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NordLynx protocol – the solution for a fast and secure VPN connection

When innovation knocks, what will you do: let it in or shut the door? Being forever-curious and imaginative geeks, we at NordVPN are always open to innovation. That's why we developed our NordLynx protocol technology.

Eglė Juodytė

Eglė Juodytė

NordLynx protocol – the solution for a fast and secure VPN connection

What is NordLynx and how does it work?

The NordLynx protocol is an encryption system that can protect your privacy while you're using a VPN. It's a process that encrypts your user data while it's traveling to and from the VPN server, so no one can intercept and view it while it's in transit.

NordLynx is built around a protocol called WireGuard®, and it has two really great properties. One is its capacity to provide NordVPN app users with lighting-fast internet connection speeds, without compromising on encryption security. If you've ever wondered “What internet speed do I need and can I get it with a VPN?”, our NordLynx protocol may be the answer.

While connecting to VPN servers adds an extra step on your data's journey, NordLynx should ensure that you won't notice any perceptible slowdown on your end. Your data will travel rapidly to the NordVPN server and back, staying fully encrypted as it moves.

The other selling point is its simplicity; because the NordLynx code is much more streamlined than old VPN protocols, it's really easy to troubleshoot and resolve technical issues. That means we'll be able to continually maintain and improve your VPN service.

Benefits of NordLynx

  • Thanks to NordLynx, we can offer one of the fastest VPNs in the industry.
  • This VPN protocol is great for gaming online, because you don't have to worry about buffering and lag.
  • NordLynx is supported on multiple operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. And remember that with just one NordVPN account, you can cover up to six devices.
  • Its encryption is extremely strong, thanks to WireGuard’s security.
  • NordLynx is very easy to use: it's built directly into your NordVPN app.

The background

Offering a high-speed connection while maintaining top-notch online security is one of the biggest challenges for a VPN provider. What if there was something that could bring a radical change?

The emergence of WireGuard, a new VPN tunneling protocol, seemed like a breath of fresh air in the industry.

Modern, extremely fast, and insanely lean in its architecture, WireGuard uses state-of-the-art cryptography and is backed by thorough academic research. With this combo, it outshines the current leading VPN protocols – OpenVPN and IPSec. WireGuard consists of only 4000 lines of code, making it easy to deploy, audit, and find bugs. To compare: OpenVPN runs on 400,000 lines of code, meaning that WireGuard would make up only 1% of the massive OpenVPN’s architecture.

However, it’s not all as great as it sounds. The WireGuard protocol is still under heavy development, and it’s far from perfect. Yes, WireGuard can promise better connection speeds already, but its capabilities to keep users anonymous fall behind.

But an opportunity to offer a faster and more reliable VPN connection to our users was right there. And as a leading VPN provider, we took it as a challenge.

That’s how Project NordLynx came to life.

Project NordLynx

WireGuard alone can’t ensure complete privacy. Here’s why. It can’t dynamically assign IP addresses to everyone connected to a server. Therefore, the server must contain a local static IP table to know where internet packets are traveling from and to whom they should return. It means that the user's identity must be stored on the server and linked to an internal IP address assigned by the VPN.

How WireGuard leaves users' anonymity vulnerable

To put it less technically: by implementing the out-of-the-box WireGuard protocol in our service, we would have put your privacy at risk. And we would never do this.

So we had a puzzle to solve: how can we bring WireGuard’s benefits to our users while strengthening the wobbly privacy part?

How we made it work

We needed to find a way for the WireGuard protocol to work without posing a risk to our customers’ privacy.

And we found it. We developed something called a double NAT (Network Address Translation) system. This is the key to a secure connection.

To put it simply, the double NAT system creates two local network interfaces for each user. The first interface assigns a local IP address to all users connected to a server. Unlike in the original WireGuard protocol, each user gets the same IP address.

Once a VPN tunnel is established, the second network interface with a dynamic NAT system kicks in. The system assigns a unique IP address for each tunnel. This way, internet packets can travel between the user and their desired destination without getting mixed up.

The double NAT system allows us to establish a secure NordLynx connection without storing any identifiable data on a server. Dynamic local IP addresses remain assigned only while the session is active. Meanwhile, user authentication is done with the help of a secure external database. That means you can enjoy an excellent connection speed without compromising on your security and privacy.

How NordLynx keeps users anonymous

How do I turn on NordLynx protocol?

You can enable NordLynx very easily. Follow these simple steps to turn on the NordLynx protocol on your NordVPN app.

On desktop

    1. Open your NordVPN app, and make sure you're signed in.
    2. Click the Preferences icon, which appears on the left of the interface and looks like three horizontal lines or sliders.
    3. In General, open the VPN Protocol dropdown menu.
    4. Select NordLynx from the list of protocols available.

Follow these steps, and you'll connect with NordLynx as your encryption protocol whenever you use a NordVPN service.

On Android

    1. Open your NordVPN app, and make sure you're signed in.
    2. Click the Profile icon, which appears at the bottom of the interface.
    3. On the Profile page, click the gear icon, and then click Protocol.
    4. Select NordLynx from the list of protocols available.

On iOS

    1. Open your NordVPN app, and make sure you're signed in.
    2. Click the gear icon at the bottom right.
    3. Selection VPN Connection and Protocol.
    4. Select NordLynx from the list of protocols available.

How can I disable NordLynx?

If you want to disable NordLynx, it will only take a few seconds; in fact, it's almost the same as the NordLynx setup process. If you've already selected NordLynx as your protocol, open your NordVPN app and follow the steps from the previous section. When you get to Step 4, select a different protocol, and now that will be your default the next time you auto connect or manually select a server. It's that simple to disable NordLynx!

Alternatively, you can pick the Use Recommended option, which will connect you with the best VPN protocol for your system and area.

Linux users, try NordLynx now

In fall 2018, we invited a small group of users to take our WireGuard implementation for a test drive as a part of a closed beta. Then, after months of further research, development, and testing, we went public with NordLynx – our solution for a fast, private and secure VPN connection. And we’re inviting every curious soul out there to try it!

The NordVPN Linux app already supports NordLynx, which you can download here, if you haven't already.

By default, NordVPN for Linux runs on the OpenVPN protocol. Follow these steps to switch to NordLynx:

  1. Update your app to the latest version.
  2. Install WireGuard. Tutorials for different distributions are available in our Help Center.
  3. Open the terminal and enter:
     nordvpn set technology NordLynx 
  4. To connect to the VPN enter:
    nordvpn c 

That’s it – now your Linux app is running on NordLynx. You can always switch back to OpenVPN by entering ‘nordvpn set technology OpenVPN’.

Not using Linux but want to try NordLynx? We will soon provide tutorials on how to set it up on any third-party WireGuard client.

How to fix “Failed to reach NordLynx adapter” error

In the unlikely event that you receive a “Failed to reach NordLynx adapter” error message on a Windows operating system, here are some steps you can take to resolve the problem.

    1. Right-click on your start button and click Device Manager.
    2. In Device Manager, click Network Adapter section.
    3. Select the NordLynx Tunnel and click Uninstall device.
    4. Next, open the Control Panel and select Uninstall a program.
    5. Select the NordVPN network TUN and uninstall it.

Reboot your device and then download the new TUN drivers for Windows 10 or Windows 7 or 8.

For more instructions and help, head to our support page.

NordLynx: the next step in VPN technology

We believe that NordLynx has the potential to be a game-changer in the VPN industry. But we’re nothing without your feedback – please let us know about your experience with NordLynx and help us make the internet better!

And if you want to see for yourself how fast NordVPN is, you can download it today from the NordVPN website using a NordVPN coupon to get the best deal possible.

Supercharge your online security with NordLynx

Stay safe with the world's leading VPN


Eglė Juodytė
Eglė Juodytė Eglė Juodytė
Eglė is a UX writer at NordVPN. She designs delightful user experiences with words and shares product updates with our blog readers.