Nowadays there are many threats and perils when surfing the internet, and lack of privacy has become an issue. Public Wi-Fi connections are never safe, and if you get hacked all your vital personal information can be accessed.
There are also some people that are keen about revealing as little information about themselves as possible while online. One solution to staying anonymous while using the internet is to employ the services of a trusted VPN service.
What is NordVPN?
NordVPN is a personal virtual private network (VPN) service provider which is based in Panama. The app is compatible with devices running Windows, macOS, and Linux, mobile devices with Android and iOS, and Android TV. The VPN can also be manually configured to work on wireless routers, NAS devices, and several other platforms.
Panama currently has no mandatory data retention laws which means that NordVPN is not obligated in any way to keep any logs or user information.
NordVPN routes internet traffic through their network of servers, thus masking the user’s IP address and uses several protocols to encrypt the data sent and received to the user’s computer. The protocols used to encrypt data include OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec and also supports L2TP/IPsec and PPTP.
Their IKEv2/IPsec is the default protocol for macOS and iOS, and it uses AES-256-GCM encryption in combination with SHA2-384 hash function, in addition to PFS (Perfect Forward Secrecy) with 3072-bit Diffie Hellmann keys. OpenVPN is used for Windows and Android, having AES-256-CBC encryption with a 2048bit Diffie-Hellman key.
In addition to providing VPN servers, NordVPN also offers P2P sharing, double encryption, Onion Over VPN (routing through TOR), and protection against DNS leaks and DDoS attacks.
NordVPN has more than 5,200 remote servers located in 62 countries, with the bulk of them being in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, France, and Sweden.
How to configure the NordVPN app
If you just purchased a NordVPN license, download the app for your computer or mobile phone OS from https://nordvpn.com/download. After the install is finished, the next step is to log into your account with your credentials.
The main screen of the application will feature a list of serves you can choose from and a map. The top part of the screen allows you to search through servers or view and modify your connection settings. A Quick Connect button is displayed at the bottom of the map.
You can now select any server you wish to connect to. The available servers can be viewed by clicking on the menu or on countries. By clicking on the country name, you will be instantly connected to the VPN server, masking your IP and ensuring your online anonymity.
If you click on the Quick Connect button, your device will automatically receive connection with a recommended server. Quick Connect uses a complex smart algorithm which uses various server parameters to select the best option for your device.
By double-clicking on any country name on the map, you will be shown all servers available in that country and specific information about them. To connect to a specific server you click on it, and to add one to your Favourites list click on the heart icon next to it.
It is recommended that you choose a server which is located closer to your actual physical location. This will ensure better speed for your download and uploads and reduces lag times.
In the setting tab you can change the configurations of your app:
- CyberSec – enabling it gives you protection against adds, malware sites, and phishing.
- Auto connect – automatically connects to a server upon app startup.
- Start NordVPN on startup –starts NordVPN when your computer starts up.
- Internet Kill Switch – halts internet connection if your VPN connection is down.
- Invisibility on LAN – make your computer invisible to other users on the local area network (LAN).
- App Kill Switch – terminates specific applications in case your VPN connection is down.
- Notifications – informs you when you connect or disconnect from a server.
- Start minimized – displays the NordVPN icon in the Windows system tray when you start your computer.
You are also able to select the type of protocol your app uses. UDP is faster but less secure, so it is mostly used to steam online streaming or download. TCP is more robust security-wise, but lacks the speed UDP has, being more appropriate for web browsing.
If you are from a country which has restricted network access, the Obfuscated Servers option can be enabled in order to bypass these restrictions.
NordVPN is a secure and recommended paid VPN services provider that is the first choice of those that wish to stay anonymous online. In addition to having a wide list of features and servers, it does not keep any logs of your traffic or activities.