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


NordVPN and Proton VPN are some of the most popular and well-regarded VPNs in the cybersecurity industry. The two boast exceptional privacy practices, blazing-fast speeds, excellent streaming performance, and reliable security. You can even bundle either VPN with other digital products from the company, such as a password manager and encrypted cloud storage service.

Regarding a few differences, NordVPN is overall cheaper and offers a more extensive server network. Meanwhile, Proton VPN covers more countries and supports more simultaneous connections per account.

We'll cover many more similarities and differences in this NordVPN vs Proton VPN comparison. So, read on if you want to know what makes these VPN services unique and how to pick the one for you.

NordVPN vs Proton VPN: 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, there are few things that make NordVPN the winner of this comparison. For starters, it has faster connection speeds and delivers better results when bypassing geo-blocked streaming content. Most importantly, it’s more affordable than Proton VPN. But it’s not entirely one-sided because Proton VPN supports more simultaneous connections per account than NordVPN and offers a completely free plan.

NordVPNProton VPN
⭐ Rating:
4.9
4
🥇 Overall rank:#1 out of #42#13 out of #42
🖥️ Servers:6,100 + servers in 61 countries3,000 + servers in 71 countries
📖 No logs policy:No logsNo logs
💵 Price:From $3.39/monthFrom $4.99/month
🔥 Coupons:NordVPN coupon 67% OFFCybernews VPN Coupons
🔒 VPN protocols:OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, 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:610
💁🏻 Support:Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chatGuides, FAQs, support tickets, subreddit

Netflix and streaming performance

Both NordVPN and Proton VPN are great options if you’re looking for the best VPN for streaming. They 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 we tested Proton VPN, we 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.

Plans and pricing of Proton VPN vs NordVPN

NordVPN prices start at only $3.39/month, which is cheaper than Proton VPN’s $4.99/month starting price. Thus, NordVPN is the winner in the pricing category, although we admit that Proton VPN’s free plan might be the deciding factor for some potential customers.

Plan durationNordVPNProton VPN Plus
Free$0.00
One month$12.99/month$9.99/month
One year$4.99/month$5.99/month
Two years$3.39/month$4.99month
Check pricingCheck 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 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 $3.39/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.

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 $4.99/month.

NordVPN vs Proton VPN: which is more secure?

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 regarding safety.

NordVPNProton VPN
EncryptionAES-256 or ChaCha20Poly1305AES-256 or ChaCha20
HashSHA-512SHA-384
RAM serversYesNo
A member of 5-Eyes Alliance?NoNo
No-logs policyAuditedAudited
Kill switchYesYes
Ad blockerYesYes
DNS leak protectionYesYes

Yet, NordVPN is the one with the newer and more reliable ChaCha20Poly1305 encryption cipher. 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.

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!

Privacy

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.

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 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.

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.

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, 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.

Speed performance: NordVPN vs 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: 02.16 - 03.01
Download retention
US (NY) US (NY)
53% (508 Mbit/s) 51% (495 Mbit/s)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
44% (424 Mbit/s) 43% (416 Mbit/s)
France France
97% (932 Mbit/s) 49% (476 Mbit/s)
Australia Australia
89% (848 Mbit/s) 86% (829 Mbit/s)
Upload retention
US (NY) US (NY)
47% (451 Mbit/s) 47% (454 Mbit/s)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
41% (395 Mbit/s) 41% (393 Mbit/s)
France France
88% (846 Mbit/s) 59% (565 Mbit/s)
Australia Australia
75% (721 Mbit/s) 77% (741 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 miles 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 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.

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).

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

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.

NordVPN calls this feature multi-hop, while Proton VPN calls it Secure Core and makes it available only with a premium subscription.

Split tunneling

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.

Specialty servers

Proton VPN and NordVPN offer specialty servers for accomplishing specific tasks. 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 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 the same thing. The VPN also offers specialized P2P servers that will give you the best torrenting speeds.

Also, the SOCKS5 proxy helps out with torrenting as well. You can set it up on your favorite P2P client 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 boot up the VPN, you can connect to a server with a static 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, malicious files, and system vulnerabilities. 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

The number of countries offered by Proton VPN and NordVPN doesn’t differ much: Proton VPN offers 71 countries, while NordVPN lets you choose from 61 countries.

Proton VPNNordVPN
Servers3000+6100+
Countries (total)7161
Americas97
Europe2736
Asia Pacific1511
Middle East & Africa44
Virtual locationsYesYes
Specialty serversYesYes

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.

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.

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) 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.

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, EdgeChrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera
Simultaneous connections610
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 6 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

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 interface windows june 2022

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, 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.

nordvpn android interface new smaller

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 app servers on a map ios v5

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.

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.

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.

Video review

Take a peek at our video comparison of the two rivals: NordVPN and Proton VPN.

NordVPN vs Proton VPN – which one wins?

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

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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