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Due to increased monitoring, tracking and an ever-growing number of cyber threats, demand for VPN services has been growing steadily over recent years. As the importance of data security and privacy for both businesses and individuals is continuing to rise, more and more VPN providers join the cyber security market. As a result, privacy-focused Internet users can now choose from a wide range of available services, varying in speeds, security protocols, pricing and supported platforms.
By sending users’ Internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel, VPNs ensure your browsing activities remain private and safe from snoopers and hackers. Another useful thing about having a VPN is its ability to bypass geographic restrictions allowing you access any content online.
NordVPN Review 2018
Some VPN providers, such as NordVPN, take basic VPN products to the next level by adding extra layers of functionality and investing in additional security. Among its many features, NordVPN customers can find an ever-growing network of servers, an automatic kill switch in case of unexpected connection interruptions, a double encryption option, and lightweight proxy extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. The fact that NordVPN is based in Panama, which has no mandatory data retention laws, definitely helps this provider to stand out from the crowd.
✅ Lots of servers, optimized for different needs.
✅ 2500+ servers in more than 50 worldwide locations.
✅ P2P allowed.
✅ Six simultaneous connections.
✅ Blocks ads and various online threats.
✅ Easy-to-use apps for major operating systems.
❌ A bit slower than some other VPNs.
Pricing and plans
A two-year subscription to NordVPN costs $79, which is only $3.29 per month. This is arguably one of the best deals on the market, given all the advanced security features and service reliability. However, if you are not into long-lasting commitments, you can choose monthly billing, which will cost you $11.95 per month. A reasonable compromise between these two is a one-year subscription for $69 ($5.75 per month).
All NordVPN plans include unlimited bandwidth on up to six different devices, so you can secure your smartphone, tablet, laptop and router, protecting all devices on your home network for as low as $3.29 per month. What’s more – NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it and see if it is the type of service you are looking for.
NordVPN accepts major credit cards, PayPal, anonymous Bitcoin payments, and offers other alternative payment methods processed by their partner, Paymentwall. Once you go to NordVPN’s order page and start following the steps to make a payment for the subscription, you will see all the available payment methods listed down below the subscription plans.
Alternatively, you can purchase a subscription directly through iTunes or Google Play.
✪ 2642 servers in 56 countries (updated regularly)
✪ No logs policy
✪ Up to 6 simultaneous connections
✪ Automatic kill switch
✪ Military-grade data encryption
✪ User-friendly apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
✪ Proxy extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox
✪ P2P friendly
✪ Double data encryption for increased anonymity
✪ Onion Over VPN servers
✪ Unlimited bandwidth
✪ 24/7 friendly customer support
✪ Accepts payments via credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin. Other payment methods also available
✪ Dedicated IPs on request
✪ CyberSec feature blocks ads and malware-hosting sites
✪ 30-day money-back guarantee
Privacy & security
NordVPN is based in Panama, which means that the company is not legally obliged to collect and save any of their customers’ data. NordVPN accepts payments via Bitcoin and keeps no logs at all, so they would not be able to provide any details about you even if they were asked to.
On top of that, the service is packed with top-end security features, such as DNS leak protection, malware blocking, an automatic killswitch and double VPN, and provides 256-bit AES encryption, allowing even the most security-conscious users to feel thoroughly protected.
NordVPN employs two encryption protocols. OpenVPN with 2048-bit SSL encryption is the default option in NordVPN’s Windows and Android apps. The 3072-bit IKEv2/IPsec is the latest addition to the NordVPN security protocol family, set as default for iOS and macOS. By far it is the most secure protocol, that meets military-grade encryption standards, provides stability and high-performance.
It’s true that using a VPN always affects your connection speed at some level. The only question is: how much? To measure the effect, we used the Ookla speed-testing tool while connected to a Wi-Fi network.
First, we chose the server closest to us geographically. The test showed a rather insignificant drop in the download and upload speeds.
Then we tried connecting to a couple of random European servers, getting rather mixed results, ranging from around 5 Mbps to the record 50.14 Mbps on one of the Swiss servers, which was even higher than the download speed we got with no VPN in use.
As we expected, in the US VPN test the download speed was reduced to approximately 2 Mbps.
However, if you use the Internet for daily browsing, reading the news or checking your email, you probably won’t feel the difference. For those who use a VPN for video streaming or P2P, NordVPN offers a selection of faster servers optimized for these particular activities. Adjusting your encryption level or using a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi can also help increase the VPN speed.
NordVPN Server Locations
NordVPN boasts a large server network, which currently includes 2642 servers in 56 countries around the world. Some of these locations include the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, South Africa, Singapore, and Australia. As far as we see, the company is constantly adding new servers and locations, so the next time you open the app, you will likely find even more options in nordvpn’s server list.
Depending on your needs and preferences, you can choose ultrafast servers for; Double VPN or Onion Over VPN connections for enhanced anonymity; Anti DDoS for staying safe from denial-of-service attacks. Or pick any regular server to hide your IP address, encrypt your communications and to watch your favorite shows online – all NordVPN servers are now optimized for video streaming.
NordVPN has a nice-looking and well-designed website, providing all the information you need in one place: product features, pricing plans, available servers, downloads section and, of course – customer support. You can get in touch with NordVPN’s technical support team 24/7 via live chat, email or fill the contact form available online. Their agents respond pretty quick, so you can get your problem solved in no time.
However, if you prefer to find all the answers by yourself, there is also a pretty comprehensive knowledge base, that you will find by clicking Help at the top right of the website.
To wrap up, we are truly impressed with the reliability and efficiency of NordVPN’s services. User-friendly and straightforward enough for beginners, offering a bunch of thought-out features for security-focused users, it is arguably one of the best products on the VPN market.