Mullvad VPN Review

Why Choose Mullvad VPN

With 100+ servers in 22 countries across the world, Mullvad sets itself apart from the competition. They don’t just say they respect your privacy – they actually do something about it. It’s one of the few really private VPN providers that allow you to stay as anonymous as you can get when using a VPN. If privacy is your thing, check it out.

mullvad vpn
You get three hours of a free, unrestricted trial, and you don’t need to register. In fact, you don’t need to register with Mullvad at all. Instead, once you fill out a captcha, Mullvad assigns you a unique 12-digit code you then use as your account identifier.

The free trial gives you the access to all features so you can test the app performance, speeds, run leak tests and get an overall idea of how well it suits your needs.

After that, there’s only one plan – Mullvad charges 5 euro per month in any currency based on the current exchange rates. That’s $5.89, at the moment.

They accept wire transfers, PayPal, credit card, Swish, Bankgiro, and even cash. Place your money and your account number in an envelope and mail it to Sweden. You never need to identify yourself other than by the account number.

AirVPN Review

Founded by a group of “activists and hacktivists in defense of net neutrality, privacy and against censorship,” the company’s core values center on dedication to its customers and protection of their privacies. Each of their server has its own IP. All users on a particular server share the same IP, which makes user identification difficult and ensures maximum privacy and anonymity.

AirVPN is pretty competitive when it comes to pricing. Subscriptions are available for as short as 3 days and as long as a year. A free 3-day trial is supposedly available if you send their support desk a request, but I waited for 24 hours, and never received my voucher.

The three day plan costs $2.22, which is great because if you're like a lot of people, you prefer subscribing to a short-term plan, and on an as-needed basis. A 1-month subscription comes in at $7.76, which is pricey in comparison to other VPN’s, but it drops down to $5.54 per month if you commit to a 3-month plan. The 12-month subscription is only $4.52 per month, prepaid at $54.33. All plans come with the same feature set, so there’s no need to buy a premium, long-term subscription in order to access things like OpenVPN and p2p.

 

IPVanish VPN Review

IPVanish is headquartered in Phoenix. The company was founded in 2012, and claiming it won the Info Security Products Guide’s 2016 Startup of the Year Award. It offers 24-7, 365 customer support, has a “zero log policy” and claims to be the fastest, most secure VPN network on the planet

Single plan pricing begins at $10/month-to-month then drops to $6.49/month if you sign up for a whole year at $77.99. Their 7-day money back guarantee will be processed in 10 business days if cancelled on the website. Refunds of variably priced currencies, including BitCoin, are paid at the US Dollar exchange rate at the time of refund.

 

Adobe Premiere Pro 2020 v14.8.0.39 Full version





Video editing that’s always a cut above.
Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2020 Full version is the leading video editing software for film, TV, and the web. Creative tools, integration with other Adobe apps and services, and the power of Adobe Sensei help you craft footage into polished films and videos in one seamless workflow. And Premiere Rush, our new app, is included with your subscription so you can capture footage and start editing on all your devices, anywhere.
 

 Smart tools. Better storytelling.
Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2020 Full version is used by Hollywood filmmakers, TV editors, YouTubers, videographers - anyone with a story to tell, including you.
 

 Stay in your creative flow.
Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2020 Full version is the industry leader for editing everything from fast-turn TV series to feature films. Integrated, efficient workflows let you polish your work without leaving your timeline. And automated tools powered by Adobe Sensei speed up time-consuming tasks, so you can focus on your story.
 

 Any camera. Any format. Any platform.
Edit footage in any modern format, from 8K to virtual reality. Broad native file support and simple proxy workflows make it easy to work with your media, even on mobile workstations. Delivering content that’s optimized for any screen or platform is faster than ever.
 

 Everything you need. Right where you need it.
Along with tools for color, audio, and graphics, Premiere Pro works seamlessly with other apps and services, including After Effects, Adobe Audition, and Adobe Stock. Open a Motion Graphics template from After Effects or download one from Adobe Stock and customize it - all without leaving the app. And Premiere Pro integrates with hundreds of partner technologies.

 Key features:

    Easily switch between low and high-res formats
    Creative workflow and advanced integration
    Versatile, fast and efficient video editor
    High-quality graphics, videos, 3D objects, etc.
    Collaborate and share with Team Projects
    Create edit and make professional productions
    Easily make the switch from Final Cut or Avid
    Support up-to 8K video in native format
    And so much more.



 Minimum Requirements:


    Windows 7 SP1/ 8/ 8.1/ 10 (64-bit only)
    3 GHz multi-core processor
    8 GB RAM (memory)
    8 GB hard disk space
    1280 x 800 display
    2 GB VRAM
    Sound card 

Pure VPN Review

 

PureVPN has a lot you would want from a reliable VPN – plenty of servers, excellent security features, and affordable prices. Yet, it also raised some privacy concerns in the past.

For those interested in streaming, PureVPN can be a viable option. This VPN unblocks not only Netflix but other streaming platforms, such as BBC iPlayer or Disney+ as well. There’s also a Kodi add-on available.

In the meantime, torrenting fans should be happy with this service and its port forwarding feature. There are plenty of servers to choose from, and a kill switch to protect your identity.

You can download PureVPN apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Additionally, you can get a browser extension for Chrome or Firefox. The list of supported devices also includes Amazon Fire TV, smart TVs, game consoles, routers, and Roku.

In this PureVPN review, I’ll discuss its security and privacy, performance, ease-of-use, customer support, and other things. Let’s see if the deal’s worth it!

PureVPN Pros
1. Supports All Major Protocols (OpenVPN, IPSec, L2TP …)
‘Man-in-the-middle’ (MiTM) attacks are some of the oldest (and most common) ways that hackers gain access to your sensitive information.

You might not even sense that anything is wrong. But somehow, someway, someone has placed themselves between you and your intended connection (like a browser or a website).

They can then read your emails, see what websites you’re going to, grab your session cookies to fool different websites into thinking they’re you, and even get personal information or passwords.

Many times the very tools used to help intercept these practices, like WiFi Pineapple, can be used to perform them by anyone, anywhere. Like, sitting in your local coffee shop for instance. Now, browsing emails or booking a flight while sipping a latte can turn out to be not such a relaxing afternoon after all.

This potential risk now extends to mobile devices, apps, and even your smart devices too.

To combat these problems, PureVPN offers all major protocols, including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, and even IKEv2.

While OpenVPN is your best bet to get both benefits from security and speed, you might also need to choose L2TP/IPSec based on device availability or PPTP (in only a few certain cases where you’re not as worried about security vulnerabilities).

2. Industry Standard 256-bit Encryption
Brute force attacks are another unfortunately common practice.

Hackers eventually figure out your passwords and pin numbers through a series of repetitive, lightning-fast, trial-and-error combinations.

They’re one of the oldest tricks in the book (besides simply guessing your spouse’s birthday or kid’s name). And they’re actually increasing.

For example, a recent wide-spread attack on WordPress sites has been directed by a Russian company being used by the country to launch cyber attacks (you can’t make this stuff up).

The best form of defense in this case, is prevention. That comes in the form of 256-bit encryption, which is one of the most secure connections possible. It is so secure that it is used by government agencies around the world.

Your encrypted tunnel gets sealed shut so that third-party sites, ISPs, and nefarious, shadowy organizations worthy of being the next Bond villain, can’t see what you’re up to.

In addition, your privacy and anonymity is completely safe thanks to their ‘end-to-end’ connection. This includes when you switch from one IP to another (or another, or another) across PureVPN’s 80,000+ options.

3. Some Pretty Cool Features
One of the things that I really liked about PureVPN is just how many features and options they offer their users.

For starters, they offer a kill switch, five simultaneous connections, support for all major protocols, DDoS protection, advanced port forwarding, split tunneling, and a NAT Firewall.

In fact, they provide such a plethora of ways to optimize and customize your VPN experience that it would make even the best VPN blush.

Unfortunately, while these services are great in theory they have some functionality issues that need to be worked out.

I personally experienced a killswitch failure and, after reviewing a number of forums and third-party reviews, realized that almost every customer has experienced some type of issue here or there with some of the features that PureVPN offers.

4. Unrestricted Torrenting
PureVPN is solidly pro-torrenting.

Why’s that noteworthy?

Because ever since copyright infringement lawsuits have began flooding the marketplace, more and more VPNs are shying away from P2P servers.

Often, the ones who do still offer torrenting-friendly servers only allow it on a small handful of offerings.

But PureVPN doesn’t have these restrictions.

You’re free to use torrenting on any of their servers. So download away!

5. Quick Live Chat Support with OK responses
When dealing with a VPN, your security is on the line. As such, you want to ensure that your questions and concerns can be addressed quickly and efficiently through a responsive customer support department.

When we first reviewed PureVPN, we were not happy with their support. While it offered live chat functionality, all of the responses seemed to be auto generated. However, PureVPN responded well to criticism and came back with a responsive and quick live chat system that directly addressed the questions I asked in under a minute.

I started off with a simple two-question approach. I wanted to know if users are able to utilize the TOR network, and I wanted to know what was being done to prevent DNS leaks.

4. 2/4 Netflix Servers Worked Properly
PureVPN claims to work with Netflix. That’s actually a bigger deal than you might think.

Netflix and VPNs have been at war for a few years. Whereas once users could utilize a VPN’s tunneling service to access geo-blocked Netflix content from other countries, the streaming service eventually caught onto this and unleashed a blocking system that stops most VPNs cold.

When we tested a select number of PureVPN’s servers with Netflix, we had a 50% success rate, which is huge!

Here are the four PureVPN servers that we connected to before checking Netflix:

United States: WORKED
Canada: WORKED
United Kingdom: BLOCKED
Netherlands: NO NL SERVER
Most VPNs out there can’t get any Netflix functionality, so the fact that we got two out of four to play Netflix content even almost places PureVPN on our Netflix-friendly VPN list. That’s a huge feather in the cap of this service.

PureVPN Cons
PureVPN is an affordable service, they have some cool features, and a great selection of servers. But there are a number of issues that potential users must take into account before they entrust this service with their internet security.

1. Slow Download Speed
NOTE: This Speed Test was done in 2019, so I can’t say that it’s still accurate.

Here’s a speed test I ran on speedtest.net to ensure the accuracy of this review. I then connected to PureVPN and ran these tests once more.

Here are our results:

US Server (New York)
Ping: 125ms
Download: 29.41 Mbps
Upload: 29.06 Mbps
EU Server (Amsterdam)
Ping: 40ms
Download: 35.49 Mbps
Upload: 27.29 Mbps
Asia Server (Hong Kong)

Ping: 355ms
Download: 6.77 Mbps
Upload: 3.62 Mbps
UK Server (London)
Ping: 53ms
Download: 62.48 Mbps
Upload: 45.90 Mbps
Their Amsterdam server (the fastest that I could find) only topped out at 35 Mbps out of 100, which is not great.

That’s troubling when you consider that their top competitor, PIA, offers servers with more than double the download speed at a very similar price.

2. No Leaks Found
When you are in the market for a VPN, you are typically there for one reason and one reason only.

Security.

Whether you want to protect yourself when working from public wi-fi or bypass censorship laws in your country, personal security is (and should be) your primary concern when selecting a new VPN service.

I tested their service on the following websites and found no leaks:

IPLeak.net
Perfect-Privacy.com
BrowserLeaks
IPX.ac
VirtualTotal.com
3. As of 2019 PureVPN is a Certified “No-Log” VPN
PureVPN markets their product as a “Zero Logs” VPN.

Since last year, they’ve been audited by a 3rd party company and are now certified as a “No-Log” VPN.

Costs, Plans, and Payment Options
The first, and most noticeable ‘pro’ about using PureVPN is the price tag.

They’re still one of the cheapest VPNs on the market and offer a phenomenal price for customers on their 1-year plan.

Month-to-Month Plan

$10.95 per month
0% Savings
3 Months Plan

$8.00 per month
27% Savings
One Year Plan

$3.33 per month
70% Savings
They also allow customers to purchase their service with almost every payment method imaginable (even Target gift cards). It’s nice to see untraceable crypto currencies listed as a payment option. This will allow users to pay with an untraceable online only form of currency. That’s a huge plus for VPN users who want to remain hidden.

HMA VPN Review

HMA VPN (formerly HideMyAss) is a VPN provider based in the UK with a long and interesting history. While it remains a relatively popular VPN today with a large user base, it did not do very well in testing for this review.

Today, HMA is owned by the cybersecurity company Avast and still has a relatively large user base. Actual testing of the VPN servers and VPN apps revealed mixed results, which prevent us from recommending this VPN.

Here is an overview of all findings for this HMA VPN review:


Pros of HideMyAss
User-friendly apps with strong encryption
Large server network
Live chat support
Now a “no-log VPN”
Cons of HideMyAss
No monthly subscription plans
Does not work well for streaming
Troubling history of data sharing
UK jurisdiction (bad for privacy)
Buggy kill switch (with IP leaks)

HMA uses the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption, which is implemented through OpenVPN on Windows and Android devices and via IPSec/IKEv2 on Mac OS and iOS:

HMA uses only the highest encryption standard: 256-bit AES. On Windows and Android, we implement it with the OpenVPN protocol in Galois Counter Mode (AES-256-GCM), with 4096-bit RSA keys for handshakes, authenticated with SHA256. On Mac and iOS, we implement it with IKEv2/IPsec, built atop Apple’s own stack, to ensure the best compatibility.

While IPSec/IKEv2 is indeed a secure VPN protocol, the industry standard is OpenVPN. As such, it would be good to see the OpenVPN protocol supported on Mac OS as well. With iOS, the operating system is somewhat restricted to IKEv2. Another emerging VPN protocol is WireGuard, which promises faster speeds and upgraded security. HMA does not support WireGuard at this time. mm

If you are a Mac OS user and you want to utilize the OpenVPN protocol (recommended) then check out my guide on the best VPN for Mac OS to see other alternatives. 

Large server network

Hide My Ass claims to have “the biggest VPN network” with “1000+ VPN servers in 290+ locations covering 190+ countries.” If you look at their server map and location list, you find some very strange places. For example, HMA claims to have servers in North Korea:

I can tell you with 100% certainty that HMA does not have physical servers in North Korea. Instead, they are using virtual server locations, and we’ll explain this more below.

Putting the virtual server issue aside, HMA still has a pretty big server network. This may be beneficial for some users who want or need IP addresses in remote locations – such as North Korea…

There are also some other VPNs with large server networks around the world, particularly NordVPN and IPVanish.

Now a “no-log VPN”

Earlier this year, HMA VPN officially transitioned to being a no logs VPN service. Before this change, HideMyAss was infamous for logging user data and providing it to authorities, which we’ll cover below in the cons section.

Here was the previous logging policy of HMA VPN:

Yes, HMA keeps connection logs, that means time of connect, disconnect, duration and bandwidth usage. This is done to prevent abuse and for diagnostic purposes.

They were also logging IP addresses, which was disclosed in the Privacy Policy.

Today, however, HMA claims to be a no logs VPN service. It also underwent an audit by Versprite to verify the no-logs claims

ExpressVPN Review

 

expressvpn

ExpressVPN is a well-regarded VPN service used by many people – but how well does it actually perform?

In the past few months, ExpressVPN has undergone some big security and infrastructure updates. The biggest change has been the release of Lightway, a new VPN protocol that promises faster speeds and upgraded encryption – but it also comes with some noteworthy drawbacks.

In this new and updated ExpressVPN review, we set out to answer these questions:

How fast is ExpressVPN and does it outperform other leading VPNs?
How well do the features and leak-protection settings work?
Are the VPN apps secure and user-friendly?
Can it unblock Netflix and other streaming services?
Is ExpressVPN worth the (above average) price?
We purchased an ExpressVPN account and tested the VPN apps on both desktop and mobile operating systems to answer these questions and more. All test results are posted bellow.

Here is a brief overview of our findings:

Pros of ExpressVPN

Secure VPN apps for all devices
Strong encryption, good security features, and no leaks
No-logs VPN in a safe jurisdiction
Large and secure server network
Works with Netflix and other streaming services
Secure browser extensions
Split tunneling feature
Secure and reliable mobile apps
Dedicated VPN router app (for unlimited connections)
Great customer support and refund policy

Cons of ExpressVPN

Above average prices
Slow OpenVPN speeds
Fewer features than other leading VPNs
Additional research findings

Lightway Protocol (Pros and Cons)

Can you use ExpressVPN for torrenting? (Yes)
Does ExpressVPN work in China? (Yes)
How many connections do you get with ExpressVPN?
Is ExpressVPN worth it?
Now let’s examine the details and findings of this ExpressVPN review, starting with the pros.

1. Secure VPN apps for all devices

When it comes to secure, reliable, and user-friendly VPN apps that just work, ExpressVPN is one of the best options available.

They offer dedicated apps for all major operating systems and devices, including:

Windows
Mac OS
Linux
Android
iOS
Routers
Chromebook
Kindle Fire and Nook

2. Strong encryption, good security features, and no leaks

When it comes to implementing strong encryption and security, ExpressVPN does not cut any corners. We’ll examine the encryption, VPN protocols, security features, and leak test results in this section.

ExpressVPN encryption

With the OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, ExpressVPN uses an AES-256 cipher with an RSA-4096 key and SHA-512 HMAC authentication. The Lightway protocol uses AES-256-GCM and ChaCha20/Poly1305 ciphers to encrypt traffic, along with D/TLS 1.2 for server authentication.

The AES-256 and ChaCha20 ciphers offer an extremely high level of encryption that is currently considered unbreakable, even with modern quantum computers. They also provide excellent performance, especially the Lightway protocol (test results below). Additionally, ExpressVPN supports Perfect Forward Secrecy negotiated through a Diffie-Hellman key exchange.

ExpressVPN Network Lock (kill switch)
ExpressVPN refers to the kill switch as the Network Lock. The Network Lock feature will keep your data secure by blocking all traffic if the VPN connection drops. This ensures every data packet remains encrypted and secure, with your real IP address being protected at all times.

The Network Lock feature is currently available in the following apps:

Windows
Mac OS
Linux
Routers
Below you can see ExpressVPN’s Network Lock feature under the General settings in the Windows app:

The Network Lock feature worked well when I tested it out with Windows and Mac OS. All traffic was effectively blocked when I manually interrupted the VPN connection.

The kill switch (Network Lock) is important to keep your data secure if your connection drops for any reason. Most VPNs offer this feature, but in many cases it does not work well.

Kill switch for mobile devices – On mobile devices, ExpressVPN does not offer the official Network Lock feature, but it still has a kill switch to protect against traffic leaks.

Android has the “Network Protection” option that functions as a kill switch and will block traffic when the connection drops.
iOS has the “Auto-Connect” feature that will also block traffic and automatically reconnect the VPN when your internet connection resumes.

ExpressVPN leaktest results (no leaks)
I ran the ExpressVPN apps through some basic VPN tests to identify any issues or problems. The main testing site I used was ipleak.net. I did not find any leaks or security issues with any of the ExpressVPN apps.

3. No-logs VPN in a safe jurisdiction
ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs with no logs that have been verified and proven to be true. Why is this important? Choosing a VPN is all about trust, since the VPN has the ability to log and record your data. There have been at least two cases where “no logs” VPNs have given up information on their users:

IPVanish handed over logs to the FBI for a criminal investigation (details in the IPVanish review).
PureVPN also provided government agents with data logs for a criminal case (see the PureVPN review for more info).
But back to ExpressVPN. First, we will take an in-depth look at ExpressVPN’s policies, then we’ll cover the real-world cases that verified these policies.

ExpressVPN no-logs policy
ExpressVPN explains their general stance on logging as follows:

ExpressVPN is a premium VPN provider focused on user privacy and anonymity. Our network is built around specifically NOT knowing the internet activities of our users. As privacy is a core part of our service offering, ExpressVPN is in the business of protecting our users’ private internet data.

ExpressVPN passed third-party audit of logging policies
ExpressVPN is also one of a handful of VPNs that has been independently audited.

To verify and prove their no-logs claims, ExpressVPN underwent a third-party audit from PricewaterhouseCoopers. The audit verified the TrustedServer feature (discussed below), no logs policy, and that all privacy protections are being adhered to correctly.

Very few VPNs have undergone third-party audits to verify logging policies. And there’s also further proof that ExpressVPN is following a true no-logs policy. This is an advantage ExpressVPN has over other leading VPNs, as you can see in the ProtonVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison.

ExpressVPN servers seized: ‘no logs’ policy tested
In December 2017 news broke that authorities in Turkey seized an ExpressVPN server in an attempt to obtain customer data. Before the server was seized in Turkey, Turkish authorities had attempted to force ExpressVPN to provide logs from the server in question. ExpressVPN informed the officials that they are a no-logs VPN, not subject to Turkish law, and they do not have any data to provide.

After these demands failed, the Turkish government then seized an ExpressVPN server, but still came up empty-handed in their quest for user data.

Why is this important?

The relevant issue here is that the authorities were not able to obtain any customer data – either through demands or seizing a server – because there were no logs available.

This case from Turkey, and also the no-logs audit, confirm ExpressVPN’s logging policies and overall commitment to securing customer data.

Located in a safe, privacy-friendly jurisdiction (BVI)
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The BVI is an independent, self-governing entity with strict laws protecting the privacy of businesses and individuals operating there.

Unlike the UK, the BVI has no mandatory data retention laws or wide-scale surveillance programs, which affect UK VPN services. Similar to Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands are well-known for strong privacy protection and data secrecy, unlike the different Five Eyes countries.

The judicial system in the BVI also cannot be compelled to force companies there to produce records on their customers. As a country, the BVI is fully independent and does not fall under any other country’s jurisdiction, despite the historical connection to Britain. We also see other VPNs incorporating in the BVI for these same reasons, as noted in the Surfshark review.

4. Large and secure server network
ExpressVPN offers a large selection of servers around the world, with a very secure network setup.

At the time of this review, ExpressVPN has about 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries. This includes a total of more than 3,000 VPN servers. Europe and North America have the best coverage, but they also offer a good selection of servers in South America, Africa, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific region.

All servers running in RAM-disk mode (TrustedServer feature)
ExpressVPN is now one of only a handful of VPNs that run all servers in RAM-disk mode. In other words, ExpressVPN does not use any hard drives with its server network, but instead, only RAM memory. This network security setup is referred to as the TrustedServer feature.

Does ExpressVPN offer static/dedicated IP addresses?
No, ExpressVPN does not offer dedicated IP addresses.

If you want a dedicated IP address, see my guide on VPNs with dedicated IPs for more details. (Note that dedicated/static IPs are not the best choice for privacy because your internet traffic is not getting mixed with other users.)

5. Works with Netflix and other streaming services
If you need a good VPN that works with Netflix and other streaming services, then ExpressVPN is a great choice. It is one of the few VPNs that continues to work with Netflix, providing 24/7 access.

For this review, I tested out US Netflix with an ExpressVPN server in Washington DC. Everything worked perfectly, as you can see below.

To use Netflix with ExpressVPN, simply start the ExpressVPN app on your device, connect to a server of your choice in the Netflix region you want to use, and then stream Netflix as normal.

If you get any kind of proxy error with Netflix when you are connected to an ExpressVPN server, just contact ExpressVPN’s chat support and they’ll tell which server(s) to use instead.

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for Netflix for three main reasons:

Good streaming quality with fast speeds (no buffering or interruptions)
24/7 access to Netflix (no network-wide blocks)
Unblocks numerous Netflix regions around the world: US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Japan, and Germany.
Other streaming services that work with ExpressVPN
In addition to Netflix, ExpressVPN also works well with Disney Plus and Amazon Prime. And if you need a VPN for Hulu or streaming Kodi, ExpressVPN works here as well.

Note on BBC iPlayer: We have gotten feedback that ExpressVPN is currently not working well for BBC iPlayer. As an alternative, we’d recommend either NordVPN or Surfshark for this service.

ExpressVPN is also one of the few VPNs for Firestick with a dedicated app you can find in the Amazon App Store.

6. Secure browser extensions
ExpressVPN offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers. The browser add-on is an extension of the ExpressVPN desktop app. This means you’ll need to be running the ExpressVPN Windows, Mac OS, or Linux desktop application.

Why use the browser extension when you can use the desktop VPN app?

The biggest advantage of using the browser app is convenience. It offers the ability to easily switch server locations directly in your browser, rather than having to navigate to the desktop VPN client. Here are some additional advantages of the ExpressVPN browser extensions:

Block WebRTC leaks in the browser (WebRTC is a privacy risk that can expose your real IP, even when using a good VPN).
Spoof your HTML5 geolocation data in the browser.
HTTPS Everywhere – automatically connects to the more-secure HTTPS version of websites where available.

7. Split tunneling feature
ExpressVPN offers a split tunneling feature with their applications for Windows, Mac OS, Android, and routers.

Split tunneling allows you to select which apps will go through the VPN tunnel and which can bypass the VPN to the regular (unencrypted) internet.

This feature can be found in the settings area of the VPN client. By default, all traffic and applications are routed through the VPN. In the settings, you can select three different options:

All apps use the VPN
Do not allow selected apps to use the VPN
Only allow selected apps to use the VPN

If you click the second or third options, a pop-up window appears, allowing you to select the specific apps.

This is also really useful with routers, because it allows you to select specific devices and/or websites to bypass the VPN.

8. Secure and reliable mobile apps
The ExpressVPN mobile apps I tested on Android and iOS performed very well.

Android users will be happy to hear they can take advantage of the Lightway protocol with the latest Android app release. This offers huge advantages to mobile users:

Seamlessly transition between different networks (WiFi and 4G) without your VPN connection dropping
Faster download speeds
Better reliability
Improved battery life
Legacy protocols, particularly OpenVPN, simply do not perform well on mobile devices. Lightway solves these problems.

Note: Lightway is available with the Android app right now, and will be released for iOS later in 2020. Meanwhile, iOS users can maximize performance by using the IKEv2 protocol, or stick with the traditional OpenVPN protocol.

Here’s a screenshot of the ExpressVPN iOS client.

9. Dedicated VPN router app (for unlimited connections)
ExpressVPN is also one of the few VPN services that offer a dedicated VPN router app. The router app works on select router models with the supported firmware.

Using a VPN on your router is a smart way to get an unlimited number of connections with your VPN. This is because the router will only count as one connection, but it will provide every device that connects to your router with the full benefits of the VPN: encrypted traffic, new IP address, location anonymity.

If you want to use ExpressVPN on your router, you have the following options:

Use the ExpressVPN router app on one of the supported router models (recommended)
Manually setup ExpressVPN on your router (more work, but not too difficult with some routers, such as with most Asus models)
Using the ExpressVPN router app (option 1) is the best solution because it offers the following features:

Easily switch between VPN servers
Split tunneling (select which apps or websites bypass the VPN)
Network Lock (kill switch) to block all traffic if the VPN connection drops
10. Great customer support and refund policy
While support with larger VPN services can sometimes be hit or miss, ExpressVPN seems to be doing quite well with live chat support.

I tested out ExpressVPN’s support repeatedly for this review. In all my interactions, I found the support department to be prompt, knowledgeable, and polite.

You can get access to 24/7 live chat support directly through their website in the bottom-right corner. With all of my chat sessions, I was connected with a representative in under a minute (no long delays).

30 day money-back guarantee
Another great benefit with ExpressVPN is that it offers one of the longest refund windows in the industry. With all VPN subscriptions (even one-month plans), you get a full 30 day money-back guarantee. If you are not 100% satisfied with your VPN subscription, you can cancel on day 30 for a full refund, no questions asked.

Overall ExpressVPN offers great customer support.

NordVPN Review

NordVPN is one of the best VPN providers out there, thanks to its ease of use, excellent security and wide server network. Find out more about what we liked and disliked about the service in this comprehensive and fully updated NordVPN review.

nordvpn

 

NordVPN sits among the best VPN providers around, offering fast and secure connections across the globe. Its recent security breach has caused some uncertainty in the service, bringing into question if it should be as popular as it is. We’re here to answer that question in our updated NordVPN review.

We’re going to look at its features, pricing, speed, privacy, ease of use and, of course, security to see if NordVPN is still among the best VPN options. We’ll bring in other top-tier providers for reference throughout, such as ExpressVPN, which currently sits at the top of our VPN rankings (read our ExpressVPN review).

If you want the short answer: yes, NordVPN is still among the best VPN options. There have been a lot of changes to the service, including the release of the extremely impressive NordLynx protocol. If you’d rather take it for a spin yourself, you can sign up risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros:

Very fast
Easy to use
Inexpensive long-term subscription
CyberSec
No-logs policy
P2P servers
Double-hop servers

Cons:

Expensive monthly plan
No free trial
Obnoxious live chat bot
Doesn’t accept PayPal 

For how robust NordVPN is in nearly all areas, it’s surprisingly light on features. The essentials are there, and NordVPN goes further with a range of unique servers, but there are some small extras missing. Namely, there isn’t a speed test or dedicated split tunneling, which ExpressVPN and PureVPN both offer.

That doesn’t mean NordVPN is devoid of features, though. You get a kill switch, which will automatically disconnect you from the internet should the VPN fail. There’s also “app kill,” which is similar to split tunneling, allowing you to use the kill switch only on certain apps. Still, your entire connection is going through the VPN tunnel.

Furthermore, you can set custom DNS servers and obfuscate your OpenVPN packets, though these features have become increasingly common among VPNs. What isn’t common is NordLynx, NordVPN’s proprietary take on WireGuard. We’ll talk more about that in the “security” and “speed” sections below.

Other than those features, there isn’t much. NordVPN offers a few automation options, allowing you to customize how auto-connect works, but that’s it. We like the list of features, overall, though the lack of split tunneling is disappointing. If that were included, this VPN would offer a well-rounded, concise list of features.

CyberSec
The only standout feature is CyberSec, which will block ads and malware when enabled (it’s turned off by default). Although NordVPN claims CyberSec is “an advanced technology solution,” it’s actually pretty simple. It blocks ads and malicious sites using a known blacklist.

In short, whenever you connect, CyberSec will automatically sift through the requests your browser makes. If any of them are directed at a hostname on the blacklist, that request will be blocked. This is far from new tech — nearly every ad blocker in the Chrome store does the same thing — but it’s nice to have bundled with your VPN.

The important thing to note with CyberSec is that it’s an ad blocker first, malware protection second. Sure, it can block malicious sites, but only those on a blacklist. A secure antivirus can usually detect sites and apps that haven’t yet made it onto a blacklist using machine learning.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t use CyberSec — it’s a great ad blocker in its own right — but it’s not a replacement for antivirus software.

Torrenting With NordVPN
The main draw for NordVPN is its unique server offerings, which we’ll get into in the “server locations” section below. On the list are peer-to-peer (P2P) servers, which are built specifically for torrenting. Although you get unlimited bandwidth no matter which server you choose, you should use the P2P ones for torrenting.

Torrenting copyrighted content is illegal in most countries, and although we’re not advocating for breaking the law, you should probably use a VPN if you’re going to torrent. Thankfully, NordVPN is a fine choice for torrenting, earning the top spot in our best VPN for torrenting guide. The P2P servers, combined with NordVPN’s excellent speeds, make it perfect for digital pirates.

NordVPN Router Support
With the goodies out of the way, let’s talk about a less exciting area of features: platform support. Nord offers VPN apps for just about every platform out there, with decent legacy support, to boot. Windows 7 to 10, macOS, iOS, Android and Linux are fully supported with applications. However, you can get NordVPN working on just about any operating system.

NordVPN has a setup guide for nearly every platform you can dream up, from Western Digital network-attached storage to a BlackBerry. If you’re bumping up against your simultaneous connection limit, you can install the VPN on your router, too. Although all local traffic will flow through the VPN tunnel, your router counts as only a single device. Plus, NordVPN is one of our best VPN for routers picks.

Pricing

NordVPN isn’t a cheap VPN service, especially on the monthly end of things. Sure, the month-to-month and annual cost isn’t bad, especially compared to services like Hide.me and Astrill, but we’ve seen cheaper. For example, Mullvad costs only $5 per month, no matter how long you subscribe (read our Mullvad review).

NordVPN comes into its own with long-term subscriptions. With how cheap the per-month cost is for the two- and three-year options, the monthly and annual choices are nearly obsolete. We’re glad they’re around if you can’t drop more than $100 on a VPN at once. Still, if you want to buy in, it’s best to buy in for the long term.

The monthly cost is too high, as is the annual cost, rivaling even ExpressVPN (see how the two compare directly in our ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison). If you’re interested in a month-to-month or annual subscription, TorGuard and PIA offer excellent rates for durations of less than a year.

Each subscription comes with six simultaneous connections, which is fine considering NordVPN can easily be installed on a router. ExpressVPN offers five simultaneous connections, and CyberGhost offers seven, so six is a fine middle ground.

As for payment, NordVPN accepts nearly everything outside of straight up cash, including bitcoin. The only other thing missing is PayPal, which NordVPN removed about a year ago.

It’s important to note that although NordVPN limits you to six simultaneous connections, you can install the app on as many platforms as you want. That said, only six of those devices can actively be connected at any one time.

Does NordVPN Have a Free Trial?
You’ll get the best value with NordVPN by subscribing for a year or more, but you’ll need to pay upfront. NordVPN doesn’t offer any sort of free trial on its desktop app, at least not in the traditional sense. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee in place, so you have up to a month to change your mind and get a full refund, no questions asked

There is, however, a week-long VPN trial on mobile. Simply download the NordVPN app on iOS or Android and get started. The trial is tied to Google Pay or Apple Pay, depending on your platform, and you’ll need a card on file to take advantage of the trial. Still, that’s a week of protection without spending a dime, at least on your mobile devices.

User Friendliness

NordVPN is dead simple to use, from the no-nonsense signup process to making your first VPN connection. Although the app isn’t as streamlined as services like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost, it’s highly intuitive. There’s rarely a question about what you need to do to secure your connection.

Let’s start at the top, though. Signing up for NordVPN is straightforward, with multiple buttons on the site leading to the checkout page. If you can’t find a way to make it to the checkout page, a VPN is probably above your pay grade. Once there, all you need to do is select a plan, enter your email and choose a payment method.

You can then download the app, either by going to the “VPN apps” section of the site or by logging in and going to the “downloads” tab. When you log in, there’s a dashboard where you can purchase a dedicated IP, view your billing history and set up the browser extension. More on that last one in a bit.

Speed

As with all of our speed tests, we tested NordVPN using OpenVPN UDP with AES-256 encryption. That way, we can easily compare NordVPN with the fastest VPN providers out there because OpenVPN with AES-256 is pretty much universal across servers.

Outside of the New York location, we let NordVPN do the heavy lifting, automatically selecting the fastest VPN server for the region we were testing.

NordVPN gave us some wildly inconsistent results on OpenVPN, at least at first. For instance, the automatic server in the U.S. returned a download speed of around 1 Mbps on our first trial. That’s not a typo. We mean one megabit per second for a server that should be down the road.

With our speed testing tool, we had to manually select a testing location because it picked a server in France to test from. This is similar behavior to what we experienced with AirVPN.

This didn’t happen across locations, though. For example, our manually selected New York testing location, had no problems. Either our ISP or the operator of the data center is routing the connection through another location (in this case, France). Still, NordVPN showed impressive results when everything was working properly.

That said, NordVPN didn’t display the gradient we expect when moving further from our testing location. For instance, the UK server was faster than the recommended server in the U.S.

As we’ve seen with NordVPN before, it’s not always the best at selecting the fastest location (though it seems to have improved). Because of that, it’s worth manually selecting a server if your connection is slow.

Security

In recent versions of the app, NordVPN has done away with less secure VPN protocols. On Windows, you get the choice between OpenVPN and NordLynx, the latter of which is NordVPN’s take on WireGuard. NordVPN supports IKEv2/IPSec, too, though you’ll need to configure it manually.

As far as VPN security goes, OpenVPN with AES-256 has been the standard for decades, and that’s what NordVPN uses out of the box. AES-256 is nearly impossible to crack without a few billion years and a supercomputer (read our description of encryption for more on that).

Still, NordVPN is looking toward the future. Although OpenVPN is and has been the best option, it will become outdated at some point.

That’s where NordLynx comes in. NordLynx is basically WireGuard with a double NAT for a secure connection. WireGuard’s streamlined code makes it ideal for speed, but it’s no slouch when it comes to security. WireGuard uses the newer ChaCha20 cipher for encryption, which offers 256-bit encryption while being, apparently, faster than AES.

With the limited information about ChaCha20, it appears faster and more secure than AES. That said, AES has been around much longer than ChaCha and, as such, has been used and tested far more. ChaCha20 is more efficient while providing similar levels of security, though it’s still not as widely adopted as AES.

All of this is to say that NordLynx is impressive, but it hasn’t been put through the wringer quite yet. That’s not to say it’s insecure — far from it, in fact — just that you probably shouldn’t use it in high-risk situations. For streaming and torrenting, though, ChaCha20 provides ample protection while being much faster.

To test its security, we ran a series of DNS leak tests, seeing if NordVPN was leaking DNS and WebRTC requests or our source IP address. On OpenVPN, everything was fine, which isn’t too surprising. Everything was fine with NordLynx, too, though. Rerunning the tests, we didn’t encounter any leaks, even when using Nord’s ultra-fast new protocol.

The NordVPN Hack

We don’t want to add fuel to the fire that was the coverage of NordVPN’s security breach. NordVPN received a lot of bad press, and rightfully so. However, we’re not in the business of spreading misinformation about the specifics of the breach, even if it’s severity was high. We’re here to simply let you know what happened.

In short, an attacker got a hold of a server configuration file from a location in NordVPN’s network. That attacker found a vulnerability, stealing the NordVPN TLS certificate and gaining access to a single server.

Although it was a severe breach, nothing came of it. There’s no evidence that the attacker monitored any traffic, and the TLS key expired well before the attacker could put up a fake NordVPN site.

It’s a serious problem and, as such, NordVPN responded seriously, auditing every server in its network and commissioning security testing.

However, it’s important to remember that this is a data center issue. Although VPN providers often own the servers in their network, they rarely operate them. The vulnerability was a result of the data center’s poor security practices, not NordVPN’s.

Still, it’s NordVPN’s problem by proxy, and responding with an audit is the best answer. Nord isn’t off the hook, though. Out of this whole mess, the problem isn’t that NordVPN was hacked. Rather, it’s that NordVPN didn’t make the issue public until a year after it happened, presumably in response to the growing number of users speculating about it online.

Sometimes breaches happen, and it’s better to judge the company on how it responds, not on the breach itself (read our review of LastPass to see the best way to respond to a hack). NordVPN wasn’t upfront about the problem right away. Although it eventually ‘fessed up, it came far too late.

Privacy

NordVPN makes it clear at the beginning of its privacy policy that its top priority is customer data security. It maintains a no-logs policy, meaning it doesn’t monitor or store any information about your connection or what you do online. It’s location in Panama helps the matter, too, as this country has some of the best privacy laws in the world.

Before getting to the VPN, let’s talk about what information is collected when you sign up. NordVPN requires an email address and payment method. Your email address must be valid — meaning you have to have access to it — so you can’t create one just to sign up. Depending on your payment method, you’ll also need to provide billing information, though this data is handled by a third party.

That’s it, as far as signup information goes, which isn’t bad, all things considered. Yes, you’ll need access to the email you signed up with, but there are plenty of anonymous email options (read our ProtonVPN review for more on that). Nord also accepts crypto, so you can pay anonymously, too.

When you actually use NordVPN, it knows nothing about you. Your login information is used for authentication, but that’s the extent of collection for the local application. The only thing Nord collects is some server load information, which allows it to recommend the fastest locations without needing to dig through the massive service list.

Privacy is all thumbs up, outside of a sneaky setting hidden inside NordVPN’s app. The “help us improve” setting sends anonymous data to Nord, which includes crash reports, your OS version, how you use features in the app and “marketing performance.”

“Marketing performance” is the kicker. In an app designed to maintain your privacy, there’s a setting that helps the company providing the app gauge its marketing performance.

Furthermore, this setting is enabled by default. This is all anonymous data, and frankly, it’s fine that NordVPN wants to collect it. The problem is that the setting is turned on from the get-go. This should be turned off, with the option to opt in, not opt out. Still, as long as you go in the settings and flick the toggle, it’s a non issue, unlike Encrypt.me which literally tells you it will contact you for marketing purposes (read our Encrypt.me review).

Streaming Performance

NordVPN’s streaming performance is excellent, for the most part, which is why it made our list of the best VPNs for streaming. That said, we encountered some strange behavior when using NordLynx. Although we never got a proxy error, the stream would sometimes refuse to load, forcing us to reconnect.

On OpenVPN, though, everything was fine. We were able to access Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and BBC iPlayer without any problems. NordVPN has always been a streaming behemoth, and that hasn’t changed. Even when switching servers multiple times, each streaming platform loaded like it was a local session.

Using NordVPN With Netflix

With OpenVPN, NordVPN is great for streaming. However, as we mentioned, we encountered some issues with NordLynx. They happened across Hulu and Netflix, but more so with Netflix. NordVPN is still on our list of the best VPNs for Netflix, but we had to reconnect multiple times with NordLynx to get a stream working.

Other times, though, it works without any problems. NordVPN is still a great choice for Netflix, especially with how fast NordLynx is. Be warned, though, that it seems to be a little temperamental right now.

We’re not sure what’s causing the slowdown, because Netflix isn’t actually blocking the NordLynx connection. Hopefully it’s a small issue on NordVPN’s end that can be fixed in a patch.

NordVPN’s Specialty Servers

NordVPN offers six types of servers. There are your standard servers, which encrypt your traffic and make up the majority of the network, as well as dedicated IP servers, which are available at an additional cost. Everyone has access to the four specialty server types, though, which can bolster your security in a number of ways.

Of the lot, the Double VPN servers are the most interesting, which sends your connection through two VPN tunnels before going to the open internet. This technique — first used by our best free VPN Windscribe — doubles up the encryption of your connection at the cost of speed (read our Windscribe review). For situations where security is important above all else, though, they’re nice to have.

Otherwise, you have access to dedicated P2P servers, obfuscated servers and Onion over VPN servers. Although NordVPN offers a lot of different server types, they aren’t available across locations.

For example, the U.S. location has access to everything, while Germany is missing a Double VPN option. Thankfully, it’s easy to filter by server type in the app so you can quickly find a location.

NordVPN FAQ

Is NordVPN Really Private?
NordVPN maintains a strict no-logs policy, which has been audited by a third party. That means that the VPN can’t see your source IP address, browsing history or anything else about you. The only thing NordVPN keeps on record is an email address for account creation purposes.

How Much Does NordVPN Cost per Month?
NordVPN costs $11.95 per month and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can save a lot by subscribing for a longer duration, though. For example, the three-year plan costs only $3.49 per month.

What Does NordVPN Actually Do?
NordVPN is a virtual private network that encrypts your internet traffic while spoofing your IP address. In short, that means no one can see what you’re doing online. Furthermore, you can get an IP address in another location to unlock region-specific streaming libraries.