Having literally hundreds of VPNs on the market makes it very difficult for the new user to decide which one offers the best value for money without any compromises to the services they offer. In this review, we compare NordVPN vs VPN Unlimited on a number of key aspects that are important to VPN users.
Let us take a look at NordVPN first. Launched in 2008, it’s one of the most popular brand names in the current VPN market. While not being the absolutely cheapest service, it nevertheless offers some pretty good deals, especially on their longer term plans. It is also consistently rated in the Top 10 for privacy, security, torrenting, access to Netflix, compatibility, and more.
Turning to a more recent arrival on the VPN scene, VPN Unlimited was launched by KeepSolid in 2013. It offers a reasonably priced service, with an interesting “lifetime” option, and is continuing to expand its server network.
However, it is usually found much lower down the rankings than NordVPN. If brand reputation is based on professional review rankings, then NordVPN undoubtedly comes out on top in comparison to VPN Unlimited. But this might not give the whole picture, so we have also looked at a wide selection of actual customer reviews on several professional review sites. Each brand has its share of both positive and negative consumer reviews.
NordVPN is praised for speed, ease of use and technical support among other things, but is criticized for the occasional difficulties in canceling both the free trial and regular subscriptions. VPN Unlimited is regularly praised for its pricing policy but has more complaints about speed, protocol errors, service disconnects, etc. Many reviewers also complain that they wanted a VPN for a specific task, e.g. accessing Skype from the UAE, and that VPN Unlimited had failed them.
Overall we feel that, based on general brand reputation, NordVPN seems to be the better tool. In the rest of this review, we will take a closer look at some key features for each provider.
Speed and performance
NordVPN boasts over 9.6 servers in over 59 countries, most with multiple locations, compared to VPN Unlimited’s 400+ servers in 50 countries with 70+ locations. As expected, NordVPN offers much faster connection speeds, if only because having so many servers means the load on any single one will be lower. A subscription to NordVPN guarantees you access for up to 6 devices.
In contrast, VPN Unlimited offers a choice between 5 and 10 device connection plans.
Security and privacy
Both NordVPN and VPN Unlimited offer OpenVPN tunneling as well as AES 256-bit encryption. NordVPN then goes one better and offers access to DoubleVPN (which effectively doubles the layer of separation between the user and anyone who wants to trace him) as well as Tor over VPN. Both services also have an option to use a new VPN tunneling protocol – WireGuard. NordVPN uses NordLynx, which is built around the Wireguard whereas VPN Unlimited uses stock version. The protocol is still under heavy development, and it’s far from perfection. Yes, WireGuard can promise better connection speeds already, but its capabilities to keep users anonymous fall behind. We still appreciate the forward-thinking of both providers.
VPN Unlimited has neither multihop (DoubleVPN) nor Tor over VPN, but it does have the KeepSolid Wise protocol for use in restricted countries, where DPI-informed blocking is an issue. Ideal for those who want to avoid censorship, but not available on Mac. NordVPN also has a tool against advanced censorship methods – Obfuscated servers.
We turn now to privacy. NordVPN scores here by being based in Panama, a “safe” jurisdiction away from prying eyes. Furthermore, NordVPN has a strict no-logging policy, proven by an independent audit.
VPN Unlimited, by contrast, is based in the USA, so it’s in a central 5 Eyes country. It is also open on its website about the fact that minimal (though apparently innocuous) logging occurs.
Ease of ease and support
Both providers have easy to use software. VPN Unlimited’s interface is very simple and ideal for the novice user, but the more experienced might prefer the greater range of options NordVPN provides. Problems? Help is available via email, but only NordVPN currently offers a 24/7 live chat service, although we found replies directed us to the, admittedly extensive, web-based knowledge base.
Refreshingly, we found VPN Unlimited’s email and ticket inquiry services to be both speedy and technically helpful!
Torrenting and P2P
NordVPN’s website helpfully shows which servers have been designated to allow P2P traffic and, therefore, torrenting. VPN Unlimited has taken a stand against piracy, and only allows legal P2P file sharing on just 5 of its servers.
Both providers have built “kill switches” into their software ensuring, for example, that your secure connection is closed if there are interruptions to service.
Unblocking entertainment sites
NordVPN’s servers can bypass the geographical restrictions of many entertainment sites such as Netflix. The help section on their website has an invaluable and very detailed article on the servers to use to connect to the various Netflix regions (US, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Japan, and Greece) using a variety of devices and platforms.
NordVPN’s Smartplay technology also allowed us to access other streaming services, such as BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Pandora on an iPad and a Windows PC without any problems.
When testing VPN Unlimited, we found two out of the four servers we tried were also able to unblock Netflix, and so access to Hulu and iPlayer should also be possible.
China and usage in restricted countries
Both NordVPN and VPN Unlimited offer “stealth” protocols. NordVPN offers a Double VPN feature, where data is routed through two consecutive servers, with the second server unaware of the original IP address. It also has a number of Obfuscated Servers, ideal for those living in countries with restricted internet access.
VPN Unlimited does something similar through its KeepSolid Wise protocol. However, with 445 servers in the Asia-Pacific region, NordVPN is probably the better choice.
Compatibility and pricing
Both NordVPN and VPN Unlimited have apps for Mac OS, Windows, iOS, Android and Linux. Both also have very detailed instructions on their respective websites should users have any issues. To be fair, we feel that the installation manuals are more easily found on the the VPN Unlimited website, but the NordVPN site covers a greater range of issues.
Both providers offer several payment plans. NordVPN offers a monthly, an annual, a 2-year, and a 3-year plan, while VPN Unlimited offers monthly, annual, 3-year, and lifetime plans.
Apart from the lifetime deal, for each provider, the longer your plan, the cheaper the overall cost. A subscription to NordVPN offers customers 6 simultaneous connections, whereas VPN Unlimited offers 5 or, for a small increase in cost, 10 connections for every plan.
Verdict: NordVPN vs VPN Unlimited
We have compared various features for the two VPN providers: NordVPN and VPN Unlimited. NordVPN is the older company and this shows in the fact that it has more than 10 times the number of servers worldwide compared to VPN Unlimited.
Both offer excellent levels of encryption, but NordVPN edges out the competition in terms of security features and connection speeds.
While VPN Unlimited offers a lifetime connection package, we suggest this will only be of value to users who simply want to be secure and anonymous while browsing the internet. If you want to torrent, for example, then VPN Unlimited is not for you.
Overall, taking everything into consideration, we would recommend NordVPN for its worldwide server coverage, speed, safety, anonymity features and reasonable price.