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NordVPN vs McAfee VPN: which VPN is better?


NordVPN and McAfee are two well-known names in the cybersecurity industry, however, they occupy quite different shelves at the digital store for online security products.

McAfee is an antivirus provider, but it also offers a standalone Safe Connect VPN service. And the VPN industry is where NordVPN has been at the forefront for a couple of years now. Why don’t we take a look at how they stack up against each other?

So, in this NordVPN vs. McAfee VPN comparison, I will compare these two VPNs in such categories as speed, streaming, features, security and privacy, and much more.

NordVPN vs. McAfee VPN

NordVPNMcAfee VPN
⭐ Rating:
4.9
3.6
🥇 Overall rank:#1 out of #33#18 out of #33
🖥️ Servers:5500+ servers in 59 countries2000+ servers in 48 countries
📖 No logs policy:No logsKeeps logs
💵 Pricing:From $2.99/monthFrom $2.92/month
🔥 Coupons:NordVPN coupon 68% OFF-
🔒 VPN protocols:OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, WireGuard (NordLynx)Catapult Hydra
🍿 Streaming services:Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreNetflix, HBO Max, Disney +, BBC iPlayer
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, FirefoxWindows, Android, iOS, ChromeOS
📥 Simultaneous connections:65
💁🏻 Support:Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chatKnowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat

Speed performance: NordVPN vs McAfee VPN

For this NordVPN vs McAfee VPN speed comparison, I tested the speeds with different protocols in three different locations – the UK, the US, and Lithuania.

In the table below, only average speeds are displayed.

Right off the bat, I can say that NordVPN was significantly faster than McAfee VPN in all our chosen locations, with all available protocols.

  • Baseline: 460 Mbps download/470 Mbps upload
NordVPNMcAfee Safe Connect VPN
Avg. download speed260 Mbps160 Mbps
Avg. upload speed235 Mbps166 Mbps

As we can see, NordVPN is faster than McAfee Safe Connect VPN regarding both download and upload speed.

The Safe Connect VPN’s average download speed is around 30% slower than NordVPN’s average download speed. When compared to the baseline, McAfee VPN’s speed drop is more than 65%, while NordVPN’s is around 45%.

When it comes to the upload speed, NordVPN is a little bit slower but still faster than McAfee VPN, which actually picks up speed a little bit. The difference is still quite significant.

With McAfee Safe Connect VPN, there is no option to choose the tunneling protocol. It appears, though, that it uses the Catapult Hydra protocol.

The testing on NordVPN was done with NordLynx, as it is the fastest available protocol on all NordVPN apps.

Wrapping up
NordVPN is faster than McAfee Safe Connect VPN regarding both download and upload speed.

Streaming performance

PlatformNordVPNMcAfee Safe Connect VPN
Netflix✅ Yes✅ Yes
HBO Max✅ Yes✅ Yes
Disney +✅ Yes✅ Yes
BBC iPlayer✅ Yes✅ Yes
DAZN✅ Yes❌ No

As evident from the table above, NordVPN excels at unblocking virtually every streaming service you can think of. There were no problems with accessing Netflix libraries in the US and elsewhere. Watching HBO Max and even streaming on DAZN was also a piece of cake – no errors, lag, or bad quality.

Hulu US with NordVPN app

McAfee Safe Connect VPN was also pretty good at unblocking streaming platforms. However, it didn’t manage to provide access to DAZN. Otherwise, the video streaming quality was relatively good, and no buffering occurred.

Wrapping up
All in all, while streaming is possible with both NordVPN and McAfee VPN, the latter unblocks fewer streaming platforms than NordVPN. Performance-wise, neither VPN caused any buffering or low video quality. Considering the sheer unblocking abilities though, I think it’s fair to declare NordVPN as the better streaming VPN of the two.

Torrenting

Torrenting with NordVPN couldn’t be more different from torrenting with McAfee VPNs.

One of the first and most visible differences is that NordVPN has dedicated P2P servers, and McAfee VPNs don’t. The second difference is that NordVPN takes actions in place to protect your torrenting traffic from getting detected. For example, if you torrent on a regular server and get compromised, NordVPN automatically changes your connection to one of their P2P servers. McAfee VPN has nothing at least remotely similar.

As for the torrenting experience itself, NordVPN worked perfectly during all of my tests. The speeds were good, and the connection didn’t get blocked once.

The McAfee Safe Connect VPN allowed torrenting on three out of five server locations I tested. The other two, namely Czechia and the UK, didn’t work.

Wrapping up
In summary, I think it’s pretty clear that if you want a VPN for torrenting, NordVPN is the best option here. Not only does it allow torrenting in general, but it also has specialized servers for P2P connections as well as additional security measures. McAfee Safe Connect VPN supports torrenting on only some of their servers.

Features overview

The features of McAfee VPN and NordVPN are pretty standard to the VPN world. They both have such staple features as a kill switch or auto-connect.

However, that’s where the features end on the McAfee VPN part. NordVPN, on the other hand, has a lot more to offer, ranging from specialized servers to security measures against malware and online threats. And if you want a VPN and threat protection from McAfee, you can get that only with a full antivirus suite.

But let’s take a closer look at the NordVPN and McAfee VPN feature comparison:

Specialized servers

NordVPN has a number of specialized servers, for a number of special cases:

  • P2P servers for torrenting.
  • Double VPN servers, also known as multi-hop servers. When connected, your data will be transferred not through one but two of NordVPN’s servers, which grants more security.
  • Obfuscated servers, which will make your VPN traffic appear as regular HTTPS traffic, and thus make it possible to bypass even the strictest of VPN blocks.
  • Onion over VPN servers will route your traffic through a VPN server, and then through at least three Tor network nodes. This makes it very difficult to trace any online activity back to you.
  • Dedicated IP servers can be purchased for an additional price. You will get an IP that will always remain the same, and belong only to you.
nordvpn specialized servers new

McAfee VPN, on the other hand, has nothing of the sort. It doesn’t offer any type of obfuscation method, nor double VPN servers for maximized security, and no servers for dedicated IPs to speak of.

Kill switch

Both NordVPN and McAfee VPN (both versions) have a kill switch. It helps in case the VPN connection drops – to not expose your IP address and location, a kill switch will shut off all device access to the internet, and keep your details safe.

NordVPN’s kill switch works fine, just as you would expect from a quality kill switch. You can also customize it to work with specific apps or specific networks.

nordvpn kill switch new interface

By contrast, the Safe Connect VPN kill switch called Safe Reconnect didn’t really do what it was supposed to. With the kill switch turned on, I couldn’t connect to any servers. An error message would pop up every time, saying that something went wrong and that I should try again later. This means that I couldn’t really test if the kill switch was working at all.

Mcafee safe connect vpn settings and kill switch

Other features

Besides specialized servers and a kills switch, both VPNs have more features to show. I must note, though, that NordVPN has significantly more than McAfee VPN.

Other NordVPN features include:

Threat protection, which blocks ads, trackers, and malicious websites, scans all the files you download onto your device, and otherwise protects you from malware and bad actors.

nordvpn threat protection new interface

There is also a dark web monitor, which warns you about vulnerabilities of your personal data. It scours the dark web for information associated with your email address and notifies you right away if there is anything found.

Presets of NordVPN allows for greater VPN customization, and the Meshnet feature allows using a VPN to securely connect your device to your friends’ and colleagues’ devices.

Other McAfee features include:

Trusted Networks is a whitelisting feature, which allows you to select which networks are safe to use without a VPN. They can include your school, workplace, or home networks, but I would recommend leaving cafe and airport wifi out of this list.

Another feature of McAfee Safe Connect VPN is a TCP Override. When turned on, it should provide you with a more stable connection – given that your connection is unstable in the first place – but during testing, I haven’t noticed any significant connection stability changes.

Wrapping up
Overall, it is quite evident that in terms of features, NordVPN easily surpasses McAfee VPN and leaves the latter in the dust. Not only does NordVPN have significantly more features but also all of them work as they’re supposed to. I haven’t experienced that with McAfee VPN, unfortunately.

NordVPN vs McAfee VPN: which is more secure?

Security is the prime purpose of any VPN service, and it’s good to know that both NordVPN and McAfee VPN also take it seriously.

To encrypt your traffic, McAfee VPN uses the industry-standard AES-256 encryption, while NordVPN employs the ChaCha20 cipher. Here, both VPNs are neck to neck.

When it comes to infrastructure and logging policies, however, some differences start to show. First of all, McAfee VPN logs a lot of information about their users – more about that below. Secondly, it is also based in the US, which is not the most privacy-friendly jurisdiction. McAfee VPN has not been independently audited either.

NordVPN, on the other hand, has a very strict, independently audited no-logs policy. They don’t log any data about you at all – except for diagnostics, and you can opt-out even of that. This VPN is also based in a privacy-friendly Panama.

NordVPN also has enhanced security on the server levels – all of their servers are RAM-only, which means that any data stored on them gets wiped after each server reboot, and nothing is kept permanently.

Wrapping up
Considering the logging policies, infrastructure, and general view toward user privacy, NordVPN is more secure and safe than McAfee VPN.

Infrastructure

NordVPN’s servers are obviously encrypted, which is a standard security measure in the VPN world. But there is more.

The large majority of NordVPN’s servers are RAM-only, which means that they don’t use hard drives to store data such as usage logs. Memory-only data storage also inevitably results in a complete wipe-out of information if the servers reboot. For the user, this ensures complete anonymity and personal data security, as in case of a breach, a remote reboot can be initiated.

As for McAfee VPN, there is very little information about what kind of servers it uses and what security measures are employed.

Privacy

NordVPN is based in Panama, which is a country with a pretty laid-back approach to data collection and retention. NordVPN is not required to collect any information about its users. Moreover, Panama is not a member of any surveillance alliances, such as the 14-eyes or others. So even if they did log some non-sensitive data such as your registration email, they wouldn’t have any legal obligations to share it with anyone.

On the other hand, McAfee VPN is based in the United States. This is a country known for its high-key unfriendly views on privacy protection, extensive laws about data retention and turnovers, as well as vigorous participation in the 14-eyes surveillance alliance. The US is not a good place for any VPN to be based in. If it is, you can be sure that some type of data about you will be logged.

Logging

NordVPN has a strict no-logs policy. It doesn’t track what you do with the app, what servers you connect to, and what websites you visit. The policy has been audited two times, in 2018 and 2020, by an independent auditor PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), which is one of the Big Four accounting firms. The audit report concluded that NordVPN complies with security and privacy standards of the highest grade.

McAfee VPN does not have a no-logs policy. In fact, they are quite open about keeping tabs on their users. Here are the types of logs that McAfee VPN keeps:

  • Your IP address,
  • Information about your devices, such as hardware type, battery levels, operating system, etc.
  • Your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • Browser type, language preferences, and geo-location data.
  • URLs or domain names of the websites you visit.

McAfee VPN is also open about sharing your data with third-party advertisers and other companies that provide services to McAfee. They will also comply with requests from any legal, government, and/or judicial authorities and provide them with any data they have on you.

And as a cherry on top, they can keep your biometric data (if they have it) for up to three years after you’ve deleted your accounts and stopped using the apps.

Plans & pricing

In the table below, I compared the prices of NordVPN’s 1-month, 1-year, and 2-year subscriptions to the Standard plan and the McAfee Safe Connect VPN 1-year subscription:

NordVPNMcAfee Safe Connect VPN
1-month plan$11.99-
1-year plan $4.49/month$4.00/month
2-year plan$2.99/month-
Check pricingCheck pricing

NordVPN has three different pricing tiers, each of which you can subscribe to for a month, 1 year, and 2 years. The 1-year subscription to the NordVPN Standard plan for $4.49/month includes a VPN with 6 simultaneous connections and all of the features that come with it. Threat protection with malware protection and threat and ad blocker is also included. The same tier costs $2.99/month for a 2-year plan, and you can also get it for 1 month for $11.99. The longer the subscription duration is, the lower the price.

Other NordVPN pricing tiers are the Plus and the Complete. They are a little more expensive than the Standard but also include more – such as a password manager, encrypted storage, and a data breach scanner. The Plus tier costs $12.99 for 1 month, $5.49/month for 1 year, and $3.99/month for 2 years. The Complete tier is priced at $14.29 for 1 month, $6.79/month for 1 year, and $5.29/month for 2 years.

You can learn more about NordVPN’s pricing plans in our NordVPN review.

The McAfee Safe Connect VPN 1-year subscription will give you a VPN with 5 licenses (or simultaneous connections), and all the features that come with it, namely the Safe Reconnect (kill switch), TCP override, and Trusted Networks. You can get the subscription for $4.00/month.

Unlike NordVPN, McAfee Safe Connect VPN doesn’t offer 1-month or 2-year plans. However, there are different pricing options as well, such as the Plus, the Premium, and the Ultimate. The subscription is for 1-year or for 2 years for all fo them. However, one important distinction is that these are pricing plans for the Total Protection antivirus suite, which includes a VPN together with other AV features. The Plus tier for 1 year is priced at $4.17/month, the Premium for 1 year costs $4.58/month, and you can get the Ultimate for 1 year for $6.25/month.

You can find out more about what the McAfee antivirus offers in our McAfee antivirus review.

Wrapping up
In conclusion, while McAfee VPN is cheaper than NordVPN when it comes to 1-year subscriptions, it offers fewer features. On the other hand, with NordVPN’s Standard plan, you can get 6 simultaneous connections, threat protection, malware blockers, and an array of specialized servers, which the basic McAfee VPN plan doesn’t offer. Therefore, because both VPNs have benefits and disadvantages to their plans, the pricing comparison ends in a draw.

Servers and locations

NordVPNMcAfee Safe Connect VPN
Servers5500N/A
Countries in total5948
Americas78
Europe3826
Asia Pacific119
Middle East & Africa45

NordVPN offers over 5500 servers, spread out across the whole world – you can connect to any server in as many as 59 locations. The highest number of server locations is in Europe, but other corners of the world are also pretty well covered.

nordvpn new windows interface and server list

By contrast, McAfee VPN doesn’t even announce the number of servers available, and the number of countries is just a little lower than NordVPN’s. However, it also has a pretty good server location distribution.

mcafee vpn server list
Wrapping up
Overall, the server location distribution is similar with both providers, although NordVPN has slightly more locations under its belt than McAfee VPN. Otherwise, I think it is fair to declare that neither VPN wins in this category.

Platforms, interface, and ease of use

Both NordVPN and McAfee VPN have apps for Windows, Android, and iOS. McAfee VPN doesn’t have apps for macOS and Linux. NordVPN, by contrast, does.

However, the McAfee VPN also have something that NordVPN doesn’t – native Chromebook support with their app for ChromeOS. In NordVPN’s defense, though, for a VPN to be compatible with Chromebooks, you only really need an app for Android.

NordVPNSafe Connect VPN
Supported OSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, Android, iOS, ChromeOS
Browser extensionsChrome, Firefox, Edge
Other devicesKodi, Android TVs, Fire devices
Simultaneous connections65

NordVPN also has extensions for three browsers – Chrome, Firefox, and MS Edge, while McAfee VPN doesn’t have any. The same goes for other supported devices. You can use NordVPN on Kodi, various Android TVs, and Fire devices. McAfee VPN is limited to your good old computer and/or mobile device.

NordVPN supports 6 simultaneous connections, while McAfee VPN supports only 5.

Wrapping up
Overall, it is pretty clear that NordVPN is better equipped than McAfee VPN when it comes to supported platforms and devices. Besides the usual operating systems, it also offers browser extensions and is compatible with devices like smart TVs. It also supports more simultaneous connections than McAfee VPN.

Desktop apps

The desktop apps on Windows and macOS of NordVPN are very similar. They have a nice blue and grey interface, adorned with an interactive world map. The map indicates server locations that you can connect to by simply clicking on the little blue dot.

nordpvn new windows interface

There is also a country list to the left of the map, including specialty servers, as well as a vertical toolbar for accessing additional settings and features. It is quite easy to navigate and find everything you might need and want from your VPN.

McAfee VPN interface is a little more simplistic than NordVPN’s, but it still is functional and easy to use.

mcafee safe connect vpn windows main interface

The main page of the McAfee Safe Connect VPN features a big button that prompts you to "start protection". Once you click on the button you get connected to a VPN server. You can also select your preferred location, or just let the VPN pick the fastest one. On the left side, there is a toolbar through which you can access other VPN settings, such as the kill switch.

Mobile apps

NordVPN mobile apps are almost a direct replica of the desktop ones. Both Android and iOS apps have an interactive map, a big button for making quick connections, and a country and specialty server list. The toolbar at the bottom of the page will take you to Meshnet, notifications, and profile. Through the profile, you can also access app settings and features.

nordvpn android interface new smaller

The McAfee mobile apps on iOS and Android also mimic their desktop counterparts. The big protection button is there, as well as some options for choosing your preferred location. You can access the additional settings and features by tapping on the burger menu in the upper right corner.

mcafee safe connect vpn android main interface

Customer support

Responsive and helpful customer support is a staple of any paid VPN service, and both NordVPN and McAfee VPN excel at it.

24/7 live chat
Email
Phone line
Guides or articles
FAQs

NordVPN has a 24/7 live chat for urgent issues, and you can submit a support ticket by email as well. If you’re more inclined to figure things out by yourself, there are a lot of articles and guides focused on set-ups, configurations, features, and more. There is also an FAQ page with extensive answers to the most common questions.

McAfee VPN support is tied to their antivirus solutions, so it is a little different regarding the kind of content you can find. However, there is also a 24/7 live chat option, as well as helpful guides, explanatory articles, and an FAQ page.

Wrapping up
Both NordVPN and McAfee VPN have good support systems, comprising of FAQ pages, live chats, community support, and guide articles. You can also submit tickets by email, and get prompt responses.

NordVPN vs McAfee VPN – which one wins?

CategoryNordVPNMcafee VPN
Speed✔️
Streaming✔️✔️
Torrenting✔️
Features✔️
Security and privacy✔️
Price✔️✔️
Servers✔️✔️
Ease of use✔️
Customer support✔️✔️

The final comparison makes it clear that NordVPN performs better than McAfee VPN in most aspects. The most notable advantages are the features, platform compatibility, and security and privacy measures. It has numerous features for online security, as well as a strict no-logs policy. It is also compatible with all the major operating systems, as well as a variety of devices and browsers. Additionally, NordVPN also has specialized servers for streaming and torrenting.

McAfee VPN only has the most basic features, and some of them don’t even function properly. The streaming and torrenting experiences were not the best, and the speeds left a lot to be desired. I also must once again mention that McAfee VPN collects and shares user data with third parties – that goes almost completely against what a VPN is for.

So, to conclude this NordVPN vs McAfee VPN comparison, I declare NordVPN as the obvious winner and the better VPN.

4.9 /5
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-68% OFF
4.7 /5
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4.3 /5
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