Features and usability
It’s easy to choose your endpoint from the desktop client, which also provides shortcuts to endpoints with specific extra security features, including double VPN, DDoS protection, Onion routing via the Tor network or support for peer-to-peer torrenting.
Its advanced settings include an option to automatically connect to a VPN when Windows starts and a customisable list of applications that you can apply a Kill Switch to. This means that, if your VPN connection drops, the applications won’t send or receive any data via your standard internet connection, helping to keep you secure.
NordVPN has one of the best-value subscriptions around. Two years works out at £55.75, or £2.32 per month, while its annual and monthly subscriptions are about median for the industry. A three-day free trial is available so you can ensure that it provides all the services you need before you commit for an extended period, and those in search of extra anonymity can pay in bitcoin.
The service is owned by TelFinCom, headquartered in Panama. The country has no data retention legislation in force and NordVPN itself has a no-logging policy.
Transfer speed tests via its UK and Netherlands endpoints maxed out our server’s test connection at around 10.5MB/s. As in previous years, Nord’s weak spot is its US speeds, which came in at 1.8MB/s (14.6Mbit/s) this time around. That’s fine for most purposes, including streaming video, but is a little sluggish compared to both some rival service providers and our non-VPN reference speed of 4.75MB/s.
We were particularly pleased with NordVPN’s performance in our streaming tests – we were able to view region-locked content on Netflix USA, UK and BBC iPlayer. It has a huge number of servers in 62 different countries, which doubtless helps its IP addresses keep off streaming industry blacklists.
Why buy NordVPN?
NordVPN consistently performs well in our tests, with an excellent range of features at low to middling cost, depending on which subscription you opt for. It’s one of the few VPN providers to considently go undetected by Netflix and BBC iPlayer, making it a great option for those who want to watch region-shifted streaming content.
Owned by Panama-based TelFinCom, NordVPN has, at the time of testing, 4247 active servers in 62 countries, from the UK, USA and most of the EU to less commonplace endpoints in Egypt, Vietnam, Taiwan, New Zealand and Russia.
Panama has no data retention legislation in force and NordVPN itself has a no-logging policy. NordVPN says that it runs services in restrictive countries such as Russia by fully configuring the servers it rents from local ISPs itself.
If you’re a streaming media enthusiast, NordVPN provides the best combination of features and cost, as well as being an excellent all-round VPN for security. If that’s less important, Private Internet access is cheaper, with faster US connection speeds.