Technology

NordVPN review 2022: solid security, excellent privacy

DO you want a VPN service with a reliable privacy policy and solid security features? If so, NordVPN may be the right choice for you.

We have tested NordVPN for roughly two weeks, and have summed up here everything you need to know before buying a subscription.

Our experts gave NordVPN an in-depth test - read all about it below in our VPN review below

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Our experts gave NordVPN an in-depth test – read all about it below in our VPN review below

*If you click on a link in this piece, we may earn affiliate revenue.

  • NordVPN, from £3.05 per month – buy here

NordVPN is one of the few VPN services that have undergone a full privacy audit of no-logging users’ activity.

The service also offers a reliable kill switch option, and a shared IP address feature to keep your traffic even more private (more on both later).

Keep reading for a full overview of NordVPN, including pricing, server details, and extra security options.

We have tested the service on Windows 11, but NordVPN is also available on Windows 10, as well as macOS, Linux, and Chromebook laptops and desktops.

The company also offers the service as a browser extension for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge, and as apps for Android and iOS devices.

Down below is all you need to know about NordVPN, but if you need a quick reminder about what a VPN is or whether you should use one, you can check our dedicated articles linked here.

NordVPN review: at a glance

NordVPN is an excellent VPN with great security features

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NordVPN is an excellent VPN with great security features


Tested: January 2022, Windows 11

The first thing one notices when installing NordVPN is the atypical user interface of its client. You can still choose your server from a traditional list, but if you feel so inclined, you can connect to one using a handy map.

The rest of the interface is also fairly easy to navigate, though the client is overall slightly heavier than other VPNs we have tested.

In terms of security, NordVPN is among the best we had the pleasure to try, with all the basics covered, and then some more.

The company’s privacy policies are also among the most transparent in the industry, mainly thanks to NordVPN operating under the Panama jurisdiction.

In addition, NordVPN successfully unblocks all main streaming services, including Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and Disney Plus.

Minor pet peeve includes NordVPN not always unblocking US Netflix, basic browser extensions, and not all servers supporting torrenting.

Pros:

  • Top-notch security features
  • Audited no-log policy
  • Unblocks most streaming services
  • Fast speeds
  • Vast server network

Cons:

  • Client slightly heavier than competitors
  • Renewal prices above average

What is NordVPN?

As mentioned above, NordVPN is a Panama-based service that was first established in 2012, which makes the company a pioneer in the world of VPNs.

In the past decade, NordVPN has grown to be one the most relied-upon VPN providers in the world, particularly after two separate evaluations from auditing and assurance firm PwC Switzerland in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

The audits corroborated NordVPN’s no-logs policy efforts, confirming the company does not collect (or log) traffic that passes through its servers.

Because of this trusted reputation, NordVPN has won four separate ProPrivacy awards, and today has a user base of 14 million.

The company also offers a number of advanced security features that are either absent from other VPNs or require extra add-ons, like the ‘Alert’ mode in Surfshark, for example.

When compared with other VPN services, NordVPN has more servers and faster speeds than Surfshark, but it’s also more expensive.

It is still cheaper than ExpressVPN, however, while sporting a very competitive series of security features and a huge number of servers.

And if you’re worried about compatibility, NordVPN is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook computers, Android and iOS mobile devices, and even routers and smart TVs.

How much does NordVPN cost?

NordVPN is not cheap, but it's worth its price

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NordVPN is not cheap, but it’s worth its price
  • NordVPN, £8.84 per month – buy here
  • NordVPN, £43.66 per one year (save £62.42) – buy here
  • NordVPN, £73.26 per two years (save £138.90) – buy here

NordVPN is certainly at the pricier end of the VPN market.

With a basic price of roughly £8 per month, NordVPN is not cheap, but it’s still cheaper than ExpressVPN, for example.

In addition, if you pick one of the long-term plans, you can grab substantial discounts, down to basically £3 per month.

Of course, this is a relatively standard formula in the world of VPNs, and if you opt for a two-year Surfshark subscription, the monthly price goes down to just £1.70.

Still, we argue that NordVPN is excellent value for money, thanks to its impressive security features and privacy policy.

In addition, a NordVPN subscription gives you instant access to the company secure cloud storage NordLocker (3 GB only without Premium) and the NordPass password manager (with certain limitations).

You can purchase 500 GB of additional storage space on NordLocker, for £5.91 per month or for a flat fee of £35.43 for the one-year plan (saving you 50% on the monthly price).

NordPass also has a premium version, which costs £44.22 for the two-year plan (£1.84 per month), £26.55 for one year (£2.21 per month), and £3.69 if you pick the monthly option.

NordPass Premium offers a series of additional features, including secure item sharing, a trusted contact option, a password health manager, and a data breach scanner.

NordVPN: server and server locations

NordVPN has an impressive number of servers

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NordVPN has an impressive number of servers

At the time of writing, NordVPN offers roughly 5200 servers in 60 countries.

While the number of countries included in the list is not particularly extensive (Surfshark has servers in 65 countries and ExpressVPN in 94), the sheer number of servers is one of the highest on the market.

Because of the substantial number of servers available, users are also able to select servers from a number of specific cities in the US, France, Germany, India, France and Canada.

Additionally, NordVPN offers three types of specialty servers: Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, and P2P (Peer-to-Peer) servers.

The first category enables traffic to be encrypted and sent through two
servers, adding an extra layer of security.

Onion Over VPN, on the other hand, works as a standard server, with the only difference being that traffic is also routed through the Onion network, again, adding an extra layer of security.

Finally, P2P servers are optimized for fast and secure file sharing, for instance, when downloading from torrent files.

NordVPN: security and privacy

NordVPN has consistently solid security features

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NordVPN has consistently solid security features

From a security standpoint, NordVPN uses AES encryption standard with 256-bit keys, which is considered state-of-the-art at the time of writing.

The company offers three different types of VPN protocols: IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and NordLynx, the latter of which is designed to preserve speeds without compromising security.

Additionally, NordVPN comes with extra security features, including a kill switch, split tunnelling (on Android and Windows), and dark web monitoring.

As of September 2020, NordVPN said its entire VPN server structure was running on diskless RAM servers, which means that no data is stored locally.

The company is also reportedly working on a network of colocated servers owned exclusively by NordVPN, which will be accessible only to its staff.

It’s worth noting in this section that, following events that unfolded in March 2018, NordVPN confirmed one of its servers in Finland was hit by a security breach, though no user credentials were reportedly affected.

According to the firm, the breach was made possible by poor configuration on a third-party data centre’s part that NordVPN was never notified of.

The investigation that followed suggested that when the data centre became aware of the intrusion, they deleted the accounts that had caused the vulnerabilities rather than notifying NordVPN of their mistake.

The VPN provider also confirmed that, as soon as they learned of the breach, the server and their contract with the provider were terminated and the company underwent an extensive audit of its service.

NordVPN: speed and performance

The NordVPN client and apps are easy to use, and despite having a Windows client slightly heavier than competitors, it is light enough for its impact on most computers’ memory to be negligible.

NordVPN's Windows client is not light as a feather, but not a resource hog either

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NordVPN’s Windows client is not light as a feather, but not a resource hog either

It is also great to be able to access advanced-security VPN options like Double VPN and PS2 servers with a simple click.

In terms of speeds, NordVPN is one of the fastest VPN services we have tested.

Down below is a breakdown of speeds using different server options.

No VPN

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No VPN
Smart Location (London)

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Smart Location (London)
Double VPN

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Double VPN
Onion Over VPN

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Onion Over VPN
P2P Server (London)

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P2P Server (London)

As you can see, NordVPN performed reliably across different server options, delivering speeds that were very close to those reached not using a VPN.

We had some mixed results with Double VPN servers, as the connections had sudden dips in download or upload speeds. However, this may just be caused by traffic going through two different servers.

One of the things we were happy to notice was that ping did not particularly deteriorate no matter the type of server we chose (with the option ‘Best Server’ on).

Low ping is synonymous with low latency in the gaming world, so we’re happy to recommend NordVPN if you’re looking for a VPN for your online gaming sessions.

Thanks to these speeds, streaming performance was also solid across the board. We watched Netflix using servers in Japan, South Africa, and the UK, and we did not experience any issues.

There were a few micro lags when we tried to stream Netflix using a couple of U.S. servers, but changing the server fixed the issue.

How many devices can be supported on NordVPN?

One NordVPN account can secure up to six devices at one time.

The service can also be installed on home routers, in order to secure all the devices connected to the home Wi-Fi.

The number six is fairly average in the world of VPNs, with ExpressVPN’s basic offering, for instance, covering up to five devices, and CyberGhost seven.

If you’re looking for a VPN subscription covering an unlimited number of devices, SurfShark may be the one for you.

NordVPN: is it any good?

NordVPN is a serious VPN service with a substantial number of great security features and a twice-audited privacy policy.

The service is easy to use, has a wide variety of servers options, and fairly solid speeds across the spectrum.

NordVPN also offers 24/7 customer support via email or live chat. We have tested the latter and were connected with a live agent in less than a minute.

The service unblocks most streaming websites, (though a couple of servers in the U.S. gave us minor lagging issues) and can download torrents too (via the P2P server option).

NordVPN’s price is a little above average, but all in all, we argue it is well worth its price.

  • NordVPN, from £3.05 per month – buy here

How we test VPN services

Our experts at The Sun use Ookla to test the speed of the VPN services we review. We are based in London, and currently testing speeds via Wi-Fi. All tests are conducted using the same machine and at the same distance from the router.

We test and review each VPN using the same processes, and judge them by the same criteria each time.

These criteria are price, server quality and location, security and privacy, speed and performance, and number/type of supported devices.

All of our reviews are editorially independent and free from bias.

Make sure you know your country’s laws and regulations if you’re unsure about how you’re using a VPN service.

Enjoyed our NordVPN review? Then why not have a look at our pick of the best VPNs for Netflix in 2022.

We have also rounded up the best broadband deals you can get right now.

For more tech recommendations, head over to our dedicated Sun Selects Tech page.

*If you click on a link in this piece, we may earn affiliate revenue.

https://www.the-sun.com/tech/4562787/nordvpn-review/ NordVPN review 2022: solid security, excellent privacy

TaraSubramaniam

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