The NordVPN application is straightforward to install but configuration options are limited and vary by host OS. For example, the Windows app offers more setting options than the iOS app. Troubling, the configuration settings were found to be set to the least secure options by default.
Applications are available for Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS, Chrome and Firefox. For this review, the iOS app was installed on an iPad and evaluated with addition testing using the Windows app.
The interface is minimalist, with connectivity status indicated with a color banner an the indication of the connected VPN server on a pop-up menu.
In addition, the display includes a world map with a dot highlighting the geographical location of the linked server. The app allows the user to scroll and zoom in on the world map.
Switching to a different server was straightforward. A quick-connect list of the last five servers used is available if needed.
Alternatively, pressing a dot on the world map brings up a list of all the available cities in that country that have servers if more than one is available.
While the service supports a global network, the focus is on the US. The application offers connections through servers located in 60 different countries and has options for 15 different cities in the US, 5 in Australia and 3 in Canada. However, there is just one option for the UK and other major European countries, and only one option for the whole of Africa. Support for Asia is better, but there is no server within China. Once connected, the VPN connection is transparent to the user. In addition, the VPN service includes an automatic Kill Switch function if the VPN connection drops unexpectedly, blocking the internet connection to prevent a data leak.
The service includes support for split tunnelling that allows users to choose which specific applications or websites do not connect via the VPN, connecting directly via the ISP server. The network traffic encryption uses AES-256, not configurable by the user.
A good feature is the inclusion of the CyberSec function that claims to block pop-up adverts and malware as part of the service. This feature needs to be enabled by accessing the application settings.
NordVPN also supports using an anonymous static IP address that can be purchased as an add-on to the product subscription for an additional fee.