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nVPN review

Fast performance and cheap pricing is let down in other areas

Image credit: nVpn
(Image: © Image credit: nVPN)

Our Verdict

An underwhelming VPN with no apps, below average speeds, and where you can't even switch servers as required unless you pay extra (no, really).

For

  • Bitcoin support
  • Dedicated IP option
  • Unblocks Netflix

Against

  • Only one free server switch
  • No apps
  • Below average speeds
  • Limited 3-day refund

We think a good VPN provider should be constantly busy updating, maintaining and polishing its service. That's not the impression we got from nVpn's website, though: the company hasn’t updated its Facebook page since 2012 and the latest front-page news story dated back to 2011.

Poor marketing doesn't necessarily mean there are any issues with the core product, of course, and the service does appear to have some useful features: nVpn's own DNS on each server, OpenVPN, IKEv2 and L2TP support to enable running almost anywhere, Squid and SOCKS5 proxy support, anti-DPI measures to bypass VPN blocking.

There are problems, too. nVpn doesn't have any clients of its own, for instance, so you must install and manually set up other clients, instead. The website has tutorials to help, but that's never as easy as downloading a provider's own client and getting connected right away.

Prices look good at $6 a month for the standard service, dropping to $3.33 on the annual plan. Dedicated IPs (which might help you better bypass website blocking) is cheaper than usual at $8 billed monthly, $5 per month over a year.

But there's a massive issue. When you sign up, you must choose the location of the server you'd like to use. You can then only switch to another server once, at least for free. Unlimited switching - available for free just about everywhere else - costs at least $10 for a one-off month.

If that doesn't put you off, you'll at least be able to hand over your cash in many different forms, as nVpn enables paying via PayPal, Bitcoin, PerfectMoney, Skrill, WebMoney and more.

Server list

Unlike other VPNs which let you switch server locations on the fly, nVpn only permits you to use one server or pay to switch to another (Image credit: nVpn)

(Image credit: Image credit: nVpn)

Privacy

The nVpn Privacy Policy states that the company operates a 'strict no-log policy', and provides a lengthy list of all the data it doesn't collect. There's no logging of connected IPs, the websites you're visiting, the length of any session, the data used, or the number of connected devices.

The company does keep data related to payment, but even that can avoided (you won't need to hand over your email address if you're paying by Bitcoin, for instance.)

This sounds good, but as nVpn hasn't had a public audit of its systems, there's no way to gauge whether the company is doing what it claims. You're left to decide whether you trust it, or not. 

We scanned the rest of nVPN's small print, and identified only three other minor issues. Your account is strictly for a single user; make ‘unreasonable’ use of the service and your account may be closed; and refunds are only given up to 3 days after purchase, if the service is down or you can't connect at all.

Performance

We test the performance of every VPN we review using OpenSpeedTest (Image credit: OpenSpeedTest)

Performance

Signing up for nVpn requires some care, because as we mentioned, the regular plan doesn't support unlimited server switching. You're able to choose one location during setup, and you get one other change for free (with an option to revert to the original), but you can't switch again without paying at least an extra $10.

Next, we received an email containing our VPN username, password, and a link to nVPN's OpenVPN configuration files. The company doesn't have the step-by-step OpenVPN installation tutorials you'll see elsewhere, but if you've used the program before you'll have no problems at all.

Although nVpn hadn't impressed us with its features or presentation, its performance wasn't too bad. We couldn’t test all locations, but our local UK server achieved download speeds of around 40-45Mbps, while New York was an inconsistent but usable 28-45Mbps.

We rounded off our tests with some unblocking checks, and nVpn performed well there, too. Not only did it get us into US YouTube and BBC iPlayer, it even penetrated Netflix heavy-duty defenses, enabling us to stream US-only content.

Final verdict

nVPN's limit on server switching is ridiculous these days, and although the service unblocked Netflix and performance wasn't bad, it's hard to see any compelling reasons to sign up. The reality is that you can get faster, easier-to-use and more feature-packed VPNs elsewhere, and for less money.