Our NordVPN score
NordVPN Review (Aug 2023): Fast, Secure, and Great for Streaming!
NordVPN, with its 14 million-strong user base, is recognized as a global leader in online privacy and security by experts worldwide. With outstanding reviews across the web, NordVPN’s standout features include ultra-fast speeds, a broad worldwide server network, state-of-the-art security measures, and unrestricted streaming and torrenting capabilities. These key aspects make NordVPN one of the best VPNs in 2023.
A no-logs policy verified by multiple independent audits underlines NordVPN’s commitment to privacy. Overall, NordVPN offers great value for money and is an excellent option for both novice and advanced users.
Although NordVPN has many benefits, it is not flawless. One area that requires improvement is the provision of customer support in languages other than English.
In our detailed NordVPN review, you’ll discover the results of our rigorous hands-on tests, covering features, performance, streaming capabilities, and more. Find out why, out of over 80 VPNs we scrutinized, NordVPN comes out on top as the number one choice.
Limited offer: Get the special NordVPN discount deal with 3 months free!
|💵 Price||From $3.19 a month|
|📱 Operating systems||Linux, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android|
|💳 Payment methods||Other, Credit card, Cryptocurrency|
|🔒 Protocols||OpenVPN, IKEv2, Wireguard|
|📥 Torrent options||Torrenting allowed|
|📅 Money-back guarantee||30 Days|
|📋 Logs||No Logs|
|🎬 Works with|
NordVPN: Pros and Cons
Here’s a quick summary of things we liked and disliked about NordVPN.
What We Liked
- Great speeds and performance
- Complete security package
- Strict no-logs policy
- Unblocks Neflix and other streaming services
- Dedicated Tor and P2P VPN servers
- DoubleVPN (use two linked VPN servers)
- Dedicated IPs available
What We Didn't Like
- WireGuard variant (NordLynx) is proprietary, thus less transparent
- Web-based login instead of in-app login
- Limited multi-language support
Speed – One of the Fastest VPNs We Have Tested
NordVPN imposes no speed or bandwidth restrictions. While VPN usage may occasionally result in a reduction in internet speed, we didn’t experience any noticeable speed loss with NordVPN.
As part of our NordVPN review, our team thoroughly tested NordVPN’s speed across multiple servers and locations and on multiple devices. The results? NordVPN offered super-fast download speeds of up to 90.66 Mbps (96% of our download speed without a VPN). We give NordVPN a 9 out of 10 for speed and performance.
NordVPN’s speed test results were outstanding
Here is a summary of how NordVPN performed speed-wise:
- During daily use, there was no noticeable impact on internet speed while using NordVPN. Not even while gaming and streaming with the VPN enabled.
- Even while connected to distant VPN servers across the globe, we experienced seamless browsing without notable delays or lag.
- Ping (latency) increased minimally while gaming with NordVPN, except for specific Australian VPN servers.
We evaluate our connection speed without a VPN and then compare it to results from nearby and remote VPN servers.
This approach enables us to examine the influence of distance and encryption on internet speed. We conduct our tests from our Netherlands-based headquarters using the NordLynx VPN protocol for optimal performance.
The overall performance of a VPN depends on your location and initial speed, so your results may differ from ours. Keep in mind that the table below provides an estimate of potential speeds.
We conducted all speed tests using the same web application and a speed test server located close to the VPN server in use. In the table below, you’ll find NordVPN’s performance during our most recent 2023 testing session.
|Server||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)||Ping (MS)|
|The fastest server (Amsterdam)||195.95||237.09||5|
|The Netherlands (Amsterdam)||195.41||237.58||7|
|The UK (London)||195.17||237.76||10|
|The US East (New York)||180.63||217.08||93|
|The US West (Los Angeles)||171.8||187.39||142|
|Brazil (Sao Paulo)||126.34||109.8||210|
|South Africa (Johannesburg)||143.54||124.72||184|
NordVPN provides excellent speeds during daily use
As you can see, NordVPN’s reputation is well-deserved. NordVPN, especially in combination with NordLynx, offers excellent speeds, even on distant servers.
Naturally, as the ping went up, the speeds started dropping, but it was nothing that would alter your online experience.
During our NordVPN testing, we didn’t experience any lag or VPN connection drops. Even with higher pings, everything felt smooth and snappy. Connecting to any server (even the distant options) took us mere seconds.
Is NordVPN good for gaming?
Next up, we spent a couple of weeks rigorously testing NordVPN during online gaming (yes, our job is pretty awesome, we know).
We played various games, including World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Fortnite, Call of Duty, and Counter-Strike. With these online games, internet speed is incredibly important, since you are playing with and against other players. Reaction time matters a lot, and latency is your biggest enemy!
Our gaming experience with NordVPN was super smooth, and the speeds were great — NordVPN really delivered. If you prefer bandwidth-hungry multiplayer games, we recommend choosing a NordVPN server close to your location to mitigate any potential latency issues.
Is NordVPN good for streaming?
NordVPN is a great choice for streaming high-quality videos. We used NordVPN to watch various Netflix shows and YouTube videos with zero problems, even when streaming in full HD (4K and above).
We also tested NordVPN to live stream a Formula 1 race and watch NBA and NFL games online. Again, zero issues!
The high streaming speeds, in combination with its ability to unblock most streaming services, means NordVPN is a great pick for watching movies, series, or live sports streams.
Is NordVPN good for downloading?
The fast servers and impressive download speeds make NordVPN a good choice for downloading torrents.
Take note that NordVPN has special servers devoted to P2P downloading. We highly recommend these servers, as we tested them extensively and they work like a charm.
Besides testing NordVPN’s torrenting speeds, we also used NordVPN for downloading games on Steam. This process was remarkably fast, and we can recommend NordVPN for users who frequently have to download large files.
NordVPN and Streaming
NordVPN is a great VPN for streaming. It allows you to effortlessly access streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime, and many more.
NordVPN’s innovative SmartPlay combines the speed of SmartDNS with the security of a VPN to unblock global content.
Furthermore, NordVPN shines in server variety, boasting an extensive network of VPN servers in countries with the richest streaming libraries. NordVPN allowed us to unblock content from streaming services exclusive to the US, UK, Canada, and beyond.
|Platform||Can NordVPN unblock it?|
|Amazon Prime Video||✔|
Unblocking Netflix with NordVPN
NordVPN is definitely one of the best VPNs for Netflix out there. We enjoyed lag-free streams in full HD, no matter which regional version we tested. As mentioned, NordVPN offered plenty of speed to ensure a seamless streaming experience.
With Netflix doubling down on VPN usage, the list of VPNs that can unblock Netflix grows smaller by the day. NordVPN is one of the rare VPN providers that can still reliably access Netflix US.
In addition to Netflix US, we were also able to unblock Netflix libraries from The Netherlands, UK, Canada, Mexico, Japan, France, and several other countries. In total, NordVPN can currently unblock up to 21 different Netflix libraries — pretty impressive!
When it comes to unblocking Netflix, the only VPN that comes close to NordVPN is Surfshark. This is because Surfshark can sidestep Netflix’s geo-blocks with its No Borders mode.
Unblocking Hulu with NordVPN
NordVPN effortlessly grants access to Hulu, with no problems in either buffering times or lag. The seamless integration of NordVPN with Hulu ensured a pleasurable streaming experience.
Our testing revealed that the video quality remained steady throughout at a high-definition resolution (though this may vary based on the server selected and your current internet connection). In conclusion, our impressions of the performance were positive.
Unblocking sports streams with NordVPN
NordVPN is able to unblock various sports streams and websites. We successfully used NordVPN to watch online UFC fights, NFL and NBA games, and Formula 1 and Moto GP races.
Generally speaking, it does seem increasingly difficult to access sports content from around the world. We see a pattern of the sports industry cracking down on VPN usage and other unblocking tools. But NordVPN stands strong and still performs well when it comes to unblocking sports channels and streams.
Safety – Just How Secure is NordVPN?
Another essential part of our NordVPN review process is checking its safety and privacy policies. That is, just how secure is NordVPN? The answer: incredibly secure.
Its encryption, IP masking, and logging policy are incredibly solid. That’s why we gave it a 9.5 out of 10 for security.
That’s an impressive score. So, what exactly does the software offer? Here’s our breakdown of NordVPN’s safety configuration:
- NordVPN supports excellent VPN protocols: OpenVPN, NordLynx, and IKEv2/IPSec.
- It’s headquartered in Panama and implements a strict no-logging policy.
- It comes with an automatic kill switch.
- It offers various connection modes (Onion over VPN and double VPN).
- The Threat Protection feature keeps you safe from online threats.
- You only need an email address and a password to create a NordVPN account.
The overall flexibility of your VPN largely depends on its list of VPN protocols. They ensure reliable performance, help you deal with online censorship, and unblock services like Netflix US, for example.
With that in mind, here’s a full list of NordVPN’s connection protocols with our expert recommendations:
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP): The most popular VPN tunnel out there, thanks to its excellent speed/security ratio. This protocol meets all of our needs and will do so for most users too. UDP connections are faster but easily blocked. TCP is slower but more resilient against obstacles like the Chinese firewall, for example.
- NordLynx: NordVPN’s proprietary protocol is based on WireGuard, and we were impressed with this innovation. NordLynx fixes WireGuard’s privacy issues with its “custom double Network Address Translation (NAT) system.” Its small code base makes it less vulnerable to hack attacks than OpenVPN.
- IKEv2/IPSec: We tend to avoid this protocol when OpenVPN or WireGuard is an option. Mobile users and frequent travelers love it because of its reconnection capabilities. It allows you to switch between networks without ever dropping your connection. However, it makes you vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. In our opinion, both OpenVPN and NordLynx are superior options for most users.
NordVPN encrypts your traffic with AES-256 cipher, which is considered military-grade. It’s one of the safest encryption methods we have today, and it’s also used by banks, hospitals, and other institutions.
Note that we had to set up IKEv2/IPSec manually for it to work. We couldn’t simply select it from a list of available protocols in the app. If you’re using NordVPN on Windows, the system will also downgrade your encryption to the weaker 3DES-CBC cipher.
Additionally, this protocol required us to add the certificate to the Trusted Root Authorities, which could expose you to the aforementioned man-in-the-middle attacks.
With all that in mind, we recommend using IKEv2/IPSec only if you absolutely have no other alternatives. If you’re not well-versed in VPN protocols, you can let NordVPN’s client pick the optimal server for you. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the fastest location, as shown in our speed tests. It will usually be NordLynx since this is their safest and fastest option.
NordVPN retains no logs, protecting your privacy
As mentioned earlier in our NordVPN review, the brand is registered in Panama. The absence of any mandatory data retention laws allows it to maintain a strict no-logging policy. We checked, and Panama is outside of the notorious 14 Eyes alliance.
In terms of data security, NordVPN started switching to diskless (or RAM-only) servers in May 2022. We caught up with NordVPN’s customer support team in February 2023 and confirmed that around 90% of servers are now diskless.
In our experience, this is an excellent step; it means that user data can’t be stored server-side, as there’s no hard drive to record it. All information is deleted with every server reset.
This is impressive in its own right, but we also took a look at NordVPN’s data logging policy. Here’s the user data recorded by the company:
- Personal info: Email address, billing information, country details (for VAT calculation purposes)
- Technical info: NordVPN will collect your IP address and device info when you’re using their website or contacting customer support (including their chatbot). This data is gathered to not only provide the requested service but also to prevent fraud, DDoS attacks, and similar hacking attempts. Naturally, the information is deleted on each server reset.
We usually frown upon recording user IP addresses, but NordVPN doesn’t keep any activity logs (the sites you visit, for example). So, there’s no chance of tracing your online traffic back to your device or you as an individual.
NordVPN will keep your billing info for 10 years after your last transaction. Your email will be kept for one year after you end your subscription. You also have certain rights regarding your personal data. All data is end-to-end encrypted.
At any time, you can request access, deletion, or rectification. You can also request a copy of the collected data (portability), object to data processing, withdraw previously given consent, or lodge a complaint.
Finally, NordVPN also supports obfsproxy. This Tor technique prevents Deep Packet Inspection and is generally known as “VPN obfuscation.”
From what we’ve seen while writing our NordVPN review, we can safely say that NordVPN is incredibly secure. In our experience, this service will allow you to protect your identity and remain anonymous.
Subsequent improvements in NordVPN’s security
Most recently, NordVPN’s no-logs policy was independently audited by Deloitte in February 2023. This process involved hardware inspections, reviews of technical logs, and interviews with NordVPN employees.
NordVPN has been rated as a certified no-logs VPN for the third time, which further outlines its commitment to privacy. NordVPN is also a founding member of the VPN Trust Initiative (VTI), standing alongside other well-regarded VPN service providers such as Surfshark and ExpressVPN.
The initiative continues to champion best practices for VPN operators while educating consumers on how VPNs help bolster security, much like our team at VPNOverview.
NordVPN also started a bug bounty program, encouraging ethical “white hat” hackers to search for bugs in NordVPN’s system. According to NordVPN, around 1,600+ reports were made through its bug bounty program in the first two years. These resulted in around 910 bounties paid.
Finally, NordVPN is building its own network of servers, exclusively owned by NordVPN (colocated servers). Why is this important? The Finnish server hack mentioned above was linked to a third-party-hosted server.
By using colocated servers, NordVPN will have sole control and visibility over its entire ecosystem. That’s a win for security in our book. To date, NordVPN already has 580 colocated servers, and there are plans for all 5,000+ servers to follow this path.
We can conclude that NordVPN remains one of the safest premium VPN services on the market. Their location, audit-verified no-log policy, and ongoing efforts to improve security and privacy are unrivaled by pretty much every other provider.
NordVPN offers an effective kill switch
If your VPN connection stops working for whatever reason, a kill switch will cut off your internet connection to prevent potential data or IP leaks. NordVPN apps for desktop platforms come with two automatic kill switches:
- Internet kill switch: It blocks your internet completely when you’re not connected to NordVPN. It’s a similar solution to ProtonVPN’s permanent system-wide kill switch.
- App kill switch: This failsafe will close certain apps when your VPN drops the connection. Simply add the chosen apps to the list, and they won’t be able to access the internet without VPN protection.
You can access the kill switch settings through the menu option by the same name. Note that when we downloaded NordVPN, the kill switch was not activated by default. You’ll have to locate it in your client under Settings, then Kill Switch, and activate it manually.
We had no doubt that NordVPN’s kill switch would be effective, but, of course, we tested it. This involved enabling each kill switch independently and attempting to access the internet after disconnecting from NordVPN.
In both cases, NordVPN passed our tests. Next, we added Slack to the list of apps under the App Kill Switch, and we couldn’t access our team’s channels while the VPN was inactive. This meant the kill switch was effective, as expected.
Onion over VPN and Double VPN
Double VPN (or multi-hop) simply routes your traffic through two VPN servers instead of one. Naturally, double encryption will make everything much safer and harder to attack.
It can even help you bypass geo-restrictions and censorship in countries like Iran, for example. Providers like NordVPN and Surfshark are our go-to in countries with strict internet content restrictions.
Having said that, encrypting your traffic twice may severely impact your speed. So, we don’t recommend using this feature unless you absolutely have to. This especially goes for hardcore gamers who want smooth and lag-free sessions.
Onion over VPN combines the advantages of an Onion router with some extra VPN security. We advise reading our article about Onion over VPN if this is confusing.
But essentially, your traffic can enter the Onion network through a random relay anywhere in the world. Every point of connection is encrypted, making it very difficult to pinpoint the origin of your traffic.
However, since onion servers are volunteer-run, anyone can operate one. That’s why you need a VPN to hide your real IP from the entry node. So in the event someone is monitoring large chunks of the Onion network, they won’t be able to trace your traffic back to you.
Guard against online threats with the Threat Protection feature
Threat Protection is NordVPN’s additional security feature that blocks malicious ads and protects you against malware, phishing, and other online threats. According to our NordVPN software, it’ll block threats before they can even reach your device.
This nifty tool also keeps you safe from DDoS attacks. Finally, it deals with online trackers, allowing you to surf the internet without leaving a trace.
Every week, Threat Protection will generate your seven-day protection summary. The idea is to put you in control of your digital hygiene. It lists all the blocked ads, malicious websites, malware, and trackers. By analyzing this report, you can learn which sites and behaviors to avoid in the future.
Bear in mind that we noticed two separate versions: Threat Protection and Threat Protection Lite. The latter won’t delete detected malware. Also, you can use the full version without a VPN connection on a separate subscription, but you cannot do the same with the Lite version.
This feature used to be called CyberSec. NordVPN has since expanded this tool and renamed it Threat Protection.
NordVPN protects your data
We routinely review VPNs, and one of the key tests is whether a service leaks your data. This can happen in a number of common ways that all result in your real location being exposed:
- DNS leaks: These can happen when your DNS requests (your internet page queries, essentially) go via your internet service provider instead of traveling through your VPN connection.
- WebRTC leaks: WebRTC supports audio and video streaming without the need for additional software, such as Microsoft Teams, Discord, and so on. But WebRTC can leak your real IP address if you’re using a low-quality VPN.
- IP address leaks: IP addresses are most commonly leaked from a VPN service when the provider hasn’t correctly configured their service to support IPv6, the newer form of IPs.
While writing our NordVPN review, we didn’t experience any dangerous data leaks. Our ipleak.net report showed zero WebRTC and DNS leaks.
The company prevents DNS leaks by operating proprietary DNS servers. Your DNS queries will travel through the encrypted tunnel and be resolved on the VPN server you’re currently connected to. So you don’t have to worry about your private data getting into the wrong hands.
The IP address checker on our site was also only able to pick up the IP assigned by NordVPN.
What information does NordVPN require to create an account?
NordVPN only asked for our email address during registration. Naturally, you also need to provide your billing information if you want to create a subscription.
You can also sign up with your Google or Apple account, but we never recommend using other services to create VPN accounts. You’d just be sharing personal information that you don’t have to.
Usability – Beginner-friendly and Powerful
NordVPN manages to stay beginner-friendly without sacrificing any advanced options. As such, it can cater to both VPN beginners and power users alike. With that in mind, we gave it a 9.5 out of 10 for user-friendliness.
Here’s a brief overview of our conclusions regarding the usability of Nord’s website and VPN apps:
- We found NordVPN’s website to be clear and organized.
- The installation process was quick and effortless.
- The apps were simple and easy to use on each platform we tested.
- Nord offers a business-grade VPN called NordLayer.
- You can use additional security tools: NordPass and NordLocker.
- Meshnet allows remote access to devices via encrypted tunnels.
- NordVPN supports all major payment methods.
- Customer support is easy to reach and replies quickly — we started a live chat in less than a minute.
NordVPN’s website and installation process
We found NordVPN’s website to strike a good balance between simple and clear, yet packed with useful information. Clicking the “Log in” button in the top-right corner allows you to create an account or log in if you already have one.
The homepage is quite informative, outlining some of the most important aspects of NordVPN.
After subscribing and logging in, we were presented with our personal dashboard. This is where you can inspect your account, explore other Nord services, and download software for your devices.
If you run into any issues, you can ask for help using the live chat — we connected to an agent in under a minute.
Installing NordVPN is a piece of cake. The company offers native apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and AndroidTV. You can also download secure browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. We also really liked the QR code for quick access to the accompanying mobile app.
For this NordVPN review, we primarily tested the Windows client. Follow the same steps that we did, and you’ll be using NordVPN in no time:
- Go to NordVPN’s official website.
- Click on “Log in” in the top-right corner.
- Sign up with your chosen credentials.
- Download the installation file from your personal dashboard.
- Click on the downloaded file to start the installation.
- Follow the instructions.
Always download VPN software from a trusted provider’s website.
After you install NordVPN on your device, you can send “invitation emails” to other devices you wish to protect. For example, we sent an invite to a team member’s device. They were able to open it on their phone, click on the link, and download NordVPN on both Android and iOS.
The best part? You can do this directly from your NordVPN client.
Note that the setup wizard will prompt you to install Nord’s free password manager called NordPass. To clarify, you don’t have to download NordPass to use NordVPN. We’ll talk about this app some more down below.
You can install NordVPN on up to six devices. Six simultaneous VPN connections will be more than enough for most users, including those looking to protect their entire households.
NordVPN’s appearance and ease of use
NordVPN’s mobile and desktop apps are simple and easy to navigate. They manage to stay beginner-friendly while offering plenty of advanced options for power users. They certainly had all of the features we’d expect to see in a premium VPN.
The main window features a prominent world map with the available server locations. You can also pick a server from the list on the left, which includes specialty servers as well. Despite the 5,000+ servers, we were easily able to pick out countries without having to scroll endlessly.
The “Quick Connect” button will let the client pick the server for you automatically. Alternatively, you can use the search bar to find the server you need and click on it to connect.
The NordVPN Settings menu in the bottom-left corner opens up a whole slew of extra options:
- General: Inspect the app version, launch at startup, launch minimized, show status notifications, pick a language, enable CyberSec
- Auto-connect: Enable Wi-Fi auto-connect, pick a protocol, choose a server for auto-connection, create a list of trusted Wi-Fi networks
- Kill switch: Enable internet/app kill switch, create a list of controlled apps
- Split tunneling: Enable split tunneling, include/exclude specific apps
- Advanced: Create a custom DNS, use obfuscation, enable LAN invisibility, allow remote access, run diagnostics, send feedback to the company
- Dark web monitor: Enable this option to monitor the dark web for leaked info linked to your email address
NordVPN’s website can be viewed in 20+ languages, but its client supports only seven. While this is only a minor annoyance, we would like to see more translations added in the future to improve accessibility, particularly given NordVPN’s international reach.
The NordVPN iOS app is also easy to use and creates a stable connection. You’ll have to allow the app access to your device, but it’s a trusted application. From here, the app can manage the connections for you.
Establishing a connection on mobile is straightforward, as is picking a country and server. We also paid close attention to our battery while running NordVPN in the background, and it didn’t appear to have a significant effect on our battery life. Of course, it’s bound to eat through your charge quicker when you’re running NordVPN alongside your usual activities.
There is little to no difference between the mobile app and the desktop app that NordVPN offers. Both are intuitive, user-friendly, and clutter-free. All in all, while writing our NordVPN review, we were highly impressed by this VPN’s simple yet functional design.
NordVPN offers detailed guidance and support for Linux
More and more people are starting to use paid VPNs on Linux distros. And we have to hand it to NordVPN — the company caught on and began creating clear and concise guides on how to configure NordVPN for Linux. Their support staff is also well-versed in answering any Linux-related questions.
As a result, NordVPN servers can be installed for Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and other distros without too much effort. It’s also possible to use NordVPN on QubesOS, CentOS, OpenSUSE, and RHEL, making it one of the best Linux VPNs.
This means that most Linux systems will be able to establish a VPN connection with NordVPN’s servers. The one caveat we found is that server management must be done through the terminal. Of course, most Linux fans won’t mind this at all.
No matter what Linux system you use, you’ll first have to download the NordVPN app for Linux. They are available in .deb and .rpm formats.
You can install them by either clicking the download and running it through a package manager or via commands in the terminal. You’ll also find step-by-step guides for each of the distros on the NordVPN website.
Finally, it’s also possible to easily change the DNS servers in Linux to NordVPN DNS servers in case you’re worried about any DNS leaks.
NordLayer: Dedicated VPN client for businesses
NordLayer is NordVPN’s network security solution for businesses. It allows organizations to use the internet safely, working seamlessly even for hybrid and distributed workforces. NordLayer protects employees from phishing, ransomware, and malware-ridden files.
NordLayer also protects your files and sensitive data, especially in transit, using AES-256 encryption. For added security, you can access virtual private gateways, which means that your organization gets a dedicated server. This lets you implement IP allowlisting and granular network segmentation.
NordLayer’s dedicated server pool covers over 30 server locations, including Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, and the Republic of South Africa.
You can easily integrate NordLayer with your current infrastructure as it’s a hardware-free and scalable solution. It’s also compatible with different tools, including Google Workspace, OneLogin, Azure AD, Okta, and JumpCloud. You even benefit from priority support and a dedicated account manager.
The pricing options are also flexible:
- Basic: $7/user/month
- Advanced: $9/user/month
- Custom: For large companies with specific requirements
Most VPNs are now launching similar services, but we’re among the many who consider NordVPN to be the pioneer. We asked our in-house VPN review analyst, Wisdom Sablah, about his thoughts on NordLayer. Here’s what he had to say:
I have examined and tested several business-grade VPNs over the years, and I’ve concluded that none compares to NordLayer. I love that you can access dedicated servers in up to 30 countries. Plus, it has an intuitive control panel that I used to define permissions and monitor user activity. Customer support is also top-notch; I got priority customer support whenever I needed help. Overall, I recommend NordLayer over all other business VPNs.
NordLocker: A reliable encrypted cloud storage solution
NordLocker functions similarly to Dropbox. It’s a cloud storage service that you can use to share files with other people. One of the added benefits of NordLocker is that you can also use it as an encrypted storage locker.
While it’s not on our list of the best cloud storage solutions for 2023, at the moment, you can get 3GB completely free of charge. If you need more space, you can pick one of the two premium packages:
- 500 GB: $2.99/month
- 2 TB: $6.99/month
All three options come with unlimited end-to-end encryption. However, premium users have 24/7 priority support, while the free version only gets email support.
Nord also offers business-grade packages for NordLocker. Apart from the aforementioned features, they also come with an admin panel for access control, secure file management, private sharing, and access on any platform. The pricing goes as follows:
- Business 500 GB: $8.99 per user/month
- Business Plus 2 TB: $14.99 per user/month
- Custom plan: A package tailored to your business
Interested in NordLocker? You can add it at checkout when purchasing NordVPN or get it standalone from NordLocker’s website by clicking on the button below.
NordPass: Our best password manager of 2023
Are you using a password manager yet? We wouldn’t go online without one. This software protects your passwords while helping you make good choices when you create new ones.
- Use the password generator to create stronger passwords
- Save unlimited passwords + enable autosave and autofill
- Import & export passwords
- Keep notes and credit cards
- Fill forms with personal info
- Sync passwords, notes, and credit cards across devices
- Share items with people you trust
- Replace old, weak, and reused passwords
- Scan the internet for data leaks involving your passwords
NordPass comes with a 30-day free trial, which is more than enough to test it and see if it works for you. After your trial expires, you can keep using the limited free version.
NordPass is also currently our best password manager for 2023. As a trusted source of VPN and cybersecurity information, we’ve managed to snag a discount of up to 34%.
Below, we’ve detailed the current pricing for the two premium subscriptions.
- $1.49/month for the two-year plan
- $1.99/month for the one-year plan
Family plan (six users):
- $2.79/month for the two-year plan
- $3.69/month for the one-year plan
NordPass is also available to companies, and the pricing is as follows:
NordPass Business (price per user):
- $3.59/month for the two-year plan
- $3.99/month for the one-year plan
Want to try out NordPass? You can add it to your cart when getting a subscription to NordVPN, or you can click the button below to visit the NordPass website and get it separately from NordVPN’s other tools.
Meshnet grants you remote access to other devices around the world. It still uses encrypted tunnels, but instead of connecting you to a VPN server, it establishes a point-to-point connection between two devices. In March 2023, NordVPN made Meshnet free for all users as part of its efforts to “make the internet a safer, freer place.”
Meshnet is similar to what Radmin VPN tried to accomplish. Some of Meshnet’s benefits include:
- Hosting and joining virtual LAN parties: This is especially useful for online multiplayer games. Now, you can use Meshnet to create virtual encrypted LAN connections with other players around the globe.
- Access files stored on remote devices: With Meshnet, you can remotely access files stored on your devices. Whether it’s your home or business computer, all you need is a phone with an internet connection, and you can access their shared files no matter where you are.
- Share your files securely: You can share files with your colleagues or share your projects for others to see on your local web server.
- Route your online traffic: Meshnet allows you to route your traffic through another machine. This means that you can access the internet under that other machine’s IP address.
Note that you can’t add people to your Meshnet network without their consent. You’ll have to send them an invitation and wait for their response.
Meshnet allows you to link up to 10 devices that you own and 50 external devices. All devices under the same NordVPN account are linked automatically.
NordVPN offers competitive pricing and varied payment methods
NordVPN is not the cheapest VPN service out there, but it’s definitely one of the most affordable, given its current setup. We still believe that NordVPN offers some of the best value for money you’ll find in a VPN service.
Every purchase also comes with a full 30-day money-back guarantee, which is more than enough to test the software and see if it works for you.
We’ve reviewed and listed the NordVPN premium packages available at the time of writing, according to the length of the chosen subscription:
- Two years: $4.49/month
- One year: $5.99/month
- One month: $13.99
- Two years: $5.49/month
- One year: $6.99/month
- One month: $14.99
- Two years: $6.99/month
- One year: $8.49/month
- One month: $16.49/month
NordVPN’s payment methods demonstrate its emphasis on privacy. NordVPN offers the option to pay with different cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ripple, and Monero apart from standard payment options, including credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, or UnionPay. These crypto options are especially nice if you want to stay almost completely anonymous.
Enjoy NordVPN for free for 30 days
NordVPN is a premium VPN provider that is well worth its affordable price. However, if you want to get NordVPN for free, you can take advantage of its 30-day risk-free trial!
To do this, sign up for a plan on the NordVPN website as usual and pay the respective amount. Then, if you’re not satisfied with the service, you can cancel your subscription anytime within 30 days for a full refund. Essentially, this reduces the NordVPN cost to zero.
Unfortunately, you can’t get NordVPN for free, but it still offers the best price-to-value ratio out there. For some more detailed instructions on how to do this, you can read our step-by-step plan to use NordVPN for free.
We’re also happy to confirm that the process of being refunded is quick and easy as customer support agents are highly responsive. After our research for this NordVPN review was complete, we had no problems getting a full refund in just a couple of days.
NordVPN provides excellent customer service. Our interactions with customer support were fast and efficient, and the agents manning support were very enthusiastic and polite.
For self-help, the website features a rich knowledge base packed with tutorials, FAQs, troubleshooting manuals, and everything else you can imagine. If you can’t find your answers there, you can use their live chat option as well.
Each category on the Support page dives deeper into a vast range of troubleshooting and guidance articles. Of course, you might need help from a human, as we did when investigating how to request a 30-day free trial refund.
Note that you’ll first have to go through the NordVPN chatbot, which is not very helpful. It can provide you with some simple answers but can’t solve any complex problems.
However, you can request communication with a live agent as well. Simply type “live agent” or something along those lines, and the chatbot will queue you in. Note that you’ll have to provide a valid email address before talking to a support agent.
During our research for this NordVPN review, we got our answers from the live support team in minutes. They were very knowledgeable and ready to help. If the live chat is unavailable for whatever reason, you can also contact the support team via email.
All in all, we were happy with our experience with NordVPN’s customer service. They are easy to reach and will help you out immediately.
Server Network – 5,400+ Servers Across the Globe
When it comes to VPN server networks, ‘the bigger the better’ is our golden rule. Having more servers at your disposal increases your chances of dealing with online censorship and unblocking geo-restricted services.
A large number of servers is also crucial for maintaining strong speeds. When we tested popular services that have limited server numbers, we experienced slower speeds. Overloaded VPN servers during busy periods can slow you down, much like traffic backs up on a highway.
Apart from its “regular” servers, NordVPN also provides users with options specialized for Netflix, P2P traffic, and more. NordVPN’s network earned it a 9 out of 10 in our NordVPN review scoring.
Points to keep in mind here:
- NordVPN currently has 5,400+ servers across 60 countries.
- NordVPN works with Netflix US.
- It allows torrenting and has specialized P2P servers.
- You can get a dedicated IP address from a limited number of server locations.
NordVPN’s servers and locations
NordVPN has more than 5,400 servers spread across 60 countries. Comparatively, CyberGhost has 9,000+, while Surfshark and ExpressVPN have 3,000+.
These are a handful of our best VPN providers, so NordVPN’s offering more than satisfies us. You can find their servers in the following countries:
- America: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States
- Europe: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxemburg, Moldova, The Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom
- Asia-Pacific: Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam
- Africa, The Middle East, and India: India, Israel, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates
Bonus tip: NordVPN offers a huge number of manually selectable servers
The following might have gone unnoticed by many users, but NordVPN allows its members to manually choose from a large selection of servers within many represented countries.
This really sets NordVPN apart. Even certain premium providers will only allow you to choose from a few servers in every region/country. Some don’t offer the choice at all, randomly assigning you a server in your given country.
We saw an immediate benefit in this feature when it comes to streaming and accessing geographically blocked content. If one server doesn’t work with your stream, or if it isn’t fast enough, you simply choose another. Different locations have tens or even hundreds of available servers!
Here’s how you can take advantage of this:
- Scroll down within the smaller gray portion on the left side of the NordVPN interface.
- You’ll now see a long list of countries with their corresponding flags. Hover over one of these countries until an ellipsis appears.
- By clicking on these, you can manually select a server.
It’s probably no surprise that NordVPN has a huge number of servers in the US. But even in a relatively small country like the Netherlands, NordVPN has tons of servers, as you can see below.
This can be useful for things like using NordVPN with Netflix, as it will bypass regional restrictions.
NordVPN’s stance on torrenting
NordVPN is a perfect tool for passionate torrenters who frequently fire up uTorrent or another popular P2P platform. Apart from allowing torrenting, Nord also offers specialized P2P servers. On these servers, we saw great speeds without any throttling.
Under the Specialty servers menu, it’s simply a case of choosing P2P. The app allows you to pick specific countries and individual servers located there. We especially like the server load indicators, which should prevent lag due to server crowding.
If you just want raw speed, we recommend picking the “fastest” option in both fields.
We recommend using NordVPN’s internet kill switch to ensure safe and anonymous downloads. Losing VPN protection and leaking your real IP in the middle of a download is a risk we’re unwilling to take.
NordVPN is, without a doubt, one of the best VPNs for torrenting out there. However, we never recommend or condone illegal downloads. Content piracy can lead to some serious legal problems, including fines and even jail time in some countries.
Dedicated IP address
NordVPN has a dedicated IP service. This means you can get dedicated IP addresses with your NordVPN subscription. Why would you get a dedicated IP address, and what are the benefits? We’ll focus on the two main benefits for VPN users:
- You’ll have less risk of being blocked when using a VPN to unblock streaming or other websites
- You won’t compete for traffic, which can result in slower connections
NordVPN’s dedicated IPs all work with the OpenVPN protocol and cost $4.19/month. You can use their dedicated IPs on up to two devices at the same time.
To get a dedicated IP with NordVPN, just follow these steps:
- Create a new account on the NordVPN website (alongside the normal account you already own).
- Choose a payment method.
- Click the text “Got a coupon?” on the payment page and add the NordVPN coupon code “norddedicatedip.” You’ll now automatically get a significant discount on your subscription.
- Complete the remaining steps of the process.
- Contact the NordVPN team via live chat or email and ask them to give you your dedicated IP address.
At the time of writing, they only offer IP addresses on servers in the following server locations:
- The U.S.
- The U.K.
- The Netherlands
It’s important to understand that this will increase your overall NordVPN cost on a yearly basis.
NordVPN’s Corporate Structure Explained
NordVPN is owned by Nord Security, which operates out of Lithuania. Tefincom S.A. owns the US trademark for NordVPN and is based in Panama. Tefincom owns the NordVPN brand, which protects NordVPN users from government oversight.
It’s worth noting that Lithuania is a country that is bound by Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) with the United States. This means that countries may cooperate in prosecuting criminal offenses. But NordVPN’s owners claim that the treaty has no effect on the way they treat data.
With the company’s headquarters in Panama, NordVPN and its user base enjoy a high level of freedom regarding internet legislation. Its registration in Panama also means that NordVPN is not susceptible to data sharing across the 14 Eyes alliance.
NordVPN merger with Surfshark
In 2022, Nord Security, which owns NordVPN, merged with Surfshark. The merger was confirmed and announced by both parties.
Both Surfshark and NordVPN reiterated that the two VPNs would operate independently. Both companies also stated that the merger would have no impact on the way they process user data.
According to the press release, the merger would allow both parties to share technical knowledge and focus more on market diversification. We continue to recommend each of these VPN providers based on their own strengths, and we review both separately.
Our Experience With NordVPN
To date, we’ve published more than 75 VPN reviews in an effort to promote consumer awareness and choice when it comes to online security. As you can gather from our NordVPN review, this provider is easily up there as one of the best VPNs you can find right now.
Speed and security, two of the primary concerns when choosing a VPN, are excellent with this provider. The team behind NordVPN has even gone further, hunting down bugs via a bug bounty and making a full-scale move to colocated, fully-owned VPN servers. It’s clear that user security is not simply a box-checking exercise for NordVPN.
Combine these factors with the service’s feature-packed and user-friendly software, and it’s easy to see why NordVPN is a crowd-pleaser across the board. We certainly had a hard time finding fault with any aspect of the service, aside from a need for greater language accessibility.
However, we believe in choice — particularly when you consider just how many VPNs are out there. Below, we’ve detailed a quick comparison so that you can see how some other close competitors measure up.
NordVPN: A Quick Comparison With Other VPN Providers
Compared to other VPNs, we found NordVPN to be a really strong competitor. Not only is NordVPN decently priced, but it’s also one of the best VPNs on the market, period. If you want to find out how good NordVPN is in comparison with other top VPNs, take a look at the articles below:
- NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN — Winner: NordVPN
- NordVPN vs. CyberGhost — Winner: NordVPN
- NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Winner: NordVPN
To summarize, when NordVPN goes head-to-head with the biggest names in the VPN industry, it comes out on top each time.
What Do Other VPN Industry Experts Think of NordVPN?
If you’ve made it this far into our review, you’ll know that we are big fans of NordVPN. But what do other industry experts think?
- Cybernews: The security experts at Cybernews conclude that NordVPN is an excellent VPN that combines speed, function, and security. They emphasize that the independent audit, secure AES-256 encryption, and next-gen NordLynx protocol all contribute to NordVPN’s great score. Cybernews also mentions that NordVPN is great for streaming Netflix as well as for accessing the Internet from restrictive countries.
- CNET: The reviewers at CNET praise various NordVPN qualities but also express profound concerns. They dub NordVPN a top-tier VPN that still has a lot of room for improvement. CNET mentions ambiguity in NordVPN’s corporate structure as well as a lack of transparency reports as the main concerns.
- PCMag: PCMag’s editors state that NordVPN faces strong competition in the VPN industry. Competitors like Mullvad VPN and IVPN offer lower prices, while Proton VPN provides similar features at a lower cost. Surfshark VPN and TunnelBear VPN allow unlimited simultaneous connections. Despite the competition, NordVPN remains distinctive by adapting to the market and expanding its offerings. PCMag lists NordVPN as the best ‘Premium VPN’, while ProtonVPN is considered the ‘best Overall VPN’ by PCMag’s review team.
What Do Reddit Users Think of NordVPN?
Reddit can be an interesting source to figure out what other users think of NordVPN. Truth be told, the Reddit community can be quite critical. We analyzed hundreds of NordVPN threads and their comments. Let’s see how Redditors feel about NordVPN.
Some Reddit users indicate they started facing difficulties with NordVPN’s speed over the past months, as seen in the screenshot below, taken in May 2023.
At the same time, various other Redditors replied to that thread, stating that NordVPN works perfectly fine for them.
One Redditor mentions in another thread that after switching from OpenVPN to NordLynx, his connection speeds have skyrocketed. He emphasizes that NordLynx is key to a smooth NordVPN experience. Such comments are the reason NordVPN is our best VPN according to Reddit users.
After scanning through hundreds of threads on subreddits like r/nordvpn, r/vpnreviews, r/VPNTorrents, and many more, we conclude the following:
- Reddit users are divided when it comes to liking or disliking NordVPN. Many users seem to love NordVPN, while just as many seem to loathe it.
- Other VPN services face similar or even harsher criticism than NordVPN — Reddit is a tough crowd!
- NordVPN is generally praised for its speed and ease of use.
- NordLynx is very well received by the Reddit community, and NordVPN is seen as rather innovative within the industry.
- Some users dislike NordVPN’s marketing strategy and the fact that NordVPN seems to pop up everywhere — in TV ads, as a sponsor in podcasts, in Twitch live streams, etc.
- NordVPN is criticized by some Reddit users for not providing consistent quality across platforms and operating systems.
- One good alternative VPN service that Redditors seem to endorse is Surfshark. A second option frequently mentioned is Mullvad.
- NordVPN offers excellent speeds and top-notch security features.
- NordVPN is capable of unblocking Neflix and other streaming platforms.
- We particularly liked the sleek and beginner-friendly interface and web guidance.
- The NordVPN server network is massive: 5,400+ servers in 60+ countries.
- Optional extras like NordPass and NordLocker were nice to see for enhanced online security.
- NordLayer is their premium business solution for network access security.
Looking for a quick answer to your question about NordVPN? Have a look at our FAQ below. Click on a question to see the answer.
No, unfortunately, NordVPN does not offer a free version. However, NordVPN does have a 30-day money-back guarantee which allows you to try it out free for 30 days. We had no trouble obtaining a refund within two days.
Free VPNs are not always suitable compared to paid VPN options. Free VPNs often have a data or speed limit, which makes them less suitable for streaming for example. Still want to try out a free VPN? Then take a look at our article: the best free VPNs.
NordVPN is one of the very best VPNs when it comes to security. This provider uses OpenVPN, among other VPN protocols. According to many cybersecurity experts, this encryption protocol is the most secure VPN protocol at this moment.
Furthermore, NordVPN’s no-log logging policy provides the highest level of privacy. Lastly, NordVPN offers several extra safety features, such as a kill switch, double VPN connections, and Onion over Tor.
NordVPN works well with Netflix and allows you to watch Netflix content from several countries. As such, you can use NordVPN to watch the US version of Netflix when you’re abroad for business or leisure, or to get access to the Italian version of Netflix, for instance.
If, for whatever reason, you encounter a problem with accessing Netflix, you can try to connect to a different server, contact NordVPN’s customer support, or try an obfuscated server or dedicated IP address.
You most definitely can. In fact, NordVPN offers special P2P servers, optimized for peer-to-peer traffic, for this very purpose. You’ll find these in the main menu of the NordVPN app on the left.
Yes, NordVPN offers dedicated IP addresses in the following countries: the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France.
In order to get a dedicated IP, you’ll have to create a new account with a special coupon code, then contact the NordVPN support team to activate your dedicated IP.
NordVPN is very trustworthy. With its no logs policy and independent audits, in addition to the fact it doesn’t have to follow 14 Eyes alliance data-sharing requirements, we recommend NordVPN for those looking for a privacy-focused VPN.
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