NordVPN is perhaps the world's most beloved VPN. With glowing reviews all across the web, highlighting the platform's high speeds, online security tools, streaming and torrenting capabilities, and web browsing tools – it's certainly a product worth your attention.
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs on the market in 2023. Headquartered in Panama, this VPN service offers its in-house built NordLynx tunneling protocol that guarantees top speeds. There’s unbreakable 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 the ones that put its users in doubt.
But let's dig a little bit deeper with this NordVPN review: how good is this VPN for beginners and power users? Is NordVPN safe? How does it perform in terms of streaming and torrenting? Read on to find out.
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|🥇 Overall rank:||#1 out of #36|
|📖 No logs policy:||No logs|
|💵 Price:||From $3.29/month|
|🖥️ Servers:||5700+ servers in 60 countries|
|🍿 Streaming services:||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more|
|🔥 Coupons:||NordVPN coupon 63% OFF|
NordVPN pros and cons
Visit NordVPN to learn more about the features
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.
|OpenVPN||Versatile, all-around security|
|IKEv2/IPsec||Mobile devices, cellular/wifi data|
|NordLynx||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.
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.
NordVPN isn’t the first VPN provider to offer colocated servers – but it’s by far the biggest one. 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.
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 under 20 MB, 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 enable it on Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari browsers.
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.
Dark Web Monitor
This spooky-sounding feature warns you of your personal data vulnerabilities. It checks dark web marketplaces and pastebins for data associated with your email address. If it ends up there, there's a good chance that 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.
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.
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 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.
NordVPN compared to other VPNs
Today, VPN market is flooding 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 the top 5 VPNs to NordVPN:
|Review||NordVPN review||Surfshark VPN review||IPVanish review||PrivateVPN review||PureVPN review||Atlas VPN review|
|Price (lowest price per month)||3.29/month||2.30/month||3.33/month||2.00/month||2.08/month||1.82/month|
|Free version||Yes, 7-day||Yes, 7-day||No||Yes, 7-day||Yes, 7-day||Yes, unlimited|
|Servers||5700+ servers in 60 countries||3200+ servers in 100 countries||2000+ servers in 50 countries||200+ servers in 63 countries||6500+ servers in 78 countries||1000+ servers in 42 countries|
|WireGuard tunneling protocol||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Streaming||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more||Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Disney+, and more||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Video, and more||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube|
|Logging||No logs, independently audited twice by PwC||No logs, independently audited by Cure 53||No logs, independently audited by Leviathan||No logs, not audited||No logs, always-on audit by KPMG||No logs, independently audited by VerSprite (iOS penetration testing)|
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 pricing 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: $4.59/month (1-year plan) and $12.99/month (1-month plan)
- The Plus: $5.79/month (1-year plan) and $14.19 (1-month plan)
- The Complete: $7.29/month (1-year plan) and $15.69 (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.
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 iTunes, 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.
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||✅||❌||❌|
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.
How does NordVPN work?
NordVPN, like every other VPN service, creates an encrypted tunnel for your data and changes your IP address. This way, your ISP, the government, and other third parties can’t track your online activity. You can also easily unblock geo-restricted content, access your favorite streaming libraries, and more.
The job that NordVPN does for you involves numerous factors, such as applying strong encryption, offering the correct tunneling protocol, maintaining data secure during the transfer, etc. However, this provider is a consumer-focused VPN service. That means a VPN app is built to take away all the technical hassle of use 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 download 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.
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.
Speed and performance: Is NordVPN fast?
|32% (309 Mbit/s)||30 % (290 Mbit/s)|
|79% (756 Mbit/s)||70 % (674 Mbit/s)|
|95% (908 Mbit/s)||89 % (854 Mbit/s)|
|100% (1,000 Mbit/s)||76 % (726 Mbit/s)|
|71% (684 Mbit/s)||58 % (558 Mbit/s)|
NordVPN's speeds are blazing fast, 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.
Although there might be some speed drops in certain countries, it shouldn’t significantly affect your device performance. But if you want the best possible speeds, make sure you connect to servers that are closest to your physical location.
Overall, NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs out there and is a speed demon – most likely thanks to its NordLynx technology.
NordVPN performance with other protocols
Of course, NordVPN offers more than just its own NordLynx protocol. Below, you can see how NordVPN's speeds differ depending on which tunneling protocol you use.
The numbers depicted are the average download and upload speeds across 10 different locations:
- Baseline: 300 Mbps download, 300 Mbps upload
- 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%, the lowest – 7%. 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.
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:
|Provider||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 servers and locations
As a VPN service provider, NordVPN is truly a global player. Their fleet consists of 5700 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.
|Regions||Number of countries||Number of servers|
|Europe||37 countries||~2100 servers|
|Asia||13 countries||~450 servers|
|Americas||7 countries||~2400 servers|
|Rest of world||3 countries||~200 servers|
So, if you want to connect to a country in these continents, 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, 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.
Does NordVPN work in China?
I've contacted a customer support agent to find out whether NordVPN works in China. 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.
Is NordVPN good for streaming?
|Platform||Does it work?|
|Amazon Prime Video||✅ Yes|
|HBO Max||✅ Yes|
|BBC iPlayer||✅ Yes|
|YouTube TV||✅ Yes|
|Apple TV||✅ Yes|
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. 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.
Does NordVPN unblock BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Apple TV, or YouTube TV?
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.
Interface and ease of use
|Windows||By far the best NordVPN experience|
|macOS||Two app versions with different features|
|Linux||Open source, no graphical app, works through terminal|
|Android||Solid Android app|
|iOS||Good overall iOS experience|
|Browser||Good options for Firefox and Chrome|
|Router||Works on routers that support OpenVPN|
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 IKEv2, 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 platforms, 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, 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 all IKEv2, 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
NordVPN on router offers a constant, always-on VPN connection for unlimited devices. If you're connected to the internet, this means you're protected! Plus, it's a simple way for you to use VPN connections 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 protocol. 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 router to see if your device is supported – and how can you get VPN protection on all of your online connections.
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.
SmartPlay is a special 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 Hulu, HBO Now, and others.
This technology can also be used on devices that don’t have NordVPN apps. Most devices with internet connectivity allow you to change their DNS settings – this allows using SmartDNS, and using NordVPN SmartPlay technology 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 SmartDNS is not a security feature, and it doesn't add any layer of encryption when used without the client.
If you’re looking to use a VPN for a specific case – you'll get the best experience with a server fully optimized for it. That’s what NordVPN offers: with a solid list of specialty servers.
Note: some of these will only appear when you've chosen the appropriate tunneling protocol.
Dedicated IP servers – you can purchase one on the official site of NordVPN. 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.
Double VPN servers – a.k.a multihop 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. Available protocols depend on your device: Windows and Android use OpenVPN and NordLynx, Mac uses OpenVPN, while iOS allows all NordLynx, OpenVPN, and IKEv2.
Obfuscated servers – useful only in extreme censorship cases, these servers scramble your VPN traffic to look like regular HTTPS. Governments that limit VPN usage 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.
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.
The NordVPN split tunneling feature lets you choose which apps to use the VPN connection for, and which can connect without it. On Windows, you can configure it to disable or enable VPN for specific apps only.
This allows you to control better how you want your VPN to be used in your setup. 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, Mac, Linux, or iOS don’t include these features. Though, with continuous support, you should expect it in the future.
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 you need to turn it off altogether to access something without a VPN connection.
This situation is ripe for user error: you might forget to enable your VPN later, accidentally exposing your IP.
So, to help deal with that, auto-connect on NordVPN also comes with a pause feature.
After you click pause and select the time, the connection will automatically reinitiate after the timer 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 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 kind of servers you want to connect to, toggle additional features, and build your preferred type of VPN connection.
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.
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, you don't even need to have a NordVPN subscription plan to use Meshnet, as it comes completely for free!
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 an added bonus of a soothing voice.
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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.
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 it?
NordVPN is an excellent VPN that flawlessly combines speed, function, and security. It boasts an independent audit, uses secure AES-256 encryption, and offers the next-gen NordLynx protocol. It’s good not only for streaming Netflix, but also for accessing the Internet from restrictive countries.
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.
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
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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?
Based on our tests, NordVPN is faster than ExpressVPN. Also, it has more servers to choose from.
Is NordVPN worth getting?
Considering the price that you pay and the return value, NordVPN is worth every penny. Not only this service has a no-nonsense approach when it comes to your data privacy, it also has exceptional performance. Their encryption is strong, and speeds are fast. Plus, you can unblock all streaming services that you can think of.
Does NordVPN work with Netflix?
NordVPN works 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.
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.
It has generally been pretty good other than that. Though the Smartplay and SmartDNS i was unable to stream from any country.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
NordVPN only operates a static IP server, meaning that IP is assigned per server rather than per user.
You could also opt-in for SOCKS5, it lacks encryption, but it will be much faster than a VPN connection.
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.
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