NordVPN vs PrivateVPN

Struggling to decide which Virtual Private Network (VPN) to use? That’s understandable: there are hundreds out there and they’re all different in terms of speed, security, and streaming ability. Don’t worry, though; our team of experts has done the hard part for you by extensively testing two leading providers (NordVPN and PrivateVPN) to see which is best for the average user.

Below, we’ll be listing everything NordVPN and PrivateVPN have offer in an easy-to-read format. We’ll also explain exactly what each feature does since we know how easy it is to get lost in the jargon when comparing VPNs. This should give you a better understanding of what you’re paying for and the impact your chosen service will have on your day-to-day internet usage.

Can’t choose between NordVPN or PrivateVPN?

If you’re stuck trying to decide between these providers, we’d recommend NordVPN. It’s significantly faster, offers a truly impressive set of security tools, and works with just about every streaming service we’ve tested. Plus, it currently has a huge discount available. PrivateVPN is a great choice too, though, and if you’d rather go that route, we have an exclusive discount coupon for you.

After personally testing both services for hours, we put together a side-by-side comparison of all their main features and noted down any strengths, shortcomings, or interesting features we found. Here are the results:

Summary: NordVPN vs PrivateVPN

NordVPN

  • Impressive performance
  • Works with all kinds of region-locked streaming platforms
  • Known for its strong security offering
  • Has over 5,000 servers to choose from
  • Fully audited platform and policies

PrivateVPN

  • Fast enough for any task
  • Strong streaming capabilities
  • Good range of security and privacy features
  • High connection limit
  • Port forwarding is useful for torrenting

NordVPN vs PrivateVPN pricing

No valueNordVPNPrivateVPN
WebsiteNordVPN.comPrivateVPN.com
Subscription periodsOne month, one year, two yearsOne month, three months, one year
Special offer63% discount on the 2-year planGet an extra two years of coverage for free with the annual plan
Highest price per month$12.99$9.90
Lowest monthly cost$3.09$2.00
One year price$59.88$72
Money-back guarantee30 days30 days
Best deal (per month)$3.39
Up to 72% off + a Saily eSIM data gift
$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free

Straight off the bat, we can see that PrivateVPN is the cheaper of these two services, both over short and long terms. However, it’s worth noting that while NordVPN’s one-month price is relatively high, it offers steep discounts on longer plans. Further, if it weren’t for PrivateVPN’s extremely generous special offer, NordVPN would actually be the less expensive option for annual plans.

Both providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Essentially, you can just sign up and pay like you normally would before trying either service out risk-free for a month. If it fails to meet your expectations, just cancel to claim a full refund. The whole cancellation process takes a few minutes, and you don’t even have to provide a reason if you don’t want to.

Best Deal for NordVPN:Save 63% with a two-year NordVPN plan.

Best Deal for PrivateVPN:Cut the cost by more than 80% by getting two years free with your annual PrivateVPN subscription.

NordVPN vs PrivateVPN features

No valueNordVPNPrivateVPN
WebsiteNordVPN.comPrivateVPN.com
Simultaneous Connections1010
Devices SupportedWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, LinuxWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV
Manual install devicesSelect routersLinux, routers
Free extrasAd-blocking, Dark Web Monitor, MeshNet, malware-scanning, automatic wifi protection, browser extensions for Chrome, Edge, and FirefoxStealth mode
Best deal (per month)$3.39
Up to 72% off + a Saily eSIM data gift
$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free

Whichever of these services you choose, you’ll have access to a wide range of user-friendly apps. In fact, as well as catering to the most popular platforms, NordVPN and PrivateVPN both offer command-line installers for Linux systems and official apps for Amazon Fire TV devices. We have to give NordVPN a slight advantage here, though, since it offers Chrome and Firefox extensions that let you switch locations on the fly directly in your browser.

PrivateVPN has a stealth mode designed to bypass deep packet inspection and regional blocking. NordVPN, on the other hand, uses special obfuscated servers that allow you to bypass censorship in countries like China and the UAE. It also offers a built-in ad-blocker and malware scanner, as well as a setting that connects automatically whenever you use a public wifi network.

NordVPN provides full split tunneling functionality (the ability to let certain apps or websites pass through the VPN without having their data encrypted or rerouted) whereas PrivateVPN doesn’t. Additionally, NordVPN recently introduced MeshNet, a feature that lets you securely connect to your other devices across any distance.

For torrenters, PrivateVPN boasts one key advantage over NordVPN: port forwarding. Although NordVPN allows peer-to-peer connections throughout its network and does not block torrenting on any of its servers, it doesn’t support port forwarding. With PrivateVPN, you can forward a random port number from the app. Port forwarding allows you to seed torrents more efficiently and connect to more peers.

On the other hand, NordVPN has split tunneling, which lets you choose which apps use the VPN and which don’t. NordVPN can conceal your torrenting activities inside of the VPN while your web browser uses your regular IP address. This feature is not currently available with PrivateVPN.

NordVPN has a few other features that PrivateVPN does not. Multi-hop connections allow you to route your data through two servers in a row for added protection, and it throws in a free Smart DNS service that you can use to access US streaming services on devices like consoles and Smart TVs.

Netflix and streaming comparison

No valueNordVPNPrivateVPN
WebsiteNordVPN.comPrivateVPN.com
Unblocks Hulu
Unblocks Sky Go
Unblocks Prime Video
Unblocks BBC iPlayer
Unblocks ABC
Unblocks CBS
Unblocks NBC
Unblocks ITV
Unblocks Channel 4
Best deal (per month)$3.39
Up to 72% off + a Saily eSIM data gift
$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free

These services are both known for their strong streaming ability. In fact, NordVPN has actually improved since the last time we tested it, and was able to access CBS, which had previously given it trouble. PrivateVPN put up a good fight but was unable to access ABC, which isn’t really a surprise given how strong this platform’s VPN-detection system is.

NordVPN works with more regional Netflix libraries than its rival. PrivateVPN can still access more than a dozen Netflix regions, which is above average.

PrivateVPN is considerably slower than NordVPN, but both can stream in HD without any buffering. If raw power and plenty of headroom is your preference, opt for NordVPN.

China

It’s no secret that the Chinese government censors huge sections of the internet using a collection of web-filtering tools known as the Great Firewall. This stops travelers from being able to communicate with people back home and severely limits your sources of unbiased information. To make matters worse, most VPNs simply won’t work in China.

NordVPN and PrivateVPN stand out from the crowd though. Our latest testing shows that these services both work perfectly in mainland China, although you’ll have to enable a setting in each of the apps first. Additionally, NordVPN users on iOS will have to configure their connection manually instead of relying on the app. Here’s how to unblock the internet in China with both of these services:

  • NordVPN: Click the gear icon on the main screen, then Advanced > Obfuscated servers. Return to the homepage and connect to one of the obfuscated servers.
  • PrivateVPN: Enter the Stealth VPN tab and enable the Stealth VPN option. Now, simply connect as normal.

Setup and interface

No valueNordVPNPrivateVPN
WebsiteNordVPN.comPrivateVPN.com
Automatic setup wizardLinux, Windows, MacOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, Android, MacOS, iOS
Main location selectionMap-based/List-basedList-based
Extra settings pages
Mobile-friendly
Best deal (per month)$3.39
Up to 72% off + a Saily eSIM data gift
$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free

Both providers offer uncluttered, easy-to-use apps for desktop computers. NordVPN has recently had a redesign, and now boasts a much cleaner interface than before. Its main screen lets you choose a server from the map or a list, and settings are separated into various tabs on the left-hand side.

Nordvpn servers
Specialized servers are available right there on the home screen

PrivateVPN uses a tabbed approach instead, showing just a few options per page to keep things as simple as possible. Its server list is broken down into categories, with favorited and dedicated IP servers (more on these later) listed separately. There’s also a simpler view, which essentially hides everything apart from the quick-connect button and server selection option.

PrivateVPN connection screenshots for windows users
PrivateVPN has two views: one for beginners and another for experts

There aren’t many differences in NordVPN’s mobile app except the server list is below the connect button. All of the security settings remain intact, and what’s more, there’s even one that isn’t present in the desktop apps: tapjacking protection. This lets you know when an app is trying to trick you into clicking on something different than what is shown onscreen.

PrivateVPN’s mobile app is essentially just the simple view from the desktop apps. The tabbed interface is gone, and all of the settings are shown on a single page. There are very few differences other than that the kill switch is missing (although its effect can be replicated using tools built into the operating system).

Servers and performance

No valueNordVPNPrivateVPN
WebsiteNordVPN.comPrivateVPN.com
Server countries11163
Total number of servers6,000+200+
Mobile-friendly
Best deal (per month)$3.39
Up to 72% off + a Saily eSIM data gift
$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free

Although they cover similar numbers of countries, NordVPN has a far larger network. In our experience PrivateVPN works perfectly during peak times despite having fewer servers to help share the load.

These are two of the fastest providers around. However, NordVPN’s speeds have slipped recently, averaging 196 Mbps in our latest testing. PrivateVPN, meanwhile, averages roughly 70 Mbps — quick enough for any day-to-day task (including HD streaming) but undeniably a step below NordVPN.

Here’s a list of server locations for each VPN:

NordVPNPrivateVPN
Albania
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Isle of Man
Israel
Italy
Japan
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macedonia
Malaysia
Malta
Mexico
Moldova
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nigeria
Norway
Panama
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Serbia
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Thailand
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Ukraine
Vietnam

These VPNs are evenly matched in terms of network coverage. The most in-demand locations are accounted for, although NordVPN has a larger presence in Europe while PrivateVPN supports less commonly-seen locations like Panama and Nigeria.

NordVPN VS PrivateVPN for gaming

NordVPN is significantly faster than PrivateVPN. But most games don’t require a lot of bandwidth. PrivateVPN’s speeds should be more than sufficient to play most games.

NordVPN has a much larger number of servers to pick from, which helps users avoid server congestion, connect to more international servers, and improve ping. Private VPN operates servers in more than 60 countries, so there’s still plenty to pick from.

Both VPNs can bypass gaming blocks at work or on campus without exposing your online activities to admin.

Security

No valueNordVPNPrivateVPN
WebsiteNordVPN.comPrivateVPN.com
VPN protocolsOpenVPN, NordLynxOpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP
OpenVPN data encryption256-bit AESAES-256 (with 128-bit option)
OpenVPN control channel encryptionRSA-4096RSA-2048
Kill SwitchWindows only
Private DNS servers
Best deal (per month)$3.39
Up to 72% off + a Saily eSIM data gift
$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free

As you might expect, both services allow you to connect using the OpenVPN protocol. However, NordVPN also has its own proprietary protocol, NordLynx. This is based on Wireguard, which is significantly faster and more efficient than OpenVPN, and widely considered the next big thing for VPN security. It also supports IKEv2 connections (though these have to be setup manually).

Other than OpenVPN, PrivateVPN only supports PPTP and L2TP connections. These are far older protocols, and PPTP is no longer considered safe to use due to a long list of vulnerabilities. As a result, we strongly recommend that PrivateVPN users stick with OpenVPN and would like to see WireGuard support in the apps in the future (currently, users have to manually configure WireGuard connections, which is out of the ordinary to say the least).

From a security perspective, NordVPN and PrivateVPN aren’t too different. They both use 256-bit AES encryption, although PrivateVPN gives you the option to use 128-bit encryption instead, which should provide a small speed boost. NordVPN’s RSA keys are longer, in theory, making them more difficult to crack. That said, 2048-bit keys are considered good enough, so the benefits of longer keys are debatable. Both services provide a customizable kill switch that lets you choose which apps stop sending data when your connection drops. However, this feature isn’t available in PrivateVPN’s mobile apps.

Privacy

No valueNordVPNPrivateVPN
WebsiteNordVPN.comPrivateVPN.com
HQ base of operationPanamaSweden
Connection logs
Activity logs
User details for signupEmail addressEmail address
Anonymous payment optionsBitcoin, Ethereum, RippleBitcoin
Best deal (per month)$3.39
Up to 72% off + a Saily eSIM data gift
$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free

Each of these providers is based in a privacy-friendly country. NordVPN, for instance, operates out of Panama, which doesn’t require VPNs to log any identifiable data. PrivateVPN, on the other hand, is based in Sweden, a country that has enshrined its citizens’ right to privacy in its constitution. Accordingly, neither service keeps logs of any kind.

NordVPN has had its apps independently audited to prove that they’re as secure as possible. Further, it has had its no-logs policy audited three times, by two of the Big Four auditing firms. PrivateVPN hasn’t publically mentioned any audits, but it did spend a lot of resources becoming its own ISP and server host, which helps reduce the chance of third-party access to user data.

NordVPN and PrivateVPN both allow you to sign up and pay anonymously with Bitcoin. However, NordVPN also accepts two other popular cryptocurrencies: Ripple and Ethereum.

Customer service

No valueNordVPNPrivateVPN
WebsiteNordVPN.comPrivateVPN.com
24/7 live chat
Ticket support
Email support
Average email response time3 hours, 45 mins6 minutes
Searchable knowledge base
Phone support
Video guides
Best deal (per month)$3.39
Up to 72% off + a Saily eSIM data gift
$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free

These VPNs both offer a fantastic level of support, with live chat help desks, searchable knowledge bases that answer all of the most common questions, and video guides available on their respective YouTube channels. NordVPN’s support staff are available 24/7, while PrivateVPN’s live chat goes offline for a few hours each day.

We wanted to see how responsive each service was to email queries. This way, we could judge how easy it is to get help if you’re somewhere where live chat isn’t available (China, for instance). Here are the results

NordVPN
Question Initial response timeNumber of emailsQuestion answered
Is this VPN fast enough to watch 4K videos?10 hours, 50 minutes1Yes
Am I allowed to share my account details with family?13 hours, 42 minutes1Yes
Does this service work in the UAE?2 hours, 14 minutes1Yes
PrivateVPN
Question Initial response timeNumber of emailsQuestion answered
Is this VPN fast enough to watch 4K videos?14 minutes1Yes
Am I allowed to share my account details with family?2 minutes1Yes
Does this service work in the UAE?15 minutes1Yes

Despite being the underdog, PrivateVPN’s customer service team knocked it out of the park, with an average email response time of just 10 minutes. NordVPN averaged just under nine hours per reply. Note that NordVPN runs its own support team, so in theory, it can provide more detailed responses to technical questions.

The winner: NordVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • Background FireTV

Website:  www.NordVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

There’s no doubt that these services are both strong contenders. PrivateVPN boasts some of the fastest speeds around, works with a huge range of streaming platforms, and comes packed with security features. However, the winner this time is NordVPN, and here’s why.

NordVPN is, on average, much faster than PrivateVPN. It’s also slightly stronger on security, showing commitment to the Wireguard protocol and offering a kill switch in all versions of its app. Its network is far larger too, with over 5,600 servers to choose from. Whether you want to browse freely in China, live stream UHD video, or just enhance your digital privacy, you can’t go wrong with NordVPN.

Best Deal for NordVPN:Save 63% with a two-year NordVPN plan.

Best Deal for PrivateVPN:Cut the cost by more than 80% by getting an extra two years free with your annual PrivateVPN subscription.

Methodology: How we compared NordVPN and PrivateVPN

NordVPN and PrivateVPN are both well-respected providers, so choosing one was never going to be easy. To be as fair as possible, we really tried to dive deep into the functionality, reliability, and versatility of each service. Here are a few key features we considered:

  • Server availability: Distance from your chosen server impacts speeds, so it’s important to have a good distribution around the world. Additionally, we looked into whether either VPN offered servers in a location that the other didn’t.
  • Performance: Nobody wants a VPN that ‘s too slow to use. Still, it’s tricky to compare download speeds due to the randomess of the internet. Our team runs multiple tests and averages the results to get the most accurate reading.
  • Security and privacy: We made sure each service used secure encryption methods and protocols. Then, we look at safeguards such as a kill switch, no-logs policy, anti-tracking features, and leak protection.
  • Streaming ability: Modern streaming services are great at spotting telltale signs of VPN usage. However, if you have to keep turning your VPN off, you’ll eventually forget to turn it back on, which is a real privacy risk. We tested each provider against platforms like Netflix, Max, and BBC iPlayer to see which was best at going undetected.
  • Ease of use: We’re big fans of anything that makes VPN technology more accessible. This might be 24/7 live chat, unlimited connections, or just novice-friendly, jargon-free apps.
  • Price: Like it or not, price is an important factor for a lot of people. We can spot a VPN that’s charging too much from a mile away, but we also look into long-term discounts, free trials, and money-back guarantees.

Want to learn more about how we put VPNs through their paces? Our testing methodology post breaks down our entire process.

NordVPN vs PrivateVPN FAQs

Which VPN is best for travel abroad?

Due to its network of 5000+ servers in over 59 countries, NordVPN is the best VPN for travel abroad, helping you find a nearby server regardless of location. NordVPN provides a more consistent streaming experience than PrivateVPN, letting you access the likes of Netflix, Prime Video, and more while traveling abroad. NordVPN also uses obfuscation to unblock content in countries like Saudi Arabia, which restricts internet freedoms.

Which VPN offers the biggest discounts?

VPNs usually offer discounts, particularly for longer subscription terms, and the level of these VPN discounts changes on a relatively regular basis. At the time of writing, it’s PrivateVPN that’s offering the biggest discounts with 85 percent off its one year plan. This works out at just $2 a month. 

NordVPN’s biggest discount is currently 63 percent off its two-year “Complete” subscription. However, this does include 1 TB of encrypted cloud storage, a password manager, and more. So it really comes down to whether you value such extras. Generally speaking, the longer the subscription term, the less you can expect to pay on average each month.

Can I try NordVPN or PrivateVPN for free?

NordVPN and PrivateVPN don’t have free trials available but they do provide a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means that you can sign up, use either service for a month, and cancel to get a full refund if you’re in any way unsatisfied.

See also: