Jurisdiction: Panama | Audit: by PwC | Apps for: Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, Android TV, Linux | Simultaneous connections: 6 | Browser Extensions: Chrome, Firefox | Advanced Features: Kill Switch, NordLynx protocol, Double VPN, Onion over VPN, Obfuscated servers, Dedicated servers for streaming, Dedicated servers for P2P
Total servers: 5,400+ Servers in 59 countries | Servers in New Zealand: Yes | Servers in Australia: Yes
NordVPN NZ Review
As of 2018, an astonishing 89% of New Zealand’s total population were actively using the internet. The question is—how many third parties were tapping into the information and files that were being shared, such as email addresses, passwords, and other personal details?
NordVPN was founded in 2012 by “four childhood friends” as a virtual private network (VPN) service provider. They are based in Panama. Their name was inspired by the “Nordic ideals of confidence, trust, and innovation.” After spending time in other countries, they felt that the internet was losing its primary purpose of being a network based on anonymity and open-source content, leading to the creation of NordVPN.
They have over five thousand servers in 59 countries worldwide, which includes New Zealand.
Third-party audits are essential in the VPN industry because they get down to the bottom of advertisements and claims. In the past, some of the VPN providers who claimed to honor their “no-logs policy” have been proven as false.
NordVPN has passed multiple third-party audits and been certified as log-free. These audits were performed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) AG in Switzerland. The first audit was conducted in 2019, and the second audit in 2020. PWC was given full, unlimited access to all of NordVPN’s servers, including their DoubleVPN and P2P servers.
The audit verified NordVPN to be a “no-log service” that lives up to its claims. NordVPN does not store any data such as IP addresses, collection or traffic logs, or any internet activity. Since they are located in Panama, outside of EU and US jurisdiction, they are not required to hand over any information if asked.
NordVPN also went under a thorough security audit with Versprite, which tested NordVPN’s data centers and infrastructure penetration and passed.
NordVPN offers many features that set them apart from the competition, such as NordLynx protocol or advanced ad blocker CyberSec. Keep reading to learn the ins-and-outs of each component and how this benefits your browsing experience.
NordVPN’s Kill Switch is an advanced security feature that monitors your connection to your selected VPN server as you browse the internet. If your connection to the VPN server drops at any time, the Kill Switch blocks your device or any specific apps from accessing the web.
This means that as long as you’re using NordVPN, there won’t be any windows where you’ll be vulnerable to third parties obtaining your information or location. Once you reconnect to the VPN, your internet access will continue.
On Windows, Kill Switch allows you to enable and disable specific programs or internet connections that should be blocked if your connection to NordVPN drops. This option is used primarily by anyone familiar with every program and connection on their computer. At the same time, the system-wide Kill Switch is the safer option for the average user. Kill Switch is automatically integrated into all of NordVPN’s desktop applications.
Kill Switch is recommended for political activists, journalists, or bloggers living in an authoritarian country, employees who handle sensitive information, or anyone who wants to keep a secure lock on their passwords.
NordVPN created NordLynx in order to accommodate the integration of WireGuard, a newer VPN tunneling protocol, into their servers. WireGuard seemed promising to the VPN industry as it was modern, extremely fast, and lean in its architecture, but there were still many concerns surrounding the anonymity it could provide. In short, the system prioritized providing faster speeds rather than top-tier security.
Since WireGuard cannot dynamically assign IP addresses for every person who is connected to a server, NordVPN developed a double NAT (Network Address Translation) system. The dual NAT system uses two interfaces.
The first interface assigns a local IP address to each user who is connected to a server, and each user has the same address. After the VPN tunnel is established, the second network interface comes in. It assigns a unique IP address for each tunnel so that internet packets can travel between the user and destination without any hassle.
Long story short, NordLynx integrates the quick speeds and top-notch systems of WireGuard while maintaining their advanced security protocols and servers.
Double VPN is an advanced security measure by NordVPN which encrypts your traffic, redirects it to a remote VPN server, is encrypted once more, sent to a second VPN server, and then is decrypted before it reaches your internet destination securely.
This multi-step, layered feature gives your data an additional layer of encryption and complete IP protection as your IP address is changed upon reaching the first server. Double VPN is available in the NordVPN subscription package and can be enabled on all Windows apps, Android, and macOS (OpenVPN version).
Onion Over VPN
Onion Over VPN is a unique feature of NordVPN that gives you all of the features of The Onion Router (Tor) with the added security of a VPN tunnel.
When you input any information or traffic activity into your browser, The Onion Router works by routing this information through a series of servers to not decipher the exact location or origin of the information they’re receiving, which is beneficial for keeping your location discreet.
The Onion Router’s name comes from the fact that it works exactly like an onion is composed, with multiple layers protecting the core. NordVPN adds a layer of security to this process. Users can connect to the Onion Network in one click or connect to a regular NordVPN server while using the Tor browser.
Your internet provider can see that you use Onion, though they will not be informed what it is being used for. You gain complete privacy from third parties for both your internet activity and input.
There are many downsides to sharing an IP address with your household or neighbors. The “bad neighbor effect” refers to what happens when a user with the same IP address as you is put on a blacklist for a specific server or website, and you can no longer access it even though you’re using a different computer. You can still get blacklisted with a dedicated IP address, but the chances are much lower as long as you’re conducting yourself responsibly.
Dedicated IP addresses are also useful when administrators would like to control who is able to access a business server. They can whitelist specific IPs so that only certain employees and clients can enter.
Additionally, a common issue that users run into when using a VPN while banking online is getting locked out of their account for suspicious activity (since they appear to be somewhere else each time or have to constantly re-verify themselves). With a dedicated IP, you can enjoy the security of NordVPN, which bypasses repetitive verification while keeping your information secure.
For all-around internet browsing protection, CyberSec is one of the most beneficial VPN features you can have.
CyberSec blocks websites that are known for phishing scams or hosting malware. It also removes flashy, annoying ads to boost your browsing speed and block any incoming DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks.
To adhere to Google’s policies, CyberSec does not block ads in the NordVPN app for Android if it was downloaded from the Google Play Store. It still prevents you from visiting malicious websites.
Port forwarding is used whenever you set up a direct connection between a device in your home network and a remote device. The most common uses for port forwarding are:
- Watching a security camera or baby monitor while you are not home
- Connecting to your home server remotely
- Using remote desktop software to access your home computer
- Allowing other users to connect to your public webserver
There are many other uses for port forwarding beyond the ones listed above. Unfortunately, NordVPN does not support port forwarding because their application blocks nearly all port communication within your device except for ones most commonly used by trusted applications.
NordVPN justifies this decision by explaining that “browsing the internet with open ports opens you up to a number of security risks.” By blocking access to a majority of these ports except for the essential ones, they keep you safe and secure from third parties.
SmartDNS is a feature by NordVPN that allows you to set up unrestricted access to geo-blocked or restricted streaming content on multiple devices, including your smart TV. Using SmartDNS requires you to whitelist your own IP address without a VPN connection, so you are not protected from third parties while doing this. They do not support IPv6 yet, so you are required to whitelist IPv4.
Here are the SmartDNS supported streaming services:
- ABC Go (US region)
- Amazon Prime (US region)
- Disney Plus (German region)
- Fox Now / Sports Go / News / Showtime (US region)
- HBO Now (US region)
- Netflix Originals
They also have specific how-to articles on setting up SmartDNS for your LG TV and Apple TV.
You can have up to six devices connected to NordVPN at one time. A workaround for anyone who wants to have more than six devices under VPN protection is to set up your router with NordVPN, so all devices connected to it will be protected.
NordVPN in NZ works on all major browsing platforms and devices. Their app is available on:
- All iOS devices
- Android TV
In order to gain VPN protection on all of your devices instead of a select few, you can connect NordVPN to your router, and all devices connected will be secure.
Manual Setup Guides
For the computer-savvy user who prefers a manual connection and programming with open-source software, then a manual connection for NordVPN may be the way to go. They have a variety of manual setup guides located on their website that help you through the process of connecting to Windows, Linux, Android, as well as your router.
A manual connection lacks the features compared to the NordVPN native app but still provides the same degree of protection.
NordVPN offers browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox. Web proxy extensions are more lightweight than a VPN. They work by sending your traffic through another server and providing you with a unique IP address to mask your location and identity. All you need to do with the web extensions is to select “Quick Connect.” They will automatically find the best server for you based on distance and load.
When used in conjunction with NordVPN’s software, the browser extension works by encrypting your browser connection and protecting you from any third parties. It protects you when browsing non-HTTPS websites, stops IP address leaks, and blocks malicious websites and ads.
NordVPN has over five thousand servers in 59 countries worldwide. A majority of their servers, including countries such as New Zealand, only include regular and P2P. The United States, Canada, UK, and other popular countries have access to obfuscated, Double VPN, and Dedicated IP servers.
The distance from your actual location determines VPN speed, so it’s best to pick a server closest to you. There are also servers optimized for P2P traffic if you are sharing files.
Servers in New Zealand
NordVPN has over 20 servers located in New Zealand. Their smart algorithm will automatically select the fastest server based on your special requirements and location.
They do not offer any obfuscated, Double VPN, or Dedicated IP servers. Only regular servers and P2P are available, although they still have the largest number of servers for New Zealand compared to other service providers. The P2P servers enable torrenting, which is an important aspect of a VPN for many users.
VPNs are legal in New Zealand as long as you don’t use them for any illegal activity. Many New Zealand users have had lots of success using NordVPN to bypass tough geo-blocked content from Netflix and other streaming platforms.
NordVPN is a popular choice for New Zealanders or anyone located outside of the United States for streaming because of the many limitations on services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Censorship and regional restrictions prevent users from watching certain shows or movies and can be a hassle for travelers as well.
NordVPN has multiple articles on access streaming services such as the BBC, Disney Plus, and Netflix.
If you are using the NordVPN app, there is no need to set up a proxy for torrenting, but you can easily follow these steps to set up a proxy for uTorrent:
- Open the uTorrent client.
- Go to Options > Preferences
- Select “Connection” in the sidebar to the left
- Under Proxy Server > Type, select “Socks5”
- Enter any of the following addresses from the list below:
- Enter “1080” into the Port field and select the following boxes:
- Use proxy for hostname lookups;
- Use proxy for peer-to-peer connections;
- Disable all local DNS lookups;
- Disable features that leak identifying information;
- Disable connections unsupported by the proxy.
- Lastly, enter your NordVPN login information (username and password) into the authentication fields. Press OK.
There are a few alternatives to NordVPN in NZ, with Surfshark and ExpressVPN being two options.
Surfshark has many identical features to NordVPN, but there are a few key differences.
First, Surfshark is cheaper than NordVPN, but only when you select their 2-year plan. Here are their subscription options:
- 1-month plan: $12.95 USD/$18.42 NZD per month
- 6-month plan: $6.49 USD/$9.23 NZD per month
- 2-year plan: $2.21 USD/$3.14 NZD per month
For an additional $0.99 USD/$1.41 NZD per month, though, you can have access to security-enhancing features such as Surfshark Alert, which sends immediate alerts if your email is linked in a database and Surfshark Search, which allows you to search privately without having to worry about any advertisements or logs. They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee with each subscription.
While NordVPN only allows you to have up to six devices at one time, Surfshark allows you to use their VPN on unlimited devices. They also have 15 Netflix libraries instead of 6, which is great for those who are primarily interested in accessing geo-locked content. Surfshark is also certified no-logs.
All in all, Surfshark is one of the best budget VPNs that you can get if you live in New Zealand as its potential to give access to geo-locked content and hide your activity is high, but the speeds are nowhere as fast as NordVPN or ExpressVPN. It’s also a great choice if you would like to use the VPN on more than six devices.
ExpressVPN is another noteworthy competitor, but they come in at a much higher price than both NordVPN and Surfshark.
- 1-month plan: $12.95 USD/$18.42 NZD per month
- 6-month plan: $9.99 USD/$14.21 NZD per month
- 1-year plan: $8.32 USD/$11.84 NZD per month
They do not offer any additional features like their competitors but also have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN prides itself on being “the best VPN for New Zealand” because they have the fastest speeds. On a 100Mbps connection, ExpressVPN delivered a download speed of 77.31Mbps. Additionally, they have IP addresses in 94 countries worldwide as compared to NordVPN’s 59 country reach.
Their subscriptions have a wide device range and can protect not only your Windows or iOS devices but also gaming consoles such as Playstation, Xbox, and smart TV systems such as Amazon Fire Stick.
ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN network in New Zealand, but it is by far not the cheapest.
Free Trial & Pricing
NordVPN does not offer a free trial. They are often running a sale, and as of time of writing, they have three separate subscription options:
- 1-month plan: $11.95 USD/$17.02 NZD per month
- 1-year plan: $4.92 USD/$7.01 NZD per month
- 2-year plan: $3.71 USD/$5.29 NZD per month
You’re charged a $79 USD/$112.55 NZD annual service fee after your initial period with each plan. The 2-year plan gives you three months free, and all plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee built-in.
In addition to the three paid subscriptions, there are two add-ons you can purchase:
- NordPass, which securely stores, organizes, and allows you to access your passwords from anywhere, is $1.99 USD/$2.84 NZD per month
- NordLocker, a secure cloud to store your files across multiple devices, is $1.49 USD/$2.12 NZD per month. You get 10GB of storage.
NordVPN is not one of the best VPNs for New Zealand, but it is still a solid competitor. They are an honest company, and you can feel secure while using their services knowing that no logs are being recorded and you’re protected against information slips with features they offer, such as Kill Switch.
They are always running a sale, so subscription costs are relatively affordable but are still higher than most VPN providers.
The biggest downfall of NordVPN for New Zealand is slow speeds since many users will be connected to a United States IP in order to gain access to geo-blocked content from Netflix, Hulu, and so on. The servers based in New Zealand are rather fast because of the low load of users, so it’s a great VPN for anyone who is only concerned about privacy. When connected to US servers, speeds can perform fast, but you shouldn’t hold your breath during peak times.
Here are the most frequently asked questions about NordVPN.