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NordVPN

April 2017 - Review, Packages & Deals

Our verdict

“NordVPN strikes a great balance between performance and privacy - we like it a lot”

9.1

RECOMMENDED FOR

  • Privacy
  • Streaming
  • Travel
  • Sports

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Highly reliable access to popular sites
  • Fantastic choice of global servers
  • Optimised servers for ultra fast TV, double VPN & more

Works with

  • Netflix
  • Facebook
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Torrenting
  • Twitter
  • Google-Gmail
  • Youtube
  • Kodi

Top NordVPN packages for April 2017

1 Month

$11.95 per month
  • Servers in 57 Countries
  • 6 Simultaneous Connections
  • 24/7 Live Chat Support
View Package

NordVPN - 24 Months

$11.95 $3.29 per monthsave 72%
  • Servers in 57 Countries
  • 6 Simultaneous Connections
  • 24/7 Live Chat Support
View Package

TOP10VPN RATING

Recommended For

  • Privacy

    Double VPN, Tor over VPN, no logs policy, foreign jurisdiction and a kill switch

  • Streaming

    Optimised servers and dozens of options in popular streaming locations

  • Travel

    Private, powerful and simple with lots of servers - NordVPN appeals to travellers

NordVPN Overview

Based in privacy-friendly Panama, NordVPN is a very strong all-rounder VPN whose emphasis on security features does not come at the expense of performance or reliability. The service comes at a very attractive price point but there’s a trade-off compared to more premium rivals in that choice of security protocols are limited within the app, requiring manual configuration of device settings, should you wish to use them.

Despite this, NordVPN does offer great value for money. The choice of server locations is certainly broad enough and impressively deep in key locations like the US, UK and European countries like Germany and the Netherlands, all with consistently high speeds in our tests. NordVPN is very easy to use in the most part and installation is painless.

NordVPN really shines on the privacy and security front, thanks to zero logs policies, incorporation in Panama beyond the reach of US and EU jurisdiction, and some powerful features. NordVPN only just falls short of a perfect score in that area due to a mobile app that while very user-friendly, lacks some of the more powerful settings of its desktop version.

What we like
  • Reliably fast speeds across server locations
  • Works well with popular apps and services
  • Brilliant privacy features
What we like less
  • The mobile app is a little too streamlined, although it works well
  • Alternative security protocols must be accessed outside the apps
  • The best servers can be too busy to connect at peak times

PRIVACY
9.6

NordVPN is an excellent choice for the more privacy-conscious user: no logs, incorporated in Panama beyond the reach of US/EU jurisdiction and some strong privacy and security features. NordVPN offers double VPN servers, Tor over VPN, kill switch and DNS & IPv6 leak protection as standard.

FeatureNordVPNHideMyAssHotspot Shield
Open VPN (Auto) FalseTrueFalse
Open VPN (UDP/TCP) TrueFalseFalse
PPTP TrueTrueFalse
SSTP TrueTrueFalse
L2TP/IPSec TrueTrueTrue
IKEv2 TrueTrueFalse
Proprietary Protocols FalseFalseTrue
Supports TCP Port 443 FalseFalseFalse
Supports Obfsproxy TrueFalseFalse
Supports Multihop TrueFalseFalse
Supports SSH Tunnel FalseFalseFalse
Supports SSL Tunnel TrueFalseFalse
Permits P2P TrueTrueFalse
Strongest encryption AES-256AES-256AES-256
First party DNS servers TrueFalseFalse
DNS Leak Blocking TrueTrueTrue
Killswitch TrueTrueFalse
Accepts Bitcoin TrueTrueTrue
Accepts Paypal TrueTrueTrue
Anonymous payment method TrueFalseFalse
Activity logging FalseFalseFalse
Connection logging FalseTrueTrue
Tor over VPN server TrueFalseFalse

SPEED & PERFORMANCE
9.0

NordVPN is very consistent in delivering high speed connections across its server locations. Maximum speeds might be a touch lower than the best performing servers of rival providers but across-the-board performance is very appealing. Whatever server location you choose, you can be confident of speeds capable of delivering buffer-free HD video.

Low latency also contributes to strong performance, making NordVPN a strong choice for gamers. The only real downside is that with an average of 13 seconds to connect to a server, you might find your patience tested a little should you change servers frequently.

FeatureNordVPNHideMyAssHotspot Shield
Max download speed 46.57 (US)41.67 (FRA)33.33 (FRA)
Max upload speed 36.14 (US)15.18 (FRA)41.34 (DE)
Ping time 5ms5ms4ms
Unlimited bandwidth TrueTrueTrue
Average time to connect 13s9s2s
Reliability score 9.68.77.8
Tested and working with Netflix, Facebook, BBC iPlayer, Torrenting, Twitter, Google-Gmail, Youtube, KodiNetflix, Facebook, Torrenting, Google-Gmail, Gaming, TwitterBBC iPlayer, Sling TV, Kodi, Netflix

Speed breakdown

SERVER LOCATIONDownload Speed (Mbps)Upload Speed (Mbps)
Australia30.9815.03
Brazil17.639.54
ChinaNo serversNo servers
France36.0911.85
Germany41.7810.68
Mexico21.519.53
UK38.7620.66
USA46.5736.14

How do we test these VPN speeds?

  • We continuously test the performance of all our featured VPN providers to ensure you have all the latest information you need to choose.
  • We use the Ookla Speedtest tool on our fibre-optic line in central London, via our own paid-for VPN accounts to ensure the fairest results.
  • Our normal download speed is around 40Mbps, upload 18Mbps and ping 3ms and results are from London to the most popular global locations.
  • Our tests are intended to give you an idea of the range of connection speeds. The closer the server and faster your connection, the faster your speeds.

LOCATIONS
9.1

NordVPN has a deep server selection that’s not only organised by location but also by purpose. You can select from a UK or US server specifically optimised for ultra fast TV for example. Other optimisations include anti-DDOS attack, Tor over VPN, double VPN and dedicated IP.

The most popular locations have dozens of options. Our only complaints are are that you can’t select specific cities, although there are workarounds, while the range of IP addresses available is fairly limited.

FeatureNordVPNHideMyAssHotspot Shield
Server locations 5733620
Servers 7905832,000
IP addresses 2,000120,000300,000
Dynamic server switching TrueFalseFalse

Server locations

Most popular locations

  • USA

  • UK

  • Albania

  • Australia

  • Austria

  • Belgium

  • Brazil

  • Bulgaria

  • Canada

  • Costa Rica

  • Czech Republic

  • Denmark

  • Egypt

  • Estonia

  • Finland

  • France

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Hong Kong

  • Hungary

  • Iceland

  • India

  • Ireland

  • Israel

  • Italy

  • Japan

  • Latvia

  • Lithuania

  • Luxembourg

  • Malaysia

  • Mexico

  • Moldova

  • Netherlands

  • New Zealand

  • Norway

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • Romania

  • Russia

  • Singapore

  • Slovakia

  • South Africa

  • South Korea

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

  • Taiwan

  • Turkey

  • Ukraine

  • Vietnam

See all supported locations…

EASE OF USE
9.0

What we like
  • User-friendly organisation of servers
  • Great balance between configurability and convenience
  • SmartPlay feature is great for streamers
What we like less
  • Any protocol but OpenVPN is very manual and tricky for beginners
  • Identifying the city location of a server requires 3rd party tools

NordVPN is a slick experience with some nice little touches that set it apart. We love that servers are organised by purpose as well as region, as well as the server capacity bar, which makes it easier to pick the right server for your needs. For those that don’t want to bother with comparing ping times and server load, you can just select a country and the app will select the fastest, least busy server automatically. Once connected, it’s really easy to see your IP address, location and the server load. Changing server is also easier than we have found elsewhere. Installation and set-up is super smooth and done in a matter of minutes.

Settings are straightforward and streamlined but give you a degree of configurability. You can toggle DNS leak protection, OpenVPN protocol and create a list of applications to kill should your connection drop, which is ideal for torrenters. There is also the new Smart-Play feature that’s helpful if you find yourself unable to access any of your favourite entertainment services.

Where NordVPN lose points in this area is the manual nature of using other protocols with its service. While supported, protocols like PPTP, L2TP/IPsec and SSTP must be configured and used outside the app. Tutorials are available but it’s fiddly and not for beginners. Also, the workaround for connecting to specific cities involves selecting servers and then using online tools like iplocation.net to verify your location. Again, fiddlier than it needs to be. However, these issues will not affect the majority of users and overall, NordVPN scores very highly for ease of use.

Is NordVPN compatible with my device?

FeatureNordVPNHideMyAssHotspot Shield
Windows TrueTrueTrue
Mac TrueTrueTrue
Linux Manual Manual False
iOS TrueTrueTrue
AndroidTrueTrueTrue
Windows Phone Manual Manual False
Blackberry FalseFalseFalse
Router Manual Manual False
Kindle FalseFalseFalse
Games consoles FalseFalseFalse

CUSTOMER SUPPORT
8.4

NordVPN has a very comprehensive set of resources on its website, including good quality how-to videos. It’s well organised and easy to find what you are looking for. They are perhaps a victim of their own success however as responses to questions both via email and live chat are a bit slow. However they are up-front about this, to their credit. The quality of support however is high.

FeatureNordVPNHideMyAssHotspot Shield
Support quality 9.29.72.4
Email response time 46hrs42mins4hrs 52mins
24/7 support TrueTrueTrue
Live chat TrueTrueFalse
Knowledge base TrueTrueTrue
Video tutorials TrueTrueFalse

VALUE FOR MONEY
9.5

What we like
  • Longer plans are very affordable
  • 6 simultaneous connections is generous
  • Excellent features like server optimisation and kill list
What we like less
  • Alternative security protocols are manual
  • Best servers can get very busy
  • Choosing a specific city should be easier

our rating
9.1

“NordVPN strikes a great balance between performance and privacy - we like it a lot”

Visit NordVPN website