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NordVPN Review

One of the very best VPNs comes with a costly subscription

Verdict

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NordVPN is one of the best services around for any everyday VPN use case. It’s fast, flexible, and security-audited – but it isn’t cheap.

Pros

  • Large number of servers
  • Wide range of security features and endpoints
  • Clear, audited no-logging policy
  • Great for streaming

Cons

  • Relatively expensive

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NordVPN – Save 59%

NordVPN have slashed the monthly subscription fee by 59% on their 2 year plan . No Logs or hidden fees and all plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

  • NordVPN
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  • £2.49 per month
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Key Features

  • Connect up to six devicesNordVPN can be used on up to six devices simultaneously, with apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux and Android TV.
  • 60 countries to choose as endpointNordVPN features over 5400 servers in 60 different countries, including the UK, Canada and Australia.

Introduction

NordVPN is one of the most heavily advertised consumer VPN services around, but it has the performance to back up many of its claims, and made good on its promises to improve security following a breach in 2018.

The service has been impressive in my tests, consistently being among the fastest and least detectable VPN providers when it comes to everyday use cases. I still find its YouTube-led advertising bombastic and excessive, but there’s a genuinely good service here.

Parent company Nord Security recently merged with Surfshark, but the two companies continue to operate independently for the time being.

The change has seen a shift in administrative headquarters, too. NordVPN used to be officially headquartered in Panama because, it said, the country’s privacy-friendly legislation made it easy to support its no-logging policy. The new merged company is now, like Surfshark, registered in the Netherlands, although legacy accounts continue to be associated with Nord’s Panama-registered subsidiary until renewal.

NordVPN has a no-logging policy. To back this up, the company has independent audits carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which are made available for all subscribers to read.

Pricing and Subscriptions

While NordVPN’s longest subscriptions and introductory offers work out very cheaply, its standard annual rate is more costly than many rivals. You’ll pay a hefty £8.84/$11.995 per month, but subscriptions offer increasingly good value the longer you sign up for.

Prices over one- and two-year subs have been cut to £43.66/$59 per year and £65.86 every two years, but these are special rates for new customers. All one- and two-year subscriptions renew as annual subscriptions at the current annual rate, which is £73.08/$99 per year right now.

No free trial is available, but there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, and those in search of extra anonymity can pay using a selection of cryptocurrencies.

Features and Usability

  • Supports wide range of devices
  • Lots of security features included
  • Map-like interface is simple to use

NordVPN provides clients and connection instructions for a massive range of devices and platforms. These range from desktop computing platforms and smartphones to routers, servers and one of the best proxying browser plugins I’ve seen from a VPN service, making it easy to move your web browser traffic around the world at a whim.

On Windows, the NordVPN client’s 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.

NordVPN desktop client

In its advanced settings, NordVPN offers a wide range of features, including auto-connection, CyberSec ad and malware protection, invisibility to your local network, split tunnelling to exclude certain applications from the VPN, 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.

Like a number of its rivals, NordVPN is currently in the process of upgrading its integrated defences against malware and malicious websites to provide a more comprehensive security solution.

Performance

  • Ranked in top three during latest performance group test
  • Great support for video streaming

All of my testing was carried out on a virtual desktop physically located at a data centre with a high-speed internet connection in London. This testing setup produces results under optimal connection conditions. VPN clients are tested on their default settings.

NordVPN’s performance is always good, and in this round of testing, it ranked in my top three for speed and streaming, alongside Surfshark and ProtonVPN.

Endpoints/VPNUKNetherlandsUnited States
NordVPN420.00 Mbps539.20 Mbps198.40 Mbps
Reference Group Average HTTP310.77 Mbps306.83 Mbps194.52 Mbps
Reference HTTP without VPN489.60 Mbps532.80 Mbps490.40 Mbps
VPN’s HTTP speed test results compared against group average and connection speed without a VPN

NordVPN also uses the fast WireGuard protocol – in the form of its customised NordLynx protocol – by default for desktop clients.

NordVPN’s video streaming is as good as ever. You don’t need to use any kind of specialist endpoints, which is convenient for anyone who wants to keep their VPN connected at all times without having to use split tunnelling to get access to iPlayer.

Latest deals

NordVPN – Save 59%

NordVPN – Save 59%

NordVPN have slashed the monthly subscription fee by 59% on their 2 year plan . No Logs or hidden fees and all plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

  • NordVPN
  • 59% off
  • £2.49 per month
View Deal

Should you buy it?

If you want a fast and fully featured VPN:

NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs currently available, while also offering an abundance of security features

You want a cheap VPN:

NordVPN is one of the most expensive options, and has no free tier other than the 30-day trial.

Final Thoughts

NordVPN has put its money where its mouth is when it comes to doing better after its mishandled 2018 security breach, opening a bug bounty programme, continuing to commission independent audits, and introducing new security measures.

NordVPN has a solid claim on being one of the best VPN services around. Surfshark, owned by the same company, is better if you’re on a budget. ProtonVPN Plus is comparable in full annual price and features, and Perfect Privacy should be your first choice if you need proven security.

If your VPN requirements are modest then ProtonVPN Free and Windscribe are both excellent free alternatives.

Trusted Score
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How we test

We run tests from a London-based connection that typically sees speeds between 500Mbps and 700Mbps, which means that we’re able to get a good idea of what each VPN’s maximum speeds currently are.

We test multiple endpoints from each provider in three locations: the UK, the Netherlands and the U.S.

Tested speeds with three endpoints: UK, USA and the Netherlands.

Researched security and no-logging claims

Tested all available features

FAQs

Is NordVPN still trustworthy?

Yes. It maintains a policy of not retaining any directly identifiable user data, and indicates that it hasn’t received any warrants from government organisations. It doesn’t have the rock-solid credibility of ExpressVPN, which has suffered and survived server seizures without loss of customer privacy, but NordVPN provides credible security against ISP or local network snooping, and the ability to watch streaming media from anywhere in the world.

Is NordVPN free?

No, although it does have a 30-day free trial.

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