Updated May 8, 2020

NordVPN Review: Worth the Price?

Read more about NordVPN
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NordVPN offers a high level of security and privacy. But is their service too slow? How does it stack up to ExpressVPN or IPVanish? Read on to find out.

NordVPN Coupon
3 Year Plan - $3.49/Month

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

  • Lots of security features
  • High server count
  • Anonymous subscription
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

Good all-around VPN with top-notch security

Despite some downsides, NordVPN is one of the best all-around VPNs on the market. It offers top notch security features, strict no-log policy, fast speeds, and a lot of servers. Whether you're torrenting, streaming, or need double security, NordVPN offers a good way to maintain your privacy.

The pricing is also very reasonable compared to competitors, especially when you take advantage of their coupons. With prices this low, just exactly what do you get with this VPN provider?

Read on for an in-depth review. Learn what you will like about NordVPN and some possible drawbacks to watch out for.

What is a VPN and Why Should I Have It?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) 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 provider keeps your online identity and activity private.

There are other services like TunnelBear and OnionRouter, but for now, let's take a peek at NordVPN.

HOW DOES NORDVPN WORK?

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Here's how VPN services work.

When you browse the web, all your internet traffic passes through your internet service provider (ISP). Basically, this means your ISP can see all your online activities. Even more scary, they can give that information to government agencies.

A VPN redirects your internet traffic through a remote VPN server. This hides your IP address so no one can see your location. It also encrypts all the data so no one can see what sites you're visiting.

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 use a VPN:
  • Keep your online activities private
  • Keep things like your passwords, banking credentials, etc. from being hacked
  • Securely browse when you're using public wifi
  • Bypass censorship when traveling in certain foreign countries

We'll explain more below. But first, let's highlight the current NordVPN promotions.

NordVPN Promotions

NORDVPN PROS & CONS

PROS:

  • Excellent security features
  • Over 5,800 servers in 59 countries
  • No logging policy
  • Support Netflix streaming
  • Supports torrenting and P2P sharing
  • Protects up to 6 devices
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

CONS:

  • Expensive if billed monthly
  • No phone support
  • Some servers can be slow sometimes

Bottom line: Is NordVPN good? NordVPN is a reliable VPN for P2P sharing and streaming. It offers fast speeds, safe security, and a wide network of worldwide servers. This makes it one of the best VPN for the money.

Is using a VPN legal?
Using VPNs is perfectly legal in most countries including the US, Canada, and the UK. However, choosing to do illegal activities through a VPN is 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.

IS NORDVPN SAFE?

NordVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption, which is basically military-grade encryption used by the U.S. government and NASA, and will take billions of years to crack. With features like specialty servers, double encryption, and no-log policy, NordVPN offers secure and fast browsing, streaming, and P2P sharing.

Read on to learn more about how NordVPN keeps you safe online.

WHY WE LIKE NORDVPN

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Now let's take a closer look at the features in this detailed NordVPN review.

No Logging Policy

NordVPN works out of Panama, which allows them to maintain a no-logging policy. This means they don't store any kind of information on users. They don't keep logs of IP addresses, websites you visit, or files downloaded. They have no information about your online activity.

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 the internet service providers 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.

Because NordVPN is based in Panama, where there are no data retention laws, this allows them to have a no-logs policy.

© CreditDonkey

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 logs. These logs must be handed over on request. Governments can use this information or share it with other member countries.

Extensive Network

NordVPN has more than 5,800+ servers across 59 countries. Having a large network allows them to handle network congestion. With servers in multiple countries, you'll always have a server close to you.

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

If you choose the "Quick Connect", then the app will automatically connect you to the fastest server for you.

Security Features

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Double security
NordVPN has a "Double VPN" specialty server for extra security. This option routes your internet traffic through two NordVPN servers. This encrypts the information twice, making it more secure.

The Double VPN 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're in a strict country.

Kill-switch
If your VPN connection randomly drops (which can happen, like if you have unstable internet connection), the Kill Switch feature will automatically block your device from accessing the internet. This way, you won't be unknowingly using an unsecured connection.

CyberSec
This feature blocks access to websites known for malware, phishing scams, and other cyber threats. It also stops pop-ups and other intrusive ads, which makes for a faster browsing experience.

3 VPN protocols
NordVPN uses 3 different protocols to transmit your data to VPN servers securely. It uses the OpenVPN (default and most recommended) and IKEv2/IPsec (ideal for security, stability, and speed) protocols, as well as a new Wireguard protocol with state-of-the-art cryptography.

DNS leak protection
A domain name system (DNS) leak is when the site you're visiting is accidentally leaked to your ISP. NordVPN automatically protects you against DNS leaks by using only DNS servers operated by NordVPN.

To check your VPN connection for DNS leaks, you can perform a leak test (here).

Ability to Watch Netflix

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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.

NordVPN also lets you connect to Netflix from servers in Canada, UK, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and Australia.

We tested streaming Netflix from several countries and had no issues with access (though of course certain servers may be slower, especially if they're further away).

You can also get access to Hulu and Amazon Prime Video on certain servers.

Works In China

China is notorious for their strict online regulations. Popular sites such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all blocked.

Since a VPN allows you to connect to servers in different countries, it makes it look like you're browsing from another country. This will allow you to bypass the great firewall of China and access restricted websites.

NordVPN is one of the few VPN providers that works in China. Often, even VPN services are blocked in China. To keep you connected, NordVPN has advanced obfuscated servers that serves as a "plan B" solution to bypass these heavy restrictions.

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 addresses 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 that allows P2P file sharing. It has special dedicated P2P 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.

Connect Multiple Devices

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NordVPN allows you to have up to six simultaneous connections at once 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.

You can even connect your home and office routers, game consoles, and smart TVs.

If you own many smart devices, NordVPN can help you protect each device that connects to the internet.

PRICING & MONEY BACK GUARANTEE

NordVPN offers tiered pricing based on your subscription plan. Longer plans will cost less monthly. The current Nordvpn subscription pricing is:

  • Month-to-month: $11.95 per month
  • One Year: $83.88 billed annually ($6.99 per month)
  • Two Years: $119.76 billed every 2 years ($4.99 per month)
  • Three Years: $125.64 billed every 3 years ($3.49 per month)

The 3-year plan is an excellent deal and beats out the pricing of competitors like ExpressVPN.

While NordVPN no longer offers a free trial, they do 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.

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, NordVPN offers 24/7 customer support by email or live chat.

Can be expensive month-to month
If you need a VPN 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.

Some servers are slow
Not all servers deliver fast speeds. The speed may be slow based on the distance to you and how crowded the server currently is.

In our testing of servers around the world, we've encountered speeds as slow as 0.27mbps download and 0.19mbps upload (this was in Thailand). US servers, however, seem to be pretty consistent with fast speeds.

The double VPN server may be slow as well, since the data is being encrypted twice.

What Experts Say

CreditDonkey assembled a panel of industry experts to answer readers' most pressing questions:

  • Are there any potential dangers of using a VPN?
  • Who should be using a VPN?
  • Can VPN users be tracked?

Here's what they said:

Alternatives to NordVPN

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is another top 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.

Both support torrenting, streaming, and can bypass China restrictions. One difference in their features is that NordVPN offers a Double VPN server option, while ExpressVPN offers split tunneling (allowing you to choose what app traffic to route through the encrypted VPN).

It allows up to 5 simultaneous connections. You can also install the app directly on your router. That way, all connected devices will be protected.

See how NordVPN and ExpressVPN compare below:

 NordVPNExpressVPN
 Visit SiteLearn More
 

NordVPN

ExpressVPN

SPECIAL OFFER
3 Year Plan - $3.49/Month - Learn More

SPECIAL OFFER
Get ExpressVPN - Learn More

 

Benefits and Features

Live Chat Support
Yes
Yes, 24/7
Subscription$11.95/month
$6.99/month (12-month subscription)
$4.99/month (24-month subscription)
$3.49/month (36-month subscription)
$12.95/month
$9.99/month (6-month subscription)
$8.32/month (12-month subscription)
Payment MethodsCredit card, Bitcoin, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, UnionPayCredit card, Paypal, Bitcoin, Paymentwall (UnionPay, giropay, Yandex Money, etc)
Free Trial
30-day money back guarantee
30-day money back guarantee
Windows
Yes
Yes
iPhone App
Yes
Yes
macOS
Yes
Yes
Android App
Yes
Yes
Linux
Yes
Yes
CancellationCredit 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
5200+ servers
3000+ servers
Countries Served
59 countries
94 countries
Security ProtocolsPPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN (with TCP/UDP)OpenVPN (with TCP/UDP), IKEv2, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec
Encryption
AES-256
AES-256
Works in China
Yes
Yes
Devices per license
6 devices
5 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. Bitcoin 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.
 Visit SiteLearn More

Get ExpressVPN

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
 Visit SiteVisit Site
 

NordVPN

IPVanish

SPECIAL OFFER
3 Year Plan - $3.49/Month - Learn More

SPECIAL OFFER
Start Now - Learn More

 

Benefits and Features

Live Chat Support
Yes
Yes
Subscription$11.95/month
$6.99/month (12-month subscription)
$4.99/month (24-month subscription)
$3.49/month (36-month subscription)
$10.00/month
$8.99/month (3-month subscription)
$6.49/month (12-month subscription)
Payment MethodsCredit card, Bitcoin, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, UnionPay
Credit card, Paypal
Free Trial
30-day money back guarantee
30-day money back guarantee
Windows
Yes
Yes
iPhone App
Yes
Yes
macOS
Yes
Yes
Android App
Yes
Yes
Linux
Yes
"Best support" - not guaranteed
CancellationCredit 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
5200+ servers
1400+ servers
Countries Served
59 countries
60+ countries
Security ProtocolsPPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN (with TCP/UDP)OpenVPN (with TCP/UDP), IKEv2/IPSec, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec
Encryption
AES-256
AES-256
Works in China
Yes
No
Devices per license
6 devices
Unlimited 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. Bitcoin 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, on all servers
Money Back Guarantee30-day money back guarantee.30-day money back guarantee.
 Visit SiteVisit Site

Start Now

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 VPN 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 provider.

Bottom Line

It's hard to find fault with NordVPN. They get most of it right - great design, security, stable VPN connection, and easy to use. If you're looking for a good, all-round VPN service provider, we recommend using NordVPN.

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 plan to use it frequently, you'll get a better deal by subscribing for one year or more.

How much is NordVPN? NordVPN offers four pricing plans: $11.95 per month, $83.88 per year ($6.99/mo), $119.76 every two years ($4.99/mo), or $125.64 every three years ($3.49/mo). The monthly cost goes down if you commit to a longer subscription.

Note: This website 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. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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