NordVPN Review

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5 / 5
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SUMMARY

This is a fantastically robust service, and one that has built its name on sound service, privacy and affordable pricing.

NordVPN: Is there a better Virtual Private Network for Irish users?

When looking for the best internet connectivity in Ireland, you might be short of options. With domestic internet a frustration for some, you might be better looking at a Virtual Private Network (VPN). These tools have become commonplace worldwide, with only a handful of nations banning their usage. Ireland, of course, is not one of these. If you wish to use a good quality VPN, though, the sheer number of options out there can be dizzying. One popular option at the moment for Irish VPN users, though, is NordVPN.

This is a fantastically robust service, and one that has built its name on sound service, privacy and affordable pricing. There is a lot to love about NordVPN, but also one or two things that might make you take pause. If you want a secure and sturdy VPN system for yourself, though, you might just find what you are looking for with NordVPN.

We’ll take a look below at what makes NordVPN a wonderful place for you to start. We’ll also take a look at what might make you consider NordVPN alternatives. So, what makes this a VPN worth looking at?

Screenshot from the NordVPN website

NordVPN: Does it live up to its reputation for security?

If you look around about NordVPN, you’ll notice that it proclaims itself to be the “most secure VPN” in the world. Of course, you could find a complete scam of a VPN that makes the same claims. While NordVPN is a highly legitimate and professional VPN, can it make that claim of security and robustness with any real proof?

Almost certainly in a lot of cases. In fact, it’s probably the only main competitor to industry giants such as ExpressVPN. When using this service, you get access to a system which will:

  • Hide your IP address and make sure your position is never compromised.
  • Protect you with 256-AES-CBC protection.
  • Connect up to SIX devices at once: up to 2x the amount of some of its competition.
  • Pick from over 5,000 servers based in over 62 nations from across the globe.
  • Utilise DoubleVPN encryption that helps to offer twice the encryption of some of its competition.
  • Make use of everything from streaming to torrenting or file sharing.

These are very, very powerful features. They help to give you that added peace of mind that using NordVPN is very much the safe, sane choice. More importantly, though, is their wonderfully clear “no logging” policy that, unlike other VPNs, they adhere to with complete confidence and honesty. In fact, the only data that will be logged is actually information that you can’t really avoid being stored. You can read more about the NordVPN privacy policy here, but to summarise they only collect:

  • Your e-mail address, as this is going to be associated with your account.
  • Payment information that has to be kept but can also be anonymised using cryptocurrency.
  • Performance information, purely for helping you to find the best connection speeds.

None of that is anything to worry about in any way, shape or form. It’s actually some of the least intrusive data collection possible. So, if privacy is your sole concern for using a VPN, you’ll find that NordVPN very much has your back.

How does NordVPN protect me?

Aside from the above features (which are very important), you do get some other very useful features that NordVPN provides you with. For one, NordVPN can protect you on just about any device. With all common operating systems protected and accepted, you could run this on anything from a RaspberryPi to a Windows computer. Other nice features include:

  • The inclusion of a kill switch, meaning that you can kill the connection if your connection becomes interrupted when using programs that might be geo-blocked.
  • Total connectivity and compatibility when using other tools such as The Onion Router (TOR). Now, you can get even more protection as NordVPN works in conjunction with, not competition with, TOR.
  • Total protection from DNS leaks, both when set up using OpenVPN or when you set it up manually. Great for avoiding any data leaks that could be damaging.
  • Double data protection, using two encryption sessions so that all of your data is chained through not one, but two, servers. This helps to keep yourself private, safe and secure when using the internet. It’s an extra dose of added security, privacy and control over your online usage.

Also, the fact that it’s based out in Panama makes it even safer for you to use. You will find that the company has been based in Panama since inception in 2008. Panama might sound like an odd place to be hosted, but it has brilliant security protection overall. Panama is a nation that is very much on the side of privacy, so you know that information – about both NordVPN and yourself – is kept secure. Free from some of the more hurtful data retention laws in other nations, then, you can feel safe that NordVPN does what it can to protect you.

NordVPN Performance: Is this the fastest VPN that you can get your hands on?

Speed matters when it comes to using a VPN, every bit as much as privacy. Who wants to use a super-private, super-slow VPN? Nobody! As such, you can be happy to work with this VPN as it is a good bit faster than many of its competitors. NordVPN has an upwardly mobile history of improved performance. Since day one, VPN speeds have got higher and higher. Connection to any of their primary servers will deliver a great speed boost, so you’ll be happy to know that server speeds can be pretty damn impressive.

Download speeds for most of the European servers are in the 70-74mbps ratings, with upload speeds in the 40-50mpbs range. That’s pretty damn decent and should further make NordVPN an attractive prospect for you. The fact that their service is very easy to work with and comes with great performance standards is a nice bonus. Add in the fact that it’s often free from IP and DNS leaks, as mentioned before, and you can feel pretty safe about both performance and privacy.

NordVPN and Streaming

Like many Irish VPN users, you’ll want to use your VPN for streaming. Thanks to the combination of Smartplay technology, you can get access to tools from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) through to programs like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and various other platforms. This lets you get access to previously geo-blocked content. Now, you can start getting access to larger streaming libraries, giving you even more control over your streaming needs.

So, if your primary aim is to find a VPN for streaming in Ireland, NordVPN is ready, secure and quick to put to work. The only streaming platform that we could find that was blocked on NordVPN with regards to streaming was the Swedish Netflix: more or less everything else worked.

NordVPN and File Sharing

There are some P2P-specific servers made for safe file sharing and torrenting. If you intend to use this, then you can use these servers for an added dose of privacy and a nice helping hand in getting optimal speeds. On the NordVPN app, you just need to take a look at the Specialty severs which are listed, and you will get easy and effective access.

You’ll have your choice of servers to pick from, and this should make it easy for you to get the most out of your NordVPN service purely for file sharing.

NordVPN and TOR

As mentioned before, NordVPN works totally in conjunction with TOR. If you want that extra level of privacy, then this gives you all of the protection and safety that you need to work without a single frustration.

NordVPN Customer Service: Can I get a little help from my friends?

Of course, any VPN can be strong and secure – but they don’t all have great customer support. With both e-mail and live chat support, though, NordVPN is known for being a fine bastion of VPN support. They give you lots of high-quality assistance and can be good for solving a personal or particular issue that has cropped up.

If you are banging your head against the wall when it comes to getting a customer-centric VPN, be sure to look at NordVPN. Staff are friendly, understand what you mean and can often explain the solution – or reason for a problem – in jargon-free language. They can help you to put in what you want from your VPN in simple, step-by-step instructions, too. From a support angle, then, you’d need to do a fair amount of digging around to get a more helpful VPN from a customer perspective.

Add in the glut of quality tutorials and guides that you can use prior to contacting support, too, and NordVPN is a piece of cake to use. Support is open 24/7, and they have a brilliant knowledgebase that you should look into. It helps to better understand complex VPN terminology, which might make it easy for you to get your head around some of its more challenging properties.

NordVPN Pricing: Is it worth the money?

With a whole host of easy to manage pricing plans, you can probably find something to suit your needs. Their most reliable plan is the 3-year plan that charges you around €3/month. That’s tremendous value, but you will need to make a choice on what suits you the most as this is a 3-year commitment. If you aren’t sure you will use NordVPN for that long, be careful about signing up to this particular program.

The pricing, though, is generally very fair. The monthly plan is the most expensive, and the cheapest is the 3-year plan. You can, though, pay using anything from credit cards and PayPal to cryptocurrency. Unlike other VPNs, too, your plan gets you access to everything at once: it’s not a tiered system.

NordVPN is the one for me then, right?

Don’t go signing up just yet!

We love NordVPN and would recommend it to most people. However, it does have some issues that you might want to think about before you go ahead and sign-up. While the issues are very minimal (and we are reaching on some of these issues), we think it’s important that you know what you are signing up for. NordVPN has a few issues to contend with, including:

  • Limited torrenting. As mentioned before, torrenting is only allowed on some servers. As such, it’s still not as powerful as some of its more pro-torrent competitors. Therefore, you should keep that in mind as it might cause you to have limited performance when sharing files.
  • Contrasting speeds. You can find that, especially at peak times, parts of the NordVPN network can be quite slow. Generally, average speeds are high. When they are low, though, they are low. Those using Asian networks in particular might notice some pretty grim speeds. It’s not great, to be honest. Europe and America, though, are mostly excellent.
  • Confusing configurations. This is why their customer support is so brilliant. NordVPN can be quite hard to configure. You’ll need to re-configure your servers, most likely, which can be a pain. Thankfully, the support is so useful they can probably solve your problems for you quite quickly.
  • Slow refunds. While not very likely, NordVPN might be a service that you look at and want to get a refund on. If you are not happy, you could be waiting the best part of 30 days for a refund: most refund you within a week. Not a killer issue, but if you are short on cash and experimenting with Irish VPN options, this can be a pain.

NordVPN: The Final Verdict

Strong, secure, robust and pretty easy to use in most ways: NordVPN is a fine choice. For a VPN in Ireland that you can easily use to your advantage, be sure to look a bit closer at this. Speeds are impressive, features are robust, and it generally offers one of the best VPN experiences for Irish users.

The concerns we’ve listed above are actually really minor for a VPN service. Right now, though? We’d have it right up there with some of the best VPNs on the market. Prices are brilliantly affordable; service standards are sound, and the customer service is brilliant. If you are looking for a VPN that makes your life a bit easier, be sure to take a look at NordVPN. With brilliant customer support, too, even those with significant limits understanding VPN usage can get it set-up and running to the best standard in a short space of time.

Whether you just want stability or want to give a big VPN name a try, NordVPN is worth your time, consideration and money.