How fast is NordVPN? Is NordVPN safe? Does NordVPN work on Windows, Mac? Does NordVPN work in China? Is NordVPN better than ExpressVPN?
NordVPN is one of the top-rated virtual private network apps. More than 14 million people use NordVPN for streaming, file sharing and anonymous web browsing.
All this begs the question: should I get NordVPN?
If so, why? Read on and learn why NordVPN is so popular.
- Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux compatible
- 6 simultaneous devices per account
- Chrome, Firefox, Edge browser extensions
- Netflix, YouTube, BBC, DANZ streaming support
- 5610 speedy servers in 57 countries worldwide (including Asia)
- Kill switch, split tunneling, breach scanner, password manager
- Malware protection
- Easy, intuitive design
- Slow servers in some Asian territories
- Torrenting faulty on some servers
15 Reasons Why NordVPN is the Best VPN Service
1. Navigation: How Do I Find NordVPN Servers?
NordVPN is a simple app with an easy interface. When you open the app, the first thing that appears is the VPN connection page, indicated by a globe icon on the upper left. It shows you two windows:
- Right – a map of connection points
- Left – a list of nations with network servers
Above the nation list is a search bar, where you can type and see if your preferred country has servers. I type Malaysia and up it pops. I then type Madagascar but get nothing.
2. Connection: How Do I Connect on NordVPN?
On the VPN connection map, who can zoom in to your favorite region or zoom out for the whole continent. You can also hold down your mouse to move the map. As for the icons:
- Numbers – signify countries
- Blue dots – signify server locations
- Trees – are there for decoration
The white bar at the bottom indicates your connection status. To connect to a server:
- Click the blue icon of the server location you want (on the map)
- Click the round icon of the nation you want (left window)
An orange icon appears in the white bar that says “connecting.” It turns green once you’ve connected. This usually takes two seconds.
3. Disconnection: How Do I Disconnect on NordVPN?
NordVPN makes it just as easy to disconnect. If you click the disconnect button (right side), it will give you four options:
- Pause for 5 minutes
- Pause for 15 minutes
- Pause for 1 hour
Pretty self-explanatory. If you choose one of the pause options, the green button will turn red with a countdown indicator below (“Connection resumes in 0 hr 14 min”).
A blue “resume” button takes the place of the disconnect button. Hit that to end the pause.
If you select “disconnect,” your cable internet might pause for a split second as NordVPN lets go of your connection.
To change servers, simply hit a new blue spot or country. You don’t need to disconnect first.
4. Anonymity: Will NordVPN Hide My IP?
Yes. The moment you connect to a server, IP trackers read that location. My experience bears this out with the following test on Google and whatismyipaddress.com:
- Not connected – Google detects my IP and city (Portland)
- Connected (in San Francisco) – Both sites detect a 23 IP in Manassas, Virginia
- Connected (in Phoenix) – Both sites accurately detect a 192 IP in Phoenix
- Connected (in Kansas City) – Both sites accurately detect a 185 IP in Kansas City, Missouri
- Connected (in Montreal, Canada) – Both sites detect a 146 IP in McLean, Virginia
Sometimes Google detects where NordVPN sends you, sometimes Google doesn’t. The important thing is that no site detects your actual IP or city when you use NordVPN.
5. Reach: How Good Are the International Servers on NordVPN?
To connect to an international server, simply scroll down to a foreign country (left window) or drag the map overseas (right window).
It might take longer to connect to faraway servers. In my experience as a Portland user at 9:00 am PST:
- Germany – Takes five seconds to connect
- Finland – Also five seconds
- Turkey – Five seconds
- Thailand – Eight seconds
- Singapore – Five seconds
- Hong Kong – Seven seconds
Basically, it takes about five seconds to connect to a European server and slightly longer (two or three seconds more) to connect with most Asian servers.
NordVPN uses NordLynx, IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN protocols.
6. Speed: How Fast Is NordVPN?
I tested the speed of my computer on three sites. Here’s what they said about my download speed:
- Not connected – 171.87 Mbps
- New York – 162.51 Mbps
- France – 147.95 Mbps
- Hong Kong – 132.03 Mbps
- Not connected – 203.27 Mbps
- New York – 152.76 Mbps
- France – 105.77 Mbps
- Hong Kong – 92.81 Mbps
- Not connected – 208.3 Mbps
- New York – 170.5 Mbps
- France – 155.2 Mbps
- Hong Kong – 141.4 Mbps
As you can see, the closer the server, the faster the speed.
When I choose a server on the opposite side of the US, it averages within 30 Mbps of my basic cable speed. Europe is 15 Mbps slower and China (the opposite side of the world) is another 15 Mbps slower.
7. Network: How Many Countries Have NordVPN Servers?
NordVPN is available in 57 territories with more than 5,600 servers:
- Americas – Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States
- Western Europe – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
- Eastern Europe – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine
- Middle East – Israel
- Oceania – Australia, New Zealand
- Asia Pacific – Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
- Africa – South Africa
This gives you access to NordVPN from virtually anywhere around the world. If you travel between the northern and southern hemispheres, NordVPN offers nearby servers.
With nine nations covered in the Far East, NordVPN works for users in China.
8. Benefits: Why Should I Get NordVPN?
NordVPN lets you surf the internet with utmost security. It gives you the peace of mind that no one can access your passwords or pinpoint your whereabouts. NordVPN gives you:
- Anonymity – Hide your IP address from community website moderators. Rejoin sites that blocked your IP address. Post as different people from different locations.
- Privacy – Share files and download content with no digital footprint. Keep your info and whereabouts hidden from spying third parties. Keep personal data from being accessed.
- Geo-blocked content – Watch videos and streams that are restricted by region. Whenever YouTube tells you that a video is blocked in your country, connect with a server in one of the allowed territories.
- Device protection – Prevent malware on your PC and mobile devices. Get encryption that makes it impossible for third parties to decode your passwords.
No internet user should have to fear the possibility of data breaches and identity theft. Unfortunately, these things happen all the time. NordVPN puts a stop to that.
9. Protection: How Does NordVPN Keep You Safe?
NordVPN ensures safety and privacy. You can customize the app with advanced security options, including:
- Threat protection – Click the second icon on the left sidebar to activate Threat Protection, which stops popup ads and web tracking and blocks malware websites.
- Kill Switch – Enable this to automatically deactivate your web connection whenever a VPN server times out. This way, no third party can swoop in during those vulnerable moments. Otherwise, you might be unaware when your internet drops off the VPN.
- Encryption – NordVPN uses AES-256-bit encryption, which puts plaintext through 14 rounds of instant conversion to ciphertext, making your passwords impossible to decode.
- Dark web monitor – Activate this to keep a lookout for any leaked info on the deep web that contains your email address. If you were ever exposed in the past, NordVPN will notify you today.
NordVPN is headquartered in Panama City, Panama, outside the jurisdiction of the US or UK. Therefore, it isn’t subject to the five-eye or fourteen-eye alliance of nations (Europe, Oceania, North America) that investigate people’s online activity.
You can do virtually anything on the internet with NordVPN.
10. Performance: How Does NordVPN Make Internet Use Better?
NordVPN makes it easy to watch movies, TV shows and music videos on your stationary and mobile internet devices. Nord is perfect for:
- Streams – NordVPN is one of the best VPN services for streaming videos on sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hula and DAZN. Enjoy buffer-free streams of HD videos and movies from any region, including stuff blocked in your country.
- Downloads – NordVPN offers download speeds in the range of 1500–1700 Mbps. If you’re like most users, this is perfect for streams and downloads of lengthy, HD song and video files.
- Torrents – NordVPN offers sufficient speed and foolproof privacy for anonymous torrent sharing. It lets you download and share files on decentralized networks with no risk of data leaks or third-party interference.
- Split tunneling – NordVPN lets you pick and choose which devices in your network use the VPN and which ones connect directly to the internet. To enable split tunneling, click the gear icon to bring up Settings.
In my own experience, NordVPN’s overseas servers are perfect for geo-blocked content on YouTube. I just connected to their UK server to watch a video uploaded to my own channel that YT blocked in North America.
11. Functions: What Features Come with NordVPN?
NordVPN offers three different user levels with the following features.
- Secure, high-speed VPN
- Anti-malware protection
- Tracker and ad blocker
- All three VPN features
- Platform manager (cross-platform)
- Data breach scanner
- All five VPN Plus features
- 1 Tb encrypted cloud storage
With cloud storage, your data is backed up in a remote space. This ensures that nothing gets lost if your hard drive fails.
- Price: How Much Does NordVPN Cost?
NordVPN offers three different payment plans. If you pay more upfront, you save more in the long run:
- $11.99/mo – VPN
- $12.69/mo – VPN Plus
- $13.99/mo – Ultimate
- $4.99/mo – VPN ($59.88 first year = 39% savings)
- $5.69/mo – VPN Plus ($58.28 first year = 46% savings)
- $6.99/mo – Ultimate ($83.88 first year = 57% savings)
- $3.29/mo – VPN ($78.96 first year = 60% savings)
- $3.99/mo – VPN Plus ($95.76 first year = 62% savings)
- $5.29/mo – Ultimate ($126.96 first year = 68% savings)
The 2-year Ultimate plan amounts to little more than 17 cents per day. For that, you get worldwide VPN access, ad blocker, password manager, malware protection, breach scanner and 1 TB of storage — a $140 per year value at less than half the price.
NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied for any reason.
13. Payment: How Do I Pay for NordVPN?
NordVPN accepts the following types of payment:
- Credit or debit card – VISA, VISA Electron, American Express, JBC, Discover
- Amazon Pay
- Google Pay
- ACH Transfer Plaid
NordVPN does not offer a PayPal link. Though I wasn’t able to pay online via PayPal, I was able to pay with my PayPal MasterCard (even though MasterCard isn’t listed on the Nord payment page).
14. Requirements: What Do I Need to Join NordVPN?
NordVPN is all about privacy. They don’t do background or credit checks. To get a NordVPN plan, you only need four things:
- Email address – NordVPN uses this to send your confirmation code.
- Payment system – A bank account, cryptocurrency or online payment account (Amazon, Google)
- A PC or mobile device
- An internet connection
The last two are no-brainers (why would you need a VPN if you don’t have an internet device?) Once you get an account, your email address is your default username.
15. Comparison: NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN – Which Is Better?
NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN services on the market. ExpressVPN is another. How do they compare?
I tried them back-to-back with servers in the same four locations on my Portland PC between 8:00 pm and 8:30 pm PST. Here’s how they stack in terms of download speed on Speed.io:
- NordVPN – 147.7 Mbps
- ExpressVPN – 146.5 Mbps
- NordVPN – 132.7 Mbps
- ExpressVPN – 131.7 Mbps
- NordVPN – 137.8 Mbps
- ExpressVPN – 120.7 Mbps
- NordVPN – 29.2 Mbps
- ExpressVPN – 116.4 Mbps
NordVPN has a slight advantage on domestic and European servers. ExpressVPN far outperformed Nord with the Thai server.
NordVPN took longer to connect on each server: 5-7 seconds versus ExpressVPN’s 1-2 seconds, including the Thai server halfway around the world.
Both offer split tunneling, kill switch and AES-256-bit encryption. Otherwise:
- $6.99/mo = 1-year NordVPN Ultimate
- $8.32/mo = 1-year ExpressVPN
- 6 per account – NordVPN
- 5 per account – ExpressVPN
NordVPN saves you $1.33 on the one-year plan (and even more on the two-year plan, which ExpressVPN doesn’t offer).
NordVPN supports six Windows and/or Mac devices with one account. ExpressVPN only supports five.
The choice is yours.
Should I Get NordVPN?
It depends on your priorities. Ask yourself the following:
- Do you value privacy?
- Do you want to protect your private data?
- Would you like to browse in anonymity?
- Would you like to watch geo-blocked content?
If the answer to these questions is yes, you should definitely try NordVPN.