NordVPN for Torrenting
During the past couple of years, NordVPN has been making a lot of changes and upgrades. They added a new look, more security features and plenty of new servers. Their upgrades are very regular and there's a lot of outdated information on the Internet about old versions of the software. Make sure you read a recent 2017 review, like this one.
Because of their continuous improvements, they deserve a fair and up to date analysis. So we made an updated review, where we discuss how efficient NordVPN is in terms of torrenting. To do so, we went through all the details about security and also the speed that this provider offers.
Safety and Privacy
The company is based in Panama, outside the range of the biggest monitoring sharks, such as the USA and EU. The US data retention and EU DRD laws have no effect in Panama. Therefore, NordVPN doesn't have to comply with the requests of any of those governments. This gives the user an extra dose of tranquility.
The most important detail is the fact that they don't log any user activity. This is mandatory in a torrent friendly VPN. This means that even if any government agency asks them for any kind of info, they don't have anything to show. We have to confess that their attitude towards this subject puts a smile on our faces:
"NordVPN never logs where you go on the Internet. If anyone asks, the best we can do is shrug our shoulders. And we like it that way".
The encryption changes according to each protocol. For OpenVPN, they have an impressive encryption of AES-256-CBC with a 2048 bit strength SSL key. L2TP uses AES-256bit encryption and PPTP uses MPPE-128bit encryption.
Another very important detail is the fact that NordVPN uses shared IP addresses. This means that all the users share the same IPs, which is a great extra layer of security. In other words, one IP cannot be associated with a single individual.
The User Interface
The software has become very easy to use. NordVPN has introduced a feature known as the "Easy Connect", which allows users to select a server automatically for their VPN connection. It's simple to understand how it works: the user selects an option and the software chooses the best server available at that moment.
For example, in the image below you can see different options. If you choose P2P, you will be automatically connected to the best server for torrenting. The software chooses the best server for each user, considering his location and connection. And it only takes one click.
The automatic option we just mentioned makes things simple. But it's still possible to choose a server manually by pressing the dropdown button that appears when you hover with the mouse over each option (see P2P). That way you will see all the servers available for that purpose, and you will be able to select the one you want.
If you scroll down, you will see a list of all the countries. The same principle applies here: Click on one country and the software will connect you automatically to the best server in that location. But if you click on the dropdown button next to each country, you will be able to see every server in that country, and you can select your favorite.
Features and Settings
NordVPN has the features every good provider should have, and some more. When it comes to torrenting without risks, a Kill Switch is of extreme importance. This tool interrupts the internet connection in case the VPN stops working for some reason. That way your real IP is not shown during the time the VPN is offline. NordVPN's Kill Switch is really interesting, it works in a different way from the one in most VPN providers.
The difference is that you can choose what applications you want to stop in case the VPN connection is interrupted. You can add the programs you want by clicking "Add more applications". Have a look at the following image:
For the kill switch test, we selected the program uTorrent to stop working immediately if there is a problem with our VPN connection. That way, if the VPN stops working, uTorrent will be automatically stopped before our real IP is exposed. And you can choose as many apps as you want to stop with this feature. Although this software never disconnected during our tests, it’s always good to have this option activated.
You can read a bit more about this subject in the article we wrote about the Kill Switch.
In the end of the menu, you can see the option "Show Advanced Settings". There you will find some more features, such as choosing the protocol, DNS Leak Protection and Custom DNS. All the recommended advanced settings are already selected by default, we don't advise changing them.
Their DNS leak protection is a useful tool, it's designed to make sure that there are no leaks at all. We tested it several times and we never had a DNS leak. NordVPN has its own private servers, which are selected by default when the user downloads the software, and we recommend using them.
Besides the main security features we discussed, some servers come with a few nice extras, such as:
- Dedicated IP addresses
- Anti DDoS
- Tor over VPN
- Double VPN
NordVPN has more than 1100 servers, distributed in in 61 countries, and on many of them, torrent downloads are allowed. On some servers, located in countries where policies regarding file sharing are very strict, this option is excluded. The good news is that the servers where they allow it are completely optimized for torrenting, and they can achieve very fast speeds. This is actually one of their biggest updates, they added a lot of servers optimized for BitTorrent. They also added new server locations, increasing significantly the number of countries that users can choose to connect to. Now there are plenty of servers in all continents. Users in every country of the world will find good options nearby.
As you know, this NordVPN review is focused on torrenting. And because of that, we are not going to talk about all the servers available. Therefore, we will only focus on the ones that allow P2P traffic. The following are the locations where users can connect for file sharing:
Canada, Unites States, Brazil.
Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Turkey.
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
Australia, New Zealand.
To avoid any confusion, we just want to make clear that you don't have to be in any of those countries. Those are the countries you can connect to, in order to have an IP from that place. It's actually better to connect to a different country from yours. In case someone tries to follow your activity, they would have to go through different jurisdictions, which would be extremely hard. It's an extra layer of security.
The VPN software is compatible with the major Operating Systems and devices, Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Linux, and Android.
We have also tested the mobile applications for Android and iOS and we were very impressed. It was very easy to install, you just have to download and install it automatically, like a normal application. We also liked that the same Windows features are present in these applications. You can read more information about the Android application here. If you have iOS, you can access more information here.
They allow 6 simultaneous connections, the highest number we saw in a VPN. This is useful if you want to connect all your devices, or even for other members of the family or friends who you trust.
DNS Leak test: Thanks to the DNS Leak Prevention tool, there weren’t any leaks in our tests. Everything came out clean, as expected.
IP Test: In every test, the detected IP was always the one from the VPN, and not our real one.
Torrent address detection test: Our real IP address was never exposed. The IP detected came from the country we selected in the VPN software.
This is one of the main things they improved. In the past, there were some issues regarding speed, but they clearly worked on that. We got the following results:
Torrent Speed Tests
Like most VPN providers, the longer you subscribe, the cheaper you pay. Their annual prices are quite low, with a discount of 52% on the original price, which is a rare thing in this market. If we have in consideration the quality and speed of NordVPN, $5.75 is quite cheap.
They offer a 30 day money back guarantee policy. The users have plenty of time to test the service and make their decision on whether to continue or to get their money back. The most common payment options are available, such as PayPal, Credit Card, and Bitcoin.
What we liked about NordVPN
- They don't keep any logs
- Location in Panama (no data retention laws)
- Unbreakable AES-256-CBC encryption
- A modern and customized Kill Switch
- DNS Leak Protection
- Shared IP addresses
- Many optimized servers for torrenting
- Manual / Automatic Server selection
- Regular software updates
- 6 simultaneous connections
- 30 days money back guarantee
- Regular software updates
What could be improved
NordVPN is a top VPN, one of our favorites. But like everything else, there's always something that can be perfected. This is our current suggestion:
- Adding a couple of torrent servers in Africa. Users from that continent can still connect to servers around the world, but the distance will increase the latency significantly.
This was the biggest surprise in our extensive testing. The Internet has quite a lot of outdated information about this VPN. Even our NordVPN review would be out of date in a couple of months if we didn’t update it on a weekly basis. This is because they are always improving, adding new servers and features at a fast pace.
They really got better in the last couple of years. Now they offer a great service with a combination of features that we didn’t see in the majority of VPNs. Considering the quality they offer, it was very easy to put NordVPN at the top of our favorite VPNs for torrenting.