NordVPN is one of the most popular virtual private network service providers, with stellar reviews from thousands of satisfied users. In this comprehensive NordVPN review, we’ll provide a detailed analysis of its features and key characteristics so you can determine if it’s the right VPN for you.
NordVPN relies on industry-standard encryption and powerful VPN protocols to provide superb protection and complete online anonymity. There are dozens of useful add-ons available to further enhance VPN protection, as well as thousands of high-speed servers to choose from.
NordVPN Review: Pros & Cons
NordVPN is definitely considered one of the best VPNs on the market, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely flawless. Here are the pros & cons of NordVPN, so you know exactly what you’re in for if you sign up with this VPN provider.
What Is NordVPN?
NordVPN is a virtual private network service provider. In other words, it’s a software application that encrypts your online data, improves your privacy while browsing, and protects you against hackers, malware, and other harmful programs.
Much like other top VPN services, NordVPN routes your online traffic through secure servers and leverages Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-256) to ensure nobody can monitor your online activity or access your data, not even your internet service provider.
Apart from hiding your IP, physical location, and online activity, NordVPN also enables you to access geo-restricted content, so you can access any website and watch your favorite TV shows and movies on popular streaming platforms without restrictions.
NordVPN might not be the most affordable VPN on the market, but users get excellent value for money. On top of that, if you choose a two-year plan, you can save more than 50% on your subscription.
There are three different plans to choose from — Standard, Plus, and Complete. The Standard plan is bare-bones, offering only the high-speed VPN. The NordVPN Plus plan also includes malware protection and blocks all ads and tracking, while the Complete package comes with a handful of useful add-ons like a password manager, a data breach scanner, and 1 Tb of encrypted cloud storage.
A two-year plan for NordVPN Complete is definitely the most cost-effective option. You’re only paying two extra dollars per month compared to the Standard plan, but get access to all NordVPN features.
One thing to keep in mind is that, whether you opt for an annual or a two-year plan, you’ll have to pay the full sum upfront. That’s $143.28 for a two-year NordVPN Complete plan. While that’s not a small commitment, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a full refund if you’re unsatisfied with the service within the first month.
NordVPN Speed and Performance
Next, we’ll continue this NordVPN review by taking a look at how well the VPN performs and how it impacts your internet speed.
On its website, NordVPN boasts that it’s the fastest VPN on the market. While that’s up for debate, given strong competition (Surfshark, CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, etc.), NordVPN certainly displayed impressive speeds on tests run by AV-Test, an independent IT security institute. You can read the full AV-Test report here to get the full breakdown.
With an average download speed of 417 Mbps in the USA, 255.9 Mbps in the UK, and over 520 Mbps on Japan servers, you can expect excellent speed and reliable performance. NordVPN achieved such impressive results thanks to NordLynx, a proprietary VPN protocol based on WireGuard that removes any restrictions and speed limits.
As you can see, NordVPN’s “fastest VPN on the market” slogan isn’t just a sales pitch. They have consistently excellent speed and the performance results to back their claims.
Is NordVPN Good for Netflix & Streaming?
NordVPN ranks pretty high on our list of the best Netflix VPNs. If you want to watch a TV show or a movie on Netflix that isn’t available in your region, you can connect to a different server with a single click and access a different Netflix library. You can use NordVPN to connect to Netflix in the U.S., Canada, Australia, UK, Japan, and a dozen different countries.
As we mentioned, NordVPN’s servers are extremely fast and reliable, so there’s no buffering, and you won’t have to wait for an episode of your favorite TV show to load before you can start watching. This makes NordVPN one of the best VPNs for streaming otherwise geo-restricted content.
You use the NordVPN browser extension on your PC or laptop to watch shows on Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, and other popular streaming platforms without restrictions. You can also download iOS and Android apps to access location-restricted content on the go.
NordVPN Servers & Locations
NordVPN boasts over 5,400 high-speed servers spread across 59 different countries. This puts it in the top three VPN services for server coverage, with only CyberGhost VPN and PureVPN providing more servers.
NordVPN’s server spread is excellent. There are 15 servers located in different U.S. cities, three in Canada, and one in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Costa Rica. In Europe, NordVPN servers are available in 37 different countries, so you’ll have a fast and stable connection regardless of where you’re located.
Apart from regular servers, NordVPN offers obfuscated and double VPN servers, as well as servers with a dedicated IP. The website even features a server locator that instantly selects the best server depending on your location and what you want to use the VPN for (increase security, secure P2P traffic, access geo-restricted content, etc.).
You can connect to any server in any country with a single click. We recommend connecting to the closest available server to ensure the highest speed and the best performance.
NordVPN offers a plethora of useful features that enhance your online security, ensure privacy, and safeguard you from cyber threats.
Here’s a quick rundown of the key ones, so you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.
NordVPN relies on the AES-256 encryption standard, widely considered the strongest in the industry. This ensures all your data is protected by an encryption key with 2^256 possible combinations. Cracking such encryption would take a supercomputer (that can’t be built yet) billions of years.
On top of impregnable encryption, NordVPN provides three powerful, secure VPN protocols — IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and the proprietary NordLynx. All three VPN protocols ensure both excellent speed and maximum security, so you’ll be covered on all your devices with NordVPN.
NordVPN doesn’t just hide your IP address and prevent tracking — it offers 360-degree protection from hackers, malware, trackers, keyloggers, and other harmful programs. It even blocks annoying ads, so you can enjoy an uninterrupted online browsing experience.
Apart from blocking malware, ads, and trackers, NordVPN provides a summary of all threats once a week. That way, you’ll know exactly where each threat came from and what websites to avoid.
The best part about NordVPN threat protection is that it’s always on. You don’t need separate antivirus software or half a dozen ad-block extensions. All you need to do is make sure NordVPN is on and relax, knowing your online activity and data are fully protected.
A killswitch is an additional security measure that ensures your data is protected even in the unlikely event that the VPN crashes or you lose connection to the server. It functions a bit differently depending on the device and the operating system, but the purpose is the same — to ‘kill’ the internet connection if the VPN protection drops.
On Windows PCs and Mac laptops, you have the option to specify which apps you want to terminate if NordVPN drops. The Windows version also features an internet killswitch, completely disabling your internet connection if you choose to turn it on.
Mobile iOS and Android NordVPN applications will also block any internet access if the VPN connection drops.
SmartPlay is NordVPN’s built-in smart DNS, meaning it requires no additional setup or configuration. This feature automatically changes your DNS when you’re accessing websites that have DNS blocking. It also cloaks your IP address and encrypts all your data, so you can safely stream content on Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and other popular streaming platforms without restrictions.
If you opt for the Complete pricing plan, you’ll also have access to NordVPN’s Double VPN feature. Put simply, this feature encrypts your online data twice by routing your traffic through two servers. This adds an extra layer of privacy and online security and makes it virtually impossible for anyone to see your IP, location, or online activity.
Double VPN protects you from cyber threats, but it also prevents your internet service provider (ISP) and even the government from spying on you online. This feature is a must-have for journalists, political activists, and everyone else who wants to enjoy full online anonymity.
Meshnet is an immensely useful feature for file sharing, LAN gaming, and work. Essentially, it enables you to establish a direct, VPN-protected connection with other devices. This is invaluable if you’re sharing sensitive information with colleagues and want to ensure that there’s absolutely no chance of data leaks and that you’re safe from hackers and other cyber threats.
The feature doesn’t require any additional configuration. All you need to do is turn it on in your NordVPN app and link to another device or invite another NordVPN user. This allows you to access the other device through its unique Nord name or IP address.
Apart from establishing a secure connection with other NordVPN users, Meshnet is incredibly useful if you need to access files on a different device from a remote location. For example, if you’re constantly traveling to business conferences, you can access the files on your laptop if you have NordVPN installed on your phone.
Dark Web Monitor
NordVPN’s Dark Web Monitor is a safety net in the event that any of your accounts or passwords get compromised. While your device might be fully protected, a data leak from social media, shopping sites, or even online banking might cause your sensitive information to appear on the dark web.
This cybersecurity feature works seamlessly in the background and constantly scans the dark web for your credentials. If it discovers that your data has been leaked, you’ll instantly get notified and have a chance to update your account information and take other security measures (like turning on two-factor authentication) to ensure cyber criminals can’t access your accounts.
Is NordVPN Safe?
NordVPN provides robust data encryption and will keep you completely safe and protected while browsing the internet, torrenting, and gaming. Here are all the different ways in which NordVPN ensures your online safety:
- AES-256 encryption — The gold standard of encryption in the VPN industry
- Double VPN — Your traffic is routed through two secure servers, ensuring maximum privacy and security
- No data tracking — NordVPN has a strict no-logs policy, meaning it doesn’t monitor or store any of your online data
- No IP address leaks — NordVPN solves the incompatibility issue between IPv4 and IPv6 protocols by disabling most IPv6 traffic, preventing IP leaks
- No DNS leaks — NordVPN relies on its own private DNS servers to prevent the possibility of DNS leaks
- Killswitch — Even if your connection to a NordVPN server drops or the app itself crashes, NordVPN will keep you protected by disabling internet access until the VPN is back online
- Multi-factor Authentication — This ensures nobody can log into any of your accounts, even if they had your credentials. Two-factor authentication requires you to confirm the login attempt, typically by inputting a time-sensitive code generated on your phone
It’s evident that NordVPN takes user safety extremely seriously, and we’re more than happy to recommend it if you want to stay protected online.
Privacy & Audits
Regarding the VPN itself, the company adheres to a strict no-logs policy, meaning they don’t monitor your online activity or store any of your online data. As NordVPN puts it: “Your online business is your own.”
NordVPN’s dedication to users’ privacy has been proven multiple times in the past. It aced three different independent audit tests conducted by reputable audit firms PricewaterhouseCoopers, AG and VerSprite. Each audit confirmed that the no-logs policy applies in all cases, regardless of the device or VPN protocol used.
Compatible Operating Systems & Devices
You can use NordVPN on any device as it’s compatible with every operating system. There are apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, as well as browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
If you want to protect your PC, you’ll be glad to know that NordVPN is available on:
- Windows 7 Service pack 1
- Windows 8.1
- Windows 10 (version 1607 or later)
- Windows 11
When it comes to Mac laptops, you can install NordVPN on any device running macOS Sierra 10.12 or higher. The macOS version of the app supports NordLynx and IKEv2/IPSec protocols.
You can even install NordVPN on devices running Linux! The VPN client is available for aarch64, armv5, armv7, i386, and x86_64. There’s also a minimal kernel version 3.7.0 for aarch64 and 3.2.0 for other architectures.
A great VPN option for Android users, the NordVPN client is available for Android 6.0 or newer. There’s also an APK version that you can install if you want to block annoying ads.
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for iPhone. It’s compatible with iOS 11.0 or higher, and dedicated apps are available on all iOS devices (iPhone and iPad).
You can add NordVPN directly to your internet browser if you’re using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.
How to Download & Use NordVPN: Step by Step
You don’t need to be especially tech-savvy to set up and start using NordVPN. Here, we’ll guide you through the straightforward process of installing NordVPN on your device step-by-step.
Step 1: Download NordVPN
Head over to NordVPN’s website, choose a subscription plan, create your account, and download the app on your device.
Step 2: Install and Set up the VPN
Open the app, enter your credentials, and log into your account.
Step 3: Connect to a VPN Server
Once you log into your NordVPN account, you can click the ‘Quick Connect’ button to automatically connect to the fastest available server.
Alternatively, you can select the country pin or scroll through the comprehensive server list and choose the specific server you want to connect to.
That’s it — you’re using NordVPN and enjoying a safe, private online experience!
Based on hundreds of online reviews, NordVPN’s customer support is stellar. If you’re experiencing any issues with the VPN itself, need technical support to set up or troubleshoot it, or have any questions regarding pricing and functionality, you can contact NordVPN’s support via Live Chat and email.
Customer support is available 24/7, and the support agents are quick, knowledgeable, and helpful.
NordVPN’s website also features a comprehensive library of articles in the Help Center, which can answer most of your questions and guide you through resolving the majority of billing and connectivity issues.
Is NordVPN the Best VPN?
NordVPN is definitely one of the leading virtual private network service providers. It offers superb security features, maintains complete user privacy, and is frequently audited by reputable third-party auditing companies.
That said, we’re not sure NordVPN deserves the title of “the best VPN”. There are plenty of excellent VPN providers on the market, some offering even more advanced features and providing a larger server fleet at more affordable prices.
In our opinion, Surfshark VPN is currently the best VPN on the market. While it offers 3,200 servers compared to NordVPN’s 5,400, they are spread across 160 locations in 95 different countries, providing slightly better coverage.
Another major advantage of Surfshark is the fact that it offers an antivirus to further enhance your protection and keep you safe from any malware, trojans, keyloggers, and other harmful programs that might slip through the cracks if you forget to turn the VPN on.
Surfshark also features its own browser — Surfshark Search — which allows you to get organic search results without having to scroll through paid ads on Google or worry about cookies or tracking.
Here’s a quick comparison of NordVPN and Surfshark so you can decide for yourself:
macOS Linux Android iOS Chrome Firefox Xbox Playstation macOS Linux Android iOS Chrome Firefox Edge Xbox Playstation
US speed range
Number of servers
Number of countries
From $2.49 per month
Average speed of 417.0 Mbps
From $3.99 per month
Conclusion: How Good is NordVPN?
NordVPN is an excellent VPN provider across the board. Its robust security features, absolute dedication to user privacy, and excellent server distribution make it a great choice whether you’re just browsing the internet, streaming your favorite shows, or gaming online.
The one drawback of NordVPN is that it’s a bit pricey, especially if you opt for the Complete plan with all the extra features. If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative with a better server spread, we highly recommend Surfshark VPN.