Internet

Published on March 5th, 2020 | by Bibhuranjan

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NordVPN Review: Blazing Fast Performance But Should You Buy It?

For the uninitiated, a VPN is a tool that re-directs your internet traffic via a different server somewhere else in the world while keeping all your internet data private and off from prying eyes.

A VPN is pretty much a necessity these days because of the enormous amounts of data that we leave on the web after a browsing session. The user data itself is used for ad personalisation (apparently!) and creating a digital identity by the companies/websites that collect it. But at the same time you can never be sure of the real motives or who is actually using it. Leaving a digital footprint means that it is never truly safe to browse the internet anonymously without someone snooping over your activity. This can lead to all sorts of problems like parental concerns for their child or cyber-stalking.

Enter NordVPN

NordVPN made its debut back in 2011, back when Android was beginning to gain traction. Shortly after it spread into other other OSes, including iOS, Windows, Linux and Mac. Since then it seen massive growth and the company has amassed over 5000+ servers in 59 countries for unmatched connectivity. On top of that, your connections are secured via the AES 256-Bit encryption protocol, which is pretty much impossible to break.

NordVPN Feature Highlights

While there is a lot to talk about NordVPN, what makes it stand out is its long list of features that comes bundled up in the package. Let’s look at a few of those below:

    1. CyberSec: You can consider CyberSec as a more prominent ad/malicious content blocker/firewall. CyberSec blocks all manner of harmful content on the web while using the NordVPN. If you prefer to use your own ad-blocker, you can still do so while CyberSec runs in the background.
    2. Obfuscated Servers:
      Say you are in a region where internet is regulated on a massive scale, China for example. In such regions, your standard VPN may sometimes fail to connect and will often require very advanced means of bypassing the state enforced censorship. Herein comes NORD VPN’s obfuscated server access. What it does is that it attempts to connect your VPN in a way in which it appears normal to the authorities while still giving you full freedom to browse the web.


       

    3. TOR over VPN: Nord VPN is one of the very VPN services that allow connecting VPN and TOR networks, thereby providing an unmatched level of internet security. If you aren’t familiar with TOR, then we suggest you watch this video. Basically what it does is that it routes the TOR requests through Nord’s servers, which is just security piled on top of security. Perfect if you are a cyber criminal performing nefarious activities.
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    4. Supports Double VPN Protection: For the absolute ultimate in security features, NordVPN features routing traffic over two of NORD’s servers, instead of one. This is known as double VPN. The option can be toggled form the main homescreen. With this extra security layer, comes a caveat. Your internet speed will take a dive. But if you are absolutely paranoid over security, this is the app for you.
    5. P2P Support: Unlike a lot of VPN’s, Nord supports downloads on P2P Networks on a few of its servers. So downloads performed via Torrent downloading apps is possible here. What’s even better, is that there is very minimal speed penalty if you are downloading torrents over VPN. To enable torrent downloads via Nord, select P2P mode from its Speciality Server drop down menu and you are good to go. Alternatively you can follow this guide by NordVPN.

So those were the notable features of Nord VPN. As you might many other websites don’t simply hail it as the VPN champ for nothing. It has more features than any other existing solution and with it, you are ready to browse the web with absolute anonymity.

Performance Testing

For the performance testing, we first downloaded a single 500GB file over HTTP on Chrome without the VPN. Afterwards the same file was downloaded with the VPN connected to countries that are the nearest.

For P2P, we used qBittorrent over TCP protocol. Other settings were kept at application default. The test was then repeated once with the VPN disconnected and thrice with the VPN at various settings.

For the upload speed test, we transferred a 200MB worth of sequential files via FTP.

Our internet line speed was 50 megabits/second.

Results

Download Times Over HTTP, VPN Off: 2:32 (mm:ss)

Download Times Over HTTP, VPN On (Quick Connect): 3:20 (mm:ss)

Download Times Over P2P, VPN Off: 1:47 (mm:ss)

Download Times Over P2P, VPN On (P2P Fastest auto Settings): 7:32 (mm:ss)

Download Times Over P2P, VPN On (P2P Fastest Server, Manual Country Selection): 4:12 (mm:ss)

Download Times Over P2P, VPN On (Quick Connect): 3:53 (mm:ss)

Upload Times Over FTP (VPN Off): 2:03 (mm:ss)

Upload Times Over FTP (VPN On): 3:58 (mm:ss)

Observations

The download times were about what we were expecting across the board. But amazingly the test conducted with the P2P servers from Nord turned out to be slower than its normal quick connect servers which was a bit weird. We ran the test twice to confirm it but the results were pretty much the same. The P2P servers for some reason couldn’t go above 1MB/s per second, but the normal servers easily maintained a speed of 2-3 MB/s.

Conclusion

If I have to sum up Nord, then it would be that a solid set of internet security tools need not cost you an arm and a leg. Nord is a feature rich VPN service that respects the data and privacy of its users and being based in the Panama, it is also free from the Five Eyes Alliance. If you are looking for the ultimate in VPN protection, look no further and sign up for NordVPN.

However ultimate security can be sometimes fallible due to human errors, as such One of Nord’s servers was recently breached due to an insecure remote management system installed by the datacenter that Nord rented the server from. Since then Nord has made an official statement about it and needless to say, it wasn’t their fault exclusively.

Read here about the attack and below is a Statement from NordVPN themselves regarding this recent attack.



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About the Author

Bibhuranjan

Editorial Officer, technofaq.org I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.



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