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. But there’s still a lot of outdated information on the Internet about old versions of this software. Make sure you read a recent 2019 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.
NordVPN Torrenting Policy
There are some VPN providers that allow file-sharing, but most of them don’t do anything to improve the torrenting experience. However, a few providers, such as NordVPN, go the extra mile and add some features that make torrent downloads safer and faster. A good example of that is the ability to select P2P optimized servers.
Additionally, the company’s opinion regarding file-sharing is very straightforward. Not only does NordVPN allow torrenting, but they also encourage you to use their VPN to do it safely. They make it quite clear that P2P is a legal activity that has valuable benefits. You can read more about it here.
Security and Privacy
The company is based in Panama, outside the range of the biggest monitoring sharks, like the USA and EU. The US data retention and EU DRD laws have no effect in Panama. Therefore, NordVPN doesn’t have to cooperate with any of those governments. This gives the user an extra dose of tranquility
The encryption changes according to each protocol. For OpenVPN, they have an impressive encryption cipher of AES-256-CBC with a 2048 bit strength SSL key. L2TP uses AES-256bit encryption and PPTP uses MPPE-128bit encryption.
Another 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.
Does NordVPN Save Logs?
The most important detail is the fact that they don’t log any user activity. This is mandatory in a torrent-friendly VPN. That means that even if any government agency asks them for any kind of info, they have nothing to show. Their attitude towards this subject is very straightforward:
“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 User Interface
The software has become very easy to use thanks to its clean interface. There’s a new feature known as the “Quick Connect“. It allows users to select a server automatically. It’s simple to understand how it works: the user selects an option and the software chooses the best server available at that moment.
Everything was carefully organized to make it easy for the user. There are different ways of selecting a server from the main window. You can select from the specialty servers, but there’s also the option of picking a location from the country list. There’s even a map where it’s possible to zoom in/out to select a country.
How to Torrent With
There are two simple ways of downloading torrents with NordVPN, one automatic and one manual. That way, both beginners and old school users will find it very convenient.
Automatic method: From the specialty servers, if you choose P2P, you will be automatically connected to the best server for torrenting. The software takes into consideration the location and connection of each user to choose the best option. And it only takes one click.
Manual method: Press the drop-down button that appears when you hover with the mouse over each option (see P2P in the image below). That way, you will see all the servers available for that purpose, and you will simply select the one you want.
Features and Settings
NordVPN has the features that 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. That way, your real IP is not visible during the time the VPN is offline. There are two types of Kill Switch:
Internet Kill Switch – The Internet connection is blocked if there is a problem with the VPN.
App Kill Switch – You can choose what applications to interrupt if the VPN disconnects. There is the possibility of adding more programs by clicking “Add more applications.” Have a look at the following image:
As you can see, we selected uTorrent to stop working if there is an issue with the VPN connection. That way, the torrent download would stop before the real IP is exposed. Although we didn’t see any unexpected trouble with this software during our tests, it’s always good to activate this option.
At the end of the menu, you will see the option “Show Advanced Settings.” There, you will find more features, like protocols and DNS Leak Protection. All the recommended advanced settings are already selected by default, no need to change them.
Their DNS leak protection is a useful tool, it makes sure that there are no leaks at all. We tested it several times, and we never saw a leak. NordVPN has its own private DNS servers, which are the default ones after downloading the software
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
- Obfuscated Servers
NordVPN has more than 5700 servers, spread across 60 countries, but they don’t allow BitTorrent traffic in all of them. The good news is that the servers where they allow it are completely optimized for torrents, and they can achieve very fast speeds. As they constantly add new locations, their list of P2P dedicated servers keeps growing. Users in every continent will find good options nearby.
As you know, this review is focused on torrenting. And because of that, we will not talk about all the servers available. We will only focus on the ones that allow P2P traffic. The following are the locations where users can connect to download torrents:
United States, Canada, Brazil.
Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore.
United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Spain, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Russia, Iceland, Romania, Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia, Croatia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Hungary.
South Africa, India, Turkey, Israel.
The software is compatible with the major Operating Systems and devices, such as Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Linux, Android, etc. We also tested the applications for Android and iOS and we were very impressed. We liked that the features of the Windows version are present in these applications.
They allow 6 simultaneous connections, one of the highest numbers we saw in a VPN. This is useful if you want to protect all your devices, or even for other members of the family and friends you trust.
DNS Leak Test: Thanks to the DNS protection tool, we had no leaks in our tests. All results were positive, as we expected.
IP Test: In each test, the IP detected was always the one from the VPN, and never our true IP.
Torrent Address Detection Test: Our actual IP address has never been exposed during P2P downloads. The detected IP came from the country selected in the VPN software.
We all know that a VPN software will take some speed from your original Internet connection. It’s the price to pay for protection, as the encryption consumes resources. In it’s first years, NordVPN had quite some issues, having a big impact on speed. Naturally, fixing this was one of their priorities, and we were happy to see that it greatly improved. The speed loss was minimal.
Testing Torrent Downloads With NordVPN
As expected, when downloading a torrent file through a BitTorrent client with NordVPN turned on, the difference in speed was not very noticeable. This was actually one of the fastest VPNs we tested.
Like most providers, the longer you subscribe, the cheaper you pay. The price of the 2-year plan is quite low, with a discount of 58% on the original price, a rare thing in this market. If we consider the quality and speed of NordVPN, $4.99 is pretty cheap.
They offer a 30 day money-back guarantee policy. There’s plenty of time to test the service and decide on whether to continue or to get the money back. The most common payment options are available, including 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 selection of servers
- Regular software updates
- 6 simultaneous connections
- 30 days money-back guarantee
What Could Be Improved
- Adding a couple of torrent servers in Africa. Users from that continent can still connect to servers around the world. The problem is that the latency would increase a lot because of the distance.
This was the biggest surprise in our extensive testing. There’s a lot of outdated information about this VPN out there. Even our review would be out of date in a couple of months if we didn’t update it every week. 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 is difficult to come by. Considering the quality they offer, it was very easy to put NordVPN at the top of our favorite VPNs for torrenting.