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ProtonVPN vs. NordVPN

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ProtonVPN and NordVPN are two popular VPN providers offering awesome security features, speed, and good value. But is one of them better than the other?

That depends entirely on what you’re looking for in a VPN. But whether it’s speed, privacy, streaming, or many simultaneous connections, both providers have a lot to offer.

So, which one should you choose?

Read this comparison of ProtonVPN vs. NordVPN to find out!

I went through their policies and tested their features side-by-side to help you decide! Or grab our exclusive ProtonVPN or NordVPN discounts to test them for yourself!

Here’s a sneak preview of everything I cover in my ProtonVPN vs. NordVPN comparison:

  ProtonVPN NordVPN
Jurisdiction Switzerland Panama
Servers 1800+ servers in 67 countries   5300+ servers in 59 countries
Speed 5.5% average drop (OpenVPN UDP) 11% average drop (NordLynx)
Logging Policy No logs, audited No logs, audited
VPN Protocols WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, and Stealth WireGuard (NordLynx), OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPsec
Streaming Netflix, BBC iPlayer, foreign TV channels on 26 server locations Netflix, BBC iPlayer, foreign TV channels on all servers
Gaming Minor lag on mobile, no lags on Desktop No lag on mobile or Desktop
P2P P2P-optimized servers, Port Forwarding, and seeding support P2P-optimized servers
Devices Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome devices, Firestick, routers Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome devices, Firestick, gaming consoles, Raspberry Pi, Edge, routers
Simultaneous Connections 10 6
Discount ProtonVPN Discount NordVPN Discount
Winner
NordVPN
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ProtonVPN vs. NordVPN Overview

NordVPN may fall slightly behind ProtonVPN in our speed and torrenting tests, but it makes up for that in almost every other department. While NordVPN lacks a free option, it’s the best-priced of the two on their premium plans.

For a VPN that starts at $4.99 (compared to NordVPN’s $2.99), it’s sad that you don’t get a Live Chat option too.

But that’s just an overview. Dig into our tests and findings to see how they go head-to-head.

Privacy and Jurisdiction

  ProtonVPN NordVPN
Privacy-friendly jurisdiction? Yes, Switzerland Yes, Panama
Does it store traffic logs? No No
Does it store IP addresses? No No
Does it store personal information? Yes, limited and necessary only Yes, limited and necessary only
Is it audited? Yes Yes

A no-logging policy verified by an independent third-party audit, and operating from a country with no mandatory data retention laws, guarantees that a VPN doesn’t keep your logs and keeps your data private.

ProtonVPN Jurisdiction, Logging Policy & Audits

ProtonVPN operates out of Switzerland. The country isn’t part of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance and has robust privacy and data protection laws – they’re even included in the Swiss constitution!

Swiss companies aren’t required to store user logs, and ProtonVPN’s privacy policy specifies that it doesn’t.

protonvpn no-logs policy

However, it collects data needed to provide services properly, such as:

  • Email and username
  • Data you share with customer service
  • Payment data (name and last four digits of your card)

To check that ProtonVPN’s no-logging policy was true to its word, I read through the report of its external audit conducted by Securitum, and verified the no-logging claims as accurate.

protonvpn external audit claim

However, according to this report, ProtonVPN’s free version monitors the users’ BitTorrent traffic to block it, although it doesn’t log the traffic

That’s because ProtonVPN’s free version doesn’t support torrenting, so it’s done for compliance purposes.

protonvpn network traffic report after audit

NordVPN Jurisdiction, Logging Policy & Audits

NordVPN works out of Panama, which has no data retention laws and, like ProtonVPN’s native Switzerland, isn’t a party to the 5/9/14 eyes alliance.

Moreover, its laws don’t require companies to store user logs.

According to NordVPN’s privacy policy, it doesn’t store user logs, just like ProtonVPN.

nordvpn no-logs policy

However, it does keep some customer information, like ProtonVPN, such as users’ email, payment data, and country details.

does nordvpn have no logs

An external party, PwC, has also audited NordVPN’s privacy policy

I read that report, too, and was pleased to see that it confirmed the no-logs claim as accurate, like with ProtonVPN.

nordvpn third-party no-logs audit summary

Based on all that, both providers are equally privacy-friendly!

EXPERT SUMMARY

ProtonVPN and NordVPN don’t log user data, have their headquarters outside the 14 Eyes surveillance nations, and have audited their no-logging policies.

Winner
Draw

Security and Encryption

  ProtonVPN NordVPN
Protocols? OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2, Stealth OpenVPN, IKEv2, NordLynx
IP Leak Protection? Yes   Yes
DNS Leak Protection? Yes Yes
Encryption? 256-bit 256-bit
RAM-only Servers? No Yes
Security Features? Kill switch, Ad blocker, Multihop, Obfuscation (Android only) Customizable kill switch, Ad blocker, Multihop, Obfuscation

From top-level encryption and secure protocols to built-in leak protection and kill switches, neither provider cuts corners.

ProtonVPN Protocols

ProtonVPN offers a range of secure protocols to choose from:

  • WireGuard
  • OpenVPN UDP
  • OpenVPN TCP
  • IKEv2 (mobile devices)
  • Stealth (Android devices)

WireGuard, OpenVPN, and Stealth are the most secure. The last is ProtonVPN’s custom-made protocol to bypass VPN traffic blocks and firewalls.

It’s very secure but slower than other supported protocols.

OpenVPN UDP was the fastest one, as you’ll see in my speed tests!

NordVPN Protocols

Like ProtonVPN, NordVPN offers several secure protocols:

  • OpenVPN TCP
  • OpenVPN UDP
  • IKEv2 (mobile devices)
  • NordLynx

So, NordVPN also has a custom-made protocol (NordLynx) based on WireGuard but faster and more secure.

Common & Different Security Features

ProtonVPN and NordVPN offer AES-256-bit encryption – the best encryption in the industry!

They also provide kill switches. NordVPN’s kill switches can be configured only to quit selected apps when disconnected from the VPN or entirely cut off the Internet access. ProtonVPN doesn’t offer that kind of customization, which is a minor negative point for me.

nordvpn internet and app kill switch

Also, both providers offer an adblocker feature. With NordVPN, it’s called Threat Protection, and you can customize it to block ads, trackers, and malware.

nordvpn threat protection features

ProtonVPN’s ad blocker feature, called NetShield, is available on ProtonVPN’s paid plans. Like NordVPN’s, it can be customized to block malware, ads, and trackers.

protonvpn netshield ad-blocker

NordVPN also offers a multihop feature called DoubleVPN, encrypting your traffic twice for extra protection.

nordvpn double vpn feature

ProtonVPN provides a similar multihop feature through its Secure Coreservers. These servers initially route your traffic to one of its 100 extra-secure servers and then to your destination server.

protonvpn secure core multihop feature

Finally, both VPN providers offer an obfuscation feature, which hides the fact that you’re using a VPN from your ISP. With NordVPN, this obfuscation feature can be enabled by going to “Obfuscated servers” and choosing a server from 16 available locations.

nordvpn obfuscated server feature

ProtonVPN, on  the other hand, offers obfuscation through its Stealth VPN protocol, available on its free and paid plans.

Currently, however, Stealth is only available on Android devices, unlike NordVPN’s obfuscated servers on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.

protonvpn stealth protocol

RAM-Only vs. Disk-Based Servers

One other thing that distinguishes NordVPN from ProtonVPN is that NordVPN’s servers are diskless and RAM-only. Any recorded data is erased as soon as the server reboots, offering an extra layer of protection.

ProtonVPN’s servers are disk-based. Although they’re fully encrypted, the server can still be stolen or seized. With the RAM-only servers, if that happens, there’s no danger of your data being compromised.

Security Tests

I conducted an IP Leak test, a DNS Leak test, a kill switch, and an encryption test on both providers. I used IPLeak.net to run the IP leak test on ProtonVPN’s Greek server, which passed.

Furthermore, I used DNSLeakTest.com to test ProtonVPN for DNS leaks by connecting to its Spanish server. As you can see, there are no leaks there either.

I also used Wireshark to test ProtonVPN’s encryption when connected to its Belgian server via the WireGuard protocol.

protonvpn encryption test with wireshark

Since I got this gibberish from my test, I’m satisfied that ProtonVPN’s encryption works fine!

Like with ProtonVPN, I tested NordVPN for IP Leaks, DNS Leaks, and encryption

And just like with ProtonVPN, there weren’t any leaks whatsoever.

Like with ProtonVPN, I used Wireshark to test NordVPN’s encryption. 

Here’s a screenshot confirming that it works as intended:

nordvpn encryption test with wireshark
EXPERT SUMMARY

Considering its RAM-only servers, customizable kill switch, and obfuscation on all devices, NordVPN offers better security!

Winner
NordVPN
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Countries and Servers

  ProtonVPN NordVPN
Countries and Servers 1800+ in 67 countries 5300+ in 59 countries
Server Locations Europe, APAC, Russia, The Americas, Africa, and the Middle East, Australia. Europe, APAC, The Americas, Australia, South Africa, Israel, UAE
Server Types P2P, Streaming, Obfuscated, Multihop, TOR P2P, Obfuscated, Multihop, Dedicated IP, Onion Over VPN

ProtonVPN offers over 1800 servers in 67 countries on its paid plans. 

But you can only use 100 servers in 3 countries on its free plan.

protonvpn server count

These servers are all owned by ProtonVPN, mitigating the risks of being compromised by a third party.

protonvpn secure core servers

NordVPN, meanwhile, offers over 5300+ servers in 59 countries!

nordvpn server count

However, unlike ProtonVPN, NordVPN owns some servers and rents others, which can be a drawback. The more parties involved in managing a network, the higher the risk of these servers being compromised.

nordvpn custormer care on renting and owning servers

As I discussed above, it’s not a significant issue since NordVPN’s servers are RAM-only.

As you can see, NordVPN has more servers overall, but ProtonVPN covers more countries, including Russia.

NordVPN also offers specialty servers, such as:

  • Obfuscated servers in 16 countries.
  • Double VPN servers in 9 locations.
  • 7 locations with Dedicated IP servers.
  • 2 locations with Onion over VPN (TOR) servers (in the Netherlands and Switzerland).
  • 49 locations with P2P-optimized servers.

Likewise, ProtonVPN provides different types of servers, including 100 Secure Core servers. In addition, you can choose from:

  • 17 P2P-optimized server locations.
  • 26 streaming-optimized locations.
  • 16 smart routing server locations.
  • 7 TOR-supported locations.

Unlike NordVPN, however, ProtonVPN doesn’t offer Dedicated IP servers.

EXPERT SUMMARY

Both providers cover several countries and offer specialty servers, but NordVPN pulls ahead with its sheer number of servers. Still, ProtonVPN doesn’t show signs of server overcrowding or high load on its limited servers.

Winner
Draw

Speed and Performance

  ProtonVPN NordVPN
Fastest Protocol? OpenVPN UDP NordLynx
Smallest Drop for UK Server 3% (OpenVPN UDP) 4% (NordLynx and OpenVPN UDP)
Smallest Drop for Swiss Server 2.5% (IKEv2) 2% (OpenVPN UDP)
Smallest Drop for US Server Increase of 3% (OpenVPN UDP) 1% (NordLynx and OpenVPN UDP)

A fast Internet connection is a must, especially when you’re streaming, gaming or torrenting. Thankfully, both ProtonVPN and NordVPN are fast.

This was my benchmark for the speed testing for the two providers:

ProtonVPN Speed Test

I tested ProtonVPN’s speed across three servers and four protocols using Speedtest.net, with its VPN Accelerator feature activated. These are my results:

Protocol Server Ping, ms Download, Mbps Upload, Mbps Download speed change
WireGuard UK (Manchester) 15 66.4 19.5 -5%
Switzerland (Zurich) 27 59 19.2 -15%
USA (New York) 81 67.6 19.6 -3%
OpenVPN UDP UK (Manchester) 13 67.5 19.7 -3%
Switzerland (Zurich) 29 67 20.4 -4%
USA (Dallas) 109 71.2 19.8 +3%
IKEv2 UK (Manchester) 17 67.2 19.1 -3.5%
Switzerland (Zurich) 27 67.9 19.4 -2.5%
USA (Chicago) 100 65.5 19.4 -6%
Stealth UK (Manchester) 14 60.2 20 -14%
Switzerland (Zurich) 26 63 20 -9.5%
USA (Atlanta) 101 64.6 19.3 -7%

NordVPN Speed Test

NordVPN was slower than ProtonVPN across some protocols, but the difference was negligible. I also tested it across three servers on four protocols. 

Here are my results:

Protocol Server Ping, ms Download, Mbps Upload, Mbps Download speed change
NordLynx UK (London) 9 67 21.1 -4%
Switzerland (Zurich) 26 67.4 19.4 -3%
USA (New York) 79 68.9 19.4 -1%
OpenVPN UDP UK (Manchester) 15 67 19.9 -4%
Switzerland (Zurich) 27 68.4 20 -2%
USA (Dallas) 113 69.2 20.1 -1%
OpenVPN TCP UK (London) 28 64.6 20.6 -8%
Switzerland (Zurich) 56 65.8 21.2 -5.5%
USA (Denver) 190 11.7 13.3 -83%
IKEv2 UK (London) 12 65.5 18.6 -6%
Switzerland (Zurich) 25 63.3 19 -9%
USA (Atlanta) 100 66.3 19.5 -5%

NordLynx had the smallest speed drop, and OpenVPN TCP had the largest

The average NordVPN speed drop was 11%.

EXPERT SUMMARY

ProtonVPN and NordVPN offered incredible speeds, but ProtonVPN’s OpenVPN UDP protocol was the fastest.

Winner
ProtonVPN logo
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Gaming

  ProtonVPN NordVPN
Latency Ping (mobile, PC)? 27 ms, 42 ms 80-111 ms, 19 ms
Protocol? WireGuard NordLynx
Tested Games? Devil Book, March of Empires Devil Book, March of Empires
Lags? Only when downloading files, not during gaming None
DDoS Protection? Yes Yes, on all plans

Avid gamers want a fast VPN that can also prevent DDoS attacks and doesn’t allow UX lags. I tested ProtonVPN and NordVPN with two games to see if they could do that.

ProtonVPN Gaming Latency Test

To get an idea of how ProtonVPN performs with games, I played “March of Empires” on my Desktop and “Devil Book” on my mobile. I used a Swiss ProtonVPN server with the WireGuard protocol enabled on both devices.

When playing “Devil Book,” I experienced some delay while downloading the game’s files over ProtonVPN. Still, once it got going, my experience was seamless.

play devil book with protonvpn

I didn’t experience any lags with my Desktop game “March of Empires” with ProtonVPN either.

march of empires game

To understand the performance better, I conducted latency tests on both devices using Speedtest.net. The baseline on my Desktop was 11 ms and 17 ms on mobile.

Once I connected to the ProtonVPN Swiss server, my mobile latency jumped to 27 ms. So, the impact on my gaming UX was minimal.

The desktop latency rose to 42 ms, but it didn’t impact my gaming experience either.

NordVPN Gaming Latency Test

Same as with ProtonVPN, I tested NordVPN on “Devil Book” and “March of Empires,” using the NordLynx protocol on a Dutch server in both cases.

With “Devil Book,” I experienced no lag whatsoever with NordVPN! Moreover, the game helpfully shows the latency, which ranged from 80 to 111 ms as I played, compared to my baseline of 17 ms.

play devil book over nordvpn

The same was when I played “March of Empires” with NordVPN – the VPN connection had no impact on my UX!

play march of empires over nordvpn

As you can see, both ProtonVPN and NordVPN are suitable for gaming

However, since ProtonVPN caused slower file downloads, NordVPN is the winner for gaming.

DDoS Protection

I didn’t experience any DDoS attacks when playing my games and connected to NordVPN for several days.

Moreover, a NordVPN representative confirmed that DDoS protection is included in the NordVPN packages.

Since ProtonVPN doesn’t have a Live Chat, I couldn’t get the same confirmation from its representatives until two days later. Luckily, they did confirm that the DDoS protection was included in ProtonVPN’s packages, as you’ll see in the Customer Service tests section.

EXPERT SUMMARY

NordVPN ensures no lag and offers DDoS protection. ProtonVPN also offers robust DDoS protection on all servers but produces minimal lag while gaming.

Winner
NordVPN
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Torrenting

  ProtonVPN NordVPN
P2P servers? Yes Yes
Average download speed? 1.4 MiB/S 1.6 MiB/S
Max download speed? 2.6 MiB/S 3.9 MiB/S
Shortest download time? 31 minutes 32 minutes
Port Forwarding? Yes No
Seeding? Yes No

If you engage in P2P file-sharing or torrenting, you need a fast VPN that can conceal your IP address from your peers and ensure your downloads are kept private from your ISP/copyright trolls.

ProtonVPN for Torrenting

ProtonVPN offers an optimized torrenting experience on several servers in 17 countries. However, you can still torrent over other ProtonVPN servers, unlike NordVPN, which always redirects you to its P2P servers.

ProtonVPN also allows seeding, thanks to its port forwarding.

You can set this up directly in the Desktop app and use it if all torrenting servers are overloaded, under maintenance, or you just want a boost in torrent download/upload speeds.

protonvpn port forwarding

I tested ProtonVPN with uTorrent across three servers – the UK, Sweden, and the USA – using a 3.9 GB-sized copyright-free file. Here are my test results:

Server Average download speeds Maximum download speeds Download completion time
UK - London 1.4 MiB/S 2.6 MiB/S 31 minutes
Sweden - Stockholm 648 KB/S 1.3 MiB/S 1 hour 14 minutes
USA - Miami 456 KB/S 630 KB/S 2 hours 8 minutes
Port Forwarding Enabled - UK (London) 1 MiB/S 2.4 MiB/S 42 minutes

As expected, the ProtonVPN server closest to me (UK) provided the best results.

access utorrent with protonvpn

Furthermore, ProtonVPN’s terms and conditions don’t prohibit torrenting.

However, the provider specifies that the service mustn’t be used to infringe on others’ intellectual property, often done via torrenting. Therefore, I don’t recommend using ProtonVPN to download copyrighted files.

protonvpn usage policy and prohibited activities

NordVPN for Torrenting

NordVPN also offers servers optimized for P2P file-sharing – 49 locations to choose from. Unlike ProtonVPN, it doesn’t allow port forwarding or seeding.

I also tested NordVPN for torrenting across three servers – the UK, Denmark, and the USA – on the same 3.9 GB file. Here are my test results:

Server Average download speeds Maximum download speeds Download completion time
UK - London 1.6 MiB/S 2.6 MiB/S 1 hour 22 minutes
Denmark - Copenhagen 1.1 MiB/S 2.8 MiB/S 54 minutes
USA - New York 1.3 MiB/S 3.9 MiB/S 32 minutes
access utorrent over nordvpn

Similar to ProtonVPN, NordVPN’s Terms of Use doesn’t prohibit torrenting. However, it emphasizes that NordVPN mustn’t be used for illegal activity, including copyright infringement. That’s why I don’t endorse utilizing either provider for torrenting copyrighted files!

nordvpn terms of use
EXPERT SUMMARY

Both providers offer fast and secure torrent downloads, but ProtonVPN does better with its incredible download speeds, port forwarding, and seeding support.

Winner
ProtonVPN logo
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Media Streaming

  ProtonVPN NordVPN
Streaming Servers? 26 locations All 5300+ servers
Unblocks Netflix? Yes Yes
Unblocks BBC iPlayer? Yes Yes
Unblocks Foreign TV? Yes Yes

ProtonVPN and NordVPN are excellent choices to unblock different streaming services like Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and foreign TV channels.

ProtonVPN for Streaming

ProtonVPN offers streaming servers in 26 locations. I tested these servers with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and a Swiss TV channel to see how well they could unblock the services.

Does ProtonVPN Work With Netflix?

I connected to ProtonVPN’s LA-based server in the US and unblocked US Netflix to watch shows like “iCarly.”

unblock netflix with protonvpn

Does ProtonVPN Work With BBC iPlayer?

I connected to ProtonVPN’s London server optimized for streaming. 

Fortunately, ProtonVPN worked seamlessly with BBC iPlayer, and I could watch “Strictly Come Dancing” to my heart’s content.

unblock bbc iplayer with protonvpn

Does ProtonVPN Unblock Foreign TV Channels?

To see whether I could enjoy foreign TV with ProtonVPN, I tested it on a Swiss channel, Telebasel, over a streaming-optimized Swiss server.

As you can see, it worked very well!

unblock telebasel over protonvpn

NordVPN for Streaming

Unlike ProtonVPN, which doesn’t offer streaming servers in every location, the Panama-based provider claims you can stream with NordVPN on any server

I tested NordVPN to see whether that was indeed the case.

Does NordVPN Work With Netflix?

I unblocked US Netflix and watched shows like “Madam Secretary” over NordVPN’s New York server. So, I’m happy to report that, like ProtonVPN, NordVPN works with Netflix.

unblock netflix with nordvpn

Does NordVPN Work With BBC iPlayer?

NordVPN also works well with BBC iPlayer. I tested it with “Doctor Who” and enjoyed a buffer-free streaming experience.

unblock bbc iplayer with nordvpn

Does NordVPN Unblock Foreign TV Channels?

I unblocked the Danish TV channel, DRTV, and watched its shows seamlessly over NordVPN’s Denmark server. So, NordVPN can unblock foreign TV channels with ease too.

unblock danish tv over nordvpn
EXPERT SUMMARY

ProtonVPN and NordVPN offer excellent streaming capabilities. But since all NordVPN servers are optimized for streaming, in contrast to ProtonVPN’s 26 server locations, NordVPN takes this round.

Winner
NordVPN
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Multi-Platform Compatibility

  ProtonVPN NordVPN
Native Apps? Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Firestick, Chromebook, Chromecast, Routers Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chromebook, Edge
Other Devices? Roku, Smart TVs Roku, Smart TVs, Gaming consoles, Raspberry Pi, Kindle Fire
Browser Extensions? Chrome Chrome, Firefox, Edge
Simultaneous Connections? 10 6

A VPN should be installable across several platforms and work on several devices simultaneously for the best value.

You can use ProtonVPN on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome, Linux, Firestick, Smart TV (Apple/Amazon), Roku, and different routers, including AsusWRT and Tomato, DD-Wrt.

protonvpn compatible devices

NordVPN’s native app is also compatible with these platforms, plus the Microsoft Edge browser.

nordvpn compatible devices

You can even configure NordVPN manually on Raspberry Pi, gaming consoles, and Kindle Fire, which you don’t get with ProtonVPN.

nordvpn devices that support manual configuration

Simultaneous Connections

You can download the free ProtonVPN option on as many devices as you want but can only connect to one device at a time.

However, when you get the paid plan, you can use the VPN software on ten simultaneous connections. That’s more than NordVPN, which only allows six simultaneous connections.

EXPERT SUMMARY

NordVPN is compatible with more platforms than ProtonVPN, but ProtonVPN’s paid version offers more connections.

Winner
NordVPN
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Customer Support

  ProtonVPN NordVPN
Live Chat? No Yes, 24/7
Email/Tickets? Yes Yes
Help Center? Yes Yes

A good VPN needs a communication channel between the customer and a customer support team for quick answers to your queries.

Unlike NordVPN, ProtonVPN doesn’t have a Live Chat feature which is a huge disadvantage for those queries that require immediate answers. 

Instead, you can contact ProtonVPN using a comprehensive form that takes a while to complete.

protonvpn support page

Alternatively, send ProtonVPN an email at support@protonvpn.zendesk.com.

ProtonVPN also offers an extensive library of guides and tutorials that answer the most common questions.

protonvpn support guides by categories

But that’s not enough to give it a leg up over NordVPN since the Panama-based provider also offers a comprehensive library of guides and tutorials, plus a ticket system over email at support@nordvpn.com.

On top of that, NordVPN’s Live Chat gives it the edge in customer support!

nordvpn support guides and tutorials by categories

Customer Support Tests

To test ProtonVPN’s customer support, I asked two questions using the above form.

My first question was a simple query about DDoS protection.

protonvpn support ticket

My second question was a more difficult one. I asked, “If I’m traveling to a restrictive country like Russia, how can I be sure that my ISP won’t register that I’m using a VPN when connected to the Stealth Protocol? Does it use the 22 or the 443 port?

ProtonVPN’s representatives only responded to the DDoS query two days later. 

This was their response:

protonvpn support on ddos protection

Unfortunately, I didn’t get an answer to my question about the Stealth protocol, not even three days later. Therefore, I view the lack of ProtonVPN’s Live Chat as a significant disadvantage!

With NordVPN’s 24/7 Live Chat, I didn’t have to wait that long, although I had to request a Live Agent instead of a bot. I was transferred to a different department to answer my question, though.

nordvpn customer chat on torrent seeding

I’m happy with this response, as the agent explained the technical details of not allowing seeding with NordVPN.

For my second question, I asked about how obfuscated servers worked and how NordVPN ensured that the ISPs didn’t detect the traffic as VPN traffic.

The representative confirmed that my ISP can still see that I’m using a VPN, even with obfuscated servers. It took about 5 minutes to answer my question, which is much better than ProtonVPN’s 2-day wait time!

EXPERT SUMMARY

NordVPN and ProtonVPN provide email support, a wealth of blog-based tutorials, and a massive video guide library on YouTube. However, ProtonVPN lacks a 24/7 live chat feature like NordVPN.

Winner
NordVPN
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Usability

  ProtonVPN NordVPN
User-friendliness? High High
Drawbacks? No way to look up servers by type Not as sleek
Split Tunneling? Yes Yes
Quick Connect? Yes Yes
Server Map? Yes Yes
Server Sort by Type? No Yes

Both VPNs have easy-to-install native apps for many devices. I used the Windows and Android VPN apps in my usability tests.

ProtonVPN Apps (Windows, Android)

ProtonVPN’s Windows app is easy to use, offering a pleasant Dark Mode interface, a map of servers to choose from, and a “Quick Connect” feature that automatically selects the best server.

protonvpn quick connect feature and dark mode

The list of server locations on the left is also easy to use. My only complaint here is that you can’t filter by server type (e.g., P2P or streaming), although it does indicate (with the relevant icons) which server locations offer specialty functions.

The four buttons above the server list allow me to enable the Secure Core servers quickly, set up the Netshield Ad Blocker, kill switch, and port forwarding.

protonvpn secure core multihop feature

On top of that, ProtonVPN offers split tunneling, which you can find and enable via the hamburger menu in the top left corner. This feature allows you to specify which programs are affected by your VPN connection and which can bypass the VPN’s encryption burden.

protonvpn split tunneling

This straightforward menu also allows you to set up your protocol, turn on the VPN accelerator and tweak other settings.

protonvpn connection settings

That said, the ProtonVPN Android app is even simpler to use. The list of servers is the first thing you see; scroll to the one you want or click the triangle button in the bottom right corner to enable “Quick Connect.”

To change the protocol and other settings, go to the hamburger menu and click “Settings.” This menu contains all settings you need, including the kill switch, the VPN Accelerator, the ad blocker, split tunneling, and protocols, to name a few.

NordVPN Apps (Windows, Android)

The NordVPN Windows app has a similar interface to ProtonVPN’s, given the server map and the instantly-available “Quick Connect” button, for example. 

However, the NordVPN interface is slightly clunkier and less sleek than ProtonVPN’s.

nordvpn quick connect

I did, however, find NordVPN more attractive in Dark Mode after enabling it in Settings. If looks are a thing for you, this one wins slightly in that department.

nordvpn dark mode

You can quickly look up the NordVPN server list by clicking the arrow pointing down. And I like that NordVPN allows me to look up the server by type, which ProtonVPN doesn’t do.

Like ProtonVPN, the NordVPN Windows app has a settings menu; a little gear icon in the bottom left corner.

nordvpn settings

There, you can customize your kill switch, split tunneling, and other connection settings (such as the protocol).

nordvpn connection settings

The NordVPN Android app is quite busy but also very straightforward to use. 

For instance, you can choose a server on the map or use the “Quick Connect” feature for the best server.

And unlike ProtonVPN, NordVPN’s Android app also allowed me to look up servers by type, e.g., P2P.

Tapping the three dots close to each specialty server type reveals the available server locations, sorted by country.

And like with ProtonVPN, you can tweak the split tunneling, ad blocker, and protocol options in the “Settings” menu of NordVPN’s Android app, accessible via your profile in the bottom right corner of the screen.

EXPERT SUMMARY

ProtonVPN and NordVPN offer user-friendly interfaces. But NordVPN allows you to sort servers and display them by type, which is useful when you need a specific server.

Winner
NordVPN
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Pricing, Plans, and Deals

  ProtonVPN NordVPN
Plans? Free, 1-month, 1-year, 2-year Monthly, 1-year, 2-year
Most Savings? Free plan and 2-year plan 2-year plan
Payment Methods? Credit/debit card, bank transfer, PayPal, Cash, Bitcoin Credit/debit card, Apple Pay/Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Direct Debit, Cryptocurrency
Free Trial? Lifetime on free option 7 days on Android
Add-ons? No Password manager, encrypted storage, data breach scanner
Money-back Guarantee? 30 days 30 days
Best Deal? Best ProtonVPN Deal Best NordVPN Deal

Finally, the ideal VPN shouldn’t break the bank and still offer good value for money.

ProtonVPN, unlike NordVPN, offers a free option. So, on the one hand, ProtonVPN’s cheapest plan is cheaper than NordVPN’s as it doesn’t cost you anything!

On the other hand, ProtonVPN’s best plan (2 years) is costlier than NordVPN’s equivalent plans.

ProtonVPN Plans & Payment

ProtonVPN Annual Prices in USD
ProtonVPN Plans and Annual Pricing (USD)

ProtonVPN’s best-value plan, after its free plan, is its 2-year plan.

The free plan gives you access to 3 server locations, privacy protections, the Stealth VPN protocol, and one connection at a time.

On the paid plans, you get all the free features plus access to its entire server library, streaming and torrenting capabilities, Secure Core servers, the ad blocker, and Tor over VPN functionality.

protonvpn free and premium plan

Once you’ve decided on a plan, you can pay for ProtonVPN via:

  • A credit/debit card
  • PayPal
  • Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin)
  • Cash
  • Bank transfer

For cash payments, contact contact@protonvpn.com for instructions.

protonvpn payment method

NordVPN Plans & Payment

NordVPN’s best plans are its 2-year plans, like with ProtonVPN.

You can also purchase add-ons like a dedicated password manager, 1TB encrypted storage, and a data breach scanner.

And like ProtonVPN, NordVPN allows cash payment via a retail store purchase (but only for US-based users).

NordVPN has the edge over ProtonVPN because it allows Apple and Google Pay, which ProtonVPN doesn’t. However, NordVPN doesn’t allow PayPal (it still does in regions without Paypal alternatives), like ProtonVPN.

Other ways to pay for a NordVPN plan include:

  • Credit/debit card
  • Google/Apple Pay
  • Direct Debit
  • Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum)
nordvpn payment methods

Free Trials & Money-Back Guarantees

ProtonVPN’s free version lasts forever, unlike traditional free trials, but with limited features.

NordVPN, meanwhile, does offer a 7-day free trial, but only on its Android apps. 

After its expiry, you’ll be charged for the entire subscription.

Both ProtonVPN and NordVPN offer 30-day money-back guarantees on their plans. Still, they differ in how they enforce these.

ProtonVPN’s money-back guarantee allows you to get a refund for any unused portion of the service.

protonvpn money-back gaurantee

On the other hand, NordVPN’s money-back guarantee allows a full refund of the subscription rather than its remaining unused time.

Note that you can only get the refund twice with NordVPN, after which the VPN provider believes you should have tested it enough to know whether you want it the third time.

nordvpn money-back gaurantee

Discounts

I recommend our exclusive ProtonVPN and NordVPN discounts to save more on these VPNs and get their risk-free guarantees.

EXPERT SUMMARY

Both providers have plans that offer fantastic value, and ProtonVPN offers a free option. However, NordVPN wins as it offers full refunds, cheaper paid plans, and a few more payment options than ProtonVPN.

Winner
NordVPN
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Conclusion

Both providers performed admirably, but I’m confident that NordVPN is the clear winner in more places than not. It offers top-level security features, a vast server library, great streaming options, and an excellent support system.

Keep in mind, however, that ProtonVPN offers a free option.

Either way, both providers offer no-logging policies, incredible speeds and security, and streaming options.

Want to try them out for yourself? Grab our exclusive ProtonVPN or NordVPN discounts today!

THE WINNER IS NORDVPN

Protect private web traffic from snooping, interference, and censorship. All plans are covered by a no-hassle 100% money-back guarantee for your first 30 days of service.

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