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NordVPN Software Review 2020

How Good Is NordVPN?

Updated: August 2020

Stefan

by Stephan Kubrik
digitalwelt Lead Columnist for IT Security

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The success story of NordVPN is remarkable. The company was founded in 2012 and has established itself as the market leader within a very short time. The reason for this immense success is not necessarily just good advertising.

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NordVPN Software
NordVPN Software 2020

Review 4.9

starts at $3.49

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NordVPN Benefits in a Nutshell

  • No Logs Policy
  • P2P Allowed
  • Onion Over VPN
  • Fast Speeds
  • 3,000 Servers Worldwide
  • Great For Torrenting & Netflix
  • Cancel Anytime
  • Kill Switch
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Double VPN
  • Ad Blocking Feature
  • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
NordVPN works with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. The reason: The company constantly updates servers that meet the challenge of streaming services.

How Could NordVPN Become So Popular in No Time?

The software has made a name for itself in the Internet community as the most reliable, simplest and most secure VPN software. Therefore, NordVPN’s success can be attributed to such a high quality product.

Furthermore, NordVPN has focused on just one business, namely anonymous surfing. Unlike other manufacturers, VPN is not just another product out of many of the company, but their main business. That has led to NordVPN providing such a high quality product. So, the question remains, what can NordVPN software really do? We reviewed and analyzed the VPN software in-depth below.

NordVPN Software Overview

  • Available for Windows, Mac OS and Android
  • Over 1,000 servers worldwide, more than 50 countries—more servers than most competitors
  • Dedicated Server (that is, NordVPN has its own server)
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Very high encryption
  • Double VPN Feature
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NordVPN Software
NordVPN Software 2020

Review 4.9

starts at $3.49

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NordVPN Installation and Operation

5/5

5.0

NordVPN offers a very simple installation interface for all operating systems. It is intended for users who have little technical knowledge, so there are no issues or question marks during installation. Experts can also choose the so-called expert mode and thus better control the installation process. Here it becomes clear that NordVPN knows its target group and fully understands the demands of its users.

NordVPN Speed Test

4.6/5

4.6

Overall, NordVPN has a decent speed. Some servers are extremely fast, while others may be slower due to load times. However, NordVPN has an above-average number of servers: More than 5,800 servers are available to choose from and with just a few clicks you can connect to a faster server. Just for comparison: One of the better-known VPN providers such as “Private Internet Security” has just 20 servers to choose from (2020). It becomes clear why so many people choose NordVPN. After a while, you will find your favorite server and/or can log in automatically when you start the VPN software.

NordVPN servers are in 59 different countries around the world. Unlike other VPN providers, NordVPN has servers in Asia, South America, Europe, India, the Middle East, and recently, China. It’s important to note that their servers are dedicated, which means they are physically located in these countries and not virtual. NordVPN has an impressive amount of servers, which help to “spoof” your location. As the saying goes, the more servers their are, the less people their are on a specific server which improves overall bandwidth/speed.

NordVPN Download
Speed Test

NordVPN Upload
Speed Test

We connected to NordVPN through a selection of their anonymous servers and tested their speed:

  • USA (Los Angeles): 33.8 Mbps Download | 9.53 Mbps Upload
  • Germany (Hamburg): 29.3 Mbps Download | 1.97 Mbps Upload
  • Australia (Sydney): 17.1 Mbps Download | 6.34 Mbps Upload
  • Brazil (Florianopolis): 21.3 Mbps Download | 6.59 Mbps Upload
  • China (Hong Kong): 26.7 Mbps Download | 6.94 Mbps Upload
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NordVPN Software
NordVPN Software 2020

Review 4.9

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How Safe & Secure is NordVPN?

5/5

5.0

NordVPN encrypts any connection with AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). AES has a total of 3 encryption strengths, namely 128, 192 and 256 bits, from which NordVPN leaves the selection to the user. With the lowest level, 128 bits, it is almost impossible for someone else to hijack or trace the connection. So far, there is no proven way to crack the encryption method called AES, and even the US government declared such encryption as impossible to crack. Such encryption methods have long been classified as war material in the US and have become part of various arms export laws. Long story short: Whoever builds a connection with NordVPN is not only anonymous but also the connection contents are not readable. If that is not enough, you can go one step further and increase the encryption to 448-bit per configuration.

NordVPN Double VPN Feature

If you want to add another layer of anonymity and security to your internet connection, you can use Double VPN provided by NordVPN.

Double VPN is one of the features that lets NordVPN stand out from its competitors. With this new feature NordVPN connects you through two different anonymous servers through different countries:

You can see on our image above that NordVPN has connected us to an anonymous server in Canada and provided an anonymous IP. And then we were connected to another anonymous server in the United States and were provided another anonymous IP.

How Does Double VPN work?

Let’s say someone were to track back your IP to reveal your identity, this person would see the first server you are connected through, which would be the anonymous U.S. server displayed above. Usually the tracking efforts would come to an end at this point since the U.S. server is not logging any data, thus it’s impossible to know who is behind the connection. In the very rare und unrealistic occasion that someone would raid the U.S. server having a court issued search warrant ready at that very moment you are browsing, and tracked the connection,  with the DoubleVPN this tracking person would now see the anonymous server in Canada — which he also have get a court order issued and raid while you are browsing in real time. Fortunately courts are not that fast in issuing search warrants within minutes, and besides: once you disconnect your VPN, there is no way of knowing anymore who you were since all NordVPN anonymous servers do not log any connection information.

As you can see, NordVPN has chosen the two countries with the highest judicial regulations, in case authorities would need to compromise them by issuing court orders within a couple minutes while you are connected — a highly unrealistic and fantasy scenario. However, if you really have that need for doubled security, NordVPN provides it.

NordVPN with Double VPN:

Without VPN:

NordVPN Value for Your Money Review

4.5/5

4.5

NordVPN is the undisputed market leader. One would think that the price would be correspondingly high. Despite the high popularity of NordVPN, the company does not want to risk losing popularity by increasing the price. Therefore, users can purchase the VPN software for a very reasonable price of only $6.99.

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The monthly subscription, which can be terminated immediately, is slightly more expensive at $11.95. This monthly subscription is basically aimed at extremely critical users who want to convince themselves of the software first, before they enter an annual subscription. However, most are likely convinced after a month that the software is worth it and convert to the cheaper offer of $6.99.

It is even cheaper!

Currently, NordVPN, in collaboration with Digital Welt, offers a price of $3.49 per month when signing a 3-year contract. The 30-day money back guarantee is included.

>> Click here for the offer

NordVPN Technical Support Review

4.8/5

4.8

NordVPN is not afraid of user requests at all. This may be because the company is 100% specialized in VPN. Any inquiries are welcome by the company. There is an extra section on the NordVPN website called the Help Desk where you can find all possible answers to questions, divided into categories such as “Getting Started”, “Getting Started and Settings”, “General Knowledge About VPN”, “NordVPN Preferences and Features”, “troubleshooting” and more. Even without being a customer, you can connect directly with technical support via chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—or just leave an email.

Is NordVPN Compatible With Netflix?

You have a small disadvantage with NordVPN if you want to stream Hulu and Netflix. Due to NordVPN being a strong competitor in the VPN Software space, the two streaming services, Hulu and Netflix, have the NordVPN servers on the watch list. Netflix has a head start in the fight against VPN providers. Learn more about NordVPN’s compatibility with Netflix.

How Good Is NordVPN? – Conclusion

While NordVPN is a new competitor in the VPN space, it’s taken the industry by storm. It’s one of the cheapest VPN’s out there while offering the best value for money. It’s well-known for being great with streaming Netflix and Torrenting while having a powerful Kill Switch (Network Lock) option, incredibly fast speeds, and plenty of servers worldwide. At DigitalWelt, NordVPN is a highly recommended VPN software.
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NordVPN FAQs

Here at DigitalWelt, we gave NordVPN an overall 5.0 score. However, due to NordVPN’s explosive popularity over the last few years, it’s getting increasingly hard to use Netflix. Here’s some FAQ’s:
  • Secure up to 6 devices at a time such as iOS, Android, and Android TV. Also, Windows, macOS, and Linux. We give NordVPN a 4.5 out of 5 for securing devices. As mentioned – 62 countries, 5,800+ servers makes this VPN software impressive to even competitors.
  • NordVPN is located in Panama and is operated by Tefincom co S.A. Yes Panama. They are officially located in Panama which helps them avoid any data retention laws and it’s holistically a safe jurisdiction.
  • Almost every review you can find about NordVPN gives them a 5 out of 5. What’s not to like about a VPN with impressive speed, a huge number of servers, great prices, a strict no logging policy, and works great for Torrenting and Netflix USA? Nothing, that’s what. NordVPN is great in almost every way. Although not all servers work with Netflix, but most do.
  • The only two disadvantages we could find about NordVPN is that there are only discounts on longer subscriptions and refunds take 30+ days in some cases. We spoke to customer service and others that have used Nord regarding the refund policy.
  • Lastly, don’t be afraid when you buy a subscription from Nord and CloudVPN took your money. CloudVPN is just a payment collector. While CloudVPN is located in the U.S., NordVPN still operates out of the Panama. I wouldn’t be too concerned about this.

Common NordVPN Questions

  • How Much is NordVPN? It’s typically $6.99 with a clear and simple pricing structure and an impressive 30 day money back guarantee. NordVPN has 4 different plans – 3 year, 2 year, 1 year, and 1 month plan. Usually the three year plan is the best option since it’s severely discounted.
  • Is NordVPN a Good VPN? Yes of course. As we’ve mentioned prior, we rated NordVPN a 5 out of 5 for it’s excellent speed, reliability, cheap/value for money, and easy installation/operation.
  • Is NordVPN Legit/Safe? This is a common question that users ask about almost all VPN providers. NordVPN fully protects your privacy on 6 different devices and many different platforms. In fact, it provides the industry standard openVPN protocol and AES 256-bit encryption (with double data protection). We rate this VPN software #1 among all VPN providers we’ve reviewed.
  • Which is better NordVPN vs ExpressVPN? They can both unblock Netflix in the U.S. if that’s what you’re asking. Oh and they are both great for Torrenting. However, there are two main distinctions between the two VPN providers. ExpressVPN has servers in more countries, which might be the better option depending on where you’re located in the world. Lastly, NordVPN offers a dedicated, static IP address and extra DDoS protection while Express VPN doesn’t offer these services. If you’re in the market for any of those two services then go with NordVPN.

NordVPN Software Summary

PROS

  • Blocks ads unlike most competitors
  • Over 5,600 fast, reliable servers in 59 countries
  • No logs policy – surprisingly some VPN providers don’t offer this.
  • 6 simultaneous connections and kill switch process.

CONS

  • Torrenting on a small number of servers
  • Not clear who actually runs the company
  • Refunds may take up to 30 days.

CONCLUSION

For the price, NordVPN packs features that are unmatched among other VPN providers.

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How Did We Test NordVPN?

Testing NordVPN Support

We’d like to take this occasion to demonstrate the conduct of our thorough testing of NordVPN. The digitalwelt team tests NordVPN constantly on our dedicated computers with Windows 10, macOS, Android, iPhone, Linux as well as on Network Routers, and on other platforms.

One of our editors at digitalwelt subscribes with an email to NordVPN and usually buys a monthly subscription. After we have thoroughly tested the VPN, we reach out to NordVPN to test the competence and scope of their technical support. Usually one of our specialized authors asks questions about certain problems we know the answer to; only to see if NordVPN’s tech support is also able to provide a good response:

We also take the opportunity to check if the support is capable of responding in a timely and friendly manner, and are capable of making feasible statements and support instructions.

Testing the Money-Back-Guarantee

After more than 3 weeks of testing, we then ask NordVPN to give us our money back  — not because we didn’t like it of course, but to see if and how NordVPN holds up to their 30-day-money-back promise. Since we could be easily exposed as being digitalwelt, we do not use our organization’s email, but tend to register through inconspicuous emails such as gmail.com, yahoo.com, and similar. If for some reason NordVPN or any other VPN tool we are testing would not make their money-back guarantee easy, we will sure report it on our review report.

Unnecessary to say that NordVPN has passed this test impeccably, however we also had some bad experiences with other suspicious tools, which you won’t be seeing on this list of recommended VPNs for obvious reasons.

How Did We Check the Security of NordVPN?

Thoroughly testing the software includes connecting to several VPN servers, and testing their speed one by one. Those speed results we usually display during our test. We use several data transfer monitoring software to determine the median speed of the servers, and the maximum speed of NordVPNs fastest servers. This also gives us a quite good impression and idea about the server speeds of NordVPN in general.

One important aspect is the encryption method. Since some VPN providers tend to claim to use an encryption and then actually don’t, we use different methods and tools to see of in fact the data stream is encrypted and what kind of encryption is being used. We use the software Wireshark in Windows and macOS to identify the encryption method of the VPN data stream. Wireshark is one of the most secured methods and is a tool that monitors and displays live network data which includes the connection between your computer, the VPN tool, and your internet data stream.

Below you can see the screenshot of the Wireshark security check we had performed just recently on NordVPN on Windows 10:

The IP shown 66.115.146.30 for example is one of NordVPNs anonymous IPs our editor had connected to in Vancouver, Canada, provided to NordVPN by Total Server Solutions, LLC — a company based in Atlanta, GA specialized in providing encrypted and anonymous VPN servers to companies such as NordVPN. As you can see, NordVPN uses the encryption protocol OpenVPN. And the unreadable content you see on the right is the actual data that is being transferred — and it’s gibberish thanks to NordVPN which means: it’s encrypted. If the VPN tool would not been encrypting your data streams, that content would have been readable.

Additionally, we check for DNS Leaks to determine that the IPs of NordVPN is not leaking. Since we have been doing this for a while, our security tests are processed, and no VPN can pass our tests that doesn’t fulfill our strict security requirements. If a tool doesn’t pass our test and tends to get a bad review, we often decide not to list it.


Stefan

by Stephan Kubrik
digitalwelt Lead Columnist for IT Security

digitalwelt logo

Stephan Kubrik is a Computer Scientist and expert on VPNs and computer viruses. Stephan has been researching for the Fraunhofer Society and has been developing software for the autonomous discovery of computer viruses and trojans using artificial intelligence.

He was previously a Research Associate at the Technical University of Cologne, studied Computer Engineering, and regularly publishes in IT magazines and journals, including the PC Magazine and digitalwelt.


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