NordVPN Review

Let’s take a look at one of the VPN industry’s big players over the last couple of years with an in-depth NordVPN review right here.

If you are looking to up your privacy game and have found yourself skulking around reviews of various VPN providers, there is zero chance that you have failed to come across NordVPN.

Nord is a behemoth in the space – fair to say the first, and to an extent, still the only breakout company in the industry. It’s a brand that you can see advertised the world over and with that level of exposure, man you had better be good.

There is no margin of error in the privacy game. It’s no exaggeration that people’s lives might depend on it in the most extreme of circumstances, but for the majority of us, who just want to make sure a little less snooping of our online activity can be carried out by the likes of ISPs and relentless advertisers, we still need to feel secure in what we are, after all, paying yet another monthly subscription for.

Further reading

After you have finished with this in-depth review of NordVPN it’s always worth checkout out our Internet Safety Guide, to make sure you have all your security bases covered.

Why choose NordVPN?

That’s a question that can be asked about any VPN I guess, but Nord especially is relevant because a) you don’t really need a VPN and also, it comes in as a pricy option compared to some of the newer VPN kids on the block.

Choosing the right VPN can set your mind swirling around. Yes, you could save an extra couple of dollars/pounds a month on the service from BrandNewSuperCheapVPNZ but you are talking about your online identity and safety here. And with that in mind, surely you should plump for one of the trusted big hitters in the industry?

Well, even that isn’t always as clear-cut as you might think. NordVPN got hit by hackers back in 2018 in a rude awakening to the sector. How could an industry built around privacy and security get hacked? Not a strong look. As it turns out the hack was on a much smaller scale than say the recent T-Mobile breach and revolved around a single server in Finland. Ultimately though, if we are to take anything from events such as this, is that your privacy isn’t really ever 100% safe – all you can do is mitigate your exposure, and there can be no doubting that opting for a service such as the one Nord provides is a much better option than leaping into bed with a brand you have never heard of before in order to save some loose change.

What does NordVPN offer?

The service offers over 5200 servers based in over 60 countries in the world, so pretty much you can be anywhere you need to be to access that localized version of Netflix with the minimum of fuss.

Nord’s “wall of next-generation encryption” ensures that all your data remains safely locked out of harm’s way and importantly, and something that is not always easy to find out when it comes to cheaper options, Nord has a strict no-logs policy, meaning they don’t track, collect or share your private data. While it’s true any reputable VPN provider does the same, you will occasionally find that logs might be kept on free options and so on. It’s definitely something worth always checking for, especially if your online security is important to your wellbeing.

You can have up to six simultaneous connections, including from Android and iOS devices, so your mobile phone and tablet browsing are also covered simply by installing the NordVPN app.

It’s not unusual to see a Kill Switch on a major VPN these days and NordVPN is no exception. The Kill Switch basically blocks your internet traffic if you lose connection to the NordVPN server at any point for any reason, allowing you to connect quickly to another server without being compromised.

NordVPN’s CyberSec feature (turned off by default) also allows the client to block ads and malicious websites. We had a couple of issues where it seemed to prevent legitimate websites from loading which was rectified when we switched it off. So in our case, we ultimately left it unused.

What NordVPN doesn’t offer is a free trial like many other VPNs, but when you are as well known and respected as it is, you probably don’t need to try it out. Just follow the recommendation of reviews like this one.

Dedicated IP address

Now, this may be something you haven’t even considered, but I have fallen into the trap with lesser VPN providers where I have needed my own dedicated IP address to use a website but the VPN I was using only offered a shared IP, meaning other users were all identified using the same address and to get a dedicated one, well that would cost more money. And that’s the same here. You are looking at around $70 a year for a dedicated IP address, but if it’s something you need then it’s an extra cost you need to factor in.

Easy to install browser extensions

If you are a Chrome or Firefox user, browser extensions are available to install which means your browsing will always have that extra layer of protection without you having to even think about it.

Things get a little more fiddly if you are a Microsoft Edge use, but as the most recent version of Edge is based on Chromium, you can now use the extensions from the Chrome Web Store. You just need to click on “Allow extensions from other stores” on the NordVPN Extensions page at the Chrome Web Store. Simple enough, but unfortunately a small hoop to hop through.

NordVPN Speed

Some VPN services dramatically affect the speed of your internet connection. If you have a super-fast line to the online world it may be that you don’t even notice but we pushed Nord’s claim of being the fastest VPN out there to the limit with our speed tests. We found that as long as you select a server in a country that you would expect to have a decent tech infrastructure we maintained a great download and upload speed. If we selected one in our own country we noticed very little drop off from not using the VPN at all.

We had issues when speed testing servers from countries such as India and Hong Kong, but the server we tried in Tokyo also performed well. It is probably good practice then if fast speeds are important to you, to run a speed test on your connection after you have joined one of NordVPN servers, especially if you are looking to stream a 4K video or something like that. If it’s slower than you would like, simply disconnect and try somewhere else. You will soon pick up your favorites.

Leak Test

Without getting too technical we performed several leak tests, which are designed to see if your browser accidentally leaks your true identity by accident at any point, including when your connection drops and reconnects and found the NordVPN server to be solid as a rock. We certainly couldn’t get it to compromise our true location, try as we might.

Why use a VPN?

We aren’t all as lucky as others. Some major regions of the world have what many would consider archaic restrictions in place that might stop you from viewing content that is freely available elsewhere. Using NordVPN you can simply select a server outside of this restrictive region and view – logging and track free, what you want. So if your security and privacy are important to you, well you really should be using a VPN.

NordVPN’s CyberSec software prevents you from accidentally wandering across malicious websites and ads. Your data is safe being its security walls, so even if you like to use the public wi-fi at your local Starbucks it will stop all your credentials from being hoovered up by any bad actors who might be enjoying a frothy macchiato a couple of tables away.

And ultimately, your privacy is important. I hate the “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, why do you need a VPN to keep everything private?’ argument. That’s a naive message pushed out by Governmental PR machines and people who frankly don’t know what they are talking about. I don’t need to be doing anything wrong to prefer that nobody can snoop on me. I don’t need to be torrenting movies to not want unscrupulous ad companies collecting all my personal data to sell off to the highest bidder. Privacy is a basic human right and a good VPN is at least a step in the right direction to getting it back after we have doled away our lives without realizing it over the last couple of years.

How much does NordVPN cost?

Now, this might be a kicker because all this premium security comes at considerably more than a lot of competitors. It has a bit of a bad rep for being expensive as a rule because if you sign up outside of a sale period it can cost considerably more. At the time of writing, we are in the middle of VPN Awareness month and you can pick up a two-year subscription for just £65.86 rather than the normal price of £238. That’s a saving of 72%, but obviously, you have to be prepared to drop that amount of cash and also commit to something you may not have used before for the next two years.

Compare that to the monthly price of £8.84/$11.95  and you can see significant savings can be made by buying up in advance. Now it’s fair to say that you can pick up a VPN service for probably half that but NordVPN would tell you its offering is the fastest VPN on the planet and that the independently audited no-logs policy is not always as strict at some other competitors. Basically, the best way to pick up this market-leading VPN is to buy a longer-term package, (and buy it now while the savings are on) but if you just want to try it out, then there is no contract with the month-by-month offering either.

Obviously, this is without the additional cost of the dedicated IP if you need that too. Keep that in mind.

Our Verdict

Editor's Choice

NordVPN

Best in class VPN for every need

4.9/5

NordVPN is clearly one of the best VPNs on the market today. It’s impossible to argue that. It is simple to use, stacked full of features you won’t find anywhere else. And to top it all off it’s deliciously fast. The caveat is, of course, is that it is expensive but you get what you pay for and if you are in a position to jump into a two-year partnership with Nord you can make some mammoth savings.

The monthly price is where things get a little more difficult but obviously, Nord prefers longer-term commitments so tie up all the potential customers to its ecosystem and prevent them from flirting with anybody who comes along between now and 2023!

While the majority of people keen on getting a VPN could certainly live with a cheap option we still would recommend spending that little extra and signing up with NordVPN. It’s now pretty much a one-stop-shop for where all the new features in the market emerge from first and you have the mental security of knowing it is so big it isn’t going to go away if you drop two years worth of cash on it – something I would be less sure about with some of its rivals.

It’s been a massive few years of growth for Nord and it hasn’t rested on its laurels. If you are looking for a VPN service that will fulfill all your needs and then some, it’s very easy to recommend NordVPN as our favorite provider of Vs, Ps, and Ns right now.

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Been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision. Spent over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title. Has written tech content for GamePro, Official Australian Playstation Magazine, PlayStation Pro, Amiga Action, Mega Action, ST Action, GQ, Loaded, and the Daily Mirror. Twitter: @iampaulmcnally

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