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NordVPN Review

Simon Migliano
By Simon MiglianoUpdated
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NordVPN screenshot

NordVPN: Ranked #2 out of 99 VPNs that we tested

NordVPN has been growing at a very fast pace over the last few years and it’s quickly become one of the largest VPN services on the market. According to NordVPN themselves, it’s used by over 12 million internet users worldwide.

NordVPN also claims to be the best VPN service provider of 2019 but that’s easier said than done, right?

We tested NordVPN extensively to find out exactly how good this VPN service is, and to answer questions like:

  • Is NordVPN safe?
  • How fast is it?
  • Does Netflix work with NordVPN?
  • Is torrenting/P2P allowed?
  • Is NordVPN easy to use?

But before we dive into our detailed review, lets take a quick look at NordVPN’s pros and cons:

  1. Very fast VPN speeds: 72Mbps (global average)
  2. Log-free & no IP, DNS & WebRTC leaks
  3. Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer & more
  4. P2P & torrenting allowed on many servers
  5. Huge server network: 5,700+ servers across 60 countries
  6. User-friendly apps for PC, Mac, iOS, & Android with ad-blocker
  1. Alternative VPN protocols have to be manually configured
  2. Obfuscated servers don't always work in China
  3. No obfuscated servers for iOS

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux

Price from

$2.99/mo

Still want to know more about NordVPN and whether it’s the right VPN for you?

We’ve carefully tested every single NordVPN app, and in this review we’ll reveal everything you need to know about this VPN service, starting from its speed.

Speed & Reliability

Very fast speeds across the world

NordVPN had suffered from slow speeds in the past, however we can confirm that NordVPN has turned things around and it’s now a very fast VPN.

It’s not quite the fastest VPN there is, but it is still very quick and you won’t experience any speed issues when using NordVPN.

Both same-country (UK server to UK server) download and upload speeds are impressive, with minimal internet slowdown. NordVPN also performed well over long-distance VPN connections too.

Use the table below to see how NordVPN speeds fare against its top-scoring rivals in 11 locations around the world.

NordVPNExpressVPNIPVanish
Download Average71.83 Mbps52.83 Mbps49.54 Mbps
Upload Average27.50 Mbps23.97 Mbps28.44 Mbps
Ping Average133 ms140 ms131 ms

Here are the average speeds you can expect from NordVPN from a handful popular regions.

Europe Server locations include Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and London.Asia Server locations include Singapore and Tokyo.USA Server locations include San Francisco and New York.Australia
Download Average264 Mbps259 Mbps220 Mbps48 Mbps
Upload Average155 Mbps140 Mbps148 Mbps17 Mbps
Ping Average3 ms2 ms3 ms96 ms

Averages are calculated from our test results over the last 4 weeks. To read about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Test VPN Speed.

Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server.

Before using NordVPN:

  1. DownloadMbps

    95.47

  2. UploadMbps

    92.35

  3. Pingms

    3

When connected to NordVPN:

  1. DownloadMbps

    76.67

  2. UploadMbps

    64.02

  3. Pingms

    17

Download speed without NordVPN: 96Mbps

Download speed with NordVPN: 77Mbps

Our download speed loss when NordVPN is running: 20%

As you can see, NordVPN registered very impressive speed. It was very fast on all the VPN servers we tested.

Ping times are also fairly low on most of NordVPN’s servers, which is good for gaming although there are better VPNs available to gamers.

Server Locations

Over 5,700 VPN servers spread across 60 countries worldwide

Globe with a blue flag60Countries
Image of a city landscape90+Cities
Image of a pink marker5,700+IP Addresses

NordVPN’s server list covers 60 countries – it isn’t the widest VPN server range we’ve seen, but it should almost certainly ensure there is a server located near you.

Screenshot of NordVPN Server List in App

NordVPN provides a whopping 5,700 VPN servers, none of which are virtual, with each server given a static IP address. This is the highest number of VPN servers provided by a top VPN service, which is impressive. Even better, NordVPN owns all of the servers in its network.

NordVPN’s server network covers all of the popular server locations such as the UK, the US, Australia, and Canada, as well as less common locations including Argentina, Egypt, and Albania.

NordVPN provides city-level server choices in six different countries, too:

  • Australia (five locations, 200+ servers)
  • Canada (three locations, 400+ servers)
  • Germany (two locations, 200+ servers)
  • India (two locations, 20+ servers)
  • The UK (two locations, 800+ servers). NordVPN is our number one VPN choice for the UK.
  • The US (20 locations, 1,800+ servers)

Streaming & Torrenting

An excellent choice for streaming & torrenting

Thanks to its SmartPlay technology, NordVPN consistently works with popular streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

To watch Netflix, simply click on the US or UK VPN country server and the NordVPN app will automatically find the best option for you.

NordVPN also unlocks loads more Netflix libraries, including Canada, Japan, France, Italy, and Germany.

Not all of NordVPN’s UK servers provide access to BBC iPlayer, but a quick message to live chat will let you know which ones are currently working.

That will save you the trial-and-error of testing out all of NordVPN’s hundreds of UK servers. This is a big plus, as many other VPN providers can’t unlock BBC iPlayer.

Unrestricted access to streaming services doesn’t stop there. Many of NordVPN’s customers use the VPN service to stream:

  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Hulu
  • HBO
  • Sling TV
  • Sky

Torrenting

Torrenting (and other P2P traffic) isn’t allowed on every single NordVPN server, but there’s still more than enough server choice to keep torrenters and Kodi streamers happy.

You can torrent while connected to almost every country on NordVPN’s server list – these are listed under ‘Speciality Servers’ within in the app settings.

However, the following countries do not permit P2P:

  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Chile
  • Cyrpus
  • Egypt
  • Georgia
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates

If you attempt to torrent while connected to a VPN server that doesn’t support P2P NordVPN will simply re-route your traffic through a dedicated server located in either Canada or the Netherlands.

With plenty of added security features, such as its VPN kill switch, and no-logs policy NordVPN is without a doubt one of the safest VPNs for torrenting. Fast uploads and downloads make it a great choice too.

Bypassing Censorship

Obfuscated VPN servers work in China intermittently

Since the VPN crackdown in China, NordVPN has become a little less reliable for residents or visitors in China, but it’s still a pretty good choice of VPN.

Users have reported that NordVPN’s obfuscated servers often bypass the Chinese censors, but others have experienced difficulties connecting to them.

NordVPN’s obfuscated servers are spread out fairly evenly, with options in North America, North Africa, Asia, and Europe, so you shouldn’t be too far away from one.

There are no obfuscated VPN servers available on the NordVPN iOS app, though, so iPhone users may struggle to connect from China without some manual configuration.

That’s just China, though – in other high censorship countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia NordVPN remains a solid VPN choice to bypass censorship.

See our latest VPN recommendations if you’re looking for a reliable VPN for China or you can read our ExpressVPN review or our VyprVPN review, two of our top choices.

Platforms & Devices

Protect all your devices with a wide range of custom VPN apps

Apps

Windows LogoWindows
Mac LogoMac
iOS LogoiOS
Android LogoAndroid
Linux LogoLinux
Router LogoRouter

NordVPN has simple native VPN apps for all major operating systems:

If your device is not compatible with the custom apps above, you can also install NordVPN on your router.

What’s more, you can use NordVPN on up to six devices at the same time using just one VPN subscription, which is one of the highest allowances we’ve seen.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

AppleTV LogoAppleTV
Amazon Fire TV LogoAmazon Fire TV
Chromecast LogoChromecast
Nintendo LogoNintendo
PlayStation LogoPlayStation
Roku LogoRoku
Xbox LogoXbox

NordVPN has an Android TV app, meaning you can use the VPN app with streaming devices such as Android TV and the Amazon Fire TV Stick without any manual configuration.

In fact, NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for the Fire TV although it is not our top recommendation. If you own a Firestick and want to use a VPN app with it, take a look at our roundup of the best VPNs for Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.

If you want to run NordVPN on your other streaming devices or games consoles like Xbox and PlayStation, though, you’ll need to install it at router level. It’s not too difficult and means that all devices connected to the router will be protected.

Browser Extensions

Chrome LogoChrome
Firefox LogoFirefox

NordVPN provides VPN extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

These VPN add-ons encrypt your browser traffic, but protection ends there so we always suggest using NordVPN’s extensions in conjunction with the main VPN application or client.

The extensions also have an in-built WebRTC leak blocker, which is an extremely useful bonus.

NordVPN doesn’t yet have VPN extensions for Safari or Opera browsers.

Encryption & Security

Super secure VPN with advanced features but lacking protocol flexibility

Protocol

IKEv2/IPSec

OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)

Encryption

AES-256

Security

DNS Leak Blocking

First-party DNS

Supports TCP Port 443

VPN Kill Switch

WebRTC Leak Blocking

Advanced features

Double VPN

TOR via VPN Server

Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.

NordVPN has only one choice of VPN protocol by default, but it’s our personal favorite: OpenVPN (aside from the iOS and MacOS apps available to download directly from the Apple App Store which run on IKEv2).

OpenVPN provides the perfect blend of speed and security. It encrypts all your internet traffic using the ‘unhackable’ AES-256 cipher.

Screenshot of NordVPN Settings Menu in App

You can also use IKEv2 with NordVPN’s Windows and Android apps if you like, but it requires an extra download and a lot of advanced setup (manual configuration).

The VPN kill switch feature protects your IP address in the event of a connection drop, and NordVPN’s privately owned and operated DNS servers ensure end-to-end protection.

NordVPN provides Double VPN (multi hop) and Tor over VPN (Onion over VPN) for extra encryption.

As with all the VPN providers we review, we carried out extensive testing to find IP and DNS leaks when using NordVPN and we are happy to report that we found no leaks whatsoever.

Screenshot of browserleaks.com test results for NordVPN

Leak test results on browserleaks.com while connected to a NordVPN US server. We test from the UK.

Logging Policy

No-logs VPN in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction

NordVPN doesn’t log your traffic or store any user logs, making it a safe and trustworthy VPN.

Here’s a comprehensive list of all the information it does collect:

  • Server loads

That is the full extent of the information NordVPN collects, making it a true no-logs VPN. Server loads are monitored to maintain the optimal performance of VPN servers for users, and nothing else.

Your privacy is upheld above all else, and NordVPN absolutely will not sell your personal data to any third parties.

Jurisdiction

NordVPN was founded in 2012 is operated by Tefincom & Co S.A. which is headquartered under the legal jurisdiction of Panama, putting it beyond the reach of US and EU data retention laws.

Panama does not require VPN companies to store or report any of their data, nor is it part of any agreements that compel it to share information with other countries.

Being based in Panama gives NordVPN the power to deny any third party data requests, so there is absolutely no way that any of your online activity can be traced back to you.

In 2018, NordVPN came under some heat as it was accused of not being headquartered in Panama. The reason for the controversy is that when you purchased NordVPN on Google Play Store, at the time the Seller of NordVPN was listed as CloudVPN INC. (a company registered in the US), and not Tefincom & Co S.A.

It turns out that CloudVPN INC. is a payment processor and NordVPN was simply using it to handle payments, similarly to how other VPN providers use payment processing companies to manage these type of transactions.

 

Ease of Use

Quick and easy setup with simple custom apps

How to Install & Set Up NordVPN

The NordVPN website has comprehensive VPN setup guides for whatever platform you happen to be using, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever need them.

All of NordVPN’s custom VPN apps run smoothly and are almost entirely self-explanatory.

If you want to play around with advanced settings then you’re welcome to do that too – they’re clearly labelled and the app even warns you not to do so unless you know what you’re doing.

Browser Extensions

Screenshot of NordVPN Chrome Extension

It couldn’t be much easier to set up NordVPN’s browser extensions – just go to the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox store and download the add-on to your browser.

Once you’ve logged on you can choose a server and connect. We’d recommend enabling ‘Block WebRTC’ from the settings menu to prevent any potential IP leaks.

Customer Support

Fast and helpful live chat support and useful online resources

24/7 Live chat support
Online Resources

NordVPN provides excellent quality customer support both through its extensive knowledge base and via online live chat.

Email support isn’t as good and we’ve found responses to be slow at times. There is really no reason to email customer support, though, as NordVPN’s live chat service is 24/7.

Encounter any issues? NordVPN running slow, perhaps? No problem – support agents respond quickly and are extremely friendly and helpful, managing to fix most of our VPN issues within a couple of minutes.

NordVPN’s troubleshooting guides are very useful, too, covering a variety of potential VPN issues and providing a range of possible solutions.

Pricing & Deals

Fantastic value for money on longer plans

NordVPN Coupon

NordVPN

Get 58% off NordVPN's 12-month plan

  • Tested

NordVPN Pricing Plan

NordVPN is one of the best VPN services on the market, and it’s not very expensive at all. Also, every NordVPN price plan offers exactly the same VPN features.

NordVPN costs a fairly pricey $11.95 if you pay month-by-month, but the price drops by almost half to $6.99 a month for annual plans.

For the biggest savings, NordVPN’s three-year special deal costs just $2.99 per month, a saving of 75%.

NordVPN accepts a few different payment options, but it recently made the decision to stop accepting PayPal. The VPN service now uses Adyen for credit card payments, which it claims offers a greater level of privacy for customers due to its self-contained nature.

Here are the accepted payment methods, which include some cryptocurrencies for those seeking higher levels of privacy:

  • Credit and debit cards
  • Direct debit
  • Amazon Pay
  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Ripple
  • Alipay
  • UnionPay

NordVPN no longer comes with a free VPN trial, but it does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Read our guide to find out how you can make the most of this guarantee.

You can cancel your NordVPN subscription within 30 days by contacting the customer support team through live chat. You will have to go through a troubleshooting process first, but the refund should be processed within 10 business days.

Top10VPN

You’ve read our expert review - read on for reviews from real users.

User Reviews

 92% 
4.6 out of 5 stars

Based on 505 reviews

  1. 5 star
     0% 
    (364)
  2. 4 star
     0% 
    (119)
  3. 3 star
     0% 
    (9)
  4. 2 star
     0% 
    (6)
  5. 1 star
     0% 
    (7)

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Best Positive Review
 100% 

Easy to use, but secure and for a good price

Wanted an easy to use, but secure VPN, tried several providers and in the end stuck with NordVPN. I really like the one-click interface and an integrated killswitch for extra security, speed is quite nice too. And for the price, it is worth it IMO. Never hurts to be extra secure in this day and age.

Best Critical Review
 40% 

inconsistency

Verified Purchase

Nord VPN has, in my experience been inconsistent. In China. Perhaps not in other parts of the world, but alone, for me -in China, the service does not always work.

Showing 1-3 of 505 Reviews
  1.  20% 

    Avoid this product

    I don't say this because of just the one issue in Outlook that caused an error on send/receive the support was not able to figure out. I say this because they blamed it on Microsoft, yet when I switched to another VPN, there was no issue and I have used other VPNs and not had this problem before. Also, it took two weeks longer than the 30 day return option they offer and they refused to refund my money. I don't think this is right since it is clear to me they have a problem with their product and the don't want to admit it.

  2.  100% 

    Yes, it is really fast!

    I'm overseas a lot and use VPN to connect to the UK from Asia. Before using NordVPN I used Zoog VPN. Zoog VPN is slow, whether I check my bank using Santander's Android app it will always timeout. With NordVPN I do not have this problem. Fast and great value for money with the 3 year plan.

  3.  100% 

    Stable Performance

    Long story short: 1. It's easy to use (even my wife uses it) 2. It's fast for streamings 3. Value for money is admiring It meets my needs and I appreciate their service.

See all 505 NordVPN user reviews