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Both NordVPN and ProtonVPN services are in demand out there – and settling with one that suits your needs can be downright frustrating. So which one is your better pick?
Well, if you’re eager to know what we recommend….
We would say, NordVPN as it is one of the best-ranked VPNs with an exceptional number of fans. ProtonVPN is also an excellent VPN on its own – you can confirm that as you go deeper into this post.
That said, we’ll run both the VPNs into several tests before we can conclude who the winner is. Stay in touch to find out where each of these premium VPNs is the strongest, and which one offers the best deals to its users.
Let’s dive in:
NordVPN vs. ProtonVPN Comparison
After doing some research, we decided to base this comparison on eight VPN attributes. So the first comparison was on the streaming and torrenting capabilities, where we tested each VPNs ability to unblock geo-restricted sites and also compared their P2P features.
Next, we compared both the VPNs pricing, convenience, ease of use, customer support services, and its compatibility sections. Several tests later followed based on speed, which was conducted on several servers around the world.
Lastly, we checked out how these two VPNs operate in the server networks, their privacy, and security, which we’re going to discuss in-depth.
So having set the right terms, let’s cut it to the chase. Let’s see which one of them becomes the title-holder.
Most people love streaming, which makes geo-spoofing a must-have in the choice of a VPN. This feature allows you to access your favorite content from any part of the world. However, not every VPN service will allow you to access geo-restricted sites without a lag – that’s why the right choice of a VPN is crucial.
So after testing their streaming capabilities, both VPNs gave a promising look. Afterward, NordVPN began to show impressive results for Netflix, granting easy access to catalogs in the US, UK, Canada, France, Japan, and Brazil. On the contrary, ProtonVPN doesn’t provide the same flexibility even though it can access Netflix.
The good news, though, is that you can access a variety of streaming sites such as Hulu and Amazon Prime Video with either of the VPN. But NordVPN pulls it even further by granting access to BBC iPlayer – something ProtonVPN failed to access.
With the massive NordVPN servers which come along with a SmartPlay feature, you can virtually stream from any site out there. SmartPlay is an encrypted, smart DNS feature deployed to allow you automatically unblock geo-restricted sites without a buffer.
This feature not only grants access to reliable streaming sites but also creates a user-friendly experience – all you need to do is select the right country to connect to. For example, if you want to access the US Netflix version, connect to a US server.
Based on our jurisdiction, NordVPN’s streaming capabilities overthrow that of ProtonVPN. It doesn’t offer any outstanding features and can connect to limited servers.
Winner for Streaming: NordVPN
When it comes to torrenting, both NordVPN and ProtonVPN allow for P2P connections and file sharing, with the same viewpoint. Besides, each of the VPN services has specialized torrenting servers.
However, NordVPN has a dedicated P2P profile, unlike ProtonVPN, which lacks a premade P2P tab. Even though it functions the same way as that of NordVPN, you’ll need to adjust your efforts by adding the profiles you need.
It is also important to note that ProtonVPN doesn’t provide diversification of P2P servers. And as we speak now, there are only a limited number of servers to connect to, which also lack P2P locations in some countries.
NordVPN, in contrast, has more than enough servers which you can connect from any part of the world. Additionally, you are likely to find servers within your physical region; thus, an excellent performance.
NordVPN subscription also comes along with SOCKS5 proxy support configured by your torrent client to deliver high speeds. ProtonVPN, on the other hand, lacks SOCKS5 proxies but offer split tunneling, which is also good because you can customize your VPN explicitly for P2P by whitelisting your torrent client.
The only disadvantage with ProtonVPN is that you cannot enable split torrenting and kill switch at the same time, making it impossible for torrenting.
Winner for Torrenting: NordVPN
Let’s face it. You are in desperate need of a VPN, but you’re running on a shoestring budget. However, you have no option left but to purchase one of the VPN services – NordVPN or ProtonVPN?
You’re probably thinking of ProtonVPN even though NordVPN is one of the top-notch VPN out there. This is because ProtonVPN offers a 16 percent discount monthly, which sounds like a good deal, although it’s a little bit costly. So to be on the safe side, you should instead opt for more extended plans.
However, things are different when it comes to NordVPN. While ProtonVPN offers a flat rate of 20 percent discount on a yearly subscription, NordVPN stands out with a 41 percent discount. This is about 13 percent cheaper compared to ProtonVPN.
What’s more, NordVPN providers offer an incredible discount of 58 percent for users who opt for the two-year plan subscription. This is relatively higher compared to a one-year subscription to ProtonVPN.
Winner for Cost: NordVPN
4. Ease of Use
Both NordVPN and ProtonVPN provide simple instructions to its users; not even a novice can fail to understand. Let’s take a look and see which one of them takes the lead.
NordVPN seems to take the head-on all platforms: from the mobile apps to the desktop version. With the Quick Connect button, you can find an optimal server or even decide to go manual by picking an available server from the list on the left sidebar.
The significant difference only comes in the Profiles tab. And like we mentioned earlier, this additional tab in a ProtonVPN allows you to create many profiles with a specific protocol, country, and server settings.
Additionally, both VPNs provide server load info, limiting the rate of traffic caused by crowded servers. Still, NordVPN overthrows ProtonVPN due to its massive number of servers countrywide.
NordVPN also provides easy access to settings even to the most advanced ones by displaying them in a General tab.
Winner for Ease of Use: NordVPN
Both NordVPN and ProtonVPN provide extensive support in most platforms and devices. Let’s see which one of them becomes the lucky winner.
Windows 7 and above is a must-have for both the VPNs. However, don’t worry if you’re running on a different software because you can still run either of the services using a manual configuration.
Both the services are compatible with macOS though the versions vary. NordVPN uses version 10.10 and above (Yosemite) due to its flexibility, while ProtonVPN is only compatible with version 10.12 (Sierra).
Due to NordVPN’s flexibility, it is capable of working with any Android version from 4.0 and above. ProtonVPN, on the other hand, runs on an Android device of at least version 4.4.2.
Both VPNs can be installed on your Android TV without any lag. Even though, NordVPN Android app is more compatible with TV than that of ProtonVPN.
Finally, both the VPNs provide raw APK files directly from their providers. With NordVPN, you can download it from its website, which is an advantage to its users, unlike ProtonVPN, which requires you to have a ticket before you can access the link to the latest version.
If you want to run NordVPN on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll need at least iOS 9.0. With ProtonVPN, an iOS starting from 10.0 will do.
ProtonVPN is more robust on Linux, with comprehensive instructions for Ubuntu and Fedora, as well as Arch Linux and Manjaro. NordVPN, in contrast, is an overall Linux support hovering around Debian.
Each of the VPN services can be installed on routers. You can find excellent tutorials for DD-WRT and Tomato if you’re looking forward to setting up a VPN router. NordVPN’s ability to support some additional firmware makes it unopposed.
You can also install a pre-flashed router, but that will mean spending more. Only NordVPN includes this option – ProtonVPN doesn’t offer pre-configured routers.
The following additional platforms support NordVPN compatibility:
- Browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer)
- Media and gaming consoles (via the router)
- Smart TVs (via the router)
ProtonVPN doesn’t support any of the additional platforms.
Winner for Compatibility: NordVPN
Of course, in your choice of a VPN, speed should be your top priority. Slower speeds can be downright frustrating, especially if you love streaming and torrenting. So, when choosing a VPN, ensure that it is tested in several servers near you to determine its consistency.
That said, we tested NordVPN and ProtonVPN on ten servers worldwide, from a location-based in Eastern Europe. Here is what we found out:
NordVPN is consistently fast on all servers, with better results on servers located in Portugal and Israel. Even though the speeds kept decreasing over long distances, the results were still impressive, especially in servers located in the US.
Sadly, ProtonVPN didn’t show consistent results despite confirming a strong start. There’s a drastic drop in Portugal and Israel with a 94 and 80 percent decrease respectively. Even with the robust encryption protocol in the US and Japan, ProtonVPN shows no promising results.
So, based on our comparison, ProtonVPN is a little bit slow compared to NordVPN with a slight difference.
Winner for Speed: NordVPN
7. Servers and Network
Honestly, if you’re looking for a VPN with many servers, then you should opt for NordVPN.
Below is a breakdown of its 5,100+ servers countrywide:
- 4,600+ Standard servers (4,400 of which allow P2P)
- 460+ Obfuscated servers
- 30 Double VPN servers
- 3 Onion-over-VPN servers
- 70+ Dedicated IP servers (optional extra)
NordVPN is one of the top-rated VPNs in the industry with excellent unbeatable offers. You can connect up to 60 countries, unlike ProtonVPN, which connects up to 33 countries – that’s almost half the number.
If you take things at a different angle, you’ll realize NordVPN has 1693 servers based in the United States alone, which is four times more than that of ProtonVPN’s entire pack.
ProtonVPN, on the other hand, has specialized servers on its own, including the 69 optimized P2P servers, 33 Secure Core servers, and 3 Tor-compatible options in Switzerland, the US, and Hong Kong.
Winner for Servers and Network: NordVPN
8. Privacy and Security
Deciding on which VPN to settle within this category will be the toughest one, and here is why:
NordVPN has a robust encryption protocol, with a spotless privacy record, and an independent Big Four confirming all the above features.
ProtonVPN, on the other hand, was launched by the same people behind ProtonMail – to provide security.
Again, it is upon you to identify the tiniest difference to rule out the winner.
9. Logging Policy
Most VPNs operate under the zero-logs policy: having NordVPN based in Panama and ProtonVPN in Switzerland.
The good news about these two countries is the fact that they lack data retention laws. Besides, they have surveillance alliances, which occasionally participate in some strict surveillance and share any sensitive information among them.
From the look of things, we can’t base our judgment regarding this – great news!
10. Encryption and Protocols
Both VPNs – NordVPN and ProtonVPN, offer top-notch encryption and protocols to their users.
Both ProtonVPN and NordVPN, ensure the security of their users through AES-256 encryption, which offers robust protection. Additionally, both VPN service providers have dynamic encryption keys that provide top secrecy to their customers.
Both VPN service providers have the same protocol support feature. Both VPNs use OpenVPN as the default protocol for Android apps, Mac, and Windows. On the other hand, iOS uses IKEv2/IPSec. If you want to use OpenVPN on either iPad or iPhone, you can manually configure it using an OpenVPN interface.
While both VPN service providers offer top-notch security features, they are some differences that can be spotted.
NordVPN users experience better service in terms of security. For example, NordVPN has a feature ( CyberSec suite) to block malware and ads, kill switch features to keep its users protected when your VPN connection accidentally drops as well as a DNS leak protection.
Unlike NordVPN, which offers kill switch with additional specific apps, ProtonVPN only provides a kill switch feature with no particular apps. ProtonVPN’s users enjoy DNS leak protection but with limited DNS addresses.
Winner for Privacy and Security: NordVPN
In conclusion, ProtonVPN is a fair competitor of NordVPN. But as you can see, NordVPN outshines ProtonVPN in all the categories.
We, therefore, recommend that you take into consideration the above features before choosing a VPN service provider.