordVPN Trust Pilot Controversy
Trustpilot is a genuine and transparent consumer review website. On 6th August 2018, Trustpilot notices unusual activity under NordVPNs review panel.
Upon further investigation, it found out that some users were submitting a fake NordVPN reviews with a 5-star rating.
That, unfortunately, got linked with NordVPN since it was responsible for its review panel.
Trustpilot deleted all the fake NordVPN reviews in reply and assured users that manipulation of reviews is a threat to their consumers and business.
Currently, its TrustScore has fallen to 5 from 9 with 339 reviews.
Is NordVPN worth it?
So, is NordVPN good enough and is NordVPN really safe?
Only after I conducted a detailed NordVPN review, I placed NordVPN at #3 position in our top 10 VPNs table trailing behind PureVPN and Surfshark.
The benefits of NordVPN are outstanding in more way than one. No matter you are concerned with enhancing your online privacy or want a way to access censored/restricted websites without worrying about any agency tracing your tracks, NordVPN manages it all with exceeding effectiveness for you.
Overall, the smooth performance and the wide range of excellent features (CyberSec, DoubleVPN, Onion over Tor, obfuscated servers, kill switch), along with a remarkable capacity to penetrate through restricted and censored websites in a single go makes a strong case for NordVPN as a VPN of the highest order in the whole industry.