|Price||$3.71/mo on a 2-Year Plan|
|Servers||5100+ Servers in 59 Countries|
|Logs||No Logs Certified|
|Works in China||Yes|
|Compatibility||Windows, Android, Apple, Chrome, Firefox|
As a small overview on their offerings, NordVPN starts at $3.71/mo. on a 2-year plan, and comes equipped with features like Double VPN, Kill Switch, and 6 multi-logins, 24/7 live chat support and more.
It even has more than 5200+ servers in 59 countries, offering commendable performance. On a 100Mbps connection, you will get to enjoy average speeds of 80Mbps in download and 56Mbps in the upload.
Read this 2020 NordVPN review, where I discuss about the providers’ security, transparency, pricing, servers, performance, compatibility, support and more.
My Rating Criteria
- Security: Is NordVPN really private and safe?
- Jurisdiction: Where is NordVPN located?
- Protocols: What protocols does NordVPN use?
- Encryption: What encryption does NordVPN use?
- Logging: Does NordVPN store session/connection logs?
- Leak Testing: Does NordVPN leak DNS, IP & WebRTC?
- Audit: Independent auditors check NordVPN!
- Servers: Where are NordVPN servers located?
- Speed Testing: How fast is NordVPN really?
- Torrenting: Is NordVPN good for torrenting?
- Streaming: Can I use NordVPN to watch Netflix?
- Support: How do customers of Nord receive support?
- Pricing: How much does a NordVPN subscription cost?
- Compatibility: Apps and supported devices information
- Trustworthiness: NordVPN Hacked, Trustpilot, Warrant Canary
Is NordVPN Really Private?
After going in-depth into NordVPN’s location, security audit, warrant canary, and logging policy and assessing the recent hacking incident, I cannot say it is a private/safe choice, and subsequently do not recommend the provider.
Where is NordVPN Located?
NordVPN has its headquarters in Panama, Central America. This gives it an upperhand to most providers, as the location has friendly data privacy laws and its not a part of any data sharing alliances like the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes.
Panama does not mandate Mass Surveillance and Data retention, unlike other “Internet Enemy” jurisdictions. Sadly, this won’t have any affect on Nord’s security anymore, as the provider has suffered a major breach.
NordVPN Protocols Information
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 varies depending on the protocol you choose on each app.
NordVPN has recently added a new protocol to their list, which it hails as the industry’s most significant technological improvement. The NordLynx (introduced after conducting 256,886-speed tests) is based on the WireGuard® protocol, which utilizes state-of-the-art cryptography.
This protocol is the “future industry standard” and tends to be faster than current leading protocols, like OpenVPN and IPSec. This is why NordVPN came up with the NordLynx, becoming the first provider to implement WireGuard® on such a huge scale!
What Encryption Does NordVPN Use?
NordVPN uses AES-256-CBC with an RSA-2048 handshake for the control channel. AES-256-CBC ciphers with HMAC SHA256 hash authentication for the data channel.
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.
Is NordVPN a Zero Log VPN?
Yes, NordVPN does not log session/connection data, staying true to its premise of unmatched privacy. In fact, they are one of the only providers in the marketplace currently, who have been aced two security audits from one of the big four auditing companies, PwC Switzerland.
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.
When confronted by Government agencies, the reality comes to light. We’ve already seen plenty of examples like what happened with IPVanish and PureVPN.
However, NordVPN’s logging policy is a breath of fresh air, in comparison to these providers, staying true to their promise, and revealing no info, despite seizing of their servers.
Does NordVPN Leak Your DNS/WebRTC/IP?
NordVPN is free from all leaks. How do I know this? I tested the NordVPN 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. 126.96.36.199.
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: 188.8.131.52.
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: 184.108.40.206 and the DNS server too: 220.127.116.11!
NordVPN Aces 2 Security Audits
NordVPN is among the few providers in the marketplace that does not mind putting their apps and VPN capabilities to the test by undergoing a thorough audit process.
As of October 9, 2019, the service has officially released information regarding their third-party application penetration test, with the results confirming Nord’s promise to zero logs and maximum anonymity.
The audit was conducted by one of the big four auditing firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers AG Switzerland (PwC Switzerland), and verified that NordVPN does not store any logs. This was further verified by another audit conducted recently in May 2020!
NordVPN Server List
NordVPN now has over 5,200+ servers in 60 countries worldwide. This is one of the key USPs of NordVPN. You can never get tired of trying out different NordVPN servers for China, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
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.
If you are still confused about which server to connect to, NordVPN provides further assistance. You have access to a recommendation tool that uses smart algorithms for finding the best server.
It may also cross your mind whether or not NordVPN bypasses the GFW in China. So, I digged a little into the capabilities and found out that you do have 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 using NordVPN.
This is because of NordVPN’s China servers list that includes obfuscated locations, making encrypted traffic look “unencrypted”, preventing DPIs from identifying the VPN.
Speed Testing: How Fast is NordVPN?
NordVPN speed tests reveal amazing performance with download speeds touching 91.60 Mbps on average and upload at 90.47 Mbps. The speed loss is quite less, in comparison to other providers in the marketplace.
To give you a more accurate representation on the performance, I performed a thorough speed test on servers in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, and France on a high-speed 100Mbps connection:
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.
The provider was even awarded the “First Oakla Speedtest Recommended Badge” on October 11, 2018, to which the Press Officer at NordVPN, Laura Tyrell did have a few things to say…
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.
Despite receiving this award, NordVPN estimated that its users do suffer a speed loss of 30% when using OpenVPN UDP protocol. An instant solution for an increase in speed is to switch the protocol to TCP.
NordVPN Torrenting: Best Servers with Great Speed
You can torrent safely with NordVPN, which boasts the largest network of 5,100 P2P-specific servers, which deliver an amazing average speed of 80 Mbps in downloads.
While torrents are not supported on all servers, NordVPN torrenting servers are available 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 “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.
Enter “1080” for the Port Type, and finalize the settings by entering your NordVPN credentials. This ensures that whenever you download torrents, NordVPN automatically uses the P2P servers you have added, along with the SOCKS5 proxy!
Unblock and Watch Netflix US with NordVPN
Yes, NordVPN does work on Netflix using these best servers that unblock the VoD. I got these by contacting their support team and approaching them with questions on unblocking Netflix using NordVPN’s fastest 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.
I have tested these different servers from above out multiple times, and I was successfully able to stream on Netflix US, UK, and JP, which host the largest libraries.
So, how do you get American Netflix with NordVPN? After you establish a connection to any of the these servers, 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. However, I successfully managed to unlock the TV show and stream it smoothly with server #3038!
In addition to Netflix, NordVPN also offers users the ability to unblock other streaming platforms. Thanks to its obfuscation technology, NordVPN to transform VPN traffic into regular HTTPS traffic, allowing users to bypass VPN bans on VoDs, such as:
How Do Customers of NordVPN Receive Support?
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. If you click on the “Help” tab on the homepage, you will be redirected to the above page. Moreover, if you want to cancel the NordVPN subscription you can always ask their support team to assist you.
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, which you can use for more specific information.
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.
For 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.
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.
How Much Does a NordVPN Subscription Cost?
NordVPN offers three different tiers in subscriptions. You can opt for their monthly plan at $11.95, 6-month plan at $9.00/month, or the best value $3.71/month on a 2-year plan.
The cost per month 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.
I would only advise signing up for the monthly, if you want a VPN for a short time. Users who rely on Cheapest VPNs for their work should opt for plans with a longer duration.
You can even you can also try NordVPN for free (till 30 days). As far as pricing is concerned, the 6-months plan will set you back by $54.
For the best value, however, I advise going for the 2-year deal that starts at $3.71 per month. This means, you only pay $89.00 for 24-months!
Devices Supported by the Provider
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. You can even connect to 6 devices simultaneously!
Trustworthiness – NordVPN Hacked, Trustpilot, Warrant Canary
It is incredibly hard to place our trust in Nord again, especially after the hacking incident. Even if we admit such things happen, the provider violated the GDPR’s data breach policy of informing users about it within 72 hours.
Details about the NordVPN Hack
After much outrage on twitter, NordVPN confirmed the allegations of their servers in Finland getting hacked on October 21st. They claim no user data was compromised, but many industry professionals have given statements that over 200-500 were affected.
The hack also affected two other VPN services; TorGuard and VikingVPN. The latter and NordVPN were not practicing secure PKI management, whereas TorGuard did employ it, which is why their users were not affected by the breach.
NordVPN Trustpilot Ratings
From previously enjoying a 5-star rating on Trustpilot and after several controversies about them getting a scolding from ASA for “misleading” users, getting involved in a lawsuit from TorGuard, and the recent hacking incident, NordVPN has gone down to a 2.5-star rating.
NordVPN Warrant Canary
NordVPN’s Warrant Canary is as clean as a whistle for now, which is updated on a daily basis for the ease-of-mind of prospects and customers. As of December 5th, they have the following count on each such request:
- Gag Orders: 0
- National Security Letters: 0
- Warrants from a government organization: 0
People Also Ask
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!
Even you can also consider some free firestick VPNs as well.
As an all-rounder VPN, it is tough to come up with a suitable alternative for Nord. However, if naming a few are necessary, I would recommend going for ExpressVPN first ($8.32/mo. on a 1-year plan).
However, since that may be too expensive for many, I suggest signing up for the universal yet budget-friendly BVI-based, Surfshark that starts at a minimal of $1.99/mo. on a 2-year plan.
You can also look at other alternatives to NordVPN below and their comparisons of pricing, features, unblocking capabilities, torrenting/streaming performance, setup and interface, servers, security offered, customer service and more:
Do I Recommend NordVPN?
No, NordVPN is not recommended. It got hacked 1.5 years ago and did not bother informing its users, until they started facing allegations on Twitter, following a marketing mishap.
If you are in search of an all-rounder service that offers the right features at a reasonable price, but is free from any such incidents, sign up with Surfshark. You can get a plan for $1.99 from here.