For a variety of reasons, NordVPN deserves a position on our top VPN list for a variety of reasons. NordVPN’s reputation as the virtual private network provider with the most bang for your money is likely the first thing you’ve heard about it, but there’s more: Hands down, you are unlikely to find a VPN that can do more than NordVPN and do it as affordably as NordVPN. Despite a security breach disclosed in 2019 (more on that later), it’s difficult to find another service that provides what NordVPN does at all.
Sure, NordVPN might provide a bit more anonymity if it increased the number of servers it owns, but we’re talking about more than 5,200 servers in 60 countries, a zero-log policy, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PROS & CONS
We conducted our NordVPN speed testing over three days, utilizing both wireless and Ethernet connections. Internet speeds in the United States vary greatly by state and provider. And, as with any speed test, the results will be influenced by your local infrastructure, with hyperfast internet access producing faster test speed results.
That’s why we’re more concerned with the amount of speed lost, as using any VPN may often reduce your internet speed by 50% or more. NordVPN lowered our connection speed by 53% on average, compared to the 32% loss we experienced when we tested it in 2019. While not as fast as some of its competitors, such as ExpressVPN and Surfshark, we discovered that NordVPN’s speeds were adequate.
During my tests, NordVPN’s total world average speed was 91Mbps in a dataset with average non-VPN speeds of 194Mbps. While it’s usual for a VPN to reduce your internet speed by half or more, the important context here is that I never saw NordVPN go below 85Mbps across the averages of my five test zones. It is still one of the most consistent and dependable VPNs I’ve used.
Singapore dominated the testing averages with 98Mbps, but UK speeds edged out European speeds by a whisker. UK connections averaged 99.93Mbps, edging out French and German connections, which averaged 91.90Mbps. During testing, NordVPN had another nail-biter, with Australia outperforming the US, 88Mbps to 86Mbps. None of these are correct.
Security & Privacy
We appreciate that NordVPN is based in Panama. Panama is often regarded as a privacy-friendly jurisdiction. Because of its lack of surveillance-sharing treaties with other governments.
It uses conventional AES-256-CBC encryption. It offers Perfect Forward Secrecy, which means it changes encryption keys regularly to avoid security breaches. It also uses the OpenVPN protocol (one of the most secure protocols available). It also uses IPSec/IKEv2 authentication (which is less secure but still quite fast). During our testing, we found no IP address leaks, DNS leaks, or other potentially user-identifying data breaches.
The VPN software has a helpful kill switch security function that stops network data from leaking outside of the network.
Additional capabilities include a site filter to prevent a larger range of harmful sites. It also includes an ad and tracker blocker that is optional. The latter contributes significantly to the ordinary VPN user’s ability to maintain high speeds. We particularly enjoy Nord’s double VPN function, which lets users hop between servers for more encryption. We found its obfuscation (the act of making a VPN not appear like a VPN) to be successful in all of our tests.
While the VPN service had previously been on our list of recommended vendors; we moved it to the penalty box in October 2019 to re-evaluate our recommendation after learning that one of its rented servers had been accessed without authorization.
We enjoy NordVPN’s simple, user-friendly interface, toggling buttons, and server search tools. The dynamic map picture is visually appealing, but it may be more useful if it’s the default setting that recognizes cities rather than just nations.
The VPN provider provides live chat and email assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NordVPN’s website also includes a well-designed help area with a veritable library of FAQs and courses.
There are no data limitations imposed by the VPN service provider, and you may switch between servers and torrents without restriction. We had no trouble accessing Netflix with it. However, unlike other rivals, you can only operate six devices at the same time on a single subscription. Get a 72% discount on a 2-year package!
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