NordVPN

NordVPN is the best VPN if you're looking for peace of mind when on public Wi-Fi. Securely access personal information or work files, encrypt your internet ...

NordVPN

One of the better-known VPNs, NordVPN's Panama headquarters makes it a top choice for the privacy concerned, as Panama isn't a member of any international surveillance alliances.

A popular choice, NordVPN is a reliable option with many features that meet many of your standards for a quality VPN. The fact that they’re based in Panama, outside of any surveillance jurisdictions, is the cherry on top. In this review, you’re testing out NordVPN to see how it works in 2021 on both Macs and Windows alike.

NordVPN connected



Overall Rating 9.3

  • Torrenting is available through uTorrent
  • Based in Panama, which has no mandatory data retention law
  • One of the most popular VPNs with over eight million users

NordVPN’s Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Minimal data logging: NordVPN only keeps track of the bare basics like email, payment information, and customer service interactions.
  • Located in Panama: This means that NordVPN falls outside of surveillance alliances Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes and can never be forced to surrender your data to the government.
  • Multiple devices: You were allowed to connect up to six devices with NordVPN.
  • Strong encryption standards: NordVPN utilizes AES-256 bit encryption, the gold standard.
Cons
  • No split tunneling: You couldn’t use NordVPN and a public Wi-Fi network at the same time.
  • Static IP addresses: Your IP address always stayed the same each time you connected to NordVPN, though it was shared with others making it harder to trace us.
  • Customer service: Even though you were satisfied with NordVPN’s options of a live chat, email support, and an FAQ database, you wished they had a phone line to connect us to a representative in case you ran into problems.

NordVPN’s Features

NordVPN is your best VPN of 2021, but here, you’ll take you through each of NordVPNs features in detail, and let you know why you think it’s such a great option.

Servers Around the Globe

With more than 5,000 servers in 59 countries, it is felt good that one would never have to look too far for a server to use. To us, that translates to not having to worry about slow Internet speeds. The closer you are to a server, the quicker your Internet speeds are. So, whether at home in Brooklyn or globetrotting with pals.

Headquartered in Panama

Though NordVPN operates worldwide, its headquarters are in Panama. That’s a huge plus for us because Panama falls outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes jurisdiction. For all those non-VPN nerds out there, those are surveillance alliances among countries, meaning that depending on where a VPN is based, a government entity could potentially force a company to give up the data that’s gathered while using their VPN.

Kill Switch

NordVPN also featured a kill switch, a VPN mainstay always keep an eye out for. This came in handy when you were downloading a huge file during a storm, and the VPN connection went out for a moment. The kill switch automatically stopped the download and quit your apps, so that the activity wasn’t exposed, even for a split second.

Data Usage

NordVPN is one of the favorite VPNs to torrent on. There are no data limits, meaning that some VPNs will cap your monthly network bandwidth and only allow us to download a certain amount of data. Best of all, you will be able to watch Netflix. With the wide collection of servers in other countries, you even watched other countries’ shows.

Minimal Logging

When you don’t use a VPN, your online traffic goes to your Internet Service Provider. They have access to all your activity and can give your information over to advertisers, government agencies, and other kinds of third parties. When you connect to the Internet using a VPN, your Internet Service Provider can no longer see your activity, but your VPN can.

Split Tunneling

NordVPN does not offer split tunneling. When a VPN offers this feature, you are allowed to use both the private network of the VPN as well as a public network. You could either use NordVPN and browse the Internet privately, or be unprotected on a public Wi-Fi network.

Strong Encryption

When your data is encrypted, it means that your data is changed so that it’s not recognizable to anyone besides authorized users. It’s the main reason why you use VPNs and NordVPN has impressive standards. The company used IKEv2 and IPSec, which ensured that your VPN connection was maintained in case your Internet connection was lost. This was especially helpful when you switched from Wi-Fi networks to mobile hotspots or used your data. IPSec enhanced security further, either encrypting the data packet message or the entire data packet.

NordVPN also uses AES with 256-bit keys, the same encryption standard that governments and cybersecurity.

Double VPN

NordVPN also employed a double VPN, meaning that your data went through multiple servers to be encrypted multiple times. This concept, known as VPN server chaining of multi-hop, enhanced your security so that not even your Internet Service Provider knew what you were up to. Most VPNs only use one server, so you felt good knowing that your data had twice the encryption protecting it before it reached its final destination.

Static IP Addresses

Static IP addresses were not one of them. You got the same IP address every time you used the VPN, which isn’t ideal. You did share this IP address with other users, which means that your specific activity was harder to track down, but in the best-case scenario, you would have an IP address that changes each time you use the VPN, otherwise known as a dynamic IP address.

Speed Tests

VPNs will sometimes slow down your Internet speed, as the traffic has to go through an encryption server on top of a public network’s server. Regardless, you still want to see fast Internet speeds while you are connected, so you made sure to test NordVPN yourselves. 

In the results below, NordVPN worked much faster on Acer Aspire 5 than on MacBook Pro.

On Macbook Pro, download speed was about 25 percent slower while using NordVPN, while speed only decreased by 8 percent on Acer Aspire.

Connecting to NordVPN on Macbook Pro

Upload speeds also were significantly slower on your Mac than on your Windows, but overall, Mac still was able to download and upload files.

Connecting to NordVPN on Acer Aspire 5

Although NordVPN worked better on Windows, it still held its own when you used Mac, making it a versatile option no matter what device was on.

24/7 Customer Support

NordVPN offered several options for their customer service, like a 24/7 live chat, email support, and an in-depth database of submitted user questions to leaf through. When you wanted to dig into the details on what data was logged, you navigated to their privacy policy to read it for yourself from their FAQ page. While it’s ideal if a VPN has a phone line to talk to a human as well, you felt that NordVPN had a good smattering of resources.

NordVPN Support

In Summary

NordVPN is a versatile option, with a global reach and first-class digital security software. You didn’t have to stress about the possibility of your data being shared with the government. You were also delighted that you could torrent so easily. Lastly, NordVPN passed all of your speed and security tests with top marks, making you confident that it could protect your privacy while you used the Internet however you pleased.

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