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How to connect or switch to a NordVPN server on Windows

Make the most out of this provider’s diverse server coverage

NordVPN running on Windows laptop

When it comes to VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), one of the most sought-after features is the availability of servers and locations. NordVPN is one of those services that impresses in this regard, with 4,700+ servers in more than 60 countries spread around the globe.

Such wide server coverage should meet the needs of even the more demanding user, who will be able to switch between different servers and locations with a single click.

This guide will show you different ways to connect to a NordVPN server, as well as how to switch from one to another, using the Windows app.

First of all, you’ll need to run the software itself, so find and open your NordVPN Windows app. Then what you do next depends on exactly what you want to achieve, as follows…

Select a server to connect with

There’s more than one way to connect to a NordVPN server. You can select a country on the map, choose one from the list of countries, choose a specific server in one country, or choose a specialty server. Let’s go through each of these possibilities in turn.

Choose a server on the map

1. Choose a server on the map

You will see a map with various locations marked. These are all countries where NordVPN has servers. You can move the map around by dragging it with your left mouse button. Click on any of the locations to connect to a server there.

Let’s say you’ve chosen Thailand. Click the blue location marker icon and the app will immediately begin connecting. You will then be hooked up to a server in Thailand.

Choose a server on the list of countries

2. Choose a server on the list of countries

If you’d rather deal with a list instead of a map, you can always click on ‘Countries’ in the top-left part of the interface. This will open a list of countries where NordVPN has servers. Hover over the country you want to connect to and click the round grey button with an on/off symbol.

Choose a server within a country

3. Choose a server within a country

For the full list of servers that NordVPN has in one specific country, click the triple bar icon next to the on/off button. This will open a list under the selected country. Simply click on any of the servers to connect.

Specialty servers

4. Specialty servers

NordVPN has so-called ‘specialty servers’ which allow users to choose between P2P (peer-to-peer) servers, dedicated IP servers, an Onion Over VPN option, or Double VPN (for extra security).

Clicking on any of these options will take you to a list of that particular type of server, where you can either choose to have a server assigned automatically, or manually select one of the best servers for you.

Auto connect

Auto connect

Of course, you can always take another route if you don’t want to choose a server yourself, and simply enable the ‘Auto connect’ option in NordVPN settings. To do this, just click ‘Settings’ in the upper-left part of the app. Locate the ‘Auto connect’ option and toggle the switch on.

You can choose which server you want to connect to automatically by clicking the ‘Select’ link.

Obfuscated servers

Obfuscated servers

If you’re in a country with heavy restrictions on internet access, you can connect to one of NordVPN’s obfuscated servers. Do so by going to ‘Settings’ and locating ‘Obfuscated Servers’ which has a toggle switch. Turn it on and click the on/off button in the upper part of the window, and voila, you will be connected to an obfuscated NordVPN server.

Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Then followed a weekly tech column in a local business magazine in Mauritius, a late night tech radio programme called Clicplus and a freelancing gig at the now-defunct, Theinquirer, with the legendary Mike Magee as mentor. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.