Updated: February, 7, 2024
Looking for a VPN service that can help you browse the internet safely, unblock Netflix easily, and download torrents? Then NordVPN might be a viable option.
This Panama-based VPN provider has over 5,400 servers worldwide, more than 440 of which are in the UK. In this NordVPN review, we’ll cover all the essentials, such as speed, encryption measures, features, and more.
Keep reading to see what makes NordVPN one of the giants on the VPN market.
NordVPN is often hailed as one of the fastest VPNs out there, and if you run a NordVPN speed test, you’ll see why.
When we tested it on a local UK server, we got an average speed of 165Mbps, while the average non-VPN speed was 194Mbps. That’s an imperceptible loss for most purposes, as evidenced by the many Nord VPN reviews from customers who praise its performance.
Similarly, in our test, the upload speed did not suffer much, clocking in a solid average speed of 150Mbps. In comparison, if you connect to a long-distance server, your download and upload speed are most likely to drop, with average speeds somewhere in the range of 90–100Mbps.
These speeds make NordVPN perfect for streaming HD video and a worthy competitor to other high-speed providers, such as ExpressVPN.
The service uses one of the most secure encryptions—the AES-256-GCM combined with a 4096-bit DH key. This type of encryption is considered top tier and is used by governments around the world. What’s more, the NSA recommends it as the best way to secure confidential data.
NordVPN uses three different security protocols: IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and NordLynx. The IKEv2/IPsec protocol is the default option for both NordVPN iPhone and Mac users. OpenVPN can run over either the UCD or TCP ports, and it’s the only available option for Windows and Android users. Finally, the NordLynx protocol allows a secure VPN connection and doesn’t store any data on the VPN server.
NordVPN also has a kill switch that can secure your data from accidental exposure. It works for both mobile and desktop users.
With NordVPN, you won’t have to worry about DNS or IP leaks as the service offers leak protection for both of them. This means that your location and online traffic will be secure.
Since NordVPN started operating, there has been only one security breach. In March 2018, there was a hack that affected one of its servers in Finland. Since then, the company stopped working with the data center where that server was, took extra security measures, and began auditing all its servers.
What makes this service different from most competitors is that you can route your traffic through two VPNs, meaning it will encrypt your data twice. But it’s worth noting that although this makes your connection more secure, it also slows down the speed considerably.
The company is based in Panama, where there are no data retention laws, which means that the company can have a strict no-logging policy.
The NordLocker feature allows you to secure any file on your computer, and you can access these encrypted files from every computer. NordPass is another handy feature that enables you to store all your passwords in one secure place.
NordVPN lets you choose between a dedicated IP and a shared IP address. The service allows you to switch whenever you want, so depending on what you’re doing online, you can choose which IP address to use.
The CyberSec feature blocks websites that host malware or phishing scams and can block ads so that you can browse online without intrusive ads. You can use the CyberSec feature on the Nord VPN app for Windows, Linux, iOS, and macOS.
Unfortunately, NordVPN only offers split tunnelling for Windows, Android, and Android TV.
If split tunnelling across all devices is a deal-breaker for you, you might want to look at ExpressVPN or other services that offer split tunnelling for desktop.
The provider has over 5,400 servers which are available across 59 countries worldwide. Although most of them (over 1,600) are based in the US, there are also more than 440 NordVPN UK servers.
Interestingly, they even have NordVPN obfuscated servers in regions such as Turkey, China, Vietnam, and the UAE.
But we should also mention that this provider does not offer any virtual server locations, while some of its competitors, such as ExpressVPN and HMA, do. These allow you to achieve better speeds and safety as your connection is routed to the country you selected. Plus, one of the main advantages of virtual servers is that you can easily switch to other server locations.
What’s more, NordVPN recently added 10Gbps servers to its fleet, which the company claims will help them handle the increase in data that will come with the introduction of 5G services.
Finally, all NordVPN servers are RAM-based, which means that no data is permanently stored on them—if authorities ever seize them, they’ll be completely empty.
Although people choose VPN services for privacy and security, some people just want to watch their favourite shows on streaming platforms without any bandwidth throttling. Well, with Nord VPN, Netflix can be accessed without repeated buffering or speed drops.
Even better, over 90% of NordVPN’s servers work with Netflix, so you can watch your favourite shows in ultra HD streaming quality, no matter which country you’re connected to.
But this doesn’t apply to Netflix only—NordVPN allows you to access other streaming platforms such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN, BBC iPlayer, and many more.
Two features come into play for NordVPN and streaming: the Smartplay and SmartDNS.
The former is a proxy service that enables you to bypass geoblocks by rerouting your request through a server located where the website you’re accessing isn’t blocked. Data is still encrypted, and speed is in no way reduced. The best part is that the SmartPlay feature doesn’t need any manual configuration; just start using NordVPN, and you’re good to go!
SmartDNS lets users access streaming content on smart TVs. Bear in mind that this feature doesn’t offer the same protection as a standard VPN connection, and it doesn’t work with all streaming services.
NordVPN has hundreds of P2P-optimised servers, which means you can use NordVPN for torrenting with platforms, such as uTorrent or BitTorrent. What’s more, the service offers SOCKS5 proxies and has a strict no-logs policy. But you should keep in mind that SOCKS5 is not fully secured, so we recommend using it alongside NordVPN.
Every gamer’s dream is to enjoy a buffer and lag-free gameplay, and with Nord VPN, you get precisely that. Speed stays steady, even if you’re connected to long-distance servers.
You can also set up NordVPN on your home router and connect all devices in your household, including gaming consoles. That makes the provider one of the best options for gamers, along with ExpressVPN and Surfshark.
But most importantly, your gaming is secure with NordVPN, as it can shield you from DDoS attacks.
There’s practically no platform that Nord VPN won’t connect to. It runs effortlessly on Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and Linux. What’s more, it’s fully compatible with Android TV and internet browsers.
NordVPN’s mobile app has a version for both iOS and Android. Both versions offer next-generation encryption and stability. That said, NordVPN iPhone users have a slight advantage as they have IKEv2/IPSec security protocol. This isn’t available for Android users, who can only use OpenVPN. If more security options for Android are a priority for you, you might want to look into other providers, such as PureVPN.
You can take advantage of the NordVPN Firefox or the NordVPN Chrome extension to make your browsing safer. All you have to do is to download the extensions and enter your NordVPN login.
When it comes to Tor compatibility, NordVPN offers a dedicated onion server that allows a smooth connection to the Tor network. This means that you don’t even have to open Tor.
You can also connect your VPN with your router and create a secure connection for every device using your Wi-FI network. Once you do that, NordVPN redirects all the devices to an encrypted tunnel and VPN server. You can connect any kind of device to the router—from your home entertainment system to your IoT toaster.
Here are the three available subscriptions and their pricing per month:
|£43.66/the first year; £3.64/month
|£86.85/the first two years; £3.62/month
Unfortunately, there’s no NordVPN free trial. But it does have a 30-day money-back guarantee on the plan you choose, giving you plenty of time to decide if this is the right service for you.
In addition, NordVPN offers various discounts and deals from time to time. Overall, NordVPN is competitively priced, especially compared to some of its rivals like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.
You can’t be a leading VPN provider if you don’t have excellent customer support.
Whether you have a problem with your connectivity, billing, or just some general questions, the NordVPN support reps will be available to assist you.
You can contact the NordVPN help centre through email, phone, or its 24/7 live chat—something that’s missing for other providers, such as TunnelBear.
What’s more, any other information you might need is available in the FAQ section of the NordVPN website.
We went through more than one Nord VPN review from the UK, and most were satisfied with the way customer support helped them with their problems.
NordVPN is an excellent choice for all your VPN needs, but checking out other options is always a good idea. So how does it compare to other providers?
Both VPN services provide the same speed for gaming, and if you need a boost in your download speed, you can use ExpressVPN’s L2TP protocol or NordVPN’s IKEv2 protocol. But NordVPN has a slight advantage as IKEv2 is supported on mobile devices.
When it comes to security, they both use AES-256 encryption. ExpressVPN performs a bit better on speed tests, though.
One significant advantage of NordVPN is the customizable kill-switch. Plus, its long-term subscription is cheaper than that of ExpressVPN.
Both of these VPN services provide excellent speed for downloading torrents, as both of them allow P2P on their servers.
Although NordVPN is better in most respects, beginners tend to choose Cyberghost as it has a more straightforward interface.
Cyberghost is also more affordable with a lower-priced three-year plan and a generous return policy of 45 days.
NordVPN vs Surfshark
The biggest difference here is the number of servers—NordVPN has almost 5,500 while Surfshark has over 3,200.
Surfshark’s main advantage is that it lets users connect an unlimited number of devices, whereas NordVPN allows up to six.
NordVPN has one of the biggest server parks in the business enabling lag-free gaming and HD streaming no matter where you are. What’s more, NordVPN’s prices are affordable, and it offers 24/7 customer support.
One of the main disadvantages of NordVPN is that it doesn’t allow split tunnelling for desktop. Plus, it has no free trial, unlike some of its rivals.
Nevertheless, NordVPN is a fast and reliable VPN service that offers advanced security protocols and extra protection features to ensure there are no leaks of your data.
If you are looking for a long-term VPN with fast download and upload speed at a great price, then the answer is yes, NordVPN is worth it.
No, NordVPN is not free, and there is no free trial that comes with any of the plans. However, a 30-day money-back guarantee will provide you with a full refund if you’re not satisfied with the service.
The service can be used with all operating systems and even gaming consoles, but the max number of devices connected at once is six.
The provider is based in Panama. This is a great advantage as the country doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the 14 Eyes Alliance, protecting your data not only from hackers and your ISP but also from governments.
Using the NordVPN software is quick and easy—just follow these steps:
As we mentioned in our NordVPN review, the company has a strict no-logs policy. It doesn’t keep any user data, so there’s nothing that can be traced back to you. What’s more, it’s based in Panama, where there are no mandatory data retention laws.
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