NordVPN Review 2022: Is It Worth the Cost?

Despite its higher-than-average cost, NordVPN offers excellent standards of security and privacy without compromising on internet speed.
Ben Walker, Author
Catherine McNally, Editor
Last updated Sep 12, 2022
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On NordVPN's website

  • Loads of servers for more connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Too many confusing plans

NordVPN is an excellent service that provides just about everything the everyday user might want in a VPN. This includes access to regional streaming libraries, high levels of security and privacy, and fast connection speeds.

Its subscription cost (starting at $3.99 per month) leaves a little to be desired, but it’s certainly not the worst — and the price could be well worth it for additional features and reliability. Keep reading our NordVPN review to see a complete breakdown of this VPN’s features, test results, pricing, and more.

NordVPN overview

Price $3.29–$13.99/mo
Free version No
Max # of connected devices 6
# of servers 5,000+
VPN protocol OpenVPN, NordLynx (WireGuard)
No-logs policy No logs
Headquarters Panama
Netflix access Yes

All About Cookies Rating
“NordVPN is one of the best VPN services on the market because it offers an easy-to-use interface with high levels of security and privacy. You also have plenty of features to choose from depending on your plan, and the server count reaches over 5,000.

If you want a thoroughly tested, fast, and secure VPN connection, NordVPN is likely right for you. But you might forgo using NordVPN if you want a cheaper option and don’t necessarily need some of its additional features.”

In this article
NordVPN overview
Who is NordVPN best for?
NordVPN features
NordVPN test results
NordVPN compatibility
NordVPN customer support
NordVPN prices and subscriptions
NordVPN FAQs
Bottom line: Is NordVPN good?

Who is NordVPN best for?

  • Recommended for people who want a high-speed VPN that offers loads of features, unblocks streaming libraries, and doesn’t compromise on cybersecurity or privacy.

A virtual private network (VPN) is designed to offer opportunities for people to privately and securely connect to the internet. NordVPN does this by using secure protocols such as OpenVPN and NordLynx (its version of WireGuard).

It also has a strict no-logs policy which means it won’t track your online activity. And although many VPNs might say their no-logs policies are strict, NordVPN has sound reasoning to back up its claim. This is because NordVPN headquarters are located in Panama, a country that doesn’t force VPN service providers to save users’ data.

Even better, you typically aren’t sacrificing your internet bandwidth (beyond a reasonable amount) when using NordVPN. As our test results show, you can connect to a server in Australia from the U.S. and still have fast speeds.

NordVPN pros and cons

Pros
  • Cheaper than ExpressVPN, another popular VPN
  • Loads of servers for more connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Panama HQ for true no-logs policy
Cons
  • CyberGhost and Surfshark are cheaper
  • Too many confusing plans

NordVPN features

NordVPN’s highlights include its overall server count, no-logs policy, and security features (strong encryption and protocols). However, it might be helpful for NordVPN to label certain servers that typically work with different streaming platforms (something that CyberGhost does well).

Additional features such as Threat Protection and Meshnet won’t be essential for all users, but could be helpful in specific scenarios.

Server count and countries

  • 5,000+ servers in 59 countries

NordVPN has more than 5,000 servers in 59 countries. This could be considered a high number of server locations and an average number of countries if you compare other popular VPNs such as ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, Surfshark, and IPVanish.

Having more servers and countries is typically a good thing because it gives you more opportunities to establish the connection you need. For example, if you’re trying to stream content from another country, but it’s not working, simply try another NordVPN server.

A screenshot of the NordVPN server list, showing a partial list of countries, including South Africa, South Korea, Spain, and Sweden, as well as a map of the United States.

If your VPN advertises that it can unblock streaming content and has loads of servers (like NordVPN), you’re likely to find a server that works eventually. Keep in mind that rules about using a VPN could vary depending on the country. See if NordVPN is legal before using it in another country.

Nord also has a section on its server list called “Specialty Servers.” Here, you’ll find these features:

  • Double VPN: Routes traffic through two VPN servers rather than one.
  • Onion Over VPN: Combines The Onion Router (Tor) privacy with a VPN.
  • P2P: Optimized for torrenting and large file sharing.

A screenshot of the NordVPN server list showing the specialty servers: Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, and P2P.

No-logs policy and headquarters

  • NordVPN logs policy: No logs
  • NordVPN headquarters: Panama

If using a VPN for privacy purposes is one of your goals, no-logs policies are essential. NordVPN has a strict no-logs policy that means it won’t track (or keep logs of) your online activities.

The primary issue with some no-logs policies is that the VPN company doesn’t actually follow through with its claim. This isn’t the case with NordVPN for two important reasons:

  1. It has a third-party company (PricewaterhouseCoopers AG) verify its claims
  2. It’s headquartered in Panama

Having independent experts find no saved logs in their audit is easy enough to understand, but what does Panama have to do with it?

Depending on where a VPN company is located, it might be legally required to save user data. Panama doesn’t have these data retention laws, so NordVPN isn’t obligated to hold onto this information and turn it over to the police or government officials — which could happen with some VPNs.

Kill switch

NordVPN has a kill switch feature, which automatically disconnects your device from the internet if you disconnect from the VPN or the VPN connection drops. You can also use this feature with specific apps.

Kill switches are important because they help prevent any of your online traffic from traveling through an unencrypted connection. The NordVPN kill switch can be easily found and turned on in the NordVPN settings. We turned it on and tested it with complete success.

A screenshot of the NordVPN kill switch feature, which disables your internet access if you get disconnected from the VPN.

After turning it on while connected to the VPN, we disconnected from the VPN and tested our internet connection through a web browser. We were unable to connect to the internet (load any pages) until we turned our VPN connection back on.

Split tunneling

NordVPN offers split tunneling, which is a feature you can use to allow certain programs direct access to the internet for faster speeds. This means only the programs you allow would bypass the VPN connection.

To turn on split tunneling, head to your NordVPN app settings and select the “Split tunneling” option. Here, you can toggle the feature on and add apps you want your VPN to work or not work with.

A screenshot of the NordVPN split tunneling feature, which allows you to choose which apps use the VPN connection and which ones don't.

Encryption

NordVPN uses AES-256 encryption. This is considered the best encryption currently available because it’s nearly impossible to crack.

But nearly impossible means possible, right? Correct, but also not really. It’s calculated that it would take billions of years for a supercomputer to crack this security, so it’s likely that time is on your side in this case.

VPN protocol

NordVPN uses both the OpenVPN and NordLynx protocols, and NordLynx is built around WireGuard. OpenVPN and WireGuard are typically considered to be two of the strongest protocols available.

Select your NordVPN protocol options in the “Auto-connect” area of your settings. VPN protocols and servers are automatically chosen by default, but you can toggle this off to make manual adjustments.

A screenshot of the NordVPN settings menu, with the VPN protocol options highlighted by a red box. The NordLynx VPN protocol is currently selected.

Threat Protection

Threat Protection is a fairly new feature from NordVPN that’s advertised to block risky websites, stop web tracking, clean up ads, and protect your device from malware and computer viruses (much like an antivirus). You can turn it on by selecting its icon from the sidebar.

A screenshot of the NordVPN threat protection feature, which blocks ads, trackers, malicious files and malicious sites.

We tested the service’s ad-blocking features by visiting a site we know has loads of ads (Forbes) before and after turning on Threat Protection. The results were a huge success, with NordVPN blocking all ad attempts while we scrolled through a few different articles.

A screenshot of the NordVPN threat protection feature showing 277 blocked ads on Forbes.com.

Note that this feature isn’t to be confused with the Dark Web Monitor feature found in your app settings. Turning on dark web monitoring basically alerts you if Nord finds any leaked information on the dark web that’s linked to your email address.

A screenshot of the NordVPN dark web monitor feature, which scouts the internet for info linked with your email address and alerts you if anything is found.

Meshnet

NordVPN provides an interesting feature called “Meshnet” that links remote devices over secure connections. This could be useful for:

  • Playing video games with friends from wherever
  • Working on projects with co-workers
  • Remotely accessing your files from anywhere

If you’re into “LAN” parties with faraway friends (and no cables) or want a quick way to access movies, photos, or other files from anywhere, this sounds like an ideal solution.

What’s a LAN party?

A LAN party is a physical gathering of gamers along with their computers or gaming consoles. The group uses a local area network (LAN) connection to connect all of the devices so they can play multiplayer video games together.

Access Meshnet by selecting its icon from the sidebar.

A screenshot of the NordVPN Meshnet feature, which links remote devices over an encrypted connection.

NordVPN test results

We test VPNs to help ensure we can fairly judge whether they work as intended and deserve our recommendation. We conducted three tests — a speed test, a DNS leak test, and a WebRTC leak test — to see how NordVPN performs with internet speed and overall privacy.

NordVPN passed its tests with flying colors. Check out these details for each test.

Speed tests

  • What was the outcome of the speed tests? NordVPN passed its speed tests.

The purpose of this test is to find out if your internet connection becomes significantly slower when using NordVPN to connect to different servers worldwide. We tested this by first running an internet speed test without being connected to the VPN and then running speed tests while connected to different VPN servers.

These tests were run using a MacBook Pro running macOS Monterey from a physical location in the U.S.

A screenshot of NordVPN connected to a Glasgow, Scotland server from the US. The speed test results show a download speed of 160 Mbps and an upload speed of 5 Mbps.

Here are the speed test results for VPN connections to servers in the U.S., Europe, and Australia.

NordVPN speed test results

Test type No VPN connection US to US US to UK US to AU
Download speed 204.7 Mbps 180.3 Mbps 160.3 Mbps 147.0 Mbps
Upload speed 5.8 Mbps 5.2 Mbps 5.1 Mbps 5.3 Mbps
Latency (ping) 117 ms 175 ms 269 ms 470 ms
Download speed % difference N/A 13% 24% 33%
Upload speed % difference N/A 11% 13% 9%
Latency % difference N/A 40% 79% 120%
Test results as of 7/30/2022.

Connecting to a nearby U.S. server caused slower download speeds and higher ping than not using a VPN at all, but this could have been due to normal fluctuations in speed.

Connecting to servers in Europe and Australia had larger impacts on download speeds and ping. However, these changes are to be expected because you’re connecting to servers across the world.

Overall, it was simple and easy to scroll through and connect to different servers. You can also use the “Quick Connect” option if you want Nord to choose a nearby recommended server for you.

It took NordVPN 10 seconds or less to make each connection and any changes to download speeds and ping weren’t beyond reasonable ranges. Upload speeds stayed consistent throughout our testing.

NordVPN Netflix tests

  • What was the outcome of the Netflix tests? NordVPN passed its Netflix tests.

You might use a VPN to watch Netflix if you want to watch content from Netflix libraries other than where you’re physically located. For example, if you’re located in the U.S., you might connect to a VPN server in the U.K. to watch the Netflix content from that region.

We tested NordVPN with Netflix and there weren’t any concerns with the streaming experience being overly laggy while connected to servers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Australia. This also means we were able to access Netflix content from these locations.

A screenshot of NordVPN connected to a Melbourne, Australia server. Netflix is open on the right and shows a list of the top 10 TV shows in Australia today.

Note that you typically don’t need to connect to specific servers for different streaming services to work with NordVPN — which is the case with some VPN providers, including CyberGhost. Any Nord server should work just fine (more on this later when we discuss our chat with a customer service representative).

NordVPN Netflix test results

US to US US to UK US to Canada US to AU
Did it work with Netflix?
Test results as of 07/27/2022.

DNS leak tests

  • What was the outcome of the DNS leak tests? NordVPN passed its DNS leak tests.

A VPN is supposed to keep your internet traffic concealed in an encrypted tunnel, but it’s possible to have domain name system (DNS) leaks that might show some of your activity. A DNS leak test basically lets you know if these leaks are happening and causing a privacy risk.

We used the DNS Leak Test service from BrowserLeaks to test whether we had DNS leaks before and after using NordVPN. Before connecting to the VPN, we had a lot of information showing up, including a list of servers, IP addresses, our internet service provider (ISP), and locations.

But after connecting to NordVPN, the information changed to mask all the previously visible information. One thing to note is that there was no large list of servers, which means our online traffic was being correctly routed through the VPN server we connected to.

WebRTC leak tests

  • What was the outcome of the WebRTC leak tests? NordVPN passed its WebRTC leak tests.

A VPN is also supposed to mask your location by hiding your true internet protocol (IP) address. But your IP address might be exposed if you’re suffering from WebRTC leaks, or a vulnerability that can occur in certain web browsers and other applications.

We used the BrowserLeaks website to test for WebRTC leaks before and after using NordVPN. We specifically wanted to see if our IP address was exposed before and after testing.

Our true IP address showed up while running the test without connecting to the VPN, but it didn’t show up while running the test while connected to the VPN. This is a good thing because it means Nord is working correctly to mask our IP address.

NordVPN compatibility

You can set up NordVPN with a variety of mobile devices, mobile apps, and operating systems, including:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • Android app
  • iOS app
  • AndroidTV
  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge

NordVPN customer support

NordVPN has a Contact us page and a help center. The contact page isn’t extensive but offers quick links that could be helpful, including if you want to get to the help center or the live chat feature (also available in the bottom right of most pages on the website).

There are also emails here for different departments such as support, business development, affiliate partners, business sales, and press. The support email is [email protected].

Note that NordVPN advertises 24/7 live chat, but doesn’t have a call center. You can also contact NordVPN through its social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Video tutorials are available on the NordVPN YouTube channel.

Bugs and feedback

NordVPN encourages feedback in the form of bug reports. This means if you run into an issue, submit a detailed report about it. You can find the Report a Problem button shown as an exclamation point on the server list screen.

NordVPN also offers a bug bounty program for ethical hackers to find and report any vulnerabilities in its system. This program — offered through the HackerOne platform — provides cash rewards for successful and accepted hacks

Chatbot

The chat function is typically available throughout the NordVPN website and shows up as a clickable button in the bottom right corner of the page.

A screenshot of the NordVPN home page with a red arrow pointing to the chatbot button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

If you click on the chat button, you get the NordVPN chatbot and a list of prompts to choose from, including “Order NordVPN,” “I'm having connection issues,” “How to use NordVPN on a specific device?,” and “Non-English support.”

We decided to take the chatbot for a spin and see whether it could be useful. We chose the “I’m having connection issues” prompt and went from there. Everything was fairly standard as we went through more prompts until we arrived at a point where the chatbot proposed a solution.

A screenshot of the NordVPN chatbot and its step-by-step walkthrough to troubleshoot an issue.

The solution was actually quite detailed and easy to follow, including steps and screenshots of the process. But the solution was also outdated and no longer applicable to the version of NordVPN we had running. Turning off CyberSec isn’t an option in our settings, most likely because the Threat Protection feature replaced it.

It’s likely not an easy process to update the chatbot solutions all the time, but it could be disappointing to end up in a situation in which you aren’t receiving updated solutions. Maybe we’d have better luck with a live representative.

Chat with a representative

After testing the chatbot feature, we moved onto seeing how a discussion with a live representative would go. Using the same chat window from above, we used the magical phrase of “speak with a representative” to initiate the conversation.

A screenshot of our chat with the NordVPN chatbot and using "speak with a representative" to connect to a real person.

You have to enter a valid email address to continue the process and then you’ll be put in the queue to speak with a representative. There was only one person ahead of us when we entered the queue and we were connected to an agent (who said they were in Lithuania) in a matter of seconds.

The agent was quick to respond, easy to understand, and offered helpful responses for our inquiry — which was about whether we needed to connect to specific U.S. servers to get streaming services to work while traveling internationally.

Overall, it was a pleasant chat experience that actually gave us useful information. We left the chat knowing that you can basically connect to any U.S. server from an international destination and access the U.S. content libraries of most major streaming services.

A screenshot of our chat with a NordVPN customer support rep who said any US server should work to access US streaming content.

The agent mentioned that there were some rare cases (such as with Acorn TV) where you might have to select a specific server to get a streaming service to work.

Help center

The help center is located at support.nordvpn.com. Here, you can search for relevant keywords, browse main support topics, and see frequently asked questions.

This is primarily a resource for finding answers to questions you might have about NordVPN on your own — whether it’s about general information, billing, connectivity issues, or something else.

This can also be a resource for finding tutorials with step-by-step instructions to install and use NordVPN on different devices and platforms. For example, you might want a quick guide on how to install NordVPN on an iPhone, Android, or router.

NordVPN prices and subscriptions

NordVPN offers three different plans — Standard, Plus, and Complete — that offer access to different features. The more expensive plans, Plus and Complete, provide more features than the Standard plan.

You also have the option to choose between a monthly, one-year, or two-year plan. The longer the plan, the cheaper the monthly cost.

  • The cheapest option for NordVPN: Standard two-year plan for $3.29 per month
  • The most expensive option for NordVPN: Complete monthly plan for $13.99 per month

Paying $3.99 per month isn’t the most expensive option out there for popular VPN services, but it’s also not the cheapest. ExpressVPN starts from $8.32 per month, which is quite expensive, whereas CyberGhost, Surfshark, and Private Internet Access all start at less than $3 per month.

Considering NordVPN doesn’t cost much more than similar options (and is a lot cheaper than ExpressVPN), it could be well worth the price for the value it offers. Payment options include:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Amazon Pay
  • Google Pay
  • ACH bank transfer by Plaid
  • Cryptocurrencies (bitcoin, ethereum, and more)

Does NordVPN accept PayPal?

NordVPN says that it may accept PayPal as a payment method in some cases, but doesn’t elaborate on when you can use it. We recommend having a backup method of payment ready in case PayPal isn’t an option on your checkout page.

NordVPN cost

Plan 1-month cost 1-year cost 2-year cost
Best Prices
Standard $11.99/mo $4.99/mo $3.29/mo
Plus $12.69/mo $5.69/mo $3.99/mo
Complete $13.99/mo $6.99/mo $5.29/mo
Prices as of 8/15/2022.

NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans so you can try out its VPN services and features for free.

NordVPN plan comparison

Features Standard Plus Complete
Secure VPN
30-day money-back guarantee
Data breach scanner
Password manager
1 TB cloud storage
Tracker and ad blocker
Malware protection

NordVPN FAQs


+

Is NordVPN still trustworthy?

Yes, NordVPN is still believed to be trustworthy. NordVPN suffered a breach in 2018, but no user credentials were affected and the attack was limited to one server rather than the entire service. 

Further, NordVPN is headquartered in Panama, a country that doesn’t fall within the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes global surveillance alliances.


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Is NordVPN safe?

Yes, NordVPN is generally considered to be safe. It doesn’t have DNS leaks and successfully masks your IP address and location. NordVPN also employs a no-logs policy that it can back up since its headquarters are in Panama — a country that doesn’t fall within the Five, Nine, or 14 Eyes alliance countries.


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What is NordVPN’s refund policy?

NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for its different VPN plans. This means you have within 30 days of your purchase to claim a refund. This doesn’t typically cover recurring subscription payments that happen after the renewal date or purchases made through the Apple App Store.


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Does NordVPN work with Netflix?

Yes, NordVPN works with Netflix and other streaming services. This includes being able to watch Netflix with NordVPN from servers in the U.K., Canada, and Australia. NordVPN is also reported to work with other streaming services such as HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more.

Bottom line: Is NordVPN good?

Yes, NordVPN is good. In fact, it’s one of the best VPNs on the market because it offers an easy-to-use interface with high levels of security and privacy. You also have plenty of features to choose from depending on your plan, and the server count reaches more than 5,000.

Learn More
On NordVPN's website

  • Loads of servers for more connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Too many confusing plans

If you want a thoroughly tested, fast, and secure VPN connection, NordVPN is likely right for you. But you might forgo using NordVPN if you want a cheaper option and don’t necessarily need some of its additional features.

For a less expensive alternative, check out CyberGhost.

Author Details
Ben Walker
Ben Walker is a writer at All About Cookies with a passion for all things internet and technology, whether it's using VPNs while away from home or organizing his life with password managers.