Review: NordVPN

If you want to secure yourself, what is the number one thing that you think of? I bet it’s having an antivirus application. But these days, more and more people are looking at using a Virtual Private Network or VPN for added security as that ensures that nobody can see what they do on the Internet. Today, I am looking at NordVPN which is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. On top of that, you can also run it on Raspberry Pi and routers that support the DD-WRT open source firmware as well. That covers pretty much any platform that you would want to use. 

NordVPN lets users on most platforms choose between encryption methods PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and OpenVPN. Linux users get PPTP or OpenVPN while the Chrome extension is PPTP-only. If you use NordVPN on the open-source router software DD-WRT or the open hardware platform Raspberry Pi, you will be using OpenVPN. My suggestion is to use OpenVPN to get the best possible security. Another note, because NordVPN supports DD-WRT supported routers, you can protect every device on your network with ease.

When you set up NordVPN, which is really easy to do by non-technical users by the way, it lets you select one of the company’s 80 VPN servers located in 27 countries. The company operates under Panama’s jurisdiction where there are no mandatory data retention laws. Thus the company doesn’t collect logs, so it has no information it can actually hand over because of a subpoena. That’s handy if you are paranoid or have something to hide. Further to that NordVPN includes a feature called the Domain Name System Leak feature to ensure that your operating system does not use a default DNS server (typically belonging to your ISP) instead of the VPN service to look up the actual machine address of the site you are trying to visit. This way, this keeps someone from tracking your surfing activities. 

One thing that is an issue with many VPN services is that they tend to be a a drag on speed which you will notice when you pull up a web page or stream content. I have a pretty fast Internet connection, so I was unable to discern any speed impact at home. But at a local Starbucks, it was slower than a “naked” Internet connection. While your mileage may vary on that front, the Internet connection speed was still more than acceptable.Of note, the product does offer support for video streaming. That might be of interest to those who want to access streaming content that is geographically restricted.

Finally, NordVPN also provides a Kill Switch feature. When configured, this monitors applications and processes you select. If your VPN connection is interrupted or dropped for any reason, those processes on the Kill Switch list are automatically closed. This is great as it ensures that no data leaks out. 

NordVPN is a free download with a subscription. Pricing is very flexible, with three tiers: $11.95 USD per month, $7 USD a month if you commit to six months, or $5.75 USD a month if you commit to one year. Interestingly enough, they accept Bitcoin. NordVPN is a VPN service that supports a ton of platforms and has a feature set that will satisfy any user. If you’re in the market for a VPN service, you have to take a look at NordVPN. 

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One Response to “Review: NordVPN”

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