Both NordVPN and ProtonVPN are respected and widely-used VPN providers. But which one offers more value for its users?

In my comparison, I’ll discuss topics such as security, privacy, apps, ease of use, pricing, and more. No time to read an entire article? No worries – below, you’ll find a summary table.

NordVPNProtonVPN
Our rating9.68.0
Best of winnerBest overall, Best for Netflix, Best for P2P, Best for China, Fastest VPNFree
Best of nomineeMultiple devicesLinux
Price starts at$3.71/month$4.00/month
Link to our reviewsNordVPN ReviewProtonVPN Review
Get linksGet NordVPN nowGet ProtonVPN now

As you can tell, apart from price, NordVPN looks better when I compare both providers side by side. Continue reading to see what makes NordVPN the winner.

Security of ProtonVPN vs NordVPN

Winner: NordVPN

NordVPNProtonVPN
EncryptionMilitary-gradeMilitary-grade
ProtocolsNordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec
Security featuresDouble VPN, Tor over VPN, CyberSec, SOCKS5 proxy, Obfuscated servers, app and internet kill switchKill switch, Tor over VPN, Secure Core

When it comes to security, NordVPN vs ProtonVPN are similarly placed. Both providers employ military-grade encryption and have a powerful kill switch.

What about IP and DNS leaks? To see how both providers do in this department, I ran an online test:

IPVanish leak test

First, I connected to a ProtonVPN UK server. In the picture above you can see that my IP address shows the UK location, meaning there is no leak.

The same was the case with NordVPN:

NordVPN IP leak test

Both ProtonVPN and NordVPN offer strong bonus features, such as integration with the Tor network (Onion over VPN or Tor over VPN), and a stealth mode. NordVPN’s Double VPN option (in the picture below) lets you chain VPN servers. ProtonVPN has a similar feature in Secure Core, which funnels traffic through servers in privacy-friendly countries (such as Switzerland or Iceland).

NordVPN DoubleVPN feature

NordVPN, though, goes the extra mile by providing its users with its propriety WireGuard protocol NordLynx. With it, you’ll enjoy great speeds without sacrificing security. ProtonVPN’s protocols are great, however, they cannot compete with NordLynx.

Hence, NordVPN is the slight winner of this round.

Privacy of ProtonVPN vs NordVPN

Winner: NordVPN and ProtonVPN

NordVPNProtonVPN
JurisdictionPanamaSwitzerland
LoggingZero logs (independently audited)Zero logs
Anonymous paymentCryptocurrenciesCryptocurrencies

Both providers are based in privacy-friendly locations, that are not part of the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes alliances. NordVPN has had its zero-logs policy audited by third-party auditors in 2018. Meanwhile, ProtonVPN has built a lot of trust in that regard with their long-standing ProtonMail product.

Lastly, I’m glad that both providers offer an anonymous payment option using cryptocurrencies. While NordVPN offers more of them – at the moment 10 – this is not a great deal of difference.

Despite the minor differences, both providers are winners in this round.

NordVPN vs ProtonVPN speed and performance

Winner: NordVPN

NordVPNProtonVPN
Average speed132 Mbps47.4 Mbps
Servers54001000
Countries5950
Download
Germany server252 Mbps (17% drop-off)106 Mbps (65% drop-off)
US server
213 Mbps (29% drop-off)85 Mbps (72% drop-off)
Upload
Germany server87 Mbps (72% drop-off)65 Mbps (78% drop-off)
US server88 Mbps (71% drop-off)22 Mbps (93% drop-off)
Ping
Germany server46 ms39 ms
US server136 ms167 ms

NordVPN is much faster than ProtonVPN. The latter’s 1000+ servers in 50+ countries are put to shame by NordVPN’s ever-expanding list of 5400+ servers spanning over 59+ countries worldwide.

On average, NordVPN, our fastest VPN provider, will give you two times the speed that ProtonVPN does, but some of the Swiss VPN’s servers can be up to six times slower than those of NordVPN.

To see how great both providers are in terms of speed, I tested their speeds online using a server in the US. Before connecting to either VPN provider, my download speeds were 106.19 Mbps and my upload speeds were 104.87 Mpbs.

After connecting to the US server with my NordVPN account I got the following results: download 252 Mbps and upload 87 Mbps.

Once connecting to the US server with my ProtonVPN account I got the following results: download 26 Mbps and upload 34 Mbps.

The difference is quite striking, and NordVPN is yet again number one.

ProtonVPN and NordPVN apps: ease of use and support

Winner: NordVPN

NordVPNProtonVPN
Major appsAllAll
Other appsFire TV & Fire Stick, Android TVAndroid TV
Browser extensionsChrome, FirefoxChrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera
Manual setupRouters, firewalls, NASRouters
Simultaneous devices61 (Free plan) & 10 (Visionary plan)
Customer support24/7 live chat, email, FAQ, tutorialsEmail, knowledge base

In terms of apps and ease of use, both providers look great. Both VPNs offer apps for all major platforms.

Here’s a peak at ProtonVPN Windows app:

ProtonVPN interface

And here’s what the NordVPN Windows interface looks like:

NordVPN interface

I personally find the latter one more appealing with its light colors and clean design.

What it comes to the other apps, NordVPN goes the extra mile by providing dedicated apps for Android TV and FireTV (FireStick) while ProtonVPN only has one for Android TV. Also ProtonVPN has no browser extensions.

If you opt for their Visionary plan, you get 10 simultaneous connections, which looks great, but most users will be just fine with the 6 simultaneous connections that NordVPN offers for any plan.

Finally, there’s the question of customer support.

Although ProtonVPN offers decent support options (from the knowledge base to support forms), their live chat is not available 24/7.

ProtonVPN support

It’s hard to match NordVPN’s responsive 24/7 live chat service. And now they’re even testing their chatbot out, which, I must say, works quite neatly:

NordVPN support

So yet again, the winner of this round is again – NordVPN.

Torrenting and P2P with NordVPN and ProtonVPN

Winner: NordVPN

NordVPNProtonVPN
Allowed onSelected serversSelected servers
Free SOCKS5 proxyYesNo
Split tunnelingNoYes (on Windows and Android)

ProtonVPN and NordVPN are both good choices for torrenting, but NordVPN is simply a much stronger choice.

Firstly, it’s about the speed – NordVPN is many times faster than its Swiss counterpart. This will be particularly important with a weak connection: ProtonVPN can make torrenting excruciatingly slow unless your base connection is amazing.

ProtonVPN does have a split tunneling feature, which means you can use your VPN connection only for the torrenting app, but that will only solve the speed reduction for your other online activities.

NordVPN has none of these issues – its server base is huge and the speeds are amazing. And while there’s no split tunneling feature, NordVPN offers a free SOCKS5 proxy you can set up directly on your torrent client.

Netflix and other streaming platforms

Winner: NordVPN

NordVPNProtonVPN
Netflix USYesSelected servers
Other Netflix librariesYesYes
Other platformsYesYes (Hulu)

Looking at the table, you might guess that both providers work more or less the same when it comes to Netflix. However, there’s something to consider when choosing ProtonVPN.

It is true that you can stream with ProtonVPN (American Netflix and other Netflix libraries) but to do that you’ll need to opt for the Plus or Visionary plan. Free and Basic will not be able to unblock streaming platforms, and I find it to be a huge no-no.

On the contrary, NordVPN wins all the way and this will be noticeable in your Netflix streaming experience. NordVPN’s superior download speeds will make a difference, especially if you want to watch HD and Ultra HD content.

China and other restricted countries

Winner: NordVPN

NordVPNProtonVPN
Works in ChinaYesUnstable
Stealth VPNYesNo
Tor over VPNYesYes

For those traveling behind the Great Firewall of China, we do not recommend ProtonVPN. While its great security features make ProtonVPN a good choice for your safety, the lack of a stealth mode means your traffic can be blocked.

Secondly, there’s again the issue of speed – ProtonVPN has few servers in Asia, which means it won’t offer great performance even if does work.

NordVPN, on the other hand, is one of the few VPN services that work reliably in China. Its Obfuscated Servers feature means the service can’t be stopped by Deep Packet Inspection or other common VPN blocking means. It’s also very fast and has top-notch security features.

Likewise, NordVPN is better equipped to protect those who travel in other censorious countries as well, including Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and any other region that might restrict and/or monitor Internet access.

Pricing of NordVPN and ProtonVPN

Winner: ProtonVPN and NordVPN

NordVPNProtonVPN
One month$11.95/monthN/A
Six months$9.00/monthN/A
One year$4.08/month$4.00/month; $8.00/month or $24.00/month
Two years$3.71/monthN/A
Money-back guarantee30 days30 days

ProtonVPN offers more user-friendly prices, especially when you opt for the one month plan. It also offers a very good free version, which you can use without the fear of running out of data. This is one round ProtonVPN comfortably wins.

On top of that, ProtonVPN is our number 1 Best Free VPN.

NordVPN vs ProtonVPN – which is better?

Winner: NordVPN

 

NordVPNProtonVPN
SecurityWinsLoses
PrivacyWinsWins
Speed and performanceWinsLoses
Apps and ease of useWinsLoses
Torrenting and P2PWinsLoses
NetflixWinsLoses
ChinaWinsLoses
PricingLosesWins
Total wins72

In spite of facing a strong competitor, NordVPN is the true winner in this competition. Its security and privacy features are unbeatable, it works great with Netflix and Torrenting, and it’s easy to use.

Even though NordVPN is a little bit more expensive, the features it provides are worth the price.

Recommended reads

NordVPN review

ProtonVPN review