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NordLayer review


It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that NordLayer (formerly known as NordVPN Teams) is one of the best VPNs for business currently available. While being easy to use (for both the admin and the employee), NordLayer also packs quite a few features and offers high-end security that your company so desperately needs.

In short, this corporate VPN allows you to protect your data from people outside your enterprise, manage your team members and teams, and get a dedicated server with a dedicated IP address.

However, is it really for everyone? In this NordLayer review, we’ll take a closer look at this cloud VPN solution and see whether it really holds up.

📖 No logs policy:Collects access logs
💵 Price:From $7.00/month
🖥️ Servers: 33+ countries
🍿 Streaming services:Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer
🔥 Coupons:NordLayer coupon 22% OFF!

NordLayer pros & cons

Features of NordLayer

Even though NordLayer can be perfectly used as a personal VPN, it also offers a bunch of features that a regular user wouldn’t even know what to do with. That’s because, first and foremost, it’s a business VPN. Which means that, aside from all the regular stuff like hiding your real IP address, it packs lots of features that most companies will truly appreciate. These include:

  • Two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • Single sign-on (SSO)
  • Auto-connect
  • Network segmentation
  • ThreatBlock
  • Custom DNS
  • Dedicated IP
  • Site-to-site (access to a company’s internal data)
  • Jailbroken device detection

Let’s take a look at the most important ones.

2FA and SSO

If you’re concerned about unauthorized access to the VPN (and, consequently, your company’s data), then you definitely want your employees to use two-factor authentication. Luckily, NordLayer offers this feature, and you can choose whether you want to have the code sent via email or SMS.

NordLayer 2FA

NordLayer also implements Single sign-on (SSO). In other words, a user has only one set of security credentials to access multiple applications for extra convenience.

Network segmentation

Network segmentation is an advanced feature that can be rather useful for companies, especially those with many employees. It lets you divide the network into subsections to improve security and network performance.

For example, you can restrict certain branches from accessing the financial reporting system of your business. In other words, you can manage your employees’ accessibility to the company's resources.

ThreatBlock

This feature is similar to NordVPN’s CyberSec, so you might already be familiar with it. So, ThreatBlock will prevent the user from accessing malicious websites that not only display dangerous ads, but might also steal sensitive company data.

I’m happy to tell you that this feature successfully passed all our tests. It prevented ads from showing up and even blocked malware-containing pages specifically created for testing.

Auto-connect

This is one of those features that you can also find in personal VPNs, like the NordVPN app for regular users. In short, you can set up the VPN to activate as soon as an internet connection is detected - this reduces the risk of an employee forgetting to turn on their VPN app.

NordLayer autoconnect

Unfortunately, during our tests, the feature showed itself to be rather buggy: sometimes, it took a long time for NordLayer to connect to a server.

Dedicated server with a dedicated IP

Having a dedicated server with a fixed IP is one of the most important things when it comes to protecting a company’s resources. This prevents unauthorized access to documents, financial data, and other confidential info.

Currently, NordLayer offers dedicated server options in 27 countries and even more cities. You can get a dedicated server with a dedicated IP when purchasing the Advanced or Custom subscription.

Jailbroken device detection

When a device is jailbroken/rooted, it means that all of its manufacturer-imposed restrictions are removed, letting malware be installed on it. Such a device can pose a serious risk to a company, and here’s where NordLayer comes into play. The service detects jailbroken devices, notifying the user about potential risks.

User management

NordLayer’s control panel (which is not an app but a web client) is easy to use and navigate, making the service one of the most beginner-friendly business VPN solutions.

NordLayer control panel

Here’s what it allows you to do:

  • Invite new members
  • Add members to existing teams
  • Create new teams and add available gateways
  • Create new gateways and servers
  • Monitor user activity (active users/gateways)
  • Enable 2FA and choose user login options

The control panel itself looks pretty minimalistic. You will find four main sections:

  • Organization. Here, you can manage both your teams and individual members. For example, you can add new members or gateways to different teams. When it comes to members, you can see their status (Active, Suspended, Invited, or Inactive).
  • Network. In this section, you’ll be able to manage all the info related to your gateways and servers.
  • Settings. Here, you’ll be able to set up the Smart Remote Access feature, which lets you use the company’s resources even when there’s no internet connection. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to do it - your account manager will help you with that.
  • Downloads. This section contains links to all the NordLayer applications. It also allows you to send manual configuration instructions to your employees.

Is NordLayer safe?

Yes, NordLayer is completely safe to use. It uses the military-grade AES-256 encryption, which is used by organizations that require flawless security, such as online banks and government bodies.

When it comes to its tunneling protocols, NordLayer doesn’t disappoint either. For example, you can choose NordLynx, which is NordVPN’s upgraded version of WireGuard. It retains all the speed while being even more secure.

You can also use OpenVPN TCP or OpenVPN UDP, both of which are staples in the VPN world. Lastly, we have IKEv2, which is the most suitable for mobile devices thanks to its stability.

NordLayer tunneling protocols

Logging and jurisdiction

When it comes to the jurisdiction, though, we have some concerns. In 2020, NordLayer relocated from Panama to the US, which is a less privacy-friendly country. On the other hand, you should look at the service’s logging policy to see what kind of data it truly collects.

Luckily, there’s nothing worse than what you’d see in the logging policies of other business VPNs. NordLayer will keep your company’s original IP and email address, as it’s necessary for the provision of the services.

Just keep in mind that the website of NordLayer keeps a bit more information, including your operating system, IP address, cookie data, and browser info.

Speed performance

NordLayer is a pretty fast VPN service thanks to the implementation of the speedy NordLynx tunneling protocol. During our tests, the tool managed to maintain about 96% of the original speed (both download and upload) in the best cases. The speeds were actually better than the ones of NordVPN, which is an impressive achievement.

Baseline: 299.01 Mbps download, 296.27 Mbps upload

Location (NordLynx)
DownloadUpload
UK
290.48284.29
US259.44284.66
Australia207.40210.32
Switzerland270.49269.55
Japan245.26125.19

The speeds with IKEv2 were also pretty good, sometimes dropping only by a mere 20%. However, in many cases, it dropped by about 40%, which, while not perfect, is still pretty decent. The speed drop mostly depended on how far a server was located from us.

Meanwhile, OpenVPN UDP sometimes retained more than 90% of the original upload speed. However, the download speeds weren't as impressive.

Finally, OpenVPN TCP slows down the speed even more, retaining only about 12% of the original download speed on average. Of course, this drop in performance can be expected from this tunneling protocol, as it favors security over speed. When using OpenVPN TCP, I could even feel some lagging, which wasn’t the case with other protocols.

Plans and pricing

When it comes to pricing, NordLayer is definitely not the most expensive business VPN, especially compared to the likes of Perimeter 81. When getting a long-term plan, you can pay as little as $7 per user a month, which is pretty reasonable.

Also, unlike Perimeter 81, NordLayer doesn’t have a minimum number of users, so you can really save money if you need a VPN for a small business. You also get a 30-day money-back guarantee and 6 simultaneous connections per user.

YearlyMonthly
Basic$7.00 user/month$9.00 user/month
Advanced$9.00 user/month$11.00 user/month
CustomConsultation requiredConsultation required

Let’s take a closer look at each type of subscription separately.

Basic

For the basic plan, you can either pay $7/month or $9/month for a user depending on your subscription period (of course, the yearly subscription is cheaper than the monthly subscription).

This plan includes:

  • 24/7 support
  • Integration with all major OS
  • Unlimited number of users
  • Centralized control panel and settings
  • License transferability
  • 2-factor authentication and SSO
  • Shared access to 30+ server locations
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Auto-connect options
  • ThreatBlock
  • Jailbroken device detection
  • No traffic limitations

Keep in mind that you can’t get a dedicated IP with the Basic subscription.

Advanced

In the meantime, the Advanced subscription costs either $9/month per user (yearly plan) or $11/month per user (monthly plan). You can also purchase a dedicated server with a fixed IP for $40 per month.

The Advanced subscription offers everything included in the Basic one, together with:

  • Priority 24/7 support
  • Dedicated account management
  • Possibility to purchase dedicated servers
  • Up to 1Gbps speed
  • 27+ dedicated server locations
  • IP allowlisting
  • Custom DNS
  • Network segmentation
  • Site-to-Site
  • Smart remote access
  • Biometrics

In case even the Advanced plan doesn’t 100% suit your needs, you can always aim for the Custom subscription. You’ll need to request a consultation in order to talk about your specific requirements.

Torrenting

As we check the torrenting capabilities of every VPN we review, NordLayer and other business solutions are no exception. After all, this might come in handy at certain jobs.

So, torrenting actually worked, which is great, but the speeds were not that amazing. It was possible to reach only 5-6 Mb/s on the UK server. However, the speeds with the US server were even worse, dropping to a mere 3-4 Mb/s.

All in all, even though NordLayer allows P2P connections, it wouldn’t be my first choice for torrenting.

Streaming

Whether your job requires unblocking various streaming libraries or you simply want to catch up with your favorite show during your break, it’s good to have a VPN that can bypass the blocks of streaming services.

NetflixYes
Hulu✅ Yes
Disney+✅ Yes
DAZN❌ No
BBC iPlayer✅ Yes

So, I was quite lucky with Netflix - I could access the US, UK, and Swiss libraries. However, the tool didn’t work with the libraries for Belgium, Germany, Canada, Italy, Australia, and Spain. On the other hand, the situation can always change and you might just be able to unblock these libraries in the future. You can also try using another sever if your current one doesn't work with the library you need.

Meanwhile, Disney+ worked with quite a few countries except for the US, Australia, and Spain. DAZN couldn’t be unblocked at all, while BBC iPlayer wasn’t a tough nut to crack.

Interface and ease of use

It’s important for a business VPN to be user-friendly, especially when there are a lot of new members coming in - it might be difficult to train everyone to use an advanced application. Luckily, NordLayer is easy to use, as the user apps don’t include lots of settings and are pretty self-explanatory.

NordLayer is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux (just keep in mind that the latter doesn’t have a graphical user interface).

Desktop applications

The Windows app of NordLayer has a dark, clean theme. It’s very easy to navigate - the Settings tab simply includes the General options, Auto-connect options, the selection of tunneling protocols, and the account options. Also, its ThreatBlock feature worked perfectly.

NordLayer on MacOS

Meanwhile, the interface of the MacOS app looks totally different. Instead of a right-side menu, the app has the menu placed at the top of the screen. Also, the theme is light in contrast to the dark Windows look. The app offers the biometric login option but lacks the kill switch feature, just like the iOS version of NordLayer.

NordLayer macOS menu

Mobile applications

Just like the Windows one, the Android application isn’t difficult to use at all. It has the same dark theme that’s easy on the eyes.

Similarly, the iOS app is also dark-themed. It looks almost identical to the Android application. Interestingly, it also has almost all the features that the Android version offers, which is quite rare in the world of VPNs. The kill switch is the only feature missing from the list.

NordLayer iOS

Unfortunately, I have nothing good to say about the TheatBlock feature on both the Android and iOS apps of NordLayer. It didn’t block the websites we tested on it, which was rather disappointing.

Customer support

The customer support of NordLayer is really good. You can reach out to an agent 24/7 by either using a live chat, phone, or email. In addition to this, NordLayer also has an extensive knowledge base. I tried out the live chat and received a very quick answer - I didn’t need to wait for even a minute.

It’s also important to mention that the subscribers to the Advanced plan will get priority 24/7 support and a dedicated account manager. Meanwhile, those who purchase the Custom plan get premium live 24/7 support for custom technical implementation, as well as a dedicated account manager.

Final words

While NordLayer isn’t the most advanced business VPN solution out there, it offers a really strong suite of features, which is more than enough for most businesses.

Its applications are easy to use, the speeds are pretty good, and the security level is top-notch. NordLayer also supports torrenting and unblocks multiple streaming services, which is quite unexpected from a corporate VPN solution.

And while the number of countries might seem a bit low compared with personal VPNs, NordLayer allows you to choose from a pretty vast range of locations when it comes to dedicated servers (27+).

All in all, I see why NordLayer is considered one of the best corporate VPN solutions, and I can boldly recommend it to anyone.

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