How Much Does NordVPN Cost?
NordVPN has a few plans on offer; while there is not a free plan, NordVPN lets users enjoy the first-rate service for a low price on its two-year plan.
- The monthly plan is $11.95 per month, which is rather expensive.
- There is a one year plan that costs $4.92 per month
- The two year plan is only $3.67 per month. This is great value for money and is one of the best deals for users who want to use the VPN for a long time.
All subscriptions purchased come with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. The money-back guarantee has no strings attached and gives you a month to make your mind up as to whether you want to continue using the VPN service or not.
NordVPN offers regular sales on its website. For example there is the annual NordVPN Black Friday sale and Cyber Monday deals, Christmas and New Year’s NordVPN deals, as well as Valentine’s Day and Summer discounts.
Are VPNs Trustworthy?
As long as you’re using the services of a reputable VPN provider, then yes, most VPN services are trustworthy. When you’re surfing the web, you want your data to be safe, so using a VPN is just as important as your antivirus software for your laptop, desktop, and any and all mobile devices.
If you want to become and remain anonymous online, then a VPN is the way to do it; more so if you consider what alternatives are out there, like the dark web. If you use the dark web, you’re putting yourself at risk without VPN protection.
There are free VPN options out there, and then there are paid VPN services. Some VPN providers offer you some coverage with a free version of their paid or premium services. While some online protection for your data is much better than none at all, at PrivacySharks we feel that you should opt for paid protection for a secure internet connection.
Considering the affordable prices many VPN services like NordVPN offer, it’s not really like you’re breaking the bank. Moreover, many of these paid services often come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
It’s kind of ironic that by trying to keep your data safe, you’re in fact actively putting it up for sale through a third party. Keep that in mind the next time you see anything online that’s free – it usually isn’t free, but “free”, meaning you pay for it somehow.
What is NordVPN?
NordVPN is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service provider based in Panama. Nord VPN has desktop and mobile VPN apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, as well as an Android app for Android Smart TV. You can use the VPN on routers too, so NordVPN is pretty much a solid solution for complete device protection.
NordVPN is based in Panama and this is a major selling point for customers due to the fact that the country doesn’t have mandatory data retention laws. Panama is also not part of the Five Eyes alliance, which shares citizen data internationally.
NordVPN was established in 2012 and in 2016 it introduced Android and iOS mobile apps. Next came the NordVPN browser extensions for Google Chrome and later on, an app for Android Smart TVs. As of November 2020, NordVPN currently operates more than 5,300 servers in 59 countries, ensuring users enjoy great connection speed and privacy.
Its servers, which adhere to the strict no-logs policy, come with impressive speed test results, including a good download speed. The servers also have impressive streaming services capabilities for your Netflix needs, secure IP addresses, and live chat tech support that’s easy to use for customers who also get a 30-day money-back guarantee with their purchase of a plan.
At some point in 2019, it was rumored that NordVPN had received indications from Russian authorities to join a registry of banned websites sponsored by the state so Russian NordVPN users wouldn’t be able to get around the Russian state censorship. NordVPN would have had about a month to join and would then be banned if it didn’t comply. NordVPN didn’t comply, so it shut down the Russian servers. Though NordVPN still operates in Russia, Russian users (and users worldwide) don’t have access to any local servers.
Later that year, NordVPN announced a VPN service for businesses, NordLayer. It was designed to provide access to work resources securely. Then NordVPN became one of the founding members of the “VPN Trust Initiative”, putting forward efforts in order to promote online security and more self-regulation and transparency in the industry.
How Does NordVPN Work?
NordVPN redirects its users’ internet traffic through remote servers run by the provider, in so doing hiding the user’s IP address and encrypting the data. For encryption, NordVPN uses the OpenVPN and Internet Key Exchange v2/IPsec technologies, meaning customers get top-level encryption.
NordVPN also offers specialty servers such as those dedicated to P2P or Peer-to-Peer file sharing, tracker specialty servers, double encryption, and connection through the Onion over VPN protocol. What more could you want for your desktop apps and mobile apps?
NordVPN has a strict no-logs policy. The no-logging policy feature means that when you connect to a server, your status remains anonymous with ease. When you use a VPN with this policy, your real IP address is safe.
NordVPN released NordLynx in 2019 – a VPN protocol based on the WireGuard protocol which aims to offer more performance than the IPsec and OpenVPN split tunneling protocols. NordLynx performs well and yields speed test results that are convincing enough to extend the use from Linux to a wider variety of options.
In the fall of 2019, there was a Twitter message which claimed a server breach of NordVPN revolving around a leaked private key. It was a cyberattack that gave the perpetrators the ability to intercept some info of NordVPN users. NordVPN confirmed that one of its Finland servers had been breached in the spring of 2018. There was an exploit that was the result of a vulnerability in a remote administration system and it affected security for a few months before being detected.
When NordVPN was informed of the situation, it terminated its contract with that administration service in Finland. NordVPN was criticized for failing to disclose the breach after the company became aware of it. In its defense, NordVPN claimed that it was going to disclose it after looking into it properly and resolving the issue.
In order to repair its reputation and regain the confidence of its users and potential users as a secure VPN solution, NordVPN launched a bug bounty program that offered monetary rewards for reporting critical issues with its services. There were additional issues reported, like a number of accounts being exposed at some point in the fall of 2019.
A key question that many people ask is, does NordVPN work in China? NordVPN is a good solution for bypassing state-level Internet censorship, including the Great Firewall in China, making it possible for use in China too.
Is NordVPN Safe?
You deserve the best privacy and protection available from the best VPN provider out there and NordVPN offers some of the best security practices in the VPN industry. Many other VPN services cannot compare to NordVPN in terms of security.
With Nord’s strong level of encryption, a clear no-logs policy, a reliable kill switch, and various dedicated services to cover all your needs, the provider passes our review with flying colors.
Is NordVPN a perfect VPN service? There’s no such thing. However, keeping in mind what we’ve learned during research for our NordVPN review, we like its features, policies, and prices.
NordVPN Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
What is AES? In short, it’s an encryption standard that is widely used and approved. The important thing to know is that NordVPN uses AES encryption with 256-bit keys, which pretty much means top-tier encryption from Nord VPN.
What is AES Encryption?
Encryption builds a tunnel for your information that is secure as it connects your device to the internet via the VPN server. What makes the tunnel secure is the fact that it’s protected with the Advanced Encryption Standard, and in the case of NordVPN, it’s AES-256, which is one of the best encryption algorithms out there.
This standard makes your VPN connection secure because in order to break this level of encryption you’d need the key, and it can be any one of 2 at the 256 power of potential options.
What VPN Protocols Does NordVPN Use?
NordVPN doesn’t just use the AES-256 encryption standard, because NordVPN takes extra precautions including secure VPN protocols.
NordVPN’s Internet protocol security (IPsec) works with the newest version of the Internet Key Exchange (IKEv2) so you get more security, stability, and speed. IKEv2/IPsec uses complex cryptographic algorithms and keys that give it a super high degree of safety.
Considering how fast technology develops, NordVPN wants to stay ahead of the game so it uses Next Generation Encryption (NGE) with IKEv2/IPsec. That way, Nord’s tools stay very adaptable and on top of everything going on tech-wise, so when there’s more to give the NordVPN customers, it’ll have more than enough on offer.
Here at PrivacySharks, we like providers that are determined to stay on top of their game. As long as they’re striving for more, the users are getting more in terms of services.
The OpenVPN protocol is a very versatile security protocol, which you can use both for UDP and TCP ports to ensure safe browsing, gaming, and streaming. It guarantees protection for your information and footprint, and NordVPN uses AES-256-GCM encryption algorithm with a 4096-bit DH key.
Keep in mind that OpenVPN is an open-source code, meaning it’s freely available for review and modification at any point in time. Since there is an unlimited number of testers pointing out vulnerabilities and offering bug reports, this security protocol is always improving by leaps and bounds and is very transparent at all times.
Wireguard® is at the cutting edge of VPN security, NordVPN says. It’s a very fast protocol that uses complex cryptology and employs some 4000 lines of code which makes it easy to use, audit, and debug.
Since the NordVPN Wireguard wouldn’t ensure complete user privacy on its own, NordVPN came up with a double NAT (Network Address Translation) system to use as its backbone, which makes up NordLynx. The NAT allows the secure NordVPN connection you’re looking for without logging any identifiable information on the VPN’s server.
NordLynx is the solution that NordVPN came up with so you get an encryption protocol built specifically to give you high-speed connections. A VPN does take up a small portion of your bandwidth by its nature, but NordLynx looks to avoid that. What makes it so fast? It’s built around the WireGuard NordVPN protocol, which NordVPN says is the fastest protocol available.
The idea is that you get security which has ease of use and efficiency while also giving you plenty of options. NordLynx is available on all major platforms, just like NordVPN. To top that off, users of NordVPN on the iOS and macOS platforms can choose between adding the OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec VPN protocols. For the Windows, Android, and Linux NordVPN users, there’s the OpenVPN protocol option only.
NordVPN Double VPN
NordVPN has Double VPN, Nord’s protection feature which routes your online traffic through not just one, but two Double VPN servers and encrypts your information and traffic twice. This is also called VPN server chaining.
Your online traffic gets encrypted on your device first, then routed to the first remote NordVPN server. Then, the encrypted online footprint goes through a second VPN server and gets decrypted. That’s when your data reaches your intended online destination in a secure and private manner.
Why a Double VPN Connection?
Your information and online footprint are protected with two layers of encryption. That makes it twice as difficult for your information to get tracked. The protocols used are mixed between UDP and TCP, so you get increased protection for your online pursuits.
Since your real IP address gets changed when passing through the first NordVPN server, the second one won’t even have any information about you. Your online footprint remains unknown even to your ISP. The only thing it’ll know will be the fact that you’re using NordVPN.
Why Double Encryption?
There are situations in which you could really use a higher level of online protection and privacy, and double encryption offers you just that. Here at PrivacySharks, we want you to have all the online protection you could possibly need.
You might have a greater need for keeping your online footprint private in a few different scenarios like if you’re a journalist or political activist, NordVPN emphasizes, if you’re trying to avoid surveillance by government or authorities or if you need to protect your sources and pursuits.
NordVPN Double VPN is Not Necessarily a Must
If you’re looking to keep third parties from being able to track your IP or maybe need to access the internet securely, the standard layer of NordVPN connection is all you need.
Keep in mind that using the Double VPN servers could potentially slow down your connection a bit. Since your online traffic goes through two NordVPN servers instead of just one, which does improve your online safety, it also slows down the speed of the process a little bit.
If you’re a Tor user, NordVPN has to offer the Onion Over VPN solution that routes your online traffic through a VPN server and then sends it via the Tor network for an extra layer of privacy.
Does NordVPN Have a No-Logging Policy?
NordVPN doesn’t track, collect, or share any of your private information or online traffic.
Is a VPN No-Logging Policy Important?
If you’re surfing the web without using the services of VPNs, your online traffic footprint goes through your internet service provider (ISP). Your ISP can log everything you do online, track your online footprint, and then share it with third parties at its discretion as long as it’s part of your contract or its terms of service. It will also share it with authorities, should they be legally obliged to.
When you use VPNs to connect to the internet through their servers, your ISP won’t be able to see what you’re up to online anymore. But keep in mind that your VPN provider is able to see that, as long as you’re using its services. That’s why it’s so important to know just what kind of logs – meaning what kind of details about you and your online pursuits – that VPNs provider keeps.
Things to Keep in Mind
If you’re looking for a VPN service because you want to secure your online protection, take a look at the options and keep these things in mind:
- What sort of information does the service gather about its users and its online activities?
- What sort of tracking tools or external support do the service providers use?
- In what country does the service provider operate and what sort of national and local legal requirements do they have to observe when it comes to collecting user information?
- What sort of payment options do the VPN service providers accept and how much of the user’s identity and information do they require?
Examples of Logs
When we talk about logging your personal data, we are talking about things like:
- IP addresses
- Connection logs (date, time, and duration)
- Amount of data transferred
- VPN servers used
- Websites visited
- Files downloaded
- Software used
There’s a lot of sensitive personal information that can be included in your usage logs. VPN providers shouldn’t be collecting any of that information, and if you run into one that does, you should steer clear of their service.
Make sure to read up on what sort of information a VPN service collects. Otherwise, you might be paying for a service to keep your information protected only to have it collected and sold or shared.
Is NordVPN a Good Option?
Here’s why NordVPN might be the perfect choice for you.
1. No logs of your online footprint with NordVPN
NordVPN states that it doesn’t store connection timestamps, session information, your real IP address, used bandwidth, VPN traffic data, IPs addresses, or other information.
2. Independent audits confirm NordVPN has a valid no-log VPN policy
NordVPN invited one of the Big 4 auditing firms (PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, Zurich, Switzerland) to audit its no-logging claims. The report concluded that its policy description is fair and accurate.
3. NordVPN is based away from the EU and US jurisdictions
Because NordVPN is based in Panama, it doesn’t have the legal obligation to collect your personal information and online footprint.
4. NordVPN accepts cryptocurrency payments
You can sign up and pay for NordVPN without leaving any trace of who you are by using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
5. NordVPN has special features for extra privacy
If you want more layers to feel secure, make the most of the NordVPN privacy-focused VPN solutions like the double VPN or Onion over VPN.
What is a VPN Kill Switch?
A VPN kill switch is an essential security feature that works by monitoring your connection to the VPN servers at all times. If the VPN connection fails for whatever reason, the kill switch goes into action by blocking your device (or apps you’ve specified) from accessing the web. The kill switch is the final line of defense that secures your private information and online footprint from getting accidentally exposed.
Keep in mind that the internet connection will stay blocked until the VPN connection is restored. Keeping this VPN tool enabled doesn’t impact your connection quality at all. If you’re someone who lives and works in a country rife with censorship, have a job or hobby that involves the need to keep your browsing data private and secure at all times, then it’s a good idea to always keep your kill switch enabled. If your freedom or personal security could depend on keeping your online footprint and information secret, then play it safe.
If your work or other pursuits involve dealing with sensitive or classified information, then you should always have the kill switch on. In doing so, you protect yourself against data leaks and unexpected connection interruptions that could trigger vulnerabilities.
Moreover, if you need protection online for your peace of mind you should keep the kill switch activated. Information like passwords, social media accounts, and online traffic will always be protected. Thankfully, NordVPN’s kill switch is extremely reliable.
Why Do VPNs Disconnect?
NordVPN states that if you’re using its services, then the probability of a connection failure is low. If a connection drops, the issue might not even be on Nord’s end. Here’s why your VPN may connection may be interrupted.
Unstable internet connection
Since you’re accessing your VPN through your internet connection, any disruptions will cause interruptions to your connection to the NordVPN server. There are various factors like weak Wi-Fi signal or frequent timeouts and disconnections that can lead to VPN connection failures.
If your device bounces between Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile internet connections, then chances are your VPN is going to disconnect.
Software and devices
If you’re using a firewall or antivirus, it could block the NordVPN mobile apps from establishing a VPN tunnel. You can fix that by adding NordVPN to the list of exceptions of your firewall or antivirus.
Keep in mind that if your device has auto-updates switched on, it could reboot and end up not being protected by the VPN service as a result.
Servers or network failures
NordVPN is a pretty reliable option among VPN alternatives. NordVPN rarely suffers from server timeouts and failures, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t ever happen.
NordVPN has a wide variety of options, with more than 5,300 servers in more than 59 countries. Those servers are located in secure locations and get constant supervision. But that doesn’t make them infallible. Since servers have physical components they need in order to function properly and physical components can become damaged or experience malfunctions, there could be an odd disconnection because of such issues.
In short, you can’t know for sure what and how could possibly go wrong, or when. So just to be sure that you’re covered at all times, PrivacySharks encourages you to keep the auto kill switch enabled.
What Makes NordVPN the Best?
Here’s why NordVPN remains one of the best VPN providers in the industry.
It’s highly annoying when a video buffers out of the blue and takes forever to load. If that’s happening continuously, then you’re probably dealing with bandwidth throttling, which purposefully slows down your connection. You can get over that issue by using a VPN, and NordVPN prevents bandwidth throttling from your ISP.
You’ll be able to access content when you’re traveling, without losing access to your favorite platforms. Your beloved movies and TV shows aren’t going anywhere, even though you are.
You can stream without annoying interruptions, thanks to the fast NordVPN connection speeds and unlimited bandwidth. NordVPN strives to give you the best possible VPN experience you can get, and consistent internet freedom.
When you’re connected to NordVPN, online traffic is directed through a secure encrypted tunnel. That can cause some loss of connection speed, under certain circumstances.
More often than not, you won’t notice slow speeds with NordVPN. If you’re using NordVPN to cover your streaming or Peer-to-Peer file sharing needs in a secure manner, then you’re looking to get the best possible speed and a stable connection. Here’s what affects speed:
- Your ISP internet speed
- Encryption quality
- VPN servers distance
- How busy the VPN servers are
- What securities protocols are in effect
- Active firewalls and antivirus software
Such factors can lead to slow internet connections while surfing the web, streaming or downloading media.
Fortunately, when testing NordVPN, our speed tests demonstrated excellent speeds. Connected to a US server produced a download speed of 39Mbps, which is extremely fast, and upload speeds of 20Mbps, which is great for P2P sharing.
How to Prevent Slow VPN Connections
There are many things users can do to prevent a slow internet speed when using NordVPN.
Servers locations matter
When choosing a server, keep in mind that the further away from your actual location that server is, the tougher it is for it to perform at an optimal level. It’s not a must to choose the closest possible location to you, but closer is better than further away.
Avoid crowded servers
If you’re noticing servers with heavy user loads, meaning they’ve got plenty of users using them, it makes sense that those servers are going to perform less than those that are freer. With Quick Connect on the NordVPN app you can easily connect to the fastest server in a few seconds. You get connected to the best option from NordVPN’s servers.
A multitude of servers
NordVPN has a vast network of servers in multiple server locations, meaning users have many IP addresses at their disposal. However, the VPN provider also gives users more server options in more ways. More servers mean more surfing freedom and faster connections. To get even more freedom than that, give the NordVPN option of obfuscated servers a try.
Obfuscated servers have the ability to bypass internet restrictions like network firewalls. Obfuscated servers are a recommended option for accessing content online in restricted countries.
Does NordVPN Work with Netflix?
If you want to access more content on Netflix, but find that you can only view the library for your country, then you should use NordVPN. The provider offers more than 4,000 optimized streaming servers in many server locations.
We tested NordVPN and it can unblock many Netflix libraries in countries worldwide including the US, Canada, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, India, Brazil, South Korea, and Finland.
If you’re using Android and iOS devices, you can also quickly connect to the specialty servers you need. Just look for instructions on that on the NordVPN site. When it comes to other devices, NordVPN urges you to remember that only US, CA, UK, FR, IT, DE, JP, AU, NL, and ES regions are supported on Android TVs, FireTV, and Smart TV devices.
Does NordVPN Work with BBC iPlayer?
We tested NordVPN with BBC iPlayer and you can access the iPlayer using the NordVPN servers. In fact, BBC iPlayer is currently accessible on all devices with NordVPN’s UK servers. If you want to use the BBC iPlayer’s Downloads, try to connect to any one of the NordVPN UK servers.
You can also connect to servers for iPlayer on Android and iOS devices.
Nord doesn’t just work with Netflix and BBC iPlayer, but it works with a host of other streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. It is a great choice for unblocking major streaming services worldwide and to enjoy total internet freedom.
Does NordVPN Work on My Cell Phone?
Let’s face it, we use our cell phones for pretty much everything these days: we work with them, do our chatting and messaging and emailing, check our banking accounts and do our transactions, make travel plans, and other arrangements.
It’s more important than ever to have VPN protection on your phone as well as your other devices. Fortunately, there are VPN apps for both Android and iOS operating systems as well as a macOS and Windows client for desktop users.
Just think about all the networks your phone connects to on a daily basis: your home Wi-Fi, some local cafe or restaurant hotspot, or 4G. That’s more connections than you might imagine and you’re exposing your internet traffic to many risks when switching to new networks.
By using the NordVPN iOS or Android app for your mobile device or tablet, the information is kept safe through its super secure protocols. And if you want more encryption, you can also use the Double VPN option too, as this feature is also available for mobile apps.
How Many Devices Can I Use NordVPN on?
With one NordVPN account, you get 6 simultaneous connections. NordVPN is compatible with operating systems like Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and the app works well on all of these devices simultaneously.
If you have more than 6 devices then you can simply connect NordVPN to your wi-fi router. Once your router is covered, then any and all the devices connected to your home internet network will be protected by Nord at the same time.
So even though Nord technically only offers support for up to six devices, Nord throws in protection for a seemingly endless number of devices through the router option. Here at PrivacySharks, we like that option a lot.
Getting VPN protection on all of your devices is as important as it is to get protection on each of them. As long as you want to keep your information secured and have decided that a VPN is the way to do it, review what device coverage providers offer and go with the one that gives you the most bang for your buck.
Does NordVPN Have Good Customer Support?
NordVPN’s customer support is there to help you all day, every day. NordVPN has three ways of offering support to its users: the Help Center, email support, and a 24/7 live chat.
The Help Center
The Help Center is a large database of helpful articles and posts, instructions, explanations, guides on how to do things and solve issues regarding all your VPN needs. The articles are organized by main topics and get constantly updated, so once you’ve reached a link for a particular topic, you can always bookmark it for future reference.
You can peruse the Help Center by searching for the topic you’re interested in or by searching for related keywords, so you get the best possible results on all fronts. Alternatively, you can browse through the topics and go by main categories. It also offers some popular questions and answers for them, for your convenience.
There is free access to the NordVPN Help Center, which is pretty easy to navigate and make sense of, but if you’re looking for solutions for a particular problem, you might not be in the mindset to go browsing for answers and read up on them. Perhaps you’re not that tech-savvy yourself, and you’d like a clear and to-the-point solution. In this case, you can email the customer support team.
If you want to find the solution to your particular issue, reach out to them and make sure to aptly describe your situation, the circumstances surrounding your issue, and what your end goal is. They’ll get back to you within 24 hours with a detailed solution.
24/7 Live Chat
The third and quickest solution you can adopt is live chat. If reading up on the issue or reaching out to email support isn’t the best solution for you, then you can chat with the customer support team in real-time.
Depending on the topic on which you need assistance, you’ll get assigned to a specialized agent so the troubleshooting will be fast, efficient, and resolve your issue, all smooth sailing.
NordVPN customer service gets pretty decent reviews, and when we tried it we were put through to an informative and helpful agent fairly quickly. We recommend NordVPN if you want extra support.
Hi, I'm Cliff. I'm based in Cleveland, Ohio, with my wife and two kids.
I have a keen interest in cybersecurity and have been writing about it for around a decade now. Due to my background in computer science, I am familiar ...
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