ProtonVPN vs NordVPN

protonvpn vs nordvpn

ProtonVPN and NordVPN are two services that work to maintain your privacy on the internet. Although many VPNs claim to guard privacy, not all of them match it as much as ProtonVPN and NordVPN.

How can you choose between ProtonVPN vs. NordVPN when you want a no-log VPN and extremely secure data encryption? These two VPNs are similar in many ways, but they’re also quite different in their features, pricing, and customer and technical support. We’ve compared the two based on helpful VPN criteria to help you decide on the right VPN for you.

ProtonVPN vs NordVPN: quick comparison


protonvpnnordvpn
JurisdictionSwitzerlandPanama
3rd party auditYes, by Mozilla and
Cure53
Yes, by PwC
Native appsWindows
MacOS
Android
iOS
Windows
MacOS
Android
iOS
Android TV
Linux
Connections56
Browser extensionsChrome
Firefox
Advanced featuresKill Switch
Always-On
Double VPN
Onion over VPN
Kill Switch
NordLynx protocol
Dedicated IP
Double VPN
Onion over VPN
Obfuscated servers
Servers network809 servers in
50 countries
5400 servers in
59 countries
Streaming and P2PYesYes,
Dedicated servers
Free trialYes,
free version
Yes,
in the mobile app
Price$8.00 /mo
1-year plan
$96 billed
7-day money-back
guarantee
$6.58 /mo
1-year plan
$79 billed
30-day money-back
guarantee
invpn.com rating4.9 / 5.04.8 / 5.0
Full reviewProtonVPN ReviewNordVPN Review

ProtonVPN and NordVPN are ones that VPN users frequently mention as go-to options that respect and maintain your privacy. Here’s how they compare against our best VPN parameters:


Jurisdiction


One of the most important considerations when choosing between ProtonVPN vs. NordVPN is their jurisdiction, which refers to where the VPN bases itself and how that region’s privacy laws might affect your privacy.

ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, a country that has strong privacy laws. It’s against Switzerland’s law for online companies and websites to collect internet users’ data without them giving their permission. ProtonVPN also isn’t subject to US and EU laws.

NordVPN is Panama-based. Panama has similar strict privacy laws like Switzerland, so you can browse securely and ensure that your data remains encrypted. Neither NordVPN nor ProtonVPN is required to store any data logs on their users because of their jurisdictions’ laws.


Transparency


Both companies do an excellent job of explaining what they do and why they do it. You can read the privacy policy of NordVPN and ProtonVPN on their respective websites.

ProtonVPN has a detailed privacy policy that is simple to read and understand. The company notes that it does not hold any data logs, traffic logs, or communication logs of its users, and it only keeps information that’s necessary for account creation, such as your email address and payment information for subscription payments.

ProtonVPN and NordVPN provide open-source code for users to see the coding that goes into each app. ProtonVPN moves a step further to give Mozilla access to all app coding for inspection and audit. 

NordVPN’s privacy policy isn’t as simple as ProtonVPN’s, and the company has not yet released information about its ownership. Still, PwC Switzerland, a third-party company, audited NordVPN in 2018 and found that it adhered to its strict no-log policy without violations to its users’ privacy.


Native Apps


Apps allow you to use your VPN on multiple devices, like your smartphone, tablet, computer, and sometimes, even your Roku or PlayStation, keeping your information safe from wherever you access the internet.

ProtonVPN currently has apps for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, and Android, so most mobile devices and computers or laptops have protection.

NordVPN offers protection for the same operating systems through its apps and works with Chrome and Firefox browsers for immediate browsing protection. These extensions encrypt your traffic while keeping your IP safe and blocking malware and potentially malicious attacks.


Browser Extensions


Currently, ProtonVPN does not offer browser extensions to encrypt and protect your web browser while browsing the web. According to a response left by ProtonVPN in a thread posted in the ProtonVPN subreddit, “This is not one of our priorities, but as we continue to develop ProtonVPN, we may consider a browser extension.”

NordVPN has browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers that are easy to install and provide you with one-click activation before you start browsing. You’ll get features like ad-blocking, a hidden IP address, and the ability to disable WebRTC.

If you’re a NordVPN subscriber, you can use the browser extensions without downloading any other app or program to your computer or device. Just beware that these extensions won’t protect you when you’re using non-browser games and apps on your devices.


Simultaneous Connections


Being able to access your VPN from multiple devices simultaneously keeps you connected whenever you need to be. NordVPN lets you connect up to six devices to your account on any plan, so you won’t have to log out and log back in when you’re on a new device.

The free ProtonVPN account gives you one connection. You can opt for the Basic plan to connect two devices, while Plus gives you five connections. If you have more devices to connect, you may need the highest-priced Visionary plan, which allows up to ten simultaneous connections.


Advanced VPN Features


ProtonVPN and NordVPN each have advanced features that offer more protection when using your devices or browsing the internet.


ProtonVPN Features


The Kill Switch is a favorite feature of ProtonVPN users because it automatically cuts your connection if anything happens with your VPN. In doing so, your data can’t leak, but you’re free to connect again when you can connect securely with your VPN. The Always-On VPN feature also helps you connect automatically to a VPN, just in case you forget to do so yourself.

ProtonVPN also provides Secure Core servers (the name for their Double VPN option), which can protect against threats that may compromise VPN servers. Your traffic moves through the Secure Core server first, so any attempt to gather your information would halt at the server. Additionally, ProtonVPN refuses third-party DNS server traffic for DNS leak protection.

Other helpful ProtonVPN features include Tor over VPN, OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec protocols, and AES-256 encryption.


NordVPN Features


NordVPN includes just about everything ProtonVPN does plus additional advanced features. Compared to ProtonVPN’s Secure Core servers, NordVPN has Double VPN, which moves your traffic through two servers, changing your IP address each time to keep your connection safe and data encrypted.

NordVPN’s dedicated IP address feature makes it easier for you to complete some online tasks where changing your IP address isn’t beneficial, like online banking or shopping. The service ensures that you keep a whitelisted IP address that it only assigns to you.

Onion Over VPN brings your traffic through the Onion Network, which is known for its elaborate encryption tunnel and high level of privacy.

CyberSec is another popular feature that can protect you from malware attacks that threaten your security. The tool automatically blocks suspicious sites and prevents unwanted ads from displaying and playing on websites. Turn it on to use the feature, and CyberSec will get the IP address from any site before you browse it to make sure it’s safe.


Servers Network


The full ProtonVPN network includes more than 1,000 servers in 54 countries. You’ll first need to get through the primary Secure Core network of servers in Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden. You can then access any of the servers in Columbia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, or another country.

NordVPN has a network of more than 5400 servers across 59 countries, with over 2500 in the Americas alone. The service also helps you find the best server based on the protocol and type of server you want to use.

Dedicated Servers for Streaming and Torrenting

ProtonVPN does not currently offer dedicated servers for streaming and torrenting, but you can still use it for both. However, you might not have access to the highest speeds, and it could take you a bit to find the best server for each task.

NordVPN has dedicated servers optimized for streaming and torrenting, allowing you to get fast speeds without NordVPN collecting and holding data logs. You can choose what type of server you want to connect to on the connection screen.


Customer and Technical Support


Even if you’re an experienced VPN user, there may come a time when you need to contact your VPN’s team to ask a question or troubleshoot an issue. One area in which ProtonVPN may fall short is in its customer and technical support capabilities. 

NordVPN comes equipped with 24/7 support that includes email and live chat support, plus a full database of tutorials and help guides to walk you through every feature. There are also three separate customer service departments to handle billing, general information, and connectivity issues to keep help tickets flowing efficiently.

In contrast, ProtonVPN is a smaller service and doesn’t yet have the breadth of support NordVPN does. The website includes an online support request form and a knowledge base of articles to reference for help. Still, the lack of a live chat function could deter beginner VPN users who prefer having some help as they learn the ropes of browsing with a VPN.

Without a live chat feature and 24/7 support, you can expect longer wait times for your support ticket responses with ProtonVPN.


Pricing and Free Trials


Both ProtonVPN and NordVPN offer free trials to test out their features, see the services in action, and decide which one suits you better. ProtonVPN has a 7-day money-back guarantee and a 100% free account; NordVPN’s money-back is for 30 days.

The 7-day free trial of ProtonVPN begins when you set up a free account. Once you’re signed up, you can access the features you’d get on a ProtonVPN Plus account, including servers in 50 countries, Secure Core VPN, and the highest speeds available, among other features. 

You can choose to remain on a free plan or pay for one of the company’s three paid plans when your trial expires. The free plan gives you the basics: one VPN connection, no logs or ads, three server countries, and medium speeds. You’ll need to opt for a Basic plan for 4 €/month to access higher speeds, more servers, and P2P/BitTorrent support. 

The highest-priced plan, Visionary, is 24 €/month and includes all features plus ten connections and encrypted mail service.

NordVPN’s 30-day free trial is somewhat of a guise because you’ll need to pay for a plan to start using it. If you decide it isn’t right for you, you can cancel your service within the first 30 days, and NordVPN will honor a 30-day money-back guarantee.

NordVPN pricing is as low as $6.58/month on a one-year plan, but a monthly plan will cost $11.95/month. Regardless of the plan you choose, you’ll get all NordVPN features, including fast connections, up to six device connections, IP masking, browser extensions, etc.


Who Wins on Reddit?


Reddit is one of the best places to discuss various VPNs because several subreddits are dedicated to learning more about VPNs and technical support for them. Some VPNs even have their own subreddits where people can ask questions, get help, and more, and NordVPN and ProtonVPN each have one.

Looking at both VPNs on Reddit, you’ll find that users name several pros and cons for each. One of the most significant complaints about ProtonVPN is that it doesn’t yet have any browser extensions.

For instance, this thread is from a previous NordVPN user who switched to ProtonVPN and misses the browser extension offering from NordVPN. Another Reddit user created a thread asking if ProtonVPN should make a browser extension, to which several people replied that they wish the service did have one. Others, however, think it would be a meaningless addition.

A common complaint about NordVPN is that users seem to spam subreddits with big claims the company makes that may or may not be accurate, as you can read on this thread. Some say that the promises NordVPN makes fall flat, at least in their experiences.

However, both have a lot of positive comments in threads as well. One thread offers a fair comparison of both, noting that they each provide fast browsing speeds.

It seems that NordVPN is slightly more popular than ProtonVPN, though, according to Reddit. Many users praise NordVPN’s customer support capabilities, wide range of server choices, and complete privacy when using your computer. Still, some ProtonVPN enthusiasts have mentioned that they prefer the service’s transparency to that of NordVPN.


NordVPN vs ProtonVPN Compared


When comparing ProtonVPN vs. NordVPN, it’s difficult to say which one “wins” because the winner boils down to your personal preference and how the services work for your needs. For example, you might find servers that work faster for you on ProtonVPN, even though there is much less to choose from.

ProtonVPN is the smaller company – at least for know. The service continues to grow its server network as new customers come on board, ensuring that the network doesn’t get overloaded with too many people on each server. While NordVPN is likely more well-known in the community, ProtonVPN has several things going for it that make it a promising competitor.

With that said, if you’re looking for an out-of-the-box VPN solution that’s ready to go, NordVPN fits the bill. With thousands of servers in 59 countries, browser extensions for extra privacy and encryption, and a responsive customer service team, this company has many fans who are quick to praise it. 

We appreciate ProtonVPN’s 100% free plan that you can use as long as you need to test the service in its entirety. You can also use the 7-day free trial to test a paid plan if you prefer those features. NordVPN falls short with its 30-day money-back guarantee disguised as a free trial that’s not really a trial, but a paid month of service.

Both VPNs have made our list of the best VPN services because of their advanced features, high speeds, and incredible respect for your privacy while maintaining a no-log policy. You might consider trying each service for one month to gain first-hand experience of their features and decide on one that best matches your expectations.