- Multi-hop, split tunneling, and Tor connections
- Numerous server locations
- Uses WireGuard VPN technology
- Unique Meshnet features
- Poor malware-blocking results
- Occasionally cramped interface
|Simultaneous VPN Connections||6|
|Server Locations||59 Countries|
|Geographically Diverse Servers||√|
|Free Version Data Limit||No Free Version|
By making you more difficult to track and preventing your ISP from spying on your online activities, a VPN can help you increase your privacy online. In addition to the essential VPN security, NordVPN provides a little bit of everything. It has a sizable and varied array of servers, a formidable collection of rarely used tools, and stringent privacy and security procedures. Meshnet, one of NordVPN’s unique advanced features, aids in justifying its high price. Threat Protection was one of those that was lacking. Finally, the business keeps publishing audits conducted by independent parties, which promotes confidence in its service. Overall, NordVPN continues to be an Editors’ Choice winner.
What Is the Price of NordVPN?
Similar to many other VPN providers, NordVPN now provides both the NordPass password manager and NordLocker encrypted file storage in addition to VPN protection. These services are now included with a VPN subscription from NordVPN. Only VPN protection is offered by the Standard plan ($11.99 per month, or $67.35 for the first year and $99.48 for each year after(Opens in a new window)). The NordPass password manager and HaveIBeenPwned-style data breach scanning are included in the Plus tier ($12.99 per month, $82.35 for the first year, and then $126.96 per year). 1TB of encrypted cloud storage is included with the Complete tier ($14.29 per month, or $101.85 for the first year, and then $198.84 per year). Additionally, NordVPN offers two-year contracts for the Standard, Plus, and Complete tiers for $99.63, $126.63, and $161.73, respectively. On a per-year basis, these renew at their respective annual rates.
We advise against immediately springing for deeply discounted long-term plans, despite the fact that it might be alluring to do so. Start with a short-term plan to test the VPN service out at home instead.
You can pay with CoinGate, Google Pay, PayPal, Plaid, Amazon Pay, all of the major credit cards, and cryptocurrencies via these services. The average cost of a VPN service we’ve reviewed as of this writing is roughly $9.78 per month and $65.82 per year. This makes NordVPN expensive, regardless of the tier you select or the duration of your subscription.
Undoubtedly, you can pay less for a premium VPN subscription. For example, Editors’ Choice winner Mullvad VPN costs only 5 euros ($5.31 USD at time of writing) per month, and top pick Proton VPN offers all the same features as NordVPN for only $9.99 per month. The annual cost of Opera VPN Pro is the lowest of any paid VPN we’ve tested, coming in at $23.88.
Which VPN protocols is NordVPN capable of ?
In its apps for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows, NordVPN by default employs NordLynx (a WireGuard implementation). On each of those platforms, OpenVPN is likewise accessible. Only apps running on iOS and macOS can use IKEv2.
Although WireGuard is getting more and more popular, OpenVPN has long been the industry standard for VPNs. It is simple to understand why: WireGuard is open source, just like OpenVPN, but it employs more modern encryption methods and produces faster results.
Where Are NordVPN’s Servers Located ?
With 59 different countries represented by its servers(Opens in a new window), NordVPN offers a good geographic diversity. However, other VPN providers are superior to it. For instance, HMA VPN and ExpressVPN both offer coverage in about 190 countries.
For a VPN provider, the majority of NordVPN’s servers are in the US and the UK. But NordVPN also has a sizable selection of servers spread out all over the world. Africa is a continent that most other VPN services ignore, but the company currently offers one location there (South Africa).
Notably, NordVPN provides servers in Vietnam, Turkey, and Hong Kong, all of which have censorship laws. Although the company has servers in Ukraine, it does not offer servers in Russia. Please take note that we do not specifically recommend a VPN to get around government censorship because the consequences of doing so are simply too high.
Although NordVPN has a total of about 5,400 servers, CyberGhost has the largest network with about 9,600 servers. Although having a large selection of servers is not always advantageous, it can be. Finding one nearby increases your chances of doing so, and one that is close by is less likely to be clogged with users.
Regarding the hardware itself, NordVPN recently replaced some 1Gbps machines with a number of 10Gbps servers. The company claims that this initiative will aid in managing the increase in data that will result from the more widespread rollout of 5G service. We’re eager to see how this plays out.
The topic of virtual servers and virtual locations frequently comes up when discussing VPN fleet counts. Multiple software-defined servers, known as virtual servers, can be hosted on a single machine. A server that is set up to appear in a different place than its actual location is known as a virtual location. Although neither is inherently bad, we prefer businesses to be open about their infrastructure. A NordVPN representative informed us that none of its servers are virtual locations and that all of them are dedicated. That indicates that the servers are really where they say they are, which is what we want to see.
In order to eventually own all of its physical infrastructure, NordVPN is working to relocate all of its servers to co-located facilities. Other businesses have already made the claim that they own their servers, but none are as big as NordVPN. The business informs us that 12% of its servers are co-located and that this process is ongoing.
Is NordVPN Reliable?
A VPN provider has the ability to inspect all data flowing through its system at any time. For each review, we review the company’s privacy statement and speak with them directly about security and privacy concerns. Although NordVPN’s policy is less reader-friendly than TunnelBear VPN’s, we didn’t find anything concerning.
According to NordVPN’s privacy statement(Opens in a new window), the provider does not keep track of connection session information, bandwidth usage, traffic logs, IP addresses, or browsing information. However, only for 15 minutes after you disconnect from the VPN does NordVPN keep your username and the time of your most recent session. That’s great. This was confirmed by an independent audit, which is described below. A NordVPN representative assured us that the business does not make money from the sale of user data. The business only receives money from customer subscriptions as revenue.
Panama is the country where NordVPN was founded, and it is governed by Panamanian law (the company says it maintains offices in other countries in addition to Panama). Companies are not required by law to keep their data for any specific amount of time in Panama. The business claims that, if it were served with a subpoena, it would only heed a court order or one issued by a Panamanian court before responding.
In 2022, NordVPN revised a blog post to make it clear that, contrary to earlier claims, it does respond to requests from law enforcement. When we contacted NordVPN, the business reiterated its stance that it is unable to log user activity. In order to do so, NordVPN would have to reorganize its infrastructure, an occurrence that the company considers to be extremely unlikely.
Finding out more about NordVPN’s corporate structure and leadership is now simpler. You can find a lot of that information on the Nord Security corporate website (Opens in a new window). It is owned by NordVPN SA, a company representative from the company informed us (formerly Tefincom S.A.). However, NordVPN does keep track of any government-issued warrants and keeps a warrant canary(Opens in a new window) that indicates it has not received any National Security letters, gag orders, or information-request requests from law enforcement.
The merger of NordVPN and Editors’ Choice winner Surfshark VPN was announced on February 2, 2022. According to a press release from the two businesses, their new partnership will enable them to improve their products and concentrate on various market niches. According to the press release, “Both companies will continue to operate independently and rely on separate infrastructure and product roadmaps.” Michael Kan, a reporter for PCMag, was informed that this was a merger rather than an acquisition. Nordvpn SA and Surfshark VPN will both be owned by Cyberspace, a holding company with Dutch corporate registration.
Taking Down Online Trackers and Ads
Additionally, Threat Protection promises to keep trackers and advertisements out of your web browsing. We simply visited a number of websites with lots of ads on one system with NordVPN installed and another system without an ad blocking feature to test the ad blocking feature. With the removal of inline ads, popup ads, slide-in ads, and other ads, the ad blocker clearly did its job.
The majority of web tracker blocking products make use of a browser extension that lets the user interact with the tracking system. The toolbar button for the extension typically shows how many trackers are active on the current page. You can sometimes select which trackers or tracker categories to block when you click that button, which brings up a more detailed list.
Despite not requiring a VPN connection, NordVPN’s Threat Protection operates below the level of the browser, making it impossible to view statistics regarding its tracker blocking activity. We can observe that it is acting, but we are unable to confirm this empirically.
Speed and effectiveness
Your web browsing will perform worse if you use a VPN. We run a number of speed tests using the Ookla Speedtest tool to get a sense of how significant an impact a VPN has. In our article on How We Test VPNs, we describe our methodology.
We discovered that NordVPN decreased both the download and upload test results by 3.4% and 4.4%, respectively. It only saw a 1.4% increase in latency scores, which is probably due to its extensive server network.
The most recent results are displayed in the chart below. We’ll update the chart throughout the year with new results and new products thanks to our new VPN speed testing protocols.
Is NordVPN Value-For-Money?
The industry’s fiercest competition has yet to be seen faces NordVPN. While Proton VPN offers all the same features for less, services like Editors’ Choice winners Mullvad VPN and IVPN significantly undercut NordVPN’s price. In contrast, there is no cap on the number of concurrent connections with Surfshark VPN and TunnelBear VPN.
But NordVPN’s strength has always been that it provides all the top features of the competition in a flexible package. You have access to cutting-edge tools and features with NordVPN, or you can just set it and forget it. The business is also benefiting from incorporating cutting-edge technology like WireGuard into its essential products, and it plans to grow by introducing new consumer features like Meshnet. But there are some errors in it. Its Threat Protection features did not impress us, and we would like to see the company conduct fresh audits. But when combined, all of these parts result in a fantastic final product. A current Editors’ Choice winner is NordVPN.