NordVPN Review: Offers Impressive Speeds and Security Features

Abeerah Hashim  - Security Expert
Last updated: November 21, 2023
Read time: 45 minutes
Facts checked by Ali Qamar

All about the one of most-loved VPNs today in one place.

The first thing striking your mind to protect online security would surely be a VPN. Of course, you need to hide your IP address before applying any other privacy methods. But if you keenly review your browsing requirements, you’ll find that you need a robust tool – NordVPN, maybe?

That’s the question I’ll answer in this NordVPN review as I tested the app myself.

While NordVPN holds a pretty good reputation in the market for its premium security, top-notch privacy, and blazing-fast speeds. Yet, this review sheds light on the minute details of this service. It’ll help you decide whether NordVPN deserves to be the leader of the VPN realm.

Let’s begin!

NordVPN – Quick look

Key features

Pricing$2.99-$11.99/month (based on the duration of the subscription)
Country LocationsAvailable in 59 countries
Number of ServersOver 5500 servers globally
Compatible devicesWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, routers, and other devices like gaming consoles and Smart TVs
LoggingNo data-logging
VPN ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, NordLynx (WireGuard)
Data EncryptionOpenVPN (AES-256-GCM, 4096-bit DH key)IKEv2/IPsec (AES-256-GCM, SHA2-384, 3072-bit DH keys)
Unblocks Streaming SitesYes (Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Rai TV, and more)
Support TorrentingYes (fast-speed torrent downloads)
Works in China and alikeYes (obfuscated servers)
Support24/7 live chat support, FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and email
Free TrialNo
Refund Policy30-day money-back guarantee
Official Website

  • Boasts blazing-fast speeds across most servers and offers stable connections.
  • The Double VPN feature works great to hide users’ original IP addresses without much compromise on speed.
  • Ideal for unblocking geo-restricted content and streaming libraries. NordVPN seamlessly unblocked our desired content libraries on Netflix, Crackle, and Hulu during our tests.
  • Quick-to-install VPN clients are available for all major devices, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, routers, Smart TVs, and more.
  • Multiple configuration options offer superior customizability for privacy freaks.
  • RAM-based server network ensures no user data is ever stored.
  • Responsive 24/7 customer support with knowledgeable agents.
  • Takes a bit longer to connect on distant servers.
  • New users may find the bunch of options overwhelming.

NordVPN overview

NordVPN is also one of the oldest VPN providers in the market.

According to their website, the service emerged in 2012 by four friends aiming to develop something that protects the public from the growing internet censorship. Hence, NordVPN surfaced online as a standalone app with just one server and support for Windows only.

With time, the app became popular, grew its customer base, and expanded its compatibility with other devices.

And today, NordVPN is one of the leading VPN services, with over 14 million customers (according to the website).

The most attractive thing about this service, which undoubtedly contributed to its popularity, is its respect for users’ privacy. It is evident from the fact that the service is based in Panama – a privacy-friendly region with no mandatory data retention laws. Also, it’s not even distantly related to any of the 14-Eyes alliance countries. Thus, even the governments cannot push the authorities to hand over any data (unless extremely needed).

Recently, the parent firm behind NordVPN, NordSecurity, joined hands with a like-minded provider, Surfshark, to jazz up the operations of the two. Both firms reiterated their robust stance on customers’ data security and privacy while pledging to provide better services.

Amidst the ongoing mergers and acquisitions in the cybersecurity industry, this move is no surprise. Instead, finding two privacy-savvy VPN providers merging for users’ privacy is soothing.

Aside from privacy, NordVPN also offers numerous great security features that give users a safer and more anonymous browsing experience. This extensive NordVPN review elaborates on this tool’s significant features.

Servers and network coverage

The first thing to always look for in a VPN is the number of servers it offers. Indeed, when it’s about a quality VPN, especially a paid one, one expects it to provide many servers with numerous locations.

Indeed, NordVPN satisfies this parameter as it has set up a vast network of over 5500 servers.

However, considering this extensive network, NordVPN seemingly lags concerning the choice of locations. That’s because this service offers locations in 59 countries only.

But that’s still not a big deal for most VPN users because the provider offers more servers from a particular location. It enables the service to bypass the harshest VPN banning attempts quickly. For example, when a service blocks one of its servers, the VPN would evade the block with another server without requiring you to change location.

What makes NordVPN surpass all others is the intuitive app interface offering many customizable options for servers. Although, you can change your IP country with one click by choosing an appropriate server from the list. Yet, what makes it ideal for more specific uses is that you can select a particular city as your location.

servers and network coverage

Besides, you can connect to a specific server since the app lets you choose one by displaying the server load.

P2P servers

NordVPN does not support torrenting on all its servers, but it offers an optimized server network for P2P sharing. These servers provide blazing-fast speeds, enabling you to seamlessly access torrenting sites such as BitTorrent, Popcorn Time, and uTorrent. On the other hand, other VPNs support P2P sharing over their entire network of servers, allowing you to connect to any server without worrying about selecting a specific server for torrenting.

In addition, the VPN service follows a strict zero-logs policy, which means your torrenting activity will not be stored or shared with third parties. During our testing, the VPN did not experience DNS leaks, ensuring that your IP address remains concealed while accessing your BitTorrent client. Furthermore, it has a kill switch that helps you to automatically stop the internet traffic if the VPN connection drops, preventing hackers or your ISP from seeing your torrenting activity.

Onion Over VPN servers

When surfing the dark web, you need an extra layer of protection to prevent your ISP from flagging your web traffic as suspicious or notifying the authorities, which might land you in legal trouble.

NordVPN’s Onion over VPN servers safeguards your privacy by hiding that you are accessing the dark web while only showing your ISP that you are using a VPN. Therefore, only the VPN provider knows that you are using the dark web, but due to the strict no-logs policy, it wipes your data from the servers after every reboot. Additionally, this onion over VPN feature enables you to access all Tor websites from any browser without downloading Tor or an onion browser.

Double VPN servers

Selecting Double VPN or multi-hop servers routes your traffic via two different servers for double encryption, enhancing your online security. However, this feature is only available on macOS, Windows, and Android, and it slows down your speeds when streaming or torrenting.

In our test, these servers experienced a 54% performance drop, which is pretty high for someone with lower download speeds.

US to Canada

Download Speed (Mbps)54.28 Mbps (54.27% difference from our base speed)
Upload Speed (Mbps)8.33 Mbps (63.66% difference from our base speed)
Ping (ms)89 ms

Dedicated IP

NordVPN offers dedicated IP addresses, unique IP addresses that are not shared. It is ideal for online banking because your bank may block you if your location changes constantly when accessing your account.

In addition, it can be used in firms to safeguard system access by assigning every employee a dedicated IP address and whitelisting them, blocking anyone not on the list. Also, it protects you from being randomly blocked by websites, unlike shared IP addresses which are constantly blacklisted since other users access them for malicious activities.

However, dedicated IP limits you to a single location unsuitable for torrenting or streaming.

Diskless (RAM) servers

NordVPN provides an entirely diskless server network to boost its security. It is a colocated server network, implying that no data is stored locally on the servers. 

Moreover, NordVPN ultimately owns and maintains the servers without involving third parties, lowering the probability of a data breach. So, in case of a breach, hackers cannot access any information, nor can the authorities if they seize the servers, keeping your data more secure and private.

NordVPN security and privacy

NordVPN is one of the most secure VPN service providers on the market. It uses robust encryption protocols, safe tunneling protocols, and RAM servers to boost online security. In addition, it has advanced features like an automatic kill switch, threat protection, and dark web monitoring.

The VPN service also has a strict no-logs policy that is constantly audited to confirm its transparency, ensuring your online privacy.

VPN protocols

The number and kind of VPN connection protocols a service offers directly indicate the provider’s credibility. The more a service takes care of the protocols provided, the better.

At NordVPN, the providers have supported the most secure VPN protocols to protect their users. Precisely, here’s what you get across different apps.

  • NordLynx: a WireGuard spin-off that NordVPN introduced in 2019. With NordLynx, the provider effectively addressed the weaknesses of WireGuard to develop a secure yet fast protocol. Currently, this protocol serves as the default protocol across all NordVPN apps.
  • OpenVPN (TCP/UDP): The traditional robust VPN protocol is also available with NordVPN for all users.
  • IKEv2/IPSec: secured via NGE (Next Generation Encryption) that implements a two-phased security mechanism.

Although NordVPN previously supported L2TP/IPSec and PPTP as well. However, given the underlying security issues with these protocols, the service abandoned them in December 2018.

Encryption technology

The entire purpose of using a VPN will go in vain if the provider fails to protect your data.

However, with NordVPN, you don’t have to worry about this aspect since the service warrants top-notch security with military-grade AES encryption.

Wondering what it is?

Well, AES is the most secure encryption standard that remains unbreakable today. Perhaps, it’ll stay this firm for many years to come – thanks to the complexity that theoretically would take billions of years to decipher it. (If you wish to know more about this exceptional encryption standard, check out this detailed guide to AES encryption.)

So, NordVPN typically applies AES-256-GCM encryption coupled with SHA2-384 authentication and 3072-bit Diffie-Hellman (DH) keys with its IKEv2 protocol. Whereas, in the case of OpenVPN, it applies an AES-256-GCM cipher with a 4096-bit DH key.

And when it’s about its innate NordLynx protocol, you get robust AES encryption with secure authentication.

Plus, the provider offers Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) to enhance your security further. Simply put, your data would remain safe even in the worst scenario of an adversary deciphering the encryption.

IP leak/DNS leak protection

Another measure of a VPN’s security is how it protects your IP address.

That’s because a VPN service’s responsibility doesn’t get over masking your IP address with a virtual one. Instead, the tool should block all other means that could directly or indirectly reveal your true identity online.

Technically, the VPN should ensure IP leak protection via IPV6, DNS, WebRTC, and other means.

While most service providers fail at this point, NordVPN wins again.

Briefly, the service prevents accidental IP exposures by blocking IPv6 traffic altogether (while the IPv4 traffic remains encrypted). Besides, it also routes all the traffic through its DNS servers to prevent IP leaks via DNS.

This facility is available to NordVPN apps, ensuring you enjoy complete privacy regardless of your device.

Kill Switch

Alongside protecting your IP address during active connections, a VPN should ensure your armor remains intact during accidental connection drops. That’s where a kill switch comes into play.

Specifically, this handy option blocks internet connectivity until the VPN connection re-establishes.

In the case of NordVPN, you’ll surely love the fantastic kill switch customizability the provider offers.

On Windows

NordVPN kill switch

As you can see in the image above, NordVPN provides you with two different kill switch options in its Windows client.

  • Internet Kill Switch: the entire internet connectivity to your device will be disabled whenever the NordVPN app faces a disconnection.
  • App Kill Switch: The internet connectivity to selected apps will be disabled when a VPN connection drops. In contrast, your device’s overall internet connectivity will remain intact. You can choose the apps to work only with the VPN by activating this option and selecting the apps by clicking the “Add apps” button. As you can see, I have selected my browser under this option.

A downside here is that this customizability is only available to Windows users.

On Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux

While the kill switch is available to Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux users, it’s more of a system-wide kill switch.

However, Mac users can enjoy the app kill switch functionality when running on the OpenVPN protocol. The macOS app also allows you to specify certain apps that the kill switch should restrict upon internet disconnection.

Data-logging policy (no logs?)

Tefincom S.A. owns NordVPN, and its headquarters are based in Panama, outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. This is a conglomerate of countries and governments that have invasive data retention policies, such as the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, and others. Thankfully, Panama does not necessarily have to share your personal information with other governments unless responding to a court request in Panama. This means you can comfortably use NordVPN without worrying about the VPN service being forced to store or hand over personal data by its government.

While VPN providers frequently claim to protect your data, only a few respect your privacy. Hence, the services secretly log your data despite offering things like kill-switch, encryption, etc. That’s where they lose points, and you risk your privacy.

Thankfully, NordVPN is one of the few VPNs that never log your data.

The evidence of this fact comes from their strategic placement in the privacy-friendly region of Panama. As a result, no surveillance authorities can press the service to store and/or hand over customers’ data to them.

Besides, the service has undergone several security audits to testify to its no-logs claim -something worth mentioning in this unbiased review of NordVPN.

Specifically, NordVPN is among the early adopters of security audits for ensuring no data logs. The provider went through the first audit in 2018 by the Switzerland-based service PricewaterhouseCoopers AG (PwC). Then, in 2020, the service invited them for a second audit with a broader scope. And, each time, PwC attested to the zero-logging policy of the providers.

It does not mean that the service knows nothing about you. Indeed, when it’s about maintaining such a crucial tool as a VPN, the providers have to store some data to recognize their users.

So, NordVPN mentions collecting (and storing) the following information about you.

  • Email address: Necessary to maintain your account, help reset passwords, and manage other activities.
  • Payment information: Though, for users wanting anonymity here, the service also accepts payments in cryptocurrencies (more on this later).
  • Timestamp of the last session: Required to implement the simultaneous device connection limits. The provider deletes this data after 15 minutes of service disconnection.
  • Communications with customer service: It includes both chats and emails.
  • Cookies: When you interact with the NordVPN website. You can clear the cookies from your device. (Learn more about how cookie tracking works and how to get rid of it through this detailed guide.)

But what if the governments force the providers to hand over a user’s data, we hear you ask?

Well, here’s how NordVPN answers this situation, as mentioned in their Privacy Policy.

Any request for user data should follow an appropriate official legal process recognized by the laws of the Republic of Panama (e.g., mutual legal assistance treaty, letters rogatory). We carefully review each request to make sure it satisfies laws applicable to our company, laws of requesting country, international norms, and our internal policies. However, it is important to note that the laws of the Republic of Panama do not oblige us to store logs of users’ online activity. Accordingly, we do not log users’ browsing history, traffic information, or IP addresses used to access the internet via our services. This means that we are not able to link shared IP addresses of VPN services to an individual user or otherwise individual users based on data that we do not process. Therefore, even if we were to receive a rightfully served request, it might be impossible for us to identify a specific person or provide any identifying information related to that person. In cases where, following an appropriate legal process, we are obligated to comply with a request and we are able to identify a specific person, we will provide the limited data we process as per our Privacy Policy given it falls within the scope of the request.

It clearly shows you don’t have to worry about your government spying on your data via NordVPN if you don’t execute any illegal activities.

Yet, even if NordVPN ever receives such a pressing request, it would mention it in its dedicated “warrant canary” section. (Interestingly, the service has not received any such requests yet.)


While we respect users’ privacy, PrivacySavvy never encourages the misuse of supportive tools like VPNs for executing malicious, suspicious, or illegal activities. Make sure to demonstrate responsible behavior while using VPNs.


This built-in ad blocker minimizes the number of ads on most websites and blocks malware-infested trackers and sites. Other advantages of the feature are as follows:

  • Improves privacy: Cybercriminals may steal all the information advertisers acquire through ads when data breaches occur. Blocking the ads ensures that your online privacy is protected.
  • Enhancing your loading speeds: Ads use your bandwidth since they must be downloaded on your screen. Blocking them drastically increases your speed.
  • Blocks malware: Cybercriminals use most ads and other files to infect users with malware. Unfortunately, you may unintentionally click and download these malicious files. NordVPN’s CyberSec feature prevents you from accessing such harmful files and ads.

You can easily turn on the CyberSec feature by navigating to settings and tapping the toggle button.

Threat protection

The Threat protection feature offers you extra protection from malware. It has the following functions:

  • Detects malware on files and web pages: It blocks malware-infected URLs and files while removing any downloaded malware from your gadget.
  • It safeguards you continuously: Threat Protection functions even when you are not connected to the VPN, ensuring you are always protected.

Threat Protection is available on macOS and Windows desktop apps. However, the app is not accessible on the App Store for macOS, but it can be downloaded through the vendor website. In addition, the feature is available in the Lite version for Android, iOS, and Linux, which functions similarly to the full version except for removing malware from your gadget.

Dark Web Monitor

This tool detects if the email address linked with your NordVPN account is listed on any leaked database on the dark web.

Dark Web Monitor is easy to use and is available on Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS apps. To enable it for mobile apps, navigate to ‘Settings> Tools.’ Select ‘Preferences’> ‘Dark Web Monitor’ for desktop apps and turn it on. This feature runs in the background without affecting your device’s performance, and it functions even without connecting to the VPN.

ioXt certification

Unlike most VPN providers, NordVPN includes an ioXt certification feature for its mobile apps. The ioXt Alliance targets to guarantee industry-wide compliance with the highest standards of security and privacy. As a certified product holder and partner, NordVPN meets these strict standards.

VPN providers are required to pass a rigorous testing process to be certified. NordVPN topped the evaluated criteria for its mobile apps, including services such as verified cryptography, vulnerability reporting tool, and password management.

Colocated servers

Most VPN providers simply rent the servers they offer their users. This implies that they only control the servers by installing custom software and rely on the third party that owns the data centers to manage them. However, this can easily go wrong.

In 2018, one of NordVPN’s third-party data centers was breached. As a result, the VPN provider took significant steps to transform most of its rented services into an owned, maintained, and fully controlled network. This measure enabled it to minimize the possibility of another external data breach.

Moreover, with over 5,700 servers, NordVPN is the most extensive VPN service to offer colocated servers. The servers only store data in RAM, implying that it deletes the data after every restart.

Security and privacy audits

NordVPN hired PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a top-tier independent audit firm, to audit the VPN security measures. Both the 2018 and 2020 audits confirmed that the privacy policy is valid.

The VPN provider also presents their transparency through app security audits. VerSprite, a cybersecurity consulting firm, conducted several penetration tests on their apps and system in 2019. All the bugs found were fixed immediately, even before the full report’s release.

However, they are still working to enhance their service to complete transparency. Also, they offer bounties to testers who discover bugs on their HackerOne site.


Incogni is an additional NordVPN security feature available as an extra package for only $6.49 monthly. This service targets platforms that collect and keep users’ personal information, including phone numbers, email addresses, and full names. Incogni then deletes all data from the data brokers’ databases following the user’s request. Due to the rampant data collection and sale cases, data removal services like Incogni are crucial in maintaining online privacy and security. Unfortunately, Incogni is available in the UK, the US, some parts of Europe, and Canada.

NordVPN key features

Until here in this NordVPN review, we discussed how this service weighs against the most obvious VPN features.

But does it offer anything unique to its customers?

Well, the answer is “yes.” NordVPN offers not one or two but many exciting privacy features that many other VPNs of today still miss. Here’s a quick look at all those options.

SmartPlay (SmartDNS)

Another noteworthy feature that adds to NordVPN’s prowess is SmartPlay – a dedicated Smart DNS feature for seamless content unblocking.

Smart DNS is a wonderful alternative strategy to unblock restricted content anywhere. The method works by rerouting users’ DNS traffic through the provider’s DNS servers instead of the ISP’s DNS.

While numerous Smart DNS services are available today, offering their services as a VPN alternative, often, they fail to achieve their claims. That’s because Smart DNS cannot bypass harsh content restrictions on its own. Nonetheless, the technology breaks all content barriers when coupled with a VPN.

NordVPN aims to achieve that with its SmartPlay feature – providing users with interruption-free internet. The feature is enabled with all NordVPN apps by default, so you don’t need to enable it manually. Instead, connecting to a relevant VPN server is enough to get Smart DNS protection.

Split tunneling

Given the restrictive location-based accessibility applied by sensitive services, such as your bank, split tunneling has become a must-have for a VPN. But, of course, you can’t afford to lose access to your bank account while you unblock ESPN to watch your favorite sport, can you?

NordVPN has got you covered with its fantastic split tunneling feature.

The service offers two customizable options to you. You can allow certain apps to run outside the VPN tunnel by selecting the “Disable VPN for selected apps” option. Or, you can restrict some apps to specifically use the VPN tunnel by choosing the “Enable VPN for selected apps only” setting.

Split tunneling

As shown in the image above, we exclusively selected the Microsoft Edge browser to bypass the VPN tunnel. That allows me to use this browser to access local content without risking my privacy.


Meshnet is NordVPN’s flagship technology based on WireGuard. It enables users to connect with other devices on their network with encrypted VPN connections.

That means alongside encrypting your connection to the internet, you can also encrypt the intranet connections, preventing any interceptions possible on your local network.

To use this feature, link the devices on your network that you wish to connect through Meshnet and enable this feature across all those devices. Once done, you can connect to the other device using its NordVPN name or IP address.

This option works great in setting up a genuine virtual private network, linking devices from different regions globally.

For instance, you can connect your gaming friends through Meshnet for secure gaming. Likewise, businesses can use this feature to securely connect their remote employees’ devices to the central network. It also makes file sharing, storage, and accessibility much safer and easier.

Obfuscated servers

This Nord VPN service review would be incomplete without mentioning server obfuscation.

This dedicated feature aims to provide users with online privacy and freedom in repressive regions like China or Russia.

Countries like these have labeled VPNs illegal or adopted harsh policies against these tools. Hence, they implement data packet inspection (DPI) to spot VPNs by spying on the internet traffic. Although they can’t precisely read your data due to encryption, they can still detect the unique data packets that indicate encryption.

To address this problem, NordVPN offers an inclusive range of “Obfuscated Servers from different locations. Connecting to these servers won’t let your ISP or the surveillance authorities detect VPN use, as the data packets would appear like the regular ones.

Again, you can find this option among the specialty servers on your app. You can then either connect to the fastest server available to you. Or, you can choose a specific location.

Obfuscated servers

Once again, ensure the OpenVPN TCP or UDP is active as your VPN protocol.

Quick Connect

The Quick Connect feature with NordVPN is exactly what it says – it quickly connects you to the fastest server. It saves you time to scroll down its long list of servers if all you want is to hide your IP address.

While you can easily find it as a standalone option on the main app dashboard, this feature works across all server locations. So whenever you click on your desired location, the app quickly connects you to the fastest server from that region.

Nonetheless, this convenience doesn’t mean you can’t choose the servers yourself. On the contrary, the list of all servers in all locations will remain available for you to select.


No matter how robust a VPN you use, it will all go in vain if it doesn’t protect your DNS queries from your ISP.

DNS is one of the most significant sources of IP leaks, which most IP masking procedures fail to address.

But with NordVPN, your DNS traffic remains hidden as the service offers Private DNS – its own DNS servers for the users. This feature protects you from DNS filtering, DNS hijacking, and other cyber threats.

Since PrivateDNS is integrated within the VPN, you don’t have to activate it manually. Nonetheless, you can use your own DNS instead (if it’s unnecessary) by using NordVPN’s Custom DNS setting.

Custom DNS

Protection from DNS leaks is what NordVPN excels at (of course, besides speed). Specifically, NordVPN offers custom DNS servers for all users.

In simple words, whenever you connect to any NordVPN server, the service encrypts your data and channels all the traffic through its own DNS servers.

However, it doesn’t restrict your ability to choose your preferred DNS. You can configure the VPN to route traffic through your chosen DNS without compromising encryption.

Custom DNS

Simply open your VPN app and click the gear icon at the top. Under the “Advanced” tab, you will find the “Custom DNS.” Simply turn it on and click “Set a DNS server address.” You can then set up to 4 addresses within the app.

Pausing and auto-connect

The NordVPN auto-connect feature enables you to avoid a lot of clicking around the app if you want to start your device and immediately establish a VPN connection. On the other hand, the pause option allows you to access a website normally without disabling your VPN connection.

Moreover, it allows you to pause your connection and set the timer to restart it automatically after the timeout expires. This basic feature is essential in preventing accidental exposure of your IP address if you forget to enable your VPN.


Presets is a recent extra feature that you may customize without limitation. For example, you can generate your own customized VPN settings, which you can access right from the app’s main screen. This feature allows you to select the type of servers you wish to connect to, toggle extra features, and set your VPN connection preference. Additionally, you may include shortcuts to specific apps that you can access from the app’s main screen. It also lets you use various VPN servers to access different services. However, this feature is presently only accessible on macOS.

NordPass password manager

NordVPN isn’t all about monitoring breached credentials only. Instead, it can also guide you on creating strong passwords – thanks to its robust password manager app NordPass.

Briefly, it’s a standalone password manager app that helps you securely store all your passwords in one place. Besides, NordPass lets you create difficult-to-crack passwords, store all your important stuff, and check all credentials with continuous breach monitoring.

Although, this app is free with some limited features aside from separate premium plans. Yet, you can also buy this app for an additional small payment of $2.21 per month when subscribing to NordVPN.

(Interested to know more about this password manager? Check out this detailed NordPass review.)

NordLocker encrypted cloud storage

Another exciting security add-on that you can get with your premium subscription for an additional payment of as low as $1.32/month is NordLocker.

As the name suggests, it’s a secure online locker for you – a standalone encrypted file management app to keep your important data safe.

You can save your files over clouds that you can access from anywhere. Also, using the same app, you can encrypt the local data on your device to keep it saved from potential snoopers and hackers.

With the premium subscription, you get up to 500GB of cloud storage and unlimited local file encryption. Unfortunately, though the latter is also available for free, you only get 3GB of storage.

(That said, if you are looking for some free providers, check out this list of the best free cloud storage providers.)

NordVPN user experience

This VPN service offers a diverse set of users and manual configuration preferences. Furthermore, you can configure it with your router if it supports OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocols or use the provided apps for your mobile and PC gadgets.

NordVPN apps vary depending on the device. The Windows app is the most dynamic, but the options for browser extensions, Linux, Android, iOS, and macOS, are also worthwhile, as detailed below.


NordVPN’s Windows app has the most feature-rich version. It offers two types of kill switches and split tunneling. Additionally, it includes auto-connect, pause, and invisibility features.

The only tunneling protocols available from the client which enhance your speeds are OpenVPN and NordLynx. In addition, you can use a manual configuration to access the IKEv2 protocol if necessary.

Moreover, a clickable map interface simplifies the connecting country’s selection. Also, you may utilize the country list in the sidebar or select a specific server by clicking the three dots displayed when you move your cursor over a country.


NordVPN provides two different macOS apps. One is available on the App Store, while the other can be downloaded from their official website. The App Store version supports the OpenVPN, NordLynx, and IKEv2 tunneling protocols. The kill switch is activated by default, but you can turn it off by navigating to the VPN’s settings.

On the other hand, the version from the official website is typically referred to as the sideload version and includes more recent updates, but it only supports the OpenVPN protocol. Unfortunately, the macOS kill switch functions only for specific apps, and it does not allow you to configure it. Moreover, both versions support the latest preset features available.


NordVPN is a superb VPN for Linux, and you can download RPM and Debian packages from the official site. They cover Linux Mint, Fedora, Ubuntu, and other multiple distributions. Additionally, there is a community-developed Arch Linux port with instructions for setting up manual connections and IKEv2 and OpenVPN connections.

However, Linux users do not get a graphical application and will be required to set up everything through a command line terminal. Fortunately, NordVPN’s Linux app is open source, meaning you can improve the app’s features through individual coding. This exhibits the level of transparency and reliability the VPN provider offers.

Furthermore, it includes DNS leak protection and NordLynx as the default tunneling protocol, enhancing connection speeds. Conversely, the app is pretty slow when responding to commands, but NordVPN developers always seek to resolve any issues.


NordVPN provides an easy and spotless overall interface for Android apps. It lets you choose a server using the country and map list hybrid. Also, you can access the settings and notifications by tapping the icons in the screen’s corner.

In addition, the app offers features like auto-connect, pause, split tunneling, and a Dark Web Monitoring tool. It also has a configurable kill switch that enables you to disconnect the internet connection in case the VPN connection drops. Android users can access NordLynx and OpenVPN tunneling protocols, and the Double VPN features through the available protocols. Also, the Android app has passed the ioXt certification.


The iOS app for NordVPN resembles the Android app. The map and country list hybrid, Dark Web Monitoring, and kill switch features are also the same. The sole difference is in details, where the iOS app does not have a configurable kill switch or split tunneling.

Furthermore, iOS users can select from various tunneling protocols such as NordLynx, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. In addition, the protocols support the Double VPN feature.

Browser extensions

This service offers lightweight solutions for Chrome and Firefox browser extensions. They are essential to those using older systems that do not have apps. Also, Windows XP and macOS 9 users can easily install the browser extensions rather than set up manual connections. However, a browser extension simply safeguards the browser traffic, meaning you are still vulnerable to other attacks.

Fortunately, it allows you to block WebRTC leaks, protect yourself from malware and phishing, and connect to all NordVPN servers that encrypt your traffic. Additionally, it includes the CyberSec feature and offers the bypass List feature, which functions as split tunneling for websites by enabling you to block specific sites from the proxy connection. The Bypass List feature improves your traffic control in Windows and functions as a replacement for split tunneling on macOS.

NordVPN on router

NordVPN on routers provides a continuous and always-on VPN connection for unlimited gadgets. It is the simplest method to use a VPN connection on devices that do not support VPNs because connecting to the internet typically means you are secure.

This VPN service is compatible with routers that support the OpenVPN protocol. The installation process varies with your device’s brand, but NordVPN includes installation guidelines for Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, and Asus routers.

Smart TVs and gaming consoles

NordVPN’s apps are simple to download on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Android TV. They are available in the app stores, and you can quickly download them without any hassle. These apps offer similar features, but the interface differs slightly. Also, they do not include a map, but you can select your server from the long list of available servers.

Moreover, NordVPN supports devices such as Roku, Chromecast, Play station, Nintendo, and Xbox. The simplest method is using NordVPN’s SmartDNS proxy, which requires you to modify the DNS on your gadget. Thankfully, NordVPN includes a guide for this process, which takes less time to configure. In addition, this solution functions effectively on Smart TVs and Play Stations. The other option is setting up a hotspot on your PC and then using the VPN connection from your PC on other devices.

Download and installation

It is another step where NordVPN worked exceptionally fast during my experience testing the app for this review.

You must create an account with the service provider while selecting an appropriate subscription plan. Then, you can download the respective VPN client on your device.

Once done, click on the setup file and wait a minute or two to let the VPN configure itself. After that, the process goes on without requiring input from you.

After the installation, you can sign in to the app by clicking the “Login” button. It might take you to your web browser, where you must sign in. After that, you’ll be redirected back to the app, where you can start the VPN connection.

Device compatibility

NordVPN is one of those few providers that ensure users’ convenience by offering excellent device compatibility. Perhaps, that’s why this provider has safely endured all the ups and downs for about a decade.

You can download this VPN on almost any internet-connected device you own. Here is a quick summary of all the devices to run NordVPN’s dedicated apps.

  • Mobile devices: Android, iOS
  • Computers: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook
  • Streaming devices: Amazon Fire devices, Chromecast, Android TV
  • Game consoles: Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Playstation
  • Other devices: Raspberry Pi, Kindle Fire, Oculus Quest, Routers
  • Browser extensions: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge

Isn’t it a comprehensive list? Still, if you find any of your devices missing here, remember that NordVPN supports WiFi routers. So, you can easily install the VPN on your router and connect any device you need to protect.

For instance, if you aren’t sure how to install VPN on Smart TV, connect it to your VPN-enables router. Since NordVPN offers fast-speed connectivity, you won’t face lags while watching your favorite movies and shows.

Simultaneous connections

Appreciate the VPN’s diversified device support, but how can I connect all of them? We hear you ask!

Well, the provider truly realizes the need for its customers to secure multiple devices at a time. Hence, it offers up to six simultaneous connections on a single account. That, too, without compromising on speed and performance.

Though this range is enough for a single user, you can still expand the connectivity to more devices by securing your network with a VPN router.

However, if these limitations don’t attract you, you can use Surfshark or IPVanish VPNs that support unlimited simultaneous connections.

Customer support

NordVPN offers its subscribers world-class 24/7 customer support via live chat, email, and a searchable support library.

Subscribers can chat with a customer care representative using the floating button at the bottom right of their homepage anytime.

Users can also contact them through the Help Center page, where they have ready representatives on guard to help subscribers with any problems they might face.

With emails, the support team responds within a maximum of 24 hours. In comparison, the live chat provides immediate assistance.

The live customer support service usually asks users basic questions, such as the area of concern, before redirecting them to an agent. Thanks to its intelligent bot that quickly connects you to the right support agent using the information you provide.

While writing this review, we tested the NordVPN live chat feature and found them knowledgeable. Here are a couple of screenshots of our chat with them.

NordVPN live chat test

The chat feature’s most impressive trait is the utmost care for your privacy. It doesn’t even ask you to enter your name or email address, letting you chat anonymously.

NordVPN also has a “Contact Us” page listing the company information if you want to contact them in other situations. In addition, the provider has listed specific email addresses for business clients, affiliate partnerships, the press, and VPN business inquiries.

Speed – Is NordVPN fast enough? 

NordVPN offers consistent and blazing-fast speeds across all of its servers. We tested its multiple servers distributed worldwide, and it only displayed a minimal drop, allowing you to have seamless gaming, browsing, and streaming experience.

We considered three main aspects during the speed tests:

  • Download speed: This factor indicates how fast the data is downloaded from a server. Approximately 25 Mbps for 4k streaming and 5 Mbps for HD streaming are required.
  • Upload speed: It indicates how fast the data is sent to a server. Approximately 5 Mbps to send files promptly and 2 Mbps for high-quality video are needed.
  • Ping: It shows the time data used to travel to and from your device. Online games require only about 100 ms to run without lagging.

However, distant servers take a long time to establish a connection, but you can force-quit and reopen the app to boost the connectivity rate. Fortunately, NordVPN’s speeds are quite impressive after establishing a connection.

This VPN provider recently added the NordLynx protocol. The protocol is based on WireGuard, the fastest protocol on the market. Despite its fast speeds, WireGuard is not the safest protocol. Therefore, NordVPN employs double NAT technology to boost your security.

NordLynx was the fastest protocol across all servers, and it only took a maximum of 5 seconds to establish a connection. When you change servers, your connection drops, so NordLynx’s fast connections save you from the aggravating wait time.

We ran all our speed tests using the NordLynx protocol because it offers the fastest speeds.

Local speeds

We recorded our base speeds without connecting to NordVPN to compare the speed drops with the VPN connected.

No VPN connection (London, UK)

Download Speeds (Mbps)93.67 Mbps
Upload Speed (Mbps)15.09 Mbps
Ping (ms)10 ms

We then used its ‘Quick connect’ feature, which connected us to a London server. When we tried browsing, gaming, and streaming, the slowdown of speeds was minimal and almost unnoticeable.

Quick connect (London, UK)

Download Speed (Mbps)89.73 (4.21% decrease)
Upload Speed (Mbps)14. 46 (4.17% decrease)
Ping (Ms)11 ms

We then connected to Ireland, which is close to our location. NordVPN maintained high speeds, unlike other VPNs, which often reduced our speeds by at least 15% when testing them.

Dublin, Ireland (Nearby servers)

Download Speed (Mbps)88.90 Mbps (5.45% decrease)
Upload Speed (Mbps)14.75 Mbps (12.15% decrease)
Ping (Ms)19 ms

Therefore, you may use servers in your location or those near your location without the worry of experiencing a slowdown.

International speeds

NordVPN’s international server speeds are impressive. Our online activities were not affected because the speeds only dropped slightly. We streamed without buffering, browsed swiftly, and played various online games without lag.

We started by testing the servers in the Netherlands, which is closer to our location, and the distance made no difference.

Amsterdam, Netherlands (546.5 km from our location)

Download Speed (Mbps)88.31 Mbps (6.01% decrease)
Upload Speed (Mbps)14.25 Mbps (4.75% decrease)
Ping (Ms)30 ms

We noticed the same slight drop after connecting to an Ireland server. The speed loss was only 10.32% which is remarkable for a further location.

Zagreb, Croatia (1,705 km from our location)

Download Speed (Mbps)83.42 Mbps (10.32% decrease)
Upload Speed (Mbps)10.35 Mbps (34.75% decrease)
Ping (Ms)45 ms

The New York server, overseas from our location, had incredible speeds, even outperforming the UK servers. The ping increased, and the speed was ideal for online gaming and streaming without lag.

New York, US (5,567 km from our location)

Download Speed (Mbps)84.92 Mbps (9.45% decrease)
Upload Speed (Mbps)9.65 Mbps (42.18% decrease)
Ping (Ms)62 ms

We noticed the first significant speed drop when we connected to a Tokyo server. This is hardly surprising given that it is 9,553 km from our base location. Despite the 41.45% decrease in speed, we did encounter any buffering while streaming. We only noticed a difference in speeds when playing online games due to the high latency, which caused lagging.

Tokyo, Japan (9,553 km from our location)

Download Speed (Mbps)60.89 Mbps (41.58% decrease)
Upload Speed (Mbps)10.75 Mbps (35.02% decrease)
Ping (Ms)124 ms

We finally tested an Australian server, which is the furthest from our location. The speeds dropped by 45.18%, which is relatively high, but we still got remarkable download speeds, allowing us to browse swiftly and stream in HD. However, the ping was significantly high, making it unsuitable for online gaming. With this server, you can play less demanding games, such as Civilization V.

Adelaide, Australia (16,254 km from our location)

Download Speed (Mbps)59.87 Mbps (45.18% decrease)
Upload Speed (Mbps)8.95 Mbps (50.45% decrease)
Ping (ms)255 ms

Does NordVPN work with Netflix and other streaming sites?

One reason people are usually reluctant to use a VPN when streaming is the apparent speed slowdown. That’s why people try using proxies or unblockers to stream sites such as Netflix and get stuck with the Netflix proxy error.

However, not every VPN compromises the speed. Services like NordVPN defiantly support streaming by offering fast-speed servers.

Also, NordVPN comes in as a savior whenever you get stuck with ISP throttling in the middle of your favorite movie or want to unblock Netflix at a different location.

According to our tests, NordVPN fulfills its promise of unblocking Netflix worldwide, including Australia, the UK, Canada, the USA, the Netherlands, Japan, and India.

You can also use this VPN to watch Netflix in China. (You must have NordVPN installed on your device before entering China).

We could also access Netflix libraries of other countries, like Germany and Brazil, without lags or buffering issues.

Also, during my NordVPN review, Netflix videos kept streaming in ultra HD quality throughout all the tests.

We then tried streaming other sites and found satisfactory results. NordVPN unblocked all the popular streaming websites, including ABC iView, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO Go, and Amazon Prime.

Does NordVPN support gaming?

After knowing the impressive results NordVPN delivered while streaming, you might be curious to know if you can use it for gaming, too.

Again, NordVPN delivered an excellent performance as we tested it while playing Call of Duty: Warzone and Fortnite and found no lags.

Thus, we highly recommend you use NordVPN (or any other robust VPN like ExpressVPN) while gaming to protect yourself from online threats like malware attacks, DDoS, and bandwidth throttling.

Can I use NordVPN for torrenting?

In brief, yes, NordVPN allows file sharing and torrenting.

As explained above, NordVPN has dedicated peer-to-peer (P2P) servers. These servers offer seamless and safe torrenting with unlimited filesharing capabilities over BitTorrent or any other protocol.

We even tested this VPN for downloading a few torrents and could finish the work within a few minutes.

So, if you are an avid torrentor but fear tracking, using NordVPN is your best bet. It is crucial if torrenting is illegal in your country.


As a responsible internet user, make sure never to abuse a privacy tool for unfair activities. PrivacySavvy highly discourages abusing privacy tools like VPNs for unethical practices. We urge you to respect licensing and copyright policies while using NordVPN for torrents.

Will NordVPN work in China?

Yes, NordVPN is one of the top VPNs for China. Not many VPN service providers have managed to bypass the Great Firewall of China, but NordVPN has proven its grit.

Due to its widespread global servers, NordVPN works in tough regions such as the UAE, Iran, and Qatar.

Coming back to China, you should ideally download NordVPN before arriving there. Even though the provider has an accessible China website, as China constantly keeps cracking VPNs down, you cannot tell what may happen at any time.

In comparison, having a VPN with you before time will help you protect your internet privacy right when you land within the country’s geographical boundaries.

How about using NordVPN with Tor?

Like the dedicated P2P servers, NordVPN also offers dedicated Onion Over VPN servers for Tor, as explained above. So, you can trust this VPN for your activities.

NordVPN is the best VPN service to work with Tor. Thanks to its security with fast speeds, you won’t face any connectivity issues. It contrasts with most other VPNs that fail to deliver adequate speeds (given the already slow browsing speeds with Tor).

Is NordVPN safe to use?

If you have previously heard of NordVPN, it would be likely for a not-so-good reason.

Unfortunately, the service provider had made it to the news for a cybersecurity incident that didn’t affect it. But the rumor mill did its best to turn it into a direct breach. Through this honest review of NordVPN, you’ll now get to know the real details.

Reviewing NordVPN data breach

Recalling what had happened in 2019, NordVPN discovered a security issue at one of its third-party data centers. It turned out that the breach happened in 2018 when the attacker acquired TLS keys by exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities.

While the respective data center deleted the affected user account, it didn’t inform NordVPN. Hence, the incident caused a stir in the cybersecurity world when the news broke.

Even though NordVPN does not keep any logs, the data breach was a point of concern that hackers can infiltrate the company’s security to access some user data.

Nonetheless, the provider elaborated on the matter, detailing how it remained unaffected. According to NordVPN’s official statement regarding the data breach,

The intruder did not find any user activity logs because they do not exist. In addition, they did not discover users’ identities, usernames, or passwords because none of our applications send user-created credentials for authentication… The intruder did find and acquire a TLS key that has already expired…

Expired or not, this TLS key could not have been used to decrypt NordVPN traffic in any way. That is because that’s not what it does.

Ironically, this so-called security incident also proved the no-logs and safe practices at NordVPN.

NordVPN’s remedial activities

Following the incident, the provider further jazzed up its infrastructure security, initiated a bug bounty program, and introduced collocated servers (wholly owned and managed by NordVPN) to warrant a no-data logging practice.

It is a real-world demonstration of how a robust VPN service protects its customers – despite facing a server-level breach; the customers remained safe since the servers had no data.

Perhaps you now have the answer to your question about NordVPN’s safety.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN – Which one is the best?

It might have been the most pressing question that confused you while subscribing to a VPN.

And it’s not only about you; both providers’ fantastic services and outclass performance have long started the debate for the best VPN.

You can find more details in this comprehensive comparison of ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN.

But, if you’re short on time, let me highlight a few key points.

Data encryption256-bit AES256-bit AES
Server network3000+ servers in 90+ countries5000+ servers in 59 countries
Kill switchPC only 
Allows torrenting 
Connection logsSome aggregated data
Unblocks Netflix US
Unblocks Prime Video
Unblocks Hulu 
Unblocks BBC iPlayer
Money back guarantee 30 days30 days
Lowest monthly cost$6.67$2.99

NordVPN pricing plans

Like other premium VPN service providers, NordVPN requires you to pay every month for the subscription. But it indeed gives its users value for their money.

You can commit to a lengthy subscription with the VPN service to save up some bucks. In this case, you can get the premium VPN for roughly $2.99 per month (after a recent holiday season sale). However, the monthly and yearly plans are relatively costly, pricing at $12.99/month and $4.99/month, respectively.

But don’t worry about your money when subscribing to this provider. NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to all its subscribers who fail to get value for their money, which means you can try it risk-free.

Also, you can avail yourself of the NordVPN free download by first trying the app on your Android, iPhone, or Mac devices. The provider offers a 7-day free and 30-day paid trial with a money-back guarantee.

NordVPN for Business

Alongside regular VPN clients, NordVPN also offers a separate VPN solution for business users – the NordLayer.

It is a dedicated cloud VPN solution for businesses, offering various features supporting secure corporate networks for on-site and remote employees. Key NordLayer features include endpoint protection, safe remote connections, secure file access, site-to-site/multi-site connections, and traffic encryption.

NordLayer subscription starts from $7/month (per user) with the basic security features, offering advanced security functionalities for intensive users at $9/user/month.

What about the provider’s refund policy?

As noted above, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its subscription plans allowing users to try its services risk-free.

To verify this claim, our team at PrivacySavvy tried out NordVPN’s refund policy using all its subscription plans. We can guarantee that their refund policy works; we received our full refund shortly after requesting it.

How to cancel your NordVPN subscription

Unlike many other VPNs, NordVPN offers its users a simple way of canceling their subscription using the “Cancel my subscription” button available in all accounts.

If you wish to cancel your NordVPN subscription, sign in to your account, scroll down the welcome page, and find the “Cancel automatic payments” option.

You will be prompted to confirm your activity. After confirming, you will be given various options asking why you want to cancel your subscription. Select the best fit for your situation and continue the cancelation process.

After finishing this process, your account will be disabled but not canceled. So, you will need to contact NordVPN’s customer support via live chat or email and ask for a refund while explaining the reason for it.

Understandably, the customer care representative will try to convince you to stay by asking if they can rectify something to keep you, as they hate to see you go.

But if you’re adamant about the cancellation, they readily agree to cancel your subscription without much hassle and kickstart the process of compensating.

The compensation process should take one to two working days to complete without problems. It took us 29 hours to get a refund following our request.

As a word of advice, once you receive your refund, cancel your recurring payments through your financial service provider or your bank, too. Doing so ensures no further payments to NordVPN without your knowledge.

Payment methods supported

Regarding the payment methods NordVPN supports, while the provider no longer allows PayPal, you can pay using a credit card, ACH Transfer, Google Pay, UnionPay, and Amazon Pay.

NordVPN also accepts cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, in its payment options, allowing users to go completely anonymous while using disposable email addresses while paying.


In this time of increasing cyber crimes and data breaches, NordVPN is one of the VPN service providers recommended without any second thoughts.

Providing its users with the best security measures present in the market, NordVPN goes a long way to safeguard and protect user privacy and anonymity while surfing the internet.

Also, thanks to NordVPN’s 24/7 customer support service, users are guaranteed to feel protected during their digital walk with NordVPN.

The only thing I didn’t find super-cool about the provider during this extensive NordVPN review is that its app interfaces are not the best compared to other top rivals. But overall, it provides excellent value for your money.


NordVPN only offers a 7-day free trial on Android, iOS, and macOS apps. Users with other devices may not try NordVPN for free. But you can take advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee to test the VPN for free for a month.

No. NordVPN observes a strict (and audited) no-logs policy. Aside from the data necessary for maintaining your subscription, it won’t log your IP address or online activities.

Thanks to the obfuscated server technology that mixes up the VPN traffic with the regular one to evade data packet inspection (DPI), it will be too difficult.

Yes. But make sure you have a valid account on the service to stream iPlayer outside the UK. As for changing your online location, with NordVPN, you can browse just like in the UK.

Students can get exclusive offers on yearly subscriptions through MyUnidays. The offer is cheaper than regular plans, and you will enjoy the same privacy and security features as regular users. You are only required to confirm your student status with MyUnidays and sign up for NordVPN with a discounted subscription.

Yes, NordVPN supports major gaming consoles. You may use NordVPN on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S to enjoy secure gaming with faster speeds and connection stability. In addition, it enables you to bypass gaming limitations in geo-restricted countries for a more extensive gaming experience.

NordVPN is one of the most secure premium VPN services. Their company location, infrastructure, and strict no-logs policy protect your privacy. Additionally, they passed ioXt certification and have been audited twice.

This VPN provider employs cutting-edge security features such as robust AES 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch that prevents data leaks if the VPN connection drops, and a Threat Protection feature that prevents malware, ads, and trackers. Generally, NordVPN is one of the most secure VPN services on the market.

All your activities while using NordVPN remain concealed. Your online traffic is encrypted, so third parties or your ISP cannot track your online activity. Also, the VPN service does not collect user data, allowing you to maintain your privacy.

NordVPN is a worthwhile option because of its pricing plans and money-back guarantee. This VPN service respects your data privacy and offers excellent performance. Furthermore, it includes solid encryptions, lightning-fast speeds, and unblocks popular streaming platforms.

Yes, NordVPN’s subscriptions include the SOCKS5 proxy. After getting the VPN, you may connect to the proxy, which is particularly helpful with torrenting clients.