NordVPN vs ProtonVPN

With such an extensive range of VPNs available on the market in 2021, it can be difficult to choose the best one for your needs. Therefore, we have compared two of the best VPN services, NordVPN vs ProtonVPN, to save you time and help you make the right decision. We have compared the two VPNs in terms of connection speeds, server networks, pricing, security features, streaming performance, and more.

Table of content

NordVPN vs ProtonVPN: Overview

NordVPN offers excellent streaming performance, P2P support, anonymous Bitcoin payment, and more. It is not perfect when it comes to accessing BBC iPlayer, and its map interface can be tricky to use; however, it is one of the best VPNs on the market in 2021. ProtonVPN is a well-known, Swiss-based VPN provider that offers a range of easy-to-use clients, a strict no-logs policy, and great streaming performance on its Plus plan.

NordVPN

NordVPN comes with excellent torrenting support, which is great news for torrenting fans that want to ensure complete privacy and anonymity online. There is a wide range of advanced security features to keep every user safe on the internet too. The provider did suffer a hacking incident in 2018. However, it has done a lot since improving its privacy and security, and it is now one of the best and most secure VPNs on the market.

Connection speeds are impressive, especially if you use Nord’s proprietary NordLynx protocol. It is great for accessing a host of geo-restricted streaming content on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and more too. However, it may experience issues with BBC iPlayer, which is often only available through the NordVPN browser extension.

The NordVPN mobile apps are relatively powerful and come with many more features than most providers. The Windows client is well-designed and easy to use, even for a beginner user. There is a wide range of setup and support guides available on the NordVPN website, as well as a 24/7 live chat support option in case you run into any issues while setting up the client.

The provider boasts an extensive range of over 5500 servers across 59 different countries. There is also a generous risk-free thirty-refund guarantee for additional peace of mind. This means that you can test the VPN service for a month and request a refund if you are not completely satisfied, no questions asked. NordVPN is arguably one of the best VPN providers on the market, and it offers everything you might need in a VPN product.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN comes with excellent free and paid subscription options and is one of the best VPN solutions for privacy-conscious users. There is a range of advanced security features, including multiple-server connections and Tor over VPN. The paid subscription plans are not cheap. However, the provider does offer excellent value for money in terms of online security and privacy.

ProtonVPN is one of the most secure VPN companies on the market, and it strives to ensure user anonymity, and privacy is always protected. The company offers a strict no-logs policy, support for torrenting and P2P sharing, and a unique Secure Core network for an additional layer of online security.

The provider offers one of the best free VPN versions on the market that comes ad-free, with no data logging and no data consumption limits. However, free users are limited to a choice of servers in just three countries.

When it comes to the ProtonVPN paid subscription plans, things are slightly more complex. The Basic plan comes in at $4 a month paid annually, or $5 a month on a rolling contract. If you opt for the Basic 2-year plan, the price drops to just $3.29 a month. The Basic plan comes with P2P torrenting support, 2 simultaneous connections, and access to all ProtonVPN servers except the “Plus” servers.

If you want to gain access to the ProtonVPN Secure Core network and streaming unblocking, you will need to sign up for a premium plan. The Plus plan comes in at $10 a month on a rolling contract, $8 a month paid annually, or $6.63 on a 2-year plan. This comes with 5 simultaneous connections, excellent streaming performance, and access to every server in the ProtonVPN network.

For access to all of the ProtonVPN features, you will need to sign up to the Visionary Plan, which comes in at $30 a month on the rolling contract, $24 a month annually, or $19.96 on the 2-year plan. The Visionary Plan is extremely expensive but comes with everything offered in the Plus Plan and a complete ProtonMail subscription. However, unless you require encrypted email support and a VPN, it is likely not necessary.

ProtonMail comes as part of the ProtonVPN Visionary Plan, and it is arguably the best email service available. It is extremely secure but easy to use, even for a novice user. When signing up for ProtonVPN, you can choose to remain completely anonymous by using a ProtonMail email address and Bitcoin payment. This is a great option for any user that wants to stay as anonymous as possible online.

NordVPN vs ProtonVPN: Pricing

NordVPN offers a simple pricing structure with 4 different subscription plans. If you want the freedom of a monthly rolling contract, you will be paying a premium price of $11.95 a month. As with any VPN provider, if you commit to a longer-term, monthly prices drop significantly.

On the NordVPN 6-month plan, the price falls to $9 a month if paid upfront. If you sign up for a year with NordVPN, you will get the VPN for $5.75. However, the most cost-effective option comes with the NordVPN 2-year plan, which comes in at just $3.49 a month, a 70% compared to the monthly option, making it one of the most affordable VPN providers on the market.

NordVPN is relatively good value for money if you opt for the 2-year subscription plan, especially considering the extensive range of first-rate privacy and security features on offer. There is a range of payment options to suit every VPN user too including credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, AmazonPay, UnionPay, SOFORT Banking, and more.

NordVPN used to offer a free trial period; however, this is unfortunately no longer available as it was discontinued to do misuse. There is a generous 30-day money-back guarantee, though. This means that you can test the product for a month and request a full refund if you are not completely satisfied, no questions asked.

The money-back-guarantee is clear and straightforward, with no sneaky terms and conditions that state that the policy doesn’t apply if you have used too much data or logged in too many times. Use the service as much as you like within the first month and cancel before the 30 days is up to receive a full refund.

ProtonVPN offers one of the best free products available on the VPN market. For no-cost, you can receive access to an ad-free VPN with no data logging or data limits. However, you will only have access to servers in three countries.

Things become slightly more confusing with ProtonVPN’s paid plans. Sign up for the Basic plan on a rolling monthly contract will set you back $5 a month. However, this drops to $4 a month if paid upfront annually, or $3.29 on a 2-year plan. The Basic Plan offers torrenting support, 2 simultaneous device connections, and access to all ProtonVPN servers except the “Plus” servers.

You will need to sign up for a premium plan for access to the ProtonVPN Secure Core network and streaming unblocking capability. The Plus plan costs $10 a month on a rolling contract, $8 a month when paid annually, or $6.63 a month on the 2-year plan. This does come with just 5 simultaneous connections, making it somewhat expensive.

NordVPN vs ProtonVPN: Privacy

Your main priority when looking for a VPN should be online privacy and security. Look for a provider that offers a reliable kill-switch, DNS leak protection, double VPN encryption, AES 256 encryption, anonymous payments, malware or ad blocker, and more.

NordVPN and ProtonVPN are excellent choices when it comes to user privacy and security on the internet. NordVPN boasts excellent fundamentals with industry-standard AES-256 bit encryption combined with 4096-bit Diffie Hellman keys.

NordVPN offers Perfect Forward Secrecy software, which ensures new encryption keys are created at the start of every VPN session and every hour after that. This means that even in the unlikely event that a cybercriminal or third party gains access to a NordVPN server, they will be booted after an hour.

There is a range of additional security features with NordVPN too, including the option to activate an Onion over VPN connection, which will reroute your internet data traffic through the encrypted Tor network, which is much better in terms of security, but will significantly reduce your connection speeds. NordVPN offers Double VPN encryption too, which will pass your private data through two different VPN servers rather than just one.

NordVPN also offers a range of obfuscated servers that mask the fact that you are using a VPN. This helps overcome VPN blocks or restrictions in places like universities or offices that often do not support VPNs.

Importantly, NordVPN also comes with a reliable integrated kill-switch that will automatically cut your internet connection if the VPN fails for any reason. The kill-switch ensures that no unencrypted information or your real IP address ever becomes exposed. This feature is useful for any online activities that require complete security, such as torrenting. Once the VPN connection is re-established, the kill-switch will allow data transfer to resume.

NordVPN is effective at blocking both DNS and WebRTC leaks, which is reassuring. In 2018, NordVPN suffered a server hack that it blamed on a third-party service. One NordVPN server was compromised, but it is not clear what data was affected. Since the incident, NordVPN has upgraded every server in its network to RAM-only memory, which is much better in terms of security than traditional hard-drives.

The provider has also completed multiple independent security audits and complete infrastructure upgrades, which is reassuring. Thus, we would be confident in recommending NordVPN as one of the best VPNs on the market in 2021.

Like NordVPN, ProtonVPN is extremely impressive when it comes to user security and privacy. The company is based in Switzerland, a country that enjoys strong data privacy laws and does not share information with regulators in the United States or Europe, which is reassuring.

ProtonVPN boasts a unique Secure Core network. This means that every time you connect to a ProtonVPN server, your internet connection is first passed through some of the provider’s most secure servers. This ensures that your real IP address and private internet data can never become exposed to attackers or third parties even if you access a malicious or harmful website.

Like NordVPN, ProtonVPN comes with a reliable built-in kill switch to ensure your real IP address and unencrypted data are protected even if the VPN drops for any reason. There is no option to automatically activate the VPN when you access a public Wi-Fi network, but you can have ProtonVPN turn on automatically when you start your device.

ProtonVPN also offers Tor over VPN, which will reroute your internet connection through the anonymous encrypted Tor network. With a single click, you can send your data traffic through the Tor network for an additional layer of online security, as well as access to Onion sites.

NordVPN vs ProtonVPN: Data logging

Another important thing to consider as part of any VPN comparison is the no-logging policies offered by each provider. Both ProtonVPN and NordVPN are excellent for protecting user privacy, and both offer transparent no-logging policies.

NordVPN claims that it does not collect any information regarding its users’ online activity. The provider offers a strict, transparent no-logging policy that states that it does not monitor, record, log, store, or share any user information. NordVPN does not collect VPN connection time stamps, bandwidth used, data traffic logs accessed IP addresses, or online browsing data. The provider also does not store session logs, which many providers continue to do.

NordVPN has also completed an independent audit of its policies and software. The audit was carried out by PricewaterhouseCooper and found no evidence to suggest that the provider violated its no-logging commitments.

ProtonVPN comes with one of the strongest no-logging policies of any VPN provider on the market, which is extremely reassuring for any security-conscious people. The only information that the provider records is a timestamp of your latest login attempt; however, even this is deleted and rewritten every time you log in.

NordVPN vs ProtonVPN: Server Locations

NordVPN provides servers in 15 United States cities, 3 Canadian cities, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, 5 Australian cities, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, South Africa, 2 Indian cities, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Turkey, and European servers in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Ireland, Czechia, Italy, Spain, Finland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Portugal, Luxemburg, Ukraine, Greece, Estonia, Iceland, Albania, Cyprus, Croatia, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and North Macedonia.

ProtonVPN offers servers in almost 60 countries, in the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czechia, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, India, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Moldova, Mexico, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Russia, Sweden, Singapore, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, Turkey, Taiwan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, and South Africa.

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ProtonVPN vs NordVPN: Streaming

Many people choose to download a VPN for the sole purpose of accessing geo-restricted content on streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and more. Therefore, it makes sense to compare NordVPN and ProtonVPN in terms of their streaming performance.

NordVPN is clearly committed to ensuring its users can access a host of geo-blocked television shows and movies in a wide range of countries worldwide. Although it may not offer guarantees of accessing particular streaming services, it is likely that the VPN service can unblock your favorite services.

Netflix is likely the most popular streaming service, and NordVPN is successful at accessing content here. The VPN service was reliable at unblocking the service on a large number of servers. This is impressive considering the strong VPN blocking software that Netflix employs to prevent VPN use.

YouTube typically presents no issues for VPNs, and NordVPN had no issues there either. The VPN service successfully overcame restrictions on Disney+, a service that many VPN providers struggle to access. NordVPN gained access to Disney+ on several servers in the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia.

NordVPN struggled slightly when it came to accessing the BBC iPlayer, one of the most difficult streaming services for a VPN service to access. On the NordVPN desktop client, BBC iPlayer did not work. However, as suggested by the NordVPN BBC iPlayer troubleshooting guide, we used the browser extension instead, and this successfully gained access to the streaming service.

Fortunately, NordVPN had no issues in unblocking Amazon Prime Video. Although the service may occasionally struggle to access the BBC iPlayer, it remains an excellent streaming VPN that is successful at unblocking almost every streaming service.

Connection speeds are fast too, and the service performed well during speed tests. On NordVPN’s proprietary Nordlynx protocol, we saw speeds of up to 350Mbps, which is extremely impressive and sufficient for streaming and gaming in high definition or even 4K without lag or buffering.

ProtonVPN is another reliable streaming VPN. However, it is necessary to upgrade to the Plus plan to avail of the provider’s unblocking potential, which makes it a relatively expensive streaming VPN. ProtonVPN does the ability to unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. ProtonVPN offers varying server speeds averaging speeds of up just 40Mbps on a European connection.

ProtonVPN vs NordVPN: Clients

A well-designed, functional VPN client is vital for an enjoyable user-experience. Therefore, we have compared NordVPN and ProtonVPN in terms of their VPN clients. Downloading and installing the NordVPN clients is quick and simple, no matter what device or operating system you are using. There is a wide range of setup and support guides available on the NordVPN website too, in case you run into any difficulties or problems which installing a particular NordVPN client.

NordVPN also offers detailed setup instructions for niche device uses, including SOCKS5 proxy and browser setups, which may be useful for more advanced VPN users. When setting up the client on mobile devices, sign up on the NordVPN website, and you will be redirected to the relevant app store. Download the app, accept some terms and conditions, and connect.

Once you have installed the client, the NordVPN interface is clean and simple. On most NordVPN clients, a large map-based interface enables you to choose a server by clicking on a location. Although the map interface is attractive, it is not highly functional and is especially awkward to use on smaller mobile screens.

NordVPN does also offer a regular list of servers too, which is somewhat easier to use. All of the advanced NordVPN features are available within a few clicks. There is a simple search option that allows you to find a particular server, as well as a Recents list that displays your recently accessed server locations. However, we would like to see NordVPN reintroduce its useful Favorites feature.

Server connections with NordVPN are fast and simple, and you will be connected to your chosen server within a matter of seconds. Switching between VPN protocols, activating the kill-switch, or accessing any other feature is easy in the Settings section.

NordVPN offers an auto-connection feature on both of its mobile apps. This allows NordVPN to connect if you access unknown or unsecured Wi-Fi networks such as public hotspots automatically. You can also choose to add certain networks that do not require VPN protection to a whitelist. There is an ad, malware, and phishing blocking software, thanks to NordVPN’s CyberSec feature too.

Unfortunately, the NordVPN Android app does not feature a built-in kill-switch, but you can set up a similar feature by enabling “Always-on VPN” and “Block connections without a VPN” in the System Settings. The iOS comes with an integrated kill-switch. However, there is no option to activate or deactivate it manually.

NordVPN comes with proxy browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, which allow the VPN to work without having the desktop app installed but do not offer any encryption. The browser extensions allow you to change your IP location and activate WebRTC leak blocking and ad-and malware blocking with CyberSec.

ProtonVPN too offers dedicated clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. The ProtonVPN interface is simple and clean, with a map showing all available server locations. Connecting to one of the ProtonVPN servers takes a few seconds, slightly longer than with NordVPN.

The ProtonVPN offers a clear server list that is color-coded to show latency and load speed so that you know what connection speed to expect. ProtonVPN also offers a helpful “Profiles” feature that allows you to save your favorite ProtonVPN settings. This means that you can save a particular server that previously worked well for accessing a streaming service or P2P site. Connect to one of your profiles with a single click.

ProtonVPN also offers split tunneling that can be activated in the settings. This allows you to separate your connection and allow certain apps or programs such as your normal web browser to run outside of the VPN while allowing your torrenting activity to run through the VPN connection.

ProtonVPN vs NordVPN: Customer support

When choosing a VPN provider, it is necessary to consider the customer support on offer. If you run into any issues while setting up or using the service, it is reassuring to know that there is help available. Both NordVPN and ProtonVPN offer decent customer support. However, ProtonVPN lacks a live-chat option which is somewhat disappointing.

Nord VPN offers excellent customer support with a few options. There is an extensive array of support guides available on the provider’s website. Although it may take a bit of time to locate the relevant article as the support section’s layout is somewhat confusing, the articles themselves are comprehensive and well-written.

Most people will likely prefer to use the live-chat offered by NordVPN, which is available 24/7. The live-chat doubles as a chat box that will offer limited information, but you can talk to a real customer support agent too. The NordVPN chat operators are friendly and helpful, and you can expect to have your issues resolved in a matter of minutes. There is an email service too, but you will be waiting slightly longer for a reply there.

With ProtonVPN, there is room for improvement in customer service, and we would like to see the provider introduce a 24/7 live-chat for ease of use. Unlike NordVPN, ProtonVPN only offers customer support via email. There is a support section on the website, but this does not cover a wide range of topics.

Author Cliff Durward

Hey guys, I'm Cliff! I live in Cleveland, Ohio with my wife and my kids. I love cybersecurity and I've been writing about it for a decade!
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PrivacySharks » NordVPN vs ProtonVPN
Last updated: April 15, 2021