NordVPN has firmly established itself as a formidable player in the VPN market. It offers users a secure and anonymous online experience bolstered by various features that enhance digital safety.
Its best attributes are the range of different “speciality” servers on offer, like Double VPN and Obfuscated servers and its price. It’s more affordable than other premium VPNs and offers a respectable package for a single subscription. It comes with add-ons like an AdBlocker, Password Manager and more.
It works reliably with all the major streaming services and offers coverage for six simultaneous devices, but it isn’t as fast as other VPNs on the market, and it doesn’t have servers based in as many countries.
NordVPN is an impressive VPN for anyone seeking security, versatility, and value. It offers a suite of advanced features like Double VPN servers, a range of add-ons, a fast proprietary protocol, NordLynx and all for a reasonable price. While it isn’t as fast as other VPNs it works well.
When contemplating a VPN, the price isn’t all you should consider. Several factors can alter the value of a VPN subscription. The most obvious are the subscription length, how many devices it covers, any additional features that come with the purchase and how many servers the VPN offers.
NordVPN has various pricing options determined by the length of the subscription and any additional features you may opt for. These are split into three categories: Complete, Plus and Standard.
The Complete option comes with everything NordVPN has to offer. You get the VPN service, Malware Protection, a Tracker and AdBlocker, a Cross-Platform Password Manager, a Data Breach Scanner, 1TB of Cloud Storage and file encryption software. The Plus option has all of that except the 1TB Cloud Storage and the file encryption, and the Standard option only offers the VPN, Malware Protection and the Tracker and AdBlocker. You can see the prices for each option below:
|2-year plan||1-year plan||Monthly Plan|
With these additional features and addons, NordVPN is very well-priced.
We used its Plus Package as a comparison with other VPNs as this is NordVPN’s most popular package.
Our findings suggest the 20 best VPNs cost, on average, $4.33/month for a 24-month subscription. At $3.99/month, NordVPN is more affordable than most VPNs. The best option is a more extended subscription, as that’s where most of the savings are. We found the average monthly price for the best VPNs is $12.06. This means NordVPN is slightly more expensive for a Plus monthly subscription.
NordVPN is available on almost any device you can think of:
- Amazon Fire
- Amazon Fire Stick/TV
- Nintendo Switch
- Android TV
This is standard in the industry. Most premium VPNs are available on most devices.
You can install and use NordVPN on up to six devices simultaneously. This is just below the average, which our research found is seven devices. It is important to know that some VPNs offer unlimited simultaneous connections, though, like Private Internet Access, Surfshark and Windscribe.
It’s also effortless to install NordVPN on a router. This enables connecting any device directly to the router to maintain an anonymous and secure internet connection on all devices.
Is NordVPN secure?
NordVPN has verified its secure connection, along with its no-logs policy – in which it declares it doesn’t log any user data or information – via three independent audits.
Deloitte performed the latest audit between November 21st and December 10th, 2022. The Big Four company interviewed NordVPN employees and inspected server configurations, logs and infrastructure, covering NordVPN’s Obfuscated, Double VPN, Standard VPN, Onion Over VPN and P2P servers.
Deloitte found that there were no signs that NordVPN violated its no-logs policy. You can view the entire report here.
Similarly, Cure53, a German-based cybersecurity firm, conducted software tests and code audits on NordVPN. In 2022, it tested the NordVPN website, browser extensions, API, Pricing API, NordAccount, NordCheckout, VPN servers and NordLynx server-side code and found no vulnerabilities in the software. You can read the app security assessment report and the infrastructure security assessment report.
Although these audits and tests concluded that NordVPN is a safe, secure VPN, we also decided to conduct our own tests. To test NordVPN, we conducted Domain Name Systems (DNS) leak tests.
A Domain Name System (DNS) Leak Test checks if your online privacy tool (like NordVPN) is effectively hiding your DNS queries or if they are leaking outside of its secure tunnel.
When you type a website address into your browser (e.g.,www.reviewsfire.com), the DNS translates that into an IP address, which represents the actual location of the website on the internet. This process is known as DNS resolution.
If you’re using a privacy tool like NordVPN to hide your internet activity, you want all your internet traffic, including DNS queries, to go through the VPN’s secure tunnel. If your DNS queries leak outside this tunnel, it can expose the websites you visit to outsiders, like your internet service provider (ISP) or malicious actors.
How Does a DNS Leak Test Work?
- The testing site sends multiple domain names (unique and specific to the test) to your computer to resolve.
- Your computer responds with the IP addresses it uses for the DNS resolution.
- The testing site then checks from which DNS servers the responses came.
- If the DNS servers belong to your VPN or privacy tool, you’re good. If they belong to your ISP or another entity, there’s a leak.
In essence, a DNS leak test is a simple way to ensure that your online privacy tools effectively protect all aspects of your online traffic, including your DNS queries.
We found no issues when testing NordVPN using DNSleaktest.com. NordVPN can provide a 100% secure connection.
To evaluate the speed of NordVPN, we connected to multiple servers from around the world and performed download and upload speed tests.
This can be affected by several factors, like distance from the server and native internet connection speed, so to accommodate this, we performed speed tests with the VPN turned off as well.
We performed these tests using NordVPN’s proprietary protocol, NordLynx, from our location in New Zealand:
|Download Speeds (Mbps)||Upload Speeds (Mbps)|
|NordVPN US server||710.90||6.98|
|NordVPN UK server||531.12||3.73|
|NordVPN Vietnam server||266.67||5.47|
These results are ok, but it took a long time to connect to the Vietnamese server. We can also see that it isn’t as fast as what we consider the best VPN on the market, ExpressVPN:
|Download Speeds (Mbps)||Upload Speeds (Mbps)|
|ExpressVPN US server||824.62||6.96|
|ExpressVPN UK server||794.95||3.70|
|ExpressVPN Vietnam server||761.90||3.81|
A VPN protocol is how your device communicates securely with a VPN server. When you use a VPN, your data must be kept safe from outside viewers. The VPN protocol handles this by encrypting your data before it’s sent out and then decrypting it at the receiving end.
This encryption ensures outsiders can’t easily understand your data even if they intercept it. The protocol’s method for encryption and how it handles data transfer makes each protocol different. Some might prioritise speed, while others focus more on security. The critical function is to ensure a secure and reliable connection between your device and the VPN server.
NordVPN supports two protocols, NordLynx and OpenVPN.
NordLynx is NordVPN’s proprietary protocol, and it’s the best one on offer here.
NordLynx is built on the efficient WireGuard protocol, enabling faster connection speeds. To enhance security, NordVPN integrated a double NAT system, offering users more privacy through unique IP addresses each time they connect. This protocol provides a stable connection across various platforms, and its efficient design reduces resource usage, which is beneficial for devices like mobile phones with limited battery life.
OpenVPN is also an excellent secondary option. With both UDP and TCP options, it acts as a good backup if NordLynx isn’t working correctly.
Most VPNs promote the amount of servers they have on offer. However, we’ve found that there are better metrics to rate a VPN with. A VPN might have thousands of servers in the same location, which isn’t very helpful.
A better metric is how many countries the VPN has servers in. NordVPN has servers in 60 countries. This is low. Our research found that the average is 71, with ExpressVPN boasting 94 countries and Private Internet Access 84. NordVPN is behind the competition here.
But this is probably because NordVPN has maintained a 100% Physical server network. You need to know how VPN servers work to understand what this means.
There are two types of servers: physical and virtual. Physical servers utilise physical hardware that is installed in locations around the world. When you connect to a physical server, the server and, therefore, the IP address are physically located in the country you’re connecting to. These servers are usually more reliable and faster than virtual servers, and they can be maintained and customised by NordVPN in case there are issues.
Virtual servers do the same thing as physical servers, except they don’t utilise physical hardware in the country. Virtual servers don’t have hardware solely dedicated to the VPN server. They’re usually put on existing hardware and are shared with other servers. This means they tend to be slower, and it can be hard to monitor and implement updates and fixes when needed.
Virtual servers work well in hard-to-access countries, especially those that ban or block VPNs. For example, India is very strict on VPNs and doesn’t allow VPN hardware to be installed in the country. A virtual server can provide an Indian IP address via hardware set up in a different country. For example, ExpressVPN’s server is actually based in Singapore.
NordVPN doesn’t use virtual servers, which could be why it isn’t available in as many countries as its competitors. This means there are a number of countries that aren’t serviced by NordVPN, like India and China. ExpressVPN offers a larger network of servers, with less than 3% of them being virtual.
What NordVPN does very well is it offers several different types of servers. There are standard, double VPN, Onion over VPN, Dedicated IP and Obfuscated servers on offer.
Double VPN servers send your online traffic through two servers instead of one for added security. Onion over VPN servers allow you to access the Onion network without having to use the Onion browser. Dedicated IP address means you won’t share the IP with any other users, and Obfuscated Servers allow you to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN. Perfect for places where VPNs are restricted or banned.
VPNs can be very good for watching geo-blocked content on streaming services. But services like Netflix, MAX, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and others are getting very good at identifying and blocking IP addresses provided by VPNs.
We tested NordVPN to see how good it is at getting around these blocks. We used it for over a month to connect to US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and MAX from here in New Zealand.
We had no issues connecting to all of these streaming services using NordVPN. We didn’t come across any speed issues either.
It pays to remember that all streaming services have their own techniques for blocking VPNs, so just because NordVPN worked well with these, it doesn’t mean it will work reliably with all streaming services. With that said, these streaming services are notoriously adept at blocking VPNs, and NordVPN had no issues with them.
As mentioned earlier, depending on which subscription option you opt for, NordVPN comes with a variety of add-ons.
The Complete package comes with everything NordVPN has to offer. You get the VPN service, Malware protection, a Tracker and AdBlocker, a Cross-Platform Password Manager, a Data Breach Scanner, 1TB of Cloud Storage and file encryption software.
The Plus option has all of that except the 1TB Cloud Storage and the file encryption, and the Standard option only has the VPN, Malware Protection and the Tracker and Ad Blocker on offer.
We found these add-ons were very high quality. The Tracker and Ad Blocker work well, the password manager is helpful, and the 1TB cloud storage offering is also very good.