Piggy bank savings for Meshnet

With Meshnet, you can effortlessly share files between devices, remotely access your smartphone, tablet, or laptop no matter where they are in the world, and set up a fast multiplayer gaming session in a remote local area network (LAN) environment.

It’s an incredibly useful feature to link all your devices directly without any restrictions. The question is: is Meshnet free to use?

The good news is, it is. This guide will break down everything you need to know about Meshnet, from what it is to how to install it.

Can you use Meshnet for free?

Meshnet is a free feature from NordVPN that can be used by up to 10 personal devices and up to 50 external devices from other trusted users. It’s available on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.

As NordVPN states on its support page: “Yes, Meshnet comes free. It was created by NordVPN, so all NordVPN users can find Meshnet in their NordVPN apps for every major platform.”

Once you have a NordVPN account, you can turn on the feature and start connecting your devices at no charge.

However, while the feature can route your internet traffic through a different device, effectively allowing you to switch IP addresses, it doesn’t truly act like a VPN. To make the most out of it, consider getting a NordVPN subscription ($3.19/month).

Do I need a NordVPN subscription to use Meshnet? 

While Meshnet is part of NordVPN and needs the app installed on each device, you don’t need a NordVPN subscription in order to use it.

You only need to install NordVPN, sign up for an account, and link your devices using the app. There’s no need to purchase a subscription plan to set it up.

What is Meshnet? 

Meshnet is a type of virtual network that works like a LAN. It allows you to connect to devices directly instead of relying on an internet connection or cables. These devices can communicate with each other without any restrictions, no matter where they are in the world.

With Meshnet, you can create private networks between your personal and work devices and share an Internet Protocol (IP) address. This opens up a lot of use cases, including file sharing, remote device access, gaming over a LAN connection with friends, and even bypassing geo-restricted content online, similar to a VPN (albeit with limitations).

NordVPN Meshnet infographic
Using Meshnet on multiple devices via NordVPN

Because of its direct connection between devices, there’s no need to set up port forwarding on a router or configure a firewall to only allow specific traffic. Furthermore, it allows you to get past devices behind carrier-grade NAT (CGNAT) networks, which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use to provide internet access with a single IP address to devices in a household or office space.

The feature is also handy for professionals, as it can access connected work PCs with an encrypted connection without the need to use a VPN provided by the company.

Meshnet is a feature from NordVPN and requires you to install the NordVPN app on each device you want to connect, but it’s entirely free to use. You can connect up to 10 of your own devices and up to 50 external devices from other users.

How to install Meshnet 

Getting started using Meshnet is easy; you only need to install the NordVPN app on your device and activate the feature.

It’s important to note that the same method can be applied to Windows, macOS, Android and iOS devices.

  1. Go to the NordVPN website

  2. Download and install the NordVPN app

  3. Create a NordVPN account or sign in

    NordVPN login
  4. Select the Meshnet icon on the sidebar

    NordVPN app with Meshnet icon
  5. Turn on Meshnet

    NordVPN turn on Meshnet

There you have it. You can connect up to 10 personal devices and up to 50 external devices

Repeat the method above with 10 of your own devices and connect more from friends or family to start growing your personal network.

How to link devices in Meshnet

Linking devices to your Meshnet network is simple, as you only need to set up the feature on another device using the same account. If you’re adding another user’s device, known as external devices, you’ll need to know the other user’s email address.

  1. In the Meshnet tab on NordVPN, click Link devices.
  2. A menu will pop up. Here, select Link external devices.
  3. Enter the email address of the NordVPN user to invite them to access your connected device.
  4. Select permissions. This includes:
    – Allow receiving files
    – Allow traffic routing
    – Allow local network access
    – Allow remote access.
  5. Once done, click Send invitation.
Meshnet linking devices
Linking devices on Meshnet via NordVPN

When the user accepts the invitation, the external device will appear on a list of connected external devices.

Why should I use Meshnet?

Using Meshnet comes with a host of advantages, especially if you have multiple devices in different locations, need to change your device’s IP address, or want to play multiplayer games via a LAN party.

Not only can you quickly and securely share files between devices with Meshnet enabled, but you can also access features available on both devices. As an example, let’s say you need to access a file that’s on your laptop at home, but you’re on vacation or in a different location. Using Remote Desktop on Windows or Screen Sharing on macOS, you can quickly get this file on a device that’s on you.

Another advantage is using software on a device you don’t have at hand. If you have a smart home setup and can only control apps through devices at home, you can use them remotely on another connected device. This means you can control the temperature through a smart home thermostat, turn on lights, and more.

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The feature is also a valuable tool for gamers. Since it acts as a LAN but on a much broader scale, you can play multiplayer games that support LAN with others using the same internet connection no matter where they are in the world.

Much like a VPN, Meshnet can swap IP addresses and access geo-blocked websites or streaming libraries by essentially making your devices VPN servers. For example, with your smartphone, you can use the same IP address as your laptop at home in New Zealand while on holiday in the UK. This means websites and streaming services like Netflix will think you’re accessing the web in New Zealand instead. However, since this is still an IP address dedicated to you, this won’t make you anonymous online.

For those who travel and have multiple devices, Meshnet is a great tool to have.

Darragh Murphy
Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from the mischievous world of online security to washing machines designed for earbuds. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for laptops into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. When he's not checking out the latest devices and all things tech, he can be found swimming laps, watching terrible shark movies, and trying to find time to game.  Previous Editor at Laptop Mag and News Editor at Time Out Dubai, specialising in food culture, nightlife events, gaming, tech and entertainment.

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