NordVPN has a lot of features that make for a complete package when it comes to VPNs. It offers split tunneling that works well for users who want certain applications and URLs not to go through the VPN. This feature was also confirmed to work (by sending certain traffic through the ISP) and was verified using Wireshark. The split tunneling coupled with the decent upload speeds (on some servers) indicates that this VPN could be suitable for both commercial and casual usage.
NordVPN does offer double-hop VPNs and obfuscations for that added layer of protection. The double-hop VPNs do come at the expense of speed, however. The Onion over VPN shows a significant reduction in speed which is to be expected. The several available options for extra security do make the VPN provider seem like they care very much for the user’s privacy and have made it a high priority.
NordVPN exhibited an impressive performance in terms of download/upload rates, as compared to the baseline speed. For any VPN to exhibit a drop of less than 10 percent is often deemed exceptional.
Of the 23 servers that were speed tested, 12 of them saw a drop of less than 5% in the download speed. Only 3 servers exhibited a large drop of between 30-40% regarding download speed. Those remaining were somewhere in between.
The upload speeds had a more diverse range and were not proportional to their download counterpart. Some were as high as 87Mbps while others reached lows of 5Mbps. The majority of the servers showed latencies under 200ms when tested using optimal servers. This is great news for users that intend to game using the VPN. However, this value will obviously vary depending on the user’s location. That being said, as long as the latency is better with the VPN compared to the ISP then NordVPN is an improvement on the system.
The provider also has 3 different protocols with NordLynx consistently providing the best rates out of the options. NordLynx uses Wireguard as its base with a few alterations to add complete privacy.
NordVPN claims that they do not use any virtual servers and that all of their VPN servers are based in the exact locations as per the server list they provide. This is a rarity for any VPN and if true, can give the user peace of mind regarding the laws around logging in each country the server exists in. Adding to the security is the fact that they also use a completely diskless server network.
The VPN did not intercept any DNS traffic nor ever disclose the user IP. No DNS leaks were detected and the fact that a VPN was being used was never detected. This satisfies most user needs in terms of security. NordVPN has excellent streaming capabilities and seamlessly unlocked geo-restricted streaming platforms. NordVPN performed extremely well when streaming 8K videos on YouTube and 4K videos on Netflix. This VPN can thus be used for several purposes while maintaining security/privacy and providing excellent rates.