NordVPN Review: I’ve been a security researcher for the last 8 years, I’ve worked with almost every VPN provider out there that is, but most VPN’s just get themselves sold with their Marketing strategies and stuff.
Thus when I came across this tool and planned to write this NordVPN Review, I was seriously taken aback. I was satisfied enough to hit my keyboard and do this review right away, trust me if it wasn’t worth it, I wouldn’t waste my hours of research and time writing this down.
The one thought you might be having right now is that I might be trying to sell you the VPN through this NordVPN review, well yeah I totally am! And I’m not asking you to take my word about it being awesome, I’ll just show it to you right away.
And if after going through just half of of this NordVPN review you aren’t totally confident that it’s one of the best VPN’s you’ve ever come across in your lives, don’t go for it simple.
But anyway, let’s start from the basics…
What is a VPN?
If you’re reading this piece I’m almost sure you already know what a VPN is, but if you’re working with something as broad and feature-rich as NordVPN, trust me the possibilities and the whole definition of a VPN gets changed. (Or else, I wouldn’t be wasting my time on writing a NordVPN review if it was all the same story!)
Basic Idea of a VPN:– A software that let’s you change your IP. Sweet and simple, right?
The IP Addresses are your footprints on the internet, they give-away your physical location to start with, they get you hacked and much more.
So basically when a VPN changes your IP address, it’s like you seem to be based at a different location than your real location. (I’ll show you a live example of that in this NordVPN review)
Let’s I’m based in India, and my IP address is “X”. but when I use a VPN client and change my location to any other country, let’s assume USA, my IP Address becomes “Y”, hence anyone trying to determine my location or trying to hack into my system would fail.
Cause afterall, the IP address “Y” isn’t really me is it?
That’s what a normal VPN does (and trust me it’s just around 10% of the real things you can do with NordVPN).
Now a VPN can be used for different needs and requirements, the basic feature remains the same, it lets you change your IP addresses, but “how” you use that feature is up to you.
As it’s a NordVPN review, let me quote some example of the common uses of a VPN:-
1). Hide your Location
IP addresses are like your cell phone numbers, which can be tracked back to your physical location. So ofcourse the primary benefit of reading this NordVPN review is that you’ll learn how this VPN can be used so that your location can be changed / hidden.
2). Access restricted Sites
In some countries like China / Pakistan and even India, some sites like Google, and even Youtube are banned, doesn’t matter which site is banned, if you change your IP address and make it look like you’re somewhere in the USA, the site won’t be “blocked’ for you anymore right? That’s another feature I’m covering in this NordVPN review.
The internet is like a diary, it records almost every move you make online, which sites you access, what kind of platforms you interact with, your history etc. Well me? I’m just not comfortable knowing that somewhere in this world there’s always a recorded history of my actions, the VPN can be used to mask my identity.
Public Hotspots aren’t always safe, infact they’re never safe, a 5th grader with 10minutes on Youtube can learn how to hack into a public network and grab your credit card details, live-stream what you’re doing and what not. So well using a VPN makes sure that you’re safe even on a public network. Additionally, the one basic information always required to hack into anyone’s system even remotely from any corner of the world, is their IP address, so you need to make sure yours isn’t printed in bold letters on your doorsteps right?
So okay enough with what a “VPN” can do, don’t you think we should have a look at what NordVPN can do? (Trust me it’s more, much more than whatever I’ve just said, and that’s what I’ll be talking about in this NordVPN Review)
Once you get your NordVPN account, you can login to your account and can see the “download area” right there on top.
This is where you download your VPN Client. So once you proceed to the downloads section, this is what you’re bound to see:-
See? So doesn’t matter which OS from which planet is running your device, if it’s an Operating-system, NordVPN supports it as you can see clearly in this NordVPN review.
I literally am unable to find an OS which it doesn’t support, if you can do make use of the commentbox to let me know, and I promise to update this NordVPN Review.
My point of writing the above section? NordVPN is an extremely well-supported VPN client, so you don’t have to worry about it not running on your device, and as you can see, all the versions, each and everyone of them is a stable release.
Meaning they’re made specifically for those OS separately hence there’s no way the tool is going to lag on your OS.
So once you download your client and run it, the very first option you’d get is to choose your destination server. I’ll show you the screen just because it’s a NordVPN review so you should get an honest picture.
I talked about you being able to change your location right? This is it! If you care to notice, the IP’s are actually divided into two categories.
1). Countries and Servers
Now if you’re a new guy to this then going with the countries options is easier, you just have to select a country and you’re good to go. But this being a NordVPN review, let’s take a look at the other possibility too.
If you’re more of an advanced user, you can go with the servers option. The server option again in itself is sub-divided for extreme simplicity and understanding.
For eg. Anti-ddos, Double VPN etc!
So I’d say, I’ve not even started using the VPN, I’m still on the very first step and even then the user-experience, the features that I’m offered are overwhelming me. (I’ve explained the “Double VPN” servers by the last sections of this NordVPN review, read along!)
2). Connection Ease
How hard is it connecting to a server on NordVPN? Let me tell you, exactly as hard as making a “click”.
Well yeah. It’s not a bit harder than that.
All you’ve got to do is, select the country you’re trying to connect to, and click on connect. Done! You’d be connected to the country, simple as that.
3). Time Required
I’ve been with some VPNs which kinda suck when it comes to connections. After I click on connect, they take anywhere around 2-3 minutes to do so, while NordVPN?
It took me exactly 4seconds (Yeah I stopwatch-ed it for this NordVPN review)
4). Verifying the Connection
Ofcourse I won’t take NordVPN’s word for it that now my IP address is changed, they might be scamming me, right? (I’m kidding, I know they aren’t, but just for the sake of satisfying you and making sure you trust this NordVPN review!) let me verify my location.
All I’ve to do is, go to any IP location tracker website online and enter my IP address. And bingo here’s where I’m based at right now.
See? I’m virtually based off somewhere in Chicago right now, so yeah NordVPN’s IP address? It’s working perfectly no doubt.
5). Other Advanced Features
The whole IP changing thing? It’s what you can find with any VPN no doubt, not that they’d be as fast or efficient as NordVPN but well they do the job, right? But this isn’t the feature which made me write this NordVPN review.
Talking about something you “can’t” find with most of them? That’s what this section is all about.
a). DNS Leak Protection
I know it might be a completely new term to you, so what exactly is a “DNS LEAK”, and why do you need protection from it, right?
Before answering that, answer something for me. Why are you using a VPN? To mask your existence, hide your identity, change your IP address right? It’s more or less the exact answer isn’t it? (In my case, I’m using it to write and explain to you NordVPN in this NordVPN review, but that’s an exception!)
So when using a VPN, your real identity is hidden because your traffic (interactions) with the internet are routed through a third-party server (the VPN’s server) right?
Here’s an explanation of what (should) happen with a VPN:- You > Third Party Server > Website so to the website it seems as if the traffic is coming from the third party server and not “YOU”.
The only problem? “YOU” isn’t always a stable, 3D figure like real life. Afterall we are talking about the internet which is nothing but data packets, lot’s of them, right?
So in some cases what happens is when you’re accessing a website with a VPN which isn’t as feature-rich as NordVPN, some of your traffic gets leaked.
Leaked in the sense, not all your interactions are masked with the VPNs server, and hence anyone smart enough and really desperate to catch you, eventually would. (I actually am a victim of the scenario much before I even thought of writing this NordVPN review!)
So see? Now that’s something you don’t want happening. And that’s what “DNS LEAK PROTECTION” is for. (
Not every VPN out there is concerned with the advanced level of your securities, but NordVPN is, infact it’s one of those few points which made me come up with this NordVPN review.
b). Smart Play
Another one of those features which made me want to paint this NordVPN review on the top of buildings? Smart Play.
It might be a fairly new term to you and hence let me take the liberty of explaining it to you.
Unless you live in extremely liberal countries like the USA or Netherlands, most other countries have restricted access to one or other kind of online website/service. (Even USA and Netherlands have restrictions of their own!)
And the agony is that the countries restrict petty platforms like Netflix and BBC. Whatever their International Agenda might be, how can Netflix harm someone, it can’t, right?
Or let’s say you’re a frequent traveler and everytime you go to some other country, one of your favorite platforms stops loading, that’s just irritating.
So I understand your desire to get your hands on a magical wand that would just make each and every website available regardless of the country you’re based in, right?
NordVPN is that magical wand, and SmartPlay is it’s magical spell.
I think you already got it by now, but basically what SmartPlay does is, it makes sure that you can access every kind of website, regardless of it being banned by the Govt.
It senses your real physical geographical location, and then if you try to access a platform that’s banned in your country, it just routes your traffic through a country where the platform isn’t banned.
That way the website thinks that you’re accessing the site from that routed, virtual country and hence you’re able to browse the internet without any problem.
Does it Affect the Streaming or other Speed factors?
A basic question that would pop up in anyone’s mind is that if using a VPN to re-route your traffic to some other country to access a banned platform will reduce the streaming speed?
Well yeah the speed is capped with other VPNs, infact most VPNs. But when I checked out NordVPN’s speed to stream Netflix, the speed was perfectly normal.
Well I’m on a fiber connection so being honest, yeah the speed wasn’t as much as I usually get, but there was no buffering, and I still retained around 90% of my original speed, so my vote still goes to Nord.
It all might seem like sweet talk to you so let me back up my talk with some theories, what other VPNs do is, they re-route your traffic to another location, and then to different servers before actually sending it to the desired platform.
While with NordVPN, once the traffic is encrypted, it gets sent directly to the platform and hence there’s minimal loss in speed.
Enabling Smart Play
Talking about Encryption and Re-routing traffic it might seem all too complicated.
So again, let me remind you that NordVPN is just an angel when it comes to user experience. All you’ve got to do is, “click” and you’re done.
See? There’s an in-built option for SmartPlay and it’s s chekbox, meaning you just have to click it and SmartPlay would be enabled, can it be any easier? (I’m excluding mind-controlled enabling options!)
Another one of the features I’m in love with, is it’s auto-connect thing.
Again, not all the VPNs can boast of having this option, and even if they do, there’s an additional charge on it, well not with NordVPN.
The Auto-connect feature comes in handy at times when the connection drops. Let’s say you’re doing something important so it’s not really comfortable re-starting the connection manually everytime, right?
That’s where auto-connect comes in, and it’s pretty much customizable too.
See? It doesn’t only ensure that you’re auto-reconnected to the server if you’re dropped, it also let’s you choose which server exactly you’d like to connect to if the connection drops.
So let’s say you’re into some serious stuff and you need your location to be specifically Georgia or some place specific, this option makes sure that when you’re re-connected, you’re not logged out of whatever you’re doing by making sure that you re-connect to that exact location as you need.
d). TCP and UDP Protocols Supported
By now I’m sure you must have gathered that when it comes to features, NordVPN is overloaded with them.
Same goes when it comes to their connection protocols. You get two different protocols you can choose from, TCP and UDP.
Before explaining to you what TCP and UDP are and why they’re such a big deal, it’s important to explain to you what the “protocol” is in the first place, right?
Well the protocols I’m talking about, are the “methods of transferring data packets over the internet”. That’s the simplest explanation I’ve for them. And “data packets” are what the internet is all about. Transferring and receiving data is how the internet functions.
TCP:- Transmission Control Protocol is a data transfer protocol, both the TCP and UDP protocol perform the same job, but with different methods.
The TCP protocol is a “send-check-send-check” method. Meaning, it sends a data packet, verifies that the packet was received at the other end, and then sends the next packet.
This process is slower compared to UDP, but it’s safer. It makes sure that all the data packets being sent, are also being received.
UDP:- UDP is the impatient protocol. It’s faster, because it sends a data packet, doesn’t care if it’s recievd or not, and sends another packet.
So there’s no “checking” system, the data packets might not even be reaching their destination but for UDP it doesn’t matter.
So ofcourse it’s faster, also because TCP needs a minimum of three data packets to establish a successful connection but UDP doesn’t. But compared to TCP it isn’t safer or better. But if you prefer “speed” over other factors, then this is the option you should be going for.
e). Ultra Fast TV servers
How many VPNs have you come across which actually care about giving you a special option to choose from servers made specifically to cater to your online streaming needs? I bet not a lot, right?
Infact it’s the only VPN I’ve personally come across which has a dedicated section to “Ultra Fast TV Servers” section.
What this section does is, it lists all the fastest available servers at specific locations which allow you to stream videos at the best possible speeds.
In short, these servers are there specially to take care of your “streaming” needs, so if you’re a NetFlix or online streaming fan, I’d say you’d find a special kind of love for NordVPN.
f). Auto Process Kill List
Okay worry not I’m going to end this review soon, but I can’t help it, the features just don’t seem to end up, not my fault right?
The one thing I’m afraid of while using a VPN is, what if I’m doing something which I’m not supposed to be doing, and my VPN suddenly drops the connection? I’ll be exposed, right?
Not anymore, not with NordVPN. It has this in-built “kill processes” list.
What this list basically does is, it auto-terminates processes.
Let’s say I’m using “kali -linux” to hack into something or someone’s system, and I’m masking my IP with NordVPN, and if the connection suddenly drops, and if the program “Kali-Linux” is added to the kill list, it will automatically be terminated too.
Hence I won’t be exposed, so the programs added to the Kill list last only as long as the secure VPN connection does, once the connection is dead, so are the programs, simple as that.
g). Double Data Encryption
Okay I promise it’s the last one!
I won’t make it long either, this is this exclusive algorithm with NordVPN that encrypts your data more than once, infact twice before setting up the connection.
Hence double security for you! Simple as that.
Okay so finally to the most important section of this NordVPN review- Money!
How much would such a tool which offers just about NSA level protection cost? A million dollars? Think low. A thousand maybe? Still lower. A hundred? Well I’ve personally paid over $100/month to VPNs which weren’t half as good as Nord.
What if I tell you, NordVPN is a two-digit package! Yeah, infact their plans don’t even touch $20! Hell, not even $15.
NordVPN plans start as low as $5.75/month! (That’s lower than what I spend on my coffee every month!) and the highest one goes just for $11.95 (again, cheaper than my coffee! And another reason why I take pride in writing this NordVPN review)
So that was all I had on this NordVPN review guys, if you ask me, is a VPN which has a lot of Servers to choose from, advanced features like Auto-kill switch, double encryption, two different connection protocols and much more worth $5.75?
I’d say hell yeah.
I’m sure anyone in their right minds, and who really understands and needs a VPN won’t even think twice before getting onboard with NordVPN, but just in case you’re from the “I’m never satisfied group” don’t take my word on this NordVPN review for it.
Instead go out and check NordVPN for yourselves, and I dare you, to give me a single reason why $5.75 is more valuable than your online privacy and security!
Okay so that was it folks, I didn’t intend to make this review this long! 3000 words that is! But what can I say, there was so much to talk and share with you guys, do let me know if you’re going (or not going) with the VPN in the comments.