Whether you’re considering a VPN or you’d never dream of having one, you’ve probably heard of NordVPN. The VPN market leader is all over the internet and even on TV and may have turned a few naysayers into desires. Is NordVPN as wonderful as the company would have you believe? Let’s find out in this NordVPN review.
NordVPN is a fantastic VPN, no wonder it has a stellar reputation. It’s packed with features, has excellent speeds, tons of service and the best customer support we’ve come across to date.
NordVPN: What’s It About?
NordVPN is a head honcho in the VPN world. It’s one of the most popular and best-marketed VPNs.
It’s not one of the oldest VPNs out there, it’s only been around since 2012—but since then, it’s made its way onto every device, including wireless routers and NAS devices.
Where Is NordVPN Based?
NordVPN’s jurisdiction is Panama, although it’s a Lithuanian-based company. Panama is a fantastic place for a VPN as there are no laws in the country that require data retention.
This jurisdiction means that you should be safe from third-parties trying to access your logs. While that sounds fantastic, especially for a VPN company, it doesn’t mean NordVPN can’t store your personal and internet data.
If your country’s law enforcement wants the dirt on you, they can go to your ISP. Your ISP is aware that you’re using a VPN, and probably which one—it’s easy to direct them, then. If NordVPN is keeping logs on you, then there’s nothing protecting you safe from that privacy breach.
So, does NordVPN keep logs?
Does NordVPN Have Third-Party Audits?
NordVPN has a no-logs policy, like many VPNs we’ve reviewed. While you can claim to not keep logs easily, NordVPN really doesn’t, and can prove it.
The company has undergone two third-party audits and aced the tests each time. NordVPN posted an overview of this on their blog, which is pretty transparent, but not particularly detailed.
NordVPN invites service users to read the full scope of what went on in the audit, which is fair enough. Although, we feel it would be better if NordVPN let even non-users see the detailed report. That way, potential customers can have extra confirmation that they’re making the right choice with NordVPN.
What Was Audited?
From what we know, the entire VPN service was audited but we don’t have access to the technical details of it. What we do know, though, is that the employees were involved, too.
Price Waterhouse Cooper, the third-party auditor, interviewed several Nord employees. The results of this weren’t published, but we assume it was to ensure the employees were well-trained, didn’t have access to anything they shouldn’t have, and so on.
Outside of that, there were technical log inspections, deep-dives into NordVPN’s many servers, their configurations and more. Lastly, the auditors made sure NordVPN was actually using the protocols and tech that they checked, so the results weren’t faked.
At the end of it all, the auditors were satisfied that NordVPN logs neither the necessary or unnecessary details on the customer base.
What Doesn’t NordVPN Log?
Clearly, if NordVPN has a no-logs policy, the company logs nothing—but VPNs still need to track some things to work. They need your location, your IP address, timestamps of when you connected to a NordVPN server and a few more things.
We’re not sure how, and NordVPN hasn’t made any statements on it, but NordVPN does not track any of this, even in real-time and without storing.
NordVPN somehow manages to protect you, change your IP address and location, as well as provide access to other features. The company does this without ever knowing any of your personal details. We call this a pretty big win for NordVPN.
What Are NordVPN’s Best Features?
NordVPN has a lengthy list of features to go along with its excellent transparency. This is the longest list of features we’ve seen in a VPN so far—so what are they, and do they work well?
They seem to be excellent and you can switch between the available protocols as you wish.
We’ll admit that NordVPN doesn’t have the highest number of security protocols, but they do the job. On Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, you have WireGuard protection in the form of NordLynx. Unfortunately, we don’t know what the protocols are for Linux devices.
WireGuard is a security protocol that’s growing in popularity. It stays up to date with the latest encryption types. Best of all, it leads to fantastic speeds.
OpenVPN is also incredibly common, well-loved, trusted and reliable. That’s available on the devices above as a backup to WireGuard, should something go wrong.
If you prefer IKEv2 encryption you’ll find it on macOS and iOS as a backup to WireGuard. Customers generally consider the protocols above to be the gold standard with VPNs. They have no complaints about their use in NordVPN or the performance.
VPNs have to slow down your connection to reroute your data, IP and so on as you connect to websites. A solid VPN shouldn’t slow you down a ton, though—and NordVPN most certainly doesn’t.
Many users have tested the VPN multiple times over the years and found its speeds only get better. As of 2021, there was a speed reduction of between 20 and 30 percent. Of course, this depends on your location, the servers you connect to, and your starting internet connection.
Let’s look at another user’s test results and dive deeper.
Automatic Local Server
VPNs always suggest a server they feel will be optimal. So, if you’re in Australia it’ll choose a nearby Australian server.
This user started with a speed of 78.50 Mbps download and a whopping 91.85Mbps upload speed. Their ping was 6 ms.
Connecting to the server doubled the ping, decreased the upload speed by 8.65 but funnily enough increased their download speed by 7.33 Mbps.
Keeping with these starting speeds, let’s explore other locations.
Manual Local Server
The user went on to connect to a server in their home location that they selected manually. It wasn’t the VPN-recommended local server, but it was still close to home.
- Ping: 7 ms decrease.
- Download: 0.85 Mbps increase.
- Upload: 1.19 Mbps decrease.
This was such a lucky user! When jumping across the world to the US their download speed increased yet again, and the rest of their speeds weren’t bad either.
- Ping: 76 ms decrease.
- Download: 5.40 Mbps increase.
- Upload: 22.08 Mbps decrease.
That last decrease was quite hefty, but this user’s upload speed was incredible to begin with! For comparison, the average upload speed in Australia is 40.39 Mbps, with 6.2 Mbps in the UK and 127.03 in the US.
Some websites can detect that you’re using a VPN. Just like that, you’re locked out of that wonderful show on US Netflix, never to stream it smoothly again.
Now, NordVPN Australia? NordVPN doesn’t do that.
NordVPN uses obfuscated servers, which are specially configured to keep your secret safe with your ISP, and the VPN company. No website will know that you’re using a VPN—well, most of the time. Some websites are superior at detecting it, but that’s out of your control. NordVPN does its best.
If you wish to hide your activity from your ISP, the obfuscated servers work. Not all VPN services offer this, letting your ISP watch your activity as they please. This way, if someone tries to take logs from your ISP, then they’re out of luck. Huge win for NordVPN there.
Split Tunneling Support
Split tunneling support is wonderful. You know when you’re watching something on Netflix and you get bored, so you decide to leave it on and browse the local news? You can do that just fine.
While Netflix is playing away on a UK NordVPN server, you can switch back to Australian news sites that may be blocked in other countries. Neither streams or news sites fail, although they’re on different VPN servers.
That’s what split tunneling is—it essentially allows you to be in two places at once, but online. NordVPN isn’t the only VPN that does this, you can achieve it with any VPN by using desktop and browser clients at once. You can also do it using two different devices. However, NordVPN advertises your ability to split tunnel from the same device.
Rather than it just being a happy accident that you can split tunnel, NordVPN intended you to have that ability. You can be sure as much work has gone into the feature as other NordVPN features. That’s something that some other VPNs can’t say or offer.
Does your workplace, the websites you visit, or something else require you to have a static, unchanging IP that nobody else has? That will make finding a VPN difficult for you, not NordVPN can help.
Sometimes specific servers in a VPN will have the same IP all the time, but that’s not a promise. If you change your location often to stream then it definitely won’t happen. Plus, the sites, boss and whoever else is on your case might notice thousands of people who share your IP address.
Luckily, you can be sure you have that static, dedicated IP you need with NordVPN. You have access to an IP address that’s yours and nobody else’s, no matter where you travel to. It will put a damper on any streaming though, as an IP address can only be static and dedicated in one country.
Are you extra paranoid or do you know people around who are smart enough to break through one false IP and expose your real one? No problem! NordVPN offers double protection.
First NordVPN will reroute your IP address, Let’s say you’re starting in Melbourne, then it reroutes you to Los Angeles. Once it’s saying you’re in LA, it reroutes you to Texas.
So, hypothetical, a hacker gets into your computer from afar. When the hacker breaks down the Texas IP, they’ll see the LA and probably assume that one is correct.
Not only that, but say your LA server is compromised sans-hacker—you’re still connected to Texas, your data isn’t exposed! Having this double protection is great and eliminates the need for a kill switch in most cases, but not all of them.
A kill switch is a feature that turns off your internet connection if your entire VPN drops and leaves you exposed. This is superb for privacy-concerned people, although it can get inconvenient if you’re doing something that relies on the internet.
We feel your safety is more important than the work you forgot to save offline, or the game you’re playing with online friends. Therefore, a kill switch is an excellent feature…if only it were on all of your devices!
NordVPN’s kill switch is only available on iOS, macOS and Linux. We feel it’s imperative that the company update this and include a kill switch in every version of NordVPN. Given the prevalence of Windows among PC users, it’s especially needed in the VPN’s Windows client!
Malware and Ad Block
Thankfully one feature that isn’t lacking on all devices is the malware and ad block. Ad-block is an excellent addition to any VPN, it gets rid of those pesky ads you see on every blog page and before every YouTube video. It won’t do anything for pay-to-eradicate ads, but at least it helps in some areas.
As for malware, a VPN that detects and stops you from downloading malware is a top-notch service in our book. While it’s no replacement for a real security system and antivirus on your PC, it’s better than nothing.
We recommend investing in a strong antivirus program or two alongside NordVPN though. There’s only so much it can do, and depending on what sites you visit you may need an antivirus and PC protection more than others. There can be some questionable stuff on those websites that you need a VPN to unblock!
Some VPN services unfortunately have the world’s worst customer service.
NordVPN? No worries. There’s 24/7 live chat support so you’re covered if you have any questions, concerns or issues. Oh, and the best part? The 24/7 aspect means there are no time differences to deal with when emailing or talking on the phone! There’s also an email ticket system available if you like.
That said, constant customer service is good, but is the quality of the service up to scratch?
Customer Experiences—Live Chat
The live customer support bot is, thankfully, a real person and not an automated response bot. Customers experienced workers who type in clear, legible and professional English with helpful and swift responses.
You won’t just have dull, copy-paste, semi-relevant responses from the people on the other side. One customer messaged NordVPN’s live chat with a concern about it unblocking US Netflix. The customer support rep then replied with a list of every US server number that works with Netflix, and what devices they work with.
Each server was user-reported and tested, stated to work. The agent was sure to state that there’s never a guarantee that a specific server will work, though—support covering all bases in case of issues, very smart.
The agent provided some extra information about servers for other popular locations too, again covering all bases. The customer wouldn’t have to ask a second question once the initial query was answered. Said customer has since stated it was one of the best experiences they’ve had in a support live chat.
The customer asked a question about security protocols in the live chat and failed to get a helpful response. This is unfortunate, but we have a recommended solution for that.
Customer Experience—Email Response
One customer had the same query as above—does NordVPN work with US Netflix? Customer support responded in under 24 hours with the same information as the live chat.
The customer then went on to ask a more specific question regarding security protocols—which one is best for Netflix? Not only did the email response answer the question, but the agent asked for more information so they could make a better recommendation, specific to the customer.
Not only does this show dedication, but it indicates it’s a real person emailing, who cares. Copy-paste response to the first question? Maybe. Automated, uncaring reply to a commonly asked set of questions? Absolutely not!
Is There a NordVPN Browser Extension?
NordVPN doesn’t have the best browser extension, unlike several other VPNs we’ve reviewed. There are extensions for Chrome, Opera and Firefox, but be warned, they’re not VPNs.
When you download NordVPN’s browser extensions you get a proxy. A proxy has no security or privacy features, it’s only a false IP address.
The proxy extensions are great for split tunneling, though. Say for example there’s a song you really want to hear but it’s only on Spotify US. At the same time, you want to load up a show on UK Netflix to watch when the song ends. With the proxy, that’s no problem.
Can a Proxy Work Instead of a VPN Client?
Do you have an old, cluttered laptop that can’t handle many apps? Worried it can’t handle a VPN, wanting to know if the proxy will work instead?
A proxy can offer some level of protection. It’ll keep your identity private, it’ll show that you’re in a different location, but that’s it.
If keeping your online identity a secret and streaming shows from other countries is your only concern, a proxy is fine. If you spend a lot of time in public or you know hackers are in your area or after you specifically, don’t go there. Download the client and use the real VPN.
If all you need is a proxy, though, don’t go for NordVPN. It’d be a waste of money purchasing something so wonderful for such little use. Consider OperaVPN instead—it’s free with the Opera browser and will work for streaming if that’s all you care about.
How Many NordVPN Servers Are There?
NordVPN has more than 5,400 servers. They’re located in 59 countries, which isn’t the highest number of locations but it’s quite high compared to some other VPNs.
The sheer number of servers is incredibly impressive when you think about some competitors—for example, VyprVPN only has around 700.
Having so many servers is an asset in a VPN as it can reduce traffic on specific VPNs. With the customer base spread out across thousands of servers, you’re more likely to have better speeds. Websites are also less likely to notice you’re using a VPN, as there are fewer people with your IP address.
NordVPN: Can You Stream?
NordVPN works with most streaming services, including:
- BBC iPlayer.
- HBO Now.
- Amazon Prime Video.
That Prime Video compatibility is excellent—Prime Video is one of the toughest nuts to crack. Other market leaders struggle with Prime Video, regardless of the server and location used.
We’d like to warn you that if you want to access the Prime Video US and UK libraries, you’ll need an Amazon Prime account in that country. Thankfully the accounts aren’t location-locked so you can sign up anywhere in the world, but it’s an additional fee.
Netflix is another tricky one, and most of the time NordVPN works with it. Users had luck on US, UK, Candian, Australian, Japanese and some EU servers. However, it doesn’t always work.
Sometimes when Netflix detects you’re using a VPN, it doesn’t block content outright. Instead, you only have access to Netflix Originals as those shows are available worldwide. When one user was testing NordVPN with US Netflix, that’s exactly what happened—they could access Netflix Original content, but nothing else.
If this happens to you, don’t worry. Try another server, keep going until you find one that works. If none work, wait a few days and it’s likely you’ll be able to access the content again soon.
With continued issues on one specific server, we recommend that you tell customer support. Then the team can warn users who query them, removing that server from the list of the best to use.
NordVPN: Can You Torrent?
Yes, you can torrent with NordVPN. Nord hasn’t released a long-winded statement about this as some other VPNs have, but it’s on the VPN’s list of features. NordVPN supports P2P sharing and says no more about it.
Please be aware that torrenting copyrighted material is illegal in both Panama and Australia, though. Take extra care when torrenting, and we wouldn’t recommend the activity to anyone.
If you torrent copyrighted material, whatever you do, do not share it with others, especially for pay. You can be caught for copyright infringement in general, but if you’re caught sharing or distributing the material for money? That’s worse.
NordVPN can protect your internet activity from your ISP, and NordVPn won’t track it either. Still, VPNs are never foolproof and you never know who’s watching your activity.
Can You Have Simultaneous NordVPN Connections?
Say you’re streaming or torrenting with NordVPN—it’s eating up all your computer’s energy. Can you browse the web on your phone?
Yes, with NordVPN you can have six simultaneous connections across your devices. This is excellent for tech-addicts, or someone who wants to share their VPN with a partner. You can even split the price if there are two of you using it—and speaking of price…
Is There a NordVPN Trial?
There’s no NordVPN free trial in the traditional, safe sense—you know, where you don’t pay until after the trial ends. Despite being advertised as a “free trial”, you pay before the trial period starts.
We don’t consider this a free trial when it’s clearly only a money back guarantee. You will be missing a chunk of change while you’re trying the VPN out for the first month.
Within 30 days of purchase you can cancel and get your money back, no questions asked—but if you forget, you’re out of luck.
How Much Does NordVPN Cost?
That cost required if you want the so-called “free trial” is rather fair. All currency we’re discussing in this article is in US dollars as that’s NordVPN’s primary currency—even so, it’s an excellent bargain.
For those of you who prefer monthly subscriptions or can’t scrape the upfront fee, you’ll pay $11.95 a month. This is on the higher end of the average cost of VPNs, but we think it’s equitable.
Based on other VPNs reviewed, this is one of the few we don’t feel is overpriced. We’d be happy to pay this price for the top-notch service and impeccable speeds.
If you want to save 58 percent as a first-time buyer, go for the yearly plan. It makes the VPN an absolute steal.
You pay upfront at $59, boiling down to $4.92 a month. It’s a little higher than what some other VPNs charge on a yearly plan, but it’s not bad.
One thing we love about NordVPN is the transparency. It clearly states on the website that this deal is only for the first year. After that, it goes up to $143.40.
A ridiculous number of sites don’t state that it’s only a first-buy offer of a lower price, when it almost always is. The ones that do state this rarely provide the price it’ll rise to next time.
For further value—and we feel this is too low for such an excellent VPN—you can pay $89 upfront. This is $3.71 a month, for the incredible features NordVPN brings. It’s one of the biggest steals in the VPN market if you ask us.
After the first two years, the price goes up to $286.80 every two years. If that seems hefty, don’t worry—you can switch to paying monthly and it’ll feel like less of a dent in your wallet. There’s no deal with the yearly plans after the first 1–2 years, leaving the payment equalling $11.95 a month no matter how you pay.
NordVPN is the first VPN we would never hesitate to recommend. It’s reliable, doesn’t compromise your internet speed and has tons of servers. It unblocks content well, and has the best customer service we’ve ever seen.
With all the features you’ll need and extras that most VPNs lack, it really earns its place as one of the top VPNs on the market.
NordVPN’s Best Alternatives
Don’t like the results of these NordVPN reviews Australia? Let’s look at two more.
If you want a VPN similar to Nord but with a slightly lower price for your first purchase, consider Surfshark.
Surfshark isn’t fancy and doesn’t boast the same features as NordVPN. It has a kill switch and split tunneling, but no double protection. Its customer service isn’t as fantastic either.
The VPN boasts impressive speeds while you stream content from every streaming service except for Amazon Prime Video. Netflix occasionally fails but works if you disconnect and reconnect to a different server in your desired country.
Security-wise Surfshark is also top-notch.
- Monthly: $12.95/monthly—higher than NordVPN, unfortunately.
- 6-month: $38.94.
- Two-yearly: $59.76—this is where the savings are for first-time buyers!
Windscribe—Real Free Trial
Looking for a service with a real free trial? This one has the best free trial you can imagine: a free version of the VPN. Before you dive in you get to check out everything the service has to offer and decide if it’s for you.
Windscribe doesn’t have as many fancy features as NordVPN, but it’s great for security and streaming. It’s beginner-friendly so there are no security protocols you can pick and choose from. You get what you get, but what you get is top of the range.
It unblocks most streaming sites on top of that, including US and UK Netflix. There’s a dedicated Windflix server for that within Windscribe. Windflex is accessible via the free and paid versions of the VPN.
If you like your free period with Windflix and want to pay, you can.
- Yearly: $4.08/month, billed as $49.
- Monthly: $9/month.
- Custom: $1/month per server.
NordVPN: The Bottom Line
We feel you don’t need to look elsewhere when NordVPN is around, but the options above are great for those on a tighter budget. Hopefully this NordVPN review helped you choose.
NordVPN has all the key features of a fantastic VPN, and then some. The choice is yours, but we really, really recommend NordVPN VPN Australia!