NordVPN unveils new free link-checking tool

NordVPN running on a desktop, mobile devices, Apple TV, a router and a game console

Dodgy links and malicious sites are an ever-present problem in the digital world, and one of the best VPNs in the industry has decided to do something about it—with a brand-new link-checking tool.

Called Link Checker, the new NordVPN tool lets everyday users determine the validity of any URLs they’re suspicious of. Simply paste a URL into the Link Checker site and NordVPN will put it under a microscope to see whether it's legit, or if it's stuffed with malware and phishing scams.

You can access Link Checker via any browser, on any device, and it's totally free—even if you don't have a NordVPN subscription. There's no need to create an account, either, and no limit to the number of URLs you can check.

Malicious links aren’t always easy to spot. Some cybercriminals add an extra letter or a subtle misspelling to the web address in the hopes that you won't notice, and some use URL shorteners, making it hard to scrutinize the URL in the first place.

The folks over at NordLabs (NordVPN's experimental playground designed to produce cybersecurity innovations) have made it their mission to think up new ways to combat today's most insidious scams and phishing attacks—and Link Checker is their answer to suspicious URLs.

Link Checker is a manual tool, which means you'll have to find and input links yourself, but once you have, the tool scans sites to determine whether it's safe to follow the link or not. It'll examine the URL for malware, phishing scams, and the overall legitimacy of the site—meaning you don't have to gamble your all-important data (like logins and financial information), or potentially flood your device with ads, by clicking on an uncertain link.

NordVPN running on an Android smartphone being held in one hand

Once you've copied a suspect URL into the tool, Link Checker compares it against a list of websites known to contain dodgy scams and malware, huge third-party databases maintained by security experts, and uses NordVPN's very own machine learning model to sift through public datasets. Sifting through this vast amount of data enables Link Checker to see whether the URL in question raises any red flags.

All you need to do, however, is copy the link, wait a moment, and Link Checker will let you know whether the URL is all clear or a no-go.

As you'd expect from one of the best secure VPNs on the market today, Link Checker is just one in a long line of innovations that have been unveiled in recent months. Back in late 2023, NordVPN released brand new cyber insurance to its top tier of subscribers and, in January 2024, invited independent auditors to confirm its no-logs policy for the fourth time.

River Hart
Tech Software Editor

River is a Tech Software Editor and VPN expert at TechRadar. They’re on-hand to keep VPN and cybersecurity content up-to-date and accurate. When they’re not helping readers find the best VPNs around (and the best deals), River can be found in close proximity to their PS5 or being pushed about the countryside by the lovely Welsh weather.