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NordVPN Review

 94% 
246 user reviews
NordVPN app
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

Ask Simon about NordVPN

Our Verdict

9.59.5/10
How is this calculated?

Our overall rating is reached by combining several subcategories. The subcategories are weighted as follows:

  • Logging & Jurisdiction: 30%
  • Speed & Reliability: 25%
  • Security & Features: 20%
  • Streaming: 10%
  • Torrenting: 5%
  • Ease of Use: 5%
  • Support: 5%

See our full methodology in how we review VPNs.

Based on our 2022 tests, we strongly recommend NordVPN as a superb VPN that excels in speed and security. The VPN provides 5,155 secure servers in 60 countries, and it streams US Netflix. Overall, NordVPN is a good alternative to ExpressVPN for a more affordable price.

Ranked #2 out of 70 VPNs

NordVPN Category Ratings

  • 9.89.8/10
  • 8.18.1/10
  • 9.59.5/10
  • 9.59.5/10
  • 9.69.6/10
  • 8.88.8/10
  • 9.69.6/10
  • 9.59.5/10
  • 9.59.5/10
  • 88.0/10

NordVPN Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Streams Netflix, Amazon Prime Video & more
  • Very fast speeds across its server network
  • Zero-Logs and no IP or DNS leaks
  • Supports torrenting on most servers
  • Good Firestick app and Smart DNS tool
  • Cheaper than other top VPNs

Cons

  • Doesn't accept PayPal payments
  • Android app lacks a kill switch
  • Server breach in 2018

In this NordVPN review we’ll explain why this popular VPN is one of the best VPNs we’ve tested, and worth using.

The VPN service is safe and secure, with a verified no-logs policy and encryption technology of the highest standard.

The service’s user-friendly VPN apps deliver fast worldwide speeds, and include advanced features like split tunneling, double VPN, and IP leak protection.

Moreover, NordVPN unblocks US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and it lets you torrent files anonymously on most servers.

One of NordVPN’s main advantages is its affordability. In fact, NordVPN costs less per month than ExpressVPN on a two-year plan.

Despite a small security incident in 2018, NordVPN has since proved that it’s a safe and trustworthy VPN.

Keep reading our NordVPN review to see how the VPN performed in our speed, security, and streaming tests.

March 2022 Update: This review has been updated in response to NordVPN’s new policy on law enforcement data requests. See the dedicated section to read more.

NordVPN Key Data

Data CapUnlimited
Speed93Mbps
Logging PolicyNo Logs
Data LeaksNo
JurisdictionPanama (Privacy Haven)
Servers5,155
IP Addresses5,155+
Countries60
US NetflixYes
TorrentingPermitted
Simultaneous Connections6
Works In ChinaYes
Support24/7 Live Chat
Cheapest Price$3.71/mo over 2 years
Money-Back Guarantee30 Day Money-Back Guarantee
Official WebsiteNordVPN.com

NordVPN Streams US Netflix

Streaming

9.89.8/10
How is this calculated?

Streaming is rated by the number of different services unlocked, how many regional libraries are viewable, and how consistently the VPN can access them.

Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, DAZN, and Amazon Prime Video are all tested on a weekly basis.

NordVPN is an excellent choice for accessing Netflix and other streaming services from anywhere. Its download speeds are fast, meaning we could stream at HD to 4K video quality. It also has a Fire TV Stick app, and Smart DNS support for PS4 and Smart TVs.

We tested over 100 US NordVPN servers, and all worked with American Netflix. We repeat these tests daily to ensure the VPN is always capable of bypassing the Netflix VPN blocks.

NordVPN American Netflix

NordVPN works well with US Netflix.

NordVPN currently works with 11 Netflix regions, including the UK, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and South Korea. We were able to watch each library in HD.

If you want the very best Netflix VPN, read our latest ExpressVPN review.

NordVPN Works with BBC iPlayer, HBO Max and More

Here are some of the streaming services NordVPN works with:

  • Disney+
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • HBO Max
  • Hulu
  • DAZN Canada

In the video below, you can view our live NordVPN streaming tests to unblock US Netflix, HBO Max and BBC iPlayer:

There are only a few VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer, and NordVPN does it with ease. It’s also one of our recommended VPNs to use with HBO Max.

How Does NordVPN’s Streaming Performance Compare to Other VPNs?

The table below compares NordVPN with the best streaming VPNs in terms of speed, streaming ability, and streaming device compatibility.

NordVPN Is Extremely Fast and Consistent

Speed & Reliability

9.59.5/10
How is this calculated?

Speed ratings are calculated using upload speeds, download speeds, and ping (latency).

We test average speeds regularly using a dedicated 100Mbps connection in London, UK. Local download speed is considered the most important factor.

NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs across the globe. We recorded fast speeds on both nearby and far-away servers. Our download speeds were an impressive 94Mbps when connected to nearby VPN servers and as quick as 74Mbps internationally.

The VPN’s connections are fast and stable enough for high-quality video streaming as well as smooth torrenting and web browsing.

Here are the results we recorded when connecting to nearby NordVPN servers:

Local Speed Test results before using NordVPN:

  • Download Speed: 94Mbps
  • Upload Speed: 99Mbps
  • Ping: 4ms

Local Speed Test results with NordVPN:

  • Download Speed: 93Mbps
  • Upload Speed: 94Mbps
  • Ping: 8ms

Download speed loss when NordVPN is running: 1%

As you can see, NordVPN’s short-distance speed test results were very impressive: just a 1% decrease in our download speeds and 5% in uploads. This is perfect for buffer-free Netflix streaming and fast torrent downloads.

Ping times are also fairly low, for playing online games with minimal lag, as long as you connect to a server close by.

Worldwide Speed Test Results

Once we tested local speeds, we looked into how well NordVPN performed over longer distances. These results were just as impressive, particularly connecting to a US-based server.

Here are our latest long-distance speed test results:

  • USA (New York):
    • Download: 74Mbps (21% slower)
    • Upload: 43Mbps (57% slower)
  • Germany (Berlin):
    • Download: 83Mbps (12% slower)
    • Upload: 94Mbps (5% slower)
  • Singapore:
    • Download: 63Mbps (33% slower)
    • Upload: 21Mbps (79% slower)
  • Australia (Sydney):
    • Download: 56Mbps (40% slower)
    • Upload: 29Mbps (71% slower)

Even in locations as far as Australia, NordVPN maintains incredibly fast speeds – well above what we typically see from other VPNs.

EXPERT TIP:

Connect to NordVPN using the NordLynx protocol to get the fastest speeds.

NordVPN’s Speeds Versus Other Top VPNs

The graph below compares NordVPN’s internet speed loss to other popular VPNs. This speed data is taken from our custom-built automated VPN speed test tool.

The tests run every six hours, and the connection is capped at 100Mbps to recreate a typical home internet environment.

Provider speed comparison chart

Use our Speed Test Tool to compare NordVPN’s speeds across different cities.

As the graph above shows, NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs available right now.

In our latest short-distance tests, the VPN reached a peak top speed of 92Mbps.

What’s most impressive is how fast and reliable NordVPN’s speeds have been over the last eight weeks. Other top VPNs, like IPVanish and Private Internet Access, were far less consistent.

What’s important for unblocking video content from abroad is how a VPN performs on international connections. NordVPN is currently the fastest VPN connecting to far-away locations, too.

Connecting from New York to London, NordVPN’s speed peaked at 85Mbps and fell to 81Mbps at its lowest point. Again, this beats competitors like PIA VPN, whose speeds ranged between 40Mbps and 78Mbps.

NordVPN Is a Verified No-logs VPN

Logging Policy & Jurisdiction

9.59.5/10
How is this calculated?

We dissect the logging and privacy policies of every VPN. A VPN should never log:

  • Your real IP address
  • Connection timestamps
  • DNS requests

A base of operations outside of 14-Eyes or EU jurisdiction is preferable.

NordVPN is a safe VPN with a verified no-logs policy and a privacy-first jurisdiction. It’s not possible to link your web activity back to you, making the VPN a great choice for users seeking online privacy.

We examined NordVPN’s privacy policy in detail, which states the service doesn’t log your traffic or store any VPN connection logs. Your personal web data is therefore safe, secure and private.

In fact, NordVPN is one of only a few VPNs to have had its no-logs policy audited by a third-party company. It has been audited twice by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), in 2018 and in 2020.

Both audits officially confirmed NordVPN’s no-log claims.

The audits also verified the VPN doesn’t store the user’s IP addresses, connection logs, or browsing activity.

Screenshot of NordVPN's logging policy

NordVPN is an audited no-logs VPN service.

This makes NordVPN one of the most private and trusted VPNs available.

Some pieces of information are collected when you sign up for an account, though. Mainly your email address and payment data, which is common practice among VPN services.

For maximum privacy, you can sign up with a brand new email address and pay with cryptocurrency.

No logs of User Web Activity

Regardless, NordVPN can’t link any of your online activities to you as an individual. Nor can it disclose that information to any third parties.

The service only knows that you have an account, but not what you’ve done online while using the VPN.

NordVPN does monitor server loads in order to maintain optimal performance and to recommend the fastest (often nearest) servers.

This information is aggregated across all users and can’t be used to personally identify you. Many private VPNs do this.

The VPN service’s Terms of Service state that: “To limit the number of simultaneous sessions of an active user, an algorithm keeps their username and the timestamp of the last session status while the session is active.”

We wanted to find out how that would affect user privacy, so we got in touch with NordVPN and a representative demonstrated how the algorithm works using the following diagram:

NordVPN's customer support reply about logging

The data is hashed using different dynamic components, and temporarily held in separate and standalone databases around the world. It’s then deleted 15 minutes after the end of the session.

Based on how the data is hashed and then wiped, we’re confident your web information can’t be traced back to you.

Where Is NordVPN Based?

NordVPN is owned by NordVPN S.A. and it operates under the legal jurisdiction of Panama, which is excellent for privacy.

Panama doesn’t require VPN companies to log or report any of their data. Nor is it part of any agreements that compel it to share information with other countries. Panama is a ‘privacy haven’ and a great VPN jurisdiction.

Being based in Panama gives NordVPN the power to deny any data requests from foreign governments and law enforcement agencies.

The company also publishes a daily warrant canary letting users know it hasn’t received National Security Letters, gag orders, or warrants from any government agency.

Law Enforcement Requests

On 18 January 2022, NordVPN updated its stance on law enforcement requests. It stated it will now “comply with lawful requests as long as they are delivered according to all the laws and regulations.”

This means that, if compelled by a court of law, NordVPN could start logging the activity of a specific user under criminal investigation. NordVPN also clarified to us that this stance is nothing new — it’s simply the first time that it’s made the information clear to the public.

The change was made the day after Europol shut down VPNLab.net after it refused to cooperate with law enforcement. VPNLab.net was a bespoke VPN for criminals that was only available on the dark web.

NordVPN’s policy change caused a lot of concern within the VPN industry. However, on closer inspection, we don’t expect this to impact any NordVPN user or our trust in NordVPN as a top VPN service.

Firstly, it is true that every VPN service would have to respond to such a court order. Otherwise, it would be closed down. This was proven by VPNLab.net. NordVPN has simply taken the bulk of the criticism as it’s the first VPN to clarify this in a public way.

Secondly, NordVPN displays a warrant canary on its website. A warrant canary is a statement where a VPN service can verify it hasn’t been issued a classified request from a government or law enforcement.

NordVPN’s warrant canary confirms the VPN has never received any warrants from any government organization. Therefore, it’s never logged any user’s information.

We still rate NordVPN as a top VPN service. If anything, we’d like more VPNs to follow suit and clarify their language around legitimate law enforcement requests. You can still trust NordVPN with your private data.

NordVPN is Great Value for Your Money

Price & Value for Money

88.0/10
How is this calculated?

Price & Value for Money receives a rating, but is not factored into our Overall Rating. We believe the reader should decide what is or isn’t a reasonable price.

A good rating here isn’t just based on how cheap the VPN is, but for the value it offers overall.

NordVPN is cheaper than many fully-featured VPN services, including its main rival ExpressVPN. The monthly plan costs $11.95, which is rather expensive. However, NordVPN’s two-year deal lowers the monthly price to a much more affordable $3.71.

NordVPN Pricing Options

NordVPN offers three different subscription plans, although they all include the same features.

  1. Monthly

    US$11.95/mo

    Billed $11.95 every month
  2. 12 Month(s)

    US$4.92/mo

    Billed $59.00 the first 12 months, renews at full price
    Save 58%
  3. 2 Year(s)

    US$3.71/mo

    Billed $89.00 the first 2 years, renews for 1-year terms at full price
    Save 68%

The two-year deal represents great value, considering you can use NordVPN on up to six devices at once. But, you will have to pay the full subscription of $89.00 upfront.

Payment & Refund Options

Here’s a full list of payment methods that NordVPN accepts:

  1. Alipay
  2. American Express
  3. Bank Wire / Direct Transfer
  4. Bitcoin
  5. Mastercard
  6. UnionPay
  7. Visa

Sadly, NordVPN has stopped accepting PayPal and replaced it with Adyen.

There is No Completely Free Version of NordVPN

Unlike TunnelBear, ProtonVPN, and other ‘freemium’ VPNs, NordVPN has never offered a completely free VPN service.

However, you can get a seven-day 100% free trial on Android smartphones (only with the annual pricing plan).

Moreover, you can get the equivalent of a 30-day NordVPN free trial by taking advantage of the service’s money-back guarantee.

It’s a no-questions-asked refund promise, so cancel your subscription within 30 days and you’ll receive your refund within 10 business days.

NordVPN Has Good Torrenting Capabilities

Torrenting

8.18.1/10
How is this calculated?

We calculate the average download bitrate of every VPN using a bespoke torrenting setup.

Testing also factors in the percentage of servers which permit P2P, plus useful features like port forwarding.

NordVPN allows torrenting on over 85% of its 5,155 servers. Its P2P-optimized servers recorded a fast average bitrate of 10.8 MiB/s in our tests. That said, torrenting is blocked on servers in fourteen countries, so there are more suitable P2P VPNs available

NordVPN is a good VPN for torrenting, with thousands of fast servers optimized for P2P traffic.

In our latest P2P speed tests, NordVPN registered an average bitrate of 6.5MiB/s. That’s faster than CyberGhost (3.9MiB/s), but slower than ExpressVPN (9.4MiB/s) and IPVanish (9.9MiB/s).

Downloading a torrent file with NordVPN

NordVPN performed well in our torrenting tests.

We also like NordVPN’s range of advanced security settings, such as the VPN kill switch, which keeps your IP address concealed if your VPN connection cuts out.

NordVPN’s no-logs policy is also ideal for anonymous file-sharing.

You can torrent while connected to almost every country on the server list. These optimized servers are easy to find – they are listed under ‘Specialty Servers’ in the app settings.

Screenshot of NordVPN specialty servers, including P2P

However, NordVPN doesn’t allow P2P traffic in the following countries:

  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Cyprus
  • Egypt
  • Georgia
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Malaysia
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates

If you try to torrent on a VPN server that doesn’t support P2P, the VPN app will re-route traffic through a dedicated server in Canada or the Netherlands.

The apps detect P2P traffic using a “special algorithm” that NordVPN assured us doesn’t defy its no-logs policy. This is likely a real-time analysis tool that detects traffic, but doesn’t store that data.

Torrenting with NordVPN’s SOCKS5 Proxy

NordVPN also provides a SOCKS5 proxy, which can be used with torrent clients like BitTorrent.

It’s faster than a VPN, but it’s not as secure. A SOCKS5 proxy spoofs your IP address, but it won’t encrypt your traffic, which puts your online privacy and security at risk.

No Port Forwarding Available

NordVPN doesn’t have a port forwarding option, which speeds up P2P file uploads (or ‘seeding’) considerably.

If you’re a regular seeder, we recommend your read our updated Private Internet Access review, instead.

NordVPN Has 5,155 VPN Servers in 60 Countries

Server Locations

9.69.6/10
How is this calculated?

The global spread and coverage of the VPN server network is the most important factor here.

We also consider the number of city-level servers, plus how many IP addresses are maintained.

This rating does not directly contribute to the Overall Rating, but instead makes up a portion of the Security & Features rating.

NordVPN provides 5,155 VPN servers, with each one assigning a static IP address. After Private Internet Access and CyberGhost, this is the highest number of servers offered by a VPN. The choice of 60 countries isn’t the widest range we’ve seen, but it’s still enough to satisfy most users.

Globe with a blue flag
60 Countries
Image of a city landscape
90+ Cities
Image of a pink marker
5,155+ IP Addresses

The VPN’s server network covers popular countries like the UK, US, Australia, and Canada. It also serves less common countries such as Argentina and Vietnam.

There’s also plenty of choice in Europe, North and South America, and Asia-Pacific. Africa and the Middle East are the least served by NordVPN.

NordVPN's Server List in App

Many City-level Servers

NordVPN gives its users excellent city-level server choices in five countries:

  • Australia (five locations, 200+ servers)
  • Canada (three locations, 300+ servers)
  • Germany (two locations, 200+ servers)
  • India (two locations, 20+ servers)
  • The US (15 locations, 1,600+ servers)

Users in these countries can connect to a server close to their physical location, for faster speeds and access to city or state-specific content. In the United States, this is useful to bypass sports blackouts.

NordVPN also provides a dedicated IP address service for customers who want to stick with one VPN IP address for long periods of time. This feature costs extra and it’s not as private as using VPN IP addresses, which are shared by many users at any one time.

NordVPN Server Security

NordVPN’s network consists of physical, bare-metal servers, none of which are virtual.

All its VPN servers are in fact physically located where you expect them to be. This is rare, as many VPN services have at least a small percentage of virtual servers, which are not physically located in the country where their IP address is registered.

NordVPN is also working on building a network of self-owned servers. Owning servers is ideal for security and gives a VPN company full control over its physical infrastructure.

The 2018 security incident proved that relying on a third-parties to provide VPN servers can lead to security vulnerabilities.

Not many VPNs own their entire server infrastructure. Of the top VPNs, only VyprVPN (read our review) and IPVanish operate first-party servers.

For the time being, NordVPN still rents some servers, but it says it’s keeping data center providers to even higher standards than before to prevent more security issues.

Also, the VPN service recently started rolling out 10Gbps servers. This is an upgrade from the 1Gbps servers most VPNs operate. This helps make NordVPN even faster on 500Mbps (or faster) connections.

NordVPN is Safe and Private

Security & Features

9.69.6/10
How is this calculated?

Top-rated VPNs offer OpenVPN or WireGuard protocols, AES-256 encryption, and a functional kill switch. We also consider additional security features and the global spread of VPN servers.

Despite a well-publicized server breach in 2018, NordVPN has since introduced very strong security and encryption measures. NordVPN uses the most secure VPN protocols, it operates RAM-only servers, and it’s taken steps to own the entire network. You can trust NordVPN to keep your data private and secure.

Protocols
  1. IKEv2/IPSec
  2. OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
  3. WireGuard
Encryption
  1. AES-256
Security
  1. DNS Leak Blocking
  2. First-party DNS
  3. Supports TCP Port 443
  4. VPN Kill Switch
  5. WebRTC Leak Blocking
Advanced features
  1. Double VPN
  2. Smart DNS
  3. SOCKS
  4. Tor over VPN Server

NordVPN’s Secure Protocols and High Encryption

NordVPN uses the best protocols and encryption ciphers available to protect your personal data from snoopers and hackers.

All apps use NordLynx by default, which is NordVPN’s own VPN protocol built on top of WireGuard.

The main benefit of NordLynx is that it is incredibly fast. In fact, the results from our WireGuard vs OpenVPN speed tests have been impressive.

We found that NordLynx is consistently faster than OpenVPN, particularly on long-distance connections. This is useful when streaming geo-restricted content from abroad in HD and 4K.

NordVPN encrypts traffic using the AES-256-GCM cipher with a 2048-bit DH key.

NordVPN’s IP and DNS Leak Test Results

When you use a VPN, all your internet traffic should flow through a secure, encrypted VPN tunnel.

Sometimes bits of personal data like your IP address can leak out, though. That’s why we run regular tests checking for IP and DNS leaks that can expose your private information.

When we tested NordVPN, we found no leaks whatsoever. It comes as no surprise because NordVPN runs its own DNS servers, and goes to great lengths to protect your online data.

Screenshot of browserleaks.com test results for NordVPN

NordVPN passed all of our leak tests.

This screenshot above shows the results of our leak test when connected to NordVPN’s Windows app. We can confirm the macOS, Android, and iOS apps are also leak-proof.

NordVPN’s Additional Security Features

Kill Switch:
NordVPN’s kill switch shields your true IP address in the event of a VPN connection drop on your PC, Mac or iOS device.

NordVPN actually provides two types of kill switch: an internet kill switch and an app kill switch.

The internet kill switch works by blocking your device’s connection to the internet if the VPN connection drops suddenly. The app kill switch – available on Windows and macOS only – lets you apply kill switch protection to selected apps only.

We recommend using the system-wide internet kill switch for added security, especially if you’re torrenting files.

Double VPN:
Also known as multi-hop, this routes your internet traffic through two different servers, and encrypts it twice to provide extra privacy. It slows down connections considerably, so only use it if you need the highest levels of privacy.

Onion over VPN:
This allows you to route traffic securely through the Tor network to mask VPN traffic in high-censorship countries. Like Double VPN, Onion over VPN can be slow due to the multiple layers of encryption.

Split Tunneling:
This feature lets you choose which apps to route inside and outside of the VPN tunnel. This is useful for apps that require your true IP address, like online banking or smart home devices.

Split tunneling is only available on NordVPN’s Windows and Android applications.

Invisibility on LAN:
Another useful feature, this option makes you invisible on your local network. Disable this if you need to access devices on your local network, like a wireless printer.

Threat Protection:
Threat Protection is a comprehensive security tool that blocks ads, protects against malware, and prevents viruses from being installed on your computer.

Unlike most of the other services we’ve reviewed, you don’t have to be connected to a VPN server to use Threat Protection’s features.

After testing it, we found that Threat Protection blocks some web ads. It didn’t removes ads from YouTube, though.

NordVPN’s Finland Server Breach

In October 2019, news broke of a breach to one of NordVPN’s Finland servers.

Poorly-configured security on the server’s remote management system allowed a hacker to breach it, view the file system and, theoretically, retrieve any data stored on it.

NordVPN informed us it wasn’t aware of the incident until 13 April 2019, when it was shown a dark web post of the hackers responsible bragging about it, dated March 2018.

At this point, the company took the server out of service and ‘shredded’ (securely wiped all data) it. It also terminated its contract with the third-party server provider, Creanova.

NordVPN stresses three important facts about the hack:

  • No user credentials were affected. In other words, no one’s privacy or anonymity was compromised.
  • There are no signs that user traffic was monitored. No user-sensitive data could be read from the server itself, either, as NordVPN is a no-logs service. This means the server contained no information regarding user data or browsing activity.
  • The VPN tunnel was not compromised. This means that the service as a whole still worked as intended.

NordVPN claims that the hack was the fault of Creanova, and Creanova blames NordVPN for being careless with its security.

Ultimately, it’s NordVPN’s responsibility to regularly check the security of its servers. Furthermore, the company’s delayed communication to the public to the about the incident was disappointing.

NordVPN’s Stronger Security Initiatives

The VPN service has since made concrete strides towards preventing another hack from taking place.

Here’s what NordVPN has implemented since the server breach:

  • Partnership with cybersecurity consulting firm VerSprite to carry out penetration tests and make NordVPN safer than ever before.
  • Bug bounty program to reward those that successfully identify vulnerabilities in Nord’s code.
  • Infrastructure security audit and vendor security assessment to prevent a similar breach occurring again.
  • A network of colocated servers exclusively owned by NordVPN to avoid any vulnerabilities caused by third-party providers.
  • Diskless RAM servers. This means that if someone seizes a server they are effectively seizing an empty piece of hardware with no user data or configuration files on it.

The 2018 security breach has clearly triggered NordVPN to be more secure than ever.

NordVPN Works in China on Windows & Android

Bypassing Censorship

8.88.8/10
How is this calculated?

Our remote-access server in Shanghai, China routinely tests if a VPN can beat restrictions and access a free, open internet. Obfuscation technologies and nearby servers are also a contributing factor.

This rating does not directly contribute to the Overall Rating, but instead makes up a portion of the Security & Features rating.

NordVPN is a reliable VPN for bypassing China’s strict censorship. While connected to NordVPN, we were able to stream YouTube videos, browse Instagram, and send messages using WhatsApp. However, this functionality is not available on the iOS or macOS apps.

Unlike many other VPN review websites, we manually test VPNs in China to guarantee they actually work.

Lately NordVPN has been working well in China, as our video below proves:

Bypassing the Great Firewall of China with NordVPN.

Dedicated NordVPN App for China

NordVPN even comes equipped with a custom app for bypassing Chinese web censorship, but this app is only available for Windows and Android.

Once you’ve installed this version of the app, make sure NordLynx is enabled and Threat Protection is disabled. Then, connect to a server using ‘Quick Connect’.

If you’re a Mac, iOS, or Linux user, you’ll have to manually set up the VPN on your device. NordVPN’s tutorials aren’t difficult to follow, but it’s not an ideal solution.

Sensibly, NordVPN doesn’t have servers in China, but you can connect to nearby servers in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand for faster speeds.

EXPERT ADVICE:

The NordVPN website is blocked in China and cannot be accessed without a VPN. Make sure to download the NordVPN app before entering China.

User-friendly Apps for All Devices and Platforms

Platforms & Devices

How is this rated?

A quality VPN should maintain functional, fully-featured applications and extensions for as many platforms and devices as possible.

This does not directly contribute to the Overall Rating, but instead makes up a portion of the Ease of Use rating.

NordVPN has a range of user-friendly applications for all major operating systems, including desktop, mobile, and TV devices. You can use NordVPN on six devices at once, which is slightly above the industry average.

Apps

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. iOS
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  6. Router

NordVPN’s apps are all easy to set up and simple to use, with clean, intuitive interfaces.

NordVPN’s Windows Client

NordVPN’s software for Windows is the most complete. It has the most advanced features, including a working kill switch, split tunneling, double (multi-hop) VPN, and Threat Protection (ad and malware blocker).

The Windows application lets you choose between the NordLynx (WireGuard) and the OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) protocols.

Home screen of the NordVPN app on Windows

The home screen of the NordVPN app on windows.

The only issue we have the PC client is that the server map is unnecessary and takes up a lot of screen space.

NordVPN’s macOS Application

NordVPN’s Mac application includes most of the PC software’s settings. Differently, though, the IKEv2 protocol is available (in addition to NordLynx and OpenVPN), but there is no split tunneling setting.

NordVPN's Mac app

NordVPN’s app for MacOS includes support for NordLynx and Double VPN.

NordVPN’s iOS Application

NordVPN’s application for iPhone and iPad is much better designed than the service’s desktop applications.

NordVPN's app for iOS and iPadOS.

NordVPN’s app for iPhone and iPad.

However, the settings in the app are limited, as we often witness in mobile VPN applications.

While the NordVPN iOS app includes an effective internet kill switch, there is no split tunneling setting.

In terms of protocols, the default VPN protocol is IKEv2, although you can switch to NordLynx or OpenVPN (UDP and TCP). There is no automatic protocol selection option on iOS.

NordVPN’s Android Application

Sadly, the NordVPN Android application isn’t as well-designed as the iOS software. We don’t love the presentation of information, although the app is still easy to use.

NordVPN homescreen on Android

NordVPN homescreen on Android.

Also, while the Android app allows split tunneling, it doesn’t come with an internet kill switch, which is disappointing.

By disabling the ‘Local Network Discovery’ feature, you can stay invisible to devices on your local area network (LAN).

NordVPN for Linux

NordVPN doesn’t provide a native VPN client for Linux. Instead, you’ll have to use Terminal command lines and configure the VPN accordingly.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

  1. Apple TV
  2. Amazon Fire TV
  3. Chromecast
  4. Nintendo
  5. PlayStation
  6. Roku
  7. Smart TV
  8. Xbox

NordVPN’s Smart DNS Tool

NordVPN’s Smart DNS feature easily unblocks US Netflix. We also streamed Hulu, and Disney+ on our Apple TV without issues.

How to manually configure Smart DNS on an Apple TV, letting you stream US Netflix directly on the device.

NordVPN’s Smart DNS feature unblocks content on Apple TV.

For gamers, Smart DNS is a great solution to use NordVPN on a PS4 and PS5, and other games consoles, too.

Smart DNS is rare, even among top VPN services. We’re pleased to see that NordVPN has added it.

Remember though, Smart DNS doesn’t encrypt traffic, leaving your streaming activity visible. Only use this feature to unblock video content, where encryption is not as necessary as highly-sensitive tasks.

NordVPN Router Setup

If you want to bypass NordVPN’s six simultaneous connections limit, and secure all the devices in your home, install the VPN on your home router.

Not many routers are compatible, so we recommend buying a pre-flashed one. It’s a little expensive, but worth it if you want all (most) devices to use an encrypted VPN connection.

Amazon Fire TV Stick & Fire TV

NordVPN provides a fully-featured app for Amazon Fire TV Stick and Android TV, letting you unblock Netflix and Hulu directly on your TV.

The app is one of the most functional we’ve seen for Fire TV and Smart TVs. It includes split tunneling, protocol choice, a design tailored for TVs, and the kill switch is enabled by default.

You can also connect to NordVPN’s P2P-optimized servers from within the app, making it compatible with many Kodi add-ons.

NordVPN Firestick app

NordVPN’s Fire TV app is optimized for larger screens.

But, the Fire TV app unblocks fewer Netflix libraries than the mobile and desktop software. It still works with popular regions like the US, UK, Canada, Japan, and France, though.

Browser Extensions

  1. Chrome
  2. Microsoft Edge
  3. Firefox

NordVPN provides good Chrome VPN extensions and Firefox VPN add-ons, very popular among NordVPN users.

To date, the NordVPN Chrome extension counts over 800,000 installs, and the Firefox add-on over 80,000.

These browser add-ons are similar to the desktop and mobile apps, but there’s one crucial difference: the browser extensions are proxies rather than true VPNs.

Proxy extensions only encrypt your browser traffic, leaving email apps or torrent clients unprotected.

While you can access the same countries available on the main VPN apps, you can’t drill down to city level, or make use of the specialty servers.

How to Use NordVPN’s Browser Extensions

It couldn’t be easier to set up NordVPN’s browser extensions. Just go to the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox store and install the add-on on your browser.

Once you’ve logged on you can choose a server and connect.

NordVPN's Google Chrome browser extension

NordVPN’s Google Chrome browser extension.

Both extensions include an ad-blocker and a built-in WebRTC leak blocker, to prevent IP location leaks. Both features are in the settings menu, in the top right corner.

NordVPN Video Tutorials

Ease of Use

9.59.5/10
How is this calculated?

This rating mainly consists of the intuitiveness of setup and everyday use.

Device or platform compatibility and customization options are also a factor.

NordVPN offers the ideal balance of technical complexity and ease of use. Its apps include a lot of extra features while remaining intuitive enough for beginners. The only downside is its map interface. We'd prefer a simple server list.

How to Connect to a Server with NordVPN

  1. How to Connect to a Server with NordVPN on Desktop

  2. How to Connect to a Server with NordVPN on Mobile

How to Change Settings in NordVPN

  1. How to Change Settings with NordVPN on Desktop

  2. How to Change Settings with NordVPN on Mobile

The videos above show you how easy it is to use the NordVPN desktop client and the mobile application.

To install the apps on your device(s), download them directly from the website or the relevant app store.

Helpful 24/7 live chat support

Customer Support

9.59.5/10
How is this calculated?

This rating is based on our assessment of each VPN’s:

  • Email support
  • Live chat support
  • Online resources

Not every VPN offers all of these, and they often vary in quality and response time.

NordVPN's customer service is one of the best. You have a range of support options, including an automated chatbot, 24/7 live chat, or email. We've found NordVPN's support agents are more knowledgeable than those from other VPN services.

24/7 LiveChat supportYes
Online ResourcesYes

Live chat support can be initiated from the bottom-right corner of the website. You’ll be initially greeted by the ‘NordVPN chatbot’, an automated chat agent that will attempt to answer your query.

We typically find chatbots, like Windscribe’s Garry, to be unhelpful and a waste of time. However, NordVPN’s automated agent is helpful and very good at interpreting questions.

The automated agent has a distinct advantage over human support, too. All replies were instantaneous, so we weren’t left waiting too long for an answer.

NordVPN customer service

NordVPN’s automated chatbot is fast and helpful.

Well-informed Support Agents

For those times when you do need human support, just type “get me a human” and you’ll be passed on to a member of NordVPN’s customer service team.

Like most other top VPNs, NordVPN offers 24/7 live chat. Its support agents are very helpful and resolved our issues promptly.

NordVPN live chat

NordVPN’s customer support agents are knowledgeable and courteous.

In addition, NordVPN offers a large knowledge base with guides covering FAQs, device setup, and connectivity troubleshooting.

NordVPN Review Summary

The Bottom Line

We recommend NordVPN as one of the fastest, safest, and overall best VPN services. If you want a quality budget VPN, then NordVPN is worth getting.

The VPN service secures your internet traffic with AES-256 encryption and safeguards your data with its verified no-logs policy.

Also, NordVPN unblocks US Netflix effortlessly, lets you torrent privately, and it bypasses geographic restrictions in over 50 countries.

Its user-friendly, feature-packed apps also make it ideal for both VPN beginners and experienced users.

All in all, NordVPN comes a close second to ExpressVPN, with one main advantage — it’s more affordable.

How Does NordVPN Compare to Other VPNs?

Below is a table comparing NordVPN to two popular alternative VPN services: ExpressVPN and Surfshark.

NordVPN
ExpressVPN
Surfshark
Overall Rating
9.5
9.7
9.0
Cheapest Price
$3.71
$6.67
$2.30
Average Speed
98Mbps
88Mbps
85Mbps
No. of Netflix Libraries
11
10
11
No. of Servers
5,155
3,000
3,200
No. of Countries
60
94
65
Money-back Guarantee
30 days
30 days
30 days

Additional research by Luke Williams

Alternatives to NordVPN

The new ExpressVPN logo

ExpressVPN

9.79.7/10

ExpressVPN is our top-rated VPN, as it provides an ever-so-slightly better overall experience than NordVPN — but it's very close. Read ExpressVPN review

Surfshark VPN logo

Surfshark

99.0/10

Surfshark is a great budget VPN, popular with streaming fans. It's cheaper than NordVPN, it unblocks 31 different Netflix libraries, and there are no connection limits. Read Surfshark review

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio


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