$11.95 
$2.99
Per Month

Features

  • Works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • 30-day Money Back Guarantee Available
  • WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS Leak Protection
  • Simultaneous Connections on 6 Devices
  • Dedicated Servers for P2P & Streaming
  • 5,228 servers in 62 countries worldwide
Hamza Shahid Last Updated: February 01, 2019 4 User Reviews

NordVPN Review

NordVPN is like the undefeatable and persistent Saiya-jin, Goku. Ever since its inception, the provider has proved to be an all-rounder. It defends you against prying eyes, offers exceptional privacy, and gives users the ability to enjoy seamless P2P/file sharing and streaming on VoDs.

The VPN clients deliver amazing performance across all platforms. Users even have access to unique tools not seen among competitors. For its reliable service, multitude features, and remarkable user experience, it scores a rare 4.5 star in ratings from BestVPN.co.

If you want to learn more about the provider, read this in-depth NordVPN Review!

 

Service Background and Location

A product of Telecom & Co., S.A – NordVPN is a Panamanian-based provider, launched back in 2012. It is the preferred choice for privacy-craving individuals. This is because the country it is situated in, promotes user privacy, unlike the invasive and unjust EU and US jurisdictions.

Second, to TunnelBear, the provider is one of the only in the marketplace to carry out a 3rd Party Audit. This reiterates and verifies their vow to users of complete PRIVACY. Likewise, the service does exceptionally good in unblocking VoD services.

Most noteworthy, the VPN even offers, “obfuscated servers”. These make it possible to bypass firewalls in countries with tougher internet laws, including China, Iraq, UAE, Iran, Turkey, and Russia. If that does not sound convincing, you should check out their list of advanced features.

NordVPN supports Onion over VPN while offering amazing technologies like SmartPlay (for your streaming needs), CyberSec (to receive protection against malware/viruses), and DoubleVPN (for boosting your anonymity online, leaving you untraceable).

 

Server Count and Locations Appraisal

I have been reviewing VPN services for a long time now. So, I am well aware of the different names in the marketplace. What makes NordVPN different is that it keeps on expanding! I remember it having a count somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000, similar to most providers.

However, the Panamanian-provider now has over 5,228 servers in 62 countries worldwide. This is one of the key USPs of NordVPN, which help it gain an edge in the marketplace. You can never get tired of trying out different servers for torrenting or unblocking VoD services, like Netflix!

NordVPN Review

In fact, most NordVPN clients will provide you with the ability to select specific servers for your needs. Users have explicit choices for Anti-DDoS Protection, Dedicated IPs, Double VPN, Onion over VPN, and P2P/File sharing. This makes the selection process way easier and convenient.

However, if you are still confused about which server to connect to, NordVPN provides further assistance. As you can see below, you have access to a recommendation tool that uses smart algorithms for finding the best server. I really adore the provider for its out-of-the-box thinking!

Server Count and Locations Appraisal

 

Subscriptions Offered by NordVPN

Personally, I believe NordVPN is the best service in the marketplace of privacy tools as of recent. Even so, it manages to be quite friendly on the pockets. The provider has a clear and simple pricing structure with four varied plans, based on length of subscription:

  1. Monthly Plan – Costs Around $11.95
  2. 1-Year Plan – $6.99/mo. (Billed $83.88) – 41% Discount
  3. 2-Year Plan – $3.99/mo. (Billed $95.75) – 66% Discount
  4. 3-Year Plan – $2.99/mo. (Billed $107.55) – 75% Discount

The monthly plan starts at a high $11.95. This is a trick used by many providers in the marketplace so that other plans with longer durations look more convincing. As such, I would advise to only sign up for the monthly, if you only plan on using the VPN for a short time.

However, users who rely on VPNs for their work or accessing their home network from varied locations should opt for plans with a longer duration. The 1-year plan costs only $6.99 per month, totaling to $83.33, giving you a 41% discount to leverage.

The 2-year plan further reduces the monthly pricing to $3.99, which is billed $95.75 every 24-months. You receive an amazing 66% discount. For the best value, however, I advise going for the 3-year deal that starts at $2.99 per month. This means, you only pay $107.55 for 36 months!

Subscriptions Offered by NordVPN

 

Does NordVPN Offer a Free Trial?

Not many providers in the marketplace offer free trials. Even if they do, it is usually a sham in the form of a money back guarantee. NordVPN for one, stays true to its promise of satisfying the needs of prospects and users. It does indeed offer a 7-day free trial for the privacy-conscious!

The only catch is that you will have to enter your credit card information, instead of solely submitting a valid email address. NordVPN only does this to prevent fake/phony users from signing up for accounts, as most would not feel comfortable sharing their financial details.

Does NordVPN Offer a Free Trial

 

Is There a Money Back Guarantee Available?

NordVPN exists as one of those rare providers in the marketplace that offers both: a free trial and convincing 30-day money back guarantee. Throughout my experience of reviewing varied providers, I have never witnessed a service with such a successful refund policy.

Unlike other providers, they actually give your money back, if you are not satisfied with their service. Of course, there are some cases where it takes longer to get a refund. In comparison to other providers though, NordVPN tends to be the most proactive in handling money backs.

If you wish to claim a refund, do so within 30 days following your purchase. Remember though that subscriptions purchased via iTunes are subject to the native app stores’ refund policies. Also, the provider does not give refunds for StackSocial, Amazon, and BestBuy.

So, how does one ask for a refund from NordVPN? Well, the process is incredibly simple. Just contact their customer support team, requesting a money back.

 

What Payment Methods Does NordVPN Support?

For payment methods, NordVPN is quite supportive of giving users multiple options to subscribe to their service. They accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover for recurrent subscriptions.

If you want a more direct form of payment, users have AliPay, Union Pay, Yandex, GiroPay, Sofort, and Web Money available with NordVPN.

What Payment Methods Does NordVPN Support

Smartphone users can even sign up through their dedicated app stores. Google Play and iTunes both support in-app purchases. In short, the choices are plenty!

 

PayPal Customer Support Answer

NordVPN has recently removed PayPal as an payment option. I contacted their support regarding a reason for the removal, and they responded by saying:

“Unfortunately, right now payments via PayPal are unavailable. In general, we are having an ideological dispute over how things should be handled, and our vision of cooperation clearly differ. You can purchase our service by credit card or through any other payment method available. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

 

 

 

Devices Supported by the Provider

Soon after signing up with a VPN service, you will need to install the relevant client for testing. Some providers make this process more difficult than it has to be. However, NordVPN does an amazing job in offering users great convenience, requiring a simple click on the “VPN Apps” tab.

The website then automatically gives you a download link for the device you are using. Moreover, you also gain access to links for other supported platforms. These include Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone iOS, Linux, Android TV, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Firestick.

For further assistance, NordVPN even provides a list of 80+ tutorials on how to setup NordVPN manually on a multitude of devices. This includes coverage of numerous platforms and device types like FlashRouters, Raspberry Pi, NAS devices and more.

To give you a better idea regarding NordVPN apps, I have conducted a thorough analysis below. This will provide users with insight concerning varied specifications, features, and style of different NordVPN clients.

 

Desktop and Laptop Apps!

For desktop PCs and laptops, NordVPN provides apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The clients for Mac and Windows are quite similar in terms of overall appearance and features.

They are also quite easy to download, install, and configure. Linux users, on the other hand, have to install NordVPN manually through “coding”.

There is no GUI available for Linux. As such, users will either have to connect to servers via adding codes in the terminal or through the “Network Manager”.

Regardless, you receive top performance and reliability on the platform, similar to client versions of Windows and Mac.

 

NordVPN for Windows

The Windows app launches by displaying its many server locations on a dynamic map. You can find a suitable location by hitting the left click and dragging to pan around or spinning the mouse wheel to zoom. Hovering your mouse over a highlighted location will reveal the name.

I did find this impressive initially, but soon realized I suck at identifying locations from a map. Luckily, NordVPN does have an alphabetically sorted list of countries on the left. Scroll to the country you need, select the server, and hit the connect button!

NordVPN for Windows

The Windows client also offers a separate “Specialty” panel, where you can choose servers for specific tasks: P2P/file sharing, accessing a dedicated IP, DoubleVPN, or Onion over VPN. This makes it easier to access servers based on your needs, which you can then add to “Favorites”.

If you click on “Settings”, you gain access to a list of features like CyberSec, Internet Kill Switch, Invisibility on LAN. You can even decide whether or not you want the VPN to “Auto Connect” or launch on system startup. I really love this simple listing of configurations!

 

NordVPN for Mac

At first glance, the NordVPN Mac application looks/feels identical to its Windows. It uses the same cartoon submarines and ships in the design, along with the standard blue color. However, it is only when you explore the macOS version completely, do you find a few unique flourishes.

For instance, instead of the map being directly visible on the Mac app, a hidden left tray slides over to reveal a complete list of servers. In terms of user-friendliness, I also felt the app to be more responsive and interactive than the Windows Client.

NordVPN for Mac

The only problem is that some features are not that visible to users. You can only view the Tor via VPN, double encryption, and streaming specialized servers by applying specific filters to the list view or clicking at “options” on the bottom of the search screen.

Server load information is also unavailable in the VPN client. As a positive though, the MAC version does give users the ability to select which applications the “Network Lock” affects. There are some hits and misses, but the NordVPN Mac app remains amazing to use as always!

 

Android Smartphones

NordVPN for AndroidAs an Android user myself, I have tested plenty of different VPN services for my own needs. These include free and premium services like NordVPN. Where most VPNs would give connectivity issues after a few days, the Panamanian-based provider remained consistent.

The app would rarely ever disconnect or cause internet-related issues. For this reason, I guess NordVPN Android also tends to be the most popular. It has an impressive rating of 4.4 on Google Play with more than five million downloads to its name.

Bear in mind that ExpressVPN, their top competitor only manages 4.1. As a result, NordVPN getting a rating of 4.4 is quite an achievement. It is justified too, especially if you look at the app, which is quite easy to use and configure.

Albeit, I did find it difficult to find their conventional countries list. It was only later that I realized I had to swipe up to get access to the list of countries. Some UI improvements are definitely required!

 

 

If you click on the “Gear” icon, you will gain access to the “My Account & Settings” menu. Here you have available all the features offered by NordVPN.

Most would be toggled “off”, if you have just installed the application. So, do take the time out to activate features like CyberSec and Obfuscated Servers.

The Network Lock or Kill Switch feature is activated automatically, so you will not find an option for it. Other configurations include the “Use TCP” option.

If you are tech-savvy, you might know how important such a feature is. The OpenVPN TCP protocol is designed for high reliability, as it includes error correction, known as a “stateful” protocol.

In addition to this, VPNs that use the TCP protocol can bypass the strictest corporate firewalls. This is why it is a preferred option for many, who particularly indulge in unblocking VoDs like Netflix.

As usual with smartphone apps, the NordVPN for Android client also has fewer settings than its desktop counterparts. For instance, you do not get any server load information, and there is no option to choose your own DNS server or use a dedicated IP.

 

VPN for iPhone/iPad

NordVPN for iOSThe NordVPN for iOS app is available on iTunes for downloading and installing. I faced no issues getting the app on both: iPhone or iPad devices. Just go to the store, hit the install button, open the app, and connect to any server of your choice.

When you open the NordVPN iOS app, you will be faced with the same map interface as other clients. The only difference is that the iOS developers have worked harder on making the map easier to use and navigate for server selection.

Zooming and zooming out is quite fast and the app is overall quite responsive, rarely every lagging or getting stuck. This is a great plus, considering most iOS users face issues with dedicated VPN apps.

If you look at the bottom of the app, the panel introduces you options like “Quick Connect” and “Countries”. This is better than the Android version too, which requires a swipe up for accessing the complete listing of servers available.

As another plus, the NordVPN for iOS app also exists as the only version that displays servers by “Region”. This means, you can directly choose a US server in Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and many other cities.

 

NordVPN for iPhoneI do expect that NordVPN implements the same “Region” listing in other app clients too. It is a great improvement for the overall user-interface, which may help increase their likeability among users even more. Ease-of-use always ranks high!

Where there is good, there are a few negatives about the iOS app too. For instance, the specialty server listing in this version is shorter than Windows and Android counterparts.

Users only have the option of selecting servers that support Onion over VPN or P2P/File Sharing. There are no DoubleVPN or Dedicated IP server listings available, like on the Windows client.

At the same time, users have been restricted access to several NordVPN features, like the malicious IP filtering CyberSec, the TCP or UDP protocol control, Obfuscated Servers (for bypassing restrictions in countries like China), and auto-connection.

However, this has nothing to do with the VPNs capability. The iTunes security model places strict limits on what varied apps can do. Similar to how Google Chrome is cracking down against VPN apps adding ad/tracker blockers on their clients, as it goes against their policies.

 

 

Browser Extensions

NordVPN for BrowsersWhen it comes to using a VPN service, most users want native apps for all devices. This includes browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. With NordVPN, you have dedicated extensions available for both browsers.

These clients are generally very easy to use and allow for instant unblocking of geo-restricted websites. In terms of appearance, NordVPN utilizes the same design and styling for both Chrome and Mozilla, which is quite simplistic.

You are greeted by a screen that gives you two options: Quick Connection (the VPN will select the best server for you based on your location) and Connects to a specific country. Users can choose either option according to their convenience.

Once connected, you will receive the same level of unblocking capabilities as any other proxy service. Just remember that you cannot unblock VoDs, as these clients only maintain encryption within your browser and not the entire network!

 

NordVPN for Chrome and FirefoxUnlike other browser extensions that reduce their server listings, NordVPN maintains a strong database of locations.

Similar to any other app of theirs, you have access to servers in 62 countries. This makes it convenient to unblock websites anywhere in the world, or gain location-specific results on apps.

If I compare the extension to other counterparts, you can see the “map” is missing, and all countries are listed in alphabetic order.

This is quite relieving and a refreshing change. For configurations, you can find a “Gear” icon on the top right corner. Upon clicking it, you will gain access to this menu (pic on the right).

Here you have the ability of activating NordVPN’s features like Block WebRTC and CyberSec (ad blocker and malware protection). The addition of tools is another plus for Nord.

 

 

How Do Customers of NordVPN Receive Support?

I have witnessed the digital revolution happening in front of me. ICQ, AIM, MSN, Yahoo! Pager, ah the good old days! Then I saw social media take over. Platforms like MySpace, Orkut, and AOL Chat Rooms were the in thing. Soon enough, internet presence started spreading in various avenues.

Video streaming platforms, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools, and related websites started taking over, ultimately leading to where we are today. Throughout these years though, I have noticed that the support I have received from a myriad of services, literally sucks!

Late responses, insufficient support mediums, distasteful experiences are still common. NordVPN however successfully managed to change my opinion about online customer support. They have a variety of mediums for you to receive expert assistance.

How Do Customers of NordVPN Receive Support

If you click on the “Help” tab on the homepage, you will be redirected to the above page. Here you have a search bar available. This enables users to type in relevant queries and receive answers within seconds, ridding you the hassle of exploring different support categories.

However, if you cannot find a relevant answer, you have a category listing too. These include support for users who are just “Getting Started” with NordVPN. Then you can have separate categories for Billing, Connectivity, and General Info about the Panamanian-provider.

NordVPN Receive Support

You also have a knowledgebase available that is loaded with useful FAQs and their answers. For expert assistance, NordVPN even offers a 24/7 Live Chat support. They are highly responsive and proactive and give replies within seconds of making queries.

NordVPN Customers SupportFor instance, when I was testing the service for VoD unblocking, I approached their live chat. I told the representative “Christian” that I needed info about working servers for bypassing geo-restrictions on Netflix. I received a response within 2 minutes!

The reply from NordVPN was comprehensive and provided us with more answers than we even asked for. The servers mentioned in the reply worked perfectly well for what they were supposed to do i.e. unblock Netflix US

As a result, you can feel assured to receive instant support from NordVPN at all times. This ensures you get the best value for your money, instead of relying on providers that make you wait days.

 

NordVPN Pros

A Myriad of Advanced Features Available

  1. Obfuscated Servers – Countries like UAE, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Russia, and China impose highly strict internet laws. In some cases, there may even be legal consequences for accessing “foreign” apps/services. For people living in such countries, NordVPN offers Obfuscated Servers, designed to offer maximum anonymity for bypassing the toughest of firewalls around the world.
  2. DNS Leak Protection – The last thing you need when using a VPN is your DNS leaking, as that would reveal your real identity. This can be quite alarming, especially if you are indulging in activities like P2P/Torrenting or streaming pirated content, in a country with tough copyright infringement laws. The DNS leak protection feature, guarantees you stay anonymous online!
  3. Automatic Kill Switch – Almost all NordVPN clients come equipped with the Kill Switch feature. This highly responsive and proactive tool automatically kills your internet, if your VPN disconnects. As such, programs will no longer be able to access the internet. This saves your real IP from leaking, which could result in your ISP finding out what you are up to!
  4. DoubleVPN – This feature is for the more paranoid-minded fellas out there. Particularly those who are worried about their online privacy, while indulging in torrenting or streaming pirated content. The DoubleVPN feature routes your internet through two different secure servers around the world before reaching the end destination, guaranteeing complete cloaking!
  5. Onion Over VPN – This is another great feature for leveraging extra protection online. It is mostly used by individuals, who have a desire to visit the dark web or TOR network. NordVPN is one of the only few providers in the marketplace to offer support for Tor. It enables users to route their traffic first through their VPN and then send it to the Onion Router!
  6. SmartPlay – As the name implies, the SmartPlay technology from NordVPN is particularly for streaming maniacs. This feature enables users from around the world to access more than 400 ge0-restricted streaming services. Names include hit VoDs like BBC iPlayer, Pandora, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV, Hotstar, and various others.
  7. CyberSec – The internet is loaded with tricky websites, ads, and software that have the main purpose of infecting your PC, laptop, or smartphone. Clicking on a shady link can result in the loss of all your crucial data. NordVPN’s CyberSec feature prevents this from happening by offering malware protection and blocking ads/trackers!

 

Follows a Strict “Zero Logging” Policy

Many providers in the marketplace claim that they follow a “No Logs” policy. However, when confronted by Government agencies, the reality becomes known. Examples include IPVanish and PureVPN, both of which cooperated upon being given legal notice of seizing their servers.

NordVPN, on the other hand, stays true to its promise of keeping zero logs. In fact, they are one of the only providers in the marketplace currently, who have been verified by a 3rd party audit firm. This guarantees that they do not track your activity online.

They directly state that “NordVPN strictly keeps no logs of your activity online. That means we do not track the time or duration of an online session, and neither do we keep logs of IP addresses or servers used, websites visited or files downloaded.”

As such, you can feel assured that you remain completely safe online. The VPN will not monitor your incoming IP address, or anything that can link back to your identity. You can check out their privacy policy for more information regarding their logging activities.

While reading you will learn that NordVPN only monitors lesser important data, which includes payment details (but you can also use bitcoin to stay anonymous), your email addressis given when signing up, and service performance data (for recommending suitable servers).

 

Unblocks American Netflix and P2P/Torrenting

Boasting the largest network of 5,228 servers, the Panamanian-based provider offers great compatibility for unblocking VoDs like Netflix and indulging in P2P/file sharing.

While torrents are not supported on all servers, NordVPN offers a special listing of P2P servers in 28 countries overall. You can find them in the specialty servers menu.

For added security when downloading torrents, NordVPN even provides a SOCKS5 proxy. This protocol allows only authorized users to access a server, keeping your identity hidden.

If you are using UTorrent, go to “Options” and then “Preferences”. Go to the connection menu and choose the type “SOCKS5 proxy” on the Proxy Server selection. Add a relevant server address by selecting a recommended P2P server from NordVPN here.

Unblocks American Netflix and P2PTorrenting

Enter “1080” for the Port Type, and then finalize the settings by entering your NordVPN username and password. This ensures that whenever you download torrents, NordVPN automatically uses the P2P servers you have added, along with the SOCKS5 proxy!

Unblocks US Netflix

 

How to Securely Watch Netflix with NordVPN?

NordVPN exists as one of the only few providers that provide unrestricted and hassle-free access to Netflix, without any buffering/streaming errors. In fact, I have tested the provider multiple times by checking different servers out, and each time I was able to stream on Netflix.

How do we know which NordVPN servers work with Netflix? I contacted their support team and approached them with questions on unblocking Netflix. They replied to me immediately saying, “Netflix US works with any other server on desktop devices and US servers:”

#3038, 2352-2367, 2340-2347, 2332-2335, 2320-2327, 2312-2315, 2228-2307, 2216-2223, 2096-2203, 2052-2087, 2042-2045, 2010-2037, 1906-2005, 1862-1901, 1806-1857, 1754-1801, 1734-1749, 1709-1732, 1692-1707, 1676-1687, 1652-1659, 1640-1643, 1616-1635, 1580-1607, 1560-1575, 1520-1539, 1500-1515, 1492-1495, 1470-1487, 1422-1429, 1410-1417, 1402-1405, 1366-1373, 1358-1361, 1322-1346, 1297-1312, 1276-1283, 1260-1271, 1248-1255, 1236-1239, 1170-1195, 1146-1165, 2404-2411, 2452-2480, 1118-1141, 1054-1113, 1046-1049, 1027-1036, 1016-1020, 1008-1011, 976-999, 968-971, 956-959, 940-947, 932-935, 896-899, 856-883, 841-851, 829-836, 801-824, 769-780, 714-741, 707-710, 689-702, 679-684, 645-664, US621-640, 577-617 on mobile devices.

How to Securely Watch Netflix with NordVPN

After you establish a connection, simply head to the Netflix website. You will notice a change in the overall categories and listing. For instance, “The Walking Dead” is only available on the US version of Netflix. I successfully managed to unlock the TV show and stream it smoothly with NordVPN!

Watch Netflix with NordVPN

 

Excellent Performance: Delivers Blazing-Fast Speeds

NordVPN may be famous for its privacy, but it has actually improved significantly in areas of performance too. The provider manages to deliver quite the amazing speeds, while providing users with uncrackable encryption. As such, the VPN is undoubtedly an all-rounder.

To give you a more accurate representation on the performance, I performed a thorough speed test on varied servers. The testing process involved trying out servers in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, and France on a high-speed 100Mbps connection.

NordVPN Speed Test

NordVPN
ServerUS UKAustraliaGermanyFranceAverage
Download91.71 Mbits/s83.96 Mbits/s75.81 Mbits/s65.98 Mbits/s82.55 Mbits/s80.00 Mbits/s
Upload60.63 Mbits/s49.99 Mbits/s50.19 Mbits/s59.88 Mbits/s62.72 Mbits/s56.68 Mbits/s
Ping128 ms92 ms117 ms99 ms55 ms98.2 ms

Performance Summary (Average Speeds)

The speed tests above reveal amazing performance with download speeds touching 80.00 Mbps on average and upload at 56.68 Mbps. The speed loss is quite less, in comparison to other providers in the marketplace, including names like VyprVPN (Performance-focused service).

In light of this, the provider has even been awarded the “First Oakla Speedtest Recommended Badge”. This ultimately proves how famous the Panama-based provider is getting, despite some allegations claiming they are not a secure service.

The Press Officer at NordVPN, Laura Tyrell said, “We’re honored to receive the Speedtest Recommended badge from Ookla. “This badge proves our continued effort to provide a cost-effective, well thought-out and fast VPN service. Over the years, NordVPN has become a leading online security solution with more than 8 million users worldwide.”

 

Zero IP or DNS Leak Issues Found with NordVPN

As mentioned earlier, I have tested several VPN services over the years. Most tend to offer good privacy, but on some servers, do leak your WebRTC, DNS, or IPv6 information. NordVPN, however, remains consistent in delivering excellent anonymity.

The VPN is free from all leaks. How do I know this? I tested the same Netflix server #3038 above on 3 different sites to check for IP or DNS leak issues.

WebRTC Leak Test

I first decided to use https://browserleaks.com/ for conducting a thorough WebRTC leak test. As you can see below, there were no errors found. My original IPv4 and IPv6 address are both invisible, displaying the IP address given by NordVPN i.e. 172.98.93.182.

NordVPN WebRTC Leak Test

 

DNS Leak Test

For my second test, I used the infamous Perfect Privacy DNS Leak Test to double-check the results above. As you can see below, nothing reveals your true identity or location. Only a single DNS server was detected using the IP: 172.98.93.181.

NordVPN DNS Leak Test

 

Complete Privacy Analysis

Since I am quite paranoid about my privacy, I decided to conduct another test. This time from the famous IPLeak.net website. The results showed that the VPN was successful in hiding our true location. The public IP is the same: 172.98.93.182 and the DNS server too: 172.98.93.181!

NordVPN Complete Privacy Analysis

 

Located in Panama and Delivers Excellent Anonymity

Since NordVPN has its headquarters in Panama, it automatically gains an edge over the competition. The provider is a great choice for privacy fanatics, as Panama does not impose mandatory data retention laws, indulges in zero government surveillance, and promotes an uncensored internet.

It does not follow the same laws of the invasive EU and US jurisdictions, as such, it is outside the direct influence of GCHQ and NSA. Add this to the VPN’s no logging policy, and users remain completely anonymous online at all times.

I think it is important to add that NordVPN is currently under attack for hearsay of ties to a Lithuanian data-mining company, known as Tesonet. This is because all payments for the service are handled by CloudVPN (based in the US), which has links to the Lithuanian company.

CloudVPN

I approached NordVPN to give a proper reason for this “betrayal of trust”. As I believed, they were based in Panama and run by Tefincom co S.A. They responded to me immediately with some interesting insights, which you can read below:

Hi Hamza,

Being based in Panama has a downside. It complicates our ability to sign our apps, place them in stores and process our payments.

Therefore, we’ve established a proxy based in the US, which in a nutshell acts only as our payment processor and has nothing to do with the actual service…

Banks are suspicious towards transactions made to Panama and tend to complicate or terminate such payments. It’s a simple and common practice.

It’s not a third party company, it’s under our control, and we use it to process our payments. In short – we handle payments ourselves, just through another company

 

VPN Protocols and Encryption Information

In terms of protocols, NordVPN supports PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, and OpenVPN. By default, the Windows client uses OpenVPN, while Mac and iOS counterparts use the secure IKEv2.

Users have the option of choosing between TCP and UDP protocols in Windows and Android apps. Encryption is offered via AES-256-CBC ciphers with HMAC SHA256 hash authentication.

For control channel, NordVPN uses the same AES-256-CBC with an RSA-2048 handshake. Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) is provided by a DHE-4096 key exchange.

Mac apps use IKEv2 with Cisco’s Next Generation Encryption (NGE) protocol, while iOS apps utilize AES-256-GCM ciphers with HMAC SHA2384 for data authentication.

 

The VPN is Accessible in China (Unlike Most Providers)

As part of the country’s plan for 2018, the Chinese Government decided to impose new regulations on internet censorship. They ordered a sweeping crackdown against all VPNs and other methods to bypass geo-restrictions. They even blocked 3,000 foreign websites!

The city of Chongqing published a notice last March, specifying fines as much as 15,000 yuan for using a VPN. The only demographic allowed to use VPNs are those belonging to the corporate sector, which has been verified and complies with the laws of the Chinese Government.

Meanwhile, “foreign” VPNs have been removed the iTunes store in China, while Google services are completely banned! This is where NordVPN comes in, announcing in late June 2017 that their apps have the ability oto unblockwebsites from within and outside of China!

Unlike other providers, NordVPN even has a dedicated Chinese website that is accessible for individuals in the country. Expats, on the other hand, usually install the app before landing in mainland China. Regardless, you can feel assured to receive complete support in the country.

The VPN successfully bypasses “The Great Firewall”, but in circumstances it does not, you can toggle on the “Obfuscated Servers” option in the settings of most NordVPN clients. These servers make encrypted traffic look “unencrypted”, preventing DPIs from identifying the VPN!

 

NordVPN Cons

Money Backs Can Take an Additional 30 Days

I mentioned earlier that NordVPN has one of the most successful refund policies. They actually fulfill on their promise, if you submit an appeal for a money back within 30-days. However, the catch is that plenty of users report getting their refund incredibly LATE.

From the day of submitting your refund request, it will take an additional 30 days for the provider to return the amount. Other VPNs in the marketplace that offer refunds have a minimum waiting period of 7-days. So, NordVPN should definitely work on improving this aspect!

Although, I do feel the service offers enough features and awesome reliability. From unblocking VoDs, accessing websites in China, keeping you anonymous while torrenting, NordVPN is perfect in all facets. As a result, you may not even have to request for a refund.

 

The VPN Hid its Affiliation with CloudVPN Initially

Over the years, I have come across plenty of VPN services that hide small details about their operations. That is understandable from a “business” aspect, I guess. Some may not want to reveal their exact location to avoid issues relating to Government investigations, or other legal hassles.

Lots of providers may deny this, but you all know what I’m saying is true! More or less, all providers adopt some shady practices for managing their service. Some keep logs, hide their parent company, or simply use Google DNS servers (I know right?).

As such, these debaucheries have led to great distrust in the privacy industry. This is why I urge all providers to come clean about their practices. If the news reaches from somewhere else, prospects/users will all think that you are scamming them.

Take NordVPN’s case for instance, they knew how their affiliation with CloudVPN could have been misunderstood. Now, the company is defending allegations of being linked to a data mining company. Even though, their reasoning (given above) is quite understandable!

 

NordVPN App Problems and their Solutions

I recently conducted a survey with VPN customers regarding common issues they face with app clients. The results we received were quite enlightening, enabling us to get a better idea regarding different VPN errors and finding their proper solutions.

For NordVPN, a few prominent issues experienced by users include: 

 

No Linux Kill Switch

Linux users often complain about NordVPN not having a kill switch and suffering with DNS leak issues. Now, if you are a Linux user, you probably know that NordVPN runs using OpenVPN.

As such, you do not have access to an interface. Users rely on coding for installing the app or fixing other issues. If you want to fix the Kill Switch issue, you will need to setup a UFW firewall to block all connections, except those from the VPN.

You can use this helpful guide to create a VPN Kill Switch. For those wanting to follow the easy process, we have simply added the codes below that you will need to add:

#
# Disable ufw and reset all rules to defaults
#
sudo ufw disable
sudo ufw reset

#
# Set the default rules to deny everything
#
sudo ufw default deny incoming
sudo ufw default deny outgoing

#
# Allow in/out on the local private network
#
sudo ufw allow in to 192.168.1.0/24
sudo ufw allow out to 192.168.1.0/24

#
# Allow traffic out on the VPN tunnel adapter (tun0)
#
sudo ufw allow out on tun0 from any to any

#
# Allow UDP traffic out to the VPN server so VPN client can connect
#
sudo ufw allow out to X.X.X.X port 1194 proto udp

#
# Enable ufw. Try to hit anything. It should fail while the VPN is down.
#
sudo ufw enable

When writing the code on your own, do remember to change your local network (192.168.x.x) to the correct values. Also, do not forget on updating the X.X.X.X to the VPN server you are using. The VPN IP will be available in the .ovpn file you are using. Moreover, change the VPN adaptor to “tun0”.

For the DNS leak issue, NordVPN users will have to update the .ovpn file by installing the “openvpn-systemd-resolved”. Enter “sudo apt install openvpn-systemd-resolved” into the Terminal and then add the following lines to your .ovpn file:

script-security 2
up /etc/openvpn/update-systemd-resolved
down /etc/openvpn/update-systemd-resolved
down-pre
dhcp-option DOMAIN-ROUTE .

Amazon & IMDB Almost Impossible to Access

Some NordVPN users reported that they were facing troubles when trying to access Amazon or IMDB (owned by Amazon).

Browsers would time out trying to access them, which is quite disappointing to say the least. Especially when considering that NordVPN is one of the best in the industry.

We tried this ourselves and experienced the same issue. Amazon or IMDB are only accessible after turning off the VPN. This is quite tricky, but we were able to find a solution.

It comes in the form of changing your protocol. While we are unsure why this issue is exactly happening, shifting to L2TP/IPSec was able to successfully unblock Amazon, IMDB, and even Prime Video!

 

No Internet Connectivity when using NordVPN

Some Comcast users reported that using NordVPN would lead to complete internet disconnection, regardless of what device they use it on. .This was quite surprising considering, we use Comcast ourselves and have not experienced any issue with NordVPN.

However, upon digging into the matter, we learned that the problem is not only evident with the Panamanian-based providers. After the repealing of Net Neutrality laws, many users reported troubles connecting to a VPN, particularly those on Comcast and XFINITY.

A simple changing of the protocol, encryption and servers should fix the issue. However, if the problem persists for you, consider updating your home routers’ firmware.

 

Background Process Not Running Error

This is a problem I myself encounter a lot when using NordVPN. It gets a little irritating, cause the app will not work properly, without clicking on the “Start Process” button in green.

My question is, why does NordVPN not do activate the background process itself? Is it necessary for me to click on “Start Process” each time and enter my admin username and password?

Clicking on the button usually will fix the issue. However, sometimes I need to do it several times before I can finally gain access to the VPN connection menu.

NordVPN Background Process Not Running Error

Other times, clicking on the green button fails on fixing the error. If you are facing the same trouble, you need to perform a few additional steps. It involves clearing the application cache. You can do this by following the steps below:

  1. Close the NordVPN Application
  2. Launch the task manager (ctrl+alt+del)
  3. Click on the “Details” tab, next to “Services”
  4. Find all the processes running by NordVPN
  5. Right-click and select the “End Process Tree” option.Background Process Not Running Error in NordVPN
  6. You have to do this for both “NordVPN.exe” and the “nordvpn-service.exe” processes
  7. Close the “Task Manager” and press the “Windows + R” keys to open up the “Run” menu
  8. Type in: %localappdata% next to the “Open” button and hit “Ok”!NordVPN Local App Data Deletion Windows+R
  9. This will launch the file manager, redirecting you to the Local App Data folder.
  10. You will see several different folders of various software installed on your computer.
  11. Right-click on the NordVPN folder and Hit the delete button.
  12. Restart your PC and launch the NordVPN app to fix the issue.NordVPN Local AppData Folder Deletion

Fatal: All TAP-Windows Error

While using NordVPN, I also encountered another weird error. The Windows client would not connect to any server and display the “Fatal: All TAP-Windows adapters on this system are currently in use”.

FatalAll TAP-Windows Error

Naturally, I decided to go to “Network Connections” and check if other TAP-Drivers were active. None were, so that means it was a problem with the NordVPN TAP Driver.

Usually restarting the TAP adapter helps to fix the issue. All you have to do is right click under the connect name called TAP-NordVPN Windows Adapter v9. Disable and enable it again.

Tweaking TAP-NordVPN Windows Adapter v9

Once done, you will be able to access all NordVPN servers again. However, if the issue does not get resolved, try reinstalling your TAP drivers. You can download them here:

Windows 10:

https://downloads.nordcdn.com/drivers/windows/10/NordVPNTap/NordVPNTapSetup.exe

Windows 8:

https://downloads.nordcdn.com/drivers/windows/8/NordVPNTap/NordVPNTapSetup.exe

Windows 7:

https://downloads.nordcdn.com/drivers/windows/7/NordVPNTap/NordVPNTapSetup.exe

 

FAQs Section

NordVPN Not Connecting

Some users report receiving a “Connection Timed Out” error with the NordVPN Windows client. This is quite a simple problem, so do not panic. To begin with, start by disabling IPv6, as it is quite useless anyway. Once done, go the “Adapter Options”, and you will notice that the TAP-Driver Network option shows a “Disconnected” sign. Disable and re-enable. Then connect to any server. The error will go away!

 

How Secure is NordVPN?

When you factor in features like Obfuscated Servers, Onion over VPN, DoubleVPN, and Dedicated IPs, no other VPN service comes close to offering security and anonymity like NordVPN. Add this to its strong encryption of AES-256-CBC ciphers with HMAC SHA256 hash authentication, users can remain completely satisfied about their identity remaining hidden online with NordVPN.

 

Is NordVPN’s Customer Service Any Good?

NordVPN has one of the most responsive and reliable customer support systems in the marketplace of VPNs. Users receive round-the-clock live chat support and have a ticket submission system for more detailed technical problems and issues. For all questions I had, the live chat support would usually give me a reply within 2 to 5 minutes with relevant answers and links to tutorials/guides.

 

Can You Use NordVPN on Android TVs or Firestick Devices?

Yes, you can most certainly use NordVPN on Android TVs and Firestick Devices. In fact, the provider is one the only in the marketplace that actually offers a dedicated app for Android TVs. Users of Firestick however have to rely on the “Downloader” application. Regardless, if you require assistance for setting up NordVPN, you can follow our comprehensive Android TV and Firestick setup guides!

 

What is the Prognosis?

I have been as unbiased as possible in this review. So, when I say that I recommend NordVPN, I really mean it. Prospects should sign up with the provider unhesitatingly. The provider succeeds in creating an easy-to-use privacy tool. One that delivers great results, be it in aspects of unblocking VoDs, downloading torrents, bypassing geo-restrictions, or simply protecting your identity.

Even so, the provider remains light on the pocket, offering amazing deals/discounts to customers. The performance you receive is outstanding. There were no DNS/IPv6/WebRTC leak issues, and most importantly I could unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, etc. The VPN is a full-featured service that does not “over market” itself, but actually proves its worth!

Hamza Shahid

Hamza Shahid's Biography :

Hamza Shahid is a tech-geek, who adores creativity and innovation. When he is not watching TV and stuffing munchies, he loves sharing his expert knowledge regarding the latest trends in user privacy and copyright infringement. Apart from writing blogs/articles on cyber laws and political affairs, Hamza takes a keen interest in writing detailed VPN reviews. On the sidelines, he is an avid car-enthusiast and music-addict.

4 Responses to NordVPN

  1. Rich

    I think it’s good that at least one of the leading VPNs stopped using PayPal. Maybe others will follow as it’s definitely not the safest payment option. You have to literally send a copy of your passport to them and if anyone gets a hold of your login details then the credit card that’s linked to your PayPal can be cleared out so damn easily. Crypto payments all the way for me.

    • Bestvpn.co

      Thanks for commenting here Rich. I agree with what you have said. PayPal might be a convenient option for payments, but definitely not the safest. However, NordVPN didn’t remove the option for issues of safety, but because of “ideological disputes” between the payment processor and the VPN service. Nevertheless, it is still a step in the right direction. I always tell my readers to sign up using Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, as they are anonymous!

  2. Jane

    Hi,
    I’ve just signed up for this VPN, but in contradiction to your article, it does not offer PayPal.

    • Bestvpn.co

      Hey thanks for commenting here Jane. NordVPN did offer PayPal as an option till a month ago, but like you said they have removed it now. I will be updating the review of course, after I receive a response from the provider regarding the reason for removal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *