NordVPN Review Pros, Cons, And Alternatives In January 2023

NordVPN, one of the largest virtual private network companies, appears to have hit all the right notes in terms of creating a service that has everything a consumer could want. NordVPN is extremely fast, packed with useful features, and simple to use. It is based in a privacy-friendly country and offers all of the standard security and privacy features that customers should expect from a good VPN, as well as a few extras such as double-hop VPN and Onion over VPN. And, while it is not the cheapest VPN available, it is reasonably priced for what it can provide.

NordVPN appears to be the ideal VPN service from afar. However, after some investigation, we discovered several significant flaws in the facade, most notably in terms of privacy and transparency. Most importantly, we discovered that NordVPN routes some user traffic through residential IP addresses provided by a company with a shady track record. Overall, the company's transparency initiatives clearly leave a lot to be desired.

This VPN has a lot to offer, and it's an excellent choice for casual VPN users who just want to unblock content or hide their activities from their ISPs. However, there is too much uncertainty and obscurity surrounding NordVPN to recommend it enthusiastically to VPN users whose online anonymity is critical.

When you subscribe to a VPN service, you are putting your trust in that VPN's promise to protect your data and keep you safe and secure online. NordVPN's claims of no logs and repeated security assessments are commendable, but they fall short when the company fails to provide an annual transparency report and is secretive about its alliances and corporate structure. If NordVPN wants to remain at the top of the VPN market and the online privacy arena in general, it must reconsider its transparency policy.


  • Among the fastest VPNs
  • There are many features.
  • Server infrastructure based solely on RAM, with no disks
  • Encryption that is strong


  • There are no transparency reports available.
  • a hazy corporate structure
  • There can only be six simultaneous connections.
  • This VPN is the second fastest we've tested.
  • The average speed loss in summer 2022 speed tests was 13%.
  • There are more than 5,400 servers.
  • There are 59 different server locations.

We conducted three days of NordVPN speed testing in July and August and were blown away by how much the VPN provider's performance improved over previous tests in 2020. During those tests, NordVPN experienced an average 53% drop in performance, which is comparable to what VPN customers can expect when using a VPN connection. NordVPN only reduced our regular internet connections by 13% in our most recent round of tests. This puts it among the fastest VPNs we've tested, trailing only ExpressVPN, which saw a 2% performance decrease in April.

NordVPN's speeds were tested while connected to OpenVPN servers in New York, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, and Singapore. Our average internet speed without the VPN was 368.07 Mbps, but it was 321.28 Mbps when connected to NordVPN servers.

NordVPN averaged 343.12 Mbps when connecting to New York, the closest server to our actual location, which was somewhat surprising given that we received much faster average results when connecting to servers much further away in the UK (351.41 Mbps) and Europe (351.41 Mbps) (345.70 Mbps). However, because New York receives a high volume of VPN traffic, server strain could have played a role in the slightly slower rates there. Unlike some other VPNs, such as IPVanish, NordVPN does not show the current load on each server in real time, so there is no way to manually connect to the server with the least amount of traffic if you want to try to improve your VPN speeds. Our speeds were the slowest across NordVPN's servers in Australia and Singapore, averaging 260.81 Mbps and 305.34 Mbps, respectively.

Overall, NordVPN's speed performance was incredibly consistent throughout our testing. We didn't notice any erratic speed variations like you might with other providers.

NordVPN's 59 server locations are relatively small and could benefit from expansion. While not the smallest network, it trails ExpressVPN (94 countries) and Surfshark (95 countries). Having more servers in more locations ensures that users have servers close to their actual locations and that the servers are not overburdened, both of which can help increase overall speeds.

We also compared NordLynx speeds, NordVPN's proprietary WireGuard-based protocol that the company claims is the fastest protocol it offers, to OpenVPN speeds. However, we received approximately 50 Mbps less overall when using the NordLynx protocol than when using OpenVPN. We recommend OpenVPN anyway because it is the current VPN protocol standard and provides an excellent combination of speed and security, so seeing faster OpenVPN speeds was a pleasant surprise.

Cost: Reasonable introductory pricing with a price increase after the first term.

  • Price: $79 for the first two years, then $100 per year, or $12 per month after that.
  • Credit/debit card, AmazonPay, Google Pay, ACH transfer, cryptocurrency, and cash are all acceptable payment methods (via retail store)
  • Money-back guarantee for 30 days
  • There are apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV, and Fire TV.

VPN pricing has gotten more complicated in recent years, and NordVPN is no exception. The VPN has joined in with lower initial costs that skyrocket after the first term of the subscription.

NordVPN has three different pricing options. A two-year plan costs $79 for the first two years of service, a yearly plan costs $60 for the first year of service, and a monthly plan costs $12 per month. After the first two years of service on the two-year plan and the first year of service on the yearly plan, however, those promotional costs rise to $100 per year for any additional years of service. Given the ever-changing nature of the VPN industry, we don't recommend sticking with a single provider for more than a year at a time. The monthly plan remains $12 per month for the first and subsequent months of service, for a total annual cost of $144.

Although NordVPN does not accept PayPal, you can pay with any major credit or debit card, AmazonPay, Google Pay, or an ACH transfer. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ethereum, tether, and dogecoin can be used to pay anonymously. NordVPN has also partnered with a few retail stores, including Staples, BestBuy, and Walmart, where you can pay with cash for your VPN.

Platforms, customer service, and streaming

Apps are available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV, and Fire TV, as well as browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. You can connect up to six devices at once with a single NordVPN subscription, which is more than the three to five simultaneous connections allowed by most other VPN providers. Follow Nord's router tutorial to install NordVPN on a suitable router if you want to protect your entire home network with a single connection or use the VPN on your smart TV or game console.

We had no trouble unblocking streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video after connecting to NordVPN's US servers.

Live chat or an email ticketing system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for customer service. The live chat bot on NordVPN can answer general questions, but anything beyond that will require you to contact a customer support representative. If you are a paying customer, you will receive priority chat assistance. If you'd rather do your own research, NordVPN's Support Center is chock-full of FAQs, setup and troubleshooting guides, and general information.

NordVPN provides a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are dissatisfied with the service for any reason.

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