VPN re­views: NORDVPN, VYPRVPN, Cy­berghost VPN, Torguard VPN, Safer­vpn, Tun­nel­bear VPN

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY SÉAMUS BEL­LAMY

Launched in 2008, NORDVPN ( go. mac­world.com/nord) is ar­guably one of the more pop­u­lar, high-pro­file VPN ser­vice providers op­er­at­ing to­day. While pay­ments for ser­vice are pro­cessed through Cloud­vpn—a com­pany based in the United States—nordvpn is based in Panama (a coun­try that doesn’t par­tic­i­pate in the Five Eyes ( go.mac­world.com/5eye), Nine Eyes ( go.mac­world.com/9eye), or Four­teen Eyes ( go.mac­world.com/9eye) com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­ter­cep­tion/shar­ing agree­ments). Ac­cord­ingly, users should be safe from un­tar­geted gov­ern­ment data trawl­ing.

SE­CU­RITY, SOFT­WARE, SERVERS, AND SPEED

NORDVPN takes se­cu­rity se­ri­ously. The com­pany’s Mac client de­faults to IKEV2/IPSEC se­cu­rity, and other in­dus­try stan­dards are also sup­ported. IKEV2/ Ipsec uti­lizes AES-256GCM en­cryp­tion—if it’s good enough for the mil­i­tary, it’s likely good enough for you. Any­one with a good rea­son to be para­noid will be happy to know that the com­pany of­fers a num­ber of con­nec­tions that em­ploy dou­ble en­cryp­tion. That op­tion pushes your data through two servers in­stead of one, en­sur­ing that the in­for­ma­tion you ac­cess will be sent/ re­ceived—al­beit very slowly—in the most se­cure man­ner pos­si­ble.

The com­pany also of­fers a few se­cu­rity extras, such as a soft­ware kill­switch baked into its desk­top app to stop all web traf­fic if your com­puter is dis­con­nected from a VPN, ad-block­ing func­tion­al­ity, and au­to­matic black­list­ing of web­pages with ques­tion­able se­cu­rity prac­tices or that pose a phish­ing threat.

At the time of this re­view, Nordvpn’s web­site claimed that the ser­vice had over 2,863 servers in 59 coun­tries. Many of these servers aren’t owned by the ser­vice, but this is rel­a­tively com­mon amongst VPN providers. If you’re in­ter­ested in deal­ing with a VPN ser­vice that owns all of the server hard­ware it op­er­ates on, check out VYPRVPN ( page XX). This means that you’ll be able to spoof your lo­ca­tion in a large num­ber of

NORDVPN takes se­cu­rity se­ri­ously. The com­pany’s Mac client de­faults to IKEV2/ Ipsec se­cu­rity, and other in­dus­try stan­dards are also sup­ported.

coun­tries, with less chance of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing drops in your speed due to too many in­di­vid­u­als ac­cess­ing the com­pany’s servers at the same time.

You can link up to six de­vices at a time to Nordvpn’s servers. We found that the com­pany’s Mac soft­ware client was easy to use. The com­pany also of­fers apps for IOS, An­droid and Win­dows.

Dur­ing test­ing, con­nect­ing to Nordvpn’s servers re­sulted in the above up­load/down­load speed re­duc­tions ver­sus con­nect­ing to the in­ter­net with­out a VPN.

NORDVPN PRIC­ING

NORDVPN of­fers three dif­fer­ent pric­ing op­tions. A one-year plan costs $5.75 per month, while a two-year plan is $3.29 per month. To get these monthly rates, you’ll have to pay for the en­tire term of ser­vice up­front ($69 for one year, $79 for two years). It’s pos­si­ble to buy into the ser­vice one month at a time, but you’ll pay a pun­ish­ing $12 per month for the priv­i­lege. That’s $143.40 per year. Ouch.

No mat­ter which plan you opt for, NORDVPN of­fers a 30-day money-back guar­an­tee. Pay­ment can be made through a num­ber of op­tions in­clud­ing credit card, Pay­pal, or Bit­coin. Be aware that Nordvpn’s pay­ment pro­ces­sor, Cloud­vpn Inc., stores pay­ment in­for­ma­tion—any­one in­ter­ested in a max­i­mum amount on on­line anonymity should pay for their ser­vice us­ing Bit­coin.

BOT­TOM LINE

While not per­fect, NORDVPN is a com­pelling op­tion for VPN ser­vice due to its mostly com­pet­i­tive pric­ing, mas­sive num­ber of avail­able servers and server lo­ca­tions, easy-touse in­ter­face, and slew of op­tions to pro­tect users’ on­line pri­vacy. ■

NORDVPN has over 2,863 servers in 59 coun­tries.

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