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NordVPN review

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NordVPN is Cooltechzone’s Editor's Choice. We use it more often than other VPNs and are completely satisfied with all of its features. We've also tested all the features and platforms we're not using and put together a comprehensive NordVPN review for you.

NordVPN is arguably the most popular VPN service in the world. Is it deserved? Is it really that good or is it just marketing?

We know the answer, but we know that you want the hard evidence. Therefore, we have prepared an overview for you of the real possibilities of NordVPN, based on our experience, test results and user reviews.

NordVPN is great for unblocking Netflix and other streaming services for all regions, torrenting securely, masking your location, and more.

The distinctive features of NordVPN include its ease of use, high speed and large number of innovations that allow you to use it for any task anywhere in the world, including censored regions (tested by Cooltechzone experts).

⭐ Rating:
4.9
🥇 Overall rank:#1 out of #24
📖 No logs policy:Independently-audited
💵 Price:From $2.99/month
🖥️ Servers:5500+ servers in 59 countries
🍿 Streaming services:Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more
🔥 Coupons:NordVPN coupon 68% OFF

NordVPN pros and cons

Servers and speed

We tested NordVPN applications on a 300 Mbps channel and the Linux version on a 1 Gbps channel. The results exceeded our expectations and were on average 20-30% higher than during last year's testing.

CountryDownload, Mbps
Upload, Mbps
United States
120-24060-110
Canada120-23060-100
Germany160-260110-200
Australia90-16050-170
Japan80-15060-150

Typical midrange VPN speeds are in the 30-60 Mbps range. As you can see, NordVPN's speed exceeds the industry average it by 2-3 times or more. The main reason of this is the proprietary NordLynx protocol, based on the next-gen WireGuard. The global bare-metal server fleet is also an important factor. Some of the servers are also 10 Gbps, allowing better performance.

Note also that the speed is fairly constant over time. Even a multi-week connection is never dropped due to any fault of NordVPN, and its speed does not drop below the threshold where it becomes noticeable to the user.

Only in rare cases, when the computer repeatedly wakes up from hibernation mode, the connection may "hang" and require restarting the application to restore it. But this only happened twice in a year’s time, and only on Windows. Perhaps this is not due to the service’s software, but the incorrect operation of the computer’s hardware.

NordVPN for streaming

NordVPN is arguably the best VPN for streaming. First and foremost, it unblocks all popular content platforms, such as Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more. Then it offers breakneck speeds, meaning you won't have trouble with buffering, even at 4K (UHD). Lastly, it has dedicated apps for Android TV and Amazon Fire Stick. If you have a router, you'll also be able to watch your favorite movies and shows on other smart TVs and even gaming consoles.

Streaming service
Does it unblock?
Netflix US, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Australia, Japan
Yes
Amazon Prime Video
Yes
HBO Max
Yes
HuluYes
Disney+Yes

Watch Netflix with NordVPN

Are you looking to unblock Netflix for a region other than yours? No problem with NordVPN!

We've tested its support for Netflix and other geo-restricted video services for over 6 months, and we can now confidently say that NordVPN is a great VPN for Netflix.

And this is not an exaggeration. Each time, 10 out of 10 servers in different countries to which we connected via an interactive map in the application allowed us to watch Netflix content for the selected country.

We measured the speed. NordVPN lets you watch videos online in maximum quality premium streaming subscriptions for all regions:

Stream Hulu with NordVPN

We also tested Hulu support on US servers. And the results were great. 3 out of 5 tested servers were able to bypass the video service’s protections. As with Netflix, the speed was sufficient to watch videos in full quality.

Unblock HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and other platforms

NordVPN has successfully bypassed the geo-restrictions of HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. We are pretty sure it can do that with less popular content websites as well. Just don't forget to try another server in case the first one doesn't work.

NordVPN for torrenting

NordVPN is the go-to choice for torrenting. Here are the five reasons why it's so:

  1. Proven security and traffic protection
  2. Reliable kill switch
  3. Dedicated P2P servers
  4. Fastest speeds
  5. Split tunneling and SOCKS5 proxy

All these characteristics are combined with a wide range of servers and high-quality applications for all OS.

Read more about NordVPN for P2P in our specialized ranking review of Top 10 VPNs for torrenting.

Pricing and plans

NordVPN has the following pricing plans:

The Plus version adds NordPass password manager while the Complete version also includes 1 TB of NordLock secure cloud storage.

I should mention a few things about NordPass. It is a tool that allows you to store all of your passwords and logins in one place. It protects them with powerful encryption and the best thing about it is that you only need to remember one master password to access any of them at any time.

Payment methods

NordVPN supports the following payment methods:

  • Credit and debit cards
  • Amazon Pay
  • AliPay
  • Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Dash, Ethereum (ETH), Monero (XMR), Zec, Ripple (XRP)

Payment will be automatically made only after 7 days. You can unsubscribe from the service during this time.

NordVPN is the number one in our ranking of the best cheap VPNs.

NordVPN free trial

NordVPN is available for free for 7 days on Android and iOS. However, once activated, the free trial works on Windows, Mac, and other devices as well.

NordVPN free trial

What can free NordVPN do?

It provides the same features as the paid version does. There are no restrictions with the trial period.

What features of the trial version do you need to know?

  1. The trial period is available only with an annual subscription. A bank card will be needed for this.
  2. The NordVPN annual subscription is not the most profitable ($6.99/month or $83.88 per year). The lowest price provides their two-year plan of $3.29/month with a 68% discount but it is not available with the trial period.
  3. To issue a more profitable subscription or simply withdraw from NordVPN, you must cancel the annual subscription before the free trial period ends.
  4. The trial period is available only once.
  5. To use a trial period, you just need to download and install the NordVPN app.

I compared the performance of the trial and paid versions and did not find any differences. The only drawback of the trial version is that you need a card to use it. Use our free trial VPN services ranking review to find a good VPN with a trial version without a card.

Apps and devices

In this section, I will briefly describe the NordVPN features available on its apps and supported devices. Currently, you can get dedicated clients for:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Linux
  • Android TV
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick
  • Kodi (add-on)

Additionally, NordVPN works with Roku and routers. Using the latter, you can protect a multitude of smart TVs and game consoles. There are also browser extensions for Chrome, Brave, Firefox, and Edge.

NordVPN for Windows

NordVPN for Windows has the full package of features, some of which are unavailable on other apps.

The application is informative, contains a convenient interactive map with icons placed on it, allowing you to connect to the chosen country without using a text list.

The Windows client lets you choose between NordLynx and OpenVPN tunneling protocols. We recommend sticking to the former for maximum performance and use the latter only as a second optipn. There are also two types of kill switch – one for your whole connection and the other for your chosen applications.

NordVPN for Windows also offers split tunneling, which lets you protect only specific programs. Next, there's a SOCKS5 proxy that you can use for torrenting. And for extra protection, you can turn on obfuscated servers (Stealth VPN) or Double VPN (multi-hop).

The Windows app of NordVPN includes Threat Protection – a feature aimed at fighting ads, malware, and tracking. Finally, depending on your chosen pricing plan, you can get NordPass password manager and NordLocker cloud storage.

NordVPN for Mac

NordVPN is the only VPN service that has two macOS apps. That's because of the strict Apple's approach towards updates, which means Mac users have to wait for the new version longer.

The one available from Apple App Store offers NordLynx, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 protocols. In contrast, the sideload version on the NordVPN website only has OpenVPN and the app-level kill switch. Neither version provides split tunneling and Double VPN works with OpenVPN only.

Overall, two separate NordVPN Mac apps bring some confusion but let you test the latest features. If you're willing to wait, just stick with the App Store version.

NordVPN for Android

NordVPN for Android has similar functionality to the version for Windows. The main difference is the native Always-on kill switch. While it's unavailable on Android 6.0 or older, less than 3% of the users run this version.

Here you will find split tunneling, Double VPN, Dark Web Monitor, and Threat Security Lite. There's also a Dark Mode to fit your smartphone's theme. Just like the Windows version, NordVPN's Android app gives you NordLynx and OpenVPN tunneling protocols.

NordVPN for iOS

NordVPN for iPhone and iPad is also convenient to use and functional. It is hard to find a VPN service with truly functional applications for iOS. Most of them offer only basic features with the IKEv2 protocol but that's not the case here.

You get all three tunneling protocols, NordLynx included. There's also a kill switch plus Double VPN servers. However, some users might miss split tunelling and tapjacking protection.

Other than that, the iOS app is pretty similar to that for Android. Both versions get regular updates and can be recommended to smartphone users.

NordVPN for Linux

The Linux version of NordVPN doesn't have a graphic interface but so does the majority of VPN apps for this OS. On the other hand, this shouldn't be a big problem for most Linux users and the functionality will exceed most expectations.

Directly from the console, you can use all the NordVPN features, including obfuscation, Double VPN, and Threat Protection Lite, among others. NordLynx is also available, together with OpenVPN. Additionally, there are instructions on manually configuring IKEv2 connections.

NordVPN for Linux is available on Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and openSUSE distros. You can also try the unofficial Arch Linux port.

NordVPN for Chrome, Brave, Firefox, and Edge

NordVPN has browser extensions for Chrome, Brave, Firefox, and Edge. While these protect your browser traffic only, they are nevertheless an easy way to unblock streaming platforms or other restricted websites. Also, you can use the extension on top of the regular NordVPN app for extra protection.

As expected, there aren't many settings to toggle. You can turn on WebRTC blocking and Threat Protection Lite. The latter combats ads and various types of malware. What's more, you get the browser version of split tunneling where you can choose which websites will use NordVPN and which ones will bypass the proxy.

You can download your extension from the NordVPN website or your browser's add-on store.

NordVPN for routers and other devices

As mentioned previously, NordVPN also has dedicated apps for Amazon Fire TV Stick and Android TV. This will let you easily unblock your favorite movies and shows on your big screen. And if you have another device, most likely it will be supported by configuring the VPN on your router.

The only requirement is OpenVPN tunneling protocol, meaning you can use Linksys, Netgear, Asus, or D-Link hardware. This way, you can connect an unlimtied number of devices, ranging from smart TVs to game consoles and NAS.

Another way to use NordVPN with platforms that don't support VPNs is SmartPlay. This feature combines Smart DNS and encryption to give you safe access to geo-restricted content from all over the world.

Lastly, there's a Kodi add-on but you should get the same result by simply running the VPN app, provided your device supports it.

Security and privacy

When it comes to security and privacy, NordVPN stands among the best providers in 2022. Here are its core features:

  • Military-grade encryption
  • Two types of kill switch
  • Leak protection
  • Registration in Panama
  • Independently-audited no-logs policy

Encryption is the main feature of every VPN. It makes your data unreadable to third parties that might be snooping on your traffic. NordVPN implements the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption that is virtually impenetrable.

On top of that, you get two types of kill switches. One works on the app level and the other on the connection level. The former closes the selected apps when the VPN stops working and the latter disconnects you from the internet, ensuring no data gets leaked.

There's also protection against DNS, IP, and WebRTC leaks which might happen while the VPN is still on. DNS leaks happen when the query is sent to a server in a different location. In the meantime, WebRTC leaks occur in your browser and can expose your IP address.

Moving to privacy section, we find that NordVPN is registered in Panama. This country is outside the Fourteen Eyes intelligence alliance and has no data retention laws to speak of. Therefore, NordVPN has no obligation to collect information about its users.

Most importantly, this VPN has a strict no-logs policy that has been audited independently two times by PwC. If that wasn't enough, they also went through an app security audit by VerSprite and are now offering but bounties.

Other features

In addition to the core security and privacy features, NordVPN offers a bunch of others that will improve your safety or simply make online experience more smooth. Here's the list:

  • Obfuscated servers (Stealth VPN)
  • Double VPN (multi-hop)
  • Onion over VPN (Tor over VPN)
  • Dark Web Monitor
  • Presets
  • Meshnet

Obfuscated servers should be used in countries with restricted internet access, such as China. This feature will help you avoid Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) that detects and blocks VPN connections.

Also known as multi-hop, Double VPN routes your traffict through two servers, effectively doubling the encryption at the cost of speed.

Onion over VPN or Tor over VPN helps integrate Tor network into a VPN connection. This gives you exceptional security and privacy but severely impacts performance.

Dark Web Monitor is a service that notifies you in case your email address ends up on the dark web. This is a great way to learn if any of your accounts have been compromised.

Presets is a handy feature for creating your customized VPN connection. You can choose servers, protocols, and even add shortcuts to websites or apps. At the moment, Presets is available for Mac users only.

Meshnet is the latest NordVPN addition, allowing you to safely connect with up to 50 friends from around the globe. This way you can share files, play online games, or browse the web using your friend's IP address.

Customer support

NordVPN offers great 24/7 customer support. Here are the ways you can get help:

  • 24/7 live chat
  • Email
  • FAQ
  • Knowledgebase

Obviously, 24/7 live chat is the go-to option. I never had to wait more than a couple of minutes and all agents were friendly and helpful. If they didn't know the answer, they connected me with another representative who solved the issue in no time.

Some less urgent and more complex issues might be better discussed by email. In such cases, I got the answers on the same day, usually in a couple of hours.

If you want to troubleshoot on your own, NordVPN's website has a nice FAQ section with clear answers to questions like "Which protocol should I use?" or "How can I check if I connected successfully?" If you want to dig even deeper, there's a whole knowledgebase with more than 150 entries. All of them fall into three categories – General info, Billing, and Connectivity.

Bottom line: Is NordVPN any good?

NordVPN is more than good. It's great and probably the greatest VPN you can get in 2022.

This VPN has everything you need for any purpose. It's our top choice for cross-functional use, as well as for specific tasks, such as streaming and torrenting. The provider is also great for sensitive tasks requiring 100% security and confidentiality.

I hope the NordVPN review was useful and you will appreciate the power of the global VPN market leader as much as I do.



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FAQ


Comments

Geoff
Geoff
prefix 2 years ago
HI Dean,

Thanks for your efforts in providing these reviews of the different VPN providers. I have certainly learnt a great deal from the reviews and associated links to other pages. I started off searching for why should I use a VPN in Australia and ended up on your page. I must say I was somewhat alarmed at my government and also my ISP. I never realised how invasive an ISP could be.

I will be signing up to NORDVPN through one of your page links. I chose NORDVPN over ExpressVPN purely due to some issues on Express with Windows when the pc woke from sleep or hibernation mode. Other than that both services seemed fairly equal from what I read and understood.

Great reviews, easy to follow and understand. Definitely worthy of 5 stars
Stumu
Stumu
prefix 2 years ago
Just to let you know both the Windows and Android app have not been working since October 2018. After a while NordVPN did provide an alternative with OpenVPN GUI but since 2nd week of January 2020 this also no longer works. NordVPN has admitted all their servers are now blocked. So if you are planning to get NordVPN to bypass GFW look for another alternative.
JD
JD
prefix 2 years ago
NordVPN is the third provider I tried and probably the best one from top vpn services. It has never gone back on me whatever the circumstances. I do not understand why people r discussing other vpns if nord has every feature they have and its price for a 3-year subscription is ridiculous. Thanks for your work, guys. Love your site, BTW
Bobby
Bobby
prefix 2 years ago
I have never used any VPN services before. NordVPN is the first VPN for me and I am completely satisfied with it! Before using it, I read lots of VPN reviews on the Internet and found out that NordVPN is the best. I use it for both operating systems, Windows 10 and my Android. The customer service is wonderful! I don’t face any problems with speed. I even use it for gaming and unblocking streaming services when traveling.

The only problem was a few disconnects with some servers, but it was not too much trouble. I recommend this service for all who want to hide IP and get past geo-restrictions!
Erik
Erik
prefix 2 years ago
Dean, good job! Very detailed review!
cycloneman
cycloneman
prefix 2 years ago
The only thing I dislike about NordVPN is device limit… could of been bigger… other than that, great service!
Jack the Fedora Tipper
Jack the Fedora Tipper
prefix 2 years ago
Hi there, I recently got myself another year of NordVPN and after browsing it's settings for a bit it seems to me I’ve found a way to improve my anonymity even more xD So you can use 6 devices at once, right? So what if I was to share my account of NordVPN with 5 more guys? I think it would make it even harder for anyone to say who’s doing what in that case. Well, I’m not really an expert, so I’d like to hear what you think about: 1. Would my plan work? 2. Does Nord allow sharing account? I know multiple devices are allowed but can I share it with other people specifically?

Dean Chester
Dean Chester
prefix 2 years ago
Jack, this provider does indeed allow using up to 6 devices at the same time. There are no mentions that you have to use all these devices personally.

Rick
Rick
prefix 3 years ago
Hi) I wanna say a piece about NordVPN. I’ve been using their app for about 2 years and it seems ok. I like the speed their servers work, lots of locations, and the price is not expensive. Actually, I have never had problems with Nordvpn, except one… though…it is rather an inconvenience than trouble. Sometimes, when trying to connect a server, I get an error message ">PASSWORD:Verification Failed:'Auth”. After I re-login into the app, the bug goes missing but I need to repeat the process from time to time. It is not like I’m too bothered about that but I would be glad if you tell me how to fix it.

Dean Chester
Dean Chester
prefix 2 years ago
Rick, try sharing WiFi from your smartphone and see if the bug recurs. Let me know about the result if you do so. By the way, if you have a Mac, then try installing another NordVPN application (one is available from the App Store, and the second is only from their website).

Dewey
Dewey
prefix 3 years ago
Hey Dean. After reading this review, I was about to subscribe to Nord. However, there’s some point that still needs clarification. As you mention, NordVPN can be used on multiple devices (namely 6). What was the maximum number of devices you’ve used at a time when being connected to NordVPN? Have you tried using 6 gadgets simultaneously? If yes, what was the speed? Was it reduced significantly?

Dean Chester
Dean Chester
prefix 2 years ago
Dewey, I haven’t used 6 devices simultaneously but know for sure what to expect. First of all, the speed will be restricted by your Internet provider. Bandwidth will be split among all devices. But as for NordVPN, its bandwidth is not dependent on your connections, none of the accounts set a speed limit. At least you can connect to different servers.
Justice
Justice
prefix 3 years ago
I asked NordVPN: The update was released on November 6th. As of November 12, the website still has an older version :) NordVPN 6.25 (latest) NordVPN 6.24 https://nordvpn.com/blog/nordvpn-windows-release-notes/ NordVPN's answer: Thank you for your letter. The recent update version 6.25 seems to have some functionality issues for some of our users, that is why we are currently working on a fix pack for this update, which should be available relatively soon. This is the reason we do not update our website with the most recent version of our application and are offering version 6.24. Let us know if you have any other questions. Best Regards, Customer Success Team

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