NordVPN is a Panama based VPN provider offering comprehensive VPN solutions all around the world. Since I updated my NordVPN review, there have been lots of changes and it pushes me to share the latest news and improvements with the provider. Furthermore, we will dig into the server hacking issues the company hid for months.
This review will walk you through the purchase of the service; installation of the apps; encryption and privacy offered by the company; server coverage and speed performance; customer support and worth mentioning personal notes every NordVPN user should dully consider.
Pricing and refund policy
NordVPN used to be a cheap VPN provider in the market. However, the company took a radical decision and increased the price cap a lot. Currently, NordVPN offers 3 different pricing plans. These are:
- 1 Month: 11.95$/Month
- 1 Year:4.92$/Month
- 2 Years: 3.71$/Month
In order to get the best deal, make sure to go for a 2 Year Plan with a %68 discount. The discount is only available through our affiliate link.
Once you have made your mind with the plan, it is time to make a payment now. Depending on your location, NordVPN will offer you different methods. Here are some important payment gateways to complete your purchase:
- Credit Card
- Google Play
- Amazon Pay
No matter where you are located, there will a proper payment option for you. Yet, do not forget! Pricing will change depending on your local currency (Euro, GBP, JPY) and the tax rates applied to digital products by the tax regulations of your country.
Last but not least, NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee for good standing accounts. In other words, if you use the service for hacking, phishing, or any other illegal purposes, you will not receive any refunds.
NordVPN compatible apps
Now that we have completed our purchase, it is the very time to download a compatible NordVPN app and start using it. As examples, I will be covering this topic along with my Macbook Pro and Samsung A7 experience. Just before that, let’s take a look at the supported devices by NordVPN.
- PCs: Windows, macOS, Linux
- Smart devices: Android, iOS, iPad; Android TV
- Browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox
- Others: Routers, Fire TV, Raspberry Pi (Manual setup required)
NordVPN offers a VPN solution for each platform above. While some apps allow you to finish the installation automatically, some require manual actions to function properly.
Just visit NordVPN and download the app compatible with your device. You are good to go.
Here is my personal experience on macOS, and Samsung A7 devices.
First of all, NordVPN is not minimal and has never been. There is a huge and unnecessary map in the middle of the macOS software and you cannot minimize it.
On the left, there is a neat lineup of the countries and “Specialty Servers” where you can pick a preferred location or enhance your privacy for different purposes.
In the settings menu, there are a few but useful features.
- CyberSec: This feature will block unwanted ads and malware websites
- Auto Connect: This feature will help you to connect to the desired location automatically.
- Protocol selection: Choose between two different versions of OpenVPN protocols (UDP, TCP).
Besides these basic features, there is not much you can adjust with NordVPN. The same goes for NordVPN mobile apps as well.
We do have the same features for mobile devices too. Some users may not find them sufficient, however, NordVPN CyberSec and NordLynx protocol (aka WireGuard) are amazing tools to keep you safe away from the unwanted ads and provides you unmatched speed performance along with powerful encryption.
Last but not least, NordVPN offers 6 simultaneous connections with a single account. You can secure your personal computer, smart devices, and browsers easily. Just keep this in mind, each account is for personal use only. In other words, account sharing is prohibited.
Note on NordVPN’s obfuscated servers for restricted countries:
NordVPN manages to get around VPN bans in restricted countries such as Russia, Turkey, Iran, etc… when using PC apps. However, on mobile devices, it gets caught and neither NordLynx nor obfuscated servers work. If you are traveling to one of those countries, you might not establish a proper connection with NordVPN.
Here is the most important question! In terms of privacy and security, can we trust NordVPN?
I divided this section into three different categories. One is the privacy offered by the company itself. The other one is the server infrastructure and the encryption technologies of the NordVPN. Lastly, we will check the independent audits.
Privacy on the company end
Privacy keynotes for NordVPN as a company:
- Panama jurisdiction: NordVPN is a Panama based company where there is no data retention law. Such an offshore location helps NordVPN keep no logs of the user activities.
Privacy on the service end
Besides being managed by reliable hands, a professional VPN should also have critical features for enhanced security on the service end. It would be amazing to be a good driver. What is more amazing is to drive a safer car with your skills right?
Privacy keynotes for NordVPN as a service:
- Encryption: NordVPN has 256 bit AES encryption with OpenVPN and WireGuard technologies. These protocols offer both speed and stability. In case you need extreme privacy, you can also go for Double VPN servers. This feature will encrypt your data within two different server locations.
- Tor over VPN: This technology will first connect to the VPN server and encrypt your data. Right after that, your data will be encrypted with Tor servers as well.
- Server infrastructure: NordVPN runs all server activities on RAMdisk. As there is no storage on the RAMs, it is not possible to store any online activities. Furthermore, once the server is shut down, anything on the RAM will be erased.
Providing a security solution is not easy. Even if the company is located in Panama or runs its service with the latest technologies, the users might be exposed to potential risks. At this point, service audition comes in handy to point out the possible leaks, or unsecured connections.
Ran by Pwc Security, NordVPN privacy claims are backed up with this audition company as well. According to the latest audit in May 2020.
PwC backs up NordVPN’s no log policy of connection stamps, traffic logs, IP addresses, or any other internet activities. Unfortunately, this audit is not accessible to the public. You must be a NordVPN user to read the whole content.
Server coverage and speed performance
I pay a great deal of attention to this part as the internet is evolving in a fast-paced way. VPN users need speed. The only way to get it is to use reliable servers with decent ping rates. To achieve that, we need worldwide server coverage and less loaded servers. Let’s take a look at what NordVPN offers in these terms.
NordVPN used to have servers in 60 different countries. However, after the Russian embargo, NordVPN had to remove its Russian server. Currently, the company has 5000+ servers in 59 different countries around the world.
While some servers have general purposes, some have unique features like Dedicated IP, Double VPN, Obfuscated, Onion over VPN, P2P.
As an old player in the market, unfortunately, NordVPN stands behind its competitors such as ExpressVPN, HideMyAss, or PureVPN.
If it was 2019, you would not like the speed performance of NordVPN. However, the continuous investment in the server-side made the company one of the fastest VPN providers in the market.
Below you can see the detailed speed test performances around the world.
|Region||Download / Mbps||Upload / Mbps|
|USA - New York||80.49||4.61|
|USA - Los Angeles||69.84||4.23|
|USA - Dallas||69.23||4|
|Canada - Toronto||72.88||4.42|
|UK - London||94.81||4.67|
With an average of 70+ Mbps download speed, NordVPN offers outstanding performance. In other words, you can enjoy ultimate speed around the world; watch videos up to 8k without buffering, and seamless social media experience. Such speed values might seem sufficient enough. However, we need one more test. Torrenting!
Downloading a torrent file may put you into trouble. Knowing such a risk, VPN providers limit their users to dedicated torrent servers. That way, you can get a better download speed and higher encryption.
According to my latest test with NordVPN’s P2P servers, I got the result below.
Contrary to the download/upload results above, NordVPN’s P2P servers could not meet our utmost expectations. After connecting the Netherlands server, the download speed peaked at 2.2 MB/second in no time. However, download speed slowed down towards the end and got back to 2.4+ MB/seconds.
Summing up the torrent performance, I do not like NordVPN’s P2P server speed. If you tend to download huge files and need a VPN service, I do not recommend NordVPN.
Dedicated server and streaming
Last but not least, we will analyze the dedicated streaming servers with NordVPN. The more on-demand streaming platforms gain popularity, the more geo-restriction problems ex-pats, or travelers have. In that sense, a reliable VPN service comes handy.
As an example, I will test NordVPN with Netflix USA and BBC iPlayer. Let’s see if we can bypass regional restrictions and access the local content.
NordVPN Netflix the USA library ✔
Accessing different Netflix libraries is getting difficult. After Netflix’s war against VPNs, only a few of the services can bypass the restriction and offer various libraries. Luckily, NordVPN is one of them.
I have tested NordVPN with the USA dedicated TV series: “Parks and Recreation”
NordVPN was able to bypass Netflix censorship and help me watch the US library from Europe. The quality might seem inferior. However, it was not because NordVPN’s speed performance is bad, but Parks and Recreation is an old TV series.
Furthermore, NordVPN is one of the rare providers that can unblock several other Netflix Libraries. By using this VPN provider, you will get access to Netflix Canada, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Japan, Australia, Netherlands, Spain, India, Brazil, South Korea, and Portugal.
NordVPN BBC iPlayer ✔
BBC iPlayer is another on-demand streaming platform with quality TV series, documentaries, and movies. Yet, we have a problem similar to the Netflix US library. Because of the copyright policy, BBC iPlayer is not available outside the UK. This is the exact point we need a VPN service to bypass this restriction.
Fortunately, by using NordVPN, you can get a UK IP address and start watching BBC iPlayer outside the UK.
When compared to our latest test with the previous BBC iPlayer experience, NordVPN seems to move ahead. Earlier, the streaming quality was poor, and not all UK servers could bypass the BBC ban. As of now, NordVPN helps us watch the shows with the best quality possible and all UK servers work fine.
Overall, NordVPN passes the speed and unblocking test with a good grade. No matter where you are located, you will find a decent VPN service with a good performance.
Thinking about the old NordVPN, I see a huge step up in terms of streaming and speed. It seems that stability/performance complaints were well heard, and NordVPN took the necessary actions. Yet, P2P servers still need improvements.
Using a VPN service in Turkey is tough. NordVPN is one of the VPN providers targeted by the ISPs in Turkey and, unfortunately, It may not work from time to time.
Keeping the problem in mind, I contacted NordVPN’s customer support to get my problem solved.
First of all, It took around 15 seconds for the support represents to join the chat. The answers were to the point and it helped me to fix the problem within a minute. Check my experience below.
Furthermore, right before connecting to the live chat, NordVPN offers answers to your questions in different languages. If auto answers cannot solve your problem, you have the option to contact a real person.
Lastly, FAQs! NordVPN operates a multilingual website. While many of the pages support different languages, regrettably, knowledgebase and FAQ pages are only in English. It is also possible to be directed to a ChatBot if you navigate the website in a language other than English, Dutch, or French.
If privacy is your main purpose of using a VPN service, then you should read this section carefully. NordVPN grabbed a slice of a crucial scandal. A hacker breached into the NordVPN’s Finland server resulting in “the attacker would have been able to see what websites users were visiting during that time” the Verge reports.
Furthermore, a member of NordVPN’s tech advisory board added:
- “Potential attackers could have gotten only into that server and only intercept the traffic and seen what websites people are browsing — not the content, only the website — for a limited period of time, only in that isolated region”
The real problem may seem like hacking. However, it is not. NordVPN hid the hacking for 6 months from the public leaving its customers with lots of questions in mind. You be the judge!
Summing up NordVPN review
In this article, we analyzed the Panama-based VPN provider, NordVPN.
By keeping the price on an average level, NordVPN offers a reasonable pricing policy under 30 days moneyback guarantee. Once you purchase the service, you can use it simultaneously on up to 6 different devices. Thanks to the dedicated apps for each different platform, you will not have any installment problems at all.
In terms of speed, NordVPN is decent. According to our performance test, NordVPN offers 70+ Mbps download speed making it the second-fastest VPN provider after SurfShark. It is also possible to get similar speeds from servers all around the world. However, you might not like P2P performance as NordVPN stuck around 2.5 Mbps.
Related to the server and performance, NordVPN also offers dedicated streaming servers to bypass geo-restrictions. You can watch 13 different Netflix libraries; HBO, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc… outside the USA.
Lastly, NordVPN faced a hacking incident with one of its Finland servers. The problem raised privacy concerns against NordVPN as the company shared the hacking issue after 6 months.
Overall, NordVPN is a decent and inexpensive VPN provider with so many features bundled in. By using this unique affiliate link, you can start using NordVPN from 3.71$/month.
We have tested NordVPN with 10 different subcategories and it turned out to be an amazing VPN provider. Utmost privacy; amazing speed performance with dedicated streaming servers; compatible apps with all PCs, and smart devices; Super fast customer support.
- Reasonable pricing; Accepts BTC
- Audited no-log policy
- Compatible apps with 6 simultaneous connections
- Download speed up to 70+ Mbps; dedicated streaming servers
- Fast customer support
- Involved in server hacking shared with the public months later
- Slow P2P experience
- May not work in restricted countries