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Bitdefender VPN vs NordVPN: which VPN is better?


At first glance, Bitdefender VPN and NordVPN are entirely different beasts. While the former is just a side product from an antivirus company, the latter is one of the most popular VPNs in the world.

However, maybe they aren’t that much different after all? Let’s compare their features, security, ease of use, and compatibility. Maybe this Bitdefender VPN vs. NordVPN battle will be more interesting than you’d initially think?

Bitdefender VPN vs. NordVPN

NordVPNBitdefender VPN
Rating:
4.9
3.9
Country:PanamaRomania
Locations:59 countries48 countries
Pricing:from $3.67/monthfrom $2.49/month
VPN protocols:NordLynx, IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP)Catapult Hydra
Logging:No logsSome logs
Netflix:YesNo
Torrenting:YesYes
Support:Knowledge base, FAQs, live chat, emailKnowledge base, FAQs, live chat, email, phone
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Android, iOS
Website:Nordvpn.comBitdefender.com

Winner:

NordVPN winner logo

Speed performance: Bitdefender VPN vs. NordVPN

Speed is one of the most important factors when choosing a VPN provider. That’s why I compared the speeds of Bitdefender and NordVPN right away - it was interesting to find out which service is faster.

For the speed tests, I used NordLynx (the fastest protocol of NordVPN) and Catapult Hydra (the only protocol of Bitdefender).

  • Baseline: 300 Mbps download/300 Mbps upload
NordLynx/Catapult HydraBitdefenderNordVPN
Download average243 Mbps259 Mbps
Upload average77 Mbps137 Mbps

The results were great on both ends. I was actually surprised by how good Bitdefender’s speeds were. For example, when connected to a US server, my speed remained the same as without a VPN.

I experienced the biggest decline in download speed when connected to Singapore, as I was left with only half of my original speed. Still, this is not a dealbreaker.

However, Bitdefender falls behind when it comes to upload speed - on average, the VPN slowed down my connection by 75%.

Meanwhile, the situation with NordVPN was a bit more stable. Its download speed was a tad better than the one of Bitdefender VPN, and the upload speed was almost twice as fast.

So, if you often upload content from your device to the internet, NordVPN is the better option. On the other hand, if you’re only concerned about streaming and browsing, both VPNs will be fast enough for you.

Winner:

NordVPN winner logo

Netflix and streaming performance

It’s no secret that most people get a VPN to watch geo-blocked movies and shows. So, is it Bitdefender or NordVPN that will satisfy the needs of the average VPN user?

Bitdefender VPNNordVPN
Netflix✔️
BBC iPlayer✔️✔️
Hulu✔️
DAZN✔️
YouTube✔️✔️

I’ll break it to you from the get-go: it’s NordVPN. This service is almost unbeatable in terms of bypassing geo-blocks imposed by streaming platforms. It unblocks at least 16 different Netflix libraries (US and UK included), BBC iPlayer, Hulu, DAZN, and YouTube.

When it comes to Bitdefender, however, most movie buffs might get a bit disappointed. The service isn’t capable of unblocking most of the popular streaming sites. To me, it only unblocked BBC iPlayer and YouTube, which isn’t impressive in comparison to what most VPNs are capable of.

Winner:

NordVPN winner logo

Torrenting

NordVPN P2P settings

When it comes to torrenting, both Bitdefender VPN and NordVPN are suitable choices.

Still, NordVPN is slightly better for P2P connections. You see, while Bitdefender simply allows torrenting (at decent speeds, I may add), NordVPN includes a few extra features for maximum security while using torrenting clients.

For example, NordVPN not only offers specialized P2P servers, but also Onion over VPN and an integrated SOCKS5 proxy. So, if you torrent often, NordVPN might be the better choice.

Winner:

NordVPN winner logo

Features overview

When it comes to features, NordVPN is a clear winner here. It not only offers the same ones as Bitdefender VPN (split tunneling and auto-connect), but also has a few unique offerings like a malware blocker and SmartDNS.

Winner:

NordVPN winner logo

Split tunneling

Bitdefender VPN general settings

Split tunneling is one of the most useful features a VPN can have, as it allows you to exclude certain apps or websites from the VPN connection. Thanks to it, you don’t have to turn off the VPN when you need to use a banking website or just want to watch your country’s Netflix.

Bitdefender has this feature available on Windows, Android, and iOS applications, and lets you exclude websites and domains.

Meanwhile, NordVPN offers split tunneling only on Windows and Android. Also, instead of websites, you are offered to select applications.

Auto-connect options

Bitdefender VPN autoconnect settings

Both Bitdefender VPN and NordVPN offer auto-connect options.

When using Bitdefender, you can make the VPN turn on automatically in the following cases: on startup, when connected to an unsecured wifi network, or when using P2P clients (like BitTorrent). Additionally, you can manually select applications and websites whose launch would trigger the VPN to connect to one of its servers.

As for NordVPN, the feature is a bit simpler: the VPN can be automatically launched only when you connect to wifi (however, you can make a list of trusted wifi networks).

SmartPlay

NordVPN has a neat little feature called SmartPlay, or SmartDNS. It lets you watch geo-blocked streaming content on devices that don’t support VPN applications (like some smart TVs or gaming consoles). However, keep in mind that SmartPlay doesn’t encrypt your connection.

Specialty servers

This is yet another feature reserved only for NordVPN users. You see, aside from its regular server list, NordVPN has a bunch of specialized servers that will come in handy in particular cases:

  • Onion over VPN. When using these servers, your connection additionally goes through the Onion network before reaching the internet, adding a layer of security.
  • Double VPN. Your connection will go through two VPN servers instead of one. You will find this option when the OpenVPN protocol is selected.
  • Obfuscated servers. These servers will make your VPN traffic appear like regular traffic, which increases your chances of successfully using a VPN in oppressive countries like China.
  • P2P servers. In other words, these are servers for torrenting, which are optimized for P2P traffic.

It’s also worth mentioning that NordVPN allows you to choose the same server every time you connect to the VPN, which means you have the possibility to use the same IP without the need of buying a dedicated IP address.

CyberSec

NordVPN settings

This NordVPN feature protects you from accidentally visiting malware-ridden websites. In turn, you’ll have a much lower chance of getting infected with trackers, spyware, trojans, and other types of malware. In case you’ll still want to visit a blocked website, you’ll have to disable the feature altogether.

Bitdefender VPN vs NordVPN: which is more secure?

Security is an extremely important aspect of any VPN - you don’t want your private info to get leaked or sold to third parties.

And my conclusion is that NordVPN is more secure than Bitdefender VPN - mainly because it has a better no-logs policy that has been audited twice so far.

Winner:

NordVPN winner logo

Encryption and tunneling protocols

Both Bitdefender VPN and NordVPN use the same encryption - AES-256. This type of encryption is used by banking websites and even the military, so you don’t have to worry about its security.

The main difference between NordVPN and Bitdefender VPN lies in tunneling protocols. You see, Bitdefender offers only one protocol, while NordVPN supports multiple.

The protocol used by Bitdefender is called Catapult Hydra, a proprietary tunneling protocol developed by Hotspot Shield. It has won multiple awards for fast speeds, however, there’s not a lot of info about its security.

Meanwhile, NordVPN offers the following protocols:

  • NordLynx. A proprietary protocol developed by NordVPN, NordLynx is based on WireGuard. For this reason, it’s incredibly fast.
  • OpenVPN (TCP/UDP). This protocol is a staple in the VPN world. Keep in mind that the TCP variation is more stable, while the UDP option is faster.
  • IKEv2/IPsec. Fast and secure, this tunneling protocol is best used with mobile devices thanks to its stability.

Logging

If you have a good reason for using a VPN, it’s essential to know what kind of info the service collects about you. It’s also important to take the tool’s country of origin into consideration, as different countries have different data retention laws.

When it comes to Bitdefender, its logging policy isn’t completely spotless. While it promises not to share any of your data with third parties, it still claims to temporarily collect timestamps and the websites visited. This isn’t something I would like to see a VPN do.

In contrast, NordVPN doesn’t collect any logs. Even better - its privacy policy has been independently audited twice by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which makes it much more credible.

Both VPNs are based in privacy-friendly countries. NordVPN is based in Panama, while Bitdefender’s country of origin is Romania.

Kill switch

NordVPN kill switch

Kill switch is a security feature that shuts down your internet in case your VPN connection is compromised, for example, if a VPN server suddenly shuts down. This is done to prevent your real IP address from leaking.

So, the kill switch of NordVPN is twofold. You can either choose to disable the internet connection altogether or simply choose certain applications that should close when you get disconnected from the VPN.

Meanwhile, the kill switch of Bitdefender VPN is only system-wide. Also, it failed one of our tests - when VPN background processes were manually disabled, the VPN didn’t shut down the internet connection.

Plans & pricing

When it comes to pricing, it’s pretty apparent that Bitdefender is the less expensive VPN here. It not only has a cheaper monthly plan, but its yearly subscription costs less per month than NordVPN’s two-year plan. Thus, it might be the better option for those who are on a tight budget.

PlanBitdefender VPNNordVPN
1 month$6.99$11.95
1 year$2.49/month$4.92/month
2 years-$3.67/month

However, keep in mind that NordVPN also gives you three months for free if you buy the longest subscription. Also, the second year of using Bitdefender VPN will cost you $49.99 instead of $29.88.

It’s worth mentioning that Bitdefender VPN has a free 7-day trial you can use on any device. Meanwhile, NordVPN’s 7-day trial can be claimed only on mobile devices.

Also, both services have a 30-day money-back guarantee that will let you back out of the subscription unscratched.

Winner:

Bitdefender VPN winner

Server locations

Bitdefender VPNNordVPN
Servers1,300+5,400+
Countries4859
Americas67
Europe2636
Asia Pacific1211
Middle East and Africa44

Even though NordVPN offers more countries and servers than Bitdefender VPN, Bitdefender’s coverage of 1,300 servers and 48 countries is still quite impressive, especially for an antivirus VPN (in comparison, Avast VPN offers only 700+ servers in 35 countries).

However, it’s quite apparent that NordVPN is the clear winner in this category. And I’m not talking about quantity alone - all of NordVPN’s servers are based on volatile memory (RAM), which means that all data gets completely wiped out after every reboot.

Winner:

NordVPN winner logo

Platforms, interface and ease of use

Bitdefender VPNNordVPN
Supported OSWindows, macOS, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Other software and devices-Kodi, Android TVs, Fire devices
Browser extensions-Chrome, Firefox
Simultaneous connections106

When it comes to compatibility, both Bitdefender VPN and NordVPN are available on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. However, NordVPN also offers support for Linux, various Smart TVs, and Kodi. Additionally, there are browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

That’s why NordVPN wins this category despite offering less simultaneous connections than Bitdefender VPN.

Winner:

NordVPN winner logo

Desktop apps

All the apps of Bitdefender look fairly similar - you won’t see that many differences even between desktop and mobile applications, including the shape of the window. I really like the design, especially because of how intuitive the applications are.

Bitdefender VPN main window

So, the Windows app of Bitdefender offers all the features you’ve read about in this article, including split tunneling, auto-connect options, and a kill switch. On the other hand, the macOS version is a bit lackluster, offering no split tunneling nor most of the auto-connect options.

Meanwhile, there’s more unity between the Windows and macOS applications of NordVPN. Most of the features, like specialty servers, are still included in the Mac version. The apps are much bigger than the ones of Bitdefender, which allows the tool to include a map showcasing the servers.

NordVPN connected to server

In terms of Linux support, you’ll have to use the command line terminal, as there’s no user interface. In turn, you have to be quite IT-literate if you want to use NordVPN on Linux.

Mobile apps

The Android app of Bitdefender VPN is pretty similar to its Windows counterpart. It even has an extra feature that blocks local network traffic, making your phone invisible to other users connected to the same wifi network.

Bitdefender VPN app ready to connect

It was nice to find out that Bitdefender’s iOS app also offers a couple of features (usually, VPN apps for iOS are the worst of the bunch). For example, it lets you use split tunneling, however, you can only choose websites instead of applications. The app also has a kill switch and has some limited auto-connect options.

NordVPN’s mobile apps are also worth a download, sporting a nice design and easy usability. There are some slight differences between the two - the Android application has split tunneling and auto-connect options, while the iOS version includes Dark Web monitoring.

NordVPN app location view

Customer support

NordVPN and Bitdefender VPN offer similar customer support options. Both have a 24/7 live chat and a knowledge base filled with FAQs. You also have the option to write an email, no matter which service you use. However, Bitdefender also offers phone support.

I talked to both providers via chat and have no complaints: the agents were nice and helpful. Thus, I declare a tie in this category.

Winner: Tie

Bitdefender VPN vs. NordVPN – which one wins?

CategoryNordVPNBitdefender VPN
Speed✔️
Features✔️
Security✔️
Streaming✔️
Torrenting✔️
Servers✔️
Price✔️
Ease of use✔️
Customer support✔️✔️

Winner:

NordVPN winner logo

I’m afraid there’s no competition here - NordVPN has destroyed Bitdefender VPN in almost every aspect including speed, features, and compatibility.

The only aspect in which Bitdefender beats NordVPN is price. However, a couple of extra dollars a month shouldn’t be a deciding factor when it’s your security that’s at stake.

FAQ


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