NordVPN

Updated: 05-18-2022
30-day money-back guarantee
Very easy to use interface
Super fast with 5100 servers in 60 locations
Ad and malware blocking
Overall score
9.5
Speed:
9.9
Ease of use:
9.9
Safety:
9.5
Locations:
10

Is NordVPN really the best VPN provider in the market? Is it the best value for your money?

I ran a variety of different tests to see how the product really performs.

I tested everything: from encryption and security measures to speeds and ability to bypass geo restrictions.

You will be able to find everything you need to know about NordVPN in this detailed review.

But before we get started, I would like to make one thing clear: even though NordVPN is one of the best products in the VPN market and offers some features that other providers haven’t even thought about, it still has a number of drawbacks.

So, are you ready to learn more about the pros and cons of one of the best VPN providers out there?

In a hurry? Here are the most important bits:

Streaming: is NordVPN capable of unblocking the most popular streaming services like Disney+, HULU, ESPN etc? Yes, it is!

Speed: Is NordVPN’s speed as fast as they claim? Yes. This is because they operate a vast network of servers.    And having a great speed is important for streaming and downloading files.

Security and ease of use:  NordVPN has one of the most advanced encryptions and extra security measures on the market. It is easily the most secure VPN provider on the market even after a reported security breach back in 2019.

Getting around geo-restrictions: handles them without a problem, even in China.

Servers:  NordVPN operates a large number of servers around the world. This means that getting around geo-restrictions and streaming video content is extremely easy.

Privacy policy: NordVPN operates zero-logs policy and their headquarters are based out of Panama, which doesn’t have data retention laws. This is because Panama isn’t a member of any of the international surveillance organizations.

NordVPN's features (May 2022)

Price$3.71 per month
Money Back Guarantee30 Days
Does it keep logs? No
Number of Servers5400+
Number of devices per license6
Kill switchYes
LocationPanama
SupportLive Chat Support
Supports torrentingYes

NordVPN’s Pros And Cons:

Here is a quick overview of the different pros and cons we came up with during our tests.

Pros:Cons:
Very little data retention: NordVPN only keeps basic information such as email, payment information and customer support tickets.Split tunneling not supported: NordVPN does not work on public WiFi networks.
Headquartered in Panama: This means that NordVPN is not within the jurisdiction of surveillance institutions such as Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, 14 Eyes and so on, which means that they can’t be forced to submit data to the governments.Static IP addresses: IP addresses are static, but at least the IP address is shared many other users making it harder to trace us.
Multiple devices: NordVPN works perfectly on multiple devices at the same time.
Strong encryption: NordVPN uses some of the most advanced encryption protocols available.

Streaming: Is NordVPN good for watching Netflix?

In short: yes. NordVPN is an excellent choice when it comes to watching Netflix.

In details:

You may be aware that Netflix imposes tough geoblocks that many VPNs find difficult to get around, but this is not the case with NordVPN.

Thanks to its’ SmartPlay feature, NordVPN is easily able to bypass geo restrictions and keep you safe at the same time.

DNS and VPN technologies are combined in order to get around blocks, but your security is always maintained.

So, I decided to test NordVPN and see how capable is it to work with Netflix and bypass geo-restrictions without sacrificing streaming quality and speed.

First, here is what my current speed looks like according to speedtest.net without having a VPN switched on.

And this is what it looks like after I connected to a US server:

Now, let’s open up Netflix and see what things look like when I want to watch something.

As you can see, Netflix works perfectly when NordVPN is connected.

But how does the speed looks like when I am using Netflix and a VPN at the same time?

As you can see, the speed has increased a bit. 

Next, I tried watching Netflix for several other countries. No matter which country I tried, there was not a single problem that occurred.

And one of the major reasons for this is that the NordVPN’s SmartPlay feature is really effective.

This feature is able to penetrate through geoblocks effortlessly and guarantees high-quality streaming no matter the location of the server you are connected to.

In fact, it is safe to say that NordVPN is one the best VPNs for getting around Netflix’s tough geo-restrictions because it consistently outperforms other VPN providers.

Torrenting: Is NordVPN good for torrenting?

In short: Yes, NordVPN is an excellent tool for torrenting.

In details:

NordVPN operates hundreds of servers that are optimized for P2P.

They can be easily accessed from the sidebar within the NordVPN app. This saves you time as you won’t have to spend time on the website to find out which servers are suitable for P2P.

One of the positive aspects is that each server offers unlimited bandwith and data. This means that you will be able to send as many files as you want as there is no data cap.

As another benefit, there are strict no-logs policies in place. This means that none of your torrenting activity is recorded and stored.

Third, NordVPN supports all the popular torrenting platforms.

Also, a nice feature is that you can use the server recommendation feature available on NordVPN’s website.

And it is really simple to use: just select your location and a server protocol and NordVPN will offer you the best options available. 

NordVPN Speeds

Gaming: Is NordVPN good for gaming?

In short, yes. NordVPN's servers are good enough for gaming.

In detail:

NordVPN is an excellent VPN for gaming. It is suitable for multiplayer, battle royale, MMO and many other types of games.

Since I live in Europe, I performed plenty of tests on European game servers. Usually, things worked fine and there was little to no lag.

However, if I tried to switch to some more distant servers located in Australia or New Zealand, for instance, the lag would become much higher and therefore more diffcult to play the game smoothly.

Security

Private and secure browsing is NordVPN’s specialty. And that’s what it is supposed to be for every VPN provider out there since this is the purpose of using VPN in the first place – to keep you sasfe online.

In order to determine the security’s efficiency, I tested everything: encryption levels, kill switch and leak protection.

NordVPN uses the most secure encryption that is available in the market – AES 256-bit encryption. In fact, this encryption is so strong that it is used by government agencies to protect nations’ secrets.

But what does it mean exactly?

The number 256 refers to the size of the encryption key and the number of possible codes someone need to try to crack it. This means that there almost an infinite amount of possibilities with this level of encryption. This means no one will be able to get access to your data.

On top of that, the 256-bit AES encryption is mixed up with 2048-bit DH key, SHA2-384 authentication and excellent forward secrecy. Basically, this is the key used to encrypt and decrypt your data.            

Kill Switch

A kill switch is one of the most important feature a VPN software can have. You may be unaware, but having a kill switch is one of the most effective ways to staying secure online.

Essentially, having a kill switch on will prevent your device from sending out traffic if your connection is compromised or disconnected.

If your connection is compromised or disconnected, the kill switch feature will stop DNS requests and IP address from being leaked.

The kill switch is available for both mobile and desktop users.

Here is how this is done:

First, click the settings icon located at the top right corner.

Then, click on the kill switch tab and click on the "Launch at Windows startup" button.

Here is how this looks like:

As simple as that.
However, you should be aware that if you use NordVPN on mobile the kill switch will be enabled automatically. But if you are on a desktop then you will have to activate it manually.

Another strange thing is that the kill switch feature is automatically enabled only if you are on iOS.

Sure, you can turn it on in Android, but it just seems weird that there will be such favoritism.

A neat bonus is also that the kill switch feature is able to control which apps are blocked.

This means that if your internet connection goes down, you can stay connected, but then the apps that were selected in advance will not be able to connect to the Internet.

This feature is extremely beneficial when it comes to torrenting: The P2P traffic is immediately switched off to protect you from IP leaks. But you can keep browsing while you are waiting to reconnect. 

And NordVPN is probably the one VPN provider that this very flexible feature.

Split Tunneling

Split tunneling is a function that allows you to choose which apps you want to use via your VPN connection.

This feature comes in handy when you have to access websites with your real IP address (for example, business cloud storage, bank accounts, smart home devices etc.).

This option is supported on Windows and Android (including Android TV).

To turn on split tunneling, just click on settings and follow the instructions below:

Once you click it, the following options will appear:

And this is where you will able to define which apps must only go through the VPN and which ones can be used without a VPN.

Leak Tests And Protection

Leak protection is a feature that should be high on your list when shopping for a VPN.

This is because sometimes software breaks and browser security flaws can spill your DNS requests and IP address, which in turn would make your location and online activity visible to hackers and your ISP.

What’s even more dangerous is that hackers can see your real location and online traffic.

NordVPN claims that their DNS and IP leak protection can stop any accidental exposure.

I performed several tests on servers from various countries and none leaks were detected, across multiple servers. Tests were performed on both desktop and mobile.

As you can see, according to dnsleaktest.com, I am located in South Africa. However, in reality, I am located in Sofia, Bulgaria. This means that NordVPN is successful in protecting my actual location.

Let's check out the extended test:

This time the tool carried out six tests and all of them pointed to the South Africa server I was connected to.

As you can see above, NordVPN successfully blocks out IPv6. Usually, VPNs do not block IPv6, so when you visit a IPv6-compatible website  then you will be exposed.

But with NordVPN, you are always secured to any outsiders.

Overall, it can be safely said that protects your anonymity and secures you whenever you are online and regardless of which device you use.

Tor Compatibility, Security Analysis and Security Breaches

NordVPN is compatible with Onion over VPN and has dedicated Onion over VPN specialty servers.

This creates a straight-forward connection with the Tor network with just a single click. This means that you don’t even have to open Tor.

Another you have is that you can connect to a NordVPN server first in a manual way and then launch the Tor browser if you want to do things this way.

NordVPN offers Tor compatibility despite of how rare it is to see something like that.

What’s more, NordVPN is probably the only VPN that let’s you access the Tor network through any browser. And this is why it is the top choice for a VPN with a Tor compatibility.

But what about NordVPN’s security?

Recently, two separate and independent security audits were performed by the leading security experts VerSprite and PricewaterhouseCoopers AG.

The tests revealed that there are no major security vulnerabilities and any small issues that came up were solved by NordVPN before tests were done again.

The cool thing is that the reports are available for download so anyone will be able to read them. On a side note, NordVPN should be congratulated because this is what being transparent looks like.

There was only one security breach detected in October 2019, but then again this proved that NordVPN is safe.

What’s funnier, the hackers actually wasted their time because NordVPN doesn’t store any data or activity and the hackers didn’t see anything they were looking for. That must have been disappointing.

So, any final words on this topic? Well, it is safe to say that NordVPN is safe, secure and really stands behind their no-logging policy.

And even though the security breaches information can be a bit worrying it actually means that NordVPN are really one of the best VPN vendors out there.  

Double Encryption

NordVPN is probably the one VPN provider that takes security extremely seriously.

One of the cool features is that it offers double VPN. Simply put, this means that your traffic goes through two different servers instead of only one.

This means that tracing your online activity becomes even harder because there is no single line of traffic.

Your traffic jumps between servers in different locations.

When I performed the tests, I saw that there are many options of servers you can choose from if you need to access geoblocked websites.

The downside is that the speeds are quite slower, which can be normal since the traffic jumps between multiple locations.

So, you would want to avoid using double encryption if you want to browse without webpages loading terribly slow and non-stop buffering while streaming.

But if you want the extra security, simply click on the Double VPN button and you will be automatically connected to a suitable server.

NordLocker

Do you want to securely upload files to the cloud?

Well, who doesn’t.

And thanks to NordLocker you will be able to do just that.

NordLocker is a cool feature that you get with NordVPN.

What it does is that it  encrypts your files before you share them or upload them to the cloud.

However, this means that only people who have NordLocker will be able to decrypt your files.

This reduces the risk because hackers wont be able to decrypt your files and even they do, they wouldn’t be able to read the code. 

On top of everything, you will get 5GB of free data when you first sign up for NordLocker.

Once that’s up, you just pay on top of your monthly subscriptions.

Privacy

Many of the VPN providers leave you wandering what things look like in terms of privacy.

For example, you think that none of your browsing activities are recorded but in reality the provider’s privacy policy allows them to hold some of the data.

On top of that, your data can be exposed to governments if the VPN’s host country is part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances, which are the largest information gathering alliances in the world.

In this section, we are going to take a deeper look into how NordVPN deals with their users’ privacy.

Location

NordVPN is located in Panama, which is far away from the prying eyes (no pun intended) of the Eyes surveillance and information gathering.

This is a big deal for privacy.

And because Panama doesn’t have any intrusive data retention laws, this means that you are totally safe.

Does NordVPN have an ad-blocker?

An adblocker is an important feature for a VPN to have. Ad blockers keep you safe from online profiling, ad trackers and phishing attempts.

On top of that, ad blockers block annoying popups(and most of them are a spam anyway) and gives a slight boost to a page’s loading speed.

Thankfully, NordVPN is a well-equipped software that provides adblocking and offers extra malware protection with its CyberSec suit, which comes integrated within the app itself.

Does NordVPN keep your logs?

In a nutshell: no.

NordVPN offers a super-strict no-logs policy. 

This is because NordVPN operates out of a privacy-friendly country.

And on top of that it actually is honest, straight-forward and transparent and it is free from loopholes.

No important data from your connection is collected, which means that there is nothing that could identify you as the user.

Number of servers and locations

  • 5460+ servers
  • 60 locations
  • Servers are located in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Hong Kong and more

NordVPN is a VPN provider that really offers near worldwide coverage.

They have multiple servers in almost every country in the world.

They have over 1600 servers in the United States alone.

On top of that, NordVPN operates servers out of some pretty strict countries such as Turkey and the UAE.

Also, there are servers close to China too and they are located in areas like Hong Kong, Vietnam and Indonesia.

This means that NordVPN is quite reliable if you want to using it while you are in China.

And it probably is the best VPN if you are based in China.

Dedicated IP Addresses

Another big plus of NordVPN is that they will provide you with a dedicated IP address. This means that no one else can use the same IP address.

This is useful feature when it comes to using online payment processors and online banking. For example, if you travel a lot, your IP address will be different at every location.

Obfuscated servers

Some websites/platforms have firewalls that have been set up in such a way that they are very good at detecting VPN traffic. (Especially in countries with strict censorship such as China)

The purpose of obfuscated servers is to help you hide the fact that you are using a VPN by making your traffic look like it is a normal traffic and not a VPN traffic.

This will help you get around the firewalls without a problem.

Just follow the instructions in the image below:

As you can see, you can choose servers from several countries including the US. Also, the app gives you several server options per each location.

Virtual Server Locations

NordVPN only operates physical servers and has no virtual server locations. Most VPNs have at least some virtual servers in locations that are hard to reach, so this is definitely rare.

This is why you can see some decrease in download speeds and higher ping.

Does NordVPN offer static/dedicated IP addresses?

Yes, NordVPN does provide dedicated IP addresses.

This means that you will get an IP address that is exclusive to you and no one else can use the exact same IP as you.

This is great for many cases. For example, it can be beneficial in online banking because your bank can flag your online banking activities if they see that you constantly change your location when trying to use their online services.

Businesses of various sizes can also benefit of having dedicated IP addresses. If a business wants to have maximum security for their systems then they can issues their employees a dedicated IP and add them to the whitelist, essentially banning all other IP address.

Another benefit of having a dedicated IP address is that you don’t know the history of a certain shared IP address. So, this means that you can get banned by an online service without doing anything wrong. And having a dedicated IP address will prevent you from going through this.

Ultimately, having dedicated IP is amazing, but at the same time the one major drawback is that it limits you to only one location, which can damage your gaming/streaming experience. 

Apps, Extensions and compatibility 

NordVPN is compatible with many different types of devices and operating systems.

The apps have a similar interface regardless of the platform you use it on.

There is no learning curve and the features are similar across the different operating systems and devices.

Another great benefit is that you can use NordVPN on Linux. This is a huge advantage for NordVPN because most of the other VPNs do not have Linux compatibility.

NordVPN works on Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint and Elementary OS.

Also, NordVPN is able to run on devices such as smart TVs and gaming consoles.

It is compatible with Android TV, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV stick.

However, there are some differences like not having a map, but this is probably not that important to most people.

On top of that, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox, Nintendo and PlayStation devices are also supported.

The easiest way to get NordVPN up and running on these is to use the SmartDNS proxy, which means that you need to change the DNS on your device.

NordVPN has an official guide on doing this (insert link) that you can find here.

iOS And Android Apps

NordVPN has apps for both iOS and Android operating systems. The apps have a similar interface, which is convenient as it eliminates the lurning curve.

Browser Extensions

NordVPN offers extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Overall, these extensions perform quite well, but nothing beats using the NordVPN app itself.

The extensions seem to lack some features and only protect you within the browser while the app itself protects you entirely.

Nonetheless, they are still a quite useful tool and you should probably have them installed as well.

Router App

You can even install NordVPN on your router in order to secure all of your devices at ones.

However, your router will have to actually be compatible with NordVPN.

Breaking Geoblocks: Does NordVPN Work In China?

In a nutshell: yes, it does work in China.

This is because of the obfuscated servers that hide the fact you are using a VPN service and make your traffic look like a normal traffic.

The kill switch feature is also useful in this case, because it immediately terminates your Internet connection if the connection with NordVPN’s servers is lost.

Another big benefit of using NordVPN in China is that it doesn’t have servers in China itself.

Now, you are probably wondering if this is counterproductive to NordVPN’s efficiency when it comes to using it in China.

In fact, the big advantage of this is that NordVPN doesn’t comply with China’s strict laws when it comes to internet usage and data retention.

This means that your online activities will never reach the Chinese government.

Another huge benefit of using NordVPN in China is that it offers optimized apps and settings for countries with restricted Internet access (such as China). You can find more about these in the Help section.

Here is the full article on using NordVPN in China.

However, if you want to use NordVPN when it China you will have to make sure that you already have it installed on your devices.

This is because NordVPN doesn’t operate a website within the country, so you won’t be able to download it like usual.

So, if you are going on a trip to China, don’t forget to install it before the trip.

Also, another downside is that since NordVPN doesn’t have servers inside China you wont be able to access exclusive content that is available there.

But there are plenty of servers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, so you will get access to at least some alternatives.

How many devices can I connect with NordVPN?

Up to 6 devices can be connected NordVPN’s servers at once, which should be more than enough.

However, you need to properly set up how many devices you are going to use your account with.

In order to do this, NordVPN keeps your username and a timestamp of your last session while the session is active.

The data is kept for only 15 minutes after your session ends. After this time, the data can’t be tracked back to you.

Customer Support Speed

I was having trouble figuring out how to switch on the Obfuscated servers options, so I decided to reach out to the customer support and ask them.

As you can see in the screenshot below, I sent out the email at around 11:45:

And few hours later I got the response:

Not bad, but keep in mind that the customer support response time can vary due to various circumstances.

FAQs

Is there a free version of NordVPN?

NordVPN doesn’t offer a free version. However, they have a 30 day money back guarantee.

How many devices can you connect at once?

You can connect up to 6 devices at once.

Which NordVPN server is the best?

This depends on your region and what you want to use NordVPN for.

Should my VPN connection be on non-stop?

There is no problem if you want to have NordVPN on constantly, in fact, it can greatly improve your online security.

Is my ISP aware that I use VPNs?

Yes, but your data is scrambled and they can’t see who you are and what you do online.