Macworld (USA)

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

- 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. ■

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