A VPN can come in handy for many things, for example, streaming, torrenting, bypassing geo-restrictions, and enhancing your cybersecurity. Luckily, you can choose from many VPNs nowadays, but you need to find the right choice. Today, we’ll explore two decent VPN providers – NordVPN and McAfee.
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: specifications
NordVPN comes in hot with the best speeds in the industry, a vast server network, great torrenting & P2P capabilities, and a top-notch security toolkit able to break through The Great Firewall of China. It also comes with a broad and versatile toolkit, leaving McAfee VPN in the dust.
|Get NordVPN 67% OFF!
|Get McAfee VPN 58% OFF!
|💰Price starts from
|More than minimal logging
|6000+ servers in 61+ countries
|2000+ servers in 50+ countries
|NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2
|Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more
|Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, BBC iPlayer
|All major OS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Kodi, routers, firewall, NAS, Roku
|Windows, ChromeOS, Android, iOS
McAfee VPN vs NordVPN: pricing
|Plans and payments
|7-day, for Android
|Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, ACH Transfer, cryptocurrencies, UnionPay, cash
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 comes with 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, however, you’re not getting much feature and functionality-wise, either.
NordVPN customers have a choice between three subscription plans:
- $12.99 when paying every month
- $4.99/month when paying annually
- $3.39/month when paying every two years
The most-extended option grants a generous 67% 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.
Furthermore, the other subscription tiers are Plus and Complete. Plus plans include a password manager and a data breach monitor, while the Complete subscriptions throw in 1TB of secure cloud storage as extra.
Buyers can also expand the typical subscription and purchase a dedicated IP address. The current country choices include the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Spain.
NordVPN allows you to pay with your credit or debit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, UnionPay, ACH Transfer, or even cryptocurrencies. The best part is that due to accepting cryptocurrencies, you will be able to make anonymous payments.
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. You can additionally get an antivirus, Firewall, File shredder, Web protection, Identity monitoring, Assisted ID restoration, and Password manager. This will automatically cost extra, though.
Regarding payment methods, McAfee is quite limited. You can pay only with your credit card, which is not exactly ideal. The lack of any anonymous payments isn’t exactly ideal, either.
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. Our testing has shown multiple times that NordVPN manages to retain 90% of the initial connection speed, which few competitors are able to live up to.
On the other hand, McAfee Safe Connect VPN utilizes the Hydra protocol that Hotspot Shield developed. And while it is speedy, it can’t keep up with NordLynx. And the smaller server network also throws a wrench into the works.
NordVPN vs. McAfee VPN: which is more secure?
|Independently-audited no-logs policy
|DNS, IPv6, WebRTC
Any virtual private network worth its salt will have the crucial elements to prevent the most basic data leaks. For example, it needs AES-256 encryption to ensure that your online traffic remains uncrackable, a reliable kill switch to shut off all web traffic if the VPN connection drops unexpectedly, and IP & DNS leak protection to ensure, well, that no leaks happen.
Both VPNs have the essentials covered, but only NordVPN takes the extra steps to ensure user privacy. This provider is outside the influence of the Eyes alliance, has undergone several independent audits to prove their no-logs policy’s veracity, and utilizes RAM modules to wipe data from their servers on every reboot. Does McAfee VPN do this? The short answer is no.
Another reason why NordVPN is again the winner is that it’s located in a privacy-friendly country – Panama. In other words, it’s not part of any Alliance, meaning it won’t collect any data about you or your online activities.
On the opposite side of the spectrum lies McAfee VPN. It’s based in the United States, a founding member of the problematic Five Eyes alliance. Therefore, the provider may collect your personal data and expose it to the government if they receive such a request from the authorities.
The no-logs policy is crucial for ensuring customers of the VPN’s reliability. Fortunately, NordVPN 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.
|All physical servers
|Owns all servers
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 6000+ physical servers in 61+ countries. Furthermore, the whole fleet utilizes RAM-only technology to prevent long-term data storage on hard drives. All servers are physically located in their respective countries, which incrementally increases performance. And the company operates some of the data centers itself, minimizing the risk of third-party tampering.
Meanwhile, McAfee VPN has 2000+ servers in 50+ countries. The numbers are good, but there’s nothing extraordinary about the under-the-hood workings of the network. This service has plenty of virtual servers and has left the maintenance of the hardware in third-party hands.
|Ad & malware blocker
As we saw previously, both services come with the necessary essential features, but NordVPN is also packed with a load of extra ones. Meanwhile, McAfee VPN relies on supplemental applications that need a separate subscription. Therefore, NordVPN is the clear winner here.
The Smart DNS feature allows you to use the VPN even on devices that don’t support VPN usage. It is especially great when you want to change your region on streaming peripherals, which usually don’t support such software.
Luckily, NordVPN implements a Smart DNS feature, which you can find as SmartPlay. But that’s not all. This feature provides additional security, leaving you protected across all devices.
On the other hand, McAfee VPN doesn’t come with a Smart DNS feature, which limits its usage only to the officially supported devices. And the number of gadgets that McAfee VPN has applications for is abysmal to say the least.
Ad & malware blocker
Only NordVPN includes such a feature. It’s aptly called Threat Protection and it blocks adware, disables user trackers, and prevents users from visiting websites known for hosting malware and scams. Furthermore, it even scans your downloads for malicious software.
Threat Protection is available on Windows and macOS, while a Lite version is included on Android, iOS, and browser extensions. And it works quietly in the background since the feature doesn’t require a VPN connection.
As you may guess, NordVPN comes with a split tunneling feature for Android, Windows, and Android TV. This feature enables you to route your VPN traffic through particular apps, excluding the rest from the encrypted tunnel. As a result, you get faster speeds.
McAfee VPN also comes with a split tunneling feature, but it’s limited only to Android users.
Again, only one competitor offers any kind of specialty servers, and that’s NordVPN.
- 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. Thus, you are able to use the VPN in internet-restrictive countries, like China.
- Onion over VPN. The Tor Network uses a worldwide fleet of volunteer-operated computers to maintain privacy. You can use Onion over VPN to combine this network with a VPN connection for maximum anonymity.
- Double VPN servers. It lets you connect to two VPN servers instead of one, encrypting your traffic twice for double the protection. It comes at the cost of performance, so keep that in mind before enabling it.
- P2P-optimized servers. Optimized for torrenting, boosting your download and upload rates.
By itself, McAfee VPN is pretty weak in the security department. The company expects you to fill in the gaps by purchasing other applications, so you don’t get much else. In the meanwhile, NordVPN additionally throws in SOCKS5 proxy, Invisibility on LAN, Dark Web Monitoring, and Meshnet.
Netflix and streaming comparison
|Other Netflix libraries
|Amazon Prime Video
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. And you can access all the top streaming platforms, such as Netflix US, other Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max. Another significant factor that distinguishes NordVPN is its SmartPlay feature, which plays a huge role in seamless content unblocking.
In comparison, McAfee VPN unblocks a smaller number of streaming platforms. It’s better than nothing, but you’ll only be able to watch TV shows and movies on your phone or computer.
|Major dedicated apps
|Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
|Windows, ChromeOS, iOS, Android
|Other dedicated apps
|Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, Chromebook, Kodi add-on
|Chrome (and Chromium-based browsers), Brave, Edge, Firefox, Opera
|Routers, firewalls, NAS, Roku, gaming consoles
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 Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and plenty of other browsers.
McAfee VPN only pales in comparison and is only available on Windows, ChromeOS, iOS, and Android.
While both VPN services have applications for Windows, only NordVPN offers one for macOS. We appreciate the simplistic designs and intuitive interfaces, making them nice choices for VPN beginners. However, NordVPN additionally includes an interactive server map.
Speaking of NordVPN’s PC clients, you benefit from robust security whether you’re using the Windows or the macOS app. And the feature toolkit remains identical, apart from the split tunneling perk missing on macOS. Still, you get plenty of functionality.
McAfee, on the other hand, only offers a Windows client, essentially throwing Apple computer owners overboard without a life raft. At least the sole app is neat, but the lack of any worthwhile features is severely disappointing.
If you decide to install your VPN on a mobile device, there isn’t much difference. Both VPNs offer apps for Android and iOS. Again, the clients are easy to use, so switching between desktop and mobile won’t cause a headache.
NordVPN maintains high quality mobile apps which retain the same level of security. But we’re noticing a trend when it comes to split tunneling – it’s unavailable on iOS.
McAfee VPN also tries to keep the apps identical. What we didn’t like is that you can’t select a particular server in a country, the client assigns you one when connected and you just have to take it as is. Furthermore, the iOS application was very buggy, and we couldn’t establish a secure VPN connection several times.
|Free SOCKS5 proxy
|✅Yes (Windows, Android, and Android TV)
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 speeds for faster file downloading and uploading. Plus, potential buyers should consider the previously mentioned security and privacy flaws.
|Works in China
|✅Yes (Obfuscated servers)
|Tor over VPN
|✅Yes (Onion over VPN)
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.
Unfortunately, McAfee doesn’t bypass Chinese restrictions so well. This is because it lacks obfuscated servers, or any other measures to hide VPN traffic. You’ll be better off opting with NordVPN even if you’re not bogged down by online censorship.
|24/7 live chat
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. And McAfee VPN doesn’t differ much from the competition, in this case.
NordVPN vs McAfee VPN – which is better?
|9 out of 10
|0 out of 10
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. McAfee is a decent competitor, but it needs a lot of improvement, especially when it comes to features.
In the meantime, NordVPN has excellent speeds, a huge server fleet, robust security features, and amazing streaming and torrenting capabilities. And you don’t have to get extras for a versatility security toolkit.
Is NordVPN better than McAfee VPN?
Yes, NordVPN is better than McAfee. It has excellent security features, faster and more consistent speeds, superb streaming and torrenting capabilities, and effective bypassing of geo-restrictions and online censorship.
Which is faster – NordVPN or McAfee VPN?
NordVPN is faster than McAfee. The VPN houses a more extensive server fleet (6000+ servers in 61+ countries) and the in-house NordLynx protocol that ensures fast and consistent connections.
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.