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Is NordVPN safe? A look at its safety and security measures


If you’re a semi-regular user of the internet, you might have seen NordVPN pop up in advertisements or as sponsored content on YouTube and around the internet. NordVPN is, by far, the most popular VPN on the market right now. Being the frontrunner in any industry comes with a lot of scrutiny and competition, and many great VPNs are knocking on the door of NordVPN’s dominance.

However, seeing as most casual internet users are exposed to NordVPN the most, we’ve decided to take an extensive look into the service and analyze what you get out of your subscription. We analyzed all the security features the service offers and what the company does with your privacy and information. If you worry about your online identity and data when browsing the internet, we encourage you to read on so you can grasp the full scope of whether NordVPN is safe.

Why use NordVPN

Companies need to ensure that their service shows up first to an untapped audience in this attention-based economy on the internet. The vast majority of customers base their purchasing decisions on the first few search results shown to them, including advertisements. After a quick search of the very broad term ‘VPN’ with millions of searches a month, you’ll see that NordVPN is consistently the top result. Now, we understand that marketing power and budget don’t necessarily indicate a strong product.  It provides a lot of exposure, though, which allows the general community to test the product and give unbiased reviews. And NordVPN frequently tops everyone’s best VPN lists. It’s also our pick for the best Fire TV Stick VPN and the best Chrome VPN extension.

When it comes to picking a VPN, many customers might also choose to search for free options. We wrote an in-depth article regarding whether free VPNs are safe, which we encourage you to read if you’re hesitant about purchasing a paid subscription. We would recommend people invest a small amount every month for the best possible VPN when it comes down to it. Therefore, our recommendation is that NordVPN is a great choice for those who have a vested interest in keeping their online data and privacy protected while maintaining excellent browsing speeds.

Military-grade security

Right off the bat, we noticed that NordVPN goes above and beyond when it comes to its security features. It employs 256-bit AES encryption to protect your data. Government agencies, militaries, and cybersecurity firms all use 256-bit AES, which is an uncrackable algorithm to encrypt sensitive data. The number 256 references the encryption key size. Therefore 256-bit has 2^256 possible combinations that a hacker needs to crack in order to access your data. To crack this cipher, they would need more time than there is left in the universe or an unimaginable supercomputer.

To add to the already rock-steady encryption and protection this VPN provides, it also utilizes three different security protocols when you connect to it. When you tap the “connect” button on the NordVPN program, your data is “tunneled” to its servers through the aforementioned protocols. These include IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and NordLynx. You can think of each of these protocols as a bank vault in the tunnel to your data — they’re safeguards to ensure no one can access your private information.

Many subpar VPNs attempt to replicate this level of security, but more often than not, it comes with a sacrifice. Users frequently complain that VPNs slow down browsing speeds, but NordVPN’s implementation of its security protocols demonstrates its understanding of the balance between security and speed.

Full anonymity online

It’s great that NordVPN puts so much focus on its security features, but that would mean nothing if the company stored your personal information. Thankfully, that isn’t the case. The company has a strict no-log policy independently audited by PricewaterCoopers AG. This means that none of your data is stored on NordVPN servers, and your identity is essentially a fresh slate every time you connect to the VPN. There have been a few notorious cases of VPN companies handing over information to authorities and governments when pressed, but NordVPN does not adhere to U.S. or EU jurisdiction, so even if a government asked for information about its customers, they would walk away empty-handed.

If you’re not comfortable with one layer of protection, why not two? Connect to the NordVPN network twice with Double VPN. You get double the encryption, enhanced security, and complete privacy, but twice over. Take it another step further and use the Onion Over VPN feature to connect to the Tor browser — famously known for connecting to the DeepWeb and synonymous with intense privacy. These additional features ensure that no matter what you do, malicious ISPs, pesky governments, or hackers won’t be able to access your personal information and identity.

Why does full anonymity mean so much? To the average internet user, all this might seem like overkill. However, for reporters in third-world countries covering dangerous and life-threatening topics, privacy and anonymity are a necessity. Their lives, careers, and the lives and careers of their sources are constantly at stake. NordVPN provides a viable solution for them to continue to do what they do. Individuals who live in totalitarian regimes with heavy censorship and get punished for accessing the free internet need privacy. For the average internet user, it’s great to be able to have a bit of privacy to prevent pesky ads and protect yourself online, but there is much more at stake for people in less fortunate areas of the world.

Multiple servers globally

There are 5,290 NordVPN servers in 59 different countries across the globe. You can feel safe knowing that no matter where you are in the world, you’ll be able to find a server that can connect you quickly with excellent browsing speeds. The NordVPN app/client is extremely easy to navigate, and you can connect instantly with its Quick Connect option. You can also access the specialty servers (Double VPN, P2P, Dedicated IP, and Onion Over VPN) by opening up a simple drop-down menu. It’s so easy even your grandma could do it!

Each of the NordVPN servers comes with the same features. Just because you’re not connected to the U.S. servers doesn’t mean you’re missing out on anything. Wherever you are, you can enjoy anonymity, security, and privacy with the NordVPN global servers.

Privacy on the go

We live in a society that, for the most part, is connected wherever and whenever. Now, more than ever, it is important for us to understand the risks that come with being connected 24/7. Using a VPN on your phone may even be more important than using it on your laptop or computer because you have a greater chance of connecting to weak public Wi-Fi on your handheld device. You can still access NordVPN’s specialty servers on your phone, regardless of if you’re iOS or Android (other clients are not supported yet), and you can protect up to 6 devices simultaneously for protection across the board — and that’s one of the reasons it’s our top pick for the best VPN for iPhone.

So … is NordVPN safe?

NordVPN is one of the safest options you can pick in today’s market. The mixture of powerful marketing, comprehensive and advanced security features and ease of use make it great value for your money at only $12 a month. We appreciate how much NordVPN prioritizes its customers’ privacy with its extensive features like Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, and its various security protocols.

Would we say NordVPN is safe? Definitely!

Editors' Recommendations

Aaron Kim
VPN Writer
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