AirVPN vs NordVPN comparison in 2021

Last updated: March 25, 2021
NordVPN vs AirVPN

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NordVPN is arguably the most well-known VPN in the world. They’ve made quite a name for themselves by having a well-performing product, constantly improving themselves, and setting trends for other VPNs to follow. Their software is easy to use and works well on a wide variety of devices, making it a great choice for any use-case.

Compare that with AirVPN – a service that has not changed much over the years, but has a clear vision and a small, dedicated following of privacy enthusiasts. It may not seem like much, but it’s very customizable if you know what you’re doing.

At first glance, these two providers have little in common. NordVPN has over 5500 servers in 59+ countries, while AirVPN has merely 240+ in around 20 countries. NordVPN is also one of the best services at unblocking restricted content on streaming services like Netflix. Meanwhile, AirVPN is not prioritizing that and simply does not work. However, both are fairly capable at getting around censorship in countries like China. Regardless, NordVPN has plenty of other features as well and is overall the better security app.

There are many more categories to cover in this AirVPN vs NordVPN comparison. So let’s not beat around the bush and start off with an overview of their speed and servers.

Highlights

NordVPNAirVPN
Our rating9.6⭐7.2⭐
“Best for” nomineeBest overall, Best for Netflix, Best for P2P, Best for ChinaBest no-logs provider
Price starts from$3.71/month$2.40
ReviewNordVPN reviewAirVPN review
Websitenordvpn.comairvpn.org

Speed comparison

When it comes to speed, NordVPN is the clear winner. Their NordLynx protocol, which is based on WireGuard, provides an insane speed boost compared to the competition. AirVPN is left in the dust by only having OpenVPN as their tunneling protocol. Further manual tests and user reviews can confirm this. You can also have a look at our in-house speed testing tool to see the speed disparity between WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols.

Server overview

NordVPNAirVPN
Servers5500+240+
Countries59+20+
Physical serversAllAll
Owns all serversNot allNo
RAM-only serversNot allNo
P2P serversYesYes

NordVPN has more than 5500 servers in over 59 countries. Some of their servers are specifically optimized for P2P traffic and you’ll be reconnected to those if P2P traffic is detected. Additionally, all of their servers are physical, meaning there are no virtual servers in their fleet.

On the other hand, AirVPN has just around 240+ servers in 20+ countries globally. It’s not much, but they do have high standards and it’s possible to view the server load online. Just like their opponent, all of their servers are physical.

Pricing and plans

NordVPNAirVPN
Free trial7-days for new users on Android3-days, ask customer support
One month$11.95/month$8.39/month
One year$4.92/month$4.89/month
Two years$3.71/month$3.94/month
Money-back guarantee30 days30 days
Payment optionsCredit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, ACH Transfer, cryptocurrencies, UnionPayCredit card, PayPal, cryptocurrencies

NordVPN provides their clients with 3 pricing plans – a single month costs $11.95, a year’s subscription costs $4.92/month and two years cost $3.71/month. A free trial is available for new users when getting the app on Android through the Google Play app store. You’ll have to add your credit card information and you’ll be charged unless you cancel the subscription. .

AirVPN boasts 7 pricing tiers – from three days to three years. They are as follows:

  • $2.40 for 3 days
  • $8.39 for 1 month
  • $5.99/monthfor 3 months
  • $5.79/month for 6 months
  • $4.89/month for 1 year
  • $3.94/month for 2 years
  • $3.30/month for 3 years

Unsurprisingly, the longest subscription options are the cheapest, but it’s uncommon to see so many options. You can get a free trial on any platform by simply contacting customer support.

Both services provide you with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Both can also be paid for with cryptocurrencies. However, neither service has a free version.

AirVPN provides a good amount of choices in terms of pricing, and their longest subscription plan is a bit cheaper than NordVPNs best plan, making it the winner in this category.

Security

NordVPNAirVPN
EncryptionMilitary-gradeMilitary-grade
ProtocolsNordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2OpenVPN (TCP, UDP)
Kill switchInternet kill switch, app kill switchInternet kill switch
DNS and IP leaksNo leaksNo leaks
Security featuresSplit tunneling (Windows, Android), Double VPN, Onion over VPN, CyberSec, SOCKS5 proxy, Obfuscated servers, DNS and IPv6 leak protectionSplit tunneling, OpenVPN over SSL/SSH, Tor over VPN, DNS and IPv6 leak protection

In the security realm, some similarities occur between these two. For starters, both are using military-grade AES-256 encryption. They also support the widely-used OpenVPN protocol, have internet kill switches, have no IPv6 or DNS leak issues, have Tor over VPN, and split tunneling. Quite an impressive suite of features.

However, NordVPN does have a slight edge over AirVPN. For starters, NordVPN has two extra tunneling protocols – NordLynx and IKEv2. Secondly, they have Double VPN for more security, CyberSec to block malware and phishing websites, a SOCKS5 proxy, and obfuscated servers for use in oppressive countries.

Meanwhile, AirVPN allows you to customize your OpenVPN connection by choosing your entry ports, switching between TCP and UDP, or adding an extra SSH/SSL tunnel layer.

This duo has some common ground in terms of security, but the scales tip in favor of NordVPN due to the larger number of features.

Privacy

NordVPNAirVPN
JurisdictionPanamaItaly
LoggingIndependently-audited no-logs policyNo-logs policy
Anonymous paymentCryptocurrenciesCryptocurrencies

When we look at the privacy policies of these two, there’s hardly anything faulty going on. Except that AirVPN is based in Italy, which is a member of the Fourteen Eyes alliance. But they do have a no-logs policy and plenty of anonymous payment options.

NordVPN is based in Panama, a safe haven of privacy. Their no-logging policy has been audited independently and they have a wide variety of payment options to choose from, anonymous payment included. These little extra steps put NordVPN slightly ahead in terms of privacy.

Compatibility with devices

NordVPNAirVPN
Major dedicated appsWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Linux, Android
Other dedicated appsFire TV & Fire Stick, Android TVN/A
Browser extensionsChrome, Firefox, EdgeN/A
Manual setupRouters, firewalls, NASRouters, ChromeOS, iOS
Simultaneous devices65

If you’re looking for a universally-compatible VPN, NordVPN is, without a doubt, the one for you. It has dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick, and Android TV. If that’s not enough, there are browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Manual configuration is possible for routers, firewalls, and NAS (Network Access Storage), and it can be installed as an add-on for Kodi.

And what about AirVPN? Well, they have apps for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android. Not iOS though – you’ll have to manually configure that, along with your router and ChromeOS laptop. Finally, you’re limited to only 5 simultaneous connections, compared to the 6 with NordVPN.

Netflix and other streaming platforms

NordVPNAirVPN
Netflix USYesNo
Other Netflix librariesYesNo
Other platformsYesNo
Smart DNSSmartPlayNo

NordVPN is one of the top choices when it comes to streaming. They have no problem unblocking geo-restrictions on Netflix US and other libraries like the UK, Canada, or even Japan. Other streaming platforms, like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer are similarly not an issue for this VPN. Their SmartPlay feature is quite capable and is updated constantly.

AirVPN, on the other hand, has thrown in the towel. Streaming, and Netflix in particular, is not a priority for this VPN. They have made this clear in their forums. You can still watch what’s available in your country, but don’t expect to unblock extra content.

Torrenting and P2P

NordVPNAirVPN
Allowed onAll serversAll servers
Free SOCKS5 proxyYesNo
Split tunnelingYes (Windows, Android)Yes
Port forwardingNoYes

Both services are a viable option for torrenting as P2P traffic is possible using both VPNs. However, NordVPN does have specialized P2P servers for that extra speed boost. There’s also A SOCKS5 proxy for the added layer of security, and split tunneling, but only for Windows and Android users.

AirVPN does not come with a SOCKS5 proxy. Nevertheless, they gain the upper hand by having split tunneling on all platforms and even having port forwarding.

China and other restricted countries

NordVPNAirVPN
Works in ChinaYesYes
Stealth VPNYes (Obfuscated servers)Yes (OpenVPN over SSL/SSH)
Tor over VPNYes (Onion over VPN)Yes

Both NordVPN and AirVPN agree that freedom of speech is important. That’s why they are working hard to provide customers with as many options as possible to get around any kind of censorship.

As such, either one is a good option to use in China. For NordVPN use in China, you simply need to enable obfuscated servers in the settings menu and you’re good to go. With AirVPN, you can switch to OpenVPN with an SSH or SSL tunneling layer. Both VPNs can also be configured to work in tandem with the Tor Browser.

Customer support

NordVPNAirVPN
24/7YesNo
Live chatYesNo
Phone lineNoNo
EmailYesYes
KnowledgebaseYesCommunity forums

In the realm of customer support, there’s a bit of disparity between these two providers. NordVPN has everything you’d expect from a big player on the market – 24/7 availability, live chat, email communication, and an extensive number of self-help guides.

Out of those, AirVPN only has email communication and a community forum as an alternative to a support page. However, the forum is by no means subpar and is actually quite active. You’ll find a lot of valuable information there and AirVPN employees themselves will post there quite often. Still, that doesn’t compare to the convenience of live chat and so NordVPN is the victor in this regard.

Comparison by category

NordVPNAirVPN
Speed and serversWins✔️Loses❌
PricingLoses❌Wins✔️
SecurityWins✔️Loses❌
PrivacyWins✔️Loses❌
CompatibilityWins✔️Loses❌
StreamingWins✔️Loses❌
TorrentingLoses❌Wins✔️
ChinaTieTie
Customer supportWins✔️Loses❌
Total wins6 out of 92 out of 9

NordVPN vs AirVPN – which is better?

It should come as no surprise that NordVPN is the overall winner of this competition. Even though AirVPN is run by a small team of dedicated hackers, a big team can accomplish more and maintain a larger number of features.

NordVPN blazed through the speed and server category with their NordLynx protocol and huge server infrastructure. AirVPN didn’t have much of a chance with only OpenVPN as their tunneling protocol and a small number of servers. But they recovered in the pricing category by having more plan options and being slightly cheaper.

NordVPN followed up with a winning streak in security, privacy, compatibility, and streaming. It wasn’t completely one-sided though, as AirVPN netted another victory in torrenting by having the port forwarding feature.

The duo put aside their differences and agreed that getting around oppressive restrictions is worth the effort. But then NordVPN once again gained a point with their outstanding customer support.

The verdict – NordVPN does not pull any punches and is a well-rounded VPN with many use-cases. AirVPN is operated by a smaller team and thus does not have the number of bells and whistles that their opponent has. But it’s slightly cheaper and VPN enthusiasts could find their customizability appealing.

Which provider do you prefer? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Recommended reads:

NordVPN vs CyberGhost

NordVPN vs Surfshark

AirVPN vs PIA

FAQ

Does AirVPN work with Netflix?

Unfortunately, AirVPN does not work with Netflix and the team is not working towards fixing this. You’ll be better off with a different provider, such as NordVPN.

Is AirVPN secure?

AirVPN is based in Italy, has a no-logs policy and a good number of necessary security features. It can also be tinkered with extensively to suit your personal security needs.

Is NordVPN trustworthy?

NordVPN has been in the VPN industry for a long time and is still trusted by a large number of customers. It has also been independently audited numerous times to ensure security.

Can you be tracked using NordVPN?

No, you cannot because NordVPN encrypts your entire web traffic and no one is able to decipher it. They also have a no-logs policy, meaning they don’t store any information about you.

Top VPN providers
NordVPN
9.6 / 10
30-day money-back guarantee
Military grade encryption
Friendly support
Surfshark VPN
9.4 / 10
Strong encryption
Excellent performance
Unlimited simultaneous connections

Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.

5 comments
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  1. Peng Mai

    I think it would be hard for any VPN to match up against Nord. With it’s fast connection speeds, great customer service and a very competitive pricing structure, they are definitely a top of the line service. I like that they also offer a 30-day money back guarantee. I use NordVPN when I travel and I have no complaints about their service.


  2. Nordine M

    I would have chose NordVPN even without reading the article. I’ve heard so much good things about this VPN, I’m convinced it’s the best on the market ! Thanks for the comparison though.


  3. Bailey Bryce

    I had my thoughts on NordVPN going into this article, but your comparison cemented my opinion. NordVPN is the Rolls Royce of VPN’s. Its policies, server locations, and assorted tools make it the VPN to get for anyone looking for fast connections, security, and the ability to maintain their privacy. The price is worth every penny IMO.


  4. Gail_Matthias

    NordVPN has the biggest server list in the entire VPN industry. I.e: 4800 servers in 62 countries. Moreover, it has wide protocol support that can protect your connection with ease.


  5. Asmara89

    Indeed NordVPN sounds like the best option, mostly because it’s a Panama based VPN and the CyberSec feature does seem very interesting and useful. I wasn’t sure which VPN to choose, but now I know where to go. Thanks for this article.

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