Best VPN Software

NordVPN vs. ProtonVPN

Is NordVPN or ProtonVPN the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you decide which VPN tool is the best fit for your business.

VPN software includes features like location and device coverage, security, and ad-blocking. In today’s digital world, small businesses without a technology-enabled approach to VPN connections are falling behind.

This article will discuss the differences between two of the largest players in this space: NordVPN and ProtonVPN. We’ll discuss the notable strengths and weaknesses of each tool, and provide recommendations for who each tool will suit best.

All of our recommendations are based on research, product demos with the software companies, and dozens of hours spent hand-testing VPN software. More details regarding our research process can be found on our VPN category page.

NordVPN & ProtonVPN Comparison Summary

We researched and extensively tested both NordVPN and ProtonVPN. Both solutions received a score of 94.

NordVPN was given a score of 94 due to its usability, advanced features, and wide server coverage. ProtonVPN was also given a score of 94 due to its robust device support and the fact that it has a free plan.

In terms of pricing, NordVPN starts at $11.95 for one month, while ProtonVPN starts at $4 for one month. ProtonVPN comes with a free option.

Both solutions offer the standard features found across VPN tools. These include robust server and country coverage, advanced security, and additional features such as split tunneling. NordVPN does, however, offer dedicated IP support, which ProtonVPN doesn’t.

Overall, both solutions are advanced and capable for small businesses in need of robust VPN software. In fact, both NordVPN and ProtonVPN ranked in the upper percentile of our VPN software category. If you’re in need of VPN software for a year or two, we recommend ProtonVPN due to its affordability. However, NordVPN offers dedicated IP support if this is important for you.

Here’s a quick breakdown of who will prefer each option:

You'll prefer NordVPN if:

  • You need a dedicated IP
  • You’re in need of VPN software for only a month
  • You prefer more server coverage over countries

Try NordVPN Today

You'll prefer ProtonVPN if:

  • You are in need of free VPN software
  • You need VPN support for up to 10 devices at once
  • You’re in need of robust security options

Try ProtonVPN Today

Table of Contents

NordVPN & ProtonVPN Price Comparison

Overall, NordVPN and ProtonVPN are similarly priced. ProtonVPN does, however, come with a free option.

NordVPN Pricing Details

NordVPN is less affordable than its competitors. You have three pricing options. Users can pay $11.95 for one month, $143.40 for a year, or $286.80 for two years.

As of December 2021, NordVPN offers discounts for their yearly and two year plans, charging $59.00 and $79.00 respectively. NordVPN does not offer a free plan.

ProtonVPN Pricing Details

ProtonVPN is one of the most affordable solutions on the market today. Its pricing starts at $4 per month, and it also provides a free plan with 23 servers in 3 countries.

Here are ProtonVPN’s pricing options:

Plan NameFreeBasicPlusVisionary
Price per Month$0$4$5.99$24

NordVPN & ProtonVPN Feature Comparison

Overall, NordVPN and ProtonVPN have a similar breadth of features. NordVPN comes with slightly more device support, as well as dedicated IP support. ProtonVPN, however, comes with more advanced security features.

For a full analysis of each solution’s features, read our NordVPN review and ProtonVPN review.

Multiple device supportYesYes
Kill switchYesYes
AES-256 encryptionYesYes
Split tunnelingYesYes
Dedicated IP supportYesNo

Location & Device Coverage

Both NordVPN and ProtonVPN offer similar location and device coverage. ProtonVPN offers location coverage for up to 61 countries. You can choose from up to 1,300 servers, depending on your payment plan. Compare this with NordVPN, which offers over 5,000 servers in 60 countries.

NordVPN Coverage

NordVPN offers support for up to 6 devices at once, while ProtonVPN supports 10 devices. Both solutions offer support for the following range of devices and operating systems:

  • Windows
  • MacOS
  • Linux
  • Chromebook
  • Android
  • Apple TV
  • Fire TV
  • iOS/iPadOS
  • Playstation
  • Xbox
  • Nintendo Switch


NordVPN and ProtonVPN both offer the standard security measures most VPN software solutions offer. ProtonVPN does come with more transparency about its security protocols on its website, as well as more flexible options for advanced users. Still, NordVPN offers top-level security for its customers.

Both solutions offer high-strength encryption with AES-256, as well as IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN encryption protocols.

NordVPN and ProtonVPN also both offer a kill switch like many other VPN software solutions do. This can be automatically set up in their respective preferences.

ProtonVPN Security

ProtonVPN offers a Secure Core feature that adds an additional layer of protection for users. In the event that attackers monitor servers you are connected to, they will only be able to trace traffic back to ProtonVPN’s physical Secure Core servers.

Essentially, Secure Core makes tracking your IP and location much more difficult. Note that this feature is only available for Plus and Visionary members.

ProtonVPN Secure Core

Advanced Features

NordVPN comes with three advanced features: Split tunneling, dedicated IPs, and ad-blocking. ProtonVPN offers split tunneling and ad-blocking capabilities.

NordVPN Split Tunneling

With split tunneling, you can route select devices and applications through NordVPN’s encrypted servers and allow others to use your local IP. This has several use cases:

  • Stream foreign films while using web services from local IP addresses
  • Download applications without slowing down general web activity
  • Access network printers while surfing the internet through VPN

ProtonVPN comes with a proprietary ad-blocker: Netshield. With this feature, users can choose to block malware, ads, and trackers that companies use to target advertisements. The fact that ProtonVPN’s ad-blocker is integrated into its software means you have a centralized system to prevent trackers and malware.

ProtonVPN does not come with dedicated IP support like NordVPN. Do note, however, that purchasing a dedicated IP with NordVPN costs $70.

Bottom Line

Overall, if you are a small business or individual in need of powerful and user-friendly VPN software, both NordVPN and ProtonVPN will suit your needs. NordVPN comes with more convenient payment plans for long-term users, but ProtonVPN has a free option for users to hop in immediately. If you’re in need of higher device support and dedicated IPs, go with NordVPN.

If you’re interested, visit NordVPN or ProtonVPN today to get started.

Yousef Fatehpour

Yousef Fatehpour is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit. He graduated from University of California, San Diego, where he studied Human Centered Design and Communications. His work at UCSD's Design Lab emphasized UX research and product management.

Yousef's primary areas of interest are software design, user journeys, and how user experience is handled across software markets. Yousef also has experience in product design and multimedia content production. You can connect with Yousef on LinkedIn.

Yousef is an expert in several software categories including:

  • SMS marketing software
  • Document management software
  • Human resource software
  • Applicant tracking software
  • Design software

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