NordVPN is, quite simply, one of the very best VPNs we’ve tested – subscribe with confidence, knowing that it’s almost certain to meet your needs.
With zero user logs and the fastest speeds we’ve tested in a huge number of location it’s sure to satisfy both the privacy-focused and those who want outright speeds.
It provides reliable access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer and the recently redesigned apps look great, whatever platform you use it on.
Pricing & Deals
Each plan across the NordVPN range offers the same features, meaning you can focus on the price – the longer you sign up for, the less you pay per month.
A single month package is quite pricey at $11.95, but drops by almost half to $6.99 for annual plans.
You can find the best value at $3.99 per month over two years, for a 66% saving. It’s also currently running a special offer which saves you a massive 75%, working out at $2.99 a month for three years.
Get 58% off NordVPN's 12-month plan
NordVPN Pricing & Deals
NordVPN offers a free trial as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee. The free trial gives you full access to the service for seven days but it does ask for payment details, meaning if you don’t cancel within the week you’ll be automatically upgraded to the annual plan.
The money-back period is generous, although it’s not as hassle-free as the no-questions-asked policy of ExpressVPN, for example. You’ll have to go through a troubleshooting process with a customer support agent before you get your refund, and you won’t receive a refund if you have violated the terms of service.
Take note that gift card purchases via the App Store or iTunes are not eligible for refunds.
NordVPN accepts many different payment methods including most major credit and debit cards, PayPal, a few cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and lots of international options such as Alipay, UnionPay, and WebMoney.
Speed & Reliability
NordVPN has produced absolutely outstanding results in all of our performance tests. Both upload and download speeds were consistently fast and reliable across all locations worldwide.
NordVPN Performance Data
- Download Speed Average:70.76 MbpsUpload Speed Average:24.37 MbpsPing Time Average:141 ms
- Download Speed Average:271.91 MbpsUpload Speed Average:164.95 MbpsPing Time Average:2 ms
- Download Speed Average:295.93 MbpsUpload Speed Average:118.47 MbpsPing Time Average:5 ms
- Download Speed Average:265.18 MbpsUpload Speed Average:158.81 MbpsPing Time Average:7 ms
- Download Speed Average:215.77 MbpsUpload Speed Average:134.92 MbpsPing Time Average:4 ms
- Download Speed Average:255.72 MbpsUpload Speed Average:176.52 MbpsPing Time Average:3 ms
- Download Speed Average:204.17 MbpsUpload Speed Average:108.92 MbpsPing Time Average:5 ms
- Download Speed Average:256.94 MbpsUpload Speed Average:181.03 MbpsPing Time Average:5 ms
- Download Speed Average:79.34 MbpsUpload Speed Average:25.07 MbpsPing Time Average:97 ms
- Download Speed Average:161.52 MbpsUpload Speed Average:41.41 MbpsPing Time Average:2 ms
- Download Speed Average:133.31 MbpsUpload Speed Average:47.02 MbpsPing Time Average:15 ms
- Download Speed Average:25.95 MbpsUpload Speed Average:4.59 MbpsPing Time Average:128 ms
NordVPN is very fast, especially on local connections, the best of which reached a phenomenal average speed of 296Mbps.
Average download speeds from UK to US were 45Mbps – enough to handle anything across multiple devices.
Some more distant connections were brilliant, such as San Francisco to Sydney (42Mbps), but others were much slower, particularly connecting out from Australia and Canada.
Latency was also very low at only 2ms for users in Amsterdam and Tokyo and 3ms in Paris, making NordVPN a brilliant choice for streamers and gamers.
NordVPN connects fairly quickly, taking around 10 seconds on average. Once connected, performance is rock-solid with little speed fluctuation and barely any connection drops.
Average local upload speeds of over 106Mbps are some of the fastest we’ve seen in our tests, making NordVPN very attractive for P2P users. Local connections in London, Amsterdam and Paris even tested significantly higher than that.
While a handful of other VPN providers may offer higher speeds on individual servers, NordVPN remains one of our absolute top picks as it delivers such well-balanced performance without asking you to make sacrifices in other areas to obtain it.
To read about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.
NordVPN’s server network is pretty middle of the road when it comes to the number of locations offered. 62 countries provides enough of a choice that you won’t struggle to find a suitable location, but equally there are providers out offering a great deal more – HideMyAss! has over 190 countries.
NordVPN operates a very large number of individual servers, though, at just over 5,100. Your excitement should be dampened by the relatively limited number of IP addresses on offer, compared to rival networks, though. In theory this could result in server congestion and reduced performance at busy times, but it’s not something we’ve ever come across in our tests.
A recent software update has introduced the option to drill down to city level in a handful of popular countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the US.
You can find the complete list of NordVPN server locations by country and purpose on its website below.
Platforms & Devices
NordVPN offers a decent range of custom apps for various devices including Microsoft Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and Linux. It’s also very easy to install it at router level, covering your whole network of devices at once.
NordVPN also offers proxy extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. The add-ons for Chrome and Firefox are super easy to download and add to your browser, but some manual configuration is required for Safari.
They all feature a WebRTC Leak Blocker – an extremely useful tool to prevent your true IP address being exposed.
While these encrypt browser traffic, they aren’t true VPN extensions nor do they offer the same features as the desktop client. They’re definitely a useful bonus feature, though.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
NordVPN has an Android TV app, meaning you can use it with devices such as Android TV and the Amazon Fire TV Stick without any manual configuration. If you want to cover your other streaming devices or games consoles, though, you’ll need to install it at router level.
NordVPN’s set-up guides are super easy to follow and include helpful screenshots to give you a better idea of what you should be doing.
Streaming & Torrenting
NordVPN is one of our top choices for reliable access to all major streaming services. Throughout all our regular re-tests we are yet to experience any issues with accessing Netflix whatsoever.
All you need to do is connect to the general US server location – no need to select a specific city-level server as it automatically chooses the best one for you. Watching BBC iPlayer is just as easy through its UK servers..
Subscribers have also commented on how well it works with Hulu, HBO, Sky and Now TV, too.
It’s a good choice for Kodi users and torrenters as P2P traffic is permitted on a large number of servers, massively reducing the risk of slow speeds or congestion.
Encryption & Security
NordVPN is super-secure and privacy-focused. You only get one protocol on the desktop app by default, OpenVPN, but it’s our protocol of choice. Others can be manually installed if you want them, which is a nice option for power users.
We love the VPN kill switch feature which terminates your internet connection if the VPN connection is interrupted, preventing your true IP address from being exposed. NordVPN also operate its own DNS servers to ensure that your traffic is never routed through third-party servers, keeping it protected at all times.
Protection against DNS and WebRTC (through the browser extensions) leaks is also a big bonus and not something we see too often.
For an extra layer of privacy it also offers Double VPN or Tor over VPN, providing you with an extra layer of encryption for when you are dealing with more sensitive information.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- DNS Leak Blocking
- First-party DNS
- Supports TCP Port 443
- VPN Kill Switch
- WebRTC Leak Blocking
- Double VPN
- TOR via VPN Server
Since the VPN crackdown in China, NordVPN has become harder to recommend for residents or visitors.
Users have reported that the obfuscated servers sometimes work to beat the censors, but some have experienced occasional difficulties connecting to them. If that’s the case, you will need to go through some more complex manual set-up to use the L2TP protocol.
It’s also worth noting that this is the only way to access obfuscation on iOS.
That’s just China, though – in other high censorship countries NordVPN remains a solid choice.
If you’re after a more reliable and straightforward way to beat the censors, wherever you are, we would recommend you read our Astrill review.
NordVPN operates with strictly zero-logs, which it sets out in one of the most simple and concise privacy policies we’ve seen.
From the moment you connect to any of its servers your device is no longer visible to your ISP, third-party snoopers or cyber criminals. Most importantly none of your activity is monitored, logged or passed on to third parties.
The only thing NordVPN monitors is its server loads, which is essential to maintain its excellent levels of performance. It also uses this information in order to recommend you the best server based on your needs and location.
NordVPN is under the legal jurisdiction of Panama, putting it beyond the reach of US and EU data retention laws. Panama does not require 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 Nord 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.
Ease of Use
NordVPN’s range of custom apps provide users of all platforms with a slick, simple experience, and have some nice little touches that sets the service apart from other providers.
Additional options can be found in the settings menu, and the more advanced settings have to be accessed from a drop-down menu at the bottom of the list. We love that the app prompts you not to change these unless you know what you’re doing.
The browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox are good additions to the desktop client even if they merely connect you via a proxy server, rather than create an encrypted VPN tunnel.
The mobile apps are slick and include some great privacy extras that protect you against DNS leaks, malware, phishing attempts, and DDoS attacks. Manual configuration of other devices is kept simple and comes with comprehensive tutorials.
Installation and set-up are super-smooth and done in a matter of minutes, making it easy even if you have never downloaded a VPN before. Whatever platform you’re using, the NordVPN website provides a series of comprehensive set-up guides for lots of different devices.
The process is as simple as downloading the relevant software from the site and following the prompts given to you by the installation wizard. Should you get stuck, you can always refer to the comprehensive support section, which makes it really easy to find out what to do next.
NordVPN provides excellent quality customer support both through its extensive knowledge base and via online live chat. Support agents respond quickly and are extremely friendly and helpful, managing to fix most of our issues within a couple of minutes.
Troubleshooting guides are incredibly useful, covering a variety of potential issues and providing a range of possible solutions should any problems arise.
We would like to see faster responses to customer support emails, which can be slow, but the quality of the answers makes up for it.
The Bottom Line
- Reliable, fast performance with speeds of up to 296Mbps
- Great choice for streaming, including access to Netflix
- Really easy to use. Quick set-up on all devices
- Good-sized global network - a choice of 62 countries
- Extra privacy features such as Double VPN and Tor over VPN
- Alternative security protocols have to be manually configured
- Browser extensions create proxy rather than VPN connections
- Email support can be slow
NordVPN strikes a great balance between privacy and speed to set it apart as one of the very best VPN providers out there.
Commit to the longest plans and it also works out as one of the lowest priced. It’s very fast in most popular locations, with reliable access to major streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Superb upload speeds make NordVPN a smart choice for heavy torrenters, too.
On the privacy side, NordVPN is a true zero logs service based in a friendly jurisdiction that comes with some heavy-duty security options that you won’t easily find elsewhere.
It’s also very easy to use on the moderate range of devices it’s available on, too.