nord vpn review 2021

NordVPN is arguably one of the best VPNs for the public. But with recent competitors vying for the top spot, has it lost any of its edges? Let's figure this out in our NordVPN review.

Before we dig deeper into the latest NordVPN’s features, here’s what you need to know about this highly popular VPN.

  • NordVPN boasts a considerably vast network, with over 5,600 servers located in 60+ countries. It operates out of Panama, which is a haven for VPN users worrying about government interference. 
  • You can install NordVPN on devices that operate on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux. Downloads are also available for Chrome, Firefox, Android TVs, and a number of routers.
  • Users can expect a feature-packed software or app when they subscribe to NordVPN. But before you sign up to the service, check out this thorough review to be sure that NordVPN is living up to the hype. 
✅ Military-Grade Security
✅ Absolute Privacy
✅ Strict No Logging Policy
✅ Excellent Torrenting and Netflix Support
✅ Impressive Connection Speed
✅ Located in Panama
✅ User-Friendly
✅ Responsive Customer Support
✅ Affordable Subscription Plans
✅ Money-Back Guarantee
🛑 Misleading Company Information
🛑 Manual setup required for China

NordVPN Pros

There are sound reasons why NordVPN has an impressive reputation among the public. Here are the areas where NordVPN shines in an exemplary manner.

Military-Grade Security

Nothing matters if you’re getting second-tier security from a VPN. NordVPN as proven that the built-in security features offer more than above-average protection compared to its competitors.

For a start, NordVPN employs the AES-256 bit encryption to keep data safe from hackers and other eavesdropping parties on the Internet. Literally, the AES-256 cannot be broken, not unless you’re talking about a lifespan averaging billions of years. 

The encryption adopted by NordVPN is commendable and has earned the praise of leading tech media like Cnet, PCMag, and BestVPN. 

The encrypted data is then routed through its network of servers with either the OpenVPN or IKEv2/IPsec protocol

You don’t have to worry about which protocol to use. The NordVPN will automatically choose the best protocol based on your device. By default, OpenVPN goes with Windows and IKEv2/IPSec is selected when you use NordVPN for iOS or Mac. 

Both protocols are inherently secure, and you have the option of switching from one to the other.

Double VPN

It's assuring how NordVPN is staying ahead of the threats with military-grade security. But if that’s not good enough, you can enable the DoubleVPN feature on NordVPN. 

Instead of one VPN server, the data from your device passes through two VPN servers and is encrypted twice, before reaching the Internet.

However, the downside of double encryption is the increased latency in speed. Double VPN is ideal for sending strictly confidential information but not for streaming content on the Internet. 


NordVPN’s CyberSec feature prevents annoying ads and malware sites from popping up on your browser. 

Besides that, it helps to prevent your device from being subjected to DDoS attacks. Not every VPN has a welcome feature like CyberSec and if you get annoyed at those auto-play ads, then this is a feature to consider.

Absolute Privacy

Privacy is always a debatable issue where VPN providers are concerned. Some VPNs suffer from DNS leakage while others may have dubious logging policies. 

NordVPN has an enviable reputation of being an impenetrable fortress where privacy is concerned. 

There are no reports indicating that NordVPN has suffered from DNS leaks. It is inherently built to prevent such issues, especially when you’re connecting or disconnecting from the VPN servers.

NordVPN has also incorporated a couple of features to ease the mind of its users when browsing online.

Automatic Kill Switch

It is mandatory to have a kill switch on a VPN as there are chances that the connection to a VPN server may drop for various reasons.

NordVPN offers a system-wide and an app-specific kill switch for the Windows and macOS version while the Android and iOS have a global kill switch to prevent breaches in privacy. 

Onion Over VPN

The Tor network has always been a haven for political journalist or individuals who wished for total anonymity. 

NordVPN offers an additional layer of security with the Onion Over VPN feature. When activated, your device is instantly connected to the Tor network without the need of an Onion browser. 

Strict No Logging Policy

Sometimes, your privacy can be compromised if a VPN has been secretly logging your usage data. NordVPN has a clearly defined no-logging policy, and it has been audited by the Big 4 to ensure that it’s holding on to its words, or rather, policy.

nordvpn no logging

Rather than an ambiguous policy, NordVPN has clearly mentioned that it does not collect or store these pieces of information from users:

  • Connection timestamps
  • Session information
  • Used bandwidth
  • Traffic logs
  • IP addresses
  • Other data that may infringe your privacy

NordVPN does, however, store minimal data that is used to improve your experience of its service. On its website, it explicitly mentions storing the following user data:

  • Email address
  • Payment data
  • A timestamp of last session status
  • Customer service information
  • Cookies

If you’re worried about an identity leak via payment data, you can also opt to pay with cryptocurrencies.

Excellent Torrenting and Netflix Support

NordVPN does not condone the shady aspect of torrenting but recognizes that P2P is useful when it comes to transferring large files within organizations. 

It has hundreds of dedicated P2P servers that you can safely use to avoid any potential speed throttling by the ISP. What’s important is that these servers use the top-notch encryption that we’ve mentioned and protects your privacy at all costs.

Netflix users can benefit from NordVPN’s SmartPlay feature, which allows you to access geo-restricted contents when you’re abroad. 

While Netflix has been aggressively blocking VPNs from accessing its content, NordVPN has managed to stay ahead. 

Seamless access to Netflix is a huge thumbs up for NordVPN. Some VPNs that claim to be Netflix-friendly have only a handful of servers working. With NordVPN, the chances of connecting to a blocked server are slim. 

But what makes NordVPN impressive is its ability to escape the highly restrictive censorship from countries like China, which many VPNs fail to do. 

This is thanks to hundreds of obfuscated servers that are customized to bypass strict censorship set by certain countries. 


Impressive Connection Speed

Being connected to a VPN means introducing a layer of servers between your device and the Internet. Theoretically, there will be a drop in connection speed, but depending on the VPN, the speed reduction may be insignificant.

NordVPN boasts over 5,600 servers around the world. Technically, each server will experience lesser load and result in high connection speeds as the number of users spread out over them.

We’ve found that NordVPN’s connection speed is one of the fastest and has no issues in streaming videos or general browsing experience.

Netflix has stated explicitly that at least 5 Mbps of download speed is required to stream HD-quality movies. NordVPN consistently delivers above-average speed for streaming. 

Located in Panama

You may not be aware, but in some countries, the government has the authority to request any data retained by a VPN provider. 

It’s important to note that despite NordVPN’s no-logging policy, it still retains basic user information to facilitate access to the service. 

NordVPN is registered in Panama. Panama does not have any legislation that requires NordVPN to retain or submit any user data. 

Panama is also not one of the Five-Eyes, Nine-Eyes, and Fourteen-Eyes alliance where countries share intelligence information and privacy is almost non-existent. 

You’ll find statements stating that NordVPN falls under Panama jurisdiction in the Privacy or Help section.

nordvpn jurisdiction panama

This acts as double protection on top of its strict no-logging policy.


You don’t want a nightmarish experience of navigating through mazes of buttons or getting lost in the payment process.

Not if you’re using NordVPN.

The development team has done a brilliant job to ensure minimal user interaction is needed to establish a secure VPN connection.

A list of the VPN servers and unique features such as DoubleVPN, Onion Over VPN and Automatic Kill Switch are easily accessible.

You don’t have to be technically inclined to start using NordVPN.

Responsive Customer Support

NordVPN is available on major platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. The apps and software specifically developed for these platforms are done with user-intuitiveness in mind. 

After installation, you’ll have no issue choosing and connecting to a server. However, there are occasions where you may be stuck, whether technically or other areas of the service.

Thankfully, NordVPN has an excellent customer support team. If you need urgent help, there’s a 24/7 live chat. Someone will always be there to assist you.

Of course, if you prefer conventional communication, you can submit a support ticket and check your email for follow-ups. 
Alternatively, you may find the answer to your queries in NordVPN’s extensive knowledgebase. It covers basically every topic that is related to using the VPN service.

Affordable Subscription Plans

You would have thought that a VPN with impressive features and reputation like NordVPN will cost you dearly to subscribe, but NordVPN’s pricing has been nothing but packed with value. 

At the moment of writing, NordVPN offers a $2.99/month plan when you subscribed for 3 years. That’s a massive 75% off savings. 

A single month subscription will set you back by $11.95, and that’s still pretty reasonable compared to other competing VPNs.

Here’s the complete list of NordVPN subscription plans.

  • 3-year plan: $2.99 per month; $107.55 billed every 3 years.
  • 2-year plan: $1.99 per month; $95.75 billed every 2 years.
  • 1-year plan: $6.99 per month; $83.88 billed every 1 year.
  • 1-month plan: $11.95 per month; billed monthly.

Every subscription plan allows you to connect up to 6 different devices.

Money-Back Guarantee

NordVPN doesn’t offer a free trial, but it has a 30-day money-back guarantee regardless of the plan that you choose. 

We feel that having a reasonable refund period while providing full access to new subscribers is a sign of the confidence that NordVPN has in their product.

With 30 days, you’ll have ample time to try out all the features in NordVPN before deciding if it’s the right VPN for you.

Do take note that for NordVPN purchased on the App Store, you’ll need to contact the App Store to request a refund.

NordVPN Cons 

Is NordVPN as perfect as it seems? We decided to dig deeper, hoping to uncover any flaws that may escape the sight of regular users. This is what we found:

Misleading Company Information

NordVPN claims that it operates from Panama, but we noticed that CloudVPN Inc is listed as the developer in Playstore and it’s a company that is based in the US.

nordvpn playstore publisher

The US is part of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes alliance, which comprises a number of countries that agree to share intelligence information.

We decided to investigate further by getting on NordVPN’s live chat. Here are snippets of our conversation.

jurisdiction conversation with nordvpn chat support

We tried to clear the air as we were worried that traffic channeled through the infrastructure built by a US company may be subject to US laws.

infrastructure conversation with nordvpn chat

While the customer support didn’t provide us with a satisfactory answer, we uncovered that CloudVPN Inc is primarily used for billing purposes on the Playstore. For some reason, there are difficulties in registering a Panama-based company on Playstore.

We then shifted our attention to the App Store but found that NordVPN was listed under Tefinkom & CO S.A, which is a Panama company.

nordvpn appstore snapshot

How NordVPN Looks On Different Platforms:

To finish off our comprehensive review, we tested NordVPN on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. This is what it looks like on these platforms.

1. Mac

2. iPhone

3. Windows

4. Android

Do We Recommend NordVPN?

Absolutely YES! We can’t seem to find anything seriously wrong with NordVPN. It has all the fundamentals a VPN should have. NordVPN will do a great job of keeping you safe and anonymous on the Internet.

With a decent connection speed, you’ll also enjoy streaming and file-sharing. NordVPN is also a must-have when you’re travelling to countries like China as it allows you to bypass strict internet censorship.

Besides that, you’ll have responsive customer support that has your back 24/7. Of course, there’s little chance that you’ll be knocking on support for connecting to the VPN as NordVPN is intuitively designed.

All these are hallmarks of a top-notch VPN, and you’ll have access at a reasonably low price. On top of that, a 30-day money-back guarantee will allow you to try out NordVPN without worries.

Mark Coulman
About Mark Coulman

Cybersecurity expert with a keen interest in technology and digital privacy. Mark has more than 14 years of experience in creating and managing various reliable WEB applications for IT companies in the EU and the US. Loves 3-4 letter words like PHP, XML, HTML, CSS, DB2, ASP, CRM, ERP, SAP, etc.