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NordVPN Review - How Secure & Fast is NordVPN?

NordVPN is arguably the most reliable VPN you can get in the market today. But does it live up to its reputation? How secure is NordVPN? Is NordVPN fast? I invested 45+ hours testing and evaluating NordVPN to figure out how well it performs in VPN rankings.

After a couple of rigorous tests, I found that NordVPN has more offers for internet users. Thanks to its continued efforts to improve online security and anonymity without falling behind on speed.

It’s packed with watertight security and privacy features, including military-grade encryption, a customizable kill switch, VPN protocols, DNS leak protection, and a strict no-logs policy – all for a fair price.

As a privacy juggernaut, NordVPN allows you to unblock popular streaming sites (US Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, and HBO Go). A huge server network is another feature NordVPN can brag about.

If you want to stream, torrent or game comfortably on these censored sites, NordVPN assures you a quick win. Its exceptionally fast speeds on all servers are great for a bufferless user experience. The ultra-fast connection is now backed by NordLynx, which is NordVPN proprietary protocol.

Users can install NordVPN’s native apps on their Windows 10 desktop computers, Linux laptops, MacBook, and Android phones (compatibility).

Every new customer gets a 30-day money-back guarantee in all its subscription plans. In my NordVPN review, I’ve rounded up every detail about NordVPN service.

In A Hurry? Here’s What You Need to Know about NordVPN:

  • Huge server network: 5400+ servers across 59 countries, including specialty servers.
  • Strong security and privacy features: Industry-grade encryption, a kill switch, advanced VPN protocols, leak protection, and a strict zero-logging policy.
  • Ultra-fast speeds. Both on local and long-distance servers.
  • Unblocks popular streaming sites: Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Sky Go, YouTube, and more.
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, Browser Extension (Chrome & Firefox), and more.
  • Supports torrenting & P2P file-sharing and gaming
  • Great Customer Support: 24/7 live chat, Email support, knowledgeable base, user guides
  • 7 Simultaneous Device Connections and 30-day money-back guarantee
Try NordVPN Today

How Secure is NordVPN

Nearly all VPN providers claim to provide security to its users, but only a few like NordVPN can back it up in features. Sustainable security is indeed what you’d want your VPN to have.

I tested every aspect of secure browsing by looking through NordVPN’s encryption levels, kill switch, leak protection, and VPN protocols. It’s impressively secure.

Military-Grade Encryption

NordVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption to secure your private data. It’s the standard cipher – in fact, banks and governments use it to protect their web traffic. The encryption level is so strong that hackers using a combination of brute attacks will take millions of years to crack it.

On top of that, it utilizes Perfect Forward Secrecy to frequently change keys for each session, ensuring no security compromises. In the very unlikely event attackers manage to penetrate one session, they won’t be able to unblock the next one. New keys are used every hour.

A Kill Switch

It doesn’t stop there. NordVPN has an extra thing in its cabinet to further solidify security to its users, and that’s a customized kill switch. This feature blocks your internet traffic in case your VPN drops.

A kill switch is reliable for anything that requires top-notch security. NordVPN outwits other VPNs because it features two kill switches:

  • Internet kill switch – It’s a general kill switch that shuts down all internet access when you’re not connected to a VPN. With it, you can be sure of maximum online anonymity.
  • App kill switch – This one closes your chosen apps whenever your VPN connection drops. Meaning, if you choose Chrome to shut down, other browsers won’t switch off.

With a kill switch, your personal data remains private even if the connection goes down. Those looking for the best torrenting VPNs will love to hear this.

It’s worth mentioning that kill switches aren’t automatic, but the setup is very easy. You can activate it with just one click.

On the flip side, the internet kill switch isn’t available on Mac OS OpenVPN client, but you’ll get the two switches on Mac OS IKEv2 client.

Advanced VPN Protocols

NordVPN establishes secure connections to its servers by using reputable protocols. The company recently introduced its fastest default protocol – NordLynx, which combines with Wireguard technology for security and advantages.

If the choice of operating devices is your concern, then be aware that NordLynx is available on Windows, Linux, macOS, and iOS.

OpenVPN is by far the most time-tested choice used in any VPN apps. NordVPN can’t be an exception. Users can select either UDP or TCP versions. During my tests, UDP gave me speeds while TCP was more secure.

IKEv2/IPSec is used on app iOS devices. Old protocols such as PPTP and L2TP/IPSec aren’t supported anymore. They are weaker, raising concern about their vulnerabilities.


Leak Protection- No Leaks

You can rest easy knowing that NordVPN will conceal your IP addresses. I put together several DNS, IP, and WebRTC leak tests and noticed that it displayed the server’s IP address instead of my own.

NordVPN successfully passed all my tests with no leaks found. It hid my actual location. This bolsters your anonymity in which your ISP, government, or other spying eyes won’t monitor your identity.

The no leak results aren’t a surprise for most users since NordVPN runs its own DNS servers. Your IP address remains hidden regardless of the geographical location you’re in.

Does NordVPN Offer Good Privacy?

According to PwC (independent audit Company), NordVPN stands firm when it comes to privacy. The audit confirmed the no-logs policy.

Users are confident in its privacy claims since only a few VPNs do this, like CyberGhost and IPVanish. A good level of privacy is what improves the value of any VPN.


Headquartered in Panama, NordVPN is located outside of the 14 Eyes Alliance. It’s a privacy-friendly country with no data retention laws.

Neither are there mass surveillance programs. This means your personal data will stay hidden as no one can hand it over to the government or other agencies.

The legal jurisdiction puts NordVPN beyond the reach of European Union mandatory data retention laws. Being a ‘privacy haven,’ Panama has no agreement that allows it to share users’ information with anyone.

No-logs policy

NordVPN employs a zero-logging policy. It clearly states, “We don’t log user’s data.” This means your browsing activity is not logged, monitored, stored, or passed on to third parties.

The company also claims not to store users’ connection timestamps, traffic logs, expired bandwidth, online activity, IPs, or sensitive data (like bank transactions).

More often than not, it retains some information about you – like your email, username, and password to ensure consistent customer support. This is an obvious habit in most VPN services, and it doesn’t compromise your privacy.

It only knows there’s an account under your name but not your internet activities, who you’re communicating with, or your searches.

Huge Server Network (5,400 Servers across 59 Locations)

Network coverage is one area where NordVPN outperforms its competitors. The VPN provider offers a fleet of servers globally, with a very secure setup. NordVPN also boasts specialty servers.

At the time of this review, NordVPN had about 5,400 servers across 59 locations. A decent number of servers (30% of servers) are distributed in the US and UK.

I’m pleased to see that NordVPN provides global coverage even in underserviced locations like the Middle East, Africa, Arab countries, and South America. Many VPN providers tend to ignore these areas.

These servers are great for bypassing censored content without any hassle. In fact, you can command it to automatically select the best servers for you based on location, distance, and load time.

Be it as it may, NordVPN is yet to develop servers in China. The country imposes oppressive internet laws, so it’s no wonder to see this happening even with other VPN providers. You can, however, use obfuscated servers to bypass the Great Firewall of China.

You can probably consider the closest server locations like Hong, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan for China and Ukraine for Russia. The company promises to expand its network of servers in the future.

Internet users have a reason to appreciate NordVPN for offering specialty server types such as:

  • Obfuscated servers. The servers are responsible for spoofing internet traffic in stringent countries like the US, Taiwan, and Turkey.
  • Double VPN servers. Your web traffic gets doubly encrypted across two but different VPN servers. In this setup, single servers won’t identify your IP address or websites you visit.
  • Onion-Over-VPN Servers. These servers use Tor network to route your online traffic to maximize privacy and anonymity beyond a single server.
  • P2P servers. They’re P2P-optimized servers for downloading and sharing files. Unlimited bandwidth is what you get.
  • Dedicated IP servers. NordVPN has deployed dedicated servers. That’s to say; you’ll connect to a server without having to share the same IP address.

NordVPN steps up to offer wide coverage, thus ensuring users satisfy their online needs. It’s one way of delivering its promise for sure.

Is NordVPN fast?

Speed is as useful as security. Note that a VPN will affect your web browsing performance. With NordVPN, you’ll enjoy stable and fast connections everywhere. Last year, the company launched its proprietary protocol that significantly doubled its speeds.

This default protocol is just a new version of WireGuard technology, which is way more efficient than any other protocol available. I ran a series of speed tests using both Ethernet and wireless connections in the US, UK, and Japan.

Across all locations and times tested, NordVPN gave me an average speed of 41 Mbps. The speed is enough to live stream HD shows, video in 4K resolution, and on-demand content without sacrificing privacy.

Here is the full breakdown of my speed tests results by region. I used the Ookla Speed test tool.

It’s important to mention that my baseline speed without a VPN was 45.52 Mbps.

First, I connected to a local server in New York City, which gave a whopping speed of 42.74 Mbps.

Long-distance NordVPN servers in London UK, impressed with a speed of 44.42 Mbps. This is great for streaming.

I moved far north and tested NordVPN servers in Tokyo, Japan. The speed stood at 31.83 Mbps.

Not everything is positive; I also encountered the occasional slower servers. You need to select the fastest server on Nord’s interface.

There’s an indication of improvement in speeds compared to my speed test results in the last 2 years. Probably the large discrepancies in speed is because of the simpler NordLynx protocol. It’s really improved NordVPN’s overall performance.

How Good is NordVPN for Streaming?

The ability to unblock geo-restrictions is a definite strong point for any VPN service. While streaming performance is what most of us are looking for, NordVPN allows you access to your favorite entertainment content.

Its SmartPlay feature claims to get around 400+ censored sites. To get a sense of how NordVPN impacts web streaming performance, I ran some tests using Windows to evaluate its powers by attempting to stream US Netflix, Amazon Video, Disney+, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer content.

In my testing, NordVPN let me unblock 20+ Netflix libraries, including the US, Canada, and the UK. Although Netflix keeps on amping up its geo-restriction technology, I did stream without interruptions. It also unblocked Hulu

I watched my favorite shows in HD quality on Netflix. NordVPN servers unblock Netflix in Germany, France, Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Italy, and India.

Amazon Prime Video is always updating its VPN-blocking technology, in turn, VPNs are struggling to keep up. I was able to access it with zero buffering.

To set the record straight, I ran multiple servers in Los Angeles, California, and Illinois and watched my ‘Season Break” break movie on them all. Your content is going to load fast even before you start streaming.

I successfully unblocked HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney-plus. I managed to stream quality movies in crystal-clear Ultra High Definition.

NordVPN is a viable choice if streaming content appeals to you. The fact that I bypassed all streaming sites is adequate evidence to rank NordVPN as one of the best VPNs for streaming.

NordVPN is Compatible with Most Major Platforms

A top VPN should be versatile. NordVPN native apps are available on plenty of operating systems and devices. That said, you can download NordVPN on Windows, mobile apps, Linux and Mac. Oh, and also encrypted proxy extensions for Firefox and Chrome.

Nord has apps for many routers, too. You’ll be impressed with how intuitive these apps will be on every device. Talk of an attractive interface with a sidebar and a map feature with a list of favorite servers.

I installed NordVPN on my Windows 10 computer, Linux laptop, iPhone 12 Pro, and MacBook Pro. I found it easy since apps for Mac, Windows, and Linux are somewhat identical.

Most VPN providers don’t offer apps for Linux like NordVPN does, which is a plus. I tried to install it on Ubuntu as well – it really works well. The exciting thing is that all these apps are pretty easy to use and operate without triggering command prompts.

A clean layout on all devices improves client’s power. For desktop apps, users can easily access just about everything they need on Nord in just a few clicks.

What about on Gaming consoles and Smart TVs? You can easily download NordVPN on Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, or Android TV. Just look for them in the PlayStore/App Store and download them in no time.

The only noticeable thing is that the interface is a bit different on each device. But the features are similar.

Utterly important, you can protect all your devices simultaneously with NordVPN cost-free. Just install it on your Edge router. Heads up – not all routers are compatible with Nord. Only consider routers with DD-WRT, NetDUMA, OpenWRT, OPNsense, ASUS WRT, GI.iNET, just to mention a few.

Does NORDVPN Support Torrenting?

Yes, it does. NordVPN is one step ahead when it comes to torrent support.

The VPN boasts hundreds of optimized P2P servers, mainly in the US, UK, and other European countries. I tested P2P specialty servers with Popcorn, uTorrent, and BitTorrent – I had an easy time downloading music files. NordVPN’s speedy servers favor torrenting as well.

NordVPN torrenting server

I appreciate the fact that if you forget to connect to its specialty servers, NordVPN will reroute you back to suitable torrenting servers as soon as it detects P2P traffic.

Downloading and sharing copyrighted content is illegal. This can leave you in a very grey area, but I’m happy to see NordVPN has privacy features to keep you anonymous.

A kill switch will block your internet traffic if you lose VPN connection. Its DNS leak protection secures your IP from accidental leaks, while robust encryption hides your online activity.

Thanks to its strict no-logs policy that helps keep off prying eyes from monitoring your activity. Nord operates from a privacy-friendly country, meaning if leaks happen, which is uncommon, no one will access your browsing history.

Free SOCKS5 proxy is another extra feature that enhances torrenting speeds. All of this is enough evidence that NordVPN is safe for torrenting.

Is NordVPN Good for Gaming?

The absolute answer is yes. I’m a gamer, and I’ve been using VPNs to play Fifa 2021. The right VPN should maintain stability for you to game online without annoying buffers and lags issues.

Speed, often overlooked, is an essential factor when you’re playing very competitive online games. I ran dozens of tests using different servers (both local and long-distance servers) to find out how NordVPN performs.

NordVPN’s performance holds up better on short distances than long distances. This means you need to stick to local servers if you want to have an excellent gaming experience.

I managed to load a match on faraway servers, although the whole process was affected by a myriad of lags. This puts me at a disadvantage considering that the game of my choice required instant reactions.

While your input on the game is paramount, you’ll want a VPN with a ping rate below 100 ms. You’re likely to get a high ping rate on long-distance servers after multiple attempts. NordVPN local servers allow you to have fun.

Does NordVPN Really Work in China?

It works in China. However, not all servers will work inside Chinese territories. Thankfully, NordVPN has set aside a type of specialty server called ‘obfuscated servers’ to help you circumvent countries with heavy restrictions and censorship – China included.

As mentioned earlier, the Company is yet to introduce any server in China. Ideally, you won’t exclusively get content as you may have wished. Some veterans can unblock similar alternatives through Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Taiwan servers.

My colleague did some tests; he reported a high success rate with Nord’s obfuscated servers. I also reached out to the support team for more confirmation and discovered that servers are unavailable for iOS.

Simultaneous Device Connections

NordVPN allows you to secure up to 6 devices at the same time in a single account. I tried out with all my devices – Windows PC, MacBook, Smart TV, Android phone, and Linux laptop. All devices in the mix worked simultaneously.

You can cover more devices by installing NordVPN on your router. This gives members of your big family a taste of trending games on their PlayStation, PlayStation consoles, Xbox – all are securely connected through the router.

User Experience

Recording over 12 million all-time downloads, NordVPN is winning a battle of supremacy in the cybersecurity industry. First off, you can download its native apps on Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, and Linux.

Nord’s site is well laid out so that you don’t spend more time understanding it than is ideal. I found it easy to navigate using my iPhone 12 Pro. The process of downloading and installing desktop apps is also simple.

Both mobile and desktop apps look similar. What seems to be the only difference is that you need to swipe up to see the servers if you’re using a mobile phone.

The menu makes everything easy, from choosing between servers to spotting the suitable location regardless of any version (mobile or desktop). New subscribers will get connected within 3 minutes or so.

NordVPN users love the clunky map interface because it’s attractive. Overall, Nord offers not only user-friendly apps but exceptional connections as well.

The only exception to its user-friendliness falls on Linux users. If you love Linux, you’ll have to navigate the interface by typing commands at prompts. I believe experienced users know how to get around this.

Great Customer Support

NordVPN has put in place different measures to support its users. You’ll access 24/7 live chat on its website. When I launched the app, I tested this and found that live chat support is top-notch. The agents are knowledgeable, responsive, and helpful.

I got thorough answers to my questions within 10 seconds. NordVPN has an active team of developers that offers quick responses to any query. Of all things, the team is knowledgeable enough to handle any tech problem (like troubleshooting) every time.

You may prefer to hook up with them via email, especially if the chat gets disconnected.  Just send a note. This method is very effective for complex questions that require a bit of detail. But you’ve to wait for a response for 1-3 hours.

NordVPN’s site features a huge library of setup guides, FAQs, and video tutorials. You’re likely to find your answer there. I would recommend the live chat over others because it’s more convenient.

Pricing & 30-Day Refund Policy

One thing that matters is the price of any VPN service. It may strike or attract potential customers, luring them into a deal – but the quality of a service has to match the price.

NordVPN offers three main plans. You can start with a one-month plan at $11.95. That’s the shortest contract you can get. Nonetheless, as with nearly all VPN services, you start to get discounts if you choose a long-term subscription plan.

Right now, a 1-year plan drops to $4.92 a month. If you decide to sign up for a 2-year plan, you’ll just pay $3.29. That is a hefty discount on paper. It’s advisable to sign up for a longer plan.

Payment options include PayPal, AmazonPay, credit card, Union Pay. Nord also accepts crypto payments like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more.

Again, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its subscription plans. That means you can claim a refund if the VPN doesn’t work for you.

NordVPN is a good value for money.


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Does NordVPN have a free plan?

NordVPN doesn’t have a free VPN or a free trial. However, it does come with a 30-day hassle=free money back guarantee. This works like a free trial, and lets you try the VPN, and all its premium features without a long term commitment.

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Is NordVPN trustworthy?

Yes. NordVPN is a top-tier VPN with standout features to keep your identity secure and private while you’re browsing the internet. Neither your ISP nor third parties can monitor your online activity. It’s also one of the best VPNs for streaming HD videos.

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Does NordVPN have an adblocker?

NordVPN comes with a CyberSec feature that automatically blocks malware, spyware, hackers, and phishing activities while you surf the web.

It does so by filtering out all ads on the sites you visit.

Final Thoughts

So, is NordVPN worth it? I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t grab it. This VPN service is trustworthy, reliable, and is compatible with all devices. In addition, you can use it to unblock content on popular streaming sites like Netflix.

It scores well on speed demonstrated by my speed test results. As for security, NordVPN prides itself on a ton of outstanding features like military-grade encryption, a kill switch, multiple protocols  to keep your data safe from prying eyes.

The vast collection of servers to choose from allows you to pinpoint the fastest ones as per your intended online needs. A set of specialty servers is a bonus for those who engage in torrenting habits.  Users love it that way.

Don’t just take my word for it. Try it out yourself.