NordVPN Leaps Forward On Speed And Security - Bests 2021

By Rossini Keutcha

What is a VPN?

A VPN (virtual private network) is a service that allows users to encrypt their Internet connection and send it through a tunnel to the VPN service's servers instead of the ISP's servers . During a VPN connection, your real physical IP can no longer be detected and is masked by the VPN's IP.

This not only ensures that your internet data and private information (for example your browsing history) are protected and shielded from any attempt by advertisers or anyone snooping around your network to trace your activity; but it also gives you, in the case of NordVPN's automatic SmartPlay technology, the added bonus to be free to watch geo-blocked programs on online TV worldwide wherever you are : sports in other countries, entertainment on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and BBC iPlayer to cite just a few example.

VPN protocols dillema : speed versus security

VPNs function on a set of rules or “protocols” used to connect the VPN app installed on your device and the VPN servers.There are different protocols fulfilling different purposes.

On one hand, OpenVPN (TCP) and IKEv2 are known for the security and reliability they provide to internet connection, on the other hand OpenVPN (UDP) and WireGuard are known for their speed.

VPN users would often complain of a slow internet connection under VPN tunneling, without knowing that it was an expected behavior depending on the location of the servers they were trying to reach and depending on the status of internet traffic on their ISP servers that could slow down their connection (also known as throttling).

It was expected to see the speed of your internet connection drop by 50% or more under most VPN protocols. The release of WireGuard in 2016 seemed to provide a solution to this problem of speed loss. Whereas older Open source protocols were heavy on coding (70 000 lines), the whole WireGuard is only 4,000 lines. It is lightweight and thus it speeds up significantly internet connection:

However, WireGard had a security flaw that prevented it from being widely implemented: it is assigning to users static IP addresses, meaning that for every new connection, you are keeping the same IP address: In order to be able to do so, it had to store your actual IP on the VPN server...This is an obvious privacy risk if the server is compromised or hacked.

In 2021 NordVPN with its proprietary customization of Wiregard, NordLynx, has solved this issue by giving users randomized IP addresses at every connection without having to store personally identifiable information on their server thanks to double NAT use (Network Address Translation).

NordVPN solved the dilemma between Speed and security in 2021 and thus took a huge leap forward on its competitors, who are now left to play catch up with Wiregard customization.

NordVPN Is the Industry leader

NordVPN has been in the virtual private network business since 2012 and is considered by the vast majority of internet security experts and VPN wonks to be the best and most advanced service provider since 2019; and here's why...

As we can clearly see, NordVPN offers a lot of everything, whereas its main competitors all lack something.

NordVPN's Lightning Speed

Boosted by the latest WireGuard (NordLynx) technology, NordVPN has a lightning fast internet connection speed unmatched by its direct competitors. Of course, there will be some variation depending on the location of the server you want to reach and the tunneling protocol you chose. NordVPN proposes 4 different protocols : OpenVPN (TCP), OpenVPN (UDP), IKEv2 and NordLynx. While IKEv2 is best suited for mobiles devices

The choice of your tunnelling protocol is going to affect the speed of your internet connection and traffic. For example if you use OpenVPN (TCP) to connect to a server that is really remote from your location, don't be surprised if you have slow internet traffic as this is expected behavior : OpenVPN (TCP) is actually designed to be slow, but also reliable. If it's the speed you want, in the context of OpenVPN , then UDP should be your choice.

In terms of optimal speed UDP and NordLynx are the fastest. While IKEv2 is best suited for mobile devices, NordLynx is universal and can be used on desktops, laptops, and mobiles.

The test performed on NordLynx over 2 days show a loss of speed of 6% en Germany, 11% in NewYork. The biggest loss was in Australia, which is not really surprising as it’s the farthest location from Europe.

Split Tunneling;

This is a new feature that, in theory, should positively impact the speed of your internet traffic under any VPN tunneling protocol. Split tunneling lets you choose which apps route their traffic through the VPN connection and which apps go through your internet service provider connection : basically you either require or forbid VPN connections for selected apps. This feature is however unavailable on Mac, Linux, and iOS.



Security

Linus Torvalds , when he finally accepted Wiregard for Linux, is reported to have said that the cryptographical choices made in the deployment of WireGuard (NordLynx) technology means that it is not only faster but also more secure.

Here are some of the security features NordVPN offers and that its competitors don't have or that they provide as standalone adds-on at additional cost:

  • CyberSec, once enabled, is using its own DNS server to block out malicious spywares, malwares, and sites

  • Ads and tracker blocker

  • Double VPN servers which combine two VPN servers to make a VPN to VPN connection. To reach your intended destination, your data passes through two of NordVPN servers for maximum privacy. If you use this specialized server, you must expect to see the speed of your internet decrease.

  • Dark Web Monitor is scanning the dark web to check if some data linked to the email address you are using with NordVPN are circulating on this marketplace. If it is the case, the NordVPN app will notify you.

What makes NordVPN particularly stand out from a security point of view, is that the more than 5200 servers located in 60 countries they have are completely secured. The company's headquarter being in Panama (a country that has no data sharing agreement), it is not obligated to release your information, or your real location on the web to any other country. If it were located in a country that was a member either of the Five Eyes Intelligence alliance (US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) or Fourteen Eyes alliance (5 eyes + France, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Norway, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Italy), it would have to give your location if asked to do so by one of its members countries.

But luckily, even if it were the case, NordVPN's users activity wouldn't really be compromised as the company maintains a strict zero-logs policy and thus garanties that your connections remain anonymous.

System Requirements

NordVPN supports the following Operating systems and browsers:

NordVPN Installation

Windows : https://support.nordvpn.com/FAQ/Setup-tutorials/1047409642/Installing-and-using-NordVPN-on-Windows-7-and-later-versions.htm

Mac : https://support.nordvpn.com/FAQ/Setup-tutorials/1135836372/Installing-the-NordVPN-OpenVPN-application-on-macOS.htm

Android : https://support.nordvpn.com/FAQ/Setup-tutorials/1047409182/Installing-NordVPN-on-Android.htm

Android based-TV : https://support.nordvpn.com/Connectivity/Android/1345952622/Using-NordVPN-on-Android-TV.htm

iOS : https://support.nordvpn.com/FAQ/Setup-tutorials/1047409582/Installing-the-NordVPN-app-on-iPhone-or-iPad.htm

How much does NordVPN cost?

The average price for a VPN service is around $10 per month and NordVPN is at $11.95 on a monthly subscription. However, its cost is dramatically lower on 1 and 2 years plans with incredible discounts being offered at the moment of writing this review. NordVPN is far from being the priciest of the services on offer and is in fact the best pack out there if you chose a 1 or 2 year plan.

temporary offer

Clearly, the longer is the plan, the sweeter is the deal. No need to tell you that in case you intend to use their service for more than 5 months, it doesn't make sense to subscribe to a monthly plan. Moreover, you have a 30 days Money Back guarantee, which gives you effectively a 30 days of free trial in case the product is not to your convenience.

NordVPN is simply the best value for money package on the market. For sure, you can find some free VPN service out there...But they pose a huge security and reliability risk for your data and personal information. Moreover, it's very likely that you will have a very slow internet connection. You can test it for yourself and then compare it with NordVPN.

Free VPN services do not have the same security and speed features as the paid versions ; for example a daily or monthly limit on your traffic under VPN tunneling (usually 500Mps) or a regional limit on the servers you can reach (for example Hotspot free subscribers can only reach US servers). With free versions you get just less security and less browsing freedom.

This presentation of NordVPN is not meant to be exhaustive, advanced users will easily find more available features I did not touch here: the full range of speciality servers, Presets settings, encryption method, etc.

Leave me a comment at the bottom of the page if you have any questions regarding one of these topics.


Written by Rossini