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How to use NordVPN

I. Introduction

NordVPN has become one of the most popular virtual private network (VPN) providers on the market due to its commitment to protecting users’ privacy and security. As threats like data breaches, mass surveillance, and blocked censorship continue growing, tools like NordVPN act as a safeguard to keep internet activity, identity, and information private.

This comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know about utilizing NordVPN’s industry-leading features across desktop and mobile devices to browse the web privately, access restricted content, defend against cybercriminals, and prevent network throttling. Read on to take control over your internet experience with NordVPN.

II. Understanding NordVPN

NordVPN is a Panama-based VPN service provider that encrypts internet traffic and routes it through remote servers run by the company. By connecting to one of thousands of worldwide server locations, NordVPN allows changing a device’s IP address and location – making it appear as if accessing the internet from another city or country.

Key benefits provided:

Military-Grade Encryption – Advanced security protocols like IKEv2/IPSec or OpenVPN encrypt traffic using strong ciphers like AES-256 and 2048-bit RSA keys. This prevents prying eyes from monitoring activity.

No-Logs Policy – NordVPN does not track or store user connection logs, time stamps, IP addresses, or browsing data. This provides confidence online movements stay private.

Onion Over VPN – Optional connection routing through the Onion network adds an extra layer of encryption and anonymity during secure sessions.

Obfuscated Servers – Specialty servers can stealth VPN traffic to bypass firewalls and network restrictions in heavily censored regions.

Specialized Server Types – Besides country-specific server locations, users can connect through servers optimized for P2P filesharing, double VPN or dedicated IP address access.

By leveraging this bundle of privacy features users can securely access geo-restricted content, defend against snooping on public WiFi, prevent price discrimination based on location, and more.

III. Getting Started

Signing up for NordVPN takes just minutes. Simply visit and select the desired subscription plan. Options range from $3.29/month for 2-year commitments up to $14.99/month month-to-month. All plans provide the same feature set and support.

Next, download and install NordVPN applications onto each Windows, macOS, iOS and Android device you wish to secure. The apps allow managing connections, selecting server locations, and enabling additional privacy settings with just a few clicks.

Alternatively, router-level installations are available via NordVPN’s manual configs or through flashed router firmware images. This tunnels all traffic from any device connected to the NordVPN WiFi network.

IV. Using NordVPN

Using NordVPN typically involves just connecting to the fastest or desired privacy-focused server location:

  1. Launch the NordVPN application and log in using your NordVPN credentials.
  2. Optionally pick a specific country or city server location from the sortable list. Otherwise select the Recommended or Obfuscated server sections.
  3. Tap the ‘Quick Connect’ button or toggle the VPN connection slider to “On”. This will connect through the chosen server within seconds.

That’s all it takes to start shielding internet traffic! The NordVPN client will display a connection timestamp confirming protection.

Selecting Server Locations

In addition to privacy, NordVPN allows accessing region-restricted content by virtually changing locations. Connect through UK-based servers to view BBC iPlayer abroad, Indian servers to stream restricted Bollywood films, or Canadian servers to watch US Netflix titles unavailable elsewhere.

Server suggestions based on common use cases:

  • Streaming – For US Netflix, pick US East servers. For BBC iPlayer try UK London servers.
  • Security/Privacy – Choose Obfuscated or Double VPN server locations.
  • Speed – Scan server list and connect to location with lowest latency and highest bandwidth.
  • Filesharing – Select specialized P2P servers tagged with upload/download stats.
  • Static IP – Assign consistent IP address by connecting to individual Dedicated IP servers.

Be sure to disconnect the VPN client when access to regionals sites is no longer required.

VPN Protocols

Windows and Mac computers additionally allow selecting alternative VPN protocols besides the default OpenVPN protocol:

  • OpenVPN UDP – Fast reliable speeds well-suited for streaming but can be blocked in countries like China.
  • OpenVPN TCP – Slightly slower speeds but higher reliability and works in more countries.
  • IKEv2/IPSec – Fast modern protocol great for mobile use. Most secure option but has limited unblocking capabilities.
  • NordLynx – Next-gen WireGuard based protocol uses ChaCha20 and Curve25519 encryption. Leading speeds and security.
  • SSTP – Microsoft’s VPN standard. Decent speeds with firewall traversal but weak encryption schemes.

Each protocol varies in speed, reliability, security and ability to bypass firewalls. NordLynx offers the best overall blend using WireGuard. OpenVPN provides wide unblocking support. Test to determine the optimal fit.

V. Advanced Features

NordVPN provides several advanced features to take privacy and blocking evasion efforts even further:

Kill Switch –  The kill switch will instantly halt internet connectivity for any programs running if the VPN connection unexpectedly drops. This prevents identity leaks by stopping unsecured traffic. Enable the kill switch under Settings > Kill Switch.

CyberSec – NordVPN’s custom CyberSec tool blocks ads, malware websites, and intrusive trackers while connected to VPN servers. Turn on CyberSec from Settings to prevent third parties from monitoring activity during private browsing sessions without impacting speeds.

Additionally, specialty Obfsproxy-cloaked servers provide an extra layer of obscurity to disguise VPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic – crucial for bypassing deep packet inspection (DPI). Enable Obfuscated Servers under ‘Speciality Servers’ to leverage this stealthy technique where VPN access attempts are actively blocked.

Between powerful encryption, obfuscation capabilities, dedicated IP addresses, and doubling up servers – NordVPN provides multi-layered privacy protection tailored to different needs.

VI. Troubleshooting & Support

Like any software, intermittent connection issues may arise with NordVPN clients. Some troubleshooting tips:

  • Refresh/switch server location – New server may resolve connectivity errors.
  • Toggle protocol (UDP vs TCP) – Alternative protocol interpretation may work better depending on ISP.
  • Update VPN app – Outdated client can prevent proper server negotiation.
  • Check DownDetector site – Confirms whether wider outages are occurring.
  • Contact 24/7 customer support via live chat or support ticket – Helpdesk can diagnose issues.

NordVPN specialists typically respond to inquiries within 1 minute via chat which is the fastest way to get personalized troubleshooting advice. Support agents can examine connection logs upon request to identify problems.

If connectivity problems recur, enabling OpenVPN debug logs before connecting then forwarding verbose text output to support staff helps technical diagnosis of root causes. Settings > Debug will activate debug log recording to highlight where encryption handshakes are failing.

Unblocking sites, improving speeds, or accessing specialty servers like Double VPN often involve tweaking settings based on use case. Don’t hesitate to leverage NordVPN’s responsive customer support for tailored configuration guidance.

VII. Conclusion

As internet surveillance, restrictions, throttling and cybercrime intensify – tools like NordVPN act as a safeguard to keep digital activity, identity and information secure. NordVPN’s reliable performance, extensive server network, layered privacy techniques and responsive support cement its position as an Editors’ Choice VPN solution.

Follow this guide to quickly deploy NordVPN across desktop or mobile systems, configure additional defenses like CyberSec ad-blocking, select optimal protocols and servers to unblock geo-restricted sites, troubleshoot issues and leverage expert guidance from customer support. Take the guesswork out of managing your VPN-protected worldspanning connection by letting NordVPN securely expand online access, anonymity and liberties.