If you purchase via links on our site, we may receive affiliate commissions.

NordVPN Review, Updated in 2022

In the digital market there are a large number of VPN providers, but when it comes to choosing the best ones, we must consider NordVPN in this list. This application has been in existence for more than 10 years, during which time it has demonstrated its solidity and effectiveness. NordVPN protects us during the whole process of connecting to the Internet, even through WIFI connections. In addition, it blocks pop-up and dangerous pages. If you want to get this software download it now here.

Overall Score:
9.8

Number of servers:

5,400

Av. download speed:

118 Mbit/s

Support:

24/7 live chat

Starting price:

$3.71/mo
Visit NordVPN

30 day money-back guarantee

Disclosure: To maintain VPN Garden, we earn a commission when you make a purchase through referral links in this review.

NordVPN has been providing services since 2012 and currently has a network of over 5,400 servers. Their cheapest plan starts at $3.71/mo. Based on longterm testing, our rating for NordVPN is 9.8.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Ad-blocker included
  • Military-grade security (256-bit AES encryption)
  • Up to 6 devices protected simultaneously
  • Get Personal static IP address
  • High-speed

Cons

  • Slow app
  • No app for routers

Our Review

NordVPN has always had a special place in our hearts and we were happy to sit down this year and do a completely new review from scratch. While on the one hand we were happy to see that much of the service is as it was, with several improvements, also, a more thorough search found a handful of things that should have changed but haven’t.

Not that NordVPN is in danger of losing its place in our top three VPN reviews, it’s an excellent service that will find broad appeal among people interested in keeping their data secure, but also want an easy-to-use experience. However, a pair of blinders keep it from beating our top VPN provider, ExpressVPN, from the top spot (read our ExpressVPN review to see what we think).

However, NordVPN has ExpressVPN’s number on one key aspect: pricing. While their regular plans are reasonably priced, to say the least, NordVPN is currently running a deal where, if you sign up for three years, you pay just $99. That works out to $2.75 per month, which may be the best deal on the market today. Read on to learn more about NordVPN, its features and what we like and don’t like.

Features

NordVPN has several interesting, useful and even exciting features that offer users a lot of flexibility and customization, although true owners may want to look at TorGuard instead, read our TorGuard review to find out why. If you want to learn more about this great provider now, click the button below.

However, as VPNs go, NordVPN may be the most secure, or at least it caters to people looking to protect their Internet usage, especially. The first such feature that will come to your mind is CyberSec, which will be offered to you, free of charge, at the time of installation.

CyberSec is an add-on that blocks adware and malware, detects phishing attacks and prevents all sorts of cybercrime-related inconveniences. Enabling it means an additional level of protection while browsing, on top of the protection offered by a VPN, and should be a must for people concerned about hackers and the like. Being free, we see no reason not to install it.

NordVPN and Torrenting

Another nifty feature is NordVPN’s “specialized servers,” which are designed for very specific types of Internet behavior, such as torrenting (P2P servers) and gaming (dedicated IP servers). The most interesting types of servers to target NordVPN are probably those designed to combat specific threats, such as DDoS attacks and government espionage.

Onion on VPN means that you will connect to the Internet using a VPN while also using TOR, an anonymous browser used to access, among other things, the so-called dark web (for other uses of TOR, see our article on the differences between proxy, VPN and TOR).

Last but not least are DoubleVPN servers, also known as “double-hop” encryption, which routes traffic to one VPN after connecting to another, meaning that if an intelligence agency somehow manages to break one VPN tunnel, it would still have to deal with another.

NordVPN Kill Switch

NordVPN also boasts a killwitch, like any good VPN, but instead of shutting down the Internet connection when the VPN is down for whatever reason, it won’t even let you access the Internet unless NordVPN is busy (you’ll also want to set NordVPN to launch at startup to avoid a minute of frustration as long as you understand why the damn machine isn’t the damn Internet connection).

If you want a more conventional kill switch, NordVPN offers it for specific applications and programs, which is ideal for torrenters, for example. When the VPN fails, you can still stream or check your email, but the torrent client will stop in its tracks.

This is very useful and somewhat reminiscent of tunnel splitting, but this feature is for some reason absent, a shame as a low-end competitor like StrongVPN offers it (read our StrongVPN review to find out why we classify it as low-end).

Streaming with NordVPN (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu)

This is all wonderful in itself, of course, but NordVPN is also good at breaking geoblocks. We’re happy to report that during testing we were able to access several streaming services including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

NordVPN has always held a place of honor on our lists of best VPN for Netflix and best VPN for BBC iPlayer and it seems the team behind the service hasn’t missed a beat since we last reviewed it. If it’s available for streaming, NordVPN will carry it, although as you’ll read in the “speed” section, distance is definitely a factor to consider.

Ease of use

Overall, NordVPN has scored well in terms of ease of use. We doubt that even the worst Techno-Klutz can do significant damage, even though since people regularly leave their phones in the bathroom, we’re not taking bets.

To start using NordVPN you must first sign up for an account through the website, which is a matter of entering your email address and choosing a payment method. If you decide that the three-year deal is for you, BTW, it’s best to follow this link and the promo code will automatically populate.

Once you have registered, you will receive an email with a link to the password creation page. Although NordVPN does not store any information about you apart from your payment method and email, it is advisable to set a secure password just to make sure that no one can access what you paid for. If you want to learn more about this great provider now, click the button below.

Customers

With that done, all that’s left is to activate your account with a single button on the web interface and then download the client. NordVPN works natively on Windows 7 to 10, as well as Mac, iPhone and Android, though you’ll need knowledge to get it working on Linux (which is why the service never went beyond the “honorable mentions” section in our best VPN for Linux roundup).

The whole process takes about five minutes, if that, and it’s certainly one of the smoothest in circulation. This feeling extends to all the different interfaces you encounter, including the NordVPN website. The design of the protected area is simple and intuitive, and the fact that the account close date is the first thing you see is a nice touch.

The desktop client interface is not much different as everything you need is right in front of you: if you can’t find it, you mostly need new glasses. The home screen is a map of the world with markers in each country where NordVPN has servers, something we’ll talk more about in another section. You can see if the VPN is working, as well as your new IP address, if so, right at the top.

Whenever you start the program, the connection wizard will appear at the bottom left of the screen. It gives you four options to choose from, depending on how you want to use NordVPN (for torrenting, security or anonymity).

However, the choice seems a bit cosmetic, as your reviewer has the same set of servers no matter what you clicked on. This may be due to their location in the Netherlands, which seems to be the central server for most VPN providers.

Moving around the map

Clicking on any of the markers on the map connects you to whichever server in that country best suits you, a choice that seems based on your preferences as well as server load and distance. If you have a specific server in mind, you’ll need to go to the “countries” tab at the top left of the screen, where you’ll be presented with a complete list.

That’s where we get to one of those problems mentioned in the introduction. Although the list of countries is complete (60 eventually count) and the number of servers in each is staggering (3357), the servers are numbered by country, with no idea where they are located in the country.

This is not a problem in the Netherlands or Latvia (although it would be nice to know), but it is absolutely stupid when it comes to mass-market countries like the United States, Canada or Russia.

There is a distance counter (default is miles, but you can change to the most used miles in the settings menu) that shows how far a server is from your current location, but it would still be nice to know that you are opting for a server in Los Angeles, rather than having to guess how many miles it is away from you.

The upside of the counter is that you can understand where a server is referring to you without a lesson in topography, so the particular sword cuts both ways. However, on balance, we would prefer to have the locations indicated and the miles from there.

Back to the good news, switching from one server to another is very simple. All you have to do is turn off what you’re using, then click on what you want to use. The whole process takes less than five seconds and is another example of how NordVPN outperforms ExpressVPN.

The upshot of this whole paragraph is that NordVPN is a pleasure to use and should be at the top of the list for anyone who wants to use a VPN, but doesn’t like working with technology.

Supported Devices

NordVPN is compatible with all major operating systems (including Linux, as long as you put in a little effort), including Windows 7, 8 and 10, as well as macOS. It will work just as well on your cell phone if you want to believe the general comments, on both Android and iOS. There are also plug-ins for Chrome and Firefox, which means you can directly protect your browsing (even if it’s just your own).
In addition to being versatile, NordVPN also offers the ability to connect up to six devices at once, meaning you can really make good use of this wealth of operating systems. In fact, NordVPN is the best VPN for the most devices, which means it gets a gold star from us in this category (even if it loses a couple of points for not having a Linux client, we’ll get even with you, Tux!).

Server locations

In terms of server network, NordVPN is definitely a market leader: the service has 3357 servers in 60 countries, with most of the larger countries also offering different locations, although, as we mentioned before, you need to guess a bit.

Apart from the lament, it is one of the best networks out there, with servers on every continent except Antarctica. However, it must be said that Latin America is somewhat underrepresented and Africa is reduced to South Africa only. At first glance, one might think that Asia is too, except that most countries have almost a hundred servers each, especially Japan.

All servers offered are “dedicated” in the sense that they are physical machines located where they are advertised. NordVPN does not use virtual servers (spoofed locations, in short), which is confirmed by our testing.

The result is that NordVPN is more than likely to have a physical server near the general location, which means you’ll usually have decent speed wherever you go. This wide network is also one of the reasons why NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for gamers, as the ping is usually low.

Speed

NordVPN claims to be one of the fastest VPN services in the world, but since it’s testing the pudding test, we’ve connected to several servers around the world from our editor-in-chief’s location outside Amsterdam, Netherlands, and checked ping and speed with speedtest.net. The results are shown below (the number of the server used has been inserted in brackets).

TABLE

The first thing you may notice is that the results vary greatly between servers. This has generally been our experience connecting to NordVPN: it’s the luck of the draw if the server you connect to is at its best that day.

An example is the connection to Latvia, which had a drop of almost 80%, while our connection to New Jersey two minutes later showed a drop of less than 60% – a big difference, especially considering that the east coast is a bit further away than the steeples of Riga.

The biggest and most shocking drops were the connections to Japan and California, which showed massive drops that would have prohibited streaming of almost anything. We connected to both using the auto-connect feature and so we assume that these two were, in fact, the best servers in these locations.

The upshot is that, while NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for bypassing the Netflix VPN ban, you may want to think twice if you want to stream content from particularly distant locations. While your mileage may vary, if watching Japanese anime or Chinese content on Youku is a priority for you, we suggest you try another service.

That said, for short hop NordVPN almost beats the fastest VPN in circulation – ExpressVPN – and we were also impressed with the speeds of the DoubleVPN servers, which have rerouted our traffic twice and still have about 60 percent of the original speed. If you’re thinking of using NordVPN for things close to home, speed shouldn’t be an issue.

Security and privacy

Security is another section where NordVPN shines because it not only offers the best in terms of encryption and protocols, but also because it allows you to choose from a wide range of both in addition to the “dedicated servers” we talked about earlier. It also beats ExpressVPN, if only by a pinch, thanks to its double-hop servers.

DoubleVPN servers are a cool and almost unique feature that should serve you well if you’re worried about someone on the other end being able to break the tunnel, making them perfect for those doing something risky on the Internet. It’s one of the reasons why NordVPN is one of our top VPNs for China, as it’s able to punch through the Great Firewall as if it were made of paper.

Another cool feature we talked about above is CyberSec, which you will be prompted to install when you get started. Because it protects you against annoyances like ads and dangers like malware and slavery in a botnet, we see no reason not to allow it.

Encryption

In addition to these features, NordVPN has taken care of the basics. All connections are encrypted using AES-256 (which means decryption will take a billion years or so) and use the OpenVPN protocol by default. Other protocols on offer include PPTP, L2TP/IPsec and IKEv2/IPsec, although only people who know what they are doing should dispense with these.

NordVPN also uses SOCKS5 and HTTP proxies, so the connection has an additional layer of security in addition to easy redirection. However, using SOCKS5 will slow down the connection, which probably explains the crashes mentioned above. All in all, there’s little that can beat NordVPN, making it a great asset in any DIY online security setup.

We ran a DNS tightness test, a WebRTC test and an IP tightness test and NordVPN passed with flying colors. If you use the service, no one will be able to track your location.

Therefore, NordVPN users are well protected from external attacks, but at the same time they can rest assured that they have nothing to fear from their VPN provider. NordVPN has an excellent experience in the field of user privacy. It keeps no logs and knows almost nothing about you except your email address.

You have nothing to fear from NSA agents and their pesky guarantors when using NordVPN and, therefore, the service not only topped our list of the best VPNs to beat the Chinese censor, but is also one of our top VPNs for torrenting.

Customer Service

While you can expect few problems when using NordVPN, even the best software in the world will sometimes give you trouble. NordVPN’s support focus is on their extensive knowledge base, which should be sufficient for most requests. The FAQs questions are well structured and navigation is fairly straightforward.

If the FAQs are not enough, you can always contact support directly via email or chat. The email is not too fast and we had to wait a bit before receiving a reply, so we suggest using the chat, which is really very, very fast.

You access the chat the same way you do the FAQ, via a bubble icon at the bottom right of the NordVPN website. In our case we asked some stupid questions, one or two of which had some deeper layers that not all support staff members always react to.

In all cases, however, the staff not only responded quickly, but also well. In one case, too, we ended up scanning our connection to our NordVPN employee simply to check why we were getting certain reads (because we were wrong about them beforehand, of course). Since this is the first time we’ve heard about it, we’re more than happy to give NordVPN the crown for more comprehensive support. If you want to learn more about this great provider now, click the button below.

Conclusion

As you can see, we really like NordVPN. Not only is it very secure, but it’s also extremely easy to use, convenient (cheap even for the three-year agreement) and gets you to all the streaming services you test regularly.

Aside from a few minor groans (and we also realize that they are a bit ‘far out’) there is little to mar the NordVPN experience. In fact, it would be the perfect service, perhaps even beating ExpressVPN, were it not for the poor speed that drops a lot. However, if this is not an issue for you, we recommend you try NordVPN using their 30-day refund period.

What are your experiences with NordVPN, do you like it, love it or hate it? Please let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.

What stats we measured with NordVPN and why?

Choosing a VPN is never easy, especially when you are a beginner who is about to purchase their very first plan. There are so many providers to choose from!

Based on longterm testing, average download speed when using NordVPN is 118 Mbit/s. Currently, the size of their network is around 5,400 servers.

The size of the server network is an important factor as it determines a global availability of the VPN. The bigger the network is, the more reliable the service can be.

The download speed is very important too, especially in today's fast-paced world. If your VPN speed is too slow, many websites or streaming services may not work or the experience will definitely be less comfortable.

Overall Score:
9.8

Number of servers:

5,400

Av. download speed:

118 Mbit/s

Support:

24/7 live chat

Starting price:

$3.71/mo
Visit NordVPN

30 day money-back guarantee

Disclosure: To maintain VPN Garden, we earn a commission when you make a purchase through referral links in this review.