NordVPN Review

9.6/10
Top-notch VPN for everyone
Last updated: November 30, 2021

NordVPN is arguably the best VPN you can buy right now. It comes with bulletproof security and privacy, excellent geo-unblocking capabilities, and the fastest speeds on the market – all for a fair price.

Minimum Price:
$3.29 / month
Apps available:
windows macos ios android androidtv linux firetv chrome firefox
Works with:
kodi router

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NordVPN is known as one of the top, if not the top, VPN provider. To find out where it really stands in 2021, I decided to do this in-depth NordVPN review and see what’s there behind the curtain of reputation. With so many threats to online privacy and clampdowns on streaming services, I want to make sure that this provider can live up to its promises by answering these questions:

  • Is NordVPN safe to use?
  • Can this service unblock Netflix and other streaming services?
  • Has NordVPN improved on its average speeds?
  • Does the price compares to its features?

Spoiler alert: the answer to all these questions is “yes, absolutely.” But if you want more details, continue reading this VPN review.

Overview

Rank #1 out of 223 providers
Website nordvpn.com
Countries 60
Servers 5100
Netflix Yes
Torrenting Yes
Support 24/7 live chat, Email
Logs No-logs policy
Price From $3.29/month
Free version or trial 7-day free trial (requires Android)

To settle the price question first, I’ve learned that NordVPN offers a great cost-value ratio. It becomes apparent when you choose long-term plans. At the moment, you can get NordVPN for $3.29/month with 72% off.

Speed and performance

Average download speed1,179 Mbps
Number of servers5100+
Number of countries60
Dedicated IP addresses$70/year, available in the US, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, France

Our latest speed tests show that NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market. That’s mainly because of the new tunneling protocol named NordLynx, a proprietary version of WireGuard. But how fast is NordVPN, exactly?

To answer this, we started running our in-house connection speed testing tool to collect long-term data. We installed NordVPN along with other providers in Germany, the UK, and the US.

Then we connected to VPN servers in those countries and checked the speeds daily. The results speak of themselves – none of the best VPN services could match NordVPN’s performance.

NordVPN 14-Day Speed Average

More live data from our VPN Speed Test tool
USA server
Download Speed 1,646 Mbps
Upload Speed 1,645 Mbps
UK server
Download Speed 1,274 Mbps
Upload Speed 1,172 Mbps
Germany server
Download Speed 722 Mbps
Upload Speed 1,061 Mbps

I also tested the connection speed with Netflix and other streaming services. It turns out it’s more than enough to watch in UHD (4K) without buffering. Of course, your location, ISP, and hardware will impact the results, but NordVPN is clearly the best option.

If you still have doubts, I suggest checking the results of NordVPN’s extensive speed test of tunneling protocols. It clearly shows that NordLynx increases performance by a significant margin.

NordLynx vs IKEv2 vs OpenVPN
Source: nordvpn.com

What’s more, they asked AV-TEST, an independent IT company, to measure the speeds of the Top 7 VPN services. Unsurprisingly, NordVPN outdid all competitors.

Finally, NordVPN has started adding new 10 Gbps servers across the world that further improve the performance.

NordVPN servers

NordVPN server list is one of the best in the industry. It allows the company to provide truly global coverage and reliable connections all over the world. Even if you don’t have a particular location in mind, NordVPN can automatically select the best server for you based on their distance and load.

At the moment, NordVPN has 5100+ servers in 60 countries. While most of them are in North America and Europe, other regions have options as well.

NordVPN uses only bare-metal servers. This means that the servers are physically in the country you want to connect to. In contrast, virtual servers can be located in another region, which decreases performance.

Furthermore, all Standard servers are RAM-only, meaning they cannot store any information for a prolonged period. Once the server reboots or shuts down, all data is wiped out. This technology dramatically reduces the chance of someone tampering with user information on the data center premises.

NordVPN is also switching 1 Gbps servers to new 10 Gbps. Currently, more than 20% of the server fleet uses 10 Gbps, available in the US (New York, Seattle, Miami, Atlanta), the UK (London), and Japan (Tokyo). With the advent of 5G, NordVPN will be ready to handle increased traffic.

Last but not least, NordVPN is extending the range of self-owned servers, which are fully controlled by the provider. Most of the time, a third-party data center takes care of the VPN server fleet, but that comes with its own risks. Back in 2018, one of NordVPN’s servers in a colocation center was breached. It didn’t have any valuable data, but this event prompted the provider to look for a safer solution.

Server locations

NordVPN has a truly global server fleet, covering all continents except Antarctica. Most of them are in North America and Europe, but other regions haven’t been forgotten. Below is the list of servers according to the regions.

LocationNumber of countries
CountriesServers
The Americas7United States, Canada, Argentina, Brasil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Chile2,400+
Europe36United Kingdom, Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Spain, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Ireland, Czech Republic, Austria, Portugal, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Greece, Iceland, Estonia, Albania, Croatia, Cyprus, Slovenia, Georgia, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia2,100+
Africa, the Middle East, and India5South Africa, India, Israel, Turkey, United Arab Emirates100+
Asia Pacific11Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand600+

Specialty servers

In addition to the standard ones, there are also specialty servers optimized for addressing particular user needs. NordVPN allows you to choose from:

  • Dedicated IP servers – for users who bought a dedicated IP address
  • Double VPN servers – for multi-hop fans who want to send their connection via two servers
  • Obfuscated servers – when you’re in a country with restricted internet access
  • Onion over VPN servers – when you want to run Tor on top of a VPN
  • P2P servers – optimized for torrenting, no bandwidth limits

Not all server types are available in every country, so you should check for the latest coverage updates on their website.

Plans and pricing: is NordVPN cheap?

For a top-tier product, NordVPN is very cheap. Here are the available subscription options and their prices:

Naturally, it’s also possible to come across holiday promotions throughout the year with better prices. Naturally, special NordVPN coupon codes are also available and include better discounts than usual.

NordVPN prices and plans in October 2021

All NordVPN plans offer the same suite of features (AES-256 encryption, NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, DNS leak protection, kill switch, etc.) and allow up to 6 simultaneous connections.

There are anonymous payment options available, such as crypto, for those concerned about privacy. However, you can also pay by any major credit card, Google Pay, Apple Pay, ACH Transfer (Plaid), Direct Debit, and AmazonPay, although the selection varies from country to country. Unfortunately, NordVPN no longer accepts PayPal, at least in the United States and the United Kingdom.

To try NordVPN risk-free, use the 30-day money-back guarantee. It comes with no strings attached and no small print. The only thing to be aware of is that you can’t get a NordVPN refund if you paid in Bitcoin or something similar.

There’s also a 7-day free trial on Android if you download NordVPN from Google Play Store. It requires entering payment details first, but you can use it on any supported device.

NordVPN cost may not be the lowest on the VPN market. That said, no other VPN offers as much value for money. For even more discounts, check NordVPN coupons and deals available right now.

In case you looked for NordVPN Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals – check this article

Security and privacy

Many VPN services claim to provide complete anonymity on the internet, but only a few can back it up in features and evidence. NordVPN is one of the few, having these security and privacy features:

So how safe NordVPN is, really? Well, it’s safe enough to be favored by sensitive user groups, such as journalists and political activists, as well as those wanting to enjoy unblocked streaming content. It can back up its claims of top-notch privacy and security reliably and effectively.

You may have seen that NordVPN has suffered a security breach back in 2019, which has allegedly put a spot on its reputation. A hacker was able to break into the data center’s system and breach NordVPN’s server security.

However, as it turned out, the incident happened on one server in Finland, and it wasn’t possible to reach any critical infrastructure from it, to begin with.

In the aftermath, NordVPN has shut down the affected server and stopped using the Finnish data center. The company put some serious effort into increasing the security of all servers by announcing a bug bounty program and signing a partnership with VerSprite, a well-known cybersecurity consulting firm. They’ve also made an app security audit and found no critical vulnerabilities.

If you still ask yourself, “is NordVPN safe?” I suggest learning more about each security and privacy feature below and how they can help with securing your online activities.

Encryption

NordVPN comes with military-grade AES-256 encryption, which banks and government institutions use to protect their internet traffic. This is an extremely strong cipher – in fact, it’s so strong that a hacker using a brute force attack (where they try many combinations) would need billions of years to break it.

Moreover, NordVPN is raising the bar with an SHA-512 hash function, while most competitors still use SHA-256, which is shorter and less complex. NordVPN uses eight 64-bit words for encoding your credentials compared to eight 32-bit words, greatly expanding the number of possible combinations.

Tunneling protocols

NordVPN supports the following tunneling protocols:

  • NordLynx (WireGuard)
  • OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • IKEv2/IPSec

NordLynx is a proprietary version of a next-gen WireGuard protocol that gives you blistering speeds and even better security. NordVPN was one of the first to offer this tunneling protocol on major platforms. At the moment, NordLynx is the best option when choosing from all three.

OpenVPN is a reliable and time-tested choice with two versions. TCP is more secure and stable, while UDP gives you better speeds. However, compared to NordLynx, it’s still far behind. Therefore, you should use OpenVPN only when there’s no better alternative.

IKEv2/IPSec is available on all major platforms except Android. Mobile users like this protocol because of its ability to maintain a VPN connection while switching from cellular to wi-fi. Even though it’s faster than OpenVPN, it still cannot compete with NordLynx.

L2TP/IPsec and PPTP are no longer supported, even though some VPNs still use them. But that’s actually OK. These protocols are outdated both in terms of security and performance. You should avoid them at any cost.

NordVPN kill switch

This VPN offers not only a standard internet kill switch but also an app kill switch. A kill switch helps you stay secure by shutting off the internet connection if the VPN stops working. That way, your real IP address won’t be unintentionally revealed to third parties.

When you’re using the internet, NordVPN will shut off the connection if it stops working suddenly. However, the app kill switch will disconnect only certain apps in case of a VPN failure. For example, if you were using one browser for online banking, the connection would shut down, but you will still be able to browse and watch YouTube on the other without a VPN.

The kill switches are not turned on by default. To do so, you’ll have to click the small Settings cogwheel in the top-right corner.

NordVPN two kill switches example

You can turn on one or both kill switches. For the app kill switch, you’ll have to add the apps that will use it.

I should note that the kill switch works differently on Android and iOS platforms. The former has a native Always-on VPN feature which is essentially NordVPN’s Internet Kill Switch for mobile. In the meantime, the latter works in the same fashion, but you can’t toggle it. On the other hand, even some well-known VPNs don’t offer a kill switch for iOS at all.

In my tests, I found that NordVPN’s kill switches are effective every time. When I tried to interrupt the VPN connection on several occasions, the internet traffic or app was shut down immediately every time.

IP and DNS leak protecion

NordVPN has IP and DNS leak protection. This means your identity won’t leak via your IP address, and your online activities won’t show via your DNS requests.

Of course, the only way to be sure is to run DNS and IP leak tests. Therefore, I connected to a French server and was assigned the IP address 185.128.25.222. Then I checked whether our IP address or DNS queries were leaking – here are the results:

nordvpn no ip leak example

  • IP address: 185.128.25.222
  • Location: France – Paris

This is the NordVPN-given IP address, meaning there is no IP leak.

nordvpn no dns leak example

  • DNS address: 185.128.25.221
  • Location: France – Paris

This is the IP address of a NordVPN DNS server in Paris, France. As you can see, the two IP addresses are connected. This means that there are no DNS leaks.

CyberSec

CyberSec is a browser security feature that stops ads and malware. If a NordVPN sees you trying to visit a dangerous website, it will block the access and notify you. For the sake of security, there’s no way to whitelist any of such sites unless you turn off CyberSec.

You can activate CyberSec from the Settings menu on your app. I recommend doing so if you value your privacy because most ads that you see are good at tracking your activity and building up your profile for target advertising.

Moreover, ads can link to websites with malware. Even if you don’t click on one, loading such an ad might be enough to infect your device. CyberSec checks the domain’s credibility in real-time and blocks malware-related ads.

Privacy-friendly jurisdiction

NordVPN is owned by nordvpn s.a. – a company based in privacy-friendly Panama. This is important because VPN service providers operate according to the laws of the country they’re based.

Panama is a small country in Central America that doesn’t require VPN companies to collect data on their users – a great thing for user privacy.

It also doesn’t belong to any far-reaching intelligence alliances like the Five Eyes global surveillance group. That allows NordVPN to have an honest no-logs policy, meaning they know very little about you and your internet activity.

Independently-audited no-logs policy

This VPN has a very clear Privacy Policy, showing their commitment to keeping no logs on their users:

NordVPN guarantees a strict no-logs policy for NordVPN services, meaning that your activities using NordVPN Services are provided by automated technical process, are not monitored, recorded, logged, stored or passed to any third party. We do not store connection time stamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses or other data.

However, they take it a step further than anyone else on the market. Because users can’t see what happens behind closed doors, NordVPN decided to prove their no-logs policy and ordered an independent audit.

This no-logs audit was performed by the world-renowned accounting firm, PwC, who found no discrepancies between the no-logs policy and what the company does in practice. As a result, NordVPN is one of the few services to have an independently-audited no-logs policy.

In 2020, NordVPN repeated the audit by expanding the scope. It included interviews with employees, technical log inspections, and more. The special server types, including Obfuscated, P2P, and Double VPN, were also tested. Still, PwC came to the same conclusions – their no-logs claims could be mistrusted in no shape or form.

ioXt certification

NordVPN’s mobile apps for Android and iPhone have ioXt certificates. It means these apps had to pass meticulous security and privacy check to comply with the stern standards. It turns out that NordVPN managed to achieve the best possible score in categories such as Proven Cryptography, Secured Interfaces, and Verified Software.

The ioXt certificate guarantees that NordVPN runs a bounty program, maintains and updates its software, and has a patch policy. Additionally, iOS and Android apps secure user’s IP, don’t log sensitive data, enforce strong server-side password policy, and detect credential guessing attacks.

Just like with the WireGuard protocol implementation, NordVPN is once again the pioneer of internet security. Therefore, its users can expect to benefit from the industry’s latest technologies and solutions.

Other technical features

The list of security features in the NordVPN suite is very impressive:

  • Double VPN (multi-hop)
  • Onion over VPN (integration with the Tor network for even more encryption and traffic rerouting)
  • Split tunneling (Windows, Android, Android TV)
  • Free SOCKS5 proxy
  • Obfuscated servers (Stealth VPN)
  • Invisibility on LAN
  • Dark Web Monitor (macOS, iOS, and Android)

By meeting people’s significant security and privacy needs in high-stakes situations (think dissidents in totalitarian regimes), this service provides an answer for any everyday issue. Whether it’s anonymous torrenting you’re interested in or secure public wi-fi use, these features have you covered.

Double VPN, also known as multi-hop, is a feature that lets you connect to not one but two VPN servers. As a result, your traffic is encrypted two times for even better security and privacy. However, this feature works with OpenVPN protocol only and has a significant impact on performance.

Onion over VPN, or Tor over VPN, is a connection mode where you combine NordVPN with the Tor network. First, you establish a VPN connection and then launch the Tor browser that further sends the traffic via three nodes. This way, it becomes extremely hard to track you back, although that also reduces connection speed significantly.

Split tunneling is a great feature when you want to protect only some parts of your connection. For example, you may want to turn on split tunneling for torrenting and stream videos without VPN protection. It also lets you connect to your office network from home and still browse the web as if you weren’t connected to your workplace.

SOCKS5 proxy works somewhat similar to split tunneling. It allows you to use NordVPN for torrenting only. You can configure uTorrent or any other client to use the VPN server and leave the rest of your connection as it is so you can access local content unavailable in other countries.

Obfuscated servers, or Stealth VPN, is a feature for countries with restricted internet access. Many of them detect VPN traffic using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and block it right away. When you turn on Obfuscated servers, you can bypass even the Great Firewall of China.

Invisibility on LAN is beneficial when you don’t want your device to be visible on your local area network. While it doesn’t make much sense when you’re at home, turning it on while on a public wi-fi is a good idea. If you can’t be seen on LAN, it’s much harder for malicious actors to gain access to your device.

Dark Web Monitor is a pretty unique feature. It checks if your email associated with the NordVPN account has ended up on a database with leaked data. If it does, you’ll get notified on your app. In such a case, you should immediately change the password of the compromised account, which can be anything from a Facebook login to your mailbox.

NordLynx – a safe implementation of WireGuard

NordVPN announced its proprietary NordLynx protocol at the end of July 2019, becoming the first major VPN to implement WireGuard. WireGuard is a super-secure tunneling protocol that has major performance benefits over other protocols. In April 2020, NordLynx became available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.

Perhaps most importantly, the WireGuard’s code is easy to audit because it has only 4,000 lines. Compare this with IPsec’s 400,000 lines of code, or OpenVPN+OpenSSL’s 600,000 lines. Bigger code means a bigger chance of someone finding an exploitable flaw.

To make NordLynx possible, they had to solve a privacy issue:

[WireGuard] can’t dynamically assign IP addresses to everyone connected to a server. Therefore, the server must contain a local static IP address table to know where internet packets are traveling from and to whom they should return. It means that the real IP address of a user must be linked to an internal IP address assigned by the VPN.

NordLynx fixes this WireGuard issue by developing a double NAT (Native Address Translation) system, allowing the VPN to establish a secure connection without logging any identifiable details.

Security and privacy aside, NordLynx provides significantly better speeds than OpenVPN or IKEv2 tunneling protocols. NordVPN ran more than 8,000 tests by following four different scenarios to confirm the results. Our speed test further asserts NordLynx as the ultimate protocol.

Anonymous purchase

NordVPN is one of a few providers that give users anonymous purchase options. Not only does it support multiple cryptocurrencies, but it also allows you to sign up without any personally identifiable information, such as your name, address, or contact details. The only thing you’ll need is an email address, which can be a throwaway account.

NordVPN pay with cryptocurrencies

You can buy NordVPN using the following anonymous purchase options via CoinPayments:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • BitTorrent (BTT)
  • Dash (DASH)
  • Tron (TRX)
  • Monero (XMR)
  • Zcash (ZEC)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Ethereum (ETH)

Optionally, you can pay with an FIO request without the need for a blockchain public address.

Other Nord Security products

If you want to stay safe online, using only a VPN is not enough. Even though NordVPN encrypts your traffic and hides your real IP address, there are many other ways third parties can tamper with your data. For this reason, Nord Security offers NordLayer, NordPass, NordLocker, and NordWL.

NordLayer is essentially a business version of NordVPN. No matter how good the latter is, it’s still aimed towards personal use and limited account sharing. In the meantime, NordLayer supports thousands of accounts and offers an easy way to manage their access. With more than 15 million users, this business VPN continues its painless growth.

NordPass is a highly-touted password manager for keeping your most important data secure. At the same time, it releases you from the burden of remembering all passwords or using the same ones on different accounts. NordPass supports multiple devices and works even when you’re offline. It also makes sharing passwords not only easy but safe as well.

NordLocker is a great way to encrypt files and store them on your device or back them up on a secure cloud. The most popular plan includes 2 TB of storage and 24/7 priority support. There are also customized options for businesses, including both Windows and macOS users. And just like NordPass, NordLocker allows sharing data hassle-free without ever losing control.

NordWL is for those who want to start their own VPN. It’s a set of tools, know-how, and infrastructure, including a dedicated manager for keeping things running smoothly. You’ll be able to create your own templates and browser extensions while tracking growth on an easy-to-use control panel. Finally, NordWL gives you well-documented development kits (SDKs) and modifiable APIs.

NordVPN device support

This provider supports a wide range of desktop and mobile devices, so they most likely support yours. It has apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV, plus browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

You can also manually set up NordVPN on a router, which negates the limit of simultaneous connections and allows to protect even more different devices, such as Apple TV or Roku. Then you have the SmartPlay feature, which combines the unblocking capabilities of Smart DNS with VPN protection. This way, you can connect various smart TVs and game consoles.

People often ask how many devices does NordVPN allow simultaneously. The answer is that you can use this VPN on up to 6 devices at the same time. That’s a pretty good benefit, but can VPN be shared? It turns out you can cover your entire household by installing NordVPN on a router or sharing it with your friends from all over the world.

The NordVPN apps are pretty uniform across the different platforms, with a simple interface that’s easy to use. They get bugfixes and updates regularly, minimizing the risk of someone exploiting any kind of vulnerability.

Desktop apps: Windows

When you launch the app, you’ll see a world map with server locations. You can manually choose the country you want to connect to or click the Quick connect button below the center. There’s also an option in some countries to search for specific servers by city.

NordVPN server map on Windows

Using dots instead of pins is a welcome change in NordVPN apps. Previously, you’d have to zoom in to the max when looking for a specific country in Europe. Moreover, the map contains markers for separate cities. That’s great when dealing with big countries like the US or Australia because connecting to New York instead of Los Angeles can have a noticeable impact on your speed and latency.

Another nice thing about NordVPN for Windows is server switching. Some providers require you to disconnect from your current server before choosing another one. In contrast, the NordVPN app does everything without requiring you to make that extra click, which can be irritating when you quickly need to compare prices in different countries.

You’ll see a cogwheel for the Settings menu on the top-right of the screen, where you can control all the security features, notifications, auto-connect settings, and more. I advise you to go over these settings because some defaults are not ideal for maximum security.

For example, you may want to turn on NordVPN when using public wi-fi automatically. Alternatively, you can choose trusted wi-fi networks that will block the auto-connect.

I liked NordVPN’s Pause option when you need to stop using a VPN for a short period. The problem with simply pressing Disconnect is that users tend to forget to reconnect. You can pause for 5, 30, or 60 minutes.

The available tunneling protocols are NordLynx and OpenVPN. While you can manually set up IKEv2/IPSec, it’s not worth the trouble while you have the option with the industry’s leading speed. However, NordVPN’s obfuscated servers work with OpenVPN (TCP) only.

Now are some of the latest updates for the NordVPN Windows version:

  • Setting your dedicated IP for auto-connect
  • Added the Japanese language
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • In-app messages about product updates and security tips

Desktop apps: macOS

NordVPN actually has two macOS apps. There’s one on the App Store that requires 10.12 or later firmware. This app comes with NordLynx, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPSec protocols. It also has a connection-level kill switch that you cannot turn off.

Another Mac app is available on NordVPN’s website. Known as the sideload version, it works with macOS 10.10 and 10.11 but offers only OpenVPN. However, this app has all the latest updates. Additionally, here you can set custom DNS servers and the app-level kill switch.

NordVPN apps for Mac and Windows have a pretty similar interface and feature set. Both offer AES-256 encryption, the CyberSec suite of features, a kill switch, and much more. That being said, split tunneling is unavailable on macOS.

Both Mac versions also have a new feature named Presets. It allows you to create shortcuts to your favorite apps and sites that you launch after turning on the VPN. You can choose server, protocol, protection level, and up to 6 links for each preset.

Here are the key NordVPN for Mac updates:

  • Running natively on M1 Macs
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Advanced kill switch now available on OpenVPN

Desktop app: Linux

NordVPN for Linux will require a bit more work to set up, as is typical for Linux clients. While it lacks the GUI (Graphical User Interface) of Mac and Windows versions, it offers the same features, although with command lines.

You can install .rep or .deb packages on most Linux distributions, such as Debian, openSUSE, or Fedora. NordVPN’s website also has tutorials for installation.

Let’s check what’s new in NordVPN for Linux:

  • Support for IPv6
  • More user-friendly password entry
  • Improved the handling of application logs

Mobile apps: Android and iOS

Android and iOS apps offer a great experience on mobile. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the NordVPN mobile experience is pretty close to the desktop one. You’ll find most of the features available on Windows and Mac, plus some unique options.

NordVPN for Android and iOS

Both apps look and work pretty similarly. With the advent of Dark Mode, you can make them fit your smartphone’s theme. To use NordVPN on your mobile device, you either press Quick Connect for the best server or choose one yourself. In the latter case, you can scroll the alphabetical list or click one of the dots on your map. The only minor difference is that the iOS app doesn’t show which tunneling protocol you are using.

Moving on to the features, we find that the iOS app has a kill switch integrated into it. Android users will have to find the Always-on VPN option in their phone settings. Additionally, NordVPN for iOS doesn’t have split tunneling, which is important for torrenting and optimizing performance.

NordVPN for Android has NordLynx and OpenVPN tunneling protocols, while the iOS app also offers IKEv2. Both offer CyberSec and Dark Web Monitor and one unique feature. The Android app has Tapjacking protection that warns you whenever malware adds a screen overlay to trick you. In the meantime, NordVPN for iOS allows setting Siri shortcuts for (dis)connecting.

You can find the mobile apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play. There’s also an APK file available if you want to download and install the Android app manually.

Let’s see what the latest additions to NordVPN for Android are:

  • Security score shows what can you do to make yourself safer online
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Added Dark Web Monitoring

In the meantime, the iOS app now has:

  • Protection streak challenges you into using NordVPN continuously
  • Bottom navigation screen
  • Multi-factor authentication

Web browsers: Chrome and Firefox

NordVPN has browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. These are listed as proxy extensions, but they will help you change your IP address, protect your communications, and block ads and trackers. Browser add-ons are especially convenient when you need to quickly use a VPN on someone else’s device without installing the app.

Unlike NordVPN’s desktop and mobile apps, Chrome and Firefox browser extensions don’t have a server map. If you don’t want to use Quick Connect, you can either use the A-Z country list or search for the right one. Additionally, you will see your most recent connections, allowing you to connect once more with a mere click.

Some VPN providers offer free browser extensions, which are more of a marketing trick. They usually provide only a few locations and no extra features, such as malware blockers. That’s not the case here – NordVPN’s browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome come with the complete server list, AdBlocker, and WebRTC blocker.

Another new feature for NordVPN browser add-ons is called the Bypass List. It allows you to choose which websites will use a proxy connection and which ones will be loaded without using the extension. That is especially convenient if you want to browse two different versions of the same website for price comparison.

You can download the extension for your browser from the Chrome Web Store or Firefox Browser Add-ons website. NordVPN Chrome extension has been downloaded more than 1,000,000 times. The Firefox counterpart has just over 100,000 downloads, which probably has to do with Chrome being a way more popular browser.

Finally, don’t forget that just like any extension, NordVPN for Chrome and Firefox protects only your browsing efforts. If you want to torrent safely or play video games without the risk of a DDoS attack, use one of the desktop or mobile apps.

Which other platforms does NordVPN support?

This VPN has an app for Android TV devices. Therefore, if your smart TV uses Android as its OS, you can use the VPN service and its Custom DNS server. There’s also an app for Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick. Here’s a tutorial on how to install NordVPN on your Amazon Fire device.

While some providers offer the Smart DNS tool for connecting smart TVs, game consoles, and similar devices without encrypting their traffic, NordVPN has chosen another path. By combining VPN and Smart DNS, they’ve created the aforementioned SmartPlay – a tool that unblocks content and keeps you safe at the same time.

You can manually configure NordVPN on most routers. The majority of firmware supports the freeware OpenVPN client, but some use the IKEv2 tunnel. Additionally, if you have a Synology, QNAP, AsusTor, or Western Digital MyCloud NAS server, chances are it will work as well.

This service also works with OpenVPN open-source software. Of course, that means you won’t be able to use any other tunneling protocol, which is a pity given how fast NordLynx is. Finally, while NordVPN doesn’t have an app for Kodi, it works great with this media player.

Is NordVPN good for streaming?

NordVPN is the best VPN for streaming. It unblocks multiple services from all over the world and provides excellent speeds. That means you’ll be able to watch your favorite TV shows and movies in UHD (4K) without buffering. Here’s the list of content platforms available with NordVPN in 2021 from anywhere:

Streaming serviceStatus
Netflix US🎬Available
Netflix Canada🎬Available
Netflix UK🎬Available
Netflix Netherlands🎬Available
Netflix Australia🎬Available
Netflix Japan🎬Available
BBC iPlayer🎬Available
Hulu + Live TV🎬Available
Amazon Prime Video🎬Available
Disney+🎬Available
HBO Max🎬Available

What’s more, NordVPN has apps for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick if you want to watch your favorite movies or shows on a big screen. And if you configure it on a router, you can use its unblocking capabilities on a wide variety of smart TVs and game consoles, including Roku.

Alternatively, use the SmartPlay feature, which combines Smart DNS and VPN protection. It will also help combat bandwidth throttling which ISPs often use. Finally, depending on your skill level, using SmartPlay can be easier than manually configuring your router and streaming device.

Netflix with NordVPN

In short, NordVPN is the best VPN for Netflix. It has proven successful, time and time again, at unblocking Netflix US from anywhere. Netflix was available on every US server I tried in my tests – that’s quite a stunning achievement.

NordVPN unblocks Squid Game on Netflix

The situation was just as good in other popular locations. I was able to watch Netflix libraries in Japan, the UK, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands. A few servers I tried were blocked, but there were always more in the same country that worked. While I haven’t tested other countries, I’m pretty sure there shouldn’t be any problem accessing their local Netflix versions.

Unblocking Amazon Prime Video and other platforms

In addition to Netflix, NordVPN also unblocks Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and many more streaming websites.

Buffering time will mostly depend on the distance to the VPN server but if you have a decent internet connection, watching in HD or 4K is entirely possible.

Once again, if you fail to unblock a certain platform, try a few other servers first.

Torrenting with NordVPN

NordVPN is the best VPN for torrenting. It even has P2P-optimized servers in more than 50 countries, along with military-grade encryption and unlimited bandwidth. Thanks to NordLynx, a proprietary WireGuard tunneling protocol, you will enjoy the best possible P2P-sharing speeds that’ll help you finish all downloads in no time!

Torrenting and using BitTorrent-based streaming apps (such as Kodi or Popcorn Time) can be risky. Luckily, this service meets all the criteria for being a privacy-first torrenting VPN. It has an independently-audited no-logs policy, no leaks, and a reliable kill switch that works either on the app or connection level (just don’t forget to turn it on!).

Additionally, NordVPN is one of the few VPN services that offer a free SOCKS5 proxy. This is a convenient way to protect yourself from those situations when you load up your torrent client but forget to turn on your VPN. You can set up a SOCKS5 proxy on all popular P2P clients, such as uTorrent, BitTorrent, Vuze, or Deluge.

Finally, if you want to learn more about torrenting with this provider or find instructions on setting up its SOCKS5 proxy on your P2P client, head straight to the NordVPN support page.

Customer support: 24/7 live chat, email, and tutorials

NordVPN has excellent customer support that will answer most or all of your questions. Your support options include:

  • Chatbot
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Email
  • FAQ
  • Knowledgebase

NordVPN website Help button menu screenshot

I tested NordVPN’s 24/7 live chat and found the waiting times to be less than a minute most of the time. All agents were polite and resourceful. And should you contact customer support via email, expect an answer on the same day.

Live chat and email

One way to access live chat is to visit the NordVPN website and click on the Support widget button at the bottom-right of your screen. A window will appear with a search box, FAQ, and an option to choose between email or live chat. You might also get a chatbot instead, which will allow you to contact a live person anyway.

I found that live chat support agents are top-notch, very responsive, and knowledgeable. I had to wait a few minutes at most before the agent was assigned. The response times were even shorter, and I had to wait for an answer only if the question was more complex.

If the issue is too difficult to solve during a chat session, you can expect an answer via email within hours. I was happy that they were ultimately able to solve every issue that I had.

FAQ and knowledge base

Both the FAQ and the knowledge base sections are detailed and cover the most common issues. The FAQ is divided into two parts – VPN Setup Tutorials and category questions. The former covers major platforms and other devices, while the FAQ itself has more than 20 entries.

NordVPN website Support page screenshot

When it comes to the rest of the knowledge base, it’s divided into three big sections: General info, Billing, and Connectivity.

General info covers the features and SmartPlay. The Billing section talks about payments and subscriptions. Finally, the Connectivity has a dedicated section for all major platforms plus SOCKS5 proxy, routers, and NAS devices.

Overall, there are more than 150 articles, so you should be able to find answers to most questions in an unlikely scenario where live support goes down.

NordVPN videos to watch in 2021

Find out about our NordVPN speed test results and what’s changed over the years, or simply watch the video version of this review.

NordVPN review | 7 MOST important facts You should know!
2021-11-07

How NordVPN compares to other providers

There are more great VPNs that compete with NordVPN. Here are a few comparisons with the toughest opponents:

Conclusion: should you get NordVPN?

Yes, you should get NordVPN. It’s definitely one of the best VPNs on the market right now and the VPN global leader in many ways. Additionally, it’s the fastest VPN service you can get in 2021.

NordVPN has faultless privacy and security features, with industry-leading encryption and next-gen NordLynx tunneling protocol. The kill switch is reliable, and CyberSec blocks ads and malware from infecting your device. What’s more, Obfuscated servers will let you use NordVPN in China and other internet-restricting countries.

Based in Panama, a country with no data retention laws, NordVPN is in a good position for retaining its independently-audited no-logs policy. This provider offers enough privacy even for journalists and political activists.

NordVPN’s can get around Netflix and other streaming blocks, and the P2P-optimized servers are good news for torrenters. You can connect to 60+ servers in 60 countries.

While NordVPN doesn’t offer native router support, few other providers do. Besides, you can set it up manually by following step-by-step instructions. And should you have any questions, its strong customer support is ready to help you out 24/7.

To sum up, if you want an industry-leading VPN for entertainment, security, privacy, or all of the above, you absolutely can’t go wrong with NordVPN.

FAQ

Is it safe to use NordVPN?

It’s absolutely safe to use NordVPN. It’s one of the most secure and private services available today. It has a strict no-logs policy, military-grade encryption, and other necessary features to protect your personal data.

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – which one is better?

Our research shows that NordVPN is better than ExpressVPN. It’s much cheaper and offers more in terms of performance. What’s more, ExpressVPN has recently been acquired by Kape Technologies, a company with a less than stellar reputation.

If you still have doubts, check our in-depth ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison.

How many devices does NordVPN allow per account?

NordVPN allows six simultaneous connections per one account. If you set it up on a router, you’ll be able to protect any number of devices in your household.

How to get NordVPN for free?

There’s no way to legally get NordVPN for free. It has a 7-day free-trial on Google Play Store, though. Furthermore, you can try it risk-free for 30 days.

Where is NordVPN based?

NordVPN is registered in Panama, a privacy-friendly country with no data retention laws, far away from the Fourteen Eyes intelligence alliance members.

Does NordVPN unblock Netflix?

Yes, NordVPN unblocks Netflix in multiple countries, including the US, the UK, Australia, and Japan. It will also help you watch other streaming platforms, such as Amazon Prime Video or Disney Plus, from anywhere.

Can I download torrents with NordVPN?

Yes, you can. NordVPN has fast P2P-optimized servers all over the world. Additionally, you can benefit from a SOCKS5 proxy and protection against bandwidth throttling.

Does NordVPN work in China?

Yes, NordVPN works in China. It can bypass the Great Firewall of China and avoid Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) thanks to its Obfuscated servers. NordVPN is also great against any type of surveillance, keeping you safe online.

Good

  • Excellent security
  • Flawless privacy practices
  • Very fast speeds
  • Great server list (5100+ servers in 60 countries)
  • Custom apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and more
  • Great app design and website
  • Good knowledge-base and 24/7 live chat
  • Fair price
  • Awesome for Netflix
  • Good for torrenting
  • Great for China and other restricted countries

Bad

  • No router app
 9.6 / 10
Total score
$3.29 / month
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52 comments
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  1. queens gambit is cool

    I always questioned myself is nordvpn good, because I really like it but I’m no expert and had no proof. thank you for confirmation with all the evidence, now I can show this to everybody asking


  2. Hi

    Does Nordvpn still work with Netflix? I’ve heard many vpn services been having issues recently as Netflix got even stricter with geo-blocking. Thanks in advance for letting me know.


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hi. Yes, NordVPN still works reliably with Netflix. If you’re having any trouble unblocking content please let us know. Alternatively, you can contact customer support – they will solve any issues immediately. 


      1. Jeff

        From NordVPN support, moments ago:
        “Unfortunately, we are currently experiencing issues with Netflix and our team is working on a long-term solution. With that being said, you can try connecting to different servers, but there are no guarantees that it would work.”

        They don’t have an ETA on when Netflix issues will be fully resolved.


  3. no1

    Every nordvpn review I see is honestly just so tempting. I’m new to this vpn game, so I guess I’ll just start with the best. Just to clarify, is nordvpn the most popular vpn service or are there any with even more users and popularity?


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hello there. Some free VPN services may get more users because of easier accessibility. However, it’s hard to be certain since there’s no accurate data on which VPNs have the most users. In any case, NordVPN is one of the best services in terms of popularity and quality.


  4. aw fus

    heyo 🙂 serial netflix binge watcher here, which nordvpn server should i use to access the most amount of content? i heard canada and japan has a lot to offer… is there anything else?


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hey there. Netflix US should have the most content. But you can also use NordVPN to access Netflix UK and its trove of content. 


  5. Boreak

    Good review. I have one more question about how many devices can use nordvpn at the same time and is it different to how many devices i would be logged in? Thanks.


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hello, Boreak. You can use six different devices simultaneously with NordVPN. That means that you can log in on six different devices with one account. 


  6. Z S

    It says that a drawback is no router app.
    Since I use a router does it mean no security or that each computer needs its own protections?


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Greetings. Not exactly. Some VPNs like VyprVPN and ExpressVPN have special and easy-to-use router apps that can be installed on most routers. However, other VPNs only have the option to be set up manually. NordVPN can be set up on routers, but it can be complicated. Luckily, you can follow our guide on how to install a VPN on a router


  7. orest

    every VPN provider boasts about military grade encryption but what exactly does that even mean ? What’s the threat model? Did they get certified by the government? If not, tt’s just another marketing catch phrase.


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hey there. It means that they use similar encryption standards that the military uses in their communications, which is uncrackable by modern computers. Naturally, the threat model for civilians and military personnel is different and will depend on a variety of factors. Furthermore, VPN providers do not get certified by governments because the VPNs are operated by private companies. Plus, those standards are open-source and are judged based on their effectiveness, not by some authority like a government.


  8. Kumar

    Please review wevpn also, its better than nordvpn.


  9. Gian

    What about control over what I want to block, like ads, cookies, malware. can I choose that using NordVPN or is it just all automatic? I know other vpn services have this option


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hey, Gian. CyberSec cannot be customized in any way. It’s either turned on or off.


  10. twounds1

    Is nordvpn good to use in Australia? Which servers are best to pick for good speed?


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Greetings. Yes, NordVPN is a good choice to use in Australia. For optimal speed, pick the NordLynx tunneling protocol and whichever Australian city is closest to you.


  11. Joao

    here to second the review of NordVPN. I enjoy using it, it’s fast and reliable. I use it all the time for streaming, had no issues with my ISP so far.


  12. chris

    hey, I would like to install nordvpn on a router but I also would like to use my normal ip address for some places online. is it possible to control vpn,like turn it on or off whenever needed or do I need to install vpn on each device seperately?


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hello, Chris. In a case like this, you’d be better off not installing a VPN on a router. Instead, you can use split-tunneling to exclude those certain online places from the VPN tunnel. 


  13. Emms

    Does Nordvpn keep logs? How can I be sure even if they say they don’t? All I know is that all vpn providers claim they are super privacy-oriented, have done independent audits etc but I keep hearing about leaks and don’t know who to trust anymore. Would be grateful if you could please give an honest reply…


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hi, Emms. I understand your concern and it’s true that we just have to trust VPNs. However, third-party audits are very reliable and a good guarantee that some providers are true to their words. I’m not sure what leaks you’re referencing. But if you’re talking about account leaks then those vulnerabilities are not related to the VPN services. Instead, it’s a problem of users reusing passwords. When an account data leak happens, hackers will try out those credentials on other services as well. So if just one account with a shared password gets compromised – all other accounts get leaked as well. Overall, just a VPN is not enough. Good security habits are also essential. Finally, paid VPNs with good jurisdiction are trustworthy, while free VPNs or those in unfavorable jurisdictions should be avoided. Hope that answers your question.


  14. Daniel White

    Ive tried all the major providers and on balance I have found NordVPN the best.

    Pros

    Has secure core technology through onion routing
    Is able to connect to specified numbered servers in many countries
    It has more servers than anyone, except CyberGhost
    Has excellent Netflix diversionary capability
    Easiest desktop app to use

    Cons

    Unlike ExpressVPN, it has no synchronisation between browser extensions and main desktop app


  15. Renee D Baine

    Is NordVPN a good resource to use for users in multiple locations for healthcare? Our coders work from home in the US and using their home internet provider would need to remote log into a doctor’s electronic medical record. Is Nordvpn SOC2 & ISO27001 compliant for use in healthcare?


    1. avatar
      Karol Wojcik

      Hi, Renee. As far as I know, NordVPN doesn’t have SOC2 and ISO 27001 certificates. However, chances are that its B2B counterpart in NordVPN Teams would be suitable in your case. I suggest contacting their customer support. Good luck!


  16. buk

    Of course NordVPN (wireguard protocol/NordLynx) will test faster than OpenVPN protocol for expressVPN!

    What you should be testing is apples to apples and not comparing wireguard speed tests to OpenVPN speedtests, (apples to oranges)

    This is underhanded and just plain deceptive.


  17. dogstar4

    Over all I’m happy with Nord except for one issue. Selecting a server location by city does not always connect you to a sever in the city selected., or even in the same geographic area. The connection may work fine for streaming but, if you need to appear as in a particular locale, well ?- Example – Select a Miami server and then do an ip check . You may find you’re connected to a server in Tempe, Arizona. Choosing a server for Miami, Fla. I’ve been connected to Los Angeles,California. If you want a particular Geo location Choose both city and a sever number. Then do an ip check. If you got to where you wanted then you can save that server as a “favorite”. There a alot of servers listed under each city but they’re not all located in that city.


  18. Aardvark

    Is the company based in Panama or is that just where their data centers are located?

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NordVPN review
NordVPN
9.6 / 10
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