This is the second in our series of VPN reviews. Check back next week for a full rundown of the best
Owned by Panama-based TelFinCom, NordVPN currently has 534 active servers in 47 countries, from the UK, USA and most of the EU to less common endpoints in Egypt, Vietnam, Taiwan, New Zealand and Russia. Panama has no data-retention legislation in force and NordVPN itself has a no-logging policy.
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Depending on which region you wish to connect to, available servers include: "double VPN" servers, which send you through two encrypted VPN servers for extra security; Tor over VPN servers, which, after you've connected, route all your traffic through the Tor network; and anti-DDoS servers hardened to protect against network disruption attempts.
NordVPN doesn't currently provide port forwarding, popular for torrenting and other P2P applications, although it states that "we are currently developing the port-forwarding technique, which will be implemented into our service in the second quarter of 2016."
NordVPN also has a set of "Ultra fast TV" servers for the UK, USA, Germany and Canada. These are extremely popular, registering high user loads at all times. But they provide plenty of bandwidth, and include one of the few US servers from any VPN provider with end-points that Netflix didn't detect as proxies.
Similarly, we had no trouble watching BBC iPlayer or region-locked YouTube content. Performance in our FTP download test was reasonably quick on British and Dutch servers, but surprisingly sluggish in the USA – in common with other services that catered particularly well to streaming video users.
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Dedicated desktop and mobile applications are available for Windows, Mac OS X, Android and iOS. NordVPN also provides detailed instructions for getting its service working properly on everything from Linux PCs to routers and NAS devices. NordVPN's own application uses OpenVPN as standard, but the service supports a range of different protocols. Your subscription allows you to simultaneously connect up to six devices at once.
A NordVPN subscription normally costs $8 (£5.55) per month, $45 (£31.24) for six months and $96 (£66.65) for a year, but special offers are frequently available. At the time of writing, a six-month subscription was on offer at $30 (£20.83), and an annual subscription could be bought for $48 (£33.33). NordVPN accepts payments in Bitcoin for those who want extra anonymity. For those who require a permanent IP address in another country, dedicated addresses are available, but currently only on US endpoints.
NordVPN's baseline prices are higher than many rival services, but the combination of regular special offers, a wide range of endpoints and a clear no-logging policy in a country with legislation that's protective of individual privacy make it one of the best VPN services available.