NordVPN Review: One of the best VPNs this year 2022!

For a variety of reasons, NordVPN is deserving of a place in our best VPN list. NordVPN’s reputation as the best virtual private network service for the money is likely the first thing you’ve heard about it, but there’s more: You won’t find a VPN that can do more than NordVPN and do it as cheaply as NordVPN does it anyplace else. Despite a security compromise in 2019 (more on that later), it’s difficult to find another service that can perform what NordVPN provides.

NordVPN could provide a little more privacy if it increased the amount of servers it controls, but we’re talking about over 5,200 servers in 60 locations, a zero-log policy, and a Panamanian jurisdiction. It’s a powerful encryption tool with a feature that allows you to connect to Tor via VPN.

It’s hardly surprising that the NordVPN app has over 218,000 ratings on the App Store, with a 4.6-star rating, and over 451,000 reviews on the Google Play Store, with a 4.3-star rating. It’s no surprise that the VPN client took home the prize for best value.

As a speed boost, NordVPN’s SmartPlay function allows it to achieve what so many other VPNs can’t: stream video. Not only is it accessible for iOS and Android, but also for Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

Speed

  • Average speed loss: 53% speed lost in autumn 2020 tests
  • Number of servers: 5,200-plus servers
  • Number of NordVPN server locations: 60 
  • Number of IP addresses: 5,000

We tested NordVPN performance over a three-day period, utilizing both wireless and Ethernet connections. The speed of the internet in the United States varies greatly depending on the state and the provider. And, as with any speed test, the results will be influenced by your local infrastructure, with hyperfast internet connectivity resulting in faster test results.

That’s one of the reasons we’re more concerned about the amount of speed lost, as using a VPN can reduce your internet speed by half or more. When we tested NordVPN in 2019, we saw a 53 percent reduction in connection speed, compared to a 32 percent reduction when we tested it in 2019. While not as fast as some of its competitors, such as ExpressVPN and Surfshark, we found that NordVPN’s speeds were consistent; there were no abrupt drops or service outages, and it performed admirably when we anticipated it to fail.

During my tests, NordVPN’s overall world average speed was 91Mbps in a dataset with average non-VPN speeds of 194Mbps. While it’s common for a VPN to reduce your internet speed by half or more, the noteworthy background here is that NordVPN never dropped below 85Mbps across the averages of my five test zones. It’s still one of the most reliable and stable VPNs I’ve encountered.

At 98Mbps, Singapore took the lead in the testing averages, although UK speeds edged out European speeds by a hair’s breadth. UK connections, which averaged 99.93Mbps, edged out French and German connections, which averaged 91.90Mbps. During testing, NordVPN had another close call, with Australia edging out the United States, 88Mbps to 86Mbps. There isn’t a single one of these scores that you can sneer at.

Security and privacy 

  • Jurisdiction: Panama
  • Encryption: AES-256, 4096-bit RSA key, Perfect Forward Secrecy
  • No leaks detected
  • Includes customizable kill switch 

We like that NordVPN is based in Panama, which is known for its lack of surveillance-sharing agreements with other governments, making it a privacy-friendly jurisdiction.

It uses the industry-standard AES-256-CBC encryption and supports Perfect Forward Secrecy, which means it changes encryption keys regularly to avoid security breaches. NordVPN also employs the OpenVPN protocol (one of the most secure on the market) and IPSec/IKEv2 protocols (which is less secure but still quite fast). During our testing, no IP addresses, DNS leaks, or other potentially user-identifying data leaks were discovered.

In the case that the VPN connection breaks, the VPN tool has a helpful kill switch security function that prevents network data from escaping outside of the secure VPN tunnel. Those new with the software should take note of the added adjustable kill switch, which allows you to choose which apps to terminate if your VPN goes down. Keep in mind that any apps that aren’t on that list will still send information over the internet, posing a privacy risk.

Additional features include a site filter that blocks a wider range of harmful websites, as well as an optional ad and tracker blocker. The latter contributes significantly to the ordinary VPN user’s ability to maintain high speeds. We particularly enjoy Nord’s double VPN option, which lets users jump between various servers for further security. In every instance of testing, we found its obfuscation (the act of making a VPN appear to be something other than a VPN) to be effective.

While the VPN service had been on our list of recommended suppliers for a long time, we sent it to the penalty box in October 2019 after learning that one of its rented servers had been accessed without authorization in 2018. Following the finding, Nord conducted additional security audits, launched a bug bounty program, and increased its efforts in VPN server security.

While we would have wanted the NordVPN team to reveal the problem sooner, the fact that the breach was minor in scope and involved no personally identifiable information served to confirm that NordVPN retains no logs of user behavior. As a breach response, NordVPN’s subsequent change to complete RAM-disk use — meaning it’s not storing anything on hard drives — went a long way toward assuring us of the company’s dedication to security. As a result, Nord is still on our preferred vendor list.

Cost 

The simple, easy-to-use UI, toggling controls, and server search functions all appeal to us. The dynamic map picture is attractive, but it may be more useful if it defaulted to identifying cities rather than just countries.

The VPN provider provides live chat and email support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NordVPN’s website also includes a well-designed support area with a veritable library of FAQs and courses.

The VPN service provider has no data restrictions and supports torrenting and unrestricted server switching. We had no trouble accessing Netflix with it. However, unlike some competitors, you can only run six devices on a single subscription.

Given the fast-paced nature of the VPN industry, we’d prefer to see NordVPN’s substantial discounts applied across the board to all of its contracts in order to report a higher overall purchase value. If NordVPN wasn’t already a long-standing industry leader with a long history, this would be a harsher complaint, and it’s certainly a criticism that could be leveled at practically any VPN services. Its greatest price right now is a two-year contract for $3.71 per month, a 68 percent savings, invoiced once every two years for $89. NordVPN does, however, provide a 30-day money-back guarantee.

While NordVPN no longer takes PayPal, you may still pay using a credit card or a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, AliPay, WeChat Payments, iTunes, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, or UnionPay.

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