NordVPN offers a higher than average user experience with its applications, and it has only improved. The current aspect of the Windows client shares many design features with NordVPN mobile applications, with a blue monochrome map as its focus. It’s a bit capricious, with submarines and ships in the lively seas, but it’s an easy way to select the server you want. The search bar at the top of the screen does a little job to help find a server if your geography skills are poor, or you can also see the servers as listed. This last option carries the specialized servers at the top and provides useful analysis about the load on any particular server chose.
The top center of the screen is known as Quick Connect Slider, which is perfect for when you only need VPN protection from the fastest server available. Tap, or select Quick Connect from the system tray, and you’re online in no time. This is a great option for people who are not familiar with VPN services, as is the Configuration option that forces NordVPN to start and connect immediately at startup.
From the Configuration section, you can change the DNS resolution service, although NordVPN uses its own secure option. The client includes options that connect automatically at startup but does not have a split tunnel feature that allows you to direct some traffic outside the encrypted VPN tunnel. PureVPN and TunnelBear have this feature, though using it does limit your safety online. In NordVPN setup you can also select a UDP or TCP connection, and even opt to connect to “obfuscated VPN servers,” which NordVPN says it helps circumvent government VPN blocking. NordVPN has a Kill Switch features that turn off Internet access for specific applications, in case your computer disconnects from the VPN.
NordVPN and Netflix
I was pleased to find out that NordVPN still has access to Netflix. That’s great because Netflix blocks VPNs very aggressively.
In the previous testing, I had the problem connecting, but this time it worked perfectly fine, I let theNordVPN app to pick the server, and Netflix streamed smoothly. A company representative told me that there are several US servers keyed especially for watching Netflix, Earlier versions of NordVPN highlighted the particular transmission servers, and I wish they would do it again.
I did a little more testing on NordVPN, and I noticed that if I was connected to one of the streaming servers I could see Netflix without any problem. Keep in mind that there is a real cat-and-mouse game between VPN providers and Netflix, and anyone that s today may not work for it next time.
NordVPN recently introduced three new features with the CyberSec tool. With it, NordVPN can malware and block ads, and also prevent DDoS attack
I do not really test the effectiveness of blocking ads with virtual private networks (VPNs), but I did confirm that many fewer ads were loaded on the pages when NordVPN was active than when it was not. I like that VPNs are adding this particular feature since many online ads contain crawlers that can correlate their movement between websites. That said, TunnelBear provides ad and crawler blocking in a handy browser add-on that offers much more flexibility in what gets blocked ads and on what sites. My preferred ad blocker for browsers only remains the Privacy Badger of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
To block malware, NordVPN makes use of blacklists of known phishing sites, as well as malicious sites that are designed to trick you into delivering your personal information. It’s a good start, but these sites are ephemeral and appear new in seconds. Also, blacklists can only do a lot, while stand-alone antivirus applications include advanced heuristics that can detect malware never seen before it damages your computer. None of this is selling short ShortVPN; more protection is always good, but do not expect this to be used as antivirus.
I do not test the anti-phishing capabilities of the VPNs, but I noticed that NordVPN did not block the phishing page provided by the AMTSO. This site is not dangerous, but the security companies agree to block it to verify that the blocker of the phishing page is working. I would like NordVPN to meet this standard in the future.
The latest tool, DDoS protection, is a unique and interesting offer. During a DDoS attack, infected computers simultaneously access the same website again and again. When there are enough machines involved, it can make even the most robust site stop abruptly. NordVPN declares that even if your computer has been infected with malware for these nefarious purposes, the anti-DDoS feature prevents your computer from attacking.
Performance and Speed
The use of a VPN adds physical distance and other limiting factors to your normal Internet connection. The result is, in general, a slower experience with an increase in latency. To measure this effect, I perform two tests using the Ookla speed test tool.
First, I establish an initial average result without the VPN in use. Then, I do the same with the active VPN and compare the results to find a percentage change. In the first test uses a nearby VPN server and performed a second test to observe performance between the Ookla test server in Anchorage, Alaska, and a VPN server in Australia. This is an extreme example, using two points as far apart as I can. Keep in mind that networks are whimsical and may change depending on when and where you connect from, so your mileage may vary.
This domestic VPN tests, I notice that NordVPN increased latency by just 8 percent. This is a perfect score, but Hide My Ass VPN is the best, which increased the latency by only 5.6 percent. The use of NordVPN also reduced download speeds by 4 percent and upload speeds by 5.4 percent, also good scores. The winner of the publisher’s choice, PureVPN, the fastest VPN I’ve ever tested, actually improved download speeds by an astonishing 346.4 percent. PureVPN also surpasses NordVPN in the load test, but barely. PureVPN reduced loading speeds by only 4.9 percent.
In the international VPN tests, NordVPN latency is increased by 268.5 percent. Hotspot Shield comes out at the top in this test, which increases latency by 155.5 percent. 74.7 percent NordVPN, download speeds were reduced, and loading speeds decreased by 56.2 percent. For the best downloading VPN PureVPN again has the best scores for downloads. It improved the download speed by an incredible 403.8 percent in this test. For the loads, Hotspot Shield gained a close victory, improving the loading speeds performance by 1.4 percent.
It is quite clear from these results that PureVPN is the unbeatable champion of my speed tests. In fact, it has that title for two consecutive years. But while I do not think speed is the main selling point of a VPN, it is something that people are very concerned about. That makes sense in a world where music and movies are broadcast daily. NordVPN has excellent overall performance in home servers but loses the ball for international connections. Still, home servers are what you’ll probably use.
NordVPN for Android
The NordVPN Android client has had a facelift since I last reviewed it. Now it is more suitable for mobile devices, with practical buttons at the bottom to access important parts of the application. The large raised center button puts you online quickly and with a limit of fuss.
NordVPN has taken great pains to provide a familiar experience on all the devices that the company supports, but each client adjusts to work better on each platform. In Android, for example, you can still access the excellent specialized servers of the company from the hidden tray. But you can verify your service and activate and deactivate the VPN from the notification tray, that is always accessible.
NordVPN obtained excellent scores in my latency tests, where it ranked second. It was the fourth in download speed, which still places him at the best average in this important category. I had the second-best score for upload speeds, which is always a difficult category. In general, you do not have to worry about speed problems when using NordVPN on Android. NordVPN is also a publisher’s choice for Android VPNs.
NordVPN for iPhone
NordVPN for iPhone continues the excellent tradition of providing the same user experience on all compatible platforms of the company. Even on iPhone or iPad, all functions are very familiar to users of other NordVPN products.
Unfortunately, the iOS version does not have some of the useful options found in the Android edition, due to the peculiarities of iOS. But the application feels very comfortable on the platform. NordVPN also brings its Kill Switch and Smart Reconnect function, which is very welcome.
The NordVPN application also has excellent speed test results in iOS. The best latency score and a strong load score were accumulated, with a comparably weak performance for download speeds. But he still achieved the best overall performance among the iPhone VPNs, and also gets an Editor’s Choice for VPN for iPhone.
NordVPN for Macs
As with Android, there are some elements that make the MacOS client for NordVPN feel right at home on a Mac. The main sight is the charming, familiar monochrome blue map, with its cartoon and submarine ships. But the hidden tray moves with a skill typical of excellent macOS applications. Click the magnifying glass in the upper right corner to search for the available servers. The main page is deleted. These are small adjustments, but most VPN services do not take the effort to optimize their clients for a particular device.
My only complaint with the Mac application is that NordVPN’s excellent specialized servers are too hard to find through the Mac client interface. You should apply special filters to the entire list or look at the small links at the bottom of the page search, In my opinion, these should be front and center for the user to discover. I would also like to be able to select different VPN protocols, but, on the other hand, NordVPN already uses my preferred option, OpenVPN.
Unfortunately, NordVPN did not accumulate excellent scores on speed tests on macOS. Its latency results were unsatisfactory, and the most important download test was not excellent on the national VPN servers and, in fact, it was worse than expected on the international servers. It had equally faded results in the load speed test. All this said speed should not be the main consideration of most users when buying a VPN. NordVPN’s features and overall experience far outweigh any speed results, and NordVPN is one of our favorite VPN clients for the Mac.
Too often, security tools are a difficult task to use because they place technical excellence on the user experience. But in my experience, any average person would rather risk having no protection than dealing with frustrating security software. NordVPN intelligently presents a simple face but does not skimp on a powerful central service. It has the usual collection of features, but specialized servers for Tor-Over-VPN, double encryption and others are the outstanding features of the service. Continuous server updates place it among the most robust VPN services available, and the ad blocking and network protection feature further enhance the capabilities of NordVPN. Taken together, these factors are more than enough to justify their comparatively high monthly cost.