Private Internet Access Trustpilot

 
JurisdictionUnited States
Price$2.85/m. (On 1-Year Plan)
Servers3300+ servers in 30 countries
LogsNo logs
EncryptionAES-256-Bit
Unblocks NetflixNo
TorrentingYes
Works in ChinaNo
Recommended No
Websitehttps://www.privateinternetaccess.com/
CompatibilityWindows, Android, Apple, Desktop, Chrome, Firefox

The devil is in the details. I looked past Private Internet Access’ celebrity status in the VPN industry and looked at whether the performance matches the publicity. What I found left me thoroughly disappointed.

About Private Internet Access Who owns Private Internet? Trustpilot Rating: 4.0. Private Internet Access is one of the most popular VPN brands and has been operating since 2009. Initially, it was founded by a London-based firm but later on, it was acquired. Reply from Private Internet Access Hello Tatsis, I'm apologize for the issues you ran into while using our service. I would love the opportunity to assist you with the issues you were running into, as well as get you access to Netflix while the VPN is enabled. Do you agree with Private Internet Access’s 4-star rating? Check out what 6,641 people have written so far, and share your own experience. Read 6,101-6,120 Reviews out of 6,641. Do you agree with Private Internet Access's TrustScore? Voice your opinion today and hear what 6641 customers have already said. Private Internet Access is reliable, stable, fast and worth it. I used Private Internet Access for a few years and liked it but dropped it a few months ago when I saw Dashlane offered VPN for free. Dashlane's service was a joke. It was slow, offered few options and kept dropping connections. Do you agree with Private Internet Access’s 4-star rating? Check out what 6,458 people have written so far, and share your own experience.

Users still can’t find better options than PIA for their torrenting needs thanks to its SOCKS5 proxy. Additionally, the service continues to boast one of the securest encryptions on the market.

However, PIA has long lost the ability to unblock Netflix, highlighted how the service’s fame may have started hunting it. This was probably the reason why its Chinese server was shut down leading to it being incapable of unblocking China as well.

A once-great provider may be on a downward spiral. Users would be advised to look to other better, and more reliable VPN providers such as PureVPNto secure their digital presence thanks to its highly affordable plans.

Rating Criteria

  1. Jurisdiction: Where Is Private Internet Access Located?
  2. Security: Is Private Internet Access A Safe Option?
  3. Leaks: Are Your IP, DNS & WebRTC safe?
  4. Servers: How Many Servers Does Private Internet Access Have?
  5. Streaming: Can Private Internet Access Unblock Netflix?
  6. Speed: How Fast Are Private Internet Access Servers?
  7. Compatibility: What Devices Can I Use Private Internet Access On?
  8. Pricing: Is Private Internet Access An Affordable Option?
  9. Trustworthiness: What Do Other Users Say About Private Internet Access?

Jurisdiction: Where Is Private Internet Access Located?

Private Internet Access (PIA) is based out of the United States. It goes without saying that as a VPN headquarter, it is a terrible location. There are multiple reasons why the United States is such a dangerous location to be based out of.

For instance, the United States leads the notorious 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. This intelligence-sharing group closely coordinates and shares information about the internet activities of their citizens with one another. Additionally, the US has a slew of data retention laws at both federal and state levels making it near impossible for a user to properly be safe online. These laws apply vigorously to all companies based out of the US, including PIA.

Security: Is Private Internet Access A Safe Option?

No, the service’s encryptions and self-proclaimed logging policy are overshadowed by the problematic issue of its US-origins. There have been too many cases of the US authorities exercising their powers and gaining access to user info, leading me to label any VPN operating from the country to be unsafe.

Minimalist Logging Policy

No, the service claims not to store any logs. PIA comes across as being extremely devoted to the anonymity of its users, thanks to its no-logs policy’s clarity on the subject.

As the service states, information such as emails, payment data, and cookies are all the info they save on their users. Collecting this info is necessary to ensure an optimum customer experience to all their users.

Private Internet Access Encryption & Protocols

I found PIA to be using the most secure encryptions and protocols available on the market. Users’ connections are encrypted via the military-grade 256-bit encryption. As additional security, it is equipped with SHA-1 or SHA-256 encryption. For authentication, the service uses the RSA-2048 public-key encryption.

All of these are supported via PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, and SOCKS5 Tunnel proxy giving PIA the optimal amount of security in this regard.

Private Internet Access VirusTotal Test

I carried out a virus test to be certain that there were no hidden malware or viruses that could harm a user’s device. Here’s the result of that test:

As users can see, there are no major viruses or malware that should be of any concern to the users.

Leaks: Are Your IP, DNS & WebRTC Safe?

A VPN service is meant to keep users safe online and ensure their complete privacy. This is done by securing the IP, DNS, and WebRTC safe. Hence, I carried out a series of tests for leaks to be sure that I was not left exposed at any front. Here are the results:

As users can see, there are no major leaks to worry about while using PIA.

Servers: How Many Servers Does Private Internet Access Have?

PIA is known for its wide network of serversand it’s easy to see why. It can offer users access to nearly 3300+ servers in 30 countries. Additionally, the service also makes it clear that all these servers are physical leading to greater stability.

Does Private Internet Access Support P2P/File Sharing?

Private Internet Access Trustpilot

Yes, PIA works like a charm for all the users’ torrenting needs.

This is primarily due to the SOCKS5 proxy that PIA has. It enables the service to reroute all the users’ data packets through safe and secure servers, thus masking their actual activities online.

To ensure maximum safety, PIA recommends using two servers i.e. Switzerland and the Netherlands to guarantee maximum anonymity during your P2P sharing activities.

Does Private Internet Access Work in China?

Unfortunately, no. Despite having such a tremendous number of servers, the service is as of yet unavailable in China.

Given how China’s continuously been amplifying censorship online, VPNs have quickly become one of the only ways to continue to retain access to free internet. Hence, a VPN that can unblock content from inside China stands to gain a lot of users.

Similarly, users from outside the country that want access to geo-restricted Chinese content also rely on these services. The lack of a Chinese server may well be costing PIA a high number of potential users and millions in revenues.

Streaming: Can Private Internet Access Unblock Netflix?

I was shocked to see that PIA cannot unblock Netflix. With such a plethora of servers, I fully expected this to be little more than a formality for PIA. However, I was wrong. I tried to unblock Netflix through various servers but no luck.

It turns out that this was not the case until very recently. PIA has been able to unblock Netflix, but the streaming service’s VPN detection technology finally caught up with it. To put this theory to test, I tried to unblock all the other major streaming sites like Amazon Prime, Hulu, Hotstar, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+ which PIA passed with flying colors. Due to their weaker detection mechanisms, PIA is able to unblock all these platforms with ease.

Speed: How Fast are Private Internet Access Servers?

Having the numbers is impressive in its own right. However, do those numbers really mean anything in terms of speed? To put these 3300+ servers, I conducted a speed test and connected to 5 random servers in the UK, Germany, Spain, India, and Mexico using a 100Mbps connection. Here are the results:

ServerDownloadUploadPing
UK45Mbps41Mbps366ms
Germany42Mbps39Mbps356ms
Spain47Mbps44Mbps341ms
India32Mbps29Mbps387ms
Mexic29Mbps39Mbps376ms
Average39Mbps38.4Mbps365ms

Compatibility: What Devices Can I Use Private Internet Access On?

It always reflects positively on a service’s perception of being user-friendly if it offers complete cross-compatibility. I’m sure users will be glad to know that PIA is good for use on Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, and iOS. This is in addition to the dedicated browser extensions available on Firefoxand Chrometo maximize the customer experience online.

Pricing: Is Private Internet Access An Affordable Option?

PIA offers the standard 3 payment plans that should be good enough for all kinds of users as well as being suited to different budgets i.e. the monthly, yearly, and 6-months. I should mention here that the yearly plan comes with a free trial for the first 2 months.

Private Internet Access Payment Methods

Users will be able to pay via the standard VISA/Mastercard credit cards, as well as through PayPal. I found the fact that PIA supports Bitcoin as well as other major cryptocurrencies such as Ripple, Mint in addition to Amazon Pay to be one of its standout features because of the financial anonymity these options offer.

Private Internet Access Refund Policy

PIA offers users a 7-day money-back guarantee. However, this is far below the industry-standard 30-Day policy that most other reliable VPNs offer.

Trustworthiness: What Do Other Users Say About Private Internet Access?

I wanted to see whether my experience was similar to what the rest of its users experience or not. Hence, I headed over to Trustpilot and Reddit to see how is PIA viewed by the online community. Here are the results:

Private Internet Access Trustpilot Review

PIA’s Trustpilot rating is one of the highest ones for a VPN service on the review site. It holds a highly reputable 4/5 stars on the basis of 5689 reviews.

I found 80% of the reviews to be either Excellent or Great, further corroborating the belief that the service delivers on all the promises that it makes. Having looked at the review sites, I believe that most of these reviews were made by genuine users and no shady practices are at play here at all.

Private

Private Internet Access Reddit Review

As I expected, Reddit was a lot more no-holds-barred. The forum is known for being completely unabashed about service, especially ones that make promises and fail to deliver on them. I found some interesting insights about PIA on the forum.

It seems that the downfall of PIA began when the service was taken over by a rival company that owns another VPN service. This led to a heightened sense of discomfort among users because of the new company’s past history of shady practices.

Similarly, users’ complained of the service’s instability across different platforms such as on iOS leaving users with basic issues like disconnections and throttling that should not exist for a VPN of such caliber.

Private Internet Access Customer Support

Private Internet Access Vpn Trustpilot

I should mention here that PIA’s customer support is severely lacking. For a VPN provider that’s been in the market for such an extended period and is widely considered one of the best VPN services on the market, this is simply not good enough.

For instance, there is no 24/7 live chat support. The only option to communicate with the service that a user has is the email support that can take anywhere between a week to 10 days. While I found the replies to be thorough and helpful, there should be an option to get prompt and instantaneous answers.

Additionally, the service also offers a knowledge base, guides, and a blog. Overall, while not bad I would say PIA needs to overhaul its existing customer support to match the rest of its service.

Private Internet Access Alternatives

It used to be a tall order for any VPN to match PIA in the VPN industry. This process of decay has meant that it has become for rival VPNs to not only match but exceed anything that PIA has to offer.

PIA continues to be the preferred service as far as torrenting goes as well as one of the most impressive encryptions and protocols on the market. However, its other standout features have declined over the years.

It is unable to unblock Netflix, and most importantly, the recent takeover has led to a virtual collapse of customer confidence in the service’s ability to properly mask their internet connections.

For this reason, I would advise users to opt for a VPN like PureVPN that has risen in reputation in recent years because of its commitment to user-privacy online at extremely affordable rates.

You can also look at other alternatives to PIA below and their comparisons of pricing, features, unblocking capabilities, torrenting/streaming performance, setup and interface, servers, security offered, customer service and more:

Do I Recommend Private Internet Access VPN?

No, I cannot recommend PIA. I know I’m going against the market’s opinion considering how Private Internet Access is regularly touted as the definitive VPN. However, that may have been true a few years ago. Things have changed drastically since that infamous takeover and I believe this review should reflect that.

The service has lost the ability to unblock Netflix while also becoming incapable of unblocking China after the recent round of crackdowns in the country. But apart from all this, my main contention with the service i.e. being based out of the United States continues to be a major factor.

Any VPN based out of the United States needs to offer something extraordinary in order to make me disregard its US-origins. PIA, despite its formidable reputation, does not offer anything of that value. Hence, I would recommend users to opt for PureVPNfor numerous reasons, primarily because of it being based out of Hong Kong.

Compatible with device: Windows, Android, Apple, Desktop, Chrome, Firefox

NordVPN is one of the fastest and most trustworthy VPNs you can buy.

Pros

  • Fast:Incredibly fast download and upload speeds.
  • Maximum privacy: NordVPN has a very clear zero-log policy. As the only VPN in the world, it had its zero-log policy audited by an independent firm (PwC) to prove 100% anonymity for its users. Excellent!
  • Maximum security:NordVPN uses all the top security features, including OpenVPN, AES-256, own DNS servers, and a kill switch.
  • Servers in 62 countries:NordVPN features over 5200 servers in 62 countries, covering all continents.
  • Premium design:NordVPN’s apps on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux look very premium and connect incredibly fast.
  • 6 Simultaneous connections:NordVPN allows you to protect 6 devices at the same time, which is more than most VPNs.
  • Works with Netflix and torrents (P2P)

Cons

  • NordVPN does not work in China

Have you seen the discounts?

Navigate this page

Basic:

  • Best deal: $ 3.49 / month
  • Refund Policy: 30 days
  • Customer Support: 24/7 Live chat
  • Devices per account: 6
  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux

Functionality:

  • Works with US Netflix: Yes
  • Works with Torrents: Yes
  • Works in China: No

Technical:

  • Speed: 92 Mbps
  • Servers in: 59 countries
  • Server count: 5.700+
  • IP Addresses: 5.700+
  • Jurisdiction: Panama
  • Data leaks: None
  • Logging policy: No logs

The Good: NordVPN does not monitor and store your online activity. You are 100% anonymous online. On top of that, it uses the best VPN protocol (OpenVPN), top-of-the-line (AES-256) encryption, its own DNS servers and a kill switch to keep your data secure. Finally, by being incorporated in Panama, it is outside of the reach of the data retention laws and intelligence agencies of the US and EU.

The Bad: AV-Test, an antivirus testing organisation, discovered a WebRTC leak (which leaks your home IP address) when using some of NordVPN’s servers. By installing NordVPN’s browser extension for Chrome or Firefox, you can fix this. Make sure to install it and use it in combination with the main VPN app.

What privacy and security elements do we test for?

The tests we run cover seven different aspects of privacy and security. Read on to learn more about each of these aspects, discover why they are important, and find out how NordVPN performed.

  1. Logging Policy
  2. Jurisdiction
  3. Protocol
  4. Encryption
  5. Own DNS Servers
  6. Kill Switch Test
  7. Leak Test

1. Logging Policy

What is a logging policy and why does it matter?

Since you’re using a VPN to ensure optimal privacy online, you probably wouldn’t expect your provider to store any information about your activity. However, most of them do. This information is kept in online records commonly referred to as logs.

VPN providers collect user data for a variety of reasons. Most of them do so to improve the performance of their servers, optimize their service, and prevent its illegal use.

The type and amount of information collected vary from provider to provider. All the information they may collect can be organized into the following four categories:

  • VPN-specific information: This is the basic data that shows your VPN provider who uses their service without revealing any sensitive information. It includes the address of the VPN server you use, the version of the app you have installed, and your operating system.
  • Usagespecific information:This data shows the provider how you use their service. It includes the exact times and dates you log in and out of the service, the volume of incoming and outgoing traffic, and the duration of each of your sessions.
  • IP address information: Some VPN providers also collect the IP address from which you log in to their service. This can help them determine your location, as well as your internet provider.
  • Browsing-specific information:This information gives your provider insight into your complete browsing history. They can see the addresses of the websites you visit, access your entire search history, and see what online services you may have used.

As already explained, thi information allows your provider to see who’s using their service and how they are using it. In most cases, this information is completely anonymous and collected in bulks, so it is typically harmless. Providers use it to monitor the performance of their service and address any issues they detect.

However, if you use a VPN to browse anonymously, you surely don’t want your provider to store your actual IP address. That would give them access to your physical location, thus potentially allowing them to trace your online activity back to you. Although this is not ideal, collecting users’ IP addresses is fairly common. Monitoring their browsing activity isn’t.

None of ourhighest rated VPN providerscollect your browsing activity. As a rule, it is most often collected by free providers who then sell it to data collectors or advertisers. That is one of the main reasons why we don’t recommend free VPN services.

Although most VPN providers claim not to store any of their users’ personal information, they all have different ideas of what constitutes personal information in the first place. For that reason, it is important to carefully read a provider’s privacy policy or a review of their service before you decide to sign up.

What is NordVPN’s logging policy like?

NordVPN is very clear about itslogging policy: It doesn’t collect any logs. In fact, it is probably the best zero-logs policy we have read at any VPN.

  • It does not track your online activity: The websites you visit, searches you make, files you download and services you use are all completely anonymous.
  • It does not store your connection data: The times and durations when you use the service are never tracked. And neither is your originating IP address.

All NordVPN tracks is anonymous and aggregated statistical information to maintain its servers. This includes:

  • How often a user has connected per month. Not which servers were used or at what time the user connected.
  • The total number of connected users per server and the server load (traffic, CPU, memory and disk usage).

NordVPN even went through the trouble of having a top-tier auditing firm (PwC) independently audit its no-log claims. You can view this audithere, but only after you have signed up for the service.

In short: You are truly anonymous using NordVPN.

2. Jurisdiction

What isa jurisdictionand why does it matter?

In simple terms, a jurisdiction is the location where a VPN provider is registered. The provider must adhere to local laws and regulations regarding online privacy and security, which is why this is an important consideration.

Countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, and many EU member states have strictdata retention policiesthat require internet service providers (ISPs) to keep their users’ personal information on record. This information can include online activity, search history, and email correspondence.

When you use a VPN, all your personal data is encrypted so that not even your ISP can see it. This prevents your ISP from storing any potentially sensitive information, thus allowing you to browse the internet freely, which is one of the main reasons why people use VPNs in the first place.

Despite what you may have heard, VPNs aren’t subject to the same data retention laws as ISPs. That’s because the former are private network providers whereas the latter are public network providers. As such, VPNs don’t necessarily have to collect any of your personal information.

Those VPNs that do keep data logs may claim that they will never share them with third parties, but governmental agencies may still gain access to them without you knowing. For example, US federal agencies are authorized to issue secret subpoenas (such as National Security Letters) that enable them to seize control of data logs as well as VPN servers.

Attempts to seize data by governmental agenciesare more common than you may think. It was one of those attempts that forcedLavabit, an encrypted email provider, to close up shop rather than turn in the information they had on Edward Snowden to theNSA. Similarly,Private Internet Accessclosed their Russian servers in 2016 so they wouldn’t have to adhere to the country’s strict data retention rules.

To avoid problems like this, you can do one or both of the following:

  • Opt for a VPN provider that has a strict zero-log policy and doesn’t store any sensitive information (e.g. browsing and search history).
  • Opt for a VPN provider that is registered in a country that isn’t a member of international intelligence treaties like theUKUSAAgreement and doesn’t have data retention regulations.

What is NordVPN’s jurisdiction?

NordVPN is incorporated in Panama. This means that it is outside the reach of the data retention laws and intelligence agreements of the US and EU.

3. Protocol

What is a protocol and why does it matter?

A VPN protocol is a series of processes that define how the data you send and receive is formatted and transmitted over the internet or a local area network (LAN). Different services usedifferent protocolswith varying levels of speed, compatibility, and security. These includeL2TP,SSTP,IKEv2,PPTP, andOpenVPN, which is generally considered the most secure.

What protocols does NordVPN use?

NordVPN supports IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN (TCP/UDP). Especially the latter is important, as OpenVPN is considered the most secure VPN protocol.

4. Encryption

What is encryption and why does it matter?

Encryption is the technology that makes private data transmitted over the internet unreadable to users who aren’t authorized to see it. To decipher and read encrypted data, both the sender and the recipient need to have access to theencryption key.

Most VPNs used one of the two versions of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) which differ in terms of the key length. They are AES-128, which is 128-characters long and alreadynext-to-impossible to crack, and AES-256, which is twice as long and thus even more secure.

What encryption standard does NordVPN use?

NordVPN uses the most secure (AES-256) encryption standard.

5. Own DNS Servers

What are DNS servers and why does it matter?

Every website on the internet has an IP address, a long string of numbers that is unique to that site. When you want to visit a website, rather than having to remember all those numbers, you can simply enter itsdomain name(for example “Google.com”) and you will be redirected to its IP address.

This is made possible by aDNS server. DNS (which stands for Domain Name System) is a physical server that stores a large number of IP addresses along with the corresponding domain names. Whenever you enter a domain name, it ensures that you get to the right IP address. In that sense, a DNS server is much like a switchboard operator for the internet age.

If your VPN provider has its own DNS servers, the redirection process takes place in the same encryptedVPN tunnelthat protects all your other data from unauthorized access. This, in turn, prevents any third party – be it a governmental agency or your ISP – from logging, intercepting, or censoring your activity.

Does NordVPN use its own DNS servers?

Yes. NordVPN operates its own DNS servers.

6. Kill Switch Test

What is a kill switch and why is it important?

Your VPN connection may fail for any number of reasons. If that happens, a kill switch will automatically disconnect you from the internet and resume the connection as soon as it reconnects to the server of your choice. In doing so, it will ensure that your online activity remains hidden from the prying eyes.

Does NordVPN use a kill switch?

Yes. NordVPN uses a kill switch.

7. Leak Test

What is a “leak” and why is it important?

Leaks occur when a VPN client fails to encrypt all your data, thus making parts of it (for example, your actual IP address) visible to your ISP or the websites you visit. Some of the most common leaks includeIP leaks,DNS leaks,Windows login leaks, andWebRTC leaks.

Does NordVPN leak your data?

AV-Testuncovered a WebRTC leak on some of their VPN servers. Installing NordVPN’s browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox will be able to fix these.

The Good: NordVPN is one the fastest VPNs in the industry. Although all VPNs slow your connection speed down, NordVPN has a smaller impact than most. NordVPN In our tests, it slowed our speed down by about 15%, which is much less than most VPNs, which slow you down by about 40%.

The Bad: Speeds do very between their servers. So test a few servers to find out which works best for you.

What is a speed test and why does it matter?

Even though VPNs keep your data secure, the encryption and rerouting of traffic through a VPN server will inevitably slow down your connection. This means that it will take you longer to download files, load websites, or buffer streaming videos than it does without a VPN.

To avoid speed issues and stay secure online, here are a few things you can do:

  • Choose a VPN server near you.As a rule, the farther your data has to travel, the longer it takes to reach its destination. Thankfully, most VPNs nowadays allow you to choose the location of the server you want to connect to. If you’re using a VPN to browse anonymously, pick a server that is physically close to your current location to improve yourlatencyand download speeds.
  • Always choose afast VPN.Although they might cost the same, not all VPNs offer the same download speeds. For example, whereas TunnelBear can be very slow, Hotspot Shield is so fast that you may not even notice any difference compared to your regular download speeds.
  • Compare server performance.Many users connect to the server their VPN client automatically suggests, but this is not always the fastest solution. If you’re unhappy with your download speed, try connecting to a few other servers, run aspeed testfor each of them, and pick the fastest one.

How did NordVPN score in the speed test?

We were testing from Europe on a base of connection of 90 – 100 Mbps.

With NordVPN turned off, our download speed was 96mbps and upload speed 100mbps. Our ping (latency) was 3ms.

We then logged in to the NordVPN app, allowed the software to choose a server for us, and repeated the test: 95mbps download and 96mbps upload. The ping increased to 6ms. That difference is so small, you won’t even notice it. Really impressive.

To get the full picture, we also put NordVPN through its paces on servers around the world. As expected, the German server gave excellent speeds in both categories, along with low ping. Download was 85mbps and upload was 93mbps.

After that, we tried the UK server and got a drop of 3% in download and 6% in upload. The latency was low enough for fast-paced multiplayer games.

The server in Australia performed a lot better than some might expect. We had 55mbps for download and 30 for upload. That’s much faster than with many other apps. The Singapore server gave us a somewhat quicker download but slightly slower upload compared to Australia.

Finally, US servers performed slower than the German server but were still pretty fast. Dallas had the fastest download speed at 78mbps and LA the slowest at only 60mbps. The upload was surprisingly best in Seattle at 45mbps and the slowest in Dallas at 30mbps.

The Good: NordVPN has a huge server network, offering 5700 servers in 59 countries. It is available for all major operating software (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux), offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, and has a dedicated Android TV app. On top of that, it works perfectly will all streaming services including Netflix, and allows the use of Kodi and downloading of torrents (P2P) on nearly all of its servers.

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The Bad: It isn’t a great option to avoid censorship in China, and it doesn’t have a browser extension for Safari.

What features do we test for?

  1. Server Locations
  2. Platform and Devices
  3. Number of Connections
  4. Streaming and Torrenting
  5. Bypassing Censorship

1. Server Locations

What is a server location and why is it important?

Most VPNs have servers in a few dozen countries around the world. These are known as server locations. While most VPNs allow you to choose the country you want to connect to, a few even let you choose a specific city or a server. For example, rather than connecting to a random server in the United States, you can choose a server located in Seattle or San Francisco.

This is important because the closer the VPN server is to your actual location, the faster your connection will be. If you’re in Germany and connect to an Australian server, your data will have to travel a long way before you can connect to the internet. But if you have the option to choose a server in, say, Austria or even some German city other than your own, your speed will be almost the same as it is without a VPN.

Where are NordVPN’s servers located?

NordVPN has over 5200 servers in 62 countries, which is far more than most VPNs offer and more than enough for nearly all users.See the entire list of server locations here.

2. Platforms and Devices

What are platforms and devices and why are they important?

The term platforms refers to all theoperating systems, devices, and browsers that are supported by your VPN. As a rule, most VPN providers have apps that can work on all popular operating systems – MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. Some also offer support for Linux. In addition, select providers allow you to install a VPN directly onto your router or use it in the form of abrowser extension.

Speaking of browser extensions, not all of them are actual VPNs even though they’re advertised as such. The extensions available for download usually fall into one of the following three categories:

  • Full VPNs. These extensions encrypt your data inside the VPN tunnel, mask your IP address, and give you full control of the VPN app, thus allowing you to adjust settings directly from your browser.
  • Proxy servers.While proxy servers mask your IP address, they don’t encrypt your data. This means that the websites you visit won’t be able to see your real IP address, but your ISP will still be able to track your online activity.
  • Proxy servers with encryption.Some proxy servers add an extra layer of security to encrypt your data. However, all these features only apply to the data sent and received within your browser. If, say, you’re streaming music on Spotify or using the Netflix app for Windows 10, your app activity won’t be encrypted.

What platforms and devices does NordVPN support?

NordVPN has custom apps for all major operating software, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux. It is also easy to install NordVPN on a router.

NordVPN comes with browser extensions for Chrome en Firefox. But do keep in mind that these only encrypt the data that flows through your browser. You’ll need use the main NordVPN app to encrypt the data flowing through the rest of your device.

Finally, NordVPN offers a dedicated Android TV app.

3. Number of Connections

What are connections and why are they important?

Most VPNs allow you to simultaneously protect multiple devices with a single subscription. This is indicated by the maximum number of connections allowed by the provider. For individual users, 3 connections are usually enough to protect their computer, phone, and a tablet or Smart TV. On the other hand, families and users who want to share a subscription with friends may need at least 5 connections.

How many simultaneous connections does NordVPN support?

NordVPN allows you to protect 6 devices at the same time. This makes it an excellent choice for both personal and family use. It also drives the price per device down significantly in comparison to ExpressVPN, which only allows you to protect 3 devices at the same time.

4. Streaming and Torrenting

What are streaming and torrenting and why are they important?

VPNs provide a simple solution for users who want to watch Hulu or some other region-locked streaming service from outside the United States. Similarly, logging in to your Netflix account while connected to a VPN server located in a country of your choice will give you access to that country’s Netflix catalog.

In addition to encrypting your browser traffic, some VPNs also provide support for file sharing services. This means that you can download torrents safely and not worry about being caught by your ISP.

Does NordVPN support streaming and torrenting?

NordVPN works with all streaming services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Now TV, HBO or Sky. And as torrenting (P2P) and Kodi are allowed on nearly all servers, you can expect to download torrents and high speeds.

5. Bypassing Censorship

What is censorship and why is it important?

In many parts of the world, the internet is subject to strictgovernment censorship. TheGreat Firewall of Chinais perhaps the best-known example, although countries like Turkey and Russia aren’t far behind.

For people living in these and other countries where the internet is heavily censored, VPNs provide a great way to bypass these restrictions. However, not all VPNs work in these countries. Seeing as it is the most populous country in the world with very strict internet regulations, we have usedChinaas a reference point to see how good VPN providers are at bypassing censorship.

To learn more about internet censorship around the world, check out the following resources:

Does NordVPN bypass censorship successfully?

NordVPN is not as reliable as ExpressVPN in China. It does, however, work in other censored countries like Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Trustpilot / BitDefender
Trustpilot / BullGuard
Trustpilot / CyberGhost
Trustpilot / ExpressVPN
Trustpilot / Hotspot Shield
Trustpilot / NordVPN
Trustpilot / Norton
Trustpilot / Panda Security
Trustpilot / Private Internet Access
Trustpilot / SurfShark
Trustpilot / UltraVPN
Trustpilot / ZenMate

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