- Doesn't record user logs ever
- Outside of all major government jurisdictions
- Servers optimized for specific connection types such as gaming, streaming, or downloading
- Outstanding security features make for a near untraceable level of privacy
- Very cheap long term plans, comparable to budget VPNs, but with a much better service
- P2P-friendly servers
- Accepts most payment types, including Bitcoin
- 6 simultaneous connections
- Offers Tor over VPN for enhanced privacy
- More servers worldwide than any other VPN
- Includes Chrome Extension
- Free Cybersec adblocker
- Free integrated ad blockers
- Can connect to specific cities, even on mobile devices
- Rare server types such as Double VPN and Onion Over VPN
- Slow to resolve highly advanced technical issues
NordVPN is the complete package when it comes to shopping for the three Ps: privacy, performance, and price. The default privacy and security settings for this Panama based company will provide ample protection for any prospective customer. There's absolutely zero logs recorded, and the VPN offers a number of unique security settings to safely encrypt your data.
Servers by usage type proves to be more than a gimmick that optimizes speed and security based on the activity. It's this customization that sets NordVPN apart. Whatever the need, their servers are up to the task. Some users may find their basic support knowledge lacking but escalation will eventually solve the problem. All of this comes in at less than $100/year. This is comparable to other tier 1 VPN providers but the value is just so much more with what you get.
For the VPN seeker that wants it all, there aren't many better options than NordVPN.
Privacy and Security
NordVPN is one of the best services when it comes to protecting user privacy. They are based out of Panama, intentionally out of the reach of large country jurisdictions. This makes it extremely difficult to obtain any information about their users. Even if the US was able to work with the Panama government in some fashion, NordVPN keeps zero logs. There's absolutely no record of a user's history on NordVPN's servers so even if they were able to access a person's records, they would find them blank. It's hard not to love the dual layer privacy protection.
Additionally, NordVPN comes with a few other key privacy and security services. The most unique is the Tor over VPN offering. Tor enables internet users to direct their activity through a volunteer run network with thousands of relays in order to conceal their location and usage. Using Tor over VPN means that it would be very hard to track network activity. Additional security features include AES-256 encryption, an optional kill switch if a VPN connection drops, and DNS leak blocking.
Speed is certainly an important component of choosing the right VPN service, and NordVPN consistently delivers high speed connections across all of their hundreds of servers. It does sometimes take longer to connect to a VPN, but this lag time is measured in seconds so it's not really that bad. Once connected, download and upload speeds are plenty fast for common activities such as streaming or torrenting.
Users can expect roughly 50Mbps. Ping time is less than 10ms so gamers will rarely notice the latency issues seen in lower quality VPNs. Users will want to disable some privacy features such as Tor over VPN while engaging in speed-centric activities though, as these will considerably slow down performance. Dynamic server switching was added to further increase performance. It's yet another niche feature that shows NordVPN wants to be the best in the business.
NordVPN offers about 5,100+ servers in 62 countries for users to choose between. Servers are organized by type so customers can connect to servers optimized for streaming, downloads, gaming, web browsing, or other common uses. This really gives NordVPN a leg up on the competition for the average VPN user. Most other VPN providers will put that work on the customer to find the "right" server for the job, but NordVPN streamlines the entire process. The only real downside, especially for US connections, is that individual cities cannot be selected. However, eyeballing ping and other factors can provide a pretty good location of the server's region.
Ease and Usability
If you are new to VPNs or even computers in general, NordVPN is a great option. Downloading, logging in, and setting up the VPN interface takes only a few minutes. Everything is straight forward and intuitive for users of all skill levels. What's more, with the help of obfuscated servers, you can use NordVPN in countries with restricted or censored internet access such as China or those in the Middle East.
After logging in, a user can quickly get started by choosing which country to connect to. Most users will want to choose their home country, but of course there are very good reasons for choosing international options. In either case, options allow for selecting specific types in each country and configuring those settings. As mentioned above, particular settings will focus more on privacy or speed, and NordVPN customers are free to select which options best suit them.
Customer support on NordVPN is offered through live chat and email. Live chat is very responsive 24/7 and can help with the majority of problems users may encounter. Email response time is noticeably slower but is perfectly acceptable for non-urgent matters. Customers report mostly positive feedback when dealing with representatives from NordVPN and rate them highly on product knowledge and helpfulness. However, there are reports that when dealing with highly technical issues that responses can be unsatisfactory or slow to resolve.
Prepaying for 12 months gets this VPN now to a ridiculously cheap price under $6/month. For the cost of roughly one coffee per day, you could have the protection of a major VPN each month without the diminished speed that you'd find with a budget service. The 1 month option and 3-day trial ensures that you can test NordVPN for an adequate length of time to determine whether it's worth prepaying for that long. This VPN provider checks key boxes for privacy, speed, and price and thus earns top marks for value.
Two other key elements offer additional value for customers. The included CyberSec feature blocks unwanted ads as well as protects against dangerous websites. While many VPN services now offer proxy extensions for Chrome, NordVPN also provides a Firefox extension as well.
There's not too many flaws for NordVPN and those that exist are fairly niche. Advanced users may complain about certain support issues or the lack of city specific connections, but most people won't even notice these relatively minor flaws. Instead, they'll choose to focus on this service's amazing offerings. NordVPN is second to none when it comes to privacy, and speed will rarely, if ever, hinder online activities. The available countries provide ample options to stream select TV shows and the optimized servers ensure ideal performance. If all you want is a VPN service that will work well for a reasonable price, then NordVPN might just be your best option.