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.
The providers are essentially quite different, and only one can be the winner at the end of the day. So, let’s dive deeper and see how each provider performs across various categories in our NordVPN vs. AirVPN comparison!
NordVPN vs. AirVPN: specifications
The biggest difference is that NordVPN is extremely user-friendly, while AirVPN is aimed towards users who know VPN software inside and out. With the latter, you have to do a lot of tinkering yourself, otherwise, this service is quite bare-bones and very outdated-looking. If you’re looking for ease of use, a plethora of features you don’t have to configure yourself, and help available 24/7, NordVPN is the way to go.
|⭐Our rating||9.6 ⭐||7.2⭐|
|💸Current offer||Get NordVPN 69% OFF!||Get StrongVPN 66% OFF!|
|💰Price starts from||$2.99/month||$2.19/month|
|💳Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days|
|📖No-logs policy||Independently-audited||Not audited|
|🌐Servers||5800+ servers in 60+ countries||200+ servers in 22+ countries|
|🔒VPN protocols||NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2||WireGuard, OpenVPN|
|🍿 Streaming||Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer||–|
|🖥️Platforms||All major OS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Kodi, routers, firewall, NAS, Roku||Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS, routers|
NordVPN vs AirVPN: pricing
|Plans and payments||NordVPN||AirVPN|
|Free trial||7-days, for Android||3-days|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days|
|Payment options||Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, ACH Transfer, cryptocurrencies, UnionPay, cash||PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Pay, cryptocurrencies, gift vouchers|
While both providers have similar prices, AirVPN has a slight advantage because its plans are a bit cheaper. However, NordVPN offers better value for money because it includes more features and services in its plans. Therefore, our first category is a tie! Let’s see the details.
NordVPN has a 7-day free trial for Android users and a 30-day money-back guarantee for all plans. It offers three regular subscriptions, including:
If these options don’t seem appealing, you may find superior bargains by looking through the available NordVPN coupon codes. Furthermore, you can also choose a plan from two other tiers – Plus and Complete. Plus additionally includes a password manager and a data breach monitor, while Complete ads 1TB of encrypted cloud storage.
Additionally, you can purchase a NordVPN plan with credit cards, PayPal, ACH transfer, Google Pay, and UnionPay. Also, because NordVPN allows crypto and cash payments, you can buy your plan anonymously.
AirVPN provides a 3-day free trial for all users and a 30-day money-back guarantee for all plans. Additionally, it is one of the few VPN providers that offer so many plans, including:
- $2.19 for 3 days
- $7.65 for 1 month
- $5.46/monthfor 3 months
- $5.28/month for 6 months
- $4.46/month for 1 year
- $3.59/month for 2 years
- $3.00/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.
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.
Furthermore, there’s a vast choice of payment options, even letting you pay for the subscription anonymously via crypto or gift vouchers.
Now, let’s see how the providers do in the speed comparison. Namely, NordVPN is the winner of this category because it outperforms its rival.
More specifically, NordVPN has superior speeds because it uses its unique NordLynx protocol. Additionally, with its extensive server fleet of over 5700 servers in 60 countries, NordVPN provides truly global coverage and reliable connections.
On the other hand, AirVPN uses the OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols, which provide excellent and effective performance. However, due to its very limited server range compared to NordVPN, AirVPN has slower speeds and inconsistent connections.
NordVPN vs AirVPN: which is more secure?
|Logging||Independently-audited no-logs policy||No-logs policy|
|Leak protection||DNS, IPv6, WebRTC||DNS, IPv6|
While both providers are great when it comes to security, NordVPN is the winner of this category because of its security practices. Still, some similarities occur between these two. For starters, both use AES-256 encryption, include kill switches, and have no IPv6 or DNS leak issues to speak of.
However, NordVPN does have an edge over AirVPN. Namely, it’s the great jurisdiction (outside of any surveillance alliances), the no-logs policy that’s been audited several times, and RAM-only hardware.
NordVPN is based in Panama, which is a privacy-friendly jurisdiction that is not a member of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance. Because of this, this provider does not have to log, store, or share your data or online activity with the government. And it wouldn’t even be possible to do since the service runs its servers solely on RAM modules.
On the other hand, AirVPN is based in Italy, which is a member of the 14 Eyes Alliance. It might be forced to collect user data and share it with the government if requested. Running the fleet on diskless servers would prevent such a thing from happening, but AirVPN hasn’t implemented any.
Choosing a provider with a no-logs policy is a must. Additionally, to ensure that the policy is valid, it has to be audited. NordVPN has been audited three times, ensuring that its no-logs policy is legit. As a result, you can rest assured that NordVPN will not collect any personal information.
On the other hand, while AirVPN has a no-logs policy as well, it has not been audited by an independent third party. However, to create an AirVPN account, you do not need to provide any personal information or even use a valid email. So, AirVPN does take some extra measures to ensure your privacy.
|Owns all servers||Some||No|
There is no doubt that NordVPN is the winner of the server location category. It has more than 5800 servers in over 60 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 and run on solely on RAM modules.
On the other hand, AirVPN has just around 200+ servers in 22+ 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.
However, such a small server scope is detrimental in several ways. First, you won’t be able to unblock much foreign content. Second, the servers are at a higher risk of congestion, which may lead to bad connectivity and sluggish performance.
|Ad & malware blocker||✅Threat Protection||✅DNS block list|
This category marks yet another clear win for NordVPN, seeing as it offers more features than AirVPN. And you don’t have to configure them yourself, which is a very big plus. But let’s take a closer look at what each provider offers.
Smart DNS is a feature that allows you to use a VPN on devices that do not support VPNs. It’s very useful if you want to bypass geo-blocks on streaming peripherals, for example.
When it comes to NordVPN, the provider has a Smart DNS feature which is called SmartPlay. It allows you to use the VPN on any device you wish, and it also enhances your security because it adds an extra layer of encryption.
Meanwhile, AirVPN does not provide Smart DNS, which can greatly limit your VPN experience. And it’s already pretty limited because this service doesn’t support a lot of devices.
Ad & malware blocker
Having an ad and malware blocker feature is essential for preventing malicious sites and ads. And depending on the service, you might get extra functionality from them.
When it comes to NordVPN, the provider comes with a feature called Threat Protection. It stops user trackers from gathering info about your browsing habits, prevents adware from loading, and prevents you from visiting malicious websites. This tool even scans your downloads (up to 5 GB) for malware.
Meanwhile, AirVPN offers DNS block lists. You can use it to block known sources of ads, spam, malware and so on.
NordVPN provides split tunneling for Windows, Android, and Android TV. This means that you can choose which sites and apps will use the VPN and which will not.
On the other hand, AirVPN has a slight upper hand here because it provides the split tunneling feature across all supported devices.
NordVPN provides obfuscated servers, allowing you to hide the fact that you are using a VPN. Then there’s Double VPN for twice the encryption, Onion over VPN for routing traffic via the Tor Network for maximum anonymity, and P2P-optimized servers for boosting torrenting.
On the other hand, AirVPN does not maintain any specialized servers. However, AirVPN provides OpenVPN over SSL/SSH, allowing you to add an extra SSH/SSL tunnel layer to enhance your security. And you can use certain servers for double-hop.
NordVPN also includes a free SOCKS5 proxy, Invisibility on LAN, Dark Web Monitoring, Meshnet, and more. With AirVPN, you could get more features, but you’d have to configure them yourself. Either you already know how to do it or you’ll have to consult the community forums because there’s no knowledgebase for that.
Netflix and streaming comparison
|Other Netflix libraries||✅Yes||❌No|
|Amazon Prime Video||✅Yes||❌No|
Here, AirVPN loses the battle by a mile. Namely, NordVPN is the clear winner, as it unblocks a plethora of streaming services.
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.
On the other hand, AirVPN is not a good option for streaming, as the AirVPN team itself has made it clear on its forums that streaming is not a priority for them. Of course, you can watch content available in your country, but unblocking and watching content on any major streaming platform is usually unavailable and slow.
|Major dedicated apps||Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android||Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android|
|Other dedicated apps||Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, Chromebook, Kodi add-on||Android TV, Fire OS|
|Browser extensions||Chrome (and Chromium-based browsers), Brave, Edge, Firefox, Opera||–|
|Manual setup||Routers, firewalls, NAS, Roku, gaming consoles||Routers|
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.
You can install NordVPN and AirVPN on Windows and macOS. The user experience will be wildly different, though.
NordVPN is all about user-friendliness, so you get a streamlined design that’s very easy to follow. There’s an interactive server map and everything’s neatly categorized according to purpose. Both Windows and macOS clients are nearly identical, apart from the split tunneling feature missing on the latter.
When it comes to AirVPN, you’ll either feel a bit nostalgic about the outdated 00s design or find it instantly unappealing. It doesn’t look the best and there’s not much to do on it, either.
AirVPN and NordVPN also offer dedicated applications for Android and iOS. And yet again, while NordVPN remains sleek and simple, AirVPN makes its simplicity plain ugly.
NordVPN tries to make the apps as similar to their desktop counterparts as possible. However, the iOS client lacks a couple of features, namely split tunneling and Tapjacking Protection. But the level of security remains the same.
AirVPN somehow manages to make the mobile apps even more cluttered than their PC versions. And as the computer clients, there’s not much to do here, too.
|Allowed on||✅All servers||✅All servers|
|Free SOCKS5 proxy||✅Yes||❌No|
|Split tunneling||✅Yes (Windows, Android, and Android TV)||✅Yes|
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, Android, and Android TV users.
On the other hand, AirVPN does not provide specialized P2P servers but does support P2P traffic and port forwarding. Still, it does not have a SOCKS5 proxy, and its performance is slower compared to NordVPN.
|Works in China||✅Yes||✅Yes|
|Stealth VPN||✅Yes (Obfuscated servers)||✅Yes (OpenVPN over SSL/SSH)|
|Tor over VPN||✅Yes (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.
Namely, NordVPN provides obfuscated servers that hide that you are using a VPN, enabling it to bypass China’s online censorship expertly. Additionally, it comes with Onion over VPN servers, providing an extra security layer when you use the Tor network. And you get the Double VPN feature, which redirects your traffic through two servers before sending it to its final destination.
On the other hand, AirVPN provides OpenVPN over SSL/SSH, allowing you to switch to OpenVPN via an SSL or SSH tunneling layer, making the process more secure. Additionally, it comes with Tor over VPN, allowing for a safer experience. However, these have to be configured by the users themselves as they don’t come available out-of-the-box.
|24/7 live chat||✅Yes||❌No|
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.
NordVPN vs AirVPN – which is better?
|Total wins||8 out of 10||0 out of 10|
It should come as no surprise that NordVPN is the overall winner of this competition. It blazed through the speed and server category with their NordLynx protocol and huge server infrastructure. Then it followed up with a winning streak in security, privacy, compatibility, and streaming.
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.
Is NordVPN better than AirVPN?
Yes, NordVPN is better than AirVPN. It offers better speed, superior streaming capabilities, 24/7 customer support, obfuscated servers, Smart DNS, and many other benefits that AirVPN does not provide.
Which is faster – NordVPN or AirVPN?
NordVPN is faster than AirVPN because its extensive server range of over 5800 servers in 60+ countries is much larger than that of AirVPN, which maintains 200+ servers in 22+ countries. Additionally, NordVPN uses its unique NordLynx protocol, which further enhances the speed of its services.
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 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.