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NordVPN Review

One of the very best VPNs comes with a costly subscription

Verdict

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NordVPN is a great choice 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
  • Subscriptions renew at a higher rate
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NordVPN – Save 64%

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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.
  • Sixty countries to choose as endpointNordVPN has more than 5,400 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 it made good on its promises to improve security following a breach in 2018.

The service has continued to impress 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 beneath all the hype.

Nord Security recently merged with fellow Tesonet incubator graduate Surfshark, but the two companies continue to operate independently for the time being.

Although Nord Security has offices around the world, NordVPN remains headquartered in Panama, which does not require internet service providers to keep logs of user activity.

Its warrant canary page has recently been updated to clarify that the company is committed to its no-logging policy and that it “will only comply with requests from foreign governments and law enforcement agencies if these requests are delivered according to laws and regulations”.

To back its no-logging claims, NordVPN has had independent audits carried out by PwC that are made available for all subscribers to read.

Pricing and Subscriptions

NordVPN’s subscriptions are more costly than many of its rivals’. If you subscribe monthly, you’ll pay a hefty £9.99/$11.99. Deals get better the longer you sign up for, but watch out for a price hike on renewal. Renewing subscribers are charged the current full price, sans an introductory discount.

So, a new subscriber will pay £56.85 for their first year and receive an extra three months free, but their subscription will renew at the standard rate, currently £104.85 per year. Similarly, a two-year introductory subscription costs just £67.23 – again with an extra free three months on top of that – but it renews at £188.73 for two years.

If all you need is a VPN, make sure you choose the NordVPN Essential tier, as the more expensive options include the password manager NordPass and 1TB of secure cloud storage. Both are actually good things to have, but make sure you know what you want and what you’re getting.

No free tier or 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 a 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 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, and support for peer-to-peer torrenting.

A screenshot of NordVPN

In its advanced settings, NordVPN offers a wide range of features, including auto-connection, 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 peers, NordVPN is currently in the process of upgrading its integrated defences against malware and malicious websites to provide a more comprehensive security solution. It switched over to a fully RAM-disk-based infrastructure in 2021.

Performance

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

NordVPN’s performance is always good, and in a select test of the year’s best-performing VPN services, it once again ranked in my top three for speed and streaming alongside Surfshark and ProtonVPN, with NordVPN having an average throughput of 400.27Mbps across all tested endpoints.

VPN ProviderUKNetherlandsUnited States
NordVPN356.80Mbps611.20Mbps232.80Mbps
Reference Group Average HTTPS396.32Mbps499.52Mbps204.00Mbps
VPN’s HTTPS speed test results compared against the group average

NordVPN uses the fast WireGuard protocol in the form of its customised NordLynx protocol by default for its desktop clients. Performance is excellent – credit to Nord’s high-quality network infrastructure.

This VPN service’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 or Sky.

Latest deals

NordVPN – Save 64%

NordVPN – Save 64%

NordVPN have slashed the monthly subscription fee by 64% on their 2 year plan . No Logs or hidden fees and all plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

  • NordVPN
  • 64% 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

After its mishandled 2018 security breach, NordVPN has put its money where its mouth is when it comes to doing better, opening a bug bounty programme, continuing to commission independent audits and introducing new security measures. Do watch out for those subscription fees increasing on renewal, though.

NordVPN has a solid claim on being one of the best VPN services around, but it’s expensive. Surfshark, owned by the same company, is better if you’re on a budget. ProtonVPN Plus is comparably priced and similarly feature-packed, while 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

All speed tests are run across a fibre connection with a maximum tested connection speed of 980Mbps, which means that we’re able to get a good idea of the upper threshold of each VPN service’s speed at the time of testing.

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

We research security and no-logging claims.

We inventory and test client features on Windows and Linux.

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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