Software & Applications

A Thorough and In-Depth Review of NordVPN 2022

There aren’t many websites that we can access even if we want to, right? So what does one generally do about that? — use a VPN, maybe.

But how do you know which VPN is the right one for you and works the best? To ease your brainstorming, we are here with the review of one of the best VPN tools – NordVPN.

In this article, we are going to give an honest and brief review of a VPN app, NordVPN, and talk about it in a detailed manner. If you are planning to get the tool, then you shall go through this thorough review first and make your decision accordingly. So now, let’s get started!

An Overview: NordVPN

In today’s time, one of the necessary tools you should have in your cybersecurity chest is a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Your identity remains hidden within the VPN and your browser history is secure. Apart from that, individuals can even keep their information safe with the assistance of a VPN. Thus, if you would like to understand VPNs, during this review, we are going to be taking a detailed inspection of one of the foremost well-liked and acknowledged VPNs, NordVPN.

Launched way back in 2012, NordVPN has a lot going on for it. The corporate hails from Panama, as an example, which is outside any police investigation jurisdictions. In addition, we know that in the past, it’s had a name for reliability. Let’s look at whether NordVPN remains nearly as good as its name suggests, and examine how it stacks up against alternative prime VPN services.

NordVPN is one of the well-known VPNs in the market in 2022. Headquartered in Panama, this VPN service offers its users a mix of nice speeds, unbreakable encoding, associate degrees and an independently-audited no-logs policy. Intuitive apps jam-choked with prime options build NordVPN, a wonderful possibility for beginners and power users.

But let’s dig a touch deeper with this NordVPN review. Here’s what we have a unit planning to cover during this article: how good is this VPN for beginners and power users? What’s it like for people or families? What area unit torrenting, streaming Netflix, Hulu, and alternative well-liked platforms like? And simply however privacy-friendly, fast, or secure it is?

Specifications of NordVPN

Before going into a radical and careful analysis of NordVPN, let’s discuss its basic specifications for a VPN. There are plenty of things that individuals search for before getting a VPN. With this, you’ll be able to figure out what specifications NordVPN has. Have a glance at the table given below and then go ahead with further details about NordVPN.

Ad-blocking Yes
ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2, Wireguard
Torrenting AllowedYes
No logs policyNo logs
Free VersionNo
Simultaneous VPN Connections6
Servers5500+ servers in 59 countries
Streaming ServicesNetflix, Disney+, Hulu, more
Geographically Diverse ServersYes
Pricing$3.09/month

Now let’s move on to the pricing and plans of NordVPN, which is one of the most important parts before getting ahead with the purchase.

Pricing and Plans of NordVPN

NordVPN comes with different pricing and plans, based on time period. So basically, there are three types of plans and then sub-plans that NordVPN has to offer at the time of writing. First, there are monthly plans for different types. Apart from these, there are two other plans: 1-year plan and 2-year plan. 

To make the understanding better, let’s have a look at the pricing and features they offer below. 

NordVPN’s MONTHLY PLAN:

FeaturesStandard ($11.99/month)Plus ($12.89/month) Complete ($14.19/month)
Secure high-speed VPN
Malware Protection
Tracker and ad-blocker
Cross-platform password Manager
Data breach scanner
1 TB encrypted cloud storage

NordVPN’s 1-YEAR PLAN:

FeaturesStandard ($4.99/month)Plus ($5.89/month) Complete ($7.19/month)
Secure high-speed VPN
Malware Protection
Tracker and ad-blocker
Cross-platform password Manager
Data breach scanner
1 TB encrypted cloud storage

NordVPN’s 2-YEAR PLAN

FeaturesStandard ($3.69/month)Plus ($4.59/month) Complete ($5.89/month)
Secure high-speed VPN
Malware Protection
Tracker and ad-blocker
Cross-platform password Manager
Data breach scanner
1 TB encrypted cloud storage

There is an offer of +3 months free in the 2-year plan of NordVPN.

So now that we have shown what features you’re getting in the different pricing and plans of NordVPN, let’s get to the pros and cons part. 

Pros and Cons of NordVPN

Before getting any product, we all do check out its advantages and disadvantages. So, before discussing the other things and factors of NordVPN, let’s discuss its pros and cons. 

ProsCons
Easy to install & use.Overly priced.
30-day money-back guarantee.The interface sometimes gets a little cramped.
Accepts cryptocurrencies.No router app.
Has a large server network.Web-based login instead of app login.
Solid security package.Poor results of malware blocking.
Automatic kill switch.
It has unique Meshnet features.
It has various server locations.
Special P2P & Tor VPN servers.
Dedicated IPs are available.
There are Tor connections, split tunneling, and multi-hop.
Great customer support.
It uses WireGuard VPN technology.

Now that you have got an idea of the pros and cons of NordVPN, let’s look into just how fast NordVPN is.

NordVPN’s Features

NordVPN comes packed with a plethora of extra features. There are also some additional tools that it has to offer that you can use to boost your cybersecurity. Here is a list of nice-to-haves, which is one of the things that makes NordVPN so hard to beat. Let’s look at the quick rundown of NordVPN’s extra options:

  • Allows torrenting (and has specialized P2P servers).
  • NordVPN works with Netflix US.
  • It offers various connection modes like Onion over VPN and double VPN.
  • It also offers a business-level VPN called NordLayer.
  • With its new Treat Protection feature, it further boosts your cybersecurity.
  • There are additional security tools NordPass and NordLocker which you can use.
  • Using Meshnet, the users are allowed remote access to devices via encrypted tunnels.

How Fast is NordVPN?

So in order to check just how fast NordVPN is, we started off by measuring our connection speed without a VPN. After that, we compared it to the test results obtained on local and other servers.

This allowed us to see the impact of encryption and distance on our performance. We tested NordVPN using NordLynx (their fastest VPN protocol).

As the overall performance depends on your location and initial speed, your results might differ from ours. So, you can view the table below for an overview or idea of possible speeds from different servers. So everything aside, here are the results of how NordVPN performed during our test:

ServerDownloads (MBPS)Upload (MBPS)Ping (MS)
Without VPN94.494.522
Fastest Server87.5490.665
Germany90.8390.549
Netherlands90.6990.616
Japan (Tokyo)69.1590.69228
US (NY)90.3389.3189
UK90.6090.0111
Canada88.1490.4398
US (LA)83.4490.34146
Australia (Perth)68.490.69280

As you can see, even on distant servers, NordVPN provided us with excellent speeds. Its reputation is well-deserved. So as the ping went up, the speeds started dropping, but it was nothing drastic or seriously affecting the performance.

It’s interesting that NordVPN’s automatic pick was actually slower than a random server. During the testing of NordVPN, we didn’t experience VPN connection drops or lags. Even when there were higher pings, everything went smoothly. It took us mere seconds to connect to any server (even the distant options).

Keeping everything in mind, we can conclude that NordVPN is a splendid option if your VPN usage hinges on speed. Including downloads, streaming, and online gaming, in full HD. But, if your internet is slower, you might experience some upload lag.

NordVPN Servers & Locations

As a global VPN service provider, NordVPN consists of 5500 servers distributed across 59 countries. It’s a massive overall increase compared to 2018 when NordVPN only had around 3,300 servers.

As for the best coverage, Europe, Asia, and the Americas are the continents.

RegionsNumber of CountriesNumber of Servers
Europe37 countries2100 servers
Asia13 countries450 servers
America7 countries2400 servers
Rest of world3 countries200 servers

You’ll have the most options to choose from if you want to connect to a country on these continents. Africa is a similar sight across many VPN providers but may feel lacking. A good chunk of servers is run on RAM, which means all your data gets deleted instantly with every single reboot. Overall, NordVPN servers offer great worldwide coverage. 

How Secure is NordVPN?

Now moving on to one of the most essential parts of NordVPN’s review – checking its safety and privacy policies. Luckily, this is where NordVPN feels right at home. Its encryption is standard AES-256-CBC, and it also supports Perfect Forward Secrecy. The IP masking and logging policy are all beyond solid. This means it frequently keeps changing its encryption keys in order to avoid security compromises. NordVPN also uses the OpenVPN protocol which is one of the most secure protocols available and IPSec/IKEv2 – it is quite fast but is less secure. Apart from this, there is no IP address, DNS leak, or other potentially user-identifying data leaks detected during our testing.

Here’s NordVPN’s safety configuration in a nutshell:

  • NordVPN’s supporters have excellent VPN protocols: OpenVPN, NordLynx, and IKEv2/IPSec.
  • It comes with an automatic kill switch.
  • Only an email address and password are needed to create a NordVPN account.
  • It implements a strict no-logging policy.

Protocols

The overall flexibility of your VPN largely depends on its list of VPN protocols. They ensure reliable performance, help you deal with online censorship, and unblock services like Netflix US, for example.

With that in mind, here’s a full list of NordVPN’s connection protocols:

  • NordLynx: NordVPN’s proprietary protocol is based on WireGuard. NordLynx fixes WireGuard’s privacy issues with its “custom double Network Address Translation (NAT) system.” Its small code base makes it less vulnerable to hack attacks than OpenVPN.
  • OpenVPN (TCP/UDP): The most popular VPN tunnel out there thanks to its excellent speed/security ratio. It will meet the needs of most VPN users out there. UDP connection is faster but easily blocked. TCP is slower but more resilient to obstacles like the Chinese Firewall, for example.
  • IKEv2/IPSec: This protocol is in the middle of the road between OpenVPN and NordLynx. Mobile users and frequent travelers love it because of its reconnection capabilities. It allows you to switch between networks without ever dropping your connection. However, it makes you vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. In our opinion, both OpenVPN and NordLynx are superior options for most users.

NordVPN encrypts your traffic with AES-256 cipher, also known as “military-grade encryption.” It’s one of the safest encryption methods we have today, and it’s also used by banks, hospitals, and other institutions.

Note: IKEv2/IPSec has to be set up manually. In other words, it’s not on the list of available protocols. If you’re doing it on Windows, the system will also downgrade your encryption to the weaker 3DES-CBC cipher.

Additionally, this protocol requires you to add the certificate to the Trusted Root Authorities, which could expose you to the aforementioned man-in-the-middle attacks.

With all that in mind, we only recommend using IKEv2/IPSec if you absolutely have no other alternatives. If you’re not well-versed in VPN protocols, you can let NordVPN’s client pick one automatically. It will usually be NordLynx since this is their safest and fastest option. You can also let the client pick the optimal server for you. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the fastest location, as shown in our speed test.

Privacy and Logging

As mentioned earlier in our NordVPN review, the brand is registered in Panama. The absence of any mandatory data retention laws allows it to maintain a strict no-logging policy. Panama is also outside the notorious 14 Eyes alliance.

In May 2022, NordVPN also started switching to diskless (or RAM-only) servers. This means that user data can’t be stored server-side, since there’s no hard drive to record it. All information is deleted with every server reset.

This is an impressive configuration, but let’s take a look at NordVPN’s actual logging policy. Here’s the user data recorded by the company:

  • Personal info: Email address, billing information, country details (for VAT calculation purposes)
  • Technical info: NordVPN will collect your IP address and device info when you’re using their website or contacting customer support (including their chatbot). This data is gathered to provide the requested service but also to prevent fraud, DDoS attacks, and similar hacking attempts. Naturally, the information is deleted on each server reset.

We usually frown upon recording user IP addresses, but NordVPN doesn’t keep any activity logs (the sites you visit, for example). So, there’s no chance of tracing your online traffic back to your device or you as an individual. In our NordVPN review, we can safely say that NordVPN is incredibly secure and will allow you to protect your identity and remain anonymous. NordVPN will keep your billing info for 10 years after your last transaction. Your email will be kept for one year after you end your subscription. You also have certain rights regarding your personal data. You can request access, deletion, or rectification at any time. You can also request a copy of the collected data (portability), object to data processing, withdraw previously given consent, or lodge a complaint.

Finally, NordVPN also supports obfsproxy. This (Tor) technique prevents Deep Packet Inspection and is generally known as “VPN obfuscation.”

Most users won’t need this feature, but for people in countries like China and Turkey, it might be the only way to get their VPN to work. NordVPN also offers additional protection against IP leaks.

Kill Switch

If your VPN connection drops for whatever reason, a kill switch will cut your internet connection to prevent potential data leaks. NordVPN’s apps for desktop platforms come with two automatic kill switches:

  • Internet kill switch: It blocks your internet completely when you’re not connected to NordVPN. It’s a similar solution to ProtonVPN’s permanent (system-wide) kill switch.
  • App kill switch: This failsafe will close certain apps when your VPN drops the connection. Simply add chosen apps to the list, and they won’t be able to access the internet without VPN protection.

You can access the kill switch settings through the menu option by the same name. Note that the NordVPN kill switch is not activated automatically when you download the app. You’ll have to find it in your client and activate it manually.

Onion over VPN and Double VPN

Double VPN (or multi-hop) simply routes your traffic through two VPN servers instead of one. Naturally, double encryption will make everything much safer and harder to attack. It can even help you bypass geo-restrictions and censorship in countries like Russia, for example.

Having said that, encrypting your traffic twice will severely impact your speed. So, we don’t recommend using this feature unless you absolutely have to. This especially goes for hardcore gamers who want smooth and lag-free sessions.

Onion over VPN combines the advantages of an Onion router with some extra VPN security. Your traffic can enter the Onion network through a random relay anywhere in the world. Every point of connection is encrypted, making it very difficult to pinpoint the origin of your traffic.

However, since onion servers are volunteer-operated, anyone can run one. That’s why you need a VPN to hide your real IP from the entry node. So, even if someone is monitoring big chunks of the Onion network, they won’t be able to trace your traffic back to you.

NordVPN Quick Highlights

Even though you may have already gone through this review, in case you want a quick look at its highlights, here are they.

Netflix AccessYes
Encryption MethodAES-256
IP AddressesStatic, dedicated or shared
Average decrease in speed33%
Monthly price range$3.29-$11.99

Is NordVPN the Right Tool for you?

You might already be able to tell, by this NordVPN review, that NordVPN is a great VPN provider. From the privacy of no-saving logs to its diverse selection of servers, it has a top-notch ability to attract as many users.

Over the years, NordVPN has undoubtedly improved a lot and continues to emerge with new cooler features which are useful in today’s time. Despite having tough competition in the market, NordVPN has managed to stand out with its privacy.

So, like most users, if you want to stay anonymous and private and make use of a VPN at the same time without giving off much information about yourself – NordVPN is definitely the right tool for you.

Do We Recommend Using NordVPN?

Now let’s get right into the part where you get over with the final verdict. If you have made it to the end of this review, all we have to say is that NordVPN is a great VPN provider in the market where there is tough competition. It comes with many options which give the users a good internet experience and allows them to unblock international libraries of different streaming services. Their service also comes at a reasonable price, which truly makes it one of our favorites.

So we surely recommend using NordVPN as it can be a pretty handy and hands down easy-to-use tool.

Comparison of NordVPN with Similar Tools

NordVPN surely has more to offer than just its own NordLynx protocol. Here you can see how NordVPN’s speeds differ depending on which tunneling protocol you use. The numbers depicted are the average download and upload speeds across 10 different locations:

  • Baseline: 300 Mbps download, 300 Mbps upload
  • NordLynx: 248.7/126.7
  • IKEv2: 237.8/55.8
  • OpenVPN (TCP): 36/28
  • OpenVPN (UDP): 212.6/74.6

Overall, this is how NordVPN’s protocols stack up against one another.

ProtocolNordLynxIKEv2OpenVPN (TCP)OpenVPN (UDP)
SpeedHighest 🏆HighLowHigh
SecurityHighMediumHighHigh
Connection StabilityMediumHighHighMedium

But that’s not all – the comparison of NordVPN’s performance with other reputed VPN providers gives a clear understanding of just how fast NordVPN really is, so now let’s check out how it works against its competitors in the download speed:

ProviderAverage Download Speed
NordVPN79%
ExpressVPN66%
PIA54%

With all this data, we can be pretty sure that NordVPN is indeed a fast VPN. You’ll barely even notice you’re using a VPN if you’re picking a location that isn’t very far. If the location is further away, there will be some speed drops, which in some cases can be solved by switching tunneling protocols – with NordLynx being the fastest solution here. It ensures the service provides all the tools that you won’t have to wait long for web pages to load and for videos to buffer.

FAQs

ANS: Yes, NordVPN has come a long way to try to make everything secure on the platform. So it is safe to say that NordVPN is a pretty decent VPN app for torrenting as per its reputation.

ANS: NordVPN is available on a variety of platforms, including many mobile OS and PC options, as well as smart TVs and streaming sticks. But, the setup process for it is very similar and easy on devices.

ANS: One of the best privacy features of NordVPN is that it doesn’t keep any logs, and this is one solid reason for a lot of users to use it. There is value for your privacy on it.

ANS: The only details that NordVPN requires from users are email addresses during their registration process. However, if you are for the subscription, you will have to provide your billing info, which is obvious.

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