By this point, NordVPN is an industry veteran with quite a significant subscriber base. Users get some of the fastest speeds achievable, thanks to the in-house tunneling protocol, and a plethora of versatile features. Couple that with excellent geo-block bypassing capabilities and P2P support, and you have a superb service.
AdGuard VPN, on the other hand, is the product of a company with a reputation for creating high-quality online protection software. But can the VPN fulfill its intended purpose, especially compared to a robust tool like NordVPN?
We’re going to answer this and more in this NordVPN vs AdGuard comparison. Who will come out on top? An all-rounded, Panama-based service or a VPN created by a reputable, online-security-oriented company?
NordVPN vs AdGuard VPN comparison highlights
|Our rating||9.6 ⭐||7.2⭐|
|Current offer||Get NordVPN 68% OFF!||Get AdGuard VPN!|
|Price starts from||$2.99/month||$2.99/month|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days|
|Servers||5500+ servers in 59+ countries||N/A servers in 44+ countries|
|VPN protocols||NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2||AdGuard VPN protocol|
|Streaming||Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more||Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+|
It’s no secret that VPN performance depends on several factors, namely, the kind of tunneling protocol you use for online tasks. While certain ones are more suited for specific needs, a modern, secure protocol should uphold excellent speeds without sacrificing security.
NordVPN includes several on its roster – OpenVPN, IKEv2 – but the one you should be paying attention to is NordLynx. It’s the provider’s improved version of the trusted WireGuard protocol. Several tweaks to the original code netted two benefits for users: enhanced security and better connectivity, facilitating impressive speeds.
AdGuard VPN foregoes including any widely-used tunneling protocols, instead offering the proprietary AdGuard VPN protocol. Unlike the others, it operates with data and not with packets. And the addition of the HTTP/2 transport protocol masks all VPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic, making it impossible to detect.
While AdGuard VPN comes in strong with its own protocol, having a single one isn’t exactly beneficial for the end user. That’s why NordVPN has an edge in this category, as it gives subscribers more choices. Of course, you can also see which service offers better speeds with the VPN speed test tool.
|All physical servers||Yes||N/A|
|Owns all servers||No||N/A|
Don’t expect to get your hands on all kinds of foreign content if the VPN’s server fleet is lacking country-wise. The number of available connection points shouldn’t be overlooked either. Having plenty of servers significantly reduces overcrowding, ensuring better performance.
NordVPN comes in strong with a global network of 5500+ servers spread across 59+ countries. The hardware is all physical, which is great news for subscribers, as virtual servers are known for slower speeds. Another aspect worth noting is that the all servers are RAM-only. It means that they can’t store data long-term.
As for AdGuard VPN, we couldn’t find any concrete info on how many servers they have. Furthermore, the company doesn’t disclose if they own the hardware, whether there are any virtual servers, etc. All we can say for sure is that they have connection points in a total of 44 countries. AdGuard VPN fails to surpass NordVPN in this aspect.
|Free trial||7 days, available on the Google Play Store||No|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days|
|Payment options||Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, ACH Transfer, cryptocurrencies, UnionPay, cash||Credit card, PayPal|
Both providers offer the standard VPN subscription options – monthly and long-term discounted ones. The 30-day money-back guarantee insures them. As for differences, AdGuard VPN offers a free version of its services, albeit with understandable limitations. NordVPN does not; instead, users can just test the service with the free 7-day trial.
The ultimate deciding factor, though, is the subscription price. In this aspect, AdGuard is the more affordable option. But whether you’re getting your money’s worth remains to be answered later.
Currently, NordVPN has several different subscription tiers depending on what you need. The Standard one, which comes solely with the VPN, includes three options:
The other two tiers are Plus and Complete. You additionally get the NordPass password manager and a data breach scanner with the former. The latter includes the aforementioned tools, plus 1 TB of encrypted cloud storage. These additions cost extra, but it’s not a lot, especially if they are something you need.
People curious about NordVPN’s services have the option to test it out beforehand with the 7-day free trial. You must have an Android device for it, as it’s only available via the Google Play Store. But once you sign up for the trial, the provider also allows using the VPN on other devices.
The biggest discount NordVPN has to offer is 68% off, but you can try getting a better deal by utilizing NordVPN coupons. The supported payment options include credit cards, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, cryptocurrencies, and even cash. Finally, every subscription is protected by the 30-day money-back guarantee, so you won’t lose any money if you decide to back out.
AdGuard VPN pricing
AdGuard VPN offers three subscription options:
- $11.99/month for the monthly plan
- $3.99/month for the annual plan
- $2.99/month for the two-year plan
The biggest discount you can get is 75% off, which makes plans relatively cheap. Though the 30-day money-back guarantee only protects the 1-year and 2-year subscriptions. The disappointing fact is that you can only pay with credit cards or PayPal – there are no ways to purchase a plan anonymously.
As for trial versions, AdGuard VPN doesn’t have any, but that’s because the service offers a free version. Users opting not to pay a dime get:
- 2 simultaneous connections
- 3 GB of traffic
- 20 Mbit/sec speed limit
- 11 countries – Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland,
- Turkey, Ukraine, the UK, the US
There are no feature limitations, so you’re essentially getting full access to the service. It’s just that you won’t be able to do much with it.
|Protocols||NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2||AdGuard VPN protocol|
|Security features||Double VPN, Threat Protection, Onion over VPN, SOCKS5 proxy, Obfuscated servers, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, split tunneling, kill switch||Exclusion list, several DNS servers, split tunneling, kill switch|
A VPN must have three specific features to shield your true online identity effectively. We’re talking about:
- AES-256 encryption
- IP & DNS leak protection
- A kill switch
NordVPN, unsurprisingly, has all three. AdGuard VPN includes encryption and a kill switch, but we found no mention of IP or DNS leak protection, which is alarming. If your IP address or DNS requests are visible, you’re not hidden at all. Furthermore, NordVPN has considerably more useful features for all online activities.
NordVPN security features
This service offers an incredible roster of perks, which you can read more about in our NordVPN review. Users are essentially able to customize their VPN experience and benefit from enhanced security in one go. Some of the more notable features are:
- Threat Protection. It blocks ads, web trackers, malicious websites, and infected files and has the option to run deep file scans to detect malware. It runs in the background, so you don’t need to connect to the VPN for Threat Protection to work.
- Obfuscated servers. NordVPN’s version of Stealth VPN, these servers hide all tracks of VPN usage from Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). An incredibly handy feature if you live in a country like China, where internet access is severely restricted.
- Double VPN. Those wanting to maximize their anonymity online can utilize this perk to route internet traffic through two VPN servers instead of one. It results in double the encryption, making you that much harder to trace.
- Onion over VPN. Also known as Tor over VPN, it routes your traffic via multiple nodes of the Tor network. Due to the nature of Tor, this does significantly reduce speed, though.
AdGuard VPN security features
In comparison, AdGuard VPN does not offer much in this aspect. It’s not entirely bare-bones, but the service is cutting pretty close. A subscription to this provider nets you:
- Exclusion lists. These allow you to toggle which websites require a VPN connection to access them and which don’t.
- Several DNS servers. Users have the option to choose a different DNS server from known DNS providers. Or you can configure the VPN to use your own.
- Split tunneling. This feature lets you route VPN traffic only via select apps. Securing just the chosen applications is handy for streaming platforms and torrent clients.
|Logging||Independently-audited no-logs policy||No-logs policy|
|Anonymous payment||Cryptocurrencies, cash||No|
While VPNs shield your online activities, these tools can be used against you. By the provider, we mean, as all user traffic is routed through their servers. Going for a service that does not collect any information is the best choice. The no-logs policy usually indicates this.
NordVPN operates from Panama, a country known for its privacy-friendly laws. It’s far from the watchful gaze of the Fourteen Eyes alliance, so you can rest assured the provider has no incentive to log your data. Moreover, PwC, a trusted cybersecurity consulting firm, has audited its no-logs policy. And the fact you can pay with crypto or cash is the cherry on top.
AdGuard VPN is based in Cyprus, a pretty safe country for a VPN to set up shop data-protection-wise. According to the provider, they adhere to a strict zero-logs policy. But this hasn’t been confirmed, as no audits were ever performed. Another disappointing fact is there are no anonymous payment methods.
|Major dedicated apps||Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android|
|Other dedicated apps||Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick||No|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Brave, Firefox, Edge||Chrome, Firefox, Edge|
|Manual setup||Routers, firewalls, NAS||No|
A proper VPN should allow you to secure anything you want in the household. For this reason, another crucial aspect is broad device compatibility. And if there is no dedicated app for a specific device, manual VPN configuration on a router must be an option.
NordVPN comes in strong with applications for all major operating systems, including Linux. It also supports Android TVs, Amazon FireSticks, and Kodi and has browser extensions for the most popular web browsers. The simultaneous connection count is also decent – six – but if you need more, you can easily install it on your router.
AdGuard VPN, on the other hand, offers very little. It has dedicated apps for Windows, mac, iOS, and Android, but there’s nothing for Linux users. Besides browser add-ons, it doesn’t support any other devices, and, damningly, you can’t even install it on a router. The simultaneous connection limit is alright – 5 – but it might not be enough for some.
|Other Netflix libraries||Yes||Yes|
Due to their nature, VPNs are excellent tools for expanding your streaming options. In most cases, connecting to a server in another country grants you access to that regional library. The tricky part is that not every service can bypass streaming platform geo-blocks. So, who wins in this NordVPN vs AdGuard VPN debate?
NordVPN is often hailed as the best streaming VPN, and not without good reason. It can break through Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and many more platform restrictions.
And because NordLynx powers the connections, you can enjoy videos in glorious HD quality with zero buffering. Another notable aspect is the SmartPlay feature. It allows utilizing the service on devices that don’t natively support VPN technology, like Smart TVs.
AdGuard VPN unblocks Netflix US and a few other regional libraries. It’s also possible to access Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and Hulu, but it struggles with other platforms, i.e., BBC iPlayer. And because the VPN only works on PC and Android & iOS devices, you won’t be able to enjoy shows however you want.
Torrenting and P2P
|Allowed on||All servers||All servers|
|Free SOCKS5 proxy||Yes||No|
|Split tunneling||Yes (Windows, Android, Android TV)||Yes (Windows, mac, Android)|
Not all countries deem torrenting legal, especially since it’s primarily used for downloading copyrighted material. As a result, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) throttle or outright block P2P traffic on their networks. Utilizing a VPN for torrenting helps avoid these issues, letting you download and upload torrents freely.
As far as torrenting VPNs are concerned, NordVPN is an excellent choice. It’s allowed on all servers, and there are plenty of P2P-dedicated ones with optimized speeds. Clients can use either SOCKS5 proxies or split tunneling to secure their torrent clients.
AdGuard VPN also lets customers torrent on all servers, but they’re not optimized for this activity. And you do get the handy split tunneling feature. As for other P2P-oriented perks, this provider has nothing else to offer.
|Works in China||Yes||No|
|Stealth VPN||Yes (obfuscated servers)||No|
|Tor over VPN||Yes (Onion over VPN)||No|
VPNs have become the go-to tools for many people residing in regions where digital censorship runs rampant. In China, it is a must-have, as it shields from government surveillance and allows the average citizen to explore the world wide web. Alas, a suitable VPN for China must be able to bypass the country’s notoriously tough firewall.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone by this point that NordVPN works like a charm in China. This is achieved thanks to two specific features – obfuscated servers and Onion over VPN, both of which we covered before. The combination of them allows users to hide the fact a VPN is being used in the first place, effectively circumventing the Great Firewall of China.
AdGuard VPN doesn’t fare as well in this regard. Technically, all VPN usage tracks are hidden due to the nature of the tunneling protocol, but you’ll get mixed results. It certainly doesn’t help that there is no additional Stealth VPN feature you could toggle on separately.
|24/7 live chat||Yes||No|
Being able to contact knowledgeable professionals whenever an issue arises is a nice thing to have. Better yet if you can do it any time of the day, any day of the week. What do NordVPN and AdGuard VPN have to offer to their customers?
Well, NordVPN isn’t lacking in this aspect. You can get in touch with support via the 24/7 live chat or even send them an email. Moreover, you’ll find an extensive knowledgebase on the provider’s website, ranging from the general FAQ to detailed troubleshooting guides.
AdGuard VPN needs to work on this front as there is no live chat option at all. You can send an email to support, but getting a response could take hours. The knowledgebase at least fares better, and you might find helpful information there.
Best VPN by category
|NordVPN 🥇||AdGuard VPN🥈|
|Speed and servers||Wins✔️||Loses❌|
|Total wins||8 out of 9||1 out of 9|
NordVPN vs AdGuard VPN – which is better?
We have a clear winner by this point, and it’s NordVPN. It’s hard to outperform a service with a global reach, a robust toolkit, and versatility that few other providers can offer. Plus, it doesn’t cost much, and you’re certainly getting your money’s worth.
AdGuard VPN just can’t compare, despite coming from a company lauded for its other online security software. The server network is abysmally small, the few features aren’t worth writing home about, and it’s inadequate in terms of device support. We strongly recommend opting for NordVPN instead.
Is AdGuard VPN safe?
No, AdGuard VPN is not entirely safe to use as it lacks proper IP & DNS leak protection. Multiple users reported experiencing DNS leaks when using the VPN on various devices. You’ll be better off subscribing to a service with a proper security toolkit, like NordVPN.
Is NordVPN better than AdGuard VPN?
Yes, NordVPN is better than AdGuard VPN in many aspects. It has a considerably larger server network, some of the best speeds in the industry, and more versatile features.
Can I use AdGuard AdBlocker with NordVPN?
Yes, the AdGuard AdBlocker is compatible with NordVPN software, so you shouldn’t run into problems when running both. You just have to configure AdBlocker to work in auto proxy mode via Settings.