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NordVPN Review: Why is it so popular?

NordVPN is inarguably one of the most reliable encryption service providers on the market.

Whether it’s for work, entertainment or just wanting to surf the web safely and with anonymity, NordVPN has been delivering the best value packages to its users since 2012.

There’s a reason why nearly 15 million people – me included – are using it.

If you’d like to discover the entirety of what NordVPN has to offer and a detailed breakdown of its packages, features, and pricing, refer to the sections ahead.

Pros and Cons of NordVPN


  • 1 TB of encrypted cloud storage for storing of sensitive files and data.
  • High-speed VPN with minimal cutbacks.
  • Cross-platform Password Manager keeps all your details safe.


  • Cost-effective but not the cheapest option
  • No Free Plan and a free trial can only be accessed after you purchase a plan.
  • Limited selection of servers in comparison to competitors.

Key NordVPN Features

Depending on the package, NordVPN provides a handful of neat features. The biggest selling point is being a fast, secure VPN with unlimited bandwidth and thousands of servers at your disposal.

This includes VPN servers that are specialized for multihopping and torrenting at higher speeds. All servers run on some of the most advanced and secure encryption protocols.

These include OpenVPN and a custom encryption built by Nord itself. There’s a strict no-log policy in place which you can read more about in the logging policy section of this article.

In addition, NordVPN users can also take advantage of the Meshnet feature. With Meshnet, you can create an encrypted local area network (LAN) to securely share files and play games.

Supporting up to 60 devices at once, this makes it an ideal tool for a work environment

Even at its lowest tiers, NordVPN offers users an ad blocker and malware protection. With this, trackers and other malicious websites are prevented from scrapping your data.

But if you instead settle on the Complete package, you gain access to 1 TB of encrypted cloud storage, a cross-platform password manager, and a Data Breach Scanner.

All these features work in sync across your devices, and for mobile phones, NordVPN has an easy-to-use and dedicated app for its users.

How many servers does NordVPN have?

NordVPN has 6103 servers spread across 61 countries. This range is throughout all continents except for Antarctica, so the locations you want to access will likely be available on the service.

As for the servers themselves, NordVPN provides 5 unique types of servers depending on your needs.

  • Standard servers: These servers provide a layer of security and are perfect for browsing online casually.
  • Double VPN: As the name implies, a Double VPN routes your personal IP address through 2 servers instead of one. Best suited for anyone who wants to be extra cautious and take advantage of multihopping.
  • Obfuscated servers: If your country has heavy restrictions on using VPNs or they are completely blocked, using NordVPN’s Obfuscated servers is the solution.
  • Dedicated IP: NordVPN users can also purchase a dedicated IP address in case their IP is in any blocklists. The dedicated IP servers then allow you to bypass such inconveniences.
  • Onion Over VPN: Accessing the Tor network compromises your privacy. Luckily, Nord’s Onion Over VPN servers get you that back.

Whether it’s for bypassing blocklists, adding an extra layer of security, or simply surfing the web anonymously, NordVPN accounts for each and every one of its users’ needs.

You’ll be able to find dozens of servers that can take care of your problems.

Or better yet, you can let NordVPN’s recommendation algorithm find the best fit for you.

How much does NordVPN cost?

There’s no denying, that NordVPN is one of the more expensive providers on the market.

The service uses a subscription-based pricing model and can work out a little more expensive than average if you subscribe monthly.

In comparison, a VPN such as Surfshark has a much lower entry point, but a big catch is that it lacks many important features.

Although NordVPN does not have an outright free version of their VPN, they offer a money-back guarantee to customers who wish to discontinue their use.

Sometimes NordVPN runs promotions and if you visit its website, you might find the 2-year plan at a lower price point, making your purchase way lighter on the wallet than it already is.

The cherry on top is that if you’re a student, teacher, health care worker, in the military, or a first responder, you can apply for additional coupons.

Privacy and security

Privacy and security are the number one reason why people turn to VPNs in the first place.

NordVPN promises its users both, but how does that work? For starters, NordVPN has made a proprietary tool called Threat Protection which automatically scans for malware and blocks ads and suspicious URLs.

This is on top of the industry gold standard AES 256-bit and 4,096-bit encryption it uses to mask your data for OpenVPN and IKEv2 connections.

NordVPN also has a Kill Switch that you can toggle on or off at command – though I’d say keep it running since even a second of the VPN connection being lost may lead to a data breach.

The Kill Switch instantly cuts off your apps from the internet in case your connection to the VPN server is lost. It provides for an effective and easy solution to be protected at all times.

You can customize the Kill Switch to be enabled on some apps or without discrimination on your PC, so there’s tons of accessibility on the user’s end too.

A Dark Web Monitor is running 24/7 on NordVPN’s end, scanning the internet for data leaks you might have been a victim of in the past.

If the Monitor manages to track a leak down, it’ll alert you straight away and ask you to take the necessary countermeasures such as enabling its custom Multi-factor authentication. With that active, your data’s security will be bolstered even further.

To prove these claims, an independent German cybersecurity firm Cure53 conducted an audit of NordVPN that consisted of multiple large-scale penetration tests.

While the report is quite extensive, Cure53 praised NordVPN by stating that its services have a “robust impression and are observably effective in minimizing the attack surface”.

In summary, NordVPN is reliable and at the same time does not compromise the quality and speed of the connection.

It isn’t every day a VPN wins CNET’s ‘Best VPN for reliability and security’ award you know.

What VPN protocols does NordVPN use?

NordVPN is currently running three protocols – OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, and NordLynx.

IKEv2/IPsec encryption provides Android and iOS users with state-of-the-art encryption, while OpenVPN is an open-source protocol.

OpenVPN is versatile and safe, but NordVPN specifically uses an AES-256-GCM encryption algorithm with OpenVPN for better security. OpenVPN is suitable for Windows, iOS and Android. However, it cannot be used on macOS devices.

For those of you who don’t know, AES-256 stands for 2^256. That’s the possible number of combinations needed to crack this encryption. The possibilities for the exact key are virtually endless and even a supercomputer wouldn’t be able to nail them down in our lifetime.

Hence, AES-256-GCM encryption is the least impregnable encryption system on Earth.

Another in-house security software NordVPN runs is NordLynx, an encryption system built around the WireGuard protocol that works on both your desktop, iOS and Android.

NordLynx specifically is far superior to other protocols based on the WireGuard, as well as IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN, because it gives you the best in class ciphering but without crippling the speed of the VPN.

The NordLynx protocol achieves this level of performance via the efficiency of its code which is made up of only 4,000 lines as opposed to OpenVPN’s 400,000 lines.It is suitable for use on Windows, macOS, Android and iPhone.

That said, OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec protocols are still available for those who need them.

Logging policy

NordVPN is a no-log VPN provider. What that means is that it uses RAM-only servers that wipe your data whenever a session ends.

In simple terms, the only information NordVPN actually possesses about me, you, and other users worldwide is our login credentials and credit card information needed for billing and refund procedures.

On the off chance that even having credit card information bothers you, NordVPN lets its users pay via cryptocurrencies.

You might ask yourself how you can verify NordVPN’s no-log claims.

Well, in 2022 NordVPN approached auditing firms PricewaterhouseCoopers AG Switzerland and Deloitte to carry out a full review of their service.

Both companies conducted substantial assessments of NordVPN’s no-logging policy throughout November and December 2022. Unsurprisingly, they found that the claims made were valid.

How fast is NordVPN?

NordVPN minimally slows down your internet. Let’s say your internet’s native speed is 25 Mbps, then it’ll almost always stay between 20-25 Mbps when NordVPN is doing its thing.

Even in speeds reaching up to 500 Mbps, various users have reported that they weren’t able to notice a difference while streaming movies and playing games online.

To prove this, an independent auditing firm, AV-TEST, audited the speed of NordVPN, and in its results declared it nearly twice as fast as other popular VPNs including ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN.

NordVPN maintained a high-speed connection across all types of its 6103 servers. Yes, that includes the Double VPN encryption which is known to lower speeds because your traffic is passed through 2 servers for more encryption.

However, thanks to NordVPN’s in-house NordLynx WireGuard encryption protocol which is efficient, the Double VPN performance remains on par with the Standard servers.

NordVPN was able to maintain a steady speed throughout a plethora of activities.

Where most VPNs cause your internet speeds to be lowered by a whopping 50%, at its worst NordVPN users report a 20% decrease after conducting speed tests.

In this price bracket, Nord performs phenomenally and after looking through the competition, I couldn’t find any other service I could recommend for its speed.

Is NordVPN a good option for gaming?

NordVPN is one of the best VPN brands for gaming.

Internet connection speeds do tend to take a hit when you connect to a VPN server. However, after personally testing NordVPN on Windows playing two of the most demanding competitive games, PUBG Mobile and Apex Legends on PS5, my ping and latency appeared to be the same as they were without using one.

The best part is, I didn’t experience any stuttering either which I always did up to this point with other VPNs.

All servers are also optimized for gaming and come with DDoS protection, regardless of whether you’re on a PC, gaming console, or handheld.

The only thing you need to check is that either your router supports a VPN because gaming devices don’t allow such connections natively or that you have a PC at your disposal to create a hotspot for your gaming devices.

Once that’s done, you’re all set.

For a complete list of compatible gaming devices, refer to the table below.

Xbox 360Xbox OneXbox Series X/S
Nintendo SwitchChromecastOculus Quest

NordVPN Customer Support

With NordVPN customer support, you’ll find endless tutorials on several subjects. These range from installation manuals to in-depth guides on problems like server connection errors, all located on the customer support page.

Troubleshooting, payment queries, or general information have their own dedicated sections under customer support.

The FAQ section details some of the most popular user queries. If for some reason you can’t find what you’re looking for, there is 24/7 online live chat available.

Their turnaround time is pretty quick across all platforms, and for context, most users report having their problems immediately being tended to.

Final Thoughts

A high-speed, secure VPN with cloud storage, password manager, and gaming-optimized servers are things you might be able to find separately in many services.

However, getting all of these under one affordable subscription is possible with NordVPN.

Whether you need it to casually browse, game online, or because you require the utmost privacy and security, NordVPN is the perfect fit.

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