NordVPN’s specialty servers consist of the Double VPN, P2P-optimized, Dedicated IP, Onion over VPN, and obfuscated servers. These servers provide the same level of security and online privacy as the standard servers but are specifically engineered to do more on certain tasks.
Thus, users can select from various servers that are best for different online security, privacy, and web surfing activities.
In this guide, I dive into all of NordVPN’s specialty servers to explain what they do best, when to use them, and the shortcomings they may have.
So, let’s discuss.
Types of NordVPN Specialty Servers
There are five (5) specialty server types on NordVPN besides the standard and regular VPN servers. I’ve discussed each one below and included a table to see what makes these servers differ at a glance.
|Specialty Server||Best For?||Enabling Process?||Limitations|
|Onion over VPN||
Dedicated IP Servers
NordVPN’s dedicated IP servers allow users to get an exclusive, unshared IP address whenever they connect to the VPN.
Most users who get a dedicated IP address do so for the extra security and privacy of managing an unchanging IP address. Thus, they can
- Browse search engines and plenty of sites without getting Captchas and robot blocks common with overused shared IP addresses
- Get a single IP address in a country of choice to unblock sensitive platforms like banking apps, work files, and get remote access without VPN detection
- Reduce the chances of setting off network tamper alerts by connecting to sensitive (like work) servers via a singular but encrypted IP address in a preferred location
Thus, the dedicated IP feels like you’ve created a VPN of your own for yourself.
However, this exclusivity comes at a cost. Getting onto NordVPN’s dedicated IP servers means you now must deal with
- Limited protocols. Since dedicated IPs can only be used on the OpenVPN (UDP & TCP) protocols.
- Lesser privacy. The single IP address can be traced to your email address. That’s unlike shared IPs that many people use and can’t be traced back to one person.
- Extra payment. Dedicated IPs come at a cost, and you’ll have to tack that onto your basic subscription prices.
- Limited locations. You can’t get dedicated IPs everywhere. So, you’ll have to make do with options in the US, UK, Germany, France, and the Netherlands.
Fortunately, getting dedicated IPs doesn’t mean you can’t use other NordVPN standard and specialty servers. So, you can get one in a preferred location if you truly need it and still use other servers.
Double VPN Servers
As the name implies, NordVPN’s Double VPN servers send your internet traffic through two servers rather than the one-server method used by the standard servers and other specialty servers.
In other words, your internet data is first sent to one remote server where it’s encrypted, then sent through another remote NordVPN server for further encryption.
Some alternative VPN providers like Surfshark and PIA call this Multi-Hopping instead, which allows us to explain it in another way.
Besides just passing your VPN traffic through multiple servers, Double VPN bounces your traffic between multiple countries before getting to your target country.
For example, you can multi-hop to Canada via the United States.
Thus, anyone tracking your data might have seen that the VPN assigned you a United States IP address, but they don’t see what happens from there.
So, your activities on the Canadian IP address, and the IP itself, is protected from anyone tracking you.
The impressive part is that even if you conduct leak tests, the tools will only see the last server you multi-hopped to, not the first one. I tested it, showing you how well-protected you’ll get with this NordVPN specialty server.
However, there’s a catch!
NordVPN, like every other VPN, induces an internet connection speed drop when connected, even though it’s optimized for speed. This even happens when using the fastest (NordLynx) protocol and connected to the best/fastest/nearest servers.
Now that your internet data is being passed through two servers, the encryption load is higher, and connection speeds are impacted even more.
The saving grace is that you can enable DoubleVPN on all protocols, including the ultra-fast NordLynx protocol. So, that offsets some of the speed/connection drops you’d have otherwise gotten.
Finally, you don’t get Double VPN specialty servers in all the countries NordVPN covers.
I checked, and you’re limited to the locations below.
|Taiwan||United Kingdom||United States|
So, never enable DoubleVPN to stream content, surf the web, or do other everyday tasks. Reserve it for when you seriously need to protect a journalistic source, speak with contacts outside an oppressive regime, or bypass other strict communications surveillance.
Obfuscated servers are designed to hide your VPN traffic as regular traffic, allowing it to bypass VPN traffic detection and firewall blocks.
When you connect to a regular server, your internet service providers (ISPs) and government may not see what you’re doing, but they still know you’re using a VPN service.
That’s why highly oppressive regimes like China and Russia set up VPN traffic monitoring so they can continue to restrict users’ access to online content they should have unblocked with a VPN.
Sadly, some content creators, workplace, and school network admins also set up firewalls to block VPN traffic. Hence, unblocking content on such internet networks is almost impossible, even with a reliable VPN.
But with obfuscation, that VPN traffic is scrambled to look like regular traffic.
Thus, it doesn’t set off any VPN traffic alert bells, and you can still unblock content and bypass censorship.
That sounds great, right?
It doesn’t come without costs, and the biggest one is speed.
It can be argued that NordVPN would require lesser encryption to make your VPN traffic look like regular traffic, but that’s not true. In fact, it needs extra coding and encryption to make that happen. Thus, this leads to a further speed drop.
That’s why VPNs like ExpressVPN are impressive for offering automatic and ultra-fast obfuscation on ALL servers.
Speaking of all servers, NordVPN’s obfuscation works on fewer servers and is available in lesser countries than the VPN carries. I checked, and some of the regions that have obfuscation enabled are listed below.
That’s 16 countries, but nothing compared to the 94 countries with fast obfuscation you can get with ExpressVPN.
Likewise, these servers can only be enabled on the slower OpenVPN protocols.
During my tests, I found that the OpenVPN (TCP) protocol works better for obfuscation than the relatively faster OpenVPN (UDP) protocol. So, no joy there.
Another point of comparison is the 4000-odd lines of code that make up the ultra-fast NordLynx protocol, compared to hundreds of thousands of code lines on OpenVPN. That’s another reason why this obfuscated mode isn’t as fast.
Given these speed hits, obfuscation isn’t what you use on day-to-day browsing activities. Instead, reserve it for when you’re bypassing strong government censorship, network firewalls, and other VPN traffic blocks.
Onion Over VPN Servers
NordVPN’s Onion over VPN servers ensure extra security and privacy when browsing the anonymous Tor network.
But why do you need a VPN for the already-secure onion network?
Well, Tor servers are set up and managed by volunteers. So, suppose a malicious volunteer should deploy thousands of servers. In that case, they can collect your Tor activity data and may even be able to launch a remote attack on you that way.
Likewise, Tor always sees your IP address at the entry node, and you must trust that it won’t tell the destination website/platform at the exit node. On top of that, your ISP can still see that you’re using Tor.
Now, standard VPN servers will work for Tor, too, but you may experience some problems. The common issues are
- Not being able to access .onion sites
- Slower speeds
- Unstable VPN connection
That’s why NordVPN developed these specialty servers optimized to work with Tor.
Once you connect to any of these, you can launch your Tor browser and be sure that
- Your ISP won’t see that you’re using Tor
- Anonymous Tor server operators can’t see your internet activity over their servers
- Your entry node IP address is protected since it’s the VPN-assigned IP address
The best part about all these is that you don’t need to download a Tor browser to use the Tor network anymore. Once you connect to these specialty servers from NordVPN, you can access onion sites on the Tor network with your regular browser!
That makes it a great choice for users who don’t have Tor support in their country.
After all, NordVPN works anywhere.
However, there’s a drawback:
These servers don’t work on the ultra-fast, exclusive NordLynx protocol.
Fortunately, you can use these servers on the IKEv2 protocol (on mobile) and the OpenVPN protocols (on mobile and PC). So, that puts it a little ahead of the obfuscated servers since it can get better speeds with the IKEv2 protocol.
Not like they were in any competition since they do different things.
The biggest drawback with Onion Over VPN is that you can only connect from Denmark, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
I’m sure that would have to do with ensuring the privacy of the data you send over these servers. Still, I’ll like more servers here so multiple users have many options to avoid overcrowding on an already slow Tor network.
All NordVPN’s servers allow P2P traffic to pass through them. But why does the provider still have specialty P2P servers in its app?
The specialty P2P servers are engineered and optimized for P2P traffic, ensuring better peer-to-peer connection security, privacy, and data transfer rates than the regular servers. Thus, users can securely torrent files, connect to gaming peers with lesser ping, and share files with more data integrity than on the standard NordVPN servers.
Likewise, these servers make life easier for non-P2P users since P2P data usage tends to be higher. So, P2P users don’t clog up the bandwidth or interfere with regular traffic on the non-P2P servers.
Furthermore, some data centers don’t want P2P traffic passing through them, while others in the same country will allow it.
For example, a NordVPN data center in Miami may block P2P traffic, but one in New York allows it. Suppose you connect automatically to the US via NordVPN and get the Miami server. In that case, you’ll be frustrated about the lack of P2P traffic support.
So, with this solution, NordVPN guarantees you always get a P2P server when you need one.
Like the other specialty servers, P2P servers aren’t available in all countries where you get the standard servers. But they come close, offering just a few countries shy of the total number. Find some of the regions with P2P-optimized servers below.
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Brazil||Bulgaria||Canada|
|Turkey||Ukraine||United States||United Kingdom|
The best part is that you’ll get all these P2P servers in 48 countries across any protocol you choose on NordVPN.
What Are the Fastest Specialty Servers on NordVPN?
P2P servers are usually the fastest specialty servers on NordVPN.
This is possible since they don’t have extra encryption loads and can also use the ultra-fast NordLynx protocol. Likewise, they’ve been optimized for more speed and better bandwidth due to the tasks they’re supposed to handle, such as heavy gaming and torrent downloads.
However, the fastest servers are usually determined by the load on the chosen server, distance to your location, and chosen protocol, among other things.
To be sure, I tested the speeds on different NordVPN specialty servers from their fastest locations. Here are my results.
Base internet speed:
Double VPN server:
Onion Over VPN server:
To get the best speeds on each server type, ensure to connect to the automatically recommended fastest server location on the NordVPN app. Unless you have a particular location in mind, that is.
What Are the Most Secure Specialty Servers on NordVPN?
All NordVPN specialty and standard servers are secure as they won’t leak your IP/DNS requests, disclose what you’re doing on the internet or collect logs of your online activity.
Thus, you can choose any specialty server type based on your need and enjoy top-notch security and privacy.
Why Aren't You Seeing Some NordVPN Specialty Servers?
You might not see all NordVPN specialty server types in your app if you haven’t paid for them or you don’t have the right protocol enabled.
For example, you must pay for dedicated IP addresses on NordVPN to use them.
Likewise, you can only see the obfuscated servers on the mobile app if the OpenVPN protocols are enabled, and you won’t get Onion Over VPN servers if NordLynx is the active protocol.
So, check that you’re on the right enabling VPN protocol for the specialty server you want to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
All of NordVPN’s specialty servers are great for iOS and Android mobile devices.
Thus, the best one to use will depend on your web browsing intentions.
For instance, connecting to P2P servers for mobile downloads and online gaming is best. Otherwise, connect to the Double VPN servers to get extra protection and obfuscated servers to bypass VPN traffic blocks.
The best NordVPN specialty server for PC is the one that meets your current internet-related needs.
Thus, torrent users and PC online gamers can get faster speeds and security on the P2P servers while they bypass strong censorship on the obfuscated servers.
With the Double VPN servers, PC users on Mac, Linux, Chromebook, or Windows can encrypt sensitive data trails even better to avoid detection and monitoring.
It’s not advised to always connect to a specialty server on NordVPN unless you need it.
Some of these servers negatively impact your speeds, restrict the protocols you can connect via, and influence what countries are available for connection.
Thus, connecting to standard servers for everyday streaming, web surfing, and other general web activities is best.
Get the Special NordVPN Treatment
Now that you know what the specialty servers do, take advantage of them, and use them correctly every time.
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