If you’re a streaming media enthusiast, NordVPN provides a combination of features and pretty quick download speeds, and has excellent security credentials. It’s a great option if you’re after a best-of-all-worlds VPN.
- Large number of servers
- Wide range of privacy and security features
- Wide range of endpoint countries
- Clear, audited no-logging policy
- Provides international access to Netflix, All 4 and iPlayer
- Expensive monthly fee
- Review Price: £64.26
- £9.15/month £64.26/year £73.36/two years £82.40/three years
- Connect up to six devices Supports OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec
- Supports OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, SSTP, L2TP, PPTP, WireGuard
- Clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux
- Clear information on connecting other devices without dedicated clients
What is NordVPN?
NordVPN’s virtual private network (VPN) service provides clients and instructions for a wide range of operating systems and devices, with excellent support for international video streaming services.
For Linux users, NordVPN has also introduced the fast WireGuard VPN protocol, which added [link url=”https://nordvpn.com/ru/blog/nordlynx-protocol-wireguard/”]security measures[/link] to bring it up to the company’s privacy requirements, using a system it calls NordLynx.
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NordVPN – Features and usability
NordVPN has, in the past few months, added some new features and given its Windows client a bit of a polish. A compact version of the client with quick connection options is available as a pop-up from its notification area icon, while its main display shows a map of endpoint locations, alongside a searchable list of available servers, categorised by features and geographic location.
It also provides shortcuts to endpoints with specific extra security features, including double VPN, DDoS protection, Onion Routing via the Tor network or support for peer-to-peer torrenting.
In its advanced settings, NordVPN offers a wide range of features, including autoconnection, CyberSec ad and malware protection, invisibility to your local network and both internet and app-specific kill switches to block traffic if your VPN connection goes down. You can also set a custom DNS provider and attempt to avoid VPN blocking in places where it’s restricted by using some of NordVPN’s obfuscated servers.
While NordVPN’s longest subscriptions work out very cheaply, its other tiers are more costly than many of its rivals. You’ll pay a hefty £9.15 per month, a middling £64.26 per year or £73.36 for two years, or £82.40 per three years. The latter works out at just £2.29 a month, which is much better value.
A free trial is no longer available, but there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, and those in search of extra anonymity can pay in Bitcoin.
The service is owned by Tefincom, headquartered in Panama. The country has no data retention legislation in force and NordVPN itself has a no-logging policy. To back this up, NordVPN has had an independent audit carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers and this is available for all subscribers to read.
NordVPN – Performance
NordVPNs transfer speed tests were among the fastest in our new high-speed throughput test, although its US endpoints’ performance was a little disappointing. UK HTTP downloads came in at 16.25MB/s (130Mbps) and FTP at 21.87MB/s.
We got quick transfer speeds from its Netherlands endpoints, which achieved 12.89MB/s over HTTP and 15.14MB/s via FTP. US speeds were a bit faster than last month, but still slightly below average at 6.46MB/s over HTTP and 5.76MB/s via FTP. That’s certainly adequate for most purposes and good enough for the high-quality video streaming that Nord’s service lends itself to.
We also tested the new NordLynx protocol for Linux on a system running Ubuntu 19.04, with the same spec as our usual Windows test system. Linux almost always produces faster VPN throughput due to lower overheads and less integrated file scanning than Windows.
Using NordLynx and Wget at the command line, our UK HTTP test produced download speeds of 74.6Mbps (9.3MB/s) – nothing too exciting there. But when we tested our Netherlands endpoint, we got an incredibly swift download speed of 780Mbps (97.5MB/s) – an almost instantaneous download of over 600MB and almost double our download speed without a VPN. Even in the US, we downloaded files via HTTP at 102Mbps (12.75MB/s), around double what we were seeing via an OpenVPN connection on Windows.
It’s a minor faff to set up and it’s still a relatively untested technology, but the instructions are clear and NordLynx might be of interest to Linux users who’re comfortable with the command line, and particularly those who’re using NordVPN on Linux-based servers or routers.
As usual, NordVPN excelled in our streaming tests – we were able to view region-locked content on Netflix US, BBC iPlayer and, somewhat unusually, All 4, as well as Crunchyroll and Shudder’s US services. It has a huge number of servers in 62 different countries, which doubtless helps its IP addresses keep off streaming industry blacklists.
Related: What is a VPN?
Should I buy NordVPN?
NordVPN performs consistently well in our tests, with an excellent range of features at low to middling cost depending on which subscription you opt for. It’s one of the few VPN providers to consistently go undetected by both US Netflix and BBC iPlayer, making it a great option for those who want to watch region-shifted streaming content.
Owned by Panama-based Tefincom, NordVPN has, at the time of testing, 5,721 active servers in countries ranging from the UK, the US and most of the EU to less commonly used locations in Egypt, Vietnam, Taiwan and New Zealand. It recently shut down its Russian endpoint servers as its no-logging policy was in violation of Russian legislation.
NordVPN is one of the few VPN providers to have an independent audit that confirms its claim that it stores no personally identifiable information about its users.
Panama has no data-retention legislation in force and NordVPN itself has a no-logging policy. NordVPN says that it runs services in restrictive countries such as Russia by fully configuring the servers it rents from local ISPs itself.
If you’re a streaming media enthusiast, NordVPN provides a combination of features and pretty quick download speeds, and has excellent security credentials. It’s a great option if you’re after a best-of-all-worlds VPN. It’s also introducing some particularly interesting features for Linux users.
The most privacy-conscious may prefer to choose a service that’s been shown in court to keep no logs, such as ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access, while Windscribe is also a good, fast and cheap, but there’s next to nothing to fault Nord on, particularly if you want to buy an extended subscription.
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