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).
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.
|Country||Download, Mbps||Upload, Mbps|
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|
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:
- Proven security and traffic protection
- Reliable kill switch
- Dedicated P2P servers
- Fastest speeds
- 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:
- Standard – $2.99/month for 2 years ($89.00 in total)
- Standard – $4.49/month for 1 year ($59.00 in total)
- Standard – $12.99/month for 1 month
- Plus – $3.99/month for 2 years ($95.76 in total)
- Plus – $5.49/month for 1 year ($68.28 in total)
- Plus – $13.99/month for 1 month
- Complete – $4.99 per month for 2 years ($126.96 in total)
- Complete – $6.49/month for 1 year ($83.88 in total)
- Complete – $14.99/month for 1 month
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.
NordVPN supports the following payment methods:
- Credit and debit cards
- Amazon Pay
- 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.
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?
- The trial period is available only with an annual subscription. A bank card will be needed for this.
- The NordVPN annual subscription is not the most profitable ($6.49/month or $83.88 per year). The lowest price provides their two-year plan of $2.99/month with a 69% discount but it is not available with the trial period.
- To issue a more profitable subscription or simply withdraw from NordVPN, you must cancel the annual subscription before the free trial period ends.
- The trial period is available only once.
- 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:
- 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 2023. 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.
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
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.
NordVPN offers great 24/7 customer support. Here are the ways you can get help:
- 24/7 live chat
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.
NordVPN video review
If you prefer learning through visual material, make sure to watch the video provided below. It includes detailed information about NordVPN, its security features, plans, and more.
Bottom line: Is NordVPN any good?
NordVPN is more than good. It's great and probably the greatest VPN you can get in 2023.
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.
Does NordVPN work with Netflix?
Yes, it does. NordVPN is the best VPN for Netflix and streaming overall. It unblocks multiple Netflix libraries and provides exceptional speeds for seamless 4K (UHD) playback.
Is NordVPN good for torrenting?
NordVPN is great for torrenting. It provides exceptional performance while effectively hiding your IP address. There are also handy split tunneling and SOCKS5 proxy features available.
Is NordVPN better than ExpressVPN?
Yes, NordVPN is better. It's faster and has more servers. Also, it's way cheaper than ExpressVPN.
Is NordVPN trustworthy?
NordVPN is among the most reputable VPN providers. It's located in a privacy-friendly Panama and has an independently-audited no-logs policy. Moreover, NordVPN's apps have an ioXt (Internet of Secured Things) certificate.