NordVPN Reviews and Expert Opinion

What do we look at?

Speed

Servers

User Experience

Support

Pricing

NordVPN Overview

Don't buy NordVPN if you just want to binge watch all the Harry Potter movies on Netflix, since they can't bypass the Netflix block in France (The only country where all 8 movies are available). However, If you’re interested in using it to watch US or UK Netflix, Hulu, the BBC iPlayer, NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS then you should continue reading this review.

If you want to be able to access Netflix in France, check out our review of ExpressVPN.

Two years ago NordVPN was a small VPN that was struggling to survive. Today they are one of the fastest and strongest VPNs on the market.

So What Changed?

They started by expanding the network of servers, adding over 2,000 servers during the first six months of 2018. At the time of this review they currently have over 5,100 in 60+ countries all over the world. This improved their capabilities and allowed for users to surf the web at top speeds.

At the same time they bulked up their security features to include AES 256-bit encryptions and Double VPN tunneling. They also added some extra security tools, like CyberSec, that aren’t found in most VPNs (keep on reading for a more in-depth look at these tools).  NordVPNs will also help you bypass the Great Firewall of China and avoid online censorship in Russia.

The company is based in Panama, which is important is since Panama is not one of the 5/9/14 Eyes countries, so they can’t be compelled to share any information with government agencies. Not that NordVPN has any information to turn over, since they maintain a strict no-logs policy.

Pros

  • Connects with high speeds
  • Over 4,400 servers in 60+ countries
  • Includes Kill Switch
  • IP Leak protection
  • Install and setup in minutes
  • Bypass geo blocks and censored websites
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • 24/7 customer support (You will get a real person, we tested it out)

Cons

  • Abundance of OpenVPN config files is confusing to some, but it's nothing support can't handle
  • There is a lack of servers is Africa (Only South Africa has)

Compare with Alternatives

9.9  / 10
9.6  / 10
9.8  / 10
9.6  / 10
10  / 10
10  / 10

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Speed9.6

We ran several speed tests throughout the day so we could come up with the most accurate results. The speeds varied based on the server locations. The servers that were closest to us has the fastest ping time and nearly matched our regular ISP speeds.

What was surprising was that even when we connected to servers in the US, the download speeds were still comparable to our normal download speeds (and most importantly we were able to watch Netflix without any buffering).

If you are still running a little slow, or just not as fast as you’d like, try and turn off the Double VPN connection which has a tendency to slow down your connection speed. Another option is to connect with the PPTP protocol which is a faster option than OpenVPN.

Why Most Speed Tests are Pointless & How We Correctly Test VPN Speeds

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.

Servers9.8

As I mentioned at the top, Nord has a major network of over 4,400 servers. This is the single biggest reasons for their dramatic improvement over the past two years.

It’s more than just the sheer number of servers that makes NordVPN so impressive, but also how they use them.

Anti DDOS, Dedicated IP, Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, P2P

NordVPN has six specialty server types that each serve a different purpose. The Double VPN servers will send your traffic through two different VPNs which doubles the encryption and security. Anti DDoS servers will not only protect you from DDoS attacks but also ensure a steady connection.

If you are looking for the best possible security you can connect to Onion over VPN servers and anonymously browse the Dark Web. There are also Obfuscated servers that are ideal for bypassing online censors in countries like China and Russia. (You need to go to Advanced Setting to connect to the Obfuscated servers).

Lastly, NordVPN has Dedicated IP and P2P servers. These are ideal for anonymously downloading since they have unlimited bandwidth.

The NordVPN smart algorithm will automatically detect what kind of servers are the best fit for you, and ask if you want to switch.

NordVPN detects torrent traffic

While this is all great, it isn’t perfect.

The biggest issue we had with the servers is that Nord doesn’t allow users to pick a specific city to connect to, only a server number.  Which means you can choose to connect to a US based server, but not necessarily one located in New York City.

For most of you this probably isn’t that big of a deal. NordVPN will automatically connect with the server closest to you, and in most cases that is for the best.

However, there are people that are looking to connect with a server in a different state. It could be to watch a sporting event blocked out in your region or marketer doing some location specific research.

We asked the NordVPN customer support about this and they were happy to provide a breakdown of servers per US State. That being said, it would be nice if that information was directly available on the VPN and avoid having to search for it.

NordVPN US Server locations

 

Server Locations

United StatesUnited States
United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates
AlbaniaAlbania
ArgentinaArgentina
AustriaAustria
AustraliaAustralia
Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina
BelgiumBelgium
BulgariaBulgaria
BrazilBrazil
CanadaCanada
SwitzerlandSwitzerland
ChileChile
Costa RicaCosta Rica
CyprusCyprus
See all supported locations...

User Experience9.6

For the most part, NordVPN is very easy to use. Whether you’re downloading the desktop version or mobile app, the UI is very similar and you’re never more than a click away from connecting to the country of your choice.

If you don’t have a specific location to connect with, click on the QuickConnect button on the top of your screen. This will automatically connect you the best server (based on location and number of users connected to it).

If you don’t want to use the OpenVPN protocol than you will have to manually configure your preferred protocol. This can be a bit tricky for non technical people and you’ll need to either find the correct NordVPN tutorial or speak with the technical support team to walk you through the process.  

If you aren’t sure which server to use, just wait a moment and the connection wizard will come on the screen. Here you can let the app know what you will be doing, and it will choose an optimized server for you.  



In order to stream Netflix from outside of your geographical region, you can enter the country you wish to connect with in the search bar or find it on the map.

To bypass the Great Firewall of China with a PC, macOS, or Android takes a little more effort. Click on the Settings tab and open the advanced settings. There you will find the option to enable the "Obfuscated servers". Once connected you will be able to choose from the server and reach any website you want.

NordVPN Obfuscated Servers

You can connect up to 6 devices simultaneously with NordVPN. This is great because it means that the whole family can connect their mobile devices at the same time. The mobile app doesn’t connect to all 4,400 servers (there are around 1,600 mobile optimized servers) but other than that, it’s nearly identical to the desktop version.  

Connecting to the obfuscated servers on for an iPhone is a little more challenging. You’ll need to be able to manually configure the OpenVPN or L2TP protocols. If you don’t have the technical know-how for this, there are tutorials or the NordVPN live chat that should be able to walk you through the process.  

Support10

We personally put NordVPN to the test to see how quickly they could respond to our questions.

We found that the best way to get answer is to utilize the live chat feature. Over the course of a few days we asked all sorts of questions and each time they were able to quickly give us an answer.

NordVPN Live Chat Customer Support

We also submitted several tickets which were also answered in a timely manner.

NordVPN has a 30-day money back guarantee but it isn’t a “no questions asked” policy. According to their Terms of Service they will first attempt to solve the problems that you encountered.  

That being said, we requested a refund and they complied quickly and without any problems.

All in all, we are very happy with NordVPN. From the security and speed to ease of use and customer support they truly can do it all.  

How We Test Customer Support and Why Should You Care

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.

Pricing10

With all the features packed into NordVPN it’s hard to believe that they can keep the price so low. You can get a 3 year subscription for less than $3.00 a month (all paid up front). This a is a great price for the value.

You don’t have to take our word for it, NordVPN allows for users take their VPN for a 3 day trial, and they don’t require you use a credit card.

There are several accepted payment methods, including Bitcoin if you want to remain anonymous.  

  • Credit Card — VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, and Discover

  • PayPal

  • CryptoCurrency - Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Zcash, Litecoin, Ripple, and Monero

  • Other — AliPay, UnionPay, WebMoney, Yandex, Giropay, SOFORT, iDeal

NordVPN offers the following plans

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