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NordLocker Review

NordLocker is Nord Security’s answer to cloud storage, and has applied NordVPN’s focus on security and privacy to storing files on the cloud. Keep reading this NordLocker review to find out if this fresh-faced cloud service succeeds at its goals or falls short of its competition.

Aleksander Hougen
By Aleksander Hougen (Managing Editor)
— Last Updated: 2022-09-25T22:16:56+00:00 Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska

NordVPN has long topped our best VPN lists, but its associated products have never impressed us that much. When NordLocker launched, it was just an encryption service, but it has evolved into a fully fledged cloud storage service. However, in this NordLocker review, we see if it can stack up against established cloud storage competitors.

Key Takeaways:

  • NordLocker is an encryption tool turned fully fledged cloud storage that offers zero-knowledge encryption for all files stored on its servers.
  • NordLocker’s free version provides 3GB of storage, which is low, but you can increase this to 500GB or 2TB by signing up for a Premium plan.
  • The annual plans or the Complete bundle (which also includes NordVPN and NordPass) are great value, but the monthly options are incredibly expensive.
  • NordLocker handles security and file syncing well, but has practically no other features to speak of. It even lacks any kind of file sharing.

Although NordLocker succeeds in some ways, its feature set is still incredibly sparse compared to other options like Sync.com and pCloud that make it onto our best cloud storage list.

That said, there’s a lot of potential with NordLocker, especially since it’s a relatively new cloud storage platform with serious backing behind it. The fundamentals are all mostly there, but key features are still completely absent. 

However, one huge advantage that NordLocker has over other cloud storage is that you can get it as part of a bundle with NordVPN (check out our NordVPN review) and NordPass (read our NordPass review).

This can be a great deal (despite a lack of features) if you need a VPN and a password manager anyway.

  • 09/25/2022 Facts checked

    Updated review to reflect NordLocker’s change from encryption software to cloud storage.

  • Although NordLocker is a relatively new cloud storage solution, it’s run and operated by Nord Security, the same company that has been maintaining one of the best VPNs on the market. So we would say, yes, it is reliable.

  • On the one-year plan, NordLocker costs $3.19 per month for 500GB of cloud storage space and $7.99 per month for 2TB.

  • Yes, NordLocker uses zero-knowledge encryption for everything stored on its servers, which means that it’s technically HIPAA compliant. However, this assumes that the user sets up and implements a series of rules regulating the access to the stored data, which is something NordLocker can’t do for you.

  • Yes, NordLocker uses end-to-end encryption for all files, which means that only you (or someone with access to your master password or recovery key) can decrypt the data.

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NordLocker Review: Strengths & Weaknesses

Pros:

  • Multiple sync methods
  • Cheap long term plans
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Part of NordVPN bundle

Cons:

  • Sparse feature set
  • No file sharing
  • No collaboration features
  • No document integration
  • Expensive monthly plans
  • Poor customer support

Features

20 % – Terrible

As we’ve talked about already, NordLocker doesn’t offer much in the way of features. We’ll talk about the core cloud storage functionality (file syncing and sharing) in a later round, so here we’re considering what advanced or extra features the service comes with.

Outside of file syncing and security (both of which we’ll get to later), there’s really not much to say about NordLocker’s advanced features. There is no collaboration functionality, no document integration and no file previews for anything but images, so you can’t look at something like a Word document without opening it in a separate application.

NordLocker does offer an activity log, but it’s not exactly easy to read, and serves as more of a troubleshooting tool than any kind of reporting feature.

file encryption log
The activity log isn’t very useful, apart from having something to send to customer support when troubleshooting.

Overall, it’s a sparse package, and an obvious area for NordLocker to improve significantly in the future. As it stands, the lack of features means that we can’t recommend the service to anyone looking for more than the most basic cloud storage functionality.

Nordlocker Features Overview

Sync
Sync Folder
Block-Level Sync
Selective Sync
Bandwidth management
Sync Any Folder
File Sharing
File Link Sharing
Link Passwords
Link Expiry Dates
Folder Sharing
Folder Permissions
Link Download Limits
Upload Links
Productivity
File Previews
Edit Files
In-App Collaboration
Office Online
Google Docs
Notes App
Media Playback
Mobile Apps
Deleted File Retention
Versioning
WebDAV
Security
At-Rest Encryption
In-Transit Encryption
Encryption ProtocolAES-GCM, ChaCha
Zero Knowledge
Two-Factor Authentication
Server LocationUS
Support
24/7 Support
Live Chat Support
Telephone Support
Email Support
User Forum
Knowledgebase
Misc
Free Plan

Pricing

80 % – Good

One of the best things about NordLocker is its pricing, so long as you’re willing to pay annually. Both its Premium plans (500GB and 2TB) are competitively priced on their own, and you get an even better deal if you need a VPN and password manager as well. 

NordLocker’s Free Plan

First off, NordLocker’s free plan offers 3GB of storage. Although having a free plan is good, this is incredibly stingy, as most other providers offer at least 5GB with their free version, with some — like MEGA — going as high as 20GB. 

Aside from the storage quota, the only other difference between the free and premium versions is that you only get access to 24/7 priority support with the NordLocker Premium plan.

NordLocker’s Premium Plans

The cheapest Premium plan provides 500GB of cloud storage capacity and costs $7.99 per month (which is a terrible deal) or $3.19 per month if you sign up for a year, which is more reasonable. By comparison, it costs the same as Sync.com’s 2TB plan, and about double pCloud’s and Icedrive’s 1TB plans.

Next is the 2TB plan which, like the previous one, has a huge gap between its monthly and yearly pricing. If you pay as you go, it costs $19.99 per month, which is more than double the price of similar plans from other providers like Sync.com, pCloud or Google Drive

However, if you sign up for a year, the monthly price drops to $7.99, which is on par with the aforementioned services.

nordlocker free plan vs paid
NordLocker’s paid plans are reasonable, at least for the first year.

Money-Back Guarantee and First Year Discounts

Something unusual about these plans is that they feature a 30-day money-back guarantee. Now, this is common in the VPN world, as pretty much every big name offers one — including ExpressVPN, Surfshark and NordVPN itself. However, it’s not as common in the cloud storage space (since free plans often serve the same function), so it’s a nice thing to see here.

Another thing that should be noted is that the annual and biennial prices only apply for the first year (or first two years, in the case of the latter) as a sign-up discount. After that, the price more than doubles to $59.88 and $179.88 for the annual NordLocker plans and $198.84 and $447.39 for the one- and two-year NordVPN Complete bundle.

The NordVPN Complete Bundle

Finally, there’s NordVPN’s Complete bundle, which includes all three Nord Security products: NordVPN, NordPass and NordLocker. This bundle is available on a monthly, annual or biennial basis. 

The monthly plan costs $14.99 per month, but the price drops to $7.19 per month and $5.95 per month on the one- and two-year plans, respectively. 

nordlocker cloud services bundle
The NordVPN Complete bundle is a fantastic deal if you’re in need of a VPN, cloud storage and a password manager.

It should be noted that if you get NordLocker as part of the bundle, you get 1TB of storage space, a plan size that’s not available otherwise. Still, if you’re looking for all three types of software — a VPN, password manager and cloud storage — the bundle offers a value that’s hard to beat, especially on the longer plans. 

All in all, NordLocker does well with pricing, with its only problem being the exorbitant costs of its monthly plans. The longer plans are very reasonable, and the full Nord Security bundle is an excellent value.

Ease of Use

80 % – Good

Although the way it handles syncing files is relatively complex, NordLocker still manages to package it in an intuitive interface. It also provides a bunch of help during setup, which is useful for users who aren’t too familiar with cloud storage software. This assistance includes a tutorial as well as a full PDF guide that walks you through every step of installing NordLocker.

nordlocker tutorial
The NordLocker app gives you all the resources you need to figure out how it works, but it’s not like it’s particularly complicated anyway.

NordLocker has native desktop clients available for Windows and macOS, but there’s no Linux support as yet. There’s a NordLocker app for Android but the iOS version is still being developed, with Nord Security just saying that it will be available soon.

NordLocker Web Interface

Using the web interface to interact with NordLocker is a smooth experience. Everything is laid out in an intuitive way, and you can either select files or folders via a file explorer window or simply drag and drop them directly into your browser to upload them.

nordlocker documents folder
NordLocker’s web interface is well designed, if pretty sparse.

Your lockers (which are basically folders) are listed on the left-hand side of the interface, along with a button to create new ones. Clicking on a locker shows you the individual files and folders located within it, and selecting a file will show you some basic information like its size and the time of the last update.

There’s also a settings panel, but it only contains security settings (which we’ll cover later), as well as the aforementioned activity log.

Desktop Applications

Although the web interface is well-designed and easy to use, it’s clear that NordLocker is primarily designed to be used directly on your desktop. 

Your files are divided into lockers, which can either be located on the cloud or locally on your device. Either way, all the files within them are encrypted. You can drag and drop files directly into the application, or click the “add files” button and select them manually.

desktop file encryption application
NordLocker’s desktop app clearly takes a lot of cues from file explorer.

When you drag and drop a file into the application, it asks whether you want to move the file into the locker or simply create an encrypted copy and leave the original file where it is.

The general aesthetic of the application mimics that of Windows File Explorer, which makes navigating it a familiar experience for most users. Right-clicking on files or folders within the app lets you adjust the sync settings for the item you selected. This is the only way to access these files at all; if you try to open them directly in file explorer, you’ll find that the files are unreadable.

NordLocker Android App

Finally, NordLocker also has a mobile app, though at the time of writing it’s only available on Android. Unsurprisingly, the app is pretty basic, but it allows you to access your encrypted files while on the go and also includes automatic backup for your mobile device.

install nordlocker android
NordLocker is currently available on Android, but not on iOS.

Overall, using NordLocker is a smooth experience. However, this has a lot to do with the fact that there’s simply not that much going on. Still, it’s a solid foundation, and hopefully the NordLocker interface can retain its usability once the service starts adding more features.

By far, the biggest problem NordLocker faces in this area right now is severe performance and stability issues whenever you try to sync a lot of data at the same time, as we’ll see in the next round.

File Sharing & Syncing

25 % – Terrible

Thus, we arrive at the core functionality of any cloud storage service — namely, syncing and sharing files over the internet.

In terms of file syncing, NordLocker has a solid approach. Your storage is divided into cloud lockers and local lockers, all of which are encrypted. Files and folders located within cloud lockers can be set to cloud-only, meaning they don’t take up any local storage, but they won’t be available if you’re offline.

encrypted file location
Setting a folder to “cloud only” saves local storage space, but you need an internet connection to access it.

Local encrypted lockers, on the other hand, are always available, but only on the device you created them on. Regardless of whether it’s located on the cloud or locally on your device, you can create a new encrypted locker from scratch or convert an existing folder on your device by right-clicking it and selecting “convert to locker.”

create locker
There are several ways to create a new locker.

In principle, this is all great. The problem comes in when you put any kind of pressure on the application by adding larger files and folders. This causes the application to malfunction, frequently crashing and taking hours to finish uploads that should have taken minutes.

authentication error
If you need to store a large amount of data in your NordLocker folder, prepare to encounter a lot of different errors and crashes.

There’s also no block-level sync, which may have helped with the performance issues (though probably not), nor any kind of version control or deleted file retention.

Can You Share Files With NordLocker?

For file sharing, there’s not much to say. NordLocker used to allow for locker sharing with other NordLocker users in a previous version, but this no longer exists. The changelog for version 3.0.0 states that this is something they’re working to re-implement, but for now NordLocker has no file-sharing capabilities whatsoever.

The lack of file sharing is disappointing, as are all the performance issues with the file sync. Once they add file sharing and get the syncing working properly, it definitely has a lot of potential, but for now that’s all it is.

Speed

10 % – Terrible

Speed is another crucial factor, and one where a lot of encrypted cloud storage fails due to the inherently time-consuming nature of encrypting files before uploading them. Encrypted cloud storage is generally slower than non-encrypted storage (like Dropbox or Google Drive), so we’re willing to cut NordLocker a little slack in this category.

Unfortunately, NordLocker’s performance problems go far beyond mild slowdowns, resulting in upload times that take longer than they should, even when factoring in encryption.

Normally, we would include detailed speed test results with precise data telling you exactly how long NordLocker took to upload and download a 5GB test folder. However, the stability issues we encountered when uploading anything more than small files and folders meant that it was almost impossible to gauge how fast NordLocker is.

system tray error
The NordLocker app struggles whenever it’s put under significant load.

An upload that should have taken minutes on our 100 Mbps connection ended up taking the better part of an entire day. Suffice to say, if speed or stability is what you’re looking for, or you plan on routinely uploading large files or folders, you should look elsewhere.

Security

100 % – Excellent

If there’s one thing that NordLocker clearly places a lot of emphasis on, it’s security. Besides solid encryption, the software is chock-full of extra security features. This is perhaps unsurprising, considering its roots as file encryption software.

Encrypted Files

NordLocker uses several different encryption protocols and ciphers to encrypt files locally and on the cloud. The file encryption process starts when you install NordLocker, at which point you create a master password. 

This password never leaves your device, but NordLocker uses a key-derivation function called Argon2id to create another password derived from both your master password and a salt (a random piece of data inserted into the password).

master password setup
Your master password is the foundation that NordLocker’s security is built on.

It’s this derived password that NordLocker uses to create your private key. The private key (also known as a “secret key”) is thus only available to you, and is what is needed to access your encrypted data. The private key is paired with a public key, which is used to actually encrypt the files.

Whenever your secret key leaves the NordLocker application, it’s also encrypted using the XChaCha20-Poly1305 cipher suite. The keys are based on elliptic curve cryptography, which makes them both more secure and more efficient than RSA (the main alternative), as it achieves the same level of security on much smaller key sizes.

locker setup
NordLocker works with multiple types of file encryption.

When you first create a locker, the application creates yet another 256-bit key (referred to as the “locker key”). This locker key is then encrypted with XSalsa20-Poly1305 MAC using the original secret key. Finally, this locker key is what’s used in the final step to encrypt the files themselves, with AES-GCM for the contents and EME wide-block encryption for the names.

If the past few paragraphs went over your head a bit, what all of this boils down to is that there’s only one person who has the ability to access your NordLocker cloud storage, and that’s you. This is a principle known as zero-knowledge encryption, which is something we’ll talk more about in the next round focused on privacy.

Two-Factor Authentication & Device Lockout

Besides its incredibly thorough cryptographic process, NordLocker also comes brimming with security extras. This includes support for multi-factor authentication, and you can use any 2FA app or device that uses TOTP, including Google Authenticator, Authy and Microsoft Authenticator.

2fa setup
NordLocker is compatible with most 2FA apps and devices.

There’s also a device lockout, which is triggered by default after 15 minutes of not using the app. Once this happens, you have to log in with your account password via a web browser, then enter your master password in the client itself. The trigger time for the lockout can be adjusted to from one minute to an hour, or turned off entirely.

nordlocker cloud lockout
NordLocker’s lockout feature keeps your files safe, even if someone gains physical access to your device.

The only potential flaw with NordLocker security is that it lacks a secure deletion tool for when you copy an unencrypted file into your encrypted folder. Ideally, the application would fully delete the original files when this happens, rather than simply putting them in the recycling bin. Users must exercise extra caution to ensure that there aren’t any unencrypted copies of files lying around.

Aside from this very minor problem, we have no complaints about NordLocker security. If your primary need is a place to store sensitive files and information that you need to access from multiple devices, you can’t go wrong with NordLocker.

Privacy

100 % – Excellent

We covered security, which is how NordLocker ensures that your files are safe from outside attack or any kind of unauthorized access. When we talk about privacy, we’re instead referring to how well your files are protected from theoretically legitimate access, such as by NordLocker itself or by authorities like law enforcement or intelligence agencies.

Zero-Knowledge Encryption

Like we briefly mentioned in the last round, NordLocker has what is known as a zero-knowledge encryption policy, which means that the company has no way to decrypt your files, regardless of the reason it might have to do so. This is because only you have access to the encrypted private key, which in turn is what unlocks your files.

Not only does this protect you from the company selling your data or using it for advertising (looking at you, Google Drive), but it also means that if the authorities come knocking, NordLocker is incapable of providing them with any meaningful data on its users.

Nord Security Privacy Policy

No matter how trustworthy or transparent a company seems on the face of things, it’s always worth taking a look at its privacy policy to see if there are any sneaky caveats or vague qualifiers regarding user data collection and retention. Luckily, there’s none of that with Nord Security or NordLocker. 

According to the NordLocker privacy policy, the application only collects a minimal amount of anonymized data like application diagnostics and usage statistics. It also collects any social media information you provide via NordLocker’s website, plus a basic record of when files were uploaded, encrypted or changed.

privacy policy
The caveats in the NordLocker privacy policy are minor ones that you’ll find for pretty much any cloud service.

This is all standard for pretty much all software, and none of it can actually be tied back to you, or used to reveal the contents of your NordLocker files.

We do have one minor complaint, which is that the setting for sending anonymous usage data is enabled by default, though it’s easy enough to turn this off manually. Other than that very minor flaw, NordLocker gets a perfect score for privacy, just like it did for security.

Customer Support

Although you hope you’ll never have to use it, it’s nice to know that the cloud storage provider you’re giving money to on a monthly or yearly basis can provide you with some support in case something goes wrong.

This is an area where NordLocker could definitely do a lot better. There’s no chat option available, nor is there a way to call the support department. What’s confusing is that there is a chat support option on the Nord account page, but this is only for NordVPN — not any of the other products included in your account.

We tested the email support by sending in a request asking some relatively basic questions, and it generally took about a day for us to get an answer in return.

NordLocker Priority Support

If you do sign up for a paid plan, NordLocker claims that you get access to “24/7 priority support.” As far as we can tell, this doesn’t actually mean anything. It doesn’t matter if you’re a paying NordLocker user or on a free plan, you’re still just left with the regular email support. 

As far as we could tell, our requests from a Premium plan account didn’t get resolved any faster than the ones we made as free users.

NordLocker’s customer support is shockingly bad, especially for a company as established as Nord Security. It’s unacceptable that all of Nord’s products are sold as a bundle, yet only one provides proper support. We hope to see the company remedy this in the future. 

The fact that Premium users are sold “24/7 priority support” as a reason to upgrade from a free NordLocker account when there’s seemingly no difference is also pretty egregious.

The Verdict

NordLocker definitely has a lot of potential, but the fact that you can’t share files — or do much of anything beyond simply encrypting and syncing files with the cloud — holds it back. Due to the inherent limitations of encryption, secure cloud storage often has to compromise on features in order to maximize security. 

However, there’s a lot missing here even compared to other security-minded cloud storage providers like Sync.com, MEGA or pCloud. The lack of file sharing, enormous performance issues when handling large folders and terrible speeds are all major problems that the shoddy customer support only compounds.

Still, if you’re just looking for an easy and affordable way to encrypt local files and upload them to the cloud, NordLocker will do just fine, so long as you don’t plan to upload large amounts of data at the same time. 

NordLocker is easy to use and offers affordable plans, as long as you’re willing to sign up for an annual plan. That said, you can get the same level of security for a similar price without giving up on so many features.

What do you think of NordLocker? Are you going to sign up for a NordLocker account? Do you agree that it has a lot of potential, but as yet can’t quite compete with other cloud storage solutions? How do you think it compares to Nord Security’s other software? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading.

3 GB - 2 TB starts from $3.19 / month (All Plans)30-day money-back guarantee
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14 thoughts on “NordLocker”

  1. Nicely written!Gonna try free version of this Nord locker application for now. As I understood the only difference between the paid version is the limit of data. I will see, if I will like it.

    Reply
  2. I liked this product until I installed the latest version (1.2.2). That was a huge mistake. It took up to 15 repeated tries re-entering my password (correctly each time) to get it to open the file. It would not produce a decrypted copy of several folders and files. It took over 8 hours to reproduce my secure files from other sources. Customer support did not even acknowledge my emails for help even though I had bought the premium version. I won’t trust this company with secure data again.

    Reply
  3. Hey there, great review! However, I noticed that the price is no longer accurate, NordLocker has reduced it’s price by quite a large margin, it’s $12 per year basically. The free encryption amount has been reduced as well, but it seems understandable. Anyway I just thought that maybe you should update this review accordingly? I do like using NordLocker, but I feel it needs a mobile version to get a perfect rating from me.

    Reply
    1. Thanks for letting us know, we’ve updated the table.

      Reply
  4. not ready for primetime, use at own risk
    Wow, I tried this product and then ran into problem after problem after problem.
    For instance, I got locked out of a folder and would have permanently lost data if I wasn’t lucky by having a backup

    I tried creating new lockers (encrypted files) but ran into problem after problem such as : cannot create locker, no response from the system

    I spent hours working on this and could not even get it to work properly and lost access to a folder permanently.

    Reply
    1. Update to this post from above: so, I worked some more on this and now it works. I cannot explain why it did not allow me to create a locker yesterday but now I can create lockers.

      I don’t know how to rate this because I have spent a lot of time using it with mixed results:
      – on one hand: the interface is nice, it is fast, it allows you to encrypt and save the files in a sync folder, locally, or in Nordlocker cloud. Plus the help desk was very responsive

      – on the other hand: I lost access to one locker, it does not seem to be consistent, and I’m worried about losing access to other lockers

      Reply
      1. Update to my two previous posts above ^^
        I have been using this for several months and after an update, it now works great. The update has fixed the issue I encountered.
        One thing about this product that I really like is that I can store encrypted files on my cloud storage of choice and not have to worry about paying extra for encryption, or putting the files in a special encrypted folder. Instead, I encrypt my files using NordLocker and then put them where I need for cloud backup.

        NordLocker is fast, easy to use, and I think a well done program.

        Reply
          1. Just when I think it works…it doesn’t.

            I admit I was overly excited when I rated them five stars on Feb 13. It was wishful thinking, and before I was able to use Nordlocker much after the most recent update.

            Here’s the problem:
            The desktop Mac app does not sync. It will lock up, freeze, provide error messages and not do anything that you try to accomplish. For example: Sync files in the cloud (vs cloud +computer) – it will endlessly sync and provide error messages.
            If I try to change the cloud-only files to cloud+desktop, it will sync endlessly, or do nothing, or provide error messages.

            The web app (new in late 2021) also does not work. If there are 100 small pdfs and I try to download all, I will only get 80 or so. The next time I try to download all files, I may get 88. In order to get all 100, I have to look at the files in Nordlocker online line-by-line vs my downloaded files.

            I have waste so many hours on this solution and I have lost many files due to sync issues.

            It may work for you if you plan to use it for encrypting folders or files, and then syncing them with you favorite cloud storage.

            It does not work for me – at all- for using the Nordlocker cloud storage. I cannot wait until I can get away from this service.

  5. It appears that NordLocker now includes Cloud storage with their plan. I was wondering how this product – with the cloud storage – stacks up against Sync.com and Dropbox+Boxcryptor.

    Otherwise, another great review from Cloudwards.

    Reply
  6. The product is still in beta but it’s mentioned nowhere. The file sync doesn’t work and after spending months with support trying to fix it, they can’t, and they don’t want to refund the money.

    Reply
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