NordVPN Review: Quick Expert Summary
NordVPN provides access to high-end security features, including a data breach monitoring tool and malware protection. It also has a large number of servers (5,400+ servers in 55+ countries) and comes with really user-friendly apps for all major platforms.
The provider also has really good streaming support, as it works with popular services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+. Plus, it has SmartPlay, which makes it harder for streaming sites to block your VPN connections. And, the VPN is also good for torrenting since it allows torrenting on 4,500 servers in 45+ countries. In addition, you get great gaming support, as the provider has Meshnet, which lets you host secure virtual LAN parties.
On top of industry-standard VPN security features, NordVPN also has:
- RAM-only servers — Wipe all data upon reboot, so the VPN doesn’t store any information long-term.
- Perfect forward secrecy — Changes the encryption key for every VPN session, so that even if a bad actor compromises one, your past and future keys will remain safe.
- Full leak protection — Protects you against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks.
- Split-tunneling — Lets you choose which apps are routed through the VPN and which apps use your local network.
- Threat Protection — Blocks ads, trackers, and malicious sites and downloads.
- Meshnet — Allows you to create a private network and connect up to 60 devices to it.
- Dark Web Monitoring — Scans the dark web and alerts you if the credentials associated with your NordVPN account have been leaked.
- Onion Over VPN — Allows you to browse the dark web using regular browsers like Chrome and Edge.
- And a lot more…
There are a lot of things I like about NordVPN, but it has some flaws. The VPN doesn’t work in restrictive countries like China and the UAE, it has servers in fewer countries than many of its competitors (like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access), and the macOS app is not very intuitive to set up.
But overall, NordVPN is one of my favorite VPNs in 2023. It has great security features, offers a cheap long-term plan, and it’s really easy to use on both desktop and mobile. NordVPN has monthly, 1-year, and 2-year subscription plans, which are all covered by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
|🏅 Overall Rank||#4 out of 98 VPNs|
|🌍 Number of Servers||5,400+|
|📱 Number of Devices||6|
|💸 Starting Price||$3.19 / month|
|🎁 Free Plan||❌|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||30 days|
NordVPN Full Review
I spent weeks testing and researching NordVPN to see how it compares to the top VPNs on the market, and I can safely say it’s one of the best options out there.
It has top-notch security features, and it’s also great for torrenting and gaming — it has a large P2P server network and supports SOCKS5 proxy connections for faster P2P speeds, and its Meshnet feature makes it simple to host secure virtual LAN games with your friends.
NordVPN is also pretty budget-friendly. It offers reasonably priced plans that start at just $3.19 / month and backs all purchases with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN has the following security features:
- 256-bit AES encryption. Unbreakable end-to-end encryption that makes all of your traffic virtually unreadable by third parties (and is also used by government agencies and banks).
- No-logs policy. NordVPN doesn’t log your personal data or online activity (including the sites you visit and the files you download). Its zero-logs policy was independently verified several times.
- Kill switch. This feature shuts down your internet access (or just specific apps) when your VPN connection is interrupted, preventing your data from accidentally getting leaked and exposed to third parties.
I also like that NordVPN has an app-based kill switch, which shuts down selected apps if the VPN connection drops. It was flawless in my tests — my P2P clients’ apps always shut down when I disconnected from the server.
The provider also has advanced security features, including RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy. Using RAM-only servers ensures that all data on a server is wiped on every reset. And perfect forward secrecy changes the encryption key for each VPN session to provide better security.
I also like how the VPN has full leak protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks — I ran leak tests on 10+ servers and never experienced any leaks. It’s great to see full leak protection, as some competitors (like Surfshark) only have DNS leak protection.
NordVPN also comes with the following VPN protocols:
- NordLynx. NordLynx is NordVPN’s default protocol that’s built around the WireGuard protocol. It’s the fastest protocol that NordVPN offers and has excellent security, so you get the best of both worlds.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP). OpenVPN is an open-source protocol that’s very secure — but that comes at the cost of speed. When I tested it, it slowed down my connections by about 40% (NordLynx only caused a 25% slowdown).
The provider also allows Tor (The Onion Router) traffic on all of its servers. So, you can first secure your connection with NordVPN before using the Tor browser to access the dark web.
NordVPN also offers a wide range of additional tools:
- Threat Protection.
- Obfuscated Servers.
- Double VPN.
- Dark Web Monitoring.
- Onion Over VPN.
NordVPN’s split-tunneling tool allows you to choose which traffic is routed through the VPN server and which traffic is routed through your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP’s) network. For example, I tested NordVPN’s split-tunneling feature while downloading files. I routed all of my torrenting traffic through NordVPN and browsed the internet connected to my local server — and everything worked just as promised.
NordVPN offers both split-tunneling and inverse split-tunneling. Split-tunneling allows you to choose the apps you don’t want to route through the VPN and is available on both its Windows and Android apps. On the other hand, inverse split-tunneling lets you select which apps you want to go through the VPN tunnel and is only available for Windows users. This is similar to what other top providers offer. But some VPNs like Surfshark also let you specify which websites you want to exclude from the VPN tunnel.
I’d also like to see NordVPN add split-tunneling to its Mac app — ExpressVPN is one of the rare VPN providers to include this feature in its app for Mac (available for macOS 10.15 and below). That said, NordVPN’s split-tunneling feature is much easier to use than ExpressVPN’s split-tunneling.
Overall, NordVPN’s split-tunneling feature is a great way to secure some of your online data and maintain non-VPN connections simultaneously. I also like how easy it is to use. However, I’d like to see NordVPN add an option to exclude specific sites from the tunnel, as well as include split-tunneling in the Mac and iOS apps.
Threat Protection is NordVPN’s ad blocker — it blocks ads and trackers, protects you from malicious sites, and even keeps you safe from malware-infected files. The feature is available on Windows and macOS. There’s also Threat Protection Lite, which only blocks ads and malicious sites and is available on iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux.
My favorite thing about Threat Protection is that it’s highly customizable. NordVPN breaks down Threat Protection into 2 parts: Web Protection and File Protection, and it gives you the option to pause either or both for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, and 2 hours.
Under Web Protection, you can choose which cyber threats you want the VPN to exclude — in case you’re worried that the VPN might accidentally block a safe site you access often. Also, I especially like that the feature can remove tracking parameters from URLs to enhance your privacy, as not many VPN ad blockers do this.
File Protection scans the files you download for malware, removes any malicious file it detects, and sends you alerts. You also get cloud-based threat detection that, when turned on, uploads any suspicious files to the cloud where they’re inspected for any malware.
In my tests, Threat Protection performed pretty well, as it got rid of most ads on the sites I visited and it also stopped me from accessing shady websites. However, it wasn’t able to block as many ads as Private Internet Access’s ad blocker (PIA MACE).
Threat Protection’s anti-malware capabilities aren’t great, though. I tested it using a collection of malware-infected sites, and it failed to catch a good number of malware files.
Overall, Threat Protection is a good ad blocker and anti-phishing tool, but it’s no replacement for a proper antivirus program like Norton or Bitdefender. It blocked most of the phishing sites I tried visiting, and it was pretty effective at blocking ads. However, its detection rate for malware files wasn’t stellar.
Meshnet allows you to create a secure, private network for up to 60 devices anywhere in the world. This can be used to connect your own devices, or you can invite other trusted NordVPN users to your network. It’s available on all operating systems (Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Linux), and you can also use it for free without needing a NordVPN subscription.
This feature has a lot of possible applications. You can, for example, create a virtual Local Area Network (LAN) for gaming, remotely access files from linked devices, browse the internet using the IP address of another device, and more.
Meshet also lets you securely share files between the linked devices with just a few clicks — you can exchange files of any size and send as many as 1,000 files in a single session, which is really handy if you want to avoid paying for third-party file-sharing apps. What I really like about it is that you can automatically accept transfers for specific devices, so the files will download without you having to approve them. Plus, anything you send or receive via the Meshnet private network is protected by NordVPN’s encryption, so it’s very private and secure.
Overall, Meshnet is a very unique and useful addition to NordVPN, which opens up whole new ways of using the VPN. It’s also super easy to use.
NordVPN’s obfuscated servers hide VPN traffic and make it look like regular internet traffic. The provider allows obfuscation on 100+ servers in 15+ countries. It’s really good for preventing anyone, including your internet service provider, from knowing that you’re using a VPN.
To use NordVPN’s obfuscated servers, you’ll have to use the OpenVPN protocol — most VPNs’ obfuscation servers normally only work with OpenVPN, so this isn’t a drawback.
Unfortunately, NordVPN’s obfuscation doesn’t work in restrictive countries. This is a shame because it’s the main reason most people would use this feature. I think ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access provide better obfuscation since they consistently work in restrictive regions like China and Iran.
Double VPN servers route your traffic through 2 VPN servers (in 2 different countries) instead of 1 server. The servers add two layers of encryption to your data, which makes it impossible for anyone to intercept your traffic. NordVPN has double VPN servers in 5+ countries.
Because a double VPN provides double encryption, it will cause bigger slowdowns. That said, I only experienced a 30% slowdown when using the provider’s double VPN servers, which is pretty decent. Still, double VPN shouldn’t be used for everyday internet use, but it’s a great feature for anyone looking for enhanced privacy (like journalists and activists).
However, I think Surfshark has a better double VPN feature — it supports double VPN connections in more countries and also lets you choose the entry and exit server’s location.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with NordVPN’s double VPN, though I wish the provider would provide double VPN servers in more countries.
Dark Web Monitoring
Dark web monitoring is a good tool. It notifies you if any personally identifying information linked to your account’s email address has been compromised in a data breach. This is a pretty nice feature that further expands NordVPN’s ability to keep you safe online. However, it’s very much a side feature and doesn’t measure up to the identity theft protections offered by the best internet security suites like Norton, which are far more comprehensive.
Onion Over VPN
NordVPN’s Onion Over VPN servers send your traffic through Tor network (an independent network of servers designed to provide extra privacy) before it reaches the web.
This allows you to surf .onion sites directly in your browser — normally, you need to use the Tor browser to visit them. This is a great feature for people who use Tor often, like users who handle sensitive data on a regular basis.
The problem is that NordVPN only has Onion Over VPN servers in 2 countries (the Netherlands and Switzerland), so they’re often overcrowded. I was able to access the easycoin .onion site in Opera, but it took over 15 seconds for it to load.
NordVPN’s Tor integration is a cool feature for users looking for added privacy, but it isn’t unique — Proton VPN offers a similar feature that works better than NordVPN’s feature.
NordVPN Privacy & Security
NordVPN’s no-logs policy was independently audited and verified several times. It was audited in 2018 and 2020 by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) AG in Switzerland. PwC interviewed NordVPN employees, had complete access to all of NordVPN’s servers, observed how NordVPN deployed server configurations, and analyzed log files and logging configurations. Both audits concluded that NordVPN’s no-logs policy is 100% accurate. And, it also underwent an audit in 2022 by auditing firm Deloitte — the audit didn’t find any privacy issues.
NordVPN also has colocated servers. These are servers that are owned and operated solely by NordVPN. NordVPN ships its own hardware to data centers that provide storage space and internet access, but only NordVPN staff has access to them.
NordVPN is headquartered in Panama, a country that is not part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances — a group of countries that share intelligence data. Panama also doesn’t have a mandatory data retention law, so NordVPN has no legal obligation to log user data and share it with the government.
Overall, NordVPN is one of the most transparent VPNs on the market — it doesn’t keep any logs, it’s located in a privacy-friendly country that’s not part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances, and it underwent several security audits to back up its privacy claims.
NordVPN Speed & Performance
Using a VPN will slow down your speeds, but good VPNs minimize speed loss by offering multiple servers in many locations (to avoid overcrowding and to allow users to connect to a server that is close to their location) and lightweight and fast protocols.
In my tests, NordVPN provided me with really good speeds. I had the fastest speeds when I was connected to a server in my country (Romania), but my internet speed was also very fast while I was connected to distant servers (in Ireland and Japan).
First, I ran a speed test without being connected to a VPN server to get a baseline for my speed:
I then used NordVPN’s Quick Connect feature, which automatically connected me to the fastest server. The speed loss was minimal. I watched videos in HD and downloaded large torrents with basically the same speed as if I wasn’t using a VPN at all.
Next, I connected to a server in Ireland. My download speed dropped by more than 100 Mbps, but I didn’t notice any decrease in my internet speed. I could still watch Netflix in HD — and videos loaded quickly. I even managed to play video games without any issues. However, websites took an extra 1-2 seconds to load.
Finally, I connected to a server in Japan. The speeds were much slower, but that should be expected since the distance between Japan and my location is 5,417 miles (8,719 kilometers). Websites and Netflix videos took 4-5 seconds to load, and it took more than 1 minute for Netflix to run in HD — so I had to watch parts of an episode in standard definition (SD).
I also checked which protocol offers the best speeds: NordLynx or OpenVPN. I connected to a server in Romania and a server in Ireland with both protocols. NordLynx was always faster, which is why I used it in all of my tests.
Romania has really fast speeds, so it’s not fair to compare my VPN speeds to what people from other countries might see. That’s why I asked my colleague from the US to run some speed tests.
Then, he used NordVPN’s Quick Connect option and was connected to a local server in New York. My colleague only saw a decrease in speed of about 9%, which didn’t affect his browsing or torrenting speed.
Then, my colleague connected to a server in France. His download speed was actually faster than his connection without a VPN — this is really impressive! He didn’t notice any delay in his web browsing, and he was able to stream Netflix France in HD without any interruptions.
Finally, my colleague connected to a distant server in New Zealand, and his speed slowed down by 25%. He reported that websites took about 4-5 seconds to load, and a movie or TV show on Netflix didn’t start for almost a minute-and-a-half — however, once they began, the movies and TV shows played in HD and there was no lag.
Overall, NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs around — it maintains the best speed on local servers, but its speeds are also pretty good on distant servers. Because NordVPN is so fast, it’s a really good choice for users interested in streaming, torrenting, and other activities that use a lot of data.
NordVPN Servers & IP Addresses
NordVPN has over 5,400 servers in 55+ countries. While a couple of competitors, like CyberGhost VPN, have more servers, I’m really happy with NordVPN’s server count. I also like that you can pick the server location (the city, and not just the country), which is very useful for bypassing sports blackouts in the US. That said, competitors like CyberGhost VPN, ExpressVPN, and Private Internet Access have servers in more countries, which makes it easier to use nearby servers for fast speeds.
- P2P servers. Hundreds of dedicated P2P servers that let you download torrents.
- Dedicated IP servers. They’re available to users who buy dedicated IPs (IP addresses assigned only to one account).
But one thing I really like is that NordVPN gives you the option to purchase a dedicated IP address for a small monthly fee. With a dedicated IP address, NordVPN assigns you an IP address that is only for your use — you’re the only account that uses that IP, so sites are less likely to blacklist the IP address (like bank sites). NordVPN provides dedicated IPs in 10+ countries, including the US, the UK, France, and the Netherlands. But it only allows you to connect up to 2 devices with a dedicated IP address.
Overall, NordVPN has many servers in most parts of the world. In addition to offering obfuscation servers, Onion Over VPN servers, and double VPN servers, NordVPN also has P2P servers as well as dedicated IP servers. NordVPN uses shared IP addresses on all of its servers, but you can also buy a dedicated IP address.
NordVPN Streaming Support
NordVPN is one of the top VPNs for streaming since it can consistently access 10+ popular streaming platforms.
It’s also a really good Netflix VPN since it can access 10+ libraries, including in Netflix US, UK, Canada, Germany, and Japan. My colleagues from the UK and US tested it multiple times, and they could always access their local libraries, even when abroad.
NordVPN also works with BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Max, and Amazon Prime. Plus, it also works with less popular sites like Pluto TV, VRV, and Tubi TV. That said, I still think ExpressVPN is better as it works with 100+ streaming platforms.
NordVPN works really well thanks to SmartPlay — this feature uses smart DNS and VPN technology to make it harder for streaming sites to detect and block your VPN connections. SmartPlay is automatically enabled across all of the provider’s servers.
And the VPN also allows you to watch content on devices that don’t support VPNs, including gaming consoles and certain smart TVs, thanks to its smart DNS feature.
Overall, NordVPN is really good for streaming. It works with the most popular streaming sites, uses SmartPlay to provide reliable streaming, and also has a smart DNS.
NordVPN Torrenting Support
NordVPN is great for torrenting since it has 4,500+ P2P servers in 45+ countries. This is really convenient as it’s easy to find a nearby server to connect for the best possible speeds.
NordVPN works with all popular torrenting clients, including uTorrent, BitTorrent, and Deluge. In my tests, I was always able to access and download files with any torrent client without any issues.
It also has SOCKS5 proxy servers, which change your IP address but don’t provide encryption — so you get much faster download speeds. When I used NordVPN’s SOCKS5 servers, my P2P speeds increased by around 35–40%. But unlike ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, NordVPN doesn’t offer port forwarding, which lets you connect to more peers for faster speeds while still being able to encrypt your P2P traffic.
And the VPN provides very secure torrenting. Its Threat Protection feature keeps you safe from malicious P2P sites and malware-infected torrents — plus, it also gets rid of most ads on torrenting sites. What’s more, the VPN has full leak protection and an audited no-logs policy.
It’s also very convenient that you get an app-based kill switch, which shuts down selected apps if your VPN connection drops. I tested this kill switch with 5+ torrent clients and it always worked.
I also never experienced DNS and IP leaks with NordVPN. I ran 10+ leak tests on different P2P servers, and the results always showed zero leaks. I also ran torrent IP leak tests using 2 P2P clients to make sure the P2P apps don’t leak my real IP address, and the results always displayed NordVPN’s IP addresses.
Overall, NordVPN has very good torrenting support. It has a large P2P server network, it has SOCKS5 proxy support, and it also provides very strong security for torrenting.
NordVPN Gaming Support
NordVPN has great gaming support. I played World of Warcraft while connected to a local server and had a great ping (20 ms). I also connected to a remote server in Japan, which increased my ping to about 240 ms, but it didn’t really impact my gaming experience — the connection to the server remained stable, and I never experienced any lag. Plus, it only took me about 5 minutes to download a 2 GB update for Dota 2, which is pretty impressive.
My favorite gaming feature is Meshnet. It lets you create private and secure LAN parties for up to 60 devices to securely game together with all of your friends.
NordVPN also protects you against DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks as it regularly changes your IP address. However, I’m a little disappointed that it lacks anti-DDoS protection, like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access have. This means that an upset gamer could DDoS your VPN connection, and you’ll have to reconnect to a different server.
You can also set up NordVPN on your router and game on devices that don’t natively support VPN apps like Xbox or PlayStation consoles. NordVPN has step-by-step tutorials for all types of routers that it supports, so you won’t lose any time figuring out the details. It only took me about 14 minutes to set it up on my router. I then tested it with a couple of rounds of Call of Duty: Warzone on my PlayStation 4, and everything worked as expected. That said, if you want to mainly use a VPN on your router, I’d go with ExpressVPN since it has a dedicated router app that’s easier to install.
Overall, NordVPN is a strong contender for both casual and hardcore gamers. It promises low latency gaming on local and distant servers, comes with anti-DDoS protection, and has a unique Meshnet feature that’s great for gamers who want to host LAN parties.
NordVPN Bypassing Censorship
Although NordVPN has obfuscated servers, it doesn’t work in restrictive countries. Its support reps confirmed that the VPN doesn’t work in places like China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia.
I recommend choosing another VPN to use in restrictive regions — ExpressVPN is the best VPN for government bypassing, and it also provides high-end security and privacy features.
NordVPN Plans & Pricing
NordVPN has very reasonable pricing that starts at $3.19 / month. It also allows 6 connections, which is on the lower end of the industry average of 5–10 connections — if you need to cover more devices, consider getting Private Internet Access or Surfshark instead since they allow unlimited connections.
The provider has 4 tier-based subscriptions. The Standard subscription comes with all VPN features, the Plus subscription adds a password manager called NordPass, the Complete subscription adds NordLocker, which is a cloud encryption platform, and the Ultimate subscription also includes a personal removal data service from Incogni.
NordVPN has a 1-month plan, a 1-year plan, and a 2-year plan. All subscriptions give you access to the same features. But the 2-year plan offers the cheapest monthly average rate — and it’s cheaper than top competitors like ExpressVPN.
NordVPN accepts many payment options, including credit cards, Amazon Pay, Union Pay, ACH Transfer, Google Pay, and cryptocurrencies. It also backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN Ease of Use: Mobile & Desktop Apps
NordVPN works on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, and Android TV. You can also download it onto your router, which will allow you to use NordVPN on gaming consoles.
Setting up NordVPN is very easy — it took me just 1-2 minutes to download and install the apps on all of my devices. The design is user-friendly, so you won’t feel overwhelmed (even if you’ve never used a VPN before). The setup process is more complicated on Linux and routers, but NordVPN has step-by-step tutorials that make everything simple — and you can contact the support representatives via live chat for any additional assistance.
How to Install NordVPN (Just 3 Simple Steps):
- Step 1: Sign up for NordVPN. I recommend picking the longest plan because it offers the best value.
- Step 2: Download and install the VPN app. Follow the on-screen instructions — the whole setup shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes.
- Step 3: Launch the VPN app. Find the server you want to connect to and click on it. You can now safely access the web.
NordVPN’s Android app is feature-rich and easy to use. I installed it on my Samsung Galaxy A51, and I was able to connect to a server with a simple tap on the screen.
The main screen displays the server network map and the Quick Connect option. Clicking on Quick Connect automatically connects you to the fastest server. To view the entire server menu, scroll down and you’ll see each location listed by alphabetical order. Above the locations, you’ll see 2 options: Search (use keywords to find a server) and Specialty servers (P2P, obfuscated, double VPN, dedicated IP, and Onion Over VPN).
The Android app also has a Settings cog icon that lets you pick which protocol to use, enable/disable the kill switch, and use split-tunneling. You can also turn on Threat Protection, but it won’t block ads on Android — though it will protect you from malicious sites.
NordVPN has 2 cool extra features for Android smartphones:
- Tapjacking: This feature alerts you if a malicious app adds a screen overlay. Basically, hackers can’t hijack your taps to steal your passwords or credit card details.
- Metered VPN connection: You have more control over how much data you use through the VPN (essential if you don’t have an unlimited data plan with your Android device).
The iOS app is almost the same as the Android app. To use the fastest server, just tap Quick Connect. Otherwise, you can manually connect to one of NordVPN’s many servers (including specialty servers).
Unlike on Android, Threat Protection blocks ads on the iOS app. However, the iOS app is missing the split-tunneling feature. There’s also no tapjacking protection, making the iOS app less secure than the Android app.
That said, the design of the iOS app is very intuitive — and even though the app is lacking a couple of the features included in the Android app, I still think the iOS app is excellent.
Like NordVPN’s Android and iOS apps, the Windows/Mac apps have Quick Connect. The app always connected me to a Romanian server in under 5 seconds. When I connected to servers in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, and Japan, it didn’t take more than 10 seconds.
You can manually select a server from the alphabetical list located on the left side of the screen. All servers give you the option of connecting to the fastest server or manually selecting the one you want to use.
Both desktop apps also come with a digital map you can use to connect to servers. On Windows, you can use country pins to pick servers. And, on macOS, you get location bubbles, which are really convenient since they also make it possible to connect to specific cities by using the digital map.
The Settings icon includes a few tabs. Here are the most important ones:
- General. This is where you can choose app preferences like whether or not you want to receive connection notifications and launch options.
- Connection. Pick which protocol you want to use and enable/disable auto-connect.
- Kill switch. You can enable/disable the system and app-level kill switches.
- Split-tunneling. Select which apps to route through your local network and which app traffic gets routed through NordVPN’s servers. Split-tunneling isn’t available on macOS.
It’s also important to keep in mind that NordVPN has 2 apps for Mac — one app uses OpenVPN and includes most of NordVPN’s features (except the NordLynx protocol), and the other app uses NordLynx (but it doesn’t have obfuscated servers, double VPN, CyberSec, or dedicated IPs). While the NordLynx version of the app may provide better speeds, I recommend getting the OpenVPN app because it’s more secure and has more security features.
Overall, NordVPN’s Windows and Mac apps are really good. They’re intuitive, easy to use, and packed with tons of features and settings.
Browser Extensions (Chrome, Firefox, Edge)
NordVPN’s extensions are easy to use, secure, and convenient. The main dashboard has a very simple design — it lets you connect to the closest and faster server with a click, lists the last 6 servers you connected to, and makes it super easy to find everything you need in the extension, including the full list of servers and all settings and extra features.
You can also set the extensions to auto-connect you to a server when you launch the browser, and there’s also an option to exclude websites from the VPN tunnel. I also like that you can export and import split-tunneling settings, so you don’t have to create a list of excluded services on every browser you use separately.
The provider’s extensions are also really secure — you get Threat Protection Lite and protection against WebRTC leaks. Threat Protection Lite is a version of NordVPN Threat Protection feature that blocks ad and malicious websites. The tool works really well since it successfully detected all shady sites I tried to visit. That said, I think ExpressVPN’s browser extensions are more feature-rich.
I also like how you can access live chat support via the extensions — it’s more convenient than having to go to NordVPN’s site and look for the live chat feature just to ask a quick question.
Overall, NordVPN extensions are very good. They’re great for beginners, come with Threat Protection Lite, and even allow you to split-tunnel websites.
You can manually set up NordVPN on a router, provided it’s compatible with the service. And the provider works with popular router models and firmware. I’m happy to see this since some top competitors (like TunnelBear) don’t have router support.
NordVPN offers helpful step-by-step guides that make the setup hassle-free. And I really like that the guides come with screenshots, which is really convenient. Configuring it on your router is pretty straightforward from there — I was able to configure NordVPN on my router in around 14 minutes.
But I still prefer ExpressVPN as it has a dedicated router app that you only have to install on your router — the process is simpler and less technical.
Overall, NordVPN is a great option if you need a VPN on your router. It’s compatible with a lot of routers and offers detailed step-by-step guides on its website that are very helpful.
NordVPN Apps: Is NordVPN Easy to Use?
NordVPN has great apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. They’re all easy to use and have many excellent features, but the iOS and macOS apps are missing the split-tunneling feature. The Android app also has extra perks like tapjacking protection. Unfortunately, the Android app’s Threat Protection feature won’t block ads from appearing on the websites that you visit.
Overall, NordVPN’s apps are among the best on the market. They offer everything you need to protect your data, access geo-blocked content while you’re traveling abroad, and securely download torrents. And they’re suitable for both beginner and advanced users.
|Android||iOS||Windows||macOS (.pkg app)||macOS (App Store app)||Linux|
|Graphical User Interface (GUI)||✅||✅||✅||✅||❌||❌|
|App-based Kill Switch||❌||❌||✅||✅||❌||❌|
|Threat Protection Lite||✅||✅||✅||❌||✅||✅|
|Dark Web Monitoring||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||❌|
NordVPN Customer Support
NordVPN has extensive FAQs and troubleshooting guides, email support, and 24/7 live chat. It doesn’t offer phone support, but that’s not a problem because its live chat reps are very responsive and helpful.
The setup guides and problem-solving resources are very instructive and useful. NordVPN has organized its support articles into different categories such as FAQs, general information, billing, and connectivity issues, making it easier to find what you need. There’s also a search button in case you can’t find the information you’re looking for.
When I tested NordVPN’s live chat feature, I was connected to a support rep in less than 30 seconds, and they were able to answer all of my questions. I was pleasantly surprised by the response times since I performed the test on a Sunday. Besides English, NordVPN offers live chat support in German and French. For other languages, it uses a translation tool that works pretty well.
I also sent NordVPN 2 emails — its customer service representatives responded with helpful information to my first email in under 5 hours, and I got a response to the second email the next day. I didn’t really like that it can take more than a day to get a reply, but it’s not surprising since email responses are usually slower.
Overall, NordVPN offers excellent support through an extensive FAQ library, live chat, and email. If you have an issue or question, I recommend using NordVPN’s live chat feature instead of email because you’ll get an answer to your question in just a couple of minutes from NordVPN’s live chat reps.
Is NordVPN a Good Value in 2023?
NordVPN provides access to very strong security features, such as an ad blocker that also protects you from malicious files as well as a data breach monitoring tool. It has a large server count (5,400+ servers in 55+ countries) and user-friendly apps for all major platforms.
You also get access to great streaming support since the VPN can access popular platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer — and it also has SmartPlay, which makes it harder for streaming sites to block your VPN connection. The provider also has 4,500+ P2P servers in 45+ countries and Meshnet, which lets you host secure virtual LAN parties.
On top of essential VPN security features, NordVPN also has other extras — double VPN connections, obfuscation, Tor support, and split-tunneling.
NordVPN is really good, but it’s not perfect. It doesn’t work in restrictive countries, it has servers in fewer countries than most of its competitors, and its macOS app has 2 versions, which can create confusion when installing the app.
Despite these few downsides, NordVPN is one of my favorite VPNs in 2023 — it has a wide range of useful features, it’s very secure, and it provides blazing-fast speed. NordVPN is also pretty affordable, and all of its plans come with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is NordVPN safe?
Yes, NordVPN is extremely safe. It uses 256-bit AES encryption (the same cipher used in militaries and banks), doesn’t store any logs, and its servers only run in RAM-disk mode, meaning all of the data that is on them is wiped every time NordVPN reboots the servers.
NordVPN offers good leak protection, protecting you from DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks. It also has a reliable kill switch that shuts off internet access when the VPN disconnects to avoid traffic leaks. NordVPN also has double VPN servers that double-encrypt your data (they send your traffic through 2 VPN servers instead of 1). Finally, NordVPN offers a pretty good ad, tracker, and malware blocker (Threat Protection).
What is the best NordVPN server to choose?
Most users can just use its Quick Connect feature, which automatically connects you to the fastest server. But you can also manually choose a server. NordVPN groups servers by country and gives you the server load, which helps you find a server that’s not overcrowded to get faster speeds.
But NordVPN also has specialty servers that offer specialized features. Here are NordVPN’s specialty servers:
- P2P. These servers allow you to download torrents.
- Onion Over VPN. NordVPN servers that encrypt and send your traffic through the Tor network (you can also use Tor sites straight in your browser).
- Double VPN. They send your connection through 2 VPN servers instead of 1.
- Obfuscated. These servers hide your VPN traffic.
- Dedicated IP. Use them to get a dedicated IP address (one that’s only used by you). Dedicated IPs help you avoid proxy errors on streaming sites and getting blacklisted by your bank’s site. However, these servers cost extra.
Is NordVPN free?
No, NordVPN doesn’t have a free plan. However, it does have a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee, which is more than enough time to test its service. And if you’re not happy with NordVPN, just ask for a refund through live chat and you’ll get your money back in 1-2 business days.
I recommend avoiding free VPNs. They’re usually slow, lack standard security features, and have bandwidth caps. Some also spam you with ads and expose you to malware. Overall, it’s better to pay for an excellent low-cost VPN like NordVPN.
Can NordVPN be used for Netflix?
Yes, NordVPN works with Netflix, so you can access the content library of your home country while traveling abroad. You can also use NordVPN with other streaming sites (Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and more).
Does NordVPN increase internet speeds?
It’s unlikely since all VPNs slow down connection speeds because of the encryption process and the distance the data has to travel to get routed through the VPN servers.
That said, you’ll barely notice any latency with a top VPN provider like NordVPN — it’s one of the fastest VPNs on the market and provides fast speeds on both local and distant servers. My colleagues and I ran speed tests, and we usually enjoyed smooth browsing, streaming, and gaming on almost all servers.
How do I use NordVPN with Meshet?
To use Meshnet, you’ll first have to enable it in the NordVPN app. You can do that by selecting Meshnet from the side menu and clicking/tapping Turn On.
Once that’s done, you can add more devices to your network, including your own devices (up to 10) or devices that belong to other NordVPN users by sending them an invitation. You can then access the internet through a linked desktop device and use its IP address instead of yours and securely share files.
NordVPN also allows you to set permissions for linked devices and choose which devices can share files with you, access your device, use your device to route traffic, and use your local network while routing traffic.
What is the difference between Threat Protection and Threat Protection Lite?
Threat Protection is NordVPN’s ad blocker that’s only available on Windows and macOS. It blocks ads, ad trackers, shady sites, and also protects you against malicious downloads. One of its biggest advantages is that Threat Protection works even when you’re not connected to the VPN.
Threat Protection Lite is available on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux. Unlike Threat Protection, it only blocks ads and malicious websites. Also, in order for Threat Protection Lite to work, you need to be connected to a VPN server.
Does NordVPN work in restrictive countries?
NordVPN isn’t a great pick for countries like China and Iran, where the government heavily censors internet access and limits VPN use. Even though it provides obfuscation, it can’t access the web in restrictive countries.
If you’re looking for a VPN that works in such countries, I recommend ExpressVPN.