NordVPN is a versatile and well-recognised provider that delivers strong online protection as well as unrestricted access to the web. Among key features, its no-nonsense, high-speed network of anonymous servers is an essential, multi-purpose tool for anyone using the internet or mobile data.
The company is a division of Panama-based Tefinkom S.A., who have been specialising in web hosting and numerous other net solutions since 2008. This is, no doubt, a big plus for the company and for anyone curious about the level of expertise behind the service’s encryption. Our experience in reviewing providers tends to show that companies with multiple IT-based ventures are very dedicated and attentive to their security.
Like all serious contenders in the VPN market, NordVPN offers customers several useful ways to use their account, and one of the key aspects of this service is the ability to encrypt your traffic. For anyone who’s not familiar with the concept, encrypting your data is a must when using unprotected, open WiFi hotspots, accessing online banking, making purchases and generally keeping your web activity confidential from internet service providers. On top of that, NordVPN does not store any traffic logs on any servers, meaning your internet data is anonymous, exactly like it should be.
Equally as importantly, NordVPN allows you to unblock geographically restricted websites/services such as Facebook, Netflix and Skype. By connecting to one of the many available server locations, your IP address is swapped for a new one, making it appear as though your computer or device is based in another location. As we have already mentioned above, the content of your traffic is safely scrambled behind complex encryption algorithms, imposed by your chosen VPN protocol, of which there are three to choose from – PPTP, L2TP/IPsec and OpenVPN.
NordVPN is compatible with all operating systems, but they also offer a very convenient app for Windows users. Unlike with some applications, downloading NordVPN software took us less than a minute, The app is compact enough to launch as quickly and discreetly as a widget, without the need for an actual installation, making the setup process extremely straightforward. After entering our VPN login, we selected the necessary server; clicked ‘Connect’ and our VPN connection was up and running.
Although PPTP and L2TP protocols are available to use over a semi-automated launcher on their website, the software itself is already pre-configured to the mighty OpenVPN protocol, with the choice to switch between TCP and UDP sub-protocols. Moreover, further options include the ability to connect via a double VPN server, automatically combining two locations (Austria and Netherlands), with AES-256-CBC, multi-node encryption. This is followed by servers optimised specifically for Tor, streaming and even concrete protection against DDoS attacks – ideal for gamers and online broadcasters. We particularly liked the fact that hovering the cursor over a server, displayed its designated purposes, for instance, showing which one permits P2P transfers, which one unblocks regional streaming services and so on. This simple, yet useful feature is often overlooked by VPN providers, causing confused customers to dig deep in FAQ and T&C sections in attempts to figure out acceptable usage policies. Without a doubt, a small input of detail like this, means valuable time saved as well as avoidance of suspended accounts.
We conducted speed tests in three locations – Sweden, United States (east coast) and Hong Kong, using a 15 Mbps connection:
1. Stockholm, Sweden (OpenVPN TCP)
The Stockholm server returned a very fast result, with nearly 10 Mbps in download speed and a ping response of 60ms. Taking into account that our original internet speed wasn’t optimal, you can confidently expect the VPN to perform even better for you, should your ISP provide a better connection (e.g. 30 Mbps or higher)
2. New Jersey, USA (OpenVPN TCP)
Testing out of Europe, we would normally expect a significantly slower connection from a server on another continent. However, this anonymous node in New Jersey demonstrates that connecting to the US will return a very satisfactory performance in the region of 7 Mbps. Another point to consider, is that the connection was established over OpenVPN, which can often be outrun by PPTP and L2TP, should you need slightly faster speeds.
3. Hong Kong (OpenVPN UDP)
Although this was the slowest result of the three, all potential users must remember – the closer you are to the server, the faster your VPN will perform. This is why 4.50 Mbps is a very respectable speed for downloads, despite the geographic distance, and we would definitely recommend this server for users in Asia, connecting out of locations such as mainland China.
NordVPN DNS servers
Update – In March 2015, NordVPN launched its own private domain domain name servers. These serve customers with the much recommended option to prevent DNS leaks from exposting their real IP address over untrusted networks. The new DNS IP addresses are provided on request from their support team and will soon become available as a built-in option within NordVPN software.
Free Proxy List
In addition to full anonymity, the NordVPN website also features free HTTP and SOCKS proxies, with an enormous selection of proxies to choose from. Nonetheless, keep in mind that there is a drastic difference in levels of security between VPNs and proxies. Proxies do allow for quick access to the web through another country, but your traffic remains out in the open. So if you require full anonymity alongside freedom of access, VPN is undoubtedly the recommended choice.
If you’re searching for a reliable VPN with a strict no-logging policy and great speeds – don’t look past NordVPN. This provider is an established player on the VPN scene and continues to grow in popularity with each day. Whether you need your VPN for masking P2P traffic or protecting online streams from malicious attacks – you will have it all included under one affordable account.
- Cross-continent server locations
- Unrestricted speeds and bandwidth
- 2048 SSL encryption
- No logs stored
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Lunux
- Optimised servers for fast streaming, Tor, P2P and DDoS protection
- Dedicated IP addresses available
- Payment methods: card, Paypal, Bitcoin, Webmoney
- 3-day moneyback guarantee