NordVPN Review 2021 takes you through all the features of this premium VPN service. We carried all manner of tests. From the number of servers, speeds, security and encryption features to its ability to find a way around geoblocking. You also get to know how NordVPN safeguards your online security. Can you use NordVPN to unblock Netflix? Can you torrent on its servers? You’ll get all the answers plus how Nord compares with other premium VPNs.
Short on time, here are the remarkable NordVPN features
- Security: Uses the unbreakable AES-256 encryption
- Streaming: Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Amazon Prime
- Bypassing Censorship: Excellent at bypassing geoblocks, including the Great Firewall of China
- Speed: Lightning-fast speeds excellent for torrenting
What is NordVPN and how does it work?
NordVPN is a premium Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that works to protect your packets of data as they transit over the internet. It uses military-grade encryption to create a safe tunnel for all your online activities effectively protecting you against hackers, and Government surveillance.
NordVPN supports anonymous browsing that prevents your ISP from throttling your traffic when you torrent or access streaming services.
NordVPN Coupon February 2021
Discount applied automatically
Is NordVPN worth it in 2021?
Many of our readers ask “is NordVPN worth it?” In this NordVPN review, we have tested the service as regards issues like security, privacy, speed, number of servers and server locations, pricing, and many other factors that make up a reliable VPN service.
NordVPN ticks most boxes making it among the best VPN services in 2021.
Summary of NordVPN features in 2021?
- Base in Panama means No Government Spying
- Strictly No logs VPN Service
- 5,700+ servers in 62+ countries
- Blazing fast speeds
- P2P Allowed
- Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Soundcloud
- SSL- Based 2048-bit encryption
- Internet Kill Switch
- Double-Data encryption
- Onion over VPN
- Obfuscation feature superb for bypassing firewalls
- 6 simultaneous connections
- Smart play-improves streaming connectivity
- 68% Discount on 2-year plan @ $3.71/month
In-depth analysis of NordVPN
NordVPN is a premium Virtual Private Network service that focuses on delivering unlimited, secure, and anonymous internet. It helps you to browse, watch, or stream content from anywhere in the world regardless of your location.
The VPN service has its base in Panama which is a great privacy location. Additionally, NordVPN has a strictly no-logs policy and accepts Bitcoin, which allows you to browse the internet anonymously.
It is a great choice if you are looking for a VPN that offers an excellent balance between performance and privacy.
NordVPN pricing: Limited deal upto 68% off
NordVPN has 3 main plans as follows:
- 1-month plan: $11.95 per month (0% discount)
- 1- year plan: $4.92 per month (58% discount)
- 2-year plan: $3.71 per month (68% discount)
All the plans include a 30-days money-back guarantee, an excellent opportunity to try the service risk-free.
Regardless of the plan you choose, you get all NordVPN apps for MAC, Windows, and iOS, unlimited high-speed bandwidth, and 24/7 customer support.
Moreover, you also get six simultaneous connections, a great advantage for the families. You not only set up all your devices such as a laptop, smartphone, your children’s mobile devices, tablet, and router, but also game consoles using one single account.
NordVPN accepts a broad range of payment methods including credit card, Paymentwall, and Bitcoin for maximum anonymity. However, the PayPal payment option is no longer available.
NordVPN is one of the easiest VPNs to use on the market. Furthermore, it features a well-designed client that supports all major platforms from Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. Uniquely, the platforms come with all the necessary configurations making it easy for you to download, install, and use.
Besides, you also get lots of resources including tutorials that can help you to set up the VPN service on various platforms. In short, the NordVPN client is fully featured and works excellent. Its free VPN client download is also easy even if it’s your first instance with a VPN.
I like that it offers encrypted proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers.
NordVPN works on all devices and allows up to 6 simultaneous connections using a single account.
Zero logs policy
NordVPN has a strictly no-logs policy meaning your privacy is protected. By the same token, even where the VPN is required by law enforcement or is under a court order to produce your logs, they won’t have any to disclose.
We strongly advise that you always use a VPN service that has a strictly no logs policy, particularly where privacy is your top priority. Obviously, after Snowden’s revelations of how the NSA practices massive surveillance, you wouldn’t want to risk your online privacy.
NordVPN servers and server locations
NordVPN provides you with 5,000+ servers in 60+ countries that specialize in a specific area. Hence, you have servers for Tor, Fast TV, anti-DDoS, double VPN, standard VPN, servers for P2P Torrenting, and servers for Netflix US. This makes things easy. After you connect, you just find a server group that specializes in your desired service; connect to the nearest server location or one that will help you to bypass geo-restrictions.
AS you can see, NordVPN has among the highest server coverage in the industry. A huge server list has lots of benefits including unblocking of content across the world, and the possibility of connecting to a nearby server for fast speeds. Our tests revealed that the VPN’s network is not congested, and the experience was good.
For a full discussion on the importance of choosing a VPN with wide server coverage. You can read our article on the subject.
Does NordVPN bypass the Great Firewall of China?
The Great Firewall of China is a vast internet censorship program exercised by the People’s Republic of China. It aims at regulating the internet domestically. Some of its methods include IP blocking, DNS tampering, and hijacking, Deep Packet Inspection among others.
You can’t imagine life without Google products, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, New York Times, Bloomberg, and many other vital international services.
China is at war with VPN services, and she seems to be winning as many services including CyberGhost have already thrown in the towel.
How does NordVPN China work?
NordVPN offers obfuscated servers that hide OpenVPN traffic and disguise it as regular HTTPS traffic effectively fooling the Great Firewall of China.
However, you need to download the VPN app on your device before entering China as you won’t be able while in the jurisdiction.
We tested NordVPN China and found it working at the time of writing this review. For more information on censorship in China, you can read our compressive article on the best VPN for China here.
Smart DNS play
Smart DNS Play is an encrypted secure Smart DNS that NordVPN uses to enable you to bypass geographical restrictions and unblock streaming services. In the same token, NordVPN Smart Play will allow you to access more than 150 streaming channels including Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, Zattoo, ABC Go, Cartoon Network, Telemundo, Discovery, Star Trek, WTV.com, TNT Drama, and NBC Sports among many others.
NordVPN SmartP Play can help you to access and stream content from a channel in a given region without necessarily having to connect to a server from the area. However, you will not be able to configure the NordVPN Smart play on devices that do not run a VPN client like Roku, SmartTV, or even games console.
Security and privacy
NordVPN uses the AES-256-GCM encryption algorithm with a 2048-bit DH key. Furthermore, you also get all the five major protocols from IKEv2, OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, and IPsec coupled with a robust SSL-based 2048-bit encryption.
NordVPN uses four main protocols to route through your device. Let’s have a brief discussion on each of them to help you understand how they work.
OpenVPN is the most secure protocol. It features fast speeds and the ability to bypass firewalls. The protocol is available as either TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) or UDP (User Datagram Protocol) internet protocols. On the downside, OpenVPN has a complicated setup.
Microsoft and Cisco developed IKEv2. It is fast, stable, and secure. It uses IPSec tools to offer comprehensive VPN coverage. IPSec’s tool, such as Mobility and Multi-homing protocol, ensure you have a connection even as you move from between internet connections. Hence, IKEv2 is a dependable protocol for mobiles. It communicates faster, uses less bandwidth, and bypasses firewalls.
However, IKEv2 is not compatible with many systems. Going by Edward Snowden’s revelation, it was potentially compromised by the NSA. Programmers, including NordVPN, managed to patch up the issue.
Secure Sockets Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) developed by Microsoft supports AES-256 protocol, it’s easy to set up, and easily bypasses firewalls. However, since its privately owned, its code is not available for testing by researchers
WireGuard is the newest open-source VPN protocol. It is the fastest and uses robust cryptography better than even IPSec/IKEv2 or OpenVPN. It’s free, and open-source nature means anyone can check out its code, making it easy to deploy, audit, and deburge.
NordVPN already released NordLynx, a new technology built around the WireGuard Protocol. It’s the fasted protocol in the industry. Since WireGuard, on its own, can’t ensure privacy, NordVPN developed a double NAT (Network Address Translation) system, which establishes a secure VPN connection and ensures there’s no storage of any identifiable user data on a server.
NordVPN offers OpenVPN and IkEv2 on all its platforms. We highly recommend OpenVPN and IKEv2 our second best.
NordVPN third-party audit
In this NordVPN Review and many others, we applaud VPN services that have commissioned third-party audits. In November 2018, NordVPN passed a third-party audit of its no-logs policy by PricewaterhouseCooper. Also, in October 2019, it underwent an audit of its app by Versprite. The VPN patched vulnerabilities revealed through penetration testing, which attests to its commitment to security and transparency.
Other equally important security features of note are:
- Dedicated IPs
- Firewall pass-through
- Double VPN for increased anonymity.
Internet Kill Switch
NordVPN uses the Internet Kill Switch to protect the exposure of your online activities by disconnecting your internet connection should the VPN connection drop. It is invaluable for protecting the accidental exposure of your data.
Nord also protects you against IP and DNS leaks hence, it’s safe.
Onion over VPN
Onion over VPN is a feature that Nord has in place to increase your security and privacy. As a matter of fact, when you connect to the NordVPN server, it routes your traffic through the Tor Network. As usual with Tor, your packets of data are routed across several Tor hops then to your destination. Equally important, you can also access the .onion websites using NordVPN as the DNS traffic also routes through the Tor network.
Double encryption means your traffic is encrypted twice. First, your packets of data pass through the VPN server where it’s encrypted. Then, the traffic undergoes second encryption on its way to the second server. As a result, you get enhanced encryption, anonymity, and security.
Other important privacy features
Nord’s location in Panama gives it a head start over other VPNs. Of course, it’s a great option for you if privacy is tops on your agenda. Also, Panama is known for zero surveillance and there are no metadata laws hence internet freedom. At the same time, Nord does not keep its users’ logs. Above all, it’s away from the NSA and GCHQ spheres of influence.
Additionally, Nord offers its users the ability to pay for its services using anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin. This is important for those who want to be completely anonymous. The more conventional payment methods such as PayPal and Credit Cards can easily be traced to you.
Furthermore, NordVPN provides protection for all possible leaks. I tested the VPN for the leaks at ipleak.net, and I can confirm that it’s leakproof. Other great security features include having an Internet Kill Switch to protect your traffic from leaking should the VPN connection fall. If you desire the highest standards of privacy, maybe because you deal with sensitive information, Nord VPN’s Double VPN or Tor over VPN features could be what you need.
NordVPN comes with an inbuilt Cybersec feature that blocks dangerous websites and lets you avoid annoying ads.
NordVPN automatically initiates a VPN connection whenever a Wi-Fi network is joined. You can set the WiFiSec feature to automatically connect to Nord on both secured and unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
Our daily hassles engage us too much to be conscious of the Wi-Fi networks our device connects be it in a restaurant, while commuting, or at the airport.
With the NordVPN WiFiSec feature, you can always be sure that your data is protected at all times.
NordVPN review speed test
Speed is among the features that you should consider before subscribing to any VPN service. As a matter of fact, if you’re looking at streaming content, slow speeds will result in annoying buffering and also the inability to stream in HD quality.
Speed test without VPN
Speed test with VPN
In our speed test, Nord exhibited excellent speeds compared to many other VPN services. We were also able to stream in HD quality without any buffering. Similarly, We also liked that NordVPN has specialized servers for streaming and torrenting. In fact, NordVPN is our 2021 choice for the best VPN for streaming and unblocking streaming services.
Is NordVPN good for gaming?
NordVPN offers excellent gaming experience with DDoS protection and universal access. This NordVPN review explains the importance of a gaming VPN as follows:
A gaming VPN will protect your device from participating or becoming a victim of DDoS attacks. Distributed Denial of Service attacks is rampant in the gaming world. Gamers are known to use DDoS attacks to gain competitive advantage by either slowing down the other player’s internet connection or shut them completely out from a game server. If you are a target of DDoS attack, multiple computers are used to send unwanted data traffic to your IP address aimed at overwhelming your network.
NordVPN will be able to mitigate more traffic than your actual connection. The provider hides your real IP and also encrypts your data traffic to make it untraceable by any other person. Besides, even if you become a target, you still have the option to hop from one IP to another.
Access your worldwide games first
Usually, new games are not released in all regions at the same time. If a new game is released to your region after months, you can still use a VPN to gain access to the game before it’s available to your location. NordVPN has servers in 59 countries across the globe. All you need is to connect to its server in a location where the game is launched earlier.
NordVPN will also allow you to play games on whichever platform you prefer. It is compatible with Windows, Android, macOS, Linux, iPhone, Android, and Android TV. You only need to change your IP address to access worldwide games from anywhere.
The best way to describe it is ‘Gaming on the Go.’ Even when you travel to UK, France, Germany, Brazil, even China, you have 5700 servers at your disposal to play the latest games.
Avoid bandwidth throttling
It is frustrating and annoying to see the buffering screen when you were just about to unleash your opponent the final victory blow. While it may be a slow connection, it may as well mean that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is throttling your bandwidth. It is an intentional reduction in internet speeds to minimize network congestion and server crashes. NordVPN encrypts your data traffic effectively hiding it from your ISP.
Does NordVPN allow peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic?
Peer-to-peer networking is among the fastest way and most convenient way to share files with a large group of people. NordVPN allows P2P on its network and protects your traffic data all the way. When you use the VPN, it allows you to connect to a remote server, thereby replacing your real IP with that of the server. The IP swap hides your location and helps you to stay private while sharing files online.
NordVPN uses the best-in-class encryption to secure your traffic data. Moreover, it offers double data encryption and Onion over VPN for complete anonymous browsing. Its location in Panama, a country with no metadata laws and away from spying, is excellent for torrenting activities. The strictly no-logs policy ensures that even if the provider is slumped with a court order requiring it to release your P2P activities, it won’t have any.
Having an inbuilt Kill Switch is important for torrenting because it protects your traffic data from exposure if the VPN disconnects. NordVPNs inbuilt protection from DNS and IP leaks makes it safe and suitable for P2P activities.
NordVPN Review: download, step-by-step installation, and connection guide
NordVPN download and installation is a breeze. You can connect your Windows PC to NordVPN using the its application method as follows:
- Go to the NordVPN website
- Click on the NordVPN download software page
3. The software will install automatically
- Enter your credentials
- Go ahead and choose the VPN server as well as the protocol you wish to connect
6. On connection to the VPN, you see the connection and account information
7. Make sure that the IP has changed successfully
- You can switch to a different server by clicking on “change server” in the application
9. Select your desired server and connect, and there you go!
10. Don’t forget to check the settings “window” to configure the software for your needs.
NordVPN provides several support options that are readily available on the help page. Moreover, you can browse comprehensive and easy to understand tutorials and FAQs. You can also fill out a form or get help from a live chat service. Another key point is that the Nord support service is available around the clock.
I contacted the customer support and was really impressed. No sooner had I asked the question, a guy ‘Larry’ was prompt with the answers. Felt one-on-one.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network is a technology that provides a secure tunnel where your packets of data are transmitted safely from your device to the webserver. All your data is encrypted and thus secure from network-based eavesdropping attacks, and other cybercrimes.
For a deep discussion on VPNs, you can read our comprehensive guide on What is a VPN?
NordVPN review: frequently asked questions in 2021
We’ve received lots of questions from our readers about NordVPN as regards issues like Free Trial, number of devices, encryption, Internet Kill Switch, and many more. We feel much obliged and take advantage of this NordVPN FAQ to share with you some of the questions and our responses to them. I hope the comprehensive FAQ will be of help to you.
Without hesitation, here are our answers to the NordVPN frequently asked questions
1. Is there a NordVPN free trial?
Many of our readers keep asking us about NordVPN free trial. Yes, there’s a free version of NordVPN that allows you to test the service for 7 days absolutely free. NordVPN free service is as excellent as the paid version as regards the features, encryption, number of servers, and the ability to simultaneously connect up to 6 devices using a single subscription. Unlike many VPN services that limit bandwidth on the free trial, the NordVPN trial provides unlimited bandwidth and full speeds on its free version. Also, it offers a no – questions asked money-back guarantee. If the NordVPN free trial is not enough for you, its 30-days money-back guarantee allows you to test NordVPN risk-free.
2. How much is NordVPN per month?
NordVPN has 3 straightforward and easy to understand plans. The monthly plan will see you pay $11.95 a month. The one-year plan saves you 58% at $4.92 per month. You can further save up to 68% with their 2-year plan so that you pay $3.71 per month.
3. What is NordVPN used?
NordVPN is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that creates a secure connection between your device and a remote server run by the VPN service. That way, the VPN secures all your traffic and provides you with high levels of privacy.
4. Can NordVPN be hacked?
NordVPN protects you by encrypting your traffic using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 256-bit-keys. When you connect to NordVPN, it automatically selects the most appropriate encryption setting for your speed and security situations. The VPN hides your IP address to ensure that you browse anonymously. You can rest assured that NordVPN security is top-notch.
5. What is cybersec NordVPN?
Cybersec is NordVPNs advanced security solution that helps protect you against malware. The Cybersec suit effectively identifies malware threats as you browse the internet and stops connection to such malicious websites. Hence, Cybersec protects you against a wide range of threats including DDoS attacks, and adware.
6. Does NordVPN store logs
NordVPN is a Strictly no-logs service. That means that it neither tracks the time or duration of your online session nor keep logs of websites visited, IP addresses or servers used or files downloaded. Hence it is a secure VPN to use in 2021.
7. Is NordVPN safe for torrenting
We’ve received questions such as is torrenting safe with VPN? Does NordVPN allow torrenting? And many more on the subject. If you are wondering whether torrenting is safe with VPN the answer is an absolute Yes. As long as you are using a competent service like NordVPN, it will secure your connection and hide your IP address and geographic location. In fact, it provides you with specific servers that are optimized for P2P connections. Moreover, you have more than 5,700 servers worldwide making it easy to find optimized servers for your torrenting needs.
Read our full article on torrenting for a more detailed discussion.
8. Can I watch US Netflix with NordVPN?
Yes, you can watch not only US Netflix with NordVPN, but also many other streaming services including Hulu, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Sky Go to YouTube. NordVPN Netflix offers excellent connection speeds, and it’s known to respond quickly whenever any of its Netflix IP’s suffer blocking.
9. How do I use NordVPN for Netflix?
It’s easy to use NordVPN Netflix. Here’ how:
- Purchase NordVPN subscription (it has a special offer 68% discount at $3.71)
- Download and install the specific NordVPN app suitable for your device
- Connect to the NordVPN service
- That’s it; you can open NordVPN Netflix and stream your favorite Netflix TV show or Movie.
10. Does NordVPN have DNS leak protection?
NordVPN has inbuilt DNS leak protection; a technology that prevents any unencrypted queries going outside the secure VPN tunnel. NordVPN also implements IPv6 leak protection. Hence, NordVPN is safe.
NordVPN review: conclusion
Nord is comparatively among the best security mechanisms that you can use to protect your data while online. The VPNs provision of special-purpose servers, Double VPN, and Tor over VPN is a plus.
Nord is arguably the best VPN service provider. Its service is top-notch, its customer support is knowledgeable, and you get privacy without compromising on performance.
In conclusion, we state that NordVPN service is stable, has good speeds, and provides meaningful anonymity and robust security. It has a broad collection of servers, double encryption and Tor over VPN for added security.The pricing is reasonable and they allow up to 6 simultaneous connections using a single subscription.
This post contains VPN affiliate links. This means that if you purchase a VPN through this site I may earn a (small but much appreciated) commission at no extra cost to you.