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NordVPN

February 2017 - Review, Packages & Deals

Our verdict

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

9.1

RECOMMENDED FOR

  • Streaming
  • Sports
  • Privacy
  • Travel

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Tested and working with Netflix
  • Fantastic choice of servers
  • Optimised servers for ultra fast TV, double VPN & more

Works with

  • Netflix
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Torrenting
  • Sling TV
  • Kodi

Top NordVPN packages for February 2017

1 Month

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

24 Months

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

TOP10VPN RATING

Recommended For

  • Streaming

    Optimised servers and dozens of options in popular streaming locations

  • Sports

    Beat US sports blackouts with city-level server choice (even if it's fiddly)

  • Privacy

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

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 streaming 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 also works with US Netflix with some settings trickery. 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 with Netflix (with some settings trickery)
  • 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

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.

Feature NordVPNHideMyAssHotspot Shield
Max Download Speed 46.57 (US)21.56 (US)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, BBC iPlayer, Torrenting, Sling TV, KodiBBC iPlayer, Torrenting, Sling TV, GamingBBC iPlayer, Sling TV, Kodi, Netflix

Speed breakdown

SERVER LOCATION Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed (Mbps)
Australia 30.98 15.03
Brazil 15.94 18.5
China No servers No servers
France 27.97 19.05
Germany 22.45 18.37
Mexico 22.45 18.37
UK 38.76 20.66
USA 46.57 36.14

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.

Feature NordVPNHideMyAssHotspot 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…

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.

Feature NordVPNHideMyAssHotspot Shield
Support Quality 9.29.72.4
Response time 46hrs42mins4hrs 52mins
24/7 support TrueTrueTrue
Live chat TrueTrueFalse
Knowledge base TrueTrueTrue
Video tutorials TrueTrueFalse

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 helps outsmart block attempts by the streaming providers. Hop onto Live Chat for more info about using this to stream media.

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?

Feature NordVPNHideMyAssHotspot Shield
Windows TrueTrueTrue
Mac TrueTrueTrue
Linux Manual Manual False
iOS TrueTrueTrue
Android TrueTrueTrue
Windows Phone Manual Manual False
Blackberry FalseFalseFalse
Router Manual Manual False
Kindle FalseFalseFalse
Games Consoles FalseFalseFalse

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 leak protection as standard.

Feature NordVPNHideMyAssHotspot 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

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

final score
9.1

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

See NordVPN packages