Лучший VPN в 2023 г.
Конфиденциальность онлайн без усилий с NordVPN
VPN означает «виртуальная частная сеть». Это сервис, который предоставляет вам безопасный и конфиденциальный доступ к Интернету. Шифруя соединение, VPN скрывает ваш IP-адрес и действия в сети от злоумышленников и защищает данные от киберпреступников.
VPN означает «виртуальная частная сеть». Это сервис, который предоставляет вам безопасный и конфиденциальный доступ к Интернету. Шифруя соединение, VPN скрывает ваш IP-адрес и действия в сети от злоумышленников и защищает данные от киберпреступников.
Защитите себя в сети
Благодаря разнообразным современным технологиям NordVPN защищает ваши устройства от вредоносного ПО, а браузер — от посторонних глаз. Насколько вы защищены? Настолько, что самому мощному компьютеру в мире потребуются миллиарды лет, чтобы расшифровать ваши данные.
Используйте Интернет без перерывов
Мы знаем, что вам нужно отправлять электронные письма, играть в игры и смотреть видео, поэтому NordVPN обеспечивает наилучшую скорость VPN-соединения. Вы получаете неограниченный объем данных, тысячи VPN-серверов по всему миру и современные быстрые VPN-протоколы, чтобы пользоваться Интернетом максимально комфортно и без сбоев сети.
Управляйте своими личными данными
С NordVPN вы можете использовать Интернет так, будто за вами никто не наблюдает, — потому что так и есть. Мы не отслеживаем ваши действия в сети (что подтверждено аудиторскими проверками). А если вам нужна дополнительная конфиденциальность, вы можете мгновенно удвоить уровень своей защиты. Подключитесь к серверам Double VPN, и они зашифруют ваши данные и дважды изменят IP-адрес.
Доступно для всех ваших устройств
Подключите до шести устройств и получите безопасный и конфиденциальный доступ к Интернету, даже при использовании общедоступной сети Wi-Fi.
Устройтесь поудобнее, расслабьтесь и используйте Интернет без тревоги
Защита от вредоносного ПО
Более безопасная, комфортная и простая жизнь в сети — Threat Protection блокирует вредоносное ПО до его загрузки.
Удаленный доступ к файлам
Все ваши устройства — на расстоянии одного клика. Безопасно подключайтесь к ним откуда угодно с помощью Meshnet.
Dark Web Monitor
Дополнительная защита ваших аккаунтов: получайте мгновенные оповещения, если учетные данные попали в сеть.
Выведите свою безопасность в сети на новый уровень
Полная безопасность в Интернете
Пользуйтесь Интернетом без хлопот и рисков: предотвратите загрузку вредоносного ПО и избавьтесь от злоумышленников, трекеров и рекламы.
Усильте свою защиту с помощью менеджера паролей наивысшего качества: он будет генерировать, автоматически заполнять и хранить за вас ваши пароли. Забудьте о бесконечных сбросах паролей!
Ваши файлы всегда у вас под рукой — хранятся в безопасном облаке с шифрованием и резервным копированием. Обменивайтесь данными и легко синхронизируйте их, не переживая о безопасности.
Одна подписка — безопасность в Интернете, защита паролей и файлов
Выберите подходящий план и будьте уверены во всесторонней и постоянной защите своей цифровой жизни.
Отзывы экспертов и реальных пользователей
NordVPN — действительно лучший VPN-сервис для конфиденциальности в Интернете? Читайте отзывы наших пользователей и технических экспертов.
NordVPN практически вне конкуренции. Огромный выбор серверов, внушительный функционал, передовые методы обеспечения безопасности, удобные приложения для всех основных платформ .
Аналитик ПО, PCMag
Суть в том, что вам не надо беспокоиться о безопасности в Интернете или бояться утечки данных, если у вас есть VPN. Благодаря NordVPN это просто .
Tech of Tomorrow
Технический эксперт, YouTube
I asked @NordVPN if web tracker blocking could be added to one of their features last year, and they listened! I love when products listen to their customers. Hope it can be added to the mobile version soon. Thank you, folks!
4:31 AM – Oct 31, 2022
I gotta say… @NordVPN always comes through for me on technical issues while being overseas trying to navigate the interwebs safely! Kudos to their professional team!
12:57 AM – Jun 5, 2022
Why do you need a VPN, Matt? you might ask.
I want to watch #Picard without complications.
I want to buy my US friends Pizza without being Geo-blocked.
I want to research how Indian folks experience my website.
I chose @NordVPN and it’s pretty amazing.
1:20 AM – Apr 7, 2022
PewDiePie 111 млн подписчиков
Пользуйтесь Интернетом в полной безопасности и, самое главное, абсолютно свободно. VPN — одна из тех вещей, которые необходимо иметь. Я рекомендую NordVPN .
Смотреть на YouTube
CaseyNeistat 12.6 млн подписчиков
NordVPN — это отличный VPN, который очень высоко ценится в отрасли. Я пользуюсь им уже 3 года на iPhone, Android и ноутбуке Mac, и меня все устраивает .
Смотреть на YouTube
Philip DeFranco 6.43 млн подписчиков
Я клиент NordVPN уже много лет. И, если вы до сих пор не попробовали его, вы не знаете, какое душевное спокойствие можете обрести, защитив свои личные данные и действия в Интернете .
Смотреть на YouTube
Лучшее за 2023 г.
Лучший VPN в 2023 г.
Лучшие изобретения 2022 года по версии TIME
Источник: TIME ©2022 TIME USA LLC. Все права сохраняются. Используется по лицензии.
Выбор редактора 2021 года
Конфиденциальность онлайн без усилий
30-дневная гарантия возврата средств
Часто задаваемые вопросы
Законно ли использовать NordVPN?
Да, VPN-сервисы легальны в большинстве стран мира, включая США, Канаду и большую часть Европы, при условии, что вы не делаете ничего противозаконного при их использовании.
Однако страны, осуществляющие слежку и цензуру в Интернете, могут ограничить использование VPN или полностью запретить VPN-сервисы. Например, VPN незаконны в Северной Корее, Беларуси, Омане, Ираке и Туркменистане. Другие страны, такие как Россия и Китай, сильно ограничивают использование VPN.
Почему за VPN-сервис нужно платить?
Чтобы получить лучший сервис, необходимо заплатить. Бесплатному VPN-провайдеру трудно поддерживать качество обслуживания и безопасность в сети на уровне платного сервиса, поэтому вы с большей вероятностью столкнетесь с медленным соединением и низким уровнем безопасности. Если вы используете бесплатный VPN, его создатели должны как-то зарабатывать, поэтому они могут заваливать вас рекламой, отслеживать и продавать ваши данные или даже использовать ваше устройство для маршрутизации трафика других людей. Надежный платный VPN-сервис не делает ничего подобного.
С NordVPN ваши личные данные защищены современным шифрованием, поэтому вы можете использовать Интернет c еще большей конфиденциальностью, без ограничений данных и пропускной способности. Все еще сомневаетесь? Попробуйте наши услуги: если сервис вам не понравится, вы получите возврат своей оплаты в течение месяца с момента покупки подписки.
Since my start in 2008, I’ve covered a wide variety of topics from space missions to fax service reviews. At PCMag, much of my work has been focused on security and privacy services, as well as a video game or two. I also write the occasional security columns, focused on making information security practical for normal people. I helped organize the Ziff Davis Creators Guild union and currently serve as its Unit Chair.
As a PCMag security analyst, I report on security solutions such as password managers and parental control software, as well as privacy tools such as VPNs. Each week I send out the SecurityWatch newsletter filled with online security news and tips for keeping you and your family safe on the internet.
Updated August 17, 2023
The Bottom Line
NordVPN packs numerous privacy features into a slick client that has grown beyond just VPN protection into a privacy juggernaut, offering antivirus and unique tools at a premium price.
Per Month, Starts at $12.99
$3.19 Per Month + 3-Months Free (Up to 68% Off 2-Year Plan) NordVPN
56% Off! $7.29 Per Month for 1 Year Complete Plan + 3 Months Free NordVPN
$15.69 Per Month for Monthly Complete Plan NordVPN
PCMag editors select and review products independently. If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn commissions, which help support our testing.
- Multi-hop, split tunneling, and Tor connections
- Excellent design
- Traffic routing and file-sharing with Meshnet
- Built-in antivirus tools
- Lackluster malware-blocking results
- Limited utility of free Meshnet traffic routing
Although NordVPN is already one of the best-known VPNs, its features have increased dramatically over the past few years. That’s important, as the service is not cheap. In addition to protecting your web traffic, NordVPN scans downloaded files for malware and watches for malicious sites. It offers a password manager and encrypted file storage. A new and unique feature called Meshnet lets you route your web traffic securely through your own trusted devices and transfer files. For all it offers, NordVPN is an Editors’ Choice award winner.
There are multiple Editors’ Choice picks in this category, but two of particular note are Mullvad VPN, which goes to great lengths to protect your privacy, and Proton VPN, a five-star service that is more affordable and straightforward than NordVPN.
How Much Does NordVPN Cost?
NordVPN’s Standard plan ($12.99 per month or $59.88 for the first year and $99.48 for each year after) includes just VPN and malware protection. The Plus tier ($13.79 per month or $69.48 for the first year and then $126.96 per year) adds the NordPass password manager and data breach scanning à la HaveIBeenPwned. The Complete tier ($14.99 per month or $83.88 for the first year and then $198.84 per year) throws in 1TB of encrypted cloud storage with NordLocker. NordVPN also offers two-year subscriptions for $86.13, $107.73, and $140.13 for the Standard, Plus, and Complete tiers. These renew at their respective annual rates on a per-year basis.
Our Experts Have Tested 17 Products in the VPN Category This Year
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Although it might be enticing, we recommend against immediately springing for discounted long-term plans. Instead, start with a short-term plan so you can try out the service. Note that NordVPN frequently offers different pricing based on the time of year or your location.
$359.64 Save $239.64
Private Internet Access VPN
NordVPN accepts payment with Amazon Pay, all major credit cards, and cryptocurrencies via CoinGate, Google Pay, PayPal, and Plaid. As of this writing, the average cost for a VPN service we’ve reviewed is about $10.03 per month and $66.95 per year. This puts NordVPN among the most expensive VPNs we’ve reviewed, regardless of tier or the length of subscription.
You can get a top VPN subscription for less. Mullvad VPN, for instance, is just 5 euros ($5.44 at the time of writing) per month, and Proton VPN has all the same features and nearly double the simultaneous connections as NordVPN for $11.49 per month. Opera VPN Pro, meanwhile, has an annual fee of just $47.88.
There are also some free VPNs worthy of consideration. While all free VPNs have limitations, Proton VPN is one of the few we’ve tested that doesn’t limit the amount of data free subscribers can use. NordVPN does not offer a free trial or subscription tier but does offer Meshnet for free which can provide VPN protection as we explain below.
How a VPN Works
What Do You Get for Your Money With NordVPN?
NordVPN allows you to use up to six devices simultaneously. The average VPN service limits you to five such connections, but that’s starting to change. Avira Phantom VPN, IPVanish VPN, and Editors’ Choice winners Surfshark VPN and TunnelBear VPN allow an unlimited number of devices to connect at once. NordVPN provides apps for all major platforms.
(Editors’ Note: IPVanish is owned by Ziff Davis, PCMag’s parent company.)
NordVPN offers static IP addresses for $5.89 per month ($70.68 with an annual VPN subscription). You can choose an address for Amsterdam, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, or the United States. A static IP address may help prevent your VPN connection from being blocked, especially if you connect to the same region consistently. We appreciate that NordVPN has made adding static IPs to existing accounts much easier.
One excellent aspect of NordVPN is the variety of additional tools it provides for improving privacy. NordVPN, Proton VPN, and VPNArea are the only three VPN companies we’ve tested that provide push-button access to the Tor anonymization network. This makes it harder to trace your connection and lets you access hidden websites, though at greatly reduced speeds. You can, however, use Tor for free.
NordVPN also supports multi-hop connections, which it calls Double VPN. It routes your connection through a second VPN server instead of just one. That way, if one leg of the connection is compromised, your connection is still secure.
Split tunneling lets you designate which apps route their traffic through the VPN connection and which travel in the clear. NordVPN takes an interesting approach here, letting you either require or forbid VPN connections for apps. However, the company doesn’t support split tunneling in its iOS or macOS apps. NordVPN and Proton VPN are among the few products offering split tunneling, access to Tor via VPN server, and multi-hop connections.
NordVPN includes Threat Protection features that go beyond typical VPN protection. The company claims these features block malicious sites, scan downloads for malware, and block trackers and ads. Other companies, such as Surfshark VPN, have expanded into similar territory, while some antivirus companies have started including VPNs with their traditional antivirus products. As we explain, we found NordVPN’s Threat Protection features lacking and recommend using standalone antivirus instead. On its own, Threat Protection costs $29.98 for the first year (and $59.88 for every year afterward) but it’s included with all NordVPN subscriptions.
NordVPN also supports Linux. You can also configure some routers to connect via NordVPN. Doing so supplies coverage for all the devices on your network, including smart home devices that can’t normally run a VPN.
Although useful, a VPN can’t protect against all ills. We recommend activating multi-factor authentication wherever possible, creating complex and unique passwords for each site and service with a password manager, and using antivirus software.
What VPN Protocols Does NordVPN Offer?
NordVPN uses NordLynx (an implementation of WireGuard) by default in its Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows apps. OpenVPN is also available on all those platforms. IKEv2 is available for iOS and macOS apps only.
OpenVPN has long been the gold standard for VPNs, but WireGuard is increasingly popular. It’s easy to see why. Like OpenVPN, WireGuard is open source, but it uses newer encryption techniques and yields better speeds.
Where Are NordVPN’s Servers Located?
NordVPN boasts servers in 60 countries and provides good geographic diversity of servers. Still, other VPN companies outshine it. ExpressVPN, for example, covers 94 countries, Surfshark VPN 100, and HMA VPN about 190.
Most of NordVPN’s servers are in the US and the UK, which is not unusual for VPN companies. However, NordVPN also has a diverse mix of servers the world over. The company currently offers one location in Africa (South Africa), and a handful in South America—two continents ignored by many other services.
Notably, NordVPN offers servers in Hong Kong, Turkey, and Vietnam, all of which have restrictive internet policies. The company doesn’t offer servers in Russia, but it does have servers in Ukraine. Note that we don’t make specific recommendations for VPNs to bypass government censorship, because the stakes of getting it wrong are simply too high.
VPN companies often make use of two important technologies: virtual servers and virtual locations. Virtual servers are software-defined servers, and several can be hosted on a single machine. A virtual location is a server configured to appear somewhere other than its physical location. Neither is inherently problematic, but we prefer companies be transparent about their infrastructure. A NordVPN representative told us all its servers are dedicated, not virtual, and none are virtual locations.
Is NordVPN Trustworthy?
NordVPN is incorporated in and operates under the legal jurisdiction of Panama. Panama has no legal requirement for companies to retain data for any given period. The company says that were it to be subpoenaed, it would only respond to a court order or subpoena issued by a Panamanian court. NordVPN says it maintains offices in other countries in addition to Panama and was founded in Lithuania.
Many VPNs have been criticized for not sharing information on structure and corporate leadership. Much of that information can be found at the Nord Security corporate page. A company representative told us it is owned by NordVPN s.a. (formerly Tefincom S.A.). In 2022, NordVPN announced it was merging with Surfshark VPN, under a Netherlands-registered holding company called Cyberspace. Both companies use separate infrastructure.
A new addition to the company’s warrant canary page outlines NordVPN’s security roadmap and also provides explanations about past security incidents—including the 2018 server breach. We appreciate this effort toward transparency and would like to see other companies do the same.
Many VPN companies now release the results of third-party audits in order to build trust. PriceWaterhouseCooper has completed two audits of NordVPN in 2018 and 2020 and VerSprite released penetration testing reports about NordVPN’s apps in 2021. In January 2023, NordVPN released an audit from Deloitte verifying the company was complying with its commitment to not log user activity. A pair of audits in February 2023 looked at NordVPN’s apps and infrastructure. Audits are imperfect tools, but they are still a measure of accountability we appreciate. We’re pleased to see NordVPN continues to release third-party audits, although we’d like to see them make the same commitment to annual audits TunnelBear VPN has made.
Also in 2023, NordVPN released some of its software under the GPL3 open-source license. This includes the Libtelio library, which is the core networking component for all NordVPN apps; Libdrop, which is used for file-sharing via Meshnet; and the entirety of the company’s Linux application.
Meshnet: File-Sharing, Traffic Routing, and a Free VPN
Meshnet is a unique set of features from NordVPN that allow you to do fancy networking tricks well beyond the scope of a VPN, but with the characteristic ease we expect from NordVPN. When you activate Meshnet, you can route your traffic through your other machines running the NordVPN client app, and even route traffic to and from other NordVPN users you invite. NordVPN has said Meshnet could enable project collaboration or even LAN gaming. It has always been an interesting feature, but NordVPN has made it more compelling by making Meshnet a defacto free VPN option and adding file-sharing. Additionally, NordVPN is now allowing customers to roll their own self-hosted NordVPN instance using Meshnet.
Meshnet uses the WireGuard-based NordLynx protocol to create an encrypted peer-to-peer connection, routes all your device’s web traffic from one of your devices to another, and then sends it to the internet. It’s similar to how a VPN normally works, except you don’t need to trust NordVPN’s servers since you’re using your own devices.
We were impressed with how simple it was to route our traffic between devices using Meshnet. Within just a few seconds, we had routed the web traffic from our Android device through a Windows machine. We confirmed our phone now had the same IP address as our Windows machine.
You cannot route traffic from a desktop device through a mobile device—only Linux, macOS, and Windows devices can be exit points for your routed traffic. We weren’t, however, able to route our traffic between a Windows and macOS device.
Although we like the idea of not having to trust a VPN’s infrastructure, spoofing your location requires extra legwork. You either have to place a computer in a remote location, rent an AWS or Digital Ocean server and install Meshnet, or use the External Device feature to route your traffic through another NordVPN user’s machine—which would require you to trust that person and their device. This does limit its utility, as we’ll explain.
When NordVPN’s client is installed and Meshnet enabled, you can immediately send files between devices. In our testing, we easily sent several files between a Windows 11 machine and a Google Pixel phone. The process was painless and fast, and NordVPN’s apps even made it easy to find the downloaded files. A company representative told us that there is no limit on the number or size of files you can send, but that large files could take a significant time to transfer. The representative also emphasized that because the connection is encrypted and peer-to-peer, NordVPN cannot see what you are sending.
There are several ways to move files between devices, but many—like Apple AirDrop—are limited to certain platforms. Other services, like Dropbox or Google Drive, can sync folders seamlessly between different devices but require their own client software and subscription. Meshnet’s file-sharing fits nicely in the middle, but it can’t be used for creating public file-sharing links or live collaboration on the same document.
NordVPN has long lacked a free VPN option, but an update to Meshnet sort of changes that. Instead of offering limited access to VPN infrastructure, NordVPN lets anyone use Meshnet’s traffic routing features for free. In testing, we created a new account without a subscription and were then able to route traffic from our Android device to our Windows 11 machine. We confirmed that both devices had the same IP address. This was, in effect, a teeny, tiny, free VPN.
Most VPNs, like TunnelBear VPN, limit how much data you can send across their networks. Others, like Proton VPN, limit the number of servers free users can access. NordVPN told us the only limit on the free version of Meshnet is the number of devices, which is the same for paid and free users: 10 user devices and up to 50 devices from other NordVPN users.
NordVPN deserves credit for finding such a unique way to deliver a free VPN. However, we do have some concerns. In testing, we ran into some issues where the devices said they were online and connected, but traffic wasn’t flowing. NordVPN didn’t detect an issue and offered no warnings, and we missed numerous alerts and messages that couldn’t be delivered until we reset the connection.
Although Meshnet does create a VPN connection, it doesn’t offer the same protections as a traditional VPN. In our situation, we routed traffic from one device to another on the same network. That means that although our ISP couldn’t see our data as it passed from the phone to the computer, the ISP would have some insight into our online activities once the traffic traveled from our computer to the web and back. We also weren’t able to spoof our location without setting up some kind of remote device or connecting to another NordVPN user’s device or a rented server such as AWS and Digital Ocean offer. Most free VPNs will keep your ISP from seeing what you’re up to online and allow for some degree of location spoofing.
What’s most impressive about Meshnet is that it works at all and is so easy to use. No other VPN does this, and we are blown away by the smooth file-sharing experience and the ease with which we routed traffic between devices—in some cases without paying a dime. Still, we’re not sure it’s more practical than a more traditional free VPN or file locker service. But if you’re willing to do some extra legwork, Meshnet’s abilities may be worth your while.
Hands On With NordVPN for Windows
For testing NordVPN on Windows, we used an Intel NUC 11 (NUC11PHKi7C, ‘Phantom Canyon’) desktop running the latest version of Windows 11. We had no trouble setting up NordVPN. Notably, the app has you log in through the company’s web portal, saving you the irritation of cutting and pasting from your password manager.
NordVPN has undergone a subtle update since we last looked at the app. All the features are in more or less the same place and the blue-tinged map still takes center stage, but there are small differences. Elements are larger and easier to read, and the whole thing has a sleeker, more polished look to it. Although it’s very easy to use, TunnelBear VPN remains the friendliest and most approachable VPN on the market to our eyes.
Another new feature is an onboarding wizard that walks you through not only the features of the VPN but gives you the chance to customize certain settings before you begin. For instance, you can define the circumstances in which NordVPN will connect automatically and how the kill switch will function. Of course, it also encourages you to download NordPass and NordLocker. We were also prompted to install the NordVPN browser extension, but found we needed to manually approve the extension in our browser (Chrome) before it could be used.
At the top of the app are buttons to quickly connect to the VPN server NordVPN thinks is best for you, shortcuts to popular servers or servers you’ve used before, and the full list of available server locations—although you can also browse and connect from the map if you prefer. One important change is that NordVPN no longer lets you select specific servers and will only show you available cities within countries if it shows you any details at all. It’s fine for most people, but if you’re trying to access region-locked content, for instance, being able to force the app to use a different server is extremely useful. We’d like to see NordVPN bring this feature back to its app.
NordVPN is clearly positioning its app as a set-and-forget service. A Pause button deactivates the VPN but reconnects you automatically after five minutes, 15 minutes, or an hour. You can also use the pause button to mark your current network as trusted and not require a VPN at all. Hitting the power button pulls up a warning that it will shut the VPN off, but once the app starts again it will resume its default automatic connection settings. The assumption is that you want NordVPN running all the time, but it can get a little annoying if that’s not how you use a VPN.
We noticed other changes and improvements across the app. For example, you can configure the Kill Switch to disable your internet connection when your connection drops and when you manually turn off your VPN. This ensures none of your data is sent outside the VPN’s protection. You can also now make the kill switch app-specific—a unique feature we’ve not seen in other products.
NordVPN’s split tunneling feature lets you require a VPN connection for certain apps, or route the traffic of some apps outside the VPN. The NordVPN app shows a handy list of the applications currently running, making it easy to add them to the split tunneling list. We confirmed it worked in our testing by requiring Edge to send its data outside the VPN and comparing that browser’s IP address and the IP as it appears in Chrome.
When we tested NordVPN, we had no trouble streaming Netflix video while connected to a US server. But the battle between Netflix and VPNs is ongoing, and results can change from day to day.
One concern is that your VPN may be leaking your true IP address or DNS information. In testing, NordVPN successfully changed our IP address and hid our ISP information. The DNS leak test tool indicated the server we were connected to did not leak our DNS information.
Weak Protection for Your Web Surfing
In the NordVPN app, Threat Protection’s controls are broken into Web Protection and File Protection. The former blocks malware, ads, and trackers, and even removes tracking data from URLs. The latter scans files as they are downloaded from the web, looking for malware that could harm your machine. This is different from typical antivirus products, which can also scan files on your machine and watch for unusual behaviors. NordVPN Threat Protection cannot do this. Does it actually detect malware? We put it to the test in the same way we evaluate any antivirus product. Be sure to read our full review of NordVPN Threat Protection. The findings from our January 2023 testing are summarized below.
One big change with Threat Protection is that once enabled, it runs all the time. This is different from how NordVPN used to work, where malware and malicious site protections required the VPN be active to function. If you prefer the previous mode of operation, you can enable Threat Protection Lite Mode. New customers or anyone looking for a VPN first and foremost may be surprised to find that NordVPN is still working even when they’re not connected.
The test starts with a collection of malware-hosting web pages supplied by the researchers at MRG-Effitas. Typically, the URLs are no more than a few days old. We launch each URL, discarding any that don’t load properly, and note what the security product does. If it blocks access to the website or eliminates the malware download, it gets a point, but if it sits idly by, ignoring the danger, it gets nothing. After testing 100 links we run the numbers.
NordVPN’s approach lines up perfectly with this test, but its results are far from perfect. Threat Protection only blocks 30% of the samples by diverting the browser from the malware-hosting URL. It eliminates another 58% by identifying and deleting the malware payload, for a total of 88%. This is a significant improvement over the previous results, putting Threat Protection in the middle of the pack. McAfee AntiVirus Plus, Norton, Sophos, Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security, and ZoneAlarm all detected 100% of the malicious links.
Normally, our antivirus testing involves observing how the software responds to a collection of 100 live malware samples. Because Threat Protection can’t scan your device (only observe files as they download), we manually downloaded the collection. We found that NordVPN Threat Protection blocked 81% of the samples, which is one of the lowest scores we’ve seen. Norton AntiVirus Plus gets a perfect malware detection score with the current crop of malware, while Emsisoft Anti-Malware, Malwarebytes Premium, and Sophos Home Premium detected 100% of the previous malware sample collection.
One frustrating thing we noticed is that Threat Protection will tell you in its logs all the new files (like screenshots) created on your machine, and also says that it can’t scan them.
Using NordVPN to Block Phishing Sites, Ads, and Online Trackers
Malware is the big baddie of the internet, but phishing sites that trick people into surrendering their personal information by impersonating other websites are just as dangerous. To test NordVPN’s ability to block phishing sites, we use a list of 100 new reported phishing sites (because they are ephemeral) and visit each one in turn. In the latest tests, Threat Protection blocks 79% of phishing sites. The built-in protections in Chrome and Firefox score better. Avast One Essential, Trend Micro, and ZoneAlarm block all the phishing sites in this test.
Threat Protection also promises to keep your web surfing free of ads and trackers. To check the ad-blocking feature we simply visited several ad-heavy websites on a system with NordVPN installed and on another system with no ad-blocking component. The ad blocker visibly did its job, removing inline ads, popup ads, slide-in ads, and more.
Most products that offer to block trackers on the web use a browser extension that lets you interact with the tracking system. But Threat Protection doesn’t require any additional tools. It just works as long as the VPN is running. We confirmed in the app that Threat Protection was indeed blocking ads. You can specify which pages you wish to allow ads, or which specific blocked elements you want allowed.
Finally, NordVPN offers dark web monitoring as part of its Threat Protection collection. Like most identity theft protection services, this alerts you if your personal information has appeared in data breaches. We didn’t test its efficacy.
NordVPN Speed and Performance
When you use a VPN, it will affect your web browsing performance. To get a sense of how great an impact a VPN has, we conduct a series of speed tests using the Ookla Speedtest tool. We explain our methodology in our piece on How We Test VPNs.
(Editors’ Note: Ookla is owned by Ziff Davis, PCMag’s parent company.)
We found NordVPN reduces download speed test results by only 0.7%—the second-best score we’ve seen so far—and upload speed test results by 15.6%. Most surprising was its latency score. Here, our testing shows a 5.6% reduction in latency compared with the baseline. That’s impressive, but we caution that it’s unlikely you would have the same experience. We think it’s safer to say NordVPN has a minimal impact on latency.
The chart below shows the most recent results. Our new VPN speed testing protocols mean we’ll update the chart throughout the year with new results and new products.
You can find a full breakdown of our speed test results in our feature on the fastest VPNs. That said, speed shouldn’t be the only criteria you use to choose a VPN. Value, ease of use, and commitment to privacy are more important factors.
Hands On With NordVPN for MacOS
When testing the macOS VPN client for NordVPN we used a MacBook Air (M1, 2020) running OS Big Sur version 11.2.2. We last looked at the macOS app in January 2023.
NordVPN’s macOS app is notable in its simplicity. After logging in and agreeing to give access to your Apple Keychain, you can Quick Connect to any of NordVPN’s many servers around the globe. If you want a bit more control over your experience, you can scroll through the list of countries on the left side of the app window, choose a country, and open a drop-down menu that reveals a list of all the servers in that country.
It’s easier to just choose a spot on the map and use the VPN server located there, but it’s useful that the macOS version gives you a choice when it comes to servers. The whimsical map on the MacOS app looks just like the mobile version of the app, but it has a light background instead of a dark one.
As with the iOS app, the macOS app doesn’t appear to leak your true DNS information. We checked it out with a server in Sweden by visiting the DNS Leak Test site and using its Extended Test tool, and we didn’t find any leaks.
The speed and performance were both excellent with the two servers we tried while testing. We were able to browse Weverse and stream BTS videos and other content without interruptions. The videos loaded a little slower than they do on our normal home connection, but otherwise, we saw little to no difference in our online experience when using NordVPN for macOS.
Hands On With NordVPN for iPhone
NordVPN for iPhone makes connecting to a VPN easy. To test the iPhone VPN, we used an iPhone XS running iOS 14.8.1. We last looked at the iPhone app in January 2023.
In light mode, the app’s color scheme is bright white and gray with green and blue accents. With dark mode, the background changes to black and the gray map turns navy blue. The iOS app is very user-friendly. All features, from the new Meshnet to standards such as auto-connect, have accompanying text explaining their purpose in easy-to-understand terms.
The navigation bar at the bottom of the dashboard includes four icons: Connection, Meshnet, Statistics, and User Profile. In the Connection section, you can choose a VPN server by tapping on the country and city. A Pause button lets you disconnect from your VPN for a predetermined period and reconnect automatically after the time is up.
Next, we tested Meshnet using the iOS app. When we tested the app, you could only route traffic through Windows or Linux devices. For the test, we attempted to access a Windows machine using NordVPN’s Meshnet. Both devices had the same IP address after establishing a connection, which means the traffic was routed from our iPhone to the Windows computer.
The Statistics icon opens up a page of fun facts about your VPN usage, including how much time you spend connected to a VPN. The user profile page is where you can enable features such as the Dark Web Monitor and Threat Protection (a malware blocker). You can also enable multi-factor authentication for your account from the Profile screen, increasing the Security Score located at the top of the screen.
We ran an extended test on DNSLeakTest.com to see if NordVPN was leaking our real IP address or DNS requests. We didn’t find any leaks while connected to a server in Iceland. While connected to the same server, we also watched several YouTube videos and Twitch streams. The connection remained fast and stable throughout the viewing time.
Hands On With NordVPN for Android
We last looked at the NordVPN Android app in January 2023. It features an interactive gray world map for a background, its landscape dotted by cities with a NordVPN server presence. The app has a lot of features, including split tunneling, a Kill Switch, a dark web monitor, and a security checklist, and it also allows you to create a custom DNS setup. It also includes tapjacking protection, which warns users when an app uses a screen overlay to trick them into performing an unintended action, such as clicking on a malicious link.
The Android app lets you choose the city where your VPN server is located, but there isn’t a list of servers to choose from. NordVPN connects you to the fastest server in the city you choose.
When you turn on Meshnet, it creates a Nord name and an IP address for your device so you can connect to it the same way you would connect to a NordVPN server. When we tested it, Meshnet only supported routing to a device running NordVPN’s desktop software from the mobile app.
Using a Samsung A71 5G device running Android 12, we tested for DNS leaks using the DNS Leak Test Tool while connected to a VPN server in Toronto, Canada. The server did not leak our DNS information and successfully hid our true IP address. While connected to the server in Toronto, we were also able to play YouTube videos and stream live videos from Twitch without interruptions or slow loading times.
NordVPN on Chrome OS
We downloaded the NordVPN Android app for Chrome OS onto a Dell Chrome 3100 with an Intel Celeron Processor. We last looked at the ChromeOS app in January 2023.
NordVPN on Chrome OS is a full-featured VPN application that includes a multi-factor authentication option for its users. The app calculates customers’ security scores on startup and walks them through turning on various app features to raise their security levels.
Features include split tunneling, a Kill Switch, a Dark Web Monitor, and Threat Protection, which blocks malicious websites. The app also includes tapjacking protection.
NordVPN for Business
For businesses in need of a VPN, NordVPN offers NordLayer. This service starts with a Basic account for $7 per user per month, billed annually at $84. Advanced accounts add more features—most notably, the option to rent dedicated servers—and cost $9 per user per month, billed annually at $108. Adding a dedicated server to an Advanced account costs an additional $40 per month.
Part of NordLayer is a “cloud VPN,” meaning there’s no on-site hardware. Instead, employees connect to one NordLayer’s servers and are routed to the internal corporate network. It lets you access local resources as if you were sitting in your office. Single sign-on access, multi-factor authentication, and VPN auto-connect are also included with a NordLayer subscription.
Is NordVPN Worth the Money?
NordVPN faces the stiffest competition the VPN industry has ever seen. Services like Mullvad VPN and IVPN drastically undercut NordVPN on price, while Proton VPN offers nearly all the same VPN features for less. Surfshark VPN and TunnelBear VPN, meanwhile, place no limit on the number of simultaneous connections.
What makes NordVPN stand out is that it has continued to grow and respond to an extremely competitive market. After adding just about every VPN feature available, NordVPN diversified its product, adding a password manager, an antivirus, and an encrypted file locker. Its unique set of Meshnet features helps it stand out from other VPN services by providing cross-platform file-sharing and traffic routing between your devices or rented servers. All these additions help NordVPN justify its high price. So while it is more expensive than much of the competition, NordVPN is an excellent and innovative product that is well deserving of our Editors’ Choice award.
Security lead analyst Neil J. Rubenking contributed to this review.