In recent years, the number of VPN providers has grown exponentially. It must be said that the demand is real. More and more Internet users are looking for an accessible tool that can guarantee them a good level of security and anonymity on the Internet. The VPN is therefore the ideal candidate. That said, not all VPNs are created equal and you have to know how to sort them out. Some are even dangerous.
Recently NordVPN commercials have been popping up on TV and online, so many people are recommending this VPN. Before being tempted so easily, a more in-depth analysis of NordVPN is in order. Does it live up to its reputation? Find out now in our NordVPN review, updated in 2022 .
- 1 Introducing NordVPN VPN
- 2 Are your data safe?
- 3 Does NordVPN circumvent censorship?
- 4 NordVPN Speed: What You Need to Know
- 5 Our opinion on streaming and downloading
- 6 VPN customer service
- 7 What should I do if I have a problem with NordVPN?
- 8 How much does NordVPN cost?
- 9 Number of parallel connections
- 10 Conclusion: Do we recommend NordVPN?
Introducing NordVPN VPN
NordVPN is a company that was founded in 2012 that offers its own VPN. Originally, it was 4 friends who, during several trips, realized that the internet was losing its meaning due to censorship and surveillance in certain countries. They then developed a network of servers to overcome these limitations and access all available content. Following positive feedback from those around them, they continued their efforts and NordVPN was born some time later.
NordVPN is legally based in Panama and employs over 600 people. As you will see below in our NordVPN review, the country of its headquarters means that it does not store the connection data of its users, which ensures complete anonymity. This model is popular and today more than 12 million people use NordVPN on a daily basis.
NordVPN has made its vision clear: to make the internet better and freer. For this, it provides a VPN service focused on strengthening online security and protecting the privacy of its users. Other tools that meet its objectives have also been developed by NordVPN over the years: NordVPN Teams, a solution to help companies secure their employees’ connections; NordLocker to encrypt all your files or NordPass, a tool to manage passwords.
Now let’s move on in this NordVPN review to the actual operation of the VPN. The software is easy to use and that is why it appeals to the general public. To help you choose (or not) this software, we are going to give you a step-by-step tutorial with the main steps. If you still have questions, do not hesitate to contact us by email.
How to install this NordVPN software?
The NordVPN application can be installed on a large number of platforms: Mac (maOS), iPad and iPhone (iOS) but also Windows / Linux computers, and Android tablets and smartphones. NordVPN is also available for Smart TVs and the Fire TV Stick, the giant Amazon’s HDMI key. Whether it is a mobile application or software on the internet, the interface is the same.
Whatever your device, the first step is to create an account by subscribing to one of its subscriptions. Then you shouldn’t encounter any major difficulty since the installation is similar to any software you would install. If necessary, NordVPN VPN provides a tutorial for installing the software in French in its Help section.
As for us, we were on Mac during our test. If you also have an Apple device, you can download the app from the App Store. For Android tablets and mobiles, you will find it in the Google Play Store. Only Windows computers should download the file from the provider’s website in its “VPN Applications” section.
Once the app is downloaded, it will appear in your apps and you can access it. From the first opening, you will have to:
- fill in your account identifiers (e-mail address and password)
- allow adding VPN configuration
- always authorize access to your keychain by entering your administrator password to avoid having to do it each time you log in
Below in our NordVPN review is an illustration of this post. This is a message that you will only be prompted for once. Once NordVPN is installed, you will therefore be at ease.
These are the only steps you need to take before you can enjoy the VPN. As you can see, the installation is really quick and simple. This is already a good point to start this NordVPN review.
How to use the NordVPN app?
Just like its installation, using NordVPN is also simple. On the interface (see image below), you will see a list of 59 countries on the left and the world map on the right. Finally, we intuitively understand that by clicking on a country from the list or directly on the map, the connection will be made in that country. In one click and in a few seconds, your VPN will be activated and you will then be moved “virtually” to that region. From then on, you will have an IP address in this country, and you will become untraceable.
You also have another way to connect to one of NordVPN’s 5100 servers: the Quick Connect button (located at the top right of the application). The latter will establish a connection according to an algorithm aimed at optimizing the speed of the VPN. In general, this is the closest to your geographical location and the least overloaded. The Quick Connect useful if you don’t have any specific needs in terms of localization.
On the application, NordVPN also provides specialized servers (at the bottom of the list of countries). There are P2P servers for downloading, Onion Over VPN, the Double VPN function and Obfuscated servers dedicated to circumventing the strictest geo-restrictions. This is the case, for example, in China or Russia. In this section there is also the possibility of using a dedicated IP address, but this requires a monthly supplement.
Are your data safe?
In that of NordVPN, we learn that your personal data and your connection activities are not subject to any recording. Only some data relating to the creation of your account is collected for a maximum period of 2 years. These are your email address, account password and payment information. Beyond that, they will be deleted.
Rest assured, it is simply elementary data that does not allow hacking into your bank account, and which does not allow you to be traced back. This information is, however, necessary so that NordVPN can reimburse you in the event of your withdrawal or cancellation of your order. If you want to be 100% anonymous, you can pay in cryptocurrency. That said, you can very well enter temporary contact details to be truly anonymous.
Finally, NordVPN informs us that it is obviously not responsible for the consequences of the fraudulent activities of its users. Everything is clear. What’s just a shame is that the text available on the VPN’s site is only available in English. If you do not master the language but want to know everything, you will need to use an online translator.
Guarantee of non-conservation of logs
The log is the workhorse of VPNs. While many of these cybersecurity software programs claim that they do not store login data, not all of them do. It is extremely important for a user to ensure this, because it would make it visible and traceable on the web. The most premium VPNs on the market today are “no-log” and store absolutely no data.
In an activity log with the logs, we would find:
- connection registers (IP address, connection duration, number of data transferred)
- usage logs (website visited, files downloaded, software and applications used)
Faced with the mines of information contained in these activity logs, we therefore understand the importance of subscribing to a so-called “no-log” VPN. For its part, NordVPN highlights its strict log policy: it does not keep any logs of its users’ activity. NordVPN is fortunate to take advantage of Panamanian jurisdiction which does not require logging of data, which allows it to guarantee a real no-logs policy.
To obtain certification, four independent audit firms carried out various examinations. They concluded that NordVPN’s policy was well guaranteed without activity logs. You can therefore rest assured, no one will know what you did when your VPN was activated: neither your ISP, nor even NordVPN itself, which does not keep any information. Now let’s get into our NordVPN privacy test and review.
Privacy and security at the forefront
In addition to the AES 256 encryption practiced on the NordVPN servers, the provider goes even further in terms of security. It takes into account the need of each user to increase the online security of those who need it. For example, this is the case of journalists, certain employees handling sensitive data or individuals under government surveillance.
For these people, NordVPN has therefore integrated the following features:
- Double VPN , to encrypt data twice through two different servers (available only for OpenVPN protocols). Faced with this slightly more complex process, we must necessarily expect a slightly slower flow.
- Onion Over VPN , to access the Onion network or to use the Tor browser through a NordVPN server.
These free features included in the application add an extra dose of privacy that may be necessary in some cases. This really adds a layer of security (not necessarily useful, but reassuring) to the NordVPN service. These are two functions that cannot be found elsewhere, and this is still a very positive point in our NordVPN review.
CyberSec is also a great option that you can enable to block ads, suspicious sites, and malware. Although this function does not replace that of an antivirus, it has the advantage of making the tool even more complete. In the end, the NordVPN VPN is positioned as an all-in-one cybersecurity solution, ensuring the anonymity of everyone on the internet.
In our opinion, NordVPN really goes to great lengths to ensure the right security for all of its customers. And remember that even without using these specialized options, all your activity is encrypted and routed through a secure tunnel from the moment you are connected to NordVPN. In addition, this VPN can also congratulate itself on having never had a flaw so far – proof that its efforts are working.
Does NordVPN circumvent censorship?
The use of a VPN is particularly effective in circumventing blockages that plague the Internet, whether they are related to censorship on the scale of an authoritarian country or an internal network. This is where our opinion of NordVPN is a bit more mixed.
Indeed, NordVPN is not the best VPN when it comes to bypassing web censorship. In China, Russia or countries in the Middle East, for example, NordVPN is not as efficient as we would like. Although it has servers dedicated to bypassing firewalls, the connections to the servers are very long and the software often stops unexpectedly.
Even by following the supplier’s recommendations, that is to say by opting for manual connections with the IKEv2 certificate, the result is not always there. If you’re planning a trip to a destination that drastically restricts its online content, NordVPN might not be the best ally.
We advise you instead to turn to ExpressVPN, a VPN that we tested, which is the only one really known for its stability and reliability in sensitive areas. That said, NordVPN is still a solution if you go to censored countries, just like Surfshark VPN. On the other hand, the only one to be impeccable everywhere is ExpressVPN. That said, it is 2 times more expensive than NordVPN.
On the other hand, if you just want to access admin-blocked sites at your workplace or university, NordVPN will be ideal for you. You don’t even need to choose a country different from yours. The simple fact of going through a NordVPN server will encrypt all your data and the internal network not knowing what you are doing, it will not be able to deny you any access.
NordVPN Speed: What You Need to Know
With unlimited bandwidth and no buffering, NordVPN claims to be one of the fastest VPNs in 2022. This is important for users to understand: going through an intermediary server (partly) lowers your connection speed. It will never be as fast as if you were connected to the internet from your box. That said, some VPN vendors offer similar speeds, with maximum convenience.
To check the speed offered by this VPN, what better than to test it? Below is our NordVPN speed review. We did an accurate test using our default router, and a VPN still on top.
Speed test with NordVPN
First, we recorded our ping (9 ms) and our speeds without VPN download (232.40 Mb/s) and upload (205.60 Mb/s). We repeated the operation, this time connecting to different servers (in France and the United States) via the most frequently used protocol: OpenVPN. To ensure consistency in our results, we connected to multiple servers in France and the United States to establish an overall average.
From the French servers, the results were quite good – whether downloading or uploading with respectively 149.63 Mb/s and 165.02 Mb/s. Our ping was slightly higher: 13 ms. That said, these are speeds that are very respectable and which ensure ultra-smooth navigation. You will therefore have no inconvenience with the NordVPN VPN on this location.
With US servers, things get a bit more complicated. We expected a drop in speed (given the geographical distance), but probably not as much. Indeed, our download speed went from 232.40 to 62.41 Mb/s and upload from 205.60 to 55.80 Mb/s and our ping was 19 ms. This is still very correct, but we have seen better elsewhere.
In conclusion of our tests, we do not share the opinion of NordVPN which claims that it is the fastest VPN on the market. Although the speeds are good and won’t stop you from watching movies, we’ve had much better results with ExpressVPN or CyberGhost VPN. It’s a detail, because these three VPN providers are also the 3 best on the market.
Recently, NordVPN has come up with a new protocol to improve connection speeds, it’s NordLynx. We wanted to talk about it in our opinion on NordVPN because this novelty could well be a game-changer in terms of connection speed.
Indeed, NordLynx is based on the WireGuard protocol, renowned for its speed but less for respecting the confidentiality of Internet users. To counter this problem and not endanger the privacy of its customers, NordVPN has developed the Double NAT (Network Address Translation) system capable of assigning dynamic IP addresses to users so as not to compromise their anonymity.
To date, NordLynx has proven its speed. On the other hand, if you live in a country imposing restrictions on the Internet, it will be difficult for you to really benefit from it because this protocol does not work everywhere.
Our opinion on streaming and downloading
Following our tests, we could see from our opinion that NordVPN was able to access all major streaming platforms without any proxy detection error messages appearing. On Netflix, NordVPN therefore ensures secure browsing and thanks to its various servers, it gives you access to several libraries: American, Canadian, German, English, French, Italian, Japanese, Australian, Spanish or Indian.
We tried and for the majority of catalogs, access went smoothly: we were able to connect to Netflix’s US and Canadian catalogs, thanks to our French subscription. This is practical since it therefore gives access to a much larger catalog of films / series than that available in France. It’s a good way to keep dreaming on Netflix, even if you’ve already seen everything in France.
Also, we didn’t have to wait very long while loading, although it depends on the servers. If you have a problem accessing the platform, do not hesitate to change the region manually by clicking on the three small dots to the right of the country. For example, NordVPN’s American servers are located in different locations in the United States. It’s up to you to test different ones and select the region that manages to unblock Netflix correctly. Learn more about Netflix compatible VPNs here.
If you don’t have a Netflix account, other platforms like Disney+, Prime Video and Hulu are also accessible on the same principle. With them too, you can therefore access a much broader content. This is a positive point in our NordVPN review, and it is also why the VPN is so popular with the general public.
The provider also unblocks foreign TV channels live and in replay, provided you choose the right server. To view English channels, you will need to choose a server in the UK in order to benefit from an English IP address. The same is true for other geographic regions. This is done in a very simple way.
It will still sometimes be necessary to arm yourself with a little patience because depending on the server, the loading times are more or less long. On very large territories such as Canada, the United States, or Australia, we advise you to choose the region closest to your real location to optimize speed and reduce latency. The shorter the distance, the better.
Regarding downloading with NordVPN, it is the specialized servers for P2P that you will have to choose. There are 4,588 in all and they are listed by country. With such a quantity of servers, the risks of overloading are considerably reduced and you will be able to enjoy good speeds.
VPN customer service
Our NordVPN test and review confirm that using NordVPN does not require any specific computer knowledge. This means that even the most beginners in computer science will be able to benefit from it. If you want to have a VPN to access specific services, NordVPN will more than do the job.
On the other hand, all users can encounter a specific problem and, in these circumstances, it is essential to be able to count on the support teams to solve them. We couldn’t give you our opinion without trying to contact the provider’s customer support, which is why we also tested NordVPN support.
NordVPN customer service can be reached 24/7 from the live chat window on their website or via email. Before you can be connected with an advisor, you will need to provide your name and email address. After a few seconds of waiting, the answer arrived. We really appreciated the short response time and the fact of not being in contact with a robot.
Note that you can now express your complaint in French by directly selecting the language of your choice, which is very valuable. In addition, many pages are written in French in its FAQ. For a minor problem or question, feel free to take a look. This is a real asset that we don’t often have with VPN publishers: most are available in English. If you are not fluent in the language, our opinion is that NordVPN is a good choice.
What should I do if I have a problem with NordVPN?
NordVPN may have more than 12 million users worldwide, but it is sometimes criticized for connection bugs, especially on Windows computers.
We experienced this type of bug during our test and therefore wanted to share them with you so that you can fix them in the event that you encounter them. As it happens, for some people, the VPN fails to connect. Worse, sometimes it appears as connected, but, in reality, the internet is then totally cut off. Although our opinion of NordVPN is generally positive, we understand that this kind of situation can annoy users.
If you encounter this type of problem with NordVPN, it is recommended that you go to your computer’s network settings to do some cleaning. If, like us, you have multiple VPN apps installed, you’ll need to remove any VPN connections you no longer use. Otherwise, the risk of conflict is significant. We still don’t know why, but NordVPN seems to conflict with some applications (including competing VPNs, voluntarily or not…?).
By cleaning up your device’s network connections, you should be able to get NordVPN working properly. This will allow you to test it properly and form your own opinion of NordVPN.
How much does NordVPN cost?
As you can imagine, the NordVPN service is not free. For everything it offers, the prices are fair – although you can find even cheaper. There are different packages that differ in the length of commitment and the monthly price. Compared to the world leader ExpressVPN, it is still half the price. You have the possibility to commit to:
- 2-year subscription at €2.80 / month
- 1 year subscription at €4.18 / month
- 1 month subscription at €10.16
Note that the amount will not be invoiced to you monthly but only once at the time of your subscription. This is a competitive argument in our NordVPN review since you avoid monthly charges. Faced with these different plans, we advise you to commit to a period of 2 years to benefit from the best pricing.
View NordVPN Pricing
Since it is a certain amount to pay, the provider adds a 30-day money-back guarantee valid for each of its formulas. You can therefore test the VPN risk-free (to get your opinion on NordVPN) over this period and demand a refund if you are not happy. In the end, with its 2-year offer, the price is close to the most competitive premium VPNs.
Payment can be made by classic credit card, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, by Alipay, Union Pay and even by crypto-currencies for additional anonymity. Rest assured, even if you pay by Bitcoin, you will be able to enjoy the refund. This will allow you to remain 100% anonymous and not reveal your payment information.
Number of parallel connections
For your privacy and that of your loved ones, NordVPN offers 6 simultaneous connections from a single account. They will allow you to equip all your devices (computer, tablet, smartphone, TV) and even those of your family. This simply requires downloading the app and then logging in through your account login credentials upon opening.
Thanks to the use on 6 devices in parallel, you will be able to watch movies in streaming each on your side without having to wait for someone to disconnect, which would make things much more laborious. So that’s a plus point in our NordVPN review. That said, the majority of players offer a similar service.
Conclusion: Do we recommend NordVPN?
Following our comprehensive test, our opinion of NordVPN is very positive. As a reminder, NordVPN is a Virtual Private Network provider created almost 10 years ago that provides a solution for browsing online securely, anonymously and freely. Its infrastructure brings together more than 5,100 servers located in 59 countries. For comparison, it’s not as much as its main competitor ExpressVPN which has 94 (but is 2x more expensive), but it’s still excellent compared to all the other competitors.
When it comes to security and privacy, NordVPN scores points with its advanced features like Double VPN and Onion Over VPN. As for its application, it is very intuitive thanks, in particular, to the world map. Getting started is very quick. For all your questions, its customer support (in French) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via instant messaging.
There are a few areas where the NordVPN provider can still improve in our opinion. We think for example of the speed of its servers which is not the fastest. However, the NordLynx protocol should be able to overcome this weakness and increase the connection speed. We were also disappointed with the stability of the application, including in countries restricting internet access in which many bugs were reported.
Depending on your use, this VPN could very well suit you and the best way to find out is to test it: you have 30 days to form your own opinion on NordVPN, with its money-back guarantee. It’s a good way to take no risks while enjoying this excellent software.