According to VPN users’ opinions, NordVPN is one of the best VPNs on the market in 2023 for its high speed, great online security tools, and streaming and torrenting capabilities. Of course, we cannot forget web browsing tools, according to users reviews – it’s certainly a product worth your attention.
For starters, NordVPN offers a proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol that guarantees top speeds. There’s advanced encryption and an independently-audited no-logs policy for complete anonymity. Its intuitive apps are packed with unique features, such as free-of-cost Meshnet, making NordVPN an excellent option for beginners and power users.
However, you can also come across some spotted kinks of NordVPN. For instance, annoying glitches after software updates are something that puts its users in doubt. But let’s dig a little bit deeper with this review of NordVPN: how good is this VPN for beginners and power users? Is NordVPN safe? How does it perform in terms of streaming and torrenting?
The observations mentioned earlier are just a glimpse of what our Cybernews experts explored in this in-depth NordVPN review. Our analysis included hands-on testing to assess NordVPN’s capabilities, drawing from our extensive experience and expertise in the field. While NordVPN ranks among the top VPN services, it’s essential to understand that it might not be suitable for everyone. In the following sections, we will help you determine if NordVPN is the right fit for you.
📢 LIMITED OFFER: Black Friday! Get NordVPN with 69% OFF + 3 months FREE!
|🥇 Overall rank:
|#1 out of #42
|📖 No logs policy:
|5,900 + servers in 60 countries
|🍿 Streaming services:
|Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more
|NordVPN coupon 69% OFF
NordVPN pros and cons
Things we like
- RAM-only server infrastructure
- Fastest VPN we tested
- Eliminates ISP bandwidth throttling
- Meshnet feature for remote device access
- Intuitive apps for most devices
- Solid, independently audited security features
- Unblocks geo-restricted streaming websites
- Safe for torrenting
- Speedy 24/7 customer support
- Affordable price
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 7-day free trial
Things we don’t like
- Linux client has no graphic interface
- No unlimited free plan
- Limited simultaneous connections
Is NordVPN safe?
NordVPN is one of the safest VPN providers. Market-leading encryption and secure tunneling protocols ensure that your data is safe, and all of NordVPN’s servers run on RAM. RAM servers are extremely useful for a VPN: as the data gets wiped out every time your server is restarted, there is no information for anyone to steal. A lot of NordVPN servers use this technology.
After creating your account and installing your client, you can connect to any server on NordVPN’s network. This connection is encrypted, making your traffic unreadable for external watchers. For that, NordVPN uses the AES-256-CBC cipher, so far still the gold standard in the VPN market. On top of that, NordLynx uses the ChaCha20 protocol, meaning you’re guaranteed even more privacy and security.
You’ll be given access to the server through the use of the SHA-512 hash function. It scrambles your credentials into 512 binary digits, which to all outsiders are meaningless chunks of data. These are then compared to the cryptographic hashes generated and stored on their servers when you were creating your account, and if they match – you can come in.
This hash is actually beyond a VPN market standard. Many competing VPN providers use SHA-256. So, NordVPN is really pushing the envelope here in terms of what’s possible. The SHA-512 function is more secure, granting much better safety for its users, and much more difficult to crack for anyone trying to get in.
Your data is transferred between the VPN server and your device using tunneling protocols. NordVPN supports these three main options.
|Versatile, all-around security
|Mobile devices, cellular/Wi-FI data
|Best option overall
Here’s what they are – and what should you choose them for:
OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) – this is an open-source VPN protocol, used by many major VPN providers. It is secure and works on multiple platforms. On NordVPN, you can choose which option you like more. You can pick a safer (TCP) or faster (UDP) method. Available on all NordVPN clients.
IKEv2/IPsec – best used on mobile devices. It’s much less CPU intensive, and excellent in establishing a reconnection, making it ideal for a seamless switch between wifi and cellular data. Available on iOS, Windows, Linux, and macOS.
WireGuard (NordLynx) – this is NordVPN’s custom take on next-gen WireGuard VPN technology. It’s an upgrade on older protocols, with superior options for both speed and security. Available on all NordVPN clients.
Note: If you’re setting up a VPN connection on Windows manually – beware of DNS leaks. During tests, the IKEv2 connection on Windows leaked DNS addresses. This was fixed by setting NordVPN’s DNS addresses as default on my Ethernet, and IKEv2 adapters instead of Cloudflare’s. So, if you’re planning to go through the route of manual set up, make sure to use their proprietary DNS servers, and you should be in the clear.
NordVPN is based in privacy-friendly Panama. If some government would like to ask for your usage logs, they would have to contact a Panamanian court. Given that Panama has no data retention laws, NordVPN doesn’t have to keep any data on their users. This is why it’s essential to select a VPN service provider that isn’t located in a Five Eyes country, or an otherwise invasive country.
Nord guarantees a strict no-logs policy for NordVPN Services, meaning that your internet activity while using NordVPN Services is not monitored, recorded, logged, stored or passed to any third party.
For example, when India’s government passed a law requiring VPN companies to log user data, NordVPN was one of the first VPNs to pull out its operating servers from the country. This move demonstrated NordVPN’s commitment to user privacy and its willingness to put its money where its mouth is.
The only data their apps collect is related to crash error reports and application diagnostics data. Suppose you find that this is unacceptable to you. In that case, you can easily opt-out of anonymized app usage at any time from their client. Although, it’s hardly a dealbreaker.
Security and privacy audits
If you were reading the previous section and thought, “Well, that’s all very nice, but how do I know that these promises mean anything?” Well, NordVPN hired an independent agency, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), to perform an audit.
For reference, last year, PwC ranked #5 on Forbes’ America’s Largest Private Companies and is one of the Big Four accounting firms. NordVPN’s no logs policy was audited twice: in 2018 and 2020, both times concluding that their privacy claims are valid.
To put this into perspective, the incident of having some of NordVPN’s servers breached in 2018 showed that the affected server did not contain any user activity logs. To prevent any similar incidents, among other means, NordVPN encrypts the hard disk of each new server they build.
NordVPN also put themselves through app security audits, as well. In 2019, cybersecurity consulting agency VerSprite conducted various penetration tests on their apps and infrastructure. You can familiarize yourself with the full NordVPN report here. All the discovered bugs were patched even before the release of the report.
Currently, they’re still trying to improve their service and are offering bug bounties for those testers who manage to find bugs on their HackerOne page. So, as a cybersecurity products vendor, NordVPN is taking the necessary steps towards transparency.
Here are the key findings:
NordVPN scored the highest marks on all criteria, including the highest level 4 (highest) on the vulnerability reporting program. Not only does it accept external submissions, but it also has a public research rewards program. Even when it comes to password management, they got a level 4 ranking. Authentication is not the only requirement. App APIs require re-authentication for sensitive transactions. You can read the full certification report here.
Only recently has this certificate been applied to VPN apps. Previously it was exclusive to IoT devices. This new change also means that only a handful of VPN services can boast about having it. NordVPN is naturally at the forefront with the other industry leaders.
Pricing: Which NordVPN plan is the best?
NordVPN doesn’t have elaborate pricing schemes or complex plan options. There are only three main plans – the Standard, the Plus, and the Complete. The NordVPN cost depends on the subscription duration you choose. There are 1-month, 1-year, and 2-year options.
The best option is to buy the Complete plan which includes a bundle of Nord products. You get a secure VPN, a password manager, and an encrypted cloud storage for ultimate protection of all your data and activities.Get NordVPN
Also, keep in mind that the longer the plan is, the better the savings. For example, just take a look at the price you’d pay for a 1-year and 1-month subscription:
- The Standard: $4.49/month (1-year plan) and $12.99/month (1-month plan)
- The Plus: $5.49/month (1-year plan) and $13.99 (1-month plan)
- The Complete: $6.49/month (1-year plan) and $14.99 (1-month plan)
So, if you want to get the best value for your money in terms of features and price, NordVPN suggests the option itself: the best choice is the 2-year subscription of the Complete plan. It comes at 4.99/month, ensuring even better cost than the 1-year option. But whichever yearly subscription you choose, they offer the lowest NordVPN prices, ensuring great value for your money.
Here are the prices and benefits of each NordVPN plan with the 2-year subscription:
|VPN with 6 simultaneous connections
|Tracker and ad blocker
|Cross-platform password manager
|Data breach scanner
|1 TB of encrypted cloud storage
NordVPN’s highest prices are those of monthly plans. You can get the Complete package for $14.99/month.
As for payment options, there are quite a few of them. You’ll find the usual credit cards, AmazonPay, Sofort, PayPal, ACH Transfer, and even prepaid cards. There’s also the option to pay using Apple Pay, or Google Pay if you find that more convenient. For the most privacy-cautious, there are also options to buy with cryptocurrencies and even from retail stores.
With longer subscriptions, NordVPN is on the lower end of the pricing spectrum. Considering the package of features and subscription benefits, the price seems like a steal.
- There are also some excellent options to get this VPN even cheaper – we have a post covering NordVPN coupons that can potentially reduce the price even more.
Can you get NordVPN for free?
Yes, you can get NordVPN for free using a free 7-day trial. With this method, you’ll be able to use NordVPN with any device that you’d like.
To make this work, you’ll need to download NordVPN on your Android device. It’s also important that this account shouldn’t have any NordVPN accounts registered already.
After downloading the app and making the account, you’ll initiate your free 7-day trial. Afterwards, you can use NordVPN on other devices, too – simply download the app and log in with your current credentials.
But even though you’ve downloaded the VPN on your mobile device, you can use the same credentials on all of your devices.
After the trial period expires, a normal plan starts. Luckily, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you have a month to ask for a refund. In total, this can get you 37 days of free NordVPN. That’s plenty of time to test the waters.
Free NordVPN is as safe as its regular version. It also uses solid encryption with top-notch tunneling protocols. Plus, you can connect to any server you’d like, just like you could when using paid edition.
Speed and performance: Is NordVPN fast?
NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs on the market, especially when using the NordLynx protocol which was developed by NordVPN itself. It’s an upgrade of the famous WireGuard protocol and is a great combination of speed and security.
Data period:11.10 – 11.24
|56% (539 Mbit/s)
|49 % (473 Mbit/s)
|62% (592 Mbit/s)
|55 % (533 Mbit/s)
|100% (1,000 Mbit/s)
|100 % (963 Mbit/s)
|57% (552 Mbit/s)
|51 % (493 Mbit/s)
|85% (820 Mbit/s)
|73 % (702 Mbit/s)
Download/Upload baseline speed – 1000 Mbit/s
See live VPN provider data on our VPN speed test tool
Even though NordVPN excels in speeds, other fast VPNs we tested are not that far behind. For instance, Surfshark is the 2nd fastest provider with an average speed retention rate of 86%, while NordVPN keeps a consistent 90% retention rate.
Excellent NordVPN speeds are most likely thanks to its NordLynx technology, excellent server infrastructure, and a global server network.
NordVPN performance with other protocols
Of course, NordVPN offers more than just its own NordLynx protocol. Accordingly, NordVPN’s speeds differ depending on which tunneling protocol you use.
As expected, the OpenVPN (TCP) version is pretty slow, but that’s a tradeoff for a more stable connection, especially for specific use cases like streaming. Although the numbers don’t seem at all impressive, that’s pretty much the standard across the board. OpenVPN (UDP), however, is a much faster option. Depending on your location, the speed reduction can be as low as 3% (UK) or as high as 87% (Japan).
Only NordLynx and OpenVPN (UDP) have the luxury of reductions as low as 13% in terms of upload speed. IKEv2 and OpenVPN (TCP) will be much slower the further away you are. Keep this in mind if you’re planning to upload large data files.
IKEv2 tunneling protocols were discontinued on all NordVPN apps.
Overall, this is how NordVPN’s protocols stack up against one another:
But that’s not all – comparing NordVPN’s performance to other popular VPN providers gives you a clear understanding of just how fast NordVPN really is. So let’s check how it stacks up against its competitors:
|Average download speed
What all this data tells us is that NordVPN is indeed a pretty fast VPN. If you’re picking a location that isn’t too far off, you’ll barely even notice you’re using a VPN. If the location is further away, there will be some speed drops, which in some cases can be solved by switching tunneling protocols – with NordLynx being the fastest solution here. Otherwise, the service provides all the tools to ensure that you won’t have to wait long for webpages to load and for videos to buffer.
NordVPN compared to other VPNs
Today, the VPN market is flooded with high-quality VPN services. Consequently, it’s getting harder and harder to know which one is the most suitable for you. To speed things up and help you see how well NordVPN performs we’ve compared it to the top 5 VPNs:
If you’re interested to find out how NordVPN stacks up against other VPNs, take a look at some of our comparisons:
- NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: which is the ultimate winner?
- NordVPN vs Surfshark: which one is better?
- NordVPN vs IPVanish: which one to pick?
- NordVPN vs Surfshark vs ExpressVPN: which one of these 3 is the best?
How does NordVPN work?
Once you log into your NordVPN account, the first button that should grab your eyes is the Connect button. After pressing it, it will hide your IP address, providing you with a new one, and create an encrypted tunnel for your data. This way, your ISP, the government, and other third parties can’t track your online activity. You can also easily unblock geo-restricted content, which NordVPN proved to be excellent at during our tests, access your favorite streaming libraries, and more.
The job that NordVPN does for you involves numerous factors, such as applying strong encryption, offering the best tunneling protocol, maintaining data secure during the transfer, etc. All of it can be found in one place under the Preferences section, proving that it’s a consumer-focused VPN service. This means the VPN app is built to take away all the technical hassle from you so that you can be protected within a few clicks.
This VPN is available on a wide range of platforms: including various desktop and mobile OS options, as well as smart TVs and streaming sticks. Plus, the setup process and further experience remain similar and effortless on all devices. Below, you will find guides on how to download and use NordVPN.
How to use NordVPN?
NordVPN offers one of the most intuitive VPN apps we’ve ever seen. The setup process takes only a few minutes, the app is suitable for both – beginners and advanced users, and if you come across any issue, there’s customer support available 24/7. Follow the steps below to start using NordVPN:
- After the installation is done, log in to your NordVPN account
- Head to the Settings section
- Ensure the NordLynx tunneling protocol and the kill switch feature are enabled
- Navigate back to the main page
- Choose the country you prefer and connect to the server
Can NordVPN unblock Netflix and other streaming services?
NordVPN is a very solid VPN choice for streaming – as long as you find the right servers to use, it unlocks all the main streaming platforms. Its SmartPlay technology plays a big part here – we haven’t found a video platform we couldn’t get into. Here’s a quick summary of our experience unblocking streaming services with NordVPN:
|Does it work?
|Amazon Prime Video
NordVPN is an excellent option for Netflix. We managed to unblock the UK, US, and 13 other libraries instantly, while libraries like Japan took some time to bypass. For instance, we tried to access US Netflix content from Lithuania. It worked perfectly with no major lagging. Then, we tried accessing UK Netflix content it was as successful as with US Netflix.
Plus, the streaming speeds were excellent on all devices, including all major OS and Smart TVs. So NordVPN won’t disappoint you when used with Netflix.
Our comprehensive testing confirmed that NordVPN performs well with other streaming platforms, including Hulu, Max, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Apple TV, and YouTube TV. We did note that finding the right server may take some trial and error, but the results are well worth the effort. BBC iPlayer and Disney+ delivered high-definition content with minimal buffering, while Apple TV and YouTube TV were also accessible.
NordVPN’s compatibility with various streaming boxes and devices was another noteworthy discovery during our tests. This ensures you can enjoy your favorite content across different platforms and screens. We’ve created detailed guides for popular options like Amazon Fire Stick, Kodi, and Roku to assist users in setting up NordVPN effortlessly.
Considering NordVPN pricing, all these premium features offer seriously good value.
When it comes to server selection, this VPN doesn’t disappoint either. There are a lot of NordVPN servers in countries that usually have the best streaming libraries. You’ll be able to access the content for users in the US, UK, Canada, and lots of other locations.
Here’s how this VPN deals with streaming:
- Unblocking Netflix with NordVPN
- Unblocking Hulu with NordVPN
- Unblocking HBO Max with NordVPN
- Unblocking BBC iPlayer and Disney+ with NordVPN
- Using NordVPN on streaming boxes
Let’s have a look at how this VPN does with all of them.
Unblocking Netflix with NordVPN
NordVPN is an excellent option if you’re looking to stream Netflix from various international locations. The UK and US libraries worked perfectly, and we could even access some notoriously challenging libraries like Japan. You can read more about NordVPN dealing with this streaming platform on our NordVPN for Netflix guide.
The library loading times varied from location to location. Even though sometimes we had to switch servers to gain access, NordVPN did pretty well. As per our research, NordVPN can currently unlock 21 different Netflix libraries: that’s an excellent result, giving you worldwide access to streaming content.
Unblocking Hulu with NordVPN
NordVPN successfully unblocks Hulu. There were no issues in loading times and video frame rates and overall, using NordVPN with Hulu was a very enjoyable experience.
The resolution remained consistent throughout the entire test – at a crisp 1080p (your results will depend on the chosen server, and existing online connection). Overall, we liked what we saw.
Unblocking HBO Max with NordVPN
Netflix worked when used with HBO Max. The load times were lightning-quick, and the overall experience was very similar to when no VPN was on. NordVPN is one of the top options to watch HBO Max outside the US.
The overall picture quality wasn’t quite as good as on Netflix or Hulu. But it was still fully serviceable – so we call NordVPN to be a perfectly suitable option for HBO Max.
HeaDoes NordVPN unblock BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Apple TV, or YouTube TV?ding
NordVPN also did pretty well when trying to unlock other streaming platforms. But beware – it might take a while for you to find the right location or server.
For instance, BBC iPlayer worked perfectly, with high-definition content, no stutters, and fast load times: we had no issues using NordVPN to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA. However, it took us quite a while to find a server that supports it.
It was a similar story with Disney+ as well: it works perfectly, but it’s not just “click and watch.” You might need to find the right option.
In terms of Apple TV and YouTube TV – we managed to successfully access both and it looked like unblocking YouTube TV was easier with Firefox than other browsers.
Overall, NordVPN is solid when it comes to streaming: we’re yet to find a video service that flat out doesn’t work with it. It’s a good idea to try several servers, so even if it fails with one, there is a very real chance that it will work with another server – or at times, a different location.
Does NordVPN work with streaming boxes?
You can install NordVPN on a wide variety of streaming boxes and devices. That’s great news – after all, all the streaming platform functionality would be wasted if there was no way to watch them!
We have included detailed guides and instructions on how to use NordVPN on Amazon Fire Stick. There is also a separate guide for using this VPN for Kodi. And if you’re using Roku, we have a guide for you, too – here’s how to use NordVPN on Roku.
Overall, NordVPN’s streaming infrastructure is pretty excellent. Not only you’ll be given functionality to access the streaming platforms – with NordVPN, you can also watch them the way you want.
Is NordVPN good and safe for torrenting?
NordVPN is very suitable for torrenting – in fact, it’s one of the best options for torrenting in the entire VPN market. While P2P downloads don’t work on all of the product’s servers, there are specialized servers all around the world with fast and reliable performance.
This can be an absolute lifesaver in countries where torrenting is prohibited, like Japan, Germany, or Italy.
You’re free to use whichever server that you want for torrenting. However, if P2P traffic gets detected on a non-P2P server, you’re automatically reconnected to a server supporting P2P. So, keep this in mind if you notice a strange server switch.
You can read more about torrenting with NordVPN in our guide. Then, you’ll be able to start torrenting right away.
How to download and install NordVPN
There are two ways to download the NordVPN application to your device. It’s either through an app store or the official NordVPN website. Two available options instead of one are there for a reason. Unfortunately, some countries restrict access to app stores; therefore, the only way to have NordVPN is to get an APK file. Nevertheless, you can see how it’s done in the guide below:
- Go to the NordVPN website (or the app store if it’s available), and click the button to get NordVPN
- Choose your subscription plan. With a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try NordVPN risk-free
- Fill in the necessary checkout information – only your email is required
- Download the NordVPN app on the devices you want to use it on
- Following the instructions, install the app
Remember, you don’t have to follow the Downloads page to get these apps if app stores aren’t geo-restricted for you. NordVPN apps are also readily available on Google Play, Apple App Store, and several other application stores for mobile, desktop, and streaming devices.
Since its initial release in 2012, NordVPN has been stepping up its game pretty rapidly, constantly releasing new updates. Consequently, it offers one of the most extensive suites of features that ensures versatile protection.
|💿 VPN server network:
|5,900+ servers in 60 countries
|NordLynx, IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN
|👁️ Data collection policy:
|Independently audited no-logs policy
|Blocks malware, trackers, malicious sites and ads
|💻 Maximum account connections:
|✉️ Customer support:
|24/7 live chat, email, support center
|🆓 Free trial:
|7 days for Android
|⚙️ IP addresses:
|Shared and dedicated
|Threat Protection, Meshnet, Incogni, Dark Web Monitor, SmartPlay, Presets
How many servers does NordVPN have?
As a VPN service provider, NordVPN is truly a global player. Their fleet consists of over 5,900 servers distributed across 60 countries. It’s a massive overall increase from 2018 when NordVPN had only around 3,300 servers. As for locations, Europe, Asia, and the Americas are the continents with the best coverage.
As for the servers themselves, all of them run on RAM. This means all your data gets instantly deleted with every single reboot. Overall, NordVPN servers offer excellent worldwide coverage – nothing to complain about.
How many devices can you connect with NordVPN?
With NordVPN, you can connect up to 6 devices simultaneously with one account. This means that you can protect your laptop, desktop, phone, tablet, and other devices with a single NordVPN subscription. However, this is quite limiting for a VPN, as other market leaders like Surfshark or AtlasVPN allow unlimited simultaneous connections.
If you have more than 6 devices, you can still use NordVPN by setting up your router with the VPN. This will protect all of the devices on your network with a single device slot.
What security features does NordVPN offer?
NordVPN offers a variety of security features in addition to its core VPN encryption, including Threat Protection, a kill switch, obfuscated servers, and more. These features help to protect you from malware, phishing attacks, and other online threats:
Most VPN service providers are merely renting the servers they’re offering to customers. This often means they only manage them by installing custom software, leaving some control to the third-party owning the data center. This can easily backfire.
Following a data breach at a third-party data center in 2018, NordVPN has taken major steps and converted most of their rented servers into an owned, maintained, and fully managed network. This reduces a chance of an external data breach to a minimum.
All of their servers only store data in RAM, meaning that it gets wiped off every time a server gets restarted. With no disk drives, there’s no permanent data saved. Here’s how NordVPN stacks up with other providers offering such a feature.
An effective kill switch can make a world of difference. Suppose you’re trying to remain anonymous, but your connection to the VPN server drops. In that case, you could expose your location and IP address and not even know about it.
For this reason, NordVPN has a system-wide kill switch, and an app kill switch.
The Internet Kill Switch will disable all Internet access if the client detects that you’re not connected to a VPN.
The App Kill Switch only affects a specific app – imagine that you’re using a VPN for torrenting and don’t want any of the P2P traffic to go directly through your ISP. App kill switch on µTorrent client would close the app to prevent data leaks.
On the iOS and macOS apps downloaded from App Store, the system-wide kill switch is enabled by default and built into the client. You won’t see an icon, but it will kill your connection if the connection to the VPN drops. On Windows and macOS (sideload app), you can configure the kill switch on a per-app basis. On Linux and Android, you can only enable a system-wide kill switch.
It wouldn’t hurt if their feature handling were more homogeneous. That said, as a user, you get a functional system-wide kill switch on all platforms. On some, you can go as far as configuring it for specific apps. Considering that some platforms like iOS rarely even get such features, that’s a technical achievement in itself.
Cybernews Pro tip
Losing your VPN connection can be dangerous – especially if you’re doing something sensitive. Always remember to keep your kill switch on when using NordVPN!Get NordVPN now
With NordVPN, your device will be safer than ever before. This is thanks to a feature called Threat Protection. It works by blocking the following threats:
- Malicious websites. You’ll be protected from accidentally visiting an infected website that could potentially infest your device with malware.
- Online ads. Tired of seeing tons of ads whenever you visit your favorite pages? Well, Threat Protection will make sure you won’t have this problem anymore.
- Trackers. With the help of trackers, websites can collect all sorts of information about you, including IP addresses and browsing habits. Luckily, NordVPN won’t let them do that anymore.
- Dangerous files. Whenever you’ll download an executable file, Threat Protection will scan it for malware and viruses – just like an antivirus tool would.
Currently, the feature works on all NordVPN applications. However, you can also get it as a standalone app on Android or iOS devices, as well as enable it on Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari browsers. One thing to keep in mind is that the browser version will not scan files for malware or viruses.
It’s quite convenient that once enabled, Threat Protection always works in the background – you won’t need to connect to a VPN server to activate it. However, if you’re using the Lite version, you will also need to turn on the VPN.
Dark Web Monitor
This spooky-sounding feature warns you of your personal data vulnerabilities. It checks dark web marketplaces for data associated with your email address. If it ends up there, there’s a good chance that the services you’ve been using were breached by hackers.
If you’re using the same password in several places, hackers can quickly compromise you on several other platforms as well. NordVPN notifies you if your email ever ends up in a dark web marketplace.
The feature is available to iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS users.
Meshnet allows you to use a VPN to make a secure connection between your or your friends’ devices, also known as a P2P connection.
Private and secure connections link all enabled devices, letting you access remote files or join others in development sessions or virtual LAN parties.
But accessing remote files isn’t the final destination, as there’s also no limit file sharing. With it, you can share up to 1000 files at once and the size of the files isn’t limited.
Meshnet also lets you route your traffic through different devices. This means you can browse the internet using the other machine’s IP address. For instance, if you’re staying abroad, you can connect to your home device and use your regular IP address.
With this feature, you can link up to 60 devices: with ten devices of your own and 50 others, which you can add by sending out invitations.
Finally, Meshnet is totally free for anyone with a Nord account.
Besides security features, NordVPN offers extra features, such as:
- SmartPlay – a feature for bypassing streaming media blocks, letting you seamlessly access media, wherever you are. It automatically kicks in when you’re using NordVPN and are trying to access streaming sites like Netflix.
- Specialty servers – if you’re looking to use a VPN for a specific case – streaming or torrenting, you’ll be able to use specialized servers like obfuscated, Onion over VPN, and more.
- Dedicated IP servers – you can purchase one on the official site of NordVPN. When connected, your IP will always remain the same and dedicated to you. This may be useful if you’re not that concerned about staying anonymous.
- Double VPN servers – also called multi-hop servers. With them, to reach your intended destination, your data will pass through two of their servers for maximum privacy.
- Obfuscated servers – useful only in extreme censorship cases, these servers scramble your VPN traffic to look like regular HTTPS.
- P2P servers – optimized for P2P traffic and best used when downloading files using torrents. However, they are great for any type of P2P traffic.
- Onion over VPN servers – these servers combine the Tor network with the VPN to create a VPN-Tor connection. Your traffic passes through the VPN server and then goes through (at least) 3 Tor nodes.
- Split tunneling – NordVPN split tunneling feature lets you choose which apps to use the VPN connection for and which can connect without it.
- Pausing and auto-connect – VPN auto-connect saves you a lot of clicking around if you want to fire up your device and go online. But it also constantly keeps you connected to a VPN – and if you want to access an app that can only be used without a VPN, you will need to turn the feature off.
- Presets – a feature that you can customize to infinity. You can create your custom VPN settings that you can access directly from the app’s main screen.
- Incogni – an additional privacy protection service of Nord Security. The service targets various services that collect and store users’ data, such as full name, phone number, email address, location, and more. With the user’s request, Incogni removes all data from the data brokers’ databases.
Interface and ease of use
|By far the best NordVPN experience
|Very easy installation and setup
|Two app versions with different features
|Very easy installation and setup
|Open source, no graphical app, works through terminal
|Advanced installation and setup
|Solid Android app
|Very easy installation and setup
|Good overall iOS experience
|Very easy installation and setup
|Good options for Firefox and Chrome
|Easy installation and effortless setup
|Works on routers that support OpenVPN
|DIfficult installation, advanced setup
NordVPN has a wide variety of clients and manual setup options. You can set it up on your router (if it supports IKEv2 and OpenVPN) – or instead, use one of the available applications for your desktop and mobile devices.
The available NordVPN apps for different devices are not the same. The Windows app is by far the most powerful – but the options for macOS, Linux, mobile devices, and browser extensions are also worth talking about. So, let’s have a look at each of these solutions.
The most feature-full version of NordVPN is Windows. Not only do you get two types of split tunneling and two types of a kill switch (for specific apps and the entire internet access), but also invisibility on LAN, auto-connect, and pause features. So, it’s no surprise to see NordVPN topping our lists for the best VPN for Windows.
The only available tunneling protocols from the client are NordLynx, and OpenVPN (UDP/TCP). If you need IKEv2, you’ll have to use a manual setup. However, seeing the speeds, there’s hardly any point to bother.
You’re also getting a clickable map interface, which makes choosing the connection country easier. However, you can also use the country list in the sidebar. If you click the three dots that appear when you hover your mouse over a country, you can select a particular server or connect to the fastest one available. So, whichever method is more convenient to you, NordVPN has you covered.
NordVPN took a really strange approach on macOS, which seems to be mostly Apple’s fault. Since Apple is pretty meticulous when allowing updates for existing apps on their App store, the review process often takes longer.
So, in turn, NordVPN has two apps for macOS, which are quite different. One is available from the App Store. The other is downloadable from their official website. The latter is commonly known as the sideload version and usually has more recent updates, but it only has OpenVPN tunneling protocols. Also, macOS kill switch works only for specific apps – but doesn’t let you set it up, so that it stops the entire online connection once the VPN connection is interrupted. It also supports older versions of macOS.
The version from the app store supports OpenVPN and NordLynx tunneling protocols. Plus, the kill switch is enabled by default but you can disable it through the VPN’s Settings section. Yet, both versions support the most recent Presets feature.
So, there are certain upsides to choosing one or the other. NordVPN, rather than sticking to one option, introduces some confusion by introducing two Mac versions. However, in the long run, this approach does provide additional benefits for its users. Especially since Windows, sideload macOS, and App Store apps look and feel almost identical. All in all, NordVPN is definitely worth a place in our best VPN for Mac list.
NordVPN supports Linux, and from the official website, you can download Debian and RPM packages. That should cover Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, and several other distributions. There is also a community-made Arch Linux port with guides for manual connections and OpenVPN and IKEv2 connections. Overall, it’s an excellent VPN for Linux.
You won’t get a graphical application if you’re a Linux user. You’ll have to set up everything with a command line terminal. So, the experience seems lacking compared to what Windows or macOS users have. At least a minimal graphical interface would be a welcome addition and would save you numerous trips to their website when you want to switch servers.
However, a real game-changer is the fact that NordVPN’s Linux app is open source. It means that you can fulfill your ideas on improving the app by individual coding. This is a truly respectful move from NordVPN’s side, as it reveals the level of reliability and transparency the company carries.
That aside, everything else works fine and even includes DNS leak protection. And even a default tunneling protocol is set to be NordLynx, so you don’t need to put extra effort into getting the best connection speeds.
On the downside, the app was a bit slow when responding to commands. However, these issues remain seriously rare and are always caught on time by the NordVPN developers’ team.
For Android, NordVPN offers a simple and clean overall interface. A map/country list hybrid lets you select the server, while settings and notifications are accessible by clicking icons in the corner of the screen. Kill switch and Dark Web monitoring that checks whether your data has been leaked are both available.
NordVPN Android app features include split tunneling, a configurable kill switch, pausing, and auto-connect. As for tunneling protocols, Android users can get OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), and NordLynx. Double VPN on Android is available via OpenVPN and NordLynx as well.
The Android app has passed full ioXt certification. It shows their compliance with the highest security standards – no surprise NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for Android.
Visually, the iOS app for NordVPN looks very similar to the Android one. The map/country list hybrid is just about the same, so are the icons at the bottom of the screen. Kill switch and Dark Web monitoring features are also just about the same.
The difference is in the details: for example, iOS has a Favorites tab just below Recent Connections. But it also doesn’t offer split tunneling and a configurable kill switch.
Where iOS really gets the upper edge, is the protocols. iOS users can choose from OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) and NordLynx protocols. Double VPN works on these protocols as well. Considering the restrictive nature of Apple’s policies, it is refreshing to see an iOS app that has so much going on. The developers clearly put thought into how to create value in NordVPN clients, even in cases when iOS policies work against them. It’s definitely one of the best VPNs for iOS out there.
The service also has Firefox and Chrome browser extensions for those who prefer a more lightweight solution. In other cases, it may be a workaround for those using older systems that don’t have their own apps. It’s much easier for users using macOS 9 or Windows XP to install a browser extension than to set up a manual connection. However, keep in mind that an extension only protects browser traffic.
The most recent feature is Bypass List, which allows you to exclude specific websites from the proxy connection, essentially functioning as split tunneling for websites. If you are using the Bypass List on Windows, you can have even better control of your traffic. If you’re on macOS, it provides a sort of workaround to compensate for the lack of split tunneling in the apps.
NordVPN on router
On a router, NordVPN offers a constant, always-on VPN connection for unlimited devices. Plus, it’s a simple way for you to use a VPN connection on devices that don’t natively support it. If you have a gaming console that you want to stream worldwide Netflix on, this is the easiest way in.
This VPN is compatible with routers that support the OpenVPN client, as well as routers that have NordLynx integrated. Depending on your device’s brand, the installation process will be a little different. NordVPN offers easy install guides for Asus, D-Link, Linksys, and Netgear routers. You can check out our guide on how to install NordVPN on a router to see if your device is supported – and how you can get VPN protection on all of your online connections.
NordVPN video review
If you want a more enjoyable TL;DR, you might appreciate our video review. In it, you’ll find every single fact from our review, but with the added bonus of a soothing voice.
NordVPN has a variety of support options, as you would expect from a premium service. Their support webpage is filled with guides, FAQs, and in-depth tutorials to answer a wide variety of questions.
|24/7 live chat
|Guides or articles
NordVPN also has a Chatbot to direct you to the solution for most common issues. However, their crown jewels are the 24/7 live chat and email. With the former, you can get an answer in minutes. The customer support agents that I have been assigned were helpful and knowledgeable. If your issue is a bit too complex to solve via chat, they’ll get back to you via email. Still, they responded within a few hours, which is great.
Overall, NordVPN’s customer support is very good. You can even contact their support agents via live chat even without registration. The accessibility and quality of provided assistance are the top qualities of this VPN service.
Is NordVPN worth getting?
All things considered, NordVPN is definitely worth purchasing compared to other VPN rivals on the market. It stands out as a top-tier VPN with state-of-the-art performance, functionality, and security. It boasts an independent audit, robust AES-256 encryption, and the cutting-edge NordLynx protocol. This VPN excels not only in streaming Netflix but also in providing reliable internet access in countries with restrictive online environments. When comparing it to other VPN competitors in the market, NordVPN unquestionably proves its worth.
You are getting a great deal of value in terms of VPN functionality. Windows and Android users will be getting the best clients. Still, Apple users also get a bunch of nice additions. No matter which platform you’re using, your device won’t feel left out.
We wholeheartedly recommend this VPN service. No matter why you need a VPN, you can be sure that NordVPN will deliver.
How we tested NordVPN
Our team of Cybernews experts conducted a thorough testing of NordVPN to evaluate its performance and security. The testing process included testing NordVPN’s speeds on servers in different locations around the world. In addition, we conducted real-world tests on security features, such as its encryption protocols, a kill switch, and DNS leak tests to make sure NordVPN wasn’t leaking users’ IP addresses. We also tested NordVPN’s apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS and assessed the apps’ ease of use, features, and overall performance.
See how NordVPN compares to other services
NordVPN vs Proton VPN: choosing the best option
NordVPN vs Kaspersky: which is a better VPN?
NordVPN vs VyprVPN: who wins the battle?
NordVPN vs IPVanish: choosing the best option
NordVPN vs PIA: pick the better option
NordVPN vs CyberGhost: which one is better for you?
Is NordVPN trustworthy?
Currently, NordVPN is one of the safest premium VPN service providers. Their business location, no logs policy, and infrastructure ensure that your data privacy will be respected. They have been publicly audited twice and hold ioXt certification.
How many devices can I use with NordVPN?
You can use the same account on 6 devices at a time. If you set up NordVPN on the router, you can use it with as many devices as the router supports.
Can NordVPN be traced?
Everything that you do with NordVPN stays hidden. Your traffic gets encrypted, and no one can tell you who you are or what you’re doing online. Plus, the service doesn’t collect user data, so your privacy is safe.
Can I cancel NordVPN anytime?
You can cancel your account or recurring subscription at any time from the main NordAccount screen.
Is NordVPN faster than ExpressVPN?
Yes, NordVPN is faster than ExpressVPN, according to our performance tests. When tested in 5 countries each, NordVPN retained 90% of initial connection speeds on average, while ExpressVPN retained 77%.
Does NordVPN work with Netflix?
NordVPN does work with Netflix. You can use the tool to unblock additional libraries that have exclusive movies and TV series. In total, you can choose from 15 Netflix libraries. You may also set up SmartDNS to unblock them without the need for VPN software install.
Does NordVPN offer the SOCKS5 proxy?
Yes, the SOCKS5 proxy is included in your NordVPN subscription. If you have the VPN, you can also connect to the proxy, which is especially useful with torrenting clients.
What are NordVPN P2P servers?
NordVPN P2P servers are compatible with torrenting and P2P sharing. Simply choose a server from the provided list and enjoy your encrypted connection.
How much does NordVPN cost monthly?
NordVPN’s monthly price is $2.99/month if you get a long-term plan (2-year) – that’s the best value for money you can get. Otherwise, you can purchase NordVPN’s subscription for a 1-year plan for $4.49/month or get it for one month for $12.99.
Does NordVPN work in China?
Yes, NordVPN does work in China. However, with most operating systems, you’ll have to use a manual setup. So, if you’re traveling there, you won’t have the option to use their handy clients. The setup mainly consists of installing NordVPN configuration files. Here’s our guide on how you can set up NordVPN for China.