NordVPN Review Vs Other vpns

Looking for best vpn?

Is there an ideal VPN? Profoundly impossible. However, assuming there's anything that comes near flawlessness, it could possibly be NordVPN.

NordVPN hails from Panama, one of the most outstanding spots to work a VPN organization as it's external the locale of any global reconnaissance settlements (hi, protection). Also, Panama has no regulations ordering information maintenance. Those give NordVPN the opportunity to shield its clients' without impedance from Older sibling.

NordVPN is additionally an inventive VPN brand. They're many times thinking of new, helpful highlights to work on their clients' protection. For example, it was one of the principal VPNs to offer Peak over VPN, and for quite a while now, NordVPN is likewise well known for offering Twofold VPN. (Sit back and relax, we'll get into that.)

Having said all that, NordVPN is flawed. It's a piece expensive, for example, and its multi-layered way to deal with valuing can be a piece confounding to VPN learners. Regardless, we must decide if a VPN is worth the effort or not, and this survey is about NordVPN.

Editors Rating:
9.7 /10

NordVPN’s Features

We named NordVPN one of our best VPNs, but here, we’ll take you through each of NordVPN’s features in detail, and let you know why we think it stands above other VPNs we’ve tested.

Servers Around the Globe

As of the time of writing, NordVPN has almost 5,500 servers in 59 countries and counting. That means wherever you may be in the world, there’s likely to be a server close to you. Why does that matter? Well, the closer you are to a server, the faster your connection is likely to be. NordVPN has servers in New York, for example, and whenever we connect to them from our Brooklyn office, we always experience very minimal speed loss.

Of course, there may be places in the world where there are no nearby NordVPN servers. That’s why if you’re a frequent traveler looking for a trustworthy and speedy VPN as you globetrot around the world, we recommend that you check out the brand’s server locations first. If you think it doesn’t meet your needs, check out our list of the best VPNs for travel.

VPNNumber of servers
Private Internet Access3,200
Proton VPN1,300

Headquartered in Panama

Though NordVPN operates worldwide, its headquarters are in Panama. That’s a big plus for us because Panama falls outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes jurisdiction.1

For all the VPN newbies out there, those are surveillance alliances among countries. Depending on a VPN company headquarters location, government entities could force a company to give up data it gathered about its customers. For instance, governments can ask VPN companies to provide IP address logs for use in criminal investigations. While we don’t condone cybercriminals, it’s a huge red flag in our book if the government can willy-nilly access user logs of VPNs. And that’s why we love NordVPN. It’s outside the jurisdictions of government bodies that can do that.

Kill Switch

NordVPN also featured a kill switch, a VPN mainstay we always keep an eye out for. The kill switch really came in handy when we were downloading a huge file during a storm, and our VPN connection went out for a moment.

The kill switch stopped our download and quit our mobile apps automatically. If it hadn’t done that, our internet provider would have seen our online activities. We feel safe knowing that if our VPN connection drops, our internet connection drops, as well, to protect our privacy. It’s a bit inconvenient (we had to restart our download), but we value privacy above anything else.

Data Usage

NordVPN is one of our favorite VPNs to torrent on, and with its fast speeds, we didn’t have to wait for long for our torrents to finish downloading. With NordVPN, we indulged in as much online content as we wanted to. Best of all, we got to watch Netflix. With NordVPN’s vast collection of servers in other countries, we even got to change our region on Netflix and watch shows from other Netflix libraries.

Heads Up: While we watched Netflix using NordVPN, Netflix is always trying to update its technology to prevent VPN users from bypassing geo-restrictions. So far, Netflix hasn’t blocked NordVPN’s IP addresses, but it could do so in the future.

Minimal Logging

When we don’t use a VPN, our online traffic goes to our internet service provider. The provider has access to all our activities and can give our information over to advertisers, government agencies, and other third parties. When we set up a VPN, our internet service provider can no longer see our activity, but our VPN can. Therefore, it’s important that the VPN doesn’t log more data than it has to.

NordVPN Logging Policy
NordVPN Logging Policy

Luckily, NordVPN didn’t log the websites we visited, the files we downloaded, the software we used, our IP addresses, the amount of time we spent on the VPN, or the amount of data we used.

However, NordVPN logged some data, like the email addresses we used to sign up, payment data, the timestamps of our last sessions statuses, and customer service information, but this is normal and necessary to maintain our account. The company also kept tabs on how we used the NordVPN app to further improve the user experience. We have no qualms with these types of data, as they can’t be used to tie our web activity back to us or to the devices we used. Plus, NordVPN has valid and reasonable reasons for collecting them.

Moreover, PricewaterhouseCoopers Switzerland has audited NordVPN’s logging policy twice, once in 2018 and again in July 2020. Most recently, in June 2021, VerSprite, a third-party consulting firm, completed an independent audit of NordVPN’s application security and found no critical vulnerabilities.2 Bottom line? All audits found the VPN to be completely secure when it comes to customer data.

Our NordVPN privacy report has more details on how the company handles user data.

NordVPN Mac App Screenshot
NordVPN Mac App Screenshot

Strong Encryption

Encryption locks away data about our online activities so that no one, besides authorized users, can see what we’re doing online. It’s a key feature that has led us to use VPNs, and NordVPN has impressive standards.

It uses AES with 256-bit keys, the same encryption standard that governments and cybersecurity experts like us recommend. We also saw the same encryption standard when we reviewed Surfshark, another high-rated VPN, which means it’s what the leading VPNs use. Though we felt secure using both Surfshark and NordVPN, we did notice that SurfShark offered fewer servers than NordVPN, making connection times a bit slower depending on our location. Read our comparison of Surfshark and NordVPN if you wish to learn more.

Internet Protocols

To establish secure connections to its servers, NordVPN used two internet protocols: IPSec and IKEv2. While IKEv2 helped re-establish our VPN connection if we lost our Wi-Fi, IPSec established encrypted connections among our many devices. These internet protocols were helpful when we switched from Wi-Fi networks to mobile hotspots or used our own data.

Split Tunneling

By default, NordVPN encrypted all of our web traffic automatically and routed it through a secure VPN server. This is known as a full-tunnel mode. But did you know that NordVPN also offers split tunneling?

Split tunneling allows for some traffic to pass through the VPN tunnel and others to pass through normal, unencrypted networks. How exactly is that beneficial?

Picture this: You’re using a VPN to access Netflix U.K. on your commute to work. However, since you’re using full-tunnel mode, all your apps are connected to a U.K. server, even your weather app, and that means you’re seeing the weather in the U.K. and not in your local city. With split-tunneling, you can force your weather app to use the normal network so it fetches your city’s weather information.

Double VPN

NordVPN also employed a double VPN, meaning that our data went through multiple servers to gain multiple layers of encryption. This concept, known as VPN server chaining or multi-hop, enhanced our security so that absolutely no one knew what we were up to.

Even if, let’s say, a hacker managed to get through one layer of encryption, a second encryption layer would stand as extra protection. Most VPNs only use one server, so we felt good knowing that our data had twice the encryption protecting it before it reached its final destination.

Speed Tests

VPNs will sometimes slow down our internet speed, as the traffic has to go through an encryption server on top of a public network’s server. Regardless, we still wanted to see fast internet speeds while we were connected, so we made sure to test NordVPN ourselves. We used a MacBook Pro and an Acer Aspire 5 running Windows 10.

Lots of factors determine speed, like distance to the server, the device’s make and model, and the operating system, so keep in mind that there are a lot of things at play aside from the VPN itself.

Connecting to NordVPN on our Macbook Pro
Connecting to NordVPN on our Macbook Pro

In our results below, NordVPN worked much faster on our Acer Aspire 5 than on our MacBook Pro.

On our MacBook Pro, our download speed was about 25 percent slower while using NordVPN, while speed only decreased by eight percent on our Acer Aspire.

Our upload speeds were slower on our Mac than on our Windows, but download speeds on the Mac still excelled. For instance, when we needed to download a few files to share with our team, our Mac handled the task in just a couple of minutes.

Connecting to NordVPN on our Acer Aspire 5
Connecting to NordVPN on our Acer Aspire 5
Testing computerMacBook ProAcer Aspire 5
Ping without VPN (in ms)425
Ping with VPN (in ms)46160
Ping difference10%3100%
MacBook download speed without VPN (in Mbps)54.8623.49
Download speed with VPN (in Mbps)41.3721.7
Download speed difference-24%-8%
Upload speed without VPN (in mbps)33.8624
Upload speed with VPN (in mbps)27.217.91
Upload speed difference-20%-67%

Although NordVPN worked better on our Windows, it still held its own when we used our Mac, making it a versatile option no matter the device.

We should also note that NordVPN uses the NordLynx protocol, an adaptation of the Wireguard VPN protocol. Wireguard averaged 59 percent faster than OpenVPN in download speed tests.4 The NordLynx switchover hadn’t happened yet at the time of our NordVPN tests, but it’s safe to say that NordVPN’s download speeds have improved in recent years thanks to the NordLynx protocol.

DNS Leak Tests

DNS stands for Domain Name System, which is like yellow pages to the worldwide web. It’s a directory that converts domain names to IP addresses and vice versa, so that when you type in a domain name (e.g. Google), your traffic knows to go to the right IP address. We put all the VPNs we review through a test to make sure that they are hiding our DNS when we connect to them. Fortunately, the company passed our evaluation, meaning that there were no DNS leaks when we connected to NordVPN.

NordVPN - DNS test leak results
NordVPN – DNS test leak results

WebRTC Leak Tests

WebRTC Leak Test without NordVPN
WebRTC Leak Test without NordVPN

We liked WebRTC because it allowed all the things we had going, like Netflix, video chats, and files we had to download, to use less bandwidth. However, WebRTC comes at a cost: the devices know each other’s private IP addresses, a big no-no for us. We conducted a WebRTC test to make sure that our IP addresses didn’t leak when we were using NordVPN. Luckily, NordVPN passed with flying colors on both Windows and Mac, showing different IP addresses than the real ones on our computers.

In Summary

NordVPN is a versatile VPN option with a global reach and first-class digital security software. We loved that its headquarters is in Panama because that meant we didn’t have to stress about the possibility of the government seeing our data. We were also glad that we could torrent so easily. Lastly, NordVPN passed all of our speed and security tests with top marks, making us confident that it could protect our privacy while we used the internet however we pleased.

Editors Rating:
9.7 /10
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