Our VPN Expert Alex has Analysed more than 24 VPN Providers for you, Looking Thoroughly at Security Standards and Speed.
How Smart is the “Most Advanced VPN of the World”, actually?
Whoever titles their product the “most advanced VPN of the World”, is surely in a position to have to deliver according performance. The word “advanced” is only somewhat measurable, though. So, how do we find out how well NordVPN compares to prominent competitors like ExpressVPN or VyprVPN?
The company Tefinkom & Co., based in Panama, offers their service NordVPN now for around eleven years – 2008, the software found their way to the market. This does not really make the service the oldest in its class, but it’s still currently considered one of the absolute top services in the business.
The headquarters in Central American Panama adds their part to this: The state bordering Costa Rica allows/enables NordVPN not to have to consider legal limitations regarding the saving of data. In this case, it means that NordVPN is not obligated to save or backup your data.
But security alone doesn’t make a VPN the “most advanced in the world”. Which other features does NordVPN offer where the competition just can’t keep up? What is the software able to do which the other services aren’t?
I’m coming to all those questions in our great NordVPN test, to find the best answers for you.
On the start page already, NordVPN welcomes you with a smart as well as modern design. Not all VPN providers can say that.
Features (100 out of 100 – excellent)
Before we dive into the security related features, I have good news for the Netflix, Hulu and Amazon friends among you. NordVPN doesn’t just support those streaming services, NordVPN offers a great advantage to you with the Smartplay service: It allows you to access Netflix and the likes fully automatically – completely unimportant at which location you are connected at the moment.
NordVPN will for instance automatically establish a connection to the according US server when you access Netflix, so you can consume this content.
Apart from this, this VPN provider offers the so-called “Double VPN”. This is a twice secured usage of the internet, which not only connects you to one server, but for instance through a server in Canada to the last one in the USA. Thus, your data is encrypted twice.
As you are using a longer chain of connections than usual, you have to accept an additional speed reduction, though. In my test, the download speed slowed down by 47 percent, the upload speed by 43%.
Also interesting is the “CyberSec” feature, with which you can suppress annoying advertisement and block suspicious websites automatically. This option is surely of meaning to anyone in the everyday use of the internet.
This tool worked flawlessly in my test, by the way: As desired, due to CyberSec, I was not bothered with annoying pop-ups, auto-play video commercials, and other advertisement. This function has accordingly proven itself worthwhile, too.
You can of course adjust whether NordVPN should get active immediately when starting your device.
You may enable or disable KillSwitch CyberSec or the automatic start of the program in the navigation bar
Pros & Cons: NordVPN at a glance
Price (95 out of 100 – excellent)
Financially, NordVPN provides a really good price-performance ratio and also offers you the option of an additional free test phase. In a total of more than 30 days you can extensively test the software on all your devices and put it through its paces.
If you do not like the services offered, you can simply unsubscribe from the subscription during your trial period and try a competing product. Our VPN provider test will certainly help you with this decision.
But if you choose NordVPN, you will get three tariff levels, which you can choose from according to your time requirements: Either you pay a monthly fee of $11.95, no longer agreed in advance, so you can opt out of your subscription every month. Otherwise you may choose between a six-month and one-year term.
If you choose six months, the monthly price is $7.95, which you pay once every six months. In consequence, you will pay a total of 42.00 dollars per six months. With a one-year term, you pay $5.95 a month, so there is a one-time annual payment of $69.00.
No matter which package is the right one for you: Each of these packages includes the same features. At this point, I would like to emphasize once again that you can connect up to a maximum of six devices per account – this is an absolute top result in our extensive VPN test.
Compared to the competition, NordVPN is in the upper mid-range with its three cost levels. Nevertheless, the price-performance ratio fits the offered features really well in my opinion.
Usability (100 out of 100 – excellent)
You can tell that NordVPN attaches great importance to user-friendliness. No other VPN provider made it so easy for me to use their program so intuitively right from the start. So, let’s dive into the software and see how effective you can actually be using the tool.
Starting with the necessary registration, NordVPN grants you the anonymity you want: Apart from an e-mail address and the password that you will choose, you do not have to provide any additional information about yourself. Even when choosing a payment method, you can use Bitcoin as a means of payment next to PayPal, credit card, etc. and thus maintain your anonymity.
Your registration for NordVPN is faster and easier than it is with any other provider
When you download your software after the registration, your dashboard is mostly self-explanatory: Simply select the “Download Area” and download the appropriate software to your device. The installation is the same as with any other software.
This is where you select your software and download the corresponding file
Before we discuss the actual program, I would like to give you a short overview of the handling of the website: Compared to other VPN providers, especially to AirVPN, NordVPN has done its homework in web design and user experience. They have created a really visually appealing and easy to use website.
Once you are actually using the software, the innovative and modern user interface does not stop at all. The visually simple and clearly designed world map gives you a geographical overview of all server locations, which is particularly striking here. To select a server, simply click on it and get connected.
Country selection at NordVPN in the geographical overview
Alternatively, you can have those countries and server locations listed. It will look like this:
The alternative view of the country selection at NordVPN
To set the most suitable security and usage settings for you, the software has used the “burger menu” known from the mobile sector, which can be retracted and extended with just the push of one button. With this the platform gives you an even better overview, while you can adjust the essential settings in the menu.
Consequently, NordVPN creates a sound balance between the safety component on the one hand and intuitive operation on the other. Even for technically inexperienced users, the software offers ideal usability on the computer.
By the way, a similar user interface can be found on your smartphone:
As before, you can select your server via the map view on the screen. Alternatively, a list of all server locations is provided as well.
In addition, the usage is also very convincing. The VPN connection can be established within two simple taps without any major introduction. Of course, the app needs the permission of your device’s VPN settings beforehand. Your smartphone will let you know when it is needed, therefore you won’t experience any difficulties in this stage.
Supported devices (100 out of 100 – excellent)
NordVPN offers a wide range of supported devices: From Apple’s iOS and MacOS to Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, Windos 8 and Windows 10 to Google’s Android, Linux, Raspberry Pi and an interface for routers, it covers every common device.
However, at this point it is somewhat unusual that the provider supports a really old and rarely used system with Windows XP. But the XP users among you will be happy.
As far as the usual procedure of smartphone apps is concerned, NordVPN is as easy to maintain as it should be for a professional app: You download the app, wait for the installation and get started.
Therefore, I have no choice but to award the maximum number of points for the service in this category.
Server locations (90 out of 100 – very good)
With over 1,400 servers in 61 countries worldwide, NordVPN is in the upper mid-range compared to its competitors. Since the program offers a considerable additional value by the very well optimized map view, this provider also scores with “very good” in this category.
Speed (90 out of 100 – very good)
That’s good news: You will not suffer any loss of speed. According to my test result and my feeling when surfing, there is no serious disadvantage when you log in with NordVPN.
Even high-quality streaming works at a speed similar to what is possible without a VPN.
The speed test before NordVPN been linked
The speed test while NordVPN is active
Security (100 out of 100 – excellent)
If you are one of those who are looking for a VPN provider that guarantees you maximum security, you are in a good place at NordVPN. The features already discussed at the beginning, such as the Double VPN or CyberSec, have recently set the service ahead of its competitors. Furthermore, NordVPN does not store any of your data, as it is not subject to any conflicting legislation due to its headquarters in Panama. NordVPN itself says:
“NordVPN does not monitor, store or record any protocols via VPN users. We do not store any connection time stamps, data about the bandwidth used, data traffic protocols nor IP addresses.”
For this reason, I recommend you using the tool “KillSwitch”: This will automatically close the apps you previously selected if you unexpectedly disconnect from the internet. This means that no data can be transmitted unencrypted.
In addition, NordVPN uses OpenVPN technology and thus the best possible encryption technology. Besides OpenVPN the L2TP/IPSec and PPTP protocols are also available. However, you should choose the OpenVPN protocol, as PPTP has some security issues. This includes for example, logging on without security certificates.
Support (85 out of 100 – very good)
As usual, you will find countless articles and problem solutions for and about the most frequently asked questions and user problems in the help center of the provider.
However, if your question is not answered there, you have several options to solve your problem:
Either you use the live chat, which is constantly displayed in the lower right corner of the screen, or you are happy with the usual ticket system: Here you fill out a web form in which you describe your problem and receive a direct answer from the support team. In my case, it took a support representative just under four minutes to respond.
NordVPN regularly informs about new trends, developments and technologies around the topic “Virtual Private Network” as well.
If you are looking for a tool that combines optimal usability with maximum security, you will hardly find a better solution than NordVPN. On top of that, streaming services like Netflix & Co. have a clever Smartplay technology that automatically links you to the American Netflix or other services, instead of asking you the question “Netflix or not Netflix”.
If, on the other hand, the cheapest possible price is most important to you and NordVPN is a bit too expensive, you should check out the provider Private Internet Access. In this case you pay only 39.95 dollars for an annual subscription – just a little more than half of the price of NordVPN. If you are interested in completely free VPN providers, you will find everything you need to know about the topic here.
However, in purely functional terms, hardly any other tool can keep up. The ExpressVPN and CyberGhost services are certainly the most competitive, but in the end they will not be able to outbid NordVPN.
To sum up: NordVPN is a big step ahead of its competitors and will probably be so for quite some time. Therefore, if you choose this provider, you are by no means misguided – on the contrary, you’re making a really great choice.