Which NordVPN Config File to Use?

If you’re using NordVPN, the first thing you’ll want to know is, which.config file to use. There are four popular ones to choose from:

  • nordvpn.conf
  • nordvpn3.conf
  • nordvpn-split.conf
  • nordvpn-ssl.conf

Each file has a slightly different purpose. For example, the first one is just a simple text file that includes a list of servers. The last one, ssl-cert.conf, is an SSL certificate file that you’ll need to use with the SSL protocol.

Here’s a break down of each file:


NordVPN’s.conf file is the traditional text-based config file, which means that it’s easy to write and understand. It also allows you to modify settings with simple text commands such as sudo nano nordvpn.conf.

This file includes a list of VPN servers that you’ll connect to. It also defines the login credentials you’ll use to connect to each server. Login information is encrypted with a randomly generated key that is saved in your NordVPN account. This way, even if someone gets access to your computer, they won’t be able to login without the correct login credentials.

NordVPN’s default.conf file includes a list of servers from all around the world, with the United States and the United Kingdom leading the way. If you’re based in the United States, you can use the US server list attached to this post. Or, if you live in the United Kingdom, you can use the UK server list that I linked to above.

One thing to keep in mind with the.conf file is that, since it’s a text-based config file, it could be read by humans. So, make sure that you keep it a secret, especially if you’re using public Wi-Fi.


NordVPN’s third-party.conf file is considerably more advanced than its first two counterparts. In addition to including a list of VPN servers, this file also includes advanced settings such as compression, authentication methods, and more.

To use this config file, you’ll need to install the openVPN software on your computer. After that, all you need to do is open the file with a text editor such as sudo nano nordvpn3.conf and modify the settings to your liking. You can find more information about this file on the NordVPN website here.


The third-party.conf file for split tunneling, which is a special type of VPN that virtually every major VPN service offers, is considerably more complicated than the preceding two config files. It’s also the most widely used type of VPN config file. To use this file, you’ll need openVPN software and a compatible router or VPN server.

Tunneling, the act of sending data in a compressed format over a VPN connection so that it appears as though the data is coming from a different location, is a common use case for this particular config file. For example, if you live in Germany but you do a large part of your work from home in the U.S., you might want to split your internet traffic so that your German ISP doesn’t throttle it. Or, if you’re trying to access a U.S.-based website that isn’t owned by Google but your country blocks the site, you can use a VPN to get around that censorship.

However, not every device or internet service is compatible with this type of VPN. So, make sure that you check the specifications before you buy. As for the.conf file itself, you’ll need to split it into HASH256 and AES256 sections so that it can be used with a compatible router or VPN server. You can find more information about this file on the NordVPN website here.


Finally, we have the ssl-cert.conf file. As the name suggests, this file is needed when you’re using the secure (SSL) connection protocol, whose main purpose is to provide a secure connection between your device and a server, preventing others from eavesdropping on your data.

To use this file, you’ll need a compatible router or VPN server, as well as a certificate file for your local ISP (internet service provider), since they need to verify that you are who you claim to be. To create a self-signed certificate for your local ISP, visit the website of your local ISP and choose the “Certificate Authority” option near the top of the page.

You’ll then need to choose a common name (The name of your VPN) and a friendly name (This can be whatever you want) and click on the Create Certificate button. You’ll then need to copy the certificate file (named something like “my-cert.pem”) that appears in the Download files section, paste it in the Trusted Root Certificates store on your router or VPN server, and verify the trust relationship by changing the password for the certificate.

As for the format of the certificate file, make sure that it’s in PEM format, which is a standard text-based format. You can then use a text editor such as sudo nano ssl-cert.conf to modify the settings to your liking. You can find more information about this file on the NordVPN website here.

How Do I Set My VPN Up?

Once you’ve downloaded and installed your VPN software (if you’re using Windows, you can get OpenVPN, for example, from the Microsoft Store), you can set it up using either the easy or the advanced methods. Let’s take a look.

The Easy Method:

The easy method is probably the most convenient if you’re new to VPNs. After you’ve installed your VPN software, you can simply click on the Network Options button, browse to the VPN server you’d like to use, and click on the Connect button. Or, you can type in the server address manually and click on the Connect button.

The advantage of this method is that it’s very easy to use and doesn’t require you to have any technical knowledge. Disadvantages include:

  • You must have a reasonably fast internet connection. If you don’t, you may experience sluggish performance when using the VPN.
  • You must manually enter the server address every time you want to connect. If you forget or misplace the address, you’ll have to start over again. This can be very frustrating if you’re trying to do something quickly.
  • Only certain devices and internet services are supported. Make sure you check the specifications before you buy.
  • The connection can be easily monitored. While this can be a feature in certain situations, you may prefer not to have your VPN provider monitor your activity, especially if you’re using a free service.
  • Your VPN provider may charge you for using the service. Some providers, such as Private Internet Access, also sell advertising space on their websites, so they make money from both their services and their advertisements.

If you live in North America and you don’t have a particularly fast internet connection, this is the method to go with. Otherwise, stick with the other two methods.

The Advanced Method:

If you’ve used VPNs before, you might prefer the advanced method. It doesn’t require as much technical knowledge as the easy method does, but it’s still pretty easy and straightforward.

To use this method, you’ll need to log in to your VPN provider’s website using your email address and password. Then, you’ll need to click on the Gear icon in the upper right corner and choose the option that says something like “VPN Configuration.” From there, you’ll need to click on the Advanced Settings link and choose the “Create and manage custom VPN configurations” link.

This will bring you to a screen where you can create a VPN configuration file. Remember: you’ll need to use a.conf file for this method. So, if you’ve used the easy method to set up your VPN previously, you can simply copy and paste the contents of your.conf file into the box in the upper right corner, save it, and you’re good to go.

If you’re new to VPNs or you want to be extra careful, use this method when setting up your VPN. Otherwise, the easy method is probably the best option.

Similar Posts