This guide will show you how you can set up the NordVPN application on your Windows 10 or Windows 11 device. If you need a guide on installing and using NordVPN on an older Windows system, follow the guide here.
Table of contents:
- Download the NordVPN app.
- Go to your Downloads folder and double-click the NordVPNInstall file.
- A pop-up window may ask you if you allow the app to make changes to your device. Click Yes.
- The installer window will open. Click Next.
- Tick the boxes if you want shortcuts for the NordVPN app on your Desktop and/or the Start menu, then click Next and Install.
- The installer will proceed with the installation process. Once it’s complete, you will be asked if you want to launch NordVPN right away. Click Finish to complete the setup.
- Click on the NordVPN logo on your desktop, and after the app loads up, click Log In to continue.
- Your browser will open up and load the Nord Account login page. First, enter your username or email address, press Continue, and then enter your password. If you do not have an account and an active subscription, click here and learn how to get one.
To start using NordVPN straight away, you can press on Quick Connect, wait till you see the status change from Not connected to Connected, and you're good to go for a secure and private session!
However, for a full understanding of what the NordVPN app offers, let's briefly go over what you can find on the main screen.
- Quick Connect: this option automatically connects you to the fastest and closest NordVPN server.
- Disconnect button: lets you disconnect from a NordVPN server.
- Refresh button: this option refreshes your current connection and switches to a new recommended server.
- Expander: arrow down will provide connection choice and a search bar for specific servers.
- Recent connections: shows flags of the countries that you recently connected to.
- Search bar: one of the ways you can connect to NordVPN servers. Use the search bar to find specific servers by typing in the name of the country, city, server number, or specialty server type. Click here for more details.
- Specialty servers: NordVPN offers multiple categories of servers, each one with its unique benefits. We have a dedicated article explaining the different types in detail: What do the different server categories mean?
- All countries: a list of countries you can connect to. Hovering over a country's name reveals additional options, such as specifying the city (if applicable) and server name.
On the left side menu, you can find all the additional features that NordVPN offers.
- Main screen icon: this forwards you to the main application screen and helps you find your wanted location.
- Threat Protection: is a feature that automatically blocks ads, trackers, and malware URLs. It can also delete any downloaded malware. For Threat Protection to work, an active VPN connection is not required. To learn more about it, click here.
- Meshnet: this feature allows you to create a secure, private network for many devices located anywhere in the world, access them remotely, and send all your online traffic through another device.
- Dark Web Monitor: scans the internet for any credential leaks associated with your registered NordVP e-mail address. To find more information about it click here.
- Contact us: gives a form to fill out and reach out to our customer support team.
- Security score: recommend steps to follow to become fully protected online.
- Settings: lets you change the general, subscription, and connection settings
Using the search bar. You can connect to specific servers by typing in a category, region, or a specific server number with a hashtag (e.g. United States #4735) to find what you need.
Using the All Countries list or the Servers map. Click on the nodes on the map or on the specific country in the list to connect to the best server in the given location.
Clicking on the three dots next to the country name reveals additional connection options, such as the ability to select a specific city.
In the Settings tab, you can set up the application to your liking. To open the settings menu, press on the cogwheel icon in the bottom left corner.
After opening settings, you will be introduced to 7 different settings sections. Down below, you will find an explanation of each settings section.
- Launch at Windows startup makes NordVPN run automatically when you start your computer. Enabled by default.
- Launch the app minimized to the system tray displays the NordVPN icon only in the Windows system tray when the computer starts (instead of opening the main window). Enabled by default.
- Show VPN connection status notifications show Windows notifications each time you connect or disconnect from a server. Enabled by default.
- Appearance lets you choose your preferred theme for the NordVPN application.
- Language dropdown lets you select your preferred language of the NordVPN app.
- Help us improve by sending us aggregated anonymous data for future improvement analysis.
- Diagnostics run the NordVPN diagnostics tool if you’re having technical issues. Collect the diagnostic data and provide the ticket ID to our support staff for further assistance. If the diagnostics tool does not give you a ticket ID, you can send the .zip file to our support staff instead.
Allow background processes to let the NordVPN application run after closing the app.
- VPN protocol UDP is mainly used for streaming and downloading. TCP is more reliable but also a little slower and is usually used for web browsing. Nordlynx
Auto-connect lets you select your preferred country or server type, which the app will automatically connect to. You will be able to select a specific city after you select a preferred country.
On all networks: connects you automatically no matter what network you use.
Wi-Fi networks: connect you automatically only when using a Wi-Fi network.
On Ethernet: connects you automatically when using ethernet.
- Trusted Wi-Fi networks disable Auto-connect on specific Wi-Fi networks. For example, you can make an exception for your home Wi-Fi if you trust it.
- Quick connect on the app launch makes the app connect to a server automatically upon starting when using an Ethernet connection or Wi-Fi network. It does not apply to Trusted Wi-Fi networks. Disabled by default.
- Custom DNS lets you specify a particular DNS server for the NordVPN application.
- Invisibility on LAN makes your computer invisible to others on the same local area network (LAN). Remember that once enabled, you will not be able to connect to devices on the same LAN, like printers. Disabled by default.
Allow remote access while connected to VPN to access your Windows device remotely. Disabled by default.
IMPORTANT NOTE: you will lose internet connectivity while connected to a Trusted Wi-Fi with enabled Internet Kill Switch.
- Internet Kill Switch cuts off your internet connection when you’re disconnected from secure NordVPN servers. Disabled by default.
App Kill Switch shuts down specified programs if you lose a VPN connection. For example, if you add Skype to the list, NordVPN will close it whenever you disconnect. Since it takes a few seconds to reach a secure VPN server, this will prevent your data from leaking upon automatically reconnecting to the internet. Disabled by default.
Split tunneling allows you to exclude applications from the VPN connection. In other words, the apps which you select to add into the split tunneling feature will allow them to stay unaffected by NordVPN.
- Subscription lets you manage your subscription, cancel it, or re-subscribe for the service.
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security feature that helps protect access to your account. When MFA is turned on, you must pass an extra step during the log-in process.
Get NordVPN for all your devices and stay protected all the time.
- It provides you with your personal referral link that you can share with your friends and family and receive a reward for it.
- It offers you NordPass, NordLocker, and NordLayer services that will help you to stay fully protected at all times.