While NordVPN is often considered the best all-around VPN, it may not be the perfect fit for everyone. Whether you’re living far from its nearest server, looking to spend less, or in need of a particular feature, there are other VPNs out there worth considering. In fact, some VPNs even excel in areas where NordVPN falls short – whether it’s accessing certain websites or offering faster speeds.
Join us as we explore the best alternatives to NordVPN, and find the perfect VPN for your needs.
If you need to find the best alternative to NordVPN, here is a summary of our recommendations:
- Surfshark: Best NordVPN alternative. Cheaper than NordVPN or ExpressVPN, yet very fast and loaded with features.
- ExpressVPN: Provides outstanding speed, security, and privacy. Has servers in almost 100 counties.
- CyberGhost: The fastest VPN we’ve tested, is great for streaming and torrenting. Security and ease of use are strengths.
- IPVanish: This ultra-fast VPN is one of the few VPNs that offer phone support. Allows unlimited simultaneous connections.
- PrivateVPN: Smaller VPN works with all major streaming services and works in China. Prices are among the best.
- Atlas VPN: Full-featured VPN with exceptional prices. Malware and ad blocking are included.
- Hotspot Shield: Customer service and tech support earn rave user reviews. Unblocking capability is also a strength.
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Best alternatives to NordVPN
Our criteria for selecting the best NordVPN alternatives are:
- A wide selection of server locations
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Speeds fast enough for media streaming
- Fast, responsive customer support
The full details of our testing and analysis are explained on our VPN testing methodology page. But, for now, let’s take a look at the ones that made our list.
Here’s our list of the best NordVPN alternatives:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is our number one alternative to NordVPN. It’s a premium VPN with quality features yet still manages to undercut other premium VPNs in price.
Surfshark has servers in 100+ countries compared to NordVPN’s 60, but NordVPN has a couple thousand more servers altogether. That’s one of the advantages of choosing a more established provider.
Both VPNs are very fast: Surfshark and NordVPN rank among the five fastest we tested. Both VPNs provide all standard security capabilities. Both add extras, including ad and malware blocking, cloaking technology, Private DNS and kill switches.
One advantage Surfshark has is allowing unlimited simultaneous connections. NordVPN’s limit of six simultaneous connections will suffice for most people, but if you have a large family with lots of connected devices, you may need more.
Better customer support is a notable advantage of NordVPN, although users report that Surfshark is unduly aggressive in trying to retain customers. Also, NordVPN provides its own tech support, while Surfshark’s is outsourced. That makes NordVPN the better choice for most users, but Surfshark is narrowing the gap and charges less.
- 3,200+ servers in around 100 countries
- Works with most popular streaming services
- Unlimited devices can be connected at the same time
- Very affordable
- Strong on security and privacy
- 24/7 customer support via live chat
- Some features require additional payment
BEST NORDVPN ALTERNATIVE:Surfshark is our top choice for an alternative to NordVPN. It has excellent prices, strong security, great features, an unlimited device limit, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is a premium VPN service with a premium price. In fact, it costs twice as much as NordVPN, but does provide a level of service to justify the cost.
ExpressVPN has servers in 90+ countries, compared with NordVPN’s 60 countries. However, NordVPN has over 2,000 more servers. Speeds are very comparable with both VPNs among the four fastest. Both VPNs provide all the necessary security capabilities, and both add extras, including cloaking technology, private DNS, and kill switches. NordVPN adds ad and malware blocking, which is one of its key advantages.
Router installation is easier with ExpressVPN because it provides custom firmware that simplifies and expedites the process. That is important if you plan to use devices that can’t run apps.
As premium VPNs, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are very good at unblocking. That makes either of them great for streaming and for use in VPN-blocking countries like China.
Both companies are highly regarded for customer support. However, ExpressVPN was faster at responding to email questions in our tests.
ExpressVPN and NordVPN may be the two most comparable VPNs. The balance scale is higher on NordVPN’s side because of price, but one of ExpressVPN’s unique advantages might make it better for you.
- 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries
- Apps are slick and easy to use
- Support staff can assist with connections, available 24/7 via chat
- Great unblocking ability
- Accepts Bitcoin payments
- Monthly plans are on the higher end of the pricing spectrum
ADVANCED SECURITY:ExpressVPN is a terrific all-around VPN. Speed, security, features, and customer service are all among the best. 30-day money-back guarantee
Check out our comprehensive review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost has the edge on NordVPN in a couple of areas. It is especially simple to use and is the fastest VPN we’ve tested, while NordVPN is the fourth fastest. It also has a much larger server network with 9,000+ servers in 91 countries.
We emailed three support questions to each VPN. CyberGhost’s response times all exceeded 10 hours, while NordVPN was considerably more responsive. Yet, CyberGhost’s user reviews on Trustpilot are extraordinarily good, with an average weighted rating of 4.7/5. Only three percent of users rate CyberGhost as having bad service. Although Trustpilot rates NordVPN as excellent, it does not fare quite as well. Both services have more than 15,000 user reviews.
Both VPNs provide ad and malware blocking, but NordVPN is more focused on security and privacy and offers several valuable extras.
CyberGhost’s new parent company, Kape Technologies (formerly named Crossrider), was previously involved in the distribution of adware and possibly malware. Crossrider claimed it merely created a development platform that some other developers used for nefarious purposes. Crossrider discontinued the product and changed its name because of its reputation. From a customer standpoint, CyberGhost is as good as ever.
- Vast server network
- Fast, streaming-optimized servers
- Easy-to-use apps make this great for getting started
- Live chat is available during European working hours
- Strong unblocking capabilities
- Not suitable for those that need control of advanced features
- Doesn’t work in China
GREAT FOR BEGINNERS:Cyberghost is easy to use and super fast, making it ideal for streaming, uploading and downloading large files. Customer satisfaction is very high. 45-day money-back guarantee
Read our unabridged CyberGhost review here.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish has much to offer. It is one of only three VPNs that proved to be faster than NordVPN in our tests. IPVanish allows more simultaneous connections than NordVPN does: unlimited versus six.
Although NordVPN and IPVanish operate in about the same number of countries, NordVPN has about four times as many servers. NordVPN has ad-blocking and malware-scanning capabilities that its competitor lacks.
NordVPN responded to email support questions more quickly in our tests, and it provides in-house tech support. However, you can actually call IPVanish with tech support or customer service questions. That is a rarity among tech service providers.
The biggest distinction between these two fine services is that NordVPN excels at overcoming VPN blocking. That’s why it works with the major streaming services and works in China. In our tests, IPVanish was unable to unlock Hulu or Amazon Prime. If unblocking is unimportant to you, IPVanish is a marvelous alternative to NordVPN.
- Operates in over 60 countries
- Impressive server connection speeds for HD streaming
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Allows unlimited connections
- Can call customer service for assistance
- Doesn’t offer a cryptocurrency payment method
- Based in the US – a 5 Eyes member
LIGHTNING-FAST:IPVanish is easy to use, provides exceptional support, and you can simultaneously connect all your family’s devices. 30-day money-back guarantee
Read our full IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN is much smaller than NordVPN but very competitive. PrivateVPN has a couple of hundred servers, while NordVPN has almost 5,500. NordVPN is also much faster than PrivateVPN, but PrivateVPN was the eighth fastest VPN we’ve tested.
PrivateVPN was acquired by Miss Group, a Swedish company that owns many web hosting companies and described PrivateVPN as the fastest-growing VPN.
NordVPN has some security advantages, including ad-blocking and malware scanning. Both VPNs have excellent security capabilities. Both VPNs work with all the major streaming services. Both work in China. Both have easy-to-use apps. Both have flawless privacy policies. However, PrivateVPN allows 10 simultaneous connections to Nord’s six.
PrivateVPN was much quicker than NordVPN in responding to email questions in our tests. It has an extraordinary rating of 4.9/5 in user reviews on Trustpilot. It has remarkably few complaints.
NordVPN’s speed and size give it undeniable advantages over PrivateVPN. PrivateVPN shines in customer satisfaction.
- Gaining a reputation for the growing list of sites they unblock
- Kill switch, and automatic wifi protection activate when connection drops
- “Stealth mode” works in China
- Good range of security features
- Doesn’t have 24/7 live chat
- Fewer servers than some others in this list
BIG ON STREAMING:PrivateVPN has an excellent customer satisfaction rating, easy-to-use apps, and great server coverage for a small network. 30-day money-back guarantee
Read our detailed review of PrivateVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
AtlasVPN is a newcomer that is already establishing itself as one of the best VPNs. The company was recently acquired by Nord Security (developer of NordVPN). It still has some limitations when compared with its step-sibling, but Atlas VPN is full-featured with a no-logs policy, malware and ad blocking, WireGuard connection protocol, tracker blocking, split tunneling, a private DNS, unlimited simultaneous connections, and a kill switch.
Atlas VPN still needs to increase its server network, improve its customer service, and create apps for more operating systems and routers to support the heavens on its shoulders or equal the quality of NordVPN. In our testing, Atlas failed to respond to one email and made cancellation during the trial period almost impossible. Those shortcomings can and probably will be overcome. The support of Nord Security should help.
Atlas’s speed is among the best, although NordVPN is considerably faster. Atlas VPN is great for streaming and torrenting. It does not work in China. NordVPN has seven times as many servers as Atlas does, and they are distributed among many more countries.
- Robust security and privacy
- Impressive speeds
- WireGuard support
- No Linux or router support
- Fewer server locations than some of its rivals
UNLIMITED DEVICES:AtlasVPN has apps for desktop and mobile, unlimited bandwidth, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full Atlas VPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Editor’s Note: Hotspot Shield is owned by Pango, Comparitech’s parent company.
Hotspot Shield is one of the larger, more established VPNs and has been much improved since its acquisition by Pango.
Hotspot Shield is based in the US, which can be a disadvantage for privacy but an advantage for Americans who want a close server. NordVPN has three times as many servers as Hotspot Shield does, but Hotspot Shield has servers in more countries (some of those are virtual servers). Hotspot Shield’s prices include use of a password manager, 1Password.
Hotspot Shield is one of the faster VPNs, but NordVPN is many times faster. Regardless of its speed, Hotspot Shield did not perform well in our tests on unblocking streaming services. NordVPN is much better for that purpose.
Hotspot Shield’s customer service and tech support earn rave user reviews. Only PrivateVPN tops its 4.8/5 rating in user reviews on Trustpilot. Hotspot Shield’s apps are very easy to use.
Both VPNs have very good security features. NordVPN adds ad-blocking and malware scanning.
- Very easy to use
- Can bypass all but the strictest region-locking
- Comprehensive security
- Users can’t register anonymously
- Not as customizable as others in this list
WORKS IN CHINA:Hotspot Shield offers a free version of its service, free service, offers excellent speeds, and has a big commitment to privacy. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Why would you choose a NordVPN alternative?
NordVPN offers the best balance of strengths for most users. It has no major weaknesses, but several of its competitors have something better to offer in certain aspects of service:
- Price. Surfshark, CyberGhost, IPVanish, PrivateVPN, and Atlas VPN all have lower prices than NordVPN does. However, VPN prices are coy. As with ISPs, most rates are teaser rates. When your introductory term ends, the VPN will jack up your rates. Check websites to confirm you are getting the best long-term deal before buying on price alone.
- Server locations. ExpressVPN has servers in quite a few locations where NordVPN does not. In particular, Africa is underserved by NordVPN, and ExpressVPN has good coverage there. ExpressVPN also has servers in more South American countries. Our ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison has a comparison chart that shows every country where each VPN has one or more servers. Hotspot Shield also has servers in many more countries. Our NordVPN vs Hotspot Shield comparison also has a chart. You do want to choose a VPN that has a server near your location. Otherwise, your connection will be slow.
- Speed. The three fastest VPNs are CyberGhost, IPVanish, and ExpressVPN. NordVPN is fourth. Your mileage will vary. Remember that speed is also dependent on how close you are to your VPN’s nearest server.
- Simultaneous connections allowed. Most VPNs let you connect five devices at once. NordVPN allows six. Surfshark, IPVanish, and Atlas VPN allow unlimited connections. If you have a large family, incredible multitasking ability or a huge collection of devices, you may need this feature.
- Customer Support. Based on user reviews, Trustpilot rates NordVPN as excellent in this category. Yet several VPNs have higher scores: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, Hotspot Shield, and PrivateVPN. IPVanish uniquely offers phone support.
Free NordVPN Alternatives
NordVPN makes its own case against free alternatives. As you would expect, Malcolm Higgins argues that free VPNs aren’t a viable alternative. He does make valid points. Higgins says, “As the old saying goes, if the product you’re getting is free, you’re probably the product.” One of the main reasons people choose to use a VPN is to avoid being the product.
Comparing NordVPN to free VPNs is somewhat incongruous because NordVPN is a premium VPN. The alternatives we recommend are a fairer comparison because they are viable options that are in between NordVPN at the top and free VPNs at the bottom. You would not consider McDonald’s to be an alternative to a gourmet restaurant. You’d look at other 5- and 4-star restaurants instead.
Yet, free VPNs aren’t all interested in selling your information and browsing history or installing malware on your devices. Many are honest businesses that are using a stripped-down version of their commercial VPNs to entice you to upgrade to get more features and speed. These are called “freemium” VPNs.
Our guides “Best free VPNs for Windows” and “Best free VPNs for Windows 11 in 2022” will direct you to the safest freemium VPNs. We recommend the commercial version of Hotspot Shield (see above), but the company also offers a free version. It limits bandwidth, serves ads, includes no tech support, and omits other capabilities.
At best, advertising is annoying. However, if you sign up for a free VPN that is going to put targeted ads in front of your face, at least you know that it may not need to do anything else to make money from the free service.
Windscribe and ProtonVPN are other freemium VPNs worth considering. If you try a free VPN to see what using a VPN is like, please keep in mind that a commercial VPN will cause much less slowing. If you decide to upgrade, you don’t have to jump to NordVPN. Several of the alternatives we recommend are only two or three dollars per month.
How does NordVPN handle user data?
NordVPN conducts limited logging but no personally-identifying information. It has been independently audited. NordVPN also has useful extra privacy features.
How profitable is NordVPN?
How many users does NordVPN have?
Nord Security, NordVPN’s parent company, says it has more than 15 million customers. Most of those are probably NordVPN customers.