Very few people realize just how vulnerable they are online. Even with strong passwords and the best security practices, just by nature of connecting to the internet, you’re at risk. Add to that the growing number of identity theft cases, the increasing instances of cyberattack, and the ever-watchful eyes of governments and internet service providers, it’s no wonder people are turning to virtual private networks in droves.1
You can learn more about VPNs on our VPN resource page, but today we’re going to be talking about one of the biggest names in the VPN game, NordVPN. After testing NordVPN for several days, I can say they’ve got a great suite of services, affordable pricing options, and a couple of surprises you wouldn’t expect. Let’s take a look at how this all breaks down.
Did You Know: VPNs work by creating an encrypted “tunnel” between your computer and the server to the site you want to access. Using a VPN will prevent prying eyes from seeing your online activity, but it can also prevent cyber attacks and identity theft.
NordVPN has been around for nearly a decade, and during that time they’ve been making their way to the top of the heap. And for good reason: Nord’s protections are comprehensive; their security is nearly impregnable; and their monthly subscription fees are reasonable for what you get.
Nord isn’t the cheapest VPN I’ve seen on the market — that honor goes to Surfshark’s plans — but they sit squarely in the “reasonable” category when you consider their features and functionality.
Right now NordVPN offers three subscription packages. Regardless of the duration you select, you’ll have full access to all of their features.
|Duration||1 Month||1 Year||2 Years|
|Cost||$11.95 per month||$4.92 per month||$3.67 per month|
|Savings||None||58 percent||69 percent|
Similar to most VPNs, the longer a subscription you sign up for, the more you’re going to save on month-to-month costs.
In NordVPN’s case, if you sign up for their two-year subscription package, you’re going to be saving a whopping 68 percent over their regular $11.95 month-to-month plan. For 24 months, you’ll get access to their full suite of protections for $3.71 per month. Think of it this way — you can poke Big Brother in his all-seeing eye for less than the cost of a Starbucks latte.
Pro Tip: Black Friday is coming up, and Nord is already doling out the deals. Right now you can pick up a two-year plan for just $79. That’s only $3.29 per month for one of the best VPNs in the industry.
Nord also has two additional features you can add to your subscription package: NordLocker and NordPass.
Similar to the cloud storage add-on I saw in my review of IPVanish, NordLocker is an encrypted vault that protects files locally with the option for up to 10 GB of secure cloud storage. This is helpful for folks who might share a computer with others or who are on the move with a work laptop.
The latter tool helps you manage all your passwords in one central location. Are you using the same password across multiple websites and services? Well, now you won’t have to. Using Nord’s password generation tool, you can create long, randomized passwords for each individual service or website you log into and never worry about having to commit them to memory.
Both of these additional services cost $4.99 each per month.
Another really interesting thing about NordVPN is the numerous different ways you can pay. It might seem a little counterintuitive to give your name and credit card information to a service that’s main purpose is to keep you anonymous, and that irony is not lost on NordVPN. That’s why they allow you to pay for your subscription using cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. The advantage of paying in this way is that it’s completely anonymous — there’s no way to track the payment back to you. This is really helpful for folks who take their privacy seriously.
Did You Know: The technology behind cryptocurrency was first detailed in a 2008 article published by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. The following year, Bitcoin was released.2
Occasionally, Nord has been known to sweeten the deal by giving away free gifts with the purchase of two-year subscription plans. At the time I wrote this, Nord entered any two-year subscription purchaser into a drawing for a free month, a free year, or two free years of extra subscription time. This is a pretty neat incentive, and you were almost guaranteed to get at least a little extra free time with the service. Obviously the bigger prizes were rare, but hey — you never know. If you purchase at the right time and you’re a little lucky, you might walk away with four years of comprehensive protections for the price of two. But if you really want the best Nord deal, check out our NordVPN discounts page.
All things considered, I have to say the two-year plan is your best option. It clearly offers the most savings — you don’t need to be a finance major to see that — and with the current deal, you could walk away with a four-year subscription at half the price.
Yes, two years is a really long commitment, but consider that every plan offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee. That’s more than enough time to get comfortable with the service and determine if it’s right for you. If you don’t end up liking NordVPN, no worries — you’ll get your money back. If you do like it, and you’re ready for a long-term commitment, you’re already set up to realize the most savings. It’s a win-win.
If that’s still too much of a commitment for you, though, read our review of ProtonVPN. They’re a great service — almost on par with Nord — but they offer a free version of their product for you to try out. For more information on that, check out our guide to ProtonVPN’s pricing and packages.
One of the reasons Nord is so well-liked is their feature-to-cost ratio. Simply put, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. You’re going to have access to all of these features no matter the subscription package your purchase.
NordVPN is one of the few VPNs configured for easy access to the Onion network (also called Tor). In nutshell, Tor is a network used to anonymously access the internet by splitting and scrambling your data. NordVPN allows you to enjoy the anonymity of Tor with the protections of a VPN.
Dedicated IP addresses are those that no one else has access to. These can help make online shopping and browsing more seamless and can help make telecommunications technology — especially video conferencing platforms — more stable.
This advanced security feature routes traffic through two VPN servers instead of one, encrypting your data two times. This is necessary for folks like activists and journalists who live in hostile countries.
If you’re using BitTorrent or a similar service to share media, you’ll be re-routed through servers in countries that don’t scrutinize torrenters as heavily.
This allows users to bypass VPN blocks set in place by restrictive governments by either scrambling data or adding additional layers of encryption. Like what I saw when I reviewed Surfshark, this is great for world travelers.
If your VPN connection is interrupted for any reason, your internet connection will also terminate, ensuring that your actual IP address is never exposed. I always like to see kill-switch functionality with VPNs.
Like I mentioned — NordVPN isn’t the cheapest service out there, but when you weigh the costs against the functionality, they’re certainly one of the best values on the market today. Their suite of protections are professional-grade, and honestly, they’re more than enough for the average person who’s just using a VPN to stay a little safer online.
NordVPN’s subscription packages are reasonable, and affordably priced — they could easily be charging double for the protections they’re offering — and it’s great that they provide a 30-day trial period for each tier. In my experience, 30 days is plenty of time to get a feel for a VPN and decide if it’s right for you.
Overall NordVPN’s price, features, and generous trial period make them one of the best values in the industry, and because of this, they get one of our highest recommendations.
A month-to-month subscription to NordVPN is $11.95. If you sign up for a year-long subscription, the month-to-month cost is $4.92, and if you sign up for two years, the cost drops to $3.71 per month.
One NordVPN subscription is good for up to six device connections. However, NordVPN can also be installed on routers to protect any device connected to that network.
Yes, given the number of services for the month-to-month price, NordVPN offers great value.
Nord is supported by macOS, Windows, and select Linux distributions. NordVPN also works on iOS and Android devices, and they have extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Yes, NordVPN works over the Onion network and offers heightened security protections for people in nations with heavily censored internet networks.
Eddy, M. (2020, July 1). What Is a VPN, and Why You Need One. PC Magazine.
Reiff, N. (2019, June 25). Were There Cryptocurrencies Before Bitcoin? Investopedia.