August 25, 2018

NordVPN Review

This article contains references to products from our partners. We may receive compensation if you apply or shop through links in our content. You help support CreditDonkey by reading our website and using our links. (read more)

NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN providers today. They offer their services for as low as $3.29/month. But is it reliable? Read on to see if it's right for you.

NordVPN

Overall Score

4.2

Price

4.0

Speed

4.0

Number of Servers

5.0

Countries Served

4.0

Devices per license

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • 3 day free trial
  • High server count
  • Anonymous subscription
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

Good all-around VPN

WHAT IS VPN AND WHY SHOULD I HAVE IT?

A VPN service is basically an internet security service. It changes your online address and hides your location. A VPN also encrypts your data while you're online.

Hackers and/or spies won't know who or where you are. They won't even know what you do online. A VPN service keeps your online identity and activity private.

The legality of using a VPN:
Using VPN's are perfectly legal in most countries including the US Canada, and the UK. Choosing to do illegal activities through a VPN is the illegal.

VPN's are a lot like cars in this regard. Using a car is perfectly legal by and large. Using the car to help rob a bank is not.

HOW DOES NORDVPN WORK?

Here's how VPN services work. First, it creates an encrypted connection from your device to the VPN server. The VPN server then connects to the internet. It acts as a "middleman" between the sites you visit and your computer.

Connections to and from the servers are encrypted. This means the data is exchanged as a code. The information is only understood by your device and the VPN server. Anyone hacking your connection won't be able to tell what you're doing.

WHY WE LIKE NORDVPN

© CreditDonkey

  1. Their business is located in Panama
    When it comes to VPNs, the location of the business matters. A VPN company has to follow the laws of the country they're in.

    Certain countries have data retention laws. It requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to keep logs of their users' online activity. These logs must be handed over to the authorities on request.

    Companies in a "Five Eyes" country, for example, are subject to these laws. These countries could force a VPN company to give up user logs.

    NordVPN, however, works out of Panama, which doesn't have data retention laws. This allows them to have a "zero-logs" policy. They don't store any information on their users, ensuring your privacy.

    What is a "Five Eyes" country? The "Five Eyes" are countries which share intelligence with each other. They are Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

    They work together as a shared intelligence network. By law, VPN companies operating in these countries must keep user logs. These logs must be handed over on request. Governments can use this information or share it with other member countries.


  2. You want a company with a "no-logging" policy
    NordVPN has a no-logging policy. This means they don't store any kind of information on users. According to their website, they don't keep logs of IP addresses, websites, or files downloaded.

    In fact, they won't be able to provide the logs, even if you request it yourself.

    In other words, they have no information about your online activity. If privacy is your main concern, go with NordVPN.

  3. You want a service with a high level of security and privacy
    NordVPN has a "double VPN" feature, which encrypts the information twice. What this means is that it uses two VPN servers, making it more secure.

    This isn't intended for casual users, as it slows your connection a lot. However, it might be crucial for users who need high-level security. Journalists and political activists, for example, will need this if they in a strict country.

  4. You'd like to try it out before subscribing
    What we like about NordVPN is that they're transparent about their service. They want you to know what you're getting into. They have a three-day trial period to use their service for free.

    If that's not enough, they also have a 30-day money back guarantee. They do state that they'll first troubleshoot your experience before issuing a refund. We think that's fair. We found no major customer complaints online about refunds. We believe that NordVPN does its best to honor this policy.

    However, do take note - NordVPN does not issue refunds with purchases from the Apple store.

  5. You want a VPN with an extensive network
    NordVPN has more than 3,000+ servers in 60+ countries. Having a large network allows them to handle network congestion. With servers in multiple countries, the app chooses the fastest server for you.

    You won't connect to an overloaded server, which is slower. Also, NordVPN has hundreds of servers in countries like the UK, US, and Canada. That means you'll always enjoy an optimal connection to these countries.

  6. You want to watch Netflix while traveling
    Streaming sites such as Netflix often block VPN servers, so users can't access geo-restricted content. NordVPN is one of the few providers which can still connect to Netflix in the U.S. This means you can still access your home Netflix selections, even if you're traveling abroad.

  7. You want to bypass the great firewall of China
    China is notorious for their strict online regulations. They've blocked popular sites such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Some of these may be important to you when in China. NordVPN is one of the few providers which lets you bypass China's firewall and access these sites.

  8. You want to be able to use P2P file-sharing.
    Peer to peer (P2P) file-sharing is a popular way of sharing files. Many use it to share free-access data. This includes open-source software, public domain videos, and other large files.

    It can also be used for sharing large corporate data files or syncing files among multiple devices.

    However, the problem with P2P networks is that users who download content from you can see your IP address. In fact, the IP address of all users using a P2P network is open and public.

    Revealing your IP address makes you an easy target. Anyone who's interested in your activity can use this information against you. They can use it to spy on you or launch a cyberattack.

    NordVPN is one of the few providers which allows P2P file sharing. They have hundreds of servers, all optimized for P2P file sharing around the world. This lets you share your files without revealing your real IP address, making the process more secure.

    P2P file-sharing legality:
    File sharing is not an illegal activity per-se. File sharing copy-written material is where people get into trouble. This is usually creative content such as movies, music, games, and other related things. The rule of thumb is: If you didn't create it or have direct permission to distribute it, then you shouldn't file-share it.

  9. You'd like a kill-switch option
    While most VPN services are secure, they still have limitations. For example, your connection to your ISP may randomly disconnect. When that happens, your VPN connection gets cut off too.

    Your device will automatically reconnect to the internet. However, your VPN program may not. You could unknowingly be using an unsecured connection.

    NordVPN solves this problem by introducing a "kill-switch" feature. The "kill-switch" stops your device from reconnecting. That way, you'll always know you're on a secured connection.

  10. You want to protect multiple devices
    NordVPN allows you to connect up to six devices on one account. It's available for macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android smart devices. This is useful, especially if you switch between your devices often.

    If you own many smart devices, it's a good idea to use NordVPN. That way, you can protect each device that connects to the internet.

REASONS TO CHOOSE ANOTHER VPN PROVIDER

  • No phone support
    NordVPN has no phone support. If you have a problem, they'll first connect you to their online Help Center. It has information on getting started, billing, connectivity, and general info.

    However, if you need to speak with a representative, you can e-mail them or use the live chat feature. The chat is available 24/7.

  • Can be expensive month-to month
    If you need a VPN service just for the short-term, NordVPN can be expensive. Their 1-month plan is their most expensive plan. It's also slightly more expensive than other providers.

OTHER SECURE CONNECTIONS TO CONSIDER

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is a great one-size-fits-all type of provider. They've got great design, strong security, solid performance, and good customer service. They've also got dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and routers.

For now, they limit each user to only three connections. However, you can bypass this by installing the app directly on your router. That way, all connected devices will be protected.

See how NordVPN and ExpressVPN compare below:

 NordVPNExpressVPN
 Learn More
 

NordVPN

ExpressVPN

 

Benefits and Features

Live Chat Support
Yes
Yes
Subscription$11.95/month
$6.99/month (12-month subscription)
$3.99/month (24-month subscription)
$2.99/month (36-month subscription)
$12.95/month
$9.99/month (6-month subscription)
$8.32/month (12-month subscription)
Payment MethodsCredit card, Paypal, Bitcoin, Paymentwall (UnionPay, giropay, Yandex Money, etc)Credit card, Paypal, Bitcoin, Paymentwall (UnionPay, giropay, Yandex Money, etc)
Free Trial3 days free trial, no credit card required.
N/A
Windows
Yes
Yes
iPhone App
Yes
Yes
macOS
Yes
Yes
Android App
Yes
Yes
Linux
Yes
Yes
CancellationPaypal and credit card users can cancel via their NordVPN account. You can also cancel recurring subscriptions on the Apple store and Google Play.Paypal and credit card users can cancel via their ExpressVPN account. Customers paying with Bitpay will not have their subscription renewed.
Jurisdiction
Panama
British Virgin Islands
Number of Servers
4400+ servers
2000+ servers
Countries Served
62 countries
94 countries
Security ProtocolsPPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN (with TCP/UDP)PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, OpenVPN (with TCP/UDP)
Encryption
AES-256
AES-256
Works in China
Yes
Yes
Devices per license
6 devices
3 devices
Routers
Yes
Yes
AnonymousAllows user to stay anonymous. Accepts payment in Bitcoin and other methods. Registration only requires e-mail address.*Allows user to stay anonymous. Accepts payment in Bitcoin and other methods. Registration only requires e-mail address.
Keep LogsKeeps no logs, except user's e-mail address, username, and payment data. Bitcoins can be used to keep personal data private.Does not store activity or connection logs. Keeps information on apps and app versions activated, dates (not times) connected to VPN service, choice of VPN server location, and total amount of data transferred per day.
Allows P2PYes. P2P traffic will automatically be rerouted to servers in Canada and the Netherlands.
Yes
Money Back Guarantee30-day money back guarantee.30-day money back guarantee.

NordVPN: Pricing information from published website as of 06/18/2018

ExpressVPN: Pricing information from published website as of 06/18/2018

IPVanish
IPVanish lets you connect up to 10 devices, so you're better protected. However, NordVPN has far more servers, which means less traffic congestion. Each provider has their own pros and cons - read about NordVPN and IPVanish in the table below:

 NordVPNIPVanish
 Learn More
 

NordVPN

IPVanish

 

Benefits and Features

Live Chat Support
Yes
Yes
Subscription$11.95/month
$6.99/month (12-month subscription)
$3.99/month (24-month subscription)
$2.99/month (36-month subscription)
$10.00/month
$8.99/month (3-month subscription)
$6.49/month (12-month subscription)
Payment MethodsCredit card, Paypal, Bitcoin, Paymentwall (UnionPay, giropay, Yandex Money, etc)
Credit card, Paypal
Free Trial3 days free trial, no credit card required.Free 7-day trial only with the Apple iStore. For all other methods, they only offer a 7-day money back guarantee.
Windows
Yes
Yes
iPhone App
Yes
Yes
macOS
Yes
Yes
Android App
Yes
Yes
Linux
Yes
Yes
CancellationPaypal and credit card users can cancel via their NordVPN account. You can also cancel recurring subscriptions on the Apple store and Google Play.Paypal and credit card users can cancel via their IPVanish account. You can also cancel recurring subscriptions on the Apple store and Google Play.
Jurisdiction
Panama
United States
Number of Servers
4400+ servers
1000+ servers
Countries Served
62 countries
60+ countries
Security ProtocolsPPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN (with TCP/UDP)PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN (with TCP/UDP)
Encryption
AES-256
AES-256
Works in China
Yes
Yes, but must connect manually
Devices per license
6 devices
10 devices
Routers
Yes
Yes
AnonymousAllows user to stay anonymous. Accepts payment in Bitcoin and other methods. Registration only requires e-mail address.*Not anonymous. You'll have to provide payment details for your subscription.
Keep LogsKeeps no logs, except user's e-mail address, username, and payment data. Bitcoins can be used to keep personal data private.Keeps no logs, except user's e-mail address, username, and payment data.
Allows P2PYes. P2P traffic will automatically be rerouted to servers in Canada and the Netherlands.
Yes
Money Back Guarantee30-day money back guarantee.7-day money back guarantee.

NordVPN: Pricing information from published website as of 06/18/2018

IPVanish: Pricing information from published website as of 06/18/2018

TunnelBear
If you're looking for something free and temporary, choose TunnelBear. They offer users a free version of their service, which is limited to 500MB/month. That isn't much for everyday use, but it's great if you need a VPN service just while traveling.

TunnelBear is also a good choice for first-time VPN users. Their cute bear designs make things simple for first-time users. They also take the time to explain their terms and conditions simply.

The Onion Router (TOR)
TOR is a free software which you can use to browse the internet without revealing your identity. It encrypts your traffic and bounces it around. The process can be a bit complicated, but to put it simply, TOR uses other volunteer computers as "stops." The traffic goes around each stop before getting to the destination site. That way, hackers won't know who the original sender is.

However, it's not foolproof. The encryption is only for traffic in between each "stop." When it leaves a "stop" and exits out into the world wide web, it's unencrypted. If you included personal information while browsing on TOR, it can still be traced back to you.

The good thing about TOR is that it's free. If you're a casual user and just want to protect your identity, then use TOR. But if you want the best security and privacy, use TOR together with a VPN service.

Bottom Line

It's hard to find fault with NordVPN. They get most of it right - great design, performance, and fair customer service. If you're looking for a good, all-round VPN service provider, NordVPN fits the bill.

We wanted to see a voice support line, although that would've been a step above industry standard. Most other VPN providers only offer support via email and chat. On that point, NordVPN is at least on par with its peers.

Month-to-month subscriptions are expensive, but only slightly more than other major providers. We feel the extra dollar or two is worth the service and performance. If you're a serious user, you'll save more by subscribing for one year or more.

If you're looking for a VPN service with great security, performance, and customer service, we recommend NordVPN.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

More from CreditDonkey:


Best VPN


Best Free VPN


Average Internet Bill

More Articles in Reviews


July
16
2019

Fattmerchant Review

Fattmerchant promises to save clients hundreds on processing fees with subscription-style pricing. Is it the right choice for your small to medium-size business? Find out below.

    Best VPN: Top Comparison List

    VPN services are popular now - and for good reason. They protect your privacy on the internet and help bypass certain restrictions. Read on to find the best VPN for you.
More Articles in Reviews






About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a internet comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.