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NordVPN review

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Few VPNs are as well-known as NordVPN – and with good reason!

NordVPN is one the best VPNs out there. Headquartered in Panama, this VPN service offers its users a combination of great speeds, unbreakable encryption, and an independently-audited no-logs policy. Intuitive apps packed with top features make NordVPN an excellent option for both beginners and power users.

But let's dig a little bit deeper with this NordVPN review. Want to know if it's good for torrenting, streaming Netflix, Hulu, and other popular platforms? And just how privacy-friendly is it? Read on to find out!

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Rating:
4.9
🥇 Overall rank:#1 out of 27
🌎 Country:Panama
📖 Logs:No logs
💵 Price:from $3.30/month
🖥️ Servers:5,500+ servers in 59 countries
🍿 Streaming services:Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more
🔥 Current deal:Now 72% OFF + 3 Months FREE!

NordVPN pros and cons

Visit NordVPN to learn more about the features

Speed and performance: Is NordVPN fast?

  • Baseline: 300 Mbps download/300 Mbps upload
LocationDownload speedUpload speed
US (NY)26864
UK169120
Germany275129
Japan246104
Australia23350

NordVPN's speeds are blazing fast. Especially when using their NordLynx protocol. The only registered drops were in Argentina and Australia, the furthest locations from Europe. Everywhere else, the speeds were much better, even in remote areas. For example, the speed in Germany only had an 8% dropdown. Meanwhile, the connection to New York, US, saw only an 11% drop off despite a major distance increase. Those are astounding numbers.

Below, you can see how NordVPN's speeds differ depending on which tunneling protocol you use. The numbers depicted are the average across 10 different locations:

  • NordLynx: 248.7/126.7
  • IKEv2: 237.8/55.8
  • OpenVPN (TCP): 36/28
  • OpenVPN (UDP): 212.6/74.6

Even when we look at the older protocols, the speeds are high. IKEv2 comes close to NordLynx in terms of download speed (albeit the upload speeds are quite a bit worse). The worst recorded reduction was 99% in Argentina, the lowest – 7% in Latvia. So, it also has use cases.

As expected, OpenVPN (TCP) version is pretty slow, but that's a tradeoff for a more stable connection. 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.

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. 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.

Is NordVPN good for streaming?

In short, I can say that streaming with NordVPN usually goes well. Its SmartPlay technology (in other words, Smart DNS) makes a big difference when unblocking streaming media platforms. As it is seamlessly integrated into the tool, you don’t need to do anything to launch it. SmartPlay will be automatically activated as soon as you try accessing blocked content.

Plus, you can also use this technology for devices that don’t have support for VPN clients. However, keep in mind that this would only unblock the pages you need without adding a layer of encryption.

When it comes to server selection, NordVPN doesn’t disappoint either. It offers lots of servers in the countries that usually have the best streaming libraries. You’ll be able to access the content for users in the US, UK, Canada, and other major locations.

You can also install NordVPN on various devices like Amazon Firestick or Android TV. The VPN works with Kodi too, as it has extensions for NordVPN and OpenVPN. Unfortunately, Roku stick isn't supported.

NordVPN Netflix

Does NordVPN unblock Netflix, Hulu, and other platforms?

At first, it seemed that streaming would be what ruins the seemingly perfect NordVPN streak. When testing Netflix, the US library refused to be unblocked. However, after removing Cloudflare from the custom DNS address in settings, the issue was resolved. So, do keep in mind that you should stick to default DNS settings if you want to enjoy streaming.

NordVPN unblocked BBC iPlayer without problems, triggering no proxy errors. So, if you’re a British expatriate, you’ll always have it available. There are no problems with YouTube geo-restricted video unblocks.

When the testing came to DAZN, it didn’t work with the US servers. However, when I switched to UK servers, everything went smoothly. It’s a good idea to try several countries, so even if it fails somewhere, there is a very real chance that it will work with another server location.

Is NordVPN good and safe for torrenting?

NordVPN can be used with P2P clients and even has specialized servers for torrenting. Most countries have a P2P version of the server alongside other servers. So, they won't be hard to find if you'll be looking for one located as near as possible.

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.

NordVPN features - what’s changed over the years?

Since its initial release in 2012, NordVPN has been stepping up its game pretty rapidly, releasing new updates every single year.

For example, as early as 2015, they launched their SmartPlay technology that allows you to access geo-restricted content with ease. Later, the VPN added even more features like split tunneling and Dark Web Monitor.

In May 2016, NordVPN released their Android application, while their iOS app was launched in June that same year. Since then, the apps have been greatly updated with new features and polished with various bug fixes.

In addition, NordVPN’s Google Chrome browser extension saw the light of day in October 2017. Meanwhile, Android TV fans could finally use NordVPN in June 2018 with the launch of a dedicated app for Android TV.

It’s worth noting that in October 2018, NordVPN became the first VPN to receive Ookla’s Speedtest Recommended badge for its outstanding speeds. Keep in mind that their speed results got even better from there!

You see, in July 2019, NordVPN released their magnum opus - the NordLynx protocol. Built around the WireGuard tunneling protocol, it is able to provide even more reliability (thanks to the double NAT system) and faster speeds.

However, at that time, it was only available on Linux. Thankfully, in April 2020, NordVPN launched NordLynx on its Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS apps.

It comes without saying that, in order to create the perfect VPN, sometimes you need to get rid of the things that are weighing you down. That’s why in December 2018, NordVPN discontinued the use of L2TP/IPsec and PPTP tunneling protocols due to their weak encryption.

You can check out the current features of NordVPN below.

SmartPlay

SmartPlay is a special feature for bypassing streaming media blocks. It automatically kicks in when you're using a NordVPN and are trying to access streaming sites likes Hulu, HBO Now, and others.

NordVPN is also making sure that you could access the same content on the devices that lack the support for their clients. Most devices with internet connectivity allow you to change their DNS settings, which can be a gateway for their SmartDNS. It allows you to take advantage of their SmartPlay technology unblocking without the client.

So, if you're looking for a VPN with streaming media as one of the main reasons, NordVPN has you covered. Just keep in mind that it's not a security feature, and it doesn't add any layer of encryption when used without the client.

Specialty servers

The majority of NordVPN servers are standard. This means that when connected, they change your IP, location and provide all the encryption benefits. However, the service has quite a few specialty servers that have particular use cases.

NordVPN specialty servers list

Note that some of these will only appear when you've chosen the appropriate tunneling protocol.

Double VPN servers – combines two VPN servers to make a VPN-VPN connection. So, to reach your intended destination, your data passes through two of their servers for maximum privacy. It can be used with OpenVPN either in UDP or TCP mode.

Onion over VPN servers – these servers combine the Tor network with VPN to create a VPN-Tor connection. Your traffic passes through the VPN server and then goes through (at least) 3 Tor nodes. This adds a layer of misdirection, making it harder to trace any online activity back to you.

Obfuscated servers – useful only in extreme censorship cases, these servers scramble your VPN traffic to look like regular HTTPS. Governments that limit VPN usage sometimes rely on traffic analysis to block VPNs. Obfuscated servers solve this problem by fooling such analysis methods.

P2P servers – optimized for P2P traffic and best used when downloading files using torrents. However, they are great for any type of P2P traffic.

Dedicated IP servers – these will be reserved for those who have purchased a static IP. When connected, your IP will always remain the same. This may be useful if you're not that concerned about staying anonymous and have other use cases. They're only available with OpenVPN either in UDP or TCP mode.

Split tunneling

One of their most recent and requested additions is the split tunneling feature. This lets you choose which apps to use the VPN connection for, and which can connect normally. On Windows, you can configure it to disable VPN for specific apps or enable VPN for selected apps only.

NordVPN split tunneling

This allows you to control better how you want your VPN to be used in your setup. If you're using a VPN to unblock streaming libraries, it does make sense to use it for those apps only (usually, the browser app). That way, every time you'll launch the app, you'll also turn on the VPN.

The Android version has fewer customization options. It's only possible to configure apps through inverse split tunneling. That way, you can disable VPN for selected apps, which means that they'll be routed directly through your ISP.

Sadly, if you're on Mac, Linux, or iOS, you won't get split tunneling. Though, with continuous support, you should expect it in the future.

CyberSec

NordVPN's CyberSec feature uses its proprietary DNS servers to filter out dangerous websites. Once you toggle the CyberSec feature from the options screen, it will start cross-referencing your accessed webpages in real-time.

NordVPN cybersec feature

CyberSec filters out blacklisted webpages associated with malware and spyware spreading, trackers, and other threats. When it triggers, you'll be notified with a message and won't be able to enter the website. It's a hard block, and it's only bypassable if you turn off CyberSec altogether. The feature is available on all the platforms that have client support.

Dark Web Monitor

This spooky-sounding feature checks dark web marketplaces and pastebins for data associated with your email address. If it ends up there, there's a good chance that some of the services that you've been using were breached by hackers. Hackers can take the accounts with login information and run cross-checks with other pages using credential stuffing. So, if you're using the same password everywhere, all your accounts can be compromised.

To prevent this from happening, the email you're using with your NordVPN account can be protected. If your email ever ends up in a dark web marketplace, you'll be notified by the app. The feature is only available to iOS users. There are rumors that the Android version will also arrive soon.

Pausing and auto-connect

Auto-connect saves you a lot of clicking around if you want to fire up your device and go online. It also means that you can't disconnect from the VPN if you don't disable auto-connect. So, when you need to turn it off, it puts you in the awkward position of having to disable auto-connect only to forget to enable it later. The more clicking involved, the more opportunities that this misstep will be a gap that may be enough to expose your real IP.

NordVPN connection pause

So, there's also a more straightforward solution in the form of a pause button. Most VPN services can only be connected or disconnected from a VPN server. There's no middle ground. NordVPN allows you to pause your connection for some time instead of having to disconnect and manually connect again. After you click pause and select the time, the connection will automatically reinitiate after the time runs out.

It's a very simple quality of life feature that can be best appreciated when you switch VPN service and find out that it's missing.

Presets

Presets is another recently added 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. It allows you to choose the type of servers you want to connect to and toggle other features like CyberSec.

nordvpn presets

There's even a possibility to include shortcuts to certain apps that are accessible from the main screen of the app. If you're using different VPN servers for different services, this feature is a godsend. To make your setup more straightforward, there are some pre-made presets. Presets are currently only available on macOS.

Is NordVPN safe and secure

NordVPN is one of the safest VPN providers. They're using a solid military-grade cipher to encrypt your connection which is routed using only secure tunneling protocols. In terms of privacy, their server fleet is running on RAM-only, and their privacy policy has been independently audited twice.

The key area for VPNs to get right is security. After all, you're routing your Internet traffic through a third party – it had better be safe. NordVPN has approximately 14 million customers, so the stakes are high.

Encryption

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, which is the gold standard. Many VPN services and financial institutions rely on this to encrypt data.

When your connection is initiated, you're granted 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.

It's worthwhile to point out that 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 not only increases the length of the hash - it's also more algorithmically complex, granting much better safety for its users.

Tunneling protocols

Your data is transferred between the VPN server and your device using tunneling protocols. NordVPN supports these:

OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) – unlike many VPN providers, NordVPN allows you to choose between UDP and TCP version, enabling you to choose a safer (TCP) or faster (UDP) method. You'll find it available on all clients.

IKEv2/IPsec – best used on mobile devices because you can seamlessly switch between wifi and cellular data. Sadly, it's only available for iOS (client), Windows, Linux (manual setup), and macOS (on sideload app).

WireGuard (NordLynx) – this custom modification of WireGuard randomizes your IP address on each connection. It anonymizes your IP to ensure that your real IP is not stored on the server to maintain the connection. It's also ridiculously fast and is the #1 culprit for making other tunneling protocols obsolete. You'll find it on all apps. NordLynx connection speeds have drastically improved since it was first introduced. Now, there truly is little sense to opt for OpenVPN in terms of safety and speed.

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.

Colocated servers

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 (which it did for NordVPN - more on that later).

Following a data breach at a third-party data center in 2018, NordVPN has taken steps to ensure such issues cannot happen in the future. They have converted almost all of their rented servers into an owned, maintained, and fully managed network. This allows them to adhere to strict privacy standards that their clients expect.

Such servers only store data in RAM and don't even have disk drives, so no data can be written into them. Their network is much larger than the closest competitors that also own their own servers. For example, IPVanish has only ~1300 servers, and they own only a part of their fleet. So, in this regard, NordVPN is truly a trailblazer.

Kill switch

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, IP and not even know about it.

NordVPN killswitch

For this reason, NordVPN has a system-wide kill switch, as well as an app kill switch. The former will disable all Internet access if the client detects that you're not connected to a VPN. The latter will close selected apps when you disconnect from the VPN or the connection drops.

Imagine that you're using a VPN for torrenting and don't want any of the P2P traffic to go directly through your ISP. You can set up an app kill switch by adding a µTorrent client. In cases when the VPN connection drops, the app will be closed to prevent data leaks.

On the iOS and macOS apps downloaded from App Store, the system-wise 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

Logging

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 isn't legally required to keep the data that they have 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.

Additionally, as indicated in NordVPN's privacy policy, if someone did serve the company a warrant or seized a server, there would be no usage data on it. Their privacy policy states:

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.

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.

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 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.

ioXt certification

NordVPN is one of the few service providers in the market that has ioXt certified mobile apps. This confirms their compliance with strict security standards. Not to mention that the bar for applying involves rigorous testing of the service's privacy policy and the security of the apps.

For example, NordVPN is a level 4 (highest) on the vulnerability reporting program criterion. 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 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.

NordVPN servers and locations

As a VPN service provider, NordVPN is truly a global player. Their fleet consists of 5542 servers distributed across 59 countries.

NordVPN map

As for locations, Europe, Asia, and the Americas are the continents with the best coverage.

RegionsNumber of countriesNumber of servers
Europe36 countries~2200 servers
Asia11 countries~700 servers
Americas7 countries~2500 servers

So, if you'll want to connect to those countries, you'll have the most options to choose from. Otherwise, Africa may feel lacking, but it's a similar sight across many VPN providers.

As for the servers themselves, most of them will eventually be collocated. There won't be a single plugged in hard drive in their fleet, as everything will run on RAM.

Does NordVPN work in China?

To find out whether NordVPN works in China, I've contacted a customer support agent. I've found out that NordVPN does indeed 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 can be a bit lengthy, but it mainly consists of installing NordVPN configuration files. Here's our guide on how you can set up NordVPN for China.

Plans and pricing

NordVPN doesn't have elaborate pricing schemes or complex plan options. All of their subscription tiers come with the same features and same benefits. They also allow up to 6 simultaneous connections, so you're getting pretty good value.

In total, there are three pricing tiers that differ in their length and subscription price.

VersionPrice
1-month plan$11.95 a month
1-year plan$59 a year (or $4.92 a month)
2-year plan$89 for the first two years (or $3.30 a month)

The longer the plan is, the better the savings. If there's any chance that you'll be using a VPN longer than 5 months, you're shooting yourself in the leg by not taking a yearly plan. For example, for 6 months, each month individually would cost you $71.70 in total. So, it makes more sense to pay $59 and get it for the full year. The same goes for the longest plan: in 8 months, you could spend the same amount for individual months, which could be used to buy a two-year subscription.

As for payment options, there are quite a few of them. You'll find the usual credit cards, PayPal, AmazonPay, Sofort, and even prepaid cards. There's also the option to pay using iTunes or Google Pay if you find that more convenient. For 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.

Can you get NordVPN for free?

NordVPN used to have a free trial which was available for users on every platform. Now they have changed the procedure quite a bit, but you're still able to get their trial for free. With this method, you'll be able to use NordVPN with any device that you'd like.

To make this work, you'll have to have Google Play Account. If you're using Gmail, you're likely already using one. It's also important that this account shouldn't have any NordVPN accounts registered already. It's only for new users.

You'll have to download NordVPN from Google Play Store, which initiates your 7-day free trial. After this check, you can now log in on any other device with the same credentials. Though, it's also worth mentioning that if you don't cancel your subscription on time, you will be charged.

Still, a 30-day money-back guarantee does apply in this case, so after the successful charge, 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 military-grade encryption with top-notch tunneling protocols. Plus, you can connect to any server you'd like, just like you could when using paid edition.

NordVPN video review

If you want more enjoyable TL;DR, you might appreciate our video review. In it, you'll find every single fact from our review, but with an added bonus of a soothing voice.

NordVPN video review

Interface and ease of use

NordVPN has a wide variety of clients and manual setup options. If you're planning to go that route, you can pretty easily find guides for routers that support IKEv2 and OpenVPN. That said, VPN setup on a router will almost always decrease your connection speed a lot more than using the app. That's because routers are usually not as powerful hardware-wise when compared to smartphones and computers.

Desktop versions

Windows

The most feature-full version of NordVPN is Windows. Not only do you get several types of split tunneling, but also invisibility on LAN, auto-connect, and pause features.

NordVPN map screen

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 country to connect easier. However, you can also use the country list in the sidebar. If you click the three dots, 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.

macOS

NordVPN took a really strange approach on macOS, which seems to be mostly Apple's fault. Since Apple are 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 sideaload version and usually has more recent updates, but it only has OpenVPN tunneling protocols, and the kill switch works a bit differently. It also supports older versions of macOS.

NordVPN macos interface

The version from the app store supports IKEv2, OpenVPN, and NordLynx tunneling protocols. Plus, the kill switch is enabled by default without the option to disable it. 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.

Linux

NordVPN supports Linux, although the only downloadable packages are RPM and DEB from their official site. There is a community-made Arch Linux port with guides for manual and OpenVPN and IKEv2 connections.

You won't get a graphical application if you're a Linux user. You'll have to set up everything using OpenVPN stack with a command line terminal. So, the experience seems lacking when 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 server.

That aside, everything else works fine and even includes DNS leak protection. However, there was a strange bug with the kill switch.

NordVPN linux

When it's enabled, the app thinks that my subscription has expired, and doesn't allow me to connect, redirecting me to their order page. At other times, the app was a bit slow when responding to commands.

NordVPN mobile apps

There are little to no differences between iOS and Android versions from the UI. Both clients use a map/country list hybrid to select the server. Even settings and notifications are accessible by clicking identical icons in the corner of the screen.

NordVPN ios app interface

The key differences are some platform-exclusive features. For example, iOS has a favorites tab just below recent connections. The kill switch is on without an option to turn it off, and there's dark web monitoring.

Meanwhile, Android has split tunneling, a configurable kill switch, pausing, and auto-connect. There is a difference in tunneling protocols, as well. iOS can use IKEv2, OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), and NordLynx, while Android doesn't have IKEv2. On other hand, Android is one of their apps to have passed ioXt certification. It shows their compliance with the highest security standards.

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. Android is still slightly better mainly because of split tunneling and the customizable kill switch. However, by now, this is something that many mobile VPN users are used to.

Browser extensions

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.

NordVPN browser extension

You can block WebRTC, a protocol that uses JavaScript, which is vulnerable and prone to IP leaks. There's CyberSec, and you can connect to all their servers to encrypt your browser connection.

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 this 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.

Customer support

NordVPN has quite a lot of support options, as you would expect from a premium service. Their support webpage with guides and FAQs aside, they also have a Chatbot to direct you to the solution for most common issues.

Their crown jewels, however, 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 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.

Must watch: 4 everyday situations to use a VPN

If you’re not really into IT, all the technical stuff might simply go over your head. In that case, the following video might be exactly what you need. Watch it to find out how a VPN can help you in your day-to-day life, from watching videos while on the way to work, to finding better deals online.

4 reasons why I use a VPN video review

Is NordVPN any good and worth getting?

Overall, NordVPN is an excellent VPN. It follows through with its privacy promises and has audit reports to back them up. In addition, their package leaves little room for doubt when considering their encryption capabilities and fast speeds. This makes them a worthwhile recommendation even with lengthier subscription plans.

You are getting a great deal of value in terms of connection usability options, and other features. 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.

I wholeheartedly recommend this VPN service. No matter why you need a VPN, you can be sure that NordVPN will deliver.


See how NordVPN compares to other services

NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN: battle of the best

NordVPN vs. Surfshark: which is a better VPN?

NordVPN vs. IPVanish: choosing the best option


FAQ

Comments
Haylee
Haylee
prefix 1 month ago
how can I turn on SOCKS5 proxy on NordVPN? Is it available on my apple device too? Thanks a lot!
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 1 month ago
Yes, it's available on all devices. Its setup will vary depending on what kind of app you'll want to configure. This guide should help you out: https://support.nordvpn.com/Connectivity/Proxy/
Witty gal
Witty gal
prefix 2 months ago
Which protocol should I use for Nordvpn TCP or UDP (for openvpn)? And which one of those is NordLynx? Also, would I see some kind of difference as a regular user?
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 2 months ago
First of all, NordLynx is a separate that is based on WireGuard. It has nothing to do with OpenVPN TCP or UDP.
Speaking of those, TCP is a much slower version, as it has more checks for data transfer. Meanwhile, UDP is much faster, but it’s also more prone to connection inconsistencies.
neeeerd
neeeerd
prefix 2 months ago
been using nordvpn for a few months, but i literally only use one button “quick connect”. any suggestions on best nordvpn settings? want to become more of a power user
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 2 months ago
You could try switching between IKEv2 and NordLynx tunneling protocols. It never hurts to try other options, as speed test scores are very user-dependant.
Bold Donald
Bold Donald
prefix 2 months ago
It’s nice that NordVPN supports most features on windows, tho it would also be nice to get dark web monitor for android. They could also expand the feature and let us add more emails for monitoring. Do you know if they’re planning to do that? Overall I am very happy with the app 🙂
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 2 months ago
Dark web monitoring is actually available for Android devices. However, at the moment, you can get alerts only for the email that you’ve used to sign up for the Nord account.
Ramsey
Ramsey
prefix 4 months ago
i see you really dive into details here. Not easy to find a nordvpn review somehow pleasant and easy to read. Even when you speak about protocols and technical stuff it sounds kinda easy.
JerryT
JerryT
prefix 4 months ago
Not a user just yet, but this NordVPN review did it for me. I think I’ll give it a shot as I really needed something that can let me see different Netflix regions. I mean come on.. why would they block access to some movies just because I’m in a different country. Makes no sense to me. Also that dark web monitor feature sounds nifty for someone who uses many emails on a daily basis!
Wim wenders
Wim wenders
prefix 4 months ago
I would really question NordVPNs current recent policy of making you login via their webpage often, which defeats the purpose of a VPN if it cant store your password locally and exposes you before you get logged in.

It has generally been pretty good other than that. Though the Smartplay and SmartDNS i was unable to stream from any country.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 4 months ago
Since now they provide a multitude of cybersecurity products, now they’re using a unified log-in option. It might make sense business-wise, but it’s not the most convenient option.
What I found as a solution – using mirrors of their older versions. They still have a built-in log in which doesn’t require a browser.
Naftoli
Naftoli
prefix 4 months ago
Thanks for a great read! Nice seeing that NordVPN finally added some of the features I needed in the past. Last time I read a NordVPN review was a solid year ago if not more and I actually decided not to use them back then as I really needed a way to have a few apps run without the VPN, but I hated the thought of turning it off completely. It’s great to hear they finally added Split-Tunneling on Windows devices and not just mobile. With this I can finally keep my PC secure while also avoid having the VPN connection interfere with some other apps I use.
Janet Richie
Janet Richie
prefix 4 months ago
Noticed that sometimes, that sometimes, even if I don’t want it, I get disconnected from the VPN. After some in-depth researches and messages to the Customer Support, the reason appears to be the kill-switch.
If I’d have found this Nordvpn review earlier, there would have been no need to write to them on their social networks. Good thing they were able to help me quickly. At the end, this feature seems useful but in my case I prefer to keep it switched off.
Laura
Laura
prefix 4 months ago
Thanks for pretty informational text. I scrolled past countless nordvpn review on various pages and they mostly talk about speed. Didnt really saw anyone writing that much about various features that they have.I didnt really got tho what you mean that they have a knowledge base? I tried looking over their page but it seems that i get sent to support page?
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 4 months ago
Their support page is only half of the equation. They also run a NordVPN blog where you can find all sorts of “how to’s”. I call both of these sources as their knowledge base.
MitchelK
MitchelK
prefix 4 months ago
Here’s my honest NordVPN review, 2y+ user experience. First, if not for NordLynx, the speeds wouldn’t stand that high, so two years ago, this VPN was significantly slower. Lynx also improved security features, and with no-logs policies, Nord is one of the top choices for privacy reasons. But I watch Netflix instead, and this works very well with bypassing geo-blocks with SmartPlay feature for better streaming (enable in nordaccount webpage, not App). Now minor things I didn’t like. The interface map could be better IMHO, at least I would prefer a clean list of servers. You might also be blocked from Netflix from time to time, but it happens rarely, and it’s not the VPNs fault, you’ll get a new list of working servers. All in all, I used both mobile and desktop version and can recommend as fast & stable.
Derek F.
Derek F.
prefix 5 months ago
I am not yet an user but, to be honest, I find this Nordvpn review very complete. One of the reasons why I am interested in joining NordVPN squad is the possibility to pay using various ways. Actually I checked some other providers and not all of them offer such a variety of choice.
Regarding the features available, it seems to be more than just a VPN provider, especially with that new ad-blocker.
I’ve been looking at their product for a while and I must say, I’m really curious to try it.
Lana
Lana
prefix 5 months ago
This nordvpn review actually convinced me to committing to this service. The feature that allows to enable or disable vpn for specific apps is something that i have been looking for. The only thing annoying me right now is that every time i press on the app, it show me that i need to change the password. Maybe there is a way to disable that? Would really appreciate your answer on this.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 5 months ago
There’s no workaround to that. From time to time, they prompt users to upgrade their passwords. This enforces that the best security standards are kept on their user’s end. I’d recommend changing the password regularly, it’s an excellent cybersecurity habit.
Darin
Darin
prefix 5 months ago
Since I mostly use the VPN on my iphone I have some questions regarding different devices. Does NordVPN has the same default presents for every device? I see this NordVPN review has a pretty active comment section, so maybe you can help me to find it out. I might need to install NordVPN in some of our laptops at work and would be great to know if they are gonna have the same config despite of the OS.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 5 months ago
There might be some differences between their applications that won’t allow it. For example, IKEv2/IPsec isn’t available on Android, so you won’t be able to use every preset with every single device. It might be possible to pull off, but you’ll still have to work within the framework of what’s included in each of their apps.
Tim
Tim
prefix 5 months ago
Lovely to see a NordVPN review based on actual research. Personally, I enjoy using NordVPN on a daily basis, usually for streaming, Netflix, Disney etc. The only thing that really bugs me is not being able to use split tunneling on Apple devices. If that would be available I could exclude some sites from using vpn, like my social media apps and won’t need to turn it off manually. It’s probably one the most needed features, so I’m happy they’re working on it now.
higgy
higgy
prefix 5 months ago
Thanks so much for guiding me towards the right path. Nord in my own research defo had the best price&quality ratio you can get out there. I was signed for a few different products within their moneyback guarantee, did some usual things that I do daily, including watching some Netflix content from across the pond. As well as some things that required more incognito. Nord the only one that worked great, nobody noticed I’m using a VPN at all, and also good for entertainment, no lag. Others were just OK.
Dali
Dali
prefix 5 months ago
Using NordVPN for 4 years now. Never had a major issue. Now, when they have introduced NordLynx quality of streaming and gaming is outstanding. Hope that they will keep their quality in the future too
ResonsibleCitizen
ResonsibleCitizen
prefix 5 months ago
Hello, my current VPN subscription is going to end soon. Initially I was considering Cyberghost (because of the price) or Express VPN (because listed as No1 on many websites). But now situation got complicated. Cyberghost got acquired by Kape. And I am finding more and more rumors on reddit, that Express became slow + constantly faces issues with Netlifx.
So I started considering Nordvpn, but I have 2 basic questions here:
* How do you measure the speed, do you use any scientific approach etc.?
* What about tests with Netflix, how often you are running them?
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 5 months ago
Hi, thanks for your questions!
1) Speed is something that can vary tremendously. We’re using the same testing unit in all of our reviews and mimicking the same conditions for each tested VPN. We select ten countries (we always try to pick the same ten across all VPNs, if possible) and connect to their servers using all their tunneling protocols. This gives us a somewhat clear picture of how a service performs.
2) We’re running Netflix tests before writing a review, and then we get back to them after some time to check if the workaround still works. We’re trying our best to keep the content up to date.
Taylor Cl
Taylor Cl
prefix 6 months ago
How to change the ip address on nord vpn while connected to US server? I mean : if I am already connected to certain server – i get certain dedicated IP. I need to change my IP without disconnecting from the server. Is there a way to do so?
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 6 months ago
NordVPN has recently added a reconnect button, which will connect to a different server. However, this still means stopping one connection and initiating the other.
NordVPN only operates a static IP server, meaning that IP is assigned per server rather than per user.
n c
n c
prefix 7 months ago
Hey! I have a question – how to make nordvpn faster? I want to try torrenting from one romanian website and want to download everything faster. Any tip would help.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 6 months ago
Torrenting speeds have more to do with the seeders and peers ratio rather than your VPN. What you could do is choosing a server that is closer to your location. It could improve overall speeds.
You could also opt-in for SOCKS5, it lacks encryption, but it will be much faster than a VPN connection.
sugbeet
sugbeet
prefix 7 months ago
We’ve been using nordvpn for few years and everything was fine until we recently renewed with a discounted 2 year offer. Things worked fine for a few weeks then suddenly we were disconnected for no reason. We tried everything to reconnect but couldn’t even login to nord account. We had this problem on multiple devices. Nothing worked no matter what we tried. We tried support for help but no joy. We wanted refund but they said after 30 days they don’t refund. They took our money, gave vpn for few weeks then disconnected! Very dodgy! I don’t recommend nordvpn. We feel disappointed and conned.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 7 months ago
Have you tried contacting customer support for connection issues or only about the refund? If you’re connecting from a high-censorship country, these may happen from time to time, but they should provide you with a solution.

Otherwise, your account might have been blacklisted if you break their terms of services, for example, using their SOCKS5 proxies for web scraping. It all very depends on the context, but you should contact customer support directly.
winston
winston
prefix 7 months ago
i’m addicted to online games! recently i had to change my internet provider and it sucks. i am facing constant freezes and pings. for online gaming it’s critical. is nordvpn good for gaming ? will it solve my problem with speed drops? 
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 7 months ago
Most games don’t use too much data, so if other services work fine and it’s only gaming that gives you problems, it might be ISP’s bandwidth throttling. A VPN can potentially give you a solution in such cases, but you’ll have to test it yourself. This is where a 30-days money-back guarantee can be very useful.
Niv
Niv
prefix 7 months ago
Obfuscated servers are used to hide the fact that you are using a VPN. This allows to bypass almost everything, right? So these servers are very useful while in China. That is great, but I can’t find how to turn on obfuscated servers in nordvpn. I’ve looked everywhere in settings! 
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 7 months ago
It’s in the advanced settings tab. You’ll have to head there and enable Obfuscated servers option. Keep in mind that the servers will appear only when you’re using the OpenVPN tunneling protocol.
Logan
Logan
prefix 7 months ago
Firestick is the best solution when you travel abroad a lot. Purchased it last year and I must say that it was the best purchase so far. I am really used to US content, but I don’t know how to put nordvpn on firestick. Purchased NordVPN while there was an easter special deal, however use only 30% of its features. Would be really great to travel with nordvpn app and face no restrictions at all.
Justinas Mazūra
Justinas Mazūra
prefix 7 months ago
You can check their tutorial on how to do it. Keep in mind that 1st gen Firesticks don’t support VPNs.
good guy
good guy
prefix 7 months ago
As an old user of nordvpn I can say, that it’s a really decent provider. I unlocked US library in Netflix and watched movies without buffer. Also used it for Ragnarok Online to reduce ping. the only thing i didn’t try is torrenting. I will give it a try and will come back here to leave a comment on the best nordvpn server for torrenting. Sharing experience might help others. 
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