Disclosure: We review VPNs independently, however we may earn commissions if you buy a VPN via links on our site.

NordVPN Review

 Rated 4.7 out of 5 
246 user reviews
NordVPN app

Simon Migliano is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times and more.

Ask Simon About NordVPN

Our Verdict

9.59.5/10
How is this calculated?

Our overall rating is reached by combining several subcategories. The subcategories are weighted as follows:

  • Logging & Jurisdiction: 30%
  • Speed & Reliability: 25%
  • Security & Features: 20%
  • Streaming: 10%
  • Torrenting: 5%
  • Ease of Use: 5%
  • Support: 5%

See our full methodology in how we review VPNs.

This popular VPN is safe and secure, with a verified no logs policy and encryption technology of the highest standard. The VPN's features are user-friendly, and it's affordable. We recommend NordVPN as a superb VPN service.

Ranked #2 out of 56 VPNs

NordVPN Category Ratings

  • 9.89.8/10
  • 8.98.9/10
  • 9.59.5/10
  • 9.59.5/10
  • 9.69.6/10
  • 7.27.2/10
  • 9.79.7/10
  • 9.59.5/10
  • 9.79.7/10
  • 8.58.5/10

NordVPN Pros & Cons

  • Streams Netflix, Amazon Prime Video & more
  • Very fast speeds across its server network
  • Zero-Logs and no IP or DNS leaks
  • Supports torrenting on most servers
  • Good Firestick app and Smart DNS tool
  • Cheaper than other top VPNs

  • Doesn't accept PayPal payments
  • Server breach in 2018
  • Desktop apps can't be resized
  • Less reliable Netflix performance on Fire TV
  • Renews at a much higher subscription price

Why Trust Our Review?

We’ve spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing 56 VPN services using our impartial review process to recommend you the best VPN software.

Here are some of our key VPN testing statistics:

Total Hours of Testing30,000+
Weekly Speed Tests3,000+
VPN Services Reviewed56
Streaming Platforms Tested Daily12
IP & DNS Leak Tests Performed9,500+
How Much We've Spent On Testing$25,000+

In this NordVPN review we’ll explain why this popular VPN is one of the best VPNs we’ve tested, and worth using.

The VPN service is safe and secure, with a verified no-logs policy and encryption technology of the highest standard.

The service’s user-friendly VPN apps deliver fast worldwide speeds, and include advanced features like split tunneling, double VPN, and IP leak protection.

Moreover, NordVPN unblocks US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and it lets you torrent files anonymously on most servers.

One of NordVPN’s main advantages is its affordability. In fact, NordVPN costs less per month than ExpressVPN on a two-year plan.

Despite a security incident in 2018, NordVPN has since proved that it’s a safe and trustworthy VPN.

Keep reading our NordVPN review to see how the VPN performed in our speed, security, and streaming tests.

NordVPN: Quick Look

Before reading our comprehensive NordVPN test results, see our short video showing the VPN’s software on iPhone.

How Does NordVPN Compare to Other Top VPNs?

Below is a table comparing NordVPN to two popular alternative VPN services: ExpressVPN and IPVanish.

NordVPN
ExpressVPN
IPVanish
Overall Rating
9.5
9.7
9.1
Cheapest Price
$3.29
$6.67
$3.19
Average Speed
98Mbps
92Mbps
84Mbps
No. of Netflix Libraries
11
10
3
Servers
5,613
3,000
2,000
Countries
59
94
50
Money-back Guarantee
30 days
30 days
30 days

NordVPN Key Data

Data CapUnlimited
Speed98Mbps
Logging PolicyNo Logs
Data LeaksNo
JurisdictionPanama (Privacy Haven)
Servers5,613
IP Addresses5,613+
Countries59
US NetflixYes
TorrentingPermitted
Simultaneous Connections6
Works In ChinaUnreliable
Support24/7 Live Chat
Cheapest Price$3.29/mo over 2 years
Free Trial7 Days (No Payment Info Required)
Money-Back Guarantee30-day Money-Back Guarantee
Official WebsiteNordVPN.com

Streaming

Reliably Streams US Netflix & Other Services

9.89.8/10
How is this calculated?

Streaming is rated by the number of different services unlocked, how many regional libraries are viewable, and how consistently the VPN can access them.

Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, DAZN, and Amazon Prime Video are all tested on a weekly basis.

NordVPN is an excellent choice for accessing Netflix and other streaming services from anywhere. Its download speeds are fast, meaning we could stream at HD to 4K video quality. It also has a Fire TV Stick app, and Smart DNS support for PS4 and Smart TVs.

Ranked #2 out of 56 VPNs for Streaming

We tested over 100 US NordVPN servers, and all worked with American Netflix. We repeat these tests daily to ensure the VPN is always capable of bypassing the Netflix VPN blocks.

NordVPN American Netflix

NordVPN works well with US Netflix.

NordVPN is currently the best VPN for Japanese Netflix and it works with 11 Netflix regions overall, including the UK, Brazil, Australia, and South Korea. We were able to watch each library in HD.

If you want the very best Netflix VPN, read our latest ExpressVPN review.

NordVPN Works with BBC iPlayer, HBO Max and More

Here are some of the streaming services NordVPN works with:

  • Disney+
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • HBO Max
  • Hulu
  • DAZN Canada

In the video below, you can view our live NordVPN streaming tests to unblock US Netflix, HBO Max and BBC iPlayer:

There are only a few VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer, and NordVPN does it with ease. It’s also one of our recommended VPNs to use with HBO Max.

How Does NordVPN’s Streaming Performance Compare to Other VPNs?

The table below compares NordVPN with the best streaming VPNs in terms of speed, streaming ability, and streaming device compatibility.

Speed & Reliability

Extremely Fast and Consistent VPN

9.59.5/10
How is this calculated?

Speed ratings are calculated using upload speeds, download speeds, and ping (latency).

We test average speeds regularly using a dedicated 100Mbps connection in London, UK. Local download speed is considered the most important factor.

NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs across the globe. We recorded fast speeds on both nearby and far-away servers. Our download speeds were an impressive 98.11Mbps when connected to nearby VPN servers and as quick as 78.76Mbps internationally.

Ranked #5 out of 56 VPNs for Speed & Reliability

The VPN’s connections are fast and stable enough for high-quality video streaming as well as smooth torrenting and web browsing.

Testing NordVPN's speeds using Ookla

NordVPN’s speeds were fast in every location we tested.

Here are the results we recorded when connecting to nearby NordVPN servers:

Local Speed Test results before using NordVPN:

  • Download Speed: 100Mbps
  • Upload Speed: 100Mbps
  • Ping: 4ms

Local Speed Test results with NordVPN:

  • Download Speed: 98.11Mbps
  • Upload Speed: 95.46Mbps
  • Ping: 8ms

Download speed loss when NordVPN is running: 2%

As you can see, NordVPN’s short-distance speed test results were very impressive: just a 2% decrease in our download speeds and 5% in uploads. This is perfect for buffer-free Netflix streaming and fast torrent downloads.

Ping times are also fairly low, for playing online games with minimal lag, as long as you connect to a server close by.

Worldwide Speed Test Results

Once we tested local speeds, we looked into how well NordVPN performed over longer distances. These results were just as impressive, particularly connecting to a US-based server.

Here are our latest long-distance speed test results:

  • USA (New York):
    • Download: 78.76Mbps (21% slower)
    • Upload: 43.19Mbps (57% slower)
  • Germany (Berlin):
    • Download: 88.02Mbps (12% slower)
    • Upload: 95.68Mbps (5% slower)
  • Singapore:
    • Download: 66.51Mbps (33% slower)
    • Upload: 21.20Mbps (79% slower)
  • Australia (Sydney):
    • Download: 59.29Mbps (40% slower)
    • Upload: 29.51Mbps (71% slower)

Even in locations as far as Australia, NordVPN maintains incredibly fast speeds – well above what we typically see from other VPNs.

EXPERT ADVICE: Connect to NordVPN using the NordLynx protocol to get the fastest speeds.

NordVPN’s Speeds Versus Other Top VPNs

The graph below compares NordVPN’s internet speed loss to other popular VPNs. This speed data is taken from our custom-built automated VPN speed test tool.

The tests run every six hours, and the connection is capped at 100Mbps to recreate a typical home internet environment.

Provider speed comparison chart

Use our Speed Test Tool to compare NordVPN’s speeds across different cities.

As the graph above shows, NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs available right now.

In our latest short-distance tests, the VPN reached a peak top speed of 92Mbps.

What’s most impressive is how fast and reliable NordVPN’s speeds have been over the last eight weeks. Other top VPNs, like IPVanish and Private Internet Access, were far less consistent.

What’s important for unblocking video content from abroad is how a VPN performs on international connections. NordVPN is currently the fastest VPN connecting to far-away locations, and it’s even the best VPN for some specific countries like Canada.

Connecting from New York to London, NordVPN’s speed peaked at 85Mbps and fell to 81Mbps at its lowest point. Again, this beats competitors like PIA VPN, whose speeds ranged between 40Mbps and 78Mbps.

Privacy & Logging Policy

Verified No-logs VPN

9.59.5/10
How is this calculated?

We dissect the logging and privacy policies of every VPN. A VPN should never log:

  • Your real IP address
  • Connection timestamps
  • DNS requests

A base of operations outside of 14-Eyes or EU jurisdiction is preferable.

NordVPN is a safe VPN with a verified no-logs policy and a privacy-first jurisdiction. It’s not possible to link your web activity back to you, making the VPN a great choice for users seeking online privacy.

Ranked #19 out of 56 VPNs for Privacy & Logging Policy

We examined NordVPN’s privacy policy in detail, which states the service doesn’t log your traffic or store any VPN connection logs. Your personal web data is therefore safe, secure and private.

In fact, NordVPN is one of only a few VPNs to have had its no-logs policy audited by a third-party company. It has been audited twice by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), in 2018 and in 2020.

Both audits officially confirmed NordVPN’s no-log claims.

The audits also verified the VPN doesn’t store the user’s IP addresses, connection logs, or browsing activity.

Screenshot of NordVPN's logging policy

NordVPN is an audited no-logs VPN service.

This makes NordVPN one of the most private and trusted VPNs available.

Some pieces of information are collected when you sign up for an account, though. Mainly your email address and payment data, which is common practice among VPN services.

For maximum privacy, you can sign up with a brand new email address and pay with cryptocurrency.

No logs of User Web Activity

Regardless, NordVPN can’t link any of your online activities to you as an individual. Nor can it disclose that information to any third parties.

The service only knows that you have an account, but not what you’ve done online while using the VPN.

NordVPN does monitor server loads in order to maintain optimal performance and to recommend the fastest (often nearest) servers.

This information is aggregated across all users and can’t be used to personally identify you. Many private VPNs do this.

The VPN service’s Terms of Service state that: “To limit the number of simultaneous sessions of an active user, an algorithm keeps their username and the timestamp of the last session status while the session is active.”

We wanted to find out how that would affect user privacy, so we got in touch with NordVPN and a representative demonstrated how the algorithm works using the following diagram:

NordVPN's customer support reply about logging

The data is hashed using different dynamic components, and temporarily held in separate and standalone databases around the world. It’s then deleted 15 minutes after the end of the session.

Based on how the data is hashed and then wiped, we’re confident your web information can’t be traced back to you.

Where Is NordVPN Based?

NordVPN is owned by NordVPN S.A. and it operates under the legal jurisdiction of Panama, which is excellent for privacy.

Panama doesn’t require VPN companies to log or report any of their data. Nor is it part of any agreements that compel it to share information with other countries. Panama is a ‘privacy haven’ and a great VPN jurisdiction.

Being based in Panama gives NordVPN the power to deny any data requests from foreign governments and law enforcement agencies.

The company also publishes a daily warrant canary letting users know it hasn’t received National Security Letters, gag orders, or warrants from any government agency.

In February 2022, Nord Security, NordVPN’s parent company, merged with top VPN Surfshark. Both companies are now owned by Cyberspace, a new company registered in The Netherlands.

After contacting it, a NordVPN representative confirmed that this merger will not affect NordVPN’s Panama jurisdiction. NordVPN still operates in Panama and continues to benefit from its privacy-friendly laws as a result.

Law Enforcement Requests

On 18 January 2022, NordVPN updated its stance on law enforcement requests. It stated it will now “comply with lawful requests as long as they are delivered according to all the laws and regulations.”

This means that, if compelled by a court of law, NordVPN could start logging the activity of a specific user under criminal investigation. NordVPN also clarified to us that this stance is nothing new — it’s simply the first time that it’s made the information clear to the public.

The change was made the day after Europol shut down VPNLab.net after it refused to cooperate with law enforcement. VPNLab.net was a bespoke VPN for criminals that was only available on the dark web.

NordVPN’s policy change caused a lot of concern within the VPN industry. However, on closer inspection, we don’t expect this to impact any NordVPN user or our trust in NordVPN as a top VPN service.

Firstly, it is true that every VPN service would have to respond to such a court order. Otherwise, it would be closed down. This was proven by VPNLab.net. NordVPN has simply taken the bulk of the criticism as it’s the first VPN to clarify this in a public way.

Secondly, NordVPN displays a warrant canary on its website. A warrant canary is a statement where a VPN service can verify it hasn’t been issued a classified request from a government or law enforcement.

NordVPN’s warrant canary confirms the VPN has never received any warrants from any government organization. Therefore, it’s never logged any user’s information.

We still rate NordVPN as a top VPN service. If anything, we’d like more VPNs to follow suit and clarify their language around legitimate law enforcement requests. You can still trust NordVPN with your private data.

Price & Value

Provides Great Value for Your Money

8.58.5/10
How is this calculated?

Price & Value for Money receives a rating, but is not factored into our Overall Rating. We believe the reader should decide what is or isn’t a reasonable price.

A good rating here isn’t just based on how cheap the VPN is, but for the value it offers overall.

NordVPN is cheaper than many fully-featured VPN services, including its main rival ExpressVPN. The monthly plan costs $11.99, which is rather expensive. However, NordVPN’s two-year deal lowers the monthly price to a much more affordable $3.29.

Ranked #7 out of 56 VPNs for Price & Value

NordVPN Pricing Options

NordVPN offers three different subscription plans, which all include the same features. The only difference is the subscription length.

  1. Monthly

    US$11.99/mo

    Billed $11.99 every month
  2. 12 Month(s)

    US$4.99/mo

    Billed $59.88 the first 12 months, $99.48 every year thereafter
    Save 39%
  3. 2 Year(s)

    US$3.29/mo

    Billed $78.96 the first 2 years, $99.48 every year thereafter
    Save 60%

The two-year deal represents great value, considering you can use NordVPN on up to six devices at once. But, you will have to pay the full subscription of $78.96 upfront.

Moreover, the two-year plan renews at a much higher price of $99.48 every year thereafter. Almost as much as it’s closest rival, ExpressVPN.

Payment & Refund Options

Here’s a full list of payment methods that NordVPN accepts:

  1. Alipay
  2. American Express
  3. Bank Wire / Direct Transfer
  4. Bitcoin
  5. Mastercard
  6. UnionPay
  7. Visa

Sadly, NordVPN has stopped accepting PayPal and replaced it with Adyen.

There is No Completely Free Version of NordVPN

Unlike TunnelBear, Proton VPN, and other ‘freemium’ VPNs, NordVPN has never offered a completely free VPN service.

However, you can get a seven-day 100% free trial on Android smartphones (only with the annual pricing plan).

Moreover, you can get the equivalent of a 30-day NordVPN free trial by taking advantage of the service’s money-back guarantee.

It’s a no-questions-asked refund promise, so cancel your subscription within 30 days and you’ll receive your refund within 10 business days.

Torrenting

Safe Choice for Torrenting

8.98.9/10
How is this calculated?

We calculate the average download bitrate of every VPN using a bespoke torrenting setup.

Testing also factors in the percentage of servers which permit P2P, plus useful features like port forwarding.

NordVPN allows torrenting on over 85% of its 5,613 servers. Its P2P-optimized servers recorded a fast average bitrate of 9.5Mib/s in our tests. That said, torrenting is blocked on servers in fourteen countries, so there are more suitable P2P VPNs available

Ranked #7 out of 56 VPNs for Torrenting

NordVPN is an excellent VPN for torrenting, with thousands of fast servers optimized for P2P traffic.

In our latest P2P VPN tests, NordVPN registered an average bitrate of 9.5Mib/s. That’s faster than CyberGhost (3.9MiB/s) and Mullvad (7.9MiB/s), but slower than PIA 9.6MiB/s and IPVanish (9.9MiB/s).

Downloading a torrent file with NordVPN

NordVPN performed well in our torrenting tests.

We also like NordVPN’s range of advanced security settings, such as the VPN kill switch, which keeps your IP address concealed if your VPN connection cuts out.

NordVPN’s no-logs policy is also ideal for anonymous file-sharing.

You can torrent while connected to almost every country on the server list. These optimized servers are easy to find – they are listed under ‘Specialty Servers’ in the app settings.

Screenshot of NordVPN specialty servers, including P2P

However, NordVPN doesn’t allow P2P traffic in the following countries:

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

If you try to torrent on a VPN server that doesn’t support P2P, the VPN app will re-route traffic through a dedicated server in Canada or the Netherlands.

The apps detect P2P traffic using a “special algorithm” that NordVPN assured us doesn’t defy its no-logs policy. This is likely a real-time analysis tool that detects traffic, but doesn’t store that data.

Torrenting with NordVPN’s SOCKS5 Proxy

NordVPN also provides a SOCKS5 proxy, which can be used with torrent clients like BitTorrent.

However, we strongly recommend you avoid using this feature. It’s faster than a VPN, but it’s not as secure. A SOCKS5 proxy spoofs your IP address, but it won’t encrypt your traffic, which puts your online privacy and security at risk.

No Port Forwarding Available

NordVPN doesn’t have a port forwarding option, which speeds up P2P file uploads (or ‘seeding’) considerably.

If you’re a regular seeder, we recommend your read our updated Private Internet Access review or read more about how NordVPN compares to PIA in our dedicated guide.

Server Locations

5,613 VPN Servers in 59 Countries

9.69.6/10
How is this calculated?

The global spread and coverage of the VPN server network is the most important factor here.

We also consider the number of city-level servers, plus how many IP addresses are maintained.

This rating does not directly contribute to the Overall Rating, but instead makes up a portion of the Security & Features rating.

NordVPN provides 5,613 VPN servers. After Private Internet Access and CyberGhost, this is the highest number of servers offered by a VPN. The choice of 59 countries isn’t the widest range we’ve seen, but it’s still enough to satisfy most users.

Ranked #7 out of 56 VPNs for Server Locations

Globe with a blue flag
59 Countries
Image of a city landscape
90+ Cities
Image of a pink marker
5,613+ IP Addresses

The VPN’s server network covers popular countries like the UK, US, Australia, and Canada. It also serves less common countries such as Argentina and Vietnam.

There’s also plenty of choice in Europe, North and South America, and Asia-Pacific. Africa and the Middle East are the least served by NordVPN.

Screenshot of NordVPN Server List in App

NordVPN offers 5,613 servers in 90 different locations.

Many City-level Servers

NordVPN gives its users excellent city-level server choices in four countries:

  • Australia (five locations, 200+ servers)
  • Canada (three locations, 300+ servers)
  • Germany (two locations, 200+ servers)
  • The US (16 locations, 1,600+ servers)

Users in these countries can connect to a server close to their physical location, for faster speeds and access to city or state-specific content. In the United States, this is useful to bypass sports blackouts.

NordVPN also provides a dedicated IP address service for customers who want to stick with one VPN IP address for long periods of time. This feature costs extra and it’s not as private as using VPN IP addresses, which are shared by many users at any one time.

NordVPN Server Security

NordVPN’s network consists of physical, bare-metal servers, none of which are virtual.

All its VPN servers are in fact physically located where you expect them to be. This is rare, as many VPN services have at least a small percentage of virtual servers, which are not physically located in the country where their IP address is registered.

NordVPN is also working on building a network of self-owned servers. Owning servers is ideal for security and gives a VPN company full control over its physical infrastructure.

The 2018 security incident proved that relying on a third-parties to provide VPN servers can lead to security vulnerabilities.

Not many VPNs own their entire server infrastructure. Of the top VPNs, only VyprVPN (read our review) and IPVanish operate first-party servers.

For the time being, NordVPN still rents some servers, but it says it’s keeping data center providers to even higher standards than before to prevent more security issues.

Also, the VPN service recently started rolling out 10Gbps servers. This is an upgrade from the 1Gbps servers most VPNs operate. This helps make NordVPN even faster on 500Mbps (or faster) connections.

Security & Extra Features

Best-in-Class Security Features

9.79.7/10
How is this calculated?

Top-rated VPNs offer OpenVPN or WireGuard protocols, AES-256 encryption, and a functional kill switch. We also consider additional security features and the global spread of VPN servers.

Despite a well-publicized server breach in 2018, NordVPN has since introduced very strong security and encryption measures. NordVPN uses the most secure VPN protocols, it operates RAM-only servers, and it’s taken steps to own the entire network. You can trust NordVPN to keep your data private and secure.

Ranked #2 out of 56 VPNs for Security & Extra Features

ProtocolsAvailable in NordVPN
IKEv2/IPSecYes
L2TP/IPSecNo
OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)Yes
ProprietaryNo
PPTPNo
SoftEtherNo
SSL VPNNo
SSTPNo
TLS VPNNo
WireGuardYes
EncryptionAvailable in NordVPN
AES-128No
AES-192No
AES-256Yes
BlowfishNo
ChaCha20Yes
SecurityAvailable in NordVPN
DNS Leak BlockingYes
First-party DNSYes
IPv6 Leak BlockingYes
Supports TCP Port 443Yes
VPN Kill SwitchYes
WebRTC Leak BlockingYes
Advanced FeaturesAvailable in NordVPN
Ad BlockerYes
Dedicated IPYes
Double VPNYes
Smart DNSYes
SOCKSYes
Split TunnelingYes
Tor over VPN ServerYes
Tracker BlockerYes

NordVPN’s Secure Protocols and High Encryption

NordVPN uses the best protocols and encryption ciphers available to protect your personal data from snoopers and hackers.

All apps use NordLynx by default, which is NordVPN’s own VPN protocol built on top of WireGuard.

The main benefit of NordLynx is that it is incredibly fast. In fact, the results from our WireGuard vs OpenVPN speed tests have been impressive.

We found that NordLynx is consistently faster than OpenVPN, particularly on long-distance connections. This is useful when streaming geo-restricted content from abroad in HD and 4K.

NordVPN encrypts traffic using the AES-256-GCM cipher with a 2048-bit DH key.

NordVPN’s IP and DNS Leak Test Results

When you use a VPN, all your internet traffic should flow through a secure, encrypted VPN tunnel.

Sometimes bits of personal data like your IP address can leak out, though. That’s why we run regular tests checking for IP and DNS leaks that can expose your private information.

When we tested NordVPN, we found no leaks whatsoever. It comes as no surprise because NordVPN runs its own DNS servers, and goes to great lengths to protect your online data.

Screenshot of browserleaks.com test results for NordVPN

NordVPN passed all of our leak tests.

This screenshot above shows the results of our leak test when connected to NordVPN’s Windows app. We can confirm the macOS, Android, and iOS apps are also leak-proof.

NordVPN’s Additional Features

Kill Switch:
NordVPN’s kill switch shields your true IP address in the event of a VPN connection drop on your PC, Mac, Android or iOS device.

NordVPN actually provides two different types of VPN kill switch: an internet kill switch and an app kill switch.

The internet kill switch works by blocking your device’s connection to the internet if the VPN connection drops suddenly. The app kill switch – available on Windows and macOS only – lets you apply kill switch protection to selected apps only.

We recommend using the system-wide internet kill switch for added security, especially if you’re torrenting files.

Double VPN:
Also known as multi-hop, this routes your internet traffic through two different servers, and encrypts it twice to provide extra privacy. It slows down connections considerably, so only use it if you need the highest levels of privacy.

Onion over VPN:
This allows you to route traffic securely through the Tor network to mask VPN traffic in high-censorship countries. Like Double VPN, Onion over VPN can be slow due to the multiple layers of encryption.

Split Tunneling:
This feature lets you choose which apps to route inside and outside of the VPN tunnel. This is useful for apps that require your true IP address, like online banking or smart home devices.

Split tunneling is only available on NordVPN’s Windows and Android applications.

Invisibility on LAN:
Another useful feature, this option makes you invisible on your local network. Disable this if you need to access devices on your local network, like a wireless printer.

Threat Protection:
Threat Protection is a comprehensive security tool that blocks ads, protects against malware, and prevents viruses from being installed on your computer.

Unlike most of the other services we’ve reviewed, you don’t have to be connected to a VPN server to use Threat Protection’s features.

After testing it, we found that Threat Protection blocks some web ads. It didn’t removes ads from YouTube, though.

Meshnet:
Meshnet allows you to route your internet traffic through regular internet-connected devices that you or a friend own, rather than a NordVPN server.

If you have friends who live in a different country, this gives you free access to residential IP addresses.

Using Meshnet, we were able to access geo-blocked streaming services more often than when using a standard VPN server.

However, make sure you trust anyone you link your device with over Meshnet. Your activity can be monitored on the device you’re routing through, which makes it a potential risk for privacy.

NordVPN’s Finland Server Breach

In October 2019, news broke of a breach to one of NordVPN’s Finland servers.

Poorly-configured security on the server’s remote management system allowed a hacker to breach it, view the file system and, theoretically, retrieve any data stored on it.

NordVPN informed us it wasn’t aware of the incident until 13 April 2019, when it was shown a dark web post of the hackers responsible bragging about it, dated March 2018.

At this point, the company took the server out of service and ‘shredded’ (securely wiped all data) it. It also terminated its contract with the third-party server provider, Creanova.

NordVPN stresses three important facts about the hack:

  • No user credentials were affected. In other words, no one’s privacy or anonymity was compromised.
  • There are no signs that user traffic was monitored. No user-sensitive data could be read from the server itself, either, as NordVPN is a no-logs service. This means the server contained no information regarding user data or browsing activity.
  • The VPN tunnel was not compromised. This means that the service as a whole still worked as intended.

NordVPN claims that the hack was the fault of Creanova, and Creanova blames NordVPN for being careless with its security.

Ultimately, it’s NordVPN’s responsibility to regularly check the security of its servers. Furthermore, the company’s delayed communication to the public to the about the incident was disappointing.

NordVPN’s Stronger Security Initiatives

The VPN service has since made concrete strides towards preventing another hack from taking place.

Here’s what NordVPN has implemented since the server breach:

  • Partnership with cybersecurity consulting firm VerSprite to carry out penetration tests and make NordVPN safer than ever before.
  • Bug bounty program to reward those that successfully identify vulnerabilities in Nord’s code.
  • Infrastructure security audit and vendor security assessment to prevent a similar breach occurring again.
  • A network of colocated servers exclusively owned by NordVPN to avoid any vulnerabilities caused by third-party providers.
  • Diskless RAM servers. This means that if someone seizes a server they are effectively seizing an empty piece of hardware with no user data or configuration files on it.

The 2018 security breach has clearly triggered NordVPN to be more secure than ever.

Bypassing Web Censorship

Works in China on Android, iPhone & Mac

7.27.2/10
How is this calculated?

Our remote-access server in Shanghai, China routinely tests if a VPN can beat restrictions and access a free, open internet. Obfuscation technologies and nearby servers are also a contributing factor.

This rating does not directly contribute to the Overall Rating, but instead makes up a portion of the Security & Features rating.

NordVPN does not currently work in China on Windows, but the Mac, iOS, and Android apps are still functional. While connected to NordVPN, we were able to stream YouTube videos, browse Instagram, and send messages using WhatsApp.

Ranked #19 out of 56 VPNs for Bypassing Web Censorship

Unlike many other VPN review websites, we manually test VPNs in China to guarantee they actually work.

Over the past six months, NordVPN has failed to work in China once on Windows. However, we’ve been able to bypass the country’s restrictions on our Mac, iOS, and Android devices 100% of the time.

You can watch use using NordVPN to access blocked websites in the video below:

Bypassing the Great Firewall of China with NordVPN.

Dedicated NordVPN App for China

NordVPN even comes equipped with a custom app for bypassing Chinese web censorship, but this app is only working on Android for now.

Once you’ve installed this version of the app, make sure NordLynx is enabled and Threat Protection is disabled. Then, connect to a server using ‘Quick Connect’.

If you’re a Mac, iOS, or Linux user, you’ll have to manually set up the VPN on your device. NordVPN’s tutorials aren’t difficult to follow, but it’s not an ideal solution.

Sensibly, NordVPN doesn’t have servers in China, but you can connect to nearby servers in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand for faster speeds.

EXPERT ADVICE: The NordVPN website is blocked in China and cannot be accessed without a VPN. Make sure to download the NordVPN app before entering China.

Device & OS Compatibility

User-friendly Apps for All Devices and Platforms

How is this rated?

A quality VPN should maintain functional, fully-featured applications and extensions for as many platforms and devices as possible.

This does not directly contribute to the Overall Rating, but instead makes up a portion of the Ease of Use rating.

NordVPN has a range of user-friendly applications for all major operating systems, including desktop, mobile, and TV devices. You can use NordVPN on six devices at once, which is slightly above the industry average.

Apps

NordVPN offers native applications for the following platforms and devices:

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. iOS
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  6. Router

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

Thanks to its router compatibility and Smart DNS feature, it’s also possible to use NordVPN with the following devices:

  1. Apple TV
  2. Amazon Fire TV
  3. Chromecast
  4. Nintendo
  5. PlayStation
  6. Roku
  7. Smart TV
  8. Xbox

NordVPN’s Smart DNS Tool

NordVPN’s Smart DNS feature is a useful feature to use on platforms that don’t have a NordVPN app.

As you can see in the video below, we used it to stream US Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu, on our Apple TV without issues.

Using NordVPN's Smart DNS to stream HBO Max and US Netflix.

For gamers, Smart DNS is a great solution to use NordVPN on a PS4 and PS5, and other games consoles, too.

Smart DNS is rare, even among top VPN services. We’re pleased to see that NordVPN has added it.

Remember though, Smart DNS doesn’t encrypt traffic, leaving your streaming activity visible. Only use this feature to unblock video content, where encryption is not as necessary as highly-sensitive tasks.

NordVPN Router Setup

If you want to bypass NordVPN’s six simultaneous connections limit, and secure all the devices in your home, install the VPN on your home router.

Not many routers are compatible, so we recommend buying a pre-flashed one. It’s a little expensive, but worth it if you want all (most) devices to use an encrypted VPN connection.

Amazon Fire TV Stick & Fire TV

NordVPN provides a fully-featured app for Amazon Fire TV Stick and Android TV, letting you unblock Netflix and Hulu directly on your TV.

The app is one of the most functional we’ve seen for Fire TV and Smart TVs. It includes split tunneling, protocol choice, a design tailored for TVs, and the kill switch is enabled by default.

You can also connect to NordVPN’s P2P-optimized servers from within the app, making it compatible with many Kodi add-ons.

NordVPN Firestick app

NordVPN’s Fire TV app is optimized for larger screens.

But, the Fire TV app unblocks fewer Netflix libraries than the mobile and desktop software. It still works with popular regions like the US, UK, Canada, Japan, and France, though.

Browser Extensions

  1. Chrome
  2. Microsoft Edge
  3. Firefox

NordVPN provides good Chrome VPN extensions and Firefox VPN add-ons, very popular among NordVPN users.

To date, the NordVPN Chrome extension counts over 1,000,000 installs, and the Firefox add-on over 100,000.

These browser add-ons are similar to the desktop and mobile apps, but there’s one crucial difference: the browser extensions are proxies rather than true VPNs.

Proxy extensions only encrypt your browser traffic, leaving email apps or torrent clients unprotected.

While you can access the same countries available on the main VPN apps, you can’t drill down to city level, or make use of the specialty servers.

How to Use NordVPN’s Browser Extensions

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

Once you’ve logged on you can choose a server and connect.

NordVPN's Google Chrome browser extension

NordVPN’s Google Chrome browser extension.

Both extensions include an ad-blocker and a built-in WebRTC leak blocker, to prevent IP location leaks. Both features are in the settings menu, in the top right corner.

Ease of Use

Intuitive apps for beginners, with some advanced features

9.59.5/10
How is this calculated?

This rating mainly consists of the intuitiveness of setup and everyday use.

Device or platform compatibility and customization options are also a factor.

NordVPN offers the ideal balance of technical complexity and ease of use. Its apps include a lot of extra features while remaining intuitive enough for beginners. The only downside is its map interface. We'd prefer a simple server list.

Ranked #3 out of 56 VPNs for Ease of Use

NordVPN’s apps are all easy to set up and simple to use, with clean, intuitive interfaces. Here’s a video showing just how quick it is to connect to a NordVPN server:

How to connect to a NordVPN server on macOS.

In the video below, you can also see how easy it is to find and tweak NordVPN’s settings on macOS:

How to configure your VPN settings in NordVPN's macOS application.

Here’s a more detailed overview of our experience using NordVPN on different devices and operating systems:

NordVPN’s Windows Client

NordVPN’s software for Windows is the most comprehensive app of all, making it one of the best VPNs for Windows. It has the most advanced features, including a working kill switch, split tunneling, double (multi-hop) VPN, and Threat Protection (ad and malware blocker).

The Windows application lets you choose between the NordLynx (WireGuard) and the OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) protocols.

Home screen of the NordVPN app on Windows

The home screen of the NordVPN app on windows.

Thanks to a recent update, you can now use the Windows app in dark mode. Though a nice improvement, we do wish the app would automatically match the settings on your PC. As it stands, you have to change it manually.

The main issue we have with the PC client is that the window can’t be resized. This made it difficult to use other apps side-by-side with NordVPN on our 13-inch Lenovo ThinkPad screen.

We also think the server map is unhelpful and needlessly takes up space. We’d much prefer if you could collapse the window down to a single column as you can with Proton VPN.

NordVPN’s macOS Application

NordVPN’s Mac application includes most of the PC software’s settings. Differently, though, the IKEv2 protocol is available (in addition to NordLynx and OpenVPN), but there is no split tunneling setting.

NordVPN's Mac app

NordVPN’s app for MacOS includes support for NordLynx and Double VPN.

NordVPN’s iOS Application

NordVPN’s application for iPhone and iPad is much better designed than the service’s desktop applications.

NordVPN's app for iOS and iPadOS.

NordVPN’s app for iPhone and iPad.

However, the settings in the app are limited, as we often witness in mobile VPN applications.

While the NordVPN iOS app includes an effective internet kill switch, there is no split tunneling setting.

In terms of protocols, the default VPN protocol is IKEv2, although you can switch to NordLynx or OpenVPN (UDP and TCP). There is no automatic protocol selection option on iOS.

NordVPN’s Android Application

Sadly, the NordVPN Android application isn’t as well-designed as the iOS software. We don’t love the presentation of information, although the app is still easy to use.

NordVPN homescreen on Android

NordVPN homescreen on Android.

The kill switch is harder to use than on NordVPN’s Android app. To enable it, go to Settings > Wireless and networks > More > VPN > Always on VPN. Though this worked effectively in our testing, we do wish you could toggle it on or off from with the NordVPN app.

By disabling the ‘Local Network Discovery’ feature, you can stay invisible to devices on your local area network (LAN).

NordVPN for Linux

NordVPN doesn’t provide a native VPN client for Linux. Instead, you’ll have to use Terminal command lines and configure the VPN accordingly.

Customer Support

Helpful 24/7 Live Chat Support

9.79.7/10
How is this calculated?

This rating is based on our assessment of each VPN’s:

  • Email support
  • Live chat support
  • Online resources

Not every VPN offers all of these, and they often vary in quality and response time.

NordVPN's customer service is one of the best. You have a range of support options, including an automated chatbot, 24/7 live chat, or email. We've found NordVPN's support agents are more knowledgeable than those from other VPN services.

Ranked #2 out of 56 VPNs for Customer Support

Customer SupportAvailable in NordVPN
24/7 Live Chat SupportYes
24/7 Email SupportNo
EmailNo
Email Support via Online FormNo
No Support AvailableNo
Tutorial VideosNo
Online ResourcesYes

Live chat support can be initiated from the bottom-right corner of the website. You’ll be initially greeted by the ‘NordVPN chatbot’, an automated chat agent that will attempt to answer your query.

We typically find chatbots, like Windscribe’s Garry, to be unhelpful and a waste of time. However, NordVPN’s automated agent is helpful and very good at interpreting questions.

The automated agent has a distinct advantage over human support, too. All replies were instantaneous, so we weren’t left waiting too long for an answer.

NordVPN customer service

NordVPN’s automated chatbot is fast and helpful.

Well-informed Support Agents

For those times when you do need human support, just type “get me a human” and you’ll be passed on to a member of NordVPN’s customer service team.

Like most other top VPNs, NordVPN offers 24/7 live chat. Its support agents are very helpful and resolved our issues promptly.

NordVPN live chat

NordVPN’s customer support agents are knowledgeable and courteous.

In addition, NordVPN offers a large knowledge base with guides covering FAQs, device setup, and connectivity troubleshooting.

The Bottom Line

NordVPN Review Summary

NordVPN is an excellent VPN service. It’s one of the fastest, safest, and overall best VPNs on the market. If you want a quality VPN on a budget, then NordVPN is worth getting.

The VPN service secures your internet traffic with AES-256 encryption and safeguards your data with its verified no-logs policy.

Also, NordVPN unblocks US Netflix effortlessly, lets you torrent privately, and it bypasses geographic restrictions in over 50 countries.

Its user-friendly, feature-packed apps also make it ideal for both VPN beginners and experienced users.

All in all, NordVPN comes a close second to ExpressVPN, with one main advantage — it’s more affordable.

Additional research by Luke Williams

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