I am at the end of a multiyear subscription to NordVPN and have decided to abandon them for an alternative VPN service. Here are the reasons:
While the performance is good, I find their interface to be terrible. VPM cannot be started from their menu bar item. It can only be started from Network in System Preferences or from launching the App.
Constant and annoying “Big Brother” reminders at various intervals to change the user password which cannot be switched off and continue every time you connect until you change your password, even though you do not wish to.
Abysmal customer support with agents that seem to lack serious troubleshooting skills for difficult issues. NordVPN used to have phone support that seems to have been deprecated and replaced by chat ‘bots’ with scripted responses. Getting to a live agent can be a very challenging experience. When you do, they are often of little help other than for basic questions.
Very frequent updates that sometimes change settings, or require you to log in again to get connected. For me, this is an indication of poor testing before release.
Mixed performance for servers. What makes this even more challenging is that saving a desired server when a good one is found as a favorite is a very difficult if not a next to impossible procedure.
Optional enhanced security features that I am reluctant to use as the sometimes interfere with the correct operation of websites.
Lately I have noticed a high frequency of them marketing their products on TV. TV advertising is expensive so I would not be surprised if their subscription prices are increased.
For all these reasons I now must give a ‘thumbs down’ on NordVPN and will no longer recommend their services to anyone.
Very interested in what you come up with as an alternative. My current contract with NordVPN expires next year. I’ve encountered some (but not all) of the issues you listed. I’m especially frustrated with their inane insistence on changing your password. I have a unique, complex password for my account with them. I sent in a support request/complaint pointing this out, and received a very disappointing response, that essentially ignored every point in my message. They’re apparently stuck on this, and no amount of logic will budge them from their position.
So sorry to hear you are experiencing the same or similar issues that I have encountered. Currently I am evaluating ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and Cyberghost. ExpressVPN is 2x to 3x the cost of most competitors but generally gets the best reviews. All of these services have received excellent ratings from multiple sites. None have phone support. I have asked each one of these services in their chat box to reply by email as to why they think their service is better than their competitors. The only one who has replied so far in the last 4 hours is ExpressVPN, but their reply was only a ‘boilerplate’ response with vague and scripted marketing information. But at least they did reply in a timely manner as opposed to the rest that so far have not.
Frankly at this point I have not had any experience with either chat or email that would make one provider stand out above any of the others. So, my current plan is to give all of them more time for a proper response and should that fail, run some demos of each and then choose the one with the best user experience at the lowest price. Given the lack of phone support and the level of support I have so far received I can’t say that I have a current preference over any one of them. However, considering the price of Express VPN I was expecting a better response, which so far, I have not received. This has currently put them at the bottom of my choices.
I looked into the comments about Mullvad VPN. They seem to be the top choice for privacy and accountability. However, their support seems to be somewhat lacking and have issues with streaming with a number of websites.
So, for those reasons I continued to do research and scoured the reviews for consistency in their ratings. Based on all of that I have chosen to try SurfShark for 30 days and continue with it if it meets my needs including ease of use and good support. They offered me a very fair price and were honest with their marketing. My interacting with their support chat during my last chat was very favorable. One of the surprising disappointments is that none of the VPN services worth considering now offer phone support and many, including SurfShark use anemic bots. However, SurfSharks bot was fairly easy to bypass and get actual support from a real person. It also had low wait times.
One of the ‘tricks’ I use for chat boxes is to use Mac Dictation for my conversations. It greatly speeds up the process, reduces typing to just correcting major errors and provides and support experience that somewhat approximates a phone call. Due to its speed, it also reduces the agent response lag time as it reduces their ability to multitask different chats.
I moved away from ExpressVPN after several years of subscription, due to their inability to solve a technical issue with OpenVPN in my portable wifi router, and also because their suggested UK servers for streaming became unacceptably slow.
I subscribed to NordVPN and their technicians spent 4 hours chatting with me trying to solve my issue and they did! The UK streaming server are very fast and reliable, and I did not encounter a single problem since.
I agree that the GUI is a bit awkward, but I immediately scripted it and put on the menu via Keyboard Maestro (tip: networksetup -connectpppoeservice “NordVPN connectionname” and networksetup -disconnectpppoeservice “NordVPN connectionname”).
Note that you can put a system VPN status item in the menubar which allows you to connect and disconnect. Go to Network preferences, select a VPN from the list on the left, and tick the box Show VPN status in menu bar:
You then get this little inscrutable icon in the menubar which lets you connect and disconnect (and switch between VPNs if you have multiple ones set up):
I’ve been using privateinternetaccess for some years, and have found the software reliable. There is a menubar icon for conect/disconnect, along with choosing connection site and prefs. It also permits split tunneling, so you can select which apps use the VPN and which do not if you want that. So it turns out PIA is not a PIA!
Take a look at Proton VPN, they have a free and subscription options. Proton is in Switzerland, and is one of the early Internet developers. I find that is works quite well (the free version), is easy to setup and reasonably fast.
By the way, in my earlier reply I forgot to mention the trick I use to make this much less annoying: When NordVPN starts and the password change window appears, I drag it to an unused desktop (“Space” in macOS terms) and leave it there. That at least gets it out of my face until the next restart of the app.
Thank you. Looked at it but had some issues (forget what they were) that resulted in me choosing SurfShark. So far I am pleased with its performance, interface, pricing, and support. But then again, I have only been using it for 2 days.
Did not come across that VPN during my research. However I discovered after purchase that Surfshark also has the features you mentioned. FYI: My cost for Surfshark was $150 for 3 years of service with a 30 day moneyback guaranteed of satisfaction.
One of the more popular ones, ExpressVPN is $100/year with 3 months extra for the first year with no other discounts available. That would be $300 for 3 years + 3 months. They also limit the number of devices which Surfshark does not. So, for me, Surfshark was a bargain.
Since I did not research PIA, I have no idea as to the number of servers, privacy, accountability, special features, the number of countries, streaming capability from foreign websites, performance, or the level of tech support they provide; all important considerations.
Hmm, I’ve tried to connect to mullvad.net this morning and get an error on both Chrome and Safari. They both get an “invalid response” error. Is the site down, or am I missing some sort of secret code to connect.