Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are a great way to protect your privacy when browsing the internet. It works by establishing an encrypted virtual tunnel between you and the internet. This disguises your IP address, making it incredibly difficult to trace it back to you.
NordVPN is one of the biggest names in the VPN industry, and for good reason. NordVPN, unlike most VPN services, goes above and beyond with its service. It boasts a vast and diversified collection of servers, as well as a formidable arsenal of advanced tools, and stringent privacy and security policies.
However, this does come with a premium price tag when compared to other VPN services that may offer similar services. But let’s do a deep dive.
NordVPN is among the top VPNs in the industry today. The VPN service is based in Panama and provides its users a mix of fast connections, impenetrable encryption, and a no-logs policy that has been independently audited. NordVPN is a great choice for novices and expert users alike, thanks to its easy-to-use interfaces, an extensive feature set, and a collection of over 5000 servers from 57 different countries.
NordVPN was founded in 2012 by four companions who travelled extensively throughout the world and saw firsthand the level of internet filtering, content control, and government monitoring. They made the decision to take control of the situation. They came up with the name NordVPN, which was derived from the Nordic cultures’ characteristics of confidence, creativity, and trust.
Features of NordVPN
Onion over VPN
This is a revolutionary functionality that combines all of the benefits of The Onion Router (Tor) with the added security of a VPN tunnel. Tor is a customised browser that encrypts your data and hides your identity by routing it across a network of computers.
Tor is also responsible for connecting to .onion websites, commonly referred to as the dark web. Tor is a fantastic privacy tool, but it does have a few drawbacks. Tor traffic may be easily identified by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), network administrators, and governments.
The Onion Over VPN feature of NordVPN allows you to enjoy all the benefits of the Onion structure without having to download Tor Browser, expose your activity, or put your confidence in nameless servers. Before being routed through the Onion network, traffic will go through the standard NordVPN encryption and rerouting. Because of this, your activities will not be trackable and you will be invisible to Onion servers.
NordVPN doesn’t enable the usual PPTP protocol. Although this type is commonly regarded as antiquated and insecure, its high speeds and minimal required resources make it ideal for people with slow connections, old devices, or in need of top speed. Instead, NordVPN gives users the option to pick between two protocols.
- OpenVPN is a free, open-source VPN protocol that’s regarded as one of the best available today. OpenVPN, which is compatible with most contemporary devices is NordVPN’s standard protocol, and is fast, secure, and updated regularly. For a mix of security and speed, NordVPN’s OpenVPN protocol uses AES-256 encryption. It can be run via UDP for faster speeds or via TCP for additional reliability, and lower chances of detection.
- The IKEv2/ IPSec protocol is also supported by NordVPN, which is the default standard for the iOS and macOS apps, as well as other operating systems. IKEv2/IPSec, like OpenVPN, employs AES-256 encryption. Furthermore, it employs Perfect Forward Secrecy to keep the encryption secure in the long run. The downside is that this protocol exclusively utilizes UDP. This means that, while it may be speedier than OpenVPN, it can be detected far more easily compared to its counterpart.
Rather than encrypting and rerouting your data once, Double VPN does so twice, passing your request via two servers and encrypting it with different keys at each server. In the event that your VPN traffic is intercepted, Double VPN forces the hacker to decrypt it twice, which is incredibly difficult if not impossible. Because information is routed via two servers of your choosing, tracing it back to its source is almost impossible.
The extra layer of protection given by Double VPN provides the ultimate security against monitoring or snooping, but it’s not optimal due to the reduction in speed it causes.
A common issue people face when using VPNs is the fact that their connection may be interrupted, forcing them to use their standard, unsecured network. Most users may not even realise it until they’ve entered their credit card information and exchanged some private emails.
NordVPN has not one, but two kill switches to keep this from happening. When you’re removed from a VPN server, the first one acts as a standard VPN kill switch, shutting off your overall internet connection. The other kill switch allows you to select which applications should be killed in the case of a network failure. Although most VPN services nowadays have kill switches, NordVPN’s two-pronged kill switch strategy gives it an edge over the competition.
CyberSec is a fully-featured ad and malware blocker that safeguards all of the users’ apps, not just their browser. It protects users from online dangers by blocking websites notorious for phishing schemes or harbouring malware. It also does away with distracting flashy adverts, allowing users to browse faster.
CyberSec isn’t a replacement for a full-featured malware scanner, and it’s best used in tandem with other ad blocks like uBlock Origin or Privacy Badger. This feature is especially beneficial for mobile devices that have limited ad-blocking and malware-blocking capabilities.
NordVPN: Final thoughts
NordVPN is like a high-end jack-of-all-trades VPN. While other competitors may provide higher performance in individual aspects, NordVPN accomplishes everything with high quality.
On the privacy front, there’s a lot to enjoy, with plenty of innovative features to keep you secure and anonymous online.
Additionally, NordVPN’s mobile applications are extremely reliable and easy to use. This in itself can put it above other competitors, as buggy apps seem to be commonplace with VPNs. NordVPN provides decent quality customer service, and their website also provides a number of helpful tutorials to assist you in setting up the VPN. With a large network of servers and NordVPN’s no-strings-attached 30-day money-back guarantee, this service offers a pretty great value, even despite its larger price tag.