Since 2012, NordVPN has been offering VPN security solutions for both personal and business use. In the past couple years they’ve begun to really hit their stride and I’d like to spend a few minutes in this NordVPN review to cover what they’ve done right…and what you need to be aware of.
In the following review I’d like to cover a few different questions that people have asked me about the different VPN services that I cover. These questions include:
- Is NordVPN comparable to [name any other VPN]
- How does the NordVPN software function?
- What are the NordVPN server speeds?
- How do I set up NordVPN on my computer or mobile device?
I’m going to try to answer all of these questions listed above and more in this NordVPN review (skip to NordVPN setup by clicking here).
NordVPN Video Review
Before continuing with the NordVPN review, take three minutes to watch our speed review of NordVPN for an overview of the product. I find that it helps to see the product in action instead of just reading about it.
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Note: Please be aware that some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you enjoy this review and decide to purchase NordVPN, I will receive a small commission. Of course, this brings into question any sort of bias I might have, but I promise you that I don’t write about anything I haven’t used in person and I don’t ever recommend a service that I don’t genuinely like.
NordVPN Review | Here’s What I Like
There are many things to like about NordVPN, one of the reasons I list it as one of the best VPNs on the market today. In short, what I really like about NordVPN is:
- Simple Setup Process: It took me less than 5 minutes to purchase, install and activate NordVPN on my computer (see the video above for proof).
- Excellent User Interface: Based on my experience with numerous VPN services, this is actually quite a hard thing to get right. NordVPN has a very clean interface with a beautiful map design that makes it easy to choose the server you want.
- Competitive Pricing: Nowadays, the VPN market has normalized to the point that there’s only a dollar or two difference between most VPN services. If you purchase the NordVPN 2-year plan, you’ll find that it’s right in line with what is standard pricing.
- 30 Day Money-Back Guarantee: This is a BIG deal to me. NordVPN gives you 30 days to try out their service and ask for a full refund if you aren’t completely satisfied. If you’ve read my ExpressVPN review, you’ll know that they offer this as well. That’s why I often suggest people purchase both to see which one they like better and then refund the other (or keep it as a backup).
- Simultaneous Connections: Whereas most VPN services cap users at 3 simultaneous connections (the number of devices that can be connected to the VPN at one time), NordVPN offers a whopping 6. If you’re somebody who has a lot of devices or perhaps a number of different people in your family, this could be a big deal.
- Advanced Features: Although the user interface is suitable for those who aren’t “tech-savvy”, they also offer a lot of advanced features. These include: a VPN kill switch, enabling custom DNS, selecting different security protocols, and connecting to specialty servers like Anti-DDoS, Dedicated IP, Double VPN, and P2P.
All in all these extra features coupled with the security, privacy, and ability to unlock hundreds of streaming websites make NordVPN a great option.
Speed Comparison (NordVPN vs Competitors)
How does NordVPN’s server speeds compare to competitors like ExpressVPN or VyprVPN?
The truth is that I’m not a big fan of speed tests. There are far too many factors that play into your internet speed that include things like your ISP, your router, and even your computer. In other words, just because your internet speed is slow, that doesn’t mean it’s your VPNs fault. It could be a number of different reasons.
I think of speed as one of the many myths related to VPNs, but for the sake of this NordVPN review, we’ll cover the speed test anyway.
In order to make my speed tests as fair as possible, I decided to test NordVPN against its competitors using the same computer, on the same internet connection, at the same time of day, connecting to the same city server. Got that? So here were my results:
As you can see, there’s not too much difference, with the exception of the upload speeds. I hesitate even to show this, however, as there are a number of reasons this test could have shown slow upload speeds. In practice, I’ve never had a problem uploading videos or other large files using NordVPN.
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The Company Behind NordVPN
Founded in 2012 and registered in Panama, NordVPN was created by a close group of friends who had spent time in various parts of the world where Internet censorship, content control, and government agency surveillance are commonplace.
According to the website about page, their founding principles were to develop technology to overcome these solutions to liberate the Internet. Today NordVPN claims to serve more than 1 million people worldwide to provide security and privacy services.
Aside from this information, they don’t provide more detail about the company. In this regard, I wish NordVPN would change. I feel like the world of VPNs is already quite shady and it doesn’t help when these companies – which claim to serve a million people – don’t even allow you to know who is on their leadership team. It’s a bit scary.
How to Set up NordVPN on Computer or Mobile Devices
Now that we’ve covered the primary portion of this NordVPN review, I’m going to detail below how to setup NordVPN both on your desktop and mobile device but honestly, it’s much easier if you watch it being done. Take a few minutes to see the installation and setup process in my NordVPN setup tutorial video below.
NordVPN Setup on a Computer
After registering your e-mail, choosing a password (here are some pro tips for creating a strong password), and submitting payment, log in to your custom profile on NordVPN’s website. At this point, follow these simple steps:
- Download the Appropriate Software: From the download area, you will find numerous operating systems. These include Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, and mobile platforms. Select to download the VPN to your device.
- Log in on Your Device: Once you have downloaded and installed NordVPN, open the application and login with your account info. From here everything is pretty intuitive as NordVPN has an extremely user friendly platform. Within the global map of servers, simply select the server you prefer and you will automatically connect. It is that simple.
Among the interesting features that NordVPN has on its desktop application is the connection wizard. If you are not sure which server to connect to, simply hang out on the main screen and the connection wizard will pop-up and recommend a server for you based on your needs.
Also notable is the search bar at the top of the screen. From there you can type items like watch Netflix, stream Hulu, or download torrents. NordVPN will recommend a server that best fulfills that function.
On the left side menu, you can play with the settings which include a number of advanced features, such as the internet kill switch. Unlike other VPNs that kill your Internet when the VPN disconnects, with NordVPN you can choose which applications you would like to kill rather than having your Internet disconnect entirely.
Some other advanced features on the desktop application include changing protocols along with enabling DNS setup.
NordVPN Setup on Mobile Devices
If you would like to set up NordVPN on your mobile device, you must:
- Find and Download the NordVPN app in Your App Store: There are apps available for both iOS devices and Android devices.
- After downloading NordVPN onto your mobile device, follow the prompts as the software redirects you to your settings to install the profile for VPN.
- Connect to a Server: Once the app has been given permission to install a VPN profile, you will be able to scroll through the various country servers and choose where you want to connect.
When opening the app you have the choice to select your preferred server from the map or use the quick connect feature where NordVPN will recommend the best server based on your location.
Under the “List” option, you can see within the app all the different country servers. In addition, it lists the server’s load and distance. Under the “List” menu, you have the the option to connect to specialty servers like anti-DDoS, dedicated IP servers, onion over VPN, and P2P.
When clicking on the “My Account & Settings” page you have the option to enable the kill switch or reach out for technical support. It’s possible to surf the knowledge base pages for information on servers, streaming services, and privacy.
NordVPN Review | Pros and Cons
As a final part of this NordVPN review, I’d like to list out what I consider to be the pros and cons of the company and the service.
|Incredibly user-friendly||No company transparency|
|High value at an affordable price||Cannot choose city servers|
|Advanced Encryption through Double VPN|
|30-Day money back guarantee|
|Connect up to 6 devices at once|
|Above-Average Customer Service Support|
Final Thoughts | NordVPN Review
Overall, NordVPN is a good option for casual and advanced VPN users. Being headquartered in Panama, where there are no data retention laws, you can reasonably count on NordVPN to protect your data and security.
The platform also offers additional security features like Double VPN and Onion over VPN, which provide additional layers of encryption and protection from prying eyes. NordVPN’s user-friendly interface and affordability are what make it stand out as a Best VPN.
At the very least, I suggest you download and give NordVPN a try. If it’s not what you’re looking for, you have 30 days to get your money back and try something else.
What do you think? What has been your personal experience with NordVPN?