Editor’s Word: What instantly follows is a rundown of the most recent adjustments and additions since this assessment was final up to date.
- Worldwide server numbers has elevated to over four,550 (July 2018).
- Kill change is now each system-wide and app-based; you select your choice (June 2018)
- Pricing plans had some adjustments: the six-month plan is now not accessible, however the 2-year and a restricted Three-year plan have been added. The value of the 2-year is $Three.29 a month, and Three-year is $2.75 a month (June 2018).
- Extensions for Chrome and Firefox at the moment are accessible (June 2018).
- A devoted Android TV app is now accessible (July 2018)
The corporate sells itself very a lot on options, and it is easy to see why. This VPN presents four,050+ servers in 60+ places, assist for six simultaneous connections, plus it’s P2P-friendly. You additionally get Home windows, Mac, iOS and Android apps, a kill change, DNS leak blocking, Onion assist for additional safety, double knowledge encryption, and 24/7 assist if something goes flawed.
Costs are typically affordable for this degree of performance. The one-year plan prices an efficient $5.75 (£four.60) a month, there is a six-month choice for $7 (£5.60) a month, and the one-month plan is a chunky $11.95 (£9.60).
Maintain wanting and there are different choices accessible. NordVPN presents a three-day trial, though the corporate does not promote this on the entrance web page of its web site. We solely realized it was there once we discovered a point out buried within the FAQs.
No matter deal you select, the corporate’s beneficiant 30-day ‘no-hassle 100% money-back assure’ offers you loads of time to strive before you purchase, and suggests NordVPN is assured you will not be disillusioned. Issue within the free trial and it is all wanting good to us.
The NordVPN web site says the corporate operates a “strict no log coverage”, stating: “We don’t monitor when our customers log on, to which servers they join, which web sites they go to or what information they obtain.”
On the plus aspect, the corporate clearly states its coverage on customer support and assist queries, together with dwell chat. Logs are saved for six months as a reference, however will be deleted earlier in the event you ask.
We checked out the remainder of the contract, and have been shocked by simply how truthful and affordable it appeared. Not like among the competitors, NordVPN’s small print does not bury sneaky restrictions in 5,000 phrases of densely-packed legalese. As a substitute, it is easy, clear and simple.
The doc had extra objects than typical within the checklist of belongings you’re forbidden to do whereas utilizing the service – the corporate warns that anybody finishing up kidnapping, rape or homicide, in addition to the same old hacking/spamming/phishing, could have their account cancelled, which is nice to know – however in any other case the one shock was one thing within the buyer’s favor: “NordVPN does assure a 99.9% server uptime.”
We do not know whether or not the agency achieves that, or what occurs if it doesn’t, however we just like the ambition – most VPNs do not make any type of uptime promise in any respect.
Signing up for the NordVPN trial is simpler than you would possibly anticipate. There isn’t any want for bank card particulars, simply enter your e mail deal with, obtain a shopper – Home windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and a Chrome extension can be found – and it’s best to have it put in inside seconds.
NordVPN’s Home windows shopper added an icon to our system tray, and a few additional operating processes, too, grabbing a mildly above-average 80-90MB RAM. This may drop to 10-15MB in the event you shut the shopper whenever you’re not utilizing it, although, and general it is unlikely to affect most customers.
Whereas most VPN shoppers are tiny home windows with easy lists of cities, NordVPN’s providing appears to be like extra like a full-scale Home windows utility. The opening window shows all its places on a zoomable world map, for example, and will be resized or maximized for the absolute best view.
Though this appears to be like good, it is not precisely sensible. To entry a mid-Europe server it’s a must to launch the shopper, possibly resize the window, then spin the mouse wheel to zoom in, whereas clicking and dragging to centre the map in the suitable space. There are not any nation names on the map, so that you may need to hover your mouse over the person server icons to see which one is which. Lastly, clicking the icon connects to that location and shows your new IP deal with.
NordVPN additionally has a Connection Wizard for novice customers. Inform the shopper what your priorities are – streaming, P2P, safety, anonymity – and it will choose a location for you. This labored, however was poorly applied. Should you do not settle for the preliminary immediate to make use of it, there is no approach to launch it from the menus. Should you do launch the wizard, it seems as an overlay on the map display and cannot be dismissed.
We most well-liked NordVPN’s Servers tab, which takes a extra typical list-based strategy. You’ll be able to select a rustic, choose a person server, or kind the servers by distance, load or duties (P2P, Onion over VPN, and extra). There is a Favourites checklist to carry all of your common places, and right-clicking the system tray icon offers you a ‘Fast Join’ choice which connects to no matter server you selected final time. This appears to be like good and works properly, and is among the higher VPN interfaces we have seen.
The newest version of the shopper contains NordVPN’s ‘CyberSec’, basically a filter to dam adverts, identified malware and phishing websites. It really works at a fundamental degree, and is best than having no safety in any respect, however has no configuration choices. You’ll be able to’t add exceptions or determine to manually override the block to go to a web site, for example. If CyberSec blocks a official web site, all you are able to do is disable the characteristic completely.
The Settings dialog is extra of a spotlight, providing you with high quality management over how the service works. You do not simply get a ‘Begin with Home windows’ checkbox, for instance: the app also can begin minimized or maximized, or it may routinely hook up with your selection of server, and disable notifications in the event you do not want desktop alerts.
An Superior Settings dialog allows selecting UDP or TCP connections, or setting your most well-liked DNS servers when related.
You’ll be able to even customise the interface. Should you discover the map as impractical as we did, flip it off with a click on and the shopper will open on the glorious Servers checklist.
If there is a catch, it is the kill change, which ensures purposes do not give away your id by persevering with to entry the web in case your VPN connection drops.
Most VPNs implement a kill change on the system degree by turning off community entry, which nearly ensures blocking every part.
NordVPN’s kill change works by closing the purposes you specify: browsers, torrent shoppers, no matter you want. That is extra of a trouble, because it requires you to construct a listing and preserve it up-to-date. It might additionally trigger different issues, as forcibly closing some purposes might imply you lose knowledge.
So, within the general image, NordVPN’s Home windows shopper wants some work, however we like its server choice options and configurability, and on the entire it is a handsome package deal.
Efficiency is nearly as spectacular. In our exams*, quick UK to UK connections peaked at 33Mbps, we managed 15 to 30Mbps to France, Germany and Spain, and 18 to 29Mbps to the US. We needed to make very long-distance connections to search out any points, with some faraway servers struggling to attach in any respect, however the Hong Kong and Australia servers nonetheless managed a just-about-usable 5Mbps.
Much more importantly, NordVPN delivered on its privateness guarantees, with servers within the anticipated places, and DNS together with WebRTC leaks have been routinely blocked.
An interesting VPN which is quick and (principally) user-friendly. It is let down just a little by the unfinished really feel to elements of the Home windows shopper, and the brand new and extra imprecise privateness coverage, however the pace and handy server choice instruments lastly received us over.
*Our testing included evaluating basic efficiency (looking, streaming video). We additionally used speedtest.web to measure latency, add and obtain speeds, after which examined instantly once more with the VPN turned off, to test for any distinction (over a number of rounds of testing). We then in contrast these outcomes to different VPN companies we have reviewed. In fact, do observe that VPN efficiency is troublesome to measure as there are such a lot of variables.