NordVPN has been in business since 2008, but only been providing VPN services since 2012. The company is reasonably priced and offers their customers different lengths of contracts, with substantial discounts for longer terms. The company is based in Panama and does not keep logs on their users' online behaviors. The company operates over 530 servers in over 40 countries.
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- Free trial
- Encryption type
- Customer support
- Extra features
NordVPN offers a 3-day full-featured free trial to new customers. However, prospective customers must request the free trial, as it is not automatic. The process is simple, and can be completed without using any billing information.
To receive a free trial from NordVPN, customers must:
- Register for an account and select any payment plan
- Select Bitcoin as the preferred payment gateway without making a payment
- Send an email to [email protected] with the registered email account requesting a free trial
Upon approval of the free trial, a representative of NordVPN will send a free trial account confirmation message with details and instructions. Since there is no billing information required when registering for a free trial, there is no risk for those wanting to sample NordVPN.
Free trials may be upgraded at the end of the trial by signing into the account and changing the customer's billing information. NordVPN accepts PayPal, BitCoin, BrainTree (credit card) and Paymentwall for payments.
Customers may select one of three billing terms with NordVPN.
- Simple - monthly plan - $11.95/month
- Standard - 6 month plan - $7/month - $42 billed every 6 months
- Best Offer - annual plan - $5.74/month - $69 billed every 12 months
NordVPN uses SSL-based 2048-bit encryption as well as OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, IPSec protocols. Each of these methods is at the current cutting edge of security and offers their customers a level of protection which is far superior to standard ISP connections. Adding to NordVPN's commitment to keep their customers' data safe is their use of a Double VPN. Simply put, a double VPN puts data and traffic through another server for increased anonymity. Up to six devices may be connected to the VPN, but there are a few limitations when attempting to connect to the same server.
The average speed which the Review Team received for NordVPN was 28.4 Mbps for downloads and 3.1 Mbps uploads. There are many factors which can affect a VPN's speed, which include the speed of the user's ISP, distance from server, and security of the connection. Clearly, a slower ISP will not perform well with an VPN. VPNs cannot compensate for a sub-standard speed from an ISP. Users should select a server which is the closest to them geographically for the best performance. Adding to reasons which NordVPN has some slower speeds than some other VPN providers is their Double VPN. Simply put, users sacrifice some speed for the added encryption of a second VPN tunnel.
In the everyday practice, there is very little noticeable slowdown reported by most internet users. The lag is negligible and speeds are calculated per second. Users need not worry that their connection with NordVPN will take them to the days of dial-up speeds.
Using the same criteria, the Review Team ran a test of the average speed for uploads and downloads for ISPs in the United States. The average download speed for the last 250 tests for the entire US was 20.8 Mbps and average upload speed was 5.2 Mbps. Users are advised to check their own ISP speed to determine what their actual speed is and make decisions accordingly.
NordVPN's customer support is available via online form submission, direct email, social media, and live chat. Those inquiring about billing (via the online form) receive a response within 24 hours, while other issues may take longer. The online chat and social media assistance are both very helpful for those with more urgent concerns. NordVPN operates a comprehensive knowledge base with many articles designed to help their customers find answers to most questions quickly and easily.
Each of NordVPN's 530+ servers are automatically protected with a firewall to protect their customers. Additionally, the company features a KillSwitch which automatically shuts off internet traffic in the rare event that a server goes down, keeping users safe. It is important to note that this KillSwitch only works on Windows and MAC connection, not those being used by other devices.
NordVPN is highly transparent in some areas, and less so in others. The Review Team was surprised at how well-hidden the information about the company's trial period actually was online. The only mention of a free trial is a single sentence buried in the company's FAQ. When asked about the free trial, representatives were very helpful and shared step-by-step instructions about how to properly set up a free trial. This does not coincide with the apparent hiding of the free trial, however, and is puzzling.