NordVPN is a Panama-based VPN service owned and operated by Tefincom S.A. According to NordVPN’s official website, the service is over ten years old, and offers “military-grade protection online.”
Servers and locations
NordVPN has its servers located in 59 around the world. Some of these locations include Austria, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, South Africa, Romania, Brazil, Poland, Australia, Sweden, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Russia, Lithuania, Canada, Singapore, and Germany.>
Supported VPN protocols
NordVPN supports a total of five protocols, including PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN, SSTP, and IKEv2/IPsec. It’s worth mentioning that support for IKEv2/IPsec started rolling out recently (in late June). It’s currently only available by default on the latest iOS app. “Coming soon to other apps. Set-up instructions and tutorials for other devices are coming soon,” the company says on its website.
NordVPN offers support for IPv4 and IPv6 connections on all popular operating systems including Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, and Linux, as well as offers Web proxy extension for Google Chrome.
The service also supports several other platforms like Raspberry Pi, D-WRT, Tomato, Synology, AsusWRT, and Asustor (for complete list, head here).
While dedicated client apps are only available for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, detailed tutorials are available for all the supported platforms. The NordVPN’s website also contains a special tutorial for VPN access in China via Obfsproxy.
NordVPN offers encrypted proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers. And the company’s Adblocker also has CyberSec feature that blocks dubious websites and lets users avoid annoying ads.
With the help of obfuscated servers, NordVPN says it works in countries such as China where internet access is restricted and strong censorship is in place as well as in restricted local networks;
Furthermore, the company’s advertises a SmartPlay feature unblocks over 150 streaming services by bypassing geo-restrictions.
NordVPN offers various subscription packages. The 1-month plan costs $11.95, the 1-year plan is $5.75/month, the 2-year plan is $3.29/month and there’s a special 3-year deal for $2.75/month.
NordVPN offers a free 3-day trial. The service also offers a 30-day money back guarantee policy, but only “for accounts in good standing.” What’s worth mentioning here is that those who pay using Bitcoin or who’ve purchased the service through the iTunes/App or Google Play stores are not eligible for refunds.
As for supported payment modes, the official website lists multiple options, including PayPal, BitCoin, Braintree (credit card), and Paymentwall.
Limit on simultaneous connections
NordVPN allows you to simultaneously access your VPN account through a maximum of 6 devices. However, there’s a catch: “If you connect devices to the same server, you must choose different protocols for the VPN connections (TCP and UDP are different protocols hence you can connect one device to TCP other to UDP),” the official website says.
We reached out to the team behind NordVPN with a list of questions about their service. Here are their answers (in italics) to some of our privacy-related queries:
Q. Do you keep ANY logs which would allow you to match an IP-address and a time-stamp to a user of your service? If so, what information and for how long?
A. NordVPN is continuously committed to our zero log policy, which means we do not log any of our users’ activity, nor the IP addresses or timestamps.
According to the service’s website, only the username, user email, and payment information are recorded.
Q. Is BitTorrent and other file-sharing traffic allowed on all servers? If not, why?
A. We do not restrict file-sharing on the majority of our servers. Some servers are optimized for file-sharing practice, while others are optimized for other VPN uses (i.e. streaming).
As for P2P, the official NordVPN website says, “Yes, we allow P2P traffic on certain servers. The server list that allows it: Romania, Russia, Sweden, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Canada.”
Q. Which payment systems do you use and how are these linked to individual user accounts?
A. We accept payments via Bitcoin, Credit Card and PayPal. Bitcoin is the best payment option to maintain your anonymity, as it has only the paid amount linked to the client. Users who purchase services via PayPal or credit card are linked with the usual information the seller can see about the buyer. Please note, that users’ account is only linked with the payment but not the online activity.
Q. What is the most secure VPN connection and encryption algorithm you would recommend to your users? Do you provide DNS leak protection and tools such as “kill switches” if a connection drops?
A. We take pride in our top notch anonymity solutions, which we would like to recommend to everyone seeking real privacy. One of them is Double VPN, where the traffic is routed through at least two hoops before it reaches the Internet. The connection is encrypted within two layers of cipher AES-256-CBC encryption. Another security solution – Tor over VPN. Firstly, the traffic is encrypted within NordVPN layer and later sent to the Tor network and exits to the Internet through one of the Tor exit relays. Both of these security solutions provide a great encryption and anonymity combination. The benefit of using these solutions is that the chances of being tracked are eliminated. In addition, you are able to access .onion websites when connected to Tor over VPN. Furthermore, our regular servers have a strong encryption which is 2048bit SSL for OpenVPN protocol, AES-256bit for L2TP.
In addition to that, we have advanced security solutions, such as the “kill switch” and DNS leak protection which provide the maximum possible security level for our customers.
Some other information about NordVPN that’s worth mentioning:
- It offers both shared (static/dynamic) and dedicated IPs.
- It also offers Tor over VPN. Read more about it here.
- The port-forwarding technique is currently in the works, and it is expected to go live in second quarter of 2016.
- The company is also planning to add the support of IPv6 this year.