Nonhost resistance, a resistance of plant species against all nonadapted pathogens, is considered the most durable and efficient immune system of plants but yet remains elusive. The underlying mechanism of nonhost resistance has been investigated at multiple levels of plant defense for several decades. In this review, we have comprehensively surveyed the latest literature on nonhost resistance in terms of preinvasion, metabolic defense, pattern-triggered immunity, effector-triggered immunity, defense signaling, and possible application in crop protection. Overall, we summarize the current understanding of nonhost resistance mechanisms. Pre- and postinvasion is not much deviated from the knowledge on host resistance, except for a few specific cases. Further insights on the roles of the pattern recognition receptor gene family, multiple interactions between effectors from nonadapted pathogen and plant factors, and plant secondary metabolites in host range determination could expand our knowledge on nonhost resistance and provide efficient tools for future crop protection using combinational biotechnology approaches. [Formula: see text] Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license .