NordLocker Review: End-to-End Encrypted Files for Free

Devices connected to a cloud with the NordLocker logo next to a star with the score 7.8

NordLocker is a two-in-one file encryption software and cloud storage service that comes with end-to-end AES encryption and a seamless interface. NordLocker is developed by Nord Security, the same company that’s behind the famous virtual private network NordVPN and the password manager NordPass. You can host up to 3 GB of encrypted files for free or subscribe to a 500 GB storage plan for only $3.99 per month.

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NordLocker Short Review: How Does the Service Fare?

ProsCons
Uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)Android and iOS apps are clunky
End-to-end encryption for all filesCross-platform sync can take a while
Extra security featuresNo live support unless you’re a Premium user
Easy to use and install
Free account with up to 3 GB of storage
30-day money-back guarantee

NordLocker is a good option for anyone that needs both file encryption and cloud storage services. Its unique mix of local protection, efficient online backup, and sharing features make NordLocker a versatile choice.

NordLocker is easy to install and use, even if its Android and iOS apps are a bit clunky. Customer service is also great — but only for premium users. The software’s memberships could be cheaper, especially when compared to other file encryption or file storage competitors, though it’s not ridiculously expensive, either.

Because of the specifics of its sharing feature, NordLocker is best used either by those who just want to secure personal files or by people collaborating with teammates who are also on NordLocker.


NordLocker Memberships and Pricing

FeatureNordLocker FreeNordLocker 500 GBNordLocker 2 TB
Storage limit3 GB500 GB2 TB
Pricing: 1-month planFree$7.99/month$19.99/month
Pricing: 1-year plan$3.99/month
(Billed annually)
$9.99/month
(Billed annually)
Add-on: NordVPN*$4.99/month
(Billed annually)
$4.99/month
(Billed annually)
Add-on: NordPass Premium*$1.99/month
(Billed annually)
$1.99/month
(Billed annually)

* Discounted prices only available for the 1-year subscription.

If you just want to receive encrypted files from someone, or if you don’t need a lot of secure cloud storage, then the NordLocker free version is your best bet. You don’t have to pay anything, ever, and you get all the features premium users would have (except the premium support).

If you need more cloud storage, you can get a 500 GB subscription, all for $7.99/month, or a 2 TB subscription for $19.99/month.

Screenshot of NordLocker App, Pricing section

One common criticism for NordLocker is this pricing scheme. Most file encryption software only asks for a small, one-time payment. But, to be fair, you get more than just simple file encryption with NordLocker. The service also doubles as a cloud service (similar to Dropbox, Mega, or Google One).

Additionally, if you subscribe to a one-year NordLocker plan, you can get NordVPN and NordPass Premium at discounted rates. You’ll be able to get NordVPN for only $4.99/month and NordPass Premium for only $1.99/month. (Note that you’ll need to pay upfront for the one-year subscriptions to any Nord services you decide to get.)

NordLocker supports payment via credit card, Google Pay, and cryptocurrency.

Does NordLocker have a money-back guarantee?

Yes, NordLocker has a 30-day money-back guarantee for your initial payment. To get a refund, you’ll need to contact its customer success team. Depending on your country’s laws, you might also be able to get refunds on renewals, but the situation differs depending on where you live.


Features: What Does NordLocker Have to Offer?

Score scale 7/10

NordLocker is not as feature-rich as other cloud service providers, such as Google One. However, it has more tricks up its sleeve than its local file encryption competitors. We rate NordLocker’s features and options a 7 out of 10. Here’s a summary:

  • A private cloud of 3 GB to 2 TB
  • Secure file sharing with other NordLocker users
  • Cross-platform file synchronization
  • Accessibility and security in the forefront

Unlimited local storage and your own personal cloud

With NordLocker, you can encrypt an unlimited number of files in your local storage. These files are protected by a unique key that only you have access to. This means not even Nord knows what kind of files you’re encrypting.

In addition to locally stored files, you can also upload up to 3 GB of encrypted files on a private cloud for free. If you get one of the payment plans, you can raise that limit up to either 500 GB or 2 TB. This private cloud storage is seamlessly integrated into your PC or Mac interface — there’s no need to open a browser. This makes NordLocker a great way to store files online without sacrificing usability.

Secure file sharing

Sharing your lockers takes but a few steps if the recipient already has a NordLocker account — but it can be a hassle if they’re a first-time user.

Technically, anyone can receive a NordLocker file, even if they don’t have an account. However, the file can only be opened using the application. It’s not possible to open a NordLocker file any other way.

If you try to view the contents of an encrypted file using Windows file explorer, this is what you’ll see:

Inside a NordLocker zip file screenshot

While this is a great indication of NordLocker’s security, it definitely takes a few extra steps for non-Nord users to view your files. As a result, we don’t think NordLocker is the best pick if you’re looking for an immediate way to share sensitive documents (such as during an emergency).

Cross-platform synchronization

You can also access uploaded files on your mobile phone using the NordLocker app, which is available for both Android and iOS. NordLocker is also available on your browser, though you won’t be able to access your locally stored files.

If you’re someone who travels frequently and deals in sensitive files and documents, then NordLocker is a better option than cloud storage solutions that don’t offer encryption.

Accessibility and security as a feature

We’ve already mentioned how accessible and secure NordLocker is. But that’s also part of what makes it a great file encryption software. You can drag and drop files from your devices to instantly protect them behind end-to-end encryption, and you don’t need to understand complicated cryptography or encryption protocols to do it right.

NordLocker is a great option for privacy and security-minded individuals who aren’t tech enthusiasts. That’s probably why it’s only available on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, but not on Linux or any other system.


Security: How Safe is NordLocker?

Score scale 9/10

NordLocker is as safe as a file protection service can get, earning it a 9 out of 10 in security. Here’s a breakdown of the features you get with NordLocker.

  • Lock files behind zero-knowledge, zero-logs AES 256-bit encryption. This means that not even NordLocker knows what kind of data or information you’re storing in their servers. Your files are encrypted using a unique user key, which Nord doesn’t have access to. Since only you know your user key, only you can unlock your files.
  • Encrypt files locally. You can keep files either on “cloud lockers” (a.k.a. NordLocker’s servers) or locally on your device. Either way, you can still encrypt them and keep them safe. This means that, even if your device gets stolen, your files can’t be accessed by anyone who doesn’t know your encryption key.
  • Back up your files automatically. Files that are stored in the cloud get backed up automatically so you can always retrieve them, no matter what happens to your device. Note that files stored locally (a.k.a. on your computer or phone) can’t benefit from automatic backups.
  • Use multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication requires you to verify activity using more than one authentication method (e.g. by entering both your password and a one-time pin sent to your mobile number). We’d prefer if MFA was enabled by default on NordLocker, which would be safer, but it’s still great that it’s there.

So, overall, NordLocker is technically a safe application for storing and encrypting files.

What data does NordLocker collect?

According to its privacy policy, NordLocker collects the following user information:

  • Email address as part of your Nord account registration
  • Payment data if paying for a subscription
  • Country of residence
  • IP address when using Nord’s chat-bot. This information is also accessible to any social media companies whose widgets are being used by the Nord website (as of writing, Facebook is the only company with a visible widget on the site).
  • Operating system for the optimization of push notifications
  • Browser type and cookies when using the website
  • Application diagnostics so Nord can diagnose problems
  • Anonymized app usage statistics that Nord uses to study how people use NordLocker
  • File change history so Nord can display information about when a file was uploaded and encrypted

So while Nord doesn’t have access to your encrypted files, it does still log some information about you in order to provide its services. If you want to further anonymize your experience with Nord, we recommend using an email address that doesn’t have your name or any other identifying details.

You can also opt to pay via cryptocurrency so your card details aren’t logged. And finally, you can hide your real IP address by using a virtual private network.

Who does NordLocker share my data with?

Nord has publicly disclosed which third parties have access to some of your data. Here’s the list:

  • Zendesk Inc. (live chat and support service)
  • Iterable Inc. (emailing system)
  • Twilio Inc. (emailing system)
  • Google (analytics and diagnostics)
  • AppsFlyer Ltd. (undefined)
  • Bugsnag Inc. (undefined)
  • Tune Inc. (conversion attribution system)

Note that these companies will have their own privacy policies that will then apply to your data. For more information on privacy policies, visit our guide here.


Ease of Use: Is NordLocker User Friendly?

Score scale 9/10

NordLocker’s application is easy to install and even easier to use. Regardless of the platform you’re on, it will resemble your default file explorer. Plus, if you already have an account with NordVPN or NordPass, then you can use those credentials to open your NordLocker account.

Here are key takeaways about NordLocker’s accessibility and why it earned a 9 out of 10:

  • Easy to install and create an account with the application
  • Quick and expanded tour to help you understand the software once it’s installed
  • Convenient drag-and-drop system to encrypt files
  • NordLocker’s Android application is lackluster
  • The iOS version of NordLocker has similar issues but in a prettier design
  • Sharing files with non-NordLocker users is a hassle

How to install NordLocker on desktop

NordLocker is very easy to install. It doesn’t require any tricks or complicated setup processes. Here’s what you need to do to install NordLocker on your PC and Mac:

  1. Download the installer from NordLocker’s site. The button to get it is readily available on the home page of the site.
  2. Screenshot of NordLocker App, Download software, website
  3. Go through the installation wizard. It shouldn’t take more than three button presses and a few minutes.
  4. Create an account if you don’t have one already.
  5. Screenshot of NordLocker App, Create an account
  6. Create your master password for the files you store with NordLocker.
  7. Write down your recovery key.
  8. Screenshot of NordLocker App, Recovery Key

It’s very important to keep your recovery key safe. If you forget both your master password and your recovery key, the files you store in NordLocker will be lost forever.

This is why you can’t keep your recovery key too close. There’s no point using a file encryption service if you’re only going to take a screenshot of your key and use it as a lock screen. Any compromise to your system will compromise this key, as well, rendering your NordLocker vault useless. The best way to keep track of your recovery key is by writing it down physically and storing it somewhere safe.

How to install NordLocker on Android and iOS

To install the NordLocker app on Android or iOS, you’ll have to:

  1. Open the app store of your system (Google Play or Apple App Store).
  2. Search for the “NordLocker” application.
  3. Choose “Install” on Android or “Get” on iOS devices.
  4. Open the NordLocker application from your app menu once it’s installed.
  5. Log into your Nord account.
  6. Enter your master password.

We tested NordLocker’s app on Android and iOS, and truthfully, it wasn’t a blast to use. On Android, the app is clunky, lackluster, and it takes a long while for files uploaded from Android to sync to the private cloud.

On iOS, we ran into the same issues, but there is a saving grace. NordLocker’s app on iOS is much prettier and slightly easier to navigate.

Screenshot of NordLocker App, iOS interface

It’s important to note that both the mobile applications are still in beta, so we can expect improvements in the future. And even in their current state, the apps are usable. It’s just that we’d like a more user-friendly environment down the line.

Getting started and using NordLocker

When you first open NordLocker, you’ll be offered a quick tour of the app. This will offer concise and helpful tips about how to use the NordLocker app, as well as where things are in the interface.

Screenshot of NordLocker App, Tour tips

If the quick tour didn’t clear things up, you can also read an expanded guide that explains how NordLocker works on any platform.

Overall, NordLocker is very intuitive to use. It works conveniently similar to the default file explorer of the system you’re on. For example, on Windows, you can right-click at any time to create a new folder, or a new locker, just like you would in Windows’ default explorer.

Screenshot of NordLocker App, Create New Locker

To encrypt files on your computer, just drag and drop them from your computer’s folders into the NordLocker interface.

Screenshot of NordLocker App, Drag And Drop Encrypt files

And if you need extra categories for the files you’re encrypting, you can always create more lockers. When creating a new locker, you can choose to store it securely on your PC or on your private cloud.

Screenshot of NordLocker App, Create locker cloud

Sharing your locker using NordLocker

Update April 2022: currently the locker-sharing function in NordLocker is disabled as the team is working on improving its system.

There are two ways to share a NordLocker folder. The first route is the most simple. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Right-click the locker you want to share.
  2. Choose “Give Access.”
  3. This will open a file-sharing window, where you can enter someone’s email address.

Screenshot of NordLocker App, File sharing

Doing the above steps will give the person access to the encrypted file. If they don’t have a NordLocker account, the email they get will first prompt them to sign up for one.

Note this will only give people access to a file. It won’t send them the actual file. To send the file directly to someone else, follow the steps in the next section.

Sharing your locker via Dropbox or Google Drive

The second way to share a locker is to send it via Dropbox or Google Drive. This option is slightly more complicated. Here’s the step-by-step process of what needs to be done.

  1. Right-click the locker you want to share.
  2. Choose “Give Access.”
  3. When a file-sharing pop-up appears, click the “Send” button. You will then be prompted to choose either Dropbox, Google Drive, or file manager.
  4. Next, you’ll be asked to connect your NordLocker account to either Dropbox or Google Drive.
  5. Once your account is connected, NordLocker will automatically upload your chosen locker to a folder in your Dropbox or Google Drive cloud storage.
  6. NordLocker will then give you a shareable link that you can send to your colleagues or friends. The link points to a zip file.

Once your friend downloads this zip file, they have to extract it to a local folder (such as Downloads or My Documents).

Inside the zip file is a “.locker” file, which can only be opened using the NordLocker application. This “.locker” file is encrypted and can’t be accessed any other way. Once opened in the NordLocker app, the recipient can now view your locker.


Customer Service: Is NordLocker Support Helpful?

Score scale 6/10

NordLocker support would be better as a pre-purchase service and if it were accessible for free users. Just like how NordVPN’s customer support works, for example. However, it’s still a usable system, so we award it a 6 out of 10. Here’s an overview of its customer service:

  • NordLocker’s ticketing system could yield faster responses. But when they get back, support agents are helpful.
  • Live chat support is only available for paid users.
  • The support center of NordLocker is helpful.
  • Users can hit the ground running with NordLocker thanks to its guides and tours.

Reaching out to NordLocker

If you’re a free user or just a visitor to NordLocker’s site, you won’t get live support. Live chat support is available, but it’s exclusive to Premium users. For everyone else, the only point of contact with a NordLocker representative is their ticketing system. Response time is pretty slow (about 12 to 24 hours if you reach out during business hours), but that’s more or less the norm.

We’d appreciate some form of chat support for free users, especially in the pre-purchase stage. But at least the support center can answer some questions if you don’t reach a human agent in time.

NordLocker support center

The support center of NordLocker is helpful enough. You can find responses to commonly asked questions, as well as a comprehensive guide for each platform you can use NordLocker on. The guides are especially helpful to new users.

A shorter, more visual version of the guide can be accessed from the “NordLocker Intro locker” available on all devices. Users also get a quick tour when first installing the app.


NordLocker: Should You Buy It?

Review score table per category, Features, Security, Ease of use, Support

NordLocker is its own breed of software. It’s not a simple file encryption tool, thanks to its cloud services. But it’s also not a fully-fleshed cloud storage suite, like Google One or Sync.com. We recommend NordLocker if you want to encrypt your files locally and if you would benefit from a private cloud, as well as file synchronization.

All in all, we recommend NordLocker for those who don’t need the bells and whistles of a full cloud storage service. NordLocker doesn’t sacrifice anything in its core offering. Decent support, end-to-end AES 256-bit encryption, secure cloud storage — all in a seamless drag-and-drop experience.

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NordLocker Review: Frequently Asked Questions

If our article didn’t cover everything you wanted to know, don’t worry. We have more answers for you in the FAQ section below!

Yes, NordLocker is as safe as a file encryption application can get. It features AES 256-bit encryption on all files secured by the software. Encryption is done locally, even for files that end up in your private cloud. On top of that, NordLocker has extra security features like automatic shut down after 15 minutes of inactivity.

NordLocker has cloud storage capabilities. It’s not extremely advanced — you can’t edit documents in NordLocker like you would in Google Drive. But it’s still a helpful tool to secure your files on the cloud. Find out more in our NordLocker review.

No, at the moment, NordLocker’s file-sharing feature has been disabled, as the Nord team is working on improving the service. Before, NordLocker did have a working file-sharing feature. Before the recipient of a file could access them, though, they’d need a NordLocker account of their own. Once that was taken care of, the sender could use email, Dropbox, or Google Drive to pass the file along. Read our NordLocker review to find out what other features are available with this app.

There’s no need for a free trial since you can use NordLocker at zero cost. You can host up to 3 GB of encrypted files for free, though you’ll need to subscribe if you need more storage space.

Author
Tech writer
Theodor is a content writer passionate about the newest tech developments and content marketing strategies. He likes privacy-friendly software, SEO tools, and when he's not writing, he's trying to convince people they should uninstall TikTok.
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News & Tech Editor
Nica is a news and tech editor at VPNOverview. She has an educational background in journalism and has worked in content marketing across several industries, including finance and cybersecurity.