NordVPN SmartDNS Review Summary

While it does have a special features that its customers can use specifically for streaming content online, users must remember that NordVPN is first and foremost a VPN service. As such, it has a higher price point than the majority of providers featured on our website that are primarily (or only) SmartDNS. However, if you’d like some beefed up security in addition to great streaming speeds, NordVPN is worth the extra cost!

Pricing & Plans

Like I just mentioned, NordVPN is a VPN service. As such, this makes NordVPN quite a bit more expensive than a SmartDNS service. However, if you’re looking for a more well-rounded service in terms of streaming and online privacy, it’s a good value for money.

NordVPN has three plans available: $5.75 per month for its yearly plan, $7.00 per month for its 6-month plan, and $11.95 per month for its monthly plan. Needless to say, buying 12 months at once is the best option, allowing you to save a whopping 52%.
NordVPN review

If you ultimately decide that a full-fledged VPN service is not for you, no worries – there’s a 30-day money back guarantee in place. However, there’s one catch: You need to give customer support a chance to resolve technical issues before they put the cancellation through.

When it comes to payment methods, NordVPN gives its customers plenty of options. You can buy the plan of your choice using credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, or via online payment gateways like WebMoney or PayPal if you prefer. You can even pay with Bitcoins if you want to go the anonymous route!

Video Review

While the video below is a review of how NordVPN measures up as a VPN service, it does give a very good overview of the service and its features as a whole. Because of this, I’d recommend anyone reading this review to give it a watch – even if you are primarily interested in SmartDNS!

Features

NordVPN is based in Panama, a country known for its privacy-friendly data laws. Its network infrastructure is one of the best in the business, with 696 servers in 54 countries and counting.

As is stated in their FAQ, NordVPN does not have a SmartDNS service that’s separate from its VPN service (though they say that they will begin offering SmartDNS soon!). However, it does have plenty of streaming-friendly features that make it attractive to use for watching content online.

First is NordVPN’s trademarked SmartPlay feature, which promises better streaming connectivity. It is turned on by default. When enabled, users can hover over servers to reveal what streaming services are accessible through that server, such as Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. It will also tell you what servers are best for torrenting.

Second is NordVPN’s quick and reliable speeds, which I’ll go into more detail about later on in this review.
This is all not to mention other great features from NordVPN, such as six simultaneous connections, a no-logs policy, tough encryption, and solid customer service.
NordVPN features

Channels and Devices

As its SmartDNS service is yet to be released, I can’t say with any certainty what channels NordVPN will offer.

There is, however, plenty of information on what devices you can use NordVPN with. The provider is compatible with a large number of operating systems, including OS X, Windows, iOS, Android, DD-WRT, Tomato, Asus, Linux, and pfSense. You can also use it with SmartTV and Apple TV, but as the VPN cannot be set up directly on these, you will have to install it on your router and then connect.

Detailed setup guides for each support platform can be found on NordVPN’s website.

Visit NordVPN »

The NordVPN Website

The NordVPN website is nicely designed and user-friendly. Links to everything that’s worth knowing about can be easily found via its homepage, where the majority of the information about the company can be found. This includes an overview of the service, a list of features, customer testimonials, and its plans and prices.
NordVPN review
You can also find links to all its social channels, its community board, and its blog at the bottom of the page.

Support

NordVPN has a solid customer service system in place to meet the needs and queries of its users. Its help center is stocked with a knowledge-base full of general information and FAQs, as well as billing information, troubleshooting, and setup guides.
NordVPN customer support
Should you fail to find the answer to your question here, you can contact NordVPN directly. Sadly, there is only one way of doing so – via submitting a support ticket. In future NordVPN reviews I’d like to see the addition of a live chat or helpline for speedier service. On the plus side, however, I’ve only ever had good experiences with the NordVPN ticket support system, from which I’ve received friendly, helpful replies within hours of submitting my initial query!

The Process

Signing Up

Signing up for NordVPN is a breeze. After selecting your plan, you will be taken to the registration page, where you’ll be required to supply your email, create a password, choose your method of payment, and agree to the terms of service before your account is created. After which, you’ll be able to download the NordVPN software to your device(s) of choice.

The NordVPN Windows Smart DNS client

For this NordVPN SmartDNS review, I tested its Windows client on my desktop. The client is simple, stylish, and very easy to use. So for those who were wary of NordVPN due to its extra security features (and therefore, plenty more toggles, terms, and buttons), fear not!

As you can see, you can either select country from the get-go, or select servers based on your need. Those looking to stream content online will likely be happiest with the servers found under the Ultra Fast TV tab.
NordVPN client
Servers can be continuously refreshed so that you can see real-time stats of each server’s capacity and latency in milliseconds – ensuring that you can connect to the server with the fastest speeds currently available!

Performance (Speed, DNS and IP Test)

Overall, I found NordVPN’s speeds to be quite good. While some servers were definitely slower than others, there wasn’t any noticeable lag when watching TV shows or movies online. To optimize the speed and quality of your streaming, make sure that SmartPlay is turned on and check the capacity and latency of servers before connecting.

Other Platforms

As was mentioned above, NordVPN is compatible with a large number of operating systems and devices. Unfortunately, as they have yet to release their SmartDNS, I could not test it on any. That said, I have tried NordVPN’s VPN client on a variety of devices and found both the setup and software to be smooth and in perfect working order.

Other/ Free Services

NordVPN has a number of privacy tools available, including a encrypted chat, a YouTube Proxy, and a web proxy. What would be most of interest to streaming lovers, however, is its free proxy list, which allows you to select a proxy, country, port(s), and protocols.
web proxies

NordVPN Review Conclusion

We liked

  • Supports P2P
  • No logs policy
  • Strong encryption
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Unique SmartPlay feature for added streaming connectivity
  • 30-day money back guarantee

We weren’t so sure about

  • Speeds slow on select servers
  • A little on the pricey side
  • Limited support options

We hated

  • No dedicated SmartDNS service (yet!)

NordVPN is a good choice for those looking for a well-rounded streaming service that’s not limited to accessing geo-locked content, but has solid security measures in place as well. Depending on whether it’s online privacy or ultra-fast streaming that you’re after, users can easily switch between servers dedicated to each. It’s admittedly a little on the pricey side, especially in comparison to providers that exclusively offer SmartDNS, but we think that you’ll agree that its additional features are more than worth the extra cost. If you don’t, you can always take advantage of the provider’s 30-day money back guarantee. Try out NordVPN for yourself today!

Visit NordVPN »


Written by Brigitte

Canadian content writer currently living in Hungary. Avid lover of travel, technology, politics, French music, and binge-watching cooking competitions.

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Features
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