McAfee is one of the recognizable names in the antivirus industry thanks to its longevity and notoriety of its founder. Unsurprisingly, the company is expanding beyond virus protection and provides a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for web security and privacy.
On the flip side, we have Nord Security. It started as a VPN and grew into an established cybersecurity tool with bonus password management and cloud storage services.
Curious to know how these giants with different roads to success fare against each other? So are we! So let’s compare NordVPN vs McAfee VPN to see which one is the superior product in various VPN-relevant categories.
NordVPN vs McAfee VPN comparison highlights
|Our rating||9.6 ⭐||4.8 ⭐|
|Current offer||Get NordVPN 68% OFF!||Get McAfee VPN 58% OFF!|
|Price starts from||$3.09/month||$1.66/month|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days|
|No-logs policy||Independently-audited||More than minimal logging|
|Servers||5500+ servers in 59+ countries||2000+ servers in 50+ countries|
|VPN protocols||NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2||Hydra|
|Streaming||Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more||No|
To start, let’s have a look at how NordVPN and McAfee VPN perform in the connection speed department. This area is crucial for virtual private network providers since it influences other aspects, such as video streaming and torrenting.
NordVPN is known as one of the fastest VPN providers, thanks to its in-house NordLynx tunneling protocol. It improves the open-source WireGuard protocol and leaves the competition in the dust.
On the other hand, McAfee Safe Connect VPN utilizes the Hydra protocol that Hotspot Shield developed. The technology is pretty fast and earned Hotspot Shield the title of “World’s fastest VPN” from Ookla in 2020. Whether the same applies to McAfee VPN is debatable since the server network is a bit inferior to NordVPN’s fleet.
You can glance at our VPN speed test for up-to-date performance information of some of the industry’s most well-known players.
|All physical servers||Yes||No|
|Owns all servers||No||No|
Server hardware is a crucial aspect for virtual private networks since it affects speed and provides access to foreign content. A wider selection is usually better, but the underlying technology also matters.
NordVPN excels in both areas, with 5500+ physical servers in 59+ countries. Furthermore, the majority of the fleet is utilizing RAM-only technology to prevent long-term data storage on hard drives.
Meanwhile, McAfee VPN has 2000+ servers in 50+ countries. The numbers are impressive, but there’s nothing extraordinary about the under-the-hood workings of the network.
McAfee VPN vs NordVPN pricing
|Free trial||7 days on the Google Play Store||N/A|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days|
|Payment options||Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, ACH Transfer, cryptocurrencies, UnionPay, cash||Credit card|
The two providers are pretty different in the pricing department. Firstly, NordVPN offers a free trial as a way to test out the service without commitment. On the opposite side, McAfee VPN has a free version that provides a 250MB monthly data cap and other limitations.
Subscription options are what you’d expect, and have full-priced monthly options and discounted long-term plans. Unsurprisingly, both services come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. And while NordVPN has a lengthier plan, McAfee VPN ends up the cheaper of the two.
NordVPN customers have a choice between three subscription plans:
- $11.99 when paying every month
- $4.99/month when paying annually
- $3.09/month when paying every two years
The most-extended option grants a generous 68% discount. Of course, it’s also possible to find alternative deals by using a valid NordVPN coupon code at checkout. Otherwise, a risk-free option exists on the Google Play Store in the form of a NordVPN 7-day free trial.
Buyers can also expand the typical subscription and purchase a dedicated IP address. Five country choices are available (USA, UK, Netherlands, France, Germany) and will set customers back $89.00/year.
NordVPN gives plenty of options for buyers to say farewell to their money. Conventional methods include credit cards, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and ACH transfer. Meanwhile, privacy enthusiasts can rejoice at the ability to purchase NordVPN anonymously with cryptocurrencies or with cash at retail stores.
McAfee VPN pricing
McAfee Safe Connect VPN provides two pricing options:
- $7.99/month on the monthly plan
- $1.66/month on the annual plan
The yearly plan offers 58% in savings on the first year. After that, the price jumps to $47.99/year, which translates to roughly $3.99/month.
Since McAfee is a wide-reaching cybersecurity company, it offers a multitude of different bundles with other security products. As such, it might be even better to purchase a whole stack of products rather than just the standalone VPN. However, we recommend browsing through the available VPN coupons to see if you can find an alternative deal.
|Protocols||NordLynx, OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP, IKEv2||Hydra|
|Security features||Double VPN, Onion over VPN, CyberSec, SOCKS5 proxy, Obfuscated servers, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, split tunneling, kill switch||Split tunneling (Android), kill switch (Windows)|
Any virtual private network worth its salt will have the crucial elements to prevent the most basic data leaks. For example, it needs military-grade encryption to ensure that your online traffic remains uncrackable to potential onlookers. Additionally, it should come equipped with a reliable kill switch to shut off all web traffic if the VPN connection drops unexpectedly.
NordVPN and McAfee VPN have these essentials covered, but NordVPN is also packed with a load of extra features. Meanwhile, McAfee VPN relies on supplemental applications that need a separate subscription. Therefore, NordVPN is the clear winner in terms of security.
NordVPN security features
NordVPN customers gain access to an impressive arsenal of features for dealing with various online threats. This abundance of protection makes this provider one of the best VPN services overall. We’ll highlight a few features here, but you can find the full list on our full NordVPN review.
- CyberSec. Once toggled on, this feature blocks domains used for distributing malicious ads, phishing attacks, and malware.
- Split tunneling. Available on Windows, Android, and Android TV. Split tunneling allows users to customize which apps should gain VPN tunnel exclusivity or vice versa.
- Obfuscated servers. Restrictive networks use DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) to discover VPN traffic and block it. With Obfuscated Servers, your activities appear as regular HTTPS traffic and remain undetected.
- Threat protection. Currently in beta, this feature improves your digital security further by blocking online trackers and harmful files from entering your system.
- Onion over VPN. The Tor Network uses a worldwide fleet of volunteer-operated computers to maintain anonymity. You can use Onion over VPN to combine this network with a VPN connection.
McAfee VPN security features
By itself, McAfee VPN is pretty weak in the security department. The company expects you to fill in the gaps by purchasing other applications. Therefore, the virtual private network is fairly bare-bones and doesn’t bring much to the table.
For starters, only the Android version comes packed with split tunneling capabilities. Meanwhile, the essential VPN kill switch is exclusive to the Windows application. This inconsistency is disappointing since you’re not getting the necessary security on all of your devices.
You can get a deeper look into the pros and cons of this provider by reading our McAfee VPN review.
|Logging||Independently-audited no-logs policy||More than minimal|
|Anonymous payment||Cryptocurrencies, cash||No|
Maintaining anonymity and privacy is a crucial aspect for the majority of virtual private network customers. In this McAfee vs NordVPN comparison, we’ll see how radically different two providers can look in this category.
Let’s begin with the superior option – NordVPN. First, its jurisdiction is in Panama, a confidential haven with little to no government overreach. Additionally, the service went through multiple third-party zero-logs policy audits and passed them with flying colors. If that wasn’t enough, customers could minimize the amount of shared personal information by purchasing a subscription anonymously using cryptocurrencies or cash.
“We automatically collect information about your interactions with the Products and Services as well as devices on which the Products and Services are installed. In some cases, we automatically collect information about other devices connected to the same network as the device on which the Products and Services are installed.”
This is just the tip of the data-hogging iceberg that the company conducts. If you value your privacy even a tiny bit, go with NordVPN and definitely not McAfee VPN.
|Major dedicated apps||Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android||Windows, iOS, Android|
|Other dedicated apps||Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick||N/A|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox||N/A|
|Manual setup||Routers, firewalls, NAS||N/A|
A VPN can provide well-rounded security only if it’s compatible with the devices in your household. Otherwise, you’re left with gaps for precious data to leak through.
There’s no risk of that happening if you’re using NordVPN. It has dedicated apps for the most popular desktop and mobile devices. Additionally, it’s compatible with widely-used home-entertainment systems, such as Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick. Meanwhile, exclusive protection for web browsers is possible by installing an extension on Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
Finally, users can guarantee complete home security by installing the VPN on a router. Then all devices on that network will reap the benefits of a virtual private network. Best of all, one subscription permits six simultaneous connections.
McAfee VPN pales in comparison and is only available on Windows, iOS, and Android. Plus, customers can use one account to protect five different devices at the same time.
|Other Netflix libraries||Yes||No|
If you don’t care about privacy, your priority is most likely getting around geographical restrictions by popular streaming platforms. If that’s the case, you should go with a specialized VPN for streaming that’s fast, packed with servers, and compatible with your preferred home theater.
Unsurprisingly, NordVPN is a solid choice in this regard. Using NordLynx, users can enjoy foreign content in UHD quality with zero buffering. Plus, it works wonderfully at changing your region on Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, and countless other platforms.
McAfee VPN performs terribly in this scenario and isn’t recommended for streaming. It couldn’t unlock bonus streaming content and isn’t worth considering since the provider has abysmal device compatibility.
Torrenting and P2P
|Allowed on||All servers||All servers|
|Free SOCKS5 proxy||Yes||No|
|Split tunneling||Yes (Windows, Android, Android TV)||Yes (Android)|
VPN providers usually restrict P2P traffic in server locations where torrenting is illegal. Thankfully, not all services are so prohibitive, and the two in this comparison are among those with zero limitations.
NordVPN is considered one of the best VPNs for torrenting, thanks to its ludicrous download speeds, free SOCKS5 proxy, optimized P2P servers, and split tunneling. Some enthusiasts will miss port forwarding, but plenty of other providers have this feature.
McAfee Secure Connect is a decent option for torrenting, although it lacks substantial safeguards against IP or DNS leaks. Plus, potential buyers should consider the previously mentioned security and privacy flaws.
|Works in China||Yes||No|
|Stealth VPN||Yes (Obfuscated Servers)||No|
|Tor over VPN||Yes (Onion over VPN)||No|
Circumventing mass censorship and surveillance methods, for example, the Great Firewall of China, requires serious technical prowess. Few services can do that consistently and make it on our list of best VPNs for China.
Unsurprisingly, NordVPN makes the cut thanks to an abundance of features for combating DPI. Customers can switch between Obfuscated and Onion over VPN servers if either one isn’t working. Plus, it’s crucial to download the software before visiting as VPN websites are usually blocked in China and similar countries.
Once again, McAfee VPN is caught in a category that it’s ill-equipped for. You’ll be better off opting with NordVPN even if you’re not bogged down by online censorship.
|24/7 live chat||Yes||Yes|
VPN users will inevitably run into problems since the software is used in so many scenarios and can be prone to issues. Users can quickly and easily fix various issues by reaching out to customer support. Ideally, it’s available 24/7 via live chat for convenience. However, providers should also include online guides and email communication for in-depth troubleshooting.
NordVPN ticks all the boxes and offers tons of resources for customers to sift through. Shockingly, McAfee VPN one-ups its competitor in this category with the addition of phone line support. It’s a common addition for large corporations that have multiple products under their belts.
Best VPN by category
|Speed and servers||Wins✔️||Loses❌|
|Total wins||7 out of 9||2 out of 9|
NordVPN vs McAfee VPN – which is better?
It should come as no surprise that NordVPN emerged victorious in this McAfee vs NordVPN comparison. It’s superior in all aspects and does not leave users disappointed. On the other hand, McAfee VPN is cheaper and provides slightly more options for contacting customer service. But do you want a provider so cheap that it makes you want to call them on the phone about how frustrated you are? If not, get NordVPN!
Are you willing to use McAfee Safe Connect VPN after reading this comparison with NordVPN? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment!
Does NordVPN help with virus protection?
Not entirely. NordVPN has Threat Protection, which blocks online trackers and domains used for malicious ads and phishing attacks. It can also detect malware and remove it from your device securely. However, the feature is still in beta testing and might not work as expected.
Is VPN from McAfee safe?
McAfee VPN uses AES-256 encryption and provides the bare minimum in terms of security. However, it lacks any bonus features and even a kill switch on some platforms. Besides that, it logs excessive information about your device and can’t be considered private.
Can a VPN protect you from malware?
No, not all VPNs are equipped with features against malware. Most services can block domains used for distributing infected files and other online threats. However, if malware ends up on your device through other means, a VPN won’t save you. Your best bet is to use a VPN that has bonus antivirus capabilities. One such service is Surfshark.