NordVPN vs ProtonVPN in 2021

Last updated: April 7, 2021
NordVPN vs ProtonVPN

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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.

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$3.29/month
ReviewNordVPN ReviewProtonVPN 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

Winner: NordVPN

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

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

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

Winner: NordVPN

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

Allowed onSelected serversSelected servers
Free SOCKS5 proxyYesNo
Split tunnelingYes (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

Winner: NordVPN

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

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

One month$11.95/monthN/A
Six months$9.00/monthN/A
One year$4.92/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 speed test review 🔥 What is the actual “fastest” speed??
NordVPN review 2021: Best VPN or... 2nd best? 💥 Here’s what you NEED TO KNOW
ProtonVPN review: Good enough in 2020? FREE or Premium? +LIVE SHOWCASE

NordVPN vs ProtonVPN – which is better?

Winner: NordVPN


Speed and performanceWinsLoses
Apps and ease of useWinsLoses
Torrenting and P2PWinsLoses
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.

NordVPN review

ProtonVPN review


Top VPN providers
9.6 / 10
30-day money-back guarantee
Military grade encryption
Friendly support
Surfshark VPN
9.4 / 10
Strong encryption
Excellent performance
Unlimited simultaneous connections

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  1. Gary

    NordVPN absolutely does have split tunneling

    1. Nadin Bhatt Author

      Hi, Gary. You’re right, thanks for noticing and letting us know! We’ve fixed the issue now.

  2. silent J

    I’ve been using protonvpn and their email service for years now and I couldn’t be happier! They do the very basics of what I need in terms of security and I really don’t understand the need for anything else. I mean really – what are the advantages and disadvantages of the different specialty servers offered by NordVPN? Seems like that’s the only thing that I’d be paying for so it has to be really good, but so far I’m not convinced. The default encryption is enough for me.

  3. Camilla

    recently i purchased nord but im still not sure what streaming services can be used with nordvpn. Sometimes they work, sometimes they dont…. I’m looking for a definitive list of what can be used for sure. thank you for your help

  4. alexender

    i dont care about protonvpn vs nordvpn – they are old and irrelevant! i want to know about the new vpns that are being made and if theyre worth buying.

  5. Faustus

    Proton and Nord are really great online security products and the vpns aren’t the only tools they offer which is pretty neat. But I think it’s weird that they don’t offer bundles where you get all their products for a cheaper price. Anyway I’m still on the fence about which one to go with, I’m still not sure is it possible to stream with ProtonVPN.

  6. ashton939

    for me in the battle of protonvpn vs nordvpn the clear winner is nordvpn. this might seem weird but nordvpn sponsors some content creators I love and that means something to me – they support independent creators and let them create awesome content. it means nordvpn cares about others as well. i get it – they gain some sales from the cooperation with the creators, but it’s still a great way to support others.

  7. Tony T.

    so uhh what is the best setting on nordvpn for video streaming? cuz like it doesn’t work all the time so idk maybe i’m missing something. please make a tutorial on that

  8. Jap

    vpnpro, please make a tutorial on how to use protonvpn on android smartphones. i’m stuck, as it doesnt work on my phone ( i’m using free plan) it just doesn’t connect to any country on my phone 🙁 🙁 🙁

  9. jovanni

    lot’s of vpn providers face problems with “chinese firewall”. when the covid will be finally diwn, i’m goint to visit china for 1 month approximetaly. i want to prepare well in advance. i have a couple of concerns on how to download nordvpn app in china for iphone (or is it better to download it in us) and what are the speeds for nordvpn in the us. i will use it for netflix, so i need it pretty good speed.

  10. blu ivy

    I am only planning to buy a vpn, so your website is my holy bible! I have read many good reviews about nordvpn, but comparison nordvpn vs protonvpn is something quite rare. Now I am I little confused and don’t know what to buy 😀 😀 I need a vpn for bypassing geo-restricted content (articles, news portals, and for Netflix as well. I have always wanted to watch US Netflix because it has a lot of great shows. What should I pay attention to when choosing the best option?

  11. Sam Sam

    Pretty awesome review as protonvpn vs nordvpn is quite an interesting stand-off. I would never think of comparing them. They seem to be in different categories for me. ProtonVPN by performance is lower than NordVPN, but its pricing (plans) outstands even ExpressVPN. In my opinion, anonymity, and privacy begin with the payment method: Does NordVPN or ProtonVPN support Bitcoin payments? The most secure way is to pay with cryptocurrency.

  12. Alexis

    Nord is a provider that is always improving. I always see news about them. That’s why I use them for more than two years. They latest Nordlynx implementation is phenomenal. The speed is impressive. Also, there is always a great chance to find discount coupons over the internet, or they have special deals. I’ve never used ProtonVPN, so I can’t say anything about them, but I heard that they are not so bad, especially since they went OpenSource, which is a significant step toward trustability.

  13. Vito

    Hi Nadin Bhatt,
    I’ve been reading your website recently, and this particular VPN comparison caught my eye. I have some questions (sorry if they are silly) .
    How can you compare 2 completely different VPN providers? I mean, they play in different leagues, and since NordVPN is a high class provider, it’s obvious, that ProtonVPN will lose.
    Also, what ISP you have, and how did you measure the speed of each VPN? Because it affects the speed, right?
    ProtonVPN costs pretty much the same as NordVPN, but offers much less options, and also I’m concerned about it’s location. Switzerland? vs Panama? Europe and VPN? That’s a huge NO.
    What can you say about it?

    1. Mark

      Switzerland is way better than Panama cause do you really know that they’re in Panama ? Where ProtonVPN is really based in a bunker in Switzerland cause they are the same running Protonmail, also, one focus on advertising when the other is focusing on privacy.

  14. thamara.james

    Although ProtonVPN sounds like a good one, I would rather stick to a VPN that is well-established as I can’t afford to have data leakage using a new VPN

  15. bridgesforladybugs

    NordVPN all the way. ProtonVPN looks like it might be good for people just starting out, but I got hooked on NordVPN from the start and it just works so well. I got a good deal, too – no complaint here on the prices. There’s just nothing that could beat it in my opinion. It’s worked perfectly for everything I need.

  16. Nami H

    ProtonVPN sounds like a great alternative, but I really love NordVPN, I’ve been using it for the past month and it’s really powerful, plus you get safety and privacy. I haven’t tested ProtonVPN but I’m sure it’s a great one as well.

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