NordVPN is considered to be one of the best VPNs in the market. A quick glance at NordVPN scores on review websites indicates that people are satisfied with this VPN service. No wonder so many people recommend NordVPN when they’re asked to recommend a virtual private network. Just today, I saw this in one of the Facebook groups I’m in:
See the comment about NordVPN? People are happy with their service.
And NordVPN knows brand awareness has skyrocketed in the past few years. That is why it’s running campaigns everywhere to get more people to try its service. If you’ve done an online search for a VPN, the chances are that you’ve come across an ad or sponsored video by NordVPN these past weeks. Over 14 million people are already running NordVPN on their devices. Promotions like these (along with quality service) are going to only add to Nord’s user base.
Okay, NordVPN looks like the real deal, but is it really the fastest and safest VPN out there? Does it have any shortcomings? What is this NordLynx thing I keep hearing?
In this NordVPN review, I’m going to explore and, where possible, test different aspects of the service to answer these questions and more.
I’ll also help you determine:
- How fast and safe NordVPN actually is
- If it works well in China
- Whether it can unblock US Netflix and other streams
- If its NordLynx protocol is any useful to VPN users
- Whether its customer service lives up to the hype
- If it works on Firestick and other streaming devices
And do my best to give you the complete picture of the service. Let’s see how NordVPN performs!
NordVPN Quick Overview
NordVPN is ideal for individuals who desire both speed and privacy, require a pocket-friendly VPN, and want to stream US Netflix and other content. It has more than 5,400 servers across 59 countries, and this number continues to go up every passing year. It also offers user-friendly, feature-rich apps for various desktop and mobile devices, as well as extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Each app uses the NordLynx protocol by default. Plus, they offer access to a range of specialty servers, including P2P, Onion over VPN, and Double VPN.
NordVPN Facts and Features
|Headquarters||Panama (Privacy Haven)|
|Servers||5,400+ servers across 59 countries|
|Logging policy||No logs (verified)|
|Security||NordLynx, AES-256, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec|
|Streaming||US Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.|
|Customer support||24/7 chat, automated chatbot, email, FAQs|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days|
NordVPN Pros and Cons
Here’s a quick overview of the advantages you get with NordVPN.
- Clean and simple interface
- Large global server network
- High connection speeds with double VPN
- Unblocks US Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, etc.
- No logging and no DNS, WebRTC, or IP leaks
- Excellent kill switch
- Seamless torrenting across most servers
- Works in China, Iran, and many other high-censorship countries
- Dedicated IP available
- WireGuard encryption with NordLynx
- Fully featured desktop and mobile apps
- Affordable pricing and good return policy
However, there are a few downsides of choosing NordVPN as well.
- Small server breach in 2018
- Doesn’t accept PayPal payments directly
- No refunds on iTunes/App Store subscriptions
I’ll provide a detailed explanation of these points and more below.
Now that you have some idea of what NordVPN has to offer you, here’s a full breakdown of the its various features.
NordVPN’s headquarters are located in Panama, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction with no mandatory data retention law. Panama is not a member of the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes Alliance, so it’s not subject to any data requests made by foreign law enforcement agencies or governments. This also enables the company to offer a no-logs VPN service – one of the Big 4 auditing firms have validated that NordVPN’s no-log policy is transparent and accurate.
I also found that NordVPN is the only virtual private network provider that offers a daily warrant canary. This helps its customers see whether it has received any gag orders, National Security letters, or warrants from any government organization. I couldn’t find any other VPN who’s doing this currently.
There aren’t a lot of VPN providers that can truly say they do their best to safeguard the personal data of their customers, but NordVPN has a valid case.
Lithuanian entrepreneur Tom Okman started NordVPN in 2012. Later, Okman founded Tesonet, a company that’s touted to be one of NordVPN’s initial investors. He then went on to co-found NordSec, which is now the parent company of NordVPN. NordSec also owns other Nord products, including NordWL, NordPass, NordLocker, and NordVPN Teams.
However, I couldn’t find who’s the co-founder of NordVPN, other than coming across the detail that it was the idea of four childhood friends.
Ease of Use
NordVPN is a very simple app. Whether you’re using it on a web browser, desktop, or mobile, you should be able to figure out its various features and settings.
For example, the NordVPN desktop app consists of a map showing all the locations where the VPN has servers. Clicking on the server’s location allows you to form a connection. Alternatively, you can check the menu on the left side of NordVPN’s home screen. This is where you’ll find the complete list of servers, including specialized options like Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, Obfuscated, P2P, and Dedicated IP.
NordVPN also makes it easy to connect to a specific city. Just hover over a country’s name and click the three dots on the right. Once done, you’ll be able to pick a city-based server and connect to it.
Coming over to NordVPN’s Settings, there’s a lot you can configure through the desktop app. This requires you to access the settings panel (called Preferences), which you can do by clicking the three lines at the top left.
In Preferences, you get the following options:
- General: This is where you can configure NordVPN to auto-launch on system startup, automatically check for updates, and enable the VPN’s CyberSec feature. Additionally, you can choose another VPN protocol for encrypting your internet activity.
- Auto-connect: Here, you can tell NordVPN to auto-start when you connect to an untrusted WiFi network. Also, you can pick a certain location for the connection. So if you choose Canada, NordVPN will connect to a server there automatically. Lastly, you can list trusted WiFi networks, such as your home, office, and school WiFi.
- Kill Switch: In case NordVPN disconnects, you can define a set of apps that you want to shut down automatically. This prevents prying eyes from tracking your activity back to your original IP. Read our VPN kill switch post to learn more about this feature.
- DNS: The DNS area lets you enable custom DNS servers. If you don’t know what DNS servers are, it’s better not to touch this setting.
- Appearance: Since I’m using NordVPN’s MacOS app for testing, I’m able to use this setting to decide whether I want to show the application in the dock or the menu bar (or both of the places).
- Other Apps: This section includes direct links to NordSec’s other apps.
- Account: Lastly, there’s an Account setting that displays your account information, including the days left before your NordVPN subscription expires.
As you can see, NordVPN’s settings menu packs in loads of options that you can use to customize your experience of using the service.
With over 5,500 servers in 59 countries, NordVPN offers one of the largest network coverage in the industry. The majority of the company’s servers are located in the US, followed closely by Europe, Canada, and Australia. There’s plenty of coverage in Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East, as well. And while the company doesn’t have a server in China, it’s able to support VPN users flying to the country with servers in Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Indonesia, all of which are pretty close. You can access the full server list by visiting this webpage.
With a server park as large as this, you’re unlikely to face any issues while trying to access your favorite websites and streams. If your neighboring country’s server isn’t performing as well as you feel it should, there is another alternative not so far. Just see which server suits your needs the most.
Also, NordVPN lets you choose city-level servers if you connect to one of the following countries:
- The US (1,600+ servers in 15 cities)
- Canada (400+ servers in 3 cities)
- Australia (200+ servers in 5 cities)
- Germany (200+ servers in 2 cities)
I’m not sure of the benefits of being able to choose a city-specific server, but I’ve heard it lets you access state or city-specific content.
Ookla Speed Tests
Like for testing ExpressVPN, I’m going to use Ookla’s website to check NordVPN’s speed. I’m going to conduct several tests using Nord’s different servers and also its various protocols. People say that NordVPN is the fastest VPN around, and I want to see if this is true.
Note: I’ll run all the tests from Pakistan, my home country.
First, let’s see my baseline speed without NordVPN. Here’s the result:
I got 25.30 Mbps on a fiber-optic cable with WiFi.
Next, I selected the NordLynx protocol and tested various locations. I heard that users get the fastest speed on this protocol, so I used it for my testing.
First, I connected to a nearby server in India, which increased by speed to 26.28 Mbps.
This is the first time a VPN actually increased by speed. Plus, it’s also the fastest VPN speed test result I’ve gotten to date. It’s a 4% increase from my baseline speed. It’s a 3.87% increase from my baseline speed.
Next, I connected to a NordVPN server in Singapore, which returned about 23.94 Mbps:
This isn’t much less than my baseline speed, which is excellent. Also, it’s a little more than what I got with ExpressVPN when I connected to a Singaporean server.
Then I connected to a server in Malaysia, which returned 23.76 Mbps. Again, it’s pretty decent. (I don’t mind a slight reduction if the connection lets me stream my favorite content).
Without a doubt, NordVPN returns fast speeds on nearby servers.
Next, I wanted to check NordVPN’s speeds on long-distance servers. I picked the US and Canada as the locations as these countries are quite far from my home base. I was expecting a significant reduction in download speeds, but I ended up being surprised.
On the US server, NordVPN gave me 22.48 Mbps.
And the speed increased when I connected to one of NordVPN’s Canadian servers (I assume it was less busy).
Let me tell you that these are the best speed results I’ve ever seen since I started testing VPN servers. It looks like NordVPN’s WireGuard protocol has had a big impact on its speeds. WireGuard is almost twice as fast as OpenVPN, so you would love using NordVPN when browsing, streaming, uploading, or downloading.
Note: WireGuard also reduces the time NordVPN takes to establish a connection. While OpenVPN may take 5-10 seconds, WireGuard connects almost instantly. This also makes it quick and easy to switch between NordVPN’s servers.
NordVPN Double VPN Speed Tests
Besides regular speed tests, I also conducted a few tests using NordVPN’s Double VPN servers. Initially, this didn’t work. But after a few attempts, I was able to browse and test different servers. It turns out that Double VPN works smoothly on the OpenVPN protocol, so I switched to it for testing purposes.
My first test was the Double VPN configuration “Hong Kong – Taiwan,” and NordVPN gave me about 21.80 Mbps.
Then, I tested the Double VPN configuration “USA and Canada” and got 19.50 Mbps in download speed. Still great.
Overall, NordVPN offers fantastic speeds for Double VPN configurations. Even though they aren’t as high as what you’d get on the single server configuration, they’re still good enough for uninterrupted streaming and torrenting.
Dedicated IP Address
NordVPN also gives you the option to use a dedicated IP address if you wish to stick with one IP address for lengthy periods. With a dedicated/static IP of a particular country, you should access local content even if NordVPN’s standard IP addresses are blocked.
Another benefit of using a dedicated IP is that you’ll enter the good books of streaming service providers – they won’t ever flag it as linked to the VPN as long as you keep using one particular IP address. And lastly, it can help you avoid those pesky CAPTCHA notifications.
NordVPN dedicated IP costs $70/year. Currently, the company offers dedicated IP addresses of five countries. And it’s the only VPN provider that does so. Even its closest competitor – ExpressVPN – doesn’t offer dedicated, or static, IPs.
Privacy and Security
People say privacy and security are NordVPN’s strong point. So in this section, I’m going to examine the different features that make up these areas for the service. I’ll review NordVPN’s protocols first.
Encryption and Protocols
NordVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption ciphers with a 2048-bit DH key. This encryption meets military-grade standards and offers far more security than what the average VPN user needs. NordVPN combines AES encryption with its firewall and OpenVPN protocol to safeguard your personal information. OpenVPN is generally considered to be the safest VPN protocol, and encrypting it makes it nearly unhackable. The macOS, Windows, and Android apps – ones that you directly download from NordVPN’s website – use OpenVPN (either UDP or TCP).
However, you may also be able to use:
- IKEv2/IPSec or
- NordLynx (based on WireGuard)
Based on your operating system and preferences.
For example, when you download the NordVPN app from the Mac or iOS App Store, you get the option to choose between IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, and NordLynx.
When should I choose IKEv2?
I recommend that you choose IKEv2 when using NordVPN on mobile devices. The protocol does a great job of handling network changes, such as switching between WiFi hotspots. NordVPN encrypts its IKEv2 connections with AES-256-GCM ciphers combined with SHA2-384 authentication and PFS (perfect forward secretary). PFS means the encryption key changes in each session, which helps prevent security issues resulting from stolen keys. This shows that NordVPN keeps security top of mind.
Note: While OpenVPN has been much more tested from a security perspective, IKEv2 is also quite secure – and it’s faster than OpenVPN.
What is NordLynx?
NordLynx is NordVPN’s proprietary VPN tunneling protocol that’s based on the relatively new WireGuard protocol. NordVPN combined its custom NAT (Network Address Translation) system with WireGuard to address the security problems associated with the latter. This makes NordLynx more secure than a standard WireGuard protocol while achieving the same level of high connection speeds.
But while NordLynx is an exciting proposition, I advise that you stick with OpenVPN and IKEv2 when starting. Unlike NordLynx, these two protocols have been battle-tested for privacy and speed. I expect WireGuard-based protocols to challenge the likes of OpenVPN for the title of the best VPN protocol in the future, but right now, it’s hard to give an opinion as NordLynx hasn’t matured enough (yet).
Another interesting thing is that NordVPN has had its no-logs claims verified and audited by third-party companies. NordVPN has been audited by PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) AG twice, once in 2018, and then in 2020. The audits verified that the service provider doesn’t log users’ connections, browsing activity, or IP addresses.
This means NordVPN is one of the safest and most trusted VPNs around.
The provider goes a step further by allowing you to pay via cryptocurrencies. This ensures you leave no trace of your identity. But even if you pay via debit card or PayPal, NordVPN can’t link your payment data to you as an individual, nor it can disclose it to any third-party company. The same goes for your email address, which NordVPN collects to prove that you have an account.
NordVPN also tracks server loads to maintain optimal performance. The information also helps the provider recommend the most suitable servers to customers. However, all of the data is aggregated. This means the information about server connections and the overall data used are combined from all VPN users. That prevents the information from being personally identifiable.
Overall, NordVPN is a trusted company if you’re looking for a no-logs VPN service that prioritizes its users’ safety and anonymity.
I expected NordVPN to have a VPN kill switch, and it does. The NordVPN apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms have the kill switch option within the settings menu. The feature is critical for protecting your IP address in the case of a connection drop.
If you’re not familiar with it, a kill switch works by cutting off your device’s access to the internet when the VPN connection drops suddenly. While you should set the kill switch to active for every session, it’s especially important to use it if you’re torrenting or accessing the web in a high-censorship country.
I tested the kill switch and found that it differs in its functionality on Apple and non-Apple devices. It is enabled by default for iOS and macOS users, but Windows and Android users need to activate it manually from the device’s settings menu. I didn’t find any option to activate a system-wide kill switch in my NordVPN Mac app.
However, I found another kill switch – a setting that allows me to control which apps should the VPN block when the internet connection cuts off. This means I can stay connected to the internet but also block risk applications until NordVPN reinstates the encryption connection. Torrent enthusiasts can especially benefit from this app kill switch by adding torrenting apps to the blocked list – this will shut down their P2P traffic but allow them to keep browsing as they wait for NordVPN to reconnect.
To conclude, NordVPN offers one of the best kill switches in the VPN industry.
NordVPN also offers a proprietary ad-blocking tool called CyberSec. CyberSec blocks those annoying browser ads (even on YouTube) and protects you from phishing, malware, and other similar threats. With this feature, your device cannot be used in DDoS attacks. Nor can it be infected by ransomware. You can activate CyberSec from the General tab in NordVPN’s Settings.
However, don’t expect the tool to work as well as a standalone anti-malware software. That’s because it just blocks malicious web pages that are present in the VPN’s database. With new cyber threats popping up almost daily, you need a full-featured anti-malware solution to keep your devices secure.
That said, NordVPN works better than other comparable VPNs for detecting malware and phishing websites. An AV-Test report revealed that it detected 49 such websites during the tests, while Hotspot Shield detected just 15. So while you shouldn’t use NordVPN as an alternative to anti-malware and anti-virus software, it is certainly useful for removing some ads.
NordVPN doesn’t package split tunneling into its desktop software, but its Android app allows you to choose the applications you want to route through the VPN. The default setting is to route very app through the encrypted tunnel, but Android users can change this by adding specific apps to their “Trusted Apps” list. This tells NordVPN to route these apps through its tunnel and assign them a foreign IP.
Is NordVPN split tunneling useful? Yes, if you have an Android device and use apps requiring access to geo-blocked content.
DNS Leak Test
Sometimes, browser security faults and software vulnerabilities can expose your IP address and DNS requests to cybercriminals. NordVPN knows this is a problem, which is why they offer DNS and IP leak protection to prevent accidental disclosure of your location.
I tested NordVPN for DNS, IP, and WebRTC leaks and didn’t find any, even across multiple servers. Here’s a screenshot from ipleaks.net while I’m connected to an Australian server:
Double VPN/ Multi-Hop
NordVPN is one of the few VPN providers that lets you route your web traffic through two servers. This multi-hop (also known as double-VPN) functionality encrypts your data twice to provide you with extra privacy. Many people don’t know that no single server can see both your IP and your online activity in a double-VPN setting. The connections are distributed between TCP and UDP protocols, which secures your online activity against spoofing.
The best part of NordVPN’s multi-hop is that you get decent speeds. Most double-VPN configurations significantly reduce the download speed, but NordVPN’s multi-hop connections are almost as fast as its single-server connections.
Onion over VPN
NordVPN also gives you the option to use Onion over VPN to encrypt your traffic with the Tor network. However, since the Tor network isn’t as fast as double-VPN, you’re likely to experience a slow connection. The benefit of using this configuration is that it prevents your ISP and external spoofers from knowing that you’re online through the Tor network.
With Onion over VPN, you can visit .onion sites since NordVPN will route your DNS traffic over the Tor network. I don’t know many people who browse .onion sites (or know what they are), so this feature is hit-and-miss for me.
I love this privacy feature of NordVPN. The company has set up obfuscated servers for countries where it’s difficult to use a VPN (nations with heavy digital censorship). Connecting to one of these servers hides your location and internet activity, as well as the fact that you’re using a VPN.
You can use obfuscated servers in places like China, Iran, and Turkey to help you avoid government surveillance and unblock geo-restricted content. Currently, NordVPN offers 164 Obfuscated servers distributed across 14 countries.
NordVPN Server Hack (No Credentials Compromised)
In 2018, a hacker managed to gain access to a NordVPN server in Finland. The server’s weakly-configured remote management system allowed the adversary to get in and view system files. But there’s no report that they managed to retrieve the data stored on it. Upon discovering the hack, NordVPN took down that server and eventually terminated its contract with the data center provider.
NordVPN also said:
The VPN company also took additional steps to prevent future hacks.
For example, it’s now a partner of cybersecurity firm VerSprite that conducts penetration testing to make NordVPN’s server safer than it was before.
Also, NordVPN now uses Diskless RAM Servers. This means that if someone gains access to one of the company’s servers, all they’ll find is an empty system with no configuration files or user data on it.
All of that has made NordVPN more secure than ever. So I trust it to keep my data safe and private.
Does NordVPN Work with Netflix?
Netflix is getting good at stopping VPNs from accessing its service, but NordVPN is powerful. The service’s SmartPlay feature bypasses Netflix geoblocks combining DNS with VPN technology while maintaining your security. I tested over 50 US NordVPN servers, and each of them unblocked Netflix with ease. Not only that, but I was impressed by the ultra HD stream quality and the fact that I didn’t experience any lag or buffering. How nice!
I also tested a few other NordVPN Netflix servers and found that it unblocks content libraries of many countries, including Japan, India, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, South Korea, and Brazil. Netflix offers different movies and shows in these locations, and I could access each one seamlessly.
Here’s a screenshot to prove that NordVPN let me access Netflix Japan:
With vast regional support, I consider NordVPN to be one of the best VPNs for Netflix.
But the VPN’s capabilities don’t end here – my tests found that NordVPN also unblocks:
- BBC iPlayer
- Prime Video
- HBO Max
- Sky Go
- Sling TV
Additionally, the service is also reliable for unblocking YouTube, Facebook, Google, and other restricted websites in internet-restricted countries.
All in all, I am impressed. I see NordVPN is an excellent tool for accessing different streaming services and websites. I’d recommend it to anyone trying to unblock Netflix or another streaming app.
Torrenting (Optimized P2P Servers)
NordVPN allows P2P traffic on 4,800+ servers. You can connect to one of them from the left-hand tab in the NordVPN app. Each server provides unlimited data and bandwidth, so you can download as many torrents as you like. NordVPN works with all torrenting apps, including Deluge, Vuze, uTorrent, and BitTorrent.
I tested uTorrent on many different NordVPN servers. On nearby servers, the VPN’s speeds were faster than my ISP’s connections, and I could bypass throttling with ease. On long-distance servers, I experienced a slight reduction in speeds, but they were decent enough to bypass throttling. Since NordVPN has a strict no-logs policy, I knew that my data wouldn’t be retained.
I also liked that NordVPN re-routes your traffic via a dedicated server in the Netherlands or Canada when you try to use a torrent application on a non-P2P server. First-time VPN users may not know that torrenting is only permitted on servers in specific locations. NordVPN realizes this and re-directs their traffic secure servers to ensure they’re still able to enjoy the activity.
FYI, NordVPN doesn’t allow P2P traffic in these countries: Egypt, Cyprus, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Georgia, Costa Rica, Argentina, Ukraine, and UAE.
NordVPN also offers a SOCKS5 proxy that you can use alongside torrent clients like uTorrent. The benefit of using SOCKS5 is that you get faster speeds than a VPN. However, it’s not fully encrypted, which means your security and online privacy will be at risk. Therefore, I recommend using a NordVPN P2P server as it gives you the advantage of being protected by the company’s advanced security.
With its super-fast speeds, vast P2P support, and exceptional security, NordVPN easily makes my list of the best VPNs for torrenting.
Apps (macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, etc.)
NordVPN offers secure native apps for almost every major operating system. You can install it on:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Android TV
- And several other OS
The provider allows you to secure up to 6 devices simultaneously with a single account. So with one NordVPN account, you can run the VPN on six devices with similar or varying operating systems. Your account area is where you’ll find download links for Windows, macOS, Android, Android TV, iOS, and Linux.
Besides the core platform, you can also install NordVPN on a NAS like AsusTor, Western Digital MyCloud, and Synology manually.
What’s more, you can install NordVPN on a router to take your usage beyond the 6-device limit. By the way, NordVPN also partners with the company behind Keezel, the portable VPN hub that allows you to connect several devices to a virtual private network at once.
When it comes to installing the service on a streaming device, NordVPN’s SmartDNS functionality has you covered. With SmartDNS, you’re able to geo-spoof your IP and location without the need to install an application. NordVPN even offers tutorials on how to set up SmartDNS on LG TV and Apple TV. The feature supports various streaming services, including US Amazon Prime, US ABC Go, German Disney Plus, US Netflix, UK BBC iPlayer, and more.
Warning: SmartDNS doesn’t encrypt your internet traffic, so any streaming activity you perform on your device is visible. This is the same for all DNS services, though, and not just specific to NordVPN. When using SmartDNS, make sure you’re not entering any sensitive webpages, such as online banking’s login page.
NordVPN also offers apps for Android TV and other smart TVs. They’re one of the most robust you’ll find for smart televisions. The apps come with protocol choice, kill switch, split tunneling, and a design customized for the TVs’ display.
Additionally, you can make NordVPN work with all sorts of Kodi add-ons by connecting to one of its P2P servers from inside the app. The Firestick and Linux NordVPN apps are especially useful for streaming Kodi on your devices.
Overall, NordVPN is an excellent choice if you own several devices with different operating systems. And there is a minimum to no difference between the desktop and mobile software that NordVPN offers. Both iOS and Android apps provide some great features, including split tunneling, auto-reconnect, self-connection on trusted networks, and the CyberSec malware and ad blocker.
Browser Extensions (Chrome and Firefox)
NordVPN offers lightweight extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers. While they’re similar to the company’s desktop app, the browser add-ons are proxies rather than real VPNs. So they don’t encrypt the activities that happen outside of your browser (like torrenting, using email, etc.). While they offer great flexibility, I recommend that you stick to the desktop app if you want maximum security for your whole system.
However, the extensions are great for quick, secure browsing. Whether you use the NordVPN Chrome extension or the Firefox one, you can access all the locations that are available on its desktop app.
Here’s a screenshot of the NordVPN Chrome add-on:
Plus, both extensions come with CyberSec and an integrated WebRTC leak blocker, which keeps WebRTC leaks from giving away your real location. You can access these features through the settings menu of the extensions.
However, neither of the browser extensions have a kill switch. Also, they don’t give you the option to choose a specialty or city-level server for your connection. For these reasons, I consider NordVPN’s desktop app to be the most powerful.
To use these extensions for lightweight activity, visit the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox web store and add the add-on to your browser. Currently, NordVPN doesn’t have VPN extensions for Opera, Safari, or Edge.
Customer Support (Chatbot, Email, 24/7 Chat)
NordVPN offers support via an automated chatbot, email, and 24/7 live chat.
You can access email and live chat support by clicking the button in the bottom-right corner on NordVPN’s website. Once clicked, the button expands to a window that displays some FAQs and the email and chat options below them.
You don’t have to log in for these support options – simply click on the appropriate option, and you’ll be connected with a NordVPN specialist.
I tested the 24/7 live chat support several times for this NordVPN review. I didn’t have to wait long to connect with someone (the most I had to wait was 40 seconds) in every interaction. Plus, I found NordVPN’s representatives helpful and extremely knowledgeable as they answered all of my questions. Many VPN companies outsource support to third parties, but NordVPN handles customer service with trained specialists.
Coming over to the NordVPN chatbot, you’re greeted by an automated chat agent after you log into your NordVPN account. After running a few queries, I found that the NordVPN automated bot is helpful and quite smart at interpreting users’ questions. The resources it pointed me towards were in line with my query. I like that NordVPN offers something that responds instantly – when using the service, you can try it out first to see if you can get a quick answer to your question.
NordVPN also offers a knowledge base where you can enter relevant keywords and press Enter to get answers. It also has articles covering general information, billing information, and FAQs. Further, there is a detailed tutorials section to help you set up NordVPN on whatever device you own.
Overall, NordVPN’s customer service is up there at the top. The chatbot is the best I’ve come across (sorry, Windscribe), and its customer support agents are helpful and quick to respond. The tutorials and FAQs, too, are detailed and make it easy to understand technical concepts.
Pricing (Affordable Plans)
Despite being the fastest and one of the most secure VPNs, NordVPN doesn’t charge much for its services. Here’s a glance at its plans:
|NordVPN Plans||Total Cost||Monthly Price||Savings|
|2-year + a gift||$89.00||$3.71||68%|
As you can see, the biggest savings come with a two-year plan. If you sign up for it, you also get an exciting free gift in the form of an extra subscription time. The offer is a part of NordVPN’s ongoing deal and could get you a 1-month, 1-year, or 2-year subscription for free – the company decides how much to allocate (and I’ve heard they’re quite generous in this matter).
Even on the 1-year plan, you pay below $5 per month, which is cheap for the service you get. And if you split the cost with a relative or friend, it’s essentially loose change. As for the monthly subscription, NordVPN costs less than ExpressVPN. So as things stand, it would be hard for you to find a better full-featured VPN than NordVPN.
NordVPN also accepts several forms of payment. You can pay them with your PayPal account, Amazon Pay account, or credit card. Regional payments are also available for users in some countries. Lastly, you can pay with cryptocurrencies like Ripple and Bitcoin (if you’re looking to stay completely anonymous). Those living in the US can even pay by cash at Micro Center or Fry’s Electronics.
It’s worth noting that all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can apply for a refund if you are not satisfied with the service. However, you need to buy a subscription directly from NordVPN’s website to be eligible. If you purchase a plan through Apple’s App Store, NordVPN won’t be able to issue you a refund. In this case, you will need to contact the App Store support staff for a refund. And FYI, the App Store is unlikely to refund subscriptions purchased using gift or pre-paid cards.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before concluding this article, I want to answer some of the most popular NordVPN FAQs. Here we go:
Does NordVPN work in China?
It certainly does, and many people don’t know that the provider offers custom Windows and Android apps for bypassing the Great Chinese Firewall. Once you install this variant of NordVPN, turn off CyberSec and activate NordLynx, then use “Quick Connect” to connect to a server. If you’re using iOS, Mac, or Linux, refer to NordVPN’s handy tutorials to configure the service for international content access in China. Naturally, NordVPN has no servers in China, but there are plenty in nearby countries, including Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand. Make sure you’re connecting to one of these services to enjoy fast speeds.
Pro tip: Make sure to install NordVPN before entering China. If you try installing it after landing in the country, you’re very likely to be frustrated as NordVPN’s website is blocked in the country.
Is NordVPN really private?
NordVPN’s no-logs policy has been audited and validated by a renowned third-party company. This means the service is as private as it gets. NordVPN’s policy means that the provider can’t see your real IP address, browsing history, streaming activity, or anything else regarding your internet use. The only thing the provider keeps on record is your email information, which it uses for account creation purposes.
How many devices can I use with NordVPN?
Currently, you can access NordVPN from 6 devices simultaneously. This includes any device that you can install its app on, covering laptops, tablets, smartphones, and gaming consoles. If you’re looking to make unlimited simultaneous connections without limits, you would need to install NordVPN on your router. Doing so will help secure any device that connects through the router, including your smart TV and media streaming devices.
Does NordVPN offer a free trial?
Unfortunately, NordVPN doesn’t offer a free plan or trial. But honestly, I don’t see a reason it has to. It’s reasonably priced, so you’re receiving the very best features at a low monthly price. If anyone says they can get you a free trial of NordVPN, don’t believe them. Also, educate yourself on the limitations of using a free VPN – you’ll discover why it’s always better to use a premium VPN service like NordVPN.
Does NordVPN Work for Gaming?
It does. I tried playing Fortnite while I was connected to NordVPN, and I didn’t experience any lags or buffering during the entire session. I also ran a speed test while playing – while my ping increased significantly, my speeds remained the same. So if you’re a full-time gamer, you can count on NordVPN to deliver an awesome, lag-free experience.
Which NordVPN server works best?
Honestly, server performance depends on various things. For instance, the further you’re located away from a server, the more likely you will experience a decline in speeds. The good news is that NordVPN works fast even over long distance servers. Moreover, the best server depends on which sites you’re looking to access. If you want to stream Disney Plus US, then a US server would be the best option for you. If you’re not looking to access a particular site or app and just want secure browsing, then just click Quick Connect, and NordVPN will find the best server for you.
Should I leave NordVPN on 24/7?
Yes, but it isn’t necessary unless you’re in a country with heavy internet restrictions, like China. NordVPN comes with a kill switch, so your real information won’t leak if the VPN gets disconnected. To keep NordVPN on all the time, use the automatic launch feature inside the app, so the service automatically starts when you open up your device. You can also configure NordVPN to connect to a server too automatically.
What Are Obfuscated Servers in NordVPN?
Nations like China and Iran ban VPNs, and if the local ISPs in these countries detect that you’re attempting to use one, they’ll cut off your internet. Fortunately, service providers like NordVPN provide obfuscated servers that help you remain undetected. Even if your country’s ISP frowns upon VPN usage, you’re safe to connect to NordVPN because its obfuscated servers keep your VPN traffic invisible.
NordVPN port forwarding – is it possible?
No, because NordVPN doesn’t offer port forwarding. There’s a reason for this: browsing the web with open ports opens users to various security risks. By blocking access to every port except those essential for the company to operate and for its users to enjoy browsing, NordVPN keeps you and your data secure. If it did offer port forwarding, it wouldn’t have been able to safeguard your online privacy.
How to fix the NordVPN connection timed out?
NordVPN is rock-solid, but some Windows users report that they are unable to connect to its server. Its app either stops connecting after an app update or requests to its DNS servers return a “timed out” message. If this happens to you, try the following measures.
NordVPN doesn’t support this specific protocol, so if it’s active, you might not be able to connect to the service. To disable it:
- Right-click on the “network icon,” choose “Open Network and Internet Settings,” and click “Change adapter options” from the list.
- Once you’re in adapter settings, select the adapter you’re using and click “Properties.”
- In adapter properties, uncheck the IPv6 box while making sure that IPv4 is still active.
- Restart your PC, and you should be able to use NordVPN without any issues.
Evaluate third-party applications
Some third-party applications can prevent NordVPN from working properly. Make sure you uninstall or disable these programs before connecting with the service. To do so, press “Windows + R and ‘taskmgr’” to open the task manager and check which applications are running in the background. Disable all of them to see if it resolves the issue. If NordVPN works, one of the apps is likely the problem. You can enable them again one by one and see which app causes a disruption (you can then disable it every time before connecting to the VPN).
Restart Network/TAP Adapter
Many Windows users don’t know that NordVPN generates a virtual network adapter on their computer. This serves as a gateway that NordVPN uses to modify the PC’s settings to initiate an encrypted connection. Sometimes this “TAP adapter” malfunctions, resulting in NordVPN facing a connection timeout. You can fix it by restarting the adapter via these steps:
- Press the Windows + R keys, write “ncpa.cpl” and then press Enter.
- From the list of network adapters that appear, choose the TAP adapter, right-click and disable it.
- Wait for one to two minutes, then right-click the TAP adapter again and choose Enable.
See if these steps allow you to use NordVPN – I hope they do!
This step is crucial because in many cases where NordVPN displays a connection timeout error, the problem is associated with a corrupt application. In other words, there’s a good chance that the NordVPN application file you downloaded has been corrupted or damaged. Fortunately, safely uninstalling NordVPN will help you fix the problem. Below are the required steps:
- Click “Start” > “Control Panel” > “Programs and Features.”
- In the Program menu, scroll to NordVPN and click it.
- Select “Uninstall” and give your confirmation by selecting Yes.”
If everything else fails, try working your way around the timeout issue by using one of NordVPN’s browser extensions. Extensions remove the need to restart your computer after your connection is cut off from the server. Therefore, in cases where using a virtual private network is a must, you can use the Chrome or Firefox NordVPN extension until you find a permanent fix.
Do I recommend NordVPN? Oh heck yes I do! It’s secure, fast, and works great for unblocking US Netflix, plus various other streaming apps. It’s also nice to know that the company strives to improve and upgrade its security capabilities with measures like converting the servers to run in RAM-disk mode. Plus, with customer service like NordVPN’s, you’ll never have to troubleshoot your issues alone.
Although NordVPN has a strong contender in ExpressVPN, I find that it offers more bang for the buck. Why not take it for a spin and see for yourself? Use the link below to try out the service – and do leave a comment about your experience.