© 2022 CyberNews - Latest tech news,
product reviews, and analyses.

If you purchase via links on our site, we may receive affiliate commissions.

NordVPN vs Proton VPN: which VPN is better?


It doesn’t surprise me if you’re torn between NordVPN and Proton VPN. Both services come from reputable companies, are serious about your privacy, and offer quality apps for all popular operating systems.

However, it’s highly unlikely that they are equal in all aspects. Thus, I wrote this Proton VPN vs NordVPN comparison to help you choose the right tool in terms of features, ease of use, price, and speed. Let’s find out which VPN service wins!

NordVPN vs Proton VPN

NordVPNProtonVPN
⭐ Rating:
4.9
4.2
🥇 Overall rank:#1 out of #29#7 out of #29
🖥️ Servers:5400+ servers in 60 countries1700+ servers in 63 countries
📖 No logs policy:No logsNo logs
💵 Pricing:From $3.29/monthFrom $4.99/month
🔥 Coupons:NordVPN coupon 68% OFFProtonVPN coupon 50% OFF
🔒 VPN protocols:OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, WireGuard (NordLynx)WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPsec.
🍿 Streaming services:Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, FirefoxWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
📥 Simultaneous connections:6Up to 10
💁🏻 Support:Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chatGuides, FAQs, support tickets, subreddit

Speed performance: NordVPN vs Proton VPN

While no VPN will retain 100% of your speed at all times, some may come close. For this reason, we put NordVPN vs Proton VPN to a test. Although both providers use the WireGuard tunneling protocol, NordVPN has an upgraded version of it called NordLynx.

Proton VPN demonstrated good results, offering speedy and stable worldwide connections. However, NordVPN was unbeatable in any tested location across the globe.

  • Baseline: 1000 Mbps download/1000 Mbps upload
Data period: 06.08 - 06.22
 
United States United States
Download 603 Mbit/s 168 Mbit/s
Upload 525 Mbit/s 150 Mbit/s
Canada Canada
Download 406 Mbit/s 122 Mbit/s
Upload 373 Mbit/s 113 Mbit/s
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Download 456 Mbit/s 199 Mbit/s
Upload 422 Mbit/s 350 Mbit/s
See live VPN provider data on our VPN speed test tool

Whichever location you look at, it's visible that NordLynx speeds exceeds Proton VPN's WireGuard drastically. NordVPN's speed reductions aren't high, meaning you won't have many issues with speed. Meanwhile, there were inconsistencies with Proton VPN which can eventually lead to performance issues.

Overall, the winner in this match is clear. The proprietary NordLynx protocol (a custom modification of WireGuard) is miles ahead of many offered by other best VPNS, so it’s no surprise that Proton VPN did descend.

Netflix and streaming performance

Proton VPNNordVPN
Netflix
BBC iPlayer
DAZN
Youtube
NordVPNProton VPN
Supported OS
Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Other software and devicesKodi, Android TVs, Fire devicesAndroid TV, Fire devices
Browser extensionsChrome, FirefoxChrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera
Simultaneous connections6Up to 10

If you need a VPN for streaming, both Proton VPN and NordVPN will satisfy your needs – but NordVPN will do this a little bit better.

When testing Proton VPN, I was able to unblock Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, and Youtube. However, DAZN was too reluctant to give up.

Don’t forget that only the Plus and Visionary plans let you use the servers that are optimized for unblocking streaming sites. Also, Proton VPN doesn’t offer SmartDNS.

Meanwhile, NordVPN not only offers accessibility to streaming platforms to all of its users – it also unblocks more platforms and offers the SmartDNS feature that allows you to watch geo-restricted content on devices that don’t support VPN connections.

Overall, I just find NordVPN the better alternative to those who can’t live without streaming platforms.

Wrapping up
Overall, I just find NordVPN the better alternative to those who can’t live without streaming platforms.

Torrenting

It’s advisable to use a VPN when torrenting so that your ISP couldn’t monitor your activity (this is especially useful if your country forbids torrenting).

Now, which VPN from our two contestants should you choose? Let’s take a closer look.

So, all paid plans of Proton VPN allow P2P file sharing. You just need to pick a server that supports torrenting.

NordVPN allows torrenting, too. Just like Proton VPN, it has specialized servers for P2P connections. And in case you try torrenting while connected to a server that’s not P2P-friendly, the VPN will automatically connect you to the one that supports torrenting.

Winner: Tie

Features overview

Even though extra features usually aren’t the main selling point of a VPN, it’s always nice to have more freedom to configure your VPN connections. And sometimes, a feature might not be related to VPN usage at all (like NordVPN’s CyberSec).

That being said, I find NordVPN to be the winner in this category. It not only has more features, but also doesn’t restrict any of them depending on the subscription you purchase.

Double VPN

Double VPN is a feature you’ll get with both NordVPN and Proton VPN. It allows you to connect through two different VPN servers for an extra layer of anonymity. Keep in mind that your internet connection will be much slower.

Proton VPN calls this feature Secure Core and makes it available only with its Plus and Visionary plans.

Split tunneling

Proton VPN’s split tunneling feature is really advanced. There are a lot of configuration options: it allows you to include and exclude apps and even IP addresses from the VPN tunnel. The feature is available on Windows and Android applications of Proton VPN.

NordVPN’s version of split tunneling is also quite configurable: you can disable and enable VPN connection for the apps of your choice. However, you can’t configure it with IP addresses. Just like in the case of Proton VPN, NordVPN includes this feature on its Windows and Android applications.

SmartPlay

SmartPlay is a feature offered only by NordVPN. Also called SmartDNS, it increases your chances to unblock streaming platforms and bypass various geographical restrictions.

It also allows you to stream geo-blocked movies and shows on devices that don’t have a dedicated NordVPN app. SmartPlay even works on devices that don’t support VPN connections at all – for example, gaming consoles.

Specialty servers

Most VPNs offer specialized servers for different activities. For example, Proton VPN has Tor over VPN servers. It reroutes your connection through the Tor network before connecting to a VPN server. This can be especially useful when you’re connecting from a country with an oppressive regime.

Similarly, NordVPN has a feature called Onion over VPN, which is basically the same thing. The VPN also offers specialized P2P servers that will give you the best speeds when torrenting.

CyberSec

CyberSec is a NordVPN feature that will help you stay safe online. Simply enable it in the General tab, and the VPN will make sure to block unsafe websites (that may contain malware), as well as all the annoying ads displayed on various pages.

Keep in mind, however, that a VPN isn’t an antivirus application, and you still need a separate anti-malware tool to keep your device completely safe.

NordVPN Cybersec feature

NordVPN vs Proton VPN: which is more secure?

NordVPNProton VPN
EncryptionAES-256 or ChaCha20Poly1305AES-256 or ChaCha20
HashSHA-512SHA-384
RAM serversYesNo
No-logs policyAuditedAudited

Security-wise, both VPN providers are excellent. The military-grade AES-256 encryption, secure tunneling protocols, no-logs policy, and independent audits put these VPNs among the best ones on the market in terms of safety.

It’s worth noting that Proton VPN is an open-source service, while NordVPN’s servers run only on RAM.

Winner: Tie

Encryption and tunneling protocols

Just like the vast majority of VPNs available today, both NordVPN and Proton VPN use AES-256 encryption for encrypting your data. This type of encryption is virtually impossible to break, which means that using either of the services is completely safe.

However, some differences show up when we compare the tunneling protocols. You see, NordVPN simply has a slightly wider selection of those. You can choose from NordLynx, OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, and IKEv2/IPsec.

Meanwhile, Proton VPN offers OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP, and IKEv2/IPsec. The addition of WireGuard would be quite appreciated, but there are currently no plans to include it.

Logging

When it comes to logging, NordVPN is a perfect example of a no-logs policy done right. The VPN doesn’t log anything personal, including connection timestamps, bandwidth usage, session info, IP addresses, etc.

The only pieces of information it stores are crash error reports and app diagnostics data. However, you can simply opt out from this.

Other than that, the VPN is based in Panama, which is a privacy-friendly country with no data retention laws. Additionally, NordVPN uses RAM-only servers that get completely wiped out after every single reboot. Finally, the no-logs policy of NordVPN has been independently audited twice, which proves its credibility.

Proton VPN is also really trustworthy. For one, it is open-source. You can see the code on GitHub for their Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux applications. What’s more, Proton VPN is independently audited by SEC Consult.

When it comes to the no-logs policy, everything seems pretty great. However, unlike NordVPN, Proton VPN keeps the timestamp of your last login. Otherwise, it doesn’t log anything personal, including your IP address, browsing history, session lengths, or location-based info.

Lastly, Proton VPN is based in Switzerland, which is truly privacy-friendly.

Kill Switch

Every reliable VPN should have a well-functioning kill switch. Otherwise, your real IP address might get exposed in case your VPN suddenly crashes.

NordVPN kill switch feature

Luckily, Proton VPN has a good kill switch. During our tests, the feature successfully cut off the internet connection. However, it was a bit difficult to get the internet back up and running on the Windows application.

Interestingly enough, NordVPN has two kill switches: an Internet kill switch and an App kill switch. In terms of the latter, you can make a list of all the apps you want to block when your VPN connection is compromised.

Plans & pricing

Let’s take a look at which VPN service is cheaper. The following table depicts the prices of Proton VPN Plus, as this type of subscription is the most similar one to NordVPN in terms of functionality.

Plan durationNordVPNProton VPN Plus
One month$11.99/month$7.49/month
One year$4.99/month$5.99/month
Two years$3.29/month$4.99/month
Check pricingCheck pricing

While the one-month subscription of Proton VPN is slightly less expensive than the one of its competitor, NordVPN’s long-term plan is actually twice as cheap. And, let’s be frank, long-term subscription is the one you’ll truly need if you’re serious about using a VPN.

On the other hand, Proton VPN is the one that offers a completely free version, which is something NordVPN lacks. However, no matter how much I appreciate freemium VPNs, I still deem NordVPN the winner in this category, as its pricing is not only more adequate, but also less confusing.

If these prices seem a bit high, check out our article for NordVPN coupon codes to find some additional discounts.

Pricing of Proton VPN

The pricing system of Proton VPN definitely deserves its own section. This VPN service has four different types of subscription, and each of them offers different features. On top of that, the prices change depending on the length of the plan.

Check out the table below for a closer look at what Proton VPN has to offer:

VersionFeaturesMonthly price
Proton VPN Free1 connection, servers in 3 countries, medium speed$0.00
Proton VPN Basic2 simultaneous connections, servers in 54 countries, high speed, P2P supportFrom $3.29
Proton VPN Plus5 simultaneous connections, servers in 54 countries, fastest speeds (up to 10 Gbps), P2P support, Secure Core VPN, TOR over VPN, streaming supportFrom $4.99
Proton VPN Visionary10 simultaneous connections, all the features in Plus, and a ProtonMail Visionary accountFrom $19.96

Frankly, I’m not really a fan of the pricing tiers of Proton VPN, as I don’t think a VPN should deliberately limit its features. In any case, most users will buy the Plus plan, as it allows unblocking streaming platforms and offers the best speeds.

As you can see, the Visionary plan also includes a ProtonMail Visionary subscription. ProtonMail is a secure email service, and this particular plan comes with 20 GB of storage, custom domains, and priority customer support. However, even if you do need secure email, you don’t necessarily need the most advanced plan available.

In any case, don’t forget that you have a 30-day money-back guarantee to try out the product. You can either pay with your credit card or use PayPal (an option not offered by NordVPN).

Pricing of NordVPN

Opposite to Proton VPN, NordVPN doesn’t have a complicated pricing system. It all comes down to a simple rule: the longer the subscription, the less you pay per month.

Thus, the cheapest way to use NordVPN is to get the 2-year plan for $3.29. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay the full price at once ($79).

Just like Proton VPN, NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee. Unlike Proton VPN, NordVPN allows you to pay with cryptocurrencies aside from the usual payment methods like credit cards.

China and countries with restricted internet access

If you want to access banned websites from countries with a high level of internet censorship, your best bet is NordVPN. That’s because it offers obfuscated servers that make VPN traffic appear as regular traffic.

To use them, you have to pick the OpenVPN TCP tunneling protocol and switch on the Obfuscated Servers toggle in the Advanced section of Settings.

Proton VPN also tries to combat internet censorship with its Alternative Routing feature. However, as of today, it doesn’t work for users in China.

Server locations

The number of countries offered by Proton VPN and NordVPN doesn’t differ that much: the former offers 55 countries, while the latter lets you choose from 59 countries in total.

However, the difference between the VPN networks is a bit more apparent when you consider the number of servers – NordVPN has four times more servers than Proton VPN.

Proton VPNNordVPN
Servers1700+5400+
Countries (total)6360
Americas97
Europe2736
Asia Pacific1511
Middle East & Africa44

Now, there’s something you should know about Proton VPN: the servers you can use depend on the plan you buy. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Secure Core servers (88 servers in 55 countries) – these are fully owned and operated by Proton VPN. Available only to Plus and Visionary plan users.
  • Plus servers (1,200+ servers in 55 countries) – servers that support streaming and torrenting, as well as Tor over VPN servers
  • Basic servers (390+ servers in 40+ countries) – suitable for torrenting
  • Free servers in Japan, the Netherlands, and the US (23 servers) – medium speed, no extra features like streaming or torrenting
Wrapping up
All in all, I declare NordVPN the winner in this category because all of their servers are available to all the subscribers (even though I appreciate that Proton VPN lets you use certain servers for free).

Platforms, interface, and ease of use

NordVPNProton VPN
Supported OS
Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Other software and devicesKodi, Android TVs, Fire devicesAndroid TV, Fire devices
Browser extensionsChrome, FirefoxChrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera
Simultaneous connections6Up to 10

In terms of compatibility, both Proton VPN and NordVPN have done their homework properly. No matter what kind of device you use, you’ll be able to download a quality app.

It’s worth noting that Proton VPN supports more browsers. It also offers more simultaneous connections (10), however, only the subscribers of the Visionary plan can make use of those. The cheaper plans allow for either two or five VPN connections.

Winner: Tie

Desktop apps

The desktop apps of Proton VPN are quite good – especially the Windows version. It includes the majority of the extra features aside from looking slick and modern. The main window displays a map, as well as tons of information on your connection.

ProtonVPN p2p feature interface

For example, you can see the connection time, the bandwidth you used in the past 60 seconds, and the duration of the connection. You can also see the server load. However, it only shows the load of the server you’re currently connected to.

Meanwhile, the macOS application lacks some of the features like Alternative Routing and split tunneling. The Linux version of Proton VPN offers a very simple UI and a terminal.

When it comes to the desktop apps of NordVPN, they are a little bit more unified in terms of features. Both Windows and macOS applications display a map so that it would be easier to choose a country you need. However, the Mac version still lacks the split tunneling feature.

NordVPN server selection to connect

Also, the Linux version of NordVPN doesn’t even have a user interface – you’ll have to use the command line terminal.

Mobile apps

No matter whether you have an Android or iOS smartphone, you’ll be able to download Proton VPN and NordVPN. The question is – which VPN offers better mobile applications?

So, Proton VPN’s mobile apps are almost identical, which is a surprisingly good thing. Usually, when it comes to VPNs, the iOS app is the worse version of the Android one, but not in this case.

ProtonVPN app servers on a map

Meanwhile, the Android version of NordVPN is the superior one, as the iOS application lacks certain features like auto-connect and split tunneling. All in all, iOS users might like Proton VPN better, while Android owners will be content with either VPN.

NordVPN app connected to Switzerland

Customer support

NordVPNProton VPN
24/7 live chat
Email
Phone support
Guides or articles
FAQs

No matter how good a VPN is, you might still run into a problem or two. In these cases, helpful customer support (and a convenient way to reach it) is a must. In this round, NordVPN exceeds Proton VPN due to better human assistance options.

Proton VPN users have two main options. You can either create a support ticket (and get a reply directly to your email) or simply look for the answer in the knowledge center. If you’re a Redditor, you can also visit Proton VPN’s subreddit at r/ProtonVPN. Unfortunately, there is no live chat option for an instant reply.

It’s even easier to get help when using NordVPN. While the service offers ticket support and a knowledge base just like Proton VPN, it went the extra mile by launching a 24/7 live chat that allows you receive a reply in minutes.

NordVPN vs Proton VPN – which one wins?

CategoryNordVPNProton VPN
Speed
Features
Protection
Streaming
Torrenting
Price
Ease of use
Customer support

While Proton VPN has been a tough competitor, NordVPN is the ultimate winner here. It excels in areas like speed, features, price, and server coverage. Also, it has a higher chance of working in oppressive countries like China.

However, no matter which VPN you choose, you’ll have an excellent tool that will help you stay anonymous online.


More VPN comparisons


FAQ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked