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NordVPN vs Proton VPN: which VPN is better in 2024?


NordVPN and Proton VPN are highly popular and respected in the cybersecurity world. Both offer top-notch privacy, fast speeds, great streaming, and reliable security, and they support the same number of simultaneous connections.

However, there are key differences. NordVPN is cheaper, faster, and has more security features than Proton VPN. On the other hand, Proton VPN is really easy to use, even with great security additions.

To make things clear, together with the research team, I tested and compared both VPNs in terms of security, features, speeds, and ease of use, to sort out, which is the best in 2024.

NordVPN vs Proton VPN comparison overview

At a glance, it’s clear why Proton VPN and NordVPN are among the best VPN services available. Both are located in privacy-friendly jurisdictions, have audited no-logs policies, and employ cutting-edge tunneling protocols for maximum speed and security. Moreover, they offer accessible and feature-rich apps for all desktop and mobile operating systems and other platforms.

However, NordVPN has faster connection speeds and delivers better results when bypassing geo-blocked streaming content. Most importantly, NordVPN is more affordable than Proton VPN.

NordVPNProton VPN
⭐ Rating:
4.9
4.2
🥇 Overall rank:#1 out of #42#7 out of #42
🖥️ Servers:6,400 + servers in 111 countries5,200 + servers in 91 countries
📖 No logs policy:No logsNo logs
💵 Price:From $3.39/monthFrom $4.49/month
🔥 Coupons:NordVPN coupon 72% OFFProton VPN coupon 55% OFF
🔒 VPN protocols:OpenVPN, WireGuard (NordLynx)WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPsec
🍿 Streaming services:Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, HBO Max, Disney+
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
📥 Simultaneous connections:1010
💁🏻 Support:Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chatGuides, FAQs, support tickets, subreddit

Proton VPN vs NordVPN price comparison

NordVPN provides more features at a lower cost. However, Proton VPN offers a free plan aside from its paid subscriptions, which might be the deciding factor for some potential customers.

Plan durationNordVPNProton VPN
Free$0.00
1-month plan$12.99/month$9.99/month
1-year plan$4.99/month$5.99/month
2-years plan$3.39/month$4.49month
Check NordVPN pricingCheck Proton VPN pricing

As we can see, NordVPN is a bit cheaper than Proton VPN. NordVPN prices start at only $3.39/month and Proton VPN offers a $4.49/month starting price.

While Proton VPN's one-month subscription is slightly less expensive than the competitor’s, NordVPN’s long-term plans are the cheaper options overall, making it the winner of the pricing category. On the other hand, Proton VPN offers a completely free version, which NordVPN lacks. However, you can still try NordVPN for free by using its 7-day trial. Unlike Proton VPN's free version, which has limited servers and device connections, NordVPN's free trial offers unlimited access with all premium features. No matter how much I appreciate freemium VPNs, they are very limited when compared to premium subscriptions and it’s no different in this situation.

For the best deal, I recommend opting for the two-year plan. NordVPN will then cost as low as $3.39/month, and Proton VPN – is $4.49/month.

Additionally, NordVPN is once again more versatile in terms of payment options. Proton VPN accepts payments via credit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Bitcoin, or PayPal, while NordVPN accepts credit cards, PayPal, AmazonPay, Sofort, prepaid cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and cryptocurrencies.

Finally, another perk that both providers have is the risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. So, you can try either VPN without any risks to your bank account.

Wrapping up
NordVPN offers better long-term deals and is overall a cheaper option than Proton VPN. The best deal comes with NordVPN’s longest plan which costs $3.39/month. While Proton VPN’s cheapest premium plan is $4.49/month.

Netflix and streaming performance

My test showed that both Proton VPN and NordVPN are reliable and can easily bypass geo-restrictions. Together with the research team we managed to unblock not only Netflix but various other popular services, like Max, Disney+, Hulu, and many more.

Additionally, NordVPN is at the top of our list of best VPNs for Netflix. This provider is better at bypassing strict geo-restrictions and is overall more reliable regarding streaming.

NordVPNProton VPN
Netflix
BBC iPlayer
Amazon Prime Video
Hulu
Max
Disney+
Youtube

During our tests, NordVPN easily accessed Netflix and other popular streaming sites. Additionally, NordVPN supports streaming on all servers, and the speed results are enough to easily stream in HD or even 4K video quality.

Another feature that NordVPN offers is the SmartDNS. This feature allows you to watch geo-restricted content on devices that don’t support VPN connections.

On the other hand, when together with a research team w tested Proton VPN, I managed to unblock almost all streaming sites, as with NordVPN. Additionally, Proton VPN has optimized servers for streaming sites, so you’ll need to pick them for the best streaming experience.

A significant loss for Proton VPN is that this provider doesn’t offer the Smart DNS feature, so you won’t be able to stream geo-locked content on devices that don’t support a VPN app, like smart TVs.

Wrapping up
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for streaming. This provider unblocks all of the popular streaming sites, differently than Proton VPN which is slightly more limited. With NordVPN you’ll get to enjoy lag-free streaming and HD video quality. Additionally, you get the Smart DNS feature with NordVPN, something Proton VPN doesn’t offer at all.

Security overview: NordVPN vs Proton VPN

Both VPNs provide essential security features like a no-logs policy and AES-256 encryption, and they have been independently audited to ensure top-notch safety. They also include a robust kill switch and DNS leak protection.

Additionally, both NordVPN and Proton VPN are based in privacy-friendly countries. Also, it’s worth noting that Proton VPN is an open-source service, while NordVPN’s servers run only on RAM.

NordVPNProton VPN
EncryptionAES-256 or ChaCha20Poly1305AES-256 or ChaCha20
HashSHA-512SHA-384
RAM servers✅ Yes❌ No
JurisdictionPanama (Outside 5-9-14 eyes jurisdiction)Switzerland (Outside 5-9-14 eyes jurisdiction)
No-logs policyAudited 4 times, recent audit in 2023Audited 2 times, recent audit in 2023
Kill switch✅ Yes✅ Yes
DNS leak protection✅ Yes✅ Yes
Wrapping up – it's a draw
Both NordVPN and Proton VPN offer reliable security, have independently audited no-logs policies, are based in privacy-friendly countries, and provide all features to ensure your data security. However, NordVPN is our #1 overall!

Jurisdiction

NordVPN is based in Panama, while Proton VPN is based in Switzerland. Both of these countries are privacy-friendly and don’t have data retention laws.

Panama and Switzerland are outside of the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes alliances, so you can be certain that the government isn’t requesting that the ISP collect data about users' online browsing activity.

No-logs policy

Both VPNs have undergone independent audits, which confirmed their no-logs policies. NordVPN was audited twice by PwC and twice by Deloitte, the latest in 2023. Proton VPN was audited by Securitum, also in 2023.

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 of this.

Additionally, NordVPN uses RAM-only servers that get completely wiped out after every single reboot.

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.

When it comes to the no-logs policy, everything seems pretty great. It doesn’t log anything personal, including your IP address, browsing history, session lengths, or location-based info.

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.

When comparing Proton VPN vs. NordVPN, NordVPN offers a more advanced selection of tunneling protocols. You can choose NordLynx, a new-generation tunneling protocol developed by NordVPN itself. Additionally, the provider offers OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, and IKEv2/IPsec, but only for manual setting up.

Meanwhile, Proton VPN offers WireGuard, OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP, IKEv2/IPsec, and Stealth

Kill switch

Both Proton VPN and NordVPN have reliable kill switches. During testing, I forced the VPN connection to drop together with a research team. In both NordVPN and Proton VPN cases, the kill switch feature worked flawlessly, effectively cutting off the internet connection.

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

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.

On the other hand, the Internet kill switch disables all internet access if you’re not connected to a VPN connection.

During in-house tests, NordVPN's kill switch worked really well. There were no cases of accidental IP leaks, so you can be certain of your security with NordVPN.

Luckily, Proton VPN also 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.

DNS leak protection

Together with the research team, I conducted DNS leak tests using the DNSleak website. We made sure to enable Proton VPN and NordVPN DNS leak protection. For the test, we preferred the Extended test on the DNS leak test website, which sends more queries (36) compared to the Standard test (6). This test works by sending multiple domain names for the VPN to resolve.

VPN leak tests 2

As you can see, I didn't find any address or DNS leaks while using the NordVPN Windows client. Gladly, I didn't encounter any issues while using Proton VPN either.

Which is faster – NordVPN or Proton VPN?

When evaluating speed performance, NordVPN was unbeatable in any tested location across the globe. Proton VPN demonstrated good results, offering speedy and stable worldwide connections, however it wasn't as consistent as NordVPN

Let's have a look at NordVPN and Proton VPN speed results with the WireGuard tunneling protocol, or in NordVPN’s case their upgraded version called NordLynx.

Data period: 06.07 - 06.21
Download retention
US (NY) US (NY)
93% (467 Mbit/s) 90% (452 Mbit/s)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
94% (473 Mbit/s) 94% (471 Mbit/s)
France France
95% (478 Mbit/s) 89% (447 Mbit/s)
Singapore Singapore
90% (453 Mbit/s) 79% (396 Mbit/s)
Australia Australia
88% (443 Mbit/s) 80% (403 Mbit/s)
Upload retention
US (NY) US (NY)
92% (462 Mbit/s) 89% (448 Mbit/s)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
92% (461 Mbit/s) 92% (460 Mbit/s)
France France
92% (462 Mbit/s) 88% (443 Mbit/s)
Singapore Singapore
87% (438 Mbit/s) 76% (384 Mbit/s)
Australia Australia
53% (268 Mbit/s) 76% (384 Mbit/s)
Download/Upload baseline speed - 500 Mbit/s

Whichever location you look at, it's visible that NordLynx speeds exceed Proton VPN's WireGuard drastically. This means that you won’t have issues with connection speeds or lagging. 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 ahead of many offered by other best VPNs, so it’s no surprise that NordVPN has superior speed results.

Wrapping up
NordVPN is much faster than Proton VPN. Overall, it is one of the fastest VPNs on the market right now. While Proton VPN’s results weren’t bad, this provider simply can’t compare to the blazing-fast speeds of NordVPN’s NordLynx protocol.

Features overview

NordVPN offers more features than Proton VPN. While both providers have Double VPN, split tunneling, and Stealth VPN, Proton VPN lacks Smart DNS and RAM-only servers.

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. Sometimes, a feature might not be related to VPN usage at all (like NordVPN’s Threat Protection, which protects you from malware threats).

NordVPNProton VPN
Double VPN✅Yes✅Yes
Split tunneling✅Yes✅Yes
Smart DNS✅Yes❌No
RAM-only servers✅Yes❌No
Stealth VPN✅Yes✅Yes

Double VPN

Double VPN is a feature available with both NordVPN and Proton VPN. NordVPN calls this feature multi-hop, while Proton VPN calls it Secure Core and makes it available only with a premium subscription. It is basically an additional protection layer, though not every user might need it. Double VPN allows you to connect through two different VPN servers for extra anonymity. When I tried using it with both providers, I discovered that the internet connection was much slower. On the other hand, there was no leakage of IPs or DNS.

Split tunneling

NordVPN offers split tunneling on its Windows, Android, and Android TV apps, while Proton VPN provides it only on Windows and Android. Both services offer the same functionality, but split tunneling is slightly faster with NordVPN due to its higher overall speed.

You can enable split tunneling if you want to exclude certain apps or websites from your VPN connection. If you prefer your VPN to encrypt all traffic, you can keep split tunneling turned off.

NordVPN’s version of split tunneling is quite configurable: you can disable and enable a VPN connection for the apps of your choice. However, you can’t configure it with IP addresses. This feature is available on the Windows and Android NordVPN applications.

Proton VPN’s split tunneling feature is also advanced. It allows you to include and exclude apps and even IP addresses from the VPN tunnel. Like NordVPN, Proton VPN includes this feature on Windows and Android applications.

Specialty servers

Proton VPN and NordVPN offer specialty servers for accomplishing specific tasks. For example, Proton VPN has Tor over VPN servers. You can connect to the server first and then to the Tor network, adding an extra layer of security when using Tor.

Read more about Proton VPN specialty servers in our detailed Proton VPN review.

Also, the provider has special servers for P2P connections, so your torrenting experience is more secure and provides better speeds.

Similarly, NordVPN offers Onion over VPN for extra security. It also has specialized P2P servers for optimal torrenting speeds and a SOCKS5 proxy that ads additional encryption to your torrenting traffic, even if you forget to turn on the VPN.

Lastly, Dedicated IP servers allow you to purchase a dedicated IP address. So, whenever you boot up the NordVPN, you can connect to a server with a dedicated IP exclusive to you. With NordVPN, anyone can purchase this service, which has roughly 18 country options. Meanwhile, Proton VPN only provides dedicated IP servers for businesses.

Exclusive features

It shouldn’t surprise you that Proton VPN and NordVPN offer a few exclusive perks to entice customers.

Starting with NordVPN, the service includes Threat Protection, which grants extra security against ads, and malicious files. Additionally, the one-of-a-kind Meshnet tool allows connecting with remote devices to create LANs or share files. Finally, you won’t have to worry about data leaks because Dark Web Monitoring will notify you whenever one relevant to you occurs. Visit our detailed NordVPN review to learn more.

On the flip side, Proton VPN includes VPN Accelerator, which drastically improves connectivity over long distances. Moreover, the service’s apps are open-source, meaning anyone can scrutinize their security and implementation. Lastly, the Secure Core feature routes traffic through multiple servers in hardened data centers across Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden.

Wrapping up
NordVPN offers a more comprehensive feature package, therefore it is a winner of this category. On the other hand, Proton VPN offers reliable features as well, however, it simply can’t compete with the security package that NordVPN has.

Server locations

NordVPN outshines Proton VPN in both the number of servers and country coverage. NordVPN has 6400 servers in 111 countries, while Proton VPN has estimated 5200 servers across 91 countries. Also, both providers offer specialty servers, such as obfuscated and P2P servers.

However, the difference between the VPN networks is a bit more apparent when considering the number of servers – NordVPN has about twice as many servers as Proton VPN.

Why does a large server network matter? An extensive server fleet helps bypass geo-restrictions, which is great for avid streamers. Specialty servers like obfuscated and P2P improve security and performance for torrenting. Overall, a larger server network means faster, more reliable, and flexible VPN connections, making it easier for users to maintain privacy and access content globally.

Wrapping up
All in all, NordVPN is the winner in this category because it offers a lot more servers than Proton VPN, so you are more likely to find the one with the best connection and speed results for you.

China and countries with restricted internet access

NordVPN and Proton VPN are good options if you want to access banned websites from countries with high internet censorship. That is because both providers offer obfuscated servers that make VPN traffic appear as regular traffic.

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

Proton VPN’s Stealth servers can also be enabled under protocol selection. It can also bypass internet restrictions and VPN blocks. Currently, this feature is available only on Android, macOS, and iOS devices.

Additionally, thanks to virtual servers, both providers offer IP addresses in countries where trustworthy providers can’t keep physical servers due to government overreach or other issues. For example, NordVPN has Indian virtual servers, while Proton VPN has those and even options in Russia.

Wrapping up – it's a draw
Both NordVPN and Proton VPN have obfuscated server features available to bypass internet restrictions and VPN blocks, especially in countries like China, so this comparison point is a draw. Nevertheless, our overall category winner is NordVPN.

Which is better for torrenting – NordVPN or Proton VPN?

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

NordVPN offers fast speeds and numerous P2P servers. ProtonVPN ensures excellent security and privacy but is slower and has fewer P2P options. Both are user-friendly and work well for torrenting, with no issues encountered when testing.

NordVPN technically allows torrenting on all of their servers, however the best speed results and the most secure connections you’ll get on the specialized P2P servers.

Proton VPN allows P2P file sharing on specialized servers for torrenting.

However, you won’t get the best speeds with Proton VPN even on the P2P-optimized servers.

Wrapping up
NordVPN is the winner of the torrenting category. This VPN provider offers great speeds and security and has P2P-optimized servers. Proton VPN also has P2P servers, however, the speeds with this provider are unreliable.

Platforms, interface, and ease of use

In terms of compatibility, both Proton VPN and NordVPN have done their homework correctly. No matter what kind of device you use, you’ll be able to download a quality app. Both providers also support many other devices, like Android TV or Fire devices. However, NordVPN also supports Kodi devices.

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, Firefox, Edge, OperaChrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera
Simultaneous connections1010
Usability levelEasy to set upEasy to set up

It’s worth noting that Proton VPN supports more browsers. It also offers up to 10 simultaneous connections compared to NordVPN’s 10 simultaneous connections.

Wrapping up – it's a draw
Overall, neither NordVPN nor Proton VPN can be declared a clear winner in the topic of ease of use. Both providers offer support for a variety of platforms and OS, are easy to use, and allow multiple simultaneous connections. However, our recommended provider overall is NordVPN.

Desktop apps

When it comes to the desktop apps of NordVPN, they are pretty similar in terms of features. Both Windows and macOS applications display a map interface and a list of countries so that it would be easier to choose a country you need.

nordvpn-desktop-app-1

However, the Mac version still lacks the split tunneling feature.

Additionally, there are two NordVPN app versions for macOS users. The one available on the App Store supports all tunneling protocols, including NordLynx. The one you can download from the website supports OpenVPN only but has more features.

Now, 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-ios-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 features like split tunneling, IPv6 Leak Protection, and Custom DNS Servers.

Mobile apps

The NordVPN Android app is slightly more developed than the iOS one. That’s due to iOS applications lacking certain features like split tunneling or configurable kill switch.

However, other features are the same whether you use iOS or Android, including the map interface that’s present in both versions. Additionally, you’ll get Dark Web monitoring, pausing, and auto-connect features with both apps.

nordvpn android interface

Proton VPN’s Android and iOS apps are pretty much identical, except that the iOS version doesn’t have split tunneling or alternate routing features. Both apps have the same map interface, and iOS users can add a Proton VPN widget to their screen.

ProtonVPN-mobile-interface

Additionally, both versions are easily usable and intuitive to learn to navigate. Also, Proton VPN mobile apps can easily rival even the desktop app versions.

NordVPN and Proton VPN customer support

No matter how good a VPN is, you may still encounter a problem. 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.

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

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. I contacted ProtonVPN support by filling a ticket, regarding RAM servers, and they replied quickly with detailed information.

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 to receive a reply in minutes. I reached out to NordVPN support about China, and they also responded promptly, providing helpful tutorials and displaying good knowledge.

NordVPN vs Proton VPN – which one wins?

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

NordVPN stands out as the superior choice compared to ProtonVPN, emerging as the clear winner in this comparison. It's our top recommendation for streaming, offering affordable pricing and lightning-fast speeds, thanks to the NordLynx protocol. With a wide range of security tools, NordVPN ensures robust protection. It also provides a superior torrenting experience and efficient customer support.

On the other hand, ProtonVPN is a reliable, easy-to-use option with an impressive free version. However, while it offers good data protection, security features, and amazing customer support, it lacks the speed and reliability for torrenting.

FAQ