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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.
|Best of winner||Best overall, Best for Netflix, Best for P2P, Best for China, Fastest VPN||Free|
|Best of nominee||Multiple devices||Linux|
|Price starts at||$3.71/month||$3.29/month|
|Review||NordVPN Review||ProtonVPN Review|
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
|Protocols||NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2||OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec|
|Security features||Double VPN, Tor over VPN, CyberSec, SOCKS5 proxy, Obfuscated servers, app and internet kill switch||Kill 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:
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:
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, 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
|Logging||Zero logs (independently audited)||Zero logs|
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
|Average speed||132 Mbps||47.4 Mbps|
|Germany server||252 Mbps (17% drop-off)||106 Mbps (65% drop-off)|
|US server||213 Mbps (29% drop-off)||85 Mbps (72% drop-off)|
|Germany server||87 Mbps (72% drop-off)||65 Mbps (78% drop-off)|
|US server||88 Mbps (71% drop-off)||22 Mbps (93% drop-off)|
|Germany server||46 ms||39 ms|
|US server||136 ms||167 ms|
NordVPN is much faster than ProtonVPN. The latter’s 1200+ servers in 55+ countries are put to shame by NordVPN’s ever-expanding list of 5500+ 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
|Other apps||Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV||Android TV|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox||Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera|
|Manual setup||Routers, firewalls, NAS||Routers|
|Simultaneous devices||6||1 (Free plan) & 10 (Visionary plan)|
|Customer support||24/7 live chat, email, FAQ, tutorials||Email, 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:
And here’s what the NordVPN Windows interface looks like:
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.
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:
So yet again, the winner of this round is again – NordVPN.
Torrenting and P2P with NordVPN and ProtonVPN
|Allowed on||Selected servers||Selected servers|
|Free SOCKS5 proxy||Yes||No|
|Split tunneling||Yes (on Windows and Android)||Yes (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.
Both services 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. Additionally, it offers a free SOCKS5 proxy you can set up directly on your torrent client.
Netflix and other streaming platforms
|Netflix US||Yes||Selected servers|
|Other Netflix libraries||Yes||Yes|
|Other platforms||Yes||Yes (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
|Works in China||Yes||Unstable|
|Tor over VPN||Yes||Yes|
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
|One year||$4.92/month||$4.00/month; $8.00/month or $24.00/month|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 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?
|Speed and performance||Wins||Loses|
|Apps and ease of use||Wins||Loses|
|Torrenting and P2P||Wins||Loses|
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.
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