NordVPN is an incredibly popular Panama-based VPN service that has surged in popularity. The service boasts and impressive feature-set at an affordable price point, and they’ve made many ‘best-of’ lists around the web.
But is NordVPN a good choice for torrenting, p2p-filesharing and streaming? We’ll look at the Pros & Cons in this article, our 2020 NordVPN review.
Skip Ahead: Read the Summary & Verdict
NordVPN is a subsidiary of Tefincom and their service first went live in 2012. The corporate headquarters is based in Panama, but the team is global as is their network.
Key Features of NordVPN:
- Server Locations: 5000+ servers in 59 countries around the world
- Logging Policy: no logs kept
- Encryption Strength: 256-bit AES (industry gold standard)
- Leak Protection built-in: Yes. IPv6 and DNS leak protection
- Kill-switch: Internet & App kill switch (dual-mode)?
- Allows Torrents?: Yes. All servers (may be rerouted seamlessly)
- Torrent-capable Proxy Included? Yes. SOCKS5.
- Platforms/OS: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, FireTV, Compatible routers
- Refund Policy: 30-day 100% refund
NordVPN’s pricing is straightforward. All plans have the exact same features, the only difference is the subscription length and price. Longer subscriptions are a better value.
- 1 month: $11.95/month
- 1 Year: $6.99/month
- 3 Year: $3.99/month (best deal!)
Privacy, Security & Encryption
Let’s look the most important facets of NordVPN’s service; how well they secure your data and protect your privacy.
We always recommend that file-sharing/bittorrent users choose a logless VPN service for maximum privacy. NordVPN fits the bill.
Headquartered in Panama (a privacy sanctuary) NordVPN doesn’t keep any metadata or activity logs. According to their support team, the only information NordVPN stores about you is:
- Your email address (can be a throwaway if you want)
- Payment/billing information
- That’s it.
Logging Verdict: NordVPN advertises a true no-log policy and we haven’t seen any evidence of them turning over logs or identifiable metadata about torrent downloads.
All VPN connections made through NordVPN’s software is encrypted with 256-AES using the OpenVPN protocol. This is industry-standard high level encryption, and the same standard used for top-secret government communications. It’s stronger encryption than most banks use for their websites.
OpenVPN is an open-source VPN protocol, so there’s no way for a VPN provider to hide malicious code. Most mainstream VPNs offer OpenVPN.
Additional Security Features
VPN protocols are extremely secure, but they way they are implemented by various operating systems can create the potential for identifiable data to leak. NordVPN has leak-protection built right into their software including:
- DNS Leak protection (prevent your ISP from spying on which websites you visit)
- IPv6 leak protection: NordVPN blocks the IPv6 protocol so you won’t accidentally leak your identiy or location over IPv6
- Kill-Switch: NordVPN has a two different kill-switches built into their software, designed to prevent any sensitive data from leaking if the VPN disconnects.
NordVPN authenticates every single data packet you receive from the VPN tunnel, ensuring that it hasn’t been tampered with or switched by a man-in-the-middle attack.
Double-hop VPN Servers
If you want an added layer of security, you can use one of NordVPN’s special ‘Double-Hop’ servers which will randomly route your traffic through two of their server locations and encrypt it twice. This added security does come with some speed tradeoffs however.
Windows | Mac | iOS | Android | FireTV | Compatible-routers
NordVPN has a custom VPN app that is available for every major operating system. You can even manually configure a NordVPN connection on vpn-capable routers.
No matter which OS you’re running, the software gives you access to all the core functions of their service including:
- Server selection (including ‘special’ servers such as p2p-optimized)
- Non-logged connection history
- DNS and IPv6 leak protection
Special Server Types
NordVPN has standard servers in 59 countries, but they also have some special-use servers, including:
- Dedicated IP – You get your own static IP address. Useful for streaming services (Netflix)
- Double VPN – double hop VPN gets routed through 2 nodes and encrypted twice
- Onion over VPN – Route your VPN through the Tor Network for additional obfuscation.
- P2P – Servers optimized for torrent privacy and fast downloads
In addition to built-in leak protection, you also get some more advanced privacy features.
- Protocol Obfuscation: If you enable this option, it will disguise your OpenVPN traffic as regular SSL web traffic. It may stop your network or ISP from seeing that you’re using a VPN.
- Custom DNS: NordVPN has their logless DNS servers, but if you prefer to use different DNS server you can specify your own custom servers such as GoogleDNS or Comodo Secure DNS.
In the section, we’ll discuss whether NordVPN is safe for torrenting and what torrent-specific features they offer.
Is NordVPN Good for Torrents? NordVPN is an excellent choice for private torrenting. They fully allow torrents on their network and have several extra features that are very useful for p2p downloads.
NordVPN allows torrenting and p2p downloads on all servers but they prefer you used their dedicated p2p-optimized servers. If you use non-p2p servers they may reroute your torrent data seamlessly to a server in a safer download location.
NordVPN has several additional features that can make your torrenting experience faster, better, or safer.
These are ultra-high bandwidth servers located in countries that are more lenient toward torrent activity. You’ll get maximum peer availability and magnet links work flawlessly.
You can add your torrent client to the ‘kill’ list in the software settings to instantly close the app in case the VPN disconnects. This will prevent torrent peers from seeing your real (non-vpn) IP address.
Every NordVPN subscription includes SOCK5 proxy access in most country locations. There are even p2p-optimized SOCKS servers in 10 torrent-friendly countries. If you want, a SOCKS proxy lets you add an extra IP switch inside your torrent client, and an added layer of security if the VPN goes down.
Learn how to set it up: How to use NordVPN proxy for torrents
Summary & Verdict
NordVPN is an excellent choice for bittorrent users. They take torrent privacy seriously and their price point is a real bargain (on longer subscriptions).
What we like:
- Affordable price point (from $3.99/month)
- App for all platforms including Fire Stick
- Included SOCKS proxies in multiple locations
- Double Kill-Switch
- Works with Netflix (and 50 other geo-locked streaming services)
- 30-day refund guarantee
Room for improvement:
- Speeds can be underwhelming on some servers
- Tech support isn’t the best (true of most VPNs)
- month-to-month price is high
Verdict & TorrentScore
Overall we give NordVPN a TorrentScore of 10/10. They are an extremely torrent-friendly VPN service with excellent privacy and security at an affordable price point. Recommended.
30-day 100% refund policy
2 thoughts on “Is NordVPN safe for Torrenting?”
Outdated review. NordVPN tore down all but 1% of their Socks5 infrastructure and it is almost impossible to establish a Socks5 connection as a result of all the remaining servers being grossly oversubscribed.
That hasn’t been my experience at all. There are definitely reduced SOCKS locations (I think because they were underused) but speeds were just fine in my testing.