Comparing NordVPN and ProtonVPN isn’t as strange as you might think. They’re both well-established brands with a significant following. If you’ve been on the fence and trying to decide which will better suit your needs, here’s the lowdown between the two.
A Quick Comparison
|Server Locations||60 countries||63 countries|
|Number of Servers||5,000+||1,700+|
|Protocol Available||OpenVPN, NordLynx, IKEv2|
(macOS and iOS only)
|OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2|
|P2P Support||Yes (Selected Servers)||Yes|
|Speed (Singapore Server)|
|Download Speed||507.77 Mbps||507.77 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||484.89 Mbps||303.07 Mbps|
NordVPN doesn’t need much introduction. It’s headquartered in Panama and has been around since 2012. That isn’t an overly long period, but the momentum and quality of product built up over this time are significant.
ProtonVPN, like many good things in the world, is from Switzerland. Unlike NordVPN, this ProtonVPN seems to have gotten off to a rocky start. Still, they’ve sorted themselves out since then. Today, ProtonVPN is moving full steam ahead.
NordVPN vs. ProtonVPN: Pricing
NordVPN prices hover at around the upper mid-range of most VPN services. It provided immense value, but as product quality and features increased, so too have prices. Still, $3.99 on a two-year plan is a reasonable price for something as good as they’ve created.
Unlike most VPN providers that drop prices as subscription periods increase, ProtonVPN follows a tiered feature structure. The lowest end is a free subscription that provides limited connectivity and speeds. As prices increase, you get more features, including better access and speeds, P2P support, and Tor support.
Verdict: NordVPN Wins
NordVPN offers better value. For $3.99, you get all the features ProtonVPN provides on its cheapest subscription tier.
NordVPN vs. ProtonVPN: Availability
NordVPN includes access to many servers and locations. With one subscription, you get to connect to almost any country worldwide. The 5,000+ servers meet their many users’ performance demands – I know since I’m one of them.
ProtonVPN offers a smaller cluster of 1,600+ servers, and only if you subscribe to their Plus plan for $8/mo. That’s a ridiculous comparison in terms of price/accessibility ratio when compared to NordVPN.
Verdict: NordVPN Wins
NordVPN offers better availability thanks to its massive number of servers, good spread of access points, and pricing structure.
NordVPN vs. ProtonVPN: Security
Over the years, NordVPN seems to be on a tangent towards becoming a more holistic security product. It’s moved past just being a VPN and now offers inclusive features like RAM-only servers, Threat Protection, etc. These features continue to grow over the years, and I expect to see more from them at any time.
ProtonVPN’s main claim to fame as a privacy and security product lies in its Secure Core. That’s a series of hardened servers in Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden under their purview. Aside from that, there isn’t much else that the average VPN provides.
Verdict: NordVPN Wins
NordVPN is building a much more well-rounded security and privacy-oriented product.
NordVPN vs. ProtonVPN: Speed
There’s not much to say about speed since most top VPNs today are running WireGuard or some related variant (see all test results here). NordVPN, for example, adds on to core Wireguard with increased security. The result is NordLynx, which is just as fast but more secure.
Read our complete NordVPN review for more.
ProtonVPN adopts WireGuard directly, which also contributes to its excellent speed. There’s no fiddling with the protocol, but we have not seen any obvious need for that so far.
Both NordVPN and ProtonVPN offer good performance and high speed. You might experience a more significant lag if using ProtonVPN’s Secure Core network.
Final Thoughts on the NordVPN vs. ProtonVPN Comparison
I’ve never been a fan of ProtonVPN’s tiered pricing structure. Not because of the way it’s implemented, but prices are simply unrealistic compared to what’s available. The top tier of ProtonVPN costs a whopping $24/mo, which even ExpressVPN doesn’t come close to charging.
If you want a safe, secure, and reliable VPN, NordVPN is a much better choice when compared to ProtonVPN.