ProtonVPN vs. NordVPN: Which One Do We Prefer?
We put these VPNs to the test to find out which is the best!
It’s barely been three years since ProtonVPN came into existence. And already, it’s being talked about and compared with big names of the industry. Today, we compare it with the biggest of them all, NordVPN.
NordVPN is currently our favorite VPN. And looking at its dominating market share, it’s go-to for many. On the other hand, ProtonVPN is a product of Proton Technologies, known for its aim: making online privacy “possible again”.
With both NordVPN and ProtonVPN essentially following the same privacy & security measures, Proton’s could-have-been-an-edge seems possible no more. However, there are many other areas of comparison when it comes to VPNs — perhaps ProtonVPN will come out ahead on a few of those. Let’s see.
Spoiler alert: NordVPN is better than ProtonVPN in every manner!
How do these compare?
Ease of use
ProtonVPN is a decent provider. If you are registered with them, there’s no need to switch unless your plan is about to expire. However, if given a choice, NordVPN is miles ahead!
Let’s discuss everything in detail.
ProtonVPN vs NordVPN: Features
We’ll kick things off with features.
Before purchasing any VPN, there are certain features you need to look at. The primary ones being kill switch, double VPN, DNS leak protection, IP leak protection, split tunneling, etc.
NordVPN has all the important features covered. It has a kill switch, double VPN, auto-connect, Onion over VPN for Tor, Anti-DDoS, DNS leak protection, CyberSec, and IP leak protection.
The kill switch implementation by Nord is particularly interesting. It has two variants:
- “Internet kill switch” is the usual kill switch, which stops all the internet traffic if the VPN gets disconnected.
- “App kill”. Here, you add the apps you want to disconnect from the internet if the VPN connection is lost. E.g., Adding “Flud”, a torrenting app, to the list, and leaving your browser outside.
The auto-connect can also be configured. You can set the VPN to auto-connect whenever you’re using a public WiFi. Moreover, you can also choose the server you want to auto-connect from.
It also has a few other features, including Cybersec, double VPN, and DNS options. We will discuss these in the “Security” segment.
As for ProtonVPN, it has all the basic features NordVPN does. Additionally, it also supports split tunneling, which is convenient to have even though the majority of consumers may never need it.
Overall, ProtonVPN has covered all the major features, including split tunneling. However, NordVPN’s Onion over VPN and implementation of the kill switch and auto-connect keeps it at the top.
ProtonVPN vs. NordVPN: Ease of use
Payment options - Cryptocurrencies?
Map-based & list-based
Map & List-based
Apps (Android, iOS, etc.)
All devices (except firestick)
Unlike all other sections in this comparison, “Ease of use” is subjective. For the best comparison, we have looked at it from a technically-illiterate layman’s perspective.
NordVPN’s account creation process is straightforward. Once the account is created, just log in, and you are good to go. The homepage is sleek and visually stimulating. A significant portion of the page is covered by a world map with all the servers marked on it — you can simply select any, and you’re connected. If you would like to search for a specific location server, there’s a list with a search bar on the left side — scroll through the options, and connect!
In the settings menu, too, everything is right where you expect it. That’s a big plus from a UX standpoint. Talking about UX, scrolling & switching through all the tabs feels fantastic!
The “Ease of use” experience discussed stands true for all NordVPN’s apps, whether it’s for iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, or even Firestick.
ProtonVPN is easy to use, too. Setting up an account is simple. Plus, just like NordVPN, you are greeted with a world map with all the server locations marked. Moreover, we personally loved the green on black UI of Proton — it gives a feeling of being a computer geek or a hacker.
In the settings page, you can change/activate the features you want. However, some of the things in the settings tab don’t make sense. E.g., Kill switch, which is clearly a basic/necessary feature is under the “Advanced settings”.
In addition to that, we found ProtonVPN’s android app to be slightly harder to use compared to Nord. Also, it doesn’t have any app for Firestick.
All in all, ProtonVPN’s implementation from the UI/UX perspective is decent. But, NordVPN’s way of doing it is better…some might consider it as the epitome of how easy it should be to use a VPN.
ProtonVPN vs NordVPN: Servers & Speed
Number of servers
Unblocks streaming platform
Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, etc.
Netflix, Hulu, Primevideo, and Kodi
Avg. Download speed reduction
Avg. Upload speed reduction
This section is entirely objective — pure data!
ProtonVPN has 865 servers in 50 countries. Whereas, NordVPN has upwards of 5100 servers across 59 countries.
Clearly, from a quantity perspective, NordVPN is way ahead of ProtonVPN.
Let’s look at the speed factor — the quality aspect. We tested upload speed, download speed, and ping using both VPNs across locations on four continents. The results are shown above in the table.
As you can see, considering pings when the VPN is active, Nord is better. With 100 ms ping, you can still play your online games — however, it’s recommended to turn off the VPN while playing games, especially the multiplayer ones. In ProtonVPN’s case, online gaming is out of the question.
NordVPN is also better in uploading and downloading. On a 100 Mbps plan, the download speed went down to approx. 80 Mbps with NordVPN and approx. 60 Mbps with ProtonVPN. Similar was the case with uploading too.
Talking about speed, it is required to stream online content. And talking about content, let’s quickly look at the sites/platforms both or either unlocks.
NordVPN: Netflix, Hulu, Primevideo, Kodi, ESPN, YouTube, and BBC iPlayer.
ProtonVPN: Netflix, Hulu, Primevideo, and Kodi.
ProtonVPN vs NordVPN: Security & Privacy
OpenVPN, IPSec/IKEv2, WireGuard’s NordLynx
Keeps connection logs
Kill switch, DoubleVPN, Onion over VPN
Kill switch, Secure core
Now comes the most important factor — the primary element for which people buy VPN: Security & Privacy.
NordVPN uses OpenVPN(for desktop) / IKEv2 (for mobile) + AES-256 encryption. This combination is the pinnacle of security in the VPN market. This means, even if your data gets in someone’s hands (which is almost impossible), it will literally take millions of years for a supercomputer to decrypt & read the information.
For even more security, they have Cybersec & double VPN. Cybersec essentially blocks ads and malware wherever you visit on the internet. And double VPN creates two layers of servers from where you are connected — meaning, if someone backtraces the anonymous you, they will end up on another of Nord’s servers.
ProtonVPN also uses OpenVPN + AES-256 encryption for desktop clients. Similarly, for mobile devices, it uses the IKEv2/IPSec protocol.
On the privacy side of things, ProtonVPN follows the NordVPN’s path with one minor change. In the no-logging policy, they have a log of the last time you connected to the VPN. This shouldn’t concern anyone — just putting it out there.
Moreover, even though they don’t have an adblocker like Nord does, it has its version of double VPN: Secure core.
ProtonVPN vs NordVPN: Support
Live chat & Email; Knowledgebase & tutorials
Live chat: < 1 minute
Email: ~3 hours
Email: ~4 hours
Quality of response
Both ProtonVPN and NordVPN have a decent knowledge base and video tutorials. However, when it comes to talking with an actual expert, NordVPN is better.
Honestly, the response we got from both sides were satisfactory, but NordVPN wins at the number of support channels factor.
With NordVPN, there’s 24/7 live chat and an email support option. Comparatively, ProtonVPN has an email option only. Moreover, if email response times are compared, NordVPN support agents get back quicker than the ProtonVPN counterpart.
ProtonVPN vs NordVPN: Pricing
Starting Price Per Month:
$3.71/month (2 years)
Number of connections per plan:
Starting Price Per Month:
$6.63/month (2 years)
Number of connections per plan:
Up till now, NordVPN has been slightly better than ProtonVPN at almost everything. Pricing will take it home for them.
ProtonVPN has a two-year plan at max. So, let’s compare both VPN’s two-year plan’s pricing.
ProtonVPN’s premium plan costs €6.63/month or approx. $8/month for the two-year plan. This includes connections for five devices (it used to be ten). Apart from the premium plan, it has a free plan as well — very limited, though.
NordVPN is priced at $3.49/month for the same period. With this plan, you can connect six devices simultaneously.
Meaning, not only is NordVPN priced less than half of ProtonVPN, but it also allows an extra simultaneous device.
Conclusion: Which one’s better?
The Winner Is - NordVPN
As you read throughout the comparison — starting from introduction to all the sections — NordVPN is the clear winner.
This is not to say that ProtonVPN is bad; it’s a decent choice. However, when compared to the top of the top, it doesn’t stand a chance. At least, currently.
We hope you found this comparison helpful. If you are considering purchasing NordVPN (there’s no reason you shouldn’t, if you are looking for a VPN)
Total Score: 10/10
• Uptime 99.99%
• Free SSL certificate
• WordPress official recommendations