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With so many VPN options out there, it can be difficult to pick which one. They all promise similar results, from safety to security when it comes to your streaming desires. But it is an oversaturated market? What name should you trust? NordVPN is one of the larger voices, often promoting themselves through podcasts and other platforms. It’s made them a recognizable name in the VPN industry. But are they as reliable as they claim?

NordVPN is owned by NordSec, a company interested in tech development. Originally founded in 2017, the company has become a reliable and significant presence in the market itself.

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Registration

Signing up for NordVPN is fairly easy. The price range is spread out across the board. The average price per-month for a subscription is $11.95. But the price drops drastically as users purchase 1-year, 2-year and 3-year plans. A 2-year plan is worth $3.49 as of June 2020, as is a 3-year plan. The 1-year plan is currently worth $6.99 a month.

Getting a subscription will require your name, email, password and your choice of payment method. NordVPN currently has options for just about any payment method, including credit card, Paypal, Alipay and cryptocurrencies if desired. Perfect for users who may want to take additional security measures to protect their financial information.

Nord also offers NordVPN Teams, a corporatized option. This option offers users a series of options for more than one user or customer. It comes in three levels: Basic ($7.00 a user per month), Advanced ($9.00 a user per month) and Enterprise (discounted based on company needs). Each one offers different options to consider in regard to account management, kill switches, 24/7 support and other options.

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Devices

NordVPN is compatible with an assortment of OSes, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux. It also offers options for Firefox and Chrome browsers as a sort of add-on that might be useful if using a specific browser. It also has a specific app for Android TV, a rarely used software that isn’t often served. However, the lack of router-based VPN options does stand out among the competitors, especially for local homes that want to protect multiple users and family members.

NordVPN is compatible with these devices:

  • Android TV
  • iPhone/iPad
  • Android Phone/Tablet
  • Web Browsers
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Security

First off, NordVPN states upfront that they have a “no-log” policy. This means that they do not record any information about how or what websites and connections that are available. NordVPN states explicitly that they will not store connection timestamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic data or IP addresses. This policy has also been confirmed and clarified by third-party auditors.

The service states that they rely on 256-bit AES encryption, which is considered a professional-grade encryption and completely reliable. The protocols offered by Nord are only three in number, but include IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN and NordLynx, also known as Wireguard. So there are a plethora of options to encode and protect your data.

It isn’t obvious at firsthand where the settings for controlling protocols. If users click the settings button in the top right corner, they will see a number of tabs. By selecting Auto-connect, they will see a tab listing “Choose a VPN protocol and server automatically,” which is automatically turned on upon installing. This will automatically code the VPN with OpenVPN (UDP).

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Connect

The connection is fairly straightforward upon installation. Users will be prompted to select the interface they desire. Like most VPNs, they offer a list of servers available for users according to their needs. These include organizing it by country, by server “specialties” and by functionality. For example, if a user needs to double-up their VPN, Nord offers specific options by which to do so. It also has options for Dedicated IP, Onion Over VPN (Which layers the levels of connection between you and your server) and P2P (peer-to-peer) VPN connections as well. All of these offer a level of variety not typically seen in most VPN software.

If a user wants to connect to the fastest network, that is fairly easy in itself. Users are promoted to choose the quickest connection, or to select a country. Each country has several servers, with each one visible and checkable through a drop-down panel. So if a user prefers a specific server from Albania, they can select it and check to see how much use it is receiving as of the moment you log in.

There were minimal connection issues while using Nord, and we were able to maintain a reliable connection over the internet while doing so.

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Download Speed

Upon connecting to the server, we had a surprisingly strong connection. On a 40 Mbps average download speed, we were able to get well above 40 Mbps download/6.45 Mbps upload while connected to a U.S. server. The same was found true of an Australian server, where we maintained a 30 Mbps download rate/3.28 Mbps upload. There were no disconnection issues.

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Streaming Services

There were a multitude of successes when it came to streaming options. We were able to get Netflix and Hulu working. However, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer appeared unable to work with the service.

One of the elements to keep in mind is how the add-on interacts with the servers, as opposed to the programs. Due to the differences in software, users may find different results depending on their choice of methodology.

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Countries

At this time, NordVPN hosts around 62 different countries, each one with multiple servers attached. This offers a variety of options, with select different options for certain purposes. Nord is supposedly one of the the few VPNs that can breach the Chinese firewall.

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Support

NordVPN’s extensive database of information and troubleshooting offers a multitude of answers for users to consider, including a rather detailed troubleshooting page and lots of guides. There is a live chat panel on the side, offering an assortment of options. While the chat starts as a chatbot, users can request a live person if they desire support.

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Summary

In the market of VPNs, NordVPN holds up surprisingly well compared to most of its competition. Not only were the connections consistent and reliable, but it is a strong and reliable option with low price ranges for consumers. It definitely should be considered as a viable option.

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