NordVPN and Proton VPN are two very popular VPN providers that have proudly earned a top 10 spot in our best VPNs list. 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. So, that’s why we have this NordVPN vs Proton VPN comparison to pick the best VPN for you.
In this review, NordVPN and Proton VPN will be challenged in terms of protection, connection speeds, streaming abilities, features, torrenting, ease of use, and price.
NordVPN vs Proton VPN
Our tests showed that NordVPN is better overall than Proton VPN. It’s cheaper, the price for it starts at $3.49/month in comparison to slightly more costly at $4.99/month. Additionally, you get a larger server fleet of 5500+ servers in 60 countries with NordVPN.
On the other hand, Proton VPN offers fewer server options but covers more geographically various locations with 1800+ servers in 66 countries. Yet, this VPN provider unblocks fewer streaming sites compared to the competitor. So, overall, NordVPN is a much more versatile option.
|🥇 Overall rank:||#1 out of #34||#9 out of #34|
|🖥️ Servers:||5500+ servers in 60 countries||1800+ servers in 66 countries|
|📖 No logs policy:||No logs||No logs|
|💵 Pricing:||From $3.49/month||From $4.99/month|
|🔥 Coupons:||NordVPN coupon 63% OFF||Proton VPN coupon 50% OFF|
|🔒 VPN protocols:||OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, WireGuard (NordLynx)||WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPsec.|
|🍿 Streaming services:||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, HBO Max, Disney+|
|🖥️ Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|📥 Simultaneous connections:||6||10|
|💁🏻 Support:||Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat||Guides, FAQs, support tickets, subreddit|
Netflix and streaming performance
If you’re looking for the best VPN for streaming, both NordVPN and Proton VPN are great options. They unblock not only Netflix, but also a variety of other popular sites, like HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, and others.
Additionally, NordVPN is at the top of our best VPNs for Netflix list. This provider is better at bypassing strict geo-restrictions and is overall more reliable when it comes to streaming.
|Amazon Prime Video||✅||✅|
During our tests, NordVPN easily accessed Netflix and other popular streaming sites. Additionally, NordVPN supports streaming on all of the servers and the speed results are enough to easily stream in HD or even 4K video quality.
Another feature that NordVPN offers is the Smart DNS. This feature allows you to watch geo-restricted content on devices that don’t support VPN connections.
On the other hand, when we tested Proton VPN, we managed to unblock almost all of the 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 big 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.
Plans and pricing
NordVPN and Proton VPN are both pretty budget-friendly VPN options. The longer subscription you pick, the cheaper the plan will cost you.
Also, another perk that both of these providers have is the risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. So you can try out each of these VPNs without any risks to your bank account.
|Plan duration||NordVPN||Proton VPN Plus|
|Check pricing||Check pricing|
While the one-month subscription of Proton VPN is slightly less expensive than the competitor’s, NordVPN’s long-term plans are the cheaper options overall. And, let’s be frank, a 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, they are very limited when compared to premium subscriptions. It’s no different in this situation.
The best deal comes with the two-year plans, for which NordVPN costs $3.09/month and Proton VPN is $4.99/month.
Additionally, for payment options, NordVPN is once again more versatile. Proton VPN accepts payments via credit card, Bitcoin, or PayPal. While NordVPN accepts credit cards, PayPal, AmazonPay, Sofort, prepaid cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and cryptocurrencies.
NordVPN vs Proton VPN: which is more secure?
|Encryption||AES-256 or ChaCha20Poly1305||AES-256 or ChaCha20|
|A member of 5-Eyes Alliance?||No||No|
|DNS leak protection||Yes||Yes|
Security-wise, both VPN providers are excellent. The market-leading 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. Yet, NordVPN is the one with the newer and more reliable hash.
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.
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.
Additionally, neither belongs to the Five Eyes Intelligence alliance, so you can be certain that the government isn’t requesting the ISP to collect data about the users’ activity while browsing online.
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. Finally, the no-logs policy of NordVPN has been independently audited twice by PwC, 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.
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 WireGuard, OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP, and IKEv2/IPsec.
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 our tests, the 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.
Speed performance: NordVPN vs Proton VPN
In this part, we’ll look at NordVPN and Proton VPN speed results with the WireGuard tunneling protocol, or in NordVPN’s case their upgraded version called NordLynx.
Proton VPN demonstrated good results, offering speedy and stable worldwide connections. However, NordVPN was unbeatable in any tested location across the globe.
|Download||430 Mbit/s||396 Mbit/s|
|Upload||373 Mbit/s||359 Mbit/s|
|Download||482 Mbit/s||418 Mbit/s|
|Upload||448 Mbit/s||384 Mbit/s|
|Download||606 Mbit/s||475 Mbit/s|
|Upload||568 Mbit/s||512 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 miles ahead of many offered by other best VPNs, so it’s no surprise that NordVPN has superior speed results
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 Threat Protection, which protects you from malware threats).
NordVPN offers a variety of useful features that do overshadow Proton VPN’s feature package. However, this is not to say that Proton VPN’s features are any lesser than the competitors.
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.
NordVPN calls this feature multi-hop, while Proton VPN calls it Secure Core and makes it available only with a premium subscription.
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 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. Just like in the case with NordVPN, Proton VPN includes this feature on Windows and Android applications.
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.
You can read more about the Proton VPN specialty servers in our detailed review.
Also, there are special servers for P2P connections, so your torrenting experience is more secure and provides better speeds.
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.
Also, the SOCKS5 proxy helps out with torrenting as well. You can set it up on your favorite P2P client and so your traffic will always be protected while torrenting even if you forget to turn on the VPN.
Lastly, Dedicated IP servers allow you to purchase a dedicated IP address. So whenever you connect through a VPN, your IP address will always be the same.
NordVPN has a lot of additional features. Like Threat protection that helps 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.
SmartDNS is another useful feature included. 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.
Additionally, there is a Dark Web Monitoring feature to check whether any of your personal information has leaked on any databases used by online criminals.
Also, there’s the meshnet functionality that allows you to make a secure connection between several different devices. You can actually link up to 60 devices. This feature is useful for virtual LAN parties, or accessing remote files securely.
To learn more, head over to our detailed NordVPN review.
|Middle East & Africa||4||4|
The number of countries offered by Proton VPN and NordVPN doesn’t differ that much: Proton VPN offers 64 countries, while NordVPN 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 way more servers than Proton VPN.
China and countries with restricted internet access
If you want to access banned websites from countries with a high level of internet censorship, both NordVPN and Proton VPN are good options for you. 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.
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) or throttle your connection speeds.
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. 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.
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.
Platforms, interface, and ease of use
|Supported OS||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Other software and devices||Kodi, Android TVs, Fire devices||Android TV, Fire devices|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Edge||Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera|
|Simultaneous connections||6||Up to 10|
|Usability level||Easy to set up||Easy to set up|
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. Both providers also support plenty of other devices, like Android TV or Fire devices. However, NordVPN also supports Kodi devices.
It’s worth noting that Proton VPN supports more browsers. It also offers up to 10 simultaneous connections compared to NordVPN’s 6 simultaneous connections.
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.
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.
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.
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, that is 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.
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.
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.
|24/7 live chat||✅||❌|
|Guides or articles||✅||✅|
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?
|Ease of use||✅||✅|
NordVPN is the better VPN than Proton VPN and a clear winner of this comparison. This VPN is our top pick for streaming, is a cheaper option, provides blazing-fast speeds thanks to the native NordLynx protocol. Additionally, the feature package is vast and filled with useful and reliable security tools. You will also get a better torrenting experience and more efficient customer support with NordVPN.
On the other hand, Proton VPN is a good and reliable VPN provider that has a pretty impressive free version. However, it cannot compete with the market leader NordVPN. This VPN has great features and provides great protection for your data. However, it isn’t the fastest, the torrenting speeds aren’t reliable, and it might take you a while to access customer support for help.
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Which is better: Proton VPN or NordVPN?
NordVPN beats Proton VPN in many aspects. For example, NordVPN is better in terms of features, price, and speed. However, the tools are equally good when it comes to security and compatibility.
Is Proton VPN better than ExpressVPN?
It depends on what you’re looking for. If you really care about speeds, then ExpressVPN is the better choice. However, if you only need a VPN for torrenting, then Proton VPN is the cheaper option.
Can I trust Proton VPN?
Yes, Proton VPN is trustworthy. It is an open-source VPN with a third-party audit and a no-logs policy. Also, it uses AES-256 encryption and offers secure tunneling protocols.