With a huge network of over 5,700 servers across 60 countries, fast speeds, and military-grade encryption, NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN services available. It has all the security features you’d expect from a VPN, like a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a strict no-logging policy. There’s also a whole host of more advanced features like double encryption, obfuscated servers, and P2P support. Additionally, NordVPN is one of the few providers which can geo-unblock Netflix and other streaming sites.
NordVPN is available for Windows, Linux, and MacOS. It can also be used as a browser extension in either Firefox or Chrome, or as an app for Android, AndroidTV, and iOS. When you buy a subscription, you can use NordVPN on up to six devices. And if you experience any issues, 24/7 customer support is available via the live chat feature.
One of the most affordable VPNs on the market, you can try NordVPN out for just a few dollars a month and get a full refund within 30 days if you aren’t satisfied. In this review, we test NordVPN thoroughly to see whether it lives up to its reputation.
We took advantage of the 75% discount that NordVPN is currently offering, which made the price even more attractive.
Streaming US content from the UK using NordVPN
All VPNs slow down your Internet connection somewhat — it’s just a matter of how much. We ran speed tests from the UK using Fast.com to find out how NordVPN fares. The tests were conducted using WiFi over a fiber broadband connection.
Though some of these results may seem like big drops in speed, it’s worth noting that performance was still good. Even when connecting to the server in New Zealand, which was furthest away and had the slowest speeds, we were able to stream Netflix and YouTube in HD with no buffering or lowering of resolution. So, let’s dive into the details.
First, we tested the Internet speed with the VPN disconnected and found it was 79 Mbps. This was our baseline. We then connected to NordVPN’s recommended server within the same country and the speed was 46 Mbps, a significant drop of about 42%. We tested another two servers within the same country and yielded better results, with a drop of only 30% to 55 Mbps and 53 Mbps respectively.
Using a server elsewhere in Europe (Spain) led to a significant drop of 70% to 24 Mbps. But using US server (based in New York) was comparable to using one in the same country, with speeds of 46 Mbps despite it being on the other side of the Atlantic.
Connecting to the other side of the world in New Zealand led to significantly slower speeds. There was a drop of 93% to 5.2 Mbps, although this is to be expected over such a long distance.
NordVPN provides recommendations for the best server in any given country, but when we tested this over long distances, the recommended servers often didn’t have the best speeds. For countries outside of Europe, we found that our results were generally better when we manually chose servers from the list, as shown in the table below. If you find a particularly fast server, you have the option to save it so you can use it next time.
We repeated the tests at a different time of day, with very similar results. Using another speed test service (AT&T) also didn’t make a significant difference, with variations of no more than a few megabits per second.
Picking the Fastest server is a way to increase your speed
Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you're torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.
NordVPN has one of the most impressive networks of servers of any VPN, with over 5,700 servers spread across 4 regions and 60 countries. You can manually choose a server, but there’s also an algorithm which will select the best one for you, factoring in load, location, and any requirements you specify (e.g. type of server and security protocol).
Choosing a server to connect to is simple
The specialty servers
Choosing a P2P server
The mobile and desktop apps have a very similar UI
IP tests didn’t show our true location
Turning on the Kill Switch
The kill switch prevented us from connecting to the internet when the VPN connection dropped
NordVPN’s live chat feature
We personally test the customer support team of every VPN we review. This means asking technical question through the live chat feature (where applicable) and measuring the response time for email questions. Whether you need to connect to a specific server, change your security protocol, or configure a VPN on your router, finding a VPN with quality customer support should be important to you.
So how much does NordVPN cost? That depends on the length of subscription you get. Whichever subscription you choose, all of NordVPN’s features are included.
The longer your subscription, the better the value, but it does mean paying out more upfront. Given that the 3-year plan is cheaper than a 1-year gym membership, it’s probably worth spending the money as long as you expect to keep using the service over that time period. This makes NordVPN one of the most affordable VPNs on the market.
NordVPN accepts the following payment methods: Credit card, Direct debit, Cryptocurrency, Alipay, Amazon Pay and UnionPay
Note that they don’t accept PayPal in most locations.
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